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.