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Strange New Worlds

Posted on May 15th, 2020

Dave!Nobody was more surprised than I was how much I loved the new Star Trek: Discovery series that CBS All Access unleashed on their streaming platform. The first season was beautifully realized, deliciously twisty, and featured some of the best acting to ever appear in Star Trek. It truly felt like something fresh and new, and I was thrilled to experience it (even if I had to pay extra money to see it). I hadn't loved a Star Trek series this much since the original.

The second season was a bit of a disappointment to me. It featured a convoluted time travel narative instead of the shocking turns we got in the first season. Even so, I still found a lot of things to enjoy about it. And by far the biggest thing? We got to see Spock before his tenure under Captain Kirk. It was when he was serving as First Officer to Captain Christopher Pike... which Trek fans know from the fantastic two-part Original Series show: The Menagerie. Pike was wonderfully realized by Anson Mount and Rebecca Romijn turned in a fantastic appearance as Number One.

But it was Ethan Peck as Spock that made me desperately want to see more of their adventures aboard The Enterprise...

Senator Patty Murray
Courtesy of ViacomCBS and CBS All Access Television

And today we got the news that we actually will be seeing more of them...

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will pick up with the crew where their appearance on Star Trek: Discovery left off.

And so... a great time to be a Star Trek fan. We've got a third season of Discovery on the way... along with the Michelle Yeoh spin-off Star Trek: Section 31. And if that wasn't enough, the intriguing Star Trek: Picard has been renewed for a second season and we're getting a new animated show called Star Trek: Below Decks. And now Strange New Worlds too!

I dunno about you, but I'm thrilled to be getting some good news for once.

I think we're due.

UPDATE: And, just like that, we're back to the Twilight Zone as President Trump's "Space Force" unveiled its new flag...

The Space Force Flag

I mean, it's not my imagination... that's the Starfleet logo on the Space Force flag, right?

The Space Force Flag

Bad enough this country is going into even bigger debt over something so stupid... but to steal the logo from Star Trek? The insanity of it all makes my head hurt.

   

Star Trek: Reboot

Posted on January 23rd, 2020

Dave!I am a massive fan of the original Star Trek series. And the original cast movies too.

I did not like Star Trek: The Next Generation because it was just so boring. Aside from an occasional good episode, the lack of conflict on the ship and Gene Roddenberry's "new vision for the future" was a massive downgrade from where he started. Then Star Trek: Deep Space Nine came along and, while beloved by critics and fans, was somehow worse. Odo the non-shape-changing shape-changing alien? Quark comic relief? The Prophets? I mean, sure there was Avery Brooks, but holy crap. AND THEN, just when I thought things couldn't possibly get worse... Star Trek: Voyager. I was totally excited for it. At first. Enemies on the same ship? CONFLICT! Biomechanical ship? COOL! Stranded across the galaxy where survival is a constant struggle and no allies in sight? EXCITING! But then they ended up doing the same old Next Generation shit all over again and boring the heck out of me. Star Trek: Enterprise was a step in the right direction, but they burdened it with a "Temporal Cold War" that was a boat-anchor tied to the show in a horrible way.

Naturally, when CBS announced they were coming out with Star Trek: Discovery, I was skeptical. The cast was amazing (seriously amazing) and they looked to be doing something new, but the ship looked like shit and the early previews with engine spores and stuff looked like crap.

Boy was I wrong.

The first season of Discovery was phenomenal.

The performances and characters were incredible. The stories were cool as all getout. And the "big twist" was about the best thing to come out of Star Trek in decades. I loved just about everything about it. Critics said it "wasn't Star Trek" and hated on it terribly. This made me laugh my ass off, because it was easily the most "Star Trek" thing to happen since the original series! People who said it "wasn't Star Trek" were saying it wasn't "NEXT GENERATION Star Trek." Which, of course, was my favorite thing about it. The second season wasn't as good, but it was still worth watching.

And now there's Star Trek: Picard...

Star Trek: Picard movie poster with Picard at his vineyard with his dog as the sun sets.

Obviously I was not enthusiastic about the continuation of a show which I feel is the point Star Trek went terribly wrong. I like Patrick Stewart... like him a lot... but more Star Trek: Next Generation was not something I was interested in. Paying extra for CBS All Access to see it was the nail in the coffin. Except... I read more than a couple interviews with Patrick Stewart and other people working on the show who promised that it was not going to be more of the same old thing. They were doing something new.

Well, sign me up! Even though I was certain it was going to suck.

Boy was I wrong.

First of all, Patrick Stewart is phenomenal in this. He's playing up the age of his character rather than trying to act like he's twenty years younger. Second of all, my mind was completely turned around when Picard said the words "Starfleet was no longer Starfleet!"

Finally somebody understands what the show needs to be interesting. The story being set up feels like it's going to be entertaining. The cast they've assembled is great. The guest-stars from the old new generation seem like they will be used to good effect. And, oh yeah, the special effects are fantastic...

I have high hopes that the talent behind the show have an ending that's going to be worth it all.

CBS sure seems to think so... they renewed the show for a second season AND invited Whoopi Goldberg back, who's "Guinan" is one of the most interesting characters to come out of the old new generation. So fingers crossed.

Something else that was new today? Jay & Silent Bob Reboot...

Jay and Silent Bob Reboot movie poster.

I'm a huge fan of Kevin Smith's "Askewniverse" films... Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Clerks II, and (to a lesser degree), Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back. And now we're getting the sequel, Jay & Silent Bob Reboot. To me it was a mixed bag. Sure it was great seeing all the characters again and it was pretty funny in spots (though a lot of the humor relies on the viewer having seen all the previous films), but it's almost reached a parody of the parody it was parodying and priority is put on famous cameos and injecting his wife and daughter into things rather than humor, insightful commentary on pop culture, and the characters that made me love the movies so much.

I was glad I saw the movie (worth the $10 price tag), but couldn't help but think that half of it was wasted. I am really, really hoping that Smith goes back to form with Clerks III instead of sabotaging himself again.

Kevin Smith needs to Picard himself instead of giving up more Voyager.

   

Star Trek: Discovery S2

Posted on May 9th, 2019

Dave!Last night I read and article on ScreenRant which declared that Star Trek: Discover became the most popular streaming show in the world.

When the show first debuted in 2017, I was mesmerized. Here, at long last, was the Star Trek I had been longing for since I first saw the original. I have never cared for any of the Next Generation /slash/ Deep Space Nine /slash/ Voyager /slash/ Enterprise shows. Sure they have their moments, but they weren't Star Trek to me. MY Star Trek has always been Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and the gang. Everything that followed was a pale imitation.

But Disco changed all that.

This Star Trek was raw... it was different... it was exceptionally well-cast... it was pushing new ideas, just like The Original Series. And that crazy twist! Holy cats! It wasn't just good Star Trek, it was good television!

A lot of people loved it (obviously) but there were oh so many detractors that hated it. "IT'S NOT STAR TREK!" they cried. Except it so totally was. It's just that it wasn't a continuation of the janky NextGen Star Trek... it went back to when Star Trek was good! Both figuratively and literally! Sure I had some gripes (why reinvent the Klingons yet again?) but, for the most part it was everything I could want in a show... PLUS MICHELLE YEOH!

I was definitely ready for more of that. Then cam Season Two...

Star Trek: Discovery!

Captain Pike? The Enterprise? SPOCK?!???

JUST TAKE MY MONEY, CBS PRIME STREAMING!

While I didn't love it as much as the first season, I did thoroughly enjoy it. And the fact that it (kinda) brought back THE Star Trek was a bonus.

Spoiler Zone!

And now for some thoughts on Season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery (SPOILERS, obviously)...

  • As I said, I love Discovery, far more than any of the series that followed the original. The first season was phenomenal, having characters and a story concept that was deliciously epic and fun. That being said, Season 2 story has been a mess that I've found mostly boring. It wandered off in way too many distracting directions that were snooze-inducing, and no attempt to justify this in the finale made it worthwhile.
  • The frustrating thing about being a Disco fan is that the characters are so fantastic, even when the story they occupy is shit. Even the new version of established characters like Captain Pike, Spock, Number One, Vina, etc. The sole exception for me is Tilly, who is so fucking annoying that I want her dead every minute she's on screen. I loathe Tilly, but keep hoping that they will make her work because I love the idea of including somebody on the autism spectrum on the show.
  • In fact, Pike, Spock, and Co. were so great that having another show featuring their time on Enterprise is something I'm dying to see.
  • And Michelle Yeoh's spin-off show cannot come fast enough. Her every moment on screen is absolute magic.
  • Speaking of characters... what a shame that Airiam, one of the most interesting characters to ever appear on the show had to die before they gave her screen time. I wonder if that will be the case for other interesting "background" characters like Owosekun, Detmer, Bryce, and Rhys. I should certainly hope not. At least we got some Saru time this season.
  • That being said... Is Airiam the start of The Borg? Many people think so! I would be thrilled to find out that Airiam is still around in the future and to explore what her connection to The Borg might be.
  • One last note on characters... I purposely left out Tig Notaro's "Jet Reno" because she has to be singled out as one of my favorite Trek characters of all time. Given how little she was on the show, that's really saying something.
  • I remain amazed that the special effects are so incredibly well-done. In some ways, that's a shame though, because it tends to eclipse the mind-bogglingly good job done by other aspects of production. The set design is incredible. The costuming is beyond great. Everything about Discovery screams quality, and they should be very proud of their accomplishments. Particularly the reimagining of the Enterprise. The ship had to be updated lest it ends up looking comical by today's standards, and the result is amazing. The tweaks on the uniforms make them hands-down my favorite of any Trek series ever.
  • The explanation as to why Discovery, the spore drive, and Spock's sister have never been mentioned was kinda a cop-out, but at least they addressed it so the continuity fanboys can shut the fuck up.
  • The time-travel wrap-up was a big-ol' mess, but I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't excited about the possibility of Disco being flung into the Star Trek universe future. I mean, what's Starfleet even going to be like then? What alliances will have changed? Is the spore-drive commonplace now? What new species will have been found? The possibilities are truly limitless now that they are not tied to pre-continuity.
  • I hope that we get some fantastic villains in the new season. Granted, following Jason Isaacs and Michelle Yeoh was going to be almost impossible. But the whole "Command" AI computer angle was lame as shit. It got a little interesting when it possessed Leland, but that was too little, way too late.
  • Michael Burnham is almost too good to be true. She is complex, layered, strong, capable, and everything you need to lead a show. Partly thanks to her being written with such purpose, but mostly because Sonequa Martin-Green is just that incredible. For Season 3, I dearly hope that they keep moving her forward. Even when Season 2 was at its most boring, she was still compelling.
  • I hope that they give the captain's chair to Saru. He is such a fantastic character (thank you, Doug Jones!) and I love the idea of a non-Terran finally getting a spotlight on a show.
  • Please, for the love of all things holy, let Tilly be Tilly in Season 3, but stop making her such a scattered disaster. As seen when she was portraying her Mirror Universe counterpart, Tilly is perfectly capable of holding it together and bringing the annoying down to manageable levels. So why the fuck doesn't she? As I said, I love the idea of somebody on the spectrum having representation... but to make her this annoying all the damn time is exhausting. It's a disservice to the character to have her always on the verge of falling apart. Can't she be capable, on the spectrum, AND have a little confidence sometimes? See: The Good Doctor.
  • Speaking of representation and all things annoying... having a gay couple on the show is what Star Trek was made for. But the Stamets/Culber drama after Hugh "came back from the dead" was forced and awful. It made me loathe two characters that I would otherwise like. They wrapped that situation up in a too-pat neat little bow, and I hope it stays that way. Can't there be a couple that is stable and happy for once? They would be so much more interesting if they were.
  • Here's hoping Ash Tyler is a part of the Michelle Yeoh spin-off show, because this is an interesting character that's begging to be explored more. Him becoming head of Section 31 was a great place to leave him.

And that's Star Trek: Discovery Season Two.

I will probably re-watch it in advance of Season Three premiering, but I'm almost positive I'll be re-watching Season One long before that!

Here's to interesting times in Season Three!

AND GIVE US THE PIKE AND SPOCK ENTERPRISE SHOW WE'RE ALL DYING FOR! This is a big part of why Season 2 became the most popular streaming show in the world!

   

Bullet Sunday 610

Posted on April 28th, 2019

Dave!I don't mind my allergies splitting my head apart thanks to everything in the valley blooming at the same time... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Thrones! I may be in the minority here, but I felt that the majority of the latest episode, The Battle of Winterfell, was embarrassingly bad. Everything was filmed so dark that it was almost impossible to see what was happening. Even worse, much of the action was shot way too close, so even if you could see what was happening, you couldn't tell what was going on anyway. They literally could have just skipped most of the episode, had somebody summarize what happened in two minutes, and the result would have been practically the same for me. Disappointing. Though I'll be the first to say that the ending was exactly what I wanted to see. w00t!

   
• Trek V2. The CGI effect upgrades they gave to old Star Trek episodes back in 2006 are pretty great. Definitely helps then to hold up for modern audiences. Recently I was watching Tomorrow is Yesterday for the hundredth time and found myself forgetting what the old effects looked like. So I looked it up on YouTube and found this...

Right off the bat I found something surprising...

Tomorrow Is Yesterday Opening Title

ZOMG! PLEASE NOTE THAT THEY REVISED THEIR VIEW OF THE PLANET BECAUSE IN THE FUTURE THEY KNOW THAT THE EARTH IS FLAT!!!

Funneh.

   
• Vegetarianism Fail. When I first became a vegetarian back in 1986, eating out was a challenge. Pretty much all you could do was ask for a grilled cheese or try to find a salad without meat on it. Now-a-days it's so much easier. Except at my local "V.I.P." theater. Their big "thing" is wraps. They've got quit an assortment of them. Every last one of them with meat on it. Even the "Veggie Extreme" is SO EXTREME that it has chicken on it! Baller!

Extreme Veggie Wrap... WITH CHICKEN!

Since they didn't have a vegetarian option, I asked if they can substitute avocado for the chicken. Nope! But they can leave the chicken off and charge me $1.25 for avocado though! Fuckers. If you're not going to have a vegetarian-friendly option, at least allow a reasonable substitution!

And so... French fries it is. Except... it literally took them THREE TRIES to deliver my fries. They'd walk in the theater. Wander up and down the aisle. Then leave. Then come back. And then... it was only because I FLAGGED THEM DOWN that they managed to find me, even though I had to give them my row number when I ordered! Needless to say, my fries were cold... not "unwarm" BUT FUCKING COLD... by the time I got them. Pathetic. Some "V.I.P." experience.

   
• You Spin Me! Most of the time I scan the episodes of Fallon, Myers, Corden, and Kimmel on my DVR for the guest, then delete as many as I can. The only reason I watch is if there's a guest I want to see. Like Paul Rudd. And his appearance on Fallon did not disappoint. Paul and Jimmy remade Dead or Alive's You Spin Me Round...

For comparison's sake, here's the shot-for-shot next to the original...

Epic!

   
• Let Them Implode. Long ago, back before I started weaving Buddhist precepts into my Path of Life and gave up weapons of violence, I was proud to be a member of the National Rifle Association. This was back when they were dedicated to promoting gun safety and advocated for reasonable restrictions when it came to allowing people access to firearms ALONG WITH defending Second Amendment rights. Now that they are a corrupt organization in the pocket of gun manufacturers who prey on people with nothing but fear and lies, I fucking detest the NRA and everything they stand for. Nothing would make me happier than to have the entire organization be flushed down the toilet like the fucking pieces of shit that they are. And take NRA cheerleader Dana Loesch with you. She's fucking garbage too. Bring back the NRA whose principles were rooted in responsible, safe gun ownership. If we can't have that, then please let the whole fucking thing implode.

   
• Wall Chowder. Every time I have to listen to bullshit about President Trump's MASSIVELY EXPENSIVE WALL... all I can think of is how drones powerful enough and large enough TO CARRY A PERSON OVER THE WALL ARE CURRENTLY USED FOR CONSTRUCTION! And, like everything tech-related, they are just going to get cheaper and cheaper and cheaper. Somebody in Mexico could buy a couple and earn a fortune FLYING PEOPLE OVER THE WALL. Make no mistake... Trump's wall is a stupid, STUPID, STUPID, FUCKING STUPID waste of money. Within 5 years it could be rendered obsolete. Or be obsolete within 10 minutes, considering tunneling under the fucking thing IS AS EASY AS DIGGING A FUCKING TUNNEL. And now I'm filled with rage. Again. Forget the horrendous damage to the environment and migrating species that will be severely impacted... WE CAN'T FUCKING AFFORD IT NOW THAT ALL OUR TAX REVENUE IS GOING TOWARDS TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHY! Exactly how big of a fucking deficit do we need?

   
See you on the flip-side, bullet fans.

   

Home Security is for The Birds

Posted on January 17th, 2019

Dave!This morning while I was at work, I received a notification from my security cameras that somebody was breaking into my front door. This happens whenever anybody is in the vicinity of the exterior doorknobs. I wasn't too worried because my door locks weren't reporting any tampering. But I was curious. Did somebody leave me a pamphlet or something? Let's take a look, shall we?

Well, that's disappointing...

But pretty.

I love birds. Especially in flight...

Bird in Flight

Bird in Flight

   
And now, if you'll excuse me, the first episode of Star Trek: Discovery Season Two is here! I loved the first season, so I'm hoping for more Star Trek goodness this time around...

Live Long and Prosper...

   

Re-Discovery

Posted on December 13th, 2018

Dave!My fourth favorite show of 2017 was Star Trek: Discovery. If you want a sneak preview of this year's list, the second half of the first season will be making an appearance. It's that good.

As the only "Star Trek" television show I've enjoyed since the original series, I was thrilled to fall in love with Star Trek again. The cast was amazing. The stories were brilliant. And the special effects were beautiful. It was the total package and I was hooked right up until the final two episodes, where it kind of drifted off. Even so, fantastic television.

The second season will be starting January 17th, and the trailer that CBS All Access released for it looks to be more of the same...

Not only are we getting the return of Ash Tyler and what looks like lots of Spock, we're also getting... MORE MICHELLE YEOH!! Evil Philippa Georgiou is back! Easily one of the best parts of the show, I was worried that she had moved on.

Michelle Yeoh as Captain Philippa Georgiou

Lucky us.

Something to look forward to in 2019.

   

Star Trekking

Posted on April 9th, 2018

Dave!Today is a busy day because I am off for vacation starting tomorrow. In an effort to save time so I can pack and clean house before tearing out of here, I thought I would cut-and-paste a ranking of my top-five episodes from each Star Trek series that I had made last week. A fellow fan and I were discussing the merits (or lack thereof) of all things Trek, and this is how we let each other know exactly What Kind of Star Trek Fan We Are. Because, let's face it, wars have been started over this kind of thing.

But then I decided to rank the series themselves.

Then I decided to write my thoughts on each series.

Then I had to go back through my lists and question some of my choices.

Next thing I know, a half hour has passed, and my entire reason for this entry have all come crashing down. I spent more time making a blog post out of something that I would have been much better off starting from nothing. Cat photos take hardly any time at all.

Star Trekking

But anyway... here we go, starting with my ranking of all the series best-to-worst...

  1. Star Trek: The Original Series
  2. Star Trek: Discovery
  3. Star Trek: The Next Generation
  4. Star Trek: Enterprise
  5. Star Trek: Deep Space 9
  6. Star Trek: Voyager

   
And here are my top-five episodes within each, in series order...

   
Star Trek
The first Trek is undeniably the best Trek with strong stories that hold up even to this day. That they managed to make it look so good given the effects technology at the time is just icing on the cake. Yes, the acting was less than subtle, but there's no denying that the cast was a magical combination that sustained the franchise well past cancelation. If there's a grievous fault in the series, it would be almost the entirety of the third and final season, which saw budgets slashed and shitty stories like And the Children Shall Lead taking a steaming dump on the sublime excellence of the first two seasons. No spin-off even comes close to how imaginative and revolutionary a show Star Trek was, is, and will always be.

  1. Mirror, Mirror
  2. The City on the Edge of Forever
  3. Space Seed
  4. Balance of Terror
  5. Assignment Earth

   
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Gene Roddenberry's bizarre edict that the future was perfect, everybody on The Enterprise was buddy-buddy, and all internal conflict on the ship was to be purged, made for a bland return to a once-great show. I was on vacation in Maui when the premiere debuted. But I was such a Trek fan that I gave up precious time in paradise to watch the first episode. It was so heinously boring and shitty... from the story to the sets to the effects to the costumes to (some) of the acting... that I was mired in shock and disbelief. How in the hell did anybody making the show thing this was Star Trek? Not to say it was all crap. Things improved after the first season and some true gems were to be found amongst the ruins... but, yeah, it was mostly crap. Though it wasn't the crappiest thing to come out of Star Trek. Not by a long shot.

  1. The Inner Light
  2. Darmok
  3. Yesterday’s Enterprise
  4. The Best of Both Worlds
  5. Remember Me -tie- The Ensigns of Command

   
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Despite having the series elevated by the amazing talents of Avery Brooks in the lead (ZOMG! It's Hawk!), this low-rent Trek knock-off was absurd to new extremes. Made infamous for Odo being the shape-changing alien that never changed shape, everything seemed to be done on the cheap. They blew their budgetary wad on the Deep Space Nine space station set, then had no money to go anywhere interesting, do anything interesting, or see anything interesting. They tried to compensate with the whole Bajoran/Cardassian conflict, but it was poorly handled and came across as false drama. The religious angle with the "Prophets" was boring in ways Next Generation could only dream about, and things were off to a bad start from the beginning because of it. Eventually even the people running the show realized what a turd they had crapped out, and added a ship (The USS Defiant) so they could go places... and fan-favorite character Worf... but it was too late. All that had come before had mired the show in mediocrity, and precious few episodes managed to escape it. But when they did manage to escape it, the series showed such amazing promise. A glimpse at what could have been. Unfortunately it was too rare an event to make me care about the show, because they always went crawling back to what made it suck.

  1. The Visitor
  2. Trials and Tribble-ations
  3. Far Beyond the Stars
  4. Little Green Men
  5. Second Skin

   
Star Trek: Voyager
Holy shit where do I even start? Because I am having a tough time finding the words to express just how much I hated this show. Hated it. There were elements I liked... in particular Robert Picardo as The Doctor and Tim Russ as Tuvok. And eventually we got Jeri Ryan as the Borg's "Seven of Nine" which was another coup. But that wasn't even remotely enough to salvage what a mess things were. First of all... the entire concept of the show was to remove "Star Trek" from everything "Star Trek" so writers could throw out the rules and let their imaginations run wild. A crew formed from conflict! No support system! Limited resources! Life on Voyager was to be a brutal struggle for survival in a strange and hostile universe far, far from home. But we never got that! Well, we rarely got that. What we got was yet another Next Generation retread that didn't even come close to the standards set by Next Generation (such as they were). As if that weren't shitty enough, "button-pushing action" was elevated to new heights. A conflict arises. Buttons are pushed to solve it. All while the "EPS conduits" are failing and the plasma is rerouted. Over and over and over and over again. I barely watched the show, but ended up binging on DVD rentals after everything ended so I could fast-forward through the boring crap. Which is to say I was fast-forwarding most of the time. The fact that I couldn't even manage to think of five episodes I liked well enough to list speaks volumes. It was all Oh... I remember that one with Sarah Silverman! and Oh... that episode with the rapid-evolving civilization was good enough that "The Orville" ripped it off!" Give me a break.

  1. Blink of an Eye
  2. Year of Hell
  3. Future's End

   
Star Trek: Enterprise
It was a good concept. Go back to all the newness and exploration of the unknown that made Star Trek so amazing by setting a show before Star Trek existed. Then get a big name like Scott Bakula to star in it. Then spend the money needed to make the show actually look great. It would be different. It would build pre-continuity continuity for the original series. It would focus on all the things Star Trek fans love and jettison those things they didn't. It would be a love letter to everything Star Trek! That would be great, right? Well, it sure could have been. Except some genius decided to mire the whole thing in the so-called "Temporal Cold War" which had death-grip on the show for three whole seasons. Sure, they were creative enough to escape it from time to time, but it pretty much killed what should have been an enjoyable outing. The fact that it never really paid off just added insult to injury. No surprise that my favorite episodes are ones that tried to side-step the restrictions that plagued the series.

  1. Carbon Creek
  2. In a Mirror, Darkly
  3. Similitude
  4. Twilight
  5. Dear Doctor

   
Star Trek: Discovery
And here we are. The latest Star Trek spin-off that has divided fans and set the internet on fire. It seems most people either love it or hate it, though the reason they love it or hate it differ completely. I absolutely loved it. And the reason I loved it is because I felt it finally... finally... recaptured what I loved about the original series. At long last, we had actual Star Trek happening again! And yet there are people who hated it because they didn't feel it was Star Trek at all. And I get it. Honestly I do. It has many problems continuity-wise. It completely and utterly rejects Roddenberry's silly "no internal conflict" edict. There were inexplicably stupid changes made (WTF with the Klingons?). And some of the tech is just plain silly (spore drive?!?). But, as a die-hard fan of the original, I just didn't care about any of that because the "flavor" or what captured my imagination from the start was there. It also had some brilliant re-workings of some of Trek's best ideas. As if all that wasn't enough, the special effects and casting were choice. Sure the last two episodes fizzled, but the slow burn and massive payoff for everything before that was all I could want in a Star Trek show. I cannot wait to see what they come up with for their second season.

  1. The Wolf Inside
  2. Despite Yourself
  3. Into the Forest I Go
  4. Vaulting Ambition
  5. Context is for Kings

   
Just for duck soup (and a need for completeness), here is my ranking of the Star Trek movies which I took from my blog post here (with details, if you need them!)...

  1. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
  2. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  3. Star Trek
  4. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
  5. Star Trek Beyond
  6. Star Trek: First Contact
  7. Star Trek Into Darkness
  8. Star Trek: The Motion Picture
  9. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
  10. Star Trek: Generations
  11. Star Trek: The Final Frontier
  12. Star Trek: Nemesis
  13. Star Trek: Insurrection

   
And I guess that's a wrap on Star Trek. If all goes as planned, tomorrow's entry will be written from the airport.

   

Bullet Sunday 539

Posted on October 22nd, 2017

Dave!I am Sundaying so hard right now, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Feral! This past Monday was "National Feral Cat Day." My cats, Jake and Jenny, were feral kittens when they were found. I don't think they quite adapted to foster care, and were still very much feral little scrubbers when I adopted them. Weeks of patience turned into months of building trust which has turned into 1-3/4 years of the best furry friends I could hope for. They are still, in their hearts, feral cats who are very slow to trust. And they hide the minute anything out of the ordinary happens. Sometimes, on rare occasions, they are even wary of me. But most of the time they love crawling all over me for pets and attention and I've never been lonely since they took over my home. Feral cats are more work than those kitten raised around people... but I wouldn't trade mine for the world. If anything, I think I appreciate them more than I would other cats because I had to put effort into getting them to accept me. And once they did? There's no better feeling...

Jake Naps

Jenny is a Cuddle Bug

Kitty Pals

If you have the opportunity to help out a feral cat, the work is definitely worth the reward!

   
• Dimensions? And so... it would seem that LEGO Dimensions is no more. Typical. Oh well. The gameplay was getting tired... but it was kept fresh by the licensed properties they kept bringing to the table.

LEGO Dimensions Game

Wish they would have got LEGO Star Wars in the mix before signing off... after Disney Infinity dried up, it seemed a natural.

   
• Get Help! The reviews for Thor: Ragnarok have been stellar. And with each new clip released, I just want to see it more...

Cannot. Wait.

   
• Lucifer! Right now there's a lot of good television going on. In addition to The Good Place, which is the best show on television right now, we've also got Star Trek: Discovery, The Flash, The Orville, and Supergirl... not to mention some of the indy oddball stuff (like Dirk Gently), which makes it tough for me to keep up with my shows. But that one show I will always make time for? Lucifer!

Lucifer's Maze on a not-so-good day

Last season was fantastic because "Mom" came to visit, which led to some interesting directions for the show. Now they seem to be focusing on fleshing out secondary characters instead of bringing in new ones, and I couldn't be happier. Maze is probably the best character on the show after Lucifer, but has been largely marginalized. But this last episode (S03:E03 Mr. and Mrs. Mazikeen Smith) puts her in the spotlight and the results are so amazing I find myself wishing they would spin her off into her own show. If you're not watching, you really should be.

   
• Jack! Another show I've been very much enjoying has been the revival of Will & Grace. Though I strongly dislike the two main characters, secondary characters Jack and Karen always seem to salvage the show. The latest episode (S09:E04 Grandpa Jack) is no exception. Jack, who discovered he had a son (thanks to a sperm bank "donation") gets an even bigger surprise when he discovers his son had a son, so he's now a grandpa!

Jack meets his grandson

I will not spoil the story except to say... it's both hysterically funny and emotionally devastating at the same time. And it has two guest appearances that are absolute gold. When they restarted the show, I was hoping that we'd see Jack's son again. I never expected that his story would be this good. Well worth a look.

   
• Decor! When I moved into my home, I noticed that the previous owner had left a lot of decor scattered about. None of it was too my taste, so I made it my mission to toss it all out. The only thing left is a lion head above my doorbell and a weird dried flowers plaque with hooks I use for my keys and hats. The plaque was useful, but I vowed to replace it when I found something better... I never did. The lion I was going to ditch when it was removed for painting... but I ended up putting it back. Don't know why. I kinda like him, I guess...

My feisty lion head!

My key hooks!

I suppose one of these days I really should go shopping to find a replacement for my key hooks.

   
And... Sunday is over. So too are the bullets.

   

Big Mistake, Michelle

Posted on January 13th, 2017

Dave!Many years ago (I'm thinking 1998), while I was at a Star Trek convention (yes, I know)... they had a roundup of Trek news you had to sit through before William Shatner (or whomever it was) took the stage. The guy that was reading the news was kind of an asshole, but the internet wasn't what it is now*, so this is how you got the TV gossip of the day. Eventually the guy started talking about the upcoming new series... Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He then announced that Michelle Forbes, who played Ensign Ro on Star Trek: The Next Generation, had declined to be a part of DS9. This was kind of shocking to hear, because Ensign Ro was Bajoran and the space station was next to Bajor. Ro was, presumably, the lynchpin of the series.

And that's when the news guy said "Big mistake, Michelle. Big mistake. Deep Space Nine is going to be huge. And you missed out."

I remember sitting in the audience thinking "How the fuck does he know Michelle Forbes was making a mistake? Maybe playing the same character over and over isn't something she wants to do. Maybe she found something she enjoys more than acting? Did you even think to ask Forbes why she decided not to join the show?"

But of course they didn't. Creation (the company behind the conventions) made their bread and butter off of Star Trek, so it was easier to just blindly bash anything that was a threat to their cash cow. Michele Forbes had turned her back on Trek, so Creation was turning their back on her.

At least until she agreed to speak at one of their conventions, I'm assuming.

I was reminded of all this after I fell down a Wikipedia rabbit hole and ran across this response from an interview with... Michelle Forbes...

"There were all sorts of rumors about why I didn't take [the DS9 role] and that I was quite arrogant about the whole thing. It wasn't that at all. It was, again, about wanting variety in my career. If I'd gone on to do DS9, I might not have had the variety I've been lucky to have in my career. That's not to say I wasn't grateful for the opportunity; I genuinely was. However, I had to make a choice that felt right for me, which was a difficult one, especially as a young actor being offered a steady job." —TV Zone Magazine, January 2005

So... what people saw as a massive mistake doesn't sound like it turned out to be much of a mistake at all.

Sometimes the easy and obvious road isn't always the best journey to take.

Which is quite the important life lesson.

Thanks, internet!

   

*Yeah, that's putting it mildly. This is what the internet was like in 1998...

   

   

Star Trek: The Ranking

Posted on January 6th, 2017

Dave!I can never quite figure out whether I am more of a Star Trek fan or Star Wars fan. It's probably I love them both equally. One big difference is that there's little debate on how the Star Wars films should be ranked. Empire is the best, the original is next, and everything that followed was total shit until Force Awakens kinda made things good again.

With Star Trek it's a radically different situation. Since I'm old enough to be an original series fan, my picks skew towards Kirk & Co. — while Trek fans that came late to the game tend to gravitate towards Next Generation.

With that in mind, here we go...

  1. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan The gold standard for Star Trek films. A beloved villain, plenty of action, smart humor, a great story with lots of memorable moments, and a shock ending that rocked the sci-fi universe. On top of that, the special effects were fantastic. But my favorite thing about the film was the dialogue, which was written and performed so beautifully. Weather it's quiet moments of reflection or Khan's unhinged rants... it's a delicious feast for longtime Star Trek fans from beginning to end.
  2. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home A great story built around a great idea is all you really need for a fantastic Star Trek film... everything else will work itself out. But The Voyage Home went beyond that by giving fans a time travel story packed with some of the funniest moments in Trek history. The end result is just a plain fun movie with appeal outside of the franchise's fan-base.
  3. Star Trek The potential for disaster in rebooting the franchise was huge, but JJ Abrams reboot got so many things right... even if it bathed all of them in an ungodly amount of stupid fucking lens flare. The casting was note-perfect... especially with Karl Urban channeling DeForest Kelley as Dr. McCoy. We got a good story as well, packed to the rafters with excellent action and special effects. Using rogue Romulans as bad guys wasn't exactly inspired, but it worked. Overall? A very good start. Or re-start, as it were.
  4. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country This was a terrific Star Trek adventure, even if there were hiccups along the way. But, more importantly, it was a good send-off for the original series characters (thank heavens it didn't end with the hot mess that was Star Trek V). That the film also built a bridge to The Next Generation without shitting all over itself was just the icing on the cake.
  5. Star Trek Beyond It may have gone off the rails a few times and had an overly-complicated ending... but it was still a lot of fun to watch because there was plenty of action and "Star Trek magic" to keep things moving. A nice recovery in the reboot universe after being disappointed with Into Darkness.
  6. Star Trek: First Contact The only Nest Generation film I enjoyed, this was a smart, clever outing that moved at a speedy clip and featured one of the best thing to come out of Next Gen: The Borg. But they didn't just leave it at that, they came up with The Borg Queen to make things fresh... and added time travel to make things fun. If only everything that followed was even half this good.
  7. Star Trek Into Darkness Though the reboot sequel had some harsh criticism lobbed its way, I actually enjoyed it. Would I have rather see something different than a re-telling of the best Star Trek film on this list? Sure. But it was entertaining to the end, and that's more than you can say than many films on this list.
  8. Star Trek: The Motion Picture Yes, it was unbearably long, drawn-out, and even boring in spots, but it was the first film in the franchise and there was a lot to love, even if just the chance to see all the characters again. And I still think the story concept is one of the best to come out of Trek canon. It's just that it could have been so much more entertaining with action added to the mix and less pertinent elements dropped.
  9. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock When an entire movie is devoted to rectifying the mistake of killing off Spock, you're sure to get into trouble real fast. If not for the inspired casting of Christopher Lloyd, this movie would be pretty much a loss.
  10. Star Trek: Generations I never understood how anybody could greenlight a script with so many obvious problems, but I'm guessing that they felt the historic mingling of new and old would cover any sin. They were wrong. I didn't think Star Trek could get worse than killing off Captain Kirk in such a lame-ass manner, but all I had to do was wait for the final two movies.
  11. Star Trek: The Final Frontier This movie was a huge waste of time, effort, and money. Surely they could have come up with something better than this to follow The Voyage Home, but no. Instead we got Spock's half-brother in an idiotic quest to find God in the center of the galaxy. Barf.
  12. Star Trek: Nemesis This is a film that could have slayed with its story concept... if only the writers would have had bothered to find a way to make it interesting. Instead we get something that plays out like a forgettable episode of the TV show. They could have at least let the Next Generation crew go out on a high note after the previous disaster (see below), but instead we got this mess.
  13. Star Trek: Insurrection So awful I don't even know where to begin. This was like a very long, boring, and badly-written episode of Next Generation but with less scope and precious little genuine humor.

And next up? Star Trek: Discovery. I had high hopes when it was announced that Bryan Fuller was at the helm. Then became worried when it was announced he had stepped away. But, still... it's Star Trek, so I'll be watching.

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