Sunday, May 31, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
So, this last episode was… not as amazing or action-filled as the commercials made it seem. Walter has run off, and it’s up to Peter to find him, and meanwhile, Olivia and Charlie are looking for Jones, who is all slimy and wrapped in bandages, because of his self-induced radiation poisoning from when he teleported himself. Seems Jones has stolen a powercell from Nina Sharp’s robotic arm and is using it to power a computer monitor that opens a window into that alternate universe we keep going back to. And he keeps getting it wrong. First he brings through most of a semi—except for the back end—that crashes and kills the driver, and has no a single registered part on it. Weird. Then he opens a window on a soccer field that gets a kid chopped in half. Eew. Finally, he heads for this creepy old lake in the woods outside town. He wants to find William Bell and kill him for what he did / is involved in.
All this time, Olivia’s tracking him, and she gets the idea to map the strange events they’ve been tracking and the events they hear about that they haven’t been tracking. When the marks the places where Jones used his transporter, the random dots line up into something along the lines of shatter marks (which is really cool, if they run with the idea that the transporter and the windowmaker sort of shatter the world and let the other worlds through, otherwise, this is not necessary except to look cool). But there are still other sites—centered around that creepy lake. So they head off.
Meanwhile again, Peter finds Walter in the old beach house they used to visit when he was a kid, going all crazy and not able to remember what he’s supposed to find or where he put it. There’s a lot of scenes of Walter flipping out and Peter trying to get him calm, and finally, Peter remembers something from his childhood and the memory sparks Walter’s memory, and he digs up a device that will stop the windows—a sort of reality plug. And they head for the creepy lake, too.
So everyone’s at the lake. The goodies fight some, then Liv and Charlie head for Jones to stop him, and Peter goes to close the gateway—which he does rather anticlimactically as Jones is going through and right before Liv would have followed him. And that’s done in about three seconds, after this whole second half of the season was about getting there. Suck.
But the episode isn’t over yet! Liv goes to Manhattan to meet with Ms Sharp, and gets stood up. Walter goes to a grave and it turns out to be Peter’s grave, and I KNEW IT! That’s why there was all that talk about Peter being so sick and him not remembering it, or remembering anything about his earliest childhood! And that had better cause problems and drama later, because that’s the coolest part of this episode. And Liv goes down the elevator and skitters through a couple alternates, then it stops on a different floor than she asked for, which is all white and clean and futuristic looking, and an aide takes her to meet Spock. I mean, Leonard Nimoy, who is a remarkably cheerful William Bell, considering he’s supposedly hiding out in an alternate reality so Jones won’t kill him (or whatever weirdness there is that we don’t know about yet). And then I have to wait until Fall to see what happens.
It wasn’t a bad episode—it just seemed like it was sort of a let-down when I was watching it: it’s cooler-sounding when I line it all up like this.
And season-enders always make me grumpy.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Stargate veterans line up for Stargate Universe
The upcoming Stargate Universe has added some familiar-looking guest stars to its casting list…
Published on Apr 21, 2009
The latest television series based around the world of Stargate is well into production, and some familiar faces will be popping in to lend a hand, it's been revealed. SGU: Stargate Universe, as the show is called, already stars Robert Carlyle, Lou Diamond Phillips and Ming-Na, and the crux of the show is about a group of survivors on a not-hugely-impressive ship who aren't able to get back to the Earth.
And joining them in the midst of their adventures? The small matter of Stargateveterans Amanda Tapping (who we've had the pleasure of interviewing here), Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Shanks and Gary Jones. It'll be good to see their friendly faces in there, too.
The show is set to premiere in October, with an extended debut episode planned.
I love Robert Carlyle. No question. And Ming-Na is a mainstay of at least three of the shows I used to watch. So I'm excited. Damnit.
Is Gillian Anderson the new Rani? How sweet would that be? She's smart, beautiful, she's local to the UK now, she knows her way around scifi, and it'd be interesting to see a new take on the Rani. And I love when my fandoms collide.
Day One is coming up, and it's made of lovely post-apocalypticness! Den of Geek says it sounds like Jericho, which I kind of liked, so they'll have to do something else with the same general setup to be anything but a knockoff. And hopefully they won't have to fight so hard just to stay on the air.
(What is it with scifi and early cancellation? It seems like half of it doesn't get ver far. For every Star Trek or Doctor Who or Stargate, there's Firefly and Jericho and Sarah Connor... There's obviously a market for it, but I think they need to check the numbers differently; the people invested in SciFi will likely also be invested in Tivo and hulu and off-schedule viewing.)
Fringe will get a second season! Which I think is due entirely to how JJ can't fail right now. If he didn't have the first summer blockbuster and Lost under his belt, I'm sure it'd get dumped too, because Fox has no faith in it's own shows. Even though that's where X-Files came from.
There's still the Gaiman-on-Who rumor. I think it'd be awesome. I also think that if the fans circulate it enough, it'll be an innevitability. So here's to spreading the news.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
The Fringe world gets weirder: now Olivia’s seeing into and interacting with alternate realities.
The case is of a girl who spontaneously combusts, but a look at her house shows that she’s combusted before. It’s not spontaneous, and it’s probably not natural. Meanwhile, Liv keeps seeing more than one body, and it gets worse. She sees the city burning. She sees the office in an uproar handling the outbreak of a terrorist plague attack. And when the trail goes dry here, she can get info from the other universe, which means she finds out that the victim (and probably the others she finds along the way) has a twin. They track the twin, but get there too late. Peter, who’s been working on a mystery project, reveals that it’s a machine to read sound waves off objects, and that it can be modified from it’s original purpose of decoding Walter’s old warped records to read the sounds in the room at the time the twin was kidnapped. It works well enough, of course, to get a phone number, and Liv’s phone has an app that can dial from the tones: and gets Harris’s phone. That’s right, the guy who’s been trying to get her off the case and out of Fringe Division is in on whatever’s happening to these people.
Liv and Charlie track him and find the girl, but Harris’s tests to activate her have made her unstable—Liv stops her from blowing the two of them up, but the girl combusts Harris instead. Ha! but now their trail is literally in ashes.
Meanwhile, Nina Sharp is agitated by a phone call and eventually shows up at Broyles’s door late at night with a warning of the Observer and something big on the way.
Liv knows Walter was in on the experiments on kids: the twins were from Jacksonville, and are about the same age as her. She wants answers, but he can’t provide them; he can’t remember.
Walter goes back to his office to find the original manuscript of the ZFT book to prove that Bell had a whole removed chapter on ethics that the movement isn’t using, and therefore that Bell isn’t to blame for them, finds it, and then is visited by the Observer, who tells him ‘it’s time’ and they leave together.
What’s going on now? The season’s almost at an end! And suddenly this show is very fiercely interesting.
star trek (the new one—DON’T READ THIS IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS BECAUSE I”M TOTALLY TALKING ABOUT EVERYTHING)
Oh, man. I didn’t want to like this movie. The old one holds such a special place in my heart* and mind, and I didn’t want to see it ruined, which seems to be how all but a few modern remakes seem to go. And the posters didn’t really do much for me—I mean, really, a blur that might be the Enterprise? Kirk looking like his hairline and his eyebrows are fifty miles apart while Spock looks like he’s got no forehead at all? I was expecting something along the lines of Episode I, all flash and resentment, no story or emotion at all.
Man, I’m glad I was disappointed. This is the best sort of disappointment, where everything comes out much better than you expected. JJ, you’ve reached Whedon-levels of devotion in my pantheon of fan-saints (as if Lost hadn’t already won you that).
I loved it. I loved it so much, I went to see it again four hours later with one of the same people I saw it with the first time.
The ship looked delicious, retro enough to sate the fan in me, but new and bright and futuristic and wonderful enough to surprise me and make me want to be part of it all over again, like when I was a kid and had that same fresh feeling of wonder. It felt right, like this is what they’d intended it to look like before, but they just didn’t have the budget or the techniques to get it right. The loving and sexy first shot of the Enterprise at spacedock (why it gotta be spacedock? you don’t call a regular dock a waterdock.) was beautiful—I wanted to reach out and touch her hull with my bare hands. She looked real. She looked like the flagship should look, shining and beautiful and fresh and unchallenged. And the effects, whether battle or just cruising were great, flashy and brilliant and yet still somehow real enough to feel like something that could actually happen, something people could make and could live in. The first space battle, with Kirk’s dad and mom’s entirely human conversation as this massive monstrosity ends their marriage in fire and heroics set the tone for a movie that’s very tech, but also has the emotional connection that was desperately missing from all the Star Wars prequels. It’s what SciFi should be.
On to the characters. Like I said, I was most resistant to these new upstarts playing my beloved crew, but they won me over. Kirk wasn’t nearly as weird-looking as the posted led me to believe, and he had exactly the right amount of offhand charm and deep-seated anger mixed with problems with authority and a willingness to get severely beaten to get the job done. Which he did. Alot. He’s like the Harry Dresden of space over here, beaten up every three minutes by someone faster and stronger than him, and yet coming out on top every time. “I’ve got your gun” indeed! And he wasn’t as smarmy as Shatner!Kirk could sometimes come across, though he kept the cheerful disregard for protocol that always made him interesting (and, really, made this branch of the franchise more interesting than the story overall—I agree with Pike: the Federation had lost something in the perfect regimentation of the human race).
Spock was fun. I didn’t like Zack’s Syler until recently when he got something to debate over, and Spock always had that: something to battle out in his own head. I like that Spock’s whole emotional issue comes from the fact that he can’t reconcile the fact of loving his mother with the logic of not allowing emotions to rule him. And I love that he can love Uhura and still be remote, logical, radical, rebellious Spock. his eyebrows bothered me, but his real eyebrows bother me, too. I’m just happy that there wasn’t any of the idea that Vulcans are tantamount to androids that so many non-Spock actors seem to think is the case. I love that he’s devoted to being the best Vulcan he can be, but is just human enough to rebel when he needs to, to be the much-needed radical faction within the solid, ancient, entirely controlled Vulcan culture.
And I loved the deserty-cave imagery of the Vulcan homeworld. Amazing. And alien in that way where it’s obviously not here, but is recognizable enough that it’s not off-putting.
Sarek was pretty great, and Amanda was perfect—a bright human woman willingly living within an alien society, but daring to keep her sense of self and to be openly proud of her alien son. I didn’t even realize it was Winona Ryder until I saw the credits. She didn’t seem Winona-like.
Uhura was a little skipped on the character development, but we got enough in her acting to know that she’s strong and brilliant and has an actual talent—she’s naturally adept at what she does, not just a space-receptionist. She really cares for Spock, but doesn’t let it get in the way of her job, she wants to be an upstanding officer, but she speaks out when things are unfair, and she follows orders, but makes it known that she doesn't necessarily agree with them. That’s a lot of complexity to get into a pretty narrow role that she was given; i hope there are Uhura out takes in the special features. I hope there are dozens of deleted scenes, not because there are parts where I think something was missing, but because I want to see more of this lovely shiny world.
Chekov is adorable, a bright little baby dropped in the middle of this crazy, much older crew on a lunatic mission that doesn’t make a lot of sense in the context of usual fleet missions, but he has enough confidence to keep up, to do what he knows he can do and to do it well. I love that he’s still got his speech impediment. And I love that he’s excited about it all. And I love that he never once gets punched in the jaw and knocked out.
Sulu was also great fun, sardonic and a little sarcastic, unhappy with how things are going but loyal and skilled enough to trust and act accordingly. And fearless enough to volunteer for a skydive from space with combat training that includes not much more than fencing—and apparently some hack-and-slash.
McCoy was cranky and fussy and angry as I would have expected, but I missed the taunting that they hadn’t reached yet between him and Spock—trying to get a rise out of a Vulcan was always his most entertaining work. He makes more sense this way, a man who’s already been through medschool before joining Starfleet, who knows exactly what can go wrong when you leave the surface of a planet. Of the crew, though, I would have liked to have seen more of him, to get to know him a little more. Maybe to have seen just a moment when he was more at ease and less exasperated with the world.
And Scotty! He had the smallest part yet, but Simon Pegg just shone! Cranky, a little bit cracked, perfectly willing to go through a transport he hadn’t tested, to get almost drowned, to be taken hostage by security, to defy the captain, to be dropped into a role he hadn’t been assigned to, and to do it well. He was entertaining, to say the least, and sort of stole the scenes he was in—I’m glad they let him do most of the talking in his three scenes.
Old!Spock was exactly what I always loved about Spock in the movies: he knows who he is, and he knows exactly when logic doesn’t apply and how to rationalize so that irrationality seems rational. He willy-nillys all through the timeline, manipulating in that way where you could be mad at him, but you know he’s doing it for the best, so you aren’t. He delivers his best line as if it were new, and he fits flawlessly into a movie full of new people playing his old friends.
They’re all a little crazy. I love that this fact was played up. To work so well as a nontraditional crew, they’d all have to be on the adventure-seeking side, the lunatic fringe, and that’s exactly where they are. It makes sense. It’s not just loyalty to the captain, because he wasn’t the captain yet: it’s the fact that they’re all of a mind to find the best way to do something, even when it’s the crazy thing to do.
And the villains. Nero is a weird choice of a villain, really familiar and matter-of-fact, and I think that makes him scarier: he matter-of-factly destroys a whole ancient world and goes on to destroy another with the intention of wiping out something like 150 more. He falls through time and deals with it by spending 25 years obsessing over a plan to ruin the lives of everyone instead of going home to a world that hasn’t yet been destroyed (or even realizing that if he takes out Starfleet, there’s NO chance that it won’t be destroyed). He’s another rogue, someone not only separated from his home, his empire and his government, but also from his time and his previous life: a madman who thinks nothing of changing history.
And that’s what this movie does. half-way through, I realize that JJ wasn’t going to fix it. That this is how it is now. And I was just floored. It’s so bold. There was a moment of sadness that everything that came after won’t happen now, but there’s this immense feeling of freedom and excitement: anything can happen now. Anything. Maybe we’ll meet all the people we loved from after this point in the original timeline, but maybe we won’t**. Maybe we’ll meet all new wonderful people, have all new amazing adventures, fall in love with this world all over again.
I’m so ready to find out.
- JJ, that’s not how black holes work. You could have solved this easily by saying wormhole instead. Also, if one drop of red matter makes a time-traveling black hole, how come a whole ship full makes one the same size and strength? And why was so much needed anyway?
- I miss Nurse Chapel. And if Uhura is Spock’s love interest, then maybe in movie 2, Bones can meet Chapel and she can be his? He needs a good girl.
- I wonder what this more industrial-factory sort of a ship’s crew quarters would look like? We didn’t see a single private space in this movie (understandably, since all of it happened in, like, three and a half minutes), and I’m curious how the people all lived. individual quarters or barracks-type? Is there a lounge? Are there offices? Do they have toilets?
- Yay for understanding the three-dimensionality of space and the relativity of up-down orientation! That’s how space should be! And yay also for the perfect use of silence in the scenes that happened in space. There’d be no noise, and that makes them creepier and more stunning.
- * My personal memory of the OS comes from being very young in Japan and being locked un during typhoons: the USO channel would halt normal broadcasting and show OS marathons so they could break at any time for weather updates, and we’d sit on the floor all day and watch one of my dad’s favorite shows with him—which was quite amazing since we hardly saw him because of the hours he worked.
- Was Kirk’s mom in Starfleet? She seems to have been the only family-member on board, and he was just a Lieutenant, not important enough to have a live-in wife aboard. They say later that she was off-world…
- Did we really need the scene with kid!Kirk and the car? We needed the one with kid!Spock so we’d know what his weakness was, but I think Kirk’s was just to offer symmetry. We got that he was a roughneck from the bar scene.
- Uhura’s room-mate and maybe best friend was killed on the Farragut on that first mission, and she never got a chance to realize it. The only reason she wasn’t killed also was because Sulu left the braking dampeners on.
- ** I’m hoping we still get to meet Savik, Picard, Worf, Dax, Odo, and the afore mentioned Nurse Chapel. Doesn’t Kirk have a brother in the OS? I guess that got changed. I hope we don’t have to meet the Borg. I’m so over them, and it’s Voyager’s fault. I also hope we get to see the villains of the OS, all those tacky weird low-budget necessities turned into something cool and flashy and worthy of this movie.
- I’m pretty sure the entire purpose of the second crew was to wrangle lens-flares. Which I loved. I hope the future really is bright and shiny and flarey, and not dull and beige and monochrome and so well adjusted that people are flat and boring.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
It's been ages since I sat down and watched a whole episode of TNG. When I was a kid, it aired on the night my parents had their darts tournament at the officers' club, and since we were living somewhere with only three channels, there wasn't any alternative. I remember not liking it at first; it was so different from the Original Series, which was very dear to my heart, and I had the unyeilding outlook of an eight year old. But by the time it got to the second season and I'd been watching it for a year, I loved it. The last episode aired during my birthday party in 1994-- the first one that was allowed to be co-ed-- and I actually stopped the festivities for two hours so I could watch it. That's how geek I am. And most of my friends were equally geek enough to appreciate how much I needed to see that last ep as it aired.