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Saturday, 31 December 2016

Sci-Fi Adventures Awards 2016

Over the past 9 months of Sci-Fi Adventures I've reviewed 46 episodes of television, 10 movies and a teaser trailer, and now that we've reached the end of the year it seems like a good time for me to look back and try to remember something, anything about them. It's lucky I've written all these words about them really or else I'd have no chance.

In fact I'm giving out awards, for as many categories as I can think of! Though all winners will be chosen by me without much deliberation for purely subjective reasons and therefore you should probably just ignore them all.

I should mention that those episodes were all from season 1 Deep Space Nine and Babylon 5, and series 9 Doctor Who. I also reviewed Doom, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, Aliens and a whole lot of Star Trek movies. This is important information, because as much as I'm trying to minimise SPOILERS, I'm sure I'm going to end up letting slip something about these stories someone might have preferred not to learn from the internet.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Babylon 5 1-20: Babylon Squared

Episode:20|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:10-Aug-1994

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm sharing my thoughts on Babylon Squared, the 20th episode of Babylon 5's first season.

Babylon Squared is notable for a number of reasons: the name kind of looks like 'Babylon 5' if you take the 'QUARED' bit off, it's one of only three episodes in the whole five year run with a 'Q' in it, and it's really really important for the ongoing arc. This is one of the big episodes in the first year that puts the foundations down for later seasons to build on. Doesn't mean that it's going to be good mind you, but I don't remember disliking it. In fact I'm optimistic.

In a shocking adherence to tradition, I'm going to show a bunch of screencaps from the episode, write a bit of text explaining what's happening and make some snarky comments. This means there's going to be SPOILERS all over the place, even for episodes that aired earlier, though I won't even hint at anything that happens after it.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Doctor Who - Christmas 2015: The Husbands of River Song

Episode:826|Serial:263|Writer:Steven Moffat|Air Date:25-Dec-2015

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm reviewing Doctor Who's 2015 Christmas special, The Husbands of River Song... during Christmas 2016. So I'm both incredibly late and incredibly timely, which seems perfectly fitting for Doctor Who.

The episode follows on from the season 9 finale Hell Bent, which left the Doctor a little unhappy for a number of reasons. It also left him without a companion, but that's okay as rogue archaeologist River Song is going to make a surprise return! Probably. It's possible that the trailer was a cunning trick and only her husbands ever show up, but that'd be a bit of a let down.

I'm going to recap the episode and share my thoughts along the way, so this is going to have massive SPOILERS for the entire story and anything leading up to it. Everything afterwards is safe though, and not just because it hasn't aired yet by the time I'm writing this.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 1-16: If Wishes Were Horses

Episode:16|Writer:Nell McCue Crawford & William L. Crawford and Michael Piller|Air Date:16-May-1993

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I've finally reached Deep Space Nine's leprechaun Rumpelstiltskin episode!

If Wishes Were Horses is an episode of Star Trek about imaginary creatures harassing the crew, because this is what happens when a writing staff is put under pressure to put out 20 something episodes a year. They start going strange, and this tends to get worse the longer the series goes on for (see: Next Gen season 7). Makes me glad that Star Trek: Discovery is only getting 13 episodes for its first season.

I have to admit that I'm dreading this one, but I don't really remember it, so it's possible that it'll surprise me in a good way! Maybe all those people who put it down near the bottom 10 in their DS9 episode lists were just being mean to it because they hate fun. Or maybe not.

Okay I'm going to recap the episode with screencaps, observations, opinions and SPOILERS, but only for this story and maybe a few that came before it. I'll give away nothing about where the series is going... except that it gets better, I promise.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Babylon 5 1-19: A Voice in the Wilderness, Part 2

Episode:19|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:03-Aug-1994

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm rewatching part two of Babylon 5's A Voice in the Wilderness. It seems weird to split the episodes into two separate posts, but I split up all of Doctor Who's two-parters so it's only fair. Plus watching this as its own episode means I get to put that picture of a spaceship up there and feel like I'm reviewing a lost Babylon 5 video game.

In Greek mythology Hyperion was one of the twelve kids of Gaia and Uranus, so it'd make sense to find them in space. But the ship's actually named after hyperion.com, the original home of the Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5. The Hyperion might look kind of basic compared to modern TV CGI and the textures are a bit fuzzy, but I assure you it was cutting edge for 1994 technology. I mean it's got eight USB ports down the side!

Okay, I'm going to be recapping and commenting on the whole episode, which means SPOILERS under every screencap, but I'll only be spoiling the episodes that came before, not ones that come after.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Babylon 5 1-18: A Voice in the Wilderness, Part 1

Episode:18|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:27-Jul-1994

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm rewatching the first half of A Voice in the Wilderness, Babylon 5's first two-parter! This is a rare event, as there's only two of these in the entire five year run. I guess after War Without End the series had gotten so serialised that labelling multi-part stories seemed redundant. That's another thing B5 has in common with DS9 if you're keeping count: no numbered two parters after season 3.

I remember this one being a highlight of the first season, but it's been ages since I've seen the series, so I could always be wrong. I was way off with Eyes the other day for instance, which was much better than I expected. Maybe I'm due for a let down.

You might be wondering why I skipped over episode 17, Legacies. I will get around to it, but I'm following the Lurker's Guide Master List instead of the order they aired in, so I plan to watch it right before the season finale.
18 - A Voice in the Wilderness, Part 1
19 - A Voice in the Wilderness, Part 2
20 - Babylon Squared
21 - The Quality of Mercy
14 - TKO
17 - Legacies
I'm going to be recapping the whole of AVitW,P1 with screencaps and SPOILERS so don't be surprised if I mention things that happened in earlier episodes. Everything that comes after will remain unspoiled though, including the second half of this two-parter.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 1-15: Progress

Episode:15|Writer:Peter Allan Fields|Air Date:09-May-1993

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm digging through another episode of Deep Space Nine. A Kira episode in fact, which means more Bajoran problems.

Progress is Peter Allan Fields' second episode of DS9 after co-writing Dax with D.C. Fontana, and he'd have his name on eight more scripts before the end of its run. Stories like Necessary Evil, For the Uniform, In the Pale Moonlight, Duet... oh plus he also wrote The Inner Light for Next Gen. It's been a long while since I've seen either series, but I feel like they were some of the good ones. So you'd think that I'd be getting my hopes up right about now, but there's another piece of writing I need to take into account and that's the words "SEASON 1" on the box this episode came in. It's rarely a good omen for science fiction series, especially this one.

I'll be recapping the entire episode and sharing my opinions along the way, so you should expect SPOILERS for any episode (or movie) so far. Everything that comes after is safe though.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Babylon 5 1-16: Eyes

Episode:16|Writer:Lawrence DiTillio|Air Date:13-Jul-1994

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm rewatching Eyes, the 16th episode aired in Babylon 5's first season, but the last one filmed. It's right where it needs to be though, continuity-wise.

I don't remember what I thought about this first time around, but the clues seem to be suggesting that it wasn't one of my favourites. It's not a J. Michael Straczynski episode, I don't think it has much impact on any of the story arcs, and I don't remember it. Plus it's by Jim Johnston, the director of Soul Hunter... though to be fair he also did Parliament of Dreams and By Any Means Necessary, both of which I liked.

I'm going to recap the whole story and there may be SPOILERS for earlier episodes as well, but I won't say a word about anything that comes after.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 1-14: The Storyteller

Episode:14|Writer:Kurt Michael Bensmiller and Ira Steven Behr|Air Date:02-May-1993

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm going through another episode of Deep Space Nine season 1. Though I'm kind of tempted to just sit here and listen to the gentle hum of the DVD menu for a bit longer because I've been dreading this one. I've been dreading a lot of episodes actually, but my enthusiasm for this season drips away a little more each time.

The Storyteller actually started out as an old Star Trek: The Next Generation script, so it's a little slice of Next Gen season 7-style "Crap, we need a story, any story!" desperation in your Deep Space Nine. Plus I'm not superstitious, but if I was I'd probably make note of the fact that this may be the 14th 'hour' of DS9, but it's the 13th story.

As usual I'm going to recap the episode and share my thoughts along the way, so this will be filled with SPOILERS. But I'll only spoil episodes up to this point, nothing afterwards.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Babylon 5 1-15: Grail

Episode:15|Writer:Christy Marx|Air Date:06-Jul-1994

Today on Super Adventures, I'm going to rewatch Grail, the 15th episode of Babylon 5 season 1! Or maybe the 14th, if you're going off the Lurker's Guide Master List like I am.

The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5 has been around since ancient times collecting information on the series, such as posts made by creator JMS to Usenet, and analysing episodes as they aired. They also put together an alternate viewing order called the Master List to fix some continuity weirdness caused by delayed episodes that's been carried across to the DVD releases too. The changes seem to make sense to me and JMS has given the new ordering for the first couple of seasons his blessing, so I don't see any reason to stick with the airing order on my rewatch.

So here's where Grail fits in the list:
12 - By Any Means Necessary
13 - Signs and Portents
15 - Grail
16 - Eyes
18 - A Voice in the Wilderness (Part 1)
Basically the Master List has taken TKO out and kicked it down to later in the season. So this'll make absolutely no difference to the SPOILERS I'll be giving out in this particular episode recap... but things are going to get more complicated later in the series.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Star Trek: First Contact

Star Trek First Contact title logo DVD
Written by:Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore|Directed by:Jonathan Frakes|Release Date:1996

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm going to go through the 8th Star Trek film: First Contact, aka The One with the Borg in it. Not to be confused with the episode First Contact, which doesn't have even the slightest bit of Borg in it. The movie was nearly called Star Trek: Resurrection, but Alien: Resurrection went and stole that title. Someone was apparently fond of the sound of it though, as the next Trek film was called Insurrection.

Here's another fact for you: First Contact just turned twenty today, as it was released in November 1996, during Trek's 30th anniversary. Deep Space Nine celebrated by compositing its crew into The Trouble with Tribbles, Voyager celebrated by putting Janeway into the 25th anniversary film The Undiscovered Country, and here Next Gen is celebrating by... sending the Enterprise back in time to meet a boring guest star from one of the most forgettable episodes of the Original Series. Seems like now would've been the time to have the epic crossover with Kirk's crew, but they tried that already and blew it.

1996 was when Star Trek began to reach its peak as a Marvel-style shared universe with Voyager reaching its third season, DS9 hitting season 5, and Next Gen shedding its TV sets to become a true movie series. It didn't shed its TV creators though, as writers Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore returned to provide the script. Also Riker actor Jonathan Frakes took the helm, beginning the Star Trek tradition of the ship's first officer getting to direct two of the movies.

Anyway my writing will contain SPOILERS for First Contact and the episodes and movies preceding it, including DS9 up to season 5 and a certain episode of the Original Series. I might even mention that this film led to the Borg showing up in Voyager, the uniform switch-over in DS9, and the premise of Enterprise, but other than that I'll keep quiet about what came after. This far, no further.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 1-13: Battle Lines

Episode:13|Writer:Richard Danus and Evan Carlos Somers|Air Date:25-Apr-1993

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I've reached episode one on the fourth DVD in the first season box of Deep Space Nine. I'm still tenaciously clawing my way through season one, chipping away at it one story at a time.

Battle Lines was written by Richard Danus and Evan Carlos Somers based on a story by Hilary J. Bader and I can't off the top of my head remember what other episodes they've done. But the Memory Alpha wiki tells me that Somers wrote just three DS9 stories in the end, and the other two are Melora and Meridian, contenders for the worst episode of season two and season three respectively. I don't know where people generally rank Battle Lines in season one though, somewhere in the middle maybe? I doubt it blew anyone away but this is the season where the senior staff have to play hopscotch and a leprechaun Rumpelstiltskin shows up to steal O'Brien's daughter so it'll have to do worse than 'mediocre' to earn a spot in the lower half.

As usual I'll give no SPOILERS for future episodes, except for just then when I spoiled Rumpelstiltskin, but I will be spoiling the hell out of this episode as I recap it and share my opinions.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Doctor Who: Series 9 Review

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm watching absolutely nothing! I'm done watching things for now, I'm taking a break until next week. Instead I'm going to be revisiting Doctor Who's 9th series (or 35th depending on how you look at it) and reviewing Peter Capaldi's second year as the madman in a box. So I'm basically going to be retreading a lot of things I've already written about, except with less pictures.

This is going to contain huge SPOILERS for everything in series 9 from The Magician's Apprentice to Hell Bent, and probably earlier episodes too.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Doctor Who 9-12: Hell Bent

Episode:826|Serial:262|Writer:Steven Moffat|Air Date:05-Dec-2015

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures it's Hell Bent, the epic season finale of Doctor Who series 9! I mean I'm just guessing that it's going to be epic, but they usually are. The Earth, the galaxy, or all of time and space tends to be at stake and only the Doctor...'s companion is special enough to save the day!

It's also epic in runtime as well. The episodes this series have generally been around 45 minutes long, but that's been creeping higher these last few episodes and now it's up to a full hour. If the runtime inflation continues at this rate they'll finally be ready for Peter Jackson to come in and direct an episode by series... 12.

Under this paragraph you'll find a few dozen spoilery screencaps surrounded by SPOILERS for this episode and the ones leading up to it. I won't spoil anything that aired after it though, not that there's much left to spoil. The series took 2016 off, so at the time I'm writing this there's just one Christmas special left (though there'll be two soon).

Friday, 28 October 2016

Babylon 5 1-13: Signs and Portents

Episode:13|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:18-May-1994

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I've reached a important milestone in my epic Babylon 5 rewatch: the start of disc four! There's only two discs left after this in my season one box set and then I'm through with it.

Speaking of the box set, there's some interesting (and relevant) text at the bottom of the cover. You see every season of Babylon 5 has its own overall title, named after an especially important and game changing episode from that year, and the title printed on season one's box is...  


It's been a long while since I've seen this though so I'll try to keep my hype down to boring levels. It'd better be good though. It'd better be really good, or else I'm... throwing disc four out the window. In fact I've just checked what other episodes are on it and that's starting to seem like a good idea either way. Grail and TKO on the same disc? Damn.

The DVD also features a commentary for this episode by writer JMS and if you haven't seen the entire series before I'd recommend staying way clear of it until you have. They forgot to mention on the box that it's filled with spoilers for later episodes.

Speaking of SPOILERS, I'm going to be going through the episode scene by scene, so turn back now if you haven't seen it yet and care about such things. I'll also be spoiling some earlier episodes, but later episodes are strictly off limits.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 1-12: Vortex

Episode:12|Writer:Sam Rolfe|Air Date:18-Apr-1993

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm going through Vortex, the 11th episode of... Deep Space Nine? Really? With that title I thought it was a Voyager episode.

It'd be nice if there was an easy rule to tell what series of Trek an episode belongs to just from its names, but they all have their share of dull one-word titles. All the spin-offs anyway; old school Trek writers generally put a little more effort in (one title even goes to eleven!)

But I've noticed that if the title on screen is something short and weird like Cathexis, Parturition or Tsunkatse, then you're likely watching Voyager or Enterprise (or X-Files). If it begins with 'The' then chances are you're watching an episode from one of the first three series. And if it's something half-way poetic with four or more words in it then it's got to be DS9 or classic Star Trek. Or Babylon 5.

Right, I'm going to spoil the hell out of Vortex now and likely a few of the episodes leading up to it too, but I assure you there'll be no SPOILERS for anything that comes afterwards.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Doctor Who 9-11: Heaven Sent

Episode:825|Serial:261|Writer:Steven Moffat|Air Date:28-Nov-2015

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm back to Doctor Who again. I'm still watching series 9, though not for long as I'm in the middle chapter of the final three-parter! Though the TARDIS Data Core wiki says it's part one of the final two-parter and Wikipedia currently reckons it's just the penultimate story of the series. Either way it's carrying on from a cliffhanger ending and setting up the finale.

Which means that this is the second series in a row to end with an episode featuring 'Heaven' in the title, written by Steven Moffat and directed by Rachel Talalay. It worked out pretty well the last time though, so I'm optimistic.

There will be massive SPOILERS for Heaven Sent, the episode before it and probably other stories too. But only older episodes, never later ones.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Babylon 5 1-12: By Any Means Necessary

Episode:12|Writer:Kathryn M. Drennan|Air Date:11-May-1994

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm rewatching By Any Means Necessary, the first episode of the second half of Babylon 5 season one! My long nightmare is halfway over.

Actually to be honest it hasn't been a great hardship getting this far and even the bad episodes have been more watchable than I remembered. Definitely not the worst sci-fi season one I've seen. I guess it helps that I know all the characters, the setting and where the story's going this time around, but the same's true of Deep Space Nine and what I've been watching of that seems really aimless by comparison. B5's not been particularly heavy on the continuity either to be fair, but DS9 season one seems to have forgotten everything set up in its pilot besides 'we're on a space station with a swirly thing outside'.

The following text will contain SPOILERS for this and previous episodes, so proceed with caution.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 1-11: The Nagus

Episode:11|Writer:Ira Steven Behr|Air Date:21-Mar-1993

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, it's the first of Deep Space Nine's Ferengi comedy episodes, yay. Though it's also the first script written by Ira Behr, who would later take over as executive producer for the good part of the TV series, so that's... encouraging, maybe. 

I'm not actually one of the people who hates DS9's Ferengi episodes, mostly because I can't remember most of them. Because I stopped watching them. Because they're terrible and I hate them. But I am willing to give The Nagus a second chance because I'm endlessly reasonable... plus I promised I'd rewatch all of season one; if I have to write about it I might as well try to enjoy it.

Be aware that if you carry on reading past this point you'll encounter a wider selection of SPOILERS than in your average racing game. I may even mention events from earlier Trek episodes, but later eps are off limits.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Doctor Who 9-10: Face the Raven

Episode:824|Serial:260|Writer:Sarah Dollard|Air Date:21-Nov-2015

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures I've reached the antepenultimate episode of Doctor Who's series 9, Face the Raven.

Here's a few facts about it: it's the third episode of series 9 with 'the' in the title, it's the third episode from the end of the series, it has three words in its name, it's an anagram of 'cafe van three', and I can't think of anything more interesting to write here.

Oh, there is one thing worth mentioning about it: the episode was written by Sarah Dollard (as you can see in the picture above), which means that series 9 is the first series in Doctor Who's entire history to have two female writers contributing scripts! It also had two female directors by the end, but that's very slightly less unprecedented.

Alright, now I'm going to go and comment on everything that happens in the episode, going scene by scene for maximum SPOILERS, and I may even spoil earlier episodes too. Everything that aired after it is safe though.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Babylon 5 1-11: Survivors

Episode:11|Writer:Marc Scott Zicree|Air Date:04-May-1994

Looks like another goofy comedy episode this week.

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm watching Babylon 5 episode 11: Believers, at least that's what I wrote in the title box before I caught my mistake. It was cruel of them to put Believers and Survivors back to back like this, especially as they were filmed over a month apart.

I may have mentioned this already, but B5's first season was shot way out of order, with Survivors being produced immediately after Mind War and just before the season finale. In fact only three episodes in season one have an episode number that matches their production number: the abysmal Soul Hunter, the rubbish The War Prayer... and this one. I'm hoping that's the only thing this episode has in common with them.

Like always I'm going to screencap key moments from the episode and write SPOILERS under every one. But only episodes that aired before it will get spoiled, nothing that aired later.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 1-10: Move Along Home

Episode:10|Writers:Frederick Rappaport and Lisa Rich & Jeanne Carrigan-Fauci|Air Date:14-Mar-1993

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I've reached the halfway point of Deep Space Nine season 1 with Move Along Home, an early contender to be the worst episode of the whole run!

That's what the internet seems to think anyway. After two minutes of research I've discovered it sitting in almost every '10 Worst DS9 Episodes' list I've glanced at, usually near the top. It's not one of Avery Brooks' favourites, that much I'm sure of. Personally though my biggest problem with it at this moment is that title. I keep getting Move Along Home mixed up in my head with A Man Alone, even though I know the stories are about as different as you can get. But which of them will I ultimately hate more? You'll have to keep reading to find out.

The following text will contain SPOILERS for Move Along Home and perhaps earlier Star Trek episodes too, though I won't ruin anything that came after it.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Babylon 5 1-10: Believers

Episode:10|Writer:David Gerrold|Air Date:27-Apr-1994

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm writing under screencaps from Believers, an episode of Babylon 5.

In fact this is a divisive episode of Babylon 5 as that's what happens when you put science up against religion with a child's life on the line. Personally I don't remember hating it the last time I watched it but it's not really a topic I'm hyped to explore so I dunno. I probably just thought it was a bit slow and cheesy, like most stories in season 1.

The following text will contain big-ass SPOILERS for Believers and the season so far, but I won't even hint at anything that comes after it.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Doctor Who 9-09: Sleep No More

Episode:823|Serial:259|Writer:Mark Gatiss|Air Date:14-Nov-2015

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm going through the first genuinely stand-alone episode in Doctor Who series 9: Sleep No More.

This one was written by Mark Gatiss, whose stories tend to gather around the lower half of episode rankings, but the sites I checked couldn't even decide if The Unquiet Dead is one of his worst or his absolute best so what do they know? Personally I can't say where I'd rank that as I haven't seen the episode, but I liked Robot of Sherwood and Cold War well enough to be hopeful for this one.

Another fact about this episode is that it was put together by a director and it stars actors, but they're trying to downplay that due to it's 'found footage' horror gimmick. The first rule of found footage is to avoid starting your video with a list of the people playing the roles as it kind of gives away that it's fictional, so this is the only episode in 52 years of Doctor Who to skip the opening titles and jump right into the story! Probably. I haven't personally checked all 822 preceding episodes.

The second rule of found footage is that shaky-cam makes for crappy screencaps, so I'll apologise for that now.

My writing will contain SPOILERS for the entire episode and maybe earlier ones too, but I'll give away nothing of what is to come after it.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Star Trek

Written by:Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman |Directed by:J.J. Abrams|Release Date:2009

September 8th was the day that Star Trek: The Original Series first aired on US television back in 1966 (Canada got it two days earlier, but don't tell anyone), so today on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm celebrating its 50th birthday by sharing my thoughts on the movie Star Trek! Or 'J.J. Trek' or 'Star Trek 2009' or whatever you want to call it (the DVD volume label says it's Star Trek XI). The first Trek movie is called Star Trek: The Motion Picture, so they technically haven't given two films the same title here, but it's still unnecessarily confusing and I don't like it. What was so wrong with calling it Star Trek: The Force Awakens or something?

I love that they brought the old school font back though, as it looks great with that blinding J.J. Abrams lens flare. Some people aren't so keen on the lens flares though, or the fact that this is a prequel, or that it's a semi-reboot, or that it's an action movie... in fact a lot of things about it have aggravated certain fans. Critics on the other hand seem quite fond of the film, with Rotten Tomatoes reporting that 95% of movie reviewers recommended it, which means it's beating Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (88%), Star Trek: First Contact (92%) and The One with the Whales in it (85%)! That makes this the second most acclaimed movie on my site so far, after Aliens (98%).

Right, as usual I'm going to be taking screencaps from the DVD release and writing a bunch of SPOILERS underneath them for this film and maybe even those that came before it. Star Wars as well! Into Darkness and Beyond are 100% safe though.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Babylon 5 1-09: Deathwalker

Episode:9|Writer:Lawrence DiTillio|Air Date:20-Apr-1994

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm watching an episode of Babylon 5 that's genuinely called Deathwalker. That's a real screencap up there from a legitimate DVD, not an example of my incredible Photoshop skills.

Well they made a movie about a guy called Skywalker once and that turned out pretty well, so I'll give this the benefit of the doubt. I mean I've seen it before, I should already know what it's like, but it's been a while.

Chances are you already know that my writing past this point is going to be full of SPOILERS for this episode and the ones that came before it, and that I won't be saying a word about anything that aired after it. But I'll leave a warning anyway as it's better to be safe I reckon.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 1-09: The Passenger

Episode:9|Writer:Morgan Gendel & Robert Hewitt Wolfe and Michael Piller|Air Date:21-Feb-1993

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm back to Deep Space Nine season one. I've got this season box set sitting here, so I might as well watch it.

But first I need to fill this introduction section with interesting and relevant text! Okay The Passenger is the eighth episode of the series, but the first to start with 'The'. It doesn't have a stardate, but it probably comes after Dax, which was probably meant to take place far later in the season than it aired. Uh... the title is anagram of 'Strange Sheep', it's not the episode that guest stars Iggy Pop, and it was first shown on US television the day before Star Trek: The Next Generation visited the station for the only time in Birthright, Part I. Sorry, that's all I've got.

But before I spoil the hell out of this episode, remember that anything that aired before it is fair game for SPOILERS too. Not that there's really any continuity at this point.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Babylon 5 1-08: And the Sky Full of Stars

Episode:8|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:16-Mar-1994

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm ruining another episode of Babylon 5!

And the Sky Full of Stars is good long pretentious TV title and I like that. It's also a call back to the pilot movie The Gathering, where Commander Sinclair described his memories of fighting in humanity's last stand at the end of the Earth-Minbari War:
"The sky was full of stars and every star an exploding ship, one of ours."
So this episode had better have some actual continuity and perhaps even a revelation or two or else I'll... be extra snarky about the next one.

I wouldn't recommend reading any further if you haven't seen the episode yet and care about SPOILERS as I'll be going through every scene of it. In fact I'll likely end up spoiling earlier stories too, though I'll not say a word about later episodes.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Doctor Who 9-08: The Zygon Inversion

Episode:822|Serial:258|Writer:Peter Harness and Steven Moffat|Air Date:07-Nov-2015

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, the second half of another Doctor Who two parter.

The first half, The Zygon Invasion, was perhaps the most divisive episode of series 9 up to this point... or perhaps not, it's hard to tell. I've definitely read a lot of hate about it though, with people calling it tone deaf, xenophobic and generally not very good. Personally I thought it was watchable enough, when it wasn't being painfully stupid, but I've got higher hopes for The Zygon Inversion for two reasons:
  1. It's got Steven Moffat's name in the writing credits and he's generally pretty good at this.
  2. The word 'Inversion' makes me think that all is not what it appears, and that'd be a good thing in this case.
But before I give away my thoughts on the entire plot, here's a quick SPOILER WARNING for you. Warning, I'll be giving away the entire plot for this episode and spoiling some earlier episodes too. I won't say a word about anything that aired after it though.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Babylon 5 1-07: The War Prayer

Episode:7|Writer:D. C. Fontana|Air Date:09-Mar-1994

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm spoiling the episode The War Prayer, which comes right after the episode Mind War, around 17 years after Star Wars and 97 years after H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds. I can't actually think of anything else with 'war' in the title right now, I'm sorry. Well, except for the original Mark Twain short story that the title refers to.

Mark Twain left The War Prayer to be published after his death because of its controversial content, but it's basically about a church full of hyped up soldiers and their families praying for victory in their glorious war followed by a stranger reading out to them their unspoken prayer for all the horrors that come with it. So I'm guessing that the plot of this has something to do with that.

The War Prayer is the 7th episode of the first season, which is notable because it means I still have two thirds of season 1 left to get through after this. Still, I remember there being some great episodes scattered around the first year of the series, and this... probably isn't one of them.

I'll be writing SPOILERS for every scene of this episode so don't go any further if you care about that. In fact I'll be spoiling episodes that came before it too (but not the ones that came after).

Monday, 8 August 2016

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 1-08: Dax

Episode:8|Writer:D.C. Fontana and Peter Allan Fields|Air Date:14-Feb-1993

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm still working my way through the worst season of Deep Space Nine, which hasn't actually been that bad so far to be honest. It hasn't been all that great either though. It's just kind of existed, like the dull droning sound of a fusion reactor, with the occasional chat between Odo and Quark thrown in to make sure I was still paying attention.

Somehow I doubt Dax is going to break this streak, but I don't know, I can barely remember it. Though I do remember that it has the distinction of being the only Star Trek episode with just a main character's name as its title. There's Spock's Brain, Data's Day and Our Man Bashir (and Q-Less, but he's a guest star) but this is the only one with the name on its own. So now we're both stuck with knowing that.

Additional Dax facts: it originally aired on Valentines Day in the US, and it's legendary Trek writer D.C. Fontana's only episode of Deep Space Nine. Funny that she'd write the seventh episode of the series (it says 8 up there because Emissary counts twice), seeing as she'd go on to write the seventh episode of Babylon 5 as well. Another spooky B5/DS9 coincidence for you.

There will be SPOILERS for this episode and everything that led up to it, but what comes afterwards will remain unspoiled.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Doctor Who 9-07: The Zygon Invasion

Episode:821|Serial:258|Writer:Peter Harness|Air Date:31-Oct-2015

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm going through the Halloween 2015 episode of Doctor Who.

The Zygon Invasion was written by Peter Harness, the man who wrote either the worst or second worst episode of series 8, depending on who you talk to. Of course if you talk to enough people you'll eventually run into someone who actually really liked Kill the Moon, maybe even loved it! But that person isn't me.

I'm not going to judge a writer by one episode though, that'd be dumb. I'll wait until after I've seen this two-parter and judge him by three. Then maybe I'll be able to approach his later stories with some proper pessimism.

I'll be writing SPOILERS for the entirety of The Zygon Invasion and perhaps even a few things from earlier episodes too. Everything that aired afterwards on the other hand will remain wholly unspoiled.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Babylon 5 1-06: Mind War

Episode:6|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:02-Mar-1994

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm spoiling episode 6 of Babylon 5! I'm only one screencap in and I've already given away that it's called Mind War and that act one begins with a kind of dull looking establishing shot of the station. Again. It's a shame the producers didn't take some inspiration from other Warner Bros. shows like Batman: The Animated Series and Looney Tunes, and give each episode a unique painted title card to make my reviews look more interesting.

I can't actually remember what happens in the episode exactly, but I do know it has telepaths in, and I'm sure there'll be lots of exciting shots of people staring at each other intently, maybe even with their hands held out. That helps you aim the telepathic power you see.

So yeah there'll be all kinds of SPOILERS for this episode and maybe earlier ones too, but I won't even hint at how it fits into the grand arc of the series.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Star Trek: Discovery - Test Flight Teaser

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm writing about a minute long teaser! Because the first new Star Trek series in over a decade has finally gotten a name and a starship and I feel like nerding out about it dammit.

Star Trek: Discovery (that's 'DSC' for short, not 'STD'), is the sixth live action Star Trek TV series in 50 years, and the third to have the ship in the title. I really like the name 'Discovery' by the way, it's basically promising 'we're going to do exploration this time for real, honest!' It's a bit obvious maybe, but any starship that shares its name with a space shuttle is okay with me. As long as they don't call the computer 'HAL'.

We're back to the Prime Timeline again, meaning James T. Kirk has brown eyes, spaceships are too small to have their own brewery, and lights are typically placed in the ceiling rather than right in your face. Personally I would've been happy with a Kelvin Timeline series, but I'm way happier to know that the original universe isn't being dropped in favour of the new continuity. Those series happened! I watched them happen, I saw them happen, don't tell me they didn't happen!

Well okay you can tell me half of Voyager and the Ferengi episodes of Deep Space Nine didn't happen, I'd be cool with that. Anyway this will have SPOILERS... for a 1 minute teaser showing off a spaceship. Outside of that you're pretty much safe.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country - Special Edition

Star Trek 6 The Undiscovered Country title logo DVD
Written by:Nicholas Meyer and Denny Martin Flinn|Directed by:Nicholas Meyer|Release Date:1991

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm going through another Star Trek movie! But why write about so many Star Trek movies when there's a million other science fiction films in the world? Because it's the franchise's 50th anniversary this year! And it's also the US release date for the 13th Trek film, Star Trek Beyond.

So I figured to celebrate the release of the 50th anniversary film I'd go back 25 years and look at the 25th anniversary movie, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. This is the last Original Series film, the last Trek movie to have 'The' in the name, and the last time that Wrath of Khan writer/director Nicholas Meyer got to do any writing or directing for the franchise until the new TV series coming in 2017. Incidentally, Meyer intended Wrath of Khan to be called 'The Undiscovered Country', so the guy held onto that name for almost a decade before he finally had the clout to use it.

The last four Trek movies were produced by Harve Bennett, and he had a script written up for this sixth film that would make it a prequel, with the crew as young cadets at Starfleet Academy who steal a ship and go on an adventure! Which is a concept that burns my soul like sunlight burns a vampire. When the head of the studio shut that down Bennett left the franchise (and Paramount), and Nicholas Meyer came in to co-write a new story featuring the original actors, inspired by Leonard Nimoy's suggestion to base it around the fall of the Berlin Wall... in space! So that's what this is.

The following text will contain all kinds of SPOILERS for this movie and any Star Trek that preceded it. It shouldn't spoil anything made afterwards though, unless something's gone horribly wrong.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Doctor Who 9-06: The Woman Who Lived

Episode:820|Serial:257|Writer:Catherine Tregenna|Air Date:24-Oct-2015

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm going to be watching, commenting on, analysing, criticising and sharing every thought that strays into my brain about The Woman Who Lived. Series 9 has been split up into two-parters so far, and with this following an episode called The Girl Who Died I doubt it'll be the exception. But then again Girl didn't exactly end on a cliffhanger and this episode's by someone who's never written for the series before. Though Catherine Tregenna did write for the two worst series of Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood. Possibly a cause for concern, I don't know, I never watched the show.

On that topic, here's some shameful trivia for you: for whatever reason this is the first episode of Doctor Who in seven years to be written by a female writer. Plus my cursory research has revealed that it's only the 11th Doctor Who story credited to a woman in the series' entire 52 year run so far (that's over 250 serials). To make things worse, it seems a couple of those credits are lying, because apparently 2 of those 11 stories were actually written by men!

There may be SPOILERS for prior episodes and I'll definitely be spoiling this one, so be aware. Everything after it is safe though.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 1-07: Q-Less

Episode:7|Writer:Robert Hewitt Wolfe|Air Date:07-Feb-1993

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, it's a Deep Space Nine episode starring two Next Gen guest stars! I try not to spoil anything about an episode until after the Read on » but they've made that a little difficult for me this time by putting one of the characters under the title and the other one in it. It's Vash and Q btw.

Here's some trivia for you: omnipotent pain in the ass Q shows up in more Star Trek episode titles than any other character, and they're almost always a play on his name. Q-Less isn't the worst title the writers came up with (that'd probably be Hide and Q) but it's not a top-tier Q-pun like Déjà Q or The Q and the Grey. Or Next Generation episode Qpid, which this is a sequel to. We're already getting continuity in Deep Space Nine, it's just with another series.

There'll be a lot more SPOILERS beneath this point, for Q-Less, previous episodes of DS9 and relevant episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. But everything that aired afterwards is safe.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Babylon 5 1-05: Parliament of Dreams

Episode:5|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:23-Feb-1994

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I've made it 22.7% of the way through season one of Babylon 5!

The season hasn't been all that great so far, but I'm more hopeful about Parliament of Dreams. This was the first episode to be scripted after filming on the series began, so writer JMS had much better idea of how the actors were performing his characters, and could shape his words to fit their mouths.

Wait, why does this screencap look so familiar to me? Oh right, Born to the Purple used the same establishing shot to put its title over a couple of episodes ago... except it was a bit less pink back then. I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often to be honest. CGI's cheaper than filming models, but time spent rendering new stock shots is time they could better spend producing effects for the story.

This review is going to be a bit SPOILERY, as I'm going to reveal basically everything that happens in the episode, and maybe even a few things about what came before it, but I won't spoil a thing about what comes after it.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

Writer:Harve Bennett|Director:Leonard Nimoy|Release Date:1984

I've found Spock! He's right there in that coffin!

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm giving an action recap of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, directed by Spock. With Star Trek Beyond coming up this seemed like the right time to revisit the original third Trek movie.

First thing I've noticed is that the film's dropped the slightly rubbish looking hollow Star Trek II font and gone back to the iconic The Motion Picture typeface. In fact this logo would stick around until the end of Star Trek: Voyager in 2001, for everything but Star Trek: The Next Generation and its movies. Because they just had to be different.

Actually the first thing I noticed was that Search for Spock is an odd-numbered Trek movie, meaning that it has to be terrible. This curse actually does hold true with both critic and viewer ratings all the way up to the even-numbered Star Trek: Nemesis, which was so bad that it basically ended the film series (with Star Trek: Enterprise's ratings hammering the final nails into Trek's temporary coffin). But hopefully for the new movies the rule's been reversed, as Beyond's technically Star Trek 13 and it'll be nice if it doesn't entirely suck.

Alright, quick warning before I start: there'll be massive SPOILERS for Search for Spock and perhaps other Star Trek stories that came before it, but everything afterwards should be safe.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Doctor Who 9-05: The Girl Who Died

Episode:819|Serial:256|Writer:Jamie Mathieson and Steven Moffat|Air Date:17-Oct-2015

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm writing about The Girl Who Died, which is an entirely different episode to The Girl Who Waited (but likely not unrelated to The Woman Who Lived, which is coming up next).

Series 9 hasn't entirely won me over so far, but I'm hyped for this one just because of the talent involved. The best writer of modern Doctor Who teaming up with Steven Moffat, how can that not lead to awesome? Okay maybe I should wait until Mathieson writes more than two episodes before I declare him all-time champion of Doctor Who, especially as Moffat has crafted a formidable set of stories. But Moffat's been kind of hit and miss since taking the reins and Mathieson's two episodes were really good!

Oh, plus they've also got the former lead guitarist for The Vapors in the role of director. I've no idea if that's a good or bad thing, I just had to mention it.

Just so you know, I'll be filling my text with SPOILERS from start to finish, maybe even for Doctor Who episodes that came before this one. Episodes that aired after it are perfectly safe though, as this is actually my first time through the season.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 1-06: Captive Pursuit

Episode:6|Writer:Jill Sherman Donner and Michael Piller|Air Date:31-Jan-1993

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm going to be going through the fifth-ish episode of Deep Space Nine: Captive Pursuit.

This one's fairly well regarded I believe, for a season 1 episode. That's hardly a guarantee of quality, but it's an O'Brien story so I'm sure it'll be bearable enough. Bearable for me I mean; O'Brien himself will probably spend the whole thing tormented and miserable. Especially if his wife Keiko is in it.

Like always I'll only be writing SPOILERS for this episode and the ones that come before it, not the ones afterwards. So if you haven't seen Voyager, Enterprise, the Next Gen movies, the reboot films or the last 170 episodes of DS9 it's still perfectly safe to read on!

Man there's a lot of Star Trek.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Babylon 5 1-04: Infection

Episode:4|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:16-Feb-1994

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I’m spoiling Infection, which actually isn't Babylon 5's inevitable 'plague spreads through the station' episode, and involves precisely zero scenes of Dr. Franklin struggling to come up with a cure before it's too late! It should've been the plague episode though, because that's what Deep Space Nine's fourth episode was about too, and it'd would've given us another weird coincidence for the list.

Infection is chronologically the fourth episode, but it was the first written and filmed after The Gathering pilot movie, so it's probably a little shaky compared to the ones that aired before it. In fact a lot of fans consider this to be the worst of all B5 episodes, even worse than all the other episodes in season one! Personally I'm not sure what I think of it, because it's been ages since I last saw it, but I'll give it a fair chance to win me over.

I'll be writing SPOILERS for this episode and those that aired before it, but nothing that comes after. So if this episode somehow leads to any huge events down the line I'll keep my metaphorical mouth shut about what they are.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan - Director's Edition

Written by:Nicholas Meyer|Directed by:Nicholas Meyer|Release Date:1982

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm revisiting Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, considered by many to be one of the best Star Trek movies and considered by me to have one of the worst Trek movie title fonts.

The Director's Edition of the film finally got a rescanned and remastered Blu-ray release last week to replace the weirdly blue-tinted theatrical cut Blu-ray that's been around since 2009, but I'm going to be going through the fuzzy old 2002 Director's Edition DVD instead (mostly because it's what's on my shelf). Not that there's actually much difference between the theatrical and director's cuts though, and they definitely haven't pulled a Star Trek: The Motion Picture this time and added new effects shots (because the film doesn't need them).

I'm going to be giving away SPOILERS for this movie and things that came before it (the episode Space Seed for instance) but everything afterwards is safe. I do want to spoil one of the recent films, but I'll restrain myself.