It seems weird now that it’s pretty much the norm, but serialization is actually something that television — and Star Trek in particular — used to hate. The syndication model meant that shows had to be airable in whatever order the local broadcasters wanted to air them in, which didn’t lend well to embedded cumulative plots. Sure, there were certain shows that demanded strict continuity (see: Twin Peaks), but Star Trek series weren’t supposed to be among them. Deep Space Nine, in fact, got on the wrong side of its production company more than once when it made plotlines that stretched over several episodes. If you go read around on Memory Alpha, you see tons of instances where Voyager‘s cast and crew
alike make mention of this, usually grumbling all the way. Good for business, bad for art.
Season three is where the show’s lack of short-term memory really starts to show. Read the rest of this entry
Hey, did you ask Santa for more advice on avoiding the worst of “Star Trek: Voyager”? Only took him six months, but he’s finally delivering — in the form of Whitney Bishop. She’s already done Season 1 — now it’s time for Season 2! Enjoy. –Liz
One of the first problems with Voyager‘s second season is that… well, parts of it weren’t intended to be in the second season at all. The first four episodes were filmed to be part of the first season, but they got moved over and that weirds a lot of the timing.
So this season is bumpy from the get-go, and it doesn’t get much smoother as it goes along. Read the rest of this entry
This might be one of the greatest public services Liz Tells Frank has ever performed — and I say that as a “Star Trek” fan. This Skip It/Watch It Guide comes courtesy of Whitney Bishop, who has found herself in the midst of watching the “Trek” universe’s voyage into progressive gender roles, and volunteered for this most sacred of tasks. Godspeed, Whitney. Godspeed. –Liz
The fourth series in the Star Trek universe, Voyager was an attempt to boldly go where nobody else we’d seen had gone yet, though in a manner that was pretty familiar. Long story short: a Starfleet ship goes looking for a Maquis (they’re the anti-Cardassian resistance-slash-terrorists, if you missed that bit) ship, both ships get pitched to the other side of the galaxy (the Delta Quadrant, as opposed to the Alpha Quadrant we all know and love), survivors of both crews wind up on the same ship (the eponymous Voyager), and they have to band together despite their differences to travel the 70,000 light-years back home. On the way, they have wacky adventures! So wacky. So incredibly wacky. Read the rest of this entry
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