Current TV: Discovery

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Star Trek: Discovery
Spoiler Alert!
I’m late with my next entry, but the truth was I wanted to watch the new Trek, read some books, and give a go at KILLJOYS, LUKE CAGE, and STRANGER THINGS which are now available on Japan Netflix. ORVILLE sadly, is not. Nor is WESTWORLD. I have more obscures to cover and it’s about time for another BLAKE’S 7 rewatch. Maybe I’ll blog that.

Spoiler Alert!!! Spoiler Alert!!

Anyway, I’m a Trek fan so I looked forward to the series. Impression: I liked it overall. I wanted to watch all first three episodes to get more of a feel for it. I liked the lead character Micheal Burnam. Sonequa Martin Green is a powerful actress and does a great job. Michelle Yeoh was good as Captain Georgiou -and now she’s gone which kind of sucks. Saru was a nice surprise as a new alien.

DISCOVERY is very different in that it starts with a character accused of mutiny and the war with the Klingons. This is definitely darker than previous shows though not if you follow the expanded canon-books & comics-or even the original Pike pilot. I don’t care that much about canon; as long as the show works for what it is. So far, I feel like it does. ‘Context is for Kings’ got me hooked. The mysterious ship-Lorca, Landry, Tilly. I can’t wait to see more.

It isn’t perfect. It’s darker-as in lighting which was a challenge. It seems to be a trend in SF to have everything really dark or blind you with screen flares. I hope the future has comfortable room lighting. It’s also MA rated-there is language & it probably means it won’t be family friendly. I don’t mind that if it fits the show but I do still want an all ages SF on TV again. As for storyline- I like Michael but I’m still not sure casting her as a former first officer was a good choice. She seems a bit too green for that. More like a super smart officer working up to it but not quite as much gravitas as I’d expect. It’s early stages yet. TNG took a whole season for some of those characters to even put and make sense.

So that’s my two bits. I doubt I’ll have much to say until the full season run.

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SF/Fantasy July Hodgepodge

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Mary and the Magic Flower

I went to see Mary and the Magic Flower which is put out by Studio Ponoc, directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi formerly of Ghibli. Studio Ghibli is world famous, and if it’s not on your radar it should be.

Spirited Away is probably one of the most famous Ghibli movies internationally and one of my favorites. It’s visually stunning, but I what I really like are the interesting characters and unique creature designs, providing something truly different. Another good one, especially for small children is My Neighbor Totoro. It revolves around two sisters and their father who move out into the country when their mother is ill and hospitalized. It’s a rather bleak premise, but those themes are handled well and they meet a creature known as the Totoro. Check it out.

So, anyway, Mary and the Magic Flower is based on the book The Little Broomstick by Mary Stewart. Mary is a young girl who goes to stay with her grandmother. She meets a mysterious young man and his pet cats and stumbles upon a magic flower. Without giving too much away, the flower does give her magic abilities-with limits-and she discovers a magic school. Fear not, it doesn’t fall into the magic school trope and I won’t tell you the ending. It does not go in the direction you think it will, it’s actually all kind of weird, and that was too its benefit.

I felt it was a decent film. It didn’t blow me away, but it was entertaining family fare. It started a bit slow; younger viewers got fidgety in the first half hour, but it picks up speed. It definitely has the Ghibli influence and the animation is BEAUTIFUL. The problem is it is a bit too much like Ghibli so I found myself feeling like just watching Spirited Away or Princess Momonoke again. I felt like the new studio is going to have to work harder to really distinguish itself as different from Ghibli.

****In other news, apparently its the 30th anniversary of Star Cops. I did a post about Star Cops some time ago. A Chris Boucher project that focuses on a police unit (or starting one) set on the International Space Station. It didn’t last long or catch on with the audience, unfortunately, but it now somewhat of a cult classic. The expensive DVD set is available as well as a book by Boucher which covers the first few episodes as he conceived them.

A very good podcast Time Vault-The Podcast of British Cult Classics (https://thetimevault.wordpress.com/) covers it all very well.

****And speaking of crime in space, I recently read SIX WAKES by Mur Lafferty. A group of clones in space wake up to discover themselves murdered. Who? Why? Read it. I really enjoyed it. Amazon.

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****And Andy Weir, author of The Martian has a new book out in November, ARTEMIS, which is apparently about crime on Mars. Space crime is everywhere.

SF Obscure: TekWar

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Tek War is based on William Shatner’s TekWar books, ghostwritten by Ron Goulart. There are about nine books in the series. The show started as a series of two-hour TV movies and then a proper second season, from what I can figure out. Open to corrections.

It’s set in the year 2045. A cop, Jake Cardigan, is framed for drug dealing; he’s put in cryo sleep, and then released some years later. Jake goes to work for the private sector for a security firm called Cosmos run by Walter Bascom, ie. William Shatner who, well, is William Shatner no matter what you put him in. Anyhow, apparently the company had Jake released early- he plans to clear his name, reunite with his family, etc. etc. that kind of thing. There is all sort of futuristic crime stuff going on mainly involving sexy holograms and weird new drugs. There’s Jake’s cop buddy Sid, and an android woman.

I pride myself in trying to watch any SF series, regardless of quality, to find the fun point or the gem. I tried my best with TekWar but I could not make it through an entire episode. I tended to give up about 20 minutes in. For many reasons. Silly plots, bad acting, awkward dialogue. I can forgive the budget effects and music; but it just didn’t seem to offer anything new I hadn’t seen before on many B grade shows and movies.

I know there are people who love TekWar and it lasted two seasons, albeit in a much more forgiving television landscape. I don’t want to criticize it too much, but I just couldn’t quite get interested.

 

 

Happy Holidays!

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I want to wish everyone out there a happy holiday season. I want to thank you for reading the blog and for all the great comments. I hope you get to spend some time with family and friends, that you all stay safe and well, and that you have a little cheer. As for me, I’ll probably watch some SF and read some books in addition to the usually holiday joys.

Merry Christmas!