Archive for the 'TV' Category

Countdown to Star Trek: Discovery – 1 day to go

September 24th, 2017

One more sleep until a new Star Trek TV series premieres. The last time I could say that was September 2001, 16 years ago.

(It was 21 years between the premieres of TOS and TNG, so it’s not a record).

The early reviews (or to be more accurate, the headlines of the early reviews as there is no way I’m reading that now) seem fairly positive. But I maintain my skepticism from the earlier posts in this series. But I’m also excited – this will be only the second time I’m watching a Star Trek series as it launches.

(TOS and TNG premiered before my TV watching, VOY and ENT never captured my interest when they were on. I’m fairly certain I watched DS9 from its start, but honestly would struggle to prove that).

The main things I’m looking for are:

  • Is this Star Trek, or generic SF show number seven? This is both a question of history, but also one of philosophy – Star Trek at its best is the excitement and danger of exploration, and the battle for the moral high ground.

  • Is there a reasonable explanation for the fourth iteration of Klingon makeup? More to the point, does it mean something, or is it just a gratuitous change because a makeup designer wanted something more modern (looking at you here, Star Trek Into Darkness Klingons)?

  • How is the continuity with The Original Series? Sarek and Harry Mudd are two of the most obvious points, but I’ll be surprised if we don’t get a few other easter eggs.

  • Is it a good TV show? Does it have interesting characters telling an interesting story?

  • Is there an explanation for why we go from the set design seen in the trailers to the set design of TOS within 10 years? This matters not at all to me (for some reason it feels very different to the Klingon makeup), but I’d like to see them at least try. DS9 made it work.

I’ll be returning to the Trekathon series as of tomorrow, writing up some brief thoughts on each episode. Assuming everything works and it appears on Netflix according to schedule that is.

Countdown to Star Trek: Discovery – 96 days to go

June 20th, 2017

At long last, a release date has been announced:

After being delayed twice, Star Trek: Discovery finally has a premiere date: Sept. 24.

Which means I finally have a proper countdown again, and it’s a little over three months until we see what this one will be like.

Countdown to Star Trek: Discovery – 166? days to go

May 19th, 2017

In the biggest news yet, there’s an actual trailer for Star Trek: Discovery

This looks to be pretty early (maybe first episode or two only) material. And there’s a lot to be optimistic about. While the design is a bit ‘Abrams Movies’, the dialogue feels a lot like more classic Star Trek. It looks gorgeous, with a lot of callbacks to the Original Series in design and special effects.

The major element I tripped over was the Klingons. While I’ve seen some things that suggest that there’s going to be an in-universe explanation for the new appearance (‘ancient Klingons’), I feel like it’s a bit unnecessary. But there’s the bigger point that the Klingons are not a good villain, and doing something with the Romulans would be a lot more interesting.

Still, enough for me to upgrade back to ‘guardedly optimistic’. That trailer looked, more or less, like Star Trek to me.

Countdown to Star Trek: Discovery – 214? days to go

April 1st, 2017

Today in horrible horrible news about Star Trek: Discovery:

According to TV Line, [Rainn] Wilson has been cast to play a younger Harry Mudd in Star Trek: Discovery.

Harcout Fenton Mudd.

Mudd is not the worst character in all of Star Trek (cough Vic Fontaine cough), but he is at best a slapstick idiocy that it’s hard to see working in a more modern TV series. Maybe a gritty take would be interesting, but that would be hard to link into TOS. Rainn Wilson doesn’t strike me as the best casting either – his most famous role (Dwight in The Office) is more famous for deadpan humour than the sort of scenery chewing slapstick of Mudd.

Putting this into the ‘uh oh’ column.

Countdown to Star Trek: Discovery – 237? days to go

March 9th, 2017

Yes, new countdown. This is based on the ‘early Fall’ date mentioned by the head of CBS.

The news, other than I hope the show is going to be out before November, is that the captain has been cast:

The U.S.S. Discovery has welcomed aboard its captain. CBS has just confirmed that Jason Isaacs will join its next Star Trek series—but don’t forget, for the first time ever in the franchise, the captain will not be the main star. Isaacs will play Lorca, the captain of the series’ main Federation starship, Discovery.

Jason Isaacs is one of those actors who seems to have been in lots of things (most notably Harry Potter as the older Malfoy), but has never been the leading player.

This isn’t news that moves my expectations one way or the other really. He’ll be good in this, but that won’t be how the show lives or dies.

Countdown to Star Trek: Discovery: ??? days to go

January 20th, 2017

Today’s news has two parts:

Star Trek: Discovery, CBS’ upcoming addition to the long running sci-fi series, has been delayed again.

There’s now no release date for the show beyond ‘when it’s ready’.

And then:

CBS confirmed today that James Frain would play Spock’s father.

(I’ll leave aside that when Mark Lenard portrayed the 2260s Sarek he was 43, James Frain portraying the 2250s Sarek is 48. He’s meant to be a 90-100 year old Vulcan, you can have a little creative licence there).

Put together I’m officially downgrading from ‘cautiously optimistic’ to ‘worried’.

Sarek first (and why do they have to say ‘Spock’s father’ here – anyone paying attention to casting news on a new Star Trek TV show knows who Sarek is). Canonically Spock is in his mid 20s by this point, indeed he’s begun to serve on the Enterprise. So this is a Sarek who doesn’t much like Starfleet. He’s an ambassador, so perhaps some role in negotiations with the Klingons makes sense. So I can’t really say that this is a big stretch – but something about this feels wrong to me. Perhaps it’s that they’re trying too hard to shoehorn in links to the Original Series, maybe it’s the idea of recasting Mark Lenard.

But the indefinite delay is more worrying. Not because it won’t be out soon (although it was originally supposed to be out next week). But rather because it suggests that they’re frantically reworking everything to create a story and a plan. Which means that they’re junking whatever they had to start with. I think starting something like this without a clear idea of the story you want to tell isn’t going to end well. It begins to seem like there’s something of a death spiral going on.

Countdown to Star Trek: Discovery – 164 days to go

December 18th, 2016

Another sliver of news, this time casting for a lead:

Star Trek: Discovery has finally found its Number One: Sonequa Martin-Green. […] She’s Lieutenant Commander Rainsford

Another actor I’m not very familiar with (geek confession: I don’t watch The Walking Dead, it’s just never appealed very much to me). I think the idea of not focusing on the Captain is a good one, but not really as ground breaking as it’s being presented sometimes. After all, TNG really had very few stories that focused on Picard per se, and Voyager had few stories that really focused on Janeway.

There was also another bit of news from earlier in the week which I missed:

CBS All Access’ show has added three new castmembers—all reportedly playing Klingons—to Star Trek: Discovery. This tells us that instead of the traditional rotating cast of Klingons, we’re going to have an ongoing focus on specific members of the Klingon Empire.

This is more in the sigh category for me. Klingons are probably the dullest of the recurring ‘villain’ races, and while I’d love to see a more nuanced approach I suspect that isn’t what we’re going to get. This pretty much confirms my earlier guess about it being in the ‘Klingon Cold War’ period. The real question – will they go for Klingon makeup (a la TNG) or for the ‘augment’ human appearance of TOS (as seen in the very end of Enterprise).

Countdown to Star Trek: Discovery – 179 days to go

December 3rd, 2016

More news, this time a bit more worrying.

Even though it had been said that Bryan Fuller would remain an executive producer for Star Trek: Discovery, Fuller is now clarifying that the only work he will do on season one of the show is what he’s already done.

This suggests that there’s a lot more going wrong behind the scenes than we’ve seen before. While Bryan Fuller was overcommitted with American Gods, the lack of a new clear controlling vision suggests that we might be heading towards the corporate blandness (and failure to understand Trek) of a lot of the worst of Voyager and Enterprise.

No need to panic quite yet, but I am a bit less optimistic than I had been.

Countdown to Star Trek Discovery – 181 days to go

December 1st, 2016

Big news today is some information on casting. We have three roles:

  • Michelle Yeoh as Captain Georgiou. Weirdly, captain of the Shenzhou, not the Discovery. Most famous for Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, this is a big name for the cast, although probably a more minor role.

  • Doug Jones as Lieutenant Saru. Has hardly ever appeared on TV without being in some kind of monster makeup, and will be playing an alien again here.

  • Anthony Rapp as Lieutenant Samets. More famous as a broadway star (he was in the initial production of Rent), this will be quite a new thing for him. His character is described as a fungus expert.

Overall – interesting, but hard to see where the show is going from these.

Countdown to Star Trek: Discovery: 257 days to go

September 16th, 2016

What’s that you say? Wasn’t the counter at 171 days a month ago.

News today is that Discovery has been delayed until May 2017. I’m using 31 May as the date until I get better information.

Overall, not too worried about this. With no news on casting or filming a January release had been looking unusual for a bit. And more time normally means higher quality. I’m happy to wait. Especially now they missed the 50th anniversary.