Friday, September 15, 2017

Finally, A White Guy Who Has Not Read But Has An Opinion On Hillary's Book and Also, Good Trek Bad Trek #37 Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

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 Star Trek, I’ve never watched The Original Series. So, I’m watching and reviewing them as a fan of Star Trek, but one who’s 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 and/or worse Star Trek episodes to watch that remind me of this episode. Usually, I ramble on about some bullshit before the Trek. That’s it.

Big week for media releases. There was a special screening of Star Trek 2 that was in theaters to mark the 35th anniversary of its release. In addition to that, some lady named Hillary Clinton released a book. It caused quite the stir. I guess this Clinton character ran for something called the “presidency” last year and evidently it did not go as planned. Some folks are welcoming this book others are pretty angry about it. They think that she should just go away and only be seen in blurry shots of her in the woods. 

I haven’t read the book yet. For starters, it just came out and I’m a really slow reader. Even if I picked it up at midnight the day it came out like some kind of Harry Potter nerd for politics I’d probably still be going through the preface. Also, I was not a Hillary fan. I voted for her. I’m sure she would’ve been a good president but I wasn’t a huge fan. I listened to her on the Pod Save America podcast and now I kinda want to. I want to hear more about why she thinks she lost.

Listening to her on that podcast didn’t make me think that she was right about all the reasons she lost. I think she has way too rosy a view on how civil the 2008 primary was. She remembers a very civil affair akin to a French salon where she and Obama traded lofty ideals with a snifter of cognac and there were no hard feelings on either side afterward. Maybe that was her experience from the inside. On the outside looking in it looked a whole hell of a lot less so. I remember some borderline racist comments from both her and her husband. Her thoughts on the media landscape are interesting. I think any look at how any Democrat has lost anything in the past 25 that doesn’t put some blame on Bill Clinton rings hollow. I’m a little biased, but I think Bill Clinton is a monster who did irreparable damage to the Democratic party and until the whole party comes together and says “fuck that guy” they’re going to have a huge blind spot. I liked hearing her take on the media landscape. Though I really don’t think the Democrats need to create their own Breitbart. The last thing this country needs is yet another news source catering to dumb dumbs party loyalists who want to be told how right they are about everything. I also really enjoyed hearing her thoughts about running as the first woman. She was open and frank in a way that she rarely has been and it made me want to read the rest of the book. 

Regardless of what you think of her breakdown of the election, she was the nominee. She was the nominee and shit went down and she lost. A whole bunch of stuff went into that loss. Some of it she’s spot on about. Others, I think she’s pretty wrong about. She thinks that Bernie didn’t respect the process because he’s not a real Democrat. She’s right. He’s not a real Democrat and he did make a lot of waves in the Democratic primary. That’s not saying she’s right in that being an unfair thing that happened to her. It means that maybe people don’t really give a shit about being a proper Democrat. They shouldn’t. The Democratic party has been sucking for a long time. If you’re a creature of the Democratic party you might not be able to see how much you guys suck. 

If you think she’s wrong about all her assessments about why she lost the election then book carries more weight not less. Regardless of what you think of Hillary, she was a much better candidate than Trump and her loss is our loss. Sometimes you’re too close to see your mistakes clearly. Her running for the presidency is a lot like this here blog. I will proofread it. Probably. Unless it takes too long to write it, then I’ll just say “fuck it” and publish it. Regardless of whether or not I do though it will probably be riddled with tpyos. Because I wrote it, I know what I was going for so they’re harder for me to pick up. Hillary’s campaign was also riddled with typos. She proofread it. Then it went live. Now she’s reproof reading it. But boy oh boy, there’s still a whole bunch of errors in there. Her thoughts about why she lost are important. Equally important are the other reasons for her loss that she isn’t able to see.

Regardless of what you think of Hillary’s book, I think we can all agree that Trump having access to the nuclear arsenal is almost as bad as Khan Noonien Sing having access to the Genesis Device. I watched Star Trek 2 last weekend. 

Recap:

Kirk is old. Not nearly as old as he is now, but he’s getting older. He’s an admiral and he’s bored with life. He’s helping train a new crew for the Enterprise and also it’s his birthday. So he’s bummed. He takes the training crew out at the same time that Pavel Chekov and his new captain are looking for barren planets to test something called the Genesis Device. A machine that takes a barren planet and immediately causes life to spring up out of nowhere immediately. The planet has to be barren because if it isn’t then all the life currently on there dies. They get to the planet and, SURPRISE, it’s not barren. Khan and his crew have been living there since Kirk and the gang abandoned there after the events of the episode Space Seed. 
The incomparable Ricardo Montalbán

They put bugs in Chekov’s ear and that makes him do whatever Khan tells him to. He wants the Genesis Machine and he also wants murder Kirk for all the abandoning him on a planet that went nuts and is now a barren death trap. 

Chesty La Rue

Kirk comes out and gets attacked by Chekov’s commandeered ship. Both ships are damaged and hiding. It’s a great movie and you should watch it. I guess I won’t give the ending away, but despite the fact that Kirk feels old and washed up, maybe it’s those years of experience that will help him get an edge up on his old nemesis. It’s more like a submarine drama than it is a space action flick. It’s really good and now that I’m more familiar with the crew I liked it even more. 

Good Trek:

Yeah. It’s great. I only saw it for the first time a couple years ago. It was the third TOS movie I saw. I saw 6 in theaters and 4 when it was playing on TV one day when I was a kid. Seeing it in a vacuum I liked it, but I always thought it was good but kind of overrated. I guess I still do, but for different reasons. I don’t know why it’s considered the best Trek movie. That is 6 I think by a country mile. I don’t know how this revitalized the franchise, I can’t really see how this would have appealed to a larger crowd than were already into the show. It’s very dependent on knowing what came before. It really helps to have a relationship with the aging crew and with knowing the relationship the crew had with Khan. I liked it when I first saw it, but this time I loved it. I still prefer The Undiscovered Country more, but I liked it so much more this time through. 


For as mediocre an actor Kirstie Alley is, you’d think portraying an emotionless Vulcan would be right up her alley. You’d think that and you’d be wrong because she’s just awful.

It's obvious that it's a sequel to Space Seed. The villain is the same and all that, but it feels a lot like Balance of Terror, Which is still my absolute favorite TOS episode as of now. Only halfway through, but still. I guess the director watched all of TOS before making this looking for plots to use. It shows in that he seemed to really get the crew and how they interact. It also showed in that he seemed to really get what made the show fun to watch and how these characters would respond given being faced with Khan's wrath. I, like the director, am watching all TOS episodes. Not because I'm cramming to direct a movie. Just for the fuck of it. 
Me and the Star Trek II poster. Not pictured is my embarassed wife who snapped it. 

Now being more familiar with the TOS crew and with the episode Space Seed where we first meet Khan, it’s amazing. When I first saw the movie Khan was just a pretty old guy with jacked pecks for a guy his age. I gathered that he was left on a planet by Kirk, but I didn't’ really get the hatred. If you haven’t seen it you should watch it. After you watch Space Seed you should watch this. It’s very very good. 

Bad Trek:

Shatner droning on about some Stupid Shatner bullshit 

Before the feature, there was an interview some guy from Access Hollywood did with Shatner. It was about twenty minutes long and it was fucking brutal. Just awful. William Shatner is a dumb boring blowhard and even though I just paid money to watch the movie I wanted to walk out for subjecting us all to that awful part of it. Jesus Christ. Even the interviewer. A guy who does this for a living looked like he was gonna blow his brains out halfway through one of Shatner’s dumb ass rambling non-stories. The interviewer was a self-proclaimed Star Trek nerd who had a Trek themed bar mitzvah and couldn’t wait to talk to Shatner. Soon as he got five minutes into the interview realized that it was a mistake and couldn’t wait to get out of there. If you want to watch something good watch Khan. If you want to watch something awful watch Shatner speak about anything for any amount of time. 

That's it for this week. I'll probably go back to watching episodes again next week. Unless they rerelease Trek 6 in theaters. Then I'll probably watch that. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

I Got New Old Pants & GTBT #36 The Doomsday Machine

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 Star Trek, I’ve never watched The Original Series. So, I’m watching and reviewing them as a fan of Star Trek, but one who’s 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’d like to think that this isn't just a Trek blog, but a lifestyle blog. The lifestyle of a guy who likes to watch Trek. And one-half of lifestyle is style. To that end, I got pants that I’m pretty excited about. Not just any ordinary pants. Pants I gave away years ago. Didn’t like them and they didn’t fit. So I gave them to my buddy Max. Max had them for a few years turns out he didn’t like them either. So he gave them back to me, but something had changed. I don’t know if I’m not the person I used to be or these pants have changed or both. Whatever has happened me and the pants have never been happier. So just like the saying goes, if you love something let your buddy Max have it for a while. If it’s meant to be it’ll come back after he realizes that he doesn’t really like it either. But maybe this time you'll like it. Who knows. 

Know what else was a perfect fit, this week’s episode of Trek. Which is The Doomsday Machine and it’s great. 

Recap

We got some dramatic music. Danger is afoot. The gang is running around what should be very dense star systems. There should be all sorts of planets, but there is just rubble. What could cause this kind of destruction? Probably the titular Doomsday Machine. I mean, the episode probably wouldn't be called The Doomsday Machine if a machine that brings doom wasn’t the focus of it. 
I love McCoy, but you don't have to be a mechanic to have heard the phrase "doomsday machine" before today


They’re out there because they’re looking for a Federation ship, the Constellation. Which they do in short order. It’s adrift, not answering hails, and looks like shit. They go over to investigate. They find the captain. Matt Decker. He’s not looking great. He beamed his whole crew down to the third planet. Then the third planet got doomsday machined. Doomsday machined most foul. 

Doomsday machines cause you to become a divorced uncle three days into a bender

The Enterprise encounters the doomsday machine which is a miles long tube that destroys ships and planets and takes the debris in as fuel. Decker outranks Spock and decides to take command of the Enterprise while Kirk and Scotty are tinkering with the Constellation. Decker wants to attack the machine. Spock wants to get Kirk back.  

Good Trek?

Hell yeah. This is one of the best episodes I’ve seen so far. Ranks right up there with Balance of Terror which is still by far my favorite TOS episode. 

In 1967 the eventual inventor of the pocket pussy saw the doomsday machine and history was to be made 

When Star Trek Into Darkness came out my friend Danny and I were talking about what a swing and a miss it was. There was so much to hate about it. Not the least of which would be the lack of a colon in the title. The first Trek reboot was so fun and well done it came as a shock how bad it was. Why remake Wrath of Khan? Why? That’s a pretty universally adored Trek film. Seems like not the way to go. When we were talking about it Danny said suggested that if they wanted to just redo something take an old episode that could be expanded upon and redone with better effects. This episode specifically. There’s so much going on here that would've made a great movie. You have everything. It’s a solid episode and it would’ve made an amazing movie. Fuck you, JJ Abrams and fuck your Wrath of Harrison. You could’ve done some great stuff.

Doomsday machines cause your ship to tilt thirty degrees. Which shouldn't cause everyone to freak out given the lack of gravity, 3D nature of space, and internal dampeners but that might be a nitpick
Watching this episode, which is very good I kept on thinking how much better a movie this would have made as opposed to Into Darkness. They could have brought back Captain Pike in the Decker role. They could have made the actual doomsday machine look less ridiculous. Even though it doesn’t look awful with the updated effects. They could have had some shore leave on one of these destroyed planets to give it some emotional resonance. Could’ve been amazing. Still a good episode. But would’ve made an absolute bananas movie. It’s a shame. 


Captain Decker is out to give Kirk a run for his money in the shitty overacting department. Yeah, 400 of his crew are dead, but Jesus Christ get a hold of yourself. 

The USS Constellation is raging against the doomsday machine
The doomsday machine is a giant planet destroying tube. Okay. I’ll go along with that, but something that takes in fuel and gets more and more powerful is a perpetual motion machine, right? That’s impossible I think, but I really have no idea.  Really the science behind the doomsday machine's fuel and Matt Becker's shitty acting are the only issues with this episode. It's awesome. I guess maybe doomsday "device" would've sounded better than "machine," but I'll let that slide. 

Worse Trek?

Star Trek Into Darkness. I don’t know. Some people love that movie, but I thought it was pretty lame. The effects are neat. The cast is all solid. The shot of the Enterprise rising out of the clouds is something I could watch all day every day. It just pissed me off. Maybe you’ll like it. I don’t know. One thing's for certain is that it’s not nearly as good as this top notch episode. 


TNG: Arsenal of Freedom. A season one TNG that’s not awful in terms of the episodes that surround it, but still sucks. The TNG crew beam down to a planet that’s been taken over by weapon drones. Turns out they were all part of a weapons sales pitch that got a little out of hand, and now everyone is dead. Rampant consumerism and weaponized drones…Sound familiar, AMERICA! It’s not great. Watch this one instead. 

That's it for this one. I don't know which one is next week, but I'm sure it'll suck compared to this one. 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Goodby Justin Verlander and GT/BT #35 The Apple

Been a weird week for me. My day job laid off a bunch of people. The Detroit Tigers are a fucking mess. Justin Verlander has been a huge piece of The Tigers since I bot back into baseball. Watching him in an Astros uniform is going to be really weird for the next few years. I am not looking forward to this rebuild, and from the looks of it, it’s going to be a brutal one. Also, I don’t want to get laid off. I like my job. I don’t know. Everything is a mess and we’re all gonna die someday. So let’s just say I have a lot invested in Star Trek right now If Discovery isn’t amazing then I’m gonna lose my shit. Hopefully, it’s better than this utterly ridiculous episode, which was The Apple. Hmmm. Wonder what this will be a metaphor for?

Recap:

Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Yeoman Martha Landon, Chekhov, and a bunch of red shirts are investigating a seemingly perfect planet. Surprise! It’s not perfect as one of the red shirts immediately gets shot and killed by a plant. Nobody seems too thrown by this. Then Spock gets shot by another plant and everyone freaks out. He’s fine though. 

They find the inhabitants and they’re all pretty primitive and they live to serve a giant cave robot named Vaal. Also, they don’t ever age. Which is weird. And also, there’s a tractor beam that’s sucking the ship in. Which is no good. Because it could mean the death of everyone aboard. Kirk is pretty sure that Vaal is responsible for the tractor beam and why they can’t beam up. 
Dead shirt #1

The landing party seems less disturbed by the fact that half of them has been murdered by the planet and more by the fact that since Vaal has been providing everything for them the inhabitants of the planet don’t age, but they also aren’t growing as a people. They haven’t technologically advanced in thousands of years. They also don’t have sex which seems to drive McCoy nuts. 
Dead Shirt #2

They phaser Vaal into submission and condemn the people to have to fend for themselves. Bad news: They’re gonna age and die. Good news: Now they get to learn how to fuuuuuuck!

Good Trek?

No, sir. Not only was this bad Trek. This was so bad that it was almost good. It was bad enough where it was fun to watch. It was so bad that I can’t wait to watch it again. It checks all the bad Treks. It’s got some fantastic 60’s era sexism, the heaviest of a heavy handed message, red shirt after red shirt getting offed in ridiculous fashion.

We get fifteen minutes in before three red shirts are dispatched. The fourth and final lasts almost the whole episode before he gets his skull bashed in. I heard that this episode is the birth of the all red shirts are doomed to die trope. I can see why. When the first three die I kept on yelling at the last. Dude, just wait in one of the huts until this all blows over. You’re just an ensign. This isn’t worth it. 
Vaal: What 60’s sci-fi imagined an all powerful computer might look like

They didn't even try to save the first red shirt who gets shot by the plant. He goes down and that’s it. Everyone is just like “well, that sick of shit is gone. Let’s keep on exploring this planet.” Then as soon as Spock goes down McCoy goes into overdrive to save him. Dude, you’re a doctor. Your oath is not sitting idly by while harm happens. 

Here’s your weekly evidence that the 60s were a much different time than today. Chekhov just wants to fuck the yeoman. Danger be damned we’re in a weird forest and watched two of our comrades die. Let’s get our sex on. 

Dude, seriously?

A Trek nerd problem. At one point Kirk asks Spock knows how much Starfleet has invested in him to which he immediately responds with a  figure in the hundreds of thousands. Of what? I don’t know. This is supposed to be a post scarcity society. I’ve watched a lot of Trek in my day. So Starfleet started out buying and selling folks. Gold pressed latinum maybe. But bricks, bars, strips? What? I don’t think there was money in Enterprise. So in the Enterprise timeline, there’s no money. Then they start using money again for a little while. Then they become post scarcity again. 
something something DRUMPF something

Another Trek nerd thing. Yo, the Prime Directive. That’s the main rule of Starfleet. It says that they shouldn’t interfere with less technologically advanced societies. Why are they even on this planet? This is a pre-warp civilization and they’re just running around fucking shit up all around them. They should never have been there in the first place. I know it’s not, but next episode should be Kirk’s court martial. 
Oompa Loompa doo pity gin
Find a large stick and bash their heads in


The bit of levity where they’re all eating and the yeoman is trying to figure out they'll be taught sex is pretty funny. Seems a little fucked to have that light moment when people are dying left and right, but it was intentional humor that actually worked. 
Love is the attempted rape of a subordinate in the woods 

Spock has been poisoned and also struck by lighting. When he got struck by literal lightning he got second-degree burns. Meanwhile, red shirts are being dispatched left and right. they're just being offed like nobody’s business. Really pays to have your name in the credits, I guess. 
Dead shirt #3: Last red shirt getting mighty nervous right about now
So they just don't try to figure out what Vaal is or how it got there? Seems like a big mystery to me. A mystery that might make for a good episode of Trek. No? We're just gonna move on? Alright. Cool. I guess that's it then. 
And dead shirt #4. Adios, cannon fodder!



Worse Trek:

This is a great bad one to watch. I don’t want to recommend anything worse because anything I could recommend would be bad, but in a way that’s not nearly as fun as this. I guess you could watch The Happening. That movie also has people being killed by plants. Mark Wahlberg is as close to a modern day Shatner that I can think of. If you want to watch an even worse garden of Eden allegory that’s fun and silly but god awful, I’d say go with the movie The Apple. Both are entertaining in the worst ways. 

Better Trek:

Star Trek Insurrection. Say what you will about this movie. It’s not known as one of the good ones and I have no idea why. It’s great. People criticize it as just being a long episode with better effects. Yeah. That sounds awesome. It’s about a primitive group of people on a planet that doesn’t age. Also, features some pretty crazy Prime Directive violations. I like it. 


That’s it for this week. Next week is one of the better episodes. The Doomsday Machine. I’ve seen that one already and it’s solid. Other than that I say thanks for the memories JV. You’ve been fun as hell to watch over the years. I hope you get a ring this year. 


Friday, August 25, 2017

The Wrongest Thing On The Internet & Good Trek #34 Mirror, Mirror

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 Star Trek, I’ve never watched The Original Series. So, I’m watching and reviewing them as a fan of Star Trek, but one who’s 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 read a lot of internet comments. Partially because it’s my job. I read internet comments for a job. It’s a weird job. I’ve been doing that full time for a few years and every time I think that these weirdos won’t be able to surprise me they find a way to be so fucking nuts that I can’t help but take notice. I was reading some comments about the upcoming remake of Death Wish. I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but there’s a movie called Death Wish. Then there were a bunch of sequels. Now there will be a reboot. It’s got Moonlighting's Bruce Willis and it looks like shit. If you’re not familiar with the Death Wishes they’re about a guy whose family is attacked by gang members so he goes around New York City murdering people. Casting a dude who looks an awful lot like George Zimmerman to play a guy who murdering folks he doesn’t want in his neighborhood. 

This movie, like pretty much everything ever, has divided the internet on ideological lines. Liberals look at this movie and see a crass piece of shit that looks like it standing for vigilante murderers and young (mostly black men) having their civil rights being robbed and being murdered by cops and shitheads who think they’re cops. Conservatives love watching criminals get murdered. I don’t want to paint with too broad a brush, but they seem to like watching criminals get murdered more if the criminal is black. That’s what I’ve noticed on the internet. It’s creepy and weird and wrong. 

Anyhow, I was reading the comments regarding the controversy around this movie and I came across this gem: “Viagra ain’t got nothing on this trailer.” Hey, holy fuck. I don’t care whether the idea of a new Death Wish has you running out to buy tickets or not, what it shouldn't be doing is having you running off to buy lube. That’s gross and weird. I know he was joking but even so, that’s not cool.I like to think that he wasn’t being facetious. That he has a picture of Bruce Willis and/or Charles Bronson tacked up to his headboard. Then I think about his poor poor wife. Telling a partner what you’re into can be tough. There’s a lot of weird stuff out there. Telling her about what gets his motor going she was probably expecting something like nurses or one of the other standards. But then he sat her down and in front of the laptop, fired up the internet and made her watch the official trailer for Death Wish and explains to her that there’s been something missing from their love life. A spark that’s been gone since Death Wish 5 killed the franchise and with it his boner. Then she has to make a choice. I feel for her. 

I tell you what isn't going to be giving anyone any boners, and that’s this week’s episode of Trek. It was Mirror, Mirror and despite a crazy sex pun that I’m amazed made it past 1960’s TV censors it was a real boner killer. 

Recap:

Kirk, Uhura, Scotty, and McCoy are on a planet negotiating whether or not they can mine the planet’s Dilithium crystals. The folks who run this planet say they won’t because there’s a chance they’ll use them for war. Kirk smugly tells them that they’re super peaceful and are good folks. Which is kind of dumb because there’s already been a bunch of skirmishes. They get beamed up and oh no! Everything has changed. They find themselves in a weird backward universe where everything and everyone is violent and evil. You can tell this because Spock has a goatee. Also, he tortures someone for a simple fuck up. 
60’s America: Not cool with interracial kissing, but okay the least subtle wet pussy pun ever punned

They realize they have to try to blend in. Chekov tries to kill Kirk to get a promotion. Sulu tries to rape Uhura on the bridge. Twice. Don’t care how savage your universe is you’re probably not raping a fellow officer in full view of everyone else. 

Practice make perfucked

They realize that an ion storm caused a transporter malfunction and they need to recreate it soon in order to get back home. Hopefully, before they murdered and/or raped. Which is becoming more difficult because Spock is on to them due to Kirk not murdering the Dilithium people. There’s a lot of fights and also evil Kirk evidently has this weird kill machine in his quarters that his girlfriend wants him to use, which he declines because he’s not evil Kirk, he’s just incompetent Kirk. 

The subtle face of evil

Spock and Kirk fight. Kirk wins. McCoy risks letting his window back home close to help save evil Spock’s life. Evil Spock shows some humanity by helping them all go back to the normal universe. Where Kirk meets the good version of his evil girlfriend. 

Good Trek?

I really expected to hate this episode. I’m familiar enough with the dark mirror universe. It seems like a silly trope which gets sillier and sillier the more times they do it. I didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would, but I didn’t like it. So I’ll say that no, this was not even remotely good Trek. The whole concept of an entire universe where everyone acts the opposite seems like something that actors like to do. I’m sure it can be boring playing the same character day in and day out. You want to mix stuff up. So you have the writers dream up a universe where you get to act all silly and overact the shit out an episode. 
Hey, Kirk, you're trying to keep that you're in the wrong universe a secret. Why the fuck are you recording captain's logs, you dumb shit?

Hey, listen. I know it’s a show. And it’s kind of a silly show at that. But come the fuck on. So these two societies evolved completely differently. One in which everyone is normal and one in which everyone is violent and hateful and mean and all that stuff. And someone all these same people ended up serving on the same ship which looks remarkably similar to the other one. It’s just a little too silly. Maybe if you look at it in a way where there’s just millions upon millions of alternate universes and this is the one that looks like this. But still. I think it’s a lazy plot device that led to a lot of bad performances. 
Nazi Spocks, fuck off

This strikes me as an outfit that Shatner picked out himself because he wanted to look sexy and show off his guns. So I say he deserves to have ridicule heaped upon him. Seriously. I would love to talk to a woman who watched this back in the sixties to see if he was thought of as a sexy person. He’s just so doughy and dumb looking.

60's women liked their men with all the dough and grease of a Chicago style pizza


I’m sure it looked fine back in the 60’s but Sulu’s scar is some of the absolute worst makeup effects that I’ve ever seen, but it still looks better than Spock’s goatee. 

So this different universe affected multiple planets? The whole universe is “dark.”  Everyone is dark and evil in this universe because who knows. The one planet not affected by the darkness of this dark universe is the planet that kicks off the plot. Wouldn’t they be dark and evil too? They’re still pacifists to make Kirk’s moral dilemma harder. I call bullshit.

Worse Trek?

DS9 did a bunch of episodes in the mirror universe. I’m not a huge fan of any of them. Deep Space 9 is probably my favorite show of all time. But good gravy do all the actors ham the shit out of those mirror universe episodes. Sisko is an amazing character, but drunk evil Sisko sucks (I’m sorry, Mr. Brooks). None of those DS9 ones are worse than this, but they’re not great. Especially some of the ones towards the end of the run where so many story lines were coming together then we had to spend an episode in the dark universe. It was just such a waste of time.

I also read one of the novels. TNG stayed away from the dark mirror universe, but that didn’t stop a writer from trying it. It was bad. Even for a Star Trek novel, it was bad. I don’t recall the name of it. Just that it really sucked. TNG never got into the mirror universe, but they did the next worse thing. They gave Data an evil twin. Brent Spiner is great, but Jesus Christ his episodes where he plays both Data and Lore and pretty brutal.


Better Trek?

Enterprise did two episodes in the mirror universe. They weren’t great, but they were fun in terms of fan service. Plus they redid the opening credits to reflect the dark nature of the universe. It was silly and fun. There it is. 


TNG: Parallels. One of my absolute favorite Treks. Word finds himself jumping between alternate dimensions where everything is just a little different. Luckily all them alternate universes had him serving on the Enterprise and none of the shifting just had him deposited in open space. You’d think if you jump enough times that would be a very real possibility. But alas, he doesn’t. It’s great. One of my all time favorite episodes. 


Well, that’s it for this one. Please don’t jack off to the Death Wish trailer. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Good Trek/Bad Trek #33 The Changeling & My Wife & Charlotteville

Obviously a big week for current events or what I like to call in what I like to call non-trek news. A lady was killed protesting Nazis and our President was a real raging cunt about the whole thing. Fuck that guy. 

The whole white power rally started because they were being a bunch of whiny babies over the fact that a statue of Robert E. Lee was being torn down. This pissed these idiots off. They think removing statues is the same as erasing history. That is very wrong. I do love that argument though. That removing statues of Confederate folks is somehow erasing history. If for no other reason than it implies that there’s a certain segment of America that gets all their history from statues and probably other landmarks and nothing else. These dumb dumbs imply that the only record of any of this shit happening is a bronze asshole on a horse. I'd like to think we've been writing a lot of this stuff down somewhere. I imagine these people indignantly going "45 presidents? Uhh, I don’t think so pal. I don't know what your fancy "books" say but the America I live in has had 6. You got the 4 on the mountain. You got Lincoln. You got Washington. Who we all know was the super tall and skinny one." 

It's the same with weirdos angry about the lack of white history month. I've never come across anyone angry about the lack of white history month who seems like much a history buff. Folks get angry about the lack of a white history month. You’re a grown-ass adult. There’s nothing stopping you from reading about history. I can’t imagine it really changes your life as an adult. You’re just sitting there not reading history getting angry that some kids that may or may not have been getting a better education than you did.

Well anyhow, the world is going to shit, and this episode of Trek is The Changeling and wasn't that much better than our fucked political climate. 

Recap:

This week we have The Changeling. The gang is running around and realize that a full four planets that are supposed to be brimming with life are vacant. That’s bizarre. Looks like danger is afoot. Just as they realize that a giant green beam comes out of nowhere and gives them the business. They’re in trouble until they hail whatever it is that’s shooting at them. Soon as they do they it wants to talk. They beam it on board and it’s a small self-aware probe going by the name Nomad and it thinks Captain Kirk is its creator. 

Nomad is pretty heavily armed and it think’s its mission is to go and cleanse any system it encounters that are less than perfect. Bad news for everyone it encounters because it thinks that all biological life forms are imperfect. Good news for the Enterprise it’s pretty keen on Kirk. So it’s cool for now. Nomad kills Scotty. Wipes Uhura’s mind clean. Brings Scotty back to life. And unceremoniously dispatches four red shirts. Spock does a mind meld and we learn that this was an old Earth probe that accidentally fused with another planet’s probe whose mission was cleansing impure dirt samples. 

The probe realizes that Kirk is not perfect so Nomad decides it decides to kill everyone on the Enterprise. Kirk then points out to the robot that it itself is imperfect because it confused Kirk for its creator. That blows its feeble mind and that’s it. Threat over. 

Good Trek?

It was okay. It certainly wasn’t great. I read that it was one of the few episodes that take place entirely on the Enterprise. I guess that was neat. I didn’t think it was awful, it just dragged. I don’t know if all shows were paced this terribly in the 60s or if Trek was just a particularly bad offender, but it’s a slow episode. The redone effects at the beginning look solid. But Nomad looks pretty silly. Doesn’t help that any TV made in the past fifteen years has a resolution that enables you to see the string letting Nomad float through the corridors. One thing I thought was neat were the Nomad POV shots. You get to float along with Nomad as the crew gives it the stink eye. 
I like Uhura, but singing at work should be punishable by death

Also, it seemed a bit farfetched that Kirk was the one to get in a battle of wits with a super intelligent robot. This episode was made for Spock. The fact that he’s sidelined the whole time didn’t seem right. He should’ve been the hero. 

Which as a DS9 fan was a bit of a letdown, because I was hoping by the title that maybe we'd get to see an early forebear of Odo. No such luck. Just some dumb robot who Kirk calls a changeling at one point. 


Bitches, AMIRIGHT!

The whole thing with Uhura is fucked up. Nomad wipes her mind clean. Erases all her memories, and everyone doesn’t seem to think like this is going to be a big deal. You can’t just be told about your own life and then be the same person. I think there’s a shitty Harrison Ford movie about that very thing. She is done as a person. She is done. The Uhura they all knew and loved has been lost forever and nobody gives a shit. But Nurse Chapel is there teaching her to read at a first-grade level and it’s treated like that’s just adorable. 
"No, you fucking idiot, in English"

But enough about me. I started writing this because I thought it would be fun to do a Trek blog that folks who aren’t that familiar with Trek might enjoy. I have no idea if I’m succeeding in that regard, but this week I decided to make my wife, Erica watch both this episode and two of the better Treks with me.

Wife Trek?

She says no. Much more emphatic no than I thought. I wasn’t blown away by this one, but she thought it was boring. In her defense, it was a boring episode. I’ve been watching these for a while now so I’m getting used to the pacing of these old episodes, where she has not. Watching a show that plods along this slowly can be jarring. 
Kirk giving a merciless killer a map to Earth because he’s a fucking idiot

Erica also found it fucked up that Kirk lied to Nomad and gained its trust as its creator. I guess she found this pretty immoral. She is obviously wrong about that because Kirk didn’t really have a choice. He was trying to save his ship. 

Something Erica noticed that I missed was that when Uhura gets her mind wiped she has to relearn English, but just instinctively knows Swahili. We both agree that that’s more than a little fucked. 

She also did not like the fact that it was called The Changeling. Not because she was bummed that one of Odo’s ancestors didn’t show up, but because she just thought it was a dumb fucking name. 

Better Trek?

You want probes, Trek’s got probes. The best probe episode of all time is TNG’s The Inner Light. One of the best episodes of all time. I can’t recommend it enough. In it Picard gets scanned by a probe which causes him to think that he’s another person living on a planet he’s never been to. Has the probe broken his brain or is something else going on? Never will hearing shitty flute music be so heartbreakingly sweet. 

We didn't watch this one though. We watched two Voyager episodes that deal with probes. Erica isn’t too familiar with all the Treks, but she does like Voyager the best. Really she just likes Rober Picardo’s Doctor. She suggested I change this blog to one where I just review episodes on how great The Doctor is in each episode. I would rate an episode where The Doctor is amazing in it as five hyposprays. An episode where The Doctor does not appear would get the dreaded zero hypospray rating. For example, the episode of TOS would get zero. On account of I don’t think Robert Picardo was doing much acting at that point. So anyhow I chose two Voyager episodes. 

We watched Friendship One first. Which I chose because it’s about an old Earth probe that causes havoc around the galaxy. The gist is that Earth launches a probe teaching other aliens about how to conquer the stars. A planet’s species attempts this and accidentally causes nuclear winter. Janeway has to try to help them. Erica oddly enough was not impressed with this one. She only gave it two hyposprays. Which is weird because The Doctor is in it and saves the day at the end. She also said that it contained “way too much Tuvok.” Which almost caused a fight because Tuvok is a great character and Tim Russ is just great. Then I learned that she got Neelix confused with Tuvok. Which almost caused another fight, because that’s fucking ridiculous. So I say that this is much better Trek, but she wasn’t all that impressed. 

Even though it was getting late and she wanted to go to bed we watched the season 2 episode Dreadnought right after. This is one of my favorite Voyagers. I think I may have even made this one a Good Trek before. Torres has to track down and disarm an automated missile that she programmed years before. In terms of plot, there are a lot of similarities between this one and The Changeling. I have a lot easier time believing that B'Elanna Torres is going to outsmart a super smart machine as opposed to Kirk. Kirk would try to punch it then watch as his whole ship is destroyed. I keep on going back and forth over whether I like Kirk. This week I do not. Anyhow, Erica also liked this one a lot better even though it also doesn’t have a lot of Doctor in it. She gave it three hyposprays. The Doctor is in this one even less, but the episode gets an extra hypospray because the screen time he does have he knocks it out of the goddamn park. 

I suggested we also watch The Inner Light but seeing as she knows TNG does not feature The Doctor so will have a very low hypospray rating we did not. Watch any of those three episodes as opposed to The Changeling. Maybe not Friendship One though, because it very much underwhelmed my wife despite its relatively high hypospray rating. 

That’s it for this week. Looks like next week is a Dark Mirror episode. Finally, Shatner will have an excuse to overact!


Friday, August 11, 2017

Good Trek/Bad Trek #32: I Take David Foster Wallace Down a Peg, and Who Mourns For Adonis

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 Star Trek, I’ve never watched The Original Series. So, I’m watching and reviewing them as a fan of Star Trek, but one who’s 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.

These write-ups are getting long. When I first started writing these I wanted to keep them as short as possible. But really who gives a shit. This is no exception. Here's another long ass Trek write up preceded by a rambling intro. 

I, obviously, like Star Trek. Not to brag but I also like books. Not all of them. I’d have to be some kind of monster to just like books. What I don’t like about books is the way that the people who like them seem to have an inflated sense of what they are. I was talking to some folks about the book Infinite Jest. They liked it. I did not. My very uneducated opinion is WAY TOO MANY JESTS! I got a hundred or two pages in and realized that I had all the jests that I could possibly take. It didn't do anything for me so I stopped reading it. Didn’t really know who was who, and more importantly, I did not care. So I stopped that dumb ol' book and never looked back. Felt great. I was told that I did not dislike this book, I simply did not understand this book. My not getting the book tricked my stupid brain into thinking that I didn’t like it. That supposed to be a self-defense mechanism that dumb dumbs, such as myself, use in order to get over not getting something. I for one think that is horse shit.  Those two things aren’t mutually exclusive. I hate things I get. I can like things I don’t get. And I get hate things I didn’t get. There are no rules. 

Nobody tries to sell you on a book more than someone who read something they know you won't ever read. They can lie about it being "important," which is the most meaningless way adjective when it comes to media. Whether it's stand-up, books, movies, or music the word important usually just means boring as shit but pretty liberal. Whatever the overarching theme of a book is, the point of every book is to be read. I didn’t read it. So in that way Mr. Foster Wallace failed. Not only did I not read Infinite Jest, but here you are reading this. So not only did David Foster Wallace failed, but I’ve succeeded where he didn’t. Suck it, Foster Wallace. I didn’t read Infinite Jest, but I did watch this week’s episode of Trek. So both this blog and Who Mourns For Adonis is better than Infinite Jest. In terms of this episode that's not saying a lot, because this episode was pretty dumb. Also, this episode is only like 45 minutes long. It doesn’t take a million stupid boring hours like Infinite Jest did. So I guess we’ll call this one a draw. The Star Trek: TOS episode Who Mourns For Adonis is exactly as bad as Infinite Jest. You heard it here first. 

Recap

The is cruising along and fall victim to a giant green hand in space that grabs the ship. It happens. They get contacted by Adonis. A guy who claims that he is actually the Greek god Adonis. 
More like HAND about (I'm sorry)

Kirk, Scotty, Bones, and Lt. go down and deal with this joker. He has a lot of powers. He can shoot lightning bolts out of his fingers and manipulate matter. It’s pretty neat. Kirk isn’t buying it. Lt. Carolyn accepts his story. Accepts it IMMEDIATELY! 
Bones and Kirk discussing how much woman their subordinate is


The gang realizes that whenever he uses powers he ends up slightly weaker. They have a plan, but Lt. Quizling fucks it up. Due to some crafty engineering by Uhura they’re able to contact the ship and last Adonis’ power source. Then he disappears because…he was a real god all along? I don’t know. It was weird and the ending sucked. That seems like I'm leaving a bunch of stuff out but I'm not. There's a lot of just sitting around. 

Good Trek?

Not particularly. It was plodding and dumb. The ending is bananas. I mean it really ends in a way I would not have expected. He actually is Adonis? That’s messed up. Messed up and might I add it was a super dumb twist. So all the Greek gods are real then? All those gods lived on Earth and then they all just moved to this other planet? Also, why does nobody else seem to notice the ramifications of this? They all just realized that gods are real. Why are these gods not the official gods of the Federation? They’ve just been proved 100% true. It’s weird and I did not like it. 
Kirk and Bones casually discussing attacking the living God they just met with phasers
Not only do we learn that Greek gods are real, but we also learn that at least Kirk, maybe the whole Federation is still really into a monotheistic God. Kirk’s problem with Adonis isn’t that he’s a god, but that he's the wrong God. It implies that if Kirk met Bible God he would've been shitting his pants. But because this is just some dumb Greek God, that don't impress him much. I thought that Kirk was not buying his bullshit because he was supposed to be a man of science. Nope. He just already has one god and shall have no other god before that one. He’s not following the Prime Directive, he’s following the first commandment. Not entirely sure which commandment it is. Don’t feel like looking it up. I even have the page already brought up. Don’t feel like clicking the link. It’s a commandment thought. I’m sure of that. And it’s one of the top ten. 
When Scotty got smited for pulling a phaser on a literal living God because he was trying to fuck a lady he was sweet on. This episode is a mess.

I was pissed at how goddamn stupid Lt. Carolyn Palamas was. All they did was make her out to be a stupid woman the entire episode. At the beginning, they talk about how woman always quit Starfleet as soon as they meet a man. She seems to be manipulating Scotty for a free cup of coffee. Soon as Adonis makes her a fancy dress then she believes in him. She is dumb. Would’ve been a real piece of garbage in the woman department, but then Uhura takes her limited screen time and kills it. She gives Spock the business about being rushed. She’s the one who is able to rig the communications system to contact the away team. She saves the day. 
This is 50% of Choking Victim songs

There’s really not a whole lot else to say about this episode. I’ve said it wasn’t great. In addition to what I already said, it’s paced terribly. It’s a 45-minute episode where nothing seems to happen. It goes too quickly and takes forever at the same time. I do not recommend. 

Better Trek:

There are a lot of better Treks out there with god themes. I could recommend a bunch of Q episodes. I don’t think I’m going to. John de Lancie is a lot better than whoever the greased up doofus they got to play Adonis. Also, there’s a bunch of other god episodes that’d I’d go with instead. They’ve gone to this well a few times. The science and reason of the Federation have come up against the superstitions of different alien races. My absolute favorite one has to be the one where Picard meets Satan. It’s a season 4 TNG called The Devil’s Due. The Enterprise D crew stumbles on a planet that literally sold its soul to the devil for prosperity. Now the end of their free prosperity is up and the devil shows up to make good on the contract. Not only is she the devil of this planet, but tells Picard that she’s Earth’s devil too. It’s pretty bananas. Though because Picard is much better than Kirk he sees through the horse shit immediately. Because I’ll never be able to stress how much better Picard is as a captain than Kirk. Great visuals. Fun story. And the access who plays the devil seems to be having the time of her life deviling it up. It’s a solid one.

I’ve seen this episode since and I don’t think it holds up as much but Voyager’s Emanations was one of my favorites when it was originally on. Dead bodies keep on appearing on Voyager while at the same time Harry Kim gets disappeared. He finds himself on the planet where the bodies are coming from. They’re old people who’ve decided to end their lives. When they do they get killed and transported into what they think is heaven, but really is the cold void of space. Harry has to find a way to get back to Voyager while hopefully remaining alive. It’s a solid episode. Nothing amazing. When I was a kid this one blew my mind. Watching it now, I don't know why. 

Really, if you want to see the Federation going up against gods then the whole run of DS9 is something you should watch. Faith, duty, and science and how they all interact is a big theme throughout. There are aliens who live in a wormhole that an alien race views as gods. The commander of Deep Space 9 is viewed as a religious figure by those same folks much to the chagrin of the Federation brass. I could recommend a dozen DS9 episodes that deal with these themes. I’m going to though, I’m going with Who Mourns For Morn. This one is kind of a stretch, but this would be a real good episode to watch if you’re really into episodes that have “Who Mourns For” in the title. I can’t imagine that a lot of people fit that bill, but who cares. This is a great episode. Morn was an alien who lived on Deep Space Nine. He was mostly just an extra that they always put in at least one shot, usually at Quark’s bar. Morn being an anagram for Norm. After years of just having him sitting at the bar every episode, the makers decided to give us a Morn-centric episode. It’s mostly focused on Armin Shimerman's Quark unraveling a mystery. It's fun and silly and has a sense of humor about itself in a way that Trek usually doesn't. 

Well, that's it for this week. Remember that if you haven't read Infinite Jest, you're right. It's the people who've read it who are wrong.