Saturday, September 30, 2017

Roadtrip, NFL, Good Trek/Bad Trek #39 Discovery

Next couple weeks I’m going out of town. I should still be updating here so don’t you worry about that. As much as I heart NY it’s sometimes nice to remind yourself that it’s a hellhole from which there is no escape. I’ll be heading to Michigan and Chicago then I'll be coming back to NYC. So if you’re in any one of those places you should come to one of these shows.
Additional sadness masking bear pun here

Other than that this was a big week for those NFL protests. We’ve got the original protests. We’ve got the president getting protesting over the original protests. Then a bunch of players protesting the president protesting. Regardless of what your opinion on national anthem protests are I think there are two things we should all be able to agree on. First, that there are already way too many opinions out there and yours probably doesn’t matter. That last point goes double for me. Second, the person who has been the wrongest is some lunatic I read on the internet. Underneath a story about the NFL, some crazy fuck commented that “Remember that show Wife Swap, where they took a wife from one home and way of life and transposed them into a highly different way of life? I think they need to swap out some of the NFL players for real-life people in Africa.” That is a real person’s real opinion. 

This dumb fuck’s idea for how to get football players to stop protesting systemic racism that is ingrained into this country involves kidnapping black people from Africa and forcing them to play football for our amusement. His idea for how to get people to stop protesting a legacy of racism that started with American slavery is literally. Just. Slavery. Again. 

Also, how surprised are the guys he kidnaps gonna be? His idea to teach these NFL players that they should be grateful to be elite athletes at the top of their game is to swap them out with just some random dudes from Africa. That’s messed up for those poor bastards too. You go to sleep as just some accountant in Johannesburg and all of a sudden you wake up and you’re on the offensive line of the Ravens. Poor bastard is gonna get his goddamn neck broken on the first snap. All to teach someone else a lesson. That’s messed up. 

Whoa boy. Again, that’s a real person’s real opinion. That’s not a straw man I made up it's? a person who goes out and interacts with society. I wonder how many people have politely listened to this dumb shit spout this opinion without speaking up. Does he say this shit at work? Does this guy say this to actual people or does he wait until he’s under the cover of internet anonymity before he says this crazy stuff? Is he at least embarrassed to be this dumb? I’d like to hope so but probably not. That’s the worst thing about the internet. It’s so easy to get your dumb opinion out there. You get it out there and then you get two likes by two other dumb fucks and that makes you think you’re right. You’re not. Very few people are ever right about anything. Especially that asshole. 

Know what else the internet is great for? Star Trek: Discovery. I watched that instead of TOS this week, and here it is. 

Recap:

We start out on the brand new USS DISCOVERY! Oh wait, no we don’t. We are in a desert. Just hanging out. My wife said it looked too Star Wars-ey. I don’t know. It seemed a weird place to start us out, but what’re you gonna do. They walk in the shape of a giant Starfleet insignia for some reason, and then they get beamed up to the brand new USS DISCOVERY! Wait. Nope. Still no Discovery. Okay. We’re on the USS Shenzhou. Okay. The show is called Discovery. The show is named after the ship Discovery. So I’m not getting too attached to this ship. 

Discovery starts with welcoming Tatooine into the Federation

If you haven’t watched it yet, you definitely should. I had my quibbles but I liked it more than I didn’t. These aren’t your daddy’s Klingons. Even though they kinda are. There’s a lot of Klingons talking about house uniting. There’s a lot of talk about duty. There’s a lot of flashbacks. It’s all very solid. 

We get to meet Saru who is a coward but in a very relatable way. At least to me, a fellow coward. We get to meet our main Klingon antagonist for the series whose name is T’Kuvma. He’s pretty solid. A badass proud Klingon warrior sick of all the Klingon houses fighting and wants to unite the empire against the encroachments of the Federation. 
I love Saru. Some hated him. They're wrong. 

Michael (or as they keep on calling her Number One), the main character of the show thinks that finding a Klingon ship hiding just over in Federation space is a reason to fire on them immediately. She talked with her Vulcan surrogate father and he said that the Vulcans were attacked by Klingons once and after that, they fired on Klingons immediately which the Klingons respected. So now they have a truce. Number One Michael thinks that the Federation should follow suit. Is this a sound strategy or is this clouded by the fact that her folks were killed by Klingons which caused her to be raised by a surrogate father? Oh and her adoptive dad is also Spock’s dad for some dumb reason. And also when the captain disagrees with her she Vulcan nerve pinches the captain and tries to attack the Klingon flagship. 


All this raises a bunch of very Trek-ey questions that I cant’ wait to get answered throughout the series. We also get a nice battle between the Klingon and Federation fleets which is done really well. I don’t watch Trek for constant space battles, but this one is pretty solid. With all the big questions and big battles, I’d say that all in all it’s very good. Especially towards the end of the second episode where what we think will be the main antagonist of the season is killed off along with the captain that we’ve been getting to know for the past hour and a half. The episodes have more the feel of a movie than a pilot. We don’t really get to meet that many characters that will continue to be main characters. Really, just Michael and Saru. That’s it. Everyone else either doesn’t really speak or is killed off which is a really bold choice considering the amount of hopes and expectations that riding on this show. 

Bad Trek?

There were definitely parts I didn’t like. I don’t want to be the guy who got angry over parts, but I am so here we are. I don’t like that it’s a prequel. I think we’ve done more than enough with this time period. We’re good. We’ve got the JJ Abrams movies, we have Enterprise, we have six movies, and we have the entirety of TOS. I think we’re good with that whole era. I don’t really care how we got to the Federation of Kirk. Who gives a shit. We already did that with Enterprise. Poorly, but still. I know it’s all the future from today’s standpoint, but to me, that’s the past of the future. I’m done with it. We’ve all moved on. I want to know what happened after the Dominion War. Seems like that era is rife with possibilities. They could’ve set it in the Gamma Quadrant if they wanted to add in a bunch of new aliens. The Federation could just be exploring it since they didn’t really get a chance during the war. 

Discovery could have been on a five-year mapping mission of the Gamma Quadrant. That would have been badass. You keep the whole final frontier thing. You’d get to meet some new aliens. You have a tenuous peace with the Dominion. I don’t like the Klingons as the main agonist yet again. The Trek I grew up with had them largely at peace. They were a great villain while they were there, but there’s been a shit load of good antagonists they could have reused. To keep with my Gamma Quadrant thing they could have a newly freed Jem’Hadar no longer being controlled by the Founders. That would have been a cool dynamic with a shit load of potential for conflict. There’s just no reason to set it in this time period. Nobody who has such fond memories of TOS would refuse to watch some show just because it’s a newfangled take on the future. Plus, now we have very little reason to expect any cameos which sucks. No Admiral Janeway. No wormhole alien Sisko. Just these new people who I don’t even know if I like yet. 

Why is it so dark? It’s the future. The future is supposed to be bright. This is just ridiculous. I know at one point Michael tells the captain that their old school transporters use too much energy, but I don’t think it should come at the expense of having to dim all the lights all the time. Yeah, I get the Klingon ship. They work in the dark sometimes. I’ll allow it. But good lord every damn shot looks like a single candle is responsible for lighting every ship on the show. 
Where the fuck is this court martial taking place?

The bat’leths. I don’t want to be this guy, but I hate that they changed the bat’leths. I know it’s dumb, but I don’t give a shit. It’s who I am. I grew up a certain way. Captains wore red, Klingons were allies, and bat’leths looked like bat’leths. They were badass the way they were. Why didn’t they just reuse the ones that were laying around? Did Michael Dorn take them all? If so, if you could spare one, I’d appreciate it, Mr. Dorn. 
Scan again, dipshit because that ain't no bat'leth I've ever seen

Number One, more like Number Wrong! I know we’re supposed to like Sonequa Martin-Green’s character, but it’s hard to sympathize with her plight when she’s dead fucking wrong. You’re a Starfleet officer for god’s sake. You can’t fire on a Klingon ship without provocation, what are you insane? She’s been a first officer for seven years. I’m having trouble believing that the first time she goes off the reservation is attacking her captain and commandeering the ship. If you have that kind of insubordination in you, you’ve probably disobeyed an order or two already. I have trouble believing that this is how she started her journey of questioning orders. 

Good Trek?

Okay, I’m done being a little nerd bitch. There’s a lot to like too. I really really like Sonequa Martin-Green's Number One aka Michael Burnham. I'd never seen her in anything, but I think she knocked the first couple episodes out of the park. I think the whole “we’re not just getting the captain’s perspective” thing is a little overblown. The captain has rarely been the main focus of a series.  Star Trek is very much an ensemble show. Yeah, TOS was very Kirk-centric, and it wasn’t nearly as good as any of the other ones. I hope they settle into something like that and aren’t afraid to let other characters get their own episodes and arcs. That being said, you could do a whole lot worse than Michael Burham. It’s a neat subversion of the Star Trek formula to have the hyper-logical character finding out about humanity to be a human raised by Vulcans. Though now that I think of it, that does sound a lot like Seven of Nine too. So whatever. 
Badass Number One. Or Number one badass. Either or.  

The effects and the makeup look pretty badass. As dumb as I find it that they up and changed some props they Klingons themselves look amazing. The Klingon language is very slow and clumsy when folks speak in long chunks. The whole thing about the one albino Klingon that seems to be an outcast seemed like it came out of left field. Klingons don’t discriminate based on skin color. They discriminate based on how well you murder other Klingons. That being said, the Klingon makeup is just amazing. Some people don’t like it because they look different, but that’s because they look different every incarnation of Trek. That’s because makeup technology is getting better. The TOS Klingons were just kinda greasy looking. I’m glad as shit they didn’t stick with that. 

Kinda done with space jumps, but badass nonetheless 

I know a lot of people vehemently disagree with this, but I loved Saru. I think Doug Jones knocked it out of the park and I love the character itself. It’s a little squirrelly that we’re ten years before TOS takes place and being introduced to a new alien we’ve never met before. Will his species be kicked out of the Federation after this show takes place? Do the Klingons genocide his species in the great tribble war? I guess only time will tell. 
Badass

The space jumps belong in both categories. Is this going to be in literally every episode and every movie of any Trek from here on out? Good gravy space jumps are neat, but how's about we take a less is more approach going forward. Use them sparingly and they might be a little more badass. We’ve had two episodes and we’ve got two space jumps. That’s probably too many. They’re cool as shit though. So there’s that. 
Super badass

All in all I can’t wait to watch more. It’s not the Trek I grew up, and maybe that’s a good thing. Just from the first two episodes it looks like a combination between old school Trek, Deep Space Nine, and Battlestar Galactica and honestly that’s a badass combo. 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

My Dumb Brain and Good Trek/Bad Trek #38 Catspaw

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.


I’ve rewritten this intro a bunch of times. I don’t know. I’m in a bit of a funk. For something that just gets written and thrown into the void of the internet, I’m trying to get it right. But it’s hard. I don’t know I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately. I’ve been a little down. Sometimes you get sick of writing jokes and Trek blogs for the void. I like doing it for the most but sometimes doing shit over and over for nobody can beat the shit out of your self-esteem. I get angry. Mostly at myself and then it gets even harder to write this shit. You spend your time writing jokes and other stuff and it’s hard not to pin your mood on what you’re writing and sometimes it feels like it’s all shit.

Who knows, maybe this isn’t a temporary funk. Maybe I’ve been riding too high lately and this is just my mood finally catching up to how I should be feeling. My brain letting me know that I’ve been feeling too good for how things are going and that I need to be smacked back down. That’d be kind of shitty because my brain is already pretty shitty about flooding me with anxiety and all sorts of crazy insecurities and doubt.  If my brain also wants to just start making me sad and angry all the time, well then I think the two of us might just have to part ways. Because that’s a raw deal.  

Star Trek: Discovery premiers tomorrow. That’ll be neat. Maybe that’ll make me feel better. I kinda hope not though. I’d rather be a guy who gets in depressive funks sometimes for absolutely no reason as opposed to being a guy whose entire mood rests on the consistent release of (good) Trek. To paraphrase Eugene Debs: Good Trek cannot lead me into the promised land because if good Trek led me in, some really shitty Trek would just lead me out.


They do say that not enjoying things that you used to is a symptom of depression. I don’t know if that’s true. I do know that I didn’t enjoy this episode, but I think that’s maybe just because it really sucked. I’ll probably write about the first episode of Discovery next week. Or never update this again. Who knows. Regardless, this week’s episode was Catspaw and it was a fucking mess. 

Recap:

The gang is hanging out near a lifeless planet doing some exploring. They’re waiting for the away team to come back, but there’s no word from the away team. What could be wrong? One of the members comes back, but he’s dead. Dead most foul. Even though he’s dead there’s a crazy voice coming out of his lifeless corpse warning the Enterprise to stay away. Spooky. The dead crewman’s name is Jackson, but it doesn’t matter because he’s just here to get the plot going. 
I like to think that lifeless corpse who holds mouth open while someone else speaks is the only role this actor ever booked

Kirk, Spock, and McCoy beam down to the surface to search for the rest of the missing away team even though they were warned not to. They come across what looks like a haunted castle. Looks like it because it is. When they go in they spend a lot of time focused on a black cat. I assume it’ll be important later. Because they really want you to take in this cat. It’s a nice cat I guess. The sound effects they use don’t sound at all like a cat which is weird. Sounds more like Donald Duck when he gets angry. Seems like an odd choice for whoever was in charge of that. 

There's a light over at the Korob and Sylvia place
They get abducted by beings from another galaxy named Korob and Sylvia. Okay. They’re from another galaxy and have powers because they have a weird little machine that lets them control matter. Neat. 

In just seven days, I can make you a cat
Not only is Sylvia a powerful intergalactic traveler able to control matter, but bitch be thirsty as fuck. She gets horny and tries to bed Kirk. Kirk decides against but flirts enough to try to free his people. Sylvia sees through Kirk’s flirting, because she’s not a fucking idiot. He goes back to his cell. Eventually, Korob helps them out of their chains and somehow Kirk destroys the source of Sylvia’s power. I don’t know why she left it lying around. That seems like a bad idea. I mean, it helped them manipulate matter, right? If so she should have at least put it on a very high shelf. Maybe in a safe or something. I don’t know. Seems pretty dumb. With their power gone the mansion and cat disappears and Sylvia and Korob turn into weird bug creatures and choke to death and die before our very eyes. It’s kinda fucked up when you think about it. 
Even Sylvia doesn't know why she's supposed to be into him

Good Trek?

Good. God. No. This is one of the worst episodes. I’ve by and large really started to enjoy these. Even though I still think that Kirk largely sucks. I like him for the most part. The rest of the cast is great. Especially McCoy. But this is just a real mess. So we learn that Sylvia is really a small scorpion looking intergalactic matter manipulators, but she’s also really sexually attracted to Kirk? I’m not buying that. I would love to know whether Kirk was actually a sex icon in his day. Maybe there was a bunch of ladies demanding to have Kirk appear in Cosmo naked atop a tribble skin run. Who knows. But come the fuck on. It’s not that Sylvia is an alien she’s a drastically different looking alien who just uses her weird matter manipulation powers to look like a woman. She’s not a human. She’s not even a humanoid alien. She’s a weird little bug creature. Why the hell would she be into humans? If there were a bunch of giant bug-like creatures I can see why she might be into that, but not Kirk. It doesn’t make any sense. 
This week in slash fiction

I also really hate that having a very powerful alien with godlike powers threatening the Enterprise has been like half the episodes. I don’t know why they keep on coming back to this well. It’s not that great a plot point. The episodes where we’ve met the Romulans and the Klingons have been so much better. Why aren’t we checking in with them? See what’s going on over there for a bit. I was never a huge fan of Q on TNG, but at least they kept it to just the one. This plot is recycled like every other episode. And Kirk keeps on outsmarting them. He really doesn't seem all that bright. I don't think it's realistic for him to keep this streak going.  
I guess the cat is giant now?

Also, these people just die. These are powerful new aliens that the Enterprise just made first contact with. You’d think that this would be a much bigger deal than how they’re treating it. 
One of the aliens Kirk almost has sex with. Seriously. 

This is like example a billion that Kirk is a shitty captain. He goes on an away mission with his first officer? Dude, what the hell. That’s not an appropriate course of action. He leaves some piece of shit in charge. 
This is near the beginning of the episode. It is never addressed

Worse Trek?

There’s not a whole lot that’s worse. But if you’re looking for an episode that features a dumb spooky atmosphere that I assume was made to air around Halloween and also it’s just about as bad as they come then look no further than TNG's Sub Rosa. In it, Dr. Crusher travels to a planet that’s Ireland I guess. It’s not Ireland, but everyone talks with an accent and then she starts having spooky encounters with a ghost who used to have sex with her grandma. It’s bizarre. Not really in a fun way. I love Dr. Crusher, but this episode is a dud. 

Better Trek?

Initially, I’d say the episode of TNG where they find the one house on a deserted planet. That’s got some obvious parallels. In that, I can see how it’d appeal to folks who are into TV where space travelers find a single house on a deserted planet. I don't know if that's a kind of person. But that does happen in both episodes. I'm not going with that one again though. 

This is supposed to be a spooky episode. So I think I should go with one of those. I was having trouble thinking of another episode that had a Halloween special vibe to it. DS9’s Empok Nor has a little bit of a spooky vibe. It’s not nearly as over the top or as obvious as this one, but that part of the reason as to why it’s so much better. Empok Nor is a creepy trip to an abandoned space station and on the trip one of the members goes space nuts and starts picking members of the crew off one by one. 

I was trying to think of any other weird ass love coupling where the species was both, kind of spooky and trying to have sex with a humanoid. I tried thinking of a Voyager episode where Seven hooked up with a member of Species 8472, but I couldn’t think of one. Probably because it’s a dumb idea and Catspaw was stupid and dumb. I don’t know. 

(Hopefully) Better Trek?

That’s it for this week. Check out Discovery. The previews look sick. I’m looking forward to it. 

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.