Saturday, January 24, 2009

So Say We All -- Part 2


"A Disquiet Follows My Soul" (412)

After the revelation-filled (no pun intended) mid-season opener, the first regular episode of Battlestar's season 4.5 is a smaller, more intimate, more character-centric tale -- although it still has its fill of surprise moments that will be felt for episodes to come.

Our analysis, as such, will likewise be character-driven.

* * * * *

Tom Zarek has, essentially, come full circle.

In very much the same vein as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Gul Dukat, the character was introduced as an antagonist, slowly maturated into an erstwhile and would-be hero, then, under the weight of his hubris and -- more importantly -- his self-delusion, finally settles into an irrevocable, highly nihilistic villain. It's an interesting arc, although a bit on the inexplicable side, given his sudden-though-gradually-implemented mellowing out starting in the show's second season. His hard right back into full-out villainy isn't ambiguous, however: the constant denials to the position and power that, in all reality, legally and justifiably belong to him (first in "Collaborators" [305], when Admiral Adama and schoolmarm Roslin connive to deny him the presidency, then in "Sine Qua Non" [408], when Adama again blatantly refutes him and thereby allows his son the opportunity to simply and swiftly snatch the office away from him) have pushed him over the edge -- or is that the fear? -- of inaction.

Regardless of Zarek's orientation or trajectory in regards to the powers that be of the Colonial fleet, all along he has been a foil in the most literary sense of the word, providing an alternative view to the two most central characters in the series, the admiral and the president. Roslin might be more than a utilitarian, religiously-motivated and -vindicated leader who makes the hard choices and plays for keeps -- she just might, in a reflection of George W. Bush, be a head of state who fundamentally believes in the beneficence and propriety of an unbridled executive, an individual who excludes more and more from the decision-making process and who fundamentally rejects a transparent (and, therefore, an accountable) government. Zarek is, in many ways, despite his debatable motives, the show's version of Cassandra, foretelling the disasters of an insular regime that is beholden more to an internal ideology than the reality on the ground.

The main question, of course, is what happens to the character. Does he get stricken down at the height of his turpitude, like Dukat, or does he evolve beyond his ambiguous and dubious collection of faults and quirks and attain redemption, a la Elim Garak? Whatever the outcome and however he is ultimately used, it is immensely gratifying to see the character simply used at all -- after the travesty that was his character arc in season three, it's nice to behold a Zarek onscreen, in action, accruing more nuances and consequences to his ever-expanding shades of gray.

* * * * *

Little Nicky is not, after all, a member of the rather exclusive Cylon sub-species club.

This is a not insignificant development. In fact, it underscores a profound story thread that has wound its way through the series since its very first day, an element established in the opening installment of the miniseries five years ago -- though, like most everything else in "Disquiet," it is a storyline of character rather than of plot: love.

Galen Tyrol didn't love Cally Henderson. Or, perhaps more accurately, Cally didn't love the chief.

The only way Athena and Helo conceived, despite the female Cylons' inadequate plumbing, was through true, honest, and deep love. It made that copy of Number Eight not only the first (and, so far, the only) Cylon to give birth, but also the first to reject the machinations and designs of her society. It led her to boldly leave her people behind and endure over a year's worth of captivity aboard the Galactica, living in a cell and being raped and having her baby almost ripped out of her belly and killed before it was even born. And through it all, despite her ups and downs and the twists and turns of her relationship, she and Karl Agathon have remained together, have helped the other to endure unspeakable hardships, and have created and maintained a family -- no small feat in the Galactica universe.

What did Tyrol's marriage with Cally result in? Constant bickering, lack of sexual contact, and a suicide attempt. In this context, the reveal of Callandra's previous relationship with Hot Dog -- Hot Dog! -- is not surprising in the least.

And the subsequent revelation that little Hera is, after all, by God, the only human-Cylon hybrid is not that shocking, either.

* * * * *

A quick observation regarding the good Dr. Gaius Baltar: it was great to see him don his old scientist's white lab coat, both figuratively and literally, in last week's episode -- it's a role the character hasn't assumed in at least two seasons, and it's even more telling that Adama, Roslin, Tigh, et al put all their hatreds and recriminations aside and asked for his help -- and it was even more fascinating to see him possibly don a new mantle in this episde -- that of the skeptic. Is he turning his back on the God that "angel" Six forced him to accept as his own three years ago? I thought not -- until he very literally turned his back on a fistfight that, for all he knew, he himself had instigated through his soaring and vitriolic rhetoric.

Is this more of the character's old fears and flaws reasserting themselves in the wake of the devastating discovery that was Earth? Or is it something different, something new that will propel him to his indeterminate fate in the series finale?

Either way, it was the most ambiguous -- and ambivalent -- of all the episode's scenes, and it was superb.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

So Say We All -- Part 1



“Sometimes a Great Notion” (411)*

The mid-season premiere, much more so than other tent pole episodes, is stuffed with moments of high drama – President Laura Roslin, deciding that life is futile is after the depressing revelation of Earth’s impotence, settles into a slow suicide by refusing all medicine; Lieutenant Anastasia Dualla is too impatient for a drawn-out suicide – she blows her brains out instead; Starbuck finds her original Viper, replete with her corpse, scattered across the surface of the planet; the late Ellen Tigh, the good Colonel’s wife, is revealed (finally!) as the last Cylon – but none of these developments are as fundamentally Earth-shattering (no pun intended) as the discovery of Cylon remains, both mechanical and biological, on the long-lost homeworld of the Thirteenth Tribe. In fact, in one fell swoop, showrunner Ronald D. Moore and his writing staff have completely turned the show’s already multi-layered backstory on its head – all while still managing to color in the lines previously established by earlier seasons.

To put this in its proper context, we first have to go back several thousand years, at the start of “all of this has happened before and will happen again.”

* * * * *

In the beginning, there was Kobol.


Humanity evolved here, ultimately dividing itself into thirteen different tribes. Number thirteen, some four thousand years ago (“The Eye of Jupiter,” episode 311), left for greener pastures. We don’t know why, although, thanks to “Sometimes a Great Notion,” we have plenty of fuel for speculation. More on that later.

On Earth, the Thirteenth Tribe prospers, creating a population that numbers in the millions, possibly the billions. Here’s the catch: they’re mostly, if not all, Cylons. They initially start off as lumbering mechanical beasts – what the other tribes will eventually call Centurions thousands of years later – but then evolve into flesh and blood. Their civilization generates several different permutations or societies; they clash, ultimately ending the bickering by launching a series of nuclear warheads and wiping out all life on the planet in the process some 2,000 years ago.

But just when, exactly, did the Thirteenth Tribe become composed of machines? It’s certainly possible that they made the Cylons once they had snuggled onto Earth, but it’s just as possible that the Thirteenth Tribe was always Cylon. Maybe the first twelve tribes constructed the machines all the way back on Kobol and, after warring with their mechanical offspring, saw them embark on a crusade to find a new home, away from their flawed human creators.

Whatever the case, at some later point, the remaining tribes followed the Thirteenth’s example. (This is one of several continuity errors Battlestar Galactica has accrued. In one episode, the departure of the Twelve Tribes from Kobol is listed as taking place 3,600 years ago [“The Hand of God,” 110]; in another, it’s only 2,000 years ago [“Kobol’s Last Gleaming, Part 1,” 112].) But instead of striking out for the Thirteenth Tribe’s new pad, they opted to go their own way. It proved to be a long and circuitous journey, fraught with difficulty and in-fighting – possibly between the tribes themselves, but more likely between the dozens, if not hundreds, of cults that dot the Colonials’ religious landscape – but, eventually, the twelve tribal supervisors elect a leader to see them through their exodus. He, of course, manages to do the deed, although he dies before they all manage to settle the promised land: a solar system that contains, miraculously, twelve inhabitable planets, one for each sect (110).

On the Twelve Colonies, the tribes war and bicker, resulting in lots of violence but no nuclear holocaust. 52 years before the start of the series, a federal government is finally assembled, headed by the President of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol, which helps stabilize the relations amongst the sects (“Colonial Day,” 111).

But peace doesn’t last long. Right around this time (the miniseries claims that the First Cylon War started 50 years before the show proper), the Colonials create their own version of the Cylons, starting off with, once again, Centurions. The machines rebel and, after roughly ten years of fighting, ultimately take to the highway, leaving the Colonies behind them and searching through space for a new homeworld.

All through this, ensuring that history repeats itself right on cue, this new version of Cylon, thanks to their fledging but nonetheless deep-seated religious convictions, decides to make themselves biological. In their four decades of exile, they do exactly that, and when they finally return to unleash an armada of nuclear warheads on the Twelve Tribes, their society has been recast as seven different models of humanoids.

Beaten and defeated, the beleaguered remnants of Colonial society – some 50,000 souls – escape the battle zone and search the cosmos for a new home: Earth, the long-lost home of the long-lost Tribe (and which some now believe to be only a myth or a fairy tale [miniseries]).

* * * * *

That’s a lot of scouring space, looking for new homes, but the twists and turns of “Great Notion” don’t stop there.

The Final Four, being on their old homeworld, start to remember their old lives – including how they died. Obviously, resurrecting was a technology that the Thirteenth Tribe Cylons had originated. They, too, along with the Fifth and, presumably, a handful of other survivors, take to the heavens, seeking out a place among the Twelve Tribes, just as the Twelve would later seek out Earth once their homes are destroyed by the ravages of war. Undoubtedly, the first people these original Cylons finally come across are the Twelve’s Cylons – and the rest, as they say, is history.

This part of the story is still too fraught with too many questions to include it in the official biography of humanity, though. Here’s looking to the remaining nine episodes to help fill in the blanks.

* * * * *

The other hugely important revelation contained in the premiere is, of course, Starbuck’s discovery that she’s (effectively) dead. It raises the very relevant and very good question: just what the hell is she?

Fortunately for us, we don’t need the remainder of the season to get the answer: she is an “angel,” just like Gaius Baltar’s Number Six, Caprica Six’s Baltar, and, even, Starbuck’s Number Two (whom she is visited by when attempting to chase an illusory Cylon Raider into a very nasty storm [“Maelstrom,” 317]). Just as Baltar’s Six managed to make the transition from his head to the really-real world, taking up space, interacting with people, and even leaving items, such as her glasses, behind aboard the Galactica (“Six Degrees of Separation,” 107), young Kara Thrace can do the very same.

But how? Or why? That’s the real question, and that’s the ace Ron Moore still has up his sleeve.



Yes, “Sometimes a Great Notion” is really given the production number of 413 (401 and 402 were allotted for the telefilm Razor). Given that these posts rely upon the production numbers as episode designations as opposed to production chronology, however, 401 and 402 are applied to “He That Believeth in Me” and “Six of One,” respectively.







UPDATE

In Ronald D. Moore’s podcast commentary for “Great Notion,” he spells out the backstory that I hypothesized at here: the Thirteenth Tribe is, indeed, comprised solely of Cylons and they were, indeed, created back on Kobol – and that, furthermore, the war and subsequent destruction between them is what caused all and sundry to leave the planet that was the birthplace of them all.

His confirmation that all thirteen sects left Kobol simultaneously is an interesting note, as it highlights another continuity problem the show has created for itself. In the first few episodes that talk about the exodus of the tribes – “The Hand of God” and the two-part first season finale, “Kobol’s Last Gleaming” – the characters certainly do speak of all thirteen tribes leaving at once. In the season three mid-season finale, “The Eye of Jupiter,” however, the date of 4,000 years is given solely for the departure of tribe number thirteen. Additionally, someone had to be back on Kobol to receive the oracle Pythia’s writings and construct the map that both feature so prominently in the second season two-parter “Home” (206 and 207), implying that the first twelve tribes stuck it out on Kobol for a bit longer.

Of course, an answer to this (possible) incongruity is to assume that the small number of Colonials who did not leave with all the others were the ones who collected (and transmitted to their departed brethren) Pythia’s scrolls and assembled the map (207) – although why they would go to so much trouble is certainly up in the air. Here, again, we’ll simply have to turn to the remaining nine installments for further clarification.

Friday, January 16, 2009

So Say We All -- Introduction

Call me a nerd (and my wife certainly does). I have written extensively about Ronald D. Moore and David Eick’s "re-imagined" Battlestar Galactica – analyzing its themes, considering its structure, predicting its future. Now, as the end is – finally – upon us, I would like to dissect each of its final ten episodes in minute detail, to see how these last installments affect the show’s ever (too) fluid continuity, alter its robust character development, and, of course, wrap up its myriad narrative strands. While this isn’t appropriate for a format like the articles already linked to, it’s perfect for a vehicle such as poplitiko.

So pass these final few hours before season 4.5 begins by reading up on the previously published material (including my brief analysis of the recent webisodes’ surprising narrative solvency here), and I’ll see you back here tomorrow night for a discussion of the beginning of the end.

So say we all.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Face of Things to Come

With Wednesday’s installment of Battlestar Galactica: The Face of the Enemy, the webisode series has made the perilous jump from the realm of nice-but-ultimately-superfluous expanded material to the much more specialized territory of narratively-substantive-and-even-relevant content.

The distinction between the two categories is subtle but poignant and separates the few from the many; as the coordinated multimedia telling of a single, cohesive story is still very much a fledgling phenomenon – the first major occurrence is 1993’s Babylon 5 – most have yet to figure out its requirements and intricacies. Dead Space, a videogame published by Electronic Arts some three months ago, is a good, recent example: a six-issue comic book miniseries coupled with a 90-minute DTV animated movie served as a prologue to the game proper, introducing – in theory, at least – the characters, locations, and themes from its story. But these spin-offs ended up being so much masturbatory waste thanks to disjointed plots and painfully substandard writing. (But at least they didn’t sink to the lowest of the lows: some additional content is so off-the-mark narratively, structurally, or thematically that it no longer exists in the same canon as the source material, a fate which Star Wars’s so-called “Expanded Universe” has sadly been consigned to.)

Babylon 5, Joe Michael Straczynski’s five-year television opus, managed to successfully navigate these hostile waters and delivered fans to a promised land of unity and cohesion. To fill in the cracks that naturally (and unfortunately) accumulate throughout the course of a TV show, Straczynski employed his series of novels, comics, and short stories, filling in the nooks and crannies, explaining or otherwise resolving the show’s myriad loose ends – characters, plot points, entire throughlines.

A perfect for-instance: Jeffery Sinclair, B5’s original protagonist, was chucked off the show at the beginning of its second season. Although his character arc was essentially wrapped up in a series of guest spots in subsequent episodes, a significant number of questions that had accrued over the course of that first year were left wide open. What about his fiancĂ©? What about Babylon 4? His time with the Rangers and influence on Minbari society? All addressed in the expanded universe. Hell, even questions you never even thought to ask in the first place were answered.

Battlestar Galactica, while not embracing extracurricular media nearly as much – or as well – as B5, still has, to date, used it to great effect (those media under the control of showrunner Ronald D. Moore and company, that is; don’t even waste your time with the comics, novels, videogames, or other assorted trash). The first webisode series, The Resistance, which aired in between seasons two and three of the show, helped fill in the nearly five-month void between the two seasons, easing viewers into the minds of two minor but central characters as they prepared to take extraordinary measures in the third season premiere (if strapping a bomb on your chest and blowing both the enemy and yourself up isn’t extraordinary, the gods know what is). The second series, Razor: Flashbacks, chronicled a young Billy Adama as he set about his first combat mission forty years earlier. In the process, the producers ended up transforming what originally was simply a nifty vehicle to air cut footage from the corresponding telefilm, Razor, into a beautiful prequel to the entire four-year series.

And now, with The Face of the Enemy, the writers pulled another crafty trick. What initially appeared to be a completely standalone story that once again favored recurring characters – Lt. Felix Gaeta is stranded on a Raptor as its small crew mysteriously dies around him – has instead turned out to be a mostly standalone story that also just so happens to address a blatant, although not necessarily a fatal, loose thread from earlier in the series, wrapping it up while simultaneously using it to further propel Gaeta along his topsy-turvy character arc.

The plot hole in question springs out of "Taking a Break from All Your Worries," the twelfth episode of season three. In it, Gaeta enters Gaius Baltar’s prison cell under the pretense of getting him to confess to all his (supposed) sins; in reality, however, the lieutenant is there to assassinate the disgraced former president, which he only attempts to do after being baited by Baltar. And it is precisely this bait that constitutes the loose thread: Baltar grabs Gaeta, whispers something inaudible – but clearly provocative – in his ear, and then has a pen stabbed in his neck for his trouble.

What was said? What finally managed to push Gaeta over the edge and give him the courage to go ahead with the assassination attempt?

The answer – at least, back then – was: nothing. It was part of a half-season-long buildup to what was supposed to have been a major plot point in the season finale, in which Gaius is put on trial for crimes against humanity. Once scriptwriting for the two-parter was underway, however, Moore backpedaled, deciding that the planned story arc was either unnecessary or substandard – or both. The entire sequence was lifted out of the finale, and all prior foreshadowing in previous episodes was removed, leaving behind a small but smoldering question that consumed many a fan. Just what the hell did Baltar say?

By finally providing an answer, even in a distant, B-plot sort of way, Moore and his staff have, indeed, delivered on their promise to bring closure to the many narrative strands that have accrued since the miniseries aired all the way back in December of 2003. (Now all we need is a webisode series explaining away season three’s other flagrant plot hole, how Commander Lee Adama, the CO of the battlestar Pegasus, ended up being demoted to Major Lee Adama, CAG of the Galactica, once again.) And by doing so in expanded material instead of the series proper, the writers have taken yet another small step toward a totally unified, thoroughly holistic, and fundamentally multimedia story – the latest of the storytelling revolutions, just like the novel’s in the 18th century and television’s in the late 1990s.

Here’s to exploring the next frontier.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I've not fallen off the face of the Earth!

Just in case anybody is wondering at this point, I'm still alive and kicking. I want to apologize to Alex, expecially, and everyone else blogging here. My employer has blocked Blogger as a 'social networking' site, so it is not possible for me to post from work normally. For some strange reason this block is lifted on the weekends, so I'll try to drop by at least every couple of Saturdays.

Hope you all had fun over the holidays, which ever if any you may celebrate. I got a couple of nifty gifts from my wife and step-daughter, plus some useful gift cards from friends. My new HELLBOY coffee mug sits guarding my cubicle and one of these days I'm going to figure out how to actually play with the HELLBOY Heroclix figures. Heck, I even spent some holiday money on the LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES 'starter game' so I could understand the system. Heroclix, if you don't know, are super-hero/villain related figures that are used in a RPG board game. There is a similar Horrorclix game, from the same company (WizKids), that uses characters from ALIEN, PREDATOR,and Lovecraftian among others. The HELLBOY set can actually be played as part of either game. Any of you gamers want to give me some hints on how to get started?

Speaking of 'gaming', I'm currently addicted to the online KINGDOM OF LOATHING. KoL is sort of a spoof of "Dungeon & Dragon" type games, and never takes itself seriously. It can be played 'straight' but you find yourself laughing quite a bit, even when being beaten into submission by Mob Penguins or Zmobies (not a typo). The goal is to collect as much 'meat' (the unit of barter in the Kingdom) as possible, while moving to higher levels within your clan. To gain points, and meat, you must accomplish various quests within the game. Some are for the Council of Loathing (currently ruling the Kingdom) and others are for your Class(one of which you must join as a newbie). You can also join a 'clan' where you can gain extra meat, adventures or useful items you can use on your quests.

If you are not into gaming, I'm sure I've bored you, but if you are interested I highly recommend you check it out. I'll see you in PVP combat, as Stevec50. I'm currently a Sauceror, Level 11, by the way. Beware my Salsaballs! :-)

I'll still be lurking when I can and hope to be more active when time & filters allow.

Sony's Stupid, Part 1

If New York’s the city that never sleeps, then Sony’s the company that never stops.

The former videogame giant has had so many instances of its employees – of its
spokesmen, no less – sticking their feet in their mouths and spouting inane, disjointed sound bytes, it’s no wonder that the company that once was the first-place, 800-lb. guerilla dominating the industry has since become the last-place infant sucking its thumb quietly in the corner.

Sony’s most recent transgression against sanity and reality will have to wait analysis for just a bit. First, I’d like to provide a context, reprinting an article that was originally published in March 2007 by the now-defunct website SilverBulletComics.com. Although essentially an angry tirade, it, I think, more than does its job in chronicling Sony’s series of blunders in getting its newest – and most expensive – console to market.




PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN

Well, Sony’s at it again.

To say that it’s been having a hard time with the public, particularly the press, is an understatement. (Of course, saying that the company deserves it is an even bigger understatement.)

First it was the much-vaunted Blu-ray DVD format, which delayed the PlayStation 3 by several months (from March 2006 to November 2006 in Japan and from November ’06 to March ’07 in Europe and raised its price by a couple hundred dollars. Then it was the difficulty of programming for the machine (to this day, over six years after its release, Sony has yet to provide certain key middleware solutions to third-parties for the PS2 – and, obviously, the PS3 is exponentially more difficult), and then a constantly jumping production number (first the company promised one million units, globally, for the launch window, then it was 500,000, then it was even less than that, then a little more…).

Then came January’s sales numbers, along with a little bombshell contained therein: no one’s buying the system. Anywhere. (And by anywhere, I mean only the two territories that Sony has managed to launch in.) Sure, they flew off of store shelves from its release on November 17th through December 31st. But that, of course, was just the Christmas shopping season; during the same period seven years earlier, for God’s sakes, Sega’s ill-fated (yet another understatement) Dreamcast had managed to deliver the most successful North American launch to date. But once Santa’s – or, more accurately, eBay’s – rosy allure wore off, the sales numbers dropped more quickly than Bush’s approval rating. The Nintendo Wii outsold the PS3 almost two-to-one – and that’s just in America. In Japan, the ratio was closer to three-to-one. (And let’s not even factor in hardware and software sales of the PSP as compared to the DS.)

The worst part, however, is that, in the midst of this maelstrom, Sony doesn’t have a clue as to what’s going on.

Well, it might have some clue. Due to the debacle that was the PS3’s launch, Ken Kutaragi – who is affectionately known as "Crazy Ken" to journalists the industry over due to his completely over-the-top, if not absurdly random, quotes (such as proclaiming that the PlayStation 3’s visuals will be so hyper-realistic, they’ll be "4D") – was kicked out of the president’s chair and shoved into a window seat. Kaz Hirai, formerly the president of Sony Computer Entertainment America, has ascended the throne in Kutaragi’s place.

That would be all well and good, signaling a fresh, hopefully more sane start for the international corporation… if it weren’t for the man who’s replaced Hirai as overlord of SCEA.

Jack Tretton, who’s been with the company for the past twelve years and, as such, should know better (or, on second thought, maybe not), is just as bad – if not as crazy – as old Ken. In an interview with Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine conducted in early January, Tretton offered Dan Hsu, the editor-in-chief, $1,200 if he could "find a PS3 anywhere in North America that’s been on shelves for more than five minutes." (Hsu subsequently polled 18 stores randomly across the United States. The results? Nine of them had systems in stock. One store in particular had more than it knew what to do with, thanks mostly to returns.) Now, granted, this cute little offer was made well before the NPD Group’s sales data were released for that month – but if EGM is more in touch with consumers and retailers, if it’s in a position to more accurately and honestly gauge the shape that the PlayStation 3’s in, then what the hell does that say about Tretton, in specific, and the company he serves, in general?

But it’s okay now. Tretton’s seen the light; he’s no longer a slave to denial. He freely admits that there is, after all, a surplus of PS3s on store shelves. But – and here’s the M. Night Shyamalan twist – it’s a good thing. "It’s a testament to the fact that we’ve been able to manufacture and ship units on a greater pace than any previous console," he told Reuters on February 28th (despite the fact that Nintendo has been able to ship – and sell – more units than has Sony). "Our goal is to fill shelves across the United States. Our goal is not to have empty shelves; it’s to have full shelves. If we have empty shelves, that’s one less consumer who could have bought a PlayStation 3." And full shelves this early in the console's lifespan means a whole bunch of consumers are at home eagerly enjoying their systems. Good call, Jack.

Whether it’s sheer denial or simple ignorance, Sony’s playing an extremely dangerous game. Hardcore gamers have already been systematically turned off by the unapologetic arrogance, broken promises, and cold shoulder to both developers and consumers alike (broken PS2s, anyone?) that have been the company’s hallmarks since the dawn of the PlayStation 2 era; more of the same for the next five years (or more, if the corporate giant gets its way) with the PlayStation 3 can seriously kill it. What we need, as gamers, in specific, and as an industry, in general, is a Sony, sober and strong, dealing with reality in a straightforward and honest way – not peddling in bullshit and slinking in the shadows of half-truths.

But it’s not too late. We’re only four months into the PS3’s lifespan; there’s still light at the end of the tunnel. Sony can get its act together – no matter how unlikely that may be – and still be the experimental innovator that it was in 1995, at the start of the PSX era, when it moved the medium forward boldly and expanded its business dramatically.

But the question remains: will that be with or without the likes of Jack Tretton?