Quatermass: Quatermass and the Pit

September 17, 2014 in Cult TV, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782

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With the character of Quatermass still very much in the public’s mind, the now freelance writer Nigel Kneale was hired to write a third serial in 1957. With a larger budget and an extra five minutes per episode, Kneale wrote the serial as an allegory for the racial tensions that were currently surfacing in the UK. This is very probably the most popular and well known of the Quatermass serials and is often looked upon as a genuine television classic. In this third story a pre-human skull is unearthed in a building site in Hobbs Lane and palaeontologist Doctor Matthew Roney calls in his old friend Professor Bernard Quatermass. Together they discover an impenetrable space ship and learn of ghost sightings dating back decades. There is an ancient mystery at Hobbs Lane which dates back millions of years, and that mystery threatens to wipe out all life on Earth. The devil himself is coming for a final reckoning, and Quatermass is the only one who can stop him.

This story was made just before video tape became general at the BBC and so was once again telerecorded meaning we have all six episodes for our viewing pleasure. We also once again have a different actor playing the title role, the third one in just as many serials. This time, André Morell is Quatermass and his interpretation is often viewed as the definitive one. He was originally offered the role for the first serial but turned it down. Joining him this time around are Doctor Matthew Roney who is played by Canadian actor Cec Linder and Colonel Breen played by Anthony Bushell, who was often cast in military roles. Rounding off the main cast were Christine Finn as Barbara Judd and John Stratton as Captain Potter. For the first time, this serial features a returning character other than Quatermass. Journalist James Fullalove from The Quatermass Experiment makes a return here albeit played by another actor, Brian Worth, as Paul Whitsun-Jones was unavailable.

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As you’re probably all aware by now this is the spoiler-free section of the review so if you’re sensitive about that kind of stuff this part’s been given the all clear. Now you may recall I did a review of the Hammer film version of this a while ago so how does this shape up against the film? Well they each have their own things going for them. Of course the film has a bigger budget but that doesn’t necessarily mean a better end product. The TV serial, however, has a much longer run time but does that mean it’s more developed or just moves at a snail’s pace. Well the simple answer is that the film doesn’t feel rushed but the TV serial doesn’t feel slow, which is quite an accomplishment given the vast difference in the length. The TV serial’s length is great for additional characters such as Captain Potter who are virtually non-existent in the film and it also helps to rack up the tension, not that the film doesn’t. One thing that the TV serial definitely has which is better is André Morell as Quatermass. While Andrew Keir is by no means bad, André Morell is just the definitive Quatermass and I entirely agree with popular opinion on that one. He just plays it so well and comes more in line with Reginald Tate’s portrayal of the part than John Robinson’s so for those of you who preferred the original then you’ll definitely like André Morell as Quatermass.

Now for the spoiler section of the review so if you want to avoid spoilers then skip to the end. You have been warned. Are they gone? Good, now let’s get into things but starting off with the general premise. The idea of aliens being responsible for human evolution isn’t an uncommon one but it’s something I can’t think of an example of from before Quatermass. The idea of the devil being an alien though is a bit less common and is only really used when paying homage to this. There is one Doctor Who story that has both these things among many others. The Dæmons was from 1971 and was definitely inspired by the ideas here, although the tone is completely different. Now let’s talk about Colonel Breen who is, in effect, the main antagonist of the piece. Now while he’s not necessarily evil, he is Quatermass’s main obstacle in convincing the public of the dangers of the spaceship. It’s unclear whether Breen was under the influence of the spaceship or not and with little things like this it’s nice to have that ambiguity to allow the viewer to make up their own mind. His death, however, was much more graphic and frightening in the film. In the TV serial it’s hard to tell whether he’s dead or just in a trance. Also, I do feel the film does the ending slightly better and more downbeat, but arguably that’s aided by the budget.

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Overall, it is amazing and Nigel Kneale has a way of writing in which things take their time to happen but the tension is racked up to the extreme. He is truly at his best here and, as you’ve probably guessed by now, this is my favourite of the four. Highly recommended, even if you haven’t seen the first two. They’re all really self contained so you’re free to watch the first three in any order. The fourth, however, is another matter. Why? Well we’ll be taking a look at that next time in the final chapter in this epic story.

Star Trek : Turnabout Intruder

September 15, 2014 in Guest Blogs, Star Trek by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Mindless-Droid

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This week’s classic Star Trek episode is Turnabout Intruder. It is the last episode of season three and the last episode of the original series. The Enterprise answers a distress call from a scientific expedition on Camus II. Upon arriving the landing party finds only three survivors. One of which is Dr. Janus Lester an old flame of Kirk’s who despises Kirk for her inability to achieve command of a starship. Leaving Kirk alone with Lester the others leave to see to an additional survivor. While alone Lester who is not injured traps Kirk in an alien machine that can transfer the life essence of an individual from one body to another. Lester uses the machine to switch bodies with Kirk and take his place as Captain of the Enterprise.

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Although Lester knows the ins and outs of a starship captains duties her hate for Kirk and her insanity prevent her from pulling off the ruse. After Spock becomes suspicious of Lester in Kirk’s body he goes to Kirk in Lester’s body and using the Vulcan mind meld learns the truth. After Spock tries to free Kirk/Lester a court martial is ordered by Lester/Kirk. After hearing Spock’s story and seeing Lester/Kirk’s irrational behavior the crew refuses to obey her orders and she loses control of the mind transference briefly. Dr. Coleman Lester’s accomplice says that the only way for the transference to remain permanent is for Kirk/Lester to die. During the struggle in which Coleman and Lester/Kirk try to kill Kirk/Lester the transference weakens and is eventually reversed.

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I really like the re-mastered planet shot. Camus II now has rings like Saturn. Other than that this is really a forgettable episode. The part of the episode that just makes it bad is the statement by Lester that “Your world of starship captains doesn’t admit women” something that goes against what Star Trek’s vision of the future embodied. I guess one thing you could say is that Shatner’s performance as Lester trapped in his body had that campy sci-fi feel but that doesn’t even make the episode watchable. At least no red shirts were harmed in the final episode. It is too bad the series was canceled before its time and didn’t get a proper ending. Just like another great sci-fi animated series did recently. At least they made up for the lack of a nice ending with Star Trek VI.

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With this being the last episode of the original series I can’t help but to wonder what could have been. Star Trek was ground breaking. It wasn’t just another monster of the week sci-fi show. Had the network gotten behind the series and given it another season or two had they not played musical chairs with its time slot and had they given them the resources to make the show the best it could be the future of Star trek could have been much different. Unfortunately we’ll never know. The third season had its flaws but we wouldn’t have even gotten that had it not been for a fan letter writing campaign that saved Star Trek for another year.

I wonder what the people who made the decision to cancel the show thought back in the early seventies as syndication kicked in and Star Trek grew and grew instead of fading away.

One additional thing concerning the post cancelation pre movie era. I would like to recommend a book called Star Trek Phase II: The Lost Series. It covers the time in the seventies where Star Trek was going to be brought back to TV but eventually morphed into Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The book explains how a new network was to be formed with Star Trek as its flagship. It goes on to tell the story of the proposed series and how it eventually became the film. There is concept art interestingly enough some even done by Star Wars icon Ralph McQuarrie, the show’s writers bible first drafts of In Thy Image which would become the movie and scripts of the first proposed thirteen episodes several of which were adapted and used in The Next Generation.

Doctor Who: Initial Reactions to Listen

September 14, 2014 in Dr Who, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782

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Listen. At the end off every Doctor Who story I usually come out with a good idea of what I thought the episode. At least a positive or negative reaction. Sometimes this can change drastically on later viewing and others it stays relatively the same. This one, however, left me with no idea as to whether I liked it or not. Now that may sound odd but when it comes to this story there are few words to describe it with other than odd. It’s definitely a unique episode of Doctor Who and one of the most far afield things that they’ve ever attempted but at the same time it felt like the same old stuff in terms of Moffat’s writing. So why can’t I just dismiss it as either a good or a bad episode? Well, now that I’ve had a night to sleep on it, I think I’m in the ready to put pen to paper (or more accurately finger to keyboard) and write down my thoughts on Listen.

First off, I think its fair to say that I went into this episode expecting something totally different, more along the lines of Moffat’s earlier work in Doctor Who. I couldn’t of been more wrong there. Thing is, in recent years due to the split season stuff he’s only really been writing premieres, finales and specials so this is the first time in a long time he’s got to write something small. And in some senses (namely returning to Gallifrey when the Doctor was really young) it was massive but in others it was small as it was basically saying there’s a rational explanation for everything that scares you in the night. On the topic of scares, was this episode scary? I’m afraid not. Maybe most of the scares we spoiled but the trailer but the only one that really got to me was the one where someone suddenly got in the bed. This story also advances the relationship between Clara and Danny but this time it fits in a bit more with the story rather than being stuck on the side like it was in Into the Dalek. However, the arrival of Orson Pink did feel quite stilted and could’ve been done a bit better. Also, here’s something interesting to note, he was wearing the Doctor’s Sanctuary Base Six space suit but the Doctor can’t of given it to him because he was wearing it before he took off. Is this a plot whole or is this a subtle hint as to what’ll happen between the Doctor, Clara and Danny in the future?

Now I’m going to go back to something that was said a fair while before series eight began. Beforehand we were promised a raw new direction by Steven Moffat and so far, despite some cosmetic stuff, very little has changed in what I believe to be the shows core and that is the writing. This story has loads of stuff which was typical of Matt Smith’s era and while it’s not exactly timey-wimey it’s still definitely the same style of writing in a lot of ways. We keep jumping around the time line and also have a moment which will rip the fan base in half and that is the scene with Clara once again affecting the Doctor’s past. Now I didn’t mind this scene a whole lot to be honest. It was nowhere near as bad as what we had in The Name of the Doctor and the reveal was handled a lot better too. It also gets Gallifreyan society right in that you’re not born a Time Lord, you have to go to the academy and earn that title. The link to The Day of the Doctor was nice too.

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Overall, there’s a lot of typical Moffat in there but it’s done in a way that is much more bearable this time around. So I think for the time being I’m going to settle on a rating of eight-out-of-ten. A step down from last week but not a drastic and costly slip up either. However, I can’t see much rewatch value whatsoever in this one which is unfortunate but maybe it’s just me that thinks that. But what about Time Heist? At first I was not too excited about it but after watching the trailer I think that it could end up being another fun romp like Robot of Sherwood. So, until next week, be sure to sound off your thoughts on the episode in the comments below. Listen.

Farscape : Incubator

September 13, 2014 in Farscape by Firebird

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With his wormhole research stalling and his situation desperate, Scorpius inserts the original ‘neurochip’ into his own brain. He hopes to make contact with the clone of John’s personality that spilled into the chip when it was in Crichton’s brain. When they meet, Scorpius shows the ‘Crichton Clone’ his terrible, brutal upbringing at the hands of the Scarrans, hoping to persuade him to decode the wormhole equations. Meanwhile, a defecting Peacekeeper scientist offers the real Crichton the secret of wormhole travel in exchange for Moya.

Synopsis

Finally we get the back story for Scorpius. It’s not pretty, but then again, neither is he.

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The defector does surprisingly seem to be on the level, unfortunately the information she has to sell turns out not to be as useful as she’d hoped and the liquefaction that previous test pilots had suffered was only delayed by her modifications.

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For a few moments it seems possible that the Crichton neural Clone might have been swayed by Scorpius’ tale of woe but no, he says that the secret isn’t his to give. Scorpius does get a little information out of the exercise, a few short sequences, which may help the research, but nothing like the complete answer he was aiming for.

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The chip is destroyed in the process and the Crichton Clone along with it.

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Star Trek : All Our Yesterdays

September 8, 2014 in Guest Blogs, Star Trek by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Mindless-Droid

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This week’s classic Star trek episode is All Our Yesterdays. The Enterprise heads to a planet whose star will go nova in three hours and finds everyone gone except the librarian of the planet. The library happens to be a time machine and Kirk hearing cries for help inadvertently steps through the time machine into the past. Spock and McCoy attempting to find the captain are also accidentally sent back to a different point in time. As time runs out they must each find a way back before the sun explodes trapping them in the planets past forever.

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Most people’s reviews I read like this episode but I for one find it filled with illogic to coin a phrase. First off I’m not one for time travel in the Trek universe. Okay City is great but The Naked Time should have been linked to Tomorrow is Yesterday because after that episode we are in a three day earlier alternate time line and I can forgive the non-chalet way we slingshot around the sun to save the whales because well colorful metaphors, newclearar wessels (spell check had no suggestions for that one) and it was just plain fun. We won’t mention Assignment: Earth.

Now seriously how did the Enterprise find out that the star would go nova and in three hours no less? Who told them? I’m no expert in stellar physics but even in the Trek universe would it be possible to predict to the second when a star would go nova. Anyway their scans show everyone is gone so they beam down anyway. After finding out there is nobody left why not just move on it would seem that the Sarpeidions got out of dodge. A quick side note one thing that this series always had was really cool planet and star system names. Let’s say that they found the planets inhabitants still there what would they have done anyway with only the Enterprise how many people could they have saved? We’re here to rescue your planet but we can only take a couple hundred people the whole mission makes no sense.

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Next we meet the librarian. A librarian named Mr. Atoz get it A to Z and we go round and round asking questions getting vague answers so that the hero’s don’t know it’s a time travel library. Another thing that bugged me the Sarpeidions can manipulate time but didn’t have space flight capability seems a bit odd. Back to Mr. Atoz first he doesn’t recognize an alien in Spock and if everyone had left why was he still there if he sent the last person off why not just pop in his disk and be gone it’s not like he had to lock the place up or anything it would be vaporized in a couple of hours.

So Kirk hears a scream and steps through the time portal Spock and McCoy follow him through and get transported to a different place without changing the disc but later we see Atoz change the disc before he can escape. Then Kirk can talk to Spock and McCoy through the time portal through the library through the time portal into the other past what?

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Spock has now figured out that the Sarpeidions have escaped into the planet’s past which brings up a whole new set of questions. In The City on the Edge of Forever McCoy’s one simple act changed all of history now you have an entire planets population mucking around in the past. You would think the library would be blinking in and out of existence. With so many people you would think someone would accidentally alter the timeline somewhere along the line. What if some person escaped into the past and accidentally stops the person who discovers time travel from discovering the secret and all of a sudden the whole planet reappears in the present. I could hear the collective “Ah crap” from the entire population.

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This episode was the Spock gets the girl episode. Being transported 5000 years in the past Spock takes on the characteristics of the Vulcans of that time without logic he falls for Zarabeth who they meet and who has been imprisoned in the past. This is another point that I didn’t like if the Atavachron prepares you to enter the time you choose and Spock wasn’t prepared for that time period wouldn’t he stay as he was? Also his phaser won’t work because of the time period but the tri-corder does. Kirk trapped in the Salem witch trial period of the planets past had some good moments. When the locals heard him calling out to Spock and McCoy Kirk called McCoy Bones that was pretty funny just like Catspaw when the skeleton was hanging next to McCoy and he called him Bones.

So Kirk convinces the prosecutor to take him to the portal and he returns to the library and forces Mr. Atoz to help him find the period into which Spock and McCoy have been sent. They find the right disc just as Spock and McCoy reach the portal nice coincidence. At first Spock tries to push McCoy through and remain with Zarabeth but he can’t get back alone because they had come through together why that is who knows. So after a tearful goodbye Spock and McCoy return to the library. Mr. Atoz switches discs and makes his escape into the past. Spock assures McCoy that all is as it was and with time ticking down why are they standing around kibitzing get back to the ship time is running out and Scotty is having a cow. Anyway McCoy says to Spock that it did happen meaning Spock’s emotional behavior. Spock admits it but says that she Zarabeth is dead, dead and buried. Okay here’s another thing she was banished alone in the past who buried her. Well they make it back to the ship just in time as the star explodes and the Enterprise warps away.

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A couple of bits of trivia. The re-mastered shot of Beta Niobe exploding is pretty cool and the effects were based upon actual photos taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. No red shirts were harmed in this episode actually no other crew member is seen in this episode although we do hear Scotty on the communicator. This was the last adventure of the Enterprise according to the Star date even though it aired before the episode Turnabout Intruder.

Doctor Who: Initial Reactions to Robot of Sherwood

September 6, 2014 in Dr Who, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782

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Since the Twelfth Doctor’s era is supposed to be more in line with the classic series, I tried to work out which classic Doctor’s era this story would fit into best. After some debate I decided on the Third Doctor, not only because of the medieval setting used before in the Time Warrior but also because of the Doctor’s initial refusal to accept Robin Hood as being real. This absolutely fits with the Third Doctor’s nature of never accepting that he’s wrong. Along side this we also have the occasional reference to stories from his era (mini-scope, for example) and Ben Miller’s Sheriff of Nottingham baring an interesting resemblance to Roger Delgado’s Master, he even sounds like him at times. I wouldn’t have been surprised if he did end up being the Master and the whole place was another place made up by block transfer computation like Castrovalva. Have I lost anyone so far?

Moving back to the episode itself, we had two fairly dark ones before this so it’s nice to get something a bit more light for Capaldi here. He is given some great comedy lines to go with here but not in the same style as Matt Smith had. Some of the best parts of this episode are the interaction between him and Tom Riley’s Robin Hood. Tom Riley himself is one of the best parts of this episode and really does shine through in this classic role. Here’s a nice bit of trivia about the role of Robin Hood, the Second Doctor Patrick Troughton was the first actor to play the role on TV in a six-part adaptation way back in 1953. This was also nicely reference here too with a picture of him in the role showing up on the ship’s data banks.

On the villainous side of things we have Ben Miller as the Sheriff of Nottingham who, as previously mentioned, looks quite similar to Roger Delgado’s Master. His acting is great but unfortunately the character is rather underdeveloped in this story. He is however, the best antagonist of this story with the robot knights being even more underdeveloped and coming across as generic robots. If it had had more time I would’ve liked to of seen the character of the Sheriff developed more, maybe even given a sidekick to play off of, and the robots given more personality or at least something to make them less generic. Visually the episode is quite colour, a stark contrast to the previous two, which fits the episodes tone quite nicely. Oh, and how can I forget Clara. Jenna Coleman’s given some good stuff to work with in this and she does a great job with it. Nothing more to say than that. Finally we have this stories overall contribution to the overarching plot of the series. It was thankfully subtler this time around and was a nice break from the generic Missy scenes we’ve been getting which stick out slightly in previous episodes.

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Overall, the series has once again stepped up in quality with Mark Gatiss writing my favourite episode of the series so far. Of course we are only three episodes in but that doesn’t stop me from giving this a nine-out-of-ten. Will this streak of continuos improvement continue next week with Listen? I’m personally not too sure what to think at the moment but it looks like Moffat’s going back to basics with his stories and that’s good enough to get me excited for next week but until then, be sure to sound off your thoughts on the episode in the comments below.

Farscape : Relativity

September 6, 2014 in Farscape by Firebird

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The Peacekeeper Retrieval Squad lead by Aeryn’s mother, Xhalax Sun, traces the crew of Talyn to a Jungle Planet where the gunship is recuperating. When Crichton, Aeryn and Crais easily divert the squad away from the gunship, they surmise that Talyn might not be the only target of the Peackeepers’ mission. When Aeryn’s attempts to reason with Xhalax fail, she realizes that the pursuit of Talyn will not stop until Xhalax is dead.

Synopsis

Back with Talyn and crew.

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There’s a fair amount of running around in the jungle in the dark but the core of the story is inevitably Aeryn and her mother.

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Despite Aeryn’s best efforts Xhalax Sun will not be turned. She says that she killed Talyn (Aeryn’s father) to redeem herself to Peacekeeper command and she sees Aeryn as a traitor. Her compassion is sentimental weakness which Xhalax views with utter contempt.

Meanwhile Crichton and Crais have to deal with the two alien trackers. Luckily they’re weakened by the planet’s high gravity and Crichton manages to kill one and seriously wound the other before they try to make their was back to the ship.

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In the end Crais is left to execute Xhalax as Crichton guides Aeryn back to Talyn, but we don’t see it happen so there’s room for some doubt. Is she really dead?

While all this is going on Stark and Rygel work to prevent Talyn being over-run by jungle vines. Then after Xhalax guts Rygel Stark works to save his life, sewing him together with the same vines that have been helping to heal the ship.

Star Trek : The Savage Curtain

September 2, 2014 in Guest Blogs, Star Trek by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Mindless-Droid

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This week’s classic Star Trek episode is The Savage Curtain. The Enterprise is surveying a planet that consists of molten lava. The sensors show that there may be some form of life on the planet but Kirk dismisses them and as they are about to leave an image of Abraham Lincoln appears on the view screen. Lincoln invites Kirk and Spock to beam down to the planet as a region has transformed into an earth like state. Once on the surface the Excalbians reveal themselves to Kirk and having duplicated historical figures of good and evil place Kirk and Spock into a “spectacle” to determine which philosophy is the strongest.

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This is another of the third season episodes that has a good premise but kind of misses the mark. I like the look of the re-mastered planet. McCoy’s doubt that there could be life on the planet is odd since they should be more open to a different form of life after everything they’ve encountered such as the Horta and others. I do like the allusion to space legends about the planet especially if the Excalbians wanted to remain hidden. When Lincoln appeared the crew all seemed to know everything about him this was one of Trek’s inconsistency’s sometimes they would know everything about history and others they would know very little. When Lincoln asks if they still use minutes Kirk says they can convert I didn’t know they stopped using minutes.

They say a small change is occurring on the planet but 1000 square kilometers is not exactly small.

We get to see Scotty in his dress uniform kilt.

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In the transporter room Scotty says it scanned like living rock sort of like the Horta.

When Lincoln is beamed aboard he asks about the music that’s playing without a band present and Kirk explains it is taped music. It’s funny how in 1969 tapes were the high end of technology and now they are mostly obsolete. Looking back forty five years some of the Trek technology is now obsolete or has been created while the rest is still a distant dream.

The re-mastered orbital shots are really cool.

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Uhura was such a great iconic character too bad the new movies made her into a romantic sub-plot.

Was the Lincoln Excalbian doing reconnaissance when he was brought on the ship they did give him the VIP tour.

Spock could be a little annoying pointing out Earth is that way how would he know?

Interesting life form the Excalbian although it really is unclear what they are after or if they are malevolent or peaceful which I guess makes sense since they don’t understand the differences between good and evil.

This episode brings out a lot of important historical figures real and Trek related. Surak of Vulcan and the Klingon Kahless.

I guess if a Colonel Green shows up in the news we should be on alert.

Kahless the unforgettable looks more like Kahless the uninterested or the spaced out they really should have re shot that scene he just looked weird.

They were still reusing the Corbomite Maneuver shot of the backs of Sulu and Baily.

Another thing with these type of episodes how do the aliens making the duplicates and illusions know exactly how to make them act and how do they give them all their knowledge just from scanning the ship or the minds of the crew and why is it always a fight to the death in these scenarios?

Why would Kirk touch the Excalbian I mean it’s standing there smoking?

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I never really like the episodes where the aliens can just do anything to the ship like disable the engines or the life support and nobody knows how or why.

Not really a good way to introduce us to the father of all of Vulcan. He really didn’t do much and I think they should have used a different name as Surak was too similar to Sarek Spock’s father it was a little confusing.

Well at least Kahless looks awake later in the episode. We won’t get into the whole Klingon forehead thing.

They really used the Corbomite shot a lot in this one.

Spock is right a Vulcan would not cry out like that and Kirk should have realized that with his experiences with Spock all these years.

Funny side note at my first job we had a bunch of Trek fans and we would say “A Vulcan would not cry out so” and respond “He would if he worked here.”

Wait how could they offer duplicates power. Power on Excalbia or power in their illusion so they understand power but not good and evil ah season three oh well.

One interesting bit of trivia Mark Leonard was the first choice to play Lincoln but was unavailable when the episode was filmed. That would have given him the quad of playing a Romulan, Vulcan, Klingon and Human.

Another good episode for the Red Shirts as non were harmed in this episode and one actually got a name.

Doctor Who: Initial Reactions to Into the Dalek

August 30, 2014 in Dr Who, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782

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After a bit of a mixed bag last week we go into our second full episode with Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, incidentally we also go into a Dalek. So that’s the general premise of the episode, the Doctor is shrunk down to size and enters a Dalek. A bit like the classic story The Invisible Enemy except this time we’re going somewhere far more dangerous than the Doctor’s brain. This is a very original and intriguing premise and one I find to be the most original idea for a Dalek story since the show got rebooted. So no problem there right? Well unfortunately there is as it lacks a good, solid reason as the why they need to go inside it. Another thing that I like about the premise of the episode (which is also carried over to the execution) is that we have a Dalek story not set on Earth (something that all of the Dalek stories of RTD’s era weren’t) that has a good roundup of supporting characters (something that Asylum of the Daleks lacked) so it’s also got that going for it. The realisation of this is very well done with some very impressive CGI, especially in the opening scene.

Now lets again talk about Peter Capaldi playing the new Doctor, and there is one scene in particular that we really need to talk about. That is of course the scene with Ross’ death and the Doctor’s reaction to it. I’m sure for some this will go down the same route as the Sixth Doctor’s acid bath scene in Vengeance on Varos but for me it was suitably well done. We are once again seeing the darker side of the Doctor that was present in the Seventh and a bit of the Fourth. I’d also like to say that (unlike Matt Smith’s Doctor) it isn’t just Peter Capaldi’s acting ability that’s holding his Doctor up but he also getting the right lines to say as well which is great. This story also introduces Danny Pink but unfortunately it spends too much time doing so in a story that has nothing really to do with him. While I like his character I just wish that had been done in another episode as it took valuable time away from this one which it desperately needed, more on that in a bit. Clara was great and is once again showing signs of developing as a character, something that is long overdue. However, the slap was slightly unnecessary in my opinion and some strong dialogue would’ve been much more effective in its place.

The direction in this is once again amazing and Ben Wheatley really has done a great job with what he was given. There is some good Dalek action in this and there were some nicely done pieces of Dalek destruction, the likes of which we’ve never seen before and they go beyond the convention explosions which we’ve had before. There is only one main Dalek to focus on in this and that is ”Rusty” who the Doctor has so aptly named. The look of the inside of it is nicely done but the bit with the star being born is a bit of a flimsy reason. It also seems a bit far fetched that this one damaged Dalek was able to wipe out an entire platoon of fully battle ready Daleks, but I digress. We then get onto the ending which is unfortunately rushed and this goes back to what I said earlier about the Danny Pink stuff wasting too much time. If that was taken out then we’d have enough time to round it off properly rather than ending it with them suddenly being out of the Dalek and it simply going off to kill more of its kind. However, the stuff with the Doctor hating the Daleks and that carrying over to Rusty is very powerful stuff and is probably the main point of the episode, is he as good man? Capaldi does a great job playing that stuff and his disappointment at the Dalek only seeing his hatred feels totally genuine. We also get that nice call back to the Ninth Doctor episode Dalek where Rusty calls the Doctor a good Dalek, great stuff.

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Overall, a definite improvement over last week and this could very well be the best Dalek story since Dalek. So this time it goes up to an eight-out-of-ten which means so far so good with series eight. Next week we’re going to Sherwood forest and meeting Robin Hood in a story which looks to be quite promising but until then, be sure to sound off your thoughts on the episode in the comments below.

Farscape : Losing Time

August 30, 2014 in Farscape by Firebird

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After passing through a magnetic cluster, the crew experiences strange blackouts and periods of lost time. They discover that Pilot has been possessed by a being who is pursuing an evil ‘Energy Rider’. The being inside Pilot warns our crew that the Rider inhabits one of them, and if that person isn’t found – and the Rider extracted – the crew will all die.

Synopsis

Back to Moya this week for another game of who’s infected/possessed.

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Alternating with that are visits to Scorpius who is trying unsuccessfully to extract the wormhole technology from the neural chip that was in Crichton’s head.

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The energy being in Pilot gets what it wants, killing the evil ‘Energy Rider’ but unfortunately it then turns evil too and refuses to leave. The crew pull a trick with the starburst engines and manage to kill it.

Felt like a bit of a filler episode with not a great deal of progress on the main story except we know now how high the stakes are for Scorpius and the Peacekeepers and that they’ll do pretty much anything to get their hands on wormhole technology.