Sunday, November 18, 2018

Doctor Who Season 11 episode 7. Spoiler free review.

When the Doctor Who series rebooted in 2004, it had a high quality about it that made it a really good show.  By 2010 to 2011 it was bloody fantastic.  Each episode felt like a special experience, and the stories were epic, with plots that would span entire seasons.

Now the days of brilliance are long behind us.  Episode 7 is my favorite of the season so far, but it doesn't even reach the halfway mark of what a Doctor Who episode could be.  The show has lost its exocticness.  So far we have had only had one episode on a spaceship with a menacing alien, which was good, but parts of the episode dragged on too long.  Most of the stories have centered around characters that are all too British.  Where are the alien worlds we used to visit?  Where are the interesting aliens?  Why is the music so dull?  There used to be great music.

If anything, the new season seems to be more about social commentary than alien worlds, and that is a problem.

In the past, the companion characters were reason enough to watch.  Doctor Who always had brilliant companion characters, except for this new lot.  This go around they gave us three companions instead of one, and they are likeable enough, barely.   They don't really add anything to the series.  

The show has also lost the great writers and producers it once had.  New people are running and writing the show, and the result is kind of ho-hum.  It also feels like they are making the show on a lower budget.  It is such a shame, because Doctor Who used to be one of the best things on television.


Sunday, October 28, 2018

Doctor Who Season 11 Episode 4: Arachnids in the U.K.

The latest Season of Doctor Who has had a bit of a bumpy start.  The episodes aren't as bad as a couple of seasons ago, but they aren't as good as the 2007-2012 glory days of the show.  Jodi Whitaker makes a mostly convincing female version of the Doctor, but her character comes across as too politically correct.  The good Doctor is also a warrior, and we don't see that in her.  She is more of a caretaker, like a nurse with an attitude.

With episode 4 things are looking up.  The story evokes some of the terror we saw in episodes like "Blink" and "Silence in the Library", but only by a fraction.  Giant spiders have taken over a hotel with a handful of people trapped inside.  How one reacts to this might depend upon on how one feels about spiders, and since they never bothered me that much, I found them about as scary as the giant spider at the end of the surrealistic movie 'Enemy', which apparently was as afraid of the humans as the humans was of it.  That turns out to be true here too.  The owner of the hotel is a corrupt Donald Trump wannabe, who is planning to run for President, and he has the right idea, which is to shoot the spiders.  The politically correct Doctor will have none of that, and wants to treat the spiders with respect and even talks to them.  This is one of many things that didn't quite make sense, like why didn't they call the police, or the military, or even an army of exterminators?  We know from previous episodes that the Doctor has political friends in very high places, and at one time was temporarily made President of the entire Earth.  Surely she can get help when she needs it?

The well done ending holds promise for good things to come, but I also thought that maybe this was a missed opportunity for some storytelling gimmickry.  We see Grace, Graham and Ryan enter the Tardis to say a proper goodbye and wish the Doctor bon voyage.  After some discussion they decide to go with her.  Imagine the same scene where we see them enter the Tardis just from the outside, and after a long pause the Tardis begins its journey.  Sometimes leaving things to our imagination can be more enticing.  The discussion inside the Tardis could have been held for a flashback in the next episode.

The special effects of the spiders is pretty well done, but I still think that the show feels like it has less budget than before.  It has lost some of its visual appeal, which in part due to the Doctor's goofy outfit and the drab look they chose for the Tardis interior.

Re: Doctor Who Season 11 Episode 4: Arachnids in the U.K.

Seconds after I finished my review, this video popped up on my computer:

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Doctor Who and Rosa Parks

So far the new season of Doctor Who is somewhat interesting,  but it greatly pales by comparison to the first season of Matt Smith.  The new season looks cheaply made, and this latest episode feels awkwardly executed.  However, almost anything is better than the first season with Peter Capaldi.

When Doctor Who first aired, all the way back in 1963, it was supposed to be a kids show to teach history.  With this latest episode, I wonder if that is what they are trying to do?

At least we got a new villain, which I assume is a recurring character.  However, this is very familiar.  In another time travel show, Tru Calling, we had an almost identical villain, which was a mysterious young handsome male time traveler, possibly love interest, who was trying to oppose everything done by the time traveling female lead character.  There is also the show Quantum Leap, where they introduced an evil female antagonist, and love interest, to oppose the time traveling main character.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Doctor Who

The 2005 reboot of Doctor Who was good from the start, although sometimes a bit silly at first. By 2010 it was utterly brilliant. However, it seemed like a slow decline from there, until a couple of seasons ago it was not very good at all. The last season was better. The new season is trying to mix things up with a new female Doctor. The first episode was very good. The second was just okay.

Doctor Who Season 11 Episode 2, "The Ghost Monument" review, with some spoilers.

The episode is mostly entertaining, but feels flawed. It is out of character for the Doctor to lose hope. Why doesn't the Doctor have a recall mechanism for the Tardis?

The robot guards were mostly annoying. Given the major plot point of the episode, they make total sense, but their implementation and appearance felt kind of lame. The best special effect is of the ship crash landing, but everything else looks low budget. The new inside of the Tardis doesn't look very good, although they only show pieces of it.

If you were to ignite the atmosphere, you would be roasted and deprived of oxygen.

The only interesting characters are the Doctor, Graham, and the grumpy alien. Everybody else feels weak. That is the problem. The female character Yaz might as well not be there.

The preachy scene about guns feels lame.

Despite all these problems, the episode kept me interested because it is essentially a long race and chase scene. However, that is mostly all there is. I have seen type of thing this done much better, like on Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and on Doctor Who itself.

We get an semi-interesting backstory about the planet, but almost any other episode of Doctor Who would have the Doctor interact with that story a great deal more, instead of being a passive spectator. For example, "The Doctor's Daughter", or "Smith and Jones". Here Jodi Whitaker as the Doctor doesn't have as much charisma as David Tennant or Matt Smith, although it is clear that she is trying.

Unlike the previous episode, I have no reason to see it a second time, and for the series Doctor Who that is not saying much.

Rating: B-

John Coffey

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Resistance Review: Has the age of good Star Wars animation ended?

John Coffey
1 second ago

Speaking as someone who loved the two previous animated series, the first three episodes Star Wars Resistance feels like a Cluster #&@*. I do not see anything in the shows that would appeal to an adult, or for that matter anybody over the age of 9. If this is the demographic that they are shooting for, then fine, but it seems like a huge waste when I know that good Star Wars stories can appeal to all ages. Instead we get stories that don't even feel like real stories, but a gag reel.

BTW, I loved Ezra Bridger (Star Wars Rebels) from the start.

P.S. I can't emphasize enough how good Star Wars The Clone Wars is. I wasn't as sure about Star Wars Rebels at first, but by the time that series finished it was awesome.

Friday, September 7, 2018

13th Doctor Reveal - Reactions Compilation - YouTube

Netflix Streaming

I found this interesting website that gives recommendations on what to watch on Netflix streaming, including ratings on some shows.

I like the penultimate section that recommends some shows that will soon disappear from Netflix, called "Last Chance to Stream."

Saturday, September 1, 2018

"John Locke" Terry O'Quinn in Star Trek The Next Generation.

I just happened to see another video about Star Trek The Next Generation, and I thought that I noticed Mr. John Locke himself.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Case for ‘The Expanse,’ the Cancelled Sci-fi Show That’s Too Good to Die

This is an interesting show that looked extremely promising from the outset, but the end of season 1 seemed kind of anticlimactic.  The show got bogged down in sci-fi politics.  I haven't started season 2 yet, but I should.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Remake of Buffy The Vampire Slayer

In response to:  

I wrote:  
Love Buffy The Vampire Slayer. 

It is risky to remake a great series unless there is something really good they are going to offer. Otherwise, it is either a boring echo of the past or worse yet a poor imitation.

​BTW, ​
The original series
​ got off to a rough start.​  The first season was too low budget.  The show didn't start really getting good until season 2.  Season 3 was better.  Season 4 wasn't as strong, but the show really hit its peak in season 5, which as far as I am concerned was amazing.  

Despite the show being a bit uneven, it had many moments of brilliance.  Seasons 3 through 7 would have one episode per season that was experimental.  For example, season 4 had an episode that was mostly silent, although brilliant, and season 6 had a musical episode that was the pinnacle of the entire series.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Star Wars The Clone Wars NEW Official Trailer

Loved this animated series, but they never finished it, instead choosing to make Star Wars Rebels, which started out good and finished astonishing well.

Based on this, it looks like they are finishing The Clone Wars. About damn time.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

"Dr. Cottle" from Battlestar Galactica

In January we lost "Dr. Cottle", actor Donnelly Rhodes.   He died from cancer at age 80.

This clip is funny: 

Sunday, July 1, 2018

The Sound of Silence

Heard this young artist in another video, so I made an attempt to find the original. She has a fantastic voice, and this is a pretty interesting interpretation of "The Sound of Silence."

My curiosity got the best of me.

I was watching an episode of Star Trek Deep Space Nine on Netflix.  It has a great intro where the music plays while the camera pans across the space station.  So I got to wondering if the space station is a model and where is that model is today?  It turns out it was a six foot model, and was bought by a private collector.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Star Trek Deep Space None

When I rewatched Star Trek Deep Space Nine recently, I skipped over a great many episodes. One reason is that my memory of seeing these shows from 20 to 25 years ago is still pretty good, and the other is that there is an overall story arc
and this was what I was primarily interested in. Most of the episodes don't touch upon the main story. but instead focus on a side story.

So I started watching the episodes I skipped, and I am surprised at how good they are. This is the kind of show that has a comfortable familiarity to it. It is relaxing to watch just an episode per night on Netflix streaming.

After 20 years what prompted me to watch this show again is that I remembered how much I enjoyed it. This style of program is a bit outdated, but the writing and acting is top notch. What made the show wonderful is that it had a wide assortment of great characters, many of which in the story end up being outcasts in one way or another.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Star Trek Deep Space Nine

I remember somewhat fondly the four different Star Trek Series that aired from 1987 to 2005, but especially Star Trek Deep Space Nine for its really interesting and vast assortment of colorful characters.  It was the second most popular Star Trek Series of that era, behind Star Trek The Next Generation.  It aired from 1993 to 1999.

Star Trek The Next Generation spent a couple of years setting up Star Trek Deep Space Nine as a spin off series.  It introduced two new alien races, the Cardassians who were the oppressors of the Bajorans.  When Star Trek Deep Space Nine started, Cardassia had ended its occupation of Bajor, and The Federation was helping the new Bajoran provisional government get started.

In the 90's I really loved this show.  So much so I still remember most of the individual episodes.  I found myself feeling nostalgic for the show, missing how much I enjoyed watching it.  So I made an attempt to watch it again on Netflix Streaming.

The problem with watching this show again is that nobody cares about Bajor anymore.  We were only introduced to Bajor as a plot device for this series.  We will probably never hear of Bajor again, because it is not part of the current Star Trek universe in films and TV shows.  Most of the shows are episodic where they don't deal with a grand story arc, but instead focus on some sort of political strife on Bajor.  I chose to not rewatch many of these episodes because they don't seem as interesting as they were when the show was new.

Instead I chose to mostly rewatch the episodes that dealt with a larger story arc, which was introduced at the end of the first season.  A new enemy is introduced, The Dominion, which is run by The Founders, who are intent on conquest.  We get a big surprise when we learn that The Founders are the same alien race as one of the main characters on Deep Space Nine.  The bad news is that the next four seasons would only barely touch this grand story arc, just three or four times per season.   However, in the last couple of seasons the show hit high gear with an all out war between The Federation and The Dominion.

What makes the show great is the characters.  It has a variety of alien humanoids who are interesting and endearing.  Many of the main characters are in one way or another outcasts from their respective societies.  They develop relationships and mutual dependencies with the other characters, making the show very much a space opera, and a good one at that.

After rewatching the series, I am impressed with the way it ended, and overall I am very pleased with the show because it has many layers in its storytelling.  It weaves together many complex storylines over its seven year period.

​John Coffey​