Recent Posts

      RECENT REVIEWS
   
 Star Trek: Nemesis 
 
 B5 2-10: GROPOS 
 
 The Orville 1-06: Krill 
 
 Discovery 1-05: Choose Your Pain 

Monday, 16 October 2017

Star Trek: Discovery 1-05: Choose Your Pain (Quick Review)

Episode:5|Writer:Kemp Powers|Air Date:15-Oct-2017

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm watching an episode of Discovery with a title that sounds like it should be a quote from a Mortal Kombat game.

This is one of my quick reviews, meaning that I'm writing it in a rush and I'm leaving out the scene-by-scene observations I usually do. There'll still be plenty of words though and many of them will be SPOILERS for this episode and earlier ones.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

The Orville 1-06: Krill (Quick Review)

Episode:6|Writer:David A. Goodman|Air Date:12-Oct-2017

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I've finally done it! I've finally reached an episode of The Orville not credited to Seth MacFarlane! Not that I had any problem with MacFarlane's episodes, it was just starting to seem like he'd written the whole series by himself.

This one's called Krill, which is at least one letter more than Pria, though it's still another tiny boring title. It's very disappointing when Star Trek: Discovery is pulling out names like The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry and Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go MadThe Orville writers need to step up their game.

The writer responsible in this case seems to be David A. Goodman, who wrote the Star Trek episode of Futurama and four episodes of Enterprise, so his sci-fi credentials seem to be sound. The director on the other hand, Jon Cassar, has never worked on Star Trek... but he did direct 65 episodes of 24 (plus 24: Redemption). So I'm hoping for gritty, ultra-high stakes action taking place in real time across Los Angeles, and at least one helicopter. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home was one of the most successful and beloved films in the franchise and it only had a helicopter on screen for like 30 seconds; imagine how well The Orville would do with a full minute or two.

Anyway, this is one of my quick reviews, so it's basically going to be a scruffy stream of thoughts and opinions without a recap. There will be SPOILERS though, for this episode and maybe earlier ones. Plus I'm throwing in a free bonus spoiler for you from the first few minutes of third season Next Gen episode, The Survivors. So look forward to that.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Star Trek: Discovery 1-04: The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry (Quick Review)

Episode:4|Writer:Jesse Alexander & Aron Eli Coleite|Air Date:08-Oct-2017

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm watching Discovery's fourth episode, The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry... holy shit that's a long episode title.

In fact, at 38 letters it's the second longest episode title in all of Star Trek after The World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky! It kicks the crap out of Doctor Who's recent The Pyramid at the End of the World with its pathetic 28 letters.

The episode was written and directed by a bunch of people I've never heard of, so instead of filling space with what I think about them, I'm going to get straight to the part where I say that this is going to be a really rushed scruffy review without the long recap I usually do. It'll still have SPOILERS for this episode, but I'll probably not be spoiling much else.

Monday, 9 October 2017

The Orville 1-05: Pria (Quick Review)

Episode:5|Writer:Seth MacFarlane|Air Date:05-Oct-2017

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm rushing through another The Orville episode review. I have to get this finished and posted before they go and air the next episode.

This is apparently the fifth episode in a row written by Seth MacFarlane, so he's either pulling a J. Michael Straczynski-style feat of marathon script writing, or they've been forgetting to update the opening credits each week. Plus this is the fourth time they've gotten Trek veteran in to direct and this time it's Jonathan Frakes! He's one of the best Trek actors turned directors so I'm always happy to see his name show up. Plus it means that in a few weeks I'll be able to watch his episode of Star Trek: Discovery and compare the two series fairly.

Okay, past this point there be episode SPOILERS, so continue no further if that's an issue.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Babylon 5 2-10: GROPOS

Episode:32|Writer:Lawrence DiTillio|Air Date:08-Feb-1995

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm finally returning to Babylon 5 with season two episode GROPOS.

You'd think that the biggest problem GROPOS has to live with would be its name, but it also suffers the misfortune of coming directly after The Coming of Shadows, the Hugo Award-winning mid-season game changer, so it was pretty much doomed to be a let down no matter how good it is.

Still, the episode that came after last year's mid-season game changer was TKO, and there's no way it can be that bad... though they do share the same writer. This was script editor Larry DiTillio's sixth episode for the series, and also his penultimate one, as he left at the end of the season. I guess there was no point in keeping a script editor around anymore when the executive producer took over writing all the episodes in season three.

Underneath this point the article's all SPOILERS and screencaps, so continue at your own risk. I'll not ruin anything that happens in the episodes that came after this though.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Star Trek: Discovery 1-03: Context is for Kings (Quick Review)

Episode:3|Writer:Gretchen J. Berg & Aaron Harberts & Craig Sweeny|Air Date:01-Oct-2017

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm got another rushed Discovery review for you. I'm up to episode 3, Context is for Kings, which is a weird name. Very un-Star Trek. Though to be honest, I'm just happy we're actually getting new Star Trek episode titles again; it's been a long while.

The episode's written by showrunners Gretchen J. Berg & Aaron Harberts, who also wrote the last episode, but they're joined this time by Limitless creator Craig Sweeny. Lots of writers. They even got a writer to direct it: Batman & Robin's Akiva Goldsman. Funny that the third episode of The Orville was directed by a notorious writer as well; I hope Goldsman did as good a job as Brannon Braga did.

This is one of my quick reviews, meaning that I'm skipping the screencaps and in-depth scene-by-scene observations, and going straight for the SPOILERS. I'm considering all 51 years of Star Trek up to this point to be fair game for my spoilers, especially Where No Man Has Gone Before, plus Where No One Has Gone Before and other episodes with super space travel.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

The Orville 1-04: If the Stars Should Appear (Quick Review)

Episode:4|Writer:Seth MacFarlane|Air Date:28-Sep-2017

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm writing some quick thoughts about The Orville's fourth episode, If the Stars Should Appear. Here's my first thought: the name sounds like it was found in a box of unused Star Trek episode titles, and I hope there's a few more left in there for later episodes because it's great.

This seems to be have been the second episode filmed, but it was held back to fourth because... I dunno, maybe it's terrible and they didn't want to scare people off early. It's not uncommon for series to film episodes out of order though, Doctor Who's always doing it, so I'm not going to read too much into it.

It's another episode credited to creator Seth MacFarlane, which means he's written four in a row now (no matter what order you put them in). I'm sure he'll let someone else have a turn eventually. The director's Trek veteran James L. Conway, and Memory Alpha tells me he's responsible for classics like DS9's Duet and Way of the Warrior, Voyager's Death Wish, Enterprise's Broken Bow and Next Gen's... oh shit he did Justice? The one where Wesley falls into the flowers? That's a contender for being the worst episode in the worst season of the entire run! Well, it was from season one; the poor guy was doomed from the start.

This is a quick review without that long recap I usually do, I'm just going to jump straight into SPOILERS and opinions, so you'll probably want to have watched the episode first before going any further.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Star Trek: Nemesis

Star Trek Nemesis title logo DVD
Written by:John Logan|Directed by:Stuart Baird|Release Date:2002

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm writing about more Star Trek! This time though I'm watching the last of the Next Generation movies and possibly the worst of them all: STAR TЯEK: NEMƎSIS! The reversed letters are there because the film's all about duplicates and mirror opposites. Also...

Yes that is the Diablo font

You know, from the video game Diablo. It's called Exocet if you're curious.

Anyway, there's a reason I'm writing about this particular film on this particular day and that's because it's Star Trek: The Next Generation's 30th anniversary! Yeah, it's not the ideal choice, I'd rather watch the pilot, Encounter at Farpoint, or maybe even something good, but this is what I got.

I'm also getting a bit of deja-vu here, as we already had a big Star Trek anniversary last September when the Original Series hit 50. Also, it was Voyager's 20th in 2015 and it'll be Deep Space Nine's 25th in 2018. You get a series with this many spin-offs and it's anniversaries all decade long. Oh, plus it's Star Trek: Discovery's 0th anniversary this year, seeing as it just aired 4 days ago. They could've held it back or moved it forward a few days to sync them up, but nope!

Nemesis itself came out in December 2002, which means that it had to struggle with being the first post-Galaxy Quest Trek movie. It's also the first Trek movie to have to deal with the Star Wars prequels raising the space opera VFX game, with Attack of the Clones having twice the budget to play with. It's hard to say that it was a lack of money on screen that killed Nemesis though, when it was Maid in Manhattan that beat it to the #1 spot in the US box office! The film opened badly and then fell to oblivion, with one of the worst second week drop-offs in the history of motion pictures.

Paramount had brought on a big name Hollywood scriptwriter for this one (Gladiator writer John Logan), and a legendary editor to direct (Stuart Baird), so they were convinced that the series must be suffering from 'franchise fatigue' and cancelled all plans for fifth Next Gen film. It was seven years before they'd dare releasing another Star Trek movie again, this time with J.J. Abrams at the helm and a budget. Worked out better that time.

Okay, there'll be SPOILERS and screencaps beyond this point, so continue at your own risk. I'm considering the whole Trek franchise up to 2002 to be fair game, but I'll not spoil a thing about what was released after it.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Star Trek: Discovery 1-02: Battle at the Binary Stars (Quick Review)

Episode:2|Writer:Gretchen J. Berg & Aaron Harberts|Air Date:24-Sep-2017

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, you're getting a second Discovery quick review! Because they split the pilot into two separate episodes and then released them back to back to give me more work.

This half of the story is by a different pair of writers, as Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts have taken over from Bryan Fuller and Akiva Goldsman. They also took over the series from Fuller as they're the current showrunners, so hopefully this episode will show that they know what they're doing.

It seems like they got a little mixed up when they were coming up with the title, as Battle at the Binary Stars sounds like it belongs to an old-school Battlestar Galactica story. I'm not complaining though. In fact, coming after Charlie X, YesteryearThe Naked Now, Past Prologue, Parallax and Fight or Flight, it might be the best second episode title Star Trek's ever had! Kind of gives away what happens though.

This is going to be shorter and scruffier than my usual reviews, with no screencaps or recap, but there'll still be plenty of SPOILERS for these first two episodes. In fact, I might spoil a little of earlier Trek as well, especially Star Trek: Nemesis and J.J Abrams' Star Trek movie from 2009, but nothing that comes after. Because for the first time in this site's long 18 month history there is no next time yet for me to spoil!

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Star Trek: Discovery 1-01: The Vulcan Hello (Quick Review)

Episode:1|Writer:Akiva Goldsman & Bryan Fuller|Air Date:24-Sep-2017

Hey, look at this thing that finally exists for real!

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm reviewing the massively expensive, endlessly delayed first episode of Star Trek: Discovery, the first Trek series on TV for 12 years. It missed Star Trek's big 50th anniversary by just over a year, but it's just in time for Star Trek: The Next Generation's 30th! Almost. If they'd just waited 4 more days...

I'm so excited to get the chance to watch this at last because I've had this question on my mind for months: which one's going to be the crap one, Discovery or The Orville? Can they both be good? Also, the 2009 Star Trek movie feels like J.J. Abrams trying to make a Star Wars film, The Orville is obviously Seth MacFarlane attempt at making a Star Trek series, so I'm curious about what Discovery's trying to be.

This episode's co-written by the writer of Batman and Robin and Lost in Space, but I'll try not to let that influence my judgement. After all, this is a modern US TV show with a room full of other writers working on every episode. For instance, the original story for this one came from the co-writer of Transformers and Star Trek Into Darkness! I'm going to stop looking at the credits now before they put me off.

This is going to be a super quick review, written in a hurry without screencaps or a synopsis slowing it down. I'm just going to leap straight into giving SPOILERS and sharing my thoughts on this major cultural event/TV show.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

The Orville 1-03: About a Girl (Quick Review)

Episode:3|Writer:Seth MacFarlane|Air Date:21-Sep-2017

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I've got another quick The Orville review for you. It's not my fault this is coming so soon after my last one, they put two episodes out in the same week.

About a Girl is the third episode in a row to be credited to creator Seth MacFarlane, so it's starting to seem like he has a whole lot of Star Trek stories stored up in his head that he's eager to get through. There was another writer involved, Brannon Braga, but this time he was the director. The guy's written more Trek than anyone else on the planet, but this is the first time I've ever seen something he's directed, so I hope he doesn't suck at it.

Unlike most of my reviews, I'm writing this up in hurry, with no screencap recap and a negligible amount of proof-reading. But there will be SPOILERS, so don't go any further if you don't already know how it ends. Unless you don't care, then you can do what you like!

Friday, 22 September 2017

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 2-05: Cardassians

Episode:25|Writer:James Crocker|Air Date:24-Oct-1993

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm writing about an episode of Deep Space Nine that's probably about Cardassians.

I won't bore you with a long introduction this time. Just be aware that I'll be recapping the whole episode and referring back to earlier Star Trek episodes, so there'll be massive SPOILERS. You'll not see any spoilers for episodes aired afterwards through (Star Trek or otherwise).

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 screencap 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.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Babylon 5 2-08: A Race Through Dark Places

Episode:30|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:25-Jan-1995

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm back to Babylon 5 season two, writing about A Race Through Dark Places. My DVD's telling me I should be watching Soul Mates now, but I'm following the Lurker's Guide Master List which reorganises the stories into a more chronologically logical order, and it says that A Race Through Dark Places was always meant to come first.

What happened was the network, PTEN, planned to finish off 1994 with six new season two B5 episodes in a block (following straight on from the season one finale Chrysalis, which had been held back two months because... I don't even know why.) But then they decided to increase the block to seven episodes and Race Through Dark Places just wasn't going to be ready in time, so Soul Mates was aired in its place. They were aired in the correct order for me in the UK though... eventually.

Anyway the end result of this schedule shifting is that this is the first episode of Babylon 5 to air in 1995. It also means that there's another weird Babylon 5/Deep Space Nine coincidence for the ever-expanding list: both series aired exactly 29 episodes during their first year, which is a ridiculous number. Especially as one of DS9's episodes was feature length.

If you're wondering what else was going on in 1995, it was the year that Voyager, Sliders and Space: Above and Beyond started. Also they're not science fiction, but it says here on the internet that Hercules and its spin-off Xena both got a series this year and that's weird. Meanwhile in cinemas, sci-fi movie fans got to enjoy Johnny Mnemonic, Species and Sylvester Stallone's Judge Dredd. Yay.

Warning: I'll be sharing SPOILERS for this episode with my words and screencaps, and earlier episodes are fair game for spoilers too (aside from Soul Mates). I won't spoil anything that comes after though.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 2-02: The Circle

Episode:21|Writer:Peter Allan Fields|Air Date:03-Oct-1993

This month on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm watching The Circle, which is the very first episode of Deep Space Nine to have a 'previously on' clip at the start. That's because it's the second part of the The Homecoming, though you wouldn't know it from the title.

Up until this point, two-parters in Star Trek have been clearly labelled, so we've had The Menagerie, Part II, The Best of Both Worlds, Part II, Chain of Command, Part II etc. and Voyager would later continue the tradition. DS9 just had to be different though... except for the couple of times when it wasn't.

This is Peter Allan Fields' first story for the series after Duet last year, which was an oasis of awesome in that desolate wasteland of a season. I'm hoping that this is a: better, and b: pretty average for season two, because the series could really use a sharp increase in quality.

I'll be recapping the whole episode with beautiful SD screencaps from the Region 2 DVDs and throwing in some of my commentary along the way. This means that there'll be SPOILERS for the whole episode and I'm considering anything else with the Star Trek name on it released before October '93 to be fair game too. I won't spoil what comes after though... or things that came before in prequel.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Babylon 5 2-06: Spider in the Web

Episode:28|Writer:Lawrence DiTillio|Air Date:07-12-1994

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I'll be figuratively talking all over Babylon 5 episode Spider in the Web (or A Spider in the Web according to the DVD box). I wouldn't worry about seeing any actual spiders turn up though judging by the current run of episode titles, as A Distant Star had nothing to do with stars, distant or otherwise, The Long Dark only lasted 42 minutes, and The Geometry of Shadows had a disappointing absence of... geometry.

This is the first episode of season two to be written by executive story editor Larry DiTillio and I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. The guy's episodes were all over the place on my entirely subjective season one rankings, as I placed Eyes up near the top, and TKO and Born to the Purple way way down at the bottom. But only one person wrote more Babylon 5 episodes than DiTillio and that's creator JMS himself, though after this I've only got two more stories of his left to watch before his boss took ever entirely.

It's also the first episode of any season to be directed by Kevin G. Cremin and I'm not sure if that's a good thing either. Though after scrolling through the episode list and checking out the other four stories he directed I'm thinking that signs are promising.

I'll be writing commentary under screencaps from the DVD, so there'll be SPOILERS here for this whole episode and probably a few of the ones that lead up to it. That's as far as the spoilers go though, I'll not give away anything that happens afterwards.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 2-01: The Homecoming

Episode:21|Writer:Ira Steven Behr|Air Date:26-Sep-1993

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm watching the first episode of Deep Space Nine season 2! It's also the first part of the first three-parter in Star Trek history, and the first multi-part story in the franchise where each part has a different title.

It's not the first episode by Ira Steven Behr though, as he wrote that bloody The Nagus episode last season. But that's fine, even the best writers have their off days. Though if I ever see more than three Ferengi on screen at once I'm turning it off.

I'll be screencapping the entire episode and writing my thoughts underneath as I go, so expect SPOILERS. I'm considering any Star Trek episode made before it to be fair game, but I won't be spoiling anything that aired after it.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Babylon 5 2-05: The Long Dark

Episode:27|Writer:Scott Frost|Air Date:30-Nov-1994

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures it's episode 27 of Babylon 5! I'm going to watch it, take some screencaps and write stuff underneath them, same as usual. Well rewatch it really, as I've seen this whole series before.

The Long Dark is both the first and last Babylon 5 episode written by a guy called Scott Frost who I know nothing about. Wikipedia tells me he wrote two episodes of Twin Peaks, which may be a good sign, and two episodes from the last seasons of Andromeda, which probably isn't. It's also the first episode directed by Mario Di Leo, who didn't do a whole lot of B5 either.

There will be SPOILERS past this point for this episode and earlier ones, but I won't spoil anything that comes after it. Though I might spoil a tiny bit about the movie Aliens.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Stargate: SG-1 1-01: Children of the Gods, Part 2

This is the second and final part of my Children of the Gods article. You can go to part one by clicking the text that says 'part one' here: Part one.

Beware of SPOILERS for both this episode and the movie.

Stargate: SG-1 1-01: Children of the Gods, Part 1

Episode:1|Writer:Jonathan Glassner & Brad Wright|Air Date:27-Jul-1997

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm kicking myself for not realising that it'll be Stargate SG-1's 20th anniversary this year! If I'd held onto this post for another month it would've worked out perfectly, but I already promised I'd write about this next and I'm two weeks late, so I decided to click publish on it today and hope I do better with the next anniversary.

What else came out in 1997 anyway? It seems like it was a good year for fantasy movies to get their own wildly successful semi-faithful TV franchises, as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Stargate SG-1 both kicked off within a few months of each other. I have to admit that I'm more of a Buffy fan, but Buffy's about vampires and Stargate's about stargates so this is the one I'm writing about on my sci-fi site. Other science fiction series starting in '97 include Deepwater Black, Earth: Final Conflict and Timecop and I've got even better reasons for not writing about them. Meanwhile Star Trek: Deep Space Nine finished off its 5th season, Babylon 5 got done with year 4 and Voyager wrapped up season 3.

They may have chosen the least exciting shot possible to put the title over, but Children of the Gods is the beginning of an epic TV franchise to rival Star Trek, that lasted for 354 episodes and 2 DVD movies! It also rivals Star Wars with how much it got screwed with years after the fact, as co-creator Brad Wright decided to have it re-cut to replace visual effects, tighten up the storytelling, restore the original Joel Goldsmith score and use a slightly more exciting shot for the title. Oh plus his revised Final Cut also removes the nudity that Showtime apparently made them put in, because it didn't exactly suit the family friendly 90s TV sci-fi tone they were going for.

But I don't have the Final Cut, so I'm watching whatever version came in my season one DVD box set, and I'll be writing all kinds of SPOILERS as I go. I'll also be spoiling the Stargate movie, but I won't say a word about what happens in the rest of the series. Or any other series.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Babylon 5 2-04: A Distant Star

Episode:26|Writer:D.C. Fontana|Air Date:23-Nov-1994

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm continuing my descent into season 2 of Babylon 5 with the fourth episode: A Distant Star.

This is the first episode this season written by someone other than creator J. Michael Straczynski and the last B5 script from OG Star Trek veteran D.C. Fontana. There'll be a lot of 'last script's coming up over the next few months, as the series became too serialised for outside writers to produce standalone stories any more. That seems like a strange situation seeing as modern serialised TV series are written by multiple writers just fine, but I guess most of them haven't got an elaborate five year arc planned out in advance.

Okay what I'll be doing here is taking a few screencaps from the episode and then writing my commentary underneath, so this will include SPOILERS for the entire episode. I'll also be talking about the episodes leading up to it, so there'll be spoilers for them too. But as far as I'm concerned it's November 1994 right now so I can't say anything about what's coming next.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope

Written by:George Lucas|Directed by:George Lucas|Release Date:1977

I've been writing about science fiction for just over a year now, but this week on Sci-Fi Adventures I face my greatest challenge yet: trying to find something even slightly original to say about Rogue One 2: The Star Wars, also known as Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. Or just Star Wars.

The 'Episode IV - A New Hope' bit was added in a theatrical re-release later, but then everyone knows that already. Everyone already knows everything about this bloody movie! There's been essential guides and technical manuals and visual dictionaries and Wookiepedias and Plinketts and podcasts analysing every minute of it, every frame of it, for 40 years now (happy birthday Star Wars!) So it wouldn't come as a huge shock to me if you know more about the movie than I do.

I'm definitely a Star Wars fan, but I've never been obsessed with it to the level that some people are. I've never bought action figures or gone to conventions. I didn't even watch the films in the right order! My introduction to the series was Return of the Jedi, then I watched (some of) Empire Strikes Back, and then Spaceballs. In fact I was probably playing the games before I saw the movie itself. I've put more hours into TIE Fighter and the Jedi Knight series than any of the films.

Though I'm sure I must have seen A New Hope at least of three times by this point. First I rented it on VHS, then I saw the Special Edition in widescreen at the cinema in '97, then I watched the 2004 DVD version a year or so back. So the movie keeps changing every time I see it and that's just weird.

Alright, this is a two hour movie so I'm going to be showing off an absurd amount of screencaps and providing my dumb commentary under each one as I go through the film. Here's something I've noticed already: the Star Wars logo text isn't hollow, the letters are filled in black. Man if I can demonstrate this level of startling insight all the way through maybe there's a chance I can pull this off!

It should be fairly obvious that this will be filled with SPOILERS for Star Wars: Episode IV, but it might come as a surprise that I won't be spoiling anything made after it. So no spoilers for Empire, the prequels, or Rogue One. Some people think that insanely popular 37 year old movies are fair game for spoilers, but that's not how I do things.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Star Trek: Discovery - First Look Trailer

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm writing about that Star Trek: Discovery first look trailer! It's not my normal thing to write about trailers and I don't plan to make a habit of it, but I shared my thoughts about that Comic Con teaser last year so it seems wrong somehow not to follow up on it now that we have some actual footage, with actors and uniforms and everything.

Here's my first insightful observation: they've glued the badge back together again. This is good because I imagine it'd be awkward pinning two halves of a badge to your uniform and getting them to line up right. The weird font remains the same though, despite the fact that someone's clearly taken an axe to it in anger.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Doctor Who (Classic) 14-16: The Face of Evil, Part 4

Episode:443|Serial:89|Writer:Chris Boucher|Air Date:22-Jan-1977

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm finally done with The Face of Evil! Well I will be after I get through this last episode.

I'm just glad it wasn't a six part serial. Not that I haven't been enjoying it so far, I just don't think I'd enjoy it much further. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of serialisation, I just prefer it when things aren't dragged on longer than they need to be. For instance I was watching a Star Trek: The Motion Picture edit a few hours ago that got the run time down from 132 minutes to 22, and that was a massive improvement! Plus putting the Tron: Legacy soundtrack over it also helped somehow... I'm getting off topic now.

I'll be screencapping this whole episode and writing my thoughts underneath, so there will be SPOILERS for the whole serial and maybe even earlier episodes too. I won't ruin anything that comes afterwards though.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Babylon 5 2-03: The Geometry of Shadows

Episode:25|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:16-Nov-1994

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm ankle deep into the second season of cult sci-fi epic Babylon 5, watching the third episode: The Geometry of Shadows.

The title makes it seem like it should be a big episode in the overall arc, seeing as the season is called The Coming of Shadows, but I don't think that's the case. In fact I've got a strong feeling that this is the one with the wizards and the eternal conflict of green vs. purple. Either way I'm sure it'll be watchable as it's the first episode to be directed by Mike Vejar, who became one of the series' top tier directors. I'm expecting interesting shots this time and I'll be disappointed if I don't get them.

This is yet another episode written by series creator J. Michael Straczynski, but he took a break after this one to let other writers like D.C. Fontana and Peter David have a turn. They came a time where he went entirely insane and decided to write all 22 episodes each year by himself, but at this point he was only writing half of them, like in season one. So he was only half crazy.

Alright I'm going to take screencaps and write my commentary underneath, so expect SPOILERS for everything up to and including this episode. Speaking of spoilers and commentary, this is one of the few episodes to actually get a DVD commentary track, by actors Bruce Boxleitner, Jerry Doyle and Claudia Christian (the full command staff). It pretty good if you want to hear three people joking around and enjoying themselves for 40 minutes while saying very little about what they're watching, but they do mention a few things about later episodes, so you should probably stay well clear if you haven't seen the entire five years yet.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Doctor Who (Classic) 14-15: The Face of Evil, Part 3

Episode:442|Serial:89|Writer:Chris Boucher|Air Date:15-Jan-1977

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, you've been blessed with my thoughts about the penultimate chapter of The Face of Evil, a Tom Baker story from the 14th series of classic Doctor Who. That sounds like a lot, but we'd be up to the 36th series right now if they hadn't reset the numbering (or the 54th if it hadn't taken a few years off), so 14 is still pretty early. I guess the fact that Baker's the 4th of 12 Doctors kind of gives that away.

I'll be writing my commentary underneath screencaps from the episode, so there'll be SPOILERS for the first three parts of the serial and perhaps earlier episodes too. I won't spoil anything that comes after though, not even if I want to.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Batman: The Animated Series 1-38: Heart of Steel

Episode:38-39|Writer:Brynne Stephens|Air Date:16-Nov-1992

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm watching both parts of Heart of Steel, from the legendary Batman: The Animated Series! It's taken me over a year but I'm finally writing about a cartoon.

The story spans episodes 38 and 39 from the show's first season, and those numbers are clearly much too big. The season actually had 65 episodes in total (the minimum needed for syndication) and that's an insane amount to air in one year. They had to outsource production to a half-dozen different animation houses to get it done, most of them anime studios in Japan. It's funny just how many Western cartoons were animated by the same folks who made things like Akira or Cowboy Bebop.

You might be wondering what a Batman cartoon is doing on a science fiction site. Well... the series is clearly an examination of how society would be affected by the presence of handheld grapnel guns. Plus have you seen his computer? I bet you could run Quake on that thing with all the settings maxed out. Also it's been a long while since I've watched this particular story, but I'm fairly sure you'll be seeing robots show up at some point.

Though the real reason I'm watching it is because it means I get to show an actual title card for once! Shame it's a bit rubbish. I can't even tell what I'm looking at here; a PC tower case with horns?

Alright I'll be recapping and screencapping both episodes in their entirety so there will be massive SPOILERS. But I won't be spoiling anything that comes after it in either Batman or the DC animated universe as a whole.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Doctor Who (Classic) 14-14: The Face of Evil, Part 2

Episode:441|Serial:89|Writer:Chris Boucher|Air Date:08-Jan-1977

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I've got more Face of Evil for you.

This is the second episode of a four part serial from 1977, the year of Star Wars, starring Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor. Though they don't actually call him 'The Fourth Doctor' in the episode as that'd just be weird.

I'll be writing words under screencaps and some of those words will include SPOILERS for parts 1 and 2 (but not 3 and 4), so be warned. In fact I may even spoil some earlier episodes too if they're relevant.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Babylon 5 2-02: Revelations

Episode:24|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:09-Nov-1994

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures I thought I'd go crazy and watch an episode of Babylon 5 for a change.

Revelations is the second episode of the second season, it's written by creator J. Michael Straczynski, uh... Jim Johnston's the director, he's done some decent episodes. Hmm, not sure what else to write here. I hope it's good!

I'll be going through the whole episode in DVD screencaps and writing my commentary as I go, so this is going to have massive SPOILERS for both this story and earlier ones. Anything that happens afterwards is off-limits though, I won't even hint at where things are going from here.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Doctor Who (Classic) 14-13: The Face of Evil, Part 1

Episode:440|Serial:89|Writer:Chris Boucher|Air Date:01-Jan-1977

Doctor Who's finally returning to television today after taking a year off! But I can't review something that hasn't aired yet, so this week on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm taking the site back further than I've ever gone before, to an episode of Doctor Who older than Star Trek: The Motion Picture. It even predates Star Wars, though it's a close thing as they both came out in 1977, just a few months apart. Which means that they both have their 40th anniversaries this year! I wonder which of them has aged better.

The Face of Evil is the fourth serial in the Fourth Doctor's third year on the series, so it's from the middle of Tom Baker's run and the end of Philip Hinchcliffe's time as producer. I'm relatively new to Doctor Who, I jumped aboard when Steven Moffatt took the reins as in 2010, but I've heard that Baker's pretty decent in the role. In fact he's a lot of fans' all-time favourite Doctor and Hinchcliffe's era is apparently one of the best in the whole series, so this should theoretically be really bloody good. But Doctor Who often changes form to better fit its producer, like Star Trek changes with each new ship and crew, so this run is likely very different to what I'm used to and it's possible it just won't click with me.

Plus this is a four part serial, so that's kind of daunting. Sure each episode is only 25 minutes long, but that adds up to being a movie's worth of content I'm writing about here. I was originally planning to post all four parts on one day to get it over with, but then I took pity on us all and decided to do it weekly instead... in addition to the weekly reviews I'm doing for other series. It's my hope that someone somewhere will be happy about this.

Anyway I'm going to post screencaps and write commentary underneath, so you can expect massive SPOILERS for this episode and minor spoilers for earlier episodes (spoiler: Jon Pertwee turns into Tom Baker). But January 1977 is where I'm drawing the line. There's around 400 episodes that come after this one and I'm not going to assume you've seen them all yet, because I definitely haven't.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Babylon 5 2-01: Points of Departure

Episode:23|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:02-Nov-1994

I've decided that Sci-Fi Adventures needs more variety, so this year I'm planning to feature more TV series and cover less episodes of them. I can't watch entire 26 episode seasons of multiple series and fit them all into 12 months, there aren't enough hours and I write too slowly.

But I can watch 22 episodes of one series, so right now I'm committing myself to giving you reviews of Babylon 5 season two in its entirety, starting with Points of Departure!

I usually mention here that I'll be writing SPOILERS for this episode and earlier ones, but I should also point out that the DVD box art, the DVD menu, the DVD episode list and the region 1 DVD opening credits all spoil Delenn's condition after the events of the season one finale (I'm being as vague as I can here). So if you haven't see the series yet, you should probably wear a blindfold while purchasing, handling and watching season two DVDs, at least for the first couple of episodes.

Oh and stay way clear of the commentary tracks until you've seen the entire series, all five seasons of it.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Stargate: Director's Cut

Written by:Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin|Directed by:Roland Emmerich|Release Date:1994

Welcome to Ray Hardgrit's Sci-Fi Adventures, review number, uh, 70 I think. Wow, that's a lot higher than I thought it'd be, seeing as I took the last 6 weeks off. I should apologise for that by the way... but I won't. Because vanishing for months after a season finale is the most sci-fi thing in the world.

It's April 1st by the way, unless you're reading this in the future, which means that my little science fiction blog is a year old today! So this is basically the start of Sci-Fi Adventures Season Two, where the writing gets more confident, the ideas get less dumb, and the protagonist (me) grows a beard. Or maybe the production values will go to shit, the gimmicks will get more desperate, it'll end on clip show and then get cancelled.

I was trying to think of something special to watch for my season premiere, but then I remembered that I already announced my next review back in February, so instead I'm stuck watching the original 1994 Stargate movie! I'm saying it's the 'original' movie because it kicked the franchise off, and because I'm worried that someday Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin are finally going to get their sequel off the ground and we shall all bear witness to what the Stargate equivalent of Independence Day: Resurgence looks like. I'm not hyped.

I've only seen this film the once, back when it existed on its own without even a single spin-off series, and I don't remember being impressed. I don't remember disliking it either though. In fact I barely remember it at all, so I'm curious to rediscover what actually happens in this movie. Unfortunately I don't have the Blu-ray version, so I can't offer you the greatest of screencaps to go along with my commentary, but on the plus side I do have a cardboard DVD box that folds out into a pyramid! I'd show you a photo, but that means bending the flaps to slot it together and I don't really want to.

The following text will contain epic SPOILERS for the entirety of this movie, but I'm considering the TV series to be off-limits. Well I might mention some characters and drop terms like 'Jaffa' but nothing worse than that.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Babylon 5: Season 1 - Signs and Portents Review

Alright today on Sci-Fi Adventures it's Babylon 5's turn to get a season review, meaning that I've finally finished one whole season from each of the three series I started writing about in 2016!

The trouble with TV seasons, especially for older series, is that they're really bloody long. When they were airing once a week I didn't notice, I was more bothered by the huge gaps in between, but now that I'm looking back 22 episodes suddenly seems like a lot. That's like 15 hours of content! You could get through 4 Lord of the Rings movies in that time! But they're not sci-fi, so I won't.

I was thinking about writing a 'first season battle' article at some point, where I put the series I've been watching against each other to see which was luckiest not to get cancelled in the first year, but now I've spotted the flaw in that plan: it'll take so long to watch them that I won't remember them well enough to compare them. I mean it took me a year to get through B5 season 1 and I'm already struggling to hold all that data in my brain.

So this season review may contain SPOILERS for episodes like Midnight on the Firing Line, Chrysalis and everything in between, or it may not, depending on how much of it's still in my mind. I may even throw in some for the pilot film The Gathering, though I won't say a word about what happens after season 1.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Babylon 5 1-22: Chrysalis

Episode:22|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:03-Oct-1994

This is it. When I wrote about Babylon 5's pilot movie The Gathering back in April last year I also committed to rewatching all 22 episodes from season one along with it, but this is the last of them. Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm watching Babylon 5's first season finale, Chrysalis!

That's the same establishing shot of the station that Midnight on the Firing Line used under its title as well by the way, which kind of works as they bookend the season. Speaking of titles, this seems to be the only episode of Babylon 5 that shares a title with a Deep Space Nine episode (though B5's Between the Darkness and the Light and DS9's The Darkness and the Light come really close). B5's Chrysalis came first if you're wondering.

I'll be recapping the story and sharing my thoughts as I go so this'll have SPOILERS for Chrysalis and likely other first season episodes too, but I'll spoil nothing about what comes after so this'll be safe if you're on your first viewing. Though I wouldn't recommend listening to the DVD commentary on your first time through.