Saturday, May 31, 2014

Star Trek/Star Wars: The Conclusion or Something Like That

Well, this month has been pretty fun. It was cool to finally get some Star Wars love on the blog. It was also cool to finally talk about TNG and other Trek-related stuff.  So, now that I’ve gotten to the end of this month, you know it’s time for a free-for-all battle between the franchises! Can Spock defeat the coldness of Darth Vader? Can Harry Kim overcome the blandness of Anakin Skywalker? Will Khan kick Palpatine’s keister? Will Uhura and Leia strut their stuff on The Universe’s Next Top Model? Will Bashir be able to fare well against the robo-medic? Well, I have no freaking clue. Besides, who really wants to see that?
Instead of saying which is better, I just want talk about why I like both franchises.Oh yeah, I've kind of done that already... hmm...

Tales from the 50 Cent Bin! - Star Trek: The Next Generation #9

Since I did a comic for that other franchise, I might as well do one for this too. Star Trek comics have been done by a lot of publishers over the years. Publishers like DC, Marvel, Wildstorm, Malibu and IDW have put out a lot of stuff. Unlike the Trek novels, I really haven’t gotten into the comics. I just wasn’t interested. That sort of changed when I started listening to Two True Freaks’ Star Trek Monthly Monday segment. The guys have talked about some of the comics that came out at the time TNG was on. I found this issue and the series’ next issue in the 50 cent bin.

Michael Jan Friedman is the writer. Friedman has done a lot of stuff involving Star Trek. He’s written some Trek novels and was on this series for the long haul. He’s also written other things for Marvel and DC that aren’t related to Star Trek. Pablo Marcos provides the pencils and inks. I haven’t heard of him but I’ve seen that he’s done a lot of stuff over the years. He’s done artwork books like Conan the Barbarian, Batman, The Zombie, and the Avengers. So, let me see how they will save Doctor Crusher.

Star Trek: The Next Generation #9
Writer: Michael Jan Friedman
Pencils and inks: Pablo Marcos
Colors: Bob Pinaha

Graphic Novels - Star Wars: Heir to the Empire

So, the Expanded Universe… I never got into it. Outside the movies and The Clone Wars, the books and comics never really interested me. I’ve only read a couple of Star Wars comics and I did try to read the Star Wars: Shadow of the Empire novel a long time ago. I do own the first tpb to Star Wars Legacy. I was originally going to talk about that today, but I really had no inclination of recapping that story. It’s not that it’s a bad story. I thought was okay but I didn’t feel like recapping something so far removed from the movies. I wanted to do something simpler and my mind started to gravitate towards this trilogy.

I’ve heard that the Thrawn Trilogy gets a lot of love from fans. The novels were written by Timothy Zhan. I’ve thought about checking it out for myself but never gave the time to do so until now. When I found out that the story was adapted to comic book form, I thought I’d check it out.  Star Wars: Heir to the Empire was the first part of the trilogy. Mike Baron is the writer who adapted the novel to comic form. Oliver Vantine provides the pencils, Fred Blanchard provides the inks, and the coloring is provided by Isabelle Rabarot. For the heck of it, I actually read this while the soundtrack to The Empire Strikes Back playing on my computer. Some of the music actually fit.

Star Wars: Heir of the Empire
Writers: Timothy Zhan (novel) and Mike Baron (comic)
Pencils: Oliver Vantine
Inks: Fred Blanchard
Colors: Isabelle Rabarot

Friday, May 23, 2014

TV Talk - Star Wars Clone Wars Series

Wow, Anakin’s rockin’ that hair. That entire scene needed some epic rock music.

Well, I’ve finally gotten to the Clone Wars. As you can probably tell, I’m looking at both series. Since they both have the same title, I’ll be mentioning them by the year they came out. It was actually the release of the 2008 series on Netflix that made this most of this month possible. As you can tell by the titles, the shows revolved around the Clone Wars. Since the prequels only touched on the beginning and the ending of the war, this was a chance to fill in the blanks on certain stuff.  I don’t have too much to say, so let me remember how I got into this.

I first saw the 2003 series when Cartoon Network (when they actually had good stuff on) would air the small mini-episodes. For those who don’t know, the first season of Clone Wars was split into 20 three-minute episodes that would usually air in the evening. The second season of the show came in 2004, but I didn’t get to see those until Revenge of the Sith was about to be released in 2005. That season was split into five 12-minute episodes. The whole entirety of the series is a little over two hours. Since I hadn’t seen those episodes (except for the awesome Mace Windu episodes) in a long time, I was able to find a video on YouTube that had it all.

As for the newer series, I first heard about it when Star Wars: The Clone Wars was going to be released in theatres. I didn’t know what to think of it at first. I mean, it was computer-animated and Anakin had a Padawan? I only saw the movie when MTSU had it airing on their movie channel. The movie was okay and was basically a pilot for the series. As for the series, I would try to tune in for the first three seasons. That all changed when I started to work nights. I did try to keep up with what was going on, but I kind of lost interest in it since I didn’t see it regularly. When I found out that they were releasing it and its 6th season on Netflix, I waited in anticipation for it. I went through that whole series during that month.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Trek Novels - Star Trek: The Return

They couldn’t leave it alone, could they? I guess I can’t blame them. Kirk’s death scene in Star Trek: Generations was pretty sub-par if a little ironic. He died under a bridge instead of on one. That sucks if you really think about it. You’d think that comic books and soap operas are the only places where one can come back from the dead. Well, Star Trek did with one iconic character, so it might as well do it with the other iconic character.  In 1996, James Tiberius Kirk was resurrected in the pages of Star Trek: The Return.

 So, if anyone is going to bring this iconic character back from the dead, it might as well be some Canadian actor named William Shatner. Yes, Shatner has actually written some scifi novels and some of them are related to Star Trek. I’ve read some of the other Trek books he’s written on. He teamed up with known Trek authors Garfield and Judith Reeves-Stevens to write this tale. I vaguely remember seeing this book in stores when it was out. I believe I got my copy at a Waldenbooks in the 2000’s. So, this is a book that involves Romulans, the Borg, Picard, and Kirk pulling off a Spock-like resurrection. Should be fun!!!

Star Trek: The Return
Authors: William Shatner assisted by Garfield and Judith Reeves-Stevens

BRIEF BLURB: The Borg and a group of Romulans form an alliance in order to take down the Federation. They plan to kill Captain Picard by sending a resurrected James Kirk to kill him.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Weird Star Trek Eps. - Day of the Dove aka "We Must Beat This Hate Alien with Love and Peace!"

Well, I've come back to the 3rd season of The Original Series. Man, that's a pretty sub-par season. Still, I don't know if can say that about this episode. It has Klingons, swords, a bit of racism, and a hate monster. I think should just start at the beginning...
You know, this ending would have been even more over-the-top if Spock laughed along.

In "Day of the Dove," an energy being that feeds on hate lures the Enterprise and a Klingon cruiser to a planet. It has the ability to manipulate the minds of the crew and their technology. The Klingons are teleported onto the Enterprise since their ship is badly damaged. Then, the being is able to transform their weapons into swords... insert random Highlander joke here. It also tries to make the crew hate Klingons and vice-versa. Luckily, Kirk and Spock figure out that they are being manipulated into hate and violence. They along with Kang's first officer are able to convince Kang that the violence needs to stop. The episode ends with everyone having a big laugh as the love-hating alien leaves the ship.

The episode is okay. I don't necessarily like it, but it's not horrible either. We get a memorable Klingon commander in Kang and we even have the first appearance of a female Klingon. The episode is also action-packed with some sword fighting. It's not great sword fighting, but I'll take it. We also get some over-the-top acting from Shatner and even Keoing who turns into a ravenous maniac.
"Captain! I think I'm on the wrong set again!"

The message of the episode is simple: hate and violence suck. Unfortunately, it kind of beats you over the head with that message. The episode even has an  "Let's all laugh" ending. It kind of makes you want to laugh at the screen and wonder what you just watched. Overall, the episode is okay and that's a good thing since the 3rd season has some truly sub-par episodes. I end the post with  the words of a man known as Vash the Stampede:

"This world is made of love and peace!!!"

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Trek Novels - Star Trek: New Frontier - House of Cards

Now this is something I haven’t done in a while. One reason I haven’t reviewed any novels here lately is because I’ve been reading some novels instead of talking about them. There is one series of books that I’ve recently gotten into and I think it’s time to talk about it. I was going to hold this off until the end of the month, but I might as well get this first book out of the way. Star Trek: New Frontier is a series of novels that was started in 1997 by Pocket Books. From what I’ve read, the series takes place in Trek canon and uses its own created characters and other lesser known characters from Trek lore.

The concepts were put together by writers Peter David and John Ordover. Peter David is the author of the first book and  he pretty much writes the whole series. Not only is he an accomplished author, he’s also an accomplished comic book writer who’s worked on books like The Incredible Hulk, X-Factor, Spider-Man, and Star Trek. I got into his well-received Incredible Hulk run through a podcast called PADSmash: an Incredible Hulk Podcast. I also heard New Frontier get a good word on another podcast, so I looked for the series at McKay’s. The books were really cheap, so I bought the first 8-10 books. So, let me see how this first book fares.

Star Trek: New Frontier – House of Cards
Author: Peter David

QUICK BLURB: The Federation must put a new crew together when the Thallonian Empire falls. We also get flashbacks on some of the main characters.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Movie Talk - The Star Wars Prequel Trilogy

Qui-Jonn: If you say “yipee” one more time, I’ll lock you in a room with Jar Jar for two hours!

Well, here I am again with this trilogy. A couple of years ago, I did a little post about what I liked about The Phantom Menace. I was going to do more with the other movies, but school got in the way and I just lost interest in it. Well, it’s now 2014, and I’m a little better at planning things. I don’t have much else to say, so let’s talk about the Star Wars prequels.

I don’t remember when I saw first saw The Phantom Menace.  I was already a fan of Star Wars at the time and I even got an action figure from their toyline. I think the only one I got was Obi-Wan Kenobi. I do know that I rented it at Movie Gallery when it came out. When Attack of the Clones came out, I ended up seeing that in theaters with my dad. I think my dad bowed out at the scene where Anakin and Padme were on Naboo. When thinking about it now, I can’t blame him.

I didn’t get to see Revenge of the Sith in theatres but I did get it and Attack of the Clones on DVD. The Phantom Menace was relegated to a recorded VHS copy from 2005, I believe. Yes, I still used those in the 2000’s. I even have a couple of other stuff recorded on there like Superman: The Movie and an episode of Smallville (“Rosetta”). Anyway, I planned on seeing all of these movies over a weekend but that didn’t exactly happen. I only watched TPM and I couldn’t find the DVDs to AOTC and ROTS. Some might say I’m better off without them, but I don’t like to lose stuff like that. Luckily, I’ve seen them enough to know what I want to say.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Random Pics of the Month - May: Seven Things About Anakin Skywalker

Since I did something similar to Spock last year, I might as well do the same to this franchise's main guy.

Anakin was a slave boy who saved Naboo, yelled "yipee" a lot, and was badly directed. "Are you an angel?" Ugh.

Anakin hates sand, kills Sand People, and likes dictatorships. Seriously, what did Padme see in this psycho?

Anakin... actually becomes a likable human being. Seriously, The Clone Wars did Anakin better than the prequels did!

Anakin/Darth Vader ain't afraid to choke a wench though he is now afraid of the high ground.

Darth Vader apparently hates atheism these days.

Darth Vader knows the power of the Dark Side. 'Nuff Said.

Finally, Darth Vader isn't that much of an idiot, Palpatine. "Yes, let me electrocute the son of my apprentice in front of his face! I'm so smart and eeeeevvvvviiiillllll!

Overall, Anakin Skywalker is alright though he is cooler in those black clothes.

Friday, May 9, 2014

TV Talk - Star Trek: The Next Generation

Picard: Q, what are you doing?
Q: Oh nothing, mone capitane. Just reading the unabridged book of your life. Just know that you'll get a nice jacket in a few years!

It’s been said that this show is one of the best sci-fi television shows of all time. Is that true? Well, I’m talking about it, so I’m guessing it must be true. So, Star Trek: The Next Generation… where do I begin? I guess I can begin at the beginning and I’m not talking about Genesis 1:1 either.

I never watched TNG when it first aired since we just didn’t have that station. I had already known of Star Trek through the TOS movies. When Movie Gallery first opened in town, they had a few episodes of TNG’s first season on VHS. I think some of them were “Hide and Q,” “Where No One Has Gone Before,” and “Justice.” There are also a couple of random episodes on some tapes my uncle had. When we finally got cable, I remember that the FOX station out of Huntsville (how we got that station I’ll never know) would run episodes of TNG weekly for a while. This station was also how I got into Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and another show called Earth: Final Conflict.

I pretty much saw the whole series when Spike TV aired them back in the 2000’s. I’ll pretty much watch an episode if it’s just on especially these days. It seems like some station is always showing it. Heck, BBC America even is showing it! I wonder how Doctor Who fans think about that. Anyway, it was either an episode from this show or one of the others that made me a fan of SFDebris, an Internet reviewer. For this, I decided to look at episodes that I haven’t seen in a long while on Netflix. So, is it one of the best shows ever? Find out below.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Movie Talk - The Original Star Wars Trilogy

While Luke is in awe of Leia, RD-D2 wishes he could tell him that she's his sister.

Well, it’s about time that I got to these movies. Yes, I decided to release this on May 4th which has been dubbed Star Wars Day. It’s like I planned all of this or something! As you can tell, I’m starting the Star Wars movie segment with the original trilogy. It’s the one trilogy that set the world on fire. I’d be shocked if there is anyone under the age of 40 who doesn’t know anything about Star Wars. I don’t have much for a preamble, so let’s get to it.

I can definitely say that these movies have been a part of my life for the longest time. I don’t remember when I first saw the movies. It may have been on TV or the video store. I know that I’ve owned a few versions of the movies. I think had the VHS version that came out before the special editions. I know that I had the special editions on VHS. Unfortunately, I think A New Hope is the only one still around and I don’t know where The Empire Strikes Back VHS is. I know the copy of Return of the Jedi is kaput. I also saw the Special Edition of TESB when they released it in theatres back in the day.

I ended up getting the DVD trilogy when it eventually went on a discount a few years ago. Since I’ve seen them all, I really don’t watch them on TV anymore. I believe Spike TV plays them occasionally. I got the DVDs and I’ve seen these movies enough. Since I haven’t seen them in a while, I watched all three over the weekend. It’s safe to say that this is still one of my favorite trilogies. Still, are they really that perfect? Find out below.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Favorites - 15 Favorite Lightsaber Fights

It’s been said that the lightsaber is “an elegant weapon for a more civilized age.” I guess that’s Obi-Wan’s way of saying that “lightsabers are cool, man!” Anyway, he kind of has a point. The lightsaber is one of the most recognizable things from the Star Wars franchise. I even have one but it’s in a shade of red. One thing that made all of the movies and TV shows exciting were the lightsaber battles. Heck, the battle in The Phantom Menace is probably the only awesome thing about that movie.

Here are my 15 favorite Lightsaber battles. Why 15? I just want to go those five extra steps. Yes, I’m going all Nostalgia Critic on ya’ll. There’s also the fact that I wanted to include some battles from the animated TV shows. While they’re only animated, both Clone Wars shows had some really good battles and they need to be highlighted somewhere. I’ll also try to provide links to these fights.

15. Mace Windu vs. A Droid Army (Clone Wars) – I know it’s not a duel, but come on! There’s a lightsaber in it! While Mace seems a little overpowered in this, you have to admit that this is frickin’ awesome. I mean, he’s pushing back hundreds of droids! He’s punching them to bits! He destroys a dang fortress! Mace Windu is truly a bad brother from another galaxy. I only wish we got to see this awesomeness in the prequels. I know Samuel L. Jackson would have been happy.

14. Obi-Wan vs. General Grievous (Revenge of the Sith) - This is the final fight for Gen. Grievous in the prequel trilogy. For those who don' know, Grievous commanded the Droid Army during the Clone Wars. The Republic finally tracked him down and Obi-Wan's the one who's got to fight him. The fight itself is pretty different and interesting since Grievous is a cyborg with multiple arms and lightsabers. 

13. Darth Maul vs. Prez Vizsla of Deathwatch (The Clone Wars) – Setting up this one would be pretty hard. Basically, Darth Maul (yes, he came back) and Savage Oppress (yes, that’s his name) teamed up with Deathwatch, a group of Mandalorian terrorists, in order to take back control of Mandalore. After they’ve succeeded in ousting the queen, Prez Vizsla makes himself ruler. Maul (who was planning to double-cross Deathwatch) challenges Vizsla for the throne and leadership if Deathwatch. The fight itself is pretty awesome. One thing this show excelled at was having these brutal, fast-paced fights. They fight back and forth until Vizsla is defeated and you find out that “there can be only one.”

12. Obi-Wan, Anakin, and YODA vs. Count Dooku (Attack of the Clones) – While the Battle of Geonosis is happening, Obi-Wan and Anakin track down ‘ole Dracula himself. He takes them both down one by one and even slices off one of Anakin’s hands. Dooku is about to escape when another challenger enters: Yoda. This is either ludicrous or one of the coolest things ever to see in theatres. Luckily, Kermit’s 2nd cousin uses the Force and his lightsaber to put up a good fight. The fight is cool for one reason only: we get to see Yoda beat the crap out of a Sith Lord.

11. Anakin and Obi-Wan vs. Asokha Tano (The Clone Wars) – This weird fight comes from the Mortis story-arc in the 3rd season. The whole arc revolved around Anakin being the Chosen One to balance the Force. This was something that was mentioned but never got really explained in the prequels. Anyway, the three get stranded in some strange land that is inhabited by Force-wielders. The wielder is of the Dark Side kidnaps Asokha and infects her with the Dark Side. When Anakin finds her, she attacks him with all she has. Eventually, Obi-Wan gets in on the action. Overall, it’s a nice fight from a pretty interesting arc about the Force.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Favorites - Top 15 Funny Moments from Star Trek Movies

Drunk Deanna didn’t make the list. Sorry.

Humor is often hard to pull off in most sci-fi movies unless they’re made for it. The Star Trek movies have some of the most glaring examples. At times, the humor comes off beautifully. Other times, the humor is either forced or comes off flatter than a dead bug. You even have some unintentionally funny moments in the movies. So, here are my 15 funniest moments from the Trek movies. I chose 15 because it seems like a nice number that you could spend the rest of your life with. Also, it’s possible that a certain movie will show up on the list at least a couple of times. I’ll also try to provide links to these moments. With all of that said, Engage!

15. Run, Run, Run!!! – One thing that’s noticeable about the new movies is the constant running Kirk and the crew do. There is actually one time where I just had to chuckle at it. In Star Trek: Into Darkness, Scotty sneaks aboard Section 31’s ship in order to help the Enterprise out. In this big space, we see him run, and run, and run, and run… you get picture. When the next movie comes, hopefully, there won’t be so much running going on. Since I can't find that clip, I'll just link one that has a lot of running in it.

14. Picard has hair (sort of)! – While Star Trek: Insurrection wasn’t a really good movie, it had a couple of funny moments. This was one of them. During a meeting with aliens in the Goren system, their leader makes Picard wear some weird headpiece. Let’s just say it doesn’t really suit him.  Even the rest of the crew thought so. Yes, I thought this was funny. I mean, it’s basically the “bald guy sporting a bad toupee” gag.

13. Scotty’s trip in Engineering – In Star Trek (2009), this moment occurs when Kirk and Scotty transport to the Enterprise while it’s in Warp… Eh? Anyway, Kirk lands fine on the Enterprise while Scotty is transported into the workings of engineering. It may be a dumb moment, but it’s a little funny. I think this is the first time a transporter malfunction being used to somewhat hilarious effect. At least wasn’t like it was in the first movie where those two Vulcans get turned into something that came out of a Clive Barker movie.

12. “I am preparing a marsh-melon.” – Man, it’s hard to find something genuinely funny in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. The humor’s so forced in it. The only good thing about the movie in general is the rapport between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. Their first camp scene is a nice example of that and provides a few chuckles. McCoy’s secret ingredient, the marshmelon (?), and the singing are some examples.

11. A British Tar? – This is another funny moment from Insurrection. Data’s circuits get fried and he goes rogue on the planet of the Bak’u. Picard and Worf take a shuttle down to the planet to find Data. Data, in another ship, attacks their shuttle. Picard thinks he can get through to Data by singing “A British Tar” to him. It’s ludicrous, but it is funny at the same time. Even Worf chimes in with that baritone voice of his. Then, Data starts to sing. As I said, it’s ludicrous and funny.