The most hated man on the Internet is not Tom Swift: TV viewed

THE MOST HATED MAN ON THE INTERNET (2022) is a three-part documentary series on Netflix about Hunter Moore, a sleazeball whose Is Anybody Up website was apparently the first revenge porn site. Only Moore didn’t stop at posting things vicious ex-boyfriends sent him — it turned out he was hacking accounts where women had posted naked selfies for their own viewing, then posting them along with links to the victims’ social media. Getting photos the victims didn’t want to share was presumably cooler than if it had been consensual but it also led to his downfall, as the hacking got Moore a 30 month prison sentence and a ban from social media.

This is a horrible, if fascinating story: Moore comes off a narcissist like Alex Jones, enjoying his celebrity but also using it to sell merch and line his pockets. He also assembled an army of devoted trolls who delighted in heaping abuse and threats on anyone who dared cost him. Credit goes to the mother of one of his victims who refused to give up on taking Moore and his website down and getting the FBI engaged — though the effort it took shows why so many people doing revenge porn and similar shit never answer for it. “If I wasn’t bullying I don’t know what I’d do .. who would I be?”

The CW has axed a number of series due to their parent company having been bought out by Discovery, but TOM SWIFT (2022) had such low ratings it sounds like it would have been axed anyway.

Boy inventor Tom Swift debuted in print more than a century ago, when the books had titles like Tom Swift and His Motor-Cycle. In the TV series Tom (Tian Richards) is black and gay and has the arrogance that comes with being a billionaire’s son. His genius is real, though — he’s close to Luthor-class in his ability to treat the laws of physics as best practices, but not necessarily mandatory.

In the opening episode, Tom’s father Barton tests out the space ship Tom designed, only to have it explode under him while he’s out near Saturn. Tom discovers he’s still alive and hoping for rescue. However a sinister organization called The Road Back that wants to halt technological advances and restore an older social order (while their agents don’t spell it out, Tom guesses, correctly I’m sure, that their vision includes white supremacy). With the help of his BFF Zenzi (Ashleigh Murray) and his bisexual bodyguard Isaac (Marquise Vilson), Tom sets out to bring his father home, despite a long-simmering resentment at his dad’s homophobia.

I wondered why they’d kick this series off with the spaceflight — billionaires in space is pretty much a punchline these days — but it turns out Tom’s parents see this as the first step in Mountaintop, a plan to found a space colony and give America’s blacks a chance to emigrate away from our toxic history of racism. I love that idea. The stories are usually fun, though sometimes the power struggles in Barton’s absence feel too Dynasty. And while Barton’s right hand Claire (Brittany Ishibashi) is portrayed as a villainous schemer squeezing Tom out so she can become CEO, I notice she’s also the woman who worked her way up only to see a less qualified man get the seat at the top ahead of her (Tom is brilliant but I’m not so sure he can run the company).

I’m not sure why it flopped. The black gay protagonist? The protagonist being a swaggering rich kid? Or is it that Tom Swift doesn’t have the name value that Nancy Drew does, or even the Hardy Boys? Either way, the various reveals in the season ender will never be resolved — too bad. “I’m going to use a technical term — hell no!”

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One response to “The most hated man on the Internet is not Tom Swift: TV viewed

  1. Pingback: Antihero: is he worse than his society? | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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