Category Archives: TV Reviews

Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Mid Season Finale Thoughts and Fan Theories

So, the mid-season finale of Star Trek: Discovery (lovingly referred to as DISCO now, thanks to some awesome crew shirts) has aired. And fans have to wait almost 2 months for the next episode. Time to ponder, rehash, and theorize on possible plot twists. If you haven’t seen episode 9 yet, don’t read any further. And I highly recommend watching CBS All Access’ After Trek as well.

I have absolutely loved this season so far. The characters have depth and are completely unpredictable. They seem more human and fallible. The actors are incredible. The sets and special effects are summer blockbuster-worthy. It seems bigger and better than just a TV show. And the writing has been exceptional, as each episode seems to get better. Each episode begs to be discussed and dissected.

This isn’t Roddenberry’s bright utopia… yet. The crew of the Discovery NCC-1031 (hint to Section 31?) is led by Captain Lorca, a mysterious man with a past that begs to be told. And the ship holds an unique, new technology for travel.

There are so many shocking plot twists and mysteries, that fan theories are inevitable. And a whole lot of fun. One that sticks out the most to me is Lorca’s obsession with Michael and her safety. My guess is that he knew her parents or had something to do with what happened to them on that station decimated by Klingons.

I love reading other fan’s theories as well. I suspected Ash Tyler was more than just a Klingon prisoner with PTSD as soon as he was introduced. But the best and most talked about theory right now is best explained here and here. Tyler is most likely Voq in disguise. Voq’s absence from the show lines up when Tyler showed up. He’s most likely a sleeper spy with plans to steal the Discovery technology. And I can’t wait to see what happens with Lorca’s tribble when Tyler enter’s his ready room.

The last episode also left us with a major cliffhanger, as the Discovery arrives in an unknown destination after Lorca messes with the jump coordinates just as the spore drive initiates. Did you catch this detail? I didn’t, as so much was already going on. I plan on a re-watch of the season soon, to catch more details. After all, the series has been full of easter eggs, especially in the Captain’s “museum.”

Did the ship arrive in a different quadrant? A different time? A different (Mirror?) universe? January can’t come soon enough.

I love reading fan theories. Star Trek certainly has the most intelligent fan base. The comments in some of the articles I’ve read are better than the articles in reference to science, canon, and minute details.

Blu-Ray Review: Westworld Season One

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-Ray I reviewed in this post. The opinions I share are my own.

Westworld: The Complete First Season (4K Ultra HD/BD) [Blu-ray]

Synopsis:
Based on the film written by best-selling author Michael Crichton (ER, Jurassic Park films), Westworld is a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and evolution of sin. Set at the intersection of the near future and a reimagined past, the series explores a world in which every human appetite, no matter how noble or depraved, can be indulged.

Review:
Westworld is a totally immersive world where humans are safe to live out fantasies set in the Wild West. This vacation destination is comprised of various scripts acted out by extremely life-like robot “Hosts.” Each time a Host is killed, their memory is reset and they’re sent back out to relive the same storyline over and over. But some of the Hosts are starting to remember.

I remember watching the original film from the 70s, and this has a similar storyline but has been revamped and expounded in impressive ways. The cast of characters are completely engaging and well-developed. Each has their own story that weaves together in an impressive tapestry that comes to a big revelation in the finale. Because it’s on HBO, they can get away with nudity and violence which is excessive, to say the least. The depravity often churned my stomach. But the intriguing mysteries kept me watching. There are many plot twists along the way that lead to shocking surprises. This first season “The Maze” has a definite theme and ending of sorts that will lead to a much different second season. I don’t know that I’ll watch a second season as I didn’t care for the shock-value nudity and violence, but the incredible stories of the first season were unforgettable.

TV Review: Star Trek: Discovery

About Star Trek Discovery:
Star Trek, one of the most iconic and influential global television franchises, returns 50 years after it first premiered, with Star Trek: Discovery. The series will feature a new ship, new characters and new missions, while embracing the same ideology and hope for the future that inspired a generation of dreamers and doers.

Star Trek: Discovery is available to watch on CBS All Access:
http://www.cbs.com/shows/star-trek-discovery/

Review:
CBS has kept details of the show secretive. After production and release delays, and the disappointment of the show only airing online via yet another paid service, I still remained optimistic. After all, the small glimpses, casting, and setting all looked great. And this is the first time that a Star Trek series will be serialized, rather than individual, one-hour storylines. Discovery is set 10 years prior to the Original series of Kirk, Spock, and Bones. It stars Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham – a human first officer who was raised on Vulcan by Spock’s father Sarek.

What stands out the most on first-watch is the amazing set designs and special effects. Especially with the Klingons, who have been revamped and look very different than the ones from the previous series. From costumes and prosthetics to the set details – it’s stunning and impressive. In fact, as I watched the first episode it felt like I was watching a big budget blockbuster, not a television show. The bridge design and uniforms are not unlike the recent JJ Abrams Star Trek films, yet they have their own spin. I especially liked the spacesuit design.

My biggest complaint has to do with the Klingons – and it’s the subtitles. I can’t stand reading subtitles for long periods of time, and it’s really not necessary unless it’s a foreign film. We know they’re speaking another language, so phasing to English should’ve happened at some point.

The casting and characters are fantastic as well. Michael Burnham is a tremendously complex young woman, brilliantly cast, and an intriguing main character. Doug Jones as Lt. Saru, of a new alien race, is already a fan favorite as he has a great rivalry with Burnham. And Michelle Yeoh as Captain Georgiou of the Shenzhou is flawless as Burnham’s mentor and boss. Unfortunately, episodes 1 and 2 only show the Shenzhou, so we haven’t even met the crew of the Discovery yet. But with Jason Isaacs as the captain, I’m already excited.

Episode 1 ended in a major cliffhanger, making fans like me scramble to sign up for CBS All Access to watch the next episode. And I enjoyed the second installment even more. In fact, as I watched it I realized I immediately wanted to rewatch as soon as possible. The heart of what Star Trek about is here – optimism for the future. Though we do get to see the grittiness of having Klingons as definitive adversaries for the first time. There is plenty of suspense, adventure, drama, hi-tech gadgets, techno babble, and questions of morality. “The Vulcan Hello” itself is a wonderful example of a scenario that will make viewers think and question. It has been a long time since I found myself so giddy and geeked out about a new show. And I can’t wait for the next episode.

Will vs. The Future on Amazon

Writer and Producer Tim McKeon gave me a heads up about his latest pilot, now available on Amazon (no Prime needed!), called Will vs. The Future! He and Kevin Seccia created this fun and exciting middle-school, science fiction adventure that the whole family can enjoy.

You can watch it for free here: http://a.co/g2R8wRR

I’m hoping the pilot gets picked up by Amazon. The first episode is promising, with clever characters, an unpredictable plot, and plenty of humor. It’s reminiscent of Terminator – but for all ages. Go check it out, especially if you have a young scifi fan in your life.

Blu-Ray Review: The Shannara Chronicles Season 1

The Shannara Chronicles: Season 1 Blu-Ray

Synopsis:
Based on the 26-volume book series by Terry Brooks, The Shannara Chronicles tells the epic story of an Elvin princess, a bandit, and a half-Elf tasked with stopping the end of the world. Created and executive produced by Alfred Gough & Miles Millar (‘Smallville’) and executive produced by Jon Favreau (Iron Man), the series is shot against the epic landscapes of New Zealand.

Review:
The Shannara Chronicles is loosely based on novel The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks. And I do mean “loosely.” While the first episode does feel very reminiscent of the book, it doesn’t take long before the story veers off with different characters and new story lines. And even some of the main characters meet different fates.

Hardcore fans of the novels may not be happy with the path this this series takes. But the story does still loosely follow, with many similar characters, stretching a book into 10 1-hour episodes. This series is on MTV, so not-surprisingly there is plenty of angst and it’s more sexualized compared to the book. To the point of ridiculousness at times. But overall, it’s an action-packed, dark, and dramatic series full of bold characters, grotesque creatures, and arcane magic. Some of the episodes drag a bit, but for the most part I did enjoy most this season. The end leaves off where the book did. So I’m guessing next season would be a fresh new story not found in the books, and that may be a good idea if they stray so far from the source material anyway.

The DVD set was released in June. And finally, the Blu-Ray set releases today! The quality is better and pretty noticeable. If fans have been holding out, this latest set is worth the wait. It even comes with a cooler cover design.

SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE:
– Behind-the-scenes
– Exploring New Zealand
– Terry Brooks interview
– Making of the Dagda Mor

Blu-Ray Review: The X-Files: The Event Series

The X-Files: The Event Series Blu-ray

About the Release:
Almost 14 years after the original series run, the next mind-bending chapter of “The X-Files”™ is a thrilling, six-episode event series from creator/executive producer Chris Carter, with stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson reinhabiting their roles as iconic FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. Mitch Pileggi also returns as FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner, Mulder and Scully’s boss, who walks a fine line between loyalty to these investigators and accountability to his superiors. This marks the momentous return of the Emmy®- and Golden Globe® Award-winning pop culture phenomenon, which remains one of the longest-running sci-fi series in network television history.

“The X-Files” – The Event Series Blu-ray & DVD Special Features:
➢ Deleted & Extended Scenes
➢ Gag Reel
➢ The Makings of a Struggle
➢ Season X: An In-Depth Behind-the-Scenes Look at “The Event Series”
➢ Monsters of the Week: A Recap from the Wildest and Scariest from the Original Series
➢ “The X-Files” – Green Production PSA
➢ Short Film – Grace by Karen Nielsen
➢ Commentary on “Founder’s Mutation” with Chris Carter and James Wong
➢ Commentary on “Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster” with David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Kumail Nanjiani and Darin Morgan
➢ Commentary on “My Struggle II” with Chris Carter and Gabe Rotter

Review:
Scully and Mulder are back and better than ever in this much-too-short season. From scary to funny, and everything in between – I thoroughly enjoyed this latest season with a bit of nostalgia but completely new stories. Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster was by far my favorite episode. Guest starring Rhys Darby, this surprising story was suspenseful and hilarious.

My only complaint is that there were only 6 episodes that build to a climactic finale with a huge cliffhanger. I hope to see a new (longer) season soon. Watching this Event made me excited to re-watch the series from the beginning.

DVD Review: iZombie Season 1

iZombie: Season 1

Summary:
From the executive producers of Veronica Mars, iZOMBIE stars Rose McIver (Masters of Sex, Once Upon a Time) as Olivia “Liv” Moore, a medical resident on the fast track to a perfect life … until she’s turned into a zombie. Now stuck between half-alive and undead, Liv transfers to the city morgue to reluctantly access the only thing that allows her to maintain her humanity – human brains. But there are side effects to Liv’s new diet. With each brain she consumes, she experiences flashes of the corpse’s memories – including, at times, clues as to how they were killed. Her boss, a brilliant but eccentric conspiracy theorist, encourages her to embrace this gift and to work with an eager, unproven homicide detective to help solve these murders … and quiet the voices in her head. iZOMBIE is based upon characters published by DC Entertainment’s Vertigo imprint. Malcolm Goodwin, Rahul Kohli, Robert Buckley and David Anders also star.

REVIEW:
iZombie was easily my favorite new show last year. From the creator of Veronica Mars, this show has just as much humor, mystery, and fantastic character development – plus zombies. The show is loosely based on the graphic novels of the same name (which I recently and quickly devoured). Liv is a reluctant brain-eating zombie who tries to help solve murders, while keeping her nature a secret from everyone save her too-smart boss. Meanwhile, another zombie starts make a name for himself in the underworld, creating other undead and establishing himself as boss.

Each episode Liv ingests the brains of someone recently deceased and takes over their personality and quirks, making for some very funny situations. There’s also plenty of mystery, suspense, heartache, and even romance. I’m not even a fan of the zombie subgenre, but love this show. I highly recommend it to anyone. And this the show I looked forward to most coming out on DVD. I was bummed it wasn’t released on Blu-ray. Hopefully, it will make it eventually.

Blu-Ray Review: The Flash Season1

The Flash: Season 1 Blu-ray

Summary:
CSI investigator Barry Allen is endearingly book-smart, somewhat awkward late and – as a result of a scientific experiment gone awry – the fastest man alive! He’s The Flash, zigzagging through the action-packed new series from the creative team behind Arrow and based on the supersonic DC Comics character. With his life shadowed by his mother’s murder and his father wrongly convicted of the crime, Barry finds that his newfound power of super speed grants him the ability to move through Central City like an unseen guardian angel. Barry quickly discovers he’s not the only “metahuman” created by the explosive disaster, however – and not everyone is using their new power for good. Now, to protect the innocent, Barry and the close friends who know his secret race to combat evildoers in one astonishing adventure after another that come at you like lightning in this fantastic set.

Special Features Include:
· The Fastest Man Alive!
· Creating the Blur
· Audio Commentary
· “Behind The Story The Trickster Returns”
· The Chemistry of Emily and Grant Screen Test
· DC Comics Night at Comic-Con 2014 Presenting Gotham, The Flash, Constantine and Arrow
· The Flash Factor!
· Gag Reel
· Deleted Scenes

Review:
This first season of The Flash has some great characters and continuing mysteries. Tom Cavanagh steals the show as the villainous character who hides as a wheelchair-bound benefactor to Barry. As a fan of the original show, I love that John Wesley Shipp has an occasional part as Barry’s incarcerated father. Grant Gustin is an awkward, young Flash that reminds me of a teenage Peter Parker. I’d love to see Barry’s character develop and become more confident and self-assured. My only complaint is that the villains-of-the-week are often hokey and one dimensional. I’m hoping they either make the villains a little darker or believable going forward.

One of the best episodes was the crossovers with Arrow. I’ve been really impressed with The CW and it’s quality shows these past few years. The Syfy channel had better step up.