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Just commenting on things that interest me

Category: TV (page 1 of 2)

Best Quiz Show – The Chase

When I was traveling to Cork a lot last year for work, and staying in a hotel at the airport, I would find myself back in my hotel room early in the evening and turning on the TV to find something to help me relax. That’s when I discovered “The Chase”.

The Chase is the best quiz show on TV by far.

In the past I have enjoyed “Fifteen to One” and “The Weakest Link”. And I still enjoy watching “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” occasionally.

But I am addicted to The Chase.

The format is just perfect. The focus is very much on the questions. And the elimination element provides just the right level of jeopardy.

And Bradley Walsh is a great host. He has a great way with the contestants, and the chasers. And he’s very funny.

I think he’s related to my cousins. And I didn’t think I liked him before I became addicted to The Chase. But now I love him.

I even went so far as to check to see if I could be a contestant. But it’s limited to people who live in the UK unfortunately. And much as I would like to take part, I think moving to the UK is too high a price!

Here is a picture of Bradley and the chasers:

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:

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: The Animated Series

in 1973 and 1973, most of the actors from Star Trek were reassembled to make an animated version of the show. Season One had 16 episodes and Season Two had a further 6.

This was between the finishing of the original series (1969) and the making of the first movie (1979).

I had seen bits and pieces of the series over the years but when it appeared on Netflix I decided to watch all of the episodes.

Well I find this very hard to believe, but there is hardly a single episode in the whole series which has even the slightest merit.

IMDB rates the episodes between 6.1 and 7.4, with the single exception of the second episode, “Yesteryear”, which has a rating of 8.2.

This episode was written by D.C.Fontana and features time travel and “The Guardian of Forever”. The episode also sees Mark Lenard reprising his role from the original series as Sarek (the only time he did so in the animated series).

Here is a still from the episode showing Kirk and Spock:

startrekanimated

 

New for fans of Star Trek

In this post I talk about a number of updates for fans of Star Trek.

The first relates to “Star Trek Continues” I which I mentioned previously.  That series is now up to 8 episodes! The most recent episode (“Still Treads the Shadow”) provided an interesting acting challenge for Vic Mignogna who plays Kirk.

The second relates to the upcoming office Star Trek show: Star Trek Discovery. While I wouldn’t normally have much excitement about this kind of show (I don’t think I watched a single episode of Star Trek:Enterprise) I am excited to see that the fabulous Michelle Yeoh has joined the cast and appears in the new trailer:

The show will be released in the Autumn and will be available on Netflix the day after it premiers in the USA.

The third is about a new spoof show called ” The Orville” which will was created by and will star creator Seth MacFarlane, and will be directed by Jon Favreau.

While the trailer is far from hilarious, it does look promising.

Netflix’s “The OA” – Avoid at all costs

Netflix released “The OA” on Friday 16th December. I had the misfortune to hear a critic on the radio two days previously raving about the first episode which she had seen and talking about how she couldn’t wait to see the remaining seven episodes.

So we started watching and watched the last 3 episodes yesterday.

The first episode is pretty good, but each episode gets worse and worse as the series progresses. You keep hoping that it will pick up again, or at least that the last episode will provide the pay-off for which you have been waiting, but that never happens. In fact the last episode is the worst and the most ridiculous. IMDB has an overall rating of 8.1 for the series with the last three episodes getting the lowest individual ratings.

The show’s creators have defended the show and the ending. One said:

I think we felt that’d really be good about the ending of this, that our interpretation is less important than the audience’s. … but as writers, we’ve always maintained the idea that our interpretations of them doesn’t matter as much as the audience’s

With them saying gobbledygook like this in real life, it’s no wonder the show makes no sense whatsoever.

There is talk on the web of a second season. Hopefully Netflix will have too much sense to let that happen.

Normally I like to include a photo with a post but I’m afraid this series does not deserve one.

A Very Murray Christmas

I am a big Bill Murray fan. Watching “Scrooged” is a highlight of my Christmas.

And I like Christmas specials. My favorite  Christmas song (“Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth”) only exists because David Bowie appeared on one of Bing Crosby’s Christmas specials. Bing’s Christmas specials were a little before my time, but I remember enjoying specials by Morecambe and Wise and Stanley Baxter back in the day.

So I was quite excited about watching Bill Murray’s Christmas Special on Netflix.

It was just awful. It has a score of 5.6 on IMDB at the moment, which is very low for a TV show, especially (I imagine) a seasonal one.

I’m not sure exactly what went wrong. Sofia Coppola directed and was involved in the writing. There were lots of (what should have been) good quests like George Clooney, Chris Rock, and Amy Poehler.

But, for me, nothing really worked.

What obviously wasn’t going to work (for me at least) was having Miley Cyrus. She is not someone (vocally or by personality) I would ever associate with Christmas.

If they ever decide to do it again (and I’m not sure that would be a good idea) then they should get Christina Perri instead. She had a beautiful voice and released a Christmas album called “a very merry perri christmas” back in 2012.

Much better choice.

Idris Elba

I mentioned the SAG awards in my last post. I notice that Idris Elba got two awards:

  • One for “Beasts of No Nation” for “Best Supporting Actor”
  • One for “Luther” for “Outstanding performance by a male actor in a television movie or miniseries”

I haven’t seen the former, but I have been intending to mention how good the latter is for some time.

I watched Luther on Netflix on a friend’s recommendation and I was not disappointed. It is very well made, and very gritty (the found some really dreadful filming locations around London!). And some of the evil he confronts in very evil indeed.

The thing that really made the show come alive for me was the relationship between Luther and Alice Morgan, played by Ruth Wilson. Her character is completely intriguing and I hope we see more of her.

I say “see more” because there is a fourth season which is not yet available on Netflix. And there was talk of a possible movie and of a spin-off show focusing on Morgan. So we’ll have to wait and see.

And there are some Irish connections in the show: Dermot Crowley was born in Cork, and Michael Smiley in Belfast.

The photo above is a show of Luther and Morgan

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