Movie Review: Avengers Age of Ultron

I saw this movie on opening night. I enjoyed it. I went home.

I almost forgot about it.

Almost.

avengers_age_of_ultronBut let me back up. I love what Marvel has done with superhero films. I think what made Iron Man so great was that it didn’t take itself too seriously. It was self-aware. It was what we all wanted deep down and didn’t even realize.

i-am-iron-manCaptain America was very different, more historical and tragic, but it was about the American spirit and hero we all want. It touched something different inside us than Iron Man did.

captain-america

And then Thor was different because it took place in Asgard, a whole new world that was fascinating. And he’s a fish out of water when he’s on Earth.

thorAnd all these movies have great lines and great side characters: Pepper Potts, Peggy Carter, Sif and Loki, etc.

Where The Incredible Hulk unfortunately suffered in all this is that it was still just a regular superhero movie, like all the others we had seen before Marvel and Christopher Nolan changed the game. Apparently Edward Norton, who played the Hulk back then, was super involved in the writing of the movie, and he was a big fanboy of the Hulk. This sounds awesome in theory, but I wonder if he was trying so hard to fit the Hulk in this box that he had created that it didn’t give the character the chance to shine.

I’ll admit, I still wasn’t sold on Mark Ruffalo’s version of the character in the first Avengers movie, but I can give Age of Ultron the credit for making me care about him much more this time around. Or maybe what I should say is for making me care about Bruce Banner, the person underneath the Hulk.

bruce-bannerWhile we are talking about character exploration in Age of Ultron, I’m going to say that is the movie’s strength, and that is what has stuck with me since walking out of the theater.

There’s been a lot of talk about Black Widow in this movie, and say what you will about her role, but I think we got to see a whole new side of her and I was really glad to see it. Would it be cool if this was explored more in a movie or TV show? Yes. Will I move on with my life if it’s not? Yes. We see a much more vulnerable side of Natasha, but I don’t think she’s ever portrayed as weak. And while (mild spoiler) the interest between her and Banner did kind of surprise me and I wasn’t entirely sure I was 100% there with it (since we’ve had no build-up to this it felt like it came out of left field), I don’t think this weakened her either. It made her human. Same with their talk about infertility, which he started.

natasha-blackwidowI also appreciated that we finally got more from Hawkeye, after that poor guy got brainwashed in the first Avengers movie. His character has become a more relatable, almost every-man sort from this movie, and I thought that was a nice touch.

hawkeyeThe addition of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch really didn’t do a whole lot for me, though funnily enough, their best moments were when they were with Hawkeye. Quicksilver and Hawkeye had their running, “What, you didn’t see that coming?” joke, and Hawkeye hyped up Scarlet Witch for the battle against Ultron.

(Highlight for spoilers) Ultimately, the death of Quicksilver did very little for me. It made me sad for his sister, because it obviously put her in a lot of shock and pain, but I wasn’t sad for anyone else or for me. I had barely started kind of liking the guy when he died, though I appreciated the act that led to his death, especially when I was starting to worry that Hawkeye was going to be a goner. There was no real emotional resonance with it. 

There’s also the introduction of Vision, who is sort of interesting? We’ll have to see what happens to him in the future. We really get very little development with him at all.

Now let’s talk about the villain, Ultron. Even though he demonstrates just how much he is capable of, I never really feared that the whole entire world was actually in danger of this guy. I know it sounds ridiculous to say the stakes weren’t high enough when the whole idea was that he wanted to destroy the world but seriously, they weren’t high enough, because I was never worried that he would actually accomplish this, and not just because it’s a movie and I know it’s going to turn out OK in the end. But that could have been part of the problem. In Captain America: The Winter Solider the movie ends with SHIELD in shambles. It’s not a happy ending. While it was still probably surprising for many people watching the movie (unless they watched Agents of SHIELD, which they should have, honestly), destroying SHIELD is a much more viable option for a movie ending than destroying the world. But really, I think it was mostly that Ultron never truly frightened me enough.

But, the way Ultron was created was fascinated and I hope that comes back up because even though there is heated debating about it in the movie, it definitely feels kind of glossed over in  the grand scheme of things.

All in all, this is another solid movie from Marvel, enjoyable, witty lines, and some pretty good character development, but there were some weak spots in the movie that keeps it from being a favorite in the long run.

4stars2If you’ve see Age of Ultron, what are your thoughts?

Star Trek TNG Season 3: My Top 5 Fave Episodes

As my husband and I are going through our second full watch of Star Trek as a couple, I thought it would be fun to report on the highlights along the way. So I decided to copy the same format as Charlene at Bookish Whimsy, who is going through her first-ever run of Star Trek and sharing her favorite episodes for each season. To compare, see her top 5 favorite episodes of season two of The Next Generation.

Season three is definitely when TNG picks up, and I had a harder time narrowing my selection because of good options this time! I also wanted to be sure to mention an honorable mention, The Ensigns of Command, since I did have a hard time choosing it or my #5 choice.

5. The Defector

tng3-thedefectorThis was one of those episodes that left me feeling kind of depressed in the end, but it was pretty poignant. It reminds me a bit of the DS9 episode “Duet.” I really don’t want to say too much to spoil the episode for those who have not seen it, but there are some interesting twists in it.

4. Sins of the Father

tng3-thesinsofthefatherI’m not a big fan of Klingon episodes, so I was surprised how much I liked this one. I have a feeling I got much more out of it this time around than I probably did the first time, simply because now I’m familiar with Worf’s journey, and his family is a big part of that journey (and I don’t just mean blood family). I also love what Picard does for Worf in this episode.

3. The Hunted

tng3-thehuntedI have a definite love for the psychological episodes of Star Trek, and this one explores the fascinating psychological idea of engineering a group of people a certain way, in this case, to be soldiers.

2. Yesterday’s Enterprise

tng3-yesterdaysenterpriseFirst off, from a purely productional standpoint, I love the dark lighting of the other timeline’s Enterprise. Second, we see another version of Tasha who is just so much more awesome for some reason. And third, there’s just something about this story, that I can’t really explain, that is just plain great. It’s a fan favorite so clearly I’m not alone.

1. The Best of Both Worlds

tng-thebestofbothworlds2Just as a note, this is a wicked cliffhanger two-parter that comprises the season three finale and the first episode of season four. For the sake of simplicity, I am including both parts in my season three recap (though Charlene waited until season 4). I mean, I don’t know what to say about this episode other than the first time I watched it I was just FLOORED. It was the first really huge risk I feel they took in Star Trek and it worked really well. This time around, instead of watching parts one and two in the same fashion they were originally aired, we watched the enhanced Blu-Ray that edits the episodes together as one seamless film. Even when you know the outcome, you still feel the tension in these episodes. It’s one of the best stories of The Next Generation, period.

What are your favorite episodes of The Next Generation, season 3?

Agent Carter, Inhumans, & I Have No Idea What’s Happening in the Marvelverse Now

*Warning, if you’re not caught up on Agent Carter or Agent of SHIELD, there are spoilers below!

I watched the first half of this season of Agents of SHIELD excited every single week. The show was finally just consistently good. Then the mid-season finale hit and… I don’t know… I felt like my tires got deflated. It was really hyped up by Marvel, and in some ways it was good, but I felt sort of like I got punched in the stomach and then the offender just ran off. I wrote a long blog post about it that I never published on the blog, because after I wrote it I thought maybe I just needed to get my feelings out and I was actually fine now that the words had been written.

Thankfully, Agent Carter was there to divert my thoughts for a while. If you know me, you know I’m a Peggy Carter fangirl, and I was super stoked about the show. When it started I was… confused… about the direction it was going in and the plot. I thought it was sort of going to pick off where the Agent Carter one shot left off, but it actually feels more like it never happened. I thought Peggy was supposed to be in charge of the beginning of the SSR, I mean, this had been alluded to in the one shot, in Captain America The Winter Soldier, and in Agents of SHIELD. Instead, she’s just the glorified secretary to the boys. But after a few episodes, I decided to enjoy it for what it was. I still loved Peggy, as well as many of the new secondary characters, such as Jarvis, Angie, and Sousa.

I ultimately enjoyed the season. I still never completely understood what the plot of it had to do with the Marvel universe at large, but I hoped for a second season to help sort it out some more. And I still want that.

Then Agents of SHIELD returned, and we’re one episode in and while it was a fine episode, I’m still feeling uncertain about what’s happening. Fitz finds out what’s happening to Skye but he’s going to keep it a secret. Raina’s essentially a demented porcupine. Bobbi and Mack are up to something, but what? Are Fitz and Simmons ever going to talk again? OK, I know they won’t let that drop, but I want it now, dang it. I have a hard time caring about the Inhumans storyline at the present because I’m still very worried about the humans on the show. I am completely not over Trip’s death (that was what my unpublished ranting blog post was about, essentially), I worry about Fitz-Simmons, I worry about all of them.

Except Ward. He wasn’t in this last episode and I did not care or miss him for two seconds. They made me hate him that much. (Or maybe that indifferent to him.) I just don’t like feeling this way. I guess I’m not supposed to like feeling this way. No one said this was a Hallmark movie. But just the thought of him popping up again just makes me feel… ugh. I just don’t care about him. I want him to leave. I want Trip back (not matter how impossible). I want to smoosh Fitz and Simmons’ faces together, and then we can carry on with Hydra and Inhumans and whatnot.

I’m happy that this next episode features Lady Sif, because I love me some Sif (not quite as much as Peggy, but still a lot). I just hope things will make sense soon. When the season ends, I want it to feel like the story is heading in the right direction. The season one finale left us hanging, but it was good and left me wanting more in the right ways. I know there’s some time and I shouldn’t worry, I suppose I just hoped that after such a long hiatus I would get something I was hoping to see, instead of basically nothing at all that I cared about (other than Coulson yelling and bringing down some Hydra folks, because that was good stuff).

Also, how is this going to tie into Avengers 2? What the heck is that movie about anyway? That first trailer really gave me chills in the best way, and this newest one is just not nearly as interesting to me. I’m sure it will all work out, but I’m just curious about what direction the Marvel universe is actually going if there’s supposed to be Civil War and so much other crap going on. I’m sure someone with comic book cred could help me out.

What are your thoughts on Agents of SHIELD, Agent Carter, and the various Marvel storylines? 

Live Long and Prosper: An Ode to Leonard Nimoy & Spock

My husband and I were talking about Lenoard Nimoy’s death, and he mentioned how Spock is probably the most iconic character of the original series, even more so than Kirk, and really even of all of Star Trek. I completely agreed with him. I told him that I thought his character is probably the main reason why the show was successful to begin with.

spock-artArt by Amanda Tolleson

There’s just something about Spock. Ask any fan of the original series who their favorite character is, and I feel most of them will say it’s Spock. He’s just so different, but in the best way. He’s not like a normal human… he’s unemotional, calculating, logical… usually. Occasionally he surprises too though.

Captain, you almost make me believe in luck.

But he’s always intelligent, and he becomes a fiercely loyal companion.

I have been, and always shall be, your friend.

wok-spock-deathCelebrity deaths, as a general rule, do not really shake me. Yes, it’s always sad when someone dies, and sometimes it’s downright tragic. I was shocked and saddened to hear about Robin Williams, just like anyone else, but it didn’t devastate me the way I think it did for some people. I think he was a talented actor but none of his roles have made a big impact on my life or anything. With Leonard Nimoy, it has definitely been a different experience.

I first watched Star Trek The Original Series when my husband and I were dating, which means it was sometime 6-10 years ago. Spock was easily my favorite.

It wasn’t until we had been married for a little while that we watched the rest of Trek, and when I became a true fan. That’s when we started going to conventions together, when I started listening to podcasts, started pinning funny geeky things on Pinterest.

80150068338489935_QH9kf43o_cBecoming a Trek fan did not change my life in some dramatic way, like I decided to study science or any other number of things I have heard Star Trek has done for others, but it did still change it. It made me fall in love with science fiction, a genre that I generally liked when I was exposed to it in the past but never fully delved into it. It changed the way I write, the way I think, and the way I look at things. And I love it for that.

And the thing is, I do feel like it all goes back to Spock.

Spock: I felt for him, too.

Kirk: I believe there’s some hope for you after all, Mr. Spock.

tos_thenakedtimeI wanted to share a few of my favorite Spock moments and episodes, as a tribute to the man who made Spock into the character we love.

– Spock breaks down in The Naked Time. Being completely vulnerable to human emotion for probably the first time in the show, Spock weeps, feeling ashamed. It’s so… poignant… to see him in such a state. spock-thenakedtime– Spock with Kirk in The City on the Edge of Forever. This episode focuses more on Kirk, but I love the humor (“obviously my friend here is Chinese”) and I love the serious moments too (“Edith Keeler must die”).

– Any time Spock has a connection with a woman that we normally don’t see, such as in “This Side of Paradise,” “The Enterprise Incident,” and “All Our Yesterdays.”

I hope that you and I exchanged something more permanent.

ST-theenterpriseincident– Any time Spock has a connection with people that is surprising, like his connection with the space hippies Servin’s followers in “The Way to Eden.”

They regard themselves as aliens in their own worlds–a condition with which I am somewhat familiar.

ST-thewaytoeden– Spock’s secret affinity for Tribbles and cats. 🙂

spock_cat– Any time Spock acted as a friend, like in “Amok Time.”

– Mirror Spock with goatee in “Mirror, Mirror”

mirror-mirrorAnd I know there are more, but those were the ones that immediately came to mind. Needless to say, he is memorable, and I’m so glad we have the shows and movies with him (even the ones I don’t love) to remember Leonard Nimoy by.

As Leonard Nimoy once famously said, he was not Spock. He was an actor with 134 acting credits on IMDB, many of which are not Star Trek. I also enjoyed watching him on Fringe as William Bell. He was also a friend, a husband, a father, a grandfather.

And, as Nimoy also said, he was Spock. That defined a lot of his life. Some people don’t handle typecasts well, but he learned to own it. There were many fabulous things about being Spock, really, experiences he would not have had otherwise. I’m so glad he embraced it. I wish I could have seen him or met him at a convention. And it’s that thought, that I never got to, but that his character and show really did mean something to me, that makes me more emotional about his death than many others. Maybe it isn’t logical, but I think that’s OK sometimes.

He will be missed. He lived long and he prospered.

We are assembled here today to pay final respects to our honored dead. And yet it should be noted that in the midst of our sorrow, this death takes place in the shadow of new life, the sunrise of a new world; a world that our beloved comrade gave his life to protect and nourish. He did not feel this sacrifice a vain or empty one, and we will not debate his profound wisdom at these proceedings. Of my friend, I can only say this: of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most… human.

leonard-nimoy

Star Trek TNG Season 2: My Top 5 Fave Episodes

As my husband and I are going through our second full watch of Star Trek as a couple, I thought it would be fun to report on the highlights along the way. So I decided to copy the same format as Charlene at Bookish Whimsy, who is going through her first-ever run of Star Trek and sharing her favorite episodes for each season. To compare, see her top 3 favorite episodes of season two of The Next Generation.

Season two is DEFINITELY better than season one! Thankfully, it was a little easier to come up with a top 5 this time, and I even conjured up a few honorable mentions: The Royale, A Matter of Honor, and Q Who? (because as annoying as Q is in that episode, it is important). Here are my top 5…

5. The Dauphin

tng2-thedauphinSo the weird-demented-looking-bear-creatures are a little strange, but this episode just made me smile because I actually enjoyed watching Wesley be all smitten over a girl. I also love everyone’s reactions to Wesley’s crush and their attempts at doling out relationship advice. I think Guinan ended up saying it best at the end of the episode!

4. The Icarus Factor

tng2-theicarusfactorI almost didn’t choose this one because I really don’t care for the main storyline about Riker and his dad and how much they hate each other and want to be macho and blahblahblah. But O’Brien has some fabulous one-liners that made the episode (“No kidding, I know her too, but we don’t do that.”), plus John Tesh is a Klingon and pokes Worf with a pain-stick! Oh yes, and Worf yells in Data’s face: “Be gone!” Basically, I love every part of this episode that is secondary to the main plot.

3. Elementary, Dear Data

tng2-elementarydeardataI don’t love the ending of this one because I think it shows poor judgment on Picard’s part, but I enjoy Data exploring his inner-Sherlock!

2. Manhunt

tng2-manhuntI almost didn’t choose this one either because, ugh, Lwaxana Troi, but then I thought about it and I realized I actually really enjoyed this one! Piccard is just perfect in his reaction to Lwaxana and that dinner scene just really made the whole episode. I also love how Lwaxana casually saves the day.

1. The Measure of a Man

tng2-measureofamanThis is certainly the most thought-provoking episode of the season, and it is episodes like this that make science fiction and Star Trek so great. Can a machine be more than property, and be seen as equal to human? Good food for thought and great character development as well.

Also in season two: O’Brien has arrived, and I just love him! Colm Meaney could be seen around the Enterprise on season one, but he was just a nameless guy on the ship. But now he’s got a name and coming into his own as the secondary character Chief O’Brien, who will later become a main character on Deep Space Nine!

Also, Wesley isn’t annoying in this season! He definitely matured between seasons, but he hasn’t reached that irksome stage that he comes into later when he really thinks he knows everything.

And lastly, we have Dr. Pulaski. She actually only annoyed me in some episodes, mostly in earlier ones when she bullied Data. But she wasn’t bad in all of them, as I remembered her being, but I’m still ready for Dr. Crusher to return.

What are your favorite episodes of The Next Generation Season Two? 

Star Trek TNG Season 1: My Top 5 Fave Episodes

As my husband and I are going through our second full watch of Star Trek as a couple, I thought it would be fun to report on the highlights along the way. So I decided to copy the same format as Charlene at Bookish Whimsy, who is going through her first-ever run of Star Trek and sharing her favorite five episodes for each season. To compare, see her top 3 favorite episodes of season one of The Next Generation (she couldn’t quite come up with 5 this season, and I can’t blame her). 

Ahh… early TNG. It’s not the best. We’re already getting a glimpse into things that annoy me in multiple Star Trek series: Q, Troi’s mom, and Ferengi. There was also a lot of set-up for Wesley ALREADY which really surprised me. They really wanted him to be special, apparently, and threw Tasha under the bus to the point where the actress asked to get killed off. I’ve got to say, I liked Tasha more this time around than I did the first time. I’m not sure if it’s because of seeing Denise Crosby at a convnetion or what. Anyhow, all that said, there were a few decent episodes this season, but let’s just say I’m definitely anticipating the later seasons and some of my favorite episodes that are to come.

5. Symbiosis

tng-1-symbosisThere are some things in this episode that bother me, and I don’t just mean the stuff that’s supposed to make you uncomfortable, but main characters saying dumb things and logic flaws. Despite this, however, it still has an intriguing premise that gets you to think about interfering with other cultures when one is exploiting the other.

4. Haven

tng-1-havenI’d be lying if I said I thought this was a really good episode, but it’s quite entertaining, mostly for Troi telling her mom off. I also find the arranged marriage trope an interesting one sometimes.

3. The Neutral Zone

tng-1-theneutralzoneThe biggest problem with this episode is that there is really pretty equal time for the actual Neutral Zone plotline (which you think would be the more dominate story given the episode title) and the subplot about three frozen people from the past who are recovered by the Enterprise (without Captain Picard’s knowledge… come on, Data, that’s sketch…), and really, these probably should have just been two different episodes because neither felt fully fleshed out. I feel that basically the main point of this episode as the season one finale was to set-up future conflict with the Romulans, but they weren’t feeling daring enough for big cliffhangers yet. (If this had been a later Deep Space Nine episode, OMG, stuff would have gone down.) So mostly, I like this episode for its potential.

2. Conspiracy

tng-1-conspiracyThis is another episode that I like mostly for the potential of what could have been (what still could be if they ever make a new Star Trek show that is set during/after Voyager time), however, it was stronger than The Neutral Zone. In this episode, we see that a species has infiltrated some high-up Starfleet officers, and while the immediate threat is neutralized at the end, there’s an open-ended something that hints more certainly can come. Apparently it was supposed to be explored again but alas, has not been. But it really should be because I’m curious! This episode gets negative points though for the gross-alien-creature-inside-people deal though. Is that really necessary?

1. Coming of Age

tng-1-comingofageI remembered this episode from my previous watch and was surprised that it was first season. This is actually a pretty decent Wesley episode, in fact, it might be the best Wesley story of all TNG, but I guess I’ll have to watch the other seasons again to say for sure. It’s certainly better than Justice. In this one Wesley learns what it takes to get into Starfleet, and acts more mature and less annoying than his usual season one self. I’ve decided to give this episode the top spot for this season mostly because I find it the most memorable.

I’ve got to say, in season one (and from my memory, in all of TNG really), Data really steals the show. I feel Brent Spiner really had Data down from the start and I came to love him all over again very quickly!

If you’ve seen season one of The Next Generation, which episodes are your favorite?

The Top 10 Star Trek Characters I’d Want With Me on a Deserted Planet

It’s happened on many an episode of Star Trek… you crash land on a planet and… now what? There are usually dangers involved… generally weird alien life forms… some friendly and some not… and of course you want a top-notch group of folks to help you get through it. I got this idea months ago after doing a Top Ten Tuesday topic on the book characters I would want with me on a deserted island. But when Star Trek characters are involved, it’s got to be a deserted planet! Will we be able to make it home? I think with this crew we can…

sfm_banner_02b (1)This list is in no particular order…

1. Spock 

SpockHe’s obviously the logical choice. Spock’s intelligence would come very much in handy while on a deserted planet.

2. Ezri

Ezri_arrivalOut of all the characters in all the series of Star Trek, Ezri is the one I feel I could be BFF’s with, so I need her to keep me company on the planet. (Note to Charlene: Do not Google Ezri – it will only end in major spoilers!)

3. Chakotay

chakoty-resolutionsThe man will build you a bathtub, simply because you miss bathtubs. Or maybe he’ll only do that for Janeway. I don’t know, but his deserted planet building skills would come in handy!

4. Trip

trip-tuckerI love Trip’s personality, and he would try to keep the mood upbeat. Also, he should be able to fix our abandoned ship in no time.

5. Scotty

tos_scottyScotty and Tripp would make a dynamic duo for fixing things, plus I love Scotty’s no-nonsense attitude!

6.  Picard

picardSomeone’s gotta be in charge, and I think Picard might be able to handle this situation the best.

7. Troi

Marina_Sirtis_TNGIt’s easy to become frazzled while on a deserted planet, so Troi’s counseling could come in handy.

8. Dr. Bashir

bashirWe need a doctor, and I’m picking Dr. Bashir because he’s my favorite.

9. Data (+Spot)

spot-dataAs an android, Data can do things the rest of us humanoids can’t do. Plus, he’s knowledgeable and entertaining and he has an awesome cat.

10. Phlox

BILLINGSLEYPhlox is… eccentric… but he is also a doctor, plus knows a lot about animals and plants (mostly in terms of medicinal use) that might come in handy. I think he would also help generate a positive attitude on the planet.

Which Star Trek characters would you want to be with you if stranded on a deserted planet?

Star Trek TOS Season 3: My Top 5 Fave Episodes

As my husband and I are going through our second full watch of Star Trek as a couple, I thought it would be fun to report on the highlights along the way. So I decided to copy the same format as Charlene at Bookish Whimsy, who is going through her first-ever run of Star Trek and sharing her favorite five episodes for each season. To compare, see her top 5 favorite episodes of season three of The Original Series

I thought season two was bad… but season 3 was full of some clunkers. HOWEVER, the episodes that were decent I think were more decent than those in season two, and when selecting my favorites I ended up with a list of 6, so it wasn’t all bad. Also, there were some episodes that I think actually had real potential, and if they had been done like in Deep Space Nine they could have been awesome, but they just fell flat or took a turn for the dumb. I’m particularly thinking of The Mark of Gideon and Requiem for Methuselah. Also, I had distinctly remembered Spock’s Brain (this season’s first episode) as being the worst ever of the series, and I was so wrong. Was it good? No, but there were much worse.

So first off I’ll go ahead and mention my sixth favorite and runner-up for this list was The Tholian Web. I thought I should mention it because it’s popular. There were a few more that I liked a little more, however. Also, I also struggled with this order a lot, so it may not reflect my feelings everyday, but nonetheless, I did the best I could.

5. For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky

ST-theworldishollowI will voice my biggest gripe about this episode (my second biggest grip is the awful costumes, FYI) up front: McCoy gets MARRIED in this episode and then ABANDONS his wife! And she’s OK with it! And there’s also awful instalove here (doesn’t just happen in YA books), but even that’s better than abandoning your spouse! What did I like? The premise, mostly, about a traveling planet (really, a ship) where the people don’t know exactly what their purpose is as they follow arbitrary rules set for them. And unlike many of the episodes this season, it wasn’t poorly executed, other than this whole abandonment thing.

4. Day of the Dove

ST-dayofthedoveI think the Klingons are a lot more interesting in TOS than they are in the subsequent series (with the exception of, very specifically, the Augment episodes of Enterprise), and this is a good episode showcasing them, probably my favorite TOS episode featuring them. An alien force that feeds off of hatred causes the Klingons and the crew of the Enterprise to act violently towards one another, and once they realize what is happening, they must fight against it.

3. The Cloud Minders

ST-thecloudmindersI think this is another one I like more for the premise than anything, and thankfully the execution wasn’t terrible. On this planet there is a group of people who live on ground and work in the mines, and then there are the privileged who get to live in the city on the clouds. This is probably one of the best TOS episode for the portrayal of women, even if there are skimpy outfits, because Vanna is strong and ambitious and nobody’s love interest (even if she is stubborn for not listening to Kirk when she should have, I can’t blame her for being skeptical), and while Droxine is really into Spock (who has some uncharacteristic dialogue in this episode with no explanation as to why) and naive, she has a really nice arc in this episode and sees reason when her father does not. There are several Star Trek episodes throughout the various series that touch on the issue of the separation of classes and I think this is a pretty good one for the time period.

2.  The Enterprise Incident

ST-theenterpriseincidentAt the beginning of the episode, it seems Kirk has lost his mind flying into Romulan space, then we come to find out he did so under Starfleet orders. Spock plays a huge role in distracting a woman Romulan officer while Kirk gets what he needs from the ship, which proves to be an easy task because she is fascinated by him, and dare I say, he might be by her as well. However, he stays clear-headed in his typical Spock way, but the psychology of their interaction, as well as the general sneakiness going on while Kirk is on his mission, definitely makes this episode a stand-out for season three.

Kirk_Romulan

1. All Our Yesterdays

ST-allouryesterdaysI don’t even remember this episode from my first watch of the show, but I was pretty into it this time. First off, I found the concept really interesting of a planet that sends people back in time when their existence is about to end, and also that they are capable of time jumping but not space travel! Also, the fact that when Spock went back 5000 years in his past that he started to act like a Vulcan from 5000 years ago was really interesting! It was a sad ending but I still loved the last line from Spock when he says: “Yes, it did happen. But that was 5000 years ago.” I also think it’s funny that both this episode and the popular YA novel of the same novel borrowed the title from Shakespeare AND have time travel plots!

ST-allouryesterdays2Season three was an interesting season for Spock and McCoy. Of course, there has been friction between the two all through the series, and the dynamic continues into the movies, but there were several episodes of season three where they were forced to work together, like “The Paradise Syndrome,” “The Tholian Web,” “The Empath,” and “All Our Yesterdays.” After “The Tholian Web,” in fact, I feel like their relationship changed and become less hostile toward one another and that they started to respect each other more. I also felt like we got to see more facets of Spock this season, where he seems more open to people groups that seem different from him on the surface (“The Way to Eden”) and shows more interest in women for a typical season (“The Enterprise Incident,” “The Cloud Minders,” and “All Our Yesterdays”).

ST-thewaytoedenSo we’re moving on to The Next Generation next, though my husband did bring out The Animated Series DVDs out first. Most people don’t count it and I just wasn’t ready to go through it again yet. We’re also actually watching the shows in the order they were aired, meaning that after the first few seasons of TNG we’ll start mixing in some Deep Space Nine episodes as well. But until then, we’ve got to endure the not-so-great beginning of The Next Generation.

If you’ve seen season three of Star Trek’s original series, which episodes are your favorite?

The Top 3 Superhero Side Characters Who Deserve Their Own Spotlight

Sometimes there are side characters in the superhero story that really deserve their own chance to shine. These are the three that I would love to see get there own spotlight… in no particular order…

1. ROBIN John Blake

johnblakeMy husband and I recently rewatched the three movies of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. If you’ve read this blog for a while, you may know that I am a big fan of Christopher Nolan in general, and in the very infantile stages of my blog I fangirled about ROBIN John Blake from The Dark Knight Rises and why he needed his own movie. These feelings only intensified upon my rewatch. I want to see Christopher Nolan turn Joseph Gordon-Levitt into the new Batman and push Batfleck aside.

Why do I love John Blake so much? He’s intelligent, resourceful, and brave. He isn’t dramatic and he doesn’t get distracted. I’m not saying he’s perfect, but… he’s pretty awesome. And he deserves his own trilogy!

2. Peggy Carter

260364422177501418_KTseeC91_cMy love for Peggy Carter and my enthusiasm for the upcoming Agent Carter TV show is unending! I adore how she is feminine yet tough and able to handle herself. She grew to care for Steve for his courage and heart, and she possesses those qualities as well. And though it was hard, she was able to move past his death and accomplish great things. She’s amazing and totally deserves this show and I cannot WAIT!

3. Lady Sif

lady-sifLady Sif is awesome. More awesome than Jane, more awesome than Thor. She doesn’t need some silly hammer to knock down the enemy. She did appear in an episode of Agents of SHIELD, which was GREAT, but I could definitely use more Sif! A Sif movie? TV show? Even a one-shot! Just give me more SIF, please!

Which side character from a superhero story would you like to see in the spotlight? 

Star Trek TOS Season 2: My Top 5 Fave Episodes

As my husband and I are going through our second full watch of Star Trek as a couple, I thought it would be fun to report on the highlights along the way. So I decided to copy the same format as Charlene at Bookish Whimsy, who is going through her first-ever run of Star Trek and sharing her favorite five episodes for each season. To compare, see her top 5 favorite episodes of season two of The Original Series

Season 2 of TOS is filled with a lot more “blah” episodes than season 1, so I had a much harder time choosing a Top 5, when I felt like there were only 3 truly stand-out episodes. I thought about doing a worst episodes list instead, or at the suggestion of my husband, listing my favorite episode three times (because really, it does deserve it), but I buckled down and looked at the few “just fine” episodes and picked two of those to round out this list.

5. Journey to Babel

Journey_to_BabelIt is kind of neat, especially if you haven’t seen any other Star Trek that comes after this, to see Spock’s parents and how they interact with Spock. And even though Spock drives me up the wall in this episode, I’m glad he finally caved and decided to the transfusion to save his father. Also, this episode was worth it for me because of the “Andorian fight scene.” You’ll have to listen to podcasts from the Trek FM network to fully understand that joke.

4. Patterns of Force

Patterns-of-ForceI don’t even remember this episode from my first run-through of the series. It has some problems, particularly in that it suffers from some of the lame reoccurring themes of the season (Starfleet person goes crazy, parallels with Earth), but there’s something about WWII, even if it’s not real WWII, that fascinates me. The whole Nazi party is interesting psychologically too, and this could have been an awesome two-parter that really delved into all that. We didn’t quite get all that, but I did like the underground movement that helped Kirk and Spock as they tried to figure out how to get “The Fuhrer” without getting themselves killed.

3. Mirror, Mirror

mirror-mirrorPart of me resents this episode’s existence because it brought about way too many lame mirror universe episodes in Deep Space Nine, and the highly regarded mirror episodes of Enterprise that I can’t stand because it’s ALL about the mirror versions of the characters and not the ACTUAL characters and they’re just mean and I don’t like them. But ANYWAY, if I look at this episode by itself, it is kind of neat. And who doesn’t love Mirror Spock and his goatee? The whole episode is worth watching for that alone. I also love that Regular Spock recognizes right away the landing party are their mirror counterparts and locks them up. Go Spock!

Mirror_Mirror

2. A Piece of the Action

a-piece-of-the-actionSeeing Spock and Kirk dressed as 1920s gangsters is priceless. Kirk’s invention of Fizzbin is hilarious. The territory leaders are great in their roles. Really, I just love so much in this episode.

1. The Trouble With Tribbles

tribbles2Could this have possibly been any other episode? The Trouble With Tribbles is hands-down my favorite TOS episode, and one of my favorites of all of Trek. And I love even more that Deep Space Nine later honored this episode with Trials and Tribbleations. It is truly priceless. I just find it impossible to resist the cute, furry, cooey tribbles! And Kirk in that pile of Tribbles… it’s just great. Nearly every moment in this episode is just perfection.

tribblesSo why all that hate towards season 2? Aside from a lot of mediocre episodes, there were also a lot of reoccurring themes that really bothered me, such as…

  • Starfleet officers gone crazy
  • Kirk unfit for command (I think this only happened twice, but it was two episodes in a row!)
  • Parallels with Earth and/or America that felt forced and strange (ESPECIALLY in The Omega Glory, OMG)
  • Evil computers
  • Computers getting talked to death by Captain Kirk
  • Interference with cultures (AKA breaking The Prime Directive… of course this happens all the time in all the series…)

But it’s not all bad. For instance, you learn that Spock secretly has an affinity for soft, furry creatures, including Tribbles and cats…

spock_catI was glad to see Chekov make his appearance in season two. He got more screen time than I expected for his early episodes, but apparently they had to rewrite some of the episodes to feature him instead of Sulu because George Takei was caught up in another project for a time. Though Chekov was created for a younger audience and is pretty much supposed to be the Davy Jones of Star Trek, I think there is more to him than that. I really like him as a character and I’m glad they added him in.

Pavel_ChekovOne last notable mention: Seeing Zefram Cochrane in the episode “Metamorphosis.” If the episode had not ended so strangely I might have put it on my Top 5, but when I saw the episode for the first time the name of Cochrane meant nothing to me. Seeing him after having seen the rest of Trek though (particularly the movie First Contact) meant a lot more!

If you’ve seen season two of Star Trek’s original series, which episodes are your favorite? Does Kirk talking computers to death or the crazy Star Fleet officers or the Earth parallels drive anyone else crazy?