Review of Season One of “Star Trek Discovery” Part Two

Promotional image of the television series “Star Trek Discovery”

Finished watching season one of Star Trek Discovery and the whole thing seems to be based on just about everyone having shocking secrets including Ash Tyler/Voq (Shazad Latif), the relationship between Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) and Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz), Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs), and even Sarek (James Frain). Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) has more lives than nine cats.

About the only person on Discovery who is exactly as she seems is Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman), the endlessly optimistic and hopeful cadet who is finally promoted to an officer at the end of the season.

A significant portion of the show took place in the mirror universe, first introduced in the Star Trek original series episode Mirror, Mirror over 50 years ago. This is where we find out the secrets of Lorca and Georgiou, and ultimately, how the Federation wins the war against the Klingons.

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Star Trek Discovery: The Episode “Lethe” and Relationships

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Actors Sonequa Martin-Green, Mary Wiseman, and Shazad Latif in a promotional image from the Star Trek Discovery episode “Lethe” (2017)

I wasn’t going to review the first season of Star Trek Discovery episode by episode, but show 6 Lethe, aired almost two years ago, got my attention.

I’m not going through the whole thing, I just wanted to talk about some of the relationships and a few surprise reveals.

It’s no surprise that Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Cadet Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman) have become “odd couple” friends. Thrown together as roommates in a cabin aboard Discovery, Burnham’s dour moods and overly serious Vulcan demeanor is counterbalanced by Tilly’s almost oppressive optimism and cheerfulness. Tilly is the kid sister Burnham never had (she had a “kid brother,” but I won’t discuss that here), and the one she tries to mentor, especially in this episode. Of course, Burnham’s telepathic/hallucinatory interactions with Sarek (James Frain) change that. It’s an unlikely friendship until you realize how complementary Burnham and Tilly are.

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Review of Season One of “Star Trek Discovery,” Part One

Promotional image of the television series “Star Trek Discovery”

Disclosure: I rented the first season of Star Trek Discovery as a DVD set from my local public library. For the sake of this blog post, I’m reviewing the first two episodes.

I have to admit, I went into this expecting not to like Discovery. Even when CBS offered the option to watch the first four episodes free through their streaming service, I shunned it. I figured after the whole J.J. Abrams Star Trek movies mess, anything with the name “Star Trek” in the 21st century would be pretty bad and reflexively play to a certain social and political perspective with no thought given to quality stories.

Which is why I’m surprised that I like it.

First things first. The visuals, actually all of the production values, are through the roof. It is a first rate science fiction television series and the eye candy (space, spaceships, tech…I’m not talking about people in this case) is amazing.

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Film Review of “Star Trek” (2009)

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Promotional image for the movie “Star Trek” (2009)

Just for giggles, the other night I re-watched J.J. Abrams’ reboot of Star Trek (2009). Yes, I saw it in the theater ten years ago with one of my sons, and what I pointed out was wrong with the movie then, is still wrong with it now.

Oh, it’s a fun romp. There’s great action, poignant moments, and some good (and not so good) acting, but let’s face it. This isn’t your Dad’s (or Granddad’s) Star Trek.

Of course Abrams, who was selected to relaunch the franchise, went on record that he always felt like (Star Trek was) a silly, campy thing. I remember appreciating it, but feeling like I didn’t get it. Roddenberry must have been spinning in his grave.

The franchise deserved a director who grew up loving Star Trek, but it got Abrams instead. Go figure.

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In Response to “Toxic Fandom”

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Found at knowyourmeme.com

Oh heck. I wasn’t going to comment on this here. Seriously. I admit, when I saw the title of the File 770 article Fandom, Entitlement and Toxicity I had a pretty good idea of what it was all about. When I saw the author was my old “friend” Hampus Eckerman (really, we’ve only had brief online encounters, but they were pretty unpleasant) I was sure of it.

Turns out I was wrong.

What Eckerman was really saying was that his “ownership” of certain characters and franchises, he focuses on “The Amazing Spider-Man” comic book, can lead us as fans to respond pretty badly at times when the creators of these pieces of work do something that rubs us the wrong way.

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Science Fiction, Opinions, and Why It’s Okay to Disagree

A statute honoring Ray Bradbury was unveiled outside the Waukegan Public Library just after sunset on Aug. 22, 2019, the 99th anniversary of the late author’s birth. (Dan Moran / Lake County News-Sun)

I just read an article at File 770 called Waukegan Public Library Unveils Ray Bradbury Statue (click the link and read, the story’s pretty short). Waukegan was Bradbury’s hometown and I’m thrilled to see that he is being honored. He is a truly timeless writer, and I can prove it, since my 33-year-old son Michael just read Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Over a year ago, I wrote my own wee Bradbury essay titled Should We Burn Ray Bradbury’s Books?. I crafted my missive in response to Katie Naum’s essay at Electric Lit called The New ‘Fahrenheit 451’ Movie Fails to Reckon with Bradbury’s Racism.

I seriously doubt he was a racist, at least in the dictionary definition sense, but assuming Bradbury had character flaws and perhaps some dated beliefs given that he was born in 1920, that doesn’t change his influence on the field of science fiction, nor make him unworthy of being honored.

Of course, we’ve seen this sort of thing before.

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Is Harrison Ford The Only Indiana Jones?

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Promotional image for the 1981 film “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

This morning on the radio, I heard a clip from an interview with actor Harrison Ford where the host asked him who he’d like to see play Indiana Jones after Ford retired from the role. Ford replied no one. When he goes away, Indy goes away, too.

The fifth and last Indiana Jones film starring Ford is slated to come out in 2021, though after 2008’s Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I think Indy’s getting a little long in the tooth for this sort of thing.

The DJ on the radio program I was listening to thought Ford was being arrogant in making such a statement, but I think he’s spot on. It’s not just that Ford originated the character and is terrific at it, but the first Indy movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark came out in 1981, and the only other Indy movie worth a damn (in my opinion) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade hit the theaters in 1989.

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Be Kind – Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Hard Battle

suicide prevention day

Image found on Facebook

Today, Monday, September 10th, is World Suicide Prevention Day. I found that out on Facebook when it was associated with the television and film franchise Star Trek, and the original series debuted on September 8, 1966. That anniversary was only two days ago.

I hadn’t realized these Star Trek related actors had all committed suicide, including TV and film icon Brian Keith. Most people know that Robin Williams committed suicide, and I think I recall that Get Smart actor Ed Platt (“the Chief”) took his own life.

I’ve been wanting to write about something today, but the topic eluded me until just a few minutes ago. Decades ago, I worked for a suicide prevention hotline in Berkeley, California, on the “graveyard” shift, so, as you can imagine, I’ve talked with many people who had been having tough times.

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The Murasaki Betrayal

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Image of the Galileo shuttlecraft from the Star Trek episode “The Galileo Seven” – Found at memory-alpha.wikia.com

Charlton Ortega piloted his light scout ship “Lily Sloane” into the nebulous Murasaki 312 quasar-like formation at half impulse power not knowing if he and his three crew mates would make it back out again.

“Shields are nominal. Continuing sensor sweep. Still nothing.” Helen Olssen was both the ship’s systems expert and Ortega’s lover, and they were nothing alike. While he was impulsive, adventurous, and as dark as his Inca ancestors, the Swede from Uppsala was fair-skinned, blond to the point of having almost white hair, conservative, reserved, and studious. If Retenox Five hadn’t been invented, she would have been a natural for a pair of horned rim glasses.

“This whole area for a diameter of twelve light years is completely infused in a shell of hard radiation. If our shields drop even for a few seconds, we’ll sizzle like bacon on a griddle.” The navigator’s east Texas accent was what Ortega called “thick enough to cut with a knife.” Bethany “Red” Harrington checked her navcom against the readings of the old shuttlecraft that had visited the unknown planet more than a century ago. They’d been uploaded to the Enterprise’s ancient duotronic-based information system seconds before the Galileo Seven had burned up in the atmosphere, and hopefully they’d be enough to guide the Sloane on its mission. “You sure you can fly this thing under these conditions, Charlie?”

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Star Trek II: The Wrath of Tattoo

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Behind the scenes of the film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn

If you like science fiction and/or are a Star Trek fan, you’ve probably seen the film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn (1982) a time or two. In the movie, the late Ricardo Montalban reprised his role as Khan Noonien Singh which he first played in the original Star Trek series episode Space Seed (1967). I must admit that “Wrath of Khan” is one of my two favorite Star Trek films, the other being Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991).

Some of you may know that Montalban also played the lead in a television show popular in the 1970s and early ’80s called Fantasy Island. Montalban portrayed the mysterious Mr. Roarke who had a diminutive assistant called Tattoo, who was played by Hervé Villechaize. Villechaize’s most famous line from the series is “The plane, the plane” (you had to be there).

I found a behind-the-scenes photo from “Wrath of Kahn” on a Facebook group called Science Fiction Cult Classics. It depicts Montalban as Kahn laughing at some inflated figure with Villechaize’s face on it, placed on the set as a gag.

This probably won’t be funny to anyone who didn’t see the television show and the film back in the day, but I thought I’d share anyway.