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 DS9: Sanctuary 
 B5: And Now For a Word 
 Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 

Saturday, 23 December 2017

The Orville: Season 1 Review

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm taking a break from reviewing episodes to review an entire season! I'm doing this earlier than expected because Fox went and stole an episode then carried it off to season 2, so it turned out to be a 12 episode run instead of the promised 13. I'm fairly sure the missing episodes counts as being part of next season though and it's not going to be a really late season 1 finale; either way it's missed its chance of being included here.

I'm calling this a season review, but as there's only one season so far I'll probably end up talking more about what I think of The Orville is as a series. Fortunately I've been doing that in my individual episode reviews along the way, so I should be able to get away with just copy and pasting a few paragraphs over and rephrasing them a bit. No one's going to notice.

This may contain SPOILERS for everything in season one from Old Wounds to Mad Idolatry, but I won't go crazy and start spoiling Star Trek: Discovery as well. Even though I want to, because c'mon the two series are crying out for a proper comparison. It's like Deep Space Nine vs. Babylon 5 all over again right now, except more so.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

The Orville 1-12: Mad Idolatry (Quick Review)

Episode:12|Writer:Seth MacFarlane|Air Date:07-Dec-2017

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm writing about The Orville's first season finale: Mad Idolatry. Nice title, I like it.

This is the 8th episode to be written by creator Seth MacFarlane and the 4th to be directed by Brannon Braga, and that seems like a lot seeing that this season only has 12 episodes in it. It should've had 13 but one of them's been held back until next season, presumably so that they weren't stuck with a single episode left over to air after Christmas. The episode's production code is 1LAB13 so I'm guessing this the intended season finale and it's episode 12 that's been moved, but I don't know for sure. Fortunately it doesn't actually matter and no one really cares; it's not a continuity-heavy series.

Beware of SPOILERS beyond this point.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 2-09: Second Sight (Quick Review)

Episode:29|Writer:Mark Gehred-O'Connell & Ira Steven Behr and Robert Hewitt Wolfe|Air Date:21-Nov-1993

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm starting to think they should've given Colm Meaney some sci-fi googles before setting off sparks right in his face.

I'm up to episode 29 of Deep Space Nine, the second season's Second Sight, which is the first episode to feature Ira Steven Behr and Robert Hewitt Wolfe writing together as a team. The two of them together would later give us some of the very best episodes of the whole series... and a bunch of those crappy Ferengi episodes too. There's no Ferengi in this one, but I remember hating it anyway, so I'm going to be lazy and only give it a quick review, without the long recap.

There'll still be SPOILERS though, for this and earlier episodes of Star Trek, so consider yourself forewarned.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

The Orville 1-11: New Dimensions (Quick Review)

Episode:11|Writer:Seth MacFarlane|Air Date:30-Nov-2017

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm finally writing words about New Dimensions, the 216th episode of The Orville to be written by series creator and lead actor Seth MacFarlane. Well actually it's only his 7th, but seeing as this is episode 11 that's still a lot.

The episode was directed by script supervisor Kelly Cronin, who hadn't done a whole lot of directing before this, but then neither had Brannon Braga and he's done alright with the 216 Orville episodes he's helmed so far. Well actually it's probably more like, I dunno... 3? I can't be bothered to check.

Anyway there's going to be SPOILERS below this point, for this episode and earlier ones, as I'll be assuming that everyone reading has either seen the episode or doesn't care.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Babylon 5 2-13: Hunter, Prey

Episode:35|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:01-Mar-1995

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm rewatching a Babylon 5 episode called Hunter, Prey.

I've never much liked the title of this one, it feels lazy somehow. Plus it's probably a quote from some poem I've never heard of, and I hate poetry almost as much as I hate it when television makes me feel ignorant!

Anyway, the following text will contain SPOILERS for this episode and the ones that preceded it, as I'm going to be doing a full recap with screencaps. But I'll not mention a thing about what's to come, so if you're a first-time viewer you don't have to worry about me ruining everything for you.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 2-08: Necessary Evil

Episode:28|Writer:Peter Allan Fields|Air Date:14-Nov-1993

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm writing about Deep Space Nine's Necessary Evil, by writer Peter Allan Fields and director James L. Conway. I'm mentioning those names because they happen to be the same ones you'll find in the credits for season one's Duet, which is maybe the best episode so far. In fact looking at the other stories they'd later work on separately (Way of the Warrior, For the Cause, In the Pale Moonlight for instance) it seems like neither of them really understood how to make a bad episode.

Though I did watch an episode of The Orville that Conway directed a few weeks back... and my research for that reminded me he did that episode of Next Gen where Wesley Crusher falls into a flower bed and is given a death sentence. And then dies. R.I.P. Wesley. Or maybe he doesn't, I don't want to spoil it.

But if you continue past this point you will find a huge variety of SPOILERS for Necessary Evil and perhaps a couple of earlier Trek episodes as well. It's a detective story based around a couple of mysteries, so you might want to be more careful with this one if you haven't seen it before/in a while.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Babylon 5 2-12: Acts of Sacrifice

Episode:34|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:22-Feb-1995

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I've jumped back to Babylon 5 for season two's Acts of Sacrifice. I'm just past the midpoint of the season now with 11 episodes behind me and 11 still to go, which means I'm 4 episodes behind where I was at this point last year. I need to step up the pace.

Hang on, I recognise that ugly rubbish spiky spaceship... this is the episode with the Lumati in it! The title had me thinking it was the one where Londo's old friend shows up and then stuff happens, but nope it's this one. I guess I should start mentally preparing myself for how it ends then.

There's going to be SPOILERS beyond this point, by the way. Not just for this episode, but maybe earlier ones too. I'll not even hint at anything that comes in later episodes though, except for just then where I said that Londo's friend shows up and stuff happens.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

The Orville 1-10: Firestorm (Quick Review)

Episode:10|Writer:Cherry Chevapravatdumrong|Air Date:16-Nov-2017

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm writing a quick review of The Orville's 10th episode, Firestorm. So quick in fact that I'm just going to say SPOILER WARNING then get on with it. Also CLOWN WARNING.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Justice League 1-01: Secret Origins

Episodes:1-3|Writer:Rich Fogel|Air Date:17-Nov-2001

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm writing about the first episode of the Justice League cartoon! Or maybe the first three episodes depending on how you look at it. Either way, the story's still called Secret Origins.

Justice League was the seventh cartoon in the epic DC Animated Universe continuity, which began with Batman: The Animated Series in 1992 and ended with Justice League Unlimited in 2006. So that places this episode about two-thirds of the way through the DCAU era, at a point where Static Shock and Zeta Project (cartoons 5 and 6) were still airing. In fact, Batman Beyond (cartoon 4) also had an episode left to air, so it was a busy time for DC animation.

I didn't watch any of them at the time though. First time I saw any Justice League was a few years later when I was flipping through channels and caught 10 minutes of an episode where the League goes into a parallel universe and meets versions of the Golden Age Justice Society. Except I didn't know that, as I'd missed the start, so what I saw looked to me like some goofy Golden Age-inspired comedy series for young children and I quickly decided I wasn't interested. And that's the story of how one of season 1's best episodes nearly put me off the Justice League cartoon forever. Fortunately, my second exposure to the series left me hopelessly addicted until I'd finished it all off.

This is going to be a full recap with commentary and massive SPOILERS, but I doubt I'll be saying much about events in the DCAU cartoons leading up to it and I definitely won't be spoiling anything that came after it.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Star Trek: Discovery 1-09: Into the Forest I Go (Quick Review)

Episode:9|Writer:Bo Yeon Kim & Erika Lippoldt|Air Date:12-Nov-2017

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm writing about Star Trek: Discovery's epic mid-season finale, Into the Forest I Go! I mean I'm just assuming it's going to be epic. It was originally scheduled to be the first episode to air in January after the break, but it got moved forward for a mysterious reason and I'm theorising that reason to be that the last episode was significantly less than spectacular and they wanted more of a hook to get people eager for chapter 2.

The episode is the directorial debut of Chris Byrne, who's directed absolutely nothing before this so I can't have any opinions about his work whatsoever. Though he was a second unit director on several episodes, including Discovery's pilot, so I expect he knows which direction to point the cameras. Writers Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt have got even less on their IMDb pages, but according to Memory Alpha, the repository of all Trek knowledge... they wrote the Discovery mid-season finale Into the Forest I Go together. Well, that's a big help.

This is one of my rushed scruffy reviews, meaning no long screencap commentary, just a few opinions and observations. Also SPOILERS, for this and earlier Trek episodes as well.

The Orville 1-09: Cupid's Dagger (Quick Review)

Episode:9|Writer:Liz Heldens|Air Date:09-Nov-2017

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm writing some thoughts down about the ninth episode of The Orville, Cupid's Dagger.

The official synopsis for the episode says:
"The Orville is called to mediate a peace treaty between two warring cultures, but tensions run even higher between Ed and Kelly when a familiar face boards the ship. Meanwhile Yaphit declares his love for Dr. Finn with surprising results."
Or to summarise: "Skip this one". At least that's how I read it. The tension between Ed and Kelly has to be my least favourite part of the series so far, with Yaphit's love for Dr. Finn being a close second place, so I'm already getting ready to call this my least favourite episode so far. I've got all kinds of preconceptions formed. But I suppose I'll have to actually sit and watch it first before I can really list all the reasons I hate it.

This will be one of my quick reviews without the epic screencap recap; just a few opinions, a couple of observations perhaps, and a lot of SPOILERS.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 2-07: Rules of Acquisition (Quick Review)

Episode:27|Writer:Ira Steven Behr|Air Date:07-Nov-1993

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm writing about second season Deep Space Nine episode Rules of Acquisition (originally known as 'Rules of Aquisition', without the 'c', but they fixed the title for later broadcasts).

I started listening to a Deep Space Nine podcast called The Rules of Acquisition a while back, and I was a little disappointed to discover that they're not just covering this one episode every week, over and over again. They could've Star Wars Minute'd it for the first 43 podcasts, then started to delve more deeply into its themes and philosophy over the next few years, but nope they had to move onto episodes people would actually want to hear about instead. Though they also keep spoiling Westworld and Game of Thrones, so I may have to pause listening to them until I've experienced all popular entertainment released up until the podcast airdate. But that's fine, as I've still got quality DS9 podcasts like Greatest Generation: DS9bOrgcast and soon Misson Log to listen to if I want to remind myself how redundant my own website is.

I've been giving Deep Space Nine episodes a full screencap recap up to this point, but there's 26 of the bloody things this season and I've got other things I want to write about too, so this is one's going to be a quick review instead (because it's a Ferengi story and I hate 'em). There'll still be massive SPOILERS for the episode and possibly earlier Trek episodes too, but I'll not spoil anything released later.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Star Trek: Discovery 1-08: Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum (Quick Review)

Episode:8|Writer:Kirsten Beyer|Air Date:05-Nov-2017

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I've got another rushed Discovery review for you. This time I'm writing about Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum, which I've had to type so many times now in my notes and for filenames that I don't even have to check how to write it anymore.

Memory Alpha tells me that this is the ninth Trek episode with a Latin title, after Sub Rosa, Dramatis Personae, Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges, Ex Post Facto, Non Sequitur, Alter Ego, Terra Nova and Vox Sola, and I hope it's a hell of a lot better than most of them were, because that's the opposite of a 'Best of Trek' boxset. Memory Alpha doesn't mention that it's also the eleventh title with a comma in it, probably because who would ever care?

This is the first ever TV episode to be written by Voyager novelist Kirsten Beyer, and I'm not sure if I should be worried about that or not. I've never been keen on Trek tie-in novels, and I'm not all that keen on Voyager either, but she'll likely know the Treknical terms and suchlike better than most so there's a chance I may end up pleasantly surprised by how much closer to classic Trek this one feels.

If you want to read further, prepare for SPOILERS, both for this and earlier relevant episodes of Star Trek.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

The Orville 1-08: Into the Fold (Quick Review)

Episode:8|Writer:Brannon Braga & André Bormanis|Air Date:02-Nov-2017

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm watching Into the Fold, the eighth episode of The Orville's first season. Of at least two. Because it just got renewed for a second season!

Now it just has to hold out for one more year and it'll reach the fabled season three, where Star Trek series get really good. Though sometimes it takes until season four, so Fox should probably hold off cancelling it until then just to be sure. Not that Fox actually kills off every sci-fi series early, it probably just seems that way because short-lived series like Firefly and Terminator had such a vocal fan base. And Dark Angel, Dollhouse, Space: Above and Beyond, Alien Nation... okay, I suddenly feel like checking Wikipedia to see how many of their science fiction series actually made it past season two.

Hmm, there's X-Files, Fringe, uh... Sliders. Man this series is so doomed.

This is one of my quick reviews so there'll be no epic screencap recap, just a few words on what I thought about it and a lot of SPOILERS.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Babylon 5 2-11: All Alone in the Night

Episode:33|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:15-Feb-1995

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm writing about an episode of television! Every season of Babylon 5 lasts precisely 22 episodes, so by my calculations that makes All Alone in the Night the midpoint of season two.

I did some more calculations and figured out I've heard the phrase 'all alone in the night' exactly 32 times already, as it's been part of the opening monologue on every episode so far. Other titles they could've used include: 'A Shining Beacon in Space', 'A Dangerous Place', 'Our Last Best Hope for Peace', 'Neutral Territory', uh... 'The Name of the Place'. Could've, but didn't.

So this is a bit like the Where No Man Has Gone Before of Babylon 5 then I suppose. Kind of makes it seem like the episode's going to be a little more monumental than most, though my fuzzy memories are telling me... it isn't.

I'm going to go through the whole episode now, sharing my thoughts and screencaps as I go, so be prepared for SPOILERS. It's probably best to assume there'll be spoilers for earlier B5 episodes too, though I won't ruin anything about what happens later.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Star Trek: Discovery 1-07: Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad (Quick Review)

Episode:7|Writer:Aron Eli Coleite & Jesse Alexander|Air Date:29-Oct-2017

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm watching an episode that skips the pre-credits entirely and jumps straight into the action, so I'm going to do the same for a change. SPOILERS tho.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

The Orville 1-07: Majority Rule (Quick Review)

Episode:7|Writer:Seth MacFarlane|Air Date:26-Oct-2017

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm trying to get some words down about another episode of The Orville as quickly as my brain will go.

The series is back after taking a week off, presumably to give Seth MacFarlane a break to write more episodes, seeing as he's been credited on 6 out of 7 of them so far. Actually, I'm sure he probably he wrote all these scripts before filming even began, seeing as he's the lead actor and kind of needs to be working on set all day when the filming's happening. Though part of me still wants to believe that whenever the rest of the cast were playing around on their phones waiting for the next shot to be set up, he was sitting somewhere quiet with a laptop out, just hammering out these scripts like a machine.

This is a quick review of Minority Rule without my usual recap. There may be some SPOILERS for earlier The Orville episodes beyond this point. There definitely will be for this episode.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Star Trek: Discovery 1-06: Lethe (Quick Review)

Episode:06|Writer:Joe Menosky & Ted Sullivan|Air Date:22-Oct-2017

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm trying to get some words written up about the new episode of Star Trek: Discovery in a hurry before a newer one comes along.

Lethe was written by Supergirl writer Ted Sullivan and Star Trek legend Joe Menosky... who wrote that episode of Deep Space Nine I hated. He's written better stuff than Dramatis Personae though, like Next Gen's Darmok and almost every Voyager two-parter. To be honest, I wasn't all that keen on a lot of his Voyager or Next Gen work, but I've got no worries about this episode. Discovery's been so consistent for me so far that I'm sure I'll like this episode exactly as much as I've liked the other five so far. Probably.

This is one of my quick reviews, so there'll be no recap, but there will be lots of SPOILERS, both for events in this episode and maybe a couple of other Trek stories. I won't spoil any episode that hasn't aired yet though.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 2-06: Melora

Episode:26|Writer:Evan Carlos Somers and Steven Baum and Michael Piller & James Crocker|Air Date:31-Oct-1993

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures it's two-thirds of the way through October and I'm only up to episode 6 of Deep Space Nine's second season. I'm starting to think that I'm going to run out of year before I can finish the season off.

It's not the worst time to watch this episode though, as Melora originally aired in October. In fact, it was shown on the 31st, but I don't think it's a horror episode. At least, not deliberately. Though it's an episode with a character's name as its one-word title and they're rarely ever good in my experience.

I should probably have made this one a quick review and gotten it over with, but instead it's getting the full recap treatment, with maximum SPOILERS. I may also spoil events in earlier Trek episodes, but nothing that came later.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Star Trek: Discovery 1-05: Choose Your Pain (Quick Review)

Episode:5|Writer:Kemp Powers|Air Date:15-Oct-2017

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm watching an episode of Discovery with a title that sounds like it should be a quote from a Mortal Kombat game.

This is one of my quick reviews, meaning that I'm writing it in a rush and I'm leaving out the scene-by-scene observations I usually do. There'll still be plenty of words though and many of them will be SPOILERS for this episode and earlier ones.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

The Orville 1-06: Krill (Quick Review)

Episode:6|Writer:David A. Goodman|Air Date:12-Oct-2017

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I've finally done it! I've finally reached an episode of The Orville not credited to Seth MacFarlane! Not that I had any problem with MacFarlane's episodes, it was just starting to seem like he'd written the whole series by himself.

This one's called Krill, which is at least one letter more than Pria, though it's still another tiny boring title. It's very disappointing when Star Trek: Discovery is pulling out names like The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry and Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go MadThe Orville writers need to step up their game.

The writer responsible in this case seems to be David A. Goodman, who wrote the Star Trek episode of Futurama and four episodes of Enterprise, so his sci-fi credentials seem to be sound. The director on the other hand, Jon Cassar, has never worked on Star Trek... but he did direct 65 episodes of 24 (plus 24: Redemption). So I'm hoping for gritty, ultra-high stakes action taking place in real time across Los Angeles, and at least one helicopter. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home was one of the most successful and beloved films in the franchise and it only had a helicopter on screen for like 30 seconds; imagine how well The Orville would do with a full minute or two.

Anyway, this is one of my quick reviews, so it's basically going to be a scruffy stream of thoughts and opinions without a recap. There will be SPOILERS though, for this episode and maybe earlier ones. Plus I'm throwing in a free bonus spoiler for you from the first few minutes of third season Next Gen episode, The Survivors. So look forward to that.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Star Trek: Discovery 1-04: The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry (Quick Review)

Episode:4|Writer:Jesse Alexander & Aron Eli Coleite|Air Date:08-Oct-2017

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm watching Discovery's fourth episode, The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry... holy shit that's a long episode title.

In fact, at 38 letters it's the second longest episode title in all of Star Trek after The World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky! It kicks the crap out of Doctor Who's recent The Pyramid at the End of the World with its pathetic 28 letters.

The episode was written and directed by a bunch of people I've never heard of, so instead of filling space with what I think about them, I'm going to get straight to the part where I say that this is going to be a really rushed scruffy review without the long recap I usually do. It'll still have SPOILERS for this episode, but I'll probably not be spoiling much else.

Monday, 9 October 2017

The Orville 1-05: Pria (Quick Review)

Episode:5|Writer:Seth MacFarlane|Air Date:05-Oct-2017

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm rushing through another The Orville episode review. I have to get this finished and posted before they go and air the next episode.

This is apparently the fifth episode in a row written by Seth MacFarlane, so he's either pulling a J. Michael Straczynski-style feat of marathon script writing, or they've been forgetting to update the opening credits each week. Plus this is the fourth time they've gotten Trek veteran in to direct and this time it's Jonathan Frakes! He's one of the best Trek actors turned directors so I'm always happy to see his name show up. Plus it means that in a few weeks I'll be able to watch his episode of Star Trek: Discovery and compare the two series fairly.

Okay, past this point there be episode SPOILERS, so continue no further if that's an issue.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Babylon 5 2-10: GROPOS

Episode:32|Writer:Lawrence DiTillio|Air Date:08-Feb-1995

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm finally returning to Babylon 5 with season two episode GROPOS.

You'd think that the biggest problem GROPOS has to live with would be its name, but it also suffers the misfortune of coming directly after The Coming of Shadows, the Hugo Award-winning mid-season game changer, so it was pretty much doomed to be a let down no matter how good it is.

Still, the episode that came after last year's mid-season game changer was TKO, and there's no way it can be that bad... though they do share the same writer. This was script editor Larry DiTillio's sixth episode for the series, and also his penultimate one, as he left at the end of the season. I guess there was no point in keeping a script editor around anymore when the executive producer took over writing all the episodes in season three.

Underneath this point the article's all SPOILERS and screencaps, so continue at your own risk. I'll not ruin anything that happens in the episodes that came after this though.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Star Trek: Discovery 1-03: Context is for Kings (Quick Review)

Episode:3|Writer:Gretchen J. Berg & Aaron Harberts & Craig Sweeny|Air Date:01-Oct-2017

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm got another rushed Discovery review for you. I'm up to episode 3, Context is for Kings, which is a weird name. Very un-Star Trek. Though to be honest, I'm just happy we're actually getting new Star Trek episode titles again; it's been a long while.

The episode's written by showrunners Gretchen J. Berg & Aaron Harberts, who also wrote the last episode, but they're joined this time by Limitless creator Craig Sweeny. Lots of writers. They even got a writer to direct it: Batman & Robin's Akiva Goldsman. Funny that the third episode of The Orville was directed by a notorious writer as well; I hope Goldsman did as good a job as Brannon Braga did.

This is one of my quick reviews, meaning that I'm skipping the screencaps and in-depth scene-by-scene observations, and going straight for the SPOILERS. I'm considering all 51 years of Star Trek up to this point to be fair game for my spoilers, especially Where No Man Has Gone Before, plus Where No One Has Gone Before and other episodes with super space travel.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

The Orville 1-04: If the Stars Should Appear (Quick Review)

Episode:4|Writer:Seth MacFarlane|Air Date:28-Sep-2017

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm writing some quick thoughts about The Orville's fourth episode, If the Stars Should Appear. Here's my first thought: the name sounds like it was found in a box of unused Star Trek episode titles, and I hope there's a few more left in there for later episodes because it's great.

This seems to be have been the second episode filmed, but it was held back to fourth because... I dunno, maybe it's terrible and they didn't want to scare people off early. It's not uncommon for series to film episodes out of order though, Doctor Who's always doing it, so I'm not going to read too much into it.

It's another episode credited to creator Seth MacFarlane, which means he's written four in a row now (no matter what order you put them in). I'm sure he'll let someone else have a turn eventually. The director's Trek veteran James L. Conway, and Memory Alpha tells me he's responsible for classics like DS9's Duet and Way of the Warrior, Voyager's Death Wish, Enterprise's Broken Bow and Next Gen's... oh shit he did Justice? The one where Wesley falls into the flowers? That's a contender for being the worst episode in the worst season of the entire run! Well, it was from season one; the poor guy was doomed from the start.

This is a quick review without that long recap I usually do, I'm just going to jump straight into SPOILERS and opinions, so you'll probably want to have watched the episode first before going any further.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Star Trek: Nemesis

Star Trek Nemesis title logo DVD
Written by:John Logan|Directed by:Stuart Baird|Release Date:2002

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm writing about more Star Trek! This time though I'm watching the last of the Next Generation movies and possibly the worst of them all: STAR TЯEK: NEMƎSIS! The reversed letters are there because the film's all about duplicates and mirror opposites. Also...

Yes that is the Diablo font

You know, from the video game Diablo. It's called Exocet if you're curious.

Anyway, there's a reason I'm writing about this particular film on this particular day and that's because it's Star Trek: The Next Generation's 30th anniversary! Yeah, it's not the ideal choice, I'd rather watch the pilot, Encounter at Farpoint, or maybe even something good, but this is what I got.

I'm also getting a bit of deja-vu here, as we already had a big Star Trek anniversary last September when the Original Series hit 50. Also, it was Voyager's 20th in 2015 and it'll be Deep Space Nine's 25th in 2018. You get a series with this many spin-offs and it's anniversaries all decade long. Oh, plus it's Star Trek: Discovery's 0th anniversary this year, seeing as it just aired 4 days ago. They could've held it back or moved it forward a few days to sync them up, but nope!

Nemesis itself came out in December 2002, which means that it had to struggle with being the first post-Galaxy Quest Trek movie. It's also the first Trek movie to have to deal with the Star Wars prequels raising the space opera VFX game, with Attack of the Clones having twice the budget to play with. It's hard to say that it was a lack of money on screen that killed Nemesis though, when it was Maid in Manhattan that beat it to the #1 spot in the US box office! The film opened badly and then fell to oblivion, with one of the worst second week drop-offs in the history of motion pictures.

Paramount had brought on a big name Hollywood scriptwriter for this one (Gladiator writer John Logan), and a legendary editor to direct (Stuart Baird), so they were convinced that the series must be suffering from 'franchise fatigue' and cancelled all plans for fifth Next Gen film. It was seven years before they'd dare releasing another Star Trek movie again, this time with J.J. Abrams at the helm and a budget. Worked out better that time.

Okay, there'll be SPOILERS and screencaps beyond this point, so continue at your own risk. I'm considering the whole Trek franchise up to 2002 to be fair game, but I'll not spoil a thing about what was released after it.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Star Trek: Discovery 1-02: Battle at the Binary Stars (Quick Review)

Episode:2|Writer:Gretchen J. Berg & Aaron Harberts|Air Date:24-Sep-2017

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, you're getting a second Discovery quick review! Because they split the pilot into two separate episodes and then released them back to back to give me more work.

This half of the story is by a different pair of writers, as Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts have taken over from Bryan Fuller and Akiva Goldsman. They also took over the series from Fuller as they're the current showrunners, so hopefully this episode will show that they know what they're doing.

It seems like they got a little mixed up when they were coming up with the title, as Battle at the Binary Stars sounds like it belongs to an old-school Battlestar Galactica story. I'm not complaining though. In fact, coming after Charlie X, YesteryearThe Naked Now, Past Prologue, Parallax and Fight or Flight, it might be the best second episode title Star Trek's ever had! Kind of gives away what happens though.

This is going to be shorter and scruffier than my usual reviews, with no screencaps or recap, but there'll still be plenty of SPOILERS for these first two episodes. In fact, I might spoil a little of earlier Trek as well, especially Star Trek: Nemesis and J.J Abrams' Star Trek movie from 2009, but nothing that comes after. Because for the first time in this site's long 18 month history there is no next time yet for me to spoil!

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Star Trek: Discovery 1-01: The Vulcan Hello (Quick Review)

Episode:1|Writer:Akiva Goldsman & Bryan Fuller|Air Date:24-Sep-2017

Hey, look at this thing that finally exists for real!

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm reviewing the massively expensive, endlessly delayed first episode of Star Trek: Discovery, the first Trek series on TV for 12 years. It missed Star Trek's big 50th anniversary by just over a year, but it's just in time for Star Trek: The Next Generation's 30th! Almost. If they'd just waited 4 more days...

I'm so excited to get the chance to watch this at last because I've had this question on my mind for months: which one's going to be the crap one, Discovery or The Orville? Can they both be good? Also, the 2009 Star Trek movie feels like J.J. Abrams trying to make a Star Wars film, The Orville is obviously Seth MacFarlane attempt at making a Star Trek series, so I'm curious about what Discovery's trying to be.

This episode's co-written by the writer of Batman and Robin and Lost in Space, but I'll try not to let that influence my judgement. After all, this is a modern US TV show with a room full of other writers working on every episode. For instance, the original story for this one came from the co-writer of Transformers and Star Trek Into Darkness! I'm going to stop looking at the credits now before they put me off.

This is going to be a super quick review, written in a hurry without screencaps or a synopsis slowing it down. I'm just going to leap straight into giving SPOILERS and sharing my thoughts on this major cultural event/TV show.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

The Orville 1-03: About a Girl (Quick Review)

Episode:3|Writer:Seth MacFarlane|Air Date:21-Sep-2017

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I've got another quick The Orville review for you. It's not my fault this is coming so soon after my last one, they put two episodes out in the same week.

About a Girl is the third episode in a row to be credited to creator Seth MacFarlane, so it's starting to seem like he has a whole lot of Star Trek stories stored up in his head that he's eager to get through. There was another writer involved, Brannon Braga, but this time he was the director. The guy's written more Trek than anyone else on the planet, but this is the first time I've ever seen something he's directed, so I hope he doesn't suck at it.

Unlike most of my reviews, I'm writing this up in hurry, with no screencap recap and a negligible amount of proof-reading. But there will be SPOILERS, so don't go any further if you don't already know how it ends. Unless you don't care, then you can do what you like!

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 screencap 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.