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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.