Magic Voyage

Somewhere within these communications is about how long it took me to watch the TV series Babylon 5, what I thought of Farscape, Tour of Duty and even Tales Of The Gold Monkey. There’s a part of me that isn’t sure about watching so much television, I wonder if there are other things more productive or helpful to the world or me that I could be doing. But then I think, fuck it I really enjoy watching these shows. I know I can be a snob about a lot of things and I probably like that with TV series but at the same time I don’t think anyone need watch the amount of science fiction that I do.

Yesterday, I somehow managed to time things so that I finished two TV series on the same day. I’d had a recommendation to watch Magicians on Amazon Prime and I also had worked through Star Trek Voyager. Both are now complete and I am trying to work out what to watch next.

I chose to watch Star Trek Voyager because although I was kinda aware of it when it came out I don’t think I had really watched any of them, unlike TNG and DS9. So, it seemed a good choice to work through. I mostly watched STV while eating dinner as it is very dialogue based and so looking at food means you don’t really miss much that’s happening on screen. I have enjoyed the series and I might watch another ST series next.

Jase recommended Magicians to me and I have likened it to Harry Potter but with sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. It’s a good TV show and quite enjoyable. I mean it helps that all the actors are very sexy and easy on the eye, but it’s worth a watched for the sheer fun. I cringed at the first musical episode but it was done well and they made a few more melody based storylines that just worked really well. The funny thing about the magic I guess is that whenever you are stuck in the story line you can just make-up-whatever-the-fuck-you-want. Programmes like Star Trek have too many rules built in to the universe and so you have to follow those or people get upset but the Magicians was all over the place and I enjoyed that.

I had thought I might watch The Next Generation over the next few months but after twenty minutes of the first episode I am less than impressed. I know that it’s a great show and I am aware of a lot of the important canon from it. But in all honesty the mid-80s show doesn’t look good in 2020s television. The sets are bare and the audio echoes. This could be a problem with my TV streaming device of choice but I don’t know. I will give Star Trek Enterprise a go later today and see if that feels better. Oh, and I need to finish Lucifer.

Grasshopper and Harvey

This year has been mostly used for watching the science fiction television series Farscape. I always have something on the go, things I’ve watched compulsively [although paced if that’s not a contradiction] probably started with the West Wing, then Battlestar Galactica, Babylon 5, Tour Of Duty, Firefly [obviously], The Prisoner along with many others. I’m not sure how many of these I have written about, you could search for them in that little box at the bottom if you want, but I definitely wrote about Babylon 5 it took three years to watch!


My Farscape journey began after I listened to a podcast where one of the cast is slightly obsessed with Dr Who. In that podcast another person mentioned Farscape as a TV series and I remembered living in Brentwood in a house share and watching it as a TV show when digital TV started in around 1999. I remembered liking it and thought I’d watch it. It then turned out that Amazon Prime had all the shows and my next TV series was sorted.

I started tweeting every episode that I watched but this stopped at some point. I’m not sure why but I have had some mental health issues recently and so I guess I just stopped tweeting. It’s a bit of a shame as my B5 list is complete. But, there we go, no point regretting that for the obscure point that I could look back and see when I watched each episode. I think I may have stopped because I was watching some episodes when I should have been at work! I definitely also watched some while I spent time at RAF Wittering, which I have done a lot this year. If you want to see the tweets and why wouldn’t you? Head over to my online-offline twitter archive and search.

There’s an awful lot I liked about this TV show. The characters are instantly likeable, except Rigel of course, but even then in the end you kinda want good things for him. The writing is well done and the in-jokes work really well. I don’t think the series is that over the top and it definitely manages well with the “horny aliens on a space ship theme”. Moya is amazing. Chiana is my favourite. I love the way that Crichton references loads of Earth based characters and themes all the way through the show.

The way that John Crichton interacts with Harvey in his own head was perfect and comical, while at the same time being a central part of the later series. This was managed really well. As was the cartoon episode where most of it takes place in Crichton’s head.

I was never really put off by the puppets and considering this show was started twenty years ago I think it is pretty damn good. The reliance on CGI nowadays removes that organic feel from many shows and something gets lost. This series works really well with the puppets and make-up to create amazing storylines and effects. It’s probably not for everyone and it definitely hits that fantasy science fiction spot but I would recommend it if you want to fun ride.

This ultimate love story comes to an end and I look forward to whatever series I choose to watch next. Goodbye Farscape.

Old Television

There’s a big news story around at the moment that the over 75s in this country are going to have to pay for a TV licence. I’ve got some thoughts on this matter which I will communicate here.

In the UK the TV Licence pays for some of the BBC along with some of Channel 4 and, I think, channel 5. It used to be more of a licence to operate receiving equipment which just happened to be used to pay for public broadcasting. I think nowadays it is considered to be a tax by people which goes directly to the BBC.

The reason the BBC are going to charge the over 75s is because the GOVERNMENT has chosen to withdraw that part of the funding for the BBC. It seems amazing to me that the majority of the anger is placed at the BBC where it should be placed directly at the government. The media which isn’t funded by the government has a massive issue with the BBC funding and targets it a lot about everything.

Much like the anger placed at immigrants or the NHS or housing or local councils the real anger should be directed at the GOVERNMENT because they set the fucking rules. Annoyed with people dodging tax? Then moan at the government, they set the rules, they produce the law. It’s the government’s fault. The fact that the anger is deliberately directed away from the government is astonishing.

Local councils get their funding from two main sources, the national government and the taxes, council tax, placed on those who live in the area. The national government has spent years reducing the amount it sends to the local councils and so the only way to make up the shortfall is to charge more to locals. Where does the anger go? To the local council, not to the national government.

I don’t see that just because you are old you shouldn’t have to pay for a service that you use. It should probably be means tested. There are plenty of old folk out there who can afford this and they should pay slightly more to allow those who struggle to have access to services. It’s how society should work. Some parts of society struggle and the rest of us should help, it’s the morally correct thing to do.

There seems to be a perception that poor people or people who struggle through life deserve it. Their failure must be because they haven’t worked hard enough, that they have made poor choices. This is incorrect. The poor work hard, those who struggle work hard. It’s the way our current society works that produces parts of the population who struggle and always will. We must change society to make it work for all people.


Here’s a boring list of the things I am watching at the moment on the television screen. By at the moment I don’t mean right now or all at once, I mean separately and over a period of time.

  • Tour Of Duty – current DVD box set. Episodes tweeted when watched.
  • Brooklyn 99 – it’s OK.
  • Black Mirror – when new episodes are released.
  • NFL – all the time until mi-Feb and then I feel lost for eight months.
  • Cats Does Countdown – just the perfect mix of maths and humour.
  • Terrible science fiction films – I think I’ve watched all the good ones but I do like a space film.
  • Star Trek Voyager – I’ve seen plenty of Star Trek but not much of this one. Working my way through before doing TNG or something similar.
  • Preacher – lovely comic book small screen translation.
  • Killjoys – when it comes back.
  • The Expanse – when that comes back also.

Also, here’s a photograph of a building I’ve been to recently:

REM Gillingham
REM Gillingham

Now, there’s an idea for a series of communications – a picture of the front of each building I enter. Could be fun! But I think I’ll wait until the album review series is complete.

Not Live

A couple of years ago I chose to get rid of my Sky TV subscription and that felt good. No more of my money would be going to any Rupert Murdoch entity. Around that time I also bought a FreeSat decoder so that I could record live TV shows onto a hard drive. I don’t record that many TV shows and ultimately the box is largely used for steaming content to the television rather than used the TV itself, the Blu-Ray player, the PS4 or the Apple TV. It’s kinda ridiculous how many things that are connected to the TV.

About a week ago the FreeSat box was reporting that it wasn’t getting any satellite signal. That was a little weird but I think I just turned the box off and on again and it seemed fine. Then, over the weekend, it dropped the signal, only thought one cable was connected [there are two] and wouldn’t find any signal. Whether this was a problem with the box, cables, dish or LNB I have no idea. The dish has been up for longer than I have lived in this house. The LNB was new when I upgraded to Sky HD a long time ago and the cables snake their way around the house and get bumped around a lot because I moved the TV room from close to the dish to the other end of the house a long time ago. I’ve never had any problem with satellite signal before.

I pondered the time and effort and cost in trying to work out where the fault was. I could get a signal detector from eBay for about £20 and use this to see if the box is at fault. I could hook up the old Sky box and see if that was getting a signal. After that I would probably have to pay someone to come and check the cables and LNB. I thought about this and decided that actually I don’t watch any real live television. Over ninety percent of the content I watch is streamed or already recorded onto the HDD in the box. There isn’t a huge amount of live TV I’m interested in.

After a little thought I decided I’d just remove the FreeSat box and get a streaming device so that I didn’t have to use the PS4 all the time for watching moving pictures and sound on the TV. I did try the TV built in apps but they are quite old and while the TV is almost “smart” it’s not that smart and the performance might not be that good. Also, I don’t think the sound output would be brilliant via the ARC.

Having looked around the various streaming devices I could have bought an Amazon stick thing but I don’t want any Alexa stuff in the house. This abode is definitely a “Hey Google” home, I didn’t want to add even more confusion. I also wanted to be able to have a remote control with the device for other people to use. I didn’t want the device to be Google voice activated, I wanted a decent UI and control system.

These criteria essentially led me to the Roku stick. I don’t need 4K streaming and so the £25 device was suitable. Looking online it supports all the services that I use with the exception of NFL Gamepass and Eurosport. I’m happy to stick with Gamepass on the PS4 and Eurosport is only need for one weekend each year when the LMP1 cars are racing around their spiritual home.

Yesterday evening I removed the FreeSat box, although I had some wiring issues as I’d forgotten where the power cables went in AV corner and I did need to move all the devices around. There is very limited space in AV corner and you definitely need your aluminium foil hat going anywhere near there! The Roku device was easy to plug in and works really well. I’m impressed with it as the device is cheap, simple and works as expected. Maybe one day I’ll go 4K but this would require me to upgrade the PlayStation as well and I’m not ready for that level of investment.

Yesterday I managed to get all my services logged in and now I am set up. All of my viewing content is now delivered via the ADSL connection and I’m now slightly fearful for an internet outage. It is good to have a high bandwidth though. There is a slim possiblity that I will write about this again in the future to indicate how it’s going with no live connection. I’m pretty sure I’ll be fine without it but my parents might struggle when they visit [a very small concern].

Good TV

This is a favourite show of mine. It’s a simple, delightful animation from the BBC. Ladies and gentlemen I give you Dipdap: