Westworld: The Auguries – TV Review

TL;DR – This first episode is almost a soft re-boot or realignment of the show, and while it does not reveal much, it intrigues me.   

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Binge subscription that viewed this show.

The Hoover Dam

Westworld Review

I have always been intrigued by Westworld because even when it is not landing its hits, it is still swinging with all its might, and I always respect someone reaching for the stars, even if they don’t quite get there. Season 1 was this wild ride of betrayal and discord, where the very world shifted under your feet. Season 2 was this crazy roller coaster that inverted itself halfway through, and while it was a bit of a mess at times, it did have Kiksuya, the best episode the show has done to date. Season 3 jumped us out of the island and into the world proper for all its strengths and weaknesses. Can Season 4 capture what made Season 1 so good? Well, as long as it tells an interesting story, I will be there for the ride.

So to set the scene, we open seven years after the riots that marked the end of Season 3 and the AI controlling the destinies of humans in the background. Many people have tried to formulate new lives in the meantime, but something has stirred and has started to make their move. In the renovated Hoover Dam, a cartel kingpin (Arturo del Puerto) meets with a man in black (Ed Harris) about buying their data operation in the Dam. It is a ridiculous question because this is the cartel’s crown jewel, not for sale. But the Man in Black posits that they can sell for this price today or give it away for free tomorrow, and the cartel chooses door number two for their own demise. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead. 

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The Orville: Electric Sheep – TV Review

TL;DR – This is a difficult episode to watch at times as it wades into some real and challenging territory

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I streamed this on SBS OnDemand

Warning – Deals with themes of suicide

Murderer in big red letters.

The Orville Review

A few years ago, it was announced that Seth MacFarlane, most well known for Family Guy, would do his take on a Space Opera, a show that was like Star Trek with more jokes. It was a premise that had me both intrigued and also concerned. That is because I was sure you could make that balance work, just that it would be hard, and Season One was rough at times. But by the time Season Two drew to a close, it had wholly found its feet and was soaring forward. Now it is time to dive into the much delayed and possibly final season, titled New Horizons, and if it is the end, I hope it can go out on a bang.

So to set the scene, in The Road Not Taken, the threat that the Kaylons pose is seen in complete relief when we see a universe where the crew of the USS Orville never came together, and the galaxy is in ruin. But there is hope, and the team come together for some last-ditch time travel shenanigans to set the timeline right. It worked. But now, everyone on the ship has to work to get it ready for the next attack, and while the refit takes place, there is a lot of resentment brewing on board, with most of it landing square on the lap of the ship’s lone Kalon crewmember Isaac (Mark Jackson).    

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Halo: Season One – TV Review

TL;DR – While not a perfect season, the finale episode did leave me intrigued for more.  

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Paramount+ service that viewed this episode.

Master Chef about to jump out

Halo Review

When the first episode of Halo came out, it felt like it was a show of two halves. We got an exciting dynamic between Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber) and the only survivor from a Covenant attack Kwan Ha (Yerin Ha). However, the show’s other half was some of the dullest paint-by-numbers military “intrigue” and “conspiracy”. I wondered which half of the show would dominate throughout the season because that would be a significant indicator of how the show would work. Well, now that I have seen the entire season, I have to say that we got some improvement, but not as much as it could have.

So to set the scene, at the end of Allegiance, everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong. Halsey (Natascha McElhone) turned the Spartans Riz (Natasha Culzac) and Vannak (Bentley Kalu) against John/Master Chief and Kai (Kate Kennedy). Meanwhile, Makee (Charlie Murphy) had rebuffed Halsey and was trying to trust Master Chief only to get a stun stick to the back of her head when Miranda Keyes (Olive Gray) realises that she was the one that killed the crew, which was bad. But even worse, Makee touches the artifact and sets it off, destroying much of the base. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode and season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – Strange New Worlds – TV Review

TL;DR – An outstanding pilot episode that takes us back on board the USS Enterprise and into the universe.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Paramount+ streaming service that viewed this episode.  

USS Enterprise breaking through the clouds of Kiley 279.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Review

It has been a long road getting from there to here as Star Trek takes a second chance to bring The Cage [1964] and Captain Pike (Anson Mount) to life. When we saw the USS Enterprise and its crew arrive in the second season of Star Trek Discovery, the potential was instantly there. The question is, could they actually pull it off? And if this episode is anything to go on, the answer is yes.   

So to set the scene, it has been a while since the events of Such Sweet Sorrow Part 2, and Pike has been hiding out in his cabin in Bear Creek, Montana. He has been dealing with the revelation that he will die badly ten years from now. To the point, he is very much considering leaving Starfleet. That is until Admiral Robert April (Adrian Holmes) takes a shuttle and unambiguously tells Pike that Number One (Rebecca Romijn) is missing and if he wants to leave, he can do it after this. Well, one, unfortunately, timed phone call to Vulcan to pick up Spock (Ethan Peck), and the Enterprise is on to Kiley 279 to find out what happened to the USS Archer. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.    

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Star Trek: Picard – Farewell and Season 2 – TV Review

TL;DR – A season mixed with highs and lows, but at least started and ended on a high note.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this episode.

Jupiter

Star Trek: Picard Review

We have reached the end of Star Trek Picard’s second season, and as I look back on what has come, I can see great heights and deep valleys. While there were some frustrations, when the season worked, it was some of Star Trek’s best. With that in mind, what we will do in this review is look at how the second season charted its way through and then how it landed with the finale episode, Farewell.

To set the scene, at the end of Hide and Seek, the crew of the La Sirena are no longer the crew of the La Sirena because Raffi (Michelle Hurd) did a deal with Queen Jurati (Alison Pill) where she traded the ship for Seven’s (Jeri Ryan) life. However, before Queen Jurati left, she gave the team a clue about how to save Renée (Penelope Mitchell) and their timeline. The only question is how many more sacrifices will Picard (Patrick Stewart) and the crew need to make to end this final game of Q (John de Lancie). Now from here, we will be looking at the episode and season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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Halo: Contact – TV Review

TL;DR – This is a very definition of a mixed bag, with some promise shown, but also many issues.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Paramount+ service that viewed this episode.

Halo: Contact. Image Credit: Paramount+.

Halo Review

I am what you would call an agnostic when it comes to the Halo video games. I didn’t grow up with an Xbox (or PlayStation if you are about to go video game console wars in my comments), so Master Chief was someone I had a vague knowledge about but not someone I cared about. Since then, I have watched the first couple of games streamed, and I get the appeal, even if the narrative is now a bit dated with time. I forward this all right from the start, so you know where I am coming from with this review and before I start hacking chunks of this apart.

So to set the scene, it is the year 2552, and the human race has spread across the stars, but it has been fraught with division. On the planet Madrigal, designated a Tier 4 Heavy Water Extraction Planet, the locals have been fighting a war of independence from the United Nations Space Command (UNSC) for an age. However, one day as some kids from a local outpost, including the leader’s daughter Kwan Ha Boo (Yerin Ha), go out into the woods, they stumble across not the UNSC and their feared Spartans, but something so much worse. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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Star Trek: Picard – Penance – TV Review

TL;DR – Every moment, the tension is ratcheted up perfectly, so much so that I gasped when it cut to black and the credits rolled.  

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this episode.

Star Trek: Picard – Penance. Image Credit: Amazon Prime.

Star Trek: Picard Review

One of the most dangerous times for a narrative is when you are setting it up because people have to buy into it or not. Many stories have never gotten out of the gates because they stuffed up those opening moments, too little or too much information, and it all falls apart. Today we get an episode of Star Trek that can perfectly weave the narrow ledge between those two extremes.

So to set the scene, at the end of The Star Gazer, almost the whole team ended up on the USS Stargazer just as the Borg Queen transported onboard and started taking over the ship. Using the ship as a beacon to capture the entire fleet, Picard (Patrick Stewart) had no choice but to set the self-destruct. But then, he did not die. Instead, he woke up back on Earth, at his château, dressed in black with an odd symbol on his chest. This is bad, but what was worse was when he turned around and discovered Q (John de Lancie) standing there. Earth is the head of a great Confederation in this world, and it is Eradication Day. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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Star Trek: Discovery – Species Ten-C – TV Review

TL;DR – An episode that is equal parts uplifting and frustrating  

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Paramount+ service that viewed this episode.

Star Trek: Discovery – Species Ten-C. Image Credit: Paramount+.

Star Trek: Discovery Review –

As we reach the pointy end of the season, it is time for everything to get put into focus. This focus applies both to the season’s narrative and the strengths and weaknesses of the narrative choices that led to this moment. Here, we can find some of the very best that Star Trek has to offer and also some of the most frustrating aspects.

So to set the scene, after breaching the Galactic Barrier, the crew of the USS Discovery were both literally and metaphorically in uncharted space. In Rosetta, Captain Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) took a gamble and made a slight detour to a solar system near the Hyperfield. Here they found the remains of a Gas Giant whose atmosphere had been blown off by a series of asteroid impacts. It was also the original home of Species Ten-C. in the ruins of the former society. They found a nursery and hydrocarbons that form part of the species’ emotions. With that knowledge obtained, the crew make their way to the Hyperfield, only to get sucked in and the power shut off. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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Star Trek: Picard – The Star Gazer – TV Review

TL;DR – An episode that respects the past as well as diving full force into the future.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this episode.

Star Trek: Picard – The Star Gazer. Image Credit: Amazon Prime.

Star Trek: Picard Review

When the first season of Star Trek Picard was announced, I was intrigued by how they would extend the story into the future. What we got was a show full of promise, but also one with a lot of rough edges. With this opening episode, we get a show that has had time to reflect on the past. Improve on what worked and upgrade the things that didn’t.

So to set the scene, it has been two years since we last checked in with the team. Picard (Patrick Stewart) now spends his time working on the château and being Commandant of Starfleet Academy. Elnor (Evan Evagora) has graduated as the first Romulan in Starfleet and is assigned to Raffi’s (Michelle Hurd) ship, the USS Excelsior. Seven (Jeri Ryan) is still fighting for the Fenris Rangers, while Soji (Isa Briones) and Anges (Alison Pill) have been on Diplomatic missions. However, things start to shift under their feet when a portal opens in space shouting for Picard. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead. 

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Star Trek: Discovery – Rosetta  – TV Review

TL;DR – Preparing for the end by going into the belly of the beast  

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Paramount+ service that viewed this episode.

Star Trek: Discovery – Rosetta

Star Trek: Discovery Review –

This season we have gotten a combination of some of the best Star Trek has to offer attached to what feels like story elements that just exist to pad out time. Thankfully, the strength of the characters and the production has smoothed over some of those issues, but as we rocket towards the end, I have begun to be a bit concerned. But this week, we finally got some answers about the nature of the 10-C.

So to set the scene, after the colossal stuff up of Book (David Ajala) and Tarka (Shawn Doyle) led to the 10-C not only replacing the anomaly but shifting it to the Alpha Quadrant in direct line to Earth and Ni’Var. The USS Discovery, its crew and the delegates onboard raced through the Galactic Barrier to attempt diplomacy before the deaths of billions. When they breached the barrier, they discovered a solar system near where 10-C live. It soon becomes apparent that the 10-C used to live here, as the corpses of their species litter the surface. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead. 

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