Thursday, March 4, 2021

there will Never Ever be another Simpsons episode like Homer's Enemy

I had seen at least part of the episode "Homer's Enemy", but never gave it much thought.

I only on rare occasion watch the Simpsons, but I enjoy it, and I especially enjoyed the early years.  I had never seen the show until I had a chance in the 1990s to work a little on a Simpsons videogame, so I took an interest in it.  

There is an almost universal consensus that starting with Season 9 Episode 2, "The Principal and the Pauper", with an absurd storyline about Principal Skinner being an imposter, the show went into decline.  

I am amazed that the show has lasted 32 seasons.  In one of the episodes celebrating something like the 500th episode, there is some text in the end credits that says, "Think of all the things you could have accomplished if you hadn't watched this show."

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Friday, February 26, 2021

Sliders cast are 'talking' about a revival of the cult '90s sci-fi series

This was an example of a show that got messed up by the TV Network fiddling with it.  The first season was pretty good and the second season was okay, but then they made big changes to it at the request of the network, and it went downhill.  I did watch the whole thing, a couple of times, and I enjoyed most of it.  I have recently taken an interest in the show again because it airs on Comet TV, although I pretty much hate to watch anything on that network because they broadcast at 480i.   I also have come to hate watching commercials when I have so many ways to watch shows without commercials.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Why You Rarely Hear About Sarah Michelle Gellar

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a far better show than most people realize.  The first season was a mid-season replacement series with a predictable low budget making it not that special, but the show started to get really good around the middle of season 2.  Then seasons 3, 4, 5, and 6 had rare moments of absolute genius, mainly because Josh Whedon tried experimental ideas not seen in other TV series up to that point.  There are a couple of episodes that could be candidates for the best TV episode ever.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Disney+ streaming service (recommended)

I have to recommend the Disney+ streaming service, which has virtually all the Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar content.  Pixar's latest movie, Soul, was much to my liking.  Because of COVID, it was only available on Disney+.

I had to purchase an Amazon Fire Stick to be able to watch Disney+ on my TV, because apparently you can't add new services to my Phillips "smart" TV.  However, I usually just watch it on my computer anyway.  

Ahsoka Tano became a Star Wars fan-favorite character from two different animated series...

I would trade any one of the Star Wars sequel trilogy movies for just Season 2 of The Mandalorian on Disney+, which totally blew me away.  For just $7, you could watch both seasons, 16 episodes, in a month. 

Monday, January 4, 2021

Season 2 of The Mandalorian

Besides the vaccine, Season 2 of The Mandalorian is the best thing that happened in 2020. In some ways, it is better than the Star Wars sequel trilogy, at least in terms of coherent storytelling. The ending of the season finale is possibly the most emotional thing that we have seen in Star Wars, and the finale outshined all the previous episodes.

It is very funny to watch Star Wars fans react to the episode. By this point, people are seriously invested in the characters, and the episode delivers one powerful punch after another. Watch the series before you watch this.  Spoilers. 

Thursday, December 31, 2020

HBO's Chernobyl

As a riveting drama, it is hard to beat HBO's Chernobyl. The 4 episode miniseries deals with the worst nuclear accident in history, and all the consequences thereof. Thousands of people, such as nuclear workers, firefighters, military, miners, and scientists are in a race against time to contain the nuclear fallout that could affect a large area and contaminate millions of people.  Some of these people lost their lives in the process.

As fantastic as Chernobyl is as a drama, it gets so many facts wrong both historically and scientifically that it has been the subject of much criticism. It repeatedly exaggerates the threat that the nuclear accident poses, going as far as to describe the plant as a nuclear bomb, claiming that it could lead to a 30 megaton explosion, and claiming that it could make half of Europe uninhabitable. According to people in the know, all of this is complete nonsense. The show further states that a large group of spectators on a bridge miles from the accident died from radiation poisoning, calling it the "death bridge." However, according to many sources, this is an urban legend.

Normally I would find these kinds of mistakes unforgivable, but Chernobyl also gets a great many facts right, not the least of which is the human suffering of a terrible nuclear accident. Some scenes might be too graphic for people. Chernobyl does not shy away from the more unpleasant aspects of this disaster.

Soviet politics are a major factor since the government seemed to be in denial. They were slow to realize that the accident is a serious problem.

Early on in the miniseries, many of the nuclear workers and scientists can't fathom how such an accident could happen. The show keeps us in suspense by saving the explanation for last. It was a combination of bad design and poor training leading to incompetent nuclear workers.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Queen's Gambit

Hollywood tends to make fictional movies about people who are so talented that they quickly rise to the top of some competitive sport without really having to earn it. In reality, a game like chess is immensely difficult to master, and the top-level players spend decades of full-time effort to get to that level. You almost have to be a little bit crazy to be a top tier chess player.

So I resisted at first watching Queen's Gambit, but as a drama about chess, it is good. There is also a major theme about substance abuse. These together make a pretty good story.

Obviously, there is also a theme of female empowerment. This is interesting because during the 1950s and 1960s in which this story takes place, there weren't that many women chess players and none at the higher levels. Things have improved quite a bit since then, first with the Polgar sisters becoming top tier players, and more recently with Chinese star Hou Yifan. Yet, chess is still a game dominated by men, maybe because women find it less interesting. Men more than women prefer competitive sports, especially one as egotistical as chess.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Friday, December 18, 2020

The Mandalorian

About midway through season 2 of The Mandalorian people were saying that this is the best episode so far, and it is truly amazing. Then they said the same thing about the next three episodes. The season finale dropped a nuclear bomb (figuratively) and the internet went crazy.

Right now, the best Star Wars is on Disney+.


Friday, November 27, 2020

Best episode yet? (The Mandalorian Review: S02 E05)

On Fri, Nov 27, 2020 at 9:42 PM John Coffey <> wrote:
When we first saw Ahsoka Tano, she was 14 years old. According to the timeline, the Rosario Dawson version of Ahsoka is now 45.  

On Fri, Nov 27, 2020 at 9:26 PM John Coffey <> wrote:

My comments as follows...

I don't like the name "Grogu" for the child.  It is too hard sounding.  I was calling him "Yodle", the product of Yoda and Yaddle. 

I think that the species should be called "Yode", with Yoda being a variant on the species name.

Did anyone else notice how excellent the music is in this episode?   We seem to get a new theme for "Grogu".

I had to watch the episode a second time to clarify my feelings on it.  Ahsoka seems to be on a killing spree right from the start and this continues throughout the episode.  I think that Rosario Dawson doesn't look nor sound exactly like Ahsoka Tano, but I got used to the way she looks and sounds.  The story seems derivative of Samurai movies, and the series is starting to get repetitive.   Nevertheless, the execution of the episode was fantastic, perhaps the best we have seen.

The child:  "Grogu".


My comments as follows...

I don't like the name "Grogu" for the child.  It is too hard sounding.  I was calling him "Yodle", the product of Yoda and Yaddle. 

I think that the species should be called "Yode", with Yoda being a variant on the species name.

Did anyone else notice how excellent the music is in this episode?   We seem to get a new theme for "Grogu".

I had to watch the episode a second time to clarify my feelings on it.  Ahsoka seems to be on a killing spree right from the start and this continues throughout the episode.  I think that Rosario Dawson doesn't look nor sound exactly like Ahsoka Tano, but I got used to the way she looks and sounds.  The story seems derivative of Samurai movies, and the series is starting to get repetitive.   Nevertheless, the execution of the episode was fantastic, perhaps the best we have seen.

The child:  "Grogu".

The Mandalorian Chapter 13 Recap: Ahsoka Tano Returns, Baby Yoda

Diana Lee Inosanto, The Mandalorian, Rosario Dawson, and Ahsoka Tano.

This woman was one of Buffy's stunt doubles on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  She plays the villain in Episode 13 of The Mandalorian.  

In this episode, we meet Ahsoka Tano.  I'm not totally happy with the look of the character, but the character seems genuine enough.  I got used to her appearance.  This is passable for an older Ahsoka Tano, post Return of the Jedi.  According to this website, she would be 45 years old:

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Star Trek Discovery

Star Trek Discovery is always going to seem a little rough around the edges, but today's episode mostly knocked it out of the park. The subplot about liberating some enslaved workers has been done before, most recently in the movie Solo, not to mention the Star Trek series "Enterprise." However, I just kept thinking about how beautiful this series looks.  

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Watch This Before The Stand Begins

The 1994 television version of this was pretty good. I'm curious about the new version coming out next month on CBS All Access. (Maybe it will eventually make its way to Netflix?)

Saturday, October 31, 2020

The Mandalorian - The Marshall || Review

I suggest giving this video 2.5 minutes if you don't want spoilers.  I just watched the episode, season 2 episode 1, and it was awesome.  This is almost movie-quality Star Wars on television.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Star Trek Discovery

Discovery is still interesting, but they are going so far out of their way to be "inclusive" that it feels forced. How many characters on this show aren't representing some minority group? The show has a little smugness to it. Still, it is giving us a show that is very different from what we are used to.   

The latest addition to the Star Trek Discovery cast.

I kept trying to figure out if the character was a boy or a girl.  I still don't know.

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-.