So after we did the first season of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” I’ve been asked by people about the possibility of doing the rest of the series. These people underestimate my laziness! However, vunderbar married people Sam and Terri just so happen to be watching the series from the beginning, and have graciously offered their individual perspectives on the second season. Take it away, guys!
Sam: For the past 9 years, I’ve been trying to convince Terri that Deep Space Nine is the best of all Star Treks. When Liz released Andreanna Ditton’s Farscape guide, I started thinking we could probably come up with a Season Two guide ourselves, with opinions from a longtime fan and a newcomer to balance things out.
Deep Space Nine is somewhat of a strange beast, especially two decades later when the special effects look wonky and the acting can get cringey, but it’s also a precursor to serial, huge-ass-arc storytelling in sci-fi (as well as television altogether). It’s Star Trek with deeply flawed characters that change over time. It’s Star Trek with villains that make you stare evil right in the face without being half as formidable as, say, the Borg.
What I’m getting at here is that as the show progresses, you’ll see the line between “good guys” and “bad guys” get blurrier as the characters fall deeper and deeper into chaos and despair and their victories become exponentially more hollow. Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry
The CW’s Supernatural, according to many I respect, is a show that’s gotten better and better over the years, which is impressive, given that it’s on Season 8 right now. THAT IS A LOT OF SEASONS! Especially a lot of seasons to devote to two brothers in an Impala fighting demons. But brilliant people like Ben Edlund work on this show, and like I said, the people who like it are people I trust.
One of those people is the super-talented Leslie Levings, famous among those who like adorable clay monsters as the creator and sculptor of the Beastlies. However, while Leslie is a big Supernatural fan, she’s also quite upfront about how the show has improved with time, meaning that much of the earlier seasons is not so much with the good.
So below please find Leslie’s personal guide to the show, unannotated because I have not seen any of them (but do know a good place to copy/paste episode titles from). Read the rest of this entry
So this one goes out to a few of the folks who were sitting at the Geminon table at Rudy and Casey’s wedding reception last week — during dinner, the subject of Torchwood came up, and I realized that I had very strong opinions about this show that had not yet been committed to words.
Specifically, this: If watched properly, this plucky series about a team of sexy bisexual alien fighters is not only an enjoyable companion piece to Doctor Who (of which it is technically a spin-of), but genuinely great television in its own right. The proper viewing experience, however, requires skipping about 50 percent of the show. Maybe actually more? (It depends on how seriously you take Torchwood: Miracle Day.)
I don’t know why Torchwood is one of the most uneven series of all time. It just is. As sci-fi fans, we learn to accept these things and just enjoy watching Spike from Buffy make out with John Barrowman — because when Torchwood gets something right, it gets it VERY RIGHT.
So let’s get into it! Read the rest of this entry
Friends and/or faithful readers of this site will know that I have a lot of complicated feelings about Aaron Sorkin, Academy Award-winning screenwriter and bane of my existence. Not because I don’t think he’s talented — I think he’s crazy talented. Not because I don’t love his work — some of the shows he’s created and movies he’s written number among my absolute favorites. But his particular combination of genius, ego and laziness has a way of crawling under my skin, even when I really am trying to give his newest project a chance.
I try to let these feelings go, y’all, but then some lady Sorkin dated writes about how she was used as the basis for the gossip bitch Hope Davis played on The Newsroom and I see something like this:
[I've wanted to do a SI/WI for this show for ages, but it's been a while since I really dug into the Henson Company's insane combination of puppets, sci-fi and attractive people in leather pants. Fortunately, I happen to know a bonafide "Farscape" expert, and she was willing to step in and perform this valuable public service! Andreanna Ditton, take it away... --Liz]
Farscape is, as one character says, “Disneyland on Acid.” It’s a roller-coaster of sci-fi and bad decisions when the human is always wrong, but that doesn’t stop him from having a plan. Our protagonists are all escaped criminals, from the big blue priest (Zhaan), who orgasms in the light, to the tentacled warrior masquerading as a Klingon rip-off (D’Argo), who turns out to be funny, young, romantic and ragey. There’s a soldier (Aeryn Sun), raised by a fascist military race that look human, who accidentally goes against her training and gets exiled for it. And then there’s the deposed dictator with the worst case of swamp gas in history (Rygel). Couple all that with a living ship (Moya), her snarktastic Pilot (Pilot), and John Crichton, All-American boy wonder who got shot through a wormhole into the ass-end of a universe that considers him expendable, problematic, and eventually marked for death — and you have a television show.
This is science fiction for people who like their comedy in turns black and snot-filled, their love stories fraught and full of sex, their action-sequences big, the consequences bigger, and the actual science…best left unexplored. It’s space opera on an epic scale.
Farscape tackles all the traditional tropes, then turns them on their collective heads. Continuity matters. Story matters. This is the Odyssey — a man lost in the universe, trying to get home. In the meantime, home changes. Decisions don’t get undone in Farscape, for any of the characters — heroes or villains. It helps that the cast is uniformly stellar, that crazy is not pretty but terrifying, that space is vast, and villains cruel but multi-faceted, and that everyone is capable of doing bad all by themselves.
And yes, there are puppets. If those puppets don’t make you cry at some point, you have no heart. Read the rest of this entry
Friends, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is now streaming live on Netflix and that is a BIG DEAL. For if you never watched the show, then you’ve missed out on television that was subversive and revolutionary for its time, eschewing previous Star Trek formula to instead push the limits of multi-arc storytelling in the sci-fi genre. Oh, and it essentially served as a training ground for Ronald D. Moore prior to his equally groundbreaking work on Battlestar Galactica. That’s right — no DS9, no Battlestar.
However, the problem with DS9 is that it WAS subversive and revolutionary for its era, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t plenty of dead weight along the way. It takes at least two seasons for the show to really kick into gear, and in the meantime Lwaxana Troi shows up TWICE. In TWO DIFFERENT EPISODES. Letting someone watch the show as is could be considered an act of cruelty. Thus, the discerning television fan who wants to check it out should please consider the below recommendations. With the writer’s compliments.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 1: The Skip It/Watch It Guide Read the rest of this entry