Tales from the Cultural Wilderness Journal

Monday, May 30, 2005

A Real Mixed Bag

[Previous entry: "The (Almost) Complete Angel (Season 5)"]

Friday night and Saturday morning see me finishing Jonny Quest... and it's still not very good so I'm still not writing synopses for it.

Then I decided to finish the Karate Kid boxed set, starting with the not-very-good Karate Kid 3. It's more Ralph Macchio / Pat Morita nonsense, with a really over-the-top villain and a completely throwaway girlfriend... at least the girls in the first two films had some substance to them...

The Next Karate Kid is a little bit better... there's no Ralph Macchio for a start, and we get Hillary Swank instead, so there's a slight improvement in acting, even if the story isn't much better. And we get celebrity villain Michael Ironside as the head of security in a school who trains a bunch of thugs in martial arts. There's also a very silly scene with some Zen bowling.

The Day After Tomorrow became my evening viewing, and it's a reasonably entertaining disaster movie, even if the science is complete hogwash, and the ending is way too preachy.

Star Trek Voyager's "Flashback" fills the hole before bed. It's a Tuvok episode, but we've got to put up with Neelix's interference at the start... not a good opening. There's a nebula, and they're going to harvest an explosive element from it... but Tuvok starts suffering from shakes, dizziness, and disorientation. And then he starts hearing voices and seeing images of a young girl hanging off a cliff and him failing to pull her up before she falls.

This is part of the anniversary celebration that also brought us "Trials and Tribble-ations," but this time we've got Tuvok doing a mind-meld with the Captain that takes them back to his first posting on the Excelsior, serving under Captain Hikaru Sulu and whatever position Janice Rand now holds. Ah, and we're dealing with the Star Trek 6 timeline, as Praxis is about to explode. And there's the energy wave...

It's a fun flashback, but it's not as good as the tribbles episode... and the parasitic lifeform masquerading as a traumatic memory is a little silly...

After Sunday morning's bout of Grand Prix shenanigans, and most of Iron Eagle 4 (so now I at least know who some of these characters are when they're used in Journeyverse fanfic), it was back to Voyager, at least for the two episodes necessary to finish the disc.

The first of the two is clearly a rejected script for Deep Space Nine... it's the annual "Torture Miles O'Brien" episode, but they're playing it with Paris and Kim and it doesn't quite work. Anyway, it's called "The Chute" and they're thrown in an alien prison with no guards and the only escape up the chute they're thrown in through.

The only good thing in the episode is the tension slowly ratcheting up between Harry and Tom, although I suppose we're supposed to get all outraged at the dumb legal and penal system that the Acreterians have...

"The Swarm" opens with B'Elanna and Tom in a shuttlecraft, looking for the cause of some odd sensor readings. They manage to let an alien ship attach itself to their hull, two aliens beam aboard and shoot them... these highly trained Star Fleet officers really need some remedial studies!

Oh, and the Doctor is playing at opera singer on the holodeck, and his co-singer has to put on a laughable accent... ah, it's Carole Davis, who we last saw doing a terrible accent as the Italian head of Wolfram et Hart in The Girl In Question. But the Doctor is starting to suffer from memory loss...

So the Doctor is suffering from a failure of his memory circuits while the rest of the crew are trying to find a way to cross the aliens' space and avoid waking up the swarm of ships that are just hanging in space doing nothing. Of course, everything goes to hell when they stop to pick up an injured survivor of an attack...

Oh, and they don't find a permanent cure for the Doctor... so why does his memory not degrade again?

After Voyager, I decide to catch up on some of the films cluttering up the shelf, and we kick off with the next of the Fox Film Noir collection, Call Northside 777. James Stewart plays a newspaper reporter who's investigating an advert calling for information about an 11 year old murder and offering a five thousand dollar reward. As he investigates, he comes to believe that the two guys thrown in gaol for the murder are innocent and he starts digging for evidence.

It's a fun little film, and the bit with the blown up photographs is an interesting view of how far technology has come since then - how long did they have to wait to transmit that enlarged photo over the wire?

The original Assault On Precinct 13 is a nice tension building Carpenter film... you can tell it's his from the opening music, which sounds a bit like the Escape From New York theme. A streetside shooting of a young girl causes the father to go after the guy who did it... he kills him, but the other gang members chase him in to the Precint 9 Division 13 police station, which closes in the morning. It's got a skeleton staff just waiting for the phones and power to go out in the morning, and they're not prepared for the siege that ensues.

This is a great film, with some fun interactions between the staff, the police officer, and the criminals who were dropped off while waiting for a doctor for one of them. There's a certain element of zombie film here, with the relentless horde of nameless, faceless thugs trying to break in, which Carpenter will return to with The Fog and Prince Of Darkness.

The Day The Earth Stood Still is the next Fox Studio Classic and it's a great little skiffy classic. Of course, everyone remembers the robot Gort and the famous line spoofed in Army of Darkness, but it's Klaatu's performance that holds this film together. His reactions to the Arlington cemetary and the Washington monument are great.

I planned to finish the night with the extremely low budget Trancers 6. It was almost entertaining in places and Zette Sullivan did a pretty good job of playing the girl possessed by her own tough as nails father, but I probably need to see at least the first film in the series to have an idea what's going on!

I didn't quite finish the night there, as I got stuck watching An American Werewolf In Paris... which is still pretty awful, but the werewolf effects are pretty good, and I've now seen the original to compare it to. Julie Delpy is pretty much the only reason to watch the sequel...

[Previous entry: "The (Almost) Complete Angel (Season 5)"]

Saturday, May 28, 2005

The (Almost) Complete Angel (Season 5)

[Previous entry: "Catchup Sunday"]

I got rather engrossed in watching Angel during the week, and between that and feeling a bit under the weather, I haven't managed to do a synopsis of each episode, so instead I'll just cover the highlights.

Monday continues the Angel season with "Just Rewards." With a newly returned Spike now haunting Wolfram And Hart, now might not be the best time to be going up against a necromancer who wants them to continue their grave robbing activities for him. Of course, Spike wants a body, and the necromancer might be able to give him that... and Angel isn't exactly going to be able to stop him when the guy has complete control over the dead.

"Unleashed" is a werewolf episode, with Angel saving a young woman who's just been bitten. Nina, the girl in question runs away before he can talk to her, so they have to track her down before she turns that night and attacks anyone. They're clearly setting up a romance with Angel here, where he helps the girl come to terms with the beast within.

In "Hell Bound" Spike fights an evil murderer's spirit who's been sending other dead people in the building to Hell so he doesn't have to go. It seems his blood was used to deconsecrate the ground the building stands on and he's been haunting it every since. Spike manages to work out how to touch stuff, while Fred works out a way to bring a spirit back to life... but she can only do it once...

"Life Of The Party" is the requisite Lorne episode, and we find out he's not sleeping... because the company doctor removed it for him. Unfortunately, he's an empath demon and there's a Halloween party coming up. Angel's got to get some head demon (the Archduke Sebassis) to come, and Lorne starts causing people to do whatever he tells them... including Angel and Eve sleeping together, Gunn marking his territory, Spike enjoying himself, and Fred and Wesley acting drunk. Generally silly...

The less said about "The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco" the better. The company mailman is a mexican wrestler whose four brothers died fighting a heart eating Aztec demon. Now the demon is back and Angel has to persuade the wrestler to defeat it. Dumb... very, very dumb.

Fortunately, things pick up in "Lineage" which sees Wesley taking center stage when his father (ably played by Roy Dotrice) comes to visit. Things are picking up between Wes and Fred, but she's hurt on a mission and Wes is over-concerned with her wellbeing. Then there's the android ninjas invading the company to deal with... and a superb finale on the rooftop, showing just how much Wes cares for Fred (and how hard he's become since the bumbling fool of the first season). He then goes on a leave of absense so Alexis can marry Alyson... lucky bastard!

Tuesday kicked off with "Destiny" which sees Spike becoming corporeal when he receives a box in the mail... open the box and flash - he's solid. After sleeping with Harmony, people at the company start going crazy, and he's the cause... well, not really, but there's now two vampires with souls that could fulfill the Shanshu prophecy and the world will end unless one of them drinks from a mystical cup. Cue pointless but fun fight between Spike and Angel.

"Harm's Way" is the requisite Harmony episode. There's important negotiations going on between two demon clans and Harmony has to cater... and orders a live camel, as they're apparently a delicacy. She also manages to wake up next to a dead guy after having quite a lot of drinks the night before - enough that she doesn't remember whether she killed him or not. Some amusing scenes, especially the sticking people in a closet bit.

"Soul Purpose" gives a central role to Lindsey finally, where he introduces himself to Spike as Doyle, and claims he has visions about people in trouble. It's partly to set Spike up as a potential champion, and to make Angel doubt himself, but there's more going on - Angel is having visions (including a very silly scene with a bear) and Eve shows her true colours by putting a parasite on him that will leave him trapped in a catatonic state.

"Damage" shows us some of the fallout from Willow's spell the previous summer, when a disturbed young woman breaks out of a mental institution. She was kidnapped and tortured by the man who killed her family when she was young... and now she's a slayer... Andrew makes a reappearance as the representative of the Watchers, and the girl sets her sights on Spike, who loses his hands to her delusions.

"You're Welcome" concludes Tuesday night, with Angel's 100th episode, and the return of Cordelia. She wakes up, spends most of the episode being brought up to speed, then Lindsey makes a play for some beast in the basement that was the Senior Partners insurance against Angel, and the gang have to work together to defeat him. Very good episode, although Cordelia's breasts were a bit too much of a focus here...

Wednesday opened with the lacklustre "Why We Fight" which sees more fallout of past Angel bad decisions. In the Second World War, he was approached by the US government with a mission he couldn't refuse - get dropped into the ocean with weights attached to get in a German U-Boat, help the US soldiers on board, and deal with the German cargo and research. Seems they were working on using vampires as soldiers (the preliminary research for the Initiative's control chip) and Spike is one of the vampires on board. Unfortunately, when one of the soldiers is killed, Angel is forced to turn him so they can get out of there... the only time he's made another vampire since regaining his soul.

"Smile Time" has more Nina... who's not really the point of the episode but she's worth mentioning... anyway, the point of the episode is Angel getting turned in to a muppet by a mystical egg thing at a children's show.

"A Hole In The World" is the end of the fun... there's a mysterious sarcophagus and it's infected Fred with a serious parasite. It's an elder demon thingy, and it's using her body to come back to life... it'll kill her unless Angel and Spike can find a way to stop it, so off to the Deeper Well to find an answer...

"Shells" finishes Wednesday night, and we get the introduction of Illyria. She shows off her powers, Angel gives a long speech about showing mercy to Knox (before Wesley goes all revengey and shoots him), Illyria makes it back to her temple where her army sleeps, but they've all turned to dust over the intervening millenia. Amy does a good job here with the new role... it's definitely different to Fred...

Thursday sees me finish the show, and the final 6 kick off with "Underneath." They've got a new, more powerful liaison with the Senior Partners, who's hunting Eve. And they've got to get Lindsey out of holding so they can ask him about Illyria. Unfortunately, for one to leave the holding cell, one has to stay...

"Origin" sees the return of Connor, as the sorcerer who cast the reality changing spell wants him to kill Sahzhan for him, per the prophecy. Of course, Connor doesn't remember anything, so he's not much up for a fight. Angel is stuck with the decision of whether to give him his memories back, but Wesley turns up blaming Angel for Fred and takes the decision out of his hands.

"Time Bomb" sees Illyria's power getting out of control... and Fred's body not being able to contain it. She's going to explode, and take most of the continent with her, unless they can stop her somehow. Unfortunately she gets wind of their plans and kills everyone first. It's just a good job that her death sends her bouncing through time, allowing Angel to work out what's happening and stop her killing them all.

"The Girl In Question" is the last dumb episode... it's supposed to wrap up the Buffy storyline for Angel and Spike, but is just silly from start to finish.

"Power Play" sees Angel acting all evil... and he's slept with Nina... but this is souled Angel, just trying to join a secret society called the Circle of the Black Thorn. They're the Senior Partners henchmen in the world, keeping the Apocalypse on track, and Angel wants in.

Of course, as we see in "Not Fade Away" he only wants in so that he can find out who they all are and then kill them. He's decided to put a crimp in the Apocalypse and go out in a blaze of glory, and he wants the rest of the team to help him. Gunn gets to take on a demonic Senator and her vampiric campaign staff, Lorne and Lindsey take on a bunch of smoking demons (were this the bunch in Harm's Way?), Illyria gets to take on the devil looking guy and his friends, Wesley takes on the sorcerer, and Angel's taking on the Archduke... or is he? It seems Harmony has betrayed him to Hamilton, who's a bit too strong for Angel to defeat. Lucky for him, Connor is around to lend a hand.

And then they go out fighting... not the best ending in the world, but I guess there's always hope...

[Previous entry: "Catchup Sunday"]

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Catchup Sunday

[Previous entry: "Voyaging Again"]

Sunday starts with a mediocre Monaco Grand Prix... then it's back to Voyager and the end of season 2...

"The Thaw" sees the crew find a planet's population in cryogenic sleep while some weather phenomenon ravaged their world... seems the weather's back to normal but they haven't come out of the computer generated programme they're sleeping in... and there's only three of them left.

It seems there's a clown manifested in the programme, who represents the inhabitants fear, and he's slowly killing them off. Of course, going in to rescue them is a risky proposition, putting Harry and B'Elanna at risk from the clown...

"Tuvix" sees a transporter accident with an orchid merge Tuvok and Neelix in to one being. It's sort of a Neelix episode.

"Resolutions" opens with Janeway and Chakotay waking up on a planet... they've got some disease that something on the planet stops from affecting them, but will kill them and the crew if they leave. So the ship leaves without them and they set up house together.

Tuvok tries to keep the crew together, but there's a lot of desire amongst the crew to contact the Vidiians (against Janeway's order) to see if they have a cure.

"Basics Part 1" sees the return of Seska and the Kazon (yawn!), and this time they're doing a better job than previously, managing to take over the ship by putting someone on board who's notionally a traitor who can then blow up critical systems. The Doctor is still on board, and Paris is out there in a shuttlecraft looking for help, but the Kazon decide to be moronic and put the crew on a planet instead of just killing them.

"Basics Part 2" opens season 3 where 2 left off, with Janeway and crew trying to make friendly with the native neanderthals on the planet. Fortunately for Paris (with a ragtag bunch of Talaxians) and the Doctor, the murderer Ensign Suder is still on board... and gives the best performance of the show.

"An Affair To Remember" is supposed to be a classic. It drags a fraction, but is still a really good film. Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr meet on a cruise back to New York where they're both scheduled to meet their fiances and get married. However, they fall in love and agree to meet six months later on the top of the Empire States Building. A film made famous again by Sleepless In Seattle, although the scene that has Meg Ryan and Rosie O'Donnell in tears, mouthing along on the couch, isn't actually all that good a scene...

"The Philadelphia Story" continues the Cary Grant theme, this time with James Steward and Katherine Hepburn in what is supposed to be a comedy. It's got a couple of really good laugh out loud moments, but it isn't laugh-a-minute funny.

Charmed has a cracking season finale, but first I manage to catch the episode of the season I missed... Cordelia and Phoebe bonding... oh, right, The Seer has a bunch of information to tell the girls, but wants to be made human before she'll tell them. She does help them find Sheridan, and the demons trying to kill her resort to releasing Zankou (who is apparently too powerful and was imprisoned by the Source).

Anyway, back to the season finale, and although I was happy earlier in the week that Charmed was renewed for another season, after watching this, I'm not so sure it was a good thing. This would have been a great end to the show, tying up a whole bunch of loose ends, and having a lot of nice touches that harken back to earlier seasons. The vanquish of Zankou feels a bit like one of the Cole vanquishes, and I'd quite like to know who the readhead is playing Piper at the end, but otherwise completely satisfying.

For some unknown reason, I then decide to watch Angel season 5, and it kicks off (after the seriously annoying forced anti-piracy trailer) with "Convictions" which sees Angel and company trying to come to terms with running the evil law firm.

There's a criminal with a virus that'll kill everyone if he loses his court case, Gunn agrees to have a bunch of legal stuff downloaded into his head (which is almost certainly going to end badly), and Angel has to deal with the company's special ops team, who are determined to carry on doing things the old way...

[Previous entry: "Voyaging Again"]

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Voyaging Again

[Previous entry: "Voyages End (Season 1 Anyway...)"]

Apparently we're going on with more Voyager, and the second season kicks off with the episode the BBC always ended the first season with, "The 37s." It starts well, with Voyager picking up a rust trail in space, and then finding an old pickup truck floating amidst the stars. Discovering it's radio is picking up an SOS signal (would an AM radio signal travel that far?) from a nearby planet, they land the ship to investigate. Of course, the ship is either really Engineering heavy, or it defies the law of Gravity when it lands... the front of the ship appears to be much larger than the rear where the landing struts are...

Anyway, the crew find a bunch of people from 1937 in cryogenic suspension in a cave. When they discover one of them is Amelia Earhart, Janeway decides to thaw out her childhood hero and catch up. Clearly this is a dumb idea, but there's nothing like a Star Fleet Captain to blunder into the middle of a disaster! And in this case, it's a bunch of aliens who want to kill them for going in to their shrine. Except, these aren't aliens, they're humans, descended from the people abducted in 1937.

So, an Earth-like world, inhabited by humans, and still 70+ years back to Earth itself, and some of the crew might want to leave the ship and stay...

"Initiations" sees Aaron Eisenberg playing a young Kazon expected to make his first kill to earn his name within the tribe... and his target is Chakotay, alone in a shuttlecraft for some ritual. He's clearly not up to the task as Chakotay rapidly captures him, and then tries to persaude him that he doesn't need to kill people... typical Star Fleet claptrap...

"Projections" is the first appearance of Reg Barclay when the Doctor starts hallucinating. Is he the medical hologram on Voyager, or is he the only human in a holographic representation of Voyager, back on the Jupiter Mining Station? Is he Doctor Zimmerman and married to Kes, or is his program being attacked by some technobabble phenomenon and degrading?

"Elogium" is a pretty dumb episode, but it gives us a little bit more information about the Ocampa lifecycle... at three or four, they go through the titular change, where they become fertile. But they can only reproduce once and have to bond with a mate within 50 hours. The less said about the swarm of creatures outside the ship the better! This episode introduces Ensign Wildman's pregnancy...

"Non Sequitur" sees Harry waking up back in San Franciso... apparently he was turned down for the position on Voyager, so joined Starfleet Engineering to design runabout warp engines. But how did this happen? Especially when he remembers piloting a shuttle back to Voyager! Lucky for him, his non-membership in the crew means that Tom also didn't make it on to the ship and is hanging around in a bar in Marseille... reusing the Chez Sandrine holodeck set.

"Twisted" sees the ship being twisted up like a pretzel by a spatial anomaly. The crew spend the episode, when they're not in the holodeck, wandering altered corridors trying to find other important places in the ship and failing.

"Parturition" is a thoroughly unmemorable episode... or at least, it must be as I can't remember anything about it 24 hours after watching it... even the description in the booklet doesn't ring any bells - Paris and Neelix are sent to Planet Hell together for some away mission, which is clearly a bad thing as Neelix is jealous of Paris' intentions towards Kes.

"Persistance Of Vision" kicks off Saturday morning, and the Captain's holonovel appears to be spilling out of the holodeck and into the rest of her life. Is the Captain going crazy, or is there an alien species at work?

"Tattoo" is another Chakotay episode, this time with memories of looking for jungle tribes with his father, and their legends of sky spirits. In this instance, it vaguely mirrors the search for dilithium on a jungle planet they want to mine. Dull with a capital D.

"Cold Fire" brings up the female Caretaker... she's apparently got an array much like the first one, and she's got a whole bunch of Ocampa with her... they've got extended lifespans, and superior telepathic abilities. And one of them wants to teach Kes how to use the fire in her mind to heat coffee, make plants grow, and burn Tuvok to a crisp. Of course, the Caretaker blames Voyager for the death of the other one...

"Manoeuvres" picks up the Seska / Kazon story again. After staging a dramatic invasion of Voyager, the Kazon make off with transporter technology, and try to form an alliance between them to take the ship. Chakotay decides to take it upon himself to get the transporter back, but gets captured. He's rescued, but Seska has one more surprise... she's now pregnant with his child.

"Resistance" sees Tuvok and B'Elanna captured by some soldiers while on an urgent away mission. They're tortured to find out if they're spies. Janeway is injured and nursed back to health by a man who believes she's his daughter, and helps her rescue her crew because his wife is a prisoner in the same building.

"Prototype" has B'Elanna repairing a very advanced robot and then wanting to create a new prototype power source so the robots can reproduce themselves. Of course, Janeway is against the idea, claiming that it's interfering with a species natural development. The robot resorts to kidnapping B'Elanna and forcing her to build the prototype. When she succeeds, she finds out she's interfering in a war in which the original participants have died out and the robots on each side are all that's left... and she's just given an advantage to the losing side...

The crew try to form "Alliances" in the next episode, when the Kazon cause the death of three crewmembers, and Janeway decides to start playing by their rules. She's on the verge of allying with one of the sects when they discover the species that the Kazon stole all their technology from in the first place. However, their peace negotiations are interrupted by an attack...

"Threshold" is a really, really dumb episode. Tom Paris is sure he can break the Warp threshold of Warp 10, and has spent weeks modifying a shuttlecraft to allow him to do it. He succeeds, and exists at all points in the universe at once. But then he starts to suffer from a strange mutation, that initially kills him, and then turns him in to a strange amphibious newt-like creature... fortunately, he kidnaps Janeway for a mate so the two of them get to start life on a new planet!

Fortunately, "Meld" makes up for the previous episode, with a murder taking place on the ship, and Tuvok having to investigate whodunnit. Of course, with the size of the crew (and the fact that the murderer left his DNA in the scalp wound of the victim) it doesn't take long to solve... but there's that niggling question of motive, and for that, Tuvok attempts a mind-meld with Ensign Suder.

And then things get bad... Suder isn't exactly stable, and his murderous tendencies break down Tuvok's hard fought control of his emotions, leaving him a raging crazy person who strangles holographic Neelixes on the Holodeck (although, it's difficult to blame him, there are times when I'd want to strangle Neelix on the Holodeck!).

Then, feeling keen and eager, I switch to the final disc of Sleepwalkers for the two episodes left.

It starts with a woman having terrors in her dreams... including being stabbed by her husband. And then Nathan and his wife are in a dream with a young girl holding a pink balloon with a smiley face drawn on it. His wife is convinced it's a bad omen - girl lets go of the balloon, Nathan runs to catch it, crosses a road, and starts falling.

Okay, the woman having nightmares is waking up with serious injuries that roughly mirror the dream, and she's convinced that her husband is trying to kill her. Except she's a transplant recipient, and might be having the dreams of the donor!

The second episode here sees fallout from Steve's death, while Kate tries to throw herself in to a case involving her fax machine repair man who's suffocating a stripper in his dreams. Nathan doesn't want to take the case, until the stripper in question calls saying she's having the same dreams.

Kate and Ben go in to the dream, where the fax guy (Alan) pulls Kimberley the stripper off of Kate and suffocates her with a plastic bag. Then Kimberley goes missing in the real world.

Back to Voyager, with "Dreadnought" and they've got an intelligent Cardassian missile to deal with... although why the Caretaker brought that to the Delta Quadrant would be a good question! Anyway, if it were just the Cardassian missile, there wouldn't be a problem, but B'Elanna had previously captured it and reprogrammed it to attack a Cardassian target... and even though it's now targetting the wrong planet, she did too good a job of persuading it that she might be coerced by the Cardassians that she can't get it to stop!

"Death Wish" sees the crew rescue one of the Q from a comet he's been imprisoned in for 300 years. Seems he wanted to commit suicide and the rest of the Continuum locked him up for his own protection! This is a pretty good episode on the whole, although the representation of the Continuum is pretty stupid. And this sees Riker (and the Q we know and put up with from previous shows) make his appearance on Voyager.

"Lifesigns" gives the Doctor some romance when he treats a Vidiian female... she's got a neural implant that allows him to temporarily transfer her memory engrams to the computer and give her a holographic body that's completely healthy... only problem is she might not want to go back once her treatment is complete!

Neelix takes center stage in "Investigations" but fortunately it's really about Tom Paris leaving the crew so he can get captured by Seska and find out who the traitor is on Voyager.

"Deadlock" sees the crew trying to escape the Vidiians by taking a detour through a plasma cloud, which duplicates the ship. After the attempt to repair one ship causes terrible damage to the other (including the loss of Ensign Wildman's baby, and Harry Kim), the Vidiians board the intact Voyager and start to harvest the crew... so the captain gives up the two crewmembers who were lost from the other ship and triggers the self destruct.

"Innocence" sees Tuvok crashed on a planet, caring for three children who are scared of a monster in a cave. Fortunately, it's really just a species that ages backwards, and they're going there to die, so there's no monster. We get some insights into Vulcan parenting here, but what is it with Star Trek and having Vulcans sing?!

[Previous entry: "Voyages End (Season 1 Anyway...)"]

Friday, May 20, 2005

Voyages End (Season 1 Anyway...)

[Previous entry: "Voyager"]

"Eye Of The Needle" finishes up Tuesday night's viewing, and the crew find a wormhole... but it's too small to take Voyager through, and they're not sure where it leads. After some investigation, involving getting a probe lodged in an eddy, they discover it leads to the Alpha Quadrant and there's a ship on the other end.

Why are they worried that it goes to the Alpha Quadrant? The Klingon homeworld is in the Beta Quadrant, so there'd be no harm in the wormhole going there, and as this is set post Emissary, a wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant wouldn't be too bad... they'd just have to avoid the Dominion and make it back to the Bajoran Wormhole.

Anyway, the ship on the other end turns out to be Romulan, and they're obviously rather hesitant about making contact with a Federation ship. They're also slightly surprised by the level of technology on Voyager, and there's a perfectly good reason for that...

Wednesday night sees the next five episodes, starting with "Ex Post Facto" and seeing Tom Paris managing to get himself into trouble again, being charged and convicted of murder on an alien planet. Unfortunately the punishment is having the victim's final moments implanted in his brain and having to relive it every 14 hours. It's made slightly worse by the fact that this isn't entirely compatible with human physiology and it's eventually going to kill him.

This episode does see Tuvok getting to play detective for the first time, so it's not all bad, and the Captain grudgingly agrees that Tom isn't guilty, which is kind of her!

"Emanations" is a typical Star Trek tale, this time talking about death and the afterlife when they discover what looks like a burial site for an alien species on an asteroid. But the bodies are deposited there by some subspace vacuole swirly thing and Harry accidentally gets sucked back through it to where the body came from. Meanwhile, Voyager manage to revive the latest arrival, and she's clearly disturbed thinking she's arrived in the afterlife and this bunch of morons are her companions for eternity!

Harry has to cope with a society that think he's come back from the afterlife, and find a way to get back to his ship... the problem is that the only way the back appears to be through the device that sends the population there, a device designed to kill them first!

It's fairly yawn-worthy, so things have to pick up a little in "Prime Factors" where the crew meet a really friendly species that host them at a bunch of festivities. The leader of the alien bunch seems to be trying to woo the Captain, but when Harry discovers that these aliens have a transporter type technology that could potentially transport the ship tens of thousands of lightyears in one jump, things ratchet up a notch.

Clearly, the aliens can't give up their technology, the equivalent of their prime directive, so the crew try to trade for it. After stringing the Captain along for a while, it becomes clear the alien leader has no interest in giving them the technology, so the Maquis decide to take things in to their own hands. Of course, Tuvok steps in to the middle of this, and the Captain's double standard rears its ugly head for the first time. B'Elanna gets a serious reprimand on her record, while Tuvok just gets a stern talking to about how logic can be used to reach any decision you want. Where's his reprimand? Oh, right, he's the Captain's friend and confidant, and he wasn't a Maquis member...

"State Of Flux" sees the return of the Kazon, and Neelix getting a healthy supply of leola root. Oh, yeah, there's a bit about the Kazon managing to get hold of a Star Fleet replicator (apparently Star Fleet are the only ones to use some particular technology that sounds like it was stolen from V) and cause an accident on their ship that fuses them with the bulkheads.

So then the search is on for the traitor in the crew... is it the clearly stupid Lieutenant Carey, or the devious, manipulative, alluring, and former Maquis, Seska? Hmmm... let me think! Carey, who might be pissed off about being passed over for Chief Engineer, a position he is clearly unqualified for, by B'Elanna, or Seska, who seems to be throwing herself at Chakotay to distract him?

Clearly this is just another case of the senior staff being monumentally stupid, but that seems to be a requirement for promotion in Star Fleet...

"Heroes And Demons" finishes Wednesday night's viewing with the Doctor's first away mission... okay, he's only going to the Holodeck, but they allow him to leave his usual environs. How come he doesn't get a costume change though?

Anyway, there's a Beowulf story playing out on the Holodeck, and Harry Kim goes missing while the rest of the crew are studying some photonic energy phenomenon. Tuvok and Chakotay go in to investigate and they too get swallowed up by Graendel... so they need a crewmember composed of photonic energy to go and sort things out... cue the Doctor! So he gets to mess around with sword-wielding warriors, gets a love interest, and attempts first contact with swirly things.

Thursday isn't quite the highlight that Wednesday was, starting with the stupid "Cathexis." Tuvok comes back to the ship with Chakotay's body after an away mission. It seems all of Chakotay's bio-neural energy has been drained and he's brain dead (not much of a change from usual - perhaps he can take over the Morale officer position?).

Going back to the nebula to investigate, the ship starts to suffer strange behaviour by the crew... each one apparently being taken over by an external force and acting with no memory of their actions. Clearly Chakotay is loose on the ship, but the crew take another twenty minutes to reach that conclusion!

There's lots of messing around with a medicine wheel here which really should have been chopped out of the episode, but they've still got to beat us over the head with the fact that Chakotay comes from a backwards tribe that believes in the healing power of prayer... alright, so maybe it would work if they didn't let B'Elanna loose with it and leave Chakotay's spirit lost in the realm of the Buffalo Women!

"Faces" sees the return of the Vidiians, when they kidnap Tom Paris, B'Elanna Torres, and some random crewmember, while they're out on a mission in a shuttlecraft. The Vidiian scientist is sure that a Klingon is resistant to the Phage, so he splits B'Elanna in two - fully human coward and fully Klingon crazy woman.

Of course, this is a whole morality tale of B'Elanna being the sum of her mixed heritage, with both sides giving her something useful. Yawn... at least we get to kill off a random crewmember here!

"Jetrel" is a Neelix episode.

"Learning Curve" sees Tuvok trying to train a bunch of unruly Maquis who aren't integrating well into the shiny happy Star Fleet family... Brannon and Braga missed them when they sneaked on board in episode three to install the happy chips...

Tuvok tries to learn how to teach them so they'll actually listen to him, while the rest of the crew runs around trying to fix the bio-neural gel packs and spouting dumb lines like "get this cheese to sickbay!" Who writes this rubbish? Of course, the Maquis learn the true meaning of Christmas (too much turkey!) and are never seen from again!

[Previous entry: "Voyager"]

Thursday, May 19, 2005


[Previous entry: "A Chunk Of Sleepwalkers"]

I skipped cataloguing Monday night's viewing, as most of it was taken up with the rest of Jonny Quest's second disc. It was thoroughly unmemorable, so I'm not even going to bother writing the episodes up... what a weak show that turned out to be! And I've got two discs to get through yet...

But I did decide, for some insane reason, to go on and watch Voyager, Season 1. So Monday night finished with the feature length pilot, "Caretaker" and I hadn't realised how good the first thirty minutes of it is. For those thirty minutes, it's probably the best of the modern Star Trek pilots... there's very little clunky characterisation, there's plenty of action, and we've got the show actually going somewhere. However, about that far in, Neelix shows up, and everything goes to pieces.

Now, Neelix never bothered me when watching the show on a weekly basis, but in this pilot he really grates on the nerves. It's still a good setup for the show, with two crews at each others throats, and plenty of future tension, and even some mystery in Kes's future abilities. Lets hope the show continues to hold that promise!

Tuesday night sees our first spatial anomaly in "Parallax." The ship gets a distress call that they respond to, and there's some singularity that they don't appear to be able to get away from. But the episode is really just a set up to appoint a Chief Engineer.

The top candidate is B'Elanna Torres, but ignoring the fact that she's one of the Maquis, she's got a bit of a temper on her. This episode does a good job of continuing the tension set up in the pilot, but the spatial anomaly story is pretty dumb (and the shrinking doctor even more so!).

"Time And Again" throws all that out the window with another spatial anomaly episode... this time they detect a massive explosion on a planet that they're passing. Kes gets extra powers here - she feels the death of the population, even though she's asleep at the time. They beam down, find the planet used Polaric energy which is apparently highly dangerous, and had an accident which wiped them all out. Of course, Paris and Janeway get sucked back in time to before the accident so they can try and stop it.

But where's the tension gone? There's a little bit of discussion of the Prime Directive, but that's between the two lost in time, and the Maquis crewmembers are friendly members of the crew here. So what happened? During the explosion, Section 37 snuck on board and installed the Federation Happy Chip in all the crew? Agents of the Temporal Cold War came back to make a show that sucked because they knew decent Star Trek would lead to a peaceful future where everyone got along? Or Paramount left a pair of brain dead morons who just wanted to remake The Next Generation in charge?

"Phage" picks up a bit of the tension, but it's external tension - Neelix has his lungs stolen on an away mission (Yay! Let him die! Let him die!), and the crew have to chase after them while the Doctor tries to keep him alive.

Lets ignore the silliness of holographic lungs and celebrate the character study of the Doctor in this episode. And the introduction of the Vidiians, the second of the recurring villains in this show (before someone beats the writers over the head with the clue stick and tells them that if the ship is supposed to be making its way home then they should presumably move beyond the range of these species), gives us a few moral dilemmas...

"The Cloud" leaves the ship with a lack of coffee (amongst other things) and we get the dopey line from the Captain "There's coffee in that nebula!" Neelix points out the stupidity of Janeway here - in the most powerful ship within 100 light years, and what do they do with it? Seek out the nearest spatial anomaly in the off chance that it'll rip the ship apart!

Ignoring the giant amoeba (or whatever the nebula really is), we get the introduction of Tom Paris' holodeck getaway of Chez Sandrine. Yes, there's a major energy shortage, but running the holodeck is important for ship's business! And what's with the stupid animal guide bit with Chakotay?

[Previous entry: "A Chunk Of Sleepwalkers"]

Monday, May 16, 2005

A Chunk Of Sleepwalkers

[Previous entry: "The Rest Of Enterprise"]

More Jetsons... I might just finish this if I'm diligent. So we kick off with "The Little Man" and we've got the rivalry between Spacely and Cogswell kicking it in to high gear. Spacely has a machine that shrinks things (so he can reduce shipping costs), but there's still some bugs in the reversal process... which is unfortunately for George when he gets sent through!

"Las Venus" sees George and Jane on holiday at the Supersonic Sands in the future's equivalent of Las Vegas. Of course, when Spacely calls telling George he needs to get a contract signed by a beautiful woman while he's there, things get complicated.

"Jane's Driving Lesson" sees Jane fed up with having to get the bus, and deciding to take driving lessons. She, however, isn't much of a student. After thoroughly scaring her first tutor, she appears to switch instructor. It turns out though that she's picked up a bank robber by mistake.

"G.I. Jetson" sees George called for military duty, and it sees the return of Uniblab as the new commanding officer. After setting up George to get chewed out by Spacely, George and Henry come up with a plan to deal with the infernal machine.

"Miss Solar System" sees Jane buying a new dress that she wants to impress George with, but he's distracted by the current holder of the titular title. So Jane decides to enter the contest. Unfortunately for her, George has been asked by Mr Spacely to judge the competition... which might make for a conflict of interests!

"TV Or Not TV" sees George and Astro think they've witnessed the robbery of an armoured car, and going on the run to prevent being rubbed out by the criminals. However, what they really witnessed was the filming of a TV show, and because they were caught on camera, the director now needs to get George's signature to allow the show to be broadcast.

On to the final disc, with "Private Property" seeing Cogswell construct a building right next to Spacely's, and their rivalry heats up. George discovers that Cogswell's building is six inches over the plot boundary, encroaching on Spacely's land. However, is he reading those blueprints correctly?

"Dude Planet" sees Jane stressed out, and forced to go on holiday by her doctor. She ends up on a dude ranch, herding cattle and riding horses, trying to avoid worrying about what's happening to George and the kids back home. George meanwhile tries to cope with running the house and not calling Jane for help.

Finally, "Elroy's Mob" sees Elroy get his report card, but the class dunce swaps reports with Elroy, and when George goes ballistic over the bad grades, Elroy and Astro run away. They encounter a couple of criminals and their monkey, and end up helping them with their robbery.

Finished with that, we'll now go on to Doctor Who, with the second doctor's story, "The Mind Robber." Escaping a lava flow by taking the Tardis out of time, they end up in a world of imagination that's determined to lure them out of the Tardis in to the mist outside.

Of course, it's at about this point I give up cataloguing, which is unfortunate, as I then go on to watch "The Claws Of Axos," a third Doctor story with a bunch of plant creatures and the Master.

Then, it's back to Star Trek, and the season 2 of the original series kicks off with the excellent "Amok Time" which sees Spock exhibiting strange behaviour. This episode introduces the Vulcan seven year mating cycle (which is strange considering how open about it some of them are in Enterprise) and Spock going in to Pon Farr. Unfortunately his future wife has decided she no longer wants him, so she's going to force him to fight for her... and she chooses Kirk as her champion.

"Who Mourns For Adonais" is a weaker episode, with the crew having to deal with the greek god Apollo, who's determined to get them to worship him!

Sunday kicks off with the rest of the Star Trek disc, with "The Changeling" seeing the Earth probe NOMAD showing back up after being apparently destroyed and lost many years before. It seems it's been repaired, improved, and reprogrammed by some other computer, and now it's not only seeking out new life, but sterilising it if it's imperfect. Fortunately, it suffers from the usual flaw in AI programming... lock it in to a logic loop and get it to destroy itself.

"Mirror, Mirror" introduces the mirror universe, much seen in Deep Space Nine. Here they're supposed to destroy a peaceful planet on orders from the Empire, and good Kirk is struggling to play his counterpart when half the crew are out to kill him. At least Spock is his logical self, even with the goatee.

"Spaceballs" manages to get itself on the watchlist next, and this has held up pretty well over the years, although there's some weak moments (especially the Mega Maid ending, which has always been weak).

Feeling stupid, I'm now going to watch "Sleepwalkers," the short lived series that sort of got released on DVD in the UK a while back. I say sort of, because ILC have followed their usual strange policy of combining two episodes into a single movie, so the three discs here really have six of the show's nine episodes, but working out which one is which without titles is a bit difficult. At least we start with the pilot though...

We're on an underground train, and Jeffrey D. Sams has just awoken. The raven flying through the compartment is pretty freaky, but not quite as bad as the faceless guy with a knife in the next one. Amazingly, jumping from the train appears pretty painless though. Then, while he's laying on the tracks, the faceless killer comes out of a pool of water in front of him... and he wakes up - clearly disturbed by his dream.

And then we're in another dream, this time Naomi Watts is in the driving seat, but she's got a companion with her - there's apparently something to do with a mine shaft that she's not willing to face, and her boss, Bruce Greenwood, isn't too happy with them pushing too far when they come out of the dream.

So Sams is going to the Morpheus Institute to get answers. And he thinks he's only got a short time to live, as the dreams are slowly killing him... but they have the technology to send Kate (Ms Watts) and the guy she was with earlier (Steve) in to his dream to find out what's going on. After nearly getting run down by the train, Kate and Steve see Ben (Sams) is trapped on that train, and they now need to find him.

The second episode, after Ben has joined the team, sees a murderer being shot... but the police still need to find his last victim. So Kate and Ben have to go into the murderer's dreams (before he dies) and find her... and Kate has to play the victim.

So we have Kate and Ben in the dream, feeding directions to the police (and Bruce Greenwood) back in the real world, directing them where to go. And everything is going smoothly until the murderer realises he's dreaming and can control anything around him.

Episode three opens with Bruce Greenwood hiking over some rocks in the desert, before seeing his wife (Gail) walking out on to a frozen plain, and him trying to get her to stop. When he catches up to her, she turns in to some guy, before that guy (McCage) and Gail watch him fall through the ice into a lake.

Ah, and now we can see that the episodes are out of order, because Steve has just come out of the hospital after the pilot, and is upset that Ben will be taking over from him in going in to the dreams... which makes no sense when Ben was already doing that in the last episode!

The episode concerns a young boy suffering from night terrors. He gets up in the middle of the night (about three times a week) and wrecks his room, yelling about a church, but waking up unaware that this happens.

When they enter the dream church, they meet Harry Groener playing The Smiling Man, who gives the boy a toy, before starting to question Nathan and Kate... and he seems to be very interested in Nathan... which might explain him turning in to McCage. Is this still the boy's dream? Or Nathan's?

Okay, McCage drowned a couple of years ago, but what is his connection to Gail? Nathan could ask her, considering he occasionally enters her dreams (she's in a coma). The young boy, after they discover his fear comes from water rather than the church, gets up in the middle of the night and stabs his mother's side of the bed.

The fourth episode is the succubus one... all the men in a mining town are falling in to a paralysis after having a nightmare about meeting an attractive woman in the mine, who then turns in to a wolf and chases them through the woods.

The Jonny Quest episode "The Robot Spy" kicks off the second disc in the series, with an alien looking spider robot being brought back to Dr. Quest's lab. It's really a spy sent by the evil Dr. Zin to get information on Quest's new laser gun.

Tonight's Charmed might be the penultimate episode... there's only one more this season, and there's no sign of a renewal for next year yet. Zankou is forcing the sisters to face up to their failures, sending innocents they've failed to save back to taunt them in zombie form. Of course, by making them question their own actions, the protections on the Book of Shadows is weakened, allowing Zankou to snatch it...

"Double Danger" sees Dr Zin sending a double of Race Bannon to infiltrate Dr. Quest's party in Thailand to get some formula that will help extend space flights. Bandit is having to deal with an interfering monkey.

[Previous entry: "The Rest Of Enterprise"]

Saturday, May 14, 2005

The Rest Of Enterprise

[Previous entry: "Three Enterprising Nights"]

Thursday night kicked off where Wednesday ended, with "Shuttlepod One" and this is one of the better episodes of the season. Reed and Tucker are trapped, alone, in a shuttlepod, after discovering wreckage on an asteroid and believing Enterprise was destroyed. They've only got three days of air left, no sensors, and the nearest planet is further away than they can make...

The character interactions here are great, and they cement the friendship between the two characters that continues later in the series.

"Fusion" sees Enterprise meet up with a Vulcan ship full of crazy people... oh, okay, Vulcans who are trying to find a balance between emotion and logic. T'Pol keeps insisting that it won't work, because it's never worked before. We get our first mind-meld here, although it's not a regular Vulcan custom, and it's unlikely to be if the users of the technique continue to try to force themselves on others!

"Rogue Planet" is a dumb episode - a planet that's broken away from it's orbit and is hurtling through space? Where's Commander Koenig when you need him? It's got a good guest cast though - Holtz from Angel, Detective Francisco from Alien Nation, and Phil Albano from Dark Skies - as the three hunters on the planet. They're only there for a short time, but they're big game hunters, and Reed wants to join their expedition. Meanwhile Archer goes crazy, seeing a woman in a nightgown who no-one else sees or hears... oh, okay, they're the slug-like shapeshifters who I have vague memories of even if I can't work out where from.

"Acquisition" sees a rewrite of Federation history as Enterprise gets boarded by a bunch of Ferengi. Brunt's ancestor is here... or at least, we have to presume it's him considering it's Jeffrey Combs again. Ethan Phillips also puts in a guest appearance.

"Oasis" finishes up Thursday's viewing with a reasonably good "haunted ship" episode. There's a crashed spaceship, which Trip agrees to help repair (mainly because there's an attractive young woman living there). Unfortunately, it appears the crew died when the ship crashed... Oh, and Rene Auberjonois makes a guest appearance...

Friday sees the end of the show, kicking off with "Detained" which sees the introduction of the Tandarans, when they throw Archer and Travis in gaol because they think they're Suliban. Archer doesn't appear to recognise his holographic companion Al, but then he's appearing here as an alien prison warden, sans garish suit, cigar, or handlink. It seems they've locked up all the Suliban within their population to prevent them from joining the Cabal... and clearly the Suliban would rather be free from both sides.

"Vox Sola" is one of the better episodes, when a diplomatic misunderstanding sees first contact with some unpronouncible race, it allows a strange web-like creature on board. When it captures a few crewmembers (including the Captain and Trip) and slowly assimilates them into its structure, Hoshi and T'Pol are in a race to communicate with it, while Reed tries to construct the first forcefield.

"Fallen Hero" sees a Vulcan ambassador fleeing the planet she was on due to criminal charges against her. It sees the Enterprise finally pushing up to warp 5, but is otherwise pretty unmemorable.

Equally unmemorable is "Desert Crossing" which sees Archer and Trip wandering around in a desert after stumbling into the middle of a civil war when helping Clancy Brown with his spaceship.

The final disc sees Risa's first appearance in "Two Days And Two Nights" when some of the crew go for shore leave, and Phlox goes in to his annual hibernation. Archer is reluctant to go, but takes Porthos for a couple of days on the beach. Travis is going rock climbing. Hoshi wants to practice her language skills, and Reed and Tucker are looking for sex. No-one gets quite what they wanted though... although Hoshi manages to have a pretty good time, even though she fails to learn a language!

And then, "Shockwave Part 1" finishes the season with time travel, Suliban sneakiness, Daniels giving Archer a whole bunch of future technology, and the time line being pretty well disrupted. And now we have to wait for Season 2's release...

Finishing Enterprise means I have to flail around looking for another show to watch, and I'm going to temporarily pick back up with The Jetsons while I look. We're starting with "Millionaire Astro" which I would presume sees the dog winning a lot of money? Oh, okay, he's mistaken for the dog owned by a millionaire, and there's a guy hunting after him all episode while he wants to stay with the Jetsons. It even goes to trial, and they try to get Astro to testify! We get flashbacks to how Elroy acquired Astro (running from a dogcatcher).

And now I should go to bed before this becomes any more incoherent than the last synopsis was!

[Previous entry: "Three Enterprising Nights"]

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Three Enterprising Nights

[Previous entry: "Finishing The Rest"]

I actually started Enterprise last thing Monday, with the pilot episode, "Broken Bow." What with it now being Wednesday, I've clearly got further through it, so we'll need some synopses...

Watching this again, it holds up pretty well, and even the theme music is bearable. Broken Bow does the requisite introduction of the characters, as well as the conflicts involved - temporal cold war, Suliban bad, Vulcans holding Humans back from exploring the galaxy, Klingons intemperate, crew members their usual bumbling, interfering selves, funny looking alien crewmember annoying.

Okay, so nothing particularly exciting here but it's better than Tuesday's first episode, "Fight Or Flight" which sees the "Hoshi wants to go home because she keeps making a mess of things" episode. It's irritating, but there's lots of Hoshi, so it's pleasing on the eye. And Reed gets plenty to do trying to get the weapons system to actually hit something.

Then in "Strange New World" they find an M-class planet that they decide to take the dog for a walk on... and spend the night staying on for a survey mission. However, when a storm moves in to interfere with their ghost stories, they take shelter in some caves... and then all start to go crazy. Trip is seeing rock monsters, and the rest are hearing voices. It's a pretty silly episode, but we get more use of the transporter, in this case going wrong, so we know things are technically deficient still.

Disc two kicks off with the critically panned episode "Unexpected" which is a pretty dopey episode, but reasonably amusing. They meet an ailing species that need help with their warp drive (and are hiding in the shadow of a ship with working warp drive while their is offline). Trip goes over to help and, after dealing with an acclimation cycle that makes him want to give up, sorts out their engines, and makes friends with one of their female engineers. These aliens have holodecks, and Trip goes on a boating expedition with the female, and then messes around with a bunch of crystals that allow them to read each others minds.

However, on departure, they discover Commander Tucker is pregnant... and much silliness ensues! Of course, there's fallout when they find the alien ship hiding in the wake of a Klingon ship after the repairs have failed. The Klingons insist on holodeck technology in trade for not destroying the alien ship.

"Terra Nova" sees the crew investigating the first human colony outside the solar system. They lost contact with Earth after a fight broke out over further colony expeditions to the world... but they didn't lose contact by choice. A comet crashed on the planet that irradiated the northern hemisphere, and the colonists fled underground as a result. Unfortunately for them, the radiation has now contaminated their water supply, so they really need to relocate... but they no longer trust humans.

"The Andorian Incident" is probably the best episode of Tuesday night's viewing! The crew decide to visit a Vulcan monastery, but they interrupt an Andorian raiding party, that are determined to find the Vulcan surveillance station that's hidden in the monastery. Of course, the Vulcans deny everything (hey, they're just a bunch of monks) and are irritated by the Enterprise crew trying to defend them. T'Pol is clearly torn in this episode between serving the crew and following Vulcan dictates.

Unfortunately for the Vulcans, there really is a listening post hidden under the monastery, and the human conflict with the Andorians accidentally uncovers it. But there's some great dynamics here. If you ignore the idiocy of having Jeffrey Combs playing the chief Andorian (after Weyoun in DS9), then the dynamics here between the three races pretty much explain how they end up forming the Federation... you have the Vulcans' "all logic, all the time" up against the Andorians' emotional response and belligerent attitude. Between complete logic and complete emotion, we manage to blunder into the middle, being willing to negotiate with anybody and happily bridging the divide between logic and emotion.

The final episode, "Breaking The Ice" sees Reed and Travis investigating a comet... in fact, the largest comet humans have ever found. But they're being observed by a Vulcan vessel, so the pressure is on to do well. Ignoring the silliness of the two of them building a snowman, as Travis has almost never seen snow before, there's quite a good interaction between Archer and the Vulcan captain when the shuttlecraft is stuck down a crevasse.

Wednesday sees a contination of the show with "Civilisation" which sees the first Archer love interest when the crew find a low technology world and decide to investigate... unfortunately they're not the first warp-capable species to investigate the planet, and the previous bunch are causing a sickness amongst the population. Archer befriends (yeah, right!) a beautiful local apothecary who's concerned about the mysterious antique dealer and deals with the other bunch of aliens...

"Fortunate Son" sees Travis conflicted over a freighter that's being preyed on by Nausicaans. Considering the Nausicaans don't make an appearance in the Original Series at all, this must be one of those stupid temporal changes that the Suliban make for the cold war! But anyway, the freighter crew have taken a Nausicaan prisoner to try to learn the shield frequencies of their ships. Their plan doesn't quite go to plan however, and Enterprise have to come in and negotiate a peace.

"Cold Front" picks up the temporal cold war threads from the pilot, with a bunch of monks visiting Enterprise, and one of them saving the ship from some sort of overload of the warp core. However, it turns out that their saviour was the head Suliban, Sillik, and there's another guy from the future posing as a member of their crew.

This is where the episode gets silly. We get Ensign Daniels, who apparently has all this technology that allows him to pass through walls and monitor the timestream, and manages to get killed by a lone Suliban, who's not even particulary well armed! It does leave Archer with a whole bunch of questions, and a small amount of technology from the future that might help him in subsequent episodes...

"Silent Enemy" sees the Enterprise facing an enemy that won't respond to hails, and appears to outgun them. Archer wants to return to Utopia Planitia to get the phaser cannons fitted, but Tucker and Reed are determined that the crew can get them built and fitted before they get there.

"Dear Doctor" is probably the highlight of Wednesday, as we get the possible introduction of the Prime Directive. The crew rescue a bunch of aliens whose home planet is suffering from some sort of infection that's wiping out a whole bunch of the population. However, it doesnt' appear to be affecting the subserviant sentient species on the planet. When Dr. Phlox discovers that the disease has a genetic origin, and to cure it would be interfering with the evolution of the planet, he's torn. Fortunately, Archer realises there are some responsibilities to non-warp-capable species, to let them evolve on their own.

"Sleeping Dogs" Sees the crew rescue a Klingon ship from the atmosphere of a gas giant. There's good interaction here between Hoshi, Reed, and T'Pol, but not a great deal else that's all that memorable. Some more non-interaction with the Klingons, but nothing to get excited about.

"The Shadows Of P'Jem" sees the fallout from the Andorian Incident... the Vulcans are upset that in six months the Enterprise has managed to destabilise a sector of space by helping the Andorians find the listening post. The Andorians have destroyed the monastery as a result! Unfortunately, the Vulcans want to pull T'Pol off the Enterprise as a result.

And there's a random planet involved here... Archer and T'Pol go down to meet with the rulers, but they're kidnapped on the way. Then the Vulcans arrive to screw everything up. Then Tucker and Reed go down to try and sort things out, but Shran (Jeffrey Coombs) and the Andorians kidnap them, and things get suitably complicated!

[Previous entry: "Finishing The Rest"]

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Finishing The Rest

[Previous entry: "Finishing Stuff"]

I kinda skipped Sunday cataloguing, but felt it was a little more productive to finish the shows I was still working on. And losing a couple of hours to a lacklustre Grand Prix race didn't help things much...

But when we returned to Buck, we had to sit through the absolutely awful "The Satyr" where Buck saves a woman and her child from the evil satyr-creature Pangor. Of course, that's not the end of the story and we have to watch Buck degenerate into a similar creature.

Things don't pick up much in "Shgoratchx!" which sees the seven dwarfs come to Searcher. The only entertaining moment in this one is them trying to examine Wilma as they've never seen a woman before... and they're really determined with their off-think and her clothes!

"The Hand Of Goral" sees them visiting the planet of death, and then having to deal with a duplicate Searcher, everyone behaving not-quite as themselves, and a mystic monk type guy who's the titular character.

Finally, "Testimony Of A Traitor" sees Buck on trial for conspiring to start the nuclear holocaust that destroyed Earth. And when he's put under mind-probe, his memories seem to uphold the charge, even though he consciously remembers none of it. This is a pretty good episode, even if the ending is fairly predictable.

On to Wonder Woman, and we have "Seance Of Terror" which sees world diplomats being lured away with talk of love ones having messages for them from beyond the grave. It's hokey, and Diana sports a really bad wig in this episode, but it does have a psychic boy who can take photographs through solid objects (like doors)!

"The Man Who Wouldn't Tell" sees a janitor accidentally create a super-explosive and everyone and his dog now wants that formula, so the guy's on the run and Diana's out looking for him. It's not a great episode all told.

Back to Buck for an episode, and we have the pretty reasonable "The Dorian Secret" which sees the Dorians looking for a murderer who's hiding amongst a bunch of refugees on the Searcher. Of course, everyone knows the Dorians are a bunch of mutants who all wear masks, so why do none of the refugees have a mask on? I might have fond feelings towards this one, as the show is finally over!

Which just leaves two episodes of Wonder Woman, "The Girl From Islandia" which sees a young girl with magical bracelets and necklace stuck on Earth after being transported from the mythical alternate world of Islandia... and with no way back unless the mad scientist stops talking to himself long enough to do it.

And finally, "The Murderous Missile" sees Diana getting waylaid in a very strange town after a guy on a motorcycle tries to steal her car. She's supposed to be at a missile test for a new mind-controlled missile, but fortunately for her, the second prototype of the control helmet has been stolen by the same mysterious guys she's sharing a town with. We get the advent of the motorcycle costume here... which looks mysteriously like the swimming costume, but with a crash helmet and goggles.

And it's over... so just an episode of Dark Angel, "...And Jesus Brought A Casserole" to go. So Bryn is dead, and Max appears to be in the hands of Lydecker. But Major Kira is really putting the screws to him, so his only out is to help Max bring down Manticore. Things sort of go as planned - they break in, they plant charges in the gene bank, and they try to make their escape. Syl and Crit both make it back okay, but the team of X-7s that weren't supposed to be there make things difficult for Max and Zack.

The X-7s are designed with a hive mind, but there'll be more freakyness with them in season 2. For now, we're more concerned with the clone of Max, albeit a younger version. And there's another one of those slightly demented dream sequences as Max gets shot and sees the future where she gets away and they all have a happy get together at the bar.

Instead she's shot and her heart is damaged, and she needs a heart transplant... and Zack is the only one nearby who can be a compatible donor...

And then we were done with our Sunday... you know, except for the episode of Charmed in the middle there. It wasn't a great episode, but we get to see more of Future Wyatt, both evil and good version. I also stupidly put on a film, Island Of The Dead, after all of that, and it was rubbish. Bunch of people stuck on an island where they bury dead people who can't be identified in New York, and they're attacked by evil flies that cause people to decompose really quickly. There's no explanation of why; why do they appear, why do they attack the people they do and leave others alone, and why do they stop at the end?

Monday night should have been the start of something else, but instead I stuck with films on my On Demand channels. Kicking off with Jeepers Creepers 2, after seeing Nicki Aycox in the last episode of Dark Angel, and expecting to see more, I got a daft horror sequel with a monster that appears to have changed since the first one. For one thing, it doesn't regenerate anywhere near as handily as the first one did...

Anyway, it has to be followed by an equally rubbish film, so Paycheck becomes victim of choice... and you know, there's a really good idea for a film hiding in here. All about erasing memories and how we're the sum of our experiences, and only keeping the good bits means we never learn anything and are doomed to repeat our mistakes... oh, yeah, that's the plot of Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind! So someone got something good out of this mediocre sci-fi actioner.

[Previous entry: "Finishing Stuff"]

Sunday, May 8, 2005

Finishing Stuff

[Previous entry: "Hitchhiking"]

We're on the final round with some of these shows, and we kick off with the last two Greatest American Hero episodes, beginning with "Who's Woo In America." And the regular stars get a family here... as Ralph's mother makes an appearance. She's intended to marry an import/export guy who's managed to get embroiled in a microchip smuggling operation that turns up as Bill's next case.

Then, in "Lilacs, Mr Maxwell" Bill falls for a colleague who wears lilac perfume. Ralph manages to catch some top terrorists purely by accident, and then the Russians are out to find out why Bill has a 95% success rate on his cases. Ralph can apparently control animals from a distance, when he persuades a dog to pull Bill out of his crashed car, while he's miles away viewing it as a hologram!

And I'm fairly sure they'll drop the continuity next season of Bill's love interest and the fact that she's a Russian agent.

And that finished season 2 - Yay, something finished at last! Fortunately, the rest of these shows should follow shortly.

One that won't however, is Wonder Woman. We start here with "Death In Disguise" and I have to question how this guy can be a top assassin, considering I picked out that it was a guy in drag in about five seconds. So how he manages to infiltrate a top defense agency, and fool Steve during an interview, is completely beyond me. Alright, ignoring that, there's an assassination attempt on IRAC...

And then we continue to put IRAC in danger in "IRAC Is Missing." Someone is stealing the processors from top computers around the country, and IRAC is on the list. Fortunately, the computer has a mobile companion recently constructed who contains a homing device that can find IRAC wherever the master computer is taken. They pretty much all agree to the fact that the computers know Diana is Wonder Woman here after pussy-footing around it most of the season.

Finally in "Flight To Oblivion" we have the requisite hypnotised soldiers who are told to destroy some top secret project, or generally cause sabotage. In this case, they're responding to a bell ringing and snow falling rather than a coded phrase, and Steve manages to get himself put under at one point. Oh, there's a test flight of a new fighter plane under threat, and Diana is undercover on the air force base to get to the bottom of it.

So, four more episodes of Wonder Woman to go (due to the 3 episodes per side, this show is being dragged out further than necessary!). But there's also only four of Knight Rider, and that's up next.

Starting with the feature length "Mouth Of The Snake" which turns out to be a crossover with the cancelled "Dalton's Code Of Vengeance." I'm not sure how the crossover arose, or the decision of this show to cross with (especially considering that show only lasted four episodes!). And I'm guessing the ridiculous athleticism and the close up concentration shots are taken from that show. Anyway, without knowing the cross, this is a pretty good episode... if I had seen the crossover, it might have rated excellent.

But to get that rating, you need to go to the next episode, "Let It Be Me" which sees the return of Michael's soulmate Stevie. Michael has to go undercover in Stevie's band after the lead singer is murdered, and there's a whole lot of bad Hasselhoff singing to detract from a really good episode. There's murder, stolen video tapes, very silly 80's rock and roll outfits, secret binary codes - It's binary? I'd never have guessed from all those 1s and 0s! - drug smuggling, and KITT scanning stuff and causing blackouts. One of their better efforts this season.

And finally, "Big Iron" sees KITT getting buried in a quarry and having to use the new trajectory control on the turboboost to magically get out! There's something going on about stolen construction equipment, but it's happily interrupted by Spanish Grand Prix Qualifying (which looks to be dull, but I'm not sure as dull as the Knight Rider episode!).

Anyway, that'll finish Knight Rider, and next up will be Quantum Leap, with two episodes to go...

Of course, I manage to squeeze them in before going out, so we'll need a synopsis of "Sea Bride" which is the episode which sees Sam up against the mob to marry a young woman (Elizabeth Sheridan)... of course, there's Vinny the Viper to deal with first, and the bride's father, General Martok to deal with. Okay, there's some pretty freaky guest stars here, but the gist of the story is followable!

And then, "M.I.A." sees Sam leaping into a police officer who's new at the office. Al seems determined that the purpose of the leap is to stop a young naval nurse ruining her life by giving up on her missing-in-action husband and starting to date a young lawyer who seems to be destined to hook up with her.

Of course, the naval nurse is Al's first wife Beth, and this is one of the best performances he gives throughout the show's run. It's minorly spoiled by the replacement of the music... if you're going to play up Al and Beth's song as Georgia, then you should keep the song... but what do Universal know? They just screw it up like usual.

Sam finally sees through the misdirection and manages to save his partner from getting shot up in a bar, but Al gives a really touching goodbye to Beth... this is where the show is really up to strength... lets hope it doesn't lose it in season 3 - I know it won't in the first couple, what with the Vietnam storyline, but when does the show start to be silly?

And then out for a couple of hours... and my taxi actually showed up so I made it home without having to search for a ride.

Then I decided watching a Dark Angel episode was a good idea... so we're on to "Hit A Sista Back" and Max finds that someone's searching for his wife (and his son's mother) on a milk carton... problem is, the photo is of Tinga.

Bigger problem is the son is showing signs of being a product of Tinga's genetically enhanced DNA, and Lydecker is showing a serious interest.

Fortunately for Max, Tinga shows up to help with the rescue... downside, so does Bryn, and she's clearly on the side of Manticore. She does however harbour a willingness to let Max go for saving her life... but it might not happen next time!

Of course, the supporting cast is what helps this... Cade Foster's appearance as the husband, and Tinga's emotional contact with her son carry this episode. Along with Zack's antagonism, the tensions in this episode are well strung.

And Lydecker has a wild card to play - the child has been infected with a virus that gives him a phone number bar code, and gives him a fever. He'll die unless he's handed over to Manticore... and Tinga's emotionalism makes the obvious call - they'll hand over Tinga for the cure for the son... because Manticore need whatever is in Tinga's DNA that allows her to carry her genetically enhanced traits to her son... which is the one thing Manticore is failing to do.

Okay... who's Bryn working for? And why has she been knocked unconscious? Oh, okay, Kira was meddling. And Tinga was captured... so where is she, considering Kyra doesn't want her returned to Manticore?

"Meow" is up next, and Max is back in heat. Lydecker is being cut out of the command hierarchy at Manticore, but fortunately Zack is keeping tabs on him and seems to be winnowing out the command structure.

Lydecker is getting devious, and apparently Max can be tracked by the implant in her brainstem... it was clear there was going to be fallout from that. And there's fallout from the hoverdrone episode as well, with Lydecker's picture being given to the Manticore controlled drones.

[Previous entry: "Hitchhiking"]

Saturday, May 7, 2005


[Previous entry: "Yet More Of The Same"]

Thursday is election day, but there's time in the morning to finish up the Wonder Woman episodes first. And "Screaming Javelin" picks up where it left off Wednesday night, with a crazy man kidnapping athletes to form his own Olympic team. Yes, it's as silly as it sounds... why would someone kidnap other countries athletes and think he could ever enter them as his own in the games?

And apparently this is another guy Diana has met and defeated previously... they keep doing that this season, but it makes no sense as she was on Paradise Island up until the start of the season, so it would have to fit in the timeline between the episodes in this volume.

Oh, and the crown getting turned into a boomerang makes a re-appearance in this episode.

When they're not screwing with the continuity, they instead give us villains that Diana has apparently met a long time in the past, like Cagliostro, in "Diana's Disappearing Act." There's something going on with the oil selling countries, and the fact that they want to raise the price of oil. There's also a gold pendant that's more than it seems, a magician who tries to kidnap Diana, a pair of freaky mimes, and a whole bunch of alchemy.

It's probably one of the better episodes for this season, but then there's been some pretty weak ones, so hopefully this is a sign of things to come with the last 7.

Then on to election coverage... I probably should have blogged this as it happened, but was too busy cooking chili and getting drunk. It's definitely nice to be able to watch the results at a respectable hour of the day instead of having to stay up all night. I could go to bed around midnight having seen pretty much everything that was going to happen.

And Labour got a kicking... which was pretty much what everyone wanted... there were some bizarre swings in some seats, and the Tory / Lib Dem contests were all over the map as far as results - some the Lib Dems held on to, some had big swings to the Tories, and a couple had big swings to the Liberal Democrats. Of course, my old stomping ground is still solidly blue - I don't think the Vulcan or Mr Mackay are going anywhere any time soon (unless they get picked as new party leader I guess, in which case they'll be out after the next election).

Oh yes, Michael Howard has decided to stand down, once the party have changed the rules for electing a new leader so the old guard in the party can't elect another nutcase. And Blair will be gone in six months. So the only real question is how long will Kennedy stay on as Lib Dem leader? I've got nothing against him, but it's possible the party need someone with a bit more fire to attack the other two if they're going to make a big breakthrough next time... a bit less Mr. Nice Guy might help, but then it's never been all that successful for the Tories, so they might be safer carrying on with their slow and steady gains.

And then Friday kicks off with fending off a hangover... at least I can rest safe in the knowledge that Tony Blair has a worse hangover than I do this morning!

But anyway, we're on to Knight Rider, so we kick off with "Speed Demons" and Michael is checking on a death during a motorcycle race. There's something fishy going on with his teammate (who was injured in the accident that the life was lost in) and their lady friend. We have sabotage and KITT trying to keep up with a motorcycle on its own territory (and then getting a very hand-wavey upgrade from April to give him some more traction).

Then the two parter, "Goliath Returns" which pretty much runs as you'd expect. Woman from a few episodes back (the one where the kid took KITT over by remote control) who's obsessed with Michael has rebuilt Goliath and breaks Garth out of gaol. They've got some silly plan to kidnap a scientist by replacing him with a doppelganger, but Garth's vendetta against the Foundation keeps getting in the way.

And we get the Duel tyrannosaurus rex sound as the truck goes over the cliff. So they don't appear to be above stealing obvious motifs.

Finally, "A Good Knight's Work" sees Michael embroiled in a toy schematics theft case that turns out to be a set up by the guy who ordered Michael Long's death, and now blames Michael for killing Tanya (even though it was Tanya who killed Tanya by shooting at KITT).

The best bit of this episode is the turbo boost into the fourth floor apartment, and then KITT drolly wondering how he's going to get down.

Then I went out... I had this crazy idea about going to the cinema, which paid off with the viewing of Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. This was absolutely great.

The singing dolphins, the re-use of the original theme tune, the guide animations, the cast in general, Zooey Deschanel as Trillian, and the use of Neil Hannon for the end theme version of the So Long And Thanks For All The Fish song... these are the highlights. John Malkovich is probably the lowlight... what was this segment here for, other than to get rid of the second head and set up the Point Of View gun for the ending. And every time they mentioned Hamma Kavula, I got stuck with the Cinderella song bouncing around my head... bibbety, bobbety, boo!

Plenty of trailers before this film though - Star Wars, the Jumanji sequel, Zathura, an absolutely fantastic Chicken Little trailer that I was seriously questioning why they were trailing Hitchhiker's Guide, and a trailer for Valiant, which is the first time I've heard of this film... it could be quite good (but when was the last time Disney had a bona fide animated hit of their own?).

And then home and continuing with the rotation brings us to Quantum Leap and a disc that appears to have got a whole bunch of glue on the edge of it making my player skip. Even after cleaning it all off, it was skipping, but fortunately, a change of player seems to have fixed it. So, the four episodes begin with "Good Night, Dear Heart" and Sam's a mortician dealing with a woman who appears to have committed suicide drowning in a lake. Unfortunately, when Sam discovers a bullethole in her temple, he's got a murder on his hands, and a young Tom Paris as his likely suspect.

Working out the how she was murdered here is really blatantly easy, but I didn't guess the who, so it was quite a good mystery.

And then in "Pool Hall Blues" Sam becomes an aging pool player, Magic something or other, who has to help his daughter pay off a loan shark before she has to sell herself to pay for the blues bar she owns. It's surprising that Sam can't calculate the angles for himself in this pool game, but I guess it's so we can have more Sam / Al interactions in the episode.

"Leaping In Without A Net" reveals Sam has a fear of heights when he's forced to become a trapeze artist helping his sister make a triple loop without a net (and without dying). Not their best episode, but the guest cast include Fabiana Udenio (who played Londo's love, Adiera in B5), and Jan Triska as the artistes father (who played one of the better guest appearances in Highlander and Highlander The Raven, in the cop Nicolae Breslaw).

Finally, in "Maybe Baby" Sam's on the run with a woman and a stolen baby, trying to get to New Mexico to give it back to it's mother... except the woman may be lying and the mother may have died in childbirth.

And then we're back to Buck Rogers in "The Guardians" and it's bizarre-vision-palooza as Buck gets entrusted with a glowing green box that sends the Searcher hundreds of light years off course on a racing trip to the edge of the galaxy. Buck relives his freezing when his ship was lost in space, Asimov watches his crew starve to death, Wilma loses her eyesight, and Hawk gets briefly reunited with his lover.

"Mark Of The Saurian" seek Buck sick in bed, and everyone believing he's crazy when he's convinced he's seeing a strange green aura around the visiting Ambassador and his aides. When he suffers some pain he sees them as strange green lizard men, but it takes a lot of convincing to get the others to believe him... it gets even harder when the lizardmen analyze his blood and adjust their holographic projectors to fool even him.

"The Golden Man" sees them rescue a golden boy from a lifepod floating in space. He should come in handy when the Searcher gets stuck on an asteroid and is too heavy to push clear, as he's able to change the molecular structure of any metal. Unfortunately, he isn't strong enough to affect the whole ship, but there's another of his kind down on the planet nearby who needs rescuing... and he might be strong enough to adjust the ship. So they just need to rescue him from the penal colony he's trapped on.

Lastly tonight, "The Crystals" sees the Searcher without power, and Buck, Hawk, and Wilma are down on a volcanic planet looking for crystals which will allow them to move off again... it's the usual Star Trek search for Trilithium crystals episode, but with the cast of Buck Rogers. Of course, to distract them from their search, they find a mummy which they cart back to the ship for the doctor to look at (and the fact that the big cache of crystals beside the mummy start glowing the moment they walk away doesn't raise any worries?!).

And highlight of the night, we get the real Twiki back in this episode after the travesty of the last several...

[Previous entry: "Yet More Of The Same"]

Thursday, May 5, 2005

Yet More Of The Same

[Previous entry: "Monday Leap"]

Tuesday night, and there's one episode of Dark Angel to finish the disc, "I And I Am A Camera" and Max gets backup from a vigilante superhero-fan who wears mechanical leg braces that allow him to jump higher and run faster than others. He also carries a camera with which he gets Max's photo.

But that's only half the story, as people keep getting mysteriously murdered, and no-one knows how... but there's something suspicious going on with Logan's uncle's hoverdrone business. It seems they've modified one to reocognise people from a photograph and then kill them (they've added a couple of machine guns to it).

Things end rather badly for Logan's uncle, and the government seize all the company assets, so Logan's suddenly without the financial support he once had... but at least he still owns his apartment... I can't remember how long that lasts though!

Then on with the Buck Rogers, and the second season kicks off with the feature length "Time Of The Hawk" which is where the decline in to silliness begins. First, what on Earth happened to Twiki's voice? Gah, it's a good job he barely appears in it... and then we have the annoying doctor, and the crazy robot with the superiority complex. And then there's Hawk, last of the Bird people from Easter Island (huh? what bird people? left before Atlantis sunk? who's writing this insanity?). And they're out on a search for the Lost Tribes of Earth... now, wasn't Earth itself the lost 13th tribe? Or is it just that they've stolen their plot from Battlestar Galactica?

Of course, they don't do much Lost Tribe searching in the second episode (also feature length), "Journey To Oasis" which almost has a Wizard of Oz theme with an ambassador whose head comes off and a funny blue dwarf who talks in riddles... It has one redeeming feature - the Ambassador is played by Mark Lenard, who's slightly more famous as Spock's father Sarek. It's not the world's best performance, but he manages to survive the ignominy of being hidden inside rocks and pedestals to do his "head being set down while his body changes" scenes.

No, to be fair there's nothing redeeming about it, and there's another 9 episodes of this drivel... but fortunately the disc finishes here, so it's a change of show for Wednesday, and we're back with The Greatest American Hero... although we're no longer in completely off the wall episodes, which was pretty much what I requested.

"Dreams" sees Ralph helping a teacher at the school who appears to be being pushed out... there's something else going on here as well, but I was clearly not paying attention to it as I can't remember what happened three episodes later!

In "The Good Samaritan" Ralph is trying to find better things to do with the suit, other ways to help people, and he saves a whole bunch of people here in various ways... but he does have to come up against an ex-convict who's determined to get revenge on the flying guy who put him away.

"There's Just No Accounting" sees a kidnapping extortion ring being dealt with, but Bill, Pam and Ralph's investigations get sidetracked by an overzealous IRS agent, determined to get to the bottom of their taxes. Of course, Ralph loses his cancelled cheques during a car chase, and then when he's found to be in possession of a quarter of a million dollars (the ransom payment) he's in real trouble!

Finally in "Captain Bellybuster" Ralph gets caught on camera by a reporter, Bill is trying to get to the bottom of a bogus drug smuggling tip, and a burger store mascot is giving tips to the FBI about his criminal bosses. It's all in a days work for Captain Bellybuster and his sidekick the Tummy Tickler! Okay, yes, this last episode is pretty silly, but it's not off the wall ridiculous, and they're allowed a little slack after the pretty good accountant episode preceding it.

So, disc finished, it's on to Wonder Woman. And Diana is undercover as the titular "Light-Fingered Lady" in the first episode. She has to masquerade as a bank robber with a knack for disabling security systems so that she's accepted by the band of crooks working for some mastermind called Caribe.

Wonder Woman proves she can charm dogs to do whatever she asks them in this episode, and there's a slightly odd change from Diana to Wonder Woman to Swimming Costume Wonder Woman where the background disappears in the intermediate step! Oh, and those swimming scenes are extremely obvious as a pool.

Then it's on to "Screaming Javelin" but beyond a crazy guy with a parachute and a bomb being delivered to Diana's door, the rest will have to wait for tomorrow, as I need some sleep if I'm going to be up til all hours watching election coverage.

[Previous entry: "Monday Leap"]

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Monday Leap

[Previous entry: "More Catchup!"]

Monday night, and we're continuing with the Quantum Leap disc started yesterday. You know, another week or so and I'll finish these five shows - it feels like it's taking an age, and the shelf is filling up as I'm not really clearing anything at the moment...

So we begin with "All American" and Sam is an american football player who's got to stop his friend and teammate from throwing the championship game and destroying his future. Of course, it's not quite that simple, when the mother is an illegal immigrant and hasn't the money to pay her rent, and the landlord is the one pushing the son to throw the game or he'll throw them out or turn them in to immigration. And after an episode with a guy doing the intro voiceover, we're back to a woman here.

Then, in "Her Charm" he's an FBI agent trying to protect a woman from her boyfriend, who she testified against to send to gaol... but he got off and now he's after her for it. Unfortunately, someone within the FBI is helping him reach his goal. And I didn't remember this episode at all! Okay, woman still doing the intro voiceover, but this time she's in slightly out of sync stereo, which is more than a little annoying!

Finally, in "Freedom" we have Sam as a native american boy who is trying to save his grandfather from gaol... okay, the grandfather is dying and wants to die on the reservation. And there's a sheriff who doesn't like Indians on their trail...

And with the disc over with, I should really go on to the next show, but it's a feature length Buck Rogers, so instead I'll pick up mid-disc with Dark Angel's religious episode, "Pollo Loco." This isn't the best episode in the world, but it's got the first appearance of Nana Visitor as Lydecker's boss, and with Jensen Ackles who in this instance is playing the less than sane Ben.

You see, Ben's gone off the deep end, and is murdering people in the name of his faith. Max doesn't initially want to get involved, and Logan decides to meet with Lydecker to try and get Ben dealt with. But it's the scenes between Max and Ben later in the episode that explain why they brought Jensen Ackles back for season 2.

[Previous entry: "More Catchup!"]

Monday, May 2, 2005

More Catchup!

[Previous entry: "Various In Catchup"]

I appear to be on catchup duty again, so lets kick off with Friday's watchings. It started with the last of the Quantum Leap episodes, "Animal Frat," which sees Sam as a fraternity member trying to save a Vietnam protestor from planting a bomb which ends up killing someone. Of course, she wants nothing to do with a frat jock so he's got his work cut out just getting her to listen to him.

Then I watched Blade Trinity... and started with the unrated version. There's barely any difference between the two cuts - a few minutes of character scenes culled here and there and a different ending. The ending is rubbish though and I was so disappointed I ended up watching the theatrical cut directly afterwards!

Anyway, overall it's quite a good film, but there's a couple of oddities in it - like why the dog vampires look like the super vampires from the second film?

Saturday started with the last episodes of Buck Rogers season 1, with "Space Rockers" (which has quite the guest cast), "Buck's Duel To The Death" (in which Buck is the 500 year old savior for a planet suffering under a ruthless thug) and finally the feature length "Flight Of The War Witch." This last has a new title sequence and sees both Buck and Ardala summoned to a parallel universe where the planet Pendar is under siege by the war witch Zarina. Of course, Ardala isn't all that enthused about helping out, but she's not going to be given the way back home unless she helps!

Oh, and plot-hole you can drive a bus through? The Pendarans have the technology to vapourise the enemy but that would be bad. However, allowing Buck to blow the ship up by having it fly into the energy shield around the planet? Perfectly okay!

Then there's more silliness in Greatest American Hero. Starting with "The Shock Will Kill You" and we have a space shuttle that needs to be brought in to land. Unfortunately, it's carrying a power draining space alien which gets loose in the power grid. Ralph has to deal with his suit becoming extremely magnetic.

"A Chicken In Every Pot" sees a trip to the Caribbean interrupted by voodoo rituals and murder. Having the kids and Pam along help keep the tension up as there are plenty of potential victims for the crazy voodoo people, and Pam gets to flex a bit of legal know-how after Bill and Ralph are gaoled for trying to arrest the President.

"The Devil In The Deep Blue Sea" sees Ralph trying to get to the bottom of ship disappearances in the Devil's Triangle. Of course, he's convinced it's a plesiosaur, but doesn't tell that to Bill to lure him down there. It turns out there might be a couple of things going on, what with a prison warden and his English henchman hijacking boats and chopping them up for resale. Of course, Bill gets the bust, but Ralph fails to find any evidence of his dinosaur.

"It's All Downhill From Here" sees Ralph helping a downhill skier defect when he finds that he skis much better with the suit on. It's the first episode in a while that hasn't had some silly element (beyond the guy in the suit), and it's good because of it. There needs to be more Bill and Ralph fighting crime and less magic, aliens, sea monsters, etc!

Which brings us to Sunday, which starts with some television, including S.W.A.T. which is quite a good action film if a little predictable. And then, after taking a glance at a couple of other films (which were rubbish and I didn't stick with) it was back to the DVDs. And we're on to Wonder Woman.

In this case, the two parter "Mind Stealers From Outer Space" which sees the return of Andros (the son... who I don't remember from season 1 but they apparently met then), and Earth being invaded by some aliens in shiny green outfits who steal people's thoughts and memories. They've also got a big ugly creature that stalks anything covered in silver glitter.

Admittedly, these are the first people to notice that Diana and Wonder Woman look exactly the same and, hey, maybe they're the same person!

And the bunch Andros is with is again giving an arbitrary and ridiculous time limit before they do something bad to Earth... in the first season they were just going to destroy it, whereas here they're going to cleanse it of aliens, which will just send a small percentage of the population permanently insane... so the usual problems!

Then there's "The Deadly Toys" and android duplicates of top scientists have infiltrated a secret project. Diana has to hunt down the creator of the androids which is made a little easier when a duplicate of Wonder Woman is made...

Knight Rider is next in rotation but there isn't very much that's notable here... there's a young Daphne Ashbrook (she of Doctor Who: The Movie fame) in "A Knight In Shining Armour" and a treasure hunt for a cave full of shiny crystals. I was barely paying attention to "Diamonds Aren't A Girl's Best Friend" which isn't very memorable, but things pick up a little in "White-Line Warriors" where Michael tries to clear a street racer of robbery charges and we have the usual litany of corrupt sheriffs and dangling over cliffs (and KITT gets a stealth mode).

Finally, "Race For Life" sees Michael and KITT tracking down a guy who's a bone marrow match for a young girl. There's a lot of stormy weather making the search difficult, but there's a little silliness when they need to cross a river and can't turbo boost over it... but this is the second time in a couple of episodes that they've completely forgotten about the aquatic mode from earlier in the season. And is KITT's wheelbase really the same size as a railway track?

Finishing up allows the watching of the new Charmed, which is a fairly silly affair - Paige gets a new charge who can travel at super speed, and Phoebe gets switched with a homely looking sorceress woman in the underworld.

And then a single episode of Quantum Leap, with Sam playing a divorced mother of three in "Another Mother" and having to deal with the disappearance of the son, whose body was never found in the original timeline. Al has to care for the youngest daughter, who can see both Sam and Al and needs to be told the truth about who they are and why they're there. And we get the first evidence of Sam's martial arts prowess.

[Previous entry: "Various In Catchup"]


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