Sunday, October 25, 2020

Star Trek Discovery

Star Trek Discovery remains interesting, but it never feels great and that is my problem with it. The new season gives it much room to grow, but every single episode feels like it is just okay and nothing more. It seems to me that there are artistic choices that feel a little bit preachy and push an agenda, and consequently are a little bit dull.  

Monday, October 19, 2020

Star Trek: Lower Decks Showrunner Claims Every Starfleet Officer Is "Baseline Bisexual"

McMahan did a recent interview with Variety, where he discussed quite a bit of his plans for the second season of the animated show while also confirming that they're planning to explore Ensign Mariner's sexuality more prominently.

During the interview, McMahan revealed that Mariner was romantically involved with Captain Amina Ramsey when the two were at the Academy.

The showrunner stated, "The thing about privilege is that some people have it, some people don't. But everybody has their own story as well."

He continued, "There's an episode in the first season where you meet Mariner's close friend, confidant, and probably lover from the Academy days, who literally says, 'You used to be the best of us, you were going to be a captain, what happened to you?'"

That character is Captain Amina Ramsey. And McMahan would be asked a follow-up on that revelation confirming if she is indeed her lover.

He responded, "We weren't explicit about it, because most of the relationships in this show are familial or friendship love. It's not physical love. That character showing up, the story we're telling about them has nothing to do with any previous relationships they've had."

He then went on to reveal that all the Starfleet officers on the show are "baseline bisexual."

He stated, "For me and for the writers as we were making this, we didn't intentionally mean for anybody to be strictly heteronormative or straight or cis. Every Starfleet officer is probably at the baseline bisexual, in a way. That being said, I am not the most amazing person at writing those kind of stories. I think we get a little bit better about it in the second season."

McMahan would also discuss the show's inclusiveness. He stated, "It's something I think we need to be better about. If there's anything I can say about inclusiveness — whether it's about sex or gender or race or anything — is that I know that I can always learn more and be better about it, and I'm always trying to do that."

He then specifically stated they should have made it clearer that Mariner had a female lover, "This is one of those cases where we could have done a better job of explicitly stating the things that the writers always knew about Mariner. It seeps in there in little ways, which even irritates me even more, like you start off the season with Mariner saying, "Whoa, she's like the hottest girl on the ship, are you nervous?" —  that's one of her first lines."

McMahan continued, "That doesn't put a stake in the ground, which I wish we had done a little bit more explicitly. It's always a learning experience. We're going to be trying to be better about it. And we are more explicit about it in the second season."

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Star Trek Discovery Season 3 Episode 1

Star Trek Discovery is intriguing, not always logical, often over the top, lacks continuity, a little too touchy-feely, and much more female-centric than other Star Treks. What makes the show tolerable and often interesting is a fairly good cast. I like the characters. Season 3 Episode 1 is more of the same except that we don't have most of the likable cast (yet) and we have gone 900 years into the future. We were already in the future, but now we are 900 years further into the future.  

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

The Best Way To Watch All Of 'Stargate'

The original Stargate movie had mixed reviews.  I really liked it despite it being corny in a couple of places.  Some people hated it.  It is not necessary to see it to watch the series, but it helps.

There are two versions of the television Stargate SG-1 pilot, called "Children of the Gods".  The 2009 version is better edited and was updated to look better.  The original 1997 version has a nice nude scene.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

The Vast of The Night

The Vast of the Night was released to drive-in theaters and on Amazon Prime in May of this year.

When I was reviewing the movie "The Signal", I said that the trouble with low budget science fiction movies is that these types of films might have one good idea, whereas a movie like "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back" is loaded with many good ideas.  The Signal kept you in suspense for the whole film, making you think that this story was leading up to something wonderful.  There was a payoff in the end, but that payoff was so short that if you had closed your eyes for a couple of seconds then you would have missed it.  Literally.  Everything I said about "The Signal" is also true for "The Vast of the Night", except the ending is a little longer. However, both movies are an exercise in prolonged tension to arrive at similar endings.

The Vast of the Night feels like a master class in low budget filmmaking.  It does a great job with its long camera shots and its unknown actors who give stellar performances.  The movie starts by showing an old fashioned television screen like it is playing an episode of the old Twilight Zone. The camera zooms into the screen and now we are following characters in a 1950's small Texas town on the night of a high school basketball game.  It spends a long 20 minutes introducing its settings and characters, after which the local switchboard operator starts noticing weird things happening.  She teams up with her friend, a disk jockey at a one-man radio station to investigate what is going on.

Many of the scenes drag on a bit, mostly with conservation.  But there is a frantic tension that builds toward the conclusion.  Fortunately, the actors really sell this story.  We get a sense that these are ordinary people caught up in something big they don't understand.

The minimalist style of this film could be called experimental, but for 85 minutes it works really well.

Rating:  B+.

A reviewer on youtube gave the film an A-.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Saturday, September 5, 2020

40 worst TV shows of the 1970s

I watched a little of "A Year at the Top" and "Grady" which didn't seem terrible. I wish I had seen "The Texas Wheelers" since it had Mark Hamill.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Stargate SG-1 TV show

I have spent the last five months rewatching the entire series of Stargate SG-1. For the third time. My conclusion is that I am incredibly satisfied. The show kept exploring new and really good ideas over its ten year period, so it never felt old. (It also copied ideas from other science fiction shows, but it did it in a good way with some originality. For example, almost every single science fiction show has done a version of "The Magnificient Seven" or "Enemy Mine", the latter of which is a 1979 science fiction novella I read decades ago.)

It is also interesting how well the stories tie into mythology. One of the main premises of the show is that ancient mythical beings and gods were actually aliens from other worlds.

Some shows have great characters and it is these great characters that make the show. After a few years, I find myself wanting to see those characters again because they feel like friends that you have not seen in years. If the stories are good, then the series is worth watching again.

The first season is a little rough around the edges, but the show mostly improved for all ten seasons. Seasons 6 and 7 had a slightly lower budget after a switch to the Sci-Fi network, and these two seasons were not the best but are still okay. However, seasons 8 through 10 were fantastic. Seasons 8 and 9 especially blew me away. Then the series concludes with two very good made for TV movies.

Stargate SG-1 is a big step up from the 1994 movie Stargate. Although some people hated this movie, it had mixed reviews and I felt like it was interesting enough to watch. It serves as a good introduction to the series.

The 200nth episode, called "200", tries to do a parody of both itself and other science fiction shows, and for me, this mostly falls flat. I have noticed that many science fiction shows fail when they try to be funny.

Stargate SG-1 inspired two spinoff series, Stargate Atlantis which was excellent, and Stargate Universe which wasn't great at first but ended up very good.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Sci-Fi shows good and bad.

There have been many science-fiction shows that seem to be full of great potential, but either get canceled or fail to deliver on their potential.

Earth 2 (from way back) had potential, but it wasn't great and it got canceled after 1 season. I'm not sure if Falling Skies was ever that great.

Colony was fairly good, but maybe not outstanding, and it got canceled after 3 seasons. Dark Matter was fantastic, but it also got canceled after 3 seasons, which was a big disappointment.

Firefly was very good and a bit unusual as a literal western in space, but it got canceled mid-first season.

Stargate Universe started out a little weak but ended up very good. However, it was still canceled after 2 seasons. Stargate Atlantis was very good for 5 seasons, but it never got to finish its story.

On a more positive note...

Smallville was mostly very good, but it felt like it stayed on the air for too long. It wore out its welcome. I'm feeling the same way about Once Upon a Time.

The revived Dr. Who series started out a little weak in 2005, but by 2011 it was fantastic. It was still good in 2012 and 2013, but it went to crap in 2014 and it has been downhill ever since. I'm surprised that it is still on.

The revived Battlestar Galactica 2004 series was mostly a very exceptional show. The last season dragged on a bit and the finale was maybe controversial in the way it wrapped up. You could say the exact same things, doubly so, about the 2004 series LOST. The show was an experience like nothing else.

Some of the best Star Wars has been in the animated series Star Wars The Clone Wars, and Star Wars Rebels, as well as the live-action series The Mandalorian. For the most part, these have been consistently very good.

There are some shows that are good and stay consistently good without ever becoming outstanding. I'm thinking of the 90's series Star Trek Deep Space 9, Babylon 5, and Stargate SG-1. I keep going back to these shows because I know that I am almost always going to watch a good episode.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Dark Shadows

In the 1960's I watched the show "Dark Shadows", which was a horror soap opera for kids. The main character was the vampire "Barnabas Collins". In 1991 NBC tried to remake the series staring Ben Cross (Chariots of Fire, Star Trek 2009), but the show was quickly canceled.  

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Mythbusters Demo GPU versus CPU

I don't know that this has much to do with CPU's or GPU's, but it is typical of Mythbusters taking things to the extreme.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Get Free Coffee at Panera Bread

I've been getting free coffee for about 3 weeks.  I need to cancel the coffee subscription by the end of September in order not to be charged.