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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.