Fandom, Star Trek: Discovery and its Dark Reflection

Talking about the second season of Star Trek: Discovery this year has been a difficult experience in places.

Not just because the recently concluded fourteen-episode run wasn’t a particularly good season of television—more on that here—but also thanks to the way some of the online Star Trek fandom have responded to criticism. It hasn’t been pretty for those who have suggested Season 2 might not be, at the very least, enjoyable. This I can say from experience. Before my wrap up piece, which itself has been greeted with some vitriol in certain Facebook quarters where it has been shared, I wrote the occasional episode review of Season 2 for my former website Set The Tape – specifically for the episodes Brother, An Obol for Charon and Project: Daedalus. All of these episodes I found problematic.

In sharing that opinion, I felt the full force of how troubling fandom can be.

Read more…

Tony Talks #9: Friends, Patrons, Countrymen…

So I’ve gone and done it, guys… I’ve launched a Patreon for Cultural Conversation which you can find here.

Some of you may subscribe to, or know about, my fairly successful Patreon for The X-Cast, my X-Files podcast, which has built a terrific community around itself over the last few years, so I have some experience with the platform. It’s a great way to try and make a little income doing what you love and I’d recommend it to anyone.

Originally you see, my hope was for Set the Tape to be a financial going concern but for various reasons (chiefly my own effort in doing it), that didn’t really happen, for me or the writers Owen and I assembled. Maybe we should have launched a Patreon for that site, I don’t know. Either way, this seems like an easy to maintain optional means of funding what I do for love anyway, which could facilitate me writing more full time.

FYI – nothing about the site will fundamentally change with this. I’ll still write with the same frequency. Some stuff will just end up a bit more bespoke and become Patron-only…

So why should you donate your hard earned moolah to help me out?

Read more…

Tony Talks #8 – Setting the Final Tape

Howdy folks, it’s been a while since I did a Tony Talks post, indeed this is the first one of 2019. It feels fitting for events that have come to pass this week.

So today is my final day, essentially, as the co-editor of my website Set The Tape, which I founded just under two years ago with my friend Owen Hughes. The decision came as a bit of a shock when we announced it to the STT team but, in truth, it’s been something I’ve been moving towards for the better part of the last six months.

Read more…

The Barefoot Contessa (1954)

When I’m not looking at all kinds of geeky media on this blog, I’m co-running my website Set The Tape, on which I now and then publish content. This is part of a review you can find the rest of in the link below.

For many, the high point of Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s quite legendary Hollywood career is 1950’s All About Eve, a picture which has lingered in cinematic history for its caustic wit, cold glamour and harsh performances. The Barefoot Contessa is, and in some ways isn’t, a lighter affair than Mankiewicz’s previous effort. Filmed in colour rather than black and white, often beautifully shot thanks to the redoubtable talents of great cinematographer Jack Cardiff, The Barefoot Contessa continues to explore Mankiewicz’s obsession with women and fame, the abusive power of privileged white men in the Hollywood system, his own conflicted feelings about it. Though where All About Eve was a spiky satire, The Barefoot Contessa is a Cinderella-fantasy.

The well known fable is mentioned in dialogue several times by Humphrey Bogart’s writer-director and frequent narrator Harry Dawes, underscoring how Mankiewicz saw Ava Gardner’s Spanish-startlet Maria Vargas as the Cinderella-figure and Bogart, essentially, as the Fairy Godfather who, if he was being completely honest, fell in love with a woman he ended up trying to save from a destructive corporate movie-making machine.

Read more…