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Reviews: Star Wars, Episodes I-VII

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

A funny thing happened recently. Not long before The Force Awakens came out, my wife and I decided to re-watch all of Star Wars on Blu-ray. Then we went and saw Episode VII in the theater. Not long after that, I was having lunch with a friend and we were talking about all the Star Wars movies, including the most recent.

This particular friend is willing to go in-depth in these sort of geeky film/TV/media conversations whenever we have them (he’s a writer and a critic type, like me), so I went into the sort of detail talking about Star Wars that I might not have normally. And as I was sitting there talking, I realized I had most of the thoughts in my head about what I wanted to say about these movies, which I had just watched. All I needed to do was get them down on paper and expand upon them, because I knew they’d make a natural addition to my website. Besides — I love Star Wars.

So I struck while the iron was hot, my thoughts were still clear, and while The Force Awakens was still in theaters and on people’s minds — so these reviews could be (gasp!) timely and relevant. My initial plan was to keep it short and sweet, and at first I was successful. But things got longer as I went further, and I finally broke the bank with The Force Awakens. Oh, well. Either way, it also gives all of you a chance to comment on these movies in this particular forum.

You’ll notice that I’ve ordered them according to when they were released, starting with the original trilogy, then the prequels. That’s how I watched them, including this most recent time. Why anyone would want to watch them in "chronological" episode-numbered order is beyond me, because the whole point of the prequels is that you already know where they are headed. Anyway, here they are. Enjoy.

Jammer’s Reviews: Star Wars, Episodes I-VII

Reaction: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

I have a few quick thoughts posted here.

Review: ‘Interstellar’ (minor spoilers)

Over on the mothership, I’ve posted a new review (gasp!) for Christopher Nolan’s new sci-fi film, Interstellar. Go read it now.

Star Trek Into Darkness: Still pending.

It’s a wrap: TNG’s ‘All Good Things…’

The first review I wrote for a general audience was a movie review for my high school newspaper, The Inkspot, in 1993. I was co-editor of the paper that year, and that was the beginning of a long relationship with newspapers (which only ended just last year). I joined the staff of The Daily Illini in the fall of 1994 during my freshman year of college, where I discovered the Internet, which had just started to become graphical and mainstream (although I would get my online reviewing start in the text-based Usenet).

Jammer completes his website’s mission with the posting of the review for TNG’s series finale, “All Good Things.”

As I’ve mentioned in this space before, I actually reviewed the seventh season of TNG previously, in printed booklets that I never posted on the Internet (and never will). Jammer’s Reviews as you know them didn’t start until the fall of 1994 with DS9‘s third season. The official launch of my website came in March 1995, some 18 years ago. On the Internet, that’s an eternity for a niche hobby publication. Just ask the hundreds of other hobbyist website authors from the 1990s who have long since hung it up. That was before “blogger” was a word. I guess I’ve been a blogger since before the term for it existed. (Read more…)

Jammer’s Reviews: TNG Season 7: The home stretch

The final leg of TNG — not counting the series finale — beginning with “Journey’s End” through “Preemptive Strike” revealed that the writing staff was at least contemplating the end of the series, with four of the last five regular episodes featuring notes that hinted at some character-related closure, albeit without making any drastic changes to the series’ status quo.

Ro takes on an undercover mission out of loyalty to Picard in “Preemptive Strike.”

These episodes include a final check-in with Wesley Crusher; the last word on Worf’s son Alexander (until DS9 several years later); Picard learning that he might have a son when that possibility had been long ago been seemingly decided; and the fairly atypical (by TNG standards) turn of events surrounding Ro Laren. With the exception of that last outing, these episodes were middling endeavors that struggled to balance plot and character effectively.

Then there was the odd man out of this particular leg, “Emergence,” which seemed more like it belonged in the previous run of weak episodes alongside “Masks” and “Genesis.” Perhaps the less said about it, the better.

Anyway, dig in. My next post on TNG will wrap up this project with the two-hour series finale, which I think just about all of us can agree on.

Jammer’s Reviews: TNG Season 7, Episodes 15-19

Worf mentor’s Ensign Sito in TNG’s “Lower Decks,” an episode that revealed that our characters actually are mentors to other characters rarely seen.

At least there was “Lower Decks.”

Entering the slightly-past-halfway point of TNG‘s seventh season, “Lower Decks” is the proverbial diamond in the rough. It’s a really good diamond (one of seventh’s season’s best, and a TNG classic, for my money), but it’s within a stretch of episodes that are really, really rough. This stretch of episodes (if you start with “Homeward”) might perhaps cumulatively be TNG’s lowest point.

When you have “Sub Rosa,” “Masks,” and “Genesis” all within five episodes of each other, you realize just how much TNG was starting to go over the cliff in its final season. I don’t believe it ever quite did — it had enough good to great episodes to make up for that, and of course we had that finale, which we’ll discuss soon enough — but after seeing both the highs and lows of TNG and seeing what the series was capable of, it’s hard not to be hugely disappointed in many efforts in its final season.

This stretch of episodes contains some that are really quite un-good. But I must say that un-good episodes make for reviews that can be awfully fun to write.

After this, we enter the home stretch (and I may live up to my hopes of finishing before year’s end after all) in the Fall of Season Seven — as well as the Seven Long Delayed Years of Jammer’s TNG Reviews.

Jammer’s Reviews: TNG Season 7, Episodes 10-14

So, here we are, passing the halfway point of TNG‘s seventh season. Will I finish before year’s end? I’m not sure, but even if I don’t, it will be soon enough afterward.

The PegasusRiker gets a second chance to right a years-old wrong in the TNG classic “The Pegasus.”

Here are five more episode reviews, including reviews for two of the season’s best episodes, as well as two of its worst — including one of the series absolutely worst hours, which is — spoiler alert and drum roll, please — “Sub Rosa.”

“Sub Rosa” is one of those strange things. Even though it is certainly one of the worst episodes in the Trek canon, it has that strange characteristic of being one of the most enjoyably awful episodes of Trek. There’s something to be said for the unintentionally funny.

Of course, we also have one of the season’s best episodes in “The Pegasus,” which manages to be the type of episode that really strikes the right balance of all of TNG‘s best individual pieces and tones.

Anyway, have at it, and I’ll be back with “Lower Decks” and more in hopefully a week or so.

Jammer’s Reviews: TNG Season 7, Episodes 7-9

I had planned to post a batch of six reviews in this latest update, but I got pulled off-track in my reviewing schedule. So I don’t have the six. Just three. I’ve actually been sitting on these three reviews for a few weeks now. But seeing as my last review post was more than a month ago now, I thought I’d better get something new out there.

The Enterprise is saddled with an interstellar speed limit after the events of “Force of Nature.”

So here are reviews for TNG‘s “Dark Page,” “Attached,” and “Force of Nature” — a 1-for-3 stretch of shows with two of them rather … not good. So it goes.

Because I need to write enough text to fill this space running alongside this image, I’ll ask this: You know what else is not good? Donald Trump. The guy is a self-promoting bloviating toolbag of stunningly epic proportions. It’s amazing that the media still takes him quasi-seriously, considering that everything he says and does boils down to being a commercial for himself as a brand, but displaying about 100 percent less self-awareness than any brand would ever dare.

But you know what’s good? Stephen Colbert satirizing Donald Trump. The bit in this video is the funniest thing I’ve seen in weeks.

Anyway, we now return to our regularly scheduled TNG reviews.

Jammer’s Reviews: TNG Season 7, Episodes 1-6

Welcome to the Fall of Season Seven. With any luck, our trip down TNG memory lane will be finished before 2012 is, and with it will be the end of an artificially prolonged journey that started way back in 2005.

Lore makes his final appearance in the less-than-thrilling “Descent, Part II.”

As an introduction to my first five reviews of the season (of six episodes), I should tell a story that I was reminded of from a comment left a short time ago in the last blog post at the end of season six.

This is actually not the first time I have reviewed the seventh season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. This is evidenced by my postings on the SOS ranking website, which I must say I am happy still exists after all these years. It’s been out here even longer than I have.

For the record, I disavow all of the ratings for TNG season seven that are on that site. I had forgotten that I had even posted them. While some of the ratings will probably match up with the reviews I am now writing, others likely will not. (To prevent bias from my past self, I am not even going to go look at them now.) (Read more…)

Jammer’s Reviews: TNG Season 6, Episodes 24-26

I’ve posted the last three reviews of TNG‘s sixth season. And thus ends my Summer of Season Six.

Descent, Part IThe Borg return in a badass ship that isn’t a cube in TNG’s sixth-season finale.

Stay tuned for the Fall of Season Seven. And I’m not phrasing that in some ironic double-meaning kind of way as to imply that season seven will somehow fall down. Because I wouldn’t do that.


Find out soon. I’ll be back with more reviews in a week or two. I’m not planning to take a break between seasons. I’m planning to dive right on in and keep this moving.

After all, I’ve got to finish TNG before the world ends in December. At the pace I’m on since starting season six, I’m not on track to make it. Damn you, Mayans! You have denied me completion of my entire-Trek-canon review — something that has been in the makings since right after I graduated high school!