Star Trek Discovery : Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad

Star Trek Discovery‘s 7th episode has a familiar Star Trek and scifi theme – a time loop, destruction and repeat. Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad may have a familiar feel to it but that does not make the episode any less entertaining and enjoyable.

Episode Synopsis:

While attending a crew party, Burnham and Tyler are called to the bridge to deal with an endangered space creature that the Discovery has come across. When the creature is brought on board, it is revealed to be carrying a person: Harry Mudd. He plans to kill Lorca and sell the ship to the Klingons, but when he is caught he blows up the ship instead. Time returns to the party earlier, with Burnham and Tyler called to the bridge again. They are intercepted by Stamets, who is aware that they are in a time loop due to his interactions with Ripper. Over several time loops Stamets works with Burnham and Tyler to find a solution to the problem while Mudd gets further in his plan each time. They eventually convince Mudd that he has won, and he ends the time loop. Preparing to receive a boarding party of Klingons, Mudd is instead confronted by his “beloved” Stella and her father, from whom he had stolen her dowry. They take Mudd away. Stamets reveals to Burnham and Tyler that in one of the time loops they had danced together and kissed.

So while I was not really that chuffed about this episode, many people were. It’s been done before – especially a memorable episode in TNG – so I wasn’t that happy. Yet it did have it’s cool moments. The crew having some down time while still in the midst of this war with the Klingons (though they are winning at this point and hence it is understood) and having a party with music and drinks. Though playing an annoying 21st century hip-hop version of a Bee Gees disco classic (disco on the Disco-very, get it) is not cool. Tyler & Burnham kiss in one of the time loops, so you know that the pair are going down that road soon.

While I am know for not liking time travel (if done right it’s great, if not it just plain sucks) I can enjoy the complexity of it. Plus Rainn Wilson is loving it playing Harry Mudd in a Star Trek show (he is a fan) and is hamming it up. Again, even though I have a hard time placing him as the same Harry Mudd from TOS. And what’s up with Stamets? I just feel that something major is happening to that guy. Now he is outside of normal time! Will we see him transform and change into something else? And perhaps that’s why the spore drive is lost to Starfleet and we never see it again.

And one more thing – I can buy everything else but why let Harry go with his father-in-law and wife? He just committed a terrible criminal act, killed a few officers including Lorca, the captain, multiple times though because of the time loop there is eventually no harm done. I just don’t get that ending. Lorca should have imprisoned him or killed him. Oh yeah and Ash Tyler walking around unshave like that – it’s not becoming of a Starfleet officer. It doesn’t make sense. 8 outta 10!

Star Trek Discovery : Lethe

Hmmm, an episode in which I am quite torn about, I really liked some aspects of it and did not agree with some of it. This episode has been said to be very Star Trek-ish but to me the aspects I did not like was a bit off putting.

Episode Synopsis:

On his way to broker a peace deal with two renegade Klingon houses, Sarek is injured when a “logic extremist” attempts to assassinate him. Burnham senses this, and Lorca agrees to help rescue him. Admiral Katrina Cornwell questions this decision and others that Lorca has been making. Burnham enters the nebula in a shuttle with her roommate, Cadet Sylvia Tilly, and Tyler. Burnham attempts to connect with Sarek’s mind, and finds him remembering the time that her application for the Vulcan Expeditionary Group was rejected. Sarek reveals that the VEG would only admit one of his children, and he chose Spock, his half-human son. Spock ultimately chose to join Starfleet, rendering Sarek’s decision futile. Burnham helps Sarek regain consciousness and activate a locator beacon. Lorca and Cornwell sleep together, but she is concerned by his paranoid behavior and plans to have him removed from command of Discovery. With Sarek unable to meet the Klingons, Cornwell takes his place; however, the peace talks are actually a trap, and she is taken captive.

Ok, I cannot stand this long range Vulcan means of communication just because some of Sarek’s katra is with his adopted daughter Michael Burnham. I do not like it as it is more fantasy than science fiction. Other than that the story of Burnham and Sarek is actually good and very interesting. But why would the Vulcans be so racist (alienist) against humans at this stage of their relationship with them? This is 100 years or a bit less after the formation of the Federation. And why paint the Vulcan society in general as such jerks?

Michael who is older than Spock was a good student and cleared her tests to get into The Vulcan Science Academy. But they don’t want both her and later on Sarek’s half-human son in the academy as well. They make him choose and he makes the logical choice – he chooses Spock because atleast he looks more Vulcan and hence will not face too much of a problem. Burhman, being fully human, would be more at home in Starfleet among humans. So he lies to her and Amanda (played by Canadian actress Mia Kirshner) and says that she did not clear the tests. Hence, she is sent to Starfleet.

Now Lorca! We see him being visited by his friend Admiral Cornwell, who is worried about him. They end up in bed – apparently they have been an on-off thing earlier on before she got promoted to Admiral – but while he is asleep she notes a triangular shaped mark or torture remnant on his back and when she touches it, he wakes up with a jolt and pulls his phaser on her. She pushes him away and informs him that she was right about her suspicions of him being too disturbed and not fit to command. As she has to go take Sarek’s position in the peace talks on neutral territory, she puts off informing Starfleet command about Lorca until she gets back. And ofcourse the meeting turns out to be a trap.

Her aids are killed as are the neutral aliens hosting the peace talk by Kol’s men and they take Cornwell as a prisoner. What is in store for her, we don’t know. Are Burnham and Tyler going to have a relationship more than friendship as it looked like at the end of the episode? Is Ash actually Voq? I dunno. I give this episode a 7.5 outta 10!

Star Trek Discovery : Choose Your Pain

We finally see one of the main cast members, after 4 episodes, and see an old familiar character albeit played by a different actor as well as a different look. Also, what the heck is up with Stamet’s reflection?

Episode Synopsis:

After a month of successful operations, Lorca is ordered to protect the spore drive until it can be replicated for other Starfleet ships. As he returns to the Discovery, he is taken captive by the Klingons. Burnham has grown concerned with the toll that the drive has taken on Ripper. Along with Stamets’ partner, medical officer Hugh Culbert, Burnham convinces Stamets to find an alternative to run the drive. Lorca is imprisoned with captured Starfleet officer Ash Tyler and human criminal Harry Mudd, and in discussions Lorca reveals that he killed his entire crew during an earlier battle to spare them from the Klingons’ torture, but escaped himself. Lorca is tortured by L’Rell, who wants the secret behind Discovery’s new form of travel, but Lorca and Tyler escape before the Klingons learn anything. For the final jump needed to escape the Klingons, with Lorca and Tyler onboard, Stamets connects to the spore drive himself using Ripper’s DNA. Later, Burnham frees Ripper, while Stamets’ reflection does not walk away from a mirror when he does.

We see a lot of things – Lorca’s back story is very interesting. A captain not going down with his ship and instead is the only one survivor while the rest of his crew is dead? Apparently seeing that the crew would be captured by the Klingons and unable to save them and not wanting them to be tortured by their enemies, he took the decision to blow up the ship. This makes us understand his willingness to win the war at all costs.

Saru shows some character growth and development here. Saru gets his first taste of command when Lorca is captured and he asks the computer to list out the best captains in Starfleet’s history – a list which has Robert April, Phillippa Georgou, Matthew Decker, Christopher Pike and Johnathan Archer – and asks for common characteristics. He wants the computer to analyse his performance and check to see if has common traits. At the end, despite the rescue of Lorca and fellow Starfleet officer / POW Ash Tyler, Saru does not want to know the results from the computer, instead he lets his actions speak for themselves.

That brings us to Ash Tyler, a POW who has been on this Klingon ship for about 6 months. Klingon L’Rell (Mary Chieffo) has taken over as captain of the ship and has taken a liking to him which has eased up his torture. And when I say liking – yeah, she is using him as a sex slave! Lorca meets Ash as well as Harry Mudd, who was captured while trying to escape his debtors. I think this Mudd is interesting; he has been a snitch for the Klingons and thus has been so far almost bruise free while other prisoners get beaten. He has a creature named Stewart who he has trained to steal food as well.

Lorca and Ash are able to escape, after Lorca has had a torture session, beat up and kill a few Klingons. When Ash is alone, L’Rell comes to find him and asks him how he could leave her after what they have been through. It’s a threat more than a lover’s lament and the look on Ash’s face says it all. Lorca shoots at her but it hits a beam and sparks ricochet off it onto her face, giving her a massive burn. She yells him pain as Lorca and Ash make their way to some shuttles and escape to be picked up by the Discovery, evading chasing Klingons.

The poor tortured Tardigrade is being put through the wringer and Burnham is feeling empathy for it. She questions usage of the spore drive, which is hurting the creature so much. At one point it shrivels and shrinks down and Stamets uses it’s dna on himself and connects himself to the spore drive making the rescue of Lorca and Ash possible. And what the heck happens to him? After seeing him and his partner, Dr. Hugh Culber, are in their quarters brushing their teeth in the bathroom and while Stamets says he is fine, after he walks away we see his reflection still in the reflection with a sinister smile and then it walks away. What the hell?

Is this a foreshadowing of the mirror universe? Does the Discovery’s work with the spore drive cause the mirror universe to connect with us from time to time? We don’t know. Only time will tell. Also, is Ash a Klingon spy? Talks have been around that he is actually Voq, who has undergone surgery at a genetic level to disguise himself as a human. As wonderfully unique as that would be, it does not seem feasible and will have a lot more questions. I give the episode an 8.5 outta 10!

Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 is a 2017 American neo-noir science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green. A sequel to the 1982 film Blade Runner, the film stars Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, with Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James, Dave Bautista and Jared Leto in supporting roles. Set thirty years after the original film, the story depicts a bioengineered human named K, who discovers the remains of a once-pregnant replicant. To prevent a possible war between replicants and humans, K is secretly tasked with finding the child and destroying all evidence related to it.

So 30 years have passed and replicates have been integrated into society, mostly as servants. The new manufacturer of replicants is the prolific but ambitious and ruthless industrialist Niander Wallace, who took over the now defunct Tyrell corporation which was the original pioneer in this field. And we have K, a newer Nexus-9 model replicant who is created to obey his bosses and is employed by the LAPD to work as a Blade Runner and hunt and kill older rebellious replicant models. His home life is spent with his holographic girlfriend Joi, an artificial intelligence product of Wallace Corporation.

After tracking a replicant who is hiding on a farm and killing him post a struggle, K finds he remains of a female Nexus-7 replicant who died as the result of complications from an emergency caesarean section. K, and his superior, Lieutenant Joshi, find this unsettling, as pregnancy in replicants was originally thought to be impossible and she orders K to destroy all evidence of this and kill the child. K is disturbed by this order visits the headquarters of Wallace Corporation founder, who identifies the body as Rachael, an experimental replicant designed by Dr. Tyrell before his demise. In the process, he learns of her romantic ties with former veteran blade runner Rick Deckard. Wallace wants to check out replicants who can reproduce as creating new replicants is tedious so he sends his enforce replicant named Luv to steal Rachael’s remains from LAPD headquarters and follow K to find Rachael’s child.

K finds a date scratched in the farm and it matches the date of one of his own memories about hiding a toy wooden horse while being chased by bullies. Joi insists that this coincidence is evidence that K is, in fact, a real person. Searching birth records for that date, he finds that there were twins born – a boy and a girl – and the girl died while the boy lived. He tracks the child to an orphanage which he recognizes and finds the hidden wooden horse, suggesting that these memories — which he thought were merely implants — are real. K seeks out Dr. Ana Stelline, a memory designer who informs him that it is illegal to program replicants with humans’ real memories, and verifies that his memory of the orphanage is real, leading K to believe that he might be Rachael’s son.

fter failing a test of his replicant behaviour, K is suspended by Joshi, but he explains that he failed the test because he completed his mission in killing the child. Joshi gives him 48 hours to disappear. K transfers Joi to a mobile emitter on her orders, despite knowing, and informing Joi, that if it is damaged she will be erased. He then tracks the wooden horse to Las Vegas, a city in ruins, and finds Deckard, who admits to mixing up the baby’s records and was forced to leave a pregnant Rachael with the replicant freedom movement to protect her. They are then attacked by Luv and her agents and K is left for dead while Deckard is taken away. Joi is lost as the emitter is destroyed but K is rescued by the rebel replicants.  was forced to leave a pregnant Rachael with the replicant freedom movement to protect her.

K is told by their leader, Freysa, that Rachael’s child is actually a girl, and her memories were implanted in K. K deduces that Stelline is Deckard’s daughter, as she is capable of creating the memory and implanting it into him, and had begun crying upon viewing the memory earlier. Freysa urges K to prevent Wallace from uncovering the secrets of replicant reproduction by any means necessary, including killing Deckard. In Los Angeles Wallace tells Deckard that Rachael’s feelings for him may have been engineered by Tyrell to test the possibility of a replicant becoming pregnant and tempts him into revealing the location of the child he had. Deckard does not cooperate and is taken away.

K finds Deckard and kills Luv and her men, and heavily injured himself takes Deckard to Stelline. A mortally injured K, who had stages Deckard’s death so Wallace won’t send more of his men to find him, succumbs to his wounds outside on the steps of Stelline’s lab while Deckard reunited with his daughter.

The film is a stunning visual feast, though the pacing and length might not be suitable for all. It is a fitting epic sequel to a scifi classic. I love the decaying society feel of humans who seem to have lost their humanity while it is their creation, the replicants, who feel more human now. This franchise is look at the question what does it mean to be human and possibly about humanity being replaced eventually by their own creation. An 8.5 outta 10!

Blade Runner

Blade Runner is a 1982 American neo-noir science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, and Edward James Olmos. The script was written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples. It is a loose adaptation of the 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick.

Set in a dystopian Los Angeles circa 2019 (just two years away) the story depicts a future in which synthetic humans known as replicants are bioengineered by the powerful Tyrell Corporation to work on off-world colonies.  When a fugitive group of replicants led by Roy Batty (Hauer) escape back to Earth, burnt-out Los Angeles cop Rick Deckard(Ford) reluctantly accepts one last assignment to hunt them down. During his investigations, Deckard meets Rachael (Young), an advanced replicant who causes him to question his mission. The film questions what it means to be human and the quest for life and also thematically enfolding the philosophy of religion and moral implications of human mastery of genetic engineering in the context of classical Greek drama and hubris – and also in a way a take off from Frankenstein.

It shows humans as being less empathetic, cold and impersonal, while the replicants appear to show compassion and concern for one another – the test to find out if one is a replicant is an empathy test, with a number of its questions focused on the treatment of animals. The quest for the rebel replicants to seek out their father,  Eldon Tyrell , in a quest to gain more life than the 4 years that the lifespan for their Nexus 6 has, ends in tragedy – all of the replicants die. Roy Batty, the leader of the rebels demands more life from Tyrell and the latter tells him that it is impossible; the replicant confesses his “sins” to his maker and upon getting praise for his advanced design and accomplishments, he then kisses his maker and kills him.

Then there is Rachel, a replicant who does not know that she is artificial and thinks she is human. Tyrell has her programmed with false memories so she thinks she is a human but later has suspicions and approaches Deckard, who starts to fall in love with her and she reciprocates. Deckard kills two of the rebel replicants and saved by Rachel before one can kill him. After his fight with Roy in the rain at the end of the movie, Deckard leaves to find Rachel and leaves the city apparently to hide out and live with her. I am surprised about Roy – he has no problem in killing the others but he saves Deckard though he attacks him. When the latter is about to fall from the roof, Roy catches him and pulls him up and then dies.

While a commentary on humanity, the film asks you the question : was Deckard a human or replicant? Deckard’s unicorn-dream sequence, inserted into the Director’s Cut and concomitant with Gaff’s parting gift of an origami unicorn, is seen by many as showing that Deckard is a replicant—because Gaff could have accessed Deckard’s implanted memories. The interpretation that Deckard is a replicant is challenged by others who believe the unicorn imagery shows that the characters, whether human or replicant, share the same dreams and recognize their affinity, or that the absence of a decisive answer is crucial to the film’s main theme.

The film was a critical favourite but didn’t make money at the bo – it only made $33.8 million off a $28 million budget but has since become a cult favourite and considered a scifi classic. In the year after its release, the film won the prestigious Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, and in 1993 it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. I give it an 8 outta 10!

The Orville : Episodes 3 & 4

It’s been a while but I am finally back to my review of the episodes from The Orville. Episode number 3 is one of my fav scifi episodes of all time. It is just wonderful the way they spun the story.

When Dr. Finn refuses Bortus and Klyden’s request to have their daughter undergo sex reassignment surgery, which is standard practice for Moclans on the very rare occasions when a female is born, the parents petition Mercer to order the procedure. Mercer refuses, as he (and the rest of the crew) object to performing such a procedure on a healthy infant, so Bortus and Klyden arrange to have the procedure performed on a Moclan vessel. Gordon and John change Bortus’s mind by showing him Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, but Klyden still wants to proceed, revealing that he was born female.

The case is arbitrated on the Moclan planet, Moclus, where Grayson represents Bortus; she casts doubt on the idea of male superiority by demonstrating that Alara is physically strong and Gordon is stupid. Ed locates a female Moclan of advanced years, Heveena, who testifies that she lived a happy and fulfilling life in seclusion, and reveals that under the pseudonym “Gondus Elden”, she has become an esteemed novelist on Moclus. But Klyden and the tribunal are unconvinced, and the baby undergoes the surgery. Despite their disagreement, Bortus and Klyden are committed to one another and to giving their son, Topa, a good life.

Talk about a deep subject in the midst of the comedy. This is scifi tv at it’s best, using a futuristic setting to talk about humanity’s issues which are happening now and have happened before and will probably still continue. The way it ended, sad for me, was brilliant – if the Moclan had come to the decision to not have the baby undergo the sex change operation to turn it into a male, it would have been cheesy and predictable. The ending was touching and realistic. Very good writing. This episode is a perfect 10 for me, considering that the show is basically a spoof.

The Orville encounters a huge, 2000-year-old derelict ship drifting into a star. Mercer, Grayson, Kitan, Finn, and Isaac enter, discovering an artificial biosphere and a civilization of 3 million who worship an entity called Dorahl, and do not know they are on a ship. Grayson is held prisoner by their theocratic dictator Hamelac, who imposes a death penalty on “Reformers” who believe anything exists beyond the known world. While Bortus takes the Orville to save a colony ship from a Krill attack, Grayson’s crewmates rescue her and lead a group of Reformers to the alien ship’s bridge.

An ancient recording from Captain Jahavus Dorahl (a surprise cameo by Liam Nesson) reveals that it was a generation ship disabled by an ion storm. Isaac initiates repairs and opens the hull’s window, enabling the populace to see stars for the first time, moving even Hamelac. Mercer makes arrangements for the Union to train the people to operate their ship. Meanwhile, Klyden is frustrated that Bortus’s duties leave him little time for family.

This type of storyline has been done before in Star Trek yet the context is still done well. No doubt a dig at totalitarian regimes, religious dogma and societies unwilling to change, this is also Scifi at it’s best. And they kept the comedy to a lesser degree in an episode in which Alara is seriously injured and in which Kelly is captured and tortured. The Liam Neeson appareance threw up for a loop. Expecting more such surprises and oh we are getting a hot super star in the next episode. A 7 outta 10 for me.

Star Trek : Discovery – The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not For The Lamb’s Cry

With an awesome title, I had hoped that episode 4 will be just as awesome in it’s delivery as well. It was pretty good but I felt that it didn’t match upto the previous episode. And also, they kill off the Indian female connection in the show. Bad Star Trek!

Episode Synopsis:

Lorca assigns Burnham to study the creature from the Glenn to find a way to use its biology as a weapon. Starfleet orders Discovery to relieve the dilithium mining colony of Corvan II which has come under Klingon attack. Stamets is reluctant to make such a long jump using the spores, and when the drive is activated the ship nearly collides with a star. Commander Landry is sent to keep the research on track, and attempts to sedate the creature to cut off its claw, but it escapes and kills her. Burnham approaches the creature with a spore cannister and it remains calm. Noticing the creature’s reaction to the jump and its symbiotic relationship to the spores, Stamets and Burnham transport the creature to Engineering, where it connects to the drive and calculates the navigation coordinates, allowing the ship to jump to Corvan and save the colony. On T’Kuvma’s flagship, Voq and L’Rell scavenge the dilithium processor from the Shenzhou. On their return, Klingon commander Kol has convinced Voq’s crew to mutiny and exiles him to the Shenzhou to die. L’Rell transports aboard and tells him they can win the war themselves.

Faced with the unenviable task of recusing the miners of Corvan II is the big challenge for the crew of the Discovery. As Lorca notes, if the planet fell to the Klingons or got destroyed then a lot of Starfleet’s dilithium supply would be lost. The closest ship was 84 light years away so Lorca’s quest to use the spores and the mega-tardigrade to get the spore drive online and reach the planet in time to fend off attacking Klingon ships.

The thing I hated about this episode was the rather dumb choice that Commander Landry did – one of the demands Lorca had for Michael and Landry was to figure out how to weaponize the tardigrade’s talons or whatnot, since the animal received no damage from Klingon weapons. Letting the creature loose and then trying to stun it did not go down well. She was attacked and mauled to death. Killing off my Indian connection to the show pissed me off, though I kinda knew that her role would not last long.

Stamets gets a talking down from his captain, who clearly hates him and boy is the feeling mutual. In front of his mate, Dr. Hugh Culber, Lorca berates his officer to the point of us feeling sad for this character. Stamets didn’t sign on for war and looking for ways to win at war – he came on to peacefully explore and study. But in a time of war, especially with such a formidable enemy as the Klingons, all exploration and pursuit of science for knowledge goes out the airlock and science is used to make weapons or make weapons more efficient. In this case, also to speed up the ship’s transport.

With Voq’s leading T’kuvma’s people on the ship which requires repair and them starving as their supplies run out, his stubbornness about scavenging the Shenzhou for power has put his followers at even greater risk. A rival Klingon name Kol from the House of Kor, takes advantage of the situation and taunts Voq – is that a little racism I hear – and brings food and supplies to the rest of the ship. L’Rell too seems to have abandoned Voq as she sides with Kol but after the albino is beamed abroad the Shenzhou to starve to death, she secrtely beams herself in as the other leave.

She tells him that she did it to save him; the deception as all to keep Voq alive so she could transport him to the matriarchs of her clan. With them, Voq can learn everything he needs to know about leadership. But he’ll have to give up everything. At the end of the episode, Michael learns that she has been willed Captain Georgiou’s family heirloom, an old telescope that she clearly cherished.

What is in store for Voq, Burham and the Discovery’s crew. I have become so entranced by this show – despite it’s flaws and all – and want to know more and more.

Star Trek : Discovery – Context Is For Kings

Episode 3 is the actual pilot for the show because episodes 1 & 2, as a two parter, serves as a prologue to Discovery in a way. We finally get the see the ship in question and which shares it’s name with the title of the show.

Episode Synopsis:

Six months into her sentence, Burnham is on an unexpected prison transfer when an emergency forces her shuttle to be rescued by the USS Discovery. Spending several days on the ship, Burnham is ordered by its captain, the mysterious Gabriel Lorca, to assist with a scientific assignment. Burnham overhears Lieutenant Paul Stamets, an astromycologist who is leading the assignment, discuss an upcoming experiment with a colleague serving on another starship; Lorca is soon informed of an incident on the Discovery’s sister ship, the USS Glenn, that has killed the entire crew. Stamets leads a boarding party to investigate and finds the dead crew hideously twisted and malformed, as well as a group of Klingons killed by an unknown creature. Lorca later asks Burnham to work for him, despite her sentence, explaining that he organized the circumstances that led her to him so she could help develop a new way to fly that could win the war she started by killing T’Kuvma. He also secretly has the creature transported aboard the Discovery.

A shell of her former self Burnham is a defeated figure having accepted her fate and her imprisonment. She is though still a badass and takes no nonsense from two of the prisoners who seem to want to attack her as family of one of the prisoner’s were killed in battles with the Klingons. The shuttle carrying her and three other prisoners being attacked by a space spores and the pilot is lost but the shuttle is rescued by the Discovery – there is no way that captain Gabriel Lorca did not plan it? He is dark and mysterious, with the onset of war perhaps only enhancing what was already there.

This episode marks the first appearance of series regulars Anthony Rapp (Paul Stamets), Mary Wiseman (Sylvia Tilly), and Jason Isaacs (Gabriel Lorca). Conrad Pla, Elias Toufexis, and Grace Lynn Kung, who respectively play prisoners Stone, Cold and Psycho in this episode, all play or have played roles in The Expanse, another science fiction TV series. The Discovery is working on a faster way to move through space or atleast Stemets is heading the project and Lorca wants Burnham to help as she is, in Saru’s words, the smartest person Saru ever met.

We are introduced to the bubbly Cadet Tilly, who seems to be autistic perhaps (She mentions “special needs” ) and who is assigned to bunk with Burnham. Tilly is a quick fan favourite as an adorkable character but one who also is more than she seems and is aware of the darkness in the ship. We also meet Landry, Discovery’s badass, no-nonsense, tough as nails head of security. Her colourful language when referring to the prisoners may not be what we have come to expect off from Starfleet officers but she definitely is a badass.

We also meet Stamets who is the gay main character and who is the arrogant scientist who rues Starfleet and the military’s stranglehold on scientific experiments in the name of creating weapons and in the face of war. He also butts heads with his captain, who he clearly does not like. The question on many fan’s minds is – is the Discovery part of a covert operation run by Starfleet’s secret/black ops division, Section 31? That would totally make sense with the way things have been depicted. e also see a lot of black insignia on the ship, which is leaving many to speculate about Section 31’s involvement.

Lorca certainly has charm to boot along with his dark persona and he is the kind of captain who will stop at nothing to achieve his goals. But are they his alone or his superiors’ too? We also get to see the Discovery’s sister ship, the doomed USS Glenn, on which Stamet’s work partner was stationed, Starfleet having separated them to get them to work more efficiently and to make room for more experiments. The experiments go badly and a boarding party which includes Landry, Burnham, Tilly & Staments along with secruity personnel is sent to investigate.

No crew has survived and they also find several dead Klingons. Tilly sees a live Klingon who sushes her and is then attacked by a large dangerous creature. The crew minus a few security personnel manages to escape but Lorca has the creature secretly transported aboard the Discovery and held behind a forcefield, before having the Glenn destroyed. Lorca also reveals some of his intentions to Burnham, enough to keep her on the ship (and he seems to have enough clout to keep a convicted prisoner sentenced to life on his ship and working on secret projects) and entices her by asking if she didn’t want to help him end a war that she started. He is working on not a weapon to kill, but an organic propulsion system that would allow them to travel galaxies in a mere instant. This, he believes, will allow them to win the war. To prove his point, he has her step into a chamber and takes her on a journey around the galaxy in a matter of moments.

So what’s up with Lorca? What mysteries will unfold as the season goes on. The ratings have been pretty good for this episode and I too really enjoyed it. It’s not my vision of Star Trek – or most fans vision either – but it looks to be a good show. 8.5 outta 10!

Star Trek : Discovery – Battle At The Binary Stars

Discovery’s second part of the pilot episode is Battle At The Binary Stars, which serves as the second in the series’ two-part premiere that act as a prologue to the rest of the series, setting up a season-long story arc for Burnham.

Episode synopisis:

T’Kuvma convinces the majority of the Klingon leaders that he can lead them to victory over the Federation, as reinforcements for the Shenzhou arrive. Georgiou offers to resolve the situation peacefully, but the Klingons immediately open fire. Starfleet Admiral Anderson arrives and again offers peace to the Klingons, but his ship is rammed by another cloaked Klingon vessel. Anderson has his ship self-destruct, destroying the Klingon ship as well. Starfleet retreats, leaving the Klingons to collect their dead. In the remains of the Shenzhou, Burnham escapes her cell after encouragement from her guardian Sarek via a telepathic connection. She convinces Georgiou to try to take T’Kuvma prisoner, and they create a distraction by sending an explosive into his ship with a Klingon corpse. Boarding the vessel, Burnham overpowers Voq. Georgiou attempts to capture T’Kuvma, but is killed. T’Kuvma is fatally shot by Burnham, who is transported to safety. Voq promises that T’Kuvma’s legacy will live on. Burnham is later sentenced to life in prison for her mutiny.

We see Burham’s warnings come true but because of her actions, Captain Georgioua is forced to put her in the brig. Our flawed heroine raised in the most logical of cultures, the Vulcans, is acting out illogically due to her feelings about losing her family to the Klingons. After the Shenzhou is attacked Burham manages to convince the computer’s security features that she needs to be freed from her cell as the shield may collapse at any minute.

She is now able to rationally convince the captain. The brig scenes are well done as is the fight scene and the transportation. However I do have an issue with the ships going into warp and they way they do a hard stop when they come to a point and come out of warp. It’s a dumb effect and makes for a rather abrupt halt. Also what is with the hologram? What the hell, it is way too advanced for this point in the Star Trek timeline. And also how the hell is it possible to logically have the admiral’s hologram walk onto the bridge and interact with the settings?

And Sarek too – his hologram sitting on a desk in Michael’s room but how in the world – aargh, this just infuriates me. There are two many flares as well but the rest of the special effects are stunning to say the least. Communicators are awesome and done well. Ofcourse my biggest reason to knock off points for the show is the Klingons! There is no reason for the show to reboot the Klingons or atleast redesign them. Leave the Klingons alone. Haven’t their look been tampered with enough?

I think the ships look awesome and the battle scene was done well. Michael and Phillipa beam over to the sarcophagus ship and try to capture T’kuvma but Phillipa ends up getting killed by the Klingon leader and Michael kills him with a phaser shot to the chest. Her fear comes true; after she is beamed back aboard the Shenzhou, a dying T’kuvma is told that his words and vision will live on making him a legend. The Klingons have a figure much like Kah’less now and the war between the Federation and the Klingons is on.

Michael accepts her fate to be sent to prison on a lifelong sentence. She makes no excuse and is devastated that she could not save her captain and mentor. This prologue of a 2 part episode sets up the remaining 13 episodes of the show in which the Discovery, not seen till now will take center stage. I give this episode an 8 outta 10; though I thought that the battle scene could have been done better.

Star Trek : Discovery – The Vulcan Hello

Long awaited and long anticipated, Star Trek : Discovery debuted with a double episode. Like I mentioned earlier, I am following the show and plan to do a recap/review of each episode.

Episode synopisis:

Investigating a damaged satellite near a binary star system on the edge of Federation space, the crew members of the USS Shenzhou discover an object obscured from their sensors. First Officer Michael Burnham volunteers to investigate the object herself, and finds an ancient, carved vessel. She is attacked by a Klingon, and when trying to escape she accidentally kills him. A group of Klingons mourn the death of their soldier, dubbed the “Torchbearer”, before the outcast Voq volunteers to take his place. The Klingons, lead by T’Kuvma, reveal themselves in a cloakable ship. T’Kuvma preaches to his followers of the Federation’s attempts to usurp the individuality of the Klingons and their culture, and plans to fulfill an ancient prophecy by uniting the 24 great Klingon houses as was once done by Kahless. Voq activates a beacon that summons the Klingon leaders. Burnham, desperate to prevent a war, attempts to fire on the Klingons first, against the wishes of Captain Philippa Georgiou. Burnham is arrested for mutiny.

We start off the show with T’kuvma declaring to his people as a warning of the threat of the Federation who he views as outsiders who pretend to come in peace and yet spread their way of live everywhere. He wants the 24 great houses of the Klingons to set aside their differences and unite to battle the Federation. We then flip to Captain Philippa Georgioua and her first officer Commander Michael Burnham who are on a planet which has had a drought for 89 years. After they sort out the problem, they are beamed aboard to the USS Shenzhou – that is a wonderful scene that I have to watch again and again.

The rivalry (close to sibling bickering almost) between science officer Saru & Burnham is fun to watch. Burnham’s history shows us why she would be wary and even aggressive towards Klingons, as her parents were killed by them and she was found and raised by Sarek as his adoptive child (and a sister to Spock). She is the only human to have studied at the Vulcan Science Academy but over the course of 7 years she seems to gain most of her human passion. Despite her initial cool and logical reasoning, when it comes to the danger to the ship and the Federation by the Klingons, she gets passionate and even reverts to mutiny when her captain doesn’t seem to agree with her.

After she eagerly explores the hidden outpost and is attacked by Klingon torchbearer Rejac, she is able to kill him. Burnham is put to the test shortly after killing Rejac. Against the wishes of Shenzhou medics, she returns to the ship’s bridge after her fateful encounter with the Klingon, urging Georgiou to raise defenses — just as T’Kuvma’s ship uncloaks. Because of her history with the Klingons, Burnham’s warnings are ignored by both her captain and Admiral Brett Anderson (Terry Serpico) – this rattles her so much that she temporarily incapacitates Georgioua and pretends that her orders are to attack the Klingon ship before they can attack us. The captain recovers before Burnham can carry out her attack and points her phaser towards her first officer and as the latter tries to convince her commanding officer – more Klingon ships appear on the console and in front of the Shenzhou.

The episode ends on a cliffhanger, with our ship in a dangerous situation and Burnham’s fears and warnings come true, setting things up nicely for the second episode. Though I do think that visually the show reminds me of Kelvinverse Star Trek, it does look a whole lot more interesting and intriguing that anything JJ’s version can come up with. I am looking forward to more from this show. But the new look for the Klingons hasn’t yet convinced me (but having whole conversations in Klingon language is awesome). I give this episode a 7.5 outta 10!

The Orville : The First 2 Episodes

Ok, so as a lot of you fellow scifi nerds may know, the Orville  is an American science fiction drama created by and starring Seth MacFarlane that premiered on September 10, 2017. The show is reminiscent of and is both an homage and a light-hearted parody of Star Trek, and as Seth has mentioned in an interview, also inspired by The Twilight Zone. Along with MacFarlane as captain Ed Mercer, we have Adrienne Palicki who plays his his ex-wife  Commander Kelly Grayson and the first officer assigned to The Orville, a mid-level exploratory ship, that operates for The Union, an inter-planetary group. The show is set 400 years in the future.

We also have Penny Johnson Gerald (who had a recurring role in Star Trek Deep Space Nine) as the Chief Medical Officer Dr. Claire Finn, Scott Grimes as Lt. Gordon Malloy the helmsman and best friend to Mercer, Peter Macon as Lt. Commander Bortus, the second officer and an androgynous alien, Halston Sage as Lt. Alara Kitan, 23-year-old Chief of Security, J. Lee as Lt. John LaMarr, the navigator & Mark Jackson as the voice of Isaac, the Science and Engineering Officer who is a member of the artificial, non-biological race from Kaylon-1 that views biological lifeforms, including humans are inferior.

So far we have had two episodes aired and I like it a lot. The second episode had a lot more depth to it than the first which was a bit of a let down.

In the pilot, 25th-century space pilot Ed Mercer, who has a promising career, divorces his wife Kelly Grayson after he catches her cheating on him. He starts drinking too much and turns up for work hungover. A year later, he accepts a position as Captain of the U.S.S. Orville, a mid-level exploratory ship, which came as a surprise even to him. But he is informed that due to the size of the fleet and the retirement of the former captain, the Orville, was in need of a new commanding officer. He also finds to his dismay that his ex-wife Kelly will serve as his First Officer. During the Orville’s first mission, the hostile alien Krill Captain attempt to steal a device that can accelerate time, which has both beneficial and dangerous applications. Mercer and Grayson rig the device to destroy itself and the Krill vessel.

In the second episode the technologically advanced Calivon imprison Ed and Kelly in a replica of their former home as a zoo exhibit. Alara is left in command of the Orville as Bortus has laid an egg and must incubate it. Alara is unsure of herself, but gains confidence with the help of Dr. Finn’s mentorship. Ed and Kelly wonder if they could have made their relationship work, but finally conclude that they were never compatible for a long-term romantic relationship, despite their strong camaraderie. Admiral Tucker orders Alara to return to Earth instead of approaching the powerful Calivon; Alara violates these orders and rescues Ed, Kelly, and an alien child by trading an archive of Earth’s reality television for them. Ed presents Alara with a medal of honor and believe he and Kelly can prevent her from being punished for insubordination. A female offspring hatches from Bortus’s egg, stunning him and Klyden as this is thought to be biologically impossible for the single-sex Moclans.

The show is scheduled for a 13 episode run during the first season and I hope we get a lot more. We could use some light-hearted comedic scifi and this Star Trek like show is the humurous offspring of the comedy classic Galaxy Quest.

This Trekkie Is Ready For Star Trek Discovery

I just cannot be more excited for a tv show to start airing. In a few days Star Trek Discovery, the 6th live action Star Trek series and 7th overall (if you where to get a loan fast count The Animated Series) will air the pilot episode. But it won’t be on a tv channel ofcourse. It will be available for streaming on CBS All Access in the US and Netflix in some countries. India will have to wait and see – we might get it on Netflix though I don’t see it in the comercial loan upcoming shows list.

I don’t care about the new uniforms – they look good and uniforms can change every few years if needed. I don’t care if there is supposed to be conflict among the crew members – that makes for good television and yes Star Trek has had some conflict amongst the Starfleet crew before. I got over the change in appearances for the Klingons – whatever I have heard and read about them is enough to satisfy me! Fuck any racist asshole who complains about diversity – this Trekkie is Indian! And Star Trek has always been about diversity and inclusion. The look and loan in usa design of the technology involved in the show – yes it looks more like the Kelvin-verse but the upgrade in design is the least of my concerns as Star Trek TOS was made 51 years ago.

I like some of the cast though I feel they could have tried out for more know actors in some of the other roles. But nevermind; just having Sonequa Martin-Green, Michelle Yeoh (though she is supposed to be a recurring character or gets killed in or just post the pilot episode) & Doug Jones is awesome! Plus we also get Rekha Sharma in a recurring role as well as Kenneth Mitchell. You also have Rainn Wilson & Jason Issacs, two well known names but who I have only seen in one movie each. A big bonus in the casting is Indian origin actors; other than Sharma we have Maulik Pancholy as well.

So forget about the bad publicity, the delays, the negativity surrounding the show. Forget about the idiots who don’t like that there are two main characters shown in the trailers both of whom are women of colour, forget the Klingon controversy and let’s check out the show. We need more Star Trek in our lives and this is the Prime Timeline Star Trek. May it live long and prosper and who knows; the start of more shows to come. Beam me up!

I plan to post a blog about each episode of the show.

Dark Matter Cancelled

Dark Matter” has been cancelled after three seasons at Syfy. The third season finale, which aired last week, will now serve as the series finale. The series centered on an intergalactic crew who awaken on a derelict spaceship with no memories of who they are or how they got there. It starred Marc Bendavid, Melissa O’Neil, Anthony Lemke, Alex Mallari Jr., Jodelle Ferland, Roger Cross, and Zoie Palmer. Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie created the series, which is based on their Dark Horse graphic novel of the same name. Prodigy Pictures produced.

Syfy declined to comment. With the cancellation, Syfy’s scripted original lineup now consists of:  “Killjoys,” “The Expanse,” “12 Monkeys,” “Z Nation,” “Wynonna Earp,” “Van Helsing,” “Channel Zero,” and “Blood Drive.” This fall, the network will debut “Happy!” starring Chris Meloni and Patton Oswalt as well as “Superstition” with Mario van Peebles and “Ghost Wars” with Vincent D’Onofrio. They are also prepping the release of Superman prequel series “Krypton” for a 2018 launch.

Syfy is also developing a follow-up series to the cult classic movie “Tremors” with original film star Kevin Bacon, and have ordered a pilot for “Nightflyers,” based on the novella by George R.R. Martin.

Alien Movie Franchise – Best To Worst

Having watched Alien : Covenant for the second time a few days ago, I can now rate all the 6 films in the franchise and the Alien vs Predator films which I know are not in the franchise per say but are crossover movies without the large scale backing. Still they do have the alien creatures in them and hence I add them to this list. To date I have watched all of these films atleast twice and some way more than that. So here we go; this is how I would rate them.

  1. Aliens
  2. Alien
  3. Alien : Covenant
  4. Prometheus
  5. Alien 4 : Resurrection
  6. Alien vs Predator
  7. Alien 3
  8. Aliens vs Predator : Requiem

Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets

Valerian and payday loan no credit the City of a Thousand Planets is a 2017 French science fiction action-adventure film written and directed by Luc Besson and co-produced by Besson and his wife, Virginie Besson-Silla. The film is based on the French science fiction comics series Valérian and Laureline, written by Pierre Christin and illustrated by Jean-Claude Mézières. It stars Dane DeHaan as Valerian and Cara Delevingne as Laureline, with Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Herbie Hancock, Kris Wu, and Rutger Hauer in supporting roles. Besson independently crowd-sourced and personally funded Valerian and, with a production budget between $177–209 million, it is both the most expensive European and independent film ever made.

Mankind’s progress in space exploration is shown where they form a large space station called Alpha and gradually they meet representatives of various space faring alien races throughout the years and centuries, forming alliances. By the 28th century, Alpha has grown in size to accommodate millions of creatures from all these races, working in several various habitats. Valerian and his partner Laureline are special agents of the human police forces. The story is about how these two are sent on a mission to retrieve a rare object that belongs to a race of peaceful aliens in order to cover up an earthling military act that wiped out almost all of that alien race and their planet 30 years ago. Valerian was chosen by an alien princess just as she died to receive some of her memories, as she sent them out through space & time in a burst of energy.

What we get in this movie is a visual feast with weird and wonderful looking alien, a beautiful alien planet and beach, some wonderful gadgets and tech and a fun, fast paced ride. Stunning backgrounds of these alien worlds, the latest in visual effects and green screen and computer wizardry all combine with a rollercoaster ride of epic space opera proportions that puts to shame other such attempts. With jellyfish that eat memories, aquatic monsters the size of cathedrals, bazaar so bizarre its exists simultaneously in different dimensions, a creature named Bubble that can enter you and take other forms at will, to awesome spacecrafts, the peaceful alien race using pearls, that generate large amounts of energy, from their beautiful oceans to use for their needs and feed to a native cute animal that eats a pearl and spontaneously poops out replicas in the hundreds – what an imaginative world this is!

Sadly, I knew it would not be a success as the films lacks character, chemistry and story. The charisma is lacking from the leads and character development isn’t really there. A small cameo from an actor of the status of Rutger Hauer didn’t help, as didn’t the roguish brief appearance from Ethan Hawke in a totally non-Ethan Hawke role. Why do directors want rappers and pop singers to be actors? Ugh, Rhianna is terrible and I was glad that she was mostly in her character’s actual form – a squid-octopus-watery creature! One ridiculous jelly fish incident and the largest hat in the galaxy moment also was detrimental to the film. Luc Besson doesn’t want serious scifi and while his The Fifth Element worked awesomely well it didn’t with Lucy or Valerian (even if Lucy did become a box office hit, it was critically panned)

War For The Planet Of The Apes

War for the Planet of www free loans fast com the Apes is a 2017 American science fiction film directed by Matt Reeves and written by Mark Bomback and Reeves. A sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014), it is the third installment in the Planet of the Apes reboot series. The film stars Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson and Steve Zahn, and follows the confrontation between the apes, led by Caesar, and the humans for control of Earth.

Set 15 years after the events of the first movie, the remaining human soldiers are at war with the apes led by Caesar. A military faction known as Alpha-Omega. AO also has in its service apes who followed Koba, a bonobo who previously led a failed coup against Caesar. Some of the AO militants, including the gorilla Red, are captured and reveal that Alpha-Omega follows the leadership of a ruthless Colonel. Caesar releases the prisoners as a peace offering to the humans, but makes plans to relocate the clan across the desert, not wanting to suffer any more ape casualties. The night before their journey, Alpha-Omega infiltrates the apes’ base and the Colonel kills Caesar’s wife, Cornelia, and their elder son, Blue Eyes. A distraught Caesar leaves his younger son Cornelius in the care of Lake, a chimp who was Blue Eyes’ lover, and makes the rest of the apes leave for the desert.

Maurice the orangutan, Luca the gorilla and Rocket the chimpanzee accompany him against his orders and they come across a human who draws his gun against them and Caesar is forced to shoot him dead. They find his mute young daughter in the cabin and Maurice forces Caesar to bring the girl along with them.  Caesar’s party confronts traitorous albino gorilla Winter in an Alpha-Omega camp and learn that the Colonel has departed for a location called the “border”. Caesar inadvertently kills Winter, which causes him to worry that he is becoming like Koba. They also discover some human soldiers who cannot speak just like the girl.  Later the group meets Bad Ape, a chimpanzee hermit who lived in the Sierra Zoo before the Simian Flu pandemic. Bad Ape directs them to the border, a former weapons depot that was turned into a quarantine facility when the virus first began to spread.

At the border facility Luca is killed trying to protect Caesar from a patrol and the chimp decides to move alone. he is captured by Red after witnessing the rest of his ape clan being forced to build a wall with no food or water. The Colonel reveals to Caesar that the Simian Flu virus has mutated and now causes humans who survived the original strain to become mute and regress back to a primitive state, and that he is barricading himself in the facility to fend off rival military forces coming to defeat him because he favors killing any infected humans – including his own son – to stop the spread of the virus. While Caesar is tortured with starvation, the mute girl, whom Maurice names Nova, sneaks into the facility to give him food and water. To prevent her from being discovered, Rocket allows himself to be captured as a diversion. Together, Caesar and Rocket are able to work out a means of escape via an underground tunnel that leads out of the facility.

Maurice and Bad Ape use the tunnel to rescue the apes, and Caesar orders the others to escape while he goes to confront the Colonel. As the facility comes under attack by the rival military forces, Caesar reaches the Colonel, but realizes that he has been infected by the mutated virus. Caesar ultimately spares the Colonel, who takes his own life rather than exist as an infected primitive. During the battle between Alpha-Omega and the rival militants, the escaping apes come under fire from Alpha-Omega. Caesar attempts to attack Alpha-Omega from behind, but is shot by Preacher, one of the AO militants he had previously set free. Red saves Caesar’s life at the cost of his own, and Caesar blows up the facility’s fuel supplies, causing a cascading explosion which wipes out Alpha-Omega and allows the rival militants to triumph. However, the human forces are subsequently buried by an avalanche, which Caesar and the other apes (carrying Nova) survive by climbing nearby trees.

The apes make their way to the desert and just beyond that they find an oasis like paradise where they can make their new home. While the other apes joyously celebrate their new home, Maurice discovers Caesar’s wound, and assures Caesar that he will be remembered as Caesar quietly dies. Fitting end to a great franchise character. Just wonderfully shot and acted. This is the best of the three reboot movies and everything was done really well. 8.5 outta 10!