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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.