Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Stargate Universe, created by Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper: a Television Review

Synopsis:

Icarus Base is located on a remote planet as part of the SGC.  The current team run by Dr. Nicholas Rush believe that they could extend the range of the Stargate by utilizing the naqudria located in the core of the planet that is currently powering the Stargate.

To date only 7 chevrons have been used with regularity on any Stargate allowing travelers to pass through to other planets within their galaxy.  Adding an 8th chevron allows for travel to another galaxy but takes on a huge amount of power usually from something like a ZPM (a very powerful battery).  To fathom a 9th chevron is seen as boarding on insanity.

When Dr. Rush creates a video game to try and find the most brilliant minds across Earth to help him solve and test his theory he is presented with Eli Wallace, a mathematics genius.  Rush is joined by Wallace as well as Chloe Armstrong (the daughter of the Senator funding the Icarus Project) and several of the military members on the base in order to solve what the Ancients have laid out as a possibility.

As the group tries to figure out how to achieve the connection of a 9th chevron, they get devastating news.  The core of the planet is rendered unstable after an attack from an alien race known as the Lucian Alliance.  Attempting to contact earth Rush realizes that the impending explosion of the planet will just follow them through the wormhole and takes the chance at dialing a 9th chevron.  As it locks the survivors make it through the gate and end up aboard an old starship.

Destiny has its own abilities and mission, only dropping out of hyperspace in order to connect its Stargate to others in the network.  No one can control the ship.  The survivors are at the mercy of the ship itself as it drops in and out of hyperspace for limited amounts of time.

What are the survivors to do when they have no control over the ship they are stranded on?  Will they ever get back to Earth?  And just what problem is Destiny supposed to be solving…

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction, Military

-Creator: created by Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper

-Length: 2 Seasons, 40 Episodes (43 minutes each), with an additional 34 Webisodes

-Rating: currently unrated- most likely TV-14 based on other country codes (for mild sex and nudity, mild violence and gore, mild profanity, mild use of alcohol and other substances, mild frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Robert Carlyle, Lousi Ferreira, brian J. Smith, Elyse Levesque, David Blue, Alaina Huffman, Jamil Walker Smith, Ming-Na Wen

-Page of Reference in RP1:

Review (contains spoilers):

I’m only 3 episodes into this series at them moment.  Who ever had the genius idea to make the first five episodes of this show a 3-part episode and a 2-part episode was seriously overestimating the fact that people can or will want pay attention to brand new characters for that long…  it was a bad move on the part of Wright and Cooper in this case. 

Even with SG-1 and Atlantis the first few episodes did introduce new characters but they were amidst characters we were already familiar with from either the film or the previous series.

There just isn’t a lot to say at this point…I really think going with the set up they did with the first season was not only detrimental to the composition of the show but is also difficult for long time fans. Especially on the heels of a BRILLIANT series in the Stargate world with Atlantis.

Season 1:

Season 2:

Rating:

Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Stargate Atlantis, created by Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper: a Television Review

Synopsis:

After the (accidental) discovery of a second Stargate on earth by the original SG-1 team, a new team has been studying the technology in the areas around the gate.  They have found that the gate system wasn’t actually created by the Goul’d as originally thought.  Another alien race, called The Ancients, are actually the ones who created the Stargate.

With this information the team working at the second gate finds even more technology and the information that the gate (which up till now has only been able to utilize 7 of the chevrons on the gate) is actually capable of FAR more so long as it has a power source to do so.

Dr. Elizabeth Weir is granted the opportunity to take a team on a mission through the Stargate to another galaxy powering the gate long enough to dial the 8th chevron and establishing a wormhole to the distant Atlantean gate.  As they proceed with the mission it becomes apparent that while the team made it through (one that is quite a bit larger than the teams we are used to seeing go through the gate) they may not be coming back to the Milky Way Galaxy anytime soon.

Pair that with a new big bad and suddenly the reason the Ancients left their beloved Atlantis is vitally clear.  What will the team do? And how will they survive the strange and frightening war they have somehow awakened by simply being in the city?

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Action

-Creator: Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper

-Length: 5 seasons, 100 episodes, 45 minutes per episode

-Rating: TV-PG (rare sex and nudity, moderate violence and gore, science-fiction themes, mild profanity, some use of alcohol and smoking, intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: DVD, Blue-Ray, or find it at your local library

-Main Cast: Joe Flanigan, Torri Higginson, Rachel Luttrell, Rainbow Sun Francks, David Hewlett, Jason Momoa, Paul McGillion, Amanda Tapping, Jewel Staite, Robert Picardo

-Page of Reference in RPO: 215

Review (contains spoilers):

Season 1:

This was a really great start to the spinoff of the wildly popular Stargate SG-1.  It has a great cast, some familiar and some new which is nice for the transition to the new show.  This season takes place during season 8 of Stargate SG-1 so there is some but not a lot of overlap and while the show can be watched independently of any other knowledge of the other show it is helpful to have some of the background for a full experience.

The new Atlantis team is comprised in a similar format to the team we fell in love with during Stargate SG-1.  You have the brainy scientist, the headstrong military man, a kickass lady and a strong but kind alien who they pick up on some mission.  Occasionally they get joined by other characters.  Mostly the head of medical who adds a sweet but sassy tone to the group.

This season is a lot of set up but not in a way that is condescending or heavy.  We learn as the team learns.  Action and exploration reign over the story which is one of the best parts of Stargate and one of the reasons I love it so much.  It has some serious Star Trek vibes but way more action.  This is a great start to the new series.

Season 2:

Michael…. Oh Michael.  Not really sure what to say about this season.  Between the experiment to change the Wraith to humans and Ford getting changed into a superhuman/Wraith hybrid…thing… there is just a LOT going on.

Rodney has a lot in this season between blowing up a star system, getting someone stuck in his head, getting caught in a virtual reality, gets caught in a sunken jumper and

We get introduced to Ronin and he joins the team.  Hilarity and danger ensue.

Shepard and the team discover how Wraith became Wraith and Shepard ends up feeling a little bit of how the whole process goes.  He even gets the chance to Ascend…though that doesn’t go as well as one would hope…or maybe it does since he is still with the team.

The Genii come back in and Atlantis comes to their aid. The team messes up a bunch and ends up with a Atlantean warship. And they learn a lot along the way.

Overall a great season full of action and intrigue. A definite push into the third season with some great storylines coming to fruition.

Season 3:

This season was full of ups and downs for the team and for my emotions. By now we have gotten to know the team and things have gotten hairy. It is important to note that this season takes place during the same time as season 10 of Stargate SG-1.

We have a few big things that happen: the ancients appear, the replicators (yes like the ones from Stargate SG-1) have taken a unique form, we lose someone dear to the team, McKay nearly ascends, Atlantis is attacked (as usual), and we end up in a vicious attack that almost ends in the destruction of the entire crew.

Between the explosions and the nanites, the replicators and the general battles that the Atlantis crew must deal with, this show is constantly full of action.  It is one of the most captivating and entertaining science-fiction shows ever created.  And this season didn’t disappoint.

I had to hold off on watching the finale episode because I had the foresight (watching this on Amazon Prime Video/DVD much after the show was over) that this would be a three-part episode and that some very upsetting things happen in the episodes… it took me a while to get into the headspace to watch it.  I’m glad that I did because boy was the end of this season heavy and I’m super glad I didn’t have to wait the summer to get to the next two episodes

Season 4:

So, season four starts off high on the emotions.  With the first two episodes being the continuation of the season three finale, we start the season off on a really nerve-wracking foot.  We nearly lose Dr. Weir…and then we lose her in a different way. We nearly lose Atlantis all together. And they have to find another new planet.  Not exactly the smoothest moments for the team.

The Replicators have become another big bad though Atlantis has reactivated the Wraith attack code in their makeup.  They seem to also want Ascend…which isn’t as easy as it seems for some bits of metal with incredible technology. 

We get more information on Ronin’s past. There is a lot of body hijacking, kidnapping, loss of memory and other diseases…just a lot of general insanity. We get to see how awesome the new head of medical is and how she will fit into the general makeup of the team and everything as a whole.

Rodney’s past comes back, and his sister gets kidnapped to solve a problem on Earth.  He also learns that maybe he isn’t the most adept at things outside of his world of technology.

The gate bridge to get from Atlantis is created and invaded during the course of this season.  Ronin and McKay have to join up to save Earth and Atlantis.

We get more information about Tayla and the missing Ethosians from earlier in the season. Beckett makes a surprise return in an incredibly interesting way (I was super thrilled to see him because his death at the end of season 3 really hit me hard).

This was really a great season. A lot of action. A lot of intrigue. And one of the craziest ends to a season…and I really enjoyed seeing how they solved a problem thousands of years in the future.  I can’t wait to see what happens with the next season.

Season 5:

This feels like the start to an excellent ending of the series though I do believe that the show could have fun for another 2-3 seasons without becoming tiresome or repetitive.  Todd becomes a big character which is incredibly interesting to see, especially as he is a Wrath and normally not someone the team interacts with kindly or well.  We get to see more aspects of the Atlantis team.

Zelinka gets the chance to shine throughout the season as does Dr. Keller.  We get to see the strong character we knew she would become (and know from her performance as Kaylee in Firerfly).  Woosley also gets the chance to step up in, what is my least favorite television trope: the clip show.  It was nice to see him step into the role that was so beautifully performed by both Elizabeth Wier and Sam Carter (of SG-1 fame).

The social interactions of the team as well as things like the reintroduction of Dr. Carson, Michael and Todd are all things that create a solid show.  It really is this aspect that makes me sad to see the show end after only 100 episodes.  Rarely do I wish for a show to continue to past its expiration date but this is one that I do wish had continued on past its final season.

Having watched the season finale I have just two things that bothered me.  One is that I felt the second to last episode was quite out of place with its style.  I understand that it was to set up what happened in the final episode but still…. very odd, yet very well-done CSI episode.  Second was that the final episode should have been at least two episodes long.  There were a few times in the series where a two-part episode didn’t feel needed but then this time it should have and they didn’t.  Just a weird choice in my opinion.

I highly recommend this show.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Stargate SG-1, created by Brad Wright and Johnathan Glassner: a Television Review

Synopsis:

A year after the team gets back from their mission to Abydos through the Stargate the program is nearly shut down.  In fact, they haven’t been able to keep the whole program afloat after not finding another gate address to work.

When suddenly the gate opens.  And the entire team is called back in for questioning, some being recalled to duty after retirement.  As the team gets official recalled and sent back to Abydos to retrieve Daniel Jackson the planet is attacked and his wife as well as her brother are taken by the same people who attacked the Earth gate.

They proceed back through the gate determined to find her and her little brother.  The show follows their adventures as the team goes through the gate to planet after planet to find them and bring them home.

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Military Action/Adventure

-Creator: Brad Wright and Johnathan Glassner

-Length: 10 Seasons, 214 episodes, 45 minutes per episode

-Rating: TV-PG (mild sexual moments and sexual innuendo, moderate violence and gore, moderate science-fiction themes, mild profanity, some alcohol and smoking, intense scenes throughout), please note that on the DVDs the first episode of the show is RATED R for full female nudity that was not in any other part of the series…

-Where to Watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, YouTube (buy or rent), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library!

-Main Cast: Richard Dean Anderson, Amanda Tapping, Michael Shanks, Christopher Judge, Don S. Davis, Corin Nemec, Ben Browder, Beau Bridges, Claudia Black

-Page of Reference in RPO: 215

Review (contains spoilers):

Season 1:

I defiantly recommend watching the movie before jumping into this show.  While not essential as the cast is different and they do a decent job explaining the gist of what happened I feel like it gives you a good base to go off of.  And the nostalgia of the film is there in the beginning.

I absolutely love that they kept the feeling of all of the characters from the film.  Everyone does a fantastic job just taking what happened and was portrayed in the film and adding to them.  The depth that the new cast draws from and creates in the over arcing story is just wonderful and the new characters introduced fit well and have a story all of their own.

This season is not without its faults or hardships.  Like so many other science-fiction shows (like Star Trek: The Next Generation, Farscape and even Eureka) this first season has its ups and downs.  As a die-hard fan there are many episodes in the first season that I just skip as I feel they add little to the show overall.  These filler types of episodes are difficult to get through and I’m very glad the show got picked up for a second season after the first.

The build of the team is solid and while it plays on some typical science-fiction stereotypes (the geek, the soldier, the scientist, the alien…etc) the writers and actors seem to do justice to the ideas while still finding the unique story telling moments that are needed to make the series thrive.

Get through season one and I promise you will truly get into a series worth watching.

Season 2:

This season has a lot of forward momentum for the show. The ups and downs as well as the filler episodes from season one have been pushed to the wayside for the most part.  Most of the episodes here are important to the formation of the overarching story that will continue to carry through the next several seasons.

We get to meet some key players this season including the Tok’ra, a subsect of the G’ould species, that have morals and a decent head on their shoulders.  They do things differently in that they do not forcibly take hosts but have a truly symbiotic relationship with their willing host for the mutual benefit of both of them. Which is great as Sam’s dad comes into play and eventually becomes the Earth/Tok’ra liaison… as a Tok’ra host.

We discover more about The Four Races found in the information with Ernest. We get information about both the Asgaurd and the Ancients.  Apophasis is finally killed…but we have yet to get back Daniel’s wife.  Its almost worse at this point as earlier in the season we almost got her back.

While there are emotional ups and downs season two is a solid season, setting up much of what we will find happening in the upcoming universe…and the beginnings of the spin off show Stargate Atlantis.

Season 3:

Season 4:

Season 5:

Season 6:

Season 7:

Season 8:

Season 9:

Season 10:

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Stargate, created by Roland Emmerich: a Film Review

Synopsis:

In 1928 a giant ring was discovered in the sands of Giza.  The symbols on the ring were foreign but the cover stone placed in front of it had ancient Egyptian markings on it.

When a young Egyptologist and linguist, Daniel Jackson, gets laughed out of every single institution he has tried to pitch his bizarre idea that aliens might have been involved in many ancient societies, mainly Egyptian culture, he is approached by Catherine Langford to come and translate a series of symbols her team has been unable to make heads or tails of.

As he studies the cover stone, he translates one set of glyphs as “stargate” which use constellations to coordinate the destinations of the stars.  When they use the symbols that Jackson discovered the Stargate, an actual entity that was pulled out of the desert in Giza, a wormhole is created, and a probe is sent through to see what may be on the other side.

They get the all-clear to go to the other planet, a team of military men accompanied by Jackson step though the Gate and enter the arid desert planet of Abydos.  They locate the way to get back home but without the correct combination the team may never get back.

As they explore the outlying area near the gate, they discover a civilization not much more advanced than where the Egyptians were thought to be when they buried the Gate themselves.  As Jackson tries to communicate with the people of the planet, which they discover is called Abydos, his necklace (given to him by Langford) is revealed and the people drop to their knees.  They believe that he is sent from their god Ra to speak on his behalf.

The team begins to uncover what is actually going on upon the planet and who Ra actually is…a threat to both Abydos and Earth alike.  They begin to formulate a plan.  And when Colonel Jack O’Neil reveals that he has been sent on this mission with a nuclear bomb the whole team wonders if it may not be the fact that they cannot find the coordinates to get home that will be the end of their lives.

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Adventure

-Creator: Roland Emmerich

-Length: 121 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (for moderate science-fiction violence and gore, mild sex and nudity, moderate profanity, mild use of tobacco and alcohol, moderate frightening scenes)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Kurt Russell, James Spader, Jayne Davidson, Viveca Lindfors, Alexis Cruz, Mili Avital, Leon Rippy, John Diehl, Erik Avari, French Stewart, Carlos Lauchu

-Page of Reference in RP1: 215

Review (contains spoilers):

This is probably my favorite science-fiction film of all time.  I watch a lot of sci-fi but rarely does a story capture my attention the way this one does.  For me it has a similar idea to Star Trek…exploration of another world and culture.  Daniel Jackson is by far my favorite character.  And this carries into the show even after the actor changes.

I love the world that they set up in this film.  The creatures that enslave people in the name of a god they take the mantle of.  It left so much potential in the universe for the world to be expanded…and expand they did.

There is so much here that can be noted and explored.  The psychology that Ra uses to suppress the people from the banishment of written language to the suppression of technology.  The fear and the legends.  The pain that the team is running from. Jack from the death of his son and Daniel from the death of his parents. 

The movie is complex and deep with so very many layers.  There are heartfelt moments, bits of comedy, drama and fear…it really is a very beautifully put together film that I have watched many times and spawned one of my all time favorite television series.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.