Saturday, July 27, 2013

Review: Star Trek Into Darkness

**** The new franchise of Star Trek films has taken us into a new universe, or an alternate timestream of the same universe. Either way, this is the same people with a divergent time period, and this new Star Trek Into Darkness gives us a new look at the same stories from a new perspective.

Director J. J. Abrams did a great job of keeping from us who the villain really was, until late in the film, and the mixed question of who's really the villain here, them or us. One wonders if this isn't speaking to the USA and the Middle-East?

Being a lifelong fan of the series, I was pleasantly pleased to see the references to the old series. When Kirk and crew are headed to the shuttle craft, Sulu calls for Shuttle Bay 2 "Please have the trade ship that we confiscated during the Mudd incident last month fueled and ready." I really hope to see Harcourt Fenton Mudd at some point during the new franchise of films, as he was one of the few recurring characters, having appeared in two episodes of the original series and one animated series episode, he could have been the blueprint for Lucas's Hon Solo too.

The action is continuous throughout the film and at one point, about an hour forty-five in, I thought we were pretty much done. A reversal of the Wrath of Khan death scene seemed a fitting end to the film, but Abrams had one more action sequence up his sleeve. And Spock went on an emotionally charged chase and hand-to-hand battle with the enemy.

One of the many themes woven into the film is that Kirk is still trying to find his way, and needs to learn to trust others around him. He doesn't trust Scotty's good judgement and relieves him of duty, turns out Scotty was right. As a captain he has a great crew, he just needs to trust them, instead of trying to do it all himself.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Catching Up to Doctor Who

Seven seasons of Doctor Who has given us 100 episodes, plus specials and minisodes. That's a daunting amount of television to watch for a person #NewToWho. I would suggest someone being introduced to the Who Universe start with the current Doctor, but there are so many things that get missed, and maybe a few episodes that don't need to be seen to get you up to speed.

Torchwood, Sarah Jane and lots of other material that is in my Doctor Who episode list can always be gone back to if you want to get the full Whovian Experience. Steven Moffat, lead writer / Executive Producer, spent Season 7 showing the range of things that Doctor Who the show can be; Space Adventure, Western, Comedy, Action, Paranormal, past, present and future. These things are important to keep in mind when pulling someone into Doctor Who, what kinds of show do they like. This is what they should watch first, if they like heavy Sci-Fi, Asylum of the Daleks (7.1), if they like comedy Sci-Fi, Dinosaurs on a Spaceship(7.2). The second episode any #NewToWho fan should experience is Blink (3.10). After that they should be ready to take a catch up course in Who.

One way to get up to speed with about 14 hours of Doctor Who is to watch all of season 7, 13 episodes plus minisodes (see the order here).

Second way would be to watch all of the Matt Smith episodes, season 5-7, plus specials and minisodes (see the order here). This route should start with Blink, from season 3 and then season 4's Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead, before The Eleventh Hour to start season 5. Altogether this should total about 47 hours of viewing.

If you need a longer look at the Crazy Man in a Blue Box, then the list below should give you a full range of the series, and give you ample viewing between now and the November 23rd 50th Anniversary episode.

1.1 - Rose
1.2 - The End of the World
1.3 - The Unquiet Dead
1.6 - Dalek
1.8 - Father's Day
1.9 - The Empty Child
1.10 - The Doctor Dances
1.12 - Bad Wolf
1.13 - The Parting of the Ways

2.4 - The Girl in the Fireplace
2.5 - Rise of the Cybermen
2.6 - The Age of Steel
2.8 - The Impossible Planet
2.10 - Love and Monsters
2.13 - Doomsday

3.X - The Runaway Bride
3.1 - Smith and Jones
3.2 - The Shakespeare Code
3.6 - The Lazarus Experiment
3.7 - 42
3.10 - Blink
3.12 - The Sound of Drums
3.13 - Last of the Time Lords

4.8 - Silence in the Library
4.9 - Forest of the Dead

5.1 - The Eleventh Hour
5.4 - The Time of Angels
5.5 - Flesh and Stone
5.8 - The Hungry Earth
5.9 - Cold Blood
5.10 - Vincent and the Doctor
5.11 - The Lodger*
5.12 - The Pandorica Opens
5.13 - The Big Bang

6.X - A Christmas Carol

   Space [charity special]
   Time [charity special]
6.1 - The Impossible Astronaut
6.2 - Day of the Moon
6.4 - The Doctor's Wife 
6.5 - The Rebel Flesh
6.6 - The Almost People
6.7 - A Good Man Goes to War
6.8 - Let's Kill Hitler
6.10 - The Girl Who Waited

6.12 - Closing Time*
6.13 - The Wedding of River Song

7.1 - Asylum of the Daleks
7.4 - The Power of Three 
7.5 - The Angels Take Manhattan
   P.S. [minisode] (scenes not shot)
   A Good Man Goes to War - 2 Days Later [minisode]
   The Great Detective [minisode]
   Vastra Investigates [minisode]
   Songtaran Carols [minisode]
7.x - The Snowmen
   The Bells of St. John: A Prequel [minisode]
7.6 - The Bells of St. John
7.7 - The Rings of Akhaten 
7.10 - Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS
7.11 - The Crimson Horror
7.12 - Nightmare in Silver
   Strax Field Report [minisode]
   Clarence and the Whispermen [minisode]
7.13 - The Name of the Doctor

*skip both or neither.