Tag Archives: TV

Tony & Paul’s 90’s Kids Show Intro Challenge

My brother-in-law Paul bet me I couldn’t name at least 3 of 5 of the TV shows we watched as kids just from the music in the intro. I set out to prove him wrong. No.2 is a British show so don’t be surprised if you aren’t from the UK and don’t recognise it.

PLEASE EXCUSE the clip that displays alcohol. I assure you we were sober when coming up with the idea and making this video…Honest…

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REVIEW: Star Trek TOS “The Ultimate Computer”

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The Enterprise is summoned to a space station where Dr. Richard Daystrom installs his revolutionary computer M-5, to take control of all systems of the ship. The computer soon turns out to be superior to a human crew, in normal ship operations as well as in a simulated battle against another starship. Then, however, M-5 destroys an unmanned ore freighter, and a crewman is killed when he attempts to cut off the computer’s power. Unbeknownst of the situation on the Enterprise, as M-5 has disabled any communication, a task force of four starships under Commodore Wesley continues the simulated attacks. M-5 takes the battle seriously, cripples the fleet and kills hundreds of crewmen. Daystrom has programmed M-5 with his own engrams, and Kirk uses this knowledge to convince the computer that it is guilty of murder and has to shut down. Wesley is authorized by Starfleet to destroy the Enterprise but he breaks off the attack when he notices that the ship is dead in the water.

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This episode has largely been categorised as one of the better action episodes of the original series. This is thanks largely to the eye candy of seeing more than one Federation starship and the subsequent wargames. Indeed, back in the day it was one of the best looking episodes that helped finally give the series the genuine feeling that there was more than one ship in Starfleet. In the digitally remastered version we get even more eye candy in the form of the ore freighter that wasn’t seen properly in the original episode for budgetary reasons. Now we see none other than a recreation of the freighter we saw in the Animated Series. That alone is enough to make the most avid Trekkie’s heart beat just that little bit faster.

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However if you scratch away this glossy surface we have one of the most philosophical episodes of Star Trek ever; long before Star Trek: The Next Generation’s classic “Measure of a Man.” The question the episode asks is an old one; should machines do the work of man and if so what becomes of the man? This is Kirk’s question more than anyone else’s in the episode as the M-5 is aimed directly at replacing the decision making capability of a starship. Kirk feels useless in this episode in the face of the M-5 hence Commodore Wesley’s “Captain Dunsel” remark but alas we can’t have a TV show about a computer piloting a starship and so naturally the computer goes bad. One thing that does pop up briefly is that the ore freighter is unmanned which tells us already that some of the more mundane yet essential jobs in space are already entirely mechanised so it would appear starfleet has been heading toward an unmanned future for some time before the M-5.

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But the thought process behind Daystrom and his creation make us ask intriguing questions not just about this fictitious universe we like to sit and watch of an evening but also about our own future in space travel. Even if we discard the distances and time involved in space travel we are still left with an extremely hostile environment in which to go gallivanting around in cooped up inside a metal box. Is it wise therefore to say “What the Hell; we can go there so let’s go.” Science fiction is filled with examples of how this can be a bad idea not just for the crew of whatever ship we are travelling on this week but also for humanity itself. Death, disease, war, alien influences on human culture – it seems we don’t need to leave our planet to be affected by what goes on out there.

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This was touched upon briefly in Star Trek: Enterprise’s 4th season when there are Humans who believe that Starfleet’s exploration of space is advertising Earth’s presence to hostile aliens that didn’t seem bothered before warp flight. This is something Daystrom seems to have forgotten since he envisions a future where nobody dies in space exploration because machines are expendable.

Men no longer need die in space or on some alien world! Men can live and go on to achieve greater things than fact-finding and dying for galactic space, which is neither ours to give or to take!

– Daystrom, defending the need for the M-5

This leads him to fall in to the trap of many a scientist in science fiction who develop supercomputers or robots – he builds a machine that learns but still considers it expendable. Therefore surely there is the danger that this machine will learn that it is not expendable or, like HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey, it may judge its own importance in completing a given mission to be greater than the survival of a few humans in an unfortunate circumstance.

Ultimately, what this episode concludes is that the human spirit will always have a place. It was a foregone conclusion and is something that continues throughout all of Star Trek. As Captain Archer onboard the Enterprise NX-01 will later (or already said in canon);

“Starfleet could’ve sent a probe out here to make maps and take pictures, but they didn’t. They sent us so we could explore with our own senses.”

COUNTDOWN: Top 5 Things Star Trek: Enterprise Did Right

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In many ways Star Trek: Enterprise has become Star Trek’s Phantom Menace in that it is a prequel that has become almost cliché to poke fun of. I am not going to stand here and argue that Enterprise was the best series of Star Trek because it wasn’t. What I am going to say in this article is that it wasn’t as bad as many make out and while much of the first two seasons were mostly recycled plots from previous Star Trek shows there were some hidden gems and a sign of the promise the show had.

PLEASE NOTE; This is just my opinion but I would be interested in hearing what you have to think.


Technological Inferiority

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Like many fans, when I saw the Enterprise NX-01 for the first time my response was “That looks like the Akira-class from Star Trek: First Contact! I thought it was supposed to be set before Kirk?” The most important thing about first impressions of a new Star Trek is the ship and the creators seemed to get it wrong. However…While it took a long time for people to warm to the Akiraprise, as some call it, one thing I have to say I really liked about it was that it was inferior to most of the enemies it faced. For the 30 years leading up to Star Trek: Enterprise we saw our heroes flying around the universe in the most advanced ship of its day. Now we had a ship that really felt like it was the cutting edge of human technology but since humans were new to spaceflight they weren’t the best on the block. In fact the ship didn’t even have shields and in an early episode we saw one of the really awful early torpedoes get shot out of the sky. Over time the NX-01 became more advanced and we started to see some of the more familiar technologies enter service like Photonic torpedoes but even in the last season the Enterprise was still largely the underdog. I really liked this.

“Evil” Vulcans

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OK they weren’t evil exactly but certainly there was an antagonist element about how they were portrayed in Star Trek: Enterprise. This was another of those decisions that seemed to anger militant Trekkies because since the very early days the Vulcans were seen as both peace loving and close friends with humanity. What those Trekkies seem to forget however is that we are seeing an earlier Vulcan people here who aren’t the intellectual element of an alliance of planets but rather they are their own people who have enemies and are cautious about their dealings with humanity who after all hadn’t long come out of a Third World War and were now joining the space faring nations of the galaxy. There is even a brilliant line where Suval actually tells Admiral Forest that humans achieved far more than Vulcan did in the same timeframe and that many Vulcans are fearful of what humans will achieve in the future. Translated, this means that some Vulcans in the 22nd century are afraid of being displaced by humanity in terms of galactic importance which in a roundabout way is exactly what happens. From the Vulcan point of view therefore it is understandable that they are distrustful of humans. One final note; we need to remember that there have been ‘bad guy’ Vulcans before including one who wanted to play Baseball with Sisko to prove Vulcans are better than humans – that’s racist isn’t it?

Racist Humans

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Overnight humans became wonderful and peace loving? CRAP! Perhaps the biggest thing Star Trek: Enterprise contributed to the Star Trek universe more than anything was showing the transitionary period for humanity and how that by the 22nd century there were still those who were fearful of aliens because they were different. Even better and perhaps more relevant for the 21st century audience was the fact that this racism was largely caused by an alien attack which lends weight behind why these racist elements are still thriving. This mirrors the post-9/11 world where many Muslims feel that the West has the view that all followers of the Islamic faith are terrorists which of course is absolute nonsense. I would have liked to see more of this but sadly the show finished before it could be explored further.

Trip and T’Pol

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Romances between central characters has been met with mixed responses from fans in the past. Some really worked well (Worf and Jadzia Dax in DS9) and some really didn’t work well at all (Chakotay and Seven in Voyager). Trip and T’Pol did work for me. Not only did it work but it actually interested me. In a pseudo kind of way we saw a little something of what Spock’s parents went through with all the dilemma of a love across species although in this case the genders are reversed. Connor Trinneer and Jolene Blalock had wonderful on-screen chemistry and many of their scenes were emotional in the later seasons. Their relationship showed how their characters had evolved over the course of the show; they were perhaps the only characters who really did.

The Augment Saga

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In the show’s final season multi-part storylines became the order of the day. Without a doubt the most exciting was the three-part Augment story arc which saw Brent Spiner make a guest appearance as Arik Soong, a predecessor of Data’s creator Dr Noonien Soong. When first advertised, this fact was seen simply as a gimmick to try and pull back some of the old school fans who had given up on the show but this episode was much more than that. What we got was a thrilling trilogy that explores more of why genetic engineering is banned in the future and makes us question more about what it means to be human; something Star Trek has repeatedly done with mixed success. It was also brilliant to see the Augments demonstrate their agility and strength far more than we have seen before and it would be something we would see again in Khan himself in Star Trek Into Darkness. Spiner’s performance was flawless and it was great watching him play a character who has not only an abundance of emotion but is actually manipulative and antagonistic. Perhaps Data’s evil brother Lore has more in common with Arik Soong than Dr Noonien Soong would like to admit? This was Star Trek: Enterprise at its best.

There is no escaping it; Star Trek Enterprise was heavily flawed but does it really deserve the disdain it has received? No. Not in my opinion. I am not being a blind Trekkie here as I have already highlighted some of the show’s problems but there was some gold mixed in with the bronze.

REVIEW: The Real Ghostbusters 2×03 “Ragnarok and Roll”

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Jeremy is a young man hurt by the woman he loves who can’t return his affections and so decides that there is far too much pain in the world. Aided by his loyal yet reluctant companion DyTillio whom he saved from being run over by a car many years earlier he sets about a chain of events that will bring Ragnarok… the end of the world! The Ghostbusters devise a plan to stop Jeremy summoning Ragnarok but will involve the four of them being killed in a blast that will destroy a quarter of a mile of New York around them. Fortunately however DyTillio manages to convince Jeremy that what he is doing is wrong and Jeremy reverses the spell to summon Ragnarok.

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This was a surprisingly emotional episode being very character driven around the antagonist Jeremy and his companion DyTillio. Honestly, it feels like it’s their story and that the Ghostbusters are just there in the background. Their relationship is an interesting one. I found Jeremy very selfish in his motivation and to me the fact he is doing this because a girl didn’t return his affection made him seem like an angry teenager who hates the world as a result. That was probably Straczynski’s intention while writing this episode perhaps to help it relate to some of the older members of the audience. DyTillio seems to be following Jeremy through blind faith and later it becomes clear that he doesn’t support Jeremy’s actions. DyTillio was very obviously intended to be a Quasimodo type of character being physically unattractive but having a beautiful soul. The last scene of them with DyTillio hanging over the side of the building was especially touching.

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The first scene in this episode with the Ghostbusters in it has them facing these gargoyle-type creatures on the streets of New York. I don’t think it was intentional but Ghostbusters: The Video Game has a similar scene after the Sedgewick Hotel level. On a similar note however I felt the climax of this episode on top of the building was almost a complete rehash of the original movie complete with demonic voice in the cloud and the Ghostbusters ready to use their equipment to sacrifice themselves in order to save the world. They even had the Ghostbusters saying good bye to one another. I didn’t like it to be honest as I felt it was cheap in terms of writing. I also thought that the image of the demon in the sky was very Walt Disney looking like it had been taken from Sleeping Beauty or Snow White. This episode did have its light hearted moments however in particular with Peter and Cindy although again in this instance she was simply taking the role of Dana Barrat from the movie; i.e. she is simply there for the villain to have an interest in and for Peter to flirt with.

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On the whole this was an episode with a great start, an interesting villain with a strong emotion-based motivation for his actions and a sidekick who starts off quite low and then seizes the moral high ground at the end. Unfortunately it doesn’t hold well throughout becoming what feels like a retelling of the movie and therefore losing the worth it had established in the beginning.

Counting Down To Halloween With The Simpsons #3

The Simpsons Halloween Specials have become as much a part of Halloween as trick-or-treating. Ever since that first Treehouse of Horror episode way back in 1990 we have been thrilled by the one episode every season where all the rules are thrown out of the window and anything goes as The Simpsons pay homage to classic horror movies and TV series such as The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits and Alfred Hitchcock Presents…

To celebrate this tradition we are going to be posting quotes, reviews, trivia and pictures as we await the arrival of All Hallow’s Eve. Dust off the fake fangs, unscrew the bottle of fake blood because here at the Order of Trinity we’re counting down to Halloween with The Simpsons.


#3 The Amusing Tombstones

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In the first five Treehouse of Horrors the episodes began with the camera view passing through a cemetery. In the cemetery there are numerous tombstones with funny epitaphs written on them. The source of these epitaphs varied and included the names of cancelled shows from the previous TV season and deceased celebrities including “Walt Disney” and “Jim Morrison” (complete with hippy sat in front of it mourning his dead icon). One tombstone had an inscription that read “TV violence” that was riddled with bullets as the camera passed by it.

They were last used in Treehouse of Horror V after which they were discontinued. While the writers found them easy to do at first it soon became difficult to keep them fresh and funny. As a final salute to the ongoing gag a solitary tombstone with the words “Amusing Tombstones” was put in the opening of Treehouse of Horror V to signal that now too these gags were dead.

Counting Down To Halloween With The Simpsons #2

The Simpsons Halloween Specials have become as much a part of Halloween as trick-or-treating. Ever since that first Treehouse of Horror episode way back in 1990 we have been thrilled by the one episode every season where all the rules are thrown out of the window and anything goes as The Simpsons pay homage to classic horror movies and TV series such as The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits and Alfred Hitchcock Presents…

To celebrate this tradition we are going to be posting quotes, reviews, trivia and pictures as we await the arrival of All Hallow’s Eve. Dust off the fake fangs, unscrew the bottle of fake blood because here at the Order of Trinity we’re counting down to Halloween with The Simpsons.


#2 Marge’s Warning

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On October 25th 1990 The Simpsons aired the first Treehouse of Horror. Before the episode even began however Marge appears from behind a red curtain like the ones seen at movie theatres and says;

Hello, everyone. You know, Halloween is a very strange holiday. Personally, I don’t understand it. Kids worshipping ghosts, pretending to be devils. Things on TV that are completely inappropriate for young viewers. Things like the following half-hour! Nothing seems to bother my kids, but tonight’s show—which I totally wash my hands of—is really scary. So if you have sensitive children, maybe you should tuck them in early tonight instead of writing us angry letters tomorrow. Thanks for your attention.

This became one of the trademark moments of the Halloween specials that people remember the most even though it was only done in three of the twenty four Halloween episodes.

What few people realize however is that in the very first Treehouse of Horror this warning was not a gag or gimmick as it became later but was meant to be taken seriously. In 2014 The Simpsons have pretty much become part of the furniture in western society so its easy to forget that when it first aired in 1989 it was a highly controversial show. It was one of the only family shows that actually displayed conflict amongst the family members as opposed to the family facing outside antagonists and many conservative elements felt that this along with the dis-respective nature of Bart to his elders was diluting the view of the traditional nuclear family. The part about “letter writing” in Marge’s warning was a reference to the protests the show received.

With this backdrop its easy to understand why the producers of The Simpsons were nervous about the Halloween episode fearing it could be a step too far and so felt they needed to warn viewers before the episode began. Unfortunately it had the opposite effect and people assumed it was just a gag.

REVIEW: Star Trek Voyager “Riddles”

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Tuvok and Neelix are returning from a trade mission aboard the Delta Flyer when Tuvok is attacked by a mysterious cloaked intruder. The attack leaves Tuvok with amnesia and as such he develops emotion and new interests. Meanwhile Janeway with the help of an alien official goes in search of the cloaked aliens in order to find the weapon that hit Tuvok to help the Doctor develop a way to heal him and restore who he was. However Tuvok is unsure as to whether he wants to return to his old self.

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The main purpose of this episode is to explore Neelix and Tuvok’s relationship by allowing Tuvok to close down his logical barriers and see things as Neelix does. I was uncertain how interested I would be with this but actually Tim Russ and Ethan Phillips both give wonderful performances that add real substance to the characters. It’s a testament to Ethan Phillips’ ability to emote despite the extensive prosthetics he is required to wear. The search for the aliens is relegated to a B-plot in this episode but is still interesting. All the way through however I suspected that Naroq’s people, the Kesat, were not as innocent as Naroq appears. This is something the writers of “Voyager” liked to do a lot but I was pleasantly surprised that for me at least the twist came that there wasn’t the twist I was expecting.

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This is one of Star Trek’s more touching episodes and is an exploration of our characters rather than space. We are mostly exploring Neelix’s persistent efforts to befriend Tuvok over the previous six years and how they have achieved very little. I have to admit when Tuvok realizes how he has behaved toward Neelix Tim Russ gave a very emotional performance and I was a little choked up. It showed that Neelix was a true friend even if that friendship wasn’t wholly returned. I was then infuriated by Tuvok at the end when he returned to normal and treated Neelix like normal. I left this episode disliking Tuvok immensely. For someone who is supposed to be emotionless he displays irritation regularly. One touch I did like, intentional or not, was Tuvok’s new found interest in cooking which was a nod to the season two episode “Tuvix”.

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Watching Naroq reminded me of Fox Mulder in the early episodes of “The X-Files” just far more annoying. That being said I have to say I was touched by his own sacrifice of his equipment at the end. The annoying enthusiasm we saw in the first half of the episode actually added weight to this sacrifice as I got the feeling he really was giving up his life’s work even after getting so close. Perhaps he had gone far enough with Voyager’s crew to satisfy his own curiosity.

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For “Star Trek: Voyager” this was an above average episode with a deeply personal feel to it; I find that episodes that revolve around Neelix and the Doctor are usually emotional ones. There could have been a bit more action with the aliens and it would have been nice to see them fully rather than just an outline but that’s me just being picky.

Thanks for reading…

REVIEW: Star Trek Voyager “Alice”

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HARRY KIM: It’s just an old rust bucket.

TOM PARIS: Are you kidding? Look at those lines, it’s a work of art. That ship wasn’t assembled, it was sculpted. I think I’m in love.

Voyager stumbles across a junkyard in space and Paris finds his latest love interest hidden among them in the form of a mean looking little shuttlecraft. He convinces Chakotay to buy the shuttle for him and he begins working on restoring it apparently with honourable interests. Soon however his work on the shuttle, which he names Alice after a lost love interest from his Academy days, becomes an obsession and he misses duty shifts and time with friends to keep working on getting Alice ready for flight. It becomes clear that there is more going on here than meets the eye but before Voyager can do anything about it Paris escapes aboard Alice before he is nearly killed by a particle fountain.   

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In a nutshell this is a Star Trek take on Stephen King’s “Christine” and it’s not just coincidental; Brannon Braga admitted that King’s work was a source of inspiration for this episode. If you are going to pay homage to the classic horror story about a possessed Cadillac then naturally it is going to be a Tom Paris focused episode. The montage of him fixing up the ship seem intentionally designed to resemble a mechanic working on a car with Paris on a trolley to slide underneath the ship (what could be sticking out of the hull to work on is anyone’s guess). I can’t help but feel this isn’t one of Robert Duncan McNeil’s best performances however and that’s a shame. In the similarly themed episode “Drive” (click here for my review) he seemed to have much more enthusiasm and I think the conflict with Torres in that episode made for a better story. I am not saying he doesn’t seem to be bothered but it just feels like he could do better. In fairness I think the script could have something to do with it also.

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As for Alice; the little ship looked excellent. It was certainly a mean looking craft even though it was merely an extensive redress of the Type-9 shuttle. It is a testament to the skill of the art department that on such a tight budget as most TV shows like Voyager are that they could do so much. It does seem shockingly well armed however and it’s two shots against Voyager seem to be enough to blow up a few computer consoles on the bridge. As for the projection of Alice in Paris’ mind Claire Rankin managed to nail the creepy jealous girlfriend vibe down to a tee. She is genuinely unsettling and makes you feel awkward everytime she is on screen. 

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This was a premise that was wide open for a Star Trek homage. It is certainly an interesting one with enough technobabble in the first two acts to give us an explanation for what is happening without wondering if this is the first episode with a genuine ghost or demon. Sadly it is let down by a poor script that after a promising start can’t keep up the pace then goes in to fifth gear to wrap up quickly. Was it really necessary to waste minutes with Kim and Torres moaning to one another about Tom’s latest obsession? I would much rather devote that time to develop more of Alice’s motivation for going to the particle fountain which she calls “Home”. We never get an explanation as to why she wants to go there so desperately.

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But perhaps the biggest thing that really gets on my nerves about this episode is Chakotay’s line;

We already have a full compliment of shuttles. 

No you don’t! In the previous five years Voyager had lost numerous shuttles. Now, on a Galaxy-class ship like the Enterprise-D that wouldn’t really be a problem but for the relatively minuscule Intrepid-class Voyager still 50,000 light years from the Alpha Quadrant they must surely be on their last one or two shuttles by now. Why didn’t the writers proceed on the lines of they needed a new shuttle? It surely wouldn’t affect the story in anyway. This just reflects the biggest problem I had with Voyager during its entire run and that is the stories rarely reflect the fact that this is a crew far from home. Many of the stories are like TNG episodes in terms of resources used when the need for resupply should have been a recurring theme throughout the show and not just in the first series. To really balls it up though this episode later has Chakotay saying he cant spare certain resources because they are in short supply in the Delta Quadrant. Come on! Make up your mind. With regards to the shuttlecraft debacle the answer could be that if they could build the Delta Flyer then they could build new shuttles too but where is that in the dialogue – nowhere. Also where is Neelix’s ship?

There; rant over.

In conclusion this was a slightly below average Star Trek episode. It had an excellent premise and good start but it failed to keep it together. Its a real shame.