Tuesday, 31 December 2013

The Last Blu-ray of 2013

The postie just delivered the final Blu-rays I have bought in 2013, not sure what 2014 will bring as the format continues to be negated with half arsed marketing moves, more streaming and simply indifference from some studios/rights holders.



Monday, 30 December 2013

Almost Human

I've just watched the first two episodes of the first season of the new US series Almost Human which premiered on FOX on November 17th 2013. I have to admit I was rather impressed with the look of the show, they didn't try to over futurise the look of the city or the technology which of course helps to keep the budget within a reasonable range. Karl Urban now a well established movie actor is the lead but already his character John has some excellent chemistry with Dorian played by Michael Ealy who I last saw in the series Common Law.


The show was created by J.H. Wyman who was one of the minds behind the series Fringe which I'm just in the processing of wrapping up a series rewatch and certainly as a plus point the hints of Asimov in the show particularly the R Daneel stories if of course you know of that character.
The show as I said does look good, it's well produced without trying to be too big and brash and plenty of pretty things to look at even with the sex-bot story line of the second episode which was handled well, this show has already shown itself has having some emotional depth. Strangely enough with so many US shows getting picked up so quickly by UK broadcasters Almost Human as yet to find a home on this side of the pond, seems a little strange but then again this isn't aimed at the teen market or the premium adult audience so it kinda sitting on the fence.
Official Site
IMDB



Thursday, 26 December 2013

Fringe Season Three


I finished the third season just before christmas day and now the chaos is dying down here are a few thoughts on this season of Fringe. Well to put simply this has been the best season of the show so far and not to spoil it is the best season of the series as it brings together the two universes that Walter helped to bring into conflict so long ago. We get the transfer of characters and continued development of alternate characters which quickly become as valued as the original lineup and it has to be said that those actors playing two roles really got to go to town.
The season kicks off with the episode "Olivia" and we see both versions of Agent Dunham and how the two universes deal with them, in our Universe she is accepted without any hesitation thanks in part to Peter and Olivia's change in romantic status so things were always going to be a little different. Things are taking an unexpected turn in the alternate universe, Olivia is being treated so that she believes she belongs there and will ultimately help that universe win the ongoing war. This element of the season continues for just seven episodes and we then go deep into the "machine" story and how Peter is the key to it's use but that in itself gives the characters and the viewers many questions that need answers. One of the great things about this season is how we many of the characters are presented to the us the viewers and how the reality really unfolds, no one is simply good or evil, everyone has reasons and most of them are not operating with all the facts. Season three unfolds in such a well constructed manner it takes the viewer along without revealing anything too soon and the pay off is all the better for it.

To be honest I don't think a favourite episode list is practical, it would be a little too long but maybe one or two episodes really hit the mark for my personal taste in scifi/drama.
Subject 13
A flashback episode back to the days of young Olivia and the drug trials, we learnt so much about her life and when her and Peter first met, wonderfully told story, great acting and so many great moments especially the revelation of how Walternate learnt of his sons location.
Entrada
The revelation of fauxlivia and the compromises made by all involved powers the episode and it's the tragedy that many of the people involved were beginning to realise nothing was as it seemed none more so than Broyles the commander of the Fringe division in the parallel universe. He ultimately acts according to his own morals and ethics and pays the price but without him things would not have turned out as they did, it isn't a surprise that Broyles is shown as honourable in both worlds.

The third season was critically acclaimed but it didn't fare well in the ratings yet it did get renewed for a fourth season, maybe overseas sales were good and other merchandising added to the overall return. It may be that someone at FOX really enjoyed the show and while it's timeslot wasn't good it also meant not a lot was expected from the show. Regardless we're rolling into the fourth season with one very big question to be answered, not where is Peter, not who is Peter just......


Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Christmas Prezzies

Well Santa has been and gone and it looks like I've been a good enough boy to get some John Wayne westerns on Blu-ray and a steelbook of The Princess Bride along with some socks, chocolate and personal grooming gift packs:)


Blade Runner Holiday Special

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Dresden Files - Skin Game

The release date for the hardback edition of Skin Game has been announced. It's released in various markets on the the 17th of May 2014 and is the 15th book in the series and should give me plenty of time to read the rest of the novels in preparation:)
Jim Butcher


Arctic Air Season 3 Teaser

A welcome return to an excellent Canadian drama.
Official Site


  

Previously in the Alpha Quadrant

I joined Adam and Paul for a guest spot on their Star Trek Enterprise podcast "Previously in the Alpha Quadrant" to discuss the third season episode North Star, the episode was released on the 16th.

 

Fringe Season 2


The season kicks off with the excellent A New Day in the Old Town and continues the story of the season 1 finale with Olivia and her visit to see William Bell in the other universe. It also opens up the long running infiltration arc of the other side soldiers who it turns out have been around a lot longer than anyone thought and with their technology are capable of duplicating anyone.
This second season really does step up the mythology of the show and moves aways from the standalone monster of the week type episode but that style of episode will never really go away just influenced more by the overarching storyline of each season.  There were some major character additions in this season although it has to be said the characters were version of our existing group with one or two exceptions and that will pay off more in the third season. Overall the stronger mythological aspects pay off and the show held it's on in it's much more competitive day and timeslot after being moved by FOX in the US market. We also got a musical episode which is not unusually these days although this early in a show certainly is, there were elements of Black Betty that I liked but overall it didn't work for me and there's the anomaly of the episode "Unearthed" which was aired out of order. The season finale is used to really pave the way for the full integration of the alternate universe into the show full time, it seems the network was worried and maybe they were right to be but for the Fringe fans the new characters and stories were rivetting stuff. We also got a few notable guest actors both well known at the time and later on in the careers such as Peter Woodward, Meghan MarkleSebastian Roché, Peter Weller, JR Bourne, Martha PlimptonRoger CrossPascale Hutton and Orla Brady.

Favourite Episodes

  • A New Day in the Old Town
  • August
  • Jacksonville
  • Peter
  • White Tulip
  • Northwest Passage
  • Over There 1 and 2

Thursday, 12 December 2013

You Shall Not Pass, Dog

As we know it's all about attitude, dogs, cats or humans if you believe you are superior you are half way there:)

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Fringe Season 1

Well I've started my Fringe rewatch and just finished the second season but for now here are a few thoughts on the first season. The debut season of the show really does benefit from a marathoning approach, it did get a little negative feedback for being a little monster of the week but when watched rapidly you don't get that feeling at all. Little bits of the mythology within every episode even those that are pretty much standalone are more easily spotted and merge with the whole.
The Blu-ray presentation is good but not spectacular however it's certainly the best that I've ever seen it or come to think of it heard it and the extras including commentaries, deleted scenes and behind/making of are a great bonus for a fan of Fringe.
Three Favourite Episodes

  • Pilot
  • The Road Not Taken
  • There's More Than One of Everything
I didn't feel the need to skip any episodes of the first season during my rewatch infact since I hadn't seen them since they were broadcast on SKY1 there were elements from everyone that surprised me which certainly helped to keep them fresh. 
A special mention has to go to the Pilot episode which was everything a pilot should be, it was both a great story, well acted and packed a punch clearing indicating what Fringe was going to be about. The casting choices proved to be inspired and it's multi-national lineup probably gave the show a much wider global appeal which these days never hurts a show. It may seem strange but at least at the start of the show I was more pleased to see Mark Valley than anyone else having enjoyed his performances on other shows so despite how the story unfolded his presences was for me a bonus. As it turned out John Noble was a genius at playing Walter and anyone who acted opposite him had to bring their "A" game and they did just that.




Objects In Space - SF Drbris

An Opinionated review of the Firefly episode Objects In Space.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Seasonal Goodies

I picked up a few treats for the holidays including a selection hamper of British ales for me dad:)

Jupiter Ascending - Teaser Trailer

It certainly has the flare and style of the Matrix but as we saw with that franchise it requires a decent story to hold together all the pretty pictures:)
Official Site


Monday, 9 December 2013

Defiance Soundtrack

My signed deluxe CD of the Defiance soundtrack by Bear McCreary arrived today from LaLaLand Records and was part of a limited signed release so while it cost me a little more it was worth it, pity the album isn't being officially sold in the UK (as of yet) as I would have going for the much cheaper option if that was the case.

Doctor Who Titans Series 2 Vinyl Figures



Tanya Tate unboxes and reviews the latest Doctor Who figures from Titan.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Star Trek Stellar Cartography: The Starfleet Reference Library

I pre-ordered a copy of Star Trek Stellar Cartography after listening to Larry on various Star Trek podcasts and for the price you've got to say it's absolute bargain and a work of art. I just wish I had more wall space to really make the most of the maps which comprise most of the "book" but what you gonna do:)
Larry Nemecek


There would be better pictures but since the sun goes down around 4pm and artificial light never reacts well with the ipad camera these will have to do and they do not do the book justice:)
Amazon UK  Amazon US

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Spartacus

I've been waiting for the Blu-ray boxset of Spartacus to drop in price and it did last week so ordered the series and it arrived this morning, I'm sure I'll find the time to watch it :)

Homer versus The Gorn

A classic in every sense:)

Star Trek: Renegades Official Teaser Trailer

This was one of the Kickstarter projects I've backed this year and it's looking good:)

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Battlestar Galactica Rewatch ( Part 12 )

Battlestar Galactica Rewatch ( Part 12 )

Take The Celestra

IMDB

In the penultimate episode of the series the commander of the industrial ship the Celestra is honoured
for it's performance during the flight from the colonies and during the ceremony Starbuck recognises
the pilot of the commanders shuttle. When the commander is returned to his ship a fault develops
in drive system and then some of the workers attempt to steal a ship but are caught between the
guards and Starbuck and Apollo who have taken their Vipers for some "maintenance".
The Commander along with the warriors take the "mutineers" back to the Galactica but are given
faulty navigational data which sends them into deep space and then the Celestra now under the
command of the first officer heads towards the fleet. When the workers explain they were being
treated as slave labour by the first officer the situation becomes clearer and together they manage
to return to the Celestra and a battle for the ship commences.
Ana Alicia as Aurora
This wasn't a bad episode at all and while it doesn't delve into the social and economic elements
of a workforce totally dependent upon who controls the ship and how easy it is to only see the
surface of a situation it did have the seeds which were later cultivated by Ronald D Moore.
I guess for morale purposes honouring a veteran of the fleet makes some sense but it did seem a
little out of place but it did bring in the new character and partially explained how Starback and
Aurora (Ana Alicia) lost contact. It was ridiculous however why any ship would require navigation
data considering everyone is going in the same direction but hey it's human nature to be a jobs
worth and well she's pretty and he was a guy.
I really liked the small touch of having the Viper scanner actually show zero as targets velocity,
didn't need that level of detail but it added so much when the show is based on using a lot of
stock footage. Now the first big battle scene made no sense, we've seen the blasters have a stun
setting yet it was never used and it was a little silly seeing the commander running around the landing
bay when we've seen he's an old guy and isn't as spry as he once was.
The twist as the first officer leads the mutiny once the initial uprising is squashed was nicely
written, we got some some foreboding but it was done well and the story as written made sense.
As for the workers, they claim they were treated as slave labour, limited rations etc etc but hey they
all looked pretty healthy and if nothing else it seems the ships stylist was kept busy working on the
hair off the crew.

It was also pretty amazing how fast the shuttle was, they managed to catch up with the Celestra
and actually vector in ahead of it and remember the Celestra was reputed to being moving pretty
fast in an effort to catch up with the fleet. I suppose we have to ignore that but the drama with the
landing fell a little flat, it's not as if the shuttle would not have lights so a dark landing bay would not
be that big of a problem after all the technology of Battlestar doesn't seem to favour the level
of automation we have today. In that respect it was a little laughable that this huge ship had a
simple joystick for maneuvering but again it aided in the plot as Commander Kronus (Paul Fix)
as he was dying controlled the ship and allowed for the battle to swing in the good guys favour.
I don't think we needed or the Space Soap elements and angst but taken as a whole the
episode worked and it was entertaining.

The Hand of God


The final episode of the season and the series prior to it's morphing into Galactica 80 sees
Apollo, Starbuck, Sheba and Cassiopeia in what was a navigation bubble used in Galactica's
early days as a backup system. The sensors pick up a weak signal on a band the colonies
haven't used for a long time and upon investigation they track through a nearby solar system.
Vipers find a Cylon basestar but escape unseen and Adama decides that the best course of
action is to take on the single basestar as it seems to be the only one in the vicinity. To aid
in the mission he offers Baltar his freedom if he provides tactical and schematic information
on the Cylon ship which will help Starbuck and Apollo fly the captured cylon fighter into
the basestar and then help to sabotage the sensors of the ship.
They infiltrate the basestar and when the Galactica engages she does get off the first shot
and while still badly damaged she destroys the basestar which seemingly leaves the path 
clear to their final journey towards Earth.
The final scene of the episode and the show is in the navigation bubble aka Hand of God
as a few seconds of the transmission is received which is the live feed from the Eagle lander
as it descends towards the moon. 

The Hand of God is a very fitting final episode for the season and actually doesn't smack
you in the face so not too bad for the last of the series either. 
I had to laugh that the Galactica didn't seem that advanced in terms of noise cancelling
technology and it seemed strange then when the Colonials built the Battlestars they still
considered the need for some sort of dedicated facility for manual star charting.
I laughed even more when the Basestar turned up, they've made it clear the Cylons were
left well behind and here is another bunch of them and they even strain credibility by 
saying it may be the only one in this galaxy.
Adama takes Basestar out of packaging!
I liked the idea of using the captured cylon fighter and certainly making use of Baltar when
properly motivated of course but the overall plan was very very risky if indeed a Basestar
was more than a match for a Battlestar. I guess the Galactica as it is now being so weakened
and with a reduced Viper compliment the odds are in the Cylons favour so even one volley
could make all the difference. I also think who ever designed the Basestar needs a smack,
the Cylons are not the most athletic to begin with so the narrow corridors and ladders 
seemed a little out of place. It did add to the drama as the boys tried to climb down one of
the said ladders while not being noticed by the Cylon who you would assume would have 
pretty good hearing but it all worked out including the wagging of the wings to replace
the friend or foe transmitter they lost. 
I was pretty close to cheering when the command "fire as she comes to bear" was issued
and large ship combat in space has always reflected the grand tradition of wet navy cannon
combat and the broadside gunning.

The episode closes with a scene of the navigation bubble or Hand of God as Apollo 
referred to it and when it received the transmission from the Earth of the moon landing it
kinda summed up the whole series. It still left a little mystery, as explained in the episode 
the signal could be relatively close or still thousands of light years away but it laid down
a marker in terms of how the Colonials related to the Earth based human race.

Bonus Disk

The Creation of BSG: Glen Larson
Inside BSG: The Cylons
Working With Daggit
Photo Gallery
Documentary
Deleted Scenes
BSG Mini-Series Sneak Peek

The classic Battlestar Galactica and it is a classic of the genre has dated, pretty much everything from that era of television has not aged well thanks to the culture of the time which really was a law unto itself. That said a lot of the ideas and concepts are well grounded in scifi throughout the ages and certainly helped to shape the re-imagining of the series by Ronald D Moore so many years later. The DVD boxset is excellent value at the moment and while the picture quality could be better we're really not going to see money being spent to restore it so it may never look better. That said the theatrical feature of the three part pilot has recently been released under a 35th anniversary Blu-ray which does look better but still not outstanding but allowances do have to be made, the show may have been very expensive at the time but it's still 70's television.

That's my rewatch of Battlestar Galactica done and dusted until next time of course, if you can put aside the dated costuming and production style of the era the story overall is well worth taking the time to delve into. It has it's fair share of lemons but what series hasn't but there are also some gems and for that you should give the show a chance:)


Friday, 8 November 2013

Something for the weekend...

My copies of Raising Steam (Discworld Hardback) and Daylighters (Morganville Vampires Paperback) arrived from Amazon today, I'm going to finish off another book I'm reading on the ipad over the weekend before starting one of these:)



Saturday, 26 October 2013

Lifeforce

I bought the recently released Blu-ray steelbook of this movie and I have to say I've never seen the film look so good and the disk includes a nice bunch of extras including a commentary, an hour long feature and some interviews. IMDB
Mathilda looked stunning, she had the eyes of an angel and even though most of her time was spent as little more than ornamentation when she was called on to act she performed well making allowances for the script and the fact that Lifeforce is a glorified creature feature:)
That said Tobe Hooper did a great job of bring to screen some very British scifi horror and the Blu-ray looks very good indeed, some of the model/prosthetic work is pretty good and same for some of the animated graphics.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Captain America The Winter Soldier Trailer



I really enjoyed the first movie as a total package, maybe not so spectacular as
the technology driven Iron Man series or fantastical Thor but more grounded
in humanity.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Person Of Interest

Person of Interest started out as pretty much a standalone story telling series which added to it's mythology on a regular basis until you realised you were watching a serialised show with great characters and action. It also has one of the strongest lineup of actresses on television at this time, all written well with their own strengths and weaknesses and role model for any young woman although granted one or two do operate in the grey and sometimes well beyond:)


The Wire: An Opinionated Review

I love the character of Garak played by Andrew Robinson and this is a pretty good episode for him.

Battlestar Galactica Rewatch ( Part 11 )

Battlestar Galactica Rewatch ( Part 11 )

"Baltar's Escape"


After way too long and gap I'm back to the original BSG rewatch and first up
is Baltar's Escape in which the fleets nemesis well doesn't escape, yeah that 
could be deemed a spoiler:)
So once again the council of elders who are a entirely different bunch to the last
council are flexing their muscles and moving to end martial law and with the threat
of the Cylons seemingly a thing of the past they believe that the Eastern Alliance 
can be handled with diplomacy and good will.
Adama is resistant but accepts their decision and of course it back fires when 
Baltar and the Nomens along with the crew of the Alliance ship hijack the shuttle
and capture the council members. They rig the landing bay with explosives and 
trade the lives of the council for their freedom but things don't go 100% according
to their plans and while the Alliance ship escapes the shuttle and Cylon fighter are
recovered and Baltar captured before he can trigger the explosives.

This wasn't a bad episode despite a lot happening that simply really didn't make that
much sense in the context of the story and situation the fleet was in. We know the 
council members have their positions thanks to the loss of the original council during
the exodus but it seems they are being written as total idiots. The Alliance are without
doubt a military entity with an agenda easily proved and no amount of polite small talk
with one commander should pull the wool over a member of the fleet one who not that
long ago saw their worlds burn thanks to trusting words from a known threat.
The upside is that at least one when faced with the obvious truth didn't beg for forgiveness
or understanding but was willing to get in harms way to facilitate a rescue, Siress Tinia
played by Ina Bolin was worth of a position on the council and well matched to Adama
even if that troubled Colonel Tigh:)

Ina Bolin as Siress Tinia
As for the little nitpicks then prison doors with big holes in them and key pads within
easy reach, command staff talking openly in front of prisoners, lacky council security who
should have joined the military if they had any backbone and well the list could go on.
The Centurions in pieces was funny though and quite acceptable, you would want to 
examine the latest models and look for exploits and their part in the rescue plan was
unexpected but made sense. The final point for this episode was clearly indicating that
Baltar is a coward, the Nomens and Alliance were prepared to die and gave a good
analysis of the hostage situation while Baltar went to pieces. It's an interesting character
we've been given, sold out his race for power over the survivors and talked himself
into a position within the Cylons yet at heart a pale shadow of the best the Colonials
had to offer.
I'm in charge, really I am.

Experiment In Terra

IMDB

The vipers are tracking the escaping Alliance ship and when Apollo is drawn away the
ship of lights takes him on board and gives him a mission by John ( Edward Mulhare )
to save the people of the planet Terra the homeworld of the Alliance and it's opponents.
The beings on the ship are advanced energy based entities and as such have limited
abilities in the physical world hence working through Apollo who the kinda disguise as 
a native of Terra and they insert him back into the life of one Charlie Watts a military
officer captured and detained on an Alliance world.
Charlie aka Apollo with help from John (unseen by everyone else) tries to convince 
those who recognise the threat of the Alliance that they are going to launch a pre-emptive
nuclear strike but the President is convinced a peace treaty will save them all despite
knowing of the destruction of their colony worlds. Eventually the Alliance launch their
attack but the Galactica flying at light speed arrives in time to destroy all the ICBM's
in flight which brings about what we assume will be a genuine peace treaty.

Terra has forcefields, Galactica doesn't...
I like this episode but like the previous story it really does rely on having at least
one character act really stupid, in this case it's the President who is actively covering
up the slaughter of colony worlds, imprisoning his own people but seems to think
the Alliance will deal honestly and openly with him. Mr President they are not only
winning this war but have got you to aid in their propaganda campaign, yes shades
of Baltar and the cylons but without the selfish agenda.
My biggest issue is why with a plentiful supply of ships capable of long range space
travel and the resources that would bring them are the Alliance bothering with a 
nuclear war on Terra and sticking around. Why not get all the important people to
a colony world, no real need to hide the fact then nuke the planet from orbit, let the
nuclear winter do it's thing and no risk to the higher ups at all. I think in an effort to 
make the story resonate with an audience at that time the MAD scenario and Cold War 
were front and center.
I'd trust him no matter what he said.
Aside from that, I still love the light ship and the snazzy white uniforms. Starbuck
and his wide field stun blaster would have solved situations in dozens of episodes
of any series of Star Trek you care to mention and hey didn't the advanced technology
of Terra look so 70's but Melody Anderson as Amnesia (yet an oldie but a goodie)
was a lot of fun as was Edward as John.
Maybe it was me but it did seem BSG was pulling a little bit of Star Wars with the 
costuming on the light ship and maybe Stargate echoing the same ship with it's 
base line for the city of Atlantis and the Ancients. Either way the light ship is one
of the stand out elements of the original Battlestar Galactica and the simply change
in costuming worked perfectly.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Game of Bones Trailer (SFW)



Watched it three times and still pissing myself laughing at the raven:)
The only real problem I see is that the full on sex of this parody won't match the erotic style
and well the "naughty but nice" aspect of a tv series.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Earthbound

I watched Earthbound last night and it was a very enjoyable movie. A modest budget scifi romance feature which was filmed in and around Dublin and starred Rafe Spell, Jenn Murray and David Morissey.
Official Site  IMDB

Singin' in the Rain

What can I say, I love Gene Kelly's work and Singin' in the Rain was one of the best and at £4 for the Blu-ray it was really no question of not buying a copy:)

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Battlestar Galactica

My Battlestar Galactica Blu-ray arrived from Amazon today, been looking forward to this since it was released in the US earlier in the year. The Blu-ray presents the theatrical version of the pilot, believe it or not the show got a cinema and tv version, imagine doing that these days for a new show.
IMDB

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The Desolation of Smaug - HD Main Trailer



Wasn't that taken with the first movie, lets see what the second offers beyond more of the same but with added Dragon:)

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Ooops

Well what can I say, this is the third mp3 player that has suffered at my hands this year, fortunately the damage is cosmetic and it still works fine. The thin plastic screen protector may just have saved me having to fork out for another one, alas it's not cost effective to repair.

Supernatural Promo

Supernatural returns for it's ninth season Tuesday October 8th and as long as we get plenty of
Castiel & Crowley I'll be happy:)

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Arrow

The Arrow was simply my favourite new show of the last US television season and perhaps one of the most surprising, I wasn't expecting too much but it's story telling, action and over all production were top notch.
Now I have the season 1 Blu-ray at a very good pre-order price from Amazon I've pretty much decided what will be taking up most of my TV watching time over the next week:)

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Into Darkness Commentary

Ok after much juggling I'm finally getting to watch the commentary track for Star Trek Into Darkness on my plasma, once upon a time it was simply a matter of selecting the option on the Blu-ray menu now it's a case of finding a compatible device to play the itunes DRM video and stream it to the TV.
The future isn't always about convenience for the consumer.
It'll be interesting to see if I take away more of an appreciation for the movie, so far my opinion has been steadily falling and at this time I prefer the 2009 movie which has it's own share of issues and you know if studios continue to slap the consumer in the face with half arsed releases then I have to consider ceasing to buy movies. In many ways it's the extras that really set apart a retail release compared to a pirated release, if there is no content or quality difference then well do the math.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Star Trek Origins

Yes I know I already have these episodes on Blu-ray but look the box is so pretty and it was cheap and I've spent more or less so don't mind me while I sit back and enjoy the original Star Trek.


Saturday, 31 August 2013

An Opinionated Review: The Doomsday Machine (TOS)

An excellent episode of Star Trek and a great review:)

Lost Girl Season 4 Teaser

Some of the content from season 3 but lets not be worried about that, it's going to be a different experience if the finale is anything to go by.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Deep Space Nine

I've just finished the final episode of Deep Space Nine my first full premiere to finale viewing since it was initially broadcast in the UK. The main reason I picked up the boxset was a slow build of appreciation of the series from the various podcasts I listen to which dealt with Star Trek and a few which were dedicated to DS9 such as The Orb and In The Wilderness.

I don't think there is anything I could say that would really convey the scope of the series when viewed as a whole, it was an impressive achievement for the time only equalled by Babylon 5 and like that series the writers of DS9 managed to weave in strong series/season arcs something that doesn't always guarantee strong viewing numbers as even scifi fans can be fickle.
Deep Space Nine sets itself well apart from the other series within the franchise, first for it's overall reliance on significant arc based stories but the level of conflict within it's part of the Trek universe as well as conflict between the characters both main, recurring and guests from within the "family" and beyond. It's long been pointed out the Gene Roddenberry favoured the happy shiny people approach exemplified by the TNG crew so sitting down to DS9 could and probably did come as a bit of shock. The series however was excellently cast, top notch levels of production and once the early seasons had allowed them to find their feet and solidify the characters the show went from strength to strength.
DS9 still isn't my favourite Trek despite totally enjoying these seven seasons of the show but I can not deny that some of these stories and characters stand out not only within the Star Trek family of shows but in the whole of the scifi genre, you might even say forget scifi they are at heart dramatic and theatrical creations.
On looking back at the seasons I picked out a handful of episodes that I could consider worthy of simply rewatching just because they are that good or personify aspects of the show, don't read anything into the list it's purely my own picks:)
The same applies to the handful of characters I really enjoyed watching thanks to the actors performances, I really didn't dislike any of the main roles nor the recurring characters but a few for me stood out such as Garak (Andrew Robinson), Vic (James Darren) and Weyoun/Brunt etc etc (Jeffrey Combs). You know what I could on because putting aside the excellent regular cast members the guest stars really added so much to their roles which helped create this world especially those under so much prosthetics who relied on their eyes and voices to convey so much.

Qapla'

Season 1
  • Emissary
  • The Forsaken
  • Duet
  • In the Hands of the Prophets
Season 2
  • Whispers
  • Shadowplay
  • Bloodoath
  • The Wire
  • Crossover
Season 3
  • The Search
  • The House of Quark
  • Second Skin
  • Through The Looking Glass
  • Improbable Cause
  • The Die is Cast
Season 4
  • The Way of the Warrior
  • The Visitor
  • Little Green Men
  • Our Man Bashir
  • Shattered Mirror
  • Body Parts
  • Broken Link
Season 5
  • Apocalypse Rising
  • Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places
  • Trials and Tribble-ations
  • The Ascent
  • Rapture
  • In Purgatory's Shadow
  • Soldiers of the Empire
  • Children of Time
Season 6
  • Sons and Daughters
  • Sacrifice of Angels
  • You are Cordially Invited...
  • Far Beyond the Stars
  • One Little Ship
  • Wrongs Darker than Death or Night
  • In The Pale Moonlight
  • His Way
  • The Sound of Her Voice
  • Tears of the Prophets
Season 7
  • Treachery, Faith and the Great River
  • Once More Unto the Breach
  • The Siege of AR-558
  • It's Only a Paper Moon
  • Badda-Bing Badda-Bang
  • Strange Bedfellows
  • The Changing Face of Evil
  • When It Rains...
  • Tacking Into The Wind
  • The Dogs of War
  • What You Leave Behind




Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Man Of Steel 2 Teaser Trailer

The skill and creativity of some people never ceases to amaze me and if only....

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Battlestar Galactica Rewatch ( Part 10 )

Battlestar Galactica Rewatch ( Part 10 )

Greetings From Earth


This story is feature length on the DVD, not sure if it was broadcast as such on
American or British TV since I certainly recall it being two episodes when I
watched yet on telly so long ago.
So another long range patrol which has Starbuck taking a nap, life sure has got
boring since leaving the Cylons far behind but hey the scanners pick up
a sub-light vessel with six life forms aboard. The Vipers take it in tow and as they
return the gossip washes through the fleet in expecatation of meeting people
from the planet Earth.
On arrival they find two adults and four children in suspended animation and
thus begins the political back and forth and power play between Adama and
the council with the warriors and security men as the pawns.
The issues surrounding opening the pods despite the risk of death has
Apollo championing their release to continue their journey unmoloested, the male
awakes and being confused and under pressure stuns a security officer.
The council demands action which allows a small window of opportunity to remove
the ship and it's passengers from the Galactica and send it on it's way.
Apollo and Starbuck escort the ship to the planet Paradeen where they find an
almost empty world but a ranch built for the group over seen by two humanoid
robots.  The history of the world and the conflict with the ominous Eastern Alliance
is then revealed and indeed a warship of this powerful entity is heading for
Paradeen as it has detected unidentifed vessels (the Vipers).  After a little angst and
family drama which leaves the Vipers badly damaged the colonials capture the
Eastern Alliance ship and return to the Galactica leaving this new family behind and
hopefully safe from reprisals.

Ok then a feature length episode which actually went by pretty quickly which is always
a good thing but the episode did feel a little different with the introduction of these
new humans and the power play on board the Galactica. The Eastern Alliance with it's
political overtones of the later 70's and the Cold War mixed with Nazi vibes was certainly
different to the Cylon menace but works pretty well. I'm not sure if someone born after
the fall of the wall and the Cold War ended will get as much out of this as is being offered
but you can never go wrong with a call back to the Nazi regime.
Lets begin with the little nitpicks and they are, you don't get so far into a series from
this era without being able to accept some of the limitations and choices made in television
production back then.
So why such a long patrol, I'm pretty sure having single seater fighters with sleeping pilots
is not a good thing especially given long range sensors the Galactica can deploy and when
they find the lower tech ship I didn't quite understand why they automatically assumed they
were from Earth and not just another remnant of the original exodus.
I did of course love the disco lighting on the sleeper units, very much of the era and speaking
of the social standards of the time Athena a bridge officer is now the school teacher, granted a
hot school teacher but the kids are too young to appreciate her in that respect:)
Party Time
It's strange this is perhaps only the second time the colonial security have made their presence
felt, granted they were needed to enforce the council's decision but it all seemed rather petty
and perhaps indicitive of the time they have for such things with the belief the Cylons are not
a problem anymore.
There were some good laughs with the hide the alien and Jolly got his time in the spotlight but
it all seemed forced especially the callous disregard for the lives of the people on the ship but
then again the powers that be have ignored their own people in steerage for so long so maybe
not that much of a surprise.
The biggest issue with this episode is the manipulation of time, speed and distance when dealing
with all the ships and their journeys, the small shuttle like vessel (repainted for Buck Rogers)
was sublight so really couldn't go anywhere significant in the time scale the story was set in
but we've ignored the issues with  light speed and flank speed etc so shut up Michael:)
So we have the Alliance, great look ship and the uniforms well black and shiny so they much be
bad guys even with when wearing a helmet visor indoors. The ship unlike any other also gave us
the cramped submarine feeling often attempted on other shows but rarely achieved and we get a
very definite dialogue as to how nasty these people really are, no confusion at all.

It was interesting that Terra has given birth to at least two political factions who have achieved
interstellar flight yet someone co-existed for so long to reach that point, not quite sure that is
a reasonable situation unless there is a lot more backstory we are not privy too.
When we finally get to Paradeen we meet the two androids (Hector and Vector) who were awful
in terms of the story, the hunour they were supposed to bring has not aged well and we also have
the issue that sentient androids exist but the rest of the technology seems a little lagging right
down to the appearence of a Laserdisc.
However the use of the Expo 67 building in Quebec was genius and production gold, like many
developments built for exhibition they have an impractical look which is easily substituted for
an alien asthetic. The ravages of the Canadian weather also gave the structures more of an
abandoned look to them so in this respect BSG were blessed to have access to them.

Give they guy a break
The romantic or angst element of the story brought forth by Sarah ( Kelly Harmon ) and aimed
at Apollo seemed a little quick and was resolved just as quickly but the studios love a happy
ending and a group on a frontier world banding together as a family is very American.
The episode closes with the Alliance destroyer landing on the Galactica and the crew being
awed at the size of the Battlestar setting the scene for the inevitable conflict as the fleet could
not and would not avoid getting involved with the humans on Terra who are the next step in
their journey to Earth.

Grettings from Earth IMDB
Greetings from Earth Wiki
Battlestar Wiki

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Katee Sackhoff _ GEEK Magazine

That's just one of the pictures from Katee's shoot with GEEK Magazine, more on her official site and of course from GEEK Magazine themselves.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The Mediterranean Caper

I've been a huge fan of the writing of Clive Cussler and his main character Dirk Pitt ever since many many moons ago my sister bought me a copy of Vixen 03 for my birthday, I loved it and then bought his most well known novel Raising Titanic before going back to the start and buying as it was called Mayday.

This new hardback edition of the novel is to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the original story which is quite a milestone and while I still have a rat eared paperback I don't mind buying a nice pristine hardback rather than go the e-book route. This isn't a jab any particular corporate publishing house or for that matter a smaller concern but the price of e-books is ridiculous and since I've spent more on the hardback then perhaps their marketing and pricing gurus know what they are doing!
This novel was released in the UK as "Mayday" and tells the rather low key story (compared to Dirk's later adventures) of a global smuggling operation centred around a small Greek island which hosts a US air base and after it is attacked by a machine gun toting WW1 bi-plane the the mystery beckons to Dirk and Al to NUMA employees who get caught in the middle.

It's a fun read and reminds you of the simply days for Dirk and his best friend Al before they really started to get into serious trouble and the Titanic was only one of their later adventures.



Monday, 22 July 2013

Arrow Season 2 Trailer



Hopefully get the season 1 blu-ray before season 2 kicks off:)

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Battlestar Galactica Rewatch ( Part 9)

Battlestar Galactica Rewatch ( Part 9)

The Man with Nine Lives

The fleet is pretty relaxed and some of the Viper pilots have been given leave to visit
the Rising Star where some of the luxuries can be obtained as well as being a flying casino.
On board one of the shuttles we meet Chameleon who is watching a video cast featuring
an interview with Starbuck who reveals he is an orphan after a Cylon raid on his community.
Chameleon seems to be a bit of a con-artist/grifter who has fled to the Rising Star and is being
chased down by three Nomen warriors who run across Boomer giving their prey time to
approach Starbuck and with the knowledge gained from the video cast lays the groundwork
for being Starbucks father and this taken to the Galactica.
Nomen Warriors
Apollo and Boomer are not convinced Chameleon is being truthful and a security check drives a
wedge between the three friends even though preliminary scans indicate a familial match.
The Nomen warriors go to the Galactica under the warrior recruitment drive and in doing so once
again chase down Chameleon but after a fire fight on one of the launch bays the good guys walk
away pretty much unscathed and even the "bad" guys are only singed.
We then find out from Cassiopeia that they are indeed father and son but it's kept a secret, maybe
being a good friend to Starbuck is better now then being a father.
A year ago she would do them both!
This is the first of two episodes that center around the Rising Star, it's good to have a different
setting within the fleet for the stories but it also highlights one of the equalities in the fleet.
We've seen there are thousands living in very poor conditions around the fleet, it's almost like
being in steerage on the old school ocean liners while around you well dressed and fed people
waste resources on fun and frivolity as well somehow operating within a financial structure that
couldn't work, cubits and other rare minerals would only have value if planets visited valued
precious metals etc.
Having Fred Astaire as Chameleon must have been marketing gold, a well known and respected
performer in a scifi show and he does an excellent job, it made it look effortless which is the mark
of a quality actor.
We also get the old bug bear of how you portray music and dance far into the future or in a
different culture, the tv producers of the day couldn't get away from the disco/new age vibe
and well it really hasn't aged well.
It was amusing to see a calculator being used by Starbuck to calculate odds when doing his
card counting, no doubt a state of the art piece of electronics back then but looked out of
place now and isn't that technically cheating:)
Great to see the female shuttle pilots which has been a long running theme although they did so
little you would have thought the computers could have handled the simple point A to point B
transfer between ships. I suppose credit to the producers for making the former social aider aka
hooker a serious med tech which maybe Joss Whedon took notice of when making the Companion
a respected part of his Firefly 'verse. However Sheba who got a great introduction to the show
continues her downward spiral becoming more of a whiny sidekick, pity.
I never quite understood how the Nomen came to be, granted they were from a very nasty part of
the colonies but I wouldn't have thought that level of physical change from the human norm would
have been possible without thousands of generations of adaptation but not to worry.
The final shoot out made use of a launch bay and unfortunately using the main pulse cannons on
a viper to shoot the Nomen down was a little over the top but the really bad idea was having them
survive, that was too pandering to the tv audience and regulators of the time.

Overall a decent episode, Fred really added some polish but the story shows more about the flaws
within the fleet than perhaps was intended at the time.
Wiki
IMDB

"Murder On The Rising Star"

Triad is back and it seems Apollo and Starbuck have a nemesis in Ortega who seems to play the
game with a lot of shall we say enthusiasm and passion. After taking beating on court the dynamic
duo win the game after Ortega is sent off for violent play, he then turns up dead and Starbuck was
witnessed fleeing from the scene.
Starbuck is questioned and his weapon tested, it matches the murder weapon and Starbuck is
put into the remnants of the legal system and it looks like all the evidence is against him and even
with Apollo acting as his advocate he looks to flee.
Apollo and Boomer investigate the murder and discover that Ortega make have had gambling debts
and that the eye witness was not who he claimed to be, this information leads them to others who
escaped the fall of colonies by bribing their way onto the Rising Star.
As the search narrows down to one individual named Karibdis a former associate of Baltar and
complicit in the Cylon invasion, Apollo uses Baltar as bait and to prevent his identity being revealed
Karibdis strikes but the events are recorded and played during the trial proving Starbucks innocence.
Box seats for the higher ups

Ortega played by Frank Ashmore
An interesting detective story set on the Rising Star and I suspect it rivalled any of the
more mainstream police/crime dramas during that era of American television.
Triad is a bit of a joke, ok it has some links to Basketball but without any of the rules
and regulations or logic but it maybe the only game in town, it wasn't much better in the
BSG remake but they did make it more of a team game which helped.
It was great to see Apollo as the lawyer, alas that skill came out of nowhere and again the
remake used  the same idea but fleshed it out with Apollo's heritage and his own education.
We do have the old guards are useless plot point, they were a little foolish but worse was
how Starbuck got to the launch bay and into a Viper and ready to go, surely it requires a
full compliment of crew to prep and ready a launch.
The use of Baltar and drawing on the fall of the colonies added a lot to the story as was
the slight misdirection, always good for a who done it to point in one direction and then
with a reveal point in a totally new direction.

This was another decent episode, not a lot of action but a more than adequate use of the crime genre
within the scifi framework.
Wiki
IMDB

Big Finish - Stargate

Big Finish had a weekend sale the other week and I picked up some of the titles I didn't own. Audio books/stories are not the cheapest media but you can understand why prices are relatively high given the lower volumes and production levels Big Finish have to deal with but if nothing else this is where Stargate is being kept alive and is flourishing.
I bought the stories on CD (costs a little extra) but I still like physical media and a bonus is that when you buy the CD's you automatically get access to the mp3 versions to download, this option is just trickling into the mainstream music retailers.


Gatecast 188 SG1 Moebius Part 1



Gatecast 188 featuring Moebius Part 1 is out now with
guests Miles and Scott from the SciFi Diner podcast.