Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Day After (and other videos)

Mediocre made for TV movie notwithstanding, it was still nine minutes of intense television. The show even influenced Ronald Reagan to open nuclear talks with the Soviets.


The fifth scene has John Lithgow and Stephen Furst (who just passed away.)


I liked him better in Babylon 5:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0n2vurSBIQ



Thirty seven years later, Carl Sagan's Cosmos seems timeless.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7gGbTBJLgw

There is something wonderful about watching Sagan. Again. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftpVA04_IFc

Not as good as the two previous Cosmos videos, but still very entertaining. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAcIJ4wg964

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Stargate Atlantis Season 3 Episode 4 (and Star Wars 40th anniversary.)

Stargate Atlantis Season 3 Episode 4:  What a fantastic episode!

Stargate Atlantis seems to be the most fun of all the Stargate series, but I thought that Season 2 was a little slow.  Season 3 seems has gotten off to a great start.

This is actually my third time through the series, but it has been a few years, so I don't remember all the details.  When you have a series this entertaining, it is worth seeing again.

Star Wars is approaching its 40th anniversary next month.  What other movie has such a serious social impact 40 years after its release?

How many times have I seen the original Star Wars?    My guess is 18 times.  Maybe five times in the first couple of years.  How did I arrive at the number 18?   I don't know.  I have been sort of keeping a running count, but maybe I have overestimated.  Maybe not.

Star Wars helped give rise the video game industry.  In the years after its release, there were an explosion of "space" video games.  In the late 70's, I was playing a space game called "Tail Gunner", which has to be the first 3D shoot-em-up.  For its time, it was amazing.

If Star Wars helped shape the video game industry, then the video game industry helped shape me.  I was already interested in computers in the 1970's, but because of my interest in video games, I was writing and selling games by the mid 80's.  Eventually, I was employed at a major video game development company working on all sorts of games.

--

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Re: Star Trek

I think that science fiction does not age well.  Part of the appeal of science fiction is the novelty of it.  We get drawn to science fiction programs because of the promise of something new and exciting.  If the science fiction is not of great quality, the promise of something new and exciting can keep us watching.  So I have a theory that any science fiction older than the year 2000 is not that interesting anymore.

I have been rewatching Star Trek Voyager and Star Trek Enterprise.  I think that Star Trek Enterprise is the best of the Star Trek TV series and worth watching again.  I love the characters on Voyager, but the writing in the first two seasons is tepid.  I think that maybe the show gets better later when the Borg show up.

I have tried to rewatch Star Trek Deep Space 9 and Star Trek The Next Generation.  I love the characters on Deep Space Nine, but the show is too episodic about things that hardly seem interesting anymore.  The show has an overall story arc, but they don't pay much attention to it.  I am going to go back Star Trek The Next Generation at some point, but by now the series is feeling really dated.

Compare the old shows to some of the really good science fiction shows that have come out since 2000.  For example, LOST, Battlestar Galactica, Colony, Star Wars The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels, The Expanse, Dollhouse, Tru Calling, Smallville, Firefly, Life on Mars, Doctor Who (2004 version), Torchwood, Farscape, Stargate, Stargate Atlantis, Stargate Universe, Dark Matter, Heroes, and The Last Ship.  Also, Buffy the Vampire Slayer had just a touch of science fiction in it, and it remains one of my favorite shows because on rare occasion the show is incredibly brilliant.
--

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Les Revenants (The Returned) on Netflix Streaming.

I take back what I said about liking the French version "The Returned" better than the American version.  I had only seen the first couple of episodes of the American version, and after binge watching the remaining 8, I think that both shows are extremely similar, but the American version develops more of an exciting plot toward the end of the first season.

However, the French version is a creepier and more daring.

Unfortunately the American version was cancelled after the first season.  The French version has Season 2 available, but so far the first couple of episodes of Season 2 seem really slow and not going anywhere.  However, the reviews for season 1 and season 2 are extremely good:  http://www.rottentomatoes.com/tv/the-returned

Both shows are available on Netflix streaming.

My only complaint with the American version is that they made the two twin sisters older, and that isn't really believable that one is taller than the other when the youngest is 16 instead of 13.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Watching shows more than once.

Probably everybody has seen individual episodes of certain TV series at least twice.  For example, most people have probably seen a few episodes of M*A*S*H more than once.  However, there are certain TV series that I liked so much that I had to see the entire series at least a second time.  Since I am a such huge fan of science fiction, most of the series I watched were science fiction or fantasy:


Battlestar Galactica (2003-2004): Twice.
Stargate Atlantis: Twice.
Stargate Universe: Twice.
Star Trek Enterprise: Twice.
The Event: Twice.
Flash Forward: Twice.
The 4400: Twice.


Stargate SG-1: At least twice. Parts of it I have seen three times.
Doctor Who (2004): At least twice.


House M.D.: Working on the third time.
Star Wars The Clone Wars: Working on the third time.
The Walking Dead: Working on the third time.


Buffy The Vampire Slayer: At least three times.
(Although the series starts out uneven, the later seasons are really brilliant.  If there is a single episode of any TV series worth watching multiple times, it is "Once More with Feeling" from the 6th season of Buffy.  You could probably watch this without seeing the rest of the show, although it would be better to have seen the series first.)


Lost: Working on the 4th time.


I would like to watch Star Wars Rebels for a second time.  It has improved with each new season.


You might think from the list above that I do nothing but watch television all day, but if you watch only 1 or 2 episodes per day, then you can quickly run out of things to watch.

For the new shows on TV, the only ones I am watching right now are Colony, The Expanse, Star Wars Rebels, and The Walking Dead.

I especially like rewatching shows while I do my 2 hours of physical therapy everyday.


--

Monday, February 29, 2016

Recommended Science fiction TV shows

On Netflix streaming right now:  Dark Matter - seriously interesting.

It starts out like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandorum where people wake up on a spaceship not knowing who they are.

Favorite TV shows...

1. LOST

2. Doctor Who (2005 version.  Not the old crap.).  The first season starts out a little silly, but gets better.  The series really peaked in season 6.

3. Battlestar Galactica (2004 version.  Not the old crap.  The miniseries that preceded the regular season started in 2003.)  The last season is weaker but still OK.

4. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (Joss Whedon) Doesn't become great until midway through season 2, but still otherwise good.   Seasons 3 and 5 were the best.  The show is uneven, but when it is really good, it is extraordinary.

Firefly, directed by Joss Whedon, deserves honorable mention.

All three Stargate series were really good:

1. Stargate SG1  (It helps to have seen the Stargate movie with Kurt Russell).  The show is better than the movie.  
2. Stargate Atlantis.
3. Stargate Universe.  (Starts out uneven but gets really good.)

Other science fiction shows that I found interesting:  Flash Forward.  V (2009 version.  Not the old crap.)  The Event.


Honorable mention because of Eliza Dushku  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eliza_Dushku:   

Tru Calling.
Dollhouse (directed by Joss Whedon.)

-- 
John Coffey

Sunday, February 7, 2016

LOST

With nothing better to do while I am doing my 2.5 hours of Physical Therapy every day, I have been rewatching LOST for the 4th time because I don't have to pay too close attention to it while I am exercising.

Finishing Season 4 right now.  I am so impressed at how amazing this show is.

This is definitely a show worth seeing twice.

--

The Shannara Chronicles (on MTV)/The Expanse/Colony

After watching the two part pilot, I am lukewarm on the show.  It is somewhat interesting, but I am not sold yet on the show.  I am going to continue watching to see if it holds my interest.

A good show needs good characters.  This one feels like Lord of the Rings for millennials, and the millennial characters don't have that much charm.

Fantasy is harder for me to identify with.  Science fiction will instantly hold my interest because I feel like I could be looking at a possible future.  I have been watching a science fiction show called The Expanse, which I really like.  So far I only identify with the main character, but that is enough to make the show work.  I like Colony even better because it is a wonderful people drama like LOST or The Walking Dead.  Good characters make great drama. 


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

LOST


Not many shows on during the holidays. So I started watching LOST. I thought maybe I wouldn't enjoy this series again, since I have seen the series three times already. Within about 6 episodes, I was hooked again. There is something amazing about this series that makes you want to see what happens next, even if you have seen it before.

IMHO, there are good TV shows, great TV shows, and then there is LOST which stands in a category by itself. If you haven't experienced it, then you have no idea what I am talking about. However, the show is serial, so it has to be watched in sequence to fully appreciate it.

I think that some people aren't interested because they have preconceived notions about what the show is about. Is the show about people stranded on an Island? Yes. Does the monster on the island mean it is a horror show? No. The monster gets very little emphasis until the last season and it turns out there is an interesting explanation for the monster. Is the show science fiction? Not so much. There are some minor science fiction elements that come in the later seasons, but the show is more supernatural because the island has a link to the supernatural. However, anything weird or unusual about the island is merely a backdrop for great dramatic television. The show has wonderful characters and great stories to go with them.

The show is famous for having flashbacks. For the first three seasons, each episode would have one story on the island and another story about specific characters before they came to the island. Usually the flashbacks were more entertaining than the main story. About midway through the show, the producers announced that they weren't going to have any more flashbacks, which I anticipated would mean a big change to the format of the show, but this announcement fooled us because they started having "flash forwards" where they would show future events after certain characters got off the island. Then they had a season that dealt with time travel, which is when the show started to get even weirder than it already was. Finally, just before the last season, the producers announced that they weren't going to have any more flashbacks or flash forwards", so once again I anticipated a major shift to the format of the show, but once again they fooled me. What they did in the last season was to have "flash sideways", where the show would alternate between two realities, both of which were technically real, but only one of which was in the here and now.

This show seems like an undecipherable puzzle, but everything gets explained neatly at the end. However, many people I talked to misinterpreted the ending, where they think that all the characters were dead the moment they crashed on the island, and that all characters were in some kind of limbo. Without giving away too much, I can tell you that this is not correct.

--
Best wishes,
John Coffey
http://www.entertainmentjourney.com













--


Best wishes,




John Coffey




http://www.entertainmentjourney.com

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Childhood's End

Childhood's End is the mostly faithful mini-series adaption of the Author C. Clarke classic 1953 novel of the same name.  I thought that the book was good, but not necessarily great.  I like this TV adaption more because it takes place in a contemporary setting and has more drama than the book.  Many of the differences between the 1953 book and the 2015 mini-series have to do with which century events take place in.  (Does this mean that there will be a completely different version of this story a hundred years from now?)

The story is that Earth is visited by seemingly benevolent aliens from another world who call themselves The Overlords.  They guide humans into a golden age of peace and prosperity for all.  However, some people fear that The Overlords are robbing us of our autonomy and our humanity.  They think that The Overlords might have some agenda that they aren't telling us.  This is true, but the agenda will surely come as a surprise because it is different from anything you might expect.  

There is a subplot dealing with religious faith that I found intriguing.  

This is a surprisingly beautiful, thought provoking, and well done adaption.   The mini-series is current available to watch on the SyFy website.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Doctor Who

​The latest Doctor Who seemed like a bit of a brain bender.  I might have to watch it again to fully understand it.​

Sunday, November 15, 2015

This week's The Walking Dead a bit of a snoozer

It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great either...

"We're barreling towards the show's midseason finale, but since Daryl, Sasha and Abraham succeeded in finding a gas tanker this week, I'd like to see the next couple of episodes put the pedal to the metal, because as it currently stands, the show is in danger of running out of juice right when it needs it most."

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Supergirl

The new CBS TV series Supergirl, and its main character, have an inferiority complex because the character and the series live in the shadow of the Superman character.  This gives the show a certain quality that has me scratching my head.  Is it suppose to be comedy?  Not really, but it does have comic elements.  This is a show that seems to refuse to take itself seriously.  Its main character, who supposedly has all the same powers as Superman, is this meekish young lady who is not sure of herself or her powers.  Which makes me wonder how I am suppose to take the show seriously?  This is suppose to be about an alien from another world, and what we get instead is Working Girl.  As far as science fiction goes, this is about a serious as Lost in Space.  

How is a flying woman suppose to wear a miniskirt and maintain any self respect?  It is obvious that they are trying to attract a male audience.  Some people are calling Supergirl a feminist show, but there is nothing about this show that is empowering to women.  Instead, I would like to see her wear a darker (and less cartoonish) full piece costume like in Man of Steel.

Is it possible that the producers know what they are doing?  The show has a certain campiness that is appealing.  In the 1960's, Lost in Space had better TV ratings than Star Trek.  For the moment, Supergirl is an amusing diversion that could potentially attract a wide audience.  But for me it feels outdated like it was made in the 1970's.  Remember Wonder Woman?

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Emergency! TV show and Kevin Tighe

My mother was watching "Emergency!" on television the other day.  This 1972 to 1979 40 year old TV show was popular in its day and I remember that I used to really like it when I was a teenager.

One of the main characters was played by Kevin Tighe, who played a paramedic.  I noticed that it was the same actor who played "Anthony Cooper", a bad guy, on LOST.


I also saw Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the episode my mother was watching.

The show Emergency! was based upon the fact that in 1970 California Governor Ronald Reagan signed into law a bill creating paramedic programs across the state. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Fear the Walking Dead

the eagerly anticipated offshoot of AMC's megahit, initially feels too much like a snore, narrowly following a single, not-terribly-interesting family, and leaning heavily on musical cues to stoke a sense of suspense. A second episode begins to propel the story forward, thankfully, but for starters, anyway, it's more a snack than a feast.





I agree that the first episode was a bit of a snoozefest.  There was enough tension there to keep the viewer hanging on, but it was more about a slightly dull family trying to rescue their drug addicted son than it was about zombies.  In the background there are hints of bad stuff about to happen, and the final scene leaves the family wondering,  "What the hell is going on?"

The whole story could have fit in one of those 22 minute webisode series that the producers are so fond of making.  Over 90 minutes it feels like they are stretching the story out too much.

If the whole season is like this, then the show will fail.

The first season is only 6 episodes.  The second season will air in 2016 and have 15 episodes.

John Coffey

Elisabeth Vincentelli of the New York Post gave it a three out of four star review, and wrote, "The first two episodes are creepily suspenseful–they're great examples of how effective a slow pace and a moody atmosphere can be."[34] Another positive review came from Ken Tucker of Yahoo TV, who wrote, "Fear the Walking Dead is a mood piece, more artful than the original series" and that the cast is "terrific".[35] Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter gave it an average review, writing, "The 90-minute first episode and the hour-long second episode are, while not actually boring, certainly less magnetic than the original."[36] One of the harshest negative reviews came from HitFix, on Daniel Fienberg and Alan Sepinwall's podcast, where Fienberg called it "awful, just horrible [...] as bad as The Walking Dead has ever gotten at its very worst. This is that bad. I've been kind of stunned to see people being generous to it. [...] I thought this was almost unwatchably bad." Sepinwall called his B- review "slightly generous".



P.S.  Just for the record, the original The Walking Dead is one of the greatest TV dramas ever.