Saturday, May 27, 2017

Breaking Bad, Trump, & Good Trek/Bad Trek #21 Court Martial

In addition to watching the original Trek I'd also spent some time rewatching Breaking Bad. Boy. That show is pretty darn good. Since Better Call Saul got so many accolades a lot of folks have been retroactively shitting on Breaking Bad. That's part of a larger shitty thing about people today. You can't just like something. You have to be anti-something else. You're not a Red SoxYou can't just like better call Saul. You have to talk about how Breaking Bad was never that good and we were all tricked into liking it while it was on. Even though you sang its praises during the initial run. That's horse shit. 

It annoys me, but I get it. I've been guilty of this as anyone else. When I was younger I liked the Hives. They're badass. Saw them open for the New Bomb Turks and they blew me away. They might still be, but I haven't really kept up with their career. Haven't really checked in on their new stuff. Sure it's fine. Tyrannosaurus Hives. Wasn't great. But what're you gonna do? Anyhow, I liked The Hives so I figured I couldn't be into The Strokes. Don't know why I thought they were competing, but that was the line I drew. Started listening to The Strokes a couple years ago, and you know what? They're both pretty damn good. There's room on the iPod for both camps. I’m pretty sure The Vines were in the same vein, but I don’t know shit about them so who knows. 

This week in why they call McCoy Bones



This is also kind of the thing with Trump. I don’t want to get too into the woods here, but his whole ideology if you can call it that is based on what he isn’t and who he’s pissing off. Nobody really seems to like him. They seem to like that other people really don’t like him. Everything is based on making liberals angry. Melting snowflakes if you will. This kinda went off the rails. Trump is the kind of guy who doesn't like The Yankees so much as he hates The Red Sox. And that's why the whole country is fucked. 

That being said I didn’t care for Breaking Bad as much the second time through. I’m not sure if you remember Breaking Bad, but this Walt character is a real sonofagun. I remember watching the show the first time through and being excited about how bad Walt was breaking. As a passive dude who internalizes and never let's go of a lot of anger, I used to relish getting compared to him. I was told by one person that I looked like Walt. Usually, I wasn’t told I looked like Walt, it was always “you look like Breaking Bad.” I was told by a coworker that “it’s not that you look like him, but you got the same shit in your eyes.” I thought that was funny. Now, less so. I was told by another friend that I had a quiet severity that reminded him of the character. Just means I guess that I’d be the kind of dude who’d watch the life drain from someone’s face and be cool with it. Knowing the fate that awaits Walt. He’s a real bastard. I guess when you know what all his choices are leading to it makes it harder to sympathize with. The finale is still pretty badass though. 

Enough Breaking Bad. This week’s episode of TOS was Court Martial. Not bad. 

Recap
These practical effects from the 60's look so much better than almost anything from Enterprise

There’s been an ion storm and the Enterprise has lost a crewman. Kirk is pretty broken up about it until he realizes that he’s going to have to face a court martial. A court martial most foul. The rest of the episode is the trial. Turns out the poor bastard who died in the ion storm, him and Kirk have history. History in that the dead crewman is Benjamin Finney and he blames Kirk for everything wrong with his life. There’s evidence that Kirk did it, but was it forged. Yes, of course, it was. Kirk is innocent. Finney faked the whole thing and he’d just been hanging out on the ship the entire time. 

Good Trek:

Yeah. It was pretty damn good. I’m a sucker for these space trial episodes. Except for The Menagerie, which sucked. I liked the emphasis on how hard it would be to captain a starship. That is a unique skillset. Don’t think I’d be up to the job. The ending seemed a little forced. I guess I would’ve preferred to get off because he’s a captain and it’s a tough job. I thought the legal stuff was better TV than the big fist fight in engineering. 
How was anyone surprised that this dude was on the edge?

How fucked is it that Starfleet was cool with their star prosecutor having a personal relationship with the person she was trying to prosecute? I have to believe that regardless of the outcome a three-judge panel is taking a look at this one. 

Okay, so the whole thing is a result of faked evidence. Kirk is accused of pushing the jettison pod button before the red alert one. Why the fuck is there even a dedicated button for jettisoning pods? And why is it right under two buttons that are probably used often. There’s a lot of alerts. A lot less pod jettisoning. This just seems like a real design flaw that needs to be addressed next time they head back to McKinley. At the BARE MINIMUM jettisoning a pod should require a short code. Nothing crazy. It should just be tougher than unlocking a phone. 
You wanna court martial someone, go with the fucking idiot who designed this console. What are the unlabeled buttons? Self-desctruct and super self-destruct?


Bad Trek:

I already told you, The Menagerie. If you want to watch some garbage, then go with that one. If you want to mix it up you could also go with Ex Post Facto. That Voyager episode about fabricated evidence and a trial, but don’t worry it’s a lot less fun to watch. 

Good Trek:


Honestly there’s a lot. Starfleet court martials are a well they go back to a lot. Which is fine by me, because it usually makes for some compelling TV, including this here episode. The exceptions being The Menagerie (fuck that episode) and Ex Post Facto. That one is out of Starfleet’s jurisdiction, so I guess I’ll give it a pass. There’s two TNG episodes you could go with. Either Measure of a Man or The Drumhead. There’s also a pretty badass DS9 one called Rules of Engagement. Even though I think the DS9 is the one I prefer, Measure of a Man is the better of the two. Season 2 of TNG largely sucks. It’s silly, the effects are shitty, and the acting is hammy. This is one of the first episodes that elevates is above being crappy genre fair and let everyone know how good it could and would become. It’s not a court martial, but a trial to determine whether or not Data is a person or property. It’s a great watch. So get on that. 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Good Trek/Bad Trek #20 Tomorrow Is Yesterday

Intro: I’ve loved Star Trek since I was a kid. I started by watching TNG in 6th grade. I’ve been a fan since then and though I’ve spent a lot of time watching Stat Trek, I’ve never watched The Original Series. So, I’m watching and reviewing them as a fan of Star Trek, but one whose never seen any of them. So I’m watching all the TOS episodes for the first time and saying whether or not they suck. At the end, I give examples of better Star Trek to watch that remind me of this episode. That’s it. 


I saw the first trailer for the new Trek, Star Trek: Discovery and I have to say it looks pretty badass. I was pretty nervous about it because it was supposed to come out a while ago and then it just didn't. I just didn’t hear anything for a while and news about it just kind of disappeared. I don’t know what the deal was, maybe they've been working on this trailer for the past 6t months and who cares because but they released a preview and it looks super badass. Some folks are saying there’s a controversy about the fact that there’s a female captain and too many folks of different races making up the cast, but I never know about that. The only place I’ve ever read any kind of backlash against casting women or people of color in any of these projects are in the articles talking about how awful the people who are complaining about this shit are. Are these real people who are pissed about this? Is it just like seven people? Is there a special section of all social networks devoted just to strawmen out there? I don’t know. Regardless of weirdos who think that the future is no place for a woman this trailer looks pretty fucking sweet. Here it is. 


Maybe I'm just a stupid sucker, but I will never ever get sick of watching a starship popping out of the clouds. Gives me chills every time.

That's the future. This episode is the past. Doubly so, because it's a time travel episode. And it's fine.

Recap

The Enterprise accidentally gets sucked into a black star and boom, TIME TRAVEL. They find themselves back in the 60’s. By the time they figure out what’s going on they’re being chased down by a fighter jet. They beam the pilot aboard and the rest of the episode is them trying to make sure that nobody knows that they were actually there. They, of course, do for the most part and then head back. Back to the future. Where they don’t need roads.

Good Trek?

It’s fine. I wouldn’t say it’s good. I wouldn’t say it’s bad. It’s there. I liked it okay. This is going to come off as hearsay, but I feel the same way about watching TOS for the first time as I did when I watched Enterprise the first (and only) time through. There are characters I like, but none of it really connects with me at all. This wasn’t a bad episode, but even the decent ones feel like homework.
I really liked this shot

I love how nonchalant every is about time travel. They get pulled into a dying star find themselves hundreds of years in the past and nobody really seems to be all that surprised. Nobody is like “yo, holy shit we’re in the past!” They just all act like this is old hat. Which I guess it probably is to them. I’ve got a good idea that they do this a fair amount of times so it does become somewhat routine, but you’d think they’d all be shitting their pants. Going back in time seems way too easy.

Future's so bright...

Another funny thing about this episode is how nuts the folks from the past are when they see Spock. I mean, yeah he's an alien, but he's not an ALIEN alien. He's just got pretty weird ears and a stern look. Ride the subway for a couple stops and you'll see more fucked up ears than this.

Spock almost really shits the bed too. When he's checking to make sure the pilot they've abducted doesn't make too much a difference to the timeline he only checks him. Spock completely forgets that sometimes people have kids and this guy might be one of them. Come on Spock, next time you go back in time go a time when The Butterfly Effect is playing in theaters. People can impact other people's lives.

It wasn't a bad episode, but it wasn't great.

Bad Trek: VOY Future's End

I don't know if this episode is worse. I like it a lot better. It's not a good couple episodes, but what it lacks in greatness in makes up for in being fucking bonkers. There are a bunch of time travel episodes. A lot. These jerks are always fucking up the timeline. Seems like the temporal police should show up more often than they do. They’re usually silly. This one was all kinds of silly. This Voyager episode is bizarre. It’s made in the 90s about going back to the 90s but you’d never know it by watching. It looks like it’s made by someone who lives very far away who’s heard of America and this is their idea of what earth was like. It looks like it was made by someone who lived in a remote village in a communist country in the seventies about what they thought America was like. It's nuts. Ed Bailey Jr. is a pretty good villain. Poor Sarah Silverman does her best with a pretty shit character. And Harry Kim is there like he always is. Just sitting there being there.
You're a 90's kid if...


Best Trek: DS9 Trials and Tribble-ations 

Trials and Tribble-ations this might be the best time travel episode. They have a lot of fun with the whole concept of time travel and how it could screw with the timeline and the importance of having people not be running around the past. They poke fun at the original Enterprise crew and the dress code. It’s a great watch. It’s one of the best episodes of probably the best Trek series. It’s funny and it’s got some great Worf. Check that one out. The Voyager one too if for no other reason that to see their amazing version of 90’s California.

That's it for this week. 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Good Trek/ Bad Trek #19 Arena

Intro: I’ve loved Star Trek since I was a kid. I started by watching TNG in 6th grade. I’ve been a fan since then and though I’ve spent a lot of time watching Stat Trek, I’ve never watched The Original Series. So, I’m watching and reviewing them as a fan of Star Trek, but one whose never seen any of them. So I’m watching all the TOS episodes for the first time and saying whether or not they suck. At the end, I give examples of better Star Trek to watch that remind me of this episode. That’s it. 


This was a tough one. I have it on good authority that Trump fired FBI director Comey to prevent me from writing anymore about Star Trek. Well, I shall not be daunted. I mean, maybe I will actually. not a whole lot of people read these. If I had a better idea of something to write about I’d probably do that instead. In fact if you have ideas for another thing to write about then by all means. Let me know. I’ll do that. But anyhow, I just wanted to make a topical Trump joke. 

I hate the cycle of topical jokes. Where you get flooded with the same fifteen hot takes then there’s the backlash about people who hate hot takes then you get the food of people who hate the backlash backlash. Really what this all means is that social media fucking sucks. What are we doing to ourselves? There’s no point to this. I guess I've heard that some people become famous just from it. I guess there’s that. I think the people who become famous from probably don’t actually read it ever. There's no reason to actually read what any of your idiot friends are thinking all the time. I like my friends, but jeez. Give a rest folks. 
Anyhow, this week’s episode of Trek was the Arena. I now this episode from the iconic imagery of Kirk fighting the green alien. Even if you’ve never seen an episode of Trek, there’s a good chance you’ve seen this. It’s pretty shitty, but at the same time it almost seems more ambitious then a lot of later Trek. It looks like shit. Of course. But at least they were going for something there. The Bajorians just have a kind of wrinkly nose. That’s it. The only thing that separates them from every other human being is, not even a very wrinkly, but a kinda wrinkly nose. At least this green creature is going for something. 

Recap

The gang is headed to an Earth outpost. They get there, but it appears shit has gone very wrong very recently. The whole thing is gone. Turns out it was all a trap. Soon as they show up they start getting shelled. Then they just kind of hide while bombs fall. This takes a while. 
This red shirt got evaporated by the sound of falling shells

They then chase the folks who’ve been shelling them for a while. Seems like the chase is going well. Then both ships are forced to stop by an unseen force. It's the Metron. A very powerful race that controls this part of space. They're not cool with people using their space to fight so he’s going to kidnap Kirk and the captain of the other ship and if they’re going to fight they’ll have to do so on an asteroid or a moon or something. 
Politics according to David Icke 


Here we are the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Kirk fighting the lizard person. The lizard folks are pretty strong. So Kirk is not doing great at the fighting. He keeps on trying to trick him, but Kirk is telling all his plans to his communicator. So he keeps talking to his stupid enemy about how dumb he thinks he is. Pretty ridiculous. 
A for effort, I guess
Kirk figures out that there are the raw materials to make a bomb. So he does. He wounds without killing the horn gentleman. He decides not to kill him even though them the rules. All of a sudden a guy appears out of nowhere. The guy who sent Kirk and the Gorn to the planet, to begin with.  He tells him since he decided not to kill the Gorn that humans aren’t as barbaric as they thought and that they’d decide to spare them. Maybe even humans and Metron can be friends in a thousand years or so. 
Getting sick of omnipotent space dandies 

Good Trek?

It was so-so Trek. Mostly bad though. The fighting was just so ridiculous. I guess I applaud them for trying something with the costuming of the Gorn. Later Treks they put a touch of garnish on someone’s nose and call that a new race. 

I did really like the fact that the Gorn was allowed to defend his actions. Yeah, his ship killed a whole outpost of people, which we can all agree is not cool. But the Federation just set up shop in space that’s not there’s. There’s gonna be some blowback. Good touch. Even if the Gorn looked the way he did. 

I also really dig the western aspects of the TOS. I can see why Enterprise and the (hopefully) upcoming CBS series want to set their shows closer to the origin of the Federation. By TNG and DS9 a lot of all the missions was just maintaining. Maintaining alliances and treaties. It's neat to see a ship out and exploring where nobody has gone before. 

I love when people freak out over undefined terms. When Kirk says warp factor 8 and everyone shits their pants. You've never explained what warp is or why 8 is that much crazier than 7. I don't know if it's really clear all that much up. I've read more about warp technology than most people. Still not sure I fully understand it. 

Why was Sulu just sitting there? When the Enterprise is under attack dude is just sitting there waiting for orders. Show some initiative and fire back. 

We have another race judging humanity. Jesus Christ. This has happened a lot. It’s a well they go back to time and time again. Like, too many so far. I thought Q was a unique character when he came to TNG, but this theme is like every other episode of TOS. Why aren’t we spending more time with the Romulans? They were so badass, but we get another vaguely defined omnipotent space creature passing judgment on humans. I wanted to like this episode, but I was kind of underwhelmed. The fighting was lame, the Gorn looked just fucking ridiculous. The ending was a rehash. So, I’d say this was some bad Trek. 

TNG: Code of Honor 

If you want to watch an episode where two people fight to the death and nobody dies, and you also want that episode to really suck then go with this one. I generally hate the word problematic because it’s only ever used by assholes, but holy mackerel is this episode of TNG a fucking mess. If you want to watch it that’s fine, but it’s god awful. I always felt bad for Denise Crosby. She’s such a good actor but she was given such horse shit to work with. It’s no wonder that she decided to leave when she did. I wish she would've stayed to see how her character would’ve been when the writers learned how to write for her. She has to fight in this weird tribal ritual. It's largely considered a racist mess. I'm pretty sure Michael Dorn spent the week of filming giving everyone the stink eye. 
Yikes!

DS9: By Inferno’s Light

Speaking of Worf watch this episode. It rules. It’s one of my favorite episodes featuring my all time favorite Trek story line and one of my favorite characters. Worf is in a secret Jem’Hadar prison. Bashir and Garek and trying to figure out a way out while Worf gets roped into a prisoner fighting ring. It’s great and for all the jokes people make about Worf not being tough because he gets beat up in a few episodes you get to see him being super badass. 

Any Q Episode (except for the DS9 one)

I mean, we have another powerful species judging and ultimately giving humanity a pass. It happens a lot. Just about any Q episode is better than this. Watch Q Who is the first appearance of the Borg. Watch Encounter at Farpoint if you want to watch the first appearance of Q. Or you could also watch All Good Things if you want to cry. Any one of those would be a better bet than this. 
Kirk may have been merciful, but I wish someone would snap this episode’s neck. That’s it for this week. Next week is Yesterday is Tomorrow. A time travel episode I assume. Hopefully we can get into some sick paradoxes. 


Friday, May 5, 2017

Good Trek / Bad Trek #18 The Squire Of Gothos

Intro: I’ve loved Star Trek since I was a kid. I started by watching TNG in 6th grade. I’ve been a fan since then and though I’ve spent a lot of time watching Stat Trek, I’ve never watched The Original Series. So, I’m watching and reviewing them as a fan of Star Trek, but one whose never seen any of them. So I’m watching all the TOS episodes for the first time and saying whether or not they suck. At the end, I give examples of better Star Trek to watch that remind me of this episode. That’s it. 


Happy Treko de Mayo. Yesterday was Star Wars day. I like Star Wars fine, but Star Trek 6 is better than any Star Wars movie that’s ever been made. That was also the first sci-fi movie I saw on the big screen, so maybe that has something to do with it. Who knows. Alright. Here we are with another Trek. These have been too long, right? Anything over five hundred words is probably too much Trek. I’m sorry. I’ll try to keep these a bit briefer. This is kind of dumb. There’s only so much Trek someone can read. Unfortunately, I can write a lot more Trek than most people can, or more importantly want to, read. I’ll try to keep these a bit more succinct. 

Recap

This week’s episode is The Squire Of Gothos. It was kind of a mess. The gang is cruising through a space desert. I don’t know what makes a space desert a space desert. I guess they get very little space rain there. They stumble on a planet and Sulu and Kirk disappears. Oh no! An abduction. An abduction most foul. Spock leads an away team with some sacks of shit and goes down to the surface to investigate. They find an old house, even though the should be completely deserted. Deserted on account of they’re in a desert. Turns out they’ve been kidnapped by what can only be described as a space dandy. He’s living in an old house that looks like it’s from 18th century France. 
Some people call me a space dandy

Their captor describes himself as the squire of Gothos. He toys with them because he seems to have complete control over matter of all sorts. He uses some weird machine to control everything. Then Kirk tricks him and destroys the machine. But that changes nothing and he can still control everything with his mind. They don't really explain that, but whatever. A little extra explaining ain't gonna fix this. He wants to destroy the Enterprise. He, of course, does not, because it’s only in the movies that they destroy the Enterprise time after time. Turns out he’s nothing more than a kid. His space parents come and promise Captain Kirk that he’ll get a good spanking and be sent to space bed without space supper.
Some call me an intergalactic fop


Good Trek

Not really. It was boring and dumb, and the space dandy was a terrible villain. I think the Carbomite Maneuver did it better. It was the opposite of that one. Instead of a powerful man who looks like a boy we get a powerful boy that looks like a man. 

Some people call me Maurice (pew! pew!)


I know there’s only so much sci-fi out there to do, but it seems shitty to have an episode that’s so similar to others thematically so soon. We get the planet where shit appears and disappears and some other force controls it. That happened in Shore Leave. That was only two episodes ao. Also, the powerful alien who treats the crew like pets is pretty much the plot of both the pilot and Menagerie. That was only 5 episodes ago. The Carbomite Maneuver was only six episodes ago. So if you're watching this in the sixties, you've watched this show the past four months and seen the same plot five times. 

This was supposed to be a revolutionary show. This was a groundbreaking show that trailblazing new ideas and seeking out new worlds and new civilizations. Why are we recycling shit already? It was lazy. How many goddam times do they plan on using this plot device? If they're already out of ideas how awful is the rest of the run? Why do other crews never run into all these space gods? Fuck this episode. 

Better Trek

Literally any of the episodes I just mentioned. Watch those instead. Except for Menagerie. Fuck that episode as well. 

Star Trek VOY: The Thaw

This was a pretty similar in terms of tone. However, the villain in VOY’s the clown is a much much better villain. He’s super good at being creepy. I like the ending where he has to confront his own mortality at the very end, that was some pretty good stuff. The space daddy has nothing on him. Plus he plays Charles Magill in Better Call Saul. 

Any Q episode

If you’re looking for a character who can manipulate just about everything around then you gotta go with Q. I’m not entirely even sold on the character. The whole idea of an omnipotent villain really seemed anti-sci-fi to me, but the character in John DeLancie’s hands is one of the best. He plays it so well, and he and Picard are so good together. Both of those are better Treks in my opinion. Because again, fuck this episode. 

So that's it. Happy Treko de Mayo. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Good Trek/Bad Trek #17 The Galileo Seven

Intro: I’ve loved Star Trek since I was a kid. I started by watching TNG in 6th grade. I’ve been a fan since then and though I’ve spent a lot of time watching Stat Trek, I’ve never watched The Original Series. So, I’m watching and reviewing them as a fan of Star Trek, but one whose never seen any of them. So I’m watching all the TOS episodes for the first time and saying whether or not they suck. At the end, I give examples of better Star Trek to watch that remind me of this episode. That’s it. 

Another Trek here. I watched The Galileo Seven this week. This was kind of a neat episode to watch because over the summer I got a chance to see the eponymous Galileo shuttlecraft. I didn’t go in, but I did get to see it. It was at the Star Trek Starfleet Academy experience. Even though I as a real person didn’t finish college it was nice. It was fun because now I finally have a college degree. It’s fake, but who gives a shit. Plus I was able to get it all done in an afternoon. I guess my other credits were transferable.

Recap.

The gang is delivering medical supplies to Makus III. With them is the Galactic Commissioner. I don’t know if I should capitalize that title on account of how dumb it is, but whatever.  They stumble on a “quasar-like formation.” Evidently, everyone has a standing order to investigate those when they see them so they send a shuttle with McCoy, Spock, Scotty, and few sacks of shit. It goes wrong immediately and the shuttle is lost! Now they only have a couple days to search a huge area for the missing shuttle and to make matters worse the quasar-like formation has screwed their sensors. 
Looks pretty damn good

From there we get two conflicts. Spock and co. trying to get the shuttle off the planet they’ve crash landed on and the Enterprise trying to find them before they have to leave for Makus III. To make matters worse on the surface, it turns out that the planet isn’t uninhabited as it has a bunch of sasquatches there. Sasquatches with giant spears that they throw with considerable accuracy, at least when they’re not aiming at a main character. Also, they don’t have enough fuel to get off the surface with all the crew members. Then they do. Then some crew will die which saves on weight. 

The Enterprise plot is all pretty standard. The Galactic Commish wants to leave, and Kirk does not. But they eventually do. But they go back because Spock uses the last of the fuel to make the shuttle function like a big flare as it’s orbiting the planet. They get rescued and all get to head to Makes III

Good Trek?

I’ll say qualified yes. I loved the practical effects at the beginning of the episode. Both the “quasar-like phenomenon” and Galileo leaving the Enterprise look great. I’m sure using a bunch of models is much more of a hassle and more expensive than modern CG effects, but at the same time, this was made over fifty years ago and still looks pretty damned good. Practical effects work great in terms of ships and space, but good gravy do they not work in terms of aliens. 
This monster alien thing slowly ambles at this dude for a full 17 minutes

Speaking of aliens, what the fuck is this guy’s problem. Sees the alien coming for him and just sits there screaming. He has to take like three breaths in his scream because it takes so long. Dude, try something. 

McCoy seems a little too excited to probably die so long as it means Spock has to eat crow. He spends the whole episode just needling him for no reason. How’s about something constructive, Bones. Does he not realize that Spock failing also means his death?
Hats off to this lazy-ass closed captioner. Didn't feel like hitting rewind so he Xed out the word "Fulcrum"


I don’t get why they had to make the Galactic Commissioner such a douche. There was no reason for that. But there’s no reason to make him such an unlikable prick. He does make a valid point. There are people that need that medicine. He doesn’t have to relish the fact that people are going to fucking die. The whole time he seems happy to make Kirk abandon the search and let his friends die. In addition to all that title of “Galactic Commissioner” sucks balls. I mean come on, it sounds like something out of Barbarella, not Star Trek. 

I also had a nerd bone to pick with this episode. When they abandon the search and start heading to Makus III, it looks like they’re traveling at impulse. If it’s a two-day trip traveling at sub-light speed then you could probably make it there in like five minutes at warp 5. They could’ve waited another day and a half then hauled ass and had time to spare. 

One last thing, why is everyone so damned happy at the end of this episode. The last caption literally says everyone laughs. 

Fuck y'all
That’s not cool. People died on this mission. One guy got left to rot or be eaten by the sasquatch monsters. Or god knows what. He’s gone. He got a giant spear to the stomach and is now dead. These giant monsters don’t strike me as the kind who are definitely above eating whatever they hunted. They did hunt them down like animals after all. While they’re doing the Growing Pains laughing freeze frame at the end their comrade is being torn limb from limb by a pack of ravenous yeti-like creatures. 

What is Kirk supposed to say to this man’s family? “Well, I’m very sorry Mrs. Redshirt. Your husband/brother/father/son is dead and is now food, but Spock learned a very valuable lesson about what it means to be in command so everything worked out in the end. His body? Nah, we just left it there. I wouldn’t go and retrieve it though because I’ve heard it’s pretty dangerous.”

Better Trek


The Ascent - DS9

The Galileo Seven was pretty good, but I can think of two episodes that dealt with similar themes that I liked better, one being The Ascent. Odo and Quark are in a sabotaged runabout and have to crash on a planet. There’s too much interference so use their communicator so they have to hike up a mountain. They’re two characters who are great. They ostensibly hate each other, but both seem to love the conflict they share. 

Lessons - TNG

Captain Picard starts seeing a fetching young lieutenant played by Wendy Hughes. She gets trapped on a planet during some pretty dangerous storms and he has to decide whether or not to commit resources to save her.  Hughes and Stewart have great chemistry and their relationship seems genuine. Also, Stewart really sells the inner turmoil about having her down in danger. He doesn’t say much, but he’s a good enough actor where he doesn’t have to. It’s pretty brutal. 


Well that’s it for this week. Hopefully you don’t get left on any planets. M-Class or otherwise. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Good Trek / Bad Trek #16 Shore Leave

Intro: I’ve loved Star Trek since I was a kid. I started by watching TNG in 6th grade. I’ve been a fan since then and though I’ve spent a lot of time watching Stat Trek, I’ve never watched The Original Series. So, I’m watching and reviewing them as a fan of Star Trek, but one whose never seen any of them. So I’m watching all the TOS episodes for the first time and saying whether or not they suck. At the end, I give examples of better Star Trek to watch that remind me of this episode. That’s it. 


Haven’t done one of these in a while. Been busy. Did some shows in Michigan which were fun. I got to stay at my sister’s house. A lot off people talk about how great living in New York is, and I do think it’s pretty neat for the most part. But for all the great things about living here, it should be pointed out that my sister has a machine that washes her dishes. It’s amazing. She might as well live in the future with that shit. I emptied the dishwasher while she was gone and she said: “hey, thanks for doing the dishes.” I didn’t. Your robot maid did the dishes, I just was there with the assist. 

None of this is a reason to not recap Star Treks. My sister also has the internet, and I had a computer with me so I could’ve easily pounded out a quick Good Trek/Bad Trek. I did not though. I even watched Star Trek while I was gone. I watched a bunch of DS9 episodes, all of which were a shit load better than this piece of shit. So here we go. Even though this is actually pretty similar to a DS9 episode. 

It’s particularly shitty because Balance of Terror is really one of the all-time great Treks. This episode is not. It was Shore Leave, and it was garbage. Kind of fun, but largely garbage. 

Recap:

Doctor McCoy is on a planet investigating its suitability for shore leave. Hence the name I think, which is Shore Leave. It seems fine, but then shit gets a little bananas. McCoy sees a giant white rabbit and a little girl who looks like Alice from the Lewis Carol stories. He can’t believe what he’s seeing, and nor should he. Especially since it’s all pretty nuts. It was supposed to be an uninhabited planet and now there’s a bunch of storybook characters running around. That’ doesn’t jive. 

This sci-fi is pretty lite on the sci

Kirk and Spock go down to investigate and turns out that the planet is reading their thoughts and conjuring up visions to match them. It’s all pretty nuts. Kirk fights his old college buddy who's a walking Irish stereotype, a yeoman nearly gets raped by Don Juan, and McCoy gets killed in a jousting match. Come and find out that it’s vacation planet. So both the attempted rape and the murder of McCoy don't count. They meet the dude who is in charge and he apologizes and lets the crew have at it. The crew decides to hang out and vacation there. Except for Spock who wants to be a fuddy-duddy instead. The end. 

Good Trek?

Not particularly. It got the job done but just seemed a little too silly. It has to be said that Gene Roddenberry didn’t seem to think that highly of the Irish. Don’t get me wrong I also don’t think highly of the Irish. I’ve said it before on this very blog, but people who are proud of being Irish are the absolute worst. Don’t get me wrong if you’re from Ireland that’s fine. Be proud, I'm sure the place is great, I’d love to go sometime. Hell, if either of your parents is from Ireland. Have at it. Be proud. But Roddenberry seems to be of the belief that anyone of any Irish ancestry is just one shot of whiskey from immediately becoming a drunken leprechaun. This is the second time that he’s snuck in an Irish acting like a bunch of drunken monsters scene into the show. There’s also an early TNG episode where we do the same thing. Don't know if Roddenberry was behind that one, but there are two instances right off the top of my head where I can think of Trek making the Irish look like monsters. I’m sure there’s more. It almost makes me think that Miles O’Brien was invented to make up for the fact that they were so shitty to the Irish before that. It’s particularly funny considering the general progressiveness of the show. In the future, we’re all one and will explore the universe in a spirit of togetherness, unless the dumb Irish come out and fuck shit up. We’ve really advanced as a society expect for you know who. They even break out like a shitty Irish are drunken sacks of shit theme music. Just seems a little squirrelly is all, but what are you gonna do. 
Nothing helps an attempted rape like a nice stroll in your tattered dress
Two other pretty big problems in terms of race and gender. Sulu is just walking along and gets attacked by a samurai. Of course. The planet can read people's thoughts so Sulu was thinking about samurais. I'm sure he's always thinking of them. On account of he's Japanese. Also, Yeoman Barrows almost gets raped. That's what her mind conjures up. She's on a beautiful planet and her mind just wanders to hopefully getting raped. Pretty yikes. 
Dragon: The Hikaru Sulu Story

The whole thing with the vacation planet seems a little weird. Yeah, I know that space is the final frontier and a lot of the places that they’re going haven’t been all that well explored. But people have been out. Are they not talking to each other at all?  Space is big. There’s a lot of places, but I feel some of this should be charted by now. They at least might've heard some rumors about this place. 

Irish and proud and fucking awful


I don’t have anything wrong with fun and silly episodes. Especially after what was a pretty serious affair in Balance of Terror, but this one just did not do it for me. I think it also fell victim to just how late I’d seen it. This is the first time Star Trek has done this kind of episode, but this is a theme they go back to a bunch of times. I also just listened to a podcast about the DS9 episode that’s very similar (Random Trek, if you’re not listening to it, then you’re really missing out). Even though this episode is the first one to do it, I just feel like I’d seen this done so many other times. Almost every time I think it’d been done better anyhow.

Good Trek?

I changed my mind. I rewatched this episode and I was wrong. It’s fun. It’s not the greatest ever, but it’s not all bad. I haven’t spent as much time with this crew as I have the others, but Deforest Kelley does silly well. And his silliness really carries the episode. Shatner doesn’t, but that’s not too much of a surprise because he doesn’t do much of anything all that well. McCoy hitting on the Yeoman merely seconds after she was almost raped seemed a bit much in retrospect, but this isn’t the only TOS episode that gets a little Mad Men. It's fun. The fight between Kirk and Finnegan takes forever. It's a pretty shitty fist fight, even by Kirk's unathletic standards, but all the McCoy scenes make it worthwhile.  
But I had a lot more fun with it the second time. 

Push Trek
Not a Ferengi. Just a bad idea.

If Wishes Were Horses DS9. This is an early DS9 episode that deals with a similar plot device. It’s played a little more seriously. As seriously as any episode that features Rumpelstiltskin in it at least. A subspace anomaly causes manifestations of people’s imaginations. One of them being Rumpelstiltskin. It’s not great. Shore Leave might be better. McCoy really carries that episode, and there's no McCoy in this one to carry it. Just 
Rumpelstiltskin. There's some shittiness in it, but it has its moments. You do get to see Sisko talk to one of his favorite baseball players which is nice because baseball rules and so does Sisko. 

Better Trek



QPid TNG: Generally am not a huge fan of Star Trek characters in settings where they don’t belong. Works sometimes in time travel episodes, which there a bunch. They are literally going back all the time. Temporal prime directive be damned. It’s a wonder they’re able to get any consistency with the timeline at all. Most holodeck episodes suck because who wants to see a bunch of badass starship travelers in the old west? I don’t like the old west. If I was into the old west, I’d be watching some stupid old west show. I’m not, I’m watching a show that’s supposed to be about people trekking through the stars. Anyhow, this is an exception to that rule. Q tries doing Picard a favor and it all goes straight to hell. He makes the crew live out the Robin Hood story, and it’s a fun one. I’ve always had mixed feelings about Q as a character, but John Delance is awesome and he and Patrick Stewart are great together. Vash is a great love interest for Picard, even if she’s underutilized. Plus you get a bonus of one of Worf’s all time great lines. If you looking for a Trek that features Trek crews dealing with storybook characters, then that’s the one I’d go 

Well, that's it for this one. I guess if there's a lesson to be learned it's that if you don't like an episode of Trek the first time, maybe give it another go. Maybe you'll realize just how awesome Deforest Kelley is. 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Good Trek / Bad Trek #15 Balance of Terror

Intro: I’ve loved Star Trek since I was a kid. I started by watching TNG in 6th grade. I’ve been a fan since then and though I’ve spent a lot of time watching Stat Trek, I’ve never watched The Original Series. So, I’m watching and reviewing them as a fan of Star Trek, but one whose never seen any of them. So I’m watching all the TOS episodes for the first time and saying whether or not they suck. At the end, I give examples of better Star Trek to watch that remind me of this episode. That’s it. 

I’m just gonna jump right in. I had a weird week. My bike passed away. It made me pretty bummed, but I’ll probably eulogize her in a  separate post later. Plus, I watched Balance of Terror this week and it’s easily the best TOS episode I’ve seen. Not just the best TOS it’s one of the best Treks ever. This is just such a good hour of TV, I urge everyone to go out and watch it right now. Because I’m gonna spoil some shit pretty quickly. So go do that. I might as well stop doing these because I have trouble believing any TOS episode is going to be better than this one. I’ve heard that City on the Edge of Tomorrow (Tomorrow or Forever, I cant’ remember and don’t feel like looking it up) is supposed to be pretty good, but this episode fucking rules. So watch it. Here we go. 

Recap:

A number of Federation outposts have come under attack lately. Nobody knows who could be doing the attacking. Could it be the Romulans? It very well could be, and in fact, it very much is the Romulans. Kirk is officiating a wedding when the news comes in that yet another outpost is in trouble. 

They think it’s the Romulans. Nobody has really seen them since the war humans and Romulans had. Now they have a small DMZ that neither party is allowed to enter. They both have to stay on either side of what they call the neutral zone. Looks like a Romulan ship has snuck over and been giving these Federation outposts the business. 
The immense vacuum of space rendered in breathtaking 2-D

The outpost is destroyed. Nobody has seen the ship that did it. Turns out that's because they have a cloaking device. Cloaking devices become old hat later, but this is blowing everyone’s minds. Also, the cloaking device isn't perfect. So even though the Enterprise isn’t really able to see the Roman Warbird while it’s cloaked the Warbird isn't really able to see the Enterprise while it’s cloaked. 

I love just how much of this episode is the bridge crew of the Enterprise staring at a blank view screen. It’s amazing how much they’re able to get out of that. They can’t see the ship so they’re all just staring at blank space. I don’t know if that was due to budget constraints so they couldn’t show the Warbird that much or what, but it really works for the episode. 

While we’re talking about the cloaking device, I do like the fact that even though a cloaking device on a space ship is so many years and years ahead of this, it’s kind of neat to think of an amazing technology such as that going through a beta period. It’s almost there, but not quite.

The Enterprise taps into the Warbird’s view screen and are all surprised to find out that Romulans look almost exactly like Vulcans. This doesn’t sit well with some folks. Some people think now that they can’t trust Spock because he might as well be a Romulan on account of them both having pointing ears. I’ve read numerous things about how Gene Roddenberry hated interpersonal conflict. I don’t know if he just wasn't given access to this show or what, but the whole thing about the crewman not trusting Spock because Romulans and Vulcans share a not too distant ancestor. It works. These two species haven't been working together all that long. Of course some humans are going to be dicks about trusting aliens. I thought Kirk being ready and quickly putting aside any racist thoughts was a good move. You could tell this wasn't the first time someone had been shitty about working with aliens. This works in relation to the Enterprise retconning of the Vulcan-human relationship. In that, they just made Vulcans the condescending kind of bad guys.
Romulan Warbird: The touching story of a boy and his bird during WWW2

They go after the Romulan ship and a cat and mouse game ensues. Each captain trying to out maneuver the other. Each ship gets their licks in, and it should come as no surprise that the Enterprise comes out on top. Kirk offers the Romulan captain assistance, which he refuses. Stating that it’s not their way. He offers his congratulations and tells Kirk had they met any other way, they might be friends. Then the ship blows up. It’s pretty fucking badass. 

You can tell Gene Roddenberry was a Navy man. This is a basically a submarine battle that takes place in space. Everything about starships in Trek is very submarine like. It’s the opposite of Battlestar Galactica. Maybe opposite is the wrong way to look at it, because I don’t think air is the opposite of water, but you get what I’m trying to say. BSG is very airforce. Both are neat. Both are kind of weird when you think about space because it’s neither air or water, but both kind of make sense in terms of space. 

The victory wasn’t without sacrifice, though. At the end, we learned that there was a casualty on the Enterprise. It was one-half of the happy couple who were about to get married at the beginning. Because you know. Even as obvious a setup and cheap emotional trick that was, this episode still rules. 
Come on, you knew they both had as much chance of seeing the end credits as a dog in almost any movie about a dog


Good Trek?

Hell yeah. This episode is just the best. I’ve only seen it the once and I think it might be one of my favorite Treks of all time. It’s just so good. 

This seems like a really DS9 episode. It doesn't fit in with most of the rest of the season. This episode is a tight cat and mouse war drama, and next week’s episode is one where the crew is being attacked by the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. 

Worse Trek:

If the only thing you like about this episode is that one guy being a racist douche to Spock then I guess I’d go with the pilot of Enterprise. I guess he’s not being racist, but he’s being speciesist(?). Regardless. It’s not great. Enterprise is, for the most part, a mess and this episode is no different. It’s very much a mess. But at the same time, you get to see how humans and Vulcans don’t always get along. A lot of it is a messy retcon, and it feels like it. But I guess it’s worth a watch. 

Push Trek:

I wouldn’t say it’s better Trek, but I’d check out TNG’s The Defector. It’s a badass episode. You get to see another (better) captain in a battle of wits with some Romulans. Also, you get to learn a little bit more about Romulans as a whole. They’re great antagonists. Particularly in these two episodes. They make a great alternative to the Federation. Far better than the Klingons do for the most part. I don’t really know too much about TOS Klingons because I haven’t seen them popup yet. I know they’re supposed to be a stand-in for the USSR. I guess we’ll see. But the Romulans are just great. 


I guess you could also watch the 2009 Star Trek. There are a lot of similarities between this episode and the movie. I don’t know if the Abrams movie ending was modeled after this or what, but there are a lot of similarities. Not that that’s a bad thing because again, this is a really really good episode. Next week’s episode probably won’t be. For some reason, Bones is being chased by the White Rabbit. That looks dumb and I'm sure it'll suck. But they can’t all be Balance of Terror I guess. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Good Trek / Bad Trek #14 The Conscience of the King

Intro: I’ve loved Star Trek since I was a kid. I started by watching TNG in 6th grade. I’ve been a fan since then and though I’ve spent a lot of time watching Stat Trek, I’ve never watched The Original Series. So, I’m watching and reviewing them as a fan of Star Trek, but one whose never seen any of them. So I’m watching all the TOS episodes for the first time and saying whether or not they suck. At the end, I give examples of better Star Trek to watch that remind me of this episode. That’s it. 

The world is still going (gone?) to shit which is nice. The Oscars were last night. I didn’t watch them because I never do. They're dumb and boring. I don't get why anyone would care whether someone gets a stupid award. It's nice that people are excited about how they're getting better at diversity, but since the last movie I saw in theaters was Sausage Party I don't really think that I'm in any position to talk about The Academy or the state of film. Sausage Party was not bad, for the record. Not awful. But not great either. 

It's been a couple weeks and I feel bad, but I was working on something else. I don't owe any of you an apology because you don't pay the bills, but whatever. The other thing I was working on also won't pay the bills. From my experience, nothing will ever. In my experience, most of comedy is working really hard on something and then sending it someone who didn't ask for it. Then 99 times out of 100 they don't do shit with it because they didn't ask for it and don't really want it. So why would they?

Nobody really asked for me to write about the Trek either, but here we are. I really didn’t feel like watching Trek today. I was talking about Dollhouse last night and now I kinda want to watch that. It’s a solid show, but I don’t think that I can do twelve episodes of Star Trek and just switch this over to a Dollhouse blog all of a sudden. Plus. There’s only a couple seasons of Dollhouse (a couple solid seasons). So there’d be no Good House / Bad House. It’s all pretty goddamn good. Also, if I named something Good House / Bad House then people might assume it’s about that show House. Which I hated. I only watched it a handful of times but it was enough to realize that it was not for me. If you're a House fan, that's fine. Just not my thing. 

I'm getting sidetracked a lot here. I watched The Conscience of the King today and it was pretty goddamn good. 

Recap:

Kirk thinks that an actor in a traveling theater troop named Anton Karidian might be an old despot named Kodos who killed a bunch of Earth colonists twenty years prior. People think that he's been dead for years. Kirk's buddy convinces Kirk to look into it. He tricks the theater troop into relying on the Enterprise for a ride to their next gig. Which is good for two reasons. For starters, it'll give Kirk a chance to look into the actor/despot. Kirk is also sweet on the actor's daughter, Lenore Karidian. So he can get his flirt on too. 

Ass, Grass, or Dilithium

The actors are there it's revealed that only two people are able to recognize Kodos. Kirk and a lowly Lieutenant. Shortly after they realize that only those two would know him. Seems a little weird that there's only two people in the galaxy that can identify this character. But I guess people who would recognize him have been disappearing for years. Seems every time this theater troop around one of them, they end up being murdered. Murdered most foul. Then someone tries to kill him. So this guy is probably definitely Kodos. Meanwhile, things are really heating up between Kirk and Kodos' daughter. 

Someone tries to kill Kirk, so he confronts Kodos. Turns out the daughter is the one who tried to kill Kirk and the young Lieutenant Reilly. She was trying to eliminate all the folks who may be able to put away her dad. Makes sense. There's a struggle and she accidentally kills her dad. During a performance of Hamlet. A little too much, but still. 

Good Trek?

Yes. This one is solid. I think I still want to get back into Dollhouse, but even though I didn’t want to watch this episode it was some pretty goddamn good TV. I’m not saying this is the best episode of TOS I’ve watched, but this is when Trek is at it’s best, but it’s an hour-long drama that’s set on a spaceship. It was really enjoyable. I like the chemistry between both Kodos and his daughter. I believe that he genuinely seems to care for her. I don't really get that only seven people getting eyeballs on Kodos can put him away. That doesn't really make a lick of sense, but who gives a shit, it was a hell of a ride. 
Kirk and his buddy Opera Phantom

I like to think that in the future theater troops are at the whim of whoever can give them a ride. Because fuck them. 
Sick Vulcan burn

I’d like to know if Yeoman Rand and Lenore Karidian had met before this. Usually, a look like this requires some history.



Star Trek characters always have a thing for Shakespeare. I don’t. I have trouble thinking folks a few hundred years in the future are still doing Hamlet in traditional garb. If they want to watch something great from Earth's past, I think they should check out Star Trek. It's pretty sick. 

I like how Spock realizes something is up with Kirk and it just pisses him off that he doesn’t get to know. Sorry Spock, you don't get to be in on everything. Maybe you're not as smart as you thought you smug piece of shit. (Just kidding buddy, you're the best Spock)

Don’t really get the whole Uhura singing. She’s great. Her voice is just fine, but good gravy does it kill the flow of the episode. 
Love that McCoy is just in his office getting fucking tanked

Kirk calls for a "double red alert." I love that. Double red alert. You know how red alert means the ship is in immediate peril? Well, like that but TIMES TWO!

This was a cool shot I thought. Just focusing on her eyes while she was talking about murdering folks at the end. That's it. 

Push Trek: TNG's The Vengeance Factor

If you're looking to see a woman try to wipe a bunch of folks off the map at her personal expense then this is a good one. I'm trying to decide which one is better, and I think it might be the TOS one. 

Better Trek: DS9 Duet

This is a better early DS9. Kira is one of the best characters that DS9 gave us and this is one of her better episodes. Least one of her better early ones. There were more than a few missteps with early DS9. There's usually missteps with early seasons of any Star Trek. This is an early gem, though. Kira meets the man she feels is responsible for countless Bajoran deaths. If you haven't seen it, I don't want to give too much away, but it's great. Better than this episode even though this one was good. 

Good House


You know the whole run is really solid. Just give it a watch. I wish now that Joss Whedon can do no wrong they’d make him go back and redo all the stuff that got canceled too soon. I've never seen Buffy. I probably should get in on that some day. I bet I'll enjoy it. But seriously, treat yourself and watch some Dollhouse in addition to Conscience of the King. 

Next week we get to meet the Romulans for the first time. Should be good.