Finally got to this last night. Wow, what a dragger. Like watching two hours of MTV videos for bands you aren’t sure you really like.
The problem is that Christmas Specials have to stand alone and not disturb the season-to-season continuity and story, so they have to sort of march in place with no big plot revelations and no one getting born, dead, maimed or in any way much changed. This one fits that to a T… or maybe an LBGT. Lots of fairly fluffy fill, some meaningless menace, sexsexsex…
I think what made it drag was the pacing. After 30 minutes, every single scene had that “closing act” feel in dialogue, pacing, score, conclusion… and then there was another such. And another. And another. And… I dunno, maybe 20 of those in a row? Wearing.
Having two of the three runners basically step off the bus foretends a very different second season. Maybe that’s for the good. JMS always has been great with the idea and the first season’s direction, and then flounders and loses his way.
Anyone else follow this vibe: that straight MF sex is a bit parody/lampshaded, while the gay and trans sex is treated with the most lavish respect and attention?
I also had a sourish thought about the basic premise. The whole thing is a metaphor for the super-connected world we’re increasingly inhabiting, but there’s a downside. For all the love and companionship and support for one’s own woes and troubles, an awful lot of the Cluster’s purpose, in dramatic terms anyway, is to allow each of them to wallow in seven times as much unpleasantness.
Strange, compelling show, and I know just enough about TV/film production to be in slack-jawed awe of the logistics of filming these complex, busy, multi-person scenes all over the planet with almost perfect continuity and flow.