‘Orville’ returns with a show about nothing

As a season premiere airing on a Sunday night right after football, “Ja’loja” plays almost like a radical act of counter-intuitiveness. The conventional thinking is to have a big or major episode as a premiere. “Ja’loja” takes the exact opposite approach. It is deliberately low in stakes, is character-driven, and is a bottle show to boot. It is a “hangout episode” where we spend time bouncing around various subplots that allow us to basically catch up with each of the regular characters. I respect the deliberate lack of ambition. I unfortunately can’t get on board with some of the actual material.

Read the entire review…

Here is the reviewing plan for 2019


The Orville returns this Sunday, followed by Discovery on Jan. 17.

The first quarter of 2019 is going to hurt me. Either that, or there will not be as many reviews as I hope there will be.

The Orville premieres this Sunday (followed by a second episode on its regular night four days later), and then Discovery starts up on Jan. 17. I was able to somehow keep the wheels on in fall 2017 and early 2018 with my schedule and turn reviews out mostly on time (within a few days of episodes airing). Whether I can do that again remains to be seen. Finding time to write is not easy. I can already say it’s not going to be as easy to do this year as it was last year. I have more going on.

So here is the plan, until such time that the plan changes, which is always a possibility. I will continue to put up weekly placeholder posts for comments (with no review) that will go up with each new airing of each episode the night it airs. I will then double back and post a review as soon as possible (hopefully within a few days) after the airing.

There’s a good chance these reviews will not be as long, detailed, or thought out this time around. Almost certainly not as long or detailed, at least. I may have to sacrifice quality and completeness for my own sanity. I hate saying that, but it may be the truth. We’ll see. I predicted that last time around and I can happily say I think the reviews turned out better than I had envisioned at the outset. Maybe that will happen again. But it very well may not, so please be forewarned. Time is the fire in which we burn. I expect to get singed pretty good in the next few months.

We’ll see how it goes…

Pondering Patrick Stewart’s return to the franchise


Twenty years later: Short of timeline shenanigans more convoluted than Stewart’s role in the X-Men movies, the chances of seeing a future Picard that resembles the version in “All Good Things” are probably zero.

This past weekend at Star Trek Las Vegas 2018, Patrick Stewart made a surprise appearance and gradually built to the announcement that he will return to the Star Trek franchise to reprise his role as Jean-Luc Picard for an upcoming series to be produced for CBS All Access.

After telling a story about how he had encountered fans for which Star Trek had greatly affected them, and how that played into his mind about returning, he went on to offer up some details of what is currently known about the new endeavor — which is to say, not much so far.

“We have no scripts as of yet,” Stewart said, adding that the show’s developers have so far just been talking in terms of broad story outlines. “He may not be a captain anymore,” he said of Picard. “It may be a very different individual, someone who has been changed by his experiences. Twenty years will have passed.”

He added, “It will be — I promise you, I guarantee it — something very, very different.” But, he said, the new show will come with the same passion and love of the material as The Next Generation.

So what should we make of this? (Read more…)

The ‘Discovery’ season finale is doggedly shaggy

Ah, to be a fly on the wall in the writers’ room of Star Trek: Discovery. What really happened there? How much of this show grew from Bryan Fuller’s original ideas, and how much of it was scrapped or retooled? Did the writers change the fundamental course of the season midway through, and were they justified in doing so? Did they have to fix things on the fly and figure out ways to fit a patchwork narrative together into something supposedly coherent? Or was this the plan all along? I’m somehow guessing not the latter, at least for some of it.

I ask these questions after having watched "Will You Hold My Hand?" take a season-long arc about Starfleet’s war with the Klingons and solve it in five minutes with a plot device that brings new definitions to the word "contrived." I had hoped this finale would be more resolution than cliffhanger. It was. That’s a blessing, albeit a very mixed one.

Read the full review…

Starfleet is desperate in ‘War Without, War Within’

“The War Without, The War Within” ends with the Mirror Universe version of Philippa Georgiou being named the captain of Discovery by Admiral Cornwell as an act of desperation to try to turn the tide of the war with the Klingons, which Starfleet is badly losing. It’s yet another episode-ending WTF moment in a season awash in them.

The problem with always dialing up the crazy to 11 is that the audience becomes conditioned to the environment until an 11 just starts to feel like a 5. Making MU Georgiou the captain — in a scene that goes out of its way to make clear that none of the other characters were aware this was happening until it happened (for no good reason except to keep it hidden until the final reveal to the audience) — is surprising, sure. But it’s surprising for perhaps the wrong reasons. We’ve reached the point where we expect some sort of last-minute episode-closing “shock” and the number of available variables in this episode seems to inevitably bring us to this conclusion. Rather, the reason it’s surprising is because it’s so ridiculous that this is alleged as the solution to Starfleet’s war problem.

Read the full review…

▲Top of Page | Menu | Copyright © 1994-2019 Jamahl Epsicokhan. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication or distribution of any content is prohibited. This site is an independent publication and is not affiliated with or authorized by any entity or company referenced herein. See site policies.