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SilverStormm

The First

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This show doesn't get enough discussion to justify individual episode threads so I merged them all into a new season discussion topic.

Edited by paulvdb

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This felt like primarily a vehicle for Sean Penn.

I wonder if it will all be this grim. I guess I'll watch the next episode just to find out.

Natasha McElhone must've been so glad to get this role after the window dressing she was in Designated Survivor.

Edited by shapeshifter · Reason: Crazy autocorrect

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It is slow, and yeah, pretty much a vehicle for Penn. But we'll stick with it for a bit.

We could have sworn that Norbert Leo Butz was one of the astronauts, but he's not listed on the show page (IMDB) and the show isn't listed on his page.

Just looked it up and Wikipedia shows him as playing the character Matthew Dawes, with no description of his character. Maybe IMDB hasn't caught up?

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1 hour ago, Clanstarling said:

We could have sworn that Norbert Leo Butz was one of the astronauts, but he's not listed on the show page (IMDB) and the show isn't listed on his page.

Just looked it up and Wikipedia shows him as playing the character Matthew Dawes, with no description of his character. Maybe IMDB hasn't caught up?

Well, are these the same person?
 

matthew-dawes.png

norbert.jpg

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Ok, so now that we've watched all the episodes:  What the heck was that mystery guy in the shop with all the old phones?  Was he the craggy-voiced Southern-accented narrator?  Why was his shop shaking in this final episode?  Why did he open the door and go into the light?!?

Since early on he was connected via the quarter to Providence 1's explosion, I think he's some sort of Greek Chorus Of Technology's Risks And Wonders, but...he and his shop were photographed like was the serial killer in Se7en.  (And thus for a good 2-3 episodes, I thought we were going to find out that the first explosion was, inexplicably, sabotage.)  And why all the old phones?  (Laz has an old phone hanging on the wall of her home, fwiw.)

Edited by Penman61
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1 hour ago, shapeshifter said:

Well, are these the same person?
 

matthew-dawes.png

norbert.jpg

Given the different angles and lighting, I think it is him. He's a bit....fluffier. But mostly, the voice is dead on. Those astronaut caps hide a lot of characteristics we usually identify people with.

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34 minutes ago, Clanstarling said:

Given the different angles and lighting, I think it is him. He's a bit....fluffier. But mostly, the voice is dead on. Those astronaut caps hide a lot of characteristics we usually identify people with.

Really not a spoiler, but, I just finished the second episode, and:

Spoiler

The second episode has a much longer, more complete list of credits—seemingly for the entire season— including Norbert Leo Butz.

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Since this show is released in binge format, I don't expect much discussion for this episode, but I was unclear about the coin they kissed having been dropped and being the cause of the disaster. Maybe I watch too many crime show whodunnits, but I thought the coin was securely passed around among the astronauts on board. Or was that another coin that we saw falling?

 

Even without any astronaut scenes, I liked this episode more.
The political and emotional bits were more nuanced than I've seen anywhere else that I can recall.

At the end of this episode was a much longer, more complete list of credits than at the end of the first episode—including some missing from the first (e.g., Norbert Leo Butz).  
Escalante Lundy played Chicken—the employee who let Tom (Sean Penn) and Ellen (Annie Parissee) into the swimming pool area. 

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Because of the phone in Laz’s house, and his narrating when they were flashing back to her as a little girl, I wonder if he was her father and the shaking was due to his workshop being somewhere close to a launch site (maybe one of the Apollo missions?). Like he was her inspiration for all this. The voice sounded like Matthew McConaughey but IMDB doesn’t say who it was, and that bugged me.

I’d watch a second season if only to see them finally reach Mars. But I could really do without any more of Denise or flashbacks to Diane, and could’ve happily skipped the episode that focused on Denise. Yeah, we get it, Tom and Diane were fundamentally incompatible, Tom was away more than he was home, Diane was deeply depressed, and it all took a toll on Denise. But I was far more interested in the Mars mission, which was what I thought the show was really supposed to be about. Turned out to be more of a soap opera about the astronauts’ private lives—almost the Grey’s in Space that Defying Gravity was accused of being, and I was very disappointed that only ran one season. But if that was the intent, it would have been better IMO to give equal time to the others rather than focusing on Tom and his complete mess of a personal life.

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As I understood it (at least if they were being truthful in the explanation given out) it was the same coin, passed to a technician when they were done with it, and the technician dropped it.

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I agree with your complaints. I had also expected a show mostly about the mission with maybe some personal drama on the side. Episode 5 was especially bad because it was completely about Diane and Denise and was mostly flashbacks to their past. I liked the actress on Finding Carter, but I don't think Denise needed to have this much screen time. I would have liked more screentime for the other astronauts, especially Kayla and Aiko. I know Sean Penn was the lead, so he was always going to have the most screen time but more of it should have been related to the mission instead of his family drama.

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Also: I thought it odd that everyone who saw Denise’s paintings proclaimed how talented she was and no one seemed to notice that they looked like a clear cry for help (as in a psych evaluation, ASAP).

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2 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

Really not a spoiler, but, I just finished the second episode, and:

  Reveal hidden contents

The second episode has a much longer, more complete list of credits—seemingly for the entire season— including Norbert Leo Butz.

Thanks!

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Not fun to watch, but well done with realistic looks at problems I don't recall seeing explored elsewhere in this way.
When Kayla discusses with her wife the choice that was made, they talk about how Kayla will get through it being silent like she always has. It seemed like a reference to #MeToo crap in her past.

I wonder how viewers unfamiliar with the annoying, deafening volume of the very big and ugly cicadas would interpret this episode.

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I really tried to love this show, which I thought would be right up my alley, but finally bailed 20 minutes into episode 3 when I realized my mind was wandering to what I was going to make for tomorrow's dinner. The mysterious Cajun narration, the cicadas, the excessively loud and intrusive music, the hyperactive scene shifts, especially involving flashbacks--it was all too much. There seemed to be so much effort put into showing off technique versus just telling a good story and exploring interesting characters. I'm always willing to give a new show a couple of episodes to gain its footing, but it was very clear to me that The First was going to be permanently wobbly. Very disappointed. 

Edited by Mommaj
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Since I loved 'The Martian' (the movie with Matt Damon) and liked 'Mars' (Nat Geo channel), I thought I'd give this a try.

Sean Penn is a moron in real life, IMO, but I respect his acting. The rest of the cast is also good, especially the fat drunk senator and the 'troubled' daughter.

I'm ready to look at part 3 and still a bit on the fence. It's very slow moving and pretty cliché-ridden (really, could Tom's 'humble' pad be any more shiplap infested?) (and said pad appears to be on the East Coast and yet! it's actually Deplorable Junction, MO?) (and the astronaut's dead wife was a tattoo artist?) (and the icy CEO or whatever she is calls him back to save the project even though he looks to be close to 70?) (and the Hispanic dead astronaut's father is super emo and illogical?) (etc)

What I liked about the afore-mentioned Mars films was that they concentrated on the team efforts rather than one 'saviour'; so far this is looking kind of 'savior-y'. 

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Just finished this tonight. I read a review that said it was more about the people going to Mars than anything else, so knowing that going in was helpful and kept my expectations in check.The episode w Diane’s death was incredibly painful and well done, although yes I’m sick of Denise and tatto chairs, for that matter.

That said, how the hell could Tom go to space with a daughter in so much pain. Both parents chose to leave her behind and she isn’t getting any help for her pain, other than Laz being a pseudo mom with a houseful of painkillers and nice big pool for drowning.

 

i really wanna see mars now!

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I was working on the Voyager team when the Challenger exploded, and was in fact at JPL for the Uranus flyby at the time, watching the launch with anticipation on NASA TV. At the "throttle up" notification, my heart stopped. And then I started bawling like a little baby. My reaction was the most visceral reaction I've had to anything in years. Quite a way to start a show.

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