Peter's Blog

Just commenting on things that interest me

Category: Sci-Fi (page 1 of 2)

Coronavirus, Leo Varadkar and Sarah Connor

So Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been dominating our lives for weeks and week now.

But we do have some control over what happens. We can choose to stay home. We can choose to wash our hands. We can choose to do social distancing.

And we are lucky (unlike some other countries) to have good leadership at this time of crisis. Leo Varadkar is doing a great job. So is Simon Harris. So is Tony Holohan. So are our front-line workers.

But my admiration for Leo Varadkar went up a few notches back in March when he used a line from the Terminator movies during a very serious speech. He quoted the line: “There is no fate but what we make for ourselves”.

At first I was astonished – I thought I must have misheard.

But no – he really did say it. Fair play to him.

Here are the speeches by Leo, Simon and Tony (the line is at 6:14):

Five things I hate about Lost in Space

Lost in Space was a television show which ran for three seasons from 1965.

The show was more successful that it should have been, perhaps, because people like the interplay between Dr. Smith, the young Will Robinson and the robot. Here’s an interview where the late Jonathan Harris speaks about the effect on Guy Williams when he, Harris, became the star of the show which Williams (as John Robinson) was expected to have been.

I enjoyed the original show because I loved the robot as I explained in my old blog.

in 2018 Netflix released a new version of Lost in Space. We’ve had two seasons now and apparently (like the original series) there will be only three.

Here are five things which I hate about this remake:

1) The Robot

In the original series the Robot is one of the central characters. He is funny and wise and useful. In the new series he is none of these things. They decided that he would be more interesting if he didn’t speak and was uncooperative, unpredictable and threatening all of the time. This was a mistake imho.

2) Dr. Smith

The writers decided that Dr. Smith should be a woman in this remake. That’s not a problem, but they decided that she should be an almost entirely unsympathetic character. Actually she’s not even Dr. Smith, but is someone who has assumed that identify. And she has murdered at least one person. So of the three central characters in the original series we now have two of these who are basically evil!

3) The life-or-death puzzles

Every week there seems to be some kind of dangerous puzzle which the characters have to solve in order to stay alive. These are completely pointless and uninteresting. I can’t really give examples of the puzzles as I just fast forward through this part in every episode. This is a complete waste of time.

4) John and Don survive the destruction of their ship

During season 1, John and Don are killed when their ship explodes in episode 8. But two episodes later they are successfully rescued because they survived the explosion and have been able to cling to some wreckage in space all this time! This is just ridiculous. I don’t think there was even any attempt at explaining this! But rescuing them became yet another of these life-or-death puzzles (which I didn’t watch).

5) Penny’s dialogue

In an attempt to attract teenage viewers, I assume, there quite a bit of awful dialogue which seems to centre around Penny and her relationships. I don’t know much about this because I fast forward through this as well.

So there you have it. Five reasons why I hate Lost in Space.

Even though I have watched the first two seasons, I think this is the only TV show I have ever watched where I fast forward through a substantial part of each episode. I just don’t care what is happening in those parts!

The only bright spot in the show is that I like Molly Parker and the way she plays Maureen Robinson.

I understand that the show has been renewed by Netflix for a fourth “and final” season.

Here is a video which shows the relationship between Smith and the Robot on the original series:

Star Trek Picard and Game of Thrones

I described my disappointment with STP in my last post.

In this post I just want to link to a very interesting video where “Major Grin” shows how Alex Kurtzman admits to being influenced by the success of Game of Thrones and  wanting to introduce a “darker tone” into the new Star Trek series. He says “nobody complains about having to pay for GOT so we have to do the same”.

He also shows us how comfortable is he with “the F word”. He thinks that introduction of swearing into Star Trek is “kind of wonderful”.

The video has quotes from Kurtzman and also has scenes from both Discovery and Picard showing where these series paid homage (to put it kindly) to GOT.

The man is an idiot imho. If we want to watch GOT then we will watch that. If we want to watch Breaking Bad then we will watch that. Your job was to give us new Star trek.

Six things I hated about Star Trek Picard

I mentioned in a previous post how disappointed I was with Star Trek Discovery (STD).

In spit of that, I managed to get a little excited about the prospect of Star Trek Picard. I guess the excitement came from Patrick Stewart and the character of Picard.

So how that season one is over, I can list (in no particular order) six things I hated about STP.

Disclaimer: because the show was so  poor, I wasn’t paying the closest attention. So please forgive me if I overlook something or if I get something wrong here.

1) The swearing, the gore, and the violence

This is mindless and gratuitous. It was unnecessary and has no place in the work of Star Trek. I will come back to this again in another post.

2) Major things that make no sense to me

The Romulans (specifically the “Zhat Vash”) have been working for generations to prevent devastation from synthetics. So when they finally bring their fleet to the Android planet, they are unable to kill the androids firstly because of some trickery, and then because Riker arrives with his fleet. These are supposed to be fanatics which have had visions about the devastation which synthetics will bring. They don’t seem to behave like true believers when the chips are down and all of their fears are coming to life right in front of their eyes

3) Minor things are make no sense to me

What the hell was that all about when those flowers (?) came up and brought down our heroes’ ship and the Borg ship?

What the hell was that mysterious device all about and how were the Romulans tricked by projections of non-existent ships?!

What was that about when our heroes went to that planet in stupid disguises (hats and eyepatches!) and, in Picard’s case, with a stupid accents?

4) Picard becomes an android

In the final episode, Picard dies and his consciousness is transferred into an Android body. But:

  • That body has been designed to look like him and to have his physical characteristics (strength, age, etc.)
  • We are asked to accept that the transfer was complete and that the Picard we know and love is in that new mechanical body and all set for season two

5) The story arc of Dr. Agnes Jurati

Agnes is given the vision of the devastation which synthetics will bring to the galaxy. She is so affected by that that she kills her mentor and lover. But:

  • She is never held to account for that murder. I don’t know if anyone even rebukes her about it! She should have to stand trial for that murder
  • The effects wear off so completely that she is able to tolerate and even help the actual synthetics a few episodes later!

6) Elnor

I am trying to imagine the writers room when they came up with this character:

  • We should have someone who looks like an elf from Lord of the Rings
  • Oh yeah. And he should fight with a sword and throwing weapons like a ninja
  • Yeah and he will somehow be able to hold his own in fights with people who have phasers and the like
  • Yeah but he should be sort of naive and innocent and not really know what is going on most of the time

Pathetic really.

There are more things I could talk about but I think I’ll leave it there for now. It was nice to see Riker, Troi and Seven appearing but tbh I didn’t really like what had been done with their stories in the intervening years.

One final note: I don’t know why Picard had two Romulans working for him at the start of the season, but I liked that Irish actress Orla Brady played the part of Loris and that she did not hide her own accent. It was fun to see a Romulan with an Irish accent

Star Trek Voyager

I had never really watched much STV until recently.

I decided to give it a chance for three reasons:

  1. It is easily available on Netflix
  2. I figured I should give it a try after the disappointment of STD
  3. I listened to an interview with Kate Mulgrew on Ryan Tubridy’s radio show and I was really, really impressed by her

I decided to watch all of the episodes with an IMDB with the highest ratings, generally 8.6 or higher.

The following is a list of the episodes I watched:

Star Trek Voyager Episodes
Episode Title
S03E23 Distant Origin
S03E26 Scorpion: Part One
S04E01 Scorpion: Part Two
S04E08 Year of Hell: Part One
S04E09 Year of Hell: Part Two
S04E14 Message in a Bottle
S05E02 Drone
S05E06 Timeless
S05E10 Counterpoint
S06E12 Blink of an Eye
S06E26 Unimatrix Zero: Part One
S07E01 Unimatrix Zero: Part Two
S07E24 Endgame Parts One and Two

 

I have reached the following conclusions about the series:

  1. The series is quite good, and some of the episodes are very enjoyable
  2. It took until near the end of the third season for an episode to reach the 8.6 rating
  3. The series ended on a high, with an enjoyable episode also rated at 8.6
  4. I can see myself going back to watch more episodes. For example, I see there is one which features George Takei as Captain Sulu

Since I wanted these episodes, I saw a video of Kate Mulgrew being interviewed and the interviewer mentioned that STV is the most watched Star Trek series on Netflix. So I’m not the only one who is rediscovering this series.

Star Trek Discovery – the first two seasons

I did a post about STD before.  That was after watching the first two episodes.

I have now watched the first two seasons. And things aren’t much better.

The main problem is still the same: I can see no reason to like the central character, Michael Burnham.

In the first two episodes she had committed mutiny, started a war, and failed to save the life of her captain.

Since then she has fallen in love with a Klingon who has been converted to a human (Ash Tyler – I don’t really know what that is all about) and she seemed to spend most of season two crying for one reason or another.

The series is littered with unsympathetic characters: Burnham, Tyler, Lorca, new Georgiou, Leland, etc. How does any showrunner expect people to like a show where there are so few likeable characters?

Some people do like Doug Jones(Saru) and Mary Wiseman (Tilly). I quite like Tig Notaro (Reno).

But the main glimmer of light was the appearance of Anson Mount, Ethan Peck and Rebecca Romijn and Pike, Spock and Number One respectively. But that is only for another potential spin-off show as there is no reason for them to appear in the next season.

The most interesting episode was the one where they go (for no real credible reason) to Talos IV, linking back to “The Cage” from TOS.

I also recently watched the extra short episodes which are available under “Trailers and More” in Netflix. Nothing of any real merit there either.

The show has a rating of 7.4 on IMDB (compared to 8.3 for TOS, 8.6 for TNG, 7.9 for DS9, 7.8 for Voyager, and 7.5 for Enterprise).

Here is a picture of Pike, Spock and Number One:

Rutger Hauer

Rutger Hauer passed away on the 19th of July, aged 79.

It must be great to know that you have created something which will never be forgotten. I am referring, of course, to his portrayal of Roy Batty in Blade Runner (1982).

The genius behind Blade Runner was Ridley Scott, of course, but Rutger made an unforgettable contribution.

He is also remembered for other movies, including 1986’s The Hitcher.

And for his role in a series of ads for Guinness.

Here is his iconic final scene in Blade Runner, which apparently was improvised to some extent.

Make Your Own Star Trek Episode

The sets which were used to make Star Trek Continues have been purchased by a gentleman by the name of Ray Tesi. He is promising to keep them safe.

But the even better news is that (if you can make your way to Kingsland, Georgia) you can make your own fan film there and it only costs $300 to rent the sets per day!

I think that’s amazing value for anyone who has a dream, a cast, cameras, mics, etc. and a story!

Ray’s company is now called “The Neutral Zone”.

Details about hiring the sets are available here.

Here is a link to a Star Trek fan film vignette which involved Ray in writing, directing and producing roles.

Star Trek Continues – No Longer

Back in November 2017 I make a post about looking forward to the last episode of “Star Trek Continues”. Later that month the eleventh and final episode was made available on the website.

The penultimate episode had received a rating of 9.3 on IMDB – the highest of the series to date. The last episode surpassed that with a rating of 9.6.

The last episode does what the team set out to do, and what the original series never managed to do – it brings the five year mission to a conclusion.

The episode itself is very good. But I have to say that the last ten minutes (from Kirk’s speech to the crew on, it very subdued and a bit of a downer). I think it’s a pity they decided to end it that way.

Still, the series itself is excellent – and a great tribute to the love and dedication of all of those who worked on it.

Overall the series has a rating of 8.0 on IMDB – very impressive for a fan production, especially when you consider that Star Trek Discovery (with all of the money that was put into it) has a rating of 7.4

Star Trek Continues – but not for much longer

Episode 10 of “Star Trek Continues” is available on the website.

It is the penultimate episode. The last one will be released in a few days – on the 13th of November.

It is very good.

I saw an interview with Vic Mignogna where he said that he thought the fans would be happy with the way the show ends (although fans like me will not be happy that the show has to end so soon!) The second last episode has the highest score on IMDB so far : 9.5 (the previous highest was 9.0).

There is a moment in the show which is astonishing though. So astonishing that I had to pause the video to check what I was seeing.

I mentioned in a recent post how a young Sean Young appeared in BR2049. But that was not astonishing as they had some much money available to achieve the effect.

What astonished me was that the Romulan Commander looked uncannily like the actress from the original series (in the episode “The Enterprise Incident”).

A little bit of research (thanks IMDB) told me that the new actress is Amy Rydell. The previous actress was Joanne Linville. The latter is the real life mother of the former.

What a stroke of genius! I am so impressed!

Here are photos of the two ladies side by side: Joanne is on the left, Amy on the right.

I am very much looking forward to the last episode.

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