Thursday, February 15, 2018

Star Trek: Discovery (11-15)

Star Trek Discovery
Episodes 11-15

I must admit, the series started to lose me with the mirror universe stuff.

Episode Eleven: The Wolf Inside

So to recap, we have "evil" Michael as Captain of one ship, "evil" Roommate as Captain of another, Saru as Captain of the actual Discovery, mirror Saru as servant to "evil" Michael, Lorca as "captive" of Michael... and other stuff happening. In this episode we discover that there is a Rebel Alliance of all species trying to take down the Empire. That sounds familiar right? Yep, just like that show Empire. Michael decides to try and make peace with the Rebels and find out how the Klingons were able to coexist (answer is: A Common Enemy). Tyler freaks out again when he sees the Klingon Voq. Turns out Tyler is actually Voq, modified to look human! Saru puts him in the brig for killing the Doctor.
Grade: B-

Episode Twelve: Vaulting Ambition

Stamets meets his mirror self and they work on a solution to this mirror universe dilemma. We find out that the evil Emperor is mirror Georgiou. Saru learns during a medical exam on Tyler that he is Klingon. Everyone is shook. Lorca is tortured aboard Georgiou's ship. Michael has dinner with Georgiou and learns a) the Emperor knows about the alternate universe, b) Lorca has been from this mirror universe [yes, this blew my mind], and c) Saru's species tastes pretty good. Evidently Lorca has planned every little detail from the moment Michael met him. I knew something was up.
Grade: B

Episode Thirteen: What's past is Prologue

Lorca escapes and gets his old crew back together. He then tries to overthrow Emperor Georgiou but she kills him. The Discovery crew figures out how to get back "home" but they end up 9 months in the future, at a time when the Klingons have won the war. I hope Lorca isn't dead for good because he is one of the best characters on the show.
Grade C+

Episode Fourteen: The War Without, The War Within

Once Discovery appears back in the real world, they are boarded by Admiral Cromwell and Sarek. Needless to say, they are very suspicious of what had happen. Sarek melds with Saru and learns the truth. Cromwell takes command of the ship and confides in evil Georgiou on how to defeat the Klingons (she had successfully done this in her universe). Her plan is to attack Qo'nos.
Grade B-

Episode Fifteen: Will You Take My Hand?

Georgiou, Michael, Roommate and Tyler go on an undercover mission to map the planet in order to prep for the attack. Georgiou ends up hooking up with strippers, weird stuff. Secretly she plans to literally blow up the entire planet. In order to avoid genocide Michael brokers a peace treaty using L'Rell (aka Klingon lady, aka Tyler's Klingon wife) as the figure head. L'Rell then begins to unite the Klingon houses. Order is restored to the universe, I guess. Everyone gets recommendations. Then, a very intriguing ending occurs, the Enterprise shows up under the Command of Pike!
Grade B+

FINAL WORD: I truly expected to hate this show. Not sure why, but I just did. Honestly, I really enjoyed it. Every single character is good. In every other Star Trek series I either disliked a few characters or just didn't care about them. But, not this show. Michael started off shaky but turned into a strong and interesting lead. Saru started off lame but turned into a much tougher crewmember than I thought. Lorca is insanely awesome, evil Georgiou may be one of the top characters on the show, Roommate was a great comic relief and the Doctor was just so darn likeable (I hope he is not dead for good). Stamets however, was by far my favorite. Anthony Rapp was fantastic. He literally played complete opposites, a pompous a-hole Stamets and then a fun loving excitable Stamets.

I did not like them using a mirror universe story arc in season one. We barely got used to the personalities of the real characters, when suddenly we have to navigate a world with other versions of them. It was a little confusing and boring at times. We will see what Season Two brings us, I am curious to learn more about the characters lives and motives. They are all still a mystery, which is a good thing.
Final Grade B

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Star Trek: Discovery (6-10)

Star Trek Discovery
Episodes 6-10

The crew really begins to gel over the next five episodes. Also, I promise, no more bad heavy metal references.

Episode Six: Lethe
This is the episode of bonding. Lorca bonds with Tyler, Michael bonds with Roommate, Michael bonds with Tyler, Lorca bonds with Admiral lady (as in they have sex)....Michael bonds with Sarek (as in literally bonds minds when Sarek is nearly killed). I think that covers that. We get to see more of Lorca's insanity (also in the last episode he admitted that he killed his entire previous crew). I should probably mention that Discovery is a very important prototype vessel that must be protected at all cost. That is why they are going through all of this crazy shit. So, Sarek is on his way to negotiate peace with the Klingons when he gets attacked, Michael goes and saves him. But he is too injured to go to the meeting so Admiral lady takes his place. Of course the Klingons capture her. That being said, i'm glad to see that fortune cookies and burritos still exist in the future.
Grade: B-

Episode Seven: Magic to Make... Magic to Mike
The crew has a 90's themed party and Tyler keeps trying to hook up with Michael. Suddenly Mudd shows up and tries to steal the ship. Now this is the Mudd i've been waiting for! Awesome job by Rain Wilson. He kills nearly everyone, but suddenly the day starts over again. Ahh, a good old fashion time loop story. Still, It never gets old. Stamets has been acting incresingly weirder since merging with the spores. He is very giddy and exitable. But, he is the only one that figures out that there is a loop. May be my favorite episode so far.
Grade: A

Episode Eight: Si Vis Pacem...
Michael, Tyler and Saru go the peace planet (aka Potvia or whatever). There they are sent to locate something that has the ability to see cloaked ships. Saru is overtaken by the beings. He turns into an annoying hippy and tries to force his beliefs on the others. This pretty much causes the Klingons to be signalled and now they are on their way to attack. Back on the ship Stamets is really losing his mind from repeadedly being used to power the spore warp jumps. Meanwhile a woman Klingon has tried to help Admiral lady escape, but is soon forced to kill her instead. Another Admiral bites the dust.
Grade C+

Episode Nine: Into the Forest I Go
The visuals are again excellent. The planet scenes are magnificent looking. So, Lorca disobeys the Starfleet order to abandon the Potvins. Michael and Tyler go aboard the main Klingon vessel to find the Admiral. They actually manage to revive her! The treacherous Klingon woman appears and seemingly her and Tyler recognize each other. He begins to have bizarre flashbacks of surgery. Stamets agrees to one last jump, as he knows it is messing him up...unfortunately that "one jump" is actually nearly 70 jumps (Lorca's master plan). This immobilizes the Klingon ship and they manage to destroy it. The final jump, however, sends them far off into an unknown galaxy! Good stuff.
Grade A-

Episode Ten: Despite Yourself
Directed by Johnathan Frakes. They soon realize that this is not an unknown galaxy, but a Mirror Universe. Yep, another Mirror Universe arc. As always, this universe is all evil. The ISS Shenszhou is a ship in the Terren Empire captained by evil Michael and the ISS Discovery is captained by the evil Roommate. In order to survive they all have to act evil, otherwise their true identities would be discovered. I admit, I am tired of the mirror plot but this one was done fairly well. Most shocking part was when Tyler freaks out and kills the Doctor!!
Grade B-

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Star Trek: Discovery (1-5)

Star Trek Discovery
Episodes 1-5
Well, I will finally be watching Star Trek Discover Season One. Binge style. Probably 5 episode per day for 3 days. I know nothing about this show and have managed to avoid any talk of it whatsoever. Here we go...

Episode One: The Vulcan Hello

Is The Vulcan Hello like the Bronx Cheer? Who knows. Anyway, first impression was that the show looks amazing. Visually it's very appealing.The main character is Michael Burnham (a woman), and at first I thought her acting was terrible, so stiff. Then I realized why. Although she is a Human, she grew up as a Vulcan under the care of Sarek. This will certainly mess someone up. So in reality, her acting is great. I love the actor that plays Sarek, he is good in everything; The Tudors, True Blood, White Queen, Gotham. The episode revolves around the Klingons getting all riled up and angry towards Starfleet. (yet again, they look totally different. Even more grotesque than usual.) Michael, serving aboard the Shenzhou, wants to attack the Klingons but Lt. Commander Saru disagrees (he is the "Data" of the show..but sort of looks like Odo). Captain Georgiou agrees with Saru, this for some reason causes Michael to lose it, knock the Captain out and try to take over the ship. Nevertheless she ends up in the brig. Also, I believe they chose the name Michael as a nod to Bret Michaels, but I could be wrong.
Grade: B

Episode Two: Battle at the Binary Stars

Battle at the Binary Stars ... like Battle of the Network Stars? The beginning shows a quick origin of Michael and how she joins the Shenzhou crew. Captain Georgiou (who is named after George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher, singer for Cannibal Corpse) takes Michael under her wing. Flash forward to present and after a peace attempt fails, a large force of Starfleet ships begin to battle a fleet of Klingon ships. This entire battle scene is great. Michael is stuck in the brig the entire time and things are just getting insane. The best scene is when there is a hull breach and the only thing seperating Michael from space is the force field in her cell. After the Klingons turn a peace attempt into a sneak attack (killing the Admiral), Michael escapes and joins the fight. Her and the Captain board a Klingon ship and destroy the Klingon leader. Captain Georgiou is killed however and Michael is sentenced to life in prison.
Grade: A-

Episode Three: Context is for Kings

Michael is now aboard a prison transport. Something goes wrong with the transport and they are saved by the Discovery, under the command of Captain Lorca. We get to see that he is an interesting character, serious but not rigid. A military man, but with a real oddness to him. Lorca eventually asks Michael to joing his crew, he needs her brilliance in order to help build a new warp drive. The crew basically hates her because she is a criminal. You get too meet a few new characters like her quirky roommate (don't remember the character's name, but the actress was good on the last season of Longmire), and the Engineer Stamets who is gay and really caddy. Anthony Rapp is so awesome in this show. Also, Saru is serving on the ship, and he clearly still hates Michael. The episode was average until the end, then it gets great. Michael joins an away team with Stamets and Roommate, they go to the Starship Glenn (named after Glenn Danzig). The entire crew is mangled, like dead and contorted. It's really gross. Then they encounter a monster and fight it off before returning to the ship. At the end we see that Captain Lorca has taken the monster captive.
Grade B

Episode Four: The Butcher's Knife

What's interesting so far about Captain Lorca is that he seemingly orchestrates everything. Like, he seemed to plan the disabling of the transport in order to get Michael and then he sort of knew that he would need that monster for something important. Not to say that he killed the crew of the Glenn, but...who knows? He orders Michael to study the monster in order to use it as a weapon against the Klingons. They name the monster Ripper, as an ode the song The Ripper by Judas Priest. She ends up taming the monster and discovers that it likes the spores. In fact it can control the spores. This brings about the equation Ripper + Spores = New Drive. Meanwhile a power struggle is seen within the Klingon ranks, and the Discovery rushes to a Dilithium mining colony to ward off a Klingon attack. They use the new spore drive with success.
Grade B -

Episode Five: Choose Your Path

This is when we first see a glimpse of the relationship between Dr. Culbert and Stamets. Culbert is a very likeable character, down to Earth and super chill. This is in contrast to Stamets, who is just a total bitch. So, Michael and Culbert realize that using Ripper as an energy source is killing him. Meanwhile Captain Lorca is captured and tortured by the Klingons. While imprisoned he meets another captured Starfleet Officer named Tyler and also a young Harry Mudd (played by Rain Wilson). I was hoping to enjoy Harry Mudd more in this episode, but he just didn't have the same flare. Eventually Tyler and Lorca escape... Back on the ship, Stamets decides to use himself to power the spores instead of Ripper. The unintentional side effect of this is frightening. (Correction: I have recently read that the name Ripper was actually chosen as a nod to Jesse and the Rippers and not Judas Priest.)
Grade A-

Monday, November 14, 2016

Star Trek: Beyond

Well, it was better than the previous "new" Star Trek films. Slightly. It started off great. I loved the opening scene showing a diplomatic Kirk in front of an assembly of humanoid-mini-lions(??). The Starbase Yorktown looked amazing. A Starbase that was basically an entire world, with cities and skyscrapers? So cool. So far it was seeming more like a Star Trek film and less like every other action movie made in the past ten years. Then it proceeded to turn into every other action movie made in the past ten years. Explosions, fight scenes, jumpy cameras.

The plot was OK, though it mostly consisted of them wondering around "Endor" trying to survive. I do enjoy when the Enterprise crashes, it always looks awesome. Plus these villains are just insane. That ability to swarm and burrow... damn that was awesome. However I did not find the main villain Krall to be that interesting. Still, the way Kirk and crew finally defeat the swarm is pretty great, and funny. The character Jaylah was very good... sort of a Rey rip-off in a way though.

The cast in these films are great. Quinto is just so damn perfect as Spock. Pegg is fun, Pine, Urban and the rest never seem to fail. The movie had nice little tributes to Yelchin and Nimoy. George Tekai was disappointed that they made Sulu gay, a character in which he says had been straight this entire time only to suddenly not be. Which I get. But, remember, this is supposed to be an alternate reality. So this gives them the ability to basically do anything without messing up the shows continuity. Which is VERY convenient.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Star Trek: Peter Pan Comic Records

The Star Trek Peter Pan comics/records ran from 1975 to 1979. Half of the stories were writing by Alan Dean Foster which is cool, and a handful of the artwork was done by Neal Adams which is awesome. That being said, I was surprised at how much I hated the stories and found the artwork just OK. Not all of the stories had comics for them, so those ones I actually found the record audio on YouTube. Let me tell you, they were boring as shit. Some of the early one's seemed to literally be recorded in old-timey radio style. Like a bunch of guys standing around one microphone and some other guy in the corner smacking coconuts together. In most of the comics Sulu was a black guy and Uhura was a blond white woman... I mean, it's 1975.. by now I assume everyone has heard of Star Trek. Explain to me, why and how they messed this up! They do however manage to reference small details from both TOS and TAS??

The comics from 1979 show the crew in the gray uniforms from The Movie. All characters look as they should.

1. "Passage to Moauv" (1975 comic) - Not a very original plot. It seems to happen frequently in most of the Star Trek comics. The Enterprise ends up getting some animal on board that turns out to be a telepath and it makes the crew go insane.

2. "In Vino Veritas" (1975 audio) - Insufferably boring. I actually fell asleep and then had to re-listen to it. It's the Enterprise crew sitting around a table with dignitaries talking.... That really seems to be all that happens.

3. "The Crier in Emptiness" (1975 comic) - I'm not sure if I was supposed to laugh at this one, but I did. The Enterprise is assaulted by a being of pure sound. The only solution is to have Lt. Connors play a giant keyboard like he was Jeff Lynne from ELO.

4. "The Time Stealer" (1975, comic) - Corny, but I liked it. A Wizard and Barbarian end up  battling the Enterprise. After making peace with them, Kirk soon discovers that magic may indeed be real. This was written by Cary Bates and Neal Adams. Typically I hate 99% of the writing involved with Neal Adams but not this one. Don't get me wrong, I love Neal Adams art. In fact, his Lantern/Arrow comics are one of my all-time favorites. Though even those, the ultra-hippy b-s writing made we want to die.

5. "To Starve a Fleaver" (1975, audio) - A dignitary from a newly discovered colony accidentally infects the crew with lice. Something like that.

6. "A Mirror for Futility" (1975, comic) - The Enterprise happens upon two gigantic alien starship's locked in an eternal battle. The race is long dead but these two ships are on computer power and will fight on forever. Not a bad story, it's been done before however.

7. "The Logistics of Stampede" (1975, audio) - A planet needs help killing off a stampede of cattle because they keep killing their crops. Something like that.

8. "The Man Who Trained Meteors" (1979, audio) - This was by far the best audio story. The Enterprise is about to meet the ruler of Perinda IV when suddenly the city is destroyed by multiple meteor strikes. The Enterprise is also threatened by a voice, saying that they too will be destroyed. Kirk finds out that this is the former ruler of Perinda IV. He has crazy telekinetic powers. He turns the crew into zombies and begins his coupe of the planet. Luckily Spock is unaffected. He stops Zombie-Scotty from blowing up the ship and subdues the crazed ex-ruler.

9. "The Robot Masters" (1979, comic) -  Ehhh. The Romulans steal a shipment of robots meant for Scotty in order to start a robot army. First of all, they never use robots on the Enterprise. At least not ones that look like B-9. Secondly, the Romulans are green and resemble Genghis Khan. Again.. it's 1979, nobody remembers what the Romulans liked like on TOS?

10. "Dinosaur Planet" (1979, comic) - Kirk and crew encounter intelligent dinosaurs. Not a bad idea I guess.

11. "The Human Factor" (1979, audio) - Uhura and others are taken by a race called the Garrusians. This planet worships computers so they need to steal people in order to keep them programmed. Kirk works out a compromise to have The Federation assist the culture.

On a scale of 1-5 Saurian Brandy's. I give the Star Trek Peter Pan comics a 1.5

Next Up: Star Trek: UK Comic Strip

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Gold Key Comics - TOS #42- 61

The final run of Gold Key comics were fantastic. They rehash and/or expand on classic Star Trek characters and episodes. Lots of fun, beautiful artwork by Al McWilliams and great writing by George Kashdan. This batch also has great ads in them, such as Star Wars movie paraphernalia ones and disco album advertisements. Picking five top ones was tough, there are many good comics here. One with a ghost and cyborg in it, a few undercover operation episodes (which I love) and an Andorian murder mystery.

I also read the script for the never made issue #62 Trial By Fire. Kirk and Bones are trapped on a planet about to be obliterated by a fireball. Has an appearance by the USS Exeter post Omega Glory. Check it out, it's at least interesting to see what a comic book script looks like. Way crappier than I expected.

I decided to read the Whitman Dynabrite Comic (reprint of The Evictors/The Choice) and the Dan Curtis Mini-comic Giveaway (reprint of Enterprise Mutiny/Dark Traveler).

The best of this bunch:

 #43 1977 "World beneath the waves"
The crew visit a planet where the inhabitants live underwater. This environment is not used much in Star Trek, so it was interesting to see. These people had to adapt to the water after their land was devastated by radiation. Kirk discovers that there are indeed land people, but a cover up seems to be afoot. Barbara McCoy is in this comic and she is a great character. I love how she seems to really hate her father.

#49 1977 "A warp in space"
Bringing back our old friends Zefram Cochrane and the Companion from the episode Metamorphosis. Kirk needs assistance from the famed scientist in order to figure out the disappearance of several experimental starships. They are all attempting to push the limits of warp. The Companion, however, seems hell bent on sabotaging things.

#50 Jan 1978 "The planet of no life"
Kirk and a rich snobby ensign are trapped on a planets surface. Unfortunately for Kirk, his recent nemesis The Evictors are back to torture him. The young ensign quickly turns on Kirk in order to save his own head.

#56 Oct 1978 "No time like the past"
A crazy ex-dictator escapes into the Guardian of Forever and changes history. Kirk, Spock and Bones go back in time in order to set things right. They must make sure the encounter between Hannibal and the Romans goes the way history planned.

 #61 Mar 1979 "Operation con game"
Kirk loses out to the Klingon's on an important bid for a planets dilithium. They discover that this dilithium seems to be fake, and a surprising old foe is behind the ruse. Lets just say, things get a little muddy...

These Gold Key comics are a diamond in the rough. People talk shit about them, but I feel they never really read them. They get increasingly better and better as the run goes on. I enjoyed the art and writing, as well as the heavy use of Scotty.

On a scale of 1-5 Saurian Brandy's. I give Star Trek Gold Key series a 4

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Gold Key Comics - TOS #21- 41

The Gold Key series continues to impress. They eventually iron out the inconsistencies that everyone complains about. In fact only the first handful in the series are really a mess. Although, at one one point in issue #41 Kirk says "Dr. Spock". Nonetheless, this next group had some real gems (also a few blah ones).

 Issue's #33 to #41 are particularly great, including one with McCoy's daughter (and Kirk keeps hitting on her??). The writing really turns from "text book" comic story lines into movie quality plots and dialogue. The interior art work remains good, however the covers are starting to look really corny.

The best of this bunch:


#33 1975 "The Choice"
The Enterprise is sent to a section of space in which the Big Bang is thought to have originated. There they find a pod floating, and inside is .... Kirk! He tells the other Kirk to make the right choice (though no one understands what he means). It ends in a battle between two Enterprise's.

#36 1976 "A Bomb In Time"

A rogue scientists takes a powerful bomb into Earth's past. They do not know exactly what time period but they norrow it down to two years/places. Kirk goes to 1955 Hollywood and Scotty to 1855 Old West. Great writing in this one, it would have made a solid episode or even a fun old Star Trek movie. Certainly would be better than Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

#38 1976 "One of Our Captain's is Missing"
Kirk is suddenly relieved of duty and replaced by a Captain Zarlo (who seems inept, and the crew can't stand him). Kirk has actually been sent on an undercover mission to thwart a Klingon take over on a nearby planet. Another one that one make a decent film. Again the writing is great, but for some reason I can never tell who the writer is on these comics.

#39 1976 "Prophet of Peace
Kirk and crew recover a cryogenic sleep pod from deep space. It contains an iconic scientist from Earth's past. This guy was a brilliant scientist but also a prophet of peace. No one wonder he literally looks like a mix of Ghandi and Einstein. Upon taking him back to Earth, his renewed message of peace has some dire consequences for the planet. Star Trek always does this. They show men of peace and peaceful planets but everytime there is some evil underlying situation. It's like their message is that total peace is a myth.

#41 1976 "The Evictors"
The Enterprise takes part in a planets 10,000 year celebration. The planet has since achieved total peace (so as I said previously, we all know what is coming next). As part of the celebration they have a visual of their entire history projected into the atmosphere. It speaks of their founder and "God" named Zotar. Suddenly the image is interrupted by a giant space craft and to everyone's amazement Zotar appears! He has not come to party, he has come to take his planet back...