Diecast #258: Netflix, YouTube, Phantom Menace

By Shamus Posted Monday May 27, 2019

Filed under: Diecast 110 comments

Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Show notes:
00:00 Poll Results

I don’t know why Google forms is so bad at generating these images. For the record, the next-to-last option is “My preferred listening situation is not listed here.” I wish I’d left a write-in field for this one. I’m curious if there’s a single major listening scenario I’m overlooking, or if the “none of the above” option represents 77 different obscure and individually specific listening habits.

I didn’t vote, but here my answer would be “All of them.” I listen to the final show before posting, but I’ve never really gone back to listen to past episodes.

11:00 Issac’s Level

The level is here, for the curious. It’s for the game mode Trouble in Terrorist Town for Garry’s Mod.

11:49 Netflix is even more anarchic than Valve?

Link (YouTube)

22:41 YouTube’s Trending Tab

Paul made a pretty good case that maybe Google’s behavior isn’t as obnoxious as it seems at first glance, but I’m interested to hear what other people think about it. Also, as far as I can tell this video did NOT reach the trending page.

Link (YouTube)

35:10 Anthem. Again!

Link (YouTube)

Aside: I like this YouTube channel, although it’s called “LegacyKillaHD”. That seems strangely incongruous with the tone and content. Based on the name, you’d think the channel was compilations of PvP kills or something, not news / analysis.

45:53 Mailbag: Phantom Menace

Hello Shamus and Paul,

This month marks the 20th anniversary of the Phantom Menace, the first of the Star Wars Prequel Movies.

I’ve read lots of articles looking back at it and how the fans’ opinion of it has changed over the years. Some started legitimately enjoying it while others still see the bad but enjoy it due to the campy acting and pretty visuals.

My question is, how did you view the Phantom Menace back in 1999 and has your opinion changed since then?

A lot of the articles and video documentaries also talk about how ‘the generation that grew up with the prequels’ is remembering them more fondly than fans who grew up with the Original Trilogy. Do your kids think differenly about the prequels as well? How do they view things like Jar Jar, all the Senate scenes etc. ?



Please don’t flip out and fight about TLJ in the comments. This is getting ridiculous.

Also, I’m pretty sure Paul was thinking of Machete Order.

1:05:02 What? The show is over! Why are you still listening?


From The Archives:

110 thoughts on “Diecast #258: Netflix, YouTube, Phantom Menace

  1. CT says:

    Quick comment on the “Where do you listen to the diecast” survey. In my case, my preferred listening situation was indeed not listed, and it is “during breaks/meals”. Basically I listen to the pod when I am having or preparing breakfast, lunch or dinner – I suspect this may not be uncommon for people who live alone, and it might be a scenario you are overlooking. I sometimes also listen to the pod if I want to have a break from work (I freelance from home). I wonder if this is the case also for other survey respondents.

    1. Steve C says:

      Cooking, cleaning, yard work and other household chores for me too.

      1. Teltnuag says:

        Ditto for me. Maybe this was the missing category.

  2. Redrock says:

    I always wondered how people listen to podcasts while gaming. Like, what sort of games are suitable to be played with a podcast talking over them? I mean, aside from Euro Truck Simulator. I’m guessing, some strategy games, maybe? I can possibly imagine listening to a podcast while playing Into the Breach, but still, that’s something that always baffled me.

    1. Droid says:

      Hegemony Gold: Wars of Ancient Greece and its successors. It’s a strategy game focused on logistics and snowballing. It’s also enjoyable, though.

    2. Dreadjaws says:

      Turn-based games come to mind. Puzzle games that don’t have a time limit. Anything relaxing or that doesn’t demand constant attention, really.

    3. Philadelphus says:

      Building games, maybe? Cities: Skylines and Surviving Mars come to mind from my library. Minecraft. Other games that don’t rely on split-second reflexes or really involved strategic thinking, like puzzle games.

      Or maybe the real answer is “Any game, if you’re good enough at the game.” I dunno.

    4. Joe says:

      Diablo-eque ARPGs.

    5. Chad Miller says:

      My usual as of late is Civilization 4, or it’s something super-casual where the difficulty is practically nonexistent anyway.

    6. Lino says:

      I’ve listened to radio/podcasts while grinding in games like Warframe and Path of Exile. It’s actually very common for people who play these types of games to listen to music, shows, etc. since at the higher levels of play they require a lot of repetitive grinding.

      1. Redrock says:

        Huh, maybe that’s what I should’ve tried with Warframe. Deleted it from my Switch a couple of days ago. Got too exasperated with the grind.

    7. John says:

      I play Civilization V, though I think that just about any turn-based 4X would do. Civilization V is ideal, however, because I’ve been playing it for years and it doesn’t take a lot of concentration.

    8. DeadlyDark says:

      I’ll copy myself from the previous episode.

      A game that requires little to no concentration on audio and texts and mostly relies on automatic responses

      Say, XCOM2, Phantom Doctrine, Dark Souls or Sekiro, with all of them I played listening to various podcasts, including the Diecast. And I’m the same way, I need something to help concentrating during podcasts

      Also Diamond mines in Bejeweled 3

    9. Syal says:

      I almost never play games without some background noise from either a podcast or a Youtube video. Anything that doesn’t specifically require sound gets played without sound. Into the Breach, Borderlands 2, Torchlight 2, Warcraft 2, Crusader Kings 2, Final Fantasy 2, all better with non-game noise. Anything besides a voice-heavy story-rich game, really.

      It’s a pretty big mark against the game if I can’t turn the sound off, either because they didn’t include the feature or because the gameplay relies on sound in some way. If a game demands all my attention I’ll give it none.

      1. Algeh says:

        I am also in this camp about games and non-game sounds. I generally want either quiet or my own choice of music while playing, depending on how much noise is in my life already lately. I haven’t tried having podcasts on, but I find I tune out spoken audio pretty hard when doing anything more interesting to think about than driving so I suspect I wouldn’t get much out of them since I’d be thinking about the game. (Spoken audio is great for me on long car trips, because there is very little thinking to the drive between towns and I have lots of spare brain-cycles to devote to other things while my eyes scan for loose cows and tumbleweeds.)

        I wish that reviews would cover “how important is it that the sound is on while you’re playing?” as a default thing people might want to know when purchasing, because if I can’t enjoy a game with the sound off I’m going to lose interest quickly. This was particularly true when I had a long bus commute and a handheld game system. Sure, I could wear headphones, but I could also just not have the volume on and have one less thing to fuss with. (Since I usually have my audio from somewhere other than my computer (or game console), I always have the “turn the sound off” feature whether or not they’ve included it, though. )

        I generally like quiet more than noise, though. I watch videos with the captions on and prefer to read than watch videos. Podcasts just don’t fit well with my preferred media consumption patterns because they involve noise.

    10. TouToTheHouYo says:

      Minecraft. I play Creative Mode almost exclusively and podcasts and music are a fantastic way to help while away the hours.

      When I’m into an MMO, like World of Warcraft, podcasts are also perfect for filling in the game’s more monotonous moments, which is honestly most of them.

      Most games with frequent, lengthy travel times, expansive exploration, or grindy elements like RPGs work well with podcasts and external music. I’ll pause whatever I’m listening to for story beats and incidental conversations and then flip it back on for the moment to moment gameplay. Case in point: Final Fantasy XV. Wondering its open world is practically a perfect fit for this style.

      There are a few game I’ve explicitly avoided listening to other media while playing: My first time through a Metroid game, or most metroidvanias, Hollowknight, and Breath of the Wild. In those instances, and others I can’t immediately recall, I prefer to be as immersed in the experience as possible and as such avoid outside distractions.

      Of course there are plenty of games that aren’t suitable to such multitasking. Anything regularly requiring significant attention mechanically or narratively, particularly plot-heavy games, doesn’t really work.

    11. Fizban says:

      Anything turn-based that doesn’t require huge amounts of thought, and some that are cooldown based. Calculating all the possibilities with the knockbacks in Into the Breach made my head hurt just watching it, but I’ve played Tales of Maj’Eyal and Legend of Grimrock with streams off to the side. Hunting for or grinding Pokemon, basically any non-shooter game with a grind is probably a good candidate for doing while you’re watching something that also doesn’t require much engagement.

    12. Canthros says:

      Anything where you’re not actually concerned with the narrative of what’s going on, on-screen, whether that’s because it’s nonexistent or just too dull to pay attention. My gaming time is mainly taken up with Warframe and Guild Wars 2.

      I just stop the podcast or music I’m listening to if/when something actually important comes up.

  3. ElementalAlchemist says:

    I would assume Mr Killa started out with a username from a forum or the like, but by the time the channel established its tone/format, it was too late to migrate to a more “professional” name without essentially starting from scratch. I’d suggest it is probably fairly common.

    1. Crokus Younghand says:

      Or maybe they started out as a edgy teenager and mellowed out into a reasonlable adult.

    2. Dreadjaws says:

      Maybe we’re looking too much into this and it’s merely an ironic name.

    3. AndrewCC says:

      You can freely rename your own channel. The url stays the same, but the way youtube displays it updates properly. Happened to some of the channels I was following, that 1 day I could not find them in subscriber list, only to find out that they name-changed.
      He probably doesn’t care enough to change his channel name.

  4. Dreadjaws says:

    Wait a minute… Did George Lucas himself asked what did you think about The Phantom Menace? You’re going places, Shamus! Next thing you know, Disney or Nintendo will be sending you C&D letters for whatever reason they can cook up.

    1. Lino says:

      You seem to forget that not long ago, Shamus was made The President of All Video Games. While it didn’t last very long, it came with quite a lot of perks…

    2. BlueHorus says:

      They’ll bee looking for ways to make the Diecast…


      (Thank you, thank you. I’m here all week.)

      1. Lino says:

        I have a strong urge to cast you off a cliff!

  5. Joe says:

    I grew up with the OT. Seeing ROTJ is possibly my earliest memory. As I got older, I discovered the books and comics. Note, the first Zahn book came out in 1991. That said, I don’t enjoy the prequels. I’ve come to see what they were doing, there are some great ideas. Listening to Bryan Young helps. But ultimately, the execution was somewhat lacking for me. However, I mostly enjoy the Disney SW movies. I could elaborate, but I know how much Shamus likes controversy.

  6. Lino says:

    I love the Star Wars prequels – it’s what got me into Star Wars, and I still have a blast when watching them.
    My parents tried to get me to like the original trilogy when I was a kid, but I couldn’t even get through the first film without getting bored out of my mind. The Phantom Menace blew me away, and I liked it so much that I binged through episodes IV-VI, and after I got older, I became obsessed with all things Star Wars.
    At one point I became an active member of a Star Wars forum, and started translating Wookieepedia* articles – something which improved my English considerably – a skill which is all but essential nowadays. None of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for The Phantom Menace. I’ve heard some of the criticisms (especially of Episode I), but every time I watch I just don’t seem to notice any of its flaws. I guess it all comes down to trusting the storyteller.

    After the new films started coming out, my enthusiasm has slowly cooled off (only to be briefly reignited by Rogue One and Solo), but I still fondly remember (and watch) episodes I-VI.

    *Google at your own risk :D

    1. BlueHorus says:

      I can’t remember thinking much about the prequels when they first came out beyond ‘pretty cool lightsaber fights’. but as I’ve got older I see both the flaws and subsequently worked out ‘oh, that’s why I can’t remember much of what happened. It was too confused and didn’t make sense’.

      For my money the only one that’s truly worthy of so-bad-it’s-good status is Revenge of The Sith; it’s got the best ‘they were genuinely trying to be serious and failed, hard*’ quality. The other two are just kind of dull now, and annoying to me.

      *See Exhibit A

  7. TLE says:

    I listen to The Diecast like I listen to all my other (20-or-so) podcasts: while doing mindless and boring chores, like cleaning the house, changing tyres on the cars, mowing the lawn, et cetera. I’m a little surprised this option wasn’t listed, since this seems like the perfect time for a podcast to me. It takes some of the dullness away from something really boring, and it is time you can’t do much with anyway. Sometimes I can even look forward to cleaning the house, just because a new episode of Hello Internet is out.

  8. Ninety-Three says:

    Re: Youtube trending, there was a weird attitude throughout the video that seemed to say “Original creators made Youtube great, Youtube owes us the Trending Tab.” I have trouble viewing Youtube as an issue of fairness rather than economics, so my reaction is something like “What are you gonna do, move to Vimeo? You need them a lot more than they need you, they don’t owe you squat.”

    The idea that the trending tab ought to be fair (i.e. strictly based on number of views received or some similar metric) is intuitive, and completely misses why the trending tab exists. Youtube is a business, and they have a trending tab because they think it will make them more money than not having a trending tab. Given they have a trending tab, they preferentially trend Stephen Colbert because they think it will make them more money. I find it pretty plausible that they’re right: if they trend original creator A over original creator B, that’s probably just redistributing views between the two rather than growing the pie of advertising dollars, but by courting old media they might turn Youtube into the place some people go for old media, which would increase the total amount of time they spend on Youtube.

    So why should the trending tab be fair? It would be kind of nice for our aesthetic sensibilities about fairness, but at some point we have to put business realities above fairness: Lindsey Ellis and Pewdiepie earn different amounts of ad revenue per view because advertisers place different value on their different audiences, and that is in a sense unfair, but it also seems silly to complain about. It’s no one’s fault, it’s just economics. Are people mad because the word trending feels like it describes “things that are getting a lot of views” so it’s deceptive if Youtube puts their thumb on the scale? Would this whole thing be a non-issue if it worked the exact same way but was called the “Featured Content Tab”?

    1. Lino says:

      Would this whole thing be a non-issue if it worked the exact same way but was called the “Featured Content Tab”?

      Yes, I think that would definitely solve it. Labeling something as “Trending” creates the assumption that the things under that tab are “trendy” – i.e. they have a lot of people engaging with them. So naturally, the only metric to be considered should be number of views for a given amount of time.

      Calling the tab “Trending” and not showing content that is actually trending is like selling soda and calling it beer – it’s deliberately misleading people and giving the impression that a product is something it’s clearly not.

      1. Zak McKracken says:

        As I understand the “trending” tab, the criterion for putting something on it is “if we put this on the trending tab, will it get a lot more views than it already has?”

        …which is of course a hypothetical question and can’t be answered in advance. So I think they probably run some statistics over their data, feed that into a machine-learning magic machine which gets it wrong 50% of the time (which is way better than your average human), and that determines if and when something goes there.
        It probably works in terms of comparing the rate of new views (i.e. views per minute) to the normalized expected rate for whatever content it believes was similar.

        In cases where it works well, it would favour something from a frequent producer of popular content because that’s easier to predict with confidence. Even if the number of views is low (maybe because the video is just 5 minutes old), if the views are coming in quicker than usual, or more people than usual are leaving positive remarks on it — that’s a good indicator that it’s better than average, we know the creator is often popular among large parts of the audience, and regularly gets very successful videos — pretty safe bet!
        If the video is from someone who may have a large-ish subscriber base but has never had a video that significantly exceeded that base, or where the data suggests that only a smaller part of the total audience will care about it, that would need a much larger spike in views/minute to trigger the decision because there’s a chance that it’s just (for example) a cross-over of the hydraulic press channel with some metalhead channel, and so both niche audiences are watching, doubling the view rate, but most people still won’t care — many in the target audience will still see it in the suggestion column if they watch related videos, though.

        …of course there’s a problem with that because the more often someone’s videos are trending, the more confidence the algorithm has that another one will be trending again, which on the other hand means the “burden of proof” that your video can get a ton more of views than it already has is bigger if your either lesser known, less mainstream-y or haven’t yet had a trending video.

        …aand there might also be a bias towards monetized videos because that makes YT more money.

        Another criticism with the analysis is that the pure number of trending videos per creator doesn’t say as much as the percentage of their total videos, as well as the views they had before trending, relative to the number of views they’d have on average on a video of the same age.

        None of this explains, of course, why the differences between the US and Canada are so large. I kind of wonder if the US discussion about polarizing political stuff may have to do with this, leading youtube to more or less heavy-handedly bias their decisions.

        Last comment: I don’t know most of those “solo” Youtubers, except for the ones I deliberately avoid, but I do at least occasionally like to watch those late-night show videos etc.. Maybe I’m part of the mainstream now? Weird to imagine, as I don’t even watch TV otherwise…

    2. Shamus says:

      “Would this whole thing be a non-issue if it worked the exact same way but was called the “Featured Content Tab”?”

      You know, I can’t speak for others but I think this nails what’s been bugging me. I think if they renamed it I’d be able to take a more casual attitude like yours. “Hey, they’re just running a business.” It’s this idea that a video with only 10k views is “trending” that makes it feel inherently dishonest to me.

      Also, if it was called “Featured” then it would make total sense that they would leave out popular but controversial creators. “Trending” implies some sort of raw access to “This is getting lots of attention” and “Featured” implies “We want to promote this content because we think you’ll like it.”

      Also, I agree that “We made YouTube so it owes us something” is a strange attitude. Particularly since it attempts to take communal credit for content. “LonelyGirl15 made YouTube popular 13 years ago so therefore YouTube owes ME something today, even though I was 7 at the time.”

      Sure, creators made YouTube popular, but YouTube supplied the world with free video hosting and paid for all the bandwidth.

      Still, calling it “trending” really does bug me.

      1. Shamus says:

        Realization: The actress who played LoneyGirl15 is now well over 30 years old.

        Is the planet spinning faster or something? How can time possibly be passing this quickly?

        1. Mephane says:

          Afaik, the way the brain processes time spans in retrospect is that it attributes the amount of “felt” time based on how much learning and reshaping it had to do during that. For a child, there’s is totally new things so often, and new neural connections being made almost non-stop, that learning-wise, the time is very “busy”.

          Meanwhile, as we get older, there is less fundamentally new information or skills to acquire, there’s much more routine, and thus in retrospect the more recent time feels to have flown faster.

        2. Lino says:

          Hey! I just remembered LonelyGirl15 was a thing that happened! As far as I recall, it caused quite the stir. I was too young to care about that kind of drama at the time (in general, I still kind of am), but it was quite the thing.

          1. Geebs says:

            There needs to be a word to describe a partially forgotten internet thing which you kind of want to look up just so it won’t bug you for the rest of the day, but you can’t be bothered with the effort of deleting your browser history when it inevitably turns out to be sordid and depressing.

            1. Droid says:

              I think the word you’re looking for is “Meh.”

            2. Shamus says:

              LonelyGirl15 was presented as the daily vlog of some teenage girl talking about her day-to-day problems. Then someone figured out she was an actress and the show was entirely scripted.

              It’s an incredibly tame controversy by modern standards, but it was a weird moment for a lot of people as they realized that they no longer had the clear fiction / nonfiction line you get with traditional media.

              I didn’t hear about it until long after the whole thing blew over.

              1. Stranding says:

                I’ve found a good rule of thumb to be that any person on the internet using the handle “[Adjective]girl[number]” is in reality the fictional construct of an advertising agency or brand management company.

              2. Jason says:

                I just watched a video this weekend about manufactured authenticity on YouTube and it mentioned her. Strange to see two references in a few days to something that happened years ago. Of course, this could just be the Baader-Meinhof Effect.

      2. Fizban says:

        I haven’t watched the linked video yet so it might say the same thing, but I’d bet on the business youtube side the naming choice is definitely intentional. How often do people click on “featured” things? Featured does indeed convey that the business is featuring the item, and no one cares what the business wants you to watch. They want to watch what everyone else is watching. So fudge/lie about what the words mean and call it “trending” so people will actually click on it.

        Of course I’m liable to swing the other way- youtube has suggested plenty of good stuff to me over time, but you put a “trending” tag on it and I immediately lose interest because I know what kind of crap is usually “trending.” So unless it’s something I do already watch it’s not getting a click.

      3. Anonymous says:

        You’re correct that YouTube doesn’t owe anything to it’s users, but the thing that made it successful was offering something different to mainstream / old-school media. If they push away individuals from their platform, to focus on large, established names, they’re effectively becoming the same kind of stodgy old-style company, that was out-competed in the first place.

    3. Chad Miller says:

      > at some point we have to put business realities above fairness: Lindsey Ellis and Pewdiepie earn different amounts of ad revenue per view because advertisers place different value on their different audiences

      This was my exact thought during this discussion; a lot of the discussion talked about what has the most views, but more views does not necessarily mean more advertising revenue. I remember when PewDiePie hit the #1 subscribers spot on YouTube. He was displacing Fred Figglehorn. I’d guess that a lot of the top YouTube personalities are bolstered by demographics that aren’t so valuable to the companies paying YouTube’s ad revenue.

  9. DangerNorm says:

    To answer your question more specifically, I sit at my computer and put it on play with the show notes open so I can pause to watch referenced trailers or read links, or skip to the next part if the current one doesn’t interest me. Sometimes I’ll eat or snack at my desk, but otherwise don’t listen to it while doing something else.

    It’s interesting to me that you take for granted that people would only listen to your work as accompaniment to another, primary activity.

    1. Joe says:

      I need something to do with my hands while listening, and I usually want to play games anyway. Two birds, one stone. :)

    2. Sleeping Dragon says:

      I’m going to give some context to my answer as well. I answered I usually listen to the podcast while gaming (like many people said above MMO grind or turn based games can really use something else to occupy the mind most of the time, and I like content that I can pause or rewind in case I get distracted). I also said I’ve listened to about half of the episodes and the reason is… I forget. Here’s the thing, since Spoiler Warning parted ways with the blog I’ve mentally moved the site back into the “text content” compartment and I check it mostly at work, where I can’t listen to audio. I do occasionally stop by from home but mostly to check on new comments and I often don’t remeber to save an hour for the actual podcast.

  10. Ninety-Three says:

    I wanted to thank Paul for playing Devil’s advocate in exactly the way I do, I had the same thought when watching the video. It’s a possible story for why old media trends so easily, though it doesn’t do much to explain why the dozen or so big edgy creators seem to be downranked in the US but not Canada. That seems to be clearly someone putting their thumb on the scales, while forgetting to check the “all countries” button.

    Regarding political motivations, I think it’s probably not a case of “The evil pro-skub people at Google are doing a partisan shadowban of anyone anti-skub”. What seems much more likely is that the PR deparment is really sick of the bad press that occurs every time the Wall Street Journal writes an article about how the biggest star of Youtube is an edgy boy who says racial slurs. Since YT can’t control the WSJ or Pewdiepie, the best they can do is lower his profile so that the next piece of bad press can’t open with “Pewdiepie, who Youtube put on the Trending tab 56 times, has done a bad.”

    1. John says:

      This was my thought as well. (Except I don’t know what “skub” is.) Honestly, if Youtube has to promote videos, I’m glad that they’re promoting relatively safe stuff like Colbert rather than Pewdiepie, Logan Paul, or any of the many lunatic-fringe and conspiracy-mongering videos that infest the site.

      What I’d like to know is just how many people see the list of trending videos that Youtube is supposedly promoting. I never do. I opened a browser tab for Youtube just now and it took me a minute to find them. (Turns out there was a link in the sidebar. Looks like fast food is trending at the moment.) Maybe it’s because I only watch Youtube on my phone and my home PC where I am always logged in to Google, but it takes me straight to a page of personalized recommendations rather than whatever is trending nationally or globally.

      1. Ninety-Three says:

        I was referencing this comic. Skub is a placeholder for controversial political issues, without inviting flamewars by actually naming a controversial political issue.

    2. Gordon says:

      I find the “thumb on the scale” characterisation problematic.
      We say “the algorithm” as if it’s a simple comprehensible thing. But it’s actually a massive system full of all sorts of edge case weightings.
      For example they are in a constant war with spammers and their main tool in that war is to add edge cases to “the algorithm” that down rate patterns that they’ve observed in the spam. Likewise with abuse and advertiser complaints etc etc.
      This creates lots of complexity and when you have a large complex system there doesn’t have to be any explicit “thumb on the scale”. It will do things that reflect the biases and motivations of the people overseeing it because without even realising it that stuff is embedded in the individual choices they make along the way. And then for extra win for it will do a bunch of weird inexplicable stuff that defies explanation because the parts will interact in unforseen ways.
      I do agree that it’s problematic and they need to look into it, but I highly doubt that anyone in Google said we need to down rate Pewdiepie or even just people like him. More likely it’s an unexpected consequence of a thousand smaller decisions.

      1. Paul Spooner says:

        Hmm, yeah, that’s a good point. Given that the annoyance caused by spam and PdP could be indistinguishable, it might be entirely appropriate for the “trending” page to treat his content like spam.

  11. Esteban says:

    I haven’t listened to many podcasts, in general I get too distracted with just listening… either I’m paying full attention or I miss 2/3 of what you are talking.
    But I do scroll through the comments sections… it’s sometimes full of win… rarely

  12. John says:

    My personal opinion, then and now, is that The Phantom Menace is not a very good film, though I’ve always been confused by claims that it’s hard to follow. I think it’s pretty straightforward. It’s just not very interesting. While I like Star Wars a lot–the way Luke Skywalker wins in Return of the Jedi by not fighting blew my little elementary-school mind–I’ve never thought of myself as a Star Wars fan. I was not hyped for The Phantom Menace, especially not after the disappointing “Special Edition” re-release of the original trilogy. I had no particular expectations. All I really wanted was a good movie. I didn’t get one, but I just felt disappointed rather than betrayed or outraged the way some people did at the time and for all I know still do.

    I recently re-watched the original and prequel trilogies with my family. My daughter, age 10, likes the films, but she isn’t excited about any of them. She doesn’t make a distinction between the original trilogy and the prequels. Star Wars isn’t an event for her, was never an event for her, can never be an event for her. She’s grown up in a post-Star Wars world, where big effects-driven blockbusters are commonplace and you can watch any thing any time on a big screen in the privacy and comfort of your own home. My nephew, age 9, on the other hand, is reportedly a Star Wars nut, so the films still clearly have the power to captivate children. I’m not sure what he thinks about The Phantom Menace. My brother, his father, doesn’t like the prequels and steers his kids towards the original trilogy whenever possible. It’s possible, then, that for my nephew The Phantom Menace is the forbidden fruit, a rare and treasured treat.

    If there’s any sort of lesson to be learned here, I think it might be that The Phantom Menace only has the power to provoke strong reactions from people who have really strong opinions about Star Wars. My guess is that the natural reaction to film is indifference and that 20 years later and in the absence of “oh my god, new Star Wars!” excitement that’s a little more obvious than it used to be.

  13. Ninety-Three says:

    I was nine or ten when Phantom Menace came out (I’d already seen the original trilogy) and my reaction was about what you’d expect from a kid that age: “Podracing is cool, lightsaber fights are cool, this movie is cool!” I maintain that the prequels are unfairly maligned, not because they’re actually masterpieces or anything, but because the Star Wars name resulted in them being held to a higher standard. I think if you could magically erase people’s memories of everything Star Wars, the Phantom Menace would’ve been one of those weird “good enough” scifi movies with a cult following, like The Fifth Element.

    Now that I’m an adult, I still basically agree with my kid self. It’s a no-name popcorn flick that does a decent job of stringing together some cool action sequences. If I were looking for a movie to rewatch, Phantom Menace would never be at the top of my list, but I wouldn’t mind if someone else put it on.

    1. PPX14 says:

      I agree with a lot of this. I was eight at the time, had seen the original trilogy, (the first time probably being at the cinema for the special edition) and Star Wars was most likely my favourite thing at that point (as it still is). I remember both loving so much about it, including even constantly mimicking Jar Jar “weesa going hooome” and liking his nonsense, however also feeling like it wasn’t a proper Star Wars film, it didn’t have the right feel, and I didn’t like the fast lightsaber fights.

      I realise now that that wrong feel was *due* to a lot of the things that as you say are otherwise fine as a weird cult film like 5th Element, and that I enjoyed. However I have changed my mind on the lightsaber fights they are absolutely brilliant.

      I think that the idea that the Force Awakens is a fresh start making right the wrongs of the prequel trilogy is absolutely laughable. Yes the prequels are a poorly acted somewhat Disneyfied feeling version of the originals, but the new ones actually made under Disney are like high budget fan films made to emulate Pirates of the Caribbean, and don’t even avoid what people didn’t like about the prequels! If people’s hope is that the new films takes Star Wars to the allegedly lofty level of Marvel, then I guess they don’t like the Original Trilogy for the same reason that I do.

      1. Geebs says:

        The most telling thing about post-Lucas Star Wars is that nobody ever quotes those films. Like, think of a memorable line from TFA, TLJ, Rogue One or Solo?

        I can’t be the only person who’s noticed that everybody still quotes the Lucas movies, even in the process of describing what they like about the Disney ones.

        1. Thomas says:

          Rogue One has one or two quotes / memes ‘You are standing amidst MY achievement’ and so has TLJ ‘Every word of what you said is wrong’

          I can’t think of any sincere lines that stuck though.

          1. Hector says:

            “Be careful you don’t *choke* on your *aspirations*.”

            Vader should have known his children were alive right then and there. That was SUCH a Dad joke. Granted, it’s not actually a good joke and a bit out of place, but the idea that Darth Vader would make lame puns is rather adorable.

            1. Droid says:

              The necessary condition for a joke to be a Dad joke is not for you to be a parent, but for it to be apparent.

        2. Shamus says:

          That’s a really good point.

          I actually do quote Revenge, but I’m quoting a sarcastic meme. I often say “Do it!” to my son Issac, in the same voice Palpatine used to tell Annakin to behead Count Dooku. As in:

          Issac: There’s some extra stuff after you end the show. Do you want me to put it after the credits?

          Me: (Menacing voice) Do it!

          People also quote the NOOOOOooooo, but again: Sarcastically, referencing the moment of unintentional humor rather than the intended drama.

          Sometimes I feel bad for Lucas and how much people dump on his dialog. Then I remember he charged Disney a billion dollars for Star Wars and I figure he’ll be fine.

          1. Geebs says:

            Lucas has (or more correctly, had), one very specific writing skill which is arguably the main reason for the success of the entire Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises: he was able to come up with names for characters and places that describe them so comprehensively that you could write an entire backstory and make the concept art without any other information.

            This is an incredibly efficient storytelling device that lets the audience know exactly who the character is and what their motivation is likely to be without needing to waste any time on establishing the characters. We don’t learn anything about Grand Moff Tarkin’s history in Ep. 4, but we know exactly who he is just from the name (looking like Peter Cushing helps).

            The Expanded Universe writers either didn’t or couldn’t replicate this, so you end up with a bunch of characters with names that sound “Star Warsy” without ever really standing out. Lucas may have lost his talent somewhat, with awful clangers like Darth Plagueis the Wise, but e.g. Coruscant, Naboo and even Jar-jar Binks are still pretty good descriptors.

            Also, Ian McDiarmid could recite the phone book and it would be quotable.

            1. PPX14 says:

              I could not, and still cannot believe that Star Wars ended up with a main character named General Grievous.

              Although Jabba’s laughing crony is apparently called Salacious Crumb. He doesn’t count! OooooAHAHAHA!

              1. John says:

                There are a lot of Star Wars characters, like Salacious Crumb, who are never named in the films. They only have names because the toy manufacturers needed something to put on the packaging for the action figures. I’m not sure if Lucas came up with their names himself, if he delegated the job to someone else at LucasFilm, or if he let the toy manufacturers choose. If Lucas came up with the names, I’d like to believe that he did it while free-associating as he walked down a hall on his way to do something else. “Salacious Crumb! Blast Hardcrunch! Kit Fisto! Opium Den!” A harried assistant had to follow behind him, scribbling furiously in a notebook to get all the names down.

              2. Chad Miller says:

                The name I always marveled at was “Count Dooku”.

                “Grievous” is kind of endearing in an over-the-top way, like naming your villain Evil Badguy. I don’t know how “Dooku” is supposed to be anything at all other than an invitation for poop jokes.

            2. Trystan de Lyonesse says:

              Actually, it’s Zahn, who came up with the name Coruscant in Heir to the Empire. And I think, that he and a few other authors nailed that “Star Wars naming” pretty well in their books.

              Worst perpetrator in this case is Disney. Their Star Wars names have a vibe of fanfic or tabletop session.

        3. BlueHorus says:

          Thing is, WHY are you quoting the prequels? Whenever I hear someone quoting the original films (‘use the force’, ‘I’m not afraid’ ‘You will be – you will be.’ etc) it’s usually done with a sense of affection.
          – well, usually as a reference worked into a joke, but whatever –
          Whereas when they they say ‘I don’t like sand’ or ‘UN-LIMIIIITEEEEED POOOWAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!’ or another prequels quote*, they’re usually mocking it.

          Agreed that the prequels are more memorable…I think Disney were trying to avoid that particular brand of memorable.

          *Like My personal favorite

          EDIT: Dammit, ninja’d! By Shamus!


        4. Syal says:

          I’d have to watch it again to get the exact wording, but there were a few lines from TLJ that stood out to me. I think Luke’s was “and in a moment of weakness I thought I could stop it.” Also Benicio’s “they blow you up today, you blow them up tomorrow.” Then echo chamber “My Parents”, and the dismissive shoulder rub that probably counts as some kind of sign language.

          …So how does KOTOR hold up to that test? I remember people saying KOTOR got the feel right, but I don’t remember any specific quotes from it*.

          *(besides “Fat people always lie!”)

          1. John says:

            Much as I love the game, a lot of the dialog in Knights of the Old Republic is not especially good, ranging from “kinda awkward” to “that was serviceable”. It’s been a few years since I last played it, and while I remember bits of dialogue from various scenes none of it strikes me as particularly quotable. The best dialogue in the game is definitely HK-47’s, but it’s more fun to talk like HK-47 than it is to quote him.

            Observation: The dialog in Knights of the Old Republic 2 is a little better.

            Clarification: It’s still not very quotable.

            1. Gruhunchously says:

              KOTOR 2 has some really good ones.

              “But Master, those miners intended to murder you! Any objection they would have about being murdered themselves would be the highest form of hypocrisy!”
              “Yeah…I’ll be in my chambers. But since I don’t have any, I’ll just be in the cockpit like I always am.”
              “Love is knowing your target, putting them in your targeting reticule, and together, achieving a singular purpose against statistically long odds.”
              “That T3 unit stole our ship! It’s probably joyriding around the system, laughing at us…laughing at ME.”
              “Apathy is death. Worse than death, because at least a rotting corpse feeds the beast and insects.”
              “If I were her, I’d be screaming like a stuck mynock. A…very strong, manly, stuck mynock.
              “Jumping into pit is a good idea. Get to ground faster that way.”
              “It is such a quiet thing, to fall. But far more terrible is to admit it.”
              “I’m just here because a pretentious shcutta stole my ship.”

              Okay, so maybe they aren’t all that iconic, but still find myself quoting some of them in conversation.

              1. PPX14 says:

                Apathy is death

                This will stick with me forever!

        5. shoeboxjeddy says:

          Memorable lines from Disney Star Wars:
          -Rebellions are built on hope!
          -Who talks first? I talk first, you talk first?
          -Crazy thing is, it’s true. The Force. The Jedi. All of it. It’s all true.
          -We’ll use the Force! That’s not how the Force works!
          -Let the past die. Kill it, if you have to.
          -Amazing. Every word you just said was wrong.
          -This is not going to go the way you think!
          -You come from nothing. You’re nothing. But not to me.
          -I hate you. I know.

          Not really interested in debating if these lines are all super great. I just think they’re all memorable and would be recognized by anyone who’s seen the films.

          1. Daimbert says:

            I’ve seen all of them except Solo. I vaguely remember one of those lines, and only because it’s been used in memes. So I don’t think these are as great examples as you think [grin].

            1. shoeboxjeddy says:

              I would argue that adding arguably smug and aggressive body language to an otherwise normal statement is breaking the “be nice” rules of posting. So I don’t really understand why you’re doing it? Just… post your thoughts and don’t try to create the impression in the reader that you’re feeling that you’re above them?

              1. Daimbert says:


                If your focus is more on a minor addition that’s meant to LIGHTEN the point – ie make it seem LESS like a criticism and thus less like I’m above them — rather than on the actual point that YOUR statement is so overly broad that it seems like you stating that things YOU personally remember are things that apply or should apply to everyone, then it doesn’t seem like you’re interested in the point you yourself made at all or any discussion about it. At which point, it seems rather pointless for you to have bothered to reply to me at all.

                EDIT: Sorry for being harsh, but after using that for something like 20 years and having no issues with it, somehow people now are suddenly reacting incredibly angrily towards it as if it’s some major breach of etiquette that automatically makes me an incredibly bad person, which is very grating.

                1. shoeboxjeddy says:

                  The thing to recognize is that I doubt anyone was EVER happy you were doing that. It’s terrible social etiquette and it’s something you’re going out of your way to do (wink). See how much WORSE that makes the statement! I apologize for doing it, even as just an example!

                  Regarding the quotes, short of doing legitimate polls with adequate sample sizes, it’s impossible to say what quotes that are memorable to me are memorable to a broader audience. These are ones that I find memorable, from my own perspective. Saying “those aren’t memorable to me” is… fine, but not really relevant? You could be really bad at remembering quotes from ANY movie. You could have not liked any of the movies and therefore recall very little from them. You could dislike the actors doing the quotes, even if you liked the movie and therefore didn’t really think much of anything they said. Etc.

                  1. Daimbert says:

                    We clearly disagree on my stylistic addition (I don’t think your (wink) is that egregious as it strikes me as similar to smilies and my only reaction there was to be slightly puzzled at what it was meant to reference), so let’s just let that drop, okay?

                    Regarding the quotes, short of doing legitimate polls with adequate sample sizes, it’s impossible to say what quotes that are memorable to me are memorable to a broader audience. These are ones that I find memorable, from my own perspective. Saying “those aren’t memorable to me” is… fine, but not really relevant?

                    That would be fine if you had presented as just the quotes that are memorable to you, and I would have ignored it if that’s all you’d said. But you didn’t:

                    Not really interested in debating if these lines are all super great. I just think they’re all memorable and would be recognized by anyone who’s seen the films.

                    Since I had and didn’t, your example does not work to establish that there are memorable lines in those movies, and that there weren’t is what I assumed you were arguing against with those examples.

                2. Drathnoxis says:

                  I agree with Shoebox. Always giving us your wolfish grins with that look in your eye as if you are barely resisting pouncing. Makes me very uncomfortable to browse the comments here with such ribald body language being displayed. Also it’s distressing for me to see you parading about the fact that you don’t use emoticons. It makes me feel as if I’m completely inferior because I express myself with symbols instead of text :/

            2. Nessus says:

              Arguments about praising aside, I agree with Daimbert. Those are mostly just trailer lines, not meme lines that are used or remembered “in the wild”. The ones that aren’t trailer lines aren’t meme lines either.

              If you love the movies, there’s bound to be lines that stick in your own head as being good. That’s not the qualification for quotability or meme-ability though. That perception of those lines has to be shared, at least to the point where others will get the reference and feel similarly when you use it, but ideally to the point where the quote’s use emerges in parallel from from many mutually unaware sources.

              1. Nessus says:

                Arguments about *phrasing*, not “praising”. Sorry.

      2. Sleeping Dragon says:

        I was (checks release date)… 15-16 when Phantom Menace came out, boy was I a SW fanboy at the time. I quoted the movies, I hummed the tunes, I knew the trivia, I had the books (mom was very much in support of me reading, to be fair wasn’t only SW but a lot of mostly sci-fi but still), I saved up my allowance for the VHS tapes… I did not like Episode One. Oh sure, the parts that everyone remembers, the choreographed fights and some of the music were good, but seriously, what 16 year old who is Very Serious About Star Wars wants to watch the adventures of Anakin the 9 year old? It probably didn’t help that some of my friends organized us going together to see the movie and they picked a dubbed version, which was not great. I’ve actually recently (by which I mean within the last two year or so) rewatched both trilogies and I can say that I still don’t like Phantom Menace for pretty much the same reason though the feeling doesn’t burn as hard as it used to.

    2. shoeboxjeddy says:

      The thing is, if you decide to be a sequel to an established series, you take on the burden of living up to that series. Giving it this magical “if there were no other movies like it” reaction is baloney, since it is going to use that brand name to the tune of $1 billion box office. It gets the benefit of the famous brand and series, it also has to live up to that legacy.

    3. Will says:

      Yeah, I would have been about eleven. I vaguely remember already being a bit of a Star Wars fanatic at the time, but I didn’t really have the sophistication to recognize what a mess the cinematography and dialogue are, and I enjoyed all the fluffy action and quippiness. (By the time Attack of the Clones came around, I could tell it was stuff and nonsense when I saw it in theaters.) I actually like Phantom Menace the most out of the prequels, and I’ll contend that, in a way I can’t really define, it is the most “Star Wars-ey” of both the prequels and sequels.

  14. Dragmire says:

    I mentioned it in the last podcast comment section but I don’t listen to podcasts while doing anything else. Podcasts contain new info that draws too much of my attention to be any kind of background noise, for that I use music or shows that I’ve heard many times before(new music has the same issue that podcasts do to me).

  15. Nessus says:

    The way I listen to The Diecast is fundamentally different to the way I listen to to every other podcast, because of the way it’s delivered. The Diecast is only available through the website here, and the embedded player always glitches and stops loading halfway through an episode, so literally the only way for me to listen is by DLing the MP3. This means I can’t listen to it on mobile like I do most podcasts (not without going through the hassle of DLing it to desktop and then manually sideloading it into my phone), which severely limits where, when, and how I can listen.

    I tend to put off listening to it as a result. I like the podcast, but I have to leave it for when I’m doing something mentally unengaging on my desktop specifically, rather than in the car, or while working out, or while doing anything else that doesn’t take place directly at my home computer. So if I had one request, it would be if you guys could consider putting it on iTunes or even just Youtube.

    Also I find the audio a bit harsh. Specifically, when one person or another another stops speaking, the audio often clips off half a word, if not an entire word or two. I don’t know if this is something the voice chat app/service does, of if you guys are using voice detection or push-to-talk that’s doing it, but it’s really distracting and often messes with my ability to fluidly process what was said. A non trivial number of times in a given cast, my brain has to lag and ‘catch up” as I try to deduce what the last person was saying because the back end of the sentence was missing.

    In addition, there’s lots of “dead” audio pauses between people speaking, which are indistinguishable from the stream (or the file in my case) glitching to a premature end before someone abruptly starts talking again. Please, PLEASE consider putting some kind of room tone audio over the mix to prevent that. Between this and the aforementioned cut-off sentences problem, the podcast, while quite enjoyable and interesting in content, is actually kind of an uncomfortable audio experience.

    1. Nessus says:

      Clarification: I wrote the above before listening the current episode. The audio dropping issue isn’t present in this episode so far as I’ve gotten, as both parties appear to have a good consistent set-up. This problem seems to REALLY show up when you’ve got a mix of people in widely different locations. Still needs room tone though.

      It was cool to hear the delivery issues I was talking about get talked about right out the gate.

      Soundcloud is basically the Youtube for audio, and it’s got all the bullet points you’re looking for. There’s a lot of podcasts that use it. Plus it’s not owned/run by google, so it’s not a total “we’re unchallenged so we can screw everything up with no consequences” shitshow.

      1. Hector says:

        Statement: I read that entire post in HK-47 voice.

  16. MadTinkerer says:

    Having watched that Netflix video, I have a theory:

    Shamus: They don’t have a language style, and they have no walls around the content.

    My theory is: you just stated the solution to the problem. Instead of deliberate, explicit walls, you have the projects that are written in C which are separated by language from the projects written in Python which are separated by language from the projects written in Java. If you really hate Bob From The Office Down The Hall, and you don’t want him messing with your code, and you know Bob doesn’t like to use Rubyscript, then you just write your project in Rubyscript.


    1. Gordon says:

      There’s this Uber video from a few years back that is basically the other side of the coin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kb-m2fasdDY&vl=en
      It’s essentially a catalog of the cultural and political disaster this approach creates and it’s much like how you therorize.
      As someone who’s been an engineering manager it’s horrifying.

      It also reminds me of this related thing with flat structured companies, basically when you don’t have explicit structure that’s not the same as no structure, people will create structure to fill the void and it will be based in politics, popularity and power games.
      Actually there’s a really good article about that from ~1970 feminism https://www.jofreeman.com/joreen/tyranny.htm it’s not about feminism the topic but rather the internal politics of the movement.

      1. Zak McKracken says:

        Yeah, I’m also thinking that you can read (and practice) “freedom and responsibility” in two ways:
        1: Do what you think is useful but please take care.
        2: Make a choice, I won’t advise. If it turns out bad, you’re out.

        I also find it interesting that decisions about the infrastructure and updating the system are made by the same small group of people which will enact them, but decision about what content to produce are made by The Computer, (as opposed to the small group of gifted individuals which would then go on to create the content … i.e. artists, directors and such). This is certainly due to the fact that Netflx consists of IT people, but I wonder what would happen if such freedom was extended to the film-making side of things.

  17. Decius says:

    I think that it’s reasonable to conclude that number of views isn’t what directly causes a video to appear on the Trending Tab. And therefore the entire analysis should simply conclude that its dataset is the wrong data.

    1. Thomas says:

      It makes sense to me that pure views would be a bad metric. PewDiePie has a bajillion subs, bog standard boring videos from him get millions of views more than viral hits from other people.

      You’d want click through rates – how many people who see a video click on it – and watch rates – how many of those clicks watch most of the video. People who dig into the algorithm know these two drives the YouTube recommendations already.

      But then you’d also want some kind of adjuster for either the number of videos out out by that person in a week (or in trending even) or how much better the video is doing compared to ‘expected views’ from that producer.

    2. TLE says:

      How can the data be “wrong” if he finds interesting correlations in it? He’s not drawing far-fetched conclusions from it, he is mostly noticing that the data looks weird and far from what you would expect to see in a fair system.

  18. I follow LegacyKillaHD, it’s a fine channel, though at times it feels a bit clickbaity with the thumbnails, but that seems to be the stablished style for that genre of channel so I don’t mind it, not a real con. He’s as far as I can tell honest. Worth following. But to complement that there is one even better, I can see it as candidate for best gaming channel: Bellular News. He’s a rigurous guy who, when it comes to news like the lay offs and some other stuff where things on game developing news (as when it was said that DA4 would be based on Anthem code) he’s by far the best, he cares to understand what’s really going on and explains it instead of going to the easy knee jerk reaction.

  19. Joshua says:

    “Please don’t flip out and fight about TLJ in the comments.”

    Not trying to be controversial, I think that there is some relation to the reactions to TLJ based upon the Prequels though. I read one review of TLJ that was critical of TLJ’s “nihilism”, but actually defended TLJ by blaming the problem on The Force Awakens. Essentially, when TFA says that Han and Leia were utter failures in their personal lives, that the Republic was a failure almost from the start and immediately forgot the lessons from the Republic ~50 years earlier that shows their downfall coming from hubris and lack of a standing army, then the result of RotJ was that the whole rebellion was a fluke that changed nothing. With all of this failure around him, on top of all of his pupils turning to the Dark Side, where was TLJ supposed to go with the TFA plotline of Luke Skywalker being mysteriously absent during all of these dark events except to say that he was just as much of a failure as the rest? (rhetorical question, not meant to start an argument)

    So, the themes of personal failure and inability to produce positive change in TLJ were all seeded in TFA. However, it seems unlikely that those themes were a conscious decision to be edgy. Instead, TFA was all about doing the “soft reboot” that felt like a remake of Episode IV, not thinking about how doing so made Episodes IV to VI kind of pointless if everyone ended up back where they started.

    And we all know why TFA chose to go with this “soft reboot”. Because of the Prequels. Because the Prequels tried so hard to be creative and different but the general consensus is that they were bad movies. And so, Disney wanted to play it safe, and remind us all of what we loved about in the series in the first place by resetting the story to the same place it had started.

    1. Trystan de Lyonesse says:

      It’s a shame, that Disney misinterpreted Prequels failure. Differences in them isn’t inherently bad, and they’ve created a vast part of lore for EU. And I think, that only a small minority dislikes Prequels for the whole conception, and not for messy and boring execution.

  20. Daimbert says:

    While it wasn’t my favourite of the movies, at the time I was a little impressed by “The Phantom Menace”. While I didn’t really care for the character, I didn’t find Jar-Jar that annoying, and I liked the decoy aspect with Padme and how hints were dropped in the movie — the “Queen” asking her without asking her if they should go to Coruscant — about it before it was revealed, as well as the foreshadowing with Palpatine watching Anakin’s career with interest. I used to watch all of the movies at least once a year and it might have been my favourite of the prequel movies. However, lately, I do find that the pod racing part is boring and drags everything down, just for being too long. But it’s still better than the last two movies, which I have no interest in watching again, even as part of a full run of the Star Wars movies.

  21. Cuthalion says:

    Oh hey, the feed suddenly worked for me again! My media player was able to download 258 automatically because there is an enclosure tag on the latest item in the rss file. I don’t know if anything was done differently on purpose, but thought I should point it out! Cool!

  22. You actually CAN craft Legendary items in Anthem, but the way you do it is that you have to do the CHALLENGES that are specific TO that legendary in order to get the recipe for it. Each legendary item has specific challenges like “kill 150 enemies” or “execute 10 combos” etc. and you have to do ALL of those before you get the recipe.

    So, the endgame loot process is actually:

    1. Grind until you get the legendary you want.
    2. Grind challenges WITH that legendary until you unlock the recipe.
    3. Grind mats to craft that legendary until you get a stat loadout that’s actually useful for you.

    I got TWO legendary drops in the entire time I was playing . . . both were the SAME RIFLE.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      And it was STILL worse than the starting rifle!

  23. RE: The podcast . . .

    I do sometimes enjoy listening, but the only way I can listen to the podcast is to actually sit at my computer and listen to it, so it’s not terribly convenient for me.

    I don’t know if anyone ELSE would find this useful (or even if there’s a convenient way to do it), but the only time I ever listen, I go directly to one specific topic and listen only to that discussion. So if there were links to each individual topic (instead of just timestamps), I’d be more likely to listen.

    1. Syal says:

      I do roughly the same; read the show notes, read the comments, and then check a specific podcast conversation if I want to post something about that topic.

      I’ve also had trouble with the podcast not loading if I try to skip ahead, which is a showstopper if I’m trying to listen to the 50 minute mark.

  24. Canthros says:

    The podcast RSS is working again! Or, at any rate, my installation of iTunes picked up this episode. First one in a long while.

    1. Canthros says:

      Also, I appreciate Paul making me feel old in this installment.

      The Thrawn trilogy was definitely published before The Phantom Menace was made. I was reading them in 1996 or so, and they’d been out a few years, by then. (1991-93, says Wikipedia.)

  25. Lino says:

    Hey, you know what I just noticed – Shamus didn’t spoil his Escapist column during the podcast! I don’t know why, but even though I hate spoilers, I feel cheated – as if some long-standing tradition has been taken away from me :D

    1. Shamus says:

      I didn’t spoil it on the show because I already spoiled it three years ago. :)

  26. Awwww…. that was a really nice surprise! Thank you, Shamus.

  27. Cuthalion says:

    I’m catching up on the Diecast and finally played this episode. I caught the sink conversation!* I appreciated the sequel even though the sink-haver was recast. I would have missed it because I don’t usually expect after-credits on the Diecast, but I had noticed a few recent ones had something, and I saw that there were still several extra minutes left in the file, so I fast-forwarded through the music to it.

    I bet a lot of people don’t notice the post-credits because the credits are actually a pretty long piece of music. 1:10 is a long time to listen through the same song every episode, even if it’s a pretty good song. It’s also long enough that it’s easy not to notice that the file is a few seconds longer than expected.

    * I mention this because I’m partway through 259 and heard the bit where you said no one had acknowledged it.

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Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>

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