Wednesday, 29 May 2013

A few goodies

I just got home from work to find a couple of packages from Amazon waiting for me:)
I'm really looking forward to seeing what they have done with the Peter Cushing Doctor Who movies, they were on telly recently and looked pretty good straight out the tin so to speak and as for the soundtrack could have saved some pennies by a digital download but I like to own a physical media.


Sunday, 26 May 2013

Battlestar Galactica Rewatch (Part 4)

Battlestar Galactica Rewatch

Gun on Ice Planet Zero (Parts 1 and 2)

The fleet once more is fleeing a Cylon force made up of mainly fighters with at least one
basestar trailing behind. A long range probe mission is launched to scout the upcoming space
which as we found out is an area of space the colonials have supposedly never been
to which begs the question why is there a human with colonial knowledge on a small
planet with a weapon almost designed to take out the remnants of the colonies?
That aside the red shirt scouts are either killed or captured and a decision is made
to send in a strike force to take out this super weapon and allow the fleet to escape
from the well laid trap created by Baltar.
To spice things up the majority of this strike team is made up of prisoners who have the
skills in arctic warfare and demolition and if that wasn't enough they find the planet
houses a colony of clones who are pretty much slave workers to the Cylons and they have
appropriated a human scientists creation and turned it into a weapon.

Ok even my brief synopsis will have many a reader identifying the plots of The Dirty
Dozen and The Guns of Navarone so if you are going to cherry pick ideas those
are not bad places to fish from.
I did notice that there was a lack of female viper cadets/trainees, then again they were going
to the slaughter so maybe the producers thought killing off the women was a bad idea but again
we saw rank disobedience from subordinates during a mission which seems to be the norm
for the Galactica. We can also question the incredible stupidity of a planetary based
fixed point energy weapon which has to deal with a huge area of three dimensional space,
there is no reason why the fleet could not slip past the planet or simply vector away.
This is television of it's era though, these sort of plot holes would kill a show today
but back then not that big a problem after all in naval history fixed point cannons were ideal
for defending ports and straits against shipping.
I was clawing my hair out at how Boxey and his mechanical mutt slipped onto the flight deck,
onto a shuttle, hide away and then surprise everyone, this is why I tend to hate the inclusion of
kids into shows purely for dramatic effect or to aide a plot point.
Still honour amongst prisoners.
The prisoner angle was pretty well done though, a little hard to accept these were the only ones
in the fleet that were capable of completing the mission but it did add some tension and of
course some excellent guest stars. The same goes for the clones on the planet, an interesting idea
which really wasn't important except to allow for a large "human" settlement who would not be
questioning the appropriation of the pulsar for military use.
It's always good to see Britt Ekland on television as well:)
Baltar and Lucifer were fantastic, their interaction was entertaining and the back and forth of the
cylon fighter squadrons like something out of Benny Hill and I would have so liked to have seen
the look on the Theta clone who fathered the first child, the world changed that day for the males:)
Starbuck rocks the Clone fashion scene.
Gun on Ice Planet Zero isn't a bad story, it was a little stretched to fill a double episode but there
were some good ideas many of which were implemented well but ultimately there were too many
plot holes to really let yourself enjoy the story. A nice cast list, good use of stock footage but too
many flaws for even Britt to save:)
WIKI
IMDB

Babylon 5 - 20th Anniversary Convention Memorial



It brings it all home yet we have the show and for those that have past and for all of us that will it will endure.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Psych

I have me how to manual and a pineapple, so I'm all set to go:)

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Battlestar Galactica Rewatch ( Part 3 )


Battlestar Galactica Rewatch

The Lost Warrior

This episode kicks off with Apollo flying a solo patrol which seems a littlestrange but we'll let it go, he gets jumped by Cylons and attempts to lead
them away from the fleet only engaging when he over hears them signalling
his course to a nearby basestar. Out of fuel he crash lands on a small world
with a human population with limited technology and finds a wealthy "baron"
like guy is terrorising the farmers and townsfolk with Red Eye who turns
out to be a Cylon damaged when his ship crashed a few years earlier.
Apollo eventually gets dragged into a one on one gun fight with the Cylon
but his speed and blaster gives him the edge and all ends well.

Ok then the Cylon AI is seriously lacking at the best of times but why not blast
the Viper when you have superior numbers or capture it as we've seen
them do before. This episode also has one of my major pet peeves, how
strong do they build some space ships when they can take a battering when
crash landing or simply crashing and remain pretty much intact, it's not as if they
make use of smooth and controlled landing area.
Oh well lets move on to young Boxey having the run of the Galactica's bridge,
seriously smack him round the head and send him to school we don't need the
hallmark moment as the warriors play nice.
Never want to see that again!
The fun really starts when we get the western cliches out in force, the rancher
gambling against the uber rich baron who can buy every pot and his gunslinger
cleaning up any mess. Strangely enough it's this simply often used story which
saves the episode, forget the spaceship and lasers or the stripped horses this
is an established tale of greed, arrogance and courage with the gun guys winning.
The only real twist though is the ending, why would Apollo say he would return
when the fleet are on a very much a one way mission, that was kinda of nasty
on his part and to the young boy.
Now I'm Shiny

The Long Patrol

Starbuck volunteers for a solo long range patrol into a new area of space
to get access to the facilities on board the Rising Star and to make full
use of either Athena or Cassiopeia and somehow the fleet has retained a
money based culture useful to bribe the waiter/concierge.
Starbuck goes on the patrol and intervenes when he see a fighter attacking
a cargo ship, not really his business but he ends up losing the advanced Viper
and ending up in the local prison, not the best day but wait for it it'll get worse.
So the fleet is approaching the edge of the galaxy and moving onto another,
blimey they are not even trying to get any form of scientific reality into the plot.
Even more laughable was stating no Colonials have been this way which I
suppose is technically correct if the 13th tribe were not considered as such
but within minutes we find human life who were descendants of colonial worlds
and supported the military during the Cylon war.
Cassiopeia

Athena
I'm not sure whose idea it was to have the almost caricature of an Irish smuggler
or the fact that ultra high tech AI computer control system didn't bat an eye when
it's pilot went missing or that a well known merchant based code was not in
a Battlestars database when it no doubt did it's share of space lane management.
This was the first silly episode because it treated the audience like idiots even those
used to plot elements and stories which were secondary back for mainstream
scripted television back in the day. There really wasn't much to praise although if I
was to pick out anything the new jumpsuit was interesting although if indeed
no colonials had been out this far there would be no one out there to recognise
the regular uniform:)

In The Wilderness

Having fun listening to the latest episode of the Deep Space Nine podcast "In The Wilderness" as they cover episodes 2 and 3 of season 2.

Babylon 5: 20th Anniversary Book



I want might even say need and I already know of one person picking their copy up from Phoenix:)

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Fringe Blu-ray Series Boxset

I just got home from work to find the postie had delivered my Fringe Blu-ray boxset and after a little nudge Amazon honoured the reduced price for my pre-order so it only cost £48.









Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D - Trailer

Oh yes:)

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Tapped Out

Battlestar Galactica Rewatch (Part 2)


Battlestar Galactica Rewatch

The Lost Planet of the Gods (1 and 2)

The Galactica and it's fleet are merrily flying in the general direction of Earth based
on some vague notions from Adama taken from legend and scripture, resources thanks
we assume to the sacking of Carillion have sated the needs of the survivors so much
so that things seem just fine and dandy.
Wedding bells are in the air for Apollo and Serina but things start to go wrong when
two pilots skip quarantine to got to the stag party and a virus sweeps through the flight
crews. Apollo and Starbuck are the only regular pilots on duty so Adama drafts in the
women who have been training as shuttle pilots and it's up to those two to train them
for potential combat missions.
The discovery of a huge void in space gives Adama a clue to the location of Kobol the
birth place of mankind but a Cylon Basestar commanded by Baltar is tracking them but
visiting the planet is worth the risk. Adama finds what he is looking for despite Baltar
making a play for control of the fleet but Serina now married to Apollo dies in the firefight
leaving Apollo and Boxey to once again mourn a loss.
Baltar
The Lost Planet of the Gods is a two parter allowing for the overlap of the pilots illness,
pursuit by Baltar and the discovery of Kobol and it all works very well, yes it's probably
a little more cheesy that the original feature but this is geared totally towards a television audience.
A few things I noted during the show was how the women were being the good housewives
and homemakers playing the fancy dinner cooks and men being surprised a women
would be capable of flying a spaceship let alone a fighter.
We also got a very healthy does of bromance as Starbuck was losing his best friend to
the female interlopa and come on the new bad guy is named Lucifer:)
I couldn't quite grasp the visual style of the void, it was far too small and looked more like a
tunnel than a vast thousands of light year spanning gap in the universe but I guess budget etc
puts the brakes on anything more impressive.

Adama
I smiled when the phrase "for Sagan's sake" was uttered and smiled even more over the
glamourous lineup of female trainee pilots, seriously all best of breed which is so television.
One thing for sure, the chain of command is pretty much just a sentence in the manual, no
one really takes a blind bit of notice and the wig on the Adama double was shocking but
hey that looked like Egypt from the long shots which if it was should be applauded.
Couldn't we have landed closer?
Of course it can't be all good news, yes Adama gets the information he needs from Kobol
and correctly surmises Baltar is once again trying to deceive but what a pity they didn't
shoot him straight away rather than spill the entire plan while he was cowering at their feet.
The loss of Serina twists the knife and you wonder why they killed her off, I guess it lets
Apollo play the field to a slightly lesser extent than Starbuck but also doesn't tie him
to the ship, you can ignore the newly acquired Boxey:)

The two episodes were much better looking picture quality wise than the initial trilogy, not
sure why since you would assume pristine masters for the theatrical version would have been
in a vault somewhere, not to worry though things seem to be looking up.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

James Bamford's Favourite Arrow Action Scenes

James "BamBam" Bamford's top 20 action sequences from the first season of Arrow which I've just pre-ordered on Blu-ray from Amazon. If you didn't know James was the stunt co-ordinator on Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe and also appeared as a replicator on SG1.


Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Ponds on the Edge of Forever



My print of JK Woodward's "Ponds on the Edge of Forever" arrived from the man himself
the other day and while I don't think the frame really does the print justice it does look quite
nice hanging on the wall.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

The Spocks Sell Out: The Challange



 Not that I blame them, the money was no doubt good and if you are going to sell yourself then you might as well do it with some creative material.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Battlestar Galactica: Original Series Rewatch

So I grew up watching the "classic" Battlestar Galactica, seemed like it was often on telly especially on a Sunday afternoon when the family spent the day visiting my grandmother, almost a tradition in regards to how some shows got so much airtime despite having a limited number of episodes. However I was young so I may be looking back at that era with very very cloudy memories after all there was BJ and the Bear, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Incredible Hulk and a little later Buck Rogers to contend with not to mention stalwarts like Star Trek, Time Tunnel and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.



Regardless the TV series and theatrical feature made an impression not only with the incredible special effects (For the time and budget) but also an epic story with from my young and inexperienced mind endless possibilities and wonders. I still have that bias towards flights of fancy but tempered with real world reality which is perhaps reflected amongst the scifi fanbase as a whole since we see more realism in characters and darker situations played out on tv and film.
So onto Battlestar Galactica which tells the tale of a human civilisation at war with an alien race of robots, the colonials as we come to know them interfered in a conflict between the robotic Cylons and another race and drew down their wrath. The ongoing war seems to have reached a stalemate and a peace treaty is close to being signed but a council member and architect of the plan has sold out the humans and the 12 Battlestars are led into a trap and one is known to escape intact. Faced with the lost of the 12 worlds the handful of survivors under the shadow of the Battlestar Galactica set sail across the galaxy towards an almost mythical 13th colony known as Earth but the Cylons are not far behind.
The story may not be exactly original and has it's roots in classic literature and it has religious overtones but it is compelling as the humans flee towards safety but come across worlds of humans lost to records and have to deal with attacks from the pursuing Cylons. All this set against a fleet with limited food, water and other supplies plus the issues raised within from military and political maneuvering which often leads to questions over the path the remnants of a great society are taking.
It would be easy to dismiss the classic Battlestar as just cheap and cheerful scifi which there was plenty of back in the day but all the elements are there to make a compelling and driven story of human survival on an individual and cultural level, the key is the real world social and economic realities which shape the way the story can be told, that is really the only difference between Glen A Larson's shows and Ronald D Moores.

Saga of a Star World
There are a number of versions of this story, the theatrical release which made a pretty penny in cinemas around the world and probably covered the bulk of the cost of the series if not putting into the black but also TV and DVD versions both complete and chopped into three one hour episodes. I remember watching the movie at my local flea pit as a youngster and watching it on television but for now the UK region 2 DVD boxset is my source for the show and it's presented as a 143 minute feature in a 4:3 ratio with stereo and 5.1 audio options. The overall picture quality is pretty poor to be honest but the audio is fine and well you have to make allowances for older shows put onto DVD although at least this wasn't a product of the video age so the masters are film based which has led to the upcoming Blu-ray releases of this feature.

The really important thing of course is that the story is sound and the acting is pretty solid with some good characters and casting and having Lorne Greene as Adama and Ray Milland as Sire Uri sets the standard, the addition of Lloyd Bridges and Wilfred Hyde-White add weight and help out the younger and more open styles from the likes of Richard Hatch and Dirk Benedict. John Colicos as Baltar steals every scene and Jane Seymour once again proves she had talent after her Bond appearance and before her dominance of US family themed drama.
Saga of a Star World begins with the Battlestar fleet being ambushed and the exodus from the 12 colonies, under the protection of the Galactica a couple of hundred ships of all classes loaded to capacity with survivors flee the Cylons. Civil unrest is always a hairs breath away especially when the main food stores are found to be contaminated and certain wealthy individuals are hoarding resources, the ethical minefield is addressed as is the military/civilian dynamic. The question of hiding on a seemingly heaven sent world with food and fuel also offers an incentive to once again sue for peace but only really as a plot device, there is no quarter given from the robotic Cylons who see nothing but total annihilation of the humans as their goal.
Will the fleet reach Earth and perhaps more importantly does Earth actually exist, maybe it does as there are too many small colonies spotted around the projected course so there is hope for those that complete the journey across the stars.


When you get right down to it the original Battlestar Galactica and it's premiere Saga of the Star World is bloody good science fiction, yes it still panders a little to the sensibilities of the US market and western society but there are a few twists and turns when keep you on your toes. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series because there are some good original stories on offer and of course a few of the regular themes transposed for scifi but nothing new there so not a criticism:)

Battlestar Galactica IMDB
Battlestar Galactica Wiki






Friday, 3 May 2013

New Toy - Samsung UE32F550

Just setup a new television, nothing too fancy a modest 32" LCD/LED panel but it is wireless/DNLA compliant and the Freeview HD is the icing although that service is pretty much default these days. A very pretty and light weight television, easy to setup and the picture is darn good.
The model in question is the Samsung UE32F550.