Sunday, May 31, 2015

Movie/TV Talk - The Martian Chronicles

For my final post of this themed month, I’ll be heading back to ‘ole Ray Bradbury. In 1980, NBC aired a 3-part mini-series of Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles. As you can tell by that year, I didn’t see it when it aired. I did get to watch some of it back in the 90’s. I think it was on the Family Channel. I’ve heard a variety of things about it before I saw it last night. I did recognize a few folk from the miniseries. Rock Hudson, Roddy McDowell (Planet of the Apes), Bernie Casey (I’m Gonna Git You, Sucka) and Nicolas Hammond (The Amazing Spider-Man TV show) all had roles. Apparently, Ray Bradbury himself said that the miniseries was “just boring.” Whether it actually is or not, I’ll get to that below.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

TV Talk - seaQuest DSV Season 1

So, I was wondering on what I could end this month with. I knew it had to be a TV show I used to watch or still watch. I almost chose Sliders, but I’ll wait on that for now. I then found a little show that I sort of used to watch back in the 90’s: seaQuest DSV aka seaQuest 2032. Since I’ve only recently finished the first season, I’ll be looking at the show by season by season. This is definitely a show I’ll have to do that with since I’ve heard things about its latter two seasons. Besides, it came on at the same time Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman came on, so I guess Sunday’s Sci-Fi is a thing here now. I guess I have to do Earth-2 next, eh?

As I said before, this was a show I didn’t watch that much. It came on at around the same time Lois and Clark came on and I was probably watching other shows as well. I do remember the show being in syndication on the Sci-Fi Channel. I think I saw a few episodes on there too. I know I saw some of the later seasons there. Anyway, I recently found it on Netflix and the rest is history.

The show takes place in the fictionalized future of 2018… so, we’ll be getting awesome submarines by that time? Earth has been colonizing the oceans, so an organization was created in order to keep order under the seas. The UEO (United Earth Oceans) Organization tasks an experimental submarine called the seaQuest to keep things in order. The Navy gets retired Captain Nathan Bridger (Roy Scheider) to command the submarine since he helped create the thing.

Throughout the season, the crew encounters a lot of stuff. They have to do deal with disputes between certain factions, perform rescue missions, and do their own exploration under the sea. They do also encounter their own brand of weirdness from time to time but it doesn’t go too overboard with it. One of the things the show tried to do was to stay as grounded as possible. It wasn’t too sci-fi… yet. That’ll be for another day. By the way, some dude by the name of Stephen Spielberg was an executive producer on the show, so this was pretty big.

Trek Novels - Star Trek: The Next Generation - Q-Squared

Since I just looked at a pretty sub-par Trek novel, I think it’s time to head back to the man known as Peter David. He probably does good Trek novels, right? I found today’s paperback novel a few years ago in a used book store in Columbia. It’s a small store but they pack a lot of books in there. I’ve gotten a few from there and I still go there sometimes to see what they have. The cover called out to me. I mean, it has Picard, Q, and the original “Flim-flam” man known as Trelane.

Q-Squared was released in 1994. I had known about Peter David as a comic writer, but I had not been introduced to his Trek writing until I read this book. As you can tell by the cover, it involves the TNG crew. I’m not sure on when this is supposed to take place. I know it has to take place after the episode “Parallels” (for some reason I want to call it “Parallax”) since the events of that episode is mentioned here. I know it doesn’t take place after the end of the show since some stuff doesn’t get mentioned. I’ll get to that later.

Star Trek: The Next Generation – Q-Squared
Writer: Peter David

BRIEF BLURB: Picard and the crew get a visit from Q and he has brought along Trelane to keep him out of trouble. Unfortunately, things go south with Trelane and the entire universe gets put in danger.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Random Pics of the Month - Favorite Vulcans

I might as well go back to Star Trek for some random pics. This time, they'll be my favorite Vulcans from the franchise. When looking back over it all, there are really only a few that I could call cool. Even when Star Trek: Enterprise had a buttload of Vulcans, only two or three were actually decent since the rest were were quite annoying. If you're wondering why Sybok isn't on here, just guess. If there is one thing I do wonder one thing: why do they all have the same haircut? Is it logical or something?

1. Spock (TOS) - No duh. He was truly the best.

2. Sarek (TOS) - It's the father of Spock. You know he has to get the next spot.

4. Tuvok (Voyager) - The brothas' have to represent. Besides, I wasn't putting that other Vulcan from the show here.

3. T'Pol (Enterprise) - Look, I'm not just putting here here because she's attractive either. It did take a while, but my likeness for her grew over the four seasons.

5. Saavik (TOS movies) - There's not much to say about here, but she was cool in the movies.

6. Soval (Enterprise) - While he did start out douchey, he did come around in the fourth season.

7. T'Pau (TOS) - I'm not talking about the 80's British group either. She was cool for an old woman.

Well, I'm out. I'll leave you something that might make you laugh.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Book Review - I, Robot

Since I wanted to broaden the spectrum of sci-fi this month, I thought I should look at a piece from some guy called Isaac Asimov. Apparently, he was some big-time writer back in the day ,and yes, I’m being a little snarky. I haven’t read much of his work but I know I have had to been exposed to some of it. I guess the best example I can come up with is the really loose adaptation of I, Robot from 2004. I was curious on how much got adapted into that movie, so I sought to find the book and read it. 

I, Robot was released in 1950. It’s a collection of short stories that Asimov had written for American magazines. Unlike The Martian Chronicles, all of the short stories were woven together to revolve around an interview with Dr. Susan Calvin, a fictional character Asimov created. Since I'm talking about the book, also browse over the movie below.

I, Robot
Writer: Isaac Asimov

BRIEF BLURB: A reporter interviews Dr. Susan Calvin, former robopsychologist of the company U.S. Robots and Mechanical Men. She tells him about her life’s work and the many situations she encountered with robots.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Movie Talk - The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron

Well, it’s finally time to have to talk about Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. I don’t want to get these movies mixed up with that one Avengers movie that had Uma Thurman and Sean Connery in it. I never saw that one. Also, if you’re wondering why this is in Sci-Fi Month, that answer is simple. We got aliens, evil A.I., mutants (sort of), super soldiers, a guy in a mech suit, and the Hulk. I think that answers it.

Anyway, I first saw The Avengers when it was released in theatres. I saw it with the same friend I saw the first Captain America movie with. I have seen it once since then by renting it. As for Avengers: Age of Ultron, I saw it a couple of weeks ago after church. I was getting tired of avoiding spoilers on the Internet, so I did a solo run. I was planning on going to see it again with a friend but she actually got free tickets to Mad Max: Fury Road (a really fun movie). Besides, I got enough from the first viewing to talk about it.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Weird Star Trek Episodes – Move Along Home aka “ALAMARAINE... meh!"

It looks like they really want out of this episode, eh?

Well, it’s time to head to Season 1 of DS9. While I do think that DS9’s first season isn’t that bad when compared to most first seasons in the franchise, it’s definitely my least favorite season of the seven. It does have some good episodes though. Unfortunately, it also has some “meh” episodes in there as well. Guess where “Move Along Home” falls into.

The episode starts off as the crew does first contact with the Wadi, a race from the Gamma Quadrant. Instead of sitting down and negotiating stuff, the Wadi want to know where the games are. They end up heading to Quark’s bar and gamble a bit. When Quark gets caught cheating the new aliens out of winning, the main Wadi decides to play a game of his own with Quark. What Quark doesn’t know is that this ends up transporting Sisko, Bashir, Dax, and Kira to some playing field. While Quark plays the game, they have to figure out a few tricks set up for them to solve.
I bet these guys have some extreme version of "Pick-up Sticks" on their world.

Odo (who really puts Starfleet’s security to shame) finds out from Jake that his father’s gone. It takes a while, but he and Quark find out that Sisko and the others are part of the game. It also turns out that their lives may be in danger. Things go bad when the four almost end up dying in the game. Luckily, it is a game after all as the four end up in Quark’s bar unharmed. The Wadi leave and never actually return. Yay.

So, this was a pretty "bleh" episode. While it has a couple of okay moments, it’s not good and pretty forgettable. The Wadi themselves are pretty lackluster. I can see why they were never brought back to the show in any capacity (far as I know). The crew doesn’t really get to do much other than be bewildered and act a little silly. I zoned out towards the end on my re-watch especially since I knew that nothing was really going to happen.
Don't worry. I won't link this to YouTube. I don't want to hurt you that bad.

I did think Quark and Odo themselves make the episode a little better by having some funny moments. Other than those two having a couple of funny moments, the episode’s a dud. I’d say skip it since nothing really comes from it. Still, if you want to see it, go on ahead. Well, it’s time for me to “move along home.” Peace and God Bless.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Tales From the.. $4.99 Bin? - Star Wars: Darth Vader #1

It’s about time I’ve gotten to something that’s Star Wars related.  It just sucks that it almost cost five bucks… I think I know why I barely buy any new Marvel books. When Disney acquired the license, Dark Horse eventually had to end their time with the franchise. Marvel now has the license and it’s all that Dark Horse did is now considered to be non-canon (if it was ever considered canon in the first place). Since the only things that are considered to be canon now are the films (even the prequels, folks) and the animated shows, Marvel’s been putting out new books featuring our heroes post-Episode IV.

Today’s issue is Star Wars: Darth Vader #1. Since Darth Vader is considered to be one of the best villains/henchmen ever, I thought I would try the first issue out. It’s written by Kieron Gillen and he’s been on some books of late. I know he was writing an X-Men book before Bendis took over. Invincible Iron Man’s artist Salavador Larroca takes on the pencils an inks. So, let me talk about how Palpatine chews Vader up and spits him out.

Star Wars: Darth Vader #1
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colors: Edgar Delgado
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Editor: Jordan D. White
Cover Artist: Adi Granov

(I ain’t listing the rest)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Weird Star Trek Episodes - In the Pale Moonlight aka “That Was Cold-blooded!”

Captain's Log: Stardate... ugh. I am never drinking "Quark's Secret Surprise" again.

Yeah, I quoted Dave Chappelle/Rick James for the nickname of this episode. The nickname definitely fits, I’ll give it that. I doubt the actual song does. Anyway, “In The Pale Moonlight” takes place during Deep Space Nine’s sixth season. The show is deep in its “Dominion War” era that sort of started in the fifth season. It’s a war that’s not going so well on Starfleet’s side. So, why is this episode in this “weird” bucket? You’ll find out below.

The episode is narrated from Sisko’s point of view. It flash backs to a few days ago when he was getting reports on Starfleet’s casualties from this war. When word about the Romulan’s non-aggression treaty with the Dominion is talked about, Sisko gets an idea. He realizes that the Romulans need to join their side in order to beat the Dominion. He gets with Garak, a sometimes shifty Cardassian, in order to get info on their battle plans. Sisko knows that doing this may turn into a messy affair, but he’s determined to do it. Since Garak can’t find proof that the Dominion will turn against the Romulans, it’s decided that they’ll forge it in the order to fool the Romulans.

Garak has Sisko arraign a forger named Volar so the evidence can be manufactured. In order to make this happen, Sisko has to break some rules to keep him out of trouble.  He had to bribe folk like Quark and lie to Dr. Bashir about some weird chemicals. When the evidence is made, Sisko and Garak get a Romulan senator named Vreenak to secretly come to the station in order to view this evidence. Unfortunately, Vreenak and his guys find out that the evidence is fake (“It’s a faaaaaaaake!”) and they leave in a huff.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, your mileage may vary), Garak figured this might happen. During the testing, he planted a bomb (along with some Dominion evidence) on the Romulan ship. It blows up as Vreenak is heading back to Romulus. He also “took care” of Volar to keep all of this on the down low. Sisko is furious at Garak, but Garak predicts that his acts may get the Romulans into the war. His prediction is correct as the Romulans enter the war on Starfleet’s side. In the end, Sisko knows he did wrong, but realizes it was for the best.

So… is this a good episode? You’re dang right it is! Peace, God Bless, and go get your groove back or something.
Wait, I already did this joke for the one of the worst Trek episodes ever. I might as well do it to a good one too.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

"It's A Video Game!" - Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Since I’ve looked at the Mass Effect Trilogy, I wondered what other games I could talk about. Then, I remembered a game called Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Now, I had sort of heard about the Deus Ex series before I found out about the game. I just never got to play any of them. Back in 2012, I was looking for games to try out and I heard that Deus Ex was a good one. So, I got it at a Gamestop and tried it out. What did I think? Well, I’m writing about it, so you know I think good things about this game.

For those who don’t know, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is actually a prequel to the original Deus Ex. It’s a first-person- shooter/stealth RPG that’s heavily influenced by cyberpunk.  The game also carries also carries a noir detective feel. It’s like someone decided to mix Blade Runner and Metal Gear Solid with elements of Robocop. It takes place in the “futuristic” year of 2027 and it’s primarily set in Detroit, Michigan. The story covers a bunch of topics that’ll talk about below.

In the game, you play as Adam Jensen, the head of security of Sarif Industries (as well as a nice Batman impersonator). Sarif is one of the leading companies that specialize in cybernetic augmentation. One night, it gets attacked by mercenaries and Jensen is seriously injured to the point of death. He’s brought back to the land of the living sporting a heavily augmented body. The main thrust of the story is figuring out who attacked the company. Also, you’ll have to deal with certain situations the pop up every now and then.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Trek Novels - Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Warped

Well, it’s time for me to finally look at a Trek book that features the crew of Deep Space Nine. I’ve only read a couple that involves this crew. I tend to gravitate towards the TOS crew and TNG crew when it comes to novels. Now, I actually found this hardcover novel at a big thrift store in West Tennessee called Top Dog. We were down with my dad’s family for the weekend back in 2010. My granddad had gotten all of the stuff we wanted. I had started to read the book sometime later, but I didn’t finish it until now. I’ll get to why later.

Warped was written by K.W. Jeter and released in 1995. I haven’t heard of the guy until this book. He’s written a lot of original novels as well as ones for this franchise and others. He’s done books in the Star Wars universe. He’s also written some sequels to Blade Runner. Now that was a shock to me. I still need to see Blade Runner. By the way, the book takes place after the events of “Battle Times” and before the beginning of the second season. So, we’re in Season 1 territory… yee haw. Anyway, I’ll get on to the synopsis.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Warped
Writer: K.W. Jeter

BRIEF BLURB: The crew of Deep Space Nine has to discover the cause behind a series of murders while Bajor’s government suffers a takeover from another group.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

TV Talk - Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

I bet Uhura's thinking "Wow, the 24th century's looking pretty nice."

Well, it has come to this. I finally gather up the guts to talk this show. I’ve heard this show get praised by most and not praised by others.  I think it’s time to add my name to the list as I finally talk about Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

My first memory of DS9 was actually on a church trip. I think we went to Louisville for the weekend and there was an episode (In the Hands of the Prophets) playing. At the time, we didn’t have cable at my house, so I didn’t know what this show was. I knew it was “Star Trek” and that’s it. I think my uncle may have even recorded a couple of episodes. When we finally got cable in ‘98, I got to watch the show on FOX 54 coming out of Huntsville. I have no clue how we got that channel, but I guess it had to do with the fact that we were so close to Alabama. While the channel showed current episodes of DS9, it also showed reruns early in the morning at about 5am. 

After DS9 ended its run, it was probably a few years until I saw the show again. I know Spike TV had it in reruns when I was in college. It didn’t stay on there long if I remember. I also remember this YouTube channel had all of the episodes on there. I think I watched the latter half of the show on that channel. Then came Netflix which has every Trek show on there. I’ve mostly been watching a lot of the early episodes on there as well as my favorites. I haven’t finished the show since I’ve seen the latter half a lot, but I’m getting there.

Monday, May 4, 2015

"It's a Video Game!" - The Mass Effect Trilogy

So, what does one get when they combine elements of Star Trek, Star Wars, Starship Troopers, Aliens, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, and everything in between? It’s possibly one of the coolest trilogies around. Today, I’ll be looking at the Mass Effect Trilogy, so sit down and lay back. This’ll take a while.

Where can I begin with Mass Effect? I guess I’ll start at the beginning. I didn’t know crap about this trilogy before March of last year.  All I had heard about it was it was good and that its third game had a crappy ending.  I had finished up a new game called Watchdogs. The game itself was fine, but it didn’t have any replay value for me, so I decided to trade it in at Gamestop. Since I got a sizable amount back for it, I looked around for something that might be good. I saw the Mass Effect Trilogy for a pretty cheap price, so I got it. The rest, you might say, is history… also, the helper there was pretty cute. I think I saw her at Hastings in Murfreesboro.

Anyway, here’s a little info for the uninformed. Mass Effect was released on the Xbox 360 and PC’s (it got ported to PS3 much later) in 2007. It was developed by Bioware who was responsible for games like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire, and Dragon Age. It takes place in the somewhat distant future (2183) in the Milky Way galaxy. You play as Commander Shepard, an Alliance soldier who you make your own. Mass Effect 2 was released in 2011 on all consoles while Mass Effect 3 was released in 2013. For this review, I decided to play through the whole trilogy again in order to give it a better look and see what trouble I could really get myself into.
My Shepard’s black and looks like he’s trying to do his best Captain Sisko imitation.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Book Review - The Martian Chronicles

So, Ray Bradbury… Yeah, I got nothing on him. All I know about him is that he was apparently an awesome author. He’d written his fair share of novels and short stories. I’m not sure if I’ve read many works by the man. I’ve probably seen most of his stories adapted to television or movies. I know I haven’t read Fahrenheit 451. That’s definitely on the reading list for this year.

I don’t remember when I first heard about The Martian Chronicles. I probably found out about it at a book fair, one of the stories was in our reading books, or  the television mini-series that was released in the 70’s. Either way, I found out about it eventually because I finished reading it some time ago. The Martian Chronicles was released in 1950. From what I’ve read, it’s made up of a series of short stories that have been cobbled together.  It’s had some revisions since then. Some stories were added or taken out. Some revisions also have it taking place in the mid-2000’s instead of the beginning of the 21st century.

The Martian Chronicles
Author: Ray Bradbury

BRIEF BLURB: The book talks about how Earth tries to colonize Mars.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Random Thoughts #36 - Garrus Vakarian is one bad brother from another planet!

Well, it's noon and I really need to get back to the gym. Work's been good.A co-worker of mine isn't doing too well though. This whole situation in Baltimore has been annoying and really freaky. The world just feels weird in general these days. I'm not worried though since you're gonna have your good times and bad. So, I'll get to some random thoughts.

Sci-fi Month
 So, for this month (formerly known as Star Trek Month and Star Trek/Star Wars Month), I wanted to change it up. While I love Star Trek and really like Star Wars, they aren’t the “end all, be all” when it comes to science fiction. If you’re saying “Star Wars isn’t science fiction!”, the franchise has cyborgs and clones. It’s at least lite Sci-fi. Anyway, I wanted to branch out and look at other things in the sci-fi genre whether they are movies, TV shows, books, or video games. I already got some things planned out, so stay tuned. 

I don't have anything to say... yet.

This Weekend
This weekend is looking pretty fun and busy. There's Free Comic Book Day, Murfressboro's Jazz Fest is out, and a friend of mine is having a birthday party. There's also this little indie movie about a group of folk beating up James Spader... that might be fun.

The Joker???
Recently, an image of the Joker from the new Suicide Squad movie was released. It's... weird to say the least. I'm now hearing that Jared Leto may not look this different in the movie. Still, it's alright. As long as Leto plays the role well, I'm good. Still, I think one can have fun with this.
Wow... the Insane Clown Posse will take anyone these days!
So I guess he'll be teaming up with Lil' Wayne next?
I'd hate to be that tattoo artist. 

Well, I'm out. I really need to hit the gym. Peace, God Bless, and be safe out there.