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TV Round-Up: Star Trek: Discovery: Into the Forest I Go

dsc-109-rev-3-640x320With “Into the Forest I Go,” Discovery wraps up its first major arc of the series and gives us another one to ponder until the series head back to our screens in January.

Picking up where last week’s installment left off, the crew finds a way to not only break the Klingon’s cloaking technology but also to take out much of the Klingon leadership.  The story also serves to bring much of the character arc of Michael Burnham full circle.

In addition to the parallels of the war starting and ending on the Klingon ship of the dead, we also got to Burnham use her logic to win over her captain.  The first time it leads to her mutiny and those consequences. This time she’s able to use Vulcan logic to convince Lorca that she needs to go on the away mission since she’s the one who knows the layout of the Klingon vessel the best.

It does bring up an interesting question — why let Tyler go too?  If the logical argument is that she knows the vessel, it also seems logical that Tyler might have some issues going back to a Klingon ship after being held prisoner and tortured for seven months.  But, if we don’t get Tyler over there, we don’t get his flashbacks and we don’t get T’Rell onboard Discovery as a prisoner. It really felt like the writers had an endpoint in mind and this was the only path that could get them from point a to point b.

111313_0646bAt least Tyler and Burnham get to rescue Cornwell, who apparently was only partly dead last week. Seriously, it’s a good thing the Klingons didn’t stab her with bantleth just to make sure she was really dead.

The parallels continue with Burnham battling a Klingon and possibly ending the war. Or at least turning the tide so Starfleet can win and get back to the mission of exploring the unknown and the final frontier. At least that’s what Lorca promises Stamets. But how much of that is Lorca having the heart of an explorer and how much of that was Lorca pushing Stamet’s buttons to get him to agree to the 133 spore drive jumps remains to be seen.

I have to admit I did find there to be some inconsistencies in how Starfleet interacts with Lorca and their expectations. So, Lorca is ordered back to a starbase (in front of the entire bridge crew, mind you) and he then decides to drag his feet, using only warp drive and not the spore drive.  I guess this is the equivalent of taking the long way home from school when you’ve got a bad report card. You’re just postponing the inevitable.  Or in Lorca’s case, finding another way to avoid being taken out of the big chair.

dsc-109-rev-4-640x320Given what we’ve seen about Lorca, I can’t help but think the early dropping of hints about being able to explore parallel universes and then the shot of his hands dancing across the keypad as they were ready to rev up the Spore drive one last time mean that Lorca didn’t necessarily mean he was using the easiest route home. Instead, he’s buying more time — even if that time may have a great cost to Stamet. Again, I think part of Stamet’s reaction in the final spore drive jump was about where Lorca sent them and not as much about him burning out. Perhaps Lorca drove him too hard, asked him to do too much. Or could there be something else waiting out here for them?

Those are questions we’ll have to wait until January to answer.

Once again, the show goes out of its way to earn its TV-MA rating. We got the first f-bomb dropped a few weeks ago and then this time around we get our first, explicit love-scene, complete with Klingon nudity. I’ve got to commend Mary Chieffo for that scene because I can only imagine how long it took to get full body painted and give us some Klingon nudity. I do find it interesting that she’s on board the ship now and teasing Tyler that he will have answers soon. The flashbacks to her torture of him seem to hint that there’s more in play here than just the torture she forced him to endure. I can’t help but wonder if he’s going to play some type of role in T’Rell bargaining to get back to the ship that she deserted V’Latak on a few episodes ago.

111313_0087bMeanwhile, it feels like the crew has finally gelled a bit. Maybe it’s that the crew all had one task — shutting down the Klingon cloak. But the moment when Lorca tells everyone he’s about to disobey a direct order was interesting. Part of me wondered if Saru wouldn’t somehow object to this. And you can’t help but wonder if this will help heal the rift between Burnham and Saru a bit. Saru has violated Starfleet orders here and he had a very good motivation to do so. Could he also begin to see that Burnham had good intentions in the mutiny against Georgiou, even if the results didn’t quite come out the way Burnham hoped or expected?

It will be interesting to see what, if anything, develops from this in the final six episodes of the year.

I also can’t help but think that Cornwell might try and assume command of the ship based on her reservations about Lorca. And that she may try to figure out how to get them back home again.

I also ask myself just how hurt Stamets is and can he help them all get home again.  I have a feeling based on the preview, that’s too simple a way out for the crew.

So much to ponder until we pick the story back up in January….

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TV Round-Up: Star Trek: Discovery & The Flash

Star Trek: Discovery: The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry

discovery41After three episodes of laying the ground-work for Discovery, the fourth episode finally settles in and begins to delve a little deeper into the characters and situation.  It makes for a fascinating hour and one that is this series’ best and most Trek-like so far.

As with “The Devil in the Dark from TOS, Discovery finds out that just because a creature looks and acts like a monster from our point of view, that doesn’t necessarily make it the case.  The tardigrade isn’t blindly attacking people or killing indiscremently.  Like the Horta, its attack response is done in self-defense.   The crew of the Glenn attempted to use the creature serve as a navigator for the spore drive with not disastrous results (though I wonder how much of the twisted alien bodies we saw on the Glenn comes from using the drive without the creature as a navigator and falling into some type of star or anomaly like Discovery does on its first attempt).  The creature lashes out when attacked or in danger but is fairly docile when allowed to feed on the spores.  Apparently, the creature and the spores can somehow connect to warp around the galaxy in the blink of an eye. Continue reading

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TV Round-Up: The Orville: About A Girl

the-orville-season-1-episode-3-about-a-girl-foxDear producers of The Orville:  More episodes like this one, please.

Not sure yet if this episode will be the exception or the rule, but I’m hoping it becomes the rule.  While not perfect, “About a Girl” feels like it’s a step in the right direction.

Which, knowing Seth MacFarlane can only mean next week will the series take on “The Naked Now” only instead of acting drunk, everyone will act like they’ve had one too many of the special brownies the replicators can whip at the drop of a hat. Continue reading

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TV Round-Up: Star Trek: Discovery: The Vulcan Hello

Star Trek has introduced viewers to new series on one of two ways.

STAR TREK: DISCOVERY

Pictured (l-r): Doug Jones as Lieutenant Saru; Sonequa Martin-Green as First Officer Michael Burnham; Michelle Yeoh as Captain Philippa Georgiou. STAR TREK: DISCOVERY coming to CBS All Access. Photo Cr: Jan Thijs. © 2017 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.

The first is the sink or swim approach utilized by “The Man  Trap.”  The episode threw viewers into the universe of Star Trek with little or no exposition or character introduction.   (Of course, it helps that “The Man Trap” feels like the middle portion is a “day in the life of the Enterprise”).

Then there’s the get the crew together and start having adventures model used by the four modern Treks.   There may be an emphasis on a central character (Sikso for DS9) and a lot of exposition on the setting, place in the Trek-verse and potential storylines that may or may not be examined during the series run.

Now with (for lack of a better term) post-modern Trek, Star Trek: Discovery starts off with a hybrid of those two models. Continue reading

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TV: Doctor Who: Revenge of the Cybermen

Revenge_of_the_Cybermen_1984_VHS_UKThere are a lot of things about “Revenge of the Cybermen” that don’t make sense.

But the biggest thing comes not from anything that takes place on-screen but the serial’s place in Doctor Who history.

Back in the 80’s as VCRs became more and more common in homes, the BBC decided to test the waters with a commercially released classic Doctor Who serial.  And for this honor, they decided to pick something from what many fans considered the pinnacle of Doctor Who – the Tom Baker starring, Robert Holmes script-editing, Phillip Hinchcliffe producing years.

Somehow classics like “The Ark in Space,” “The Pyramids of Mars” or “The Robots of Death” were passed by and instead the world got “Revenge of the Cybermen.”

Who-lore from the era tells us that the BBC polled fans at a convention and a mix-up between “Revenge of the Cybermen” and the then missing “Tomb of the Cybermen” occurred.  Seems fans wanted “Tomb.”  Instead we got “Revenge.” Continue reading

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TV Round-Up: The Orville, “Old Wounds”

xzsw7urvcxqpskxv40ggBased on the promotional material and my expectations of what constitutes a Seth MacFarlane show, I expected The Orville to be a bit more Galaxy Quest than Star Trek.

Turns out FOX took all the “funny” and “zingy” one-liner parts of the premiere and edited those into a (much repeated) commercial for the show.

It’s almost as if Fox doesn’t quite know what kind of show Seth MacFarlane is giving them.

Which could be because The Orville doesn’t seem to know what kind of show it wants to be either. That’s my big takeaway from the first episode, “Old Wounds.” Continue reading

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Doctor Who: The Power of the Daleks, Episode 1

doctor-1280-animated

During my teenage years, I picked up a photonovel copy of “The Power of the Daleks” at a sci-fi convention.   The original script for the long-lost story was put together with the telesnaps (photos of the actual episodes) in an attempt to give fans a chance to see what the watching the serial back in 1966 might have been like.  At the time, I figured this would be a close as I’d get to fully experiencing “The Power of the Daleks.”

When I first got on-line, I discovered the Doctor Who fan community and the practice of sharing the off-air audio from lost serials with each other.  Thank to the generosity of a fellow fan, I was able to acquire the audio from several lost serials that I eagerly listened to, imaging what it might have been like to see the story back during its original airing.  At the time, I figured this would be as close as I’d get to fully experiencing “The Power of the Daleks.” Continue reading

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