Greetings and salutations fellow enthusiasts, welcome. At the top of the news, we have the long-awaited word regarding the return of the Stargate franchise in some form in the (hopefully near) future.
I’m so excited about this I had to write it down to share right away. Stargate SG-1 co-creator Brad Wright has publically acknowledged the fact that he has been in contact with MGM about the Stargate brand, after a years-long period of disconnect between the two parties following the abrupt cancellation of Stargate Universe in 2011. Now, that doesn’t mean fans should expect a full-fledged new TV series anytime soon, but Wright said MGM seemed open to conversations and was receptive to his wish to honor the hundreds of hours of world-building and television that had come before via SG-1, Stargate Atlantis and Universe.
So say we all.
Also in the news, this week is the first trailer for the comics-based series The Umbrella Academy, a new series coming from Netflix, and this one sure looks like fun.
Similar to Watchmen, The Umbrella Academy takes place in an alternate timeline shaped by variations on major historical events. The story begins with the immaculate conception and sudden birth of 43 infants around the world. Seven surviving children get adopted by Sir Reginald Hargreeves, a mysterious and wealthy philanthropist, who intends to help them master each of their superpowers to save the world from a coming crisis. However, he dies, leaving the orphans on their own.
The Umbrella Academy premieres on Friday, February 15 on Netflix.
Next up, on another front, we have some new genre animation to check out called gen:LOCK a CGI mecha series strongly reminiscent of the Macross/Robotech cartoons from decades ago with some more sophisticated, modern touches including better art and animation, but since it’s digital CGI, not analog, there are some who may not care for the series.
Recruits include Maisie Williams as the Scottish tech wiz Cammie MacCloud, Kōichi Yamadera as the enigmatic Kazu Iida, Golshifteh Farahani as the no-nonsense Yasmin “Yaz” Madrani, Asia Kate Dillon as the tough-as-nails Valentina “Val” Romanyszyn, Blaine Gibson as the suave Sinclair and David Tennant as the brains behind the operation, Dr. Rufus Weller, a.k.a. Doc. It’s this team, along with some unexpected allies and surprising enemies, that will be the last hope for the future of Polity.
and now for some commentary on this weeks shows… (caution, may contain some spoilers)
DEADLY CLASS (s01e02): Deadly Class did not make much a favorable impression in its second outing, after enjoying a promising-looking first episode. Despite the show’s attempts to seem more theatrical, the series failed to get me fully engaged in a world populated by spoiled, sarcastic, rich kids. It looked like the same old YA material.attempting to be cool by putting on some new outfits and haircuts, making the series seem like a weak attempt to capture the same quality as a film like Clockwork Orange or some other movie about violent youth trying to be the baddest clowns around the hood.
This show is a character-driven series, and it’s left up to you to decide which characters you like and dislike, and I don’t find many of these characters all that interesting with only a couple of exceptions. A lot of these kids seem more like generic cliches right now, more than real people but perhaps with some good enough writing the show’s characters will distinguish themselves and grow on me with time.
THE ORVILLE (s02e05: The faux Trek series second season shifted gears again last week. After starting the season dwelling on a couple of episodes revolving around personal relationships, The series offered up a more classic Trek-style narrative this week. Once you get past the silliness of the specific reasons for the conflict of interests in the story, it was an excellent discussion about religion, or dogma vs. science in an entertaining manner that somewhat served to camouflage one of the show’s most intelligent, most profound and most universal themes yet. This week’s chapter was an excellent episode of the show’s sophomore season and shows this series may be more than a flash in the pan.
The episode also introduced Lt Kittan’s replacement, Lt. Talla Keylai (Jessica Szohr) a character who seems to be the polar opposite of her replacement, more aggressive, older, and a lot more confident. The show stopped short of coming right out and telling us in no uncertain terms that she is an outer-space dyke; going to take a while to warm up to this one.
Coincidentally, once again the show touched on the same situation faced by Capt Pike in that other series, a classic piece of the Trek canon; the Prime Directive. Both Captains handled the situation in ways that served to define their characters someone who is flexible enough sometimes to bend the rules when needed and serve up some intelligently discreet compassion.
STAR TREK DISCOVERY (s02e02): Disco provided a classic Trek episode directed by Star Trek: The Next Generation’s alum Johnathan Frakes this week, with the crew of Discovery working to save the planet in question while an away team is on the same newly discovered planet’s surface.
With Capt Pike still in charge, the Discovery continues its travels as part of their ongoing mission to figure out what the heck the red signals mean. The ship and her crew discover the planet Terralisia, a (not too surprisingly) Earth-like globe on the other side of the galaxy with a small human population far beyond any previously recorded missions from Earth, that has been unknowingly sending the same distress message on repeat for the last 200 years. The mystery deepens when they learn that the people there were brought to the planet seemingly by one of the red signals; they saw the same angelic outline Michael did on the asteroid. Pike transitions his command to back to Saru who gracefully accepts and resumes control of the ship and its crew
While the away team is on the surface, the Discovery, under the command of Saru, is working to save the planet below from an apocalyptic event that could potentially wipe out the entire population. They use their combined know-how, with a uniquely inspired plan from Tilly, to save the day.
The episode finally gets around to telling us the truth about where Spock is; the whole Red Signal story is related to where he has gone. Spock has been having visions of the signals years before they appeared and left to seek the answers to explain their appearance.
The main thrust of the episode had to do with the same old classic debate surrounding the Prime Directive and non-interference in developing cultures not as advanced as the Federation, and it was a nicely done.
GOTHAM (s05e04): Like many of its characters, Gotham sometimes has a bipolar nature, it can be a series with absolutely no restraint. It’s a show that, at times, can’t seem to resist camp and excess, but at other times it can be a classy drama that allows viewers to experience poignancy, and that was the case when Haven got blown up and burned down last week.
Gotham stays focused this week with three concurrent storylines. First, we have the aftermath of the Haven attack. Gordon, Bullock, and Penguin all try to find the culprit that killed so many at haven. Secondly was the somewhat amusing return of Victor Zsasz, a character I have always enjoyed a great deal, and Thirdly, the continuing puzzle surrounding Edward Nygma and his recurring blackouts. Plus we were finally treated to an appearance by Jeremiah who has proven somewhat elusive so far this season. There was also a shocking development that occurred between Barbara and Gordon.
The series writers pulled a fast one on me with last week’s televised chapter, they had me concerned that in their final season they had written a filler episode, and I did not, could not, want to believe what my eyes and brain were telling me might be true, and I was right; it wasn’t true at all. The show’s sadistic creators intentionally made it seem like a lackluster episode as a set-up to emphasize the drama of events it was saving for later in the chapter. With the death of a significant character, the show has previously worked hard to convince us was unstoppable and would be around until the dark and bitter end.
This unexpected development works to define the final season’s theatricality and the fact that this the end, for real this time, there are consequences that it might not be possible to shrug off or bounce back from; in its final season, Gotham is playing for keeps.
Selena’s dark evolution seemed to reach its climax, which makes me wonder what follows for the show’s treatment of the character. There was also the surprising reveal of the season’s true villain who blew up Gordon’s Haven with an RPG. Like many others, I suspected Ras’alGhul or some other shadowy figure but the show has been dangling clues right under our noses the entire time, and it got stealthfully and nicely done – very clever folks, very clever indeed.