TV Review – Star Trek Short Treks: Q&A

TL;DR – This is a great episode that shows the strength of the Short Trek formula with some truly delightful moments

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Star Trek Short Treks: Q&A

Review

We are back with another season of Short Treks, one of the more novel experiments that have come out of this third Star Trek TV resurgence. These are a number of shorts in and around the Star Trek universe (mostly but this season not exclusively around Star Trek Discovery). Like last year’s The Escape Artist that looked at Harry Mudd. Today we get to dive back into this world with a fun look at someone’s first day on the job.

So to set the scene, it is Ensign Spock’s (Ethan Peck) first day on the job. After a long flight to Starbase 40, he beams aboard and is welcomed by Number One (Rebecca Romijn). After some pleasantries, Number One decides to show the new ensign the Bridge only for the turbolift to fail on transit giving them a lot of time to chat.

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TV Review – The Expanse: Season 3

TL;DR – This is and continues to be the gold standard to adaptations of literature, capturing the heart of the books, even if it does not hit every plot beat along the way.  

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

The Expanse. Image Credit: Amazon Studios.

Review

I mentioned back in my look at the New Golden Age of Science Fiction that The Expanse is one of the best adaptations on TV at the moment. Here in Australia, I got to watch the first two seasons on Netflix and was constantly entranced with just what a good job they did of bringing James S. A. Corey’s books to life. The third season has been tricky to find but today I was able to hunt it down on Amazon and gave it a watch. Well, how does it do? Well, I can tell you that I watched the entire first arc of the season in one session, being so completely engrossed that I didn’t realise how late in the evening it had gotten … so that it is always a good sign.

So to set the scene, we open in the aftermath of season two and the turn that put Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) from a position of absolute power to her running for her life after being betrayed by Sadavir Errinwright (Shawn Doyle). Stuck on a ship that has just been fired upon by her own side there is not much hope for escape but then that is why she brought Bobbie Draper (Frankie Adams) a former Martian marine along. They manage to escape, but they are still under pursuit, and while they were gone the whole solar system has erupted into war and the Jupiter planetary system is ground zero for the conflict. Meanwhile, on the Rocinante the crew are dealing with two big problems, the fact that Naomi (Dominique Tipper) lied to them, and they have done nothing really to help Prax (Terry Chen) find his daughter. With everything falling apart the question is: will James Holden (Steven Strait) going to step in and help stop this war, or is he going to sit back and let others make the tough calls?    

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Exploring the Past – Jupiter Ascending (2015)

TL;DR – One of those films that are close but no cigar, but you have to admire that they go at 100km an hour from start to finish    

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Jupiter Ascending. Image Credit: Warner Brothers.

Review

One of my true joys in life is watching and witnessing a new work of glorious Science Fiction for the first time. Like those moments when you watched Farscape for the first time or watched the flaming guitar in Mad Max Fury Road explode out into the desert sun. However, sometimes it can be just as interesting to watch a film/TV show that is close but just not quite there and today we take a look back at just such a film.

So to set the scene, we open in on Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) who lives with her extended family in Chicago after her father Maximilian (James D’Arcy) was murdered back in Russia and her mother Aleksa (Maria Doyle Kennedy) fled to the States. Jupiter spends her time cleaning rich peoples houses and dreaming of getting out of it all. Well one day she gets that wish after a genetic test shows that she is the perfect reincarnation of the old matriarch of House Abrasax, an ancient alien dynasty that seeded life on Earth all those years ago.  

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TV Review – Another Life: Full Season

TL;DR – A campy schlocky mess at times, but also kind of endearing when it hits its groove

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Another Life. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

We have been living through an interesting time for Science Fiction on TV, with the rise of streaming services we have seen a plethora of new shows and ideas that both look to the future and reinterpret the past. Today we are getting a Sci-fi show that kind of does both, building upon very real concerns in the world but framing it in a style of Sci-Fi that we have not seen in a long time. With that in mind let’s jump in and explore the full first season.

So to set the scene, we open with a normal day on Earth in the not too distant future after the world has been devastated by a second great depression and the great flood. Things are starting to return to some sort of normalcy when an alien ship smashes through the atmosphere flies across the USA and crashes into a field transforming itself into a huge crystalline lattice. Months later, they are still no closer to finding out what the artefact is or wants, but they have picked up a transmission to the Pi Canis Majoris solar system. To work out what to do they send the USIC Salvare under the command of Niko Breckinridge (Katee Sackhoff) out to investigate. Niko had to leave her daughter Jana (Lina Renna) and her husband Erik (Justin Chatwin) behind as Erik is leading the scientific mission at the crash site. But before too long things start going wrong, and we still don’t know if the aliens are friends or foe.  Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

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TV Review – The Orville: Identity Part 2

TL;DR – We get what is not only the best episode of The Orville but one of the best episodes of Science Fiction I have seen.

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

The Orville: Identity Part 2. Image Credit: Fox.

Review

Writing Science Fiction shows seems like it would be easy, I mean they are just westerns set in space, right? Alas, they are much more difficult than you think. You have to world build, but you can’t overwhelm the audience, every part of your universe has to have logical consistency, you need to fill that universe with interesting characters, and you need to always have in the back of your mind what future you want to present. Then, of course, you have to create stories that support every part of this. It is this alchemy that draws me to Science Fiction as a genre, and tonight we got to see an exemplar of a show doing it all.    

So to set the scene, in last week’s episode Identity Part 1, just about everything we knew about The Orville got turned on its head. This is because Isaac’s (Mark Jackson) mission on the USS Orville was not about seeing if the Planetary Union was good enough for Kaylon to join, but to see if biological lifeforms were worth preserving at all. Well after some consideration the Kaylon’s decided no it wasn’t and that they should make way in their need to expand. This led to them boarding the Orville, killing many of the crew and taking the rest hostage, as the ship runs vanguard in front of an extermination fleet headed for Earth. In today’s episode we find out how, if at all possible, they can stop them, and the repercussions of such a brutal betrayal. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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TV Review – Star Trek Short Treks: Runaway

TL;DR – A beautiful character piece that makes the most of the short run time.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Star Trek Short Treks: Runaway. Image Credit CBS Studios.

Review

Today we are going to be doing small mini-reviews for all the Star Trek Shorts, starting with an exploration of what it means to step forward and change your life.

So to set the scene, it is after Will You Take My Hand? and Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman) has officially entered the Command Training Program, which is a huge achievement, which is completely lost on her mother Siobhan (Mimi Kuzyk). As this is going on a standard cargo run is interrupted by a stowaway and the two are about to crash together.

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TV Review – The Orville: Home

TL;DR – In Home, The Orville finally finds that balance between the absurd and the sincere and creates one of their best episodes so far.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

The Orville: Home. Image Credit: Fox

Review

So far this season The Orville have continued on in its mission to highlight the juxtaposition between the absurd and the sincere. Now, this is something that you can completely do, but the show in both Season One and so far this season just couldn’t quite find that right balance. Well with Home I think they really are starting to head in that right direction and it doesn’t hurt when you throw in some great guest cast and beautiful art design help along the way.

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