Saturday, January 13, 2018

Michelle Trachtenberg

I did a google search for the chess term "Zugzwang", and the search results on the right of the screen showed a photo of Michelle Trachtenberg, who played Dawn on Buffy The Vampire Slayer, which is one of my favorite shows.  The photo is from an episode of Criminal Minds called "Zugzwang", which the actress played in.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The War

I binged watched the PBS Ken Burns series "The War" on Netflix streaming. I had seen it before, but it is so powerful that I felt that it was worth watching again.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Star Trek Discovery

Despite all the whiners over the new Star Trek Discovery, the third episode blew me away with is Alienesque scenes and convoluted story.  Unlike Star Trek The Next Generation, where pretty much everybody got along and felt like family, Star Trek Discovery seems to thrive on conflict between its main characters. 

I am wondering if all the conflict could get old?


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Orville

The Orville feels awkward and silly, but I think that it is suppose to feel that way as part of being a Star Trek parody.  It doesn't know if it wants to be a serious science fiction or a comedy, and it doesn't excel at being either.  The characters are somewhat interesting, but except for the captain, they are not particularly likeable, which is not a good sign.    Despite these things, the pilot was good enough and barely funny enough to hold my attention.  That puts it on thin ice because it doesn't have a lot to hang its hat on going forward.

Seth MacFarlane as the captain is inherently likeable, which is a good thing, because that is the only thing that makes the show watchable.

Everything about this imitates Star Trek so much that I am surprised that they aren't getting sued.  Maybe nobody expects it to last.

Also see FOX’s “Orville” Is A Hit Despite The Reviews.


The Expanse looks promising as a "hard sci-fi", but the first season seemed to drag out without advancing the story that much.  The show has a ton of characters, so none of them stand out.

RIP Dark Matter.  It was brilliant.

Stargate Atlantis was the best of the 3 Stargate series.  It was consistently good.  Stargate SG-1 that preceded it was uneven, and a little rough in the first season, but it turned out to be a great series.  Stargate Universe got off to a very weak start, but by the second (and last) season it was really wonderful.

​Babylon 5 in the 1990's was science fiction on the cheap.  They used workstation computers to generate their special effects to save money.  The first season was not that great.  But it had an extremely rich storyline.  The show improved in the second season and it turned into a wonderful TV series.

Star Trek Enterprise was my favorite of all the Star Trek series.  

As far as "space" shows go, I don't think anything beats Battlestar Galactica.  

LOST is more fantasy than science fiction, although it had a few science fiction elements.  It is mostly a drama series that blew everyone away at how great it is.  It is also more complicated and harder to follow than most shows.


Friday, September 1, 2017

Dark Matter

"On September 1, 2017, Syfy canceled the series after three seasons."

I am deeply disappointed.  It is such a great such series!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Battlestar Galactica

Seriously. There are some shows worth watching a second time. I just completed the 2004 version of Battlestar Galactica. What an amazing ride! This show is deep on so many levels. It is a military science fiction with intense personal drama, and touches on themes about the nature of our existence, reality, and faith.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Doctor Who Season 10 Finale

People really really get into this show. Season 10 of the 2004 rebooted Doctor Who had an epic and emotional finish (Dying Doctor Who) followed by a twist cliffhanger ending. Twelve people have played Doctor Who over a 54 year period. They get away with this by having the Time Lord die and regenerate into a new body occasionally. And because he is a time traveler, he sometimes runs into a different version of himself.

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:

Thirty seven years later, Carl Sagan's Cosmos seems timeless.

There is something wonderful about watching Sagan. Again.

Not as good as the two previous Cosmos videos, but still very entertaining.

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:

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.


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Recommended Science fiction TV shows

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

It starts out like where people wake up on a spaceship not knowing who they are.

Favorite TV shows...


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   

Tru Calling.
Dollhouse (directed by Joss Whedon.)

John Coffey

Sunday, February 7, 2016


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.