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 SGA 1-01: Rising 
 
 DS9 2-04: Invasive Procedures 
 
 B5 2-09: The Coming of Shadows 
 
 The Orville 1-02 

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

The Orville 1-02: Command Performance (Quick Review)

Episode:2|Writer:Seth MacFarlane|Air Date:17-Sep-2017

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I've got another super-rushed first draft quick review for you! No screencaps, no recap, just opinions and SPOILERS.

I'm not sure how long I'm going to keep writing about Orville episodes, especially with Discovery joining it soon, but I had to give my two pennies' worth on how the first normal episode turned out. Like the pilot, it's written by Seth MacFarlane, but this time he's got the guy who played Tom Paris on Star Trek: Voyager in to direct!

Robert Duncan McNeill switched to directing a long while back and has worked on series like Enterprise, Supernatural, and especially Chuck, so he's a good choice, but I can't help but think that the producers were going for Star Trek names deliberately to give the series some credibility and lure in the fans. My first clue was that the next three episodes are directed by Brannon Braga (long time Trek writer), James L. Conway (long time Trek director) and Jonathan Frakes (long time Riker).

Okay, it's all spoilers and criticism below this point, so don't go any further unless you've seen the episode already or don't care.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Babylon 5 2-09: The Coming of Shadows

Episode:31|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:01-Feb-1994

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm watching the Hugo Award winning Babylon 5 episode The Coming of Shadows. It won the award for 'Best Dramatic Presentation' in 1994, back when individual TV episodes had to fight it out in the same category as blockbuster movies. So this didn't just take down beloved Deep Space Nine episode The Visitor, but also 12 Monkeys, Apollo 13 and Toy Story! Damn, that's a lot of movies and series with a number in their title. Also a lot of Tom Hanks.

Just to put that win in context, previous winners include: Jurassic Park, Terminator 2, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Aliens, Back to the Future, Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Blade RunnerA Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Trek's The City on the Edge of Forever. So I'm expecting this to be at least as good as all of those.

Man, I love listing things; it saves me from having to actually think about the words that I'm writing. Anyway, this episode was written by J. Michael Straczynski and directed by Janet Greek, who'd already given us stories like Points of Departure, Signs and Portents and Chrysalis by this point, just to pick a few names from the very top of my episode rankings. So it'd be fair to say they'd assembled B5's A-Team for this one. Well, except for Dwight Schultz; he'll not be participating as a guest star this time (or ever again).

I'm going to be recapping the whole episode with screencaps and writing my thoughts underneath, so there'll be maximum SPOILERS past this point. I'm sure I'll end up spoiling things from earlier episodes too, but I'll not say a thing about what happens after (though I can't promise the episode itself won't reveal a few things about what's to come).

Monday, 11 September 2017

The Orville 1-01: Old Wounds (Quick Review)

Episode:1|Writer:Seth MacFarlane|Air Date:10-Sep-2017

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I've got a surprise mini-review of The Orville's brand new pilot episode for you!

The Orville is a live action sci-fi comedy drama series by Family Guy and American Dad creator Seth MacFarlane, starring himself as the captain of the U.S.S. Orville, a starship on a mission to boldly go and discover some new worlds and civilizations and stuff. I've read a lot of reviews by folks who've already seen the first three episodes and they weren't exactly kind to the series, but I'm still a little optimistic. I've often thought that it's a shame that talented Star Trek fans always go to so much trouble to replicate the classic series exactly with their fan films, when they could go for 'close enough', drop the name, and make some money for their hard work, and now it seems MacFarlane's done exactly that! Plus he got Iron Man/Zathura director Jon Favreau to direct the pilot, which seems like a smart idea.

Alright, this is going to be a super-rushed next-day quick review with no recap, few screencaps and no second draft, but there will still be a few mild SPOILERS scattered around. I won't spoil the whole plot for you this time though, or the jokes (the trailer beat me to it).

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 2-04: Invasive Procedures

Episode:24|Writer:John Whelpley and Robert Hewitt Wolfe|Air Date:17-Oct-1993

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm writing about more Deep Space Nine. Season 2, episode 4: Invasive Procedures, to be precise.

The series' second season kicked off with a big flashy three-parter with a phaser fight every episode, plus location shoots, Odo morphs, an elaborate dogfight sequence, stuntmen falling off cliffs... it was basically a two-hour apology for season one. But those kinds of episodes come at a cost, and in this case, the cost was money, so I expect these next few stories are going to be on the cheap side. Though they did pay to put a smokey space-fog background behind the station this week, which is cool.

We're also done with serialisation for a while, probably because certain people in certain positions of authority wanted to keep everything contained to single episodes that could be watched in any order. To be fair though this was still a fair few years before DVD season box sets and Netflix, and the ridiculously expensive VHS tapes only had 2 episodes on.

Anyway, I'm going to sharing screencaps of the whole episode and writing down my thoughts underneath, so there's going to be massive SPOILERS past this point. Plus I'll probably end up spoiling something from an earlier episode of Trek along the way, but nothing from anything that came after this. As far as I'm concerned it's October 1993 right now, and I don't even know what a DVD or a Netflix even is.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Babylon 5 2-07: Soul Mates

Episode:29|Writer:Peter David|Air Date:14-Dec-1994

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm watching episodes out of DVD order again, as I've left Soul Mates until after A Race Through Dark Places. They aired the other way around in the US, as the network wanted to move an episode to an earlier air date and Race's VFX shots wouldn't have been finished in time, but this is their correct production and story order.

Why does it matter to you what order I'm watching the episodes in? Well it affects the SPOILERS you're going to be getting, as I avoid spoiling things that happen in later episodes, for the sake of people who haven't seen the rest of the series yet (or have forgotten it all), but as far as I'm concerned Race Through Dark Places has already been and gone, and is now fair game. Also, I'm going to recap this whole episode as I give my thoughts about it, so I'll be spoiling the hell out of it too.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Stargate: Atlantis 1-01: Rising

Episode:1-2|Writer:Robert C. Cooper & Brad Wright|Air Date:16-Jul-2004

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm writing about another epic feature-length Stargate spin-off series pilot episode! They didn't put an episode title on screen for me to screencap, but my sources (the DVD box) tell me that it's called Rising.

My sources also tell me that it was co-written by two guys who'd been there since the start of Stargate SG-1: Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper. Wright was its co-creator and Cooper came up with a lot of the backstory of the universe. It's been a long while since I've seen this episode and I can't remember if it's any good, but if anyone's got a handle on the convoluted mythology it's them.

It's definitely not me, as I'd stopped watching SG-1 for a long while by the time the spin-off started and I never got caught up with it. I skipped the entire 'search for the Lost City' arc, the blonde Dr. Weir episodes and, well I don't actually know what I've skipped... because I skipped it. Which may be a bit of a problem for me, seeing as Rising first aired the week after the SG-1 season 8 premiere New Order and picks up the story where it left off.

It aired in July 2004, ten years after the Babylon 5 and Deep Space Nine episodes I've been writing about lately, so that puts Stargate Atlantis in the Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who era of sci-fi television, where bringing back old series that died in the 80s was apparently in fashion. Meanwhile, Andromeda and Enterprise were about to start their final seasons, Firefly and Farscape fans were still holding out for some kind of ending, and Revenge of the Sith was just a year away from bringing the Star Wars prequel trilogy to a conclusion.

I'll be recapping the whole story and writing my comments as I go, so this will basically be wall to wall SPOILERS for the episode. I might even spoil a few things about earlier Stargate SG-1 episodes, but probably not much because... well, I didn't watch all that much.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 2-03: The Siege

Episode:23|Writer:Michael Piller|Air Date:10-Oct-1993

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm back to Deep Space Nine, watching second season episode The Siege, which is something entirely different to seventh season episode The Siege of AR-558 and should definitely not be mixed up with third season episode The Search... even though that's what I accidentally ended up writing on my notes.

The Siege is the dramatic conclusion to the 'The' trilogy, following on from The Homecoming and The Circle (I suppose you could also call it 'The Circle trilogy' if you want to be a soulless minion of orthodoxy). I can't see any strange Babylon 5/Deep Space Nine coincidences to mention here, but slightly space-stationy Stargate spin-off Stargate: Atlantis also starts its second season with an epic three-parter that's resolved with an episode called The Siege, so that seems like something worth mentioning.

The episode's by writer/producer Michael Piller and director Winrich Kolbe, the folks who kicked off Next Gen's first good season with the episode Evolution and would later work on Voyager's pilot Caretaker, so they've brought out the big guns on this one. Doesn't mean that it's going to be good, they've made a lot of crap between the two of them too, but I'm hopeful.

Okay, I'll be recapping the episode and writing my commentary under fuzzy DVD screencaps, so there'll be massive SPOILERS. In fact I'll probably end up spoiling things from other Star Trek stories too, but only ones that came before it. Anything released after 10th October 1993 is safe.