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 DW 14-14: The Face of Evil, Part 2 

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Doctor Who (Classic) 14-14: The Face of Evil, Part 2

Episode:441|Serial:89|Writer:Chris Boucher|Air Date:08-Jan-1977

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I've got more Face of Evil for you.

This is the second episode of a four part serial from 1977, the year of Star Wars, starring Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor. Though they don't actually call him 'The Fourth Doctor' in the episode as that'd just be weird.

I'll be writing words under screencaps and some of those words will include SPOILERS for parts 1 and 2 (but not 3 and 4), so be warned. In fact I may even spoil some earlier episodes too if they're relevant.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Babylon 5 2-02: Revelations

Episode:24|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:09-Nov-1994

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures I thought I'd go crazy and watch an episode of Babylon 5 for a change.

Revelations is the second episode of the second season, it's written by creator J. Michael Straczynski, uh... Jim Johnston's the director, he's done some decent episodes. Hmm, not sure what else to write here. I hope it's good!

I'll be going through the whole episode in DVD screencaps and writing my commentary as I go, so this is going to have massive SPOILERS for both this story and earlier ones. Anything that happens afterwards is off-limits though, I won't even hint at where things are going from here.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Doctor Who (Classic) 14-13: The Face of Evil, Part 1

Episode:440|Serial:89|Writer:Chris Boucher|Air Date:01-Jan-1977

Doctor Who's finally returning to television today after taking a year off! But I can't review something that hasn't aired yet, so this week on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm taking the site back further than I've ever gone before, to an episode of Doctor Who older than Star Trek: The Motion Picture. It even predates Star Wars, though it's a close thing as they both came out in 1977, just a few months apart. Which means that they both have their 40th anniversaries this year! I wonder which of them has aged better.

The Face of Evil is the fourth serial in the Fourth Doctor's third year on the series, so it's from the middle of Tom Baker's run and the end of Philip Hinchcliffe's time as producer. I'm relatively new to Doctor Who, I jumped aboard when Steven Moffatt took the reins as in 2010, but I've heard that Baker's pretty decent in the role. In fact he's a lot of fans' all-time favourite Doctor and Hinchcliffe's era is apparently one of the best in the whole series, so this should theoretically be really bloody good. But Doctor Who often changes form to better fit its producer, like Star Trek changes with each new ship and crew, so this run is likely very different to what I'm used to and it's possible it just won't click with me.

Plus this is a four part serial, so that's kind of daunting. Sure each episode is only 25 minutes long, but that adds up to being a movie's worth of content I'm writing about here. I was originally planning to post all four parts on one day to get it over with, but then I took pity on us all and decided to do it weekly instead... in addition to the weekly reviews I'm doing for other series. It's my hope that someone somewhere will be happy about this.

Anyway I'm going to post screencaps and write commentary underneath, so you can expect massive SPOILERS for this episode and minor spoilers for earlier episodes (spoiler: Jon Pertwee turns into Tom Baker). But January 1977 is where I'm drawing the line. There's around 400 episodes that come after this one and I'm not going to assume you've seen them all yet, because I definitely haven't.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Babylon 5 2-01: Points of Departure

Episode:23|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:02-Nov-1994

I've decided that Sci-Fi Adventures needs more variety, so this year I'm planning to feature more TV series and cover less episodes of them. I can't watch entire 26 episode seasons of multiple series and fit them all into 12 months, there aren't enough hours and I write too slowly.

But I can watch 22 episodes of one series, so right now I'm committing myself to giving you reviews of Babylon 5 season two in its entirety, starting with Points of Departure!

I usually mention here that I'll be writing SPOILERS for this episode and earlier ones, but I should also point out that the DVD box art, the DVD menu, the DVD episode list and the region 1 DVD opening credits all spoil Delenn's condition after the events of the season one finale (I'm being as vague as I can here). So if you haven't see the series yet, you should probably wear a blindfold while purchasing, handling and watching season two DVDs, at least for the first couple of episodes.

Oh and stay way clear of the commentary tracks until you've seen the entire series, all five seasons of it.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Stargate: Director's Cut

Written by:Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin|Directed by:Roland Emmerich|Release Date:1994

Welcome to Ray Hardgrit's Sci-Fi Adventures, review number, uh, 70 I think. Wow, that's a lot higher than I thought it'd be, seeing as I took the last 6 weeks off. I should apologise for that by the way... but I won't. Because vanishing for months after a season finale is the most sci-fi thing in the world.

It's April 1st by the way, unless you're reading this in the future, which means that my little science fiction blog is a year old today! So this is basically the start of Sci-Fi Adventures Season Two, where the writing gets more confident, the ideas get less dumb, and the protagonist (me) grows a beard. Or maybe the production values will go to shit, the gimmicks will get more desperate, it'll end on clip show and then get cancelled.

I was trying to think of something special to watch for my season premiere, but then I remembered that I already announced my next review back in February, so instead I'm stuck watching the original 1994 Stargate movie! I'm saying it's the 'original' movie because it kicked the franchise off, and because I'm worried that someday Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin are finally going to get their sequel off the ground and we shall all bear witness to what the Stargate equivalent of Independence Day: Resurgence looks like. I'm not hyped.

I've only seen this film the once, back when it existed on its own without even a single spin-off series, and I don't remember being impressed. I don't remember disliking it either though. In fact I barely remember it at all, so I'm curious to rediscover what actually happens in this movie. Unfortunately I don't have the Blu-ray version, so I can't offer you the greatest of screencaps to go along with my commentary, but on the plus side I do have a cardboard DVD box that folds out into a pyramid! I'd show you a photo, but that means bending the flaps to slot it together and I don't really want to.

The following text will contain epic SPOILERS for the entirety of this movie, but I'm considering the TV series to be off-limits. Well I might mention some characters and drop terms like 'Jaffa' but nothing worse than that.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Babylon 5: Season 1 - Signs and Portents Review

Alright today on Sci-Fi Adventures it's Babylon 5's turn to get a season review, meaning that I've finally finished one whole season from each of the three series I started writing about in 2016!

The trouble with TV seasons, especially for older series, is that they're really bloody long. When they were airing once a week I didn't notice, I was more bothered by the huge gaps in between, but now that I'm looking back 22 episodes suddenly seems like a lot. That's like 15 hours of content! You could get through 4 Lord of the Rings movies in that time! But they're not sci-fi, so I won't.

I was thinking about writing a 'first season battle' article at some point, where I put the series I've been watching against each other to see which was luckiest not to get cancelled in the first year, but now I've spotted the flaw in that plan: it'll take so long to watch them that I won't remember them well enough to compare them. I mean it took me a year to get through B5 season 1 and I'm already struggling to hold all that data in my brain.

So this season review may contain SPOILERS for episodes like Midnight on the Firing Line, Chrysalis and everything in between, or it may not, depending on how much of it's still in my mind. I may even throw in some for the pilot film The Gathering, though I won't say a word about what happens after season 1.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Babylon 5 1-22: Chrysalis

Episode:22|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:03-Oct-1994

This is it. When I wrote about Babylon 5's pilot movie The Gathering back in April last year I also committed to rewatching all 22 episodes from season one along with it, but this is the last of them. Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm watching Babylon 5's first season finale, Chrysalis!

That's the same establishing shot of the station that Midnight on the Firing Line used under its title as well by the way, which kind of works as they bookend the season. Speaking of titles, this seems to be the only episode of Babylon 5 that shares a title with a Deep Space Nine episode (though B5's Between the Darkness and the Light and DS9's The Darkness and the Light come really close). B5's Chrysalis came first if you're wondering.

I'll be recapping the story and sharing my thoughts as I go so this'll have SPOILERS for Chrysalis and likely other first season episodes too, but I'll spoil nothing about what comes after so this'll be safe if you're on your first viewing. Though I wouldn't recommend listening to the DVD commentary on your first time through.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Season 1 Review

No episode here today on Sci-Fi Adventures, instead I'm going to write about the whole of Deep Space Nine's difficult first season, all 19 episodes of it, and I really hope I can remember something about them otherwise this is going to be a bit of a struggle.

Uh... Q getting punched, Rumpelstiltskin, allamaraine count to four, Sisko's insanity clock, computer dog, Troi's mother, jumja sticks... if I think hard enough some of it's coming back to me.

As this is a season review it's likely to contain some SPOILERS for everything from Emissary to In the Hands of the Prophets and possibly earlier Trek episodes too, so proceed with caution. I've already spoiled that Q gets punched, imagine what else I could end up ruining for you!

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 1-20: In the Hands of the Prophets

Episode:20|Writer:Robert Hewitt Wolfe|Air Date:20-06-1993

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm going to go through the final episode of Deep Space Nine's first season and write words underneath my screencaps. This is it, the end's in sight, I just have to clear these last 40 minutes or so and I'll have fulfilled the promise I made all the way back in my Emissary review to write about every episode in season one!

In the Hands of the Prophets is the first Deep Space Nine episode with 'Prophets' in the title. I wish I could say something like "when the word 'Prophet' appears in the title you know something huge is about to go down", but to be honest it only appears in three episodes titles throughout the entire seven year run, and one of them is a Ferengi episode. The writers resisted the prophet/profit pun for two and a half years, but in the end they were only human.

Plus this is the first Trek season since The Best of Both Worlds to not end on with part one of a two-parter. Voyager would later carry on Next Gen's tradition of making people suffer for months with a cliffhanger, but DS9 preferred to leave viewers with a feeling that next year shit's going to get even more real.

Alright I'm going to go through the whole damn episode and write anything that jumps into my mind along the way, so there will be SPOILERS for this story and other Trek episodes that came before it. I'll not spoil later seasons though.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Babylon 5 1-17: Legacies

Episode:17|Writer:D. C. Fontana|Air Date:20-Jul-1994

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm recapping and reviewing episode 17 of Babylon 5's first season, Legacies! I should be up to episode 21, but I already watched that one a while back because the internet told me to. The Lurker's Guide Master List page to be specific.

So this is where I'm at:
20 - Babylon Squared
21 - The Quality of Mercy
14 - TKO
17 - Legacies
22 - Chrysalis
I'm telling you this because I'll likely be throwing out SPOILERS for the earlier episodes as well, and when you move an episode right to the end of a season, everything becomes an earlier episode. But I'll not spoil a thing about the season finale Chrysalis or anything that comes after it, no matter how much I want to.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 1-19: Duet

Episode:19|Writer:Peter Allan Fields|Air Date:13-Jun-1993

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm up to the penultimate episode of DS9 season one!

Duet is the third episode of the season with Peter Allan Fields' name on it, following Dax and Progress, and it's got yet another one-word title! What is this, Voyager? Out of curiosity I checked his season two episodes and noticed that they all had two-word titles... until he ruined his streak with Crossover. And then he retired from his staff position as a producer, so no three-word titles for the third season.

I'm going to go through the whole episode, writing comments under screencaps, so you probably don't want to read any further unless you've already seen it. The episode's all about a mystery, so my SPOILERS could really do some damage to your enjoyment. I may also spoil events from earlier Star Trek episodes, but nothing that happens later.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Babylon 5 1-14: TKO

Episode:14|Writer:Larry DiTillio|Air Date:25-May-1994

They've finally chosen something more interesting than a stock space station shot to show the title over!

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm watching TKO, which is either the 14th or the 20th episode of Babylon 5's first season, depending on whether you're going off the US airing/DVD order or the Master List order found on the Lurker's Guide website.

Or you could follow the original UK airing order I suppose. TKO was considered to be too violent for Channel 4's usual 6pm slot, so it was delayed until 10.30pm... three months after the season finale. It aired so late that it was basically leading into season 2, as a trial to make sure only the truly faithful would stick around to witness B5's ascent to greatness.

Personally I've been following the Master List, which jumbles up the episode numbers like so:
20 - Babylon Squared
21 - The Quality of Mercy
14 - TKO
17 - Legacies
22 - Chrysalis
You might be wondering why you should care, considering that you can read my posts in any order you feel like. Well, when I recap and review an episode I don't just spoil the hell out of it, I also throw in SPOILERS for the episodes that came before it. If an episode gets pushed forward that means there's more behind it to potentially get spoiled.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

RoboCop: Director's Cut

Written by:Edward Neumeier & Michael Miner|Directed by:Paul Verhoeven|Release Date:1987

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, a low-budget science fiction movie with a silly title! I mean seriously, three vowels and all of them Os? It's ridiculous.

The writers tried to come up with something a bit less goofy and off-putting, but I'm glad they failed as personally I think the title's perfect, considering it's meant to be a brand name. I doubt that's a controversial opinion at this point though, as we've had three decades to get used to it. It's actually RoboCop's 30th anniversary later this very year and I wish I'd known this before telling everyone this was going to be the next thing I reviewed as I could've held onto it for a few more months and put it up on the day!

I love that logo they've got flying over future Detroit here as well, and I appreciate that they've made it obvious that the C is supposed to be capitalised so I know how I'm meant to type it. No space, big C, got it. Here's a fun fact for you: this is apparently the only shot in the movie that was filmed in actual Detroit and it's stock footage. The rest of the film was shot in Dallas (and a little bit in Pittsburgh) because it had a better skyline.

Okay, I'm going to recap this whole damn movie and share my thoughts as I go, so there will be SPOILERS ahead. I should mention that I've seen the film before, and the sequels, and the remake, and even a bit of one of the TV series, but I won't be spoiling anything that comes after this. Though I bought the trilogy on disc for a dollar (well, a pound) so I expect you'll get your spoilers someday.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 1-18: Dramatis Personae

Episode:18|Writer:Joe Menosky|Air Date:30-May-1993

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, the antepenultimate episode of Deep Space Nine season 1!

Dramatis Personae holds the honour of being the very first episode in Star Trek history to have a Latin phrase as its title (it refers to the cast of characters in a play). It's also the first DS9 episode by writer Joe Menosky, who didn't write a whole lot of DS9 but was considerably more prolific on Next Gen and co-wrote many of the big two-parters on Voyager with Brannon Braga. He skipped Enterprise, but he's currently on board Star Trek: Discovery as a staff writer.

I don't like a lot of his Next Gen episodes but I do like a number of his Voyager stories so I'm not sure what I'm going to think about this. Maybe the story's way better than I remember it being. Maybe it's saved by some great character scenes. Or maybe it's a season one episode and I shouldn't get my hopes up.

I'm going to recap and review the episode as I go so there'll be many many SPOILERS below, including ones for earlier Trek episodes no doubt. But the 400-something episodes that came after it are safe.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Babylon 5 1-21: The Quality of Mercy

Episode:21|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:17-Aug-1994

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm rewatching The Quality of Mercy, the penultimate episode of Babylon 5 season one! But the Lurker's Guide Master List claims that it fits better before TKO and Legacies as they have more of a connection to the season finale, and I'm willing to go with that.

So this is how the end of season one looks to me:
20 - Babylon Squared
21 - The Quality of Mercy
14 - TKO
17 - Legacies
22 - Chrysalis
I'm tempted to change my mind and put it back to the airing order so that I don't have to watch TKO at all... but TKO aired after Chrysalis in the UK so either way I can't escape it!

I'll be recapping the whole episode and throwing in my comments along the way, but I'll also be throwing in SPOILERS for earlier episodes so be warned. Everything that comes after it is safe though, even TKO, not that it's really possible to spoil that any worse that it already is.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 1-17: The Forsaken

Episode:17|Writer:Don Carlos Dunaway and Michael Piller|Air Date:23-May-1993

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I've reached the final disc of my Deep Space Nine season 1 DVD set! The finish line is within sight. But first I need to make it through... a Lwaxana Troi episode.

The Forsaken is the first of three Lwaxana Troi episodes on DS9 and I'm surprised to have reached it so early; I didn't think she appeared until season 2 or 3. In fact I'm surprised she shows up on the series at all, considering how tied the character is to her daughter Deanna Troi, who was making appearances on every Trek series besides DS9.

It could've been worse though. In the series bible Lwaxana's listed as one of the recurring characters, alongside Jake, Nog, Keiko and Gul Dukat! Though the actress, Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, has made at least five appearances in the series so far... playing the computer on board Starfleet ships.

I'm going to be recapping and reviewing the whole episode, with big screencaps everywhere, so there will be SPOILERS. For this episode and some of the ones that have come before it (perhaps including Next Gen eps). But I won't say a word about what happens afterwards, aside from just then when I mentioned how many episodes Lwaxana was in, and that Deanna shows up in everything.