The Day of the Triffids – Episode 1

November 23, 2014 in Cult TV by Firebird

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A BBC series first broadcast in 1981 this retelling of John Wyndham’s classic sci-fi story of man-eating plants is in six half hour episodes. Recovering from a triffid sting, Bill Masen wakes in hospital to an uncanny silence.

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The first episode proceeds mostly in flashbacks as Masen records a taped message for his friend and co-worker. He’s been effectively blind since the accident but is waiting for a doctor to arrive and remove the bandages. This allows the background of the triffids to be described. Possibly developed in the USSR and then spread around the world they’re valuable because they produce an oil that can be used as a fuel additive, but they’re also dangerous. They are carnivores, producing a venom that is usually deadly and they’re mobile. Mason’s friend suspected that they are intelligent and communicate with each other, but Mason was not convinced.

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When Masen finally realises that it’s 8am and yet nobody has come to tend to him and there is no sound of traffic he thinks back to the spectacular meteorite shower of the night before and wonders if it might have been responsible. Finally abandoning caution he removes his bandages to find that his sight has returned. Leaving his room to explore he comes across one of the doctors who is now blind. A final scene shows Masen’s co-worker at the triffid farm lying dead, stung in the face, and the triffid pens empty.

By modern standard it was a slow start but I think that works well with this story. Our view of the situation is limited as Masen’s is. Until that last scene everything is either in the hospital or in his memories, we have no view of what might be going on outside.

Blake’s 7 : Space Fall

November 22, 2014 in Cult TV, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782

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As we continue our voyage through the sci-fi classic Blake’s 7 we move on to the second episode which is given the intriguing title of Space Fall. Once again written by Terry Nation, Space Fall introduces us to new recurring characters, Kerr Avon and Olag Gan played by Paul Darrow and David Jackson respectively. Something I forgot to mention last week was the director of the episode, who was Michael E Briant. He, like many other people in front of and behind the camera on Blake’s 7, had strong ties to Doctor Who and directed what may very well be my favourite Doctor Who story, The Robots of Death. This time around we have Pennant Roberts directing who also directed a couple of Doctor Who stories and there’s a connection here to one of his stories but that’s a topic for later. Now that we’ve successfully covered the general trivia for Space Fall let’s move onto the synopsis.

Continuing from where last episode left off, the transport ship has now taken off and is on it’s way to Cygnus Alpha, but there are rumours that where the ships safely out of the way the prisoners are neatly and quietly disposed off. Blake, who naturally enough is determined to escape before this can happen, is then introduced to Kerr Avon, a computer expert who will prove vital to their escape. After convincing Avon to join their cause, they put a plan into action to hijack the ship but a mistake by Restal costs the freedom of everyone bar Blake, Jenna and Avon who end up locked inside the main computer, leading to a stalemate with the ship’s crew. But after the ruthless Raiker starts executing prisoners they have no choice but to give themselves up. Having regained control of the ship the crew find that there is an abandoned spaceship in close proximity. After the boarding party goes missing, Raiker decides to send Blake, Jenna and Avon aboard to find out what’s happened. After overcoming the security system they managed to commandeer the ship and escape, killing Raiker, who was stuck between the airlocks, in the process. They then decide to follow the transport to Cygnus Alpha and free the prisoners to give their new ship a full crew to take the fight to the Federation with. And on that note the end credits roll.

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You may remember last time me bringing up to topic of moral ambiguity, something Blake’s 7 is apparently renowned for, but not really seeing too much of it in the first episode. Here that changes as we are introduced to two very different characters, Leylan and Raiker, who both work for the Federation but have two completely different moralities. Leylan was quite lenient and understanding but Raiker was much more strict and heartless. However, these actions make his ultimate death all the more satisfying and leaves the episode on a higher note than last time. I was trying to remember where I’d seen Raiker before and then curiosity got the better of me and I looked him up and found that he was in a Doctor Who story titled The Face of Evil, also directed by Pennant Roberts. Some directors are well known for casting people they’ve worked well with before and Pennant Robert is probably one of them.

Interestingly, the episode had quite a lot going on and felt like it was longer than it actually was but not in a bad way. It was well developed and didn’t waste any time. However, all this did mean that some characters had to sit on the sidelines and these ended up being Restal, Gan and, to a lesser extent, Jenna. However, Restal and Jenna at least get quite few good lines and moments. I couldn’t help but laugh at Restal dropping the gun which ended up messing up their escape and his distraction of the guard by simply showing him simple tricks was rather good, and one could argue that the guard’s somewhat jovial reaction to him once again shows a level of moral ambiguity. However, this wasn’t what the episode was all about and one of it’s primary focuses was establishing the character of Avon and his relationship with Blake. Overall I think he’s a good character and adds something new that wasn’t there before. His coldness is a standard character trait but it’s one not normally matched with a computer genius so there’s something unique there. I’m sure he’ll grow and soften up over time as it’s very difficult to sustain a character like this without having him develop into a bit more accepting character but I just hope they don’t loose his humour with it, which nicely contrasts with Restal’s so they don’t clash.

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To conclude, Space Fall was an enjoyable improvement over The Way Back and it gets a solid nine-out-of-ten from me. Good plot, good action, good character development and some good model shots, although I’m still waiting for one that really stands out to me. But still, we’re only two episodes in and definitely going strong. Next week we’ll be taking a look at episode three which is simply titled Cygnus Alpha but until then be sure to sound off your thoughts on the episode in the comments below.

Farscape : Into the Lion’s Den – Part 1 Lambs to the Slaughter

November 19, 2014 in Farscape by Firebird

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The crew board Scorpius’ Command Carrier under the falsehood that Crichton is there to master wormhole technology. The ex-Peacekeepers Aeryn and Crais are forced to confront their past lives, and D’Argo, Rygel, Chiana, and Jool encounter unhidden hostility from all sides. Talyn is also implicated, brought on board for a cognitive replacement. While Crichton searches for a way to sabotage the Carrier, he is being watched by Scorpius, who is ready to exact deadly retribution if Crichton does not cooperate.

Synopsis

The whole crew onboard a Peacekeeper Command Carrier trusting Scorpius to keep his word?

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Even Harvey thinks this is a bad idea.

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We meet a new Peacekeeper villian, Commandant Mele-On Grayza. When Hevy’s Blake’s 7 blog gets to Servalan you might just think there’s a similarity or two.

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By the end of the episode the stakes are higher than ever and Crichton is no longer sure that he’s doing the right thing. Scorpius knows his time is running out, Commandant Grayza will return and take over, closing down his wormhole research. But he’s got an ace up his sleeve, he’s found Earth and uses this fact to threaten Crichton.

Star Trek : Mudd’s Women

November 17, 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 Mudd’s Women. The Enterprise pursues a small ship into an asteroid field. The ship refuses to stop and burns out its engines. Kirk orders the Enterprises deflectors to cover the ship and in doing so burns out the ship’s Lithium crystals. Before the Enterprise loses power and the other ship is destroyed by an asteroid Scotty beams the ship’s Captain and three of her “crew” aboard.

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The ship’s crew are three women who have a hypnotic effect on the Enterprise crewman. It’s later learned that the women are taking a drug to make them more alluring. Leo Walsh aka Harry Mudd is an intergalactic scoundrel who is taking his “crew” to be wives for the settlers of Ophiuchus III. Kirk imprisons Mudd as the Enterprise loses its last crystal. With just enough power left Kirk sets course for Rigel XII home of a Lithium mining colony. Mudd on the other hand has plans of his own and secretly contacts the miners making a deal with them to exchange lithium crystals for Mudd’s women and Mudd’s release. Kirk refuses at first but with the Enterprise losing power and in danger of burning up in the atmosphere he relents.

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Mudd and the women are beamed down to the surface and Childress the lead miner forgets the plight of the Enterprise. Eve dissatisfied by the situation flees the compound into a violent dust storm. Kirk tracks her down and discovers the truth about the Venus drug. Kirk tells Childress of Mudd’s deception as Eve has lost her beauty. Kirk give Eve a fake version of the drug and she becomes beautiful again. Kirk explains that the placebo effect has given Eve her self-assurance and it’s her inner beauty that shows through. Eve and the others decide to stay on Rigel. Childress provides Kirk with the crystals and Mudd is arrested to face his charges.

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This is a mixed bag episode for me. Harry Mudd is one of Trek’s most entertaining characters and the only guest character to appear in multiply episodes. Mudd answering questions at his hearing is fun as he seems to actually believe his lies. The interaction between Kirk who is having none of “Leo’s” BS and Mudd who just keeps trying to talk his way out of everything is priceless. Although Mudd does have a point about his tiny ship being a menace to navigation. The reveal at the end that it is not the drug that makes the women beautiful but their inner beauty is a nice way to end the episode.

On the other hand there are quite a bit of things that don’t fit the 23rd century and several plot holes in the episode. How about a quick list the whole idea of someone selling off wives even though they are willing participants in the enlightened time of Star Trek just doesn’t fit. The Enterprise crew being so undisciplined just because of a pretty face. Mudd going on after the hearing with his plans as the two red shirts stand there besides being cannon fodder I guess they can’t hear either. Then there’s the obviously vital Lithium mining colony on a desolate and dangerous planet manned by only three people.

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Some interesting things in this episode. Mudd calls Spock a Vulcanian and the crystals being referred to as Lithium instead of Dilithium as this was early on and not every term or technology was settled on. The last scene on the bridge we also learn that Vulcan anatomy is different from that of humans and we get one of the first little bit of Spock and McCoy’s verbal jousting. This episode was in consideration to be the second pilot but the network had reservations about the plotline. Finally no red shirts are harmed in this episode.

Blake’s 7: The Way Back

November 15, 2014 in Cult TV, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782

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Blake’s 7! A dystopian space opera created by Terry Nation and starring Gareth Thomas as the titular Roj Blake. Not including the creation of the Daleks, Blake’s 7 is the most fondly remembered of Terry Nation’s contributions to cult television. Set at least seven-hundred years in the future, Blake’s 7 is sort of like Star Trek only flipped on it’s head. Here the Federation are the villains and heroes are a group of rebels who make up the crew of the Liberator. Running from 1978 to 1981, the series proved popular from the first broadcast and despite not having the budget to sustain the tropes of most space operas, it succeeded because of the strong characterisation and dystopian themes. The main character of the series is, of course, Blake who was a resistance leader and political opponent to the Federation. Upon his capture and subsequent trial it was decided that instead of killing him and giving the cause a martyr they would reprogram his brain. They used this to make him confess and appeal to all his previous follows to support the Federation. They then took him back and erased even that to make him a peaceful and content prisoner. But there are those of the resistance who believe that it was all faked and continue to fight the Federation in any way they can and in that we have the premise of our story.

The first episode, The Way Back written by Terry Nation, begins with Blake meeting a friend who is secretly a member of the resistance group and she takes him outside the city to meet a man who she claims can tell him about his family. They are really attending a secret resistance meeting where Blake is told the truth about his past. In disbelief, Blake walks off to think about this just as Federation troops arrive and wipe out all the resistance members. Blake survives and attempts to sneak back into the city but is captured. He is then accused of false charges and sent to court and proven guilty. While Blake is preparing to be sent to the prison planet Cygnus Alpha his lawyer, Tel Varon, decides to rethink the case and discovers evidence of corruption at a very high level. While on his way to deliver the evidence Varon is assassinated with a cover story already to tell the public. The episode ends with the prison ship taking off for Cygnus Alpha and Blake watching Earth disappear into the distance. And there we have the first episode of a sci-fi classic.

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So then, in short, I liked it. There is a lot to enjoy here and a lot of good ideas on display from Terry Nation. The general idea that the Federation are so obviously evil and yet the people fail to realise it because the very food they eat and water they drink suppresses them is just such an inspired one. Also, the series is apparently renowned for its moral ambiguity but in this first episode I don’t see much of that as it’s made pretty clear, to this viewer at least, who we should cheer for and we should boo at. However, we are only one episode in so I’m guessing this topic will come up much more in later episodes. Another negative I have with this is the direction which can at times be quite good but too often feels so experimental that it’s hard to focus of the story itself. There is a bit too much zooming in on characters mouths or eyes and fading two shots together to achieve a rather uninteresting effect which takes this viewer right out of it at times. Perhaps these moments would’ve been more effective if they were used more sparingly and they’re not bad by themselves but for me this is a strong example of how you can have too much of a good thing. There were also times where I felt far more interested in Tel Varon’s part of the story than Blake’s but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it allows this guest character to develop which makes his ultimate death all the more saddening.

Moving on from the supporting characters now and instead looking at our recurring characters, of which we’ve only been introduced to three at this point and two of them didn’t have much of the focus. The main one is of course Blake but we were also introduced to Vila Restal, a petty thief played by Michael Keating, and Jenna Stannis, a cynical smuggler played by Sally Knyvette. Blake himself is definitely something out of the ordinary when it comes to main protagonists and the idea that the character has lost a lot of his memory is certainly an interesting one that is sure to crop up a lot in terms of his character. It’s hard to tell what his character’s going to be like in the end as it’s still very much in flux at the moment so it’ll be interesting to see how he develops. Next we have Vila Restal who is already showing signs of becoming the comic relief of the show with a couple of good jokes amongst the few lines he is given here. Jenna Stannis, on the other hand, comes across as quite a caring a supportive character, even if these feelings are just displayed towards Blake. Our final topic to talk about is the model shots for this episode which are a necessity when it comes to a twentieth century space opera. Personally I am a big fan of model shots and have seen quite a few incredible ones but also quite a few rather bland ones. With the episode mainly being set on Earth their isn’t much to talk about except the prisoner transport ship at the end. All things considered it was a passable enough show and one that didn’t have anything wrong with it really except that it lacked a certain wow factor but maybe we’ll see some more breathtaking ones later on in the series. I sure hope so.

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In conclusion, this was a great start to the series but not a flawless one so it’s an eight-out-of-ten from me as it really left me wanting more. Next week we’ll be taking a look at the second episode Space Fall where we will be introduced to two more recurring characters, Kerr Avon and Olag Gan, but until then be sure to sound off your thoughts on the episode in the comments below.

Farscape : I-Yensch, You-Yensch

November 12, 2014 in Farscape by Firebird

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Rygel and D’Argo meet with Scorpius and Braca in order to negotiate Crichton’s safe passage onto the Command Carrier. As a safeguard against double crosses, Scorpius suggests that Crichton and Lt. Braca should wear matching I-Yensch bracelets that will synchronise their nerve impulses so that they experience one another’s pain. However, before the deal is completed, two heavily armed crazies burst in and hold up the diner. Meanwhile, Talyn himself is in an uncontrollable and dangerous mental state, and the only way to heal him is to shut him down and completely erase his personality.

Synopsis

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As is often the case the crew is split and there are two different threads running through the episode. On the one hand Rygel and Scorpius have to team up to defeat the blue meanies who are more stupid than crazy. Not surprisingly given that they are both calculating and self-serving they work well together.

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Meanwhile the rest of the crew have to deal with a different heavily armed crazy, Talyn. What’s notable when they do finally manage to shut him down is how heart-broken Crais is. He’s certainly come a long way from the foaming at the mouth Peacekeeper commander that we first met back in season 1.

Star Trek : The Enemy Within

November 10, 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 Enemy Within. During a geological survey mission on Alfa 177 geological technician Fisher falls down a hillside injuring his hand and covering his uniform in a strange magnetic ore. Fisher beams back to the ship but during transport the transporter registers a strange power surge. Fisher arrives okay and the transporter checks out. Captain Kirk is beamed up next and upon arrival feels dizzy. Scotty tends to the Captain walking with him to sick bay. Unknown to anyone the magnetic ore has caused a transporter malfunction and after Scotty and Kirk leave it activates again and a second Kirk materializes on the transporter platform. It seems the malfunction has split Kirk into two halves one good one evil.

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This is the first of several transporter malfunction episodes in Star Trek. It’s also the first were the transporter is also the solution. This malfunction splits the person or dog as is the case with the Alfa 177 canine into two halves one good one evil. We see how after Kirk is split into two halves neither half can function nor survive without the other. We also get a bit more insight into Spock’s character as he theorizes as to what is happening to Kirk he explains how his Vulcan and Human half coexist.

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As a character study this was a good episode how a person would react to being split into two halves but the surrounding story of the landing party stranded on the planet, well there are some plot holes. Doing some research I found that the subplot of Sulu and the others on the planet was added later as the original story focused solely on Kirk. The fact that a ship a large as the Enterprise would only have one transporter doesn’t seem logical and shouldn’t a ship that large have shuttle craft or some sort of other smaller ships in case of emergency. Then you have the transporter duplicating inanimate objects as Spock reports when they tried to beam down thermal heaters. Well why not beam down blankets every one you beam down turns into two they could at least have had more than those flimsy sheets they were covering up with. The showering phaser effect when Sulu heated the rocks was unique to this episode.

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This episode also contains two firsts. Spock performs the first Vulcan nerve pinch on evil Kirk in engineering. The script had Spock kayoing evil Kirk from behind but Leonard Nimoy didn’t think that fit Spock’s character and improvised the nerve pinch. The second of the two firsts is when the Alfa 177 dog is put through the transporter to rejoin its two halves. The dog unfortunately does not survive and Doctor McCoy says “He’s dead Jim.” For the first time.

Doctor Who: Initial Reactions to Death in Heaven

November 9, 2014 in Dr Who, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782

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Picking up where Dark Water left off, the finale continues with Death in Heaven. And it was all going so well up to this point. It ends on one of the most downbeat notes I have ever seen in Doctor Who and when people asked for it to get darker (myself included) I don’t thing we expected it to get this dark. Personally, I found Into the Dalek to be the best tone and while it wasn’t the best episode it certainly had the right balance or seriousness, humour and adventure. Death in Heaven, on the other hand, is just downright depressing to the point where it’s almost unwatchable. Now I’m not saying this episode is terrible and it’s the worst finale we’ve had since the show came back in 2005, in face it’s probably the best finale we’ve had since The Big Bang. The problem with it is the second half. The first half was amazing (except for the Cybermen turning into clouds, more on that later) but where it all fell apart for me was when Seb died. Now it’s not actually Seb’s death that made it all go downhill for me but from that point onwards everything just felt substandard. But anyway, while we’re on the topic of Seb we might as well talk about him. Chris Addison showed a lot of promise last episode and his performance was one of the best things in both but his character was completely wasted here and the reveal that he was just an AI was poor.

Now it’s finally time to talk about the Master’s latest incarnation played by Michelle Gomez. I deliberately held off talking about her last week as I felt it was too early to judge her fairly but now I think it’s the right time to discuss her and how she stacks up against the other incarnations of the Master we’ve seen in action. At the end of the last episode I was very worried that she was going to end up the same as all the other female villains Steven Moffat’s given us but luckily that wasn’t quite the case. Now she is very close to falling into that category but, for me at least, she’s managed to avoid it and is much better for it. Now perhaps the best scene to talk about in relation to her character is the one where she kills Osgood. It was a sad death and it really helped to make Missy a credible villain. The scene itself was genuinely quite tense with the countdown matched with Michelle Gomez’s brilliant performance. From the moment she basically received the offer to become a new companion her fate was frighteningly obvious but it didn’t make it any easier to watch.

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This then lead into what I found to be the best scene in the entire episode, the Cybermen’s attack on the plane. It was a breathtaking sequence with great pacing and ambitious direction. The slow build-up with the Cyberman appearing at the window was nice and then from there it rapidly got more epic. Kate’s apparent death was well handled as was Missy’s oddly comedic response to it. This was then followed by something straight out of James Bond with the Doctor sky diving to the TARDIS to escape a rather, as Missy put it, boring death. Another point of interest for this story was the inclusion of UNIT which ended up being rather underused in this story. We of course had our two UNIT regulars back, Kate Stewart and Osgood, who were enjoyable enough but by the end of it we were down to only one regular who we’ll hopefully see back in series nine for a proper UNIT story as it’s been too long since we had one of those. As for the cameo of her father (if you’d even call it a cameo), well that was certainly interesting and has already devised the fan base. As a big fan of the character I found it rather poor in taste, especially given Nicholas Courtney’s passing. And what now? He didn’t self destruct so presumably he’s still flying around out there doing… what exactly. But to be honest, the whole thing came at a point in the episode where I just didn’t care anymore.

We then have the Cybermen themselves who can apparently fly now, making them look even more like Iron Man. Now when I originally saw that in the trailer I was quite strongly against it but now that I’ve had time to process it I actually don’t mind it all that much. I mean for twenty-five years the Dalek’s couldn’t fly and suddenly they could so why should the reaction be any different for the Cybermen. The idea of them converting the dead is an interesting one until you get into the actual practicality and realisation of the whole thing and then it all falls apart. They are also treated as simple robots without a mind of their own which is just wrong. There emotionless not mindless and are able to make their own decisions based off of logic, not just blindly follow the orders of whoever speaks into a certain bracelet. Also, love is suddenly not an emotion for the convenience of the story. Then the whole thing with Danny and Clara, while genuinely emotional and not over the top like most of RTD’s era, lacked any real foundation due to all the plot holes which meant the whole thing just didn’t have the impact it was supposed to. On the bright side it wasn’t a timey-wimey conclusion to the whole thing but a rather hollow conclusion nevertheless One thing I’m then left wondering about is whether or not we’re nearing the end for Clara We did have the whole thing setting up for the Christmas special but is it simply going to tie up all the loose ends relating to her character or set up more stuff ready for series nine? I personally wouldn’t mind it being the end for her as personally I’ve grown tired of her by this point. It’s not that I don’t like Jenna’s performance but that I can’t see anywhere else to go with the character beyond this that won’t cheapen the what happened here.

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Overall, an impressive first half let down by a substandard second. It’s not bad but I just felt like it could’ve been so much more, and the quality of the first half is proof of this. So I’m going above the mid-point with this one and giving it a six-out-of-ten which place’s it fairly low down in my list of best-to-worst stories for this series. On the bright side it was a finale which actually gave us more answers than questions which is something we haven’t had since Journey’s End. We are left with a bit of a cliff-hanger for the Christmas special which looks interesting to say the least. At least it’s probably going to be more upbeat than Death in Heaven and while it looks a bit silly it could end up being like Robot of Sherwood which was a favourite of mine from this series. But until we get our answers on Christmas day be sure to sound off your thoughts on the episode in the comments below.

Farscape : Fractures

November 5, 2014 in Farscape by Firebird

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Not far from Moya and Talyn’s expected rendezvous point, Moya picks up a badly damaged Leviathan Transport Pod carrying a Scarran, an Hynerian and a Nebari – all escaped prisoners – and their Peacekeeper hostage, complicating the long awaited reunion between Moya and Talyn’s crew. When the Scarran is shot, it’s clear that someone on board is a traitor.

Synopsis

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As expected the reunion between Moya Crichton and Aeryn is strained. Although the two started off as indistinguishable Aeryn naturally came to see the one she’d grown closer to on Talyn as the real Crichton. Crais delivers the dead man’s effects and Stark’s mask which includes a message from Talyn Crichton telling Moya Crichton about the wormhole tech locked in his brain and what Scorpius is up to.

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The traitor is revealed but not in time to save the other prisoners. With her and the Peacekeeper finally dead too Crichton puts aside his confused feels for Aeryn and announces to the rest of the crew that he intends to go after Scorpius to stop him developing wormhole technology.

So the crew is all back together with both ships and a new and very dangerous mission ahead of them.

Star Trek : The Naked Time

November 3, 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 Naked Time. The Enterprise is sent to Psi 200 to pick up a scientific team studying the brake up of the ancient world. Upon arriving the landing party finds that the research team is dead and under very strange circumstances. Unknown to the landing party they inadvertently bring the virus that caused the death of the research team back to the Enterprise. The virus causes the host to lose their inhibitions and rational thought. As the virus spreads chaos ensues and Lieutenant Riley takes over in engineering shutting off the engines at a crucial time as the planet is breaking up and the ship is locked in orbit. McCoy races against time to find a cure as Kirk and Spock fighting the disease themselves try to regain control of the ship.

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This is a great character episode and this is when Star trek is at its best. The disease brought onto the ship revealed a lot about each character starting with Tormolen and his repressed anxieties. We then see Sulu as he engages in some fancy sword play acting out his “swashbuckling” nature. One thing though, when Sulu is subdued on the bridge don’t Kirk Spock and Uhura get infected if as McCoy discovers the virus is spread by perspiration and Sulu was covered in it, a minor point but it did give us Spock’s line “Take D’Artagnan here to sickbay.”

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We then move onto Riley who as Spock says fancies himself a decedent of Irish kings. I can sympathize with Kirk when he lost his cool with Uhura when she couldn’t shut off Riley’s singing. We also find out after Riley takes control of engineering and starts issuing orders as Captain Riley that the Enterprise serves ice cream (I wonder if it is the play-doh kind like the food) and that the Enterprise has a bowling alley. Riley had passed the virus onto Nurse Chapel. The rattlesnake type sound effect used when the virus is passed or takes hold of the victim was a nice way of letting the audience know who was infected and how. Nurse Chapel reveals her affection for Spock and in doing so transfers the virus to him.

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We really get a great exposition into Spock’s character when his human half surfaces while he is infected and the inner struggle he deals with on a daily basis. The scene in which he struggles to control his emotions reveals a lot about his character. That scene was not originally in the script only a quick sight gag was planned but Leonard Nimoy wanted something deeper and improvised the entire scene in one take. Spock passes the disease onto Kirk who reveals his devotion to the Enterprise and the cost of that devotion.

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During all this we see McCoy struggling to find an antidote for the virus. McCoy avoided infection and as more and more crewman become infected it makes his job that much more difficult but in the end he discovers the cure. Since Chekov wasn’t on board yet it fell to Sulu to have the long scream when the antidote was administered. Scotty also avoided being infected and was hard at work trying to regain control of engineering after Riley had locked everyone out. In the original version of the episode as Scotty is cutting the bulkhead trying to gain access to engineering the phaser beam effect is missing. It was either missed in postproduction or as I always though the phaser was set so low as to not damage the internal circuits in the wall that it wasn’t visible. The beam has been inserted in the re-mastered version.

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Riley having shut off the engines as the ship spiraled into the planet made for a great climax. The implosion restart was very tension filled and the way the ship reversed out of orbit was well done. It is here that I wished they would have went with what was to be a two part story. According to one source the time warp that the Enterprise was thrown into originally was the cause of the ship ending up in the late 1960’s and would have concluded with the episode Tomorrow is Yesterday. Instead Spock states that they were only thrown back three days. Now does this mean that the entire rest of the OS is in a different timeline? The debate could get complex so I’ll leave it at that.