Category Archives: SciFi and Fantasy

Battlestar Galactica: Show of the Year

Time’s tv critic has named Battlestar Galactica, 2005 Show of the Year! It’s great to see a fantastic SF show get some mainstream recognition. The fanboy in me just hopes that this recognition won’t spoil a good thing. Hopefully this and continuing good ratings will allow it to escape cable and reach an even wider audience. For that matter, I’d love an easy way to buy and download episodes to my PSP for an on the go BSG fix.

And now, to honor the spectacular blonde in the pink coat that I saw today at the Virgin store, here’s a shot of Tricia Helfer as Number Six. I’m still more of Boomer fan, but I think that as a character, Number Six is really coming into her own, especially with the events of the Pegasus episode.

BTW, this time I actually did take the time to compliment the blonde lady on her outfit! Of course, I have no plans to make a habit of this!

Star Trek: I’m In Love Again!

Star Trek! I love you man! Over the last two days, my love of Star Trek has reignited like a warp reactor overload thanks to Star Trek New Voyages and Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning. Any fan who has knowingly not had the pleasure of experiencing these fan productions is not of the body! New Voyages, in particular, just feels so much like the Star Trek I grew up with, but with so much more, and best of all my oldest daughter just sat through the second episode with me with great interest. It isn’t easy holding her interest, so it must be good. This month’s Wired has a very good article about New Voyages too.

Kudos to all involved in these fine productions! Suddenly it feels good to be a Star Trek fan again!

Uhura Would Be Proud…Maybe…

Out on Michigan avenue these days, there appear to be two kinds of cyborg. There are what I’ll call the “iBorgs” with their nearly implanted digital music players, usually iPods. And there are the “cellBorgs” with their cell phones seemingly glued to one ear or the other. Well lately the cellBorgs appear to have received an important upgrade. These upgraded cellBorgs now have a small earphone and mike combo that just sits conveniently in the ear, leaving both hands free for other activities and actually looking a lot cooler (or dorkier depending on your taste). Some of these are wired to the� cellphone, the one pictured below use a Bluetooth� remote unit to connect to the phone. Pretty cool in my opinion, but still the thought of walking down the street appearing to talk to oneself is not an appealing one.

I wonder how many of these people realize that Star Trek’s Lt. Uhura was wearing a similar piece of headgear long before many of them were born! Once again life imitates art.

Uhura with Earpiece

Okay, I suppose other people have noticed this before, but heck, I just wanted an excuse to post some Uhura pics. I met her at a Star Trek convention many years ago, kinda reminded me of my mom! Here’s one last pic for good measure.

Uhura Smiling

Battlestar Galactica Forces Digital Upgrade

Generally I like to be on the cutting edge having all of the newest toys, but of late the wallet has had a bigger sway over just where and when I get my toys. With this in mind, I was in no hurry to upgrade my cable service to digital. I got everything I wanted on extended basic and the could live without the extras on digital. Well all of that came to an end last week when I got an automated phone message from Comcast informing me that the Sci Fi Channel was going from basic to digital. If this call had come a year ago, I really would not have cared. This year I was thrown into a junkie’s cold sweat…without Sci Fi where would I get my Battlestar Galactica fix?

I don’t think it’s any accident that the channel with one of the best shows on right now is moving to the more expensive digital line up. As much as I hate having to spend more money (not to mention making room for a cable box), I understand that this is pretty good marketing. Comcast will undoubtedly see a pretty good spike in digital upgrades. So on Friday, I dutifully wanted for the cable guy to come install the new equipment. After he left I started sorting out my components and especially needed to get my TiVo box reconnected. It turned out that a change of programming source like this required repeating the initial setup process, not difficult, but time consuming.

Anyway, I’m pretty happy with the setup now and my Battlestar Galactica supply is once more secure. On top of that though, I’ve fallen in love with G4 Video Game Television, a network made for geeks and otaku, heaven on the wire! So at least I’m getting my money’s worth.

James Doohan Passes Away

When I saw the news today that James Doohan, best known for his portrayal of Scotty on Star Trek, had passed away at 85, my first thought was, "Wow! He had a good long run!" I then emailed the story to my friend Mark who is also Trek fan. Later I began to think about how much Doohan’s portrayal of the always harried, miracle working engineer of the Enterprise had influenced the path I have taken in my life. I don’t have any stories about how Scotty saved my life (for me that would be Spock and Jesus), but the can-do, fix anything attitude that permeates much of my outlook on life probably has its origins in Scotty’s engine room. For that I raise a virtual bottle of scotch and drink a toast to the finest engineer in Starfleet! Thank you Mr. Doohan for bringing him to life for me.

Da Vinci Code 1 Grinding 0

I didn’t get into the gaming grind I had originally planned last weekend mainly due to family activities and getting caught up in the Da Vinci Code which I finished last night. It may not qualify as the greatest literature of all time, but it was a very satisfying, gripping page turner which I enjoyed a great deal. The thing that made it so intriguing was that it sounds so very plausible. Without giving anything away, I think very conservative Christians are going to hate this, especially if the upcoming movie is faithful to the book. I haven’t stayed up late with a book like this since I read The Prince years ago!

Enterprise: Going Down With The Ship

It’s funny, as bad as Star Trek: Enterprise and Star Trek: Voyager were, I never really gave up on them. Maybe I’m the eternal optimist or just a rabid fanboy (nah), but I always want to see how a story ends. I don’t remember ever walking out on a movie no matter how bad. Sometimes the hope that things will get better pays off. Next Generation, Babylon 5, Deep Space Nine, and Farscape all had less than stellar beginnings, but ripened into very good series filled with characters one could love, hate, and really give a crap about.

So even after getting yelled at by my lovely wife tonight for watching Enterprise, I’m going to be watching until the last show. Enterprise has gotten a little better and there are even some characters that I care a little bit about. But I’m also looking forward to pouring over the repeats like in the old days, digging out every nugget of meaning. I guess the fanboy never really dies!

Battlestar Galactica

It’s been said by others on the net and right now I’d have to agree. The new Battlestar Galactica is the best science fiction show on tv. I remember being fond of the original Battlestar Galactica when it first aired, but this new show is a different animal. Hey! Someone got some Babylon 5 in my Battlestar Galactica! Really, I like the new Battlestar because of the same kind of grittiness and realistic characters that Babylon 5 had. I also like the parallel plot lines and all of the conflict and tension surrounding Boomer’s Cylon identity (Grace Park….mmmmmm). This show will rip your heart out with its flawed and conflicted characters. There’s no guarantee here that the good guys will beat the bad guys or that there is always a clear distinction between the two.

Like Babylon 5, my hope is that a complete story arch is planned with a beginning, a middle, and an end, rather than just continuing the series until the ratings drop.

Star Trek Enterprise Cancelled

It was with some sadness mixed with relief that I received the news of Star Trek Enterprise’s cancellation last week. I’ve been a Star Trek fan for most of my life and in a lot of ways I feel like I grew up on the Enterprise of the original series. The lessons from the original Star Trek still shape much of how I see the world. So I was certainly happy when the series was revived with new movies and television series.

The revival was a rocky one, beginning with a motion picture whose reach far outstripped its grasp and then a new tv series that was quite awkward the first couple of seasons. But improved writing and  great acting eventually gave us two great new series. Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine developed into wonderful shows that faithfully fleshed out and extended the Star Trek universe. They also, IMHO gave a new lease on life to science fiction on television. Babylon 5, one of the greatest science fiction series ever, might not have gotten its chance if the new Trek series had not demonstrated the new viability of SF on tv. The same might be said for Stargate, and Farscape (another favorite) as well.

It seems that all good things must come to an end though, as the final Trek series largely failed to live up to the standards of the previous series. Star Trek: Voyager was the beginning of the end as the writing just never got up to speed. Not only that, it seemed that the cast of Voyager never jelled as a team. I never got the impression from what I saw and read, that the cast of Voyager even liked each other. When a cast doesn’t work well together, it can only limit what the writers can do. As for Enterprise, I think there were some good ideas there but they just couldn’t get it together. That whole Xindi thing was a terrible detour from what should have been a story of early pre-Federation history. Deep Space Nine did a great job of introducing some new civilizations and making them a part of the Star Trek universe, why couldn’t Enterprise?

I think that in the end, the powers that be tried too hard to make Enterprise like any other show on tv today. Yeah, more sex, and more  violence. Star Trek has never been about that! Bigger boobs and fighting that makes no sense will never hold the Star Trek fan’s interest for very long. And everyone else gets tired of it too. Perhaps if Star Trek: Enterprise had spent more time exploring strange new worlds and boldly going where no one had gone before, it would have had better ratings.