Recent Posts

 SGA 1-01: Rising 
 B5 2-09: The Coming of Shadows 
 DS9 2-05: Cardassians 
 The Orville 1-03: About a Girl 

Friday, 22 September 2017

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 2-05: Cardassians

Episode:25|Writer:James Crocker|Air Date:24-Oct-1993

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm writing about an episode of Deep Space Nine that's probably about Cardassians.

I won't bore you with a long introduction this time. Just be aware that I'll be recapping the whole episode and referring back to earlier Star Trek episodes, so there'll be massive SPOILERS. You'll not see any spoilers for episodes aired afterwards through (Star Trek or otherwise).

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

The Orville 1-02: Command Performance (Quick Review)

Episode:2|Writer:Seth MacFarlane|Air Date:17-Sep-2017

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I've got another super-rushed first draft quick review for you! No screencaps, no recap, just opinions and SPOILERS.

I'm not sure how long I'm going to keep writing about Orville episodes, especially with Discovery joining it soon, but I had to give my two pennies' worth on how the first normal episode turned out. Like the pilot, it's written by Seth MacFarlane, but this time he's got the guy who played Tom Paris on Star Trek: Voyager in to direct!

Robert Duncan McNeill switched to directing a long while back and has worked on series like Enterprise, Supernatural, and especially Chuck, so he's a good choice, but I can't help but think that the producers were going for Star Trek names deliberately to give the series some credibility and lure in the fans. My first clue was that the next three episodes are directed by Brannon Braga (long time Trek writer), James L. Conway (long time Trek director) and Jonathan Frakes (long time Riker).

Okay, it's all spoilers and criticism below this point, so don't go any further unless you've seen the episode already or don't care.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Babylon 5 2-09: The Coming of Shadows

Episode:31|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:01-Feb-1994

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm watching the Hugo Award winning Babylon 5 episode The Coming of Shadows. It won the award for 'Best Dramatic Presentation' in 1994, back when individual TV episodes had to fight it out in the same category as blockbuster movies. So this didn't just take down beloved Deep Space Nine episode The Visitor, but also 12 Monkeys, Apollo 13 and Toy Story! Damn, that's a lot of movies and series with a number in their title. Also a lot of Tom Hanks.

Just to put that win in context, previous winners include: Jurassic Park, Terminator 2, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Aliens, Back to the Future, Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Blade RunnerA Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Trek's The City on the Edge of Forever. So I'm expecting this to be at least as good as all of those.

Man, I love listing things; it saves me from having to actually think about the words that I'm writing. Anyway, this episode was written by J. Michael Straczynski and directed by Janet Greek, who'd already given us stories like Points of Departure, Signs and Portents and Chrysalis by this point, just to pick a few names from the very top of my episode rankings. So it'd be fair to say they'd assembled B5's A-Team for this one. Well, except for Dwight Schultz; he'll not be participating as a guest star this time (or ever again).

I'm going to be recapping the whole episode with screencaps and writing my thoughts underneath, so there'll be maximum SPOILERS past this point. I'm sure I'll end up spoiling things from earlier episodes too, but I'll not say a thing about what happens after (though I can't promise the episode itself won't reveal a few things about what's to come).

Monday, 11 September 2017

The Orville 1-01: Old Wounds (Quick Review)

Episode:1|Writer:Seth MacFarlane|Air Date:10-Sep-2017

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I've got a surprise mini-review of The Orville's brand new pilot episode for you!

The Orville is a live action sci-fi comedy drama series by Family Guy and American Dad creator Seth MacFarlane, starring himself as the captain of the U.S.S. Orville, a starship on a mission to boldly go and discover some new worlds and civilizations and stuff. I've read a lot of reviews by folks who've already seen the first three episodes and they weren't exactly kind to the series, but I'm still a little optimistic. I've often thought that it's a shame that talented Star Trek fans always go to so much trouble to replicate the classic series exactly with their fan films, when they could go for 'close enough', drop the name, and make some money for their hard work, and now it seems MacFarlane's done exactly that! Plus he got Iron Man/Zathura director Jon Favreau to direct the pilot, which seems like a smart idea.

Alright, this is going to be a super-rushed next-day quick review with no recap, few screencaps and no second draft, but there will still be a few mild SPOILERS scattered around. I won't spoil the whole plot for you this time though, or the jokes (the trailer beat me to it).

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 2-04: Invasive Procedures

Episode:24|Writer:John Whelpley and Robert Hewitt Wolfe|Air Date:17-Oct-1993

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm writing about more Deep Space Nine. Season 2, episode 4: Invasive Procedures, to be precise.

The series' second season kicked off with a big flashy three-parter with a phaser fight every episode, plus location shoots, Odo morphs, an elaborate dogfight sequence, stuntmen falling off cliffs... it was basically a two-hour apology for season one. But those kinds of episodes come at a cost, and in this case, the cost was money, so I expect these next few stories are going to be on the cheap side. Though they did pay to put a smokey space-fog background behind the station this week, which is cool.

We're also done with serialisation for a while, probably because certain people in certain positions of authority wanted to keep everything contained to single episodes that could be watched in any order. To be fair though this was still a fair few years before DVD season box sets and Netflix, and the ridiculously expensive VHS tapes only had 2 episodes on.

Anyway, I'm going to sharing screencaps of the whole episode and writing down my thoughts underneath, so there's going to be massive SPOILERS past this point. Plus I'll probably end up spoiling something from an earlier episode of Trek along the way, but nothing from anything that came after this. As far as I'm concerned it's October 1993 right now, and I don't even know what a DVD or a Netflix even is.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Babylon 5 2-07: Soul Mates

Episode:29|Writer:Peter David|Air Date:14-Dec-1994

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm watching episodes out of DVD order again, as I've left Soul Mates until after A Race Through Dark Places. They aired the other way around in the US, as the network wanted to move an episode to an earlier air date and Race's VFX shots wouldn't have been finished in time, but this is their correct production and story order.

Why does it matter to you what order I'm watching the episodes in? Well it affects the SPOILERS you're going to be getting, as I avoid spoiling things that happen in later episodes, for the sake of people who haven't seen the rest of the series yet (or have forgotten it all), but as far as I'm concerned Race Through Dark Places has already been and gone, and is now fair game. Also, I'm going to recap this whole episode as I give my thoughts about it, so I'll be spoiling the hell out of it too.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Stargate: Atlantis 1-01: Rising

Episode:1-2|Writer:Robert C. Cooper & Brad Wright|Air Date:16-Jul-2004

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm writing about another epic feature-length Stargate spin-off series pilot episode! They didn't put an episode title on screen for me to screencap, but my sources (the DVD box) tell me that it's called Rising.

My sources also tell me that it was co-written by two guys who'd been there since the start of Stargate SG-1: Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper. Wright was its co-creator and Cooper came up with a lot of the backstory of the universe. It's been a long while since I've seen this episode and I can't remember if it's any good, but if anyone's got a handle on the convoluted mythology it's them.

It's definitely not me, as I'd stopped watching SG-1 for a long while by the time the spin-off started and I never got caught up with it. I skipped the entire 'search for the Lost City' arc, the blonde Dr. Weir episodes and, well I don't actually know what I've skipped... because I skipped it. Which may be a bit of a problem for me, seeing as Rising first aired the week after the SG-1 season 8 premiere New Order and picks up the story where it left off.

It aired in July 2004, ten years after the Babylon 5 and Deep Space Nine episodes I've been writing about lately, so that puts Stargate Atlantis in the Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who era of sci-fi television, where bringing back old series that died in the 80s was apparently in fashion. Meanwhile, Andromeda and Enterprise were about to start their final seasons, Firefly and Farscape fans were still holding out for some kind of ending, and Revenge of the Sith was just a year away from bringing the Star Wars prequel trilogy to a conclusion.

I'll be recapping the whole story and writing my comments as I go, so this will basically be wall to wall SPOILERS for the episode. I might even spoil a few things about earlier Stargate SG-1 episodes, but probably not much because... well, I didn't watch all that much.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 2-03: The Siege

Episode:23|Writer:Michael Piller|Air Date:10-Oct-1993

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm back to Deep Space Nine, watching second season episode The Siege, which is something entirely different to seventh season episode The Siege of AR-558 and should definitely not be mixed up with third season episode The Search... even though that's what I accidentally ended up writing on my notes.

The Siege is the dramatic conclusion to the 'The' trilogy, following on from The Homecoming and The Circle (I suppose you could also call it 'The Circle trilogy' if you want to be a soulless minion of orthodoxy). I can't see any strange Babylon 5/Deep Space Nine coincidences to mention here, but slightly space-stationy Stargate spin-off Stargate: Atlantis also starts its second season with an epic three-parter that's resolved with an episode called The Siege, so that seems like something worth mentioning.

The episode's by writer/producer Michael Piller and director Winrich Kolbe, the folks who kicked off Next Gen's first good season with the episode Evolution and would later work on Voyager's pilot Caretaker, so they've brought out the big guns on this one. Doesn't mean that it's going to be good, they've made a lot of crap between the two of them too, but I'm hopeful.

Okay, I'll be recapping the episode and writing my commentary under fuzzy DVD screencaps, so there'll be massive SPOILERS. In fact I'll probably end up spoiling things from other Star Trek stories too, but only ones that came before it. Anything released after 10th October 1993 is safe.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Babylon 5 2-08: A Race Through Dark Places

Episode:30|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:25-Jan-1995

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm back to Babylon 5 season two, writing about A Race Through Dark Places. My DVD's telling me I should be watching Soul Mates now, but I'm following the Lurker's Guide Master List which reorganises the stories into a more chronologically logical order, and it says that A Race Through Dark Places was always meant to come first.

What happened was the network, PTEN, planned to finish off 1994 with six new season two B5 episodes in a block (following straight on from the season one finale Chrysalis, which had been held back two months because... I don't even know why.) But then they decided to increase the block to seven episodes and Race Through Dark Places just wasn't going to be ready in time, so Soul Mates was aired in its place. They were aired in the correct order for me in the UK though... eventually.

Anyway the end result of this schedule shifting is that this is the first episode of Babylon 5 to air in 1995. It also means that there's another weird Babylon 5/Deep Space Nine coincidence for the ever-expanding list: both series aired exactly 29 episodes during their first year, which is a ridiculous number. Especially as one of DS9's episodes was feature length.

If you're wondering what else was going on in 1995, it was the year that Voyager, Sliders and Space: Above and Beyond started. Also they're not science fiction, but it says here on the internet that Hercules and its spin-off Xena both got a series this year and that's weird. Meanwhile in cinemas, sci-fi movie fans got to enjoy Johnny Mnemonic, Species and Sylvester Stallone's Judge Dredd. Yay.

Warning: I'll be sharing SPOILERS for this episode with my words and screencaps, and earlier episodes are fair game for spoilers too (aside from Soul Mates). I won't spoil anything that comes after though.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 2-02: The Circle

Episode:21|Writer:Peter Allan Fields|Air Date:03-Oct-1993

This month on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm watching The Circle, which is the very first episode of Deep Space Nine to have a 'previously on' clip at the start. That's because it's the second part of the The Homecoming, though you wouldn't know it from the title.

Up until this point, two-parters in Star Trek have been clearly labelled, so we've had The Menagerie, Part II, The Best of Both Worlds, Part II, Chain of Command, Part II etc. and Voyager would later continue the tradition. DS9 just had to be different though... except for the couple of times when it wasn't.

This is Peter Allan Fields' first story for the series after Duet last year, which was an oasis of awesome in that desolate wasteland of a season. I'm hoping that this is a: better, and b: pretty average for season two, because the series could really use a sharp increase in quality.

I'll be recapping the whole episode with beautiful SD screencaps from the Region 2 DVDs and throwing in some of my commentary along the way. This means that there'll be SPOILERS for the whole episode and I'm considering anything else with the Star Trek name on it released before October '93 to be fair game too. I won't spoil what comes after though... or things that came before in prequel.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Babylon 5 2-06: Spider in the Web

Episode:28|Writer:Lawrence DiTillio|Air Date:07-12-1994

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I'll be figuratively talking all over Babylon 5 episode Spider in the Web (or A Spider in the Web according to the DVD box). I wouldn't worry about seeing any actual spiders turn up though judging by the current run of episode titles, as A Distant Star had nothing to do with stars, distant or otherwise, The Long Dark only lasted 42 minutes, and The Geometry of Shadows had a disappointing absence of... geometry.

This is the first episode of season two to be written by executive story editor Larry DiTillio and I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. The guy's episodes were all over the place on my entirely subjective season one rankings, as I placed Eyes up near the top, and TKO and Born to the Purple way way down at the bottom. But only one person wrote more Babylon 5 episodes than DiTillio and that's creator JMS himself, though after this I've only got two more stories of his left to watch before his boss took ever entirely.

It's also the first episode of any season to be directed by Kevin G. Cremin and I'm not sure if that's a good thing either. Though after scrolling through the episode list and checking out the other four stories he directed I'm thinking that signs are promising.

I'll be writing commentary under screencaps from the DVD, so there'll be SPOILERS here for this whole episode and probably a few of the ones that lead up to it. That's as far as the spoilers go though, I'll not give away anything that happens afterwards.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 2-01: The Homecoming

Episode:21|Writer:Ira Steven Behr|Air Date:26-Sep-1993

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm watching the first episode of Deep Space Nine season 2! It's also the first part of the first three-parter in Star Trek history, and the first multi-part story in the franchise where each part has a different title.

It's not the first episode by Ira Steven Behr though, as he wrote that bloody The Nagus episode last season. But that's fine, even the best writers have their off days. Though if I ever see more than three Ferengi on screen at once I'm turning it off.

I'll be screencapping the entire episode and writing my thoughts underneath as I go, so expect SPOILERS. I'm considering any Star Trek episode made before it to be fair game, but I won't be spoiling anything that aired after it.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Babylon 5 2-05: The Long Dark

Episode:27|Writer:Scott Frost|Air Date:30-Nov-1994

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures it's episode 27 of Babylon 5! I'm going to watch it, take some screencaps and write stuff underneath them, same as usual. Well rewatch it really, as I've seen this whole series before.

The Long Dark is both the first and last Babylon 5 episode written by a guy called Scott Frost who I know nothing about. Wikipedia tells me he wrote two episodes of Twin Peaks, which may be a good sign, and two episodes from the last seasons of Andromeda, which probably isn't. It's also the first episode directed by Mario Di Leo, who didn't do a whole lot of B5 either.

There will be SPOILERS past this point for this episode and earlier ones, but I won't spoil anything that comes after it. Though I might spoil a tiny bit about the movie Aliens.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Stargate: SG-1 1-01: Children of the Gods, Part 2

This is the second and final part of my Children of the Gods article. You can go to part one by clicking the text that says 'part one' here: Part one.

Beware of SPOILERS for both this episode and the movie.

Stargate: SG-1 1-01: Children of the Gods, Part 1

Episode:1|Writer:Jonathan Glassner & Brad Wright|Air Date:27-Jul-1997

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm kicking myself for not realising that it'll be Stargate SG-1's 20th anniversary this year! If I'd held onto this post for another month it would've worked out perfectly, but I already promised I'd write about this next and I'm two weeks late, so I decided to click publish on it today and hope I do better with the next anniversary.

What else came out in 1997 anyway? It seems like it was a good year for fantasy movies to get their own wildly successful semi-faithful TV franchises, as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Stargate SG-1 both kicked off within a few months of each other. I have to admit that I'm more of a Buffy fan, but Buffy's about vampires and Stargate's about stargates so this is the one I'm writing about on my sci-fi site. Other science fiction series starting in '97 include Deepwater Black, Earth: Final Conflict and Timecop and I've got even better reasons for not writing about them. Meanwhile Star Trek: Deep Space Nine finished off its 5th season, Babylon 5 got done with year 4 and Voyager wrapped up season 3.

They may have chosen the least exciting shot possible to put the title over, but Children of the Gods is the beginning of an epic TV franchise to rival Star Trek, that lasted for 354 episodes and 2 DVD movies! It also rivals Star Wars with how much it got screwed with years after the fact, as co-creator Brad Wright decided to have it re-cut to replace visual effects, tighten up the storytelling, restore the original Joel Goldsmith score and use a slightly more exciting shot for the title. Oh plus his revised Final Cut also removes the nudity that Showtime apparently made them put in, because it didn't exactly suit the family friendly 90s TV sci-fi tone they were going for.

But I don't have the Final Cut, so I'm watching whatever version came in my season one DVD box set, and I'll be writing all kinds of SPOILERS as I go. I'll also be spoiling the Stargate movie, but I won't say a word about what happens in the rest of the series. Or any other series.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Babylon 5 2-04: A Distant Star

Episode:26|Writer:D.C. Fontana|Air Date:23-Nov-1994

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm continuing my descent into season 2 of Babylon 5 with the fourth episode: A Distant Star.

This is the first episode this season written by someone other than creator J. Michael Straczynski and the last B5 script from OG Star Trek veteran D.C. Fontana. There'll be a lot of 'last script's coming up over the next few months, as the series became too serialised for outside writers to produce standalone stories any more. That seems like a strange situation seeing as modern serialised TV series are written by multiple writers just fine, but I guess most of them haven't got an elaborate five year arc planned out in advance.

Okay what I'll be doing here is taking a few screencaps from the episode and then writing my commentary underneath, so this will include SPOILERS for the entire episode. I'll also be talking about the episodes leading up to it, so there'll be spoilers for them too. But as far as I'm concerned it's November 1994 right now so I can't say anything about what's coming next.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope

Written by:George Lucas|Directed by:George Lucas|Release Date:1977

I've been writing about science fiction for just over a year now, but this week on Sci-Fi Adventures I face my greatest challenge yet: trying to find something even slightly original to say about Rogue One 2: The Star Wars, also known as Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. Or just Star Wars.

The 'Episode IV - A New Hope' bit was added in a theatrical re-release later, but then everyone knows that already. Everyone already knows everything about this bloody movie! There's been essential guides and technical manuals and visual dictionaries and Wookiepedias and Plinketts and podcasts analysing every minute of it, every frame of it, for 40 years now (happy birthday Star Wars!) So it wouldn't come as a huge shock to me if you know more about the movie than I do.

I'm definitely a Star Wars fan, but I've never been obsessed with it to the level that some people are. I've never bought action figures or gone to conventions. I didn't even watch the films in the right order! My introduction to the series was Return of the Jedi, then I watched (some of) Empire Strikes Back, and then Spaceballs. In fact I was probably playing the games before I saw the movie itself. I've put more hours into TIE Fighter and the Jedi Knight series than any of the films.

Though I'm sure I must have seen A New Hope at least of three times by this point. First I rented it on VHS, then I saw the Special Edition in widescreen at the cinema in '97, then I watched the 2004 DVD version a year or so back. So the movie keeps changing every time I see it and that's just weird.

Alright, this is a two hour movie so I'm going to be showing off an absurd amount of screencaps and providing my dumb commentary under each one as I go through the film. Here's something I've noticed already: the Star Wars logo text isn't hollow, the letters are filled in black. Man if I can demonstrate this level of startling insight all the way through maybe there's a chance I can pull this off!

It should be fairly obvious that this will be filled with SPOILERS for Star Wars: Episode IV, but it might come as a surprise that I won't be spoiling anything made after it. So no spoilers for Empire, the prequels, or Rogue One. Some people think that insanely popular 37 year old movies are fair game for spoilers, but that's not how I do things.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Star Trek: Discovery - First Look Trailer

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm writing about that Star Trek: Discovery first look trailer! It's not my normal thing to write about trailers and I don't plan to make a habit of it, but I shared my thoughts about that Comic Con teaser last year so it seems wrong somehow not to follow up on it now that we have some actual footage, with actors and uniforms and everything.

Here's my first insightful observation: they've glued the badge back together again. This is good because I imagine it'd be awkward pinning two halves of a badge to your uniform and getting them to line up right. The weird font remains the same though, despite the fact that someone's clearly taken an axe to it in anger.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Doctor Who (Classic) 14-16: The Face of Evil, Part 4

Episode:443|Serial:89|Writer:Chris Boucher|Air Date:22-Jan-1977

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm finally done with The Face of Evil! Well I will be after I get through this last episode.

I'm just glad it wasn't a six part serial. Not that I haven't been enjoying it so far, I just don't think I'd enjoy it much further. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of serialisation, I just prefer it when things aren't dragged on longer than they need to be. For instance I was watching a Star Trek: The Motion Picture edit a few hours ago that got the run time down from 132 minutes to 22, and that was a massive improvement! Plus putting the Tron: Legacy soundtrack over it also helped somehow... I'm getting off topic now.

I'll be screencapping this whole episode and writing my thoughts underneath, so there will be SPOILERS for the whole serial and maybe even earlier episodes too. I won't ruin anything that comes afterwards though.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Babylon 5 2-03: The Geometry of Shadows

Episode:25|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:16-Nov-1994

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm ankle deep into the second season of cult sci-fi epic Babylon 5, watching the third episode: The Geometry of Shadows.

The title makes it seem like it should be a big episode in the overall arc, seeing as the season is called The Coming of Shadows, but I don't think that's the case. In fact I've got a strong feeling that this is the one with the wizards and the eternal conflict of green vs. purple. Either way I'm sure it'll be watchable as it's the first episode to be directed by Mike Vejar, who became one of the series' top tier directors. I'm expecting interesting shots this time and I'll be disappointed if I don't get them.

This is yet another episode written by series creator J. Michael Straczynski, but he took a break after this one to let other writers like D.C. Fontana and Peter David have a turn. They came a time where he went entirely insane and decided to write all 22 episodes each year by himself, but at this point he was only writing half of them, like in season one. So he was only half crazy.

Alright I'm going to take screencaps and write my commentary underneath, so expect SPOILERS for everything up to and including this episode. Speaking of spoilers and commentary, this is one of the few episodes to actually get a DVD commentary track, by actors Bruce Boxleitner, Jerry Doyle and Claudia Christian (the full command staff). It pretty good if you want to hear three people joking around and enjoying themselves for 40 minutes while saying very little about what they're watching, but they do mention a few things about later episodes, so you should probably stay well clear if you haven't seen the entire five years yet.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Doctor Who (Classic) 14-15: The Face of Evil, Part 3

Episode:442|Serial:89|Writer:Chris Boucher|Air Date:15-Jan-1977

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, you've been blessed with my thoughts about the penultimate chapter of The Face of Evil, a Tom Baker story from the 14th series of classic Doctor Who. That sounds like a lot, but we'd be up to the 36th series right now if they hadn't reset the numbering (or the 54th if it hadn't taken a few years off), so 14 is still pretty early. I guess the fact that Baker's the 4th of 12 Doctors kind of gives that away.

I'll be writing my commentary underneath screencaps from the episode, so there'll be SPOILERS for the first three parts of the serial and perhaps earlier episodes too. I won't spoil anything that comes after though, not even if I want to.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Batman: The Animated Series 1-38: Heart of Steel

Episode:38-39|Writer:Brynne Stephens|Air Date:16-Nov-1992

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm watching both parts of Heart of Steel, from the legendary Batman: The Animated Series! It's taken me over a year but I'm finally writing about a cartoon.

The story spans episodes 38 and 39 from the show's first season, and those numbers are clearly much too big. The season actually had 65 episodes in total (the minimum needed for syndication) and that's an insane amount to air in one year. They had to outsource production to a half-dozen different animation houses to get it done, most of them anime studios in Japan. It's funny just how many Western cartoons were animated by the same folks who made things like Akira or Cowboy Bebop.

You might be wondering what a Batman cartoon is doing on a science fiction site. Well... the series is clearly an examination of how society would be affected by the presence of handheld grapnel guns. Plus have you seen his computer? I bet you could run Quake on that thing with all the settings maxed out. Also it's been a long while since I've watched this particular story, but I'm fairly sure you'll be seeing robots show up at some point.

Though the real reason I'm watching it is because it means I get to show an actual title card for once! Shame it's a bit rubbish. I can't even tell what I'm looking at here; a PC tower case with horns?

Alright I'll be recapping and screencapping both episodes in their entirety so there will be massive SPOILERS. But I won't be spoiling anything that comes after it in either Batman or the DC animated universe as a whole.

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.