Tuesday, May 31, 2016

TV Talk - Star Trek: Voyager

Well, I knew I had to get to this one eventually. It was waiting in the “My List” part of Netflix for some time at least. Heck, I think a part of me was dreading re-watching this. I think SfDebris’ ramblings have latched on to me or something. So, where should I start with Star Trek: Voyager? I guess I’ll start at the usual place: the beginning.

Star Trek: Voyager debuted on UPN in 1995. I think it was one of the first shows on that station. The first I ever saw of this show was on a recorded tape my uncle owned. I couldn’t watch the show at the time since we didn’t have UPN as part of our roster. The cassette had bits and pieces of “Scorpion” on there. It wasn’t until about 2000 when I actually got to watch the show proper. UPN was finally added to our roster of channels. I was able to see the show until its end in 2001. I was also able to catch up with the show since UPN aired reruns almost nightly.

It was a long time before I ever saw another episode of Voyager. Spike TV was playing the show for a while and I tuned in for some episodes. One thing that brought Voyager back to my attention a few years ago was an Internet reviewer by the name of SfDebris. He… wasn’t a big fan of Voyager. He tore those early seasons to shreds at places and it was pretty funny. When I got Netflix, Voyager was around, but I thought I’d hold off on it since it wasn’t one of my favorite shows. Since I got curious and I’ve reviewed the other Trek shows here, I started a re-watch of Voyager a few months ago.

For those who don’t know,the show revolves around a Federation starship that gets thrown 70,000 light years into the Delta Quadrant. Not only are they far away from home, they lost most their crew in the incident. There’s also the fact that they have to also deal with members of the Maquis, a rebel group of former Federation citizens. Captain Katharine Janeway takes the Maquis in and tries to make the best of a weird situation. I know of one person who really likes the show and my mom even likes it more that some of the others shows. So, what do I think now?

Sunday, May 29, 2016

"It's a Video Game!!" - Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Well, it’s time to get back to the world of Star Wars. Yeah, one could say it’s not really science fiction. Still, it does have clones and artificial intelligence, so it’s at least light sci-fi. Instead of the usual stuff involving familiar characters, I thought it was time to branch out a little bit. In 2003, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was released and got much praise. Since I didn’t own an Xbox and I’m not a big PC player, I didn’t get to play this. That changed some time back when I found KOTOR at McKay’s. I was already playing the sequel, The Sith Lords, when I found it. I was also going to talk about the sequel today, but I’m still playing it.

The game was done by Bioware. As you can probably tell by some previous posts, I like Bioware. That was one of the reasons I sought out this game. I know it’s also playable on mobile stuff, but I wanted to try it out on old-school consoles. It’s an action RPG that takes place 4,000 years before the movies take place. Like with Bioware’s more recent games, you get to build your character from the ground up with his or her own skill sets and powers. Unfortunately, you can’t change much with the size and shape of the character.

Yeah, there is no similarity. My guy does kind of looks like either Shelyn Ward from Power Rangers in Space or Vince Carter.

You start out the game as a random Republic soldier (in my case, Krell Vulcanos) fighting in a war against the Sith Empire. They’ve hit it big in the universe and the Jedi aren’t doing well. After you land on Taris, you have to look for the Jedi Knight known as Bastilla. After you save her, you and some gathered companions head to Dantooine. Since you’re apparently endowed with the Force, you’re trained as a Jedi. Since your character is having visions that involve Malak, the Sith’s leader, and Revan, Malak’s dead teacher, the Jedi Council sends you on a mission to stop Malak. Twists and turns await you… unless you were already spoiled on said twists and turns. Thanks, Internet!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

TV/Movie Talk - Firefly and Serenity

Well, it’s finally time to show some occasional fondness for the man known as Joss Whedon. He’s known for things like Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, and some indie movie called The Avengers. Then there’s this not-well-known property, Firefly. For those who don’t know, Firefly is the one show of Whedon’s that has kind of has a cult following. Whedon took the final frontier of space and literally made a western of it. Unfortunately (to its fans), it was one show that didn’t receive more accolades than it could have gotten. I think I may be to blame as well since I missed out on this entirely.

The show debuted on FOX September 20th, 2002, my birthday. It then ended a few episodes later in December 2002. That has got to be one kick in the face. I missed out on this show since it aired on Friday nights. While it was on, I was in a marching uniform playing quads and trying to look good while doing it. I don’t think I ever saw an episode until it aired on the Sci-Fi Channel. I think it’s possible that I didn’t watch an episode until I found the DVD set at the library in 2011. Now, I did see Serenity, the blockbuster continuation, before I saw an episode of the series. It was playing on MTSU’s movie channel back in 2005 and I tuned to see it without knowing anything about it.

This is one show I’ve wanted to revisit for some time. For the past couple of weeks, I went on Netflix and more or less watched the whole thing. There are only 14 episodes, so it wasn’t a hassle. I watched Serenity afterwards. I actually bought this when our local Movie Gallery was going out of business. The show and movie take place about 500 years in the future. Earth was used up, so humanity took to the stars in order to live. They found worlds and terraformed them to make them habitable. A civil war broke out between the rich and poor planets with the rich (the Alliance) winning. We follow the crew of the Serenity a few years after the war ended. The crew, led by Malcolm Reynolds, does jobs that are sometimes not so law-abiding. Things begin to change when they let some new passengers on board.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Book Review/Movie Talk - 2001: A Space Odyssey

Next up is a movie that I hadn’t seen until sometime last year. I may call myself a fan of science fiction, but there are still some things I haven’t seen yet. This was one of them. 2001: A Space Odyssey was released in 1968. It was based on a screenplay written by director, Stanley Kubrick and writer, Arthur C. Clarke. The novel by Clarke was actually written during the production of the movie, so the book is more of a novelization. That was something I didn’t know until I started researching it. I thought the movie was based on the book. The screenplay itself was based on “The Sentinel” and “Encounter in the Dawn,” two earlier stories written by Clark.

As I said before, I saw the movie last year during Thanksgiving. I had it for a while before I watched it fully. I just read the novel this month. I’ve always heard that this movie was considered to be influential in a lot of ways to different writers and directors. I heard that it’s considered to be one of the best sci-fi movies of all time. From what I’ve seen online, that’s true for the most part. I have seen detractors of the movie though. The one I remember most is Confused Matthew’s multi-part review on the movie. He didn’t like it that much. Seeing it then, I can probably see why. So, what do I think of the movie and book? Find out below.

2001: A Space Odyssey
Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
Novel and movie written by Arthur C. Clarke

BRIEF BLURB: In the 21st century, humanity sends astronauts into deep space when they find an alien artifact that was around during the dawn of Man.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Trade Tales! - Betrayal of the Planet of the Apes

I think it’s time to return to the Planet of the Apes. Back in 2011, Boom! Studios had acquired the license for Planet of the Apes. I think they still have it. They’d have to have it in order for that Star Trek/Planet of the Apes crossover to come out some time ago. Yes, someone had the awesome idea to have William Shatner and Charlton Heston meet in comic form. I’m not talking about that today though. One thing Boom! did do was try to bridge the gap between the fifth and first POTA movies. I really haven’t read much of those unfortunately.

Today’s book is a prequel to the first movie in that it’s supposed to take place 20 years before the 1968 movie. Betrayal of The Planet of the Apes was a miniseries that was released in 2011. I actually found this trade and another book at Books-A-Million on New Year’s Eve. I decided to take it light that night. The miniseries was written by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman. Hardman also handled the art with the mini. Jordie Bellaire handled the colors and Ed Dirkshire handled the letters.

Betrayal of the Planet of the Apes
Writers: Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman
Artist: Gabriel Hardman
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Ed Dirkshire
Editor: Dafna Pleban

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Trade Tales! - Ultimate Spider-Man Voume 11: Carnage

Well, it’s time for another adventure from the Ultimate Spider-Man series. As for Captain America: Civil War, I really enjoyed it. While I do feel that our Friendly Neighborhood Web-Crawler felt shoe-horned in, I really liked Tom Holland in the role. It’s too soon to tell if he’s the best Peter Parker/Spider-Man, but he was good. I still wish Black Panther didn’t get pushed back for another Spider-Man movie, but it is what it is. I’ll stop complaining about it… for now.

Spider-man and his world has a sci-fi feel to it, so that’s why I’ve included it here this month. Plus, the story itself is another one of those “science gone wrong” stories, and those are fun, right? Carnage has the usual team of Bendis and Bagley on it. It’s pretty much the same team from the last volume without Art Thibert. The trade contains Ultimate Spider-Man #60-65. So, let’s see Peter get put through the wringer once more…

Ultimate Spider-Man Volume 11: Carnage
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Mark Bagley
Inks: Scott Hanna with John Dell
Letters: J.D.Smith
Colors: Chris Eliopoulos

Friday, May 13, 2016

Trek Novels - Star Trek: Enterprise - The Good That Men Do

Say, remember Star Trek: Enterprise’s “These Are The Voyages…?” If you do, don’t fret and break out into hives. Here, have a Snickers. For those who don’t know, it was the last episode for the show. It was a really bad way to end the series, in my opinion. If you’re curious, don’t watch it and see what I had to say about it. If you want the short version, it unceremoniously killed off a cast member, treated the regular cast like extras, wasn’t well-written, and was just a bad grab at ratings. It may have one or two good qualities, but it’s definitely on the list of worst Trek episodes ever.

Thankfully, I’m not the only one who doesn’t like this episode. You can go almost anywhere online and see folk go off on this episode. Since the Star Trek franchise puts out these novels a lot, you know someone would have to tackle this thing. In 2007, Star Trek: Enterprise – The Good That Men Do was released.  It was written by Andy Mangels and Michael A. Martin. Both writers have done their time with the franchise in novel form and in comic form as well. This was the second book in a line of relaunch books for the series. They even worked on books that were spinoffs to the TV show, Roswell.

Star Trek: Enterprise – The Good That Men Do
Writers: Andy Mangels and Michael A. Martin

BRIEF BLURB: In the early 25th century, in series of Section 31 documents are released to the public. A couple of old friends peruse the documents which contain the true events of what happened to Commander Charles ‘Trip’ Tucker.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Trade Tales! - Warlock by Jim Starlin: The Complete Collection

Next up, it’s time for some more Marvel cosmic adventures featuring Adam Warlock. In fact, I think this is kind of where the cosmic stuff really took off for Marvel in some respects. Beforehand, Warlock was just confined to Counter Earth, an Earth similar to our own. At the end of his original run, he “ascended into the heavens” (there was a Messiah thing going on with him at that time) and went into the cosmos. Jim Starlin, who was already doing some cosmic-level stories in Captain Marvel, took the character down a much different path. As Starlin put it, he made Warlock into a “suicidal, paranoid schizophrenic.” As I said, it was a much different path from his old life.

I was actively looking for this trade. It wasn’t looking good online-wise. I ended up finding this a few months ago at McKay’s and I was quite happy about it. Warlock by Jim Starlin: the Complete Collection contains all of Jim Starlin’s stories with the character. It includes Strange Tales #178-181, Warlock #8-15, Avengers Annual #7, and Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2. I know there’s one story that isn’t included in the trade that features Warlock but it’s not written by Starlin (Marvel Team-Up #55). Starlin wrote and pencilled all 13 issues.

Warlock by Jim Starlin: The Complete Collection
Writer and Artist: Jim Starlin

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Random Pics of the Month - Six Things about Admiral Will Adama

I haven't did one of these in a while. Yeah, I know it's Star Wars Day, but it's kind of relevant. So, here are seven things about Battlestar Galactica's Adama. Yeah, I'll throw the original in as well.

Old-School Adama had one nice cape.

Will Adama ain't afraid to get down and fight alongside his people.

Will Adama  probably wonders how the heck he and Tigh ever got so tight. I wonder that as well!

Will Adama is an okay father figure. He's not too bad though.

Will Adama's art career didn't take off like it could have.

Will Adama has fine taste in women and one slammin' mustache. Who knew Castillo would return?

Finally, Will Adama would make a fine President. So say we all!

Well, that's all I have for today. Peace, God Bless, and may the Fourth be with you.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! Star Trek: The Next Generation/Deep Space Nine Crossover

Well, it’s another May, so that means I get to talk about sci-fi stuff for a month... or maybe longer. First up is something I found some time ago. The Star Trek license has belonged to a lot of comic companies. The TOS and TNG licenses belonged to DC during most of the 80’s and 90’s. I’ve read only a couple of those. For some reason, Star Trek: DS9 got shipped to Malibu Comics. With both shows on at the time, a crossover of some sort was inevitable. It took me a while to find all four issues.

The crossover was split between the companies. DC did two issues and Malibu did two issues. The same creative team stuck on all four issues. Michael Jan Friedman and Mike W. Barr wrote and co-plotted all four issues. Gordon Purcell handles the pencils and Terry Pallot handles the inks for the whole mini. The colors and letters are split between the two companies. The crossover is supposed to take place in the early parts of DS9’s second season and TNG’s last season.

Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine crossover 
Writers/Co-plotters: Michael Jan Friedman and Mike W. Barr 
Pencils: Gordon Purcell 
Inks: Terry Pallot 
Colors: Rick Taylor (DC), Digital Chameleon (DC), Moose Baumann (Malibu), and Violent Hues with Janice Wismar (Malibu) 
Letters: Chris Elipoulos (DC), Bill Oakley (DC), and Patrick Owesley (Malibu) 
Editors: Mark Panicca and Margaret Clark