Farscape : The Choice

October 29, 2014 in Farscape by Firebird

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Grieving for Crichton, Aeryn travels to a planet of mystics and frauds and makes contact with a man who claims to be Talyn Lyzcak, her father. Talyn puts her in touch with Seer Cresus, a creature who is able to ‘channel’ the dead Crichton. Meanwhile, Stark and Rygel search for Aeryn, but first come across an old enemy. Lurking on the planet with malign, warped designs of her own is Aeryn’s mother, Xhalax Sun.

Synopsis

Poor Aeryn is not taking Crichton’s death well at all. You even worry at some points if she may have lost the will to live.

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The Creature Workshop was working overtime on this episode with these two beauties.

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Talyn Lyzcak is not in fact Talyn Lyzcak but someone employed by Xhalax Sun to fool Aeryn and then be executed in front of her in a warped plan to cause her more pain. Xhalax is one messed up lady! She ends up being shot by Crais and falling off a very tall building so hopefully she really is dead this time. Crais claimed that he let her live before in return for telling Peacekeeper High Command that Talyn had been destroyed and they were all dead.

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While all this is going on Stark keeps hearing Zhann’s voice and at the end of the episode has left Talyn to find out what she’s trying to tell him. He leaves his mask to be take to the other Crichton. Talyn thinks he’s detected Moya and with Xhalax Sun now dead and the Peacekeepers apparently no longer pursuing them it’s safe to rejoin her.

Star Trek : Where No Man Has Gone Before

October 27, 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 Where No Man Has Gone Before. This was the second pilot episode even though it aired after The Man Trap and Charlie X. The Enterprise is on a mission to probe outside the galaxy but while in route picks up a recorder marker from the SS Valiant a ship lost some two centuries before. The recorder marker is analyzed and Spock discovers that the Valiant encountered some sort of energy barrier that damaged the ship and killed several crewman. As Spock continues it seems one crewman came back to life. It was then that the captain of the Valiant began requesting information on ESP. Spock then says he believes that the captain ordered the ship to self-destruct.

Kirk decides to continue the mission to see what is out there. The Enterprise encounters the energy barrier which Spock describes as negative energy. The ship is damaged and nine crewman are killed. Gary Mitchell a friend of Kirk and Elizabeth Dehner are injured after being zapped by a strange electrical charge. Dehner seems okay as does Mitchell except Mitchell now has a strange silver glow in his eyes and is taken to sick bay.

Dehner reports that the dead crewman as well as her and Mitchell all had high ESP ratings. Spock mentions the report of the Valiant captain requesting ESP information and is concerned but Dehner believes there is little danger. Kirk visits Mitchell in sick bay and reminisces about old times. Just as Kirk leaves Mitchell in a booming echoing voice warns Kirk “you’d better be good to me” which startles Kirk. Kirk returns to the bridge and Spock informs him that Mitchell is reading through the ships library at an alarming rate. Dehner next visits Mitchell and he exhibits strange powers as he can control his medical readouts and now has a photographic memory. As Mitchell and Dehner are getting close Lieutenant Kelso walks in to check on his friend. Mitchell tells him that there is damage to the impulse engines that would result in an explosion. Kelso doubts him but Mitchell insists and Kelso leaves. Mitchell tells Dehner that Kelso saw the damage but didn’t realize it and that he could see the image in Kelso’s mind.

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At a briefing Kelso reports that Mitchell was right about the damage even though there was no way of him knowing. Scotty then reports that buttons and levers were moving by themselves in engineering. Sulu reports that Mitchell’s powers are expanding exponentially. Dehner defends Mitchell as she has become close to him but Spock disagrees and states that he is dangerous. Spock suggests that the ship head to Delta Vega an uninhabited planet with an automated mining operation, for repairs and tells Kirk they should leave Mitchell behind. Kirk disagrees telling Spock Mitchell is his friend but Spock convinces him that it is what’s best for the ship.

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Arriving at the planet Kirk Spock and Dehner attempt to transport Mitchell to the surface Mitchell resists threatening to squash them like insects but is sedated. Mitchell is imprisoned and the crew begin salvaging parts from the facility to repair the ship. Mitchell tries to escape but the force field drains his power momentarily but it soon returns. With repairs almost complete Spock convinces Kirk that Mitchell is dangerous and Kirk orders Kelso to rig a switch to destroy the facility if Mitchell escapes. After most of the crew has returned to the ship Mitchell kills Kelso using a cable controlled by his mind and escapes with Dehner and rendering everyone else unconscious. Kirk orders everyone back to the ship and if they don’t hear from him to blast the planet with lethal radiation.

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Kirk peruses Mitchell and is confronted by Dehner who now also has the power. Kirk tries reasoning with her to help him when Mitchell shows and manhandles Kirk even opening up a grave to put him in Kirk attacks him with a phaser rifle but it is ineffectual. Dehner realizing Kirk was right attacks Mitchell weakening him enough to allow Kirk a fighting chance. Kirk gains the upper hand but Mitchell regains his power as they both fall into the grave Kirk acting quickly jumps out and retrieves the phaser rifle fires it at an outcrop of rock which falls on Mitchell in the grave sealing his fate. Kirk tends to Dehner who was badly injured in her exchange with Mitchell she asks him for forgiveness before she to dies. Back on the ship Kirk enters into his log “Add to official losses, Dr. Elizabeth Dehner. Be it noted she gave her life in performance of her duty. Lieutenant Commander Gary Mitchell. Same notation.” Saying that Mitchell didn’t ask for what happened to him.

This was a great episode the network got the action they wanted while the show still retained the strong sci-fi element of the original pilot. I like the re-mastered effects especially planet fall and the shots of the Enterprise they are not over done here. During the chess game between kirk and Spock in the opening act Kirk says to Spock he plays an irritating game of chess to which Spock replies smiling about Earth emotion maybe they should have left out the smile. This episode being the pilot differs in some aspects like Scotty in a gold uniform Spock’s eyebrows being more upswept the uniforms are different and there are some unique camera shots and angles.

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The one thing that always bothered me with this episode was is there really an edge to the galaxy wouldn’t it just fade away and if the Valiant only had old impulse engines how did it make it to the edge of the galaxy. The barrier is a cool effect though so I always overlooked that part. Glad they ditched Spock’s earpiece with the wire and why was he always yelling I guess they hadn’t gotten all aspects of his character down yet.

Mitchell’s character was interesting his friendship with Kirk made Kirk’s decisions later that much more dramatic and that lab technician he aimed at Kirk is theorized to be Carol Marcus if you like a good retcon and he was something of a jerk before the incident. When Kirk tends to him on the bridge after being zapped he has a subtle hint of evil in his voice. Then in sick bay the booming echo reinforced his evolution into something different. I also like when Mitchell tells Dehner how he knew to tell Kelso of the engine damage “The image of what he had seen was still in his mind.” I always found it funny that Kelso said he was on his coffee break I guess coffee is forever same with Sulu mentioning pennies. During his time in sick bay we see Mitchell changing but with hints of his former self very nicely done. The cup effect was a neat little spot I wonder how they pulled it off.

The contrast between Spock and Dehner is interesting Dehner being more emotional and Spock with his logic. Kirk hearing both of them knows what he must do but I like how he needs Spock’s confirmation to do it. It’s a good way to show their mutual trust and friendship.

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The matte painting of the facility on Delta Vega is quite impressive but why is there a brig on a lifeless planet and why did they let Mitchell regain conciseness when they put him in there. I like the way Gary Lockwood would tilt his head and just have a sense of arrogance about him as Mitchell became more powerful. The scene in the brig when Mitchell tries to escape and the force field drains his power is very dramatic. As Mitchell looks at Kirk with normal eyes and says simply “Jim” it really emphasizes that he is not at fault for what he becomes and makes his ultimate fate that much more tragic.

I was disappointed that Kelso was killed it seemed he would have been an interesting character. Too bad they didn’t get to use the destruct button he set up that could have been a cool explosion but that wouldn’t have served the story and they probably couldn’t afford the effects budget for something like that.

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The final confrontation between Kirk and Mitchell is what the network wanted lots of action. It did however show Kirk to be quite skilled in negotiation as he convinced Dehner that Mitchell was dangerous. Dehner was indeed a tragic figure in all of this but in the end sacrificed herself for the others. The battle between Mitchell and Dehner does remind one of a certain Sith skill, throwing electricity around. Kirk was put in an awful position having to kill a good friend and you see that when he says “Forgive me Gary” but that hesitation almost costs him everything.

A couple of quick notes. This is the only appearance of the Phaser rifle in the series. The tombstone Mitchell conjures has Kirk’s middle initial to be R not T. No red shirts were harmed in this episode as well.

Doctor Who: Initial Reactions to In the Forest of the Night

October 26, 2014 in Dr Who, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782

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Tiger, tiger, burning bright; in the forest of the night. The first lines of a poem that provided inspiration for this story. A story which left me in the same mood as I was in after watching Listen (in fact this story has more than that in common with Listen), confused and unsure what to think. But before I go any further let’s cover a bit of background information for this story first. It is written by writer new to the series Frank Cottrell Boyce who is well known for his children’s novels and this very much has the feel of something from children’s fiction, helped along by the array of kids making up the guest cast. There are four main kids to note and they are Abigail Eames who plays Maebh, Jayden Harris-Wallace who plays Samson, Ashley Foster who plays Bradley and Harley Bird who plays Ruby. Joint with all the adult characters we have we are left with a pretty large guest cast in comparison to most other episodes of this series. Now then, in recent years that seems to of been a bit of a stigma towards child actors when it comes to Doctor Who. For me, they’ve been hit and miss but in series eight they’ve all been very good. We’ve of course had Ellis George as Courtney Woods and now we’ve got these four kids who all did a good job portraying their characters. In writing terms they’re all fairly well defined characters and having them all pour inside the TARDIS let’s us see a different side to this still relatively new Doctor. The only thing I will say is that they don’t necessarily act like year eight students (which is more the fault of the script) and if we weren’t told how old they were I would’ve guessed way younger. But that’s only a minor flaw and not worth deducting marks for.

What isn’t a minor flaw, however, is the plot of this story. Or to be more accurate, the lack of an actual plot. It seemed more like the characters were just heading from point A to point B with no actual reason behind it all. Add to this the fact that there’s no decent scientific explanation whatsoever for the sudden appearance of the forest and the simple statement that humanity will forget this ever happened is blatantly absurd. It’s almost an insult to the intelligence of the viewer. Also, the idea that the forest grew over night all around the world is even less believable than that of the cubes appearing everywhere in The Power of Three. And the realisation, unfortunately, isn’t much better and I feel that it’s an idea that would probably of been better achieved on audio. Now while it probably seemed like a good idea at first when you get into the nitty-gritty of actually writing about it and realising it it rather quickly begins to fall apart. At that point it should’ve probably been scraped but unfortunately they just kept going with it regardless of this. To round of the big negatives let’s talk about the similarities with Listen and that is that there is no monster and no real threat in the story whatsoever. This leaves the only real value in the episode to be the mystery which drastically reduces the value of re-watching the episode afterwards.

Now while this does lack a plot it does have a very nice scene between the Doctor and Clara when they think the world is going to end and Clara tells him to leave and that she doesn’t want to be the last of her kind like the Doctor is the last of his. This ties together a lot of the stuff that’s been going between the Doctor and Clara this series and we also have it nicely looped back to Kill the Moon where the Doctor says how he walks their planet and breaths their air, much like Clara told him then. However, the scene that didn’t work was one between Clara and Danny where he finally finds out that she’s been lying to him and he doesn’t really care, he’s almost too nice that it removes the believability of their relationship. It’s a real shame as they were setting it up to be something big but, like the argument at the end Kill the Moon, was left rather poorly resolved for my taste. Finally, we have the Missy scene at the end of the episode which was ultimately the same as last week’s and served no purpose other than to remind the audience that there is an overarching plot.

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Overall, it’s a beautiful episode but it has so many flaws that really do drag it down. Despite there being more bad than good I’m going to settle on a six-out-of-ten for the time being, making it my second least favourite episode of series eight and beaten only by Time Heist. It’s a shame that after my two favourite episodes of the series we drop so far in quality. We’re now nearing the end of series eight with only two episodes to go and Dark Water, the first of the two part finale, looks intriguing to say the least but until next week, be sure to sound off your thoughts on the episode in the comments below.

Farscape : Revenging Angel

October 22, 2014 in Farscape by Firebird

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A fight between D’Argo and Crichton over the malfunction of D’Argo’s mysterious new ship ends with Crichton being knocked unconscious. The Scorpius Clone in Crichton’s mind tries to convince John that revenge against D’Argo is the only way to settle the conflict, but John prefers to resolve it in his own head, acting out a Crichton vs. D’Argo cartoon battle set in Road-Runner land. Meanwhile, the ship malfunction leads to the activation of a self-destruct sequence that threatens to blow Moya to pieces should D’Argo fail to deactivate it.

Synopsis

Last week Talyn Crichton died, now Moya Crichton is in trouble too. Could this be the end? Well no, there are still a few episodes left in season 3 and he’s still our POV character, but it does allow for an episode which is weird even by Farscape’s standards.

First Crichton wills Scorpius into a cartoon character

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and then, oh and then it goes full on Road-Runner with D’Argo as Wile E. Coyote complete with Acme products.

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He even pulls a cartoon version of Aeryn in to talk to.

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While all this madness is going on in Crichton’s head the conscious crew manage to disable the self-distruct when it turns out that D’Argo’s ship is Luxan. Crichton wakes up and hopefully he and D’Argo will have learnt something from the experience and will stop fighting all the time.

Star Trek : Charlie X

October 21, 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 Charlie X. The Enterprise picks up a unique passenger from the cargo ship Antares. Charlie Evans is the sole survivor of a ship crash on the planet Thasus. Charlie’s ship had crashed when he was just three years old. Now an adolescent Charlie tries to adjust to life around other people. At first Charlie seems like just another teenager trying to fit in but strange things begin to happen including the destruction of the Antares. The Enterprise crew soon learn that Charlie has extraordinary powers that allow him to do whatever his mind wishes.

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This episode is pretty much an absolute power corrupts absolutely story. Then you throw in the fact that Charlie is a teenager and he has been alone for most of his life compounds his issues. I like the subtle way they show Charlie’s powers when he comes aboard the Enterprise as the Antares crew are both eager to leave and are then saying how wonderful a boy Charlie is. Then we have the hint that he knew something happened to the other ship before Spock scanned it and found nothing but debris.

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Charlie is inability to control his power gets the best of him whether it is being laughed at in the gym, people not being “nice” or when Yeoman Rand rejects his advances. Charlie becomes embolden by his power but Kirk who is something of a father figure to the boy theorizes that Charlie’s power may have limits and he may be over taxing himself when he takes control of the ship. As Kirk confronts him and an alien ship appears it is the Thasians from the planet Charlie crashed on, The Thasians gave Charlie the power so he could survive and had not realized he had gone. They were unable to help the Antares but have restore the ship and crew of the Enterprise. The Thasians say they will take Charlie home with them. Charlie pleads with Kirk to let him stay as he does not want to live with the alien Thasians but the Thasians fearing he will be unable to control his power take him from the Enterprise Bridge.

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Robert Walker who played Charlie did an excellent job of making Charlie out to be menacing and at the same time innocent and in the end you even feel for him as he pleads to stay on the Enterprise. You feel sorry for him as the Thasians take him from the bridge as his pleas to stay fade away.

Some bits of trivia. This episode is one of six that take place entirely on the Enterprise. This is the only episode that features the ships gymnasium. In the re-mastered episode the Antares is modeled after the grain ships from the animated series episode More Tribbles, More Troubles. There were several red shirts harmed in this episode but they were made whole by the Thasians in the end.

Doctor Who: Initial Reactions to Flatline

October 19, 2014 in Dr Who, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782

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Clara Who? The fans ongoing joke this series that the show’s focusing more on Clara than it is on the Doctor. It seems this was anticipated by the writers as we have been given an episode in which Clara become the Doctor, in a manner of speaking. The episode in question is Flatline, written by Jamie Mathieson who also wrote last weeks episode, Mummy on the Orient Express, which I praised as the best episode we’d had in a long time. Do I still stand by that opinion? Yes. Is Flatline just as good? No, but it doesn’t miss that mark by much. I think it’s safe for me to say that I think Jamie Mathieson is one of the most exceptional writers the show’s had in a long time and I hope he comes back for series nine because the show needs talented writers like him. Also, apologies in advance for comparing this one to Mummy on the Orient Express but given the circumstances it’s hard not to. So then, the ideas in this story, like in the previous one, are rather unique and intriguing. To me the ideas in this one are even stronger but the execution of them was better in Mummy on the Orient Express, which is ultimately what made that one better.

The Boneless are the monsters for this story and they are incredibly creepy. The effects used to create them are good and the idea behind them, creatures from a two-dimensional dimension breaking into our three-dimensional one, is great also. It reminded me of a recent Big Finish release titled Iterations of I which used mathematics instead of dimensions but nevertheless the idea of them breaking through from one dimension to another is the same. I think this is a coincidence in the writing given the timing and not Jamie Mathieson stealing ideas from Big Finish. But I think the idea works better in Flatline and here’s why. Part of the way through both stories there’s the idea that the aliens are peaceful and don’t know that they’re killing people. Thankfully, this idea is not gone through with in Flatline and we’re given a set of monsters who are out there to kill with no clear motive. This makes them all the more scary. To be honest there are loads more aspects of the Boneless which I could talk about but I suspect most of you will fall asleep if I keep going on about them so let’s move onto the Doctor’s role in this story. On the face of it this is a Doctor-lite story but when you look at it more closely the Doctor does actually play a fairly substantial role in this story, just not necessarily and active one. Peter Capaldi is given some nice lines to say, some funny and some serious, but the speech at the end is ultimately his moment of glory for the episode and is probably the best speech he’s done so far.

But there’s one thing that really didn’t work for me about this episode and that is the resolution. While I still like the Doctor’s speech I just don’t like what he’s doing while he’s saying said speech. It was basically a big green light coming out of the TARDIS and then a wave of the sonic and the Boneless were gone. It was too easy and far too rushed. And it was going so well up to that point. It felt like a cheap resolution straight out of Matt Smith’s era and it was just as poorly handled. The idea of tricking the Boneless into charging the TARDIS on the other hand was a good one and while it’s not something I’m going to be praising for the next five minutes it’s still good enough and far better than what follows. Moving on from that let’s get onto something slightly more positive, the supporting characters. Now while these are not as good as those from Mummy on the Orient Express that were some of the most well rounded supporting characters we’d had in a long time these are still fairly good. There are only two that are really worthy of note and those are Rigsy and Fenton. Rigsy was basically Clara’s companion in this episode and was enjoyable for that. While he wasn’t the most (if you’ll excuse the pun) three-dimensional character I’d put that more down to the time limit than the writer. Then there’s Fenton who is basically Rigsy’s opposite in a lot of ways. His comment on the end about the ”right” people making it out alive lead to quite a dark line from the Doctor and one that you’d never imagine Matt Smith’s or David Tenant’s incarnations getting away with. What it all boils down to is the idea that the Doctor is changing Clara and making her more like him, which may keep her alive longer but isn’t necessary good for her. We then get a rather creepy final scene with Missy watching Clara and it seems to confirm that she’s the woman in the shop, but only time will tell and we’re now very close to the end.

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Overall, a great episode focusing on Clara but in a different way to which the other episodes have done. It’s only because of the poor resolution that it misses out on being my favourite episode of the series so far and instead sits comfortably in second place with a score of nine-out-of-ten. Next week we have In the Forest of the Night written by another writer new to the show, Frank Cottrell Boyce. It’s the last episode before the two-part finale and looks quite interesting to me as well as very engaging visually. But why on Earth is there a Doctor Who poster on the side of that bus in the trailer? But anyway, be sure to sound off your thoughts on the episode in the comments below.

Farscape : Infinite Possibilities Part II: Icarus Abides

October 15, 2014 in Farscape by Firebird

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After disposing of the Scorpius Clone, the Ancient ‘Jack’ unlocks the secrets to wormhole technology in Crichton’s mind allowing them to build a Displacement Engine, the ‘ultimate weapon’ that will allow them to destroy the Scarran Dreadnought before it escapes with Furlow’s data. Seeing the value of the weapon, Furlow kills Jack and takes off with it. In the ensuing chase, Crichton is fatally exposed to the highly reactive Partanium that fuels the engine. With nothing left to lose, Crichton volunteers to launch the weapon at the Dreadnought, experiencing first hand the terrifying power of the wormhole technology.

Synopsis

Kicking off where the previous episode ended Aeyrn is faced with a Crichton who seems to have been taken over by the Scorpius Clone. But it’s Harvey’s last dying gasp.

Things don’t go so well on Talyn when he’s boarded by a Scarran but, jumping ahead a little, Stark and Crais manage to get the better of him before the others return.

Down on the planet Furlow kills Jack but tells an inspecting Crichton and Aeyrn that a Charrid did it, so Crichton keeps working on the device.

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Once it’s finished however she pulls a gun on Crichton and makes off in a land vehicle. Crichton is joined by Aeryn and they give chase, finally stopping Furlow and retrieving the device.

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The Displacement Engine works, destroying the Scarran Dreadnought and despite what the summary might suggest Crichton makes it back to Talyn alive. Unfortunately the radiation exposure really was a fatal dose and no treatment they can give him makes any difference and he dies. Of course we all know that there’s another John Crichton on Moya but that’s not really going to be much consolation to Aeyrn, at least not right now.

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Moya Crichton still has a Scorpius Clone in his head and now there’s no Jack to help him remove it or unlock the wormhole knowledge that would let him go home.

Star Trek : The Man Trap

October 13, 2014 in Guest Blogs, Star Trek by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Mindless-Droid

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This week we go back to the beginning and the first Star trek episode ever aired The Man Trap. Even though it wasn’t the series second pilot it was aired before Were No Man Has Gone Before. The Enterprise is sent to planet M-113 to perform routine medical checkups on Professor Crater and his wife Nancy who are studying the planet. Kirk, McCoy and lieutenant Darnell beam down and encounter Nancy Crater an old flame of McCoy’s but things are not as they seem and each member of the landing party sees a different Nancy Crater. Unknown to the landing party Nancy Crater was killed by a shape shifting creature native to the planet and has assumed her identity.

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The creature in need of salt kills several crewman and with its shape shifting ability beams aboard the Enterprise in disguise. It then leads Kirk, Spock and McCoy in a dangerous game of cat and mouse changing shape to avoid capture. Professor Carter eventually confesses to Kirk that the creature had killed Nancy but that he spared its life saying that it was the last of its kind like the buffalo on Earth. After a meeting in which Crater reveals he can identify the creature in whatever form it takes the creature disguised as McCoy and fearing Crater would give it up kills Crater. After the creature kills Crater and attempts to kill Spock it returns to McCoy’s cabin in Nancy’s form and after a dramatic showdown in which McCoy must put aside his feelings for Nancy he kills the creature before it can kill Kirk.

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This episode was a good way to start the series you get a lot of good background on some of the main characters especially the big three. There is the mystery aspect of the creature it was a good idea to only see its true form at the end of the episode. The dramatic showdown made for a great ending. One of the things that makes this episode slightly different then say The Horta episode is that the creature is simply the monster of the week. Even though the creature is said to be intelligent there is no attempt to make peace with it. It’s a slight criticism but the creature was shown to be quite aggressive but so was the Horta. We even get a bit of regret from Kirk at the end when he says he was thinking of the buffalo.

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We get the first he’s dead Jim when Darnell is killed by the salt creature.

The first death also is oddly enough not a red shirt.

During Spock and Uhura’s chat we get a little background on Spock and his lack of emotion and that Vulcan has no moon.

After Darnels death we also get the first glimpse of Kirk’s devotion to his crew and how he suffers each death.

During the early part of this episode we also see the friendship between Kirk and McCoy and also Spock the big three.

The second crewman and Green are killed next and neither have a red shirt either.

To identify the creature to the audience in whatever form it takes whoever played the part bit on its knuckle as a common characteristic.

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Would have liked to have seen more of Sulu’s plants during the rest of the series but they sort of forgot about old Beauregard.

“May the Great Bird of the Galaxy roost on your planet.” Sulu’s comment to Rand when she brought him his tray, the great bird of the galaxy is actually Gene Rodenberry’s nickname.

I really wish they would have kept Rand’s character for the whole series.

It was a nice touch having the creature speak Swahili to Uhura and gave a nice little bit of info on her background.

Crater uses the old hand laser from the original pilot.

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The climax of the episode gives us a nice introduction to the friendship between the big three Kirk Spock and McCoy.

The salt creature is one of Trek’s most iconic aliens even though it’s only on screen for a short amount of time.

There were no red shirts harmed in this episode but the blues and yellows didn’t fare so well.

Doctor Who: Initial Reactions to Mummy on the Orient Express

October 12, 2014 in Dr Who, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782

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Doctor Who stories that go down as classics are often remembered as the one with the… well whatever type of monster it is. The one with the giant maggots. The one with the little boy who wanted his mummy. The one with the statues that move when you blink. I firmly believe that this one will go down in history as the one with the mummy… potentially followed by: on the train in space. So if you haven’t worked it out yet, I absolutely loved this episode. First off, I was quite shocked to see Clara casually stroll out of the TARDIS at the start off this after the events of last week and all the promotional material suggesting this would be a companion-lite episode. This then got me a bit worried as it initially appeared that they wouldn’t be picking up the events of last week but it didn’t take long to find out what was going on and that whole sub-plot ended up being resolved quite nicely. However, while it definitely wasn’t companion-lite it did feature Clara quite a bit less than previous episodes has and instead shifted most of the focus onto the Doctor which was a nice change from most of the other stories we’ve had so far in series eight. I do like that they split Clara and the Doctor up this time as it’s something that’s not happened recently because of the episode-length but here it’s done well and so allows the story to feel more fleshed out. I think one of the problems we’ve had this series is that they’ve been stuck together too much so one is always in the shadow of the other which is unfortunate.

Now let’s talk about the main threat of this story which is, of course, the mummy. It looks extremely creepy and the way it walks is very nicely done. The idea behind the way it kills people is also very nice and the science behind it doesn’t seem like a cop-out, it still feels like a genuine threat even after it’s revealed what it is, and that’s the way to do a reveal. When it kills people there’s this odd sound which is almost like a balloon deflating. It could’ve been a bit too comical but oddly enough it works very well. However, the most creepy part of the episode would probably have to be when it walked through the Doctor, but the scene with the sarcophagus opening was quite intense too. One thing I wasn’t quite sure about with the mummy was the on-screen clock counting down. On the one hand it made it more intense but at the same time it felt like it was breaking the fourth wall a bit in some way. Then we have Gus who was also quite effective in the story and the fact that we didn’t know who programmed it was nice too and I assume that’s going to tie in with the overarching plot of series eight at some point due to that whole business of whoever it was having the Doctor’s phone number.

This story also had a celebrity cameo in it by Foxes (I’d never heard of her before either) and it was odd how big a deal they made of her appearance given how small it was. As for the song, well oddly enough it fitted in quite well, even if it was only there for a minute a best. Doing a jazz version of it fitted quite well with the juxtaposition of having a nineteen-thirties train in space. Speaking of that, at first I was quite unsure about the idea of having it in space as it felt too much like the Titanic in Voyage of the Damned but unlike that story it didn’t use this idea as a gimmick and instead made everything even more frightening as there’s no way out, nowhere to escape to and even more than that, you actually see a few people jettisoned into space to ensure that the Doctor will obey. Then we have the supporting characters who are, in my opinion, the most well realised of the series. There’s a fair number of them as well but oddly enough most of them get a good amount of development (probably helped but the splitting up of the Doctor and Clara) which is the sign of a good writer in Jamie Mathieson. First off we have Perkins played by Frank Skinner who is quite a funny character but nevertheless he’s one you can take seriously and it’s nice to see a character who the Doctor almost instantly gets along with for once, he even gets an offer to travel in the TARDIS at the end. While he gets to spend most of the episode interacting with the Doctor we have another character interacting with Clara called Massie who is played by Daisy Beaumont. She gets some good characterisation too in this story which once again shows how promising a writer Jamie Mathison is and she also shows us a different side to Clara. There are some other good characters but those are the most well-rounded ones.

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Overall, this episode was breath taking and the best of series eight so far, probably the best since Steven Moffat took over as show runner. Was there ever any doubt that I would be giving it a ten-out-of-ten? And hopefully it won’t be my last of the series. Next week we’ve got another episode written by Jamie Mathieson called Flatline and it looks great so I’ve got high expectations for it. Also, it’s hard to believe that we’re now two thirds of the way through series eight already. On the one hand it feels like Capaldi only debuted as the Doctor a couple of days ago but on the other it feels like he’s been the Doctor for as long as anyone can remember. But anyway, until next week be sure to sound off your thoughts on the episode in the comments below.

Farscape : Infinite Possibilities Part I: Daedalus Demands

October 8, 2014 in Farscape by Firebird

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An Ancient – again taking the form of Crichton’s father Jack – appears on Talyn and accuses Crichton of sharing wormhole stabilising technology with the Charrids, a vicious race who have formed an alliance with the Scarrans. Crichton realizes that Furlow, the mechanic from Dam-Ba-Da depot who once repaired Crichton’s module and had a mercenary interest in wormhole technology, is the real guilty party. With a Scarran Dreadnought heading towards Dam-Ba-Da to collect Furlow’s data, Jack must unlock the wormhole technology in Crichton’s brain in order to build the ultimate weapon – but must first confront the evil Scorpius Clone in Crichton’s mind.

Synopsis

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Talyn ignores some violent solar flares trying to rescue the crew on Dam-Ba-Da, leaving himself and Crais blinded. The crew split up with Stark taking Crais back to Talyn and Rygel forced to help fight off the Charrids who have taken Furlow prisoner. It’s easy to underestimate Rygel but he’s got a serious mean streak, torturing one of the Charrids to death with a knife.

When it comes to removing Harvey he isn’t going to go without a fight and at the end of the episode it seems that he’s won and it’s Crichton who has been destroyed.