Stargate Archives

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Gatecast 185 SG1 Reckoning Part 2

This week on the Gatecast we discuss the SG1 episode Reckoning Part 2, Brad from down under joins us for the chat and we have a blast watching the fall of the System Lords and the destruction of the Replicators. It was a good day for the Jaffa and the Milky Way.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Ipod Nano

The first day with my new portable music machine, just the basic ipod nano but it's very light, easy to use, seamless integrates with itunes (some would consider that a drawback) and the audio quality is very good. Obviously more expensive then my previous two a no name player and an Archos but they both had format compatibility and amplification issues which the nano doesn't.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Banshee Season 2 Teaser

Just finished watching the first season of this non stop action and suspense series from Cinemax, lots of violence, sex and nudity but also a story and characters you can invest in and wonder just how the hell are they going to get out of this mess:)
Cinemax Official Site

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Battlestar Galactica Rewatch ( Part 8 )

Battlestar Galactica Rewatch ( Part 8)

War of the Gods ( 1 & 2 )

We are once again graced with a two parter which like the previous one easily
ranks near the top of any fan favourite list. Not only do we get a classic good
versus evil plot but an excellent guest star with Patrick Macnee and in a 
surprising revelation some of the back story to the Cylons themselves.
For my own benefit I'll be covering the two episodes as one feature
and certainly in a rewatch it would be better presented that way, factor in the
credits, theme and then the previously there is a lot of "dead" runtime.

So the story begins with a Viper squadron on a long range patrol and for once
it's not any of the main cast so no surprise when it comes to a sticky end, that 
said they did deserve it.Lets be honest, if you spot fast moving alien ships or
entities then you communicate that face to the fleet straight away, you don't
wait just to see what happens next. It's interesting to see that the large city like 
ship that they encounter has a very vibe of Close Encounters and many years later 
the same feeling you get from Atlantis when she is in space.  Anyhow back on the 
Galactica Apollo, Boomer and Starbuck are engaged in a game of Triad with one 
other guy and boy does this sport look pathetic but lots of manly sweat and skin 
on display so perhaps that was one factor that came into play.
Thankfully the pilots of Blue squadron were not needed until just after the game
so it's no as if they were derelict in their duties being you would assume full time
combat crew. 
If this was a womans sport not a raised eyebrow
Starbuck, Apollo and Sheba look for the lost pilots and find a strange world
with no life forms detected and on the planet a large crash site and to their surprise
a man who claims to have been a survivor and goes by the name Count Iblis.
The Count is smooth and charming and once returned to the Galactica puts a whammy
on Sheba who allows him to visit the bridge and we see a definite effect on certain
electronic systems. We finally get to see Adama throw a fit with the lax security on
the ship which is long overdue but slowly but surely the Count is influencing the crew.
Continuity be damned but it seems the sole surviving Agro ship has now been fully
repaired and is flourishing with the crops from the seeds gathered a few episodes ago.
This is a very good looking scene making use of the ship design use in Silent Running
and it also comes across as very creepy, forget the age difference we also have the
insidious mind powers of Iblis securing his hold on Sheba.
The annoying thing is that everything the Count says is reasonable and that is I guess
where the flaw in the human species lies, we can be convinced to do pretty much
anything. Iblis visits one of the ships carrying just passengers and uses the lack of food 
to drum up support and also to offer leadership, in other words give him your soul and 
you'll get what you want but eventually you will pay the price.
What is interesting in this is that despite seeing most of the Galactica crew living pretty
well especially the officers it seems much of the fleet are still on severe rations and very
poor habitats, this dynamic only really got addressed properly in the BSG remake as
telly in 1978 really wasn't addressing that social and political issue.
Iblis offers the Council 3 wishes, yes I know but he delivers as the crops begin to
flourish and for some strange reason Baltar turns up and is taken into custody, this is
where we see him recognise the voice of Iblis which is as we know the voice
of the Cylon Imperious Leader. That begs the question did the Cylons come under
the influence of Iblis in one form or another and did that turn them into genocidal
killing machines or where they well on the path anyway?
Eventually convinced there is no long term benefit from complying with Iblis Adama
sends Apollo and Starbuck back to the planet where they found the Count and Sheba
tags along. They discover something in the wreckage which shocks them and then
Iblis turns up as if magic and calls to Sheba to stand by his side. Apollo stands his 
ground and in an attempt to kill Sheba to prove his power Apollo is struck down
and then the mysterious lights return and Iblis in a panic flees.
Threats with Style
Once again we have the religious aspect of the devil having dominion over those
who have fallen or given themselves to him but defying the order of the universe
by striking down an "innocent" seems to bring down the wrath of the beings of light.
I have to admit it was a good scene but maybe a little heavy handed but then again
that kinda sums up the whole double episode.

The story starts to wrap things up as the light ship captures the returning ships
and now all dressed in white the status quo is explained to Starbuck and Sheba and
an offer made. If they were willing to offer themselves freely to save another just as
Apollo did then he would be brought back to life, they agree and Apollo rises from
the dead and they are all sent back to the Galactica.
The episode concludes around the dinner table (no mention of those barely getting
by on dodgy food in the fleet) with the intrepid trio only recalling a sense of goodness
and peace. Adama seems to understand that they have encountered Angels of the
light and have been center stage in the eternal struggle between good and evil and then
one by one as promised Apollo, Starbuck and Sheba offer forth a set of navigation 
codes and a description of Earths solar system.
Weak willed Woman, it was the 70's
War of the Gods is an excellent double episode of Battlestar Galactica, it's a good
story and very well produced with little reused stock footage and as I mentioned 
the scenery chewing Patrick Macnee as Count Iblis. The religious or spiritual tone
of the show really comes to the front but in an even handed way, the war between
good and evil is pretty much ingrained in our species and certainly applies to life 
without the structure imposed by an organised religion so is easily adapted to any
series without alienating any of the audience one way or the other.
The added twist of the Imperious Leader being Count Iblis was absolute genius,
it opens up so many questions in terms of the show and it's back story when dealing
with the Cylons. To sum up War of the Gods is a jewel in the classic Battlestar
Galactica series, it's dated yes but the core elements are strong and can match 
some of the best delivered from the shows more modern version years later.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

QMX - NX01 Replica

Now isn't that a thing of beauty but so far out of my price range it's rather depressing, mind you if I had four grand I could probably find something more useful to buy if I was being honest:)

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Goodies from Amazon

Another day and another package from Amazon which brought forth the first season of Once Upon A Time on Blu-ray and a hardback copy of The Long War by Pratchett and Baxter, excellent prices for both:)

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Warehouse 13 - The Big Snag

The best looking black and white dame on television and what a fun episode:)
The Big Snag IMDB

Battlestar Galactica Rewatch ( Part 7)

Battlestar Galactica Rewatch ( Part 7)

Fire In Space

I've treated this episode as a standalone since I wanted to keep the next two episodes
together as they were intended to be although I guess Fire In Space would have been a
more than adequate final chapter in a Living Legend trilogy. They actually did release a
feature "Mission Galactica: The Cylon Attack" comprising of those three episodes so
there was a precedent.
However lets begin with a Cylon raiding force targeting the Galactica, the rest of the
fleet seems to be very much absent and since the Cylons seemed to have been on a
very specific suicide mission maybe the fleet wasn't really missed.
After being hit by raiders which were speculated to be filled with explosives/fuel the
Galactica is seriously damaged particularly one of the landing decks and the bridge, Adama
himself is taken to medical and ultimately requires surgery. As the fire rages and slowly
consumes the ship the remaining crew look for solutions to prevent the main generators and
fuel storage from blowing up and taking the ship with it while Apollo and co desperately try
to save the twenty or so survivors sealed behind jammed bulkheads in the rec center or
shall we call the rejuvenation center.
Where is Reford & Newman when you need them?
Fire In Space when you strip everything away is a very good idea, not original as we've
seen similar plots in scifi and particularly submarine movies over the years and of course
being trapped by fire is alas an ever present threat in large structures. Unfortunately the
episode is full of issues and they just tip the balance in favour of a more negative opinion
of the episode. We can begin with the lack of a CAP which I'm sure has been there in
the past, the really lack of effective point defence around two very critical elements of a
Battlestar and while closing bulkheads during a red alert is certainly a practical consideration
we see that some key personnel are prevented from defending the ship.
On that front why waste Cylons and Raiders, don't they have the ability to build long range
and low profile missiles which could very well be fired from outside scanner range and
from multiple sources.
I was also going to criticise the smoke getting into the various rooms through supposedly
air right doors but I suppose if the explosions warped the ships bulkheads then maybe just
maybe some gaps appeared. Of course you have to wonder if those air ducts which seemed
to connect every room to every other could be sealed under battle conditions, they seemed
very very convenient but at least Tigh had the decency to look embarrassed when putting the
substance in the duct to entice the robot daggit.

Busy doing nothing

Now here is a positive, ok it was stock footage but the huge fires raging in what look to
be an industrial setting made the Galactica look like a very real working space ship, maybe
they went for that look in Trek 2009 but BSG pulled it off perhaps thanks to the age, grime and
damage. Right lets return to the negative, why would you use Vipers to fire flame retardant when you
could outfit a shuttle, hover and pump a lot more chemical into the bays with no risk of crashing
into the ship and speaking of that why didn't the vipers dive instead of climb, nothing below but
space. I am going to finish with a positive though, the space walk and idea to blow compartments
was well done, the actual wire work and matt paintings were not convincing but within the limits of
the show they looked good and of course some of the ideas were used in the BSG re-imagining.

So to wrap up, some good ideas and some very bad ones but after everything I've said it still
ain't that bad an episode, it's certainly not one to skip on a series rewatch.

Fire In Space Wiki
Fire In Space IMDB

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Battlestar Galactica Rewatch ( Part 6 )

The Living Legend Parts 1 & 2

Once again Starbuck and Apollo are on a long range patrol but this time they get ambushed
by two other Vipers, the shooting starts in earnest and unable to disengage they discover
the two attacking ships are from the Battlestar Pegasus believed to have been lost two
years previously. It turns out that the Pegasus evaded the destruction of the fifth fleet and
went deep into uncharted space and has been harassing the local Cylon planets for resources.
Commander "There's Nothing Holy About Me!" Kane ( Lloyd Bridges ) sees this chance
meeting as a sign that once and for all he can capture Gomorray the local Cylon capital and use
it as a base to strike back but Adama with the fleet in mind is far more cautious.
Circumstances conspire against Adama with a little nudge from Kane and a strike against the
planet is undertaken while the carefully balance the threat between the garrison and Baltar's
basestars which are closing fast. Eventually Kane leads the Pegasus into the fire to give the
fleet the time needed to effect repairs and with the stolen fuel flee this region of space.

Behold, I am here the party can begin.
You know that very brief synopsis totally fails to this double episode credit, it's an epic
story within the series with Lloyd Bridges complete with gold braid and swagger stick hamming
it up bigtime but in fantastic style, you can not help but like the character. The addition of the
daughter Sheba will shake things up and eventually give Apollo a little more depth and the
ongoing Starbuck and Cassiopea romance is rocked with her previous relationship with Kane.
Baltar complete with dramatic mood lightning gets close to realising his goals so much so he dons
a Cylon helmet and takes the third seat in a fighter but gets the shock of his life when he discovers
two Battlestars.
Baltar "It's Impossible"
Cylon Pilot "No, it's a Battlestar"
Actually quite impressive
It's still a little annoying how selectively poor the Viper scanners can be but you would still
wonder why the two Silver Spur pilots were actively trying to kill two other Vipers, the
mention later of their flight path taking them towards Gomorray seemed inconsistent.
We won't even get into the chain of events that led the fleet to a dead stop in the middle
of nowhere, not exactly good resource managment was it and yay for coincidences when
Kane's love interest was one of the few saved from the colonies. Of course that also
gave us some humour with Starbuck and allowed for a little growth and BSG isn't the only
show then and now to use that sort of plot device.
This story did have some very good high points more so than low it has to be said, Lloyd
was wonderful with Anne (Sheba) and Jack (Bojay) both very good, there was some
excellent model work with the ships ablaze (used before) and even some of the dog fighting
looked better or at least more varied. Baltar was his maniacal self ramping up his delusions
of Empire and the Colonial Jumpsuits were great.

It was a little Star Wars having the Emperor visiting the world under attack from a "rebel"
force so to speak but again I'm not going to hold that against them but the Cylons really
do need to address orbital defence and point defence systems, sometimes they make it
too easy for the Colonials.
A little trivia, Anne Lockheart now provides the voice for the fire houses controller in
the very entertaining Chicago Fire.

So did Kane and the Pegasus survive?
If the show had continued then yes they would have been brought back but either way
the events over Gomorray fitted the legend that was Kane.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Machete Kills - Trailer

Who would have thought they could out do the first movie:)

Battlestar Galactica Rewatch ( Part 5 )

Battlestar Galactica Rewatch

The Magnificent Warriors

A Cylon raid against the fleet succeeds in destroying two of the three Agro
ships and seriously damaging the third and the fleet has to find a new source
of seed to replenish the greenhouses. A plan is devised to visit a nearby
farming world whose population Adama speculates may have been an off
shoot of the 13th colony and trade an "Energizer" aka generator in return
for fresh seed. Problems arise when the only energizer without colonial
markings is under private ownership and the woman is looking to renew
her "friendship" with a suddenly shy and timid Adama. Further complications
arise when the Energizer gets stolen, Starbuck gambles to buy the seed
and ends up trying to defend the town from marauding natives.
This is the second episode to have a very strong western theme, there is certainly
elements of The Magnificent Seven in the episode but overall it's played for
laughs, it must have been played for laughs otherwise oh dear.
Adama becoming the befuddled woman shy guy was ridiculous and bargaining
for the energizer unbelievable and one thing for sure Starbuck and Boomer should
never be allowed to negotiate for anything. While we are nit-picking exactly what
was the issue about walking out of the Sheriff's job and was each full moon a
surprise to this farming community?
Starbuck has a gambling problem.
Overall it was a little daft and pretty much unforgettable but if lessons are to be
learned then keep your high value ships close to the warship not on the
outskirts of the fleet.

The Young Lords

Starbuck is feeling a little sorry for himself and contemplating the future, if this
was a cop movie he would be a day away from retiring and yup he gets himself
shot down and crashes on a Cylon controlled world. This region of space seems
to have a lot of very handy planets to crash into all with Cylons on.
He is rescued by two young adults one riding what has to a Unicorn and this family
has serious issues with white feathers and furs, not exactly conducive to hiding from
Cylons in woodland, then again shiney metal men are not exactly stealthy either.
Top quality composition and set design
Baltar is on the way and it's pretty much a race against time to rescue Starbuck
before he his captured by the local garrison and tortured for the location of the fleet.
It is always amazing how just when they need a planet to land on one appears, not sure
anyone gave a monkees about the physical layout of the galaxy in terms of Star distribution
but hey we'll let it go because there is some very nice location work and set pieces in
this episode. I'm not sure about the Unicorn or the feather/fur outfits but Spectre for sure was
an absolute riot as well as the "jealousy" of Lucifer and Baltar's glee at their actions.
Alas this was another average episode although it does get high points for location shooting
and set design but the funky costumes were very much of the era and that is such a potential
pitfall for any series which is being watched years later.
Lucifer and Baltar, comedic genius.