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. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

No Trek, Just A Few Thoughts

I didn’t watch any Star Trek this week. Sorry, but it doesn’t look like I will the rest of the day, so I don’t think I’ll post any Good Trek / Bad Trek today. I’m trying to write more and trying to post more on here, so I guess here are just some thoughts as I type this. This will probably be more typo-ridden than usual. 


  • I watched the Trump press conference the other day and oh boy. There are legitimate reasons to not like the media as a whole. The fact that it’s shitty is probably the best reason. I hate how the fact that Trump repeatedly shits on CNN has elevated them to dogged martyr status. Trump is right for the wrong reasons. CNN does fucking suck, but not because they’re mean to Trump. The whole station is run like it’s trying to get you to buy it while you check out at the grocery store. That being said, the vitriolic hatred of all things the media freaks me out. I don’t know what it is, but really it seems that only consistent view from the right over the past sixty years is that the news makes them angry. That’s a weird thing to unite a people.

  • New Rule: I don't like Real Time with Bill Maher. I don’t understand who it's for. I watched the much-touted episode with Milo Yanjl;joihbkjhlpolis and I gotta say I just don’t get it. I don’t get who Milo is for. I don’t get who Bill Maher is for. I. Just. Don’t. Get. It. 

  • Bill Maher strikes me as the kind of guy who smiles at himself and says “yeah, I said it” about a thousand times a day. 

  • Milo Whateveropolis isn’t a news figure. I don’t get why he’s considered such. He’s a silly character for silly people. There was a douche I went to hight school with who used to flick my ear and call me names. Are we putting him on TV to address shit now? Do we as a country also care what he has to say about shit?

  • That’s it really. I don’t know shit. I’ve been taking in a lot of news, and it’s a bummer. Not just the news itself, but how it’s delivered and how people react to it. It seems people are only interested in having their own opinion yelled back at them. I don’t know the right way to take in the news. I do know that I’ve read multiple comments online of folks who say that they get sexually aroused by Trump shitting on the media. So, no matter what news you take in or how you take it in that’s the wrong way to do it. I’m sure they were joking, but I also know that they weren’t joking enough. 


So, I don’t know the right way to take in the news, but I do know that that’s the wrong way. 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Good Trek / Bad Trek #13 The Menagerie 1&2

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. 

It was fun being in Michigan telling jokes. Now I’m back in New York telling jokes. It was less fun watching this episode of Star Trek. This week’s episode was The Menagerie AKA the episode of Star Trek where everyone sits around and watches another episode of Star Trek. It's a two-parter, but it seemed silly to break it up, and it’s a doozy. 

Recap:

The gang is at a space station and they get to see Captain Pike. I'm not sure if you remember Pike, but he was the captain in the pilot. He’s a garbage actor and it was a shit episode. Luckily he was involved in an accident and can only stare straight ahead and communicate via blinking lights on a wheelchair. One blink for yes and two for no. The both makes him more sympathetic as a character, and greatly improves his range as an actor. Spock sees him and goes a little squirrelly, so we’re led to assume he’s got something up his sleeve and he does.
This week on Two and a Half Men!

Spock kidnaps Pike and takes him and the Enterprise to Talos 4. He arrests himself and goes on trial because I guess going to Talos 4 is the only thing that still carries the death penalty. During the trial, they all just sit and watch the pilot of Star Trek. I shit you not. Spock introduces an episode of Star Trek into evidence and they all just sit and watch The Cage. 
They should at least be watching Enterprise. Though, I understand why they wouldn't want to

So, I guess, just go back and read that recap. Because that's all they do for rest of the episode. They watch The Cage in its entirety. At the end of the episode, they let Pike go live on Talos 4 where he finds the lady with whom the Talosians wanted him to rebuilt humanity. That’s it. End of episode(s). 

Bad Trek?

This episode is a mixed bag. I do like the idea of Spock breaking against orders in order to help his old commanding officer. All the parts where they’re just sitting around watching The Cage, though, are garbage because that’s a garbage episode. So, the majority of this episode is garbage because it's all just The Cage again.

I know TV was more expensive relative back then. They had all that footage from The Cage and they wanted to reuse it, but good lord. There was a reason that they had to remake the pilot. It sucked. Nobody wanted to buy it because it was garbage. 

I get they wanted to make it sound like going to Talos 4 was a big deal, but I refuse to believe that it or anything carried the death penalty. Plus, they refused to tell anyone why it was so bad. They just said don't go there or you'll be murdered by the peaceful Federation. These are scientists. You're telling me that nobody ever tried to make contact with the Talosians again? Not buying it. 

Worse Trek?
TNG’s Shades Of Grey

If you want to watch an even shittier episode that is mostly made up of other episodes check out TNG’s Shades Of Grey. In which Riker contracts a space disease and then sits in a hospital bed and watches Star Trek clips for an hour. I'm not blaming Riker for this. That's how I spend most my time when I'm sick, but it makes for shitty TV. 

Doing a clip show in Star Trek is weird enough. It’s hard to do seamlessly. There might be a way to do it well, but neither of these episodes figured out how. They're both garbage episodes, but The Menagerie is a lot better. So don’t watch Shades of Grey. It’s bad. Probably don't watch The Menagerie either, but I'm not the boss of you so do whatever you want. 

Good Trek


This isn’t really good Trek, so much as best Trek. But if you want some Trek that features a commander who is trapped in a mechanical prison and a second in command defying orders and odds in order to help him out, then you can’t get any better than The Best Of Both Worlds. It’s also a two-parter, though really the first episode is where it’s made. The second episode is great, but you get the impression it was supposed to end a certain way when nobody was sure whether or not Patrick Stewart planned on returning to TNG. I got a chance to see it in theaters a few years back to commemorate the remastering of it, and it was one of my favorite movie-going experiences of all time. While you’re already watching TNG just keep it going and watch Family as well. So watch The Best Of Both Worlds because it’s jus the best. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Good Trek / Bad Trek #12 The Carbomite Maneuver

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 back in Michigan, which is where I'm from. It's always a little weird going back to where you're from. That doesn't explain why there have been no new Trek posts the past couple weeks because I've only been here a week. I'm just saying I'm going through some shit right now and feeling pretty weird, so just back off. That being said, I watched the Carbomite Maneuver this week. It was pretty badass. There are some typical TOS problems but all in all, I liked this one a lot. 

Recap. 

The crew finds a floating cube. It seems to follow them wherever they go and they can’t escape it. What secret does the floating cube hold? There’s only one way to find out and that’s to keep on watching it. It’s following them around and it’s causing radiation to rise. It’s all around no god. They eventually destroy it. 
This cube belongs to the RainBorg

They’re deciding whether or not to move ahead, which they do. Despite the fact that this increases the likelihood of running into whoever left that cube in the first place. They run into a giant sphere shaped ship which tells them it’s going to destroy them because I don’t really know why. They just decide it’s time to destroy the Enterprise. Nobody is too keen on this idea. Kirk thinks that maybe this is all just a game that they’re playing and decided to tell the sphere about a substance called Carbomite t hat will destroy them if they try to destroy the Enterprise. It's just a bluff, but Kirk gives it a whirl. 
Balok

A little ship comes out and escorts to the Enterprise to a prison planet. The pilot of the ship is a blue character named Balok (or is it???) but the Enterprise manages to break free disabling the little ship. They beam over because they still want to meet this new life form even if it might be violent. Turns out the blue alien was just a ruse. The blue alien was just there to look intimidating. The real Balok is a small child looking alien with the funniest voice on earth. It seems pretty jovial considering it just tried killing everyone. Space baby explains that it just uses the other alien so people don't treat it weird because it's just a space baby. Then a crew member who was a real fuck up decides to live with space baby. None of this matters, because space baby has this crazy deep voice and it's the funniest thing I've ever seen. 5 stars for this episode. 5 stars and 3 cheers for space baby. 
Space baby on board

Bad Trek?
NO! Even without the amazing space baby, this was a real fun episode. Honestly, this should’ve been the pilot I think. This is probably the Trekiest episode so far. Aside from some TOS silliness, this could’ve been a pretty good TNG episode. I don’t know what the fuck the deal is with having Shatner shirtless and shiny, but here it is again. Is that what masculinity was supposed to look like in the 60s? It’s not like he’s super ripped or anything. He's an okay looking guy who’s in okay shape. I just don't know who that is supposed to be for.
Seriously. Let me know if this works for you. I'm really quite curious. 

This is the most militaristic and scientific the Enterprise has looked so far. That makes sense in context. They’re out where nobody has been so far so it makes sense that they want to make sure everyone is at full battle ready. 

Seems a little weird how quickly Bailey decides to just leave maybe forever and live with the crazy child. 

I get the ruse as part of a reveal for the show, but if you have the technological power of that ship then that’d be enough to be intimidating. Seems a little weird that folks on another ship wouldn’t take anything he says seriously because he looks like a tiny baby. I mean, if a ship could clearly destroy mine without thinking twice about it then I’m not going to laugh in the guy’s face just because it’s a baby with a  deep voice. That being said, the baby reveal is hilarious. I loved it. 
Bonus Space Baby
Even though it really seems against character they've established so far, I really enjoyed Kirk thinking that scientific curiosity trumped getting revenge on the baby for almost destroying them. That seemed like more of a Picard move, but it worked. He hammers the point home a  few times that the only reason they’re out there is to meet new folks, and they can’t very well do that if they keep on trying to destroy all the new folks they meet. 


Three’s been a few episodes that strike me as odd that they’re never mentioned again. This is the first time they’ve gone out this far, but not the last. Picard or the rest of anyone just never run into space baby again? Where's space baby? I want more space baby. Star Trek: Discovery better be like 80% or I'll throw a fit. 

Worse Trek

I'm having trouble thinking of an episode that mixes the drama with such a humorous ending. If you want to watch a real horse shit episode about the crew thinking they're in danger only to realize it was all a silly game then you could watch the DS9 episode Move Along Home. I won't be watching it because it's just straight garbage. You also shouldn't watch it either, I'm just grasping at straws trying to find an episode that's similar to this one. The crew plays a game. It's fucking awful. So don't actually watch it. 


Good Trek

Shadows and Symbols DS9 S7E2

This isn't really comparable at all, but it's a great episode. Poker comes up a lot in TNG like it does in The Carbomite Maneuver, but not in the same way it does in Shadows and Symbols. It's a great episode about a commanding officer calling someone else's bluff. It's a Major Kira heavy episode which is good because she's awesome. 

That's it for this week. I'm still feeling a little weird, but I guess better. Star Trek makes people feel better. Not much, but a little. And that's something.