Recent Posts

 DW: The Return of Doctor Mysterio 
 DS9: Sanctuary 
 B5: And Now For a Word 
 Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Star Trek: Discovery: Season 1 Review

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I feel like I need to write a few more words about all those episodes of this poor troubled space show I just watched. For closure and stuff.

Discovery's not the only Star Trek series to have massive behind the scenes problems during its first season; Star Trek: The Next Generation in particular was famously a mess at first, leading to two of the worst seasons in the franchise's entire run until Michael Piller took over as head writer and got the series on track. Deep Space Nine and Voyager, on the other hand, entered their best seasons when Piller left, and Enterprise finally began to shine when Manny Coto took over. You can kind of see this for the Original Series as well, as many of the best episodes came after Gene Coon was brought on as a producer.

So after analysing this pattern I've determined that for Trek series behind the scenes issues are bad for overall episode quality and a change in showrunner is typically good. But for Discovery the behind the scenes problems included creator Bryan Fuller getting kicked out before filming even started, so does that count as good or bad? I had some opinions on that subject while watching the episodes, but now that I've finished the whole season and I've had time to think about it I'm ready to revise those ratings and decide whether the series is really as terrible as people on the internet think it is, or if it's actually as great as other people on the internet think it is.

It probably goes without saying that this is going to include huge SPOILERS for events in the first season taking place between The Vulcan Hello and Will You Take My Hand? but I'll leave this warning here just in case. Plus I may end up spoiling parts of earlier Trek series and movies as well.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Babylon 5 2-15: And Now For a Word

Episode:37|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:03-May-1995

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm writing about an ISN special report called 36 Hours on Babylon 5, except not really, as the text on screen gives away that it's actually Babylon 5 episode And Now for a Word. It's the series' first format-breaking episode but they didn't break it quite far enough to leave the title off or change the opening credits sequence. It's a bit disappointing really.

Oh, by the way, it's Babylon 5's 25th anniversary! The pilot movie The Gathering aired on the 22nd of February 1993, just one month after Deep Space Nine's pilot Emissary. I was late for the DS9 anniversary and I've missed Red Dwarf's recent 30th anniversary entirely, but this time I finally got it right! (Though to be honest I was planning to have reached the slightly more monumental In the Shadow of Z'Ha'Dum by this point).

Okay, this is one of my regular length reviews, which means I'll be sharing my thoughts on the entire episode and throwing out massive SPOILERS along the way. I'll likely end up spoiling a few of the earlier B5 episodes as well, but I won't even hint at anything that happens after it. Except for just then when I said that Shadow of Z'Ha'Dum is one of the more important ones.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Star Trek: Discovery 1-15: Will You Take My Hand? (Quick Review)

Episode:15|Writer:Gretchen J. Berg & Aaron Harberts|Air Date:11-Feb-2018

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm sharing my opinions on Star Trek: Discovery's first season finale: Will You Take My Hand?

There aren't actually all that many Star Trek episode titles with question marks in. I'm sure it's not something you've ever wondered or cared about, but out of 707 titles, this is only the 6th to have a question mark in the title, after the Original Series' What Are Little Girls Made Of? Who Mourns for Adonais? and Is There in Truth No Beauty? and Deep Space Nine's Doctor Bashir, I Presume? and Who Mourns for Morn? Hey, that Morn title is a play on the other one! I never realised that.

The episode's written by showrunners Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts, and directed by Akiva Goldsman, so they've got the Context is for Kings team back together for this one, more or less. There's only one episode of Discovery so far I haven't been keen on, and it wasn't that one, so no warning signs there for me. Though whenever Akiva Goldsman's involved I can't help but be just a little concerned that Mr Freeze and the Riddler are going to pop up at some point and have a pun battle.

By the way, it says (Quick Review) up there, but that's basically a lie this time. I won't be going through the story scene by scene like I usually do, but you'll be getting a similarly epic mountain of text. Plus I'll be throwing out massive SPOILERS for the whole episode, so please factor that into your decision to read any further. I'm also going to be considering the whole rest of the franchise up to this point fair game, so don't be shocked if you find spoilers for things like Deep Space Nine, Star Trek IIIStar Trek IV and Star Trek Into Darkness underneath as well. But not Alice in Wonderland this time.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Star Trek: Discovery 1-14: The War Without, The War Within (Quick Review)

Episode:14|Writer:Lisa Randolph|Air Date:04-Feb-2018

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm writing about Star Trek: Discovery's The War Without, The War Within.

It's debatable whether Discovery's had the best episodes of any Star Trek series' first season, but one thing that's not in dispute is that it's got the longest titles of a Trek series first season. The War Without, The War Within is the 10th longest title in the franchise's history, meaning that Discovery's already claimed three slots in the all-time top ten. Hopefully they can do better next season; I want to see them knock For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky off the top spot in time for the story's 50th anniversary.

The episode's credited to Lisa Randolph, who also wrote The Wolf Inside just a few weeks back. I guess that explains why it wasn't called The Wolf Within, as she was saving the alliteration for this one to get a higher combo. It was directed by David Solomon, who did a whole lot of Buffy and Dollhouse, plus everyone's favourite episode of Firefly (Out of Gas). He never did any Angel though, weirdly.

Beyond this point there shall be SPOILERS and not just for this episode. Well mostly for this episode, but I may also mention some things that happened in earlier Trek.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Star Trek: Discovery 1-13: What's Past is Prologue (Quick Review)

Episode:13|Writer:Ted Sullivan|Air Date:28-Jan-2018

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm watching Discovery season one's antepenultimate episode What's Past is Prologue. Wait, hang on, Trek already had a story called Past Prologue! It was the second episode of Deep Space Nine. Though now that I think about it the first episode of DS9 stole its name from a Next Gen story called The Emissary, so it's only fair.

The title comes from The Tempest, which means this is the second Discovery episode in a row to take its name from a line in a Shakespeare play. The phrase 'vaulting ambition' appears in Macbeth, and is spoken by a character trying to talk himself out of committing regicide, while in The Tempest 'what's past is prologue' is said by a character talking someone else into it. So I'm spotting a bit of a theme there. I don't know if that was deliberate though, as this one's by a different writer.

With this Ted Sullivan becomes part of the elite group of writers who've written more than one episode, and Olatunde Osunsanmi becomes the only director so far to return. So if you were ever curious about what would happen if the writer of the episode with the shortest title (Lethe) teamed up with the director of the episode with the longest title (The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry), now you know: they made an episode with the most average length title. Organise the episodes by the length of their name and you'll find this in the exact centre of the list; it's spooky is what it is. I thought both of their previous stories were decent enough though, so no warning signs there. In fact, I've actually been pretty hyped for this one, mostly because the title maybe possibly hints that we're getting some backstory and explanations at last.

This is going to be one of my relatively quick reviews, meaning I won't be going through the episode scene by scene, but you'll still find massive SPOILERS for this story and the ones that preceded it below. In fact, I'll throw in some spoilers for other Trek series like Deep Space Nine for you as well, plus Return of the Jedi and Alice in Wonderland.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Star Trek: Discovery 1-12: Vaulting Ambition (Quick Review)

Episode:12|Writer:Jordon Nardino|Air Date:21-Jan-2018

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm writing about the shortest ever episode of live-action Star Trek! Discovery's beaten this record twice already, but it's outdone itself yet again here as without the 'previously on' clips and the trailer they like to put at the end, the episode's just over 36 minutes long.

It's called Vaulting Ambition by the way, which is a quote from Macbeth, a story I know absolutely nothing about! But if I wasn't so completely clueless, I'd probably mention that it's from a soliloquy by a guy who realises he's got no good reason to murder a king other than his ambition. Some titles have been a little too obscure, but this one's perhaps a little too clear.

But if you want SPOILERS you're in luck, as my review's going to be full of them, for this episode and probably earlier ones too. I'll also give away the ending of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland at some point, so there's something for you to look out for.

Monday, 22 January 2018

Babylon 5 2-14: There All the Honor Lies

Episode:36|Writer:Peter David|Air Date:26-Apr-1995

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm writing my thoughts about There All the Honor Lies, considered by many to be the 14th episode of Babylon 5 season 2.

It's also the second and last episode written by Peter David (after Soul Mates six episodes back), and the second to last episode written by anyone but creator J.Michael Straczynski for a long long while. But there's still one Larry DiTillio episode to go this season; JMS hadn't achieved total script domination quite yet.

I'll be recapping the whole episode with screencaps and sharing my opinions and observations, so there'll be wall to wall SPOILERS past this point. I'm sure I'll even spoil events from earlier episodes, but I'll give away nothing from any of the episodes that come after it. Or episodes from entirely different series for that matter.