My Top 5 Episodes of DS9 Season Five & Voyager Season Three

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. See her favorite episodes of Deep Space Nine Season 5 and Voyager Season 3

Deep Space Nine, Season Five

5. In The Cards

ds9-5-inthecards

This is a fun episode before everything goes to heck, where Nog and Jake do favors for members of the station’s crew in exchange for something that will help them obtain a rare baseball card for Captain Sisko.

3-4. In Purgatory’s Shadow and By Inferno’s Light

ds9-5-purgatoryshadow

In this epically named two-parter, we find out Bashir has been swapped for a Changeling, who Garak’s father is, and just how tough of a warrior Worf is.

2. Dr. Bashir, I Presume?

ds9-5-drbashiripresume

I was a big Bashir fan from the moment I first saw him in TNG, and it makes me sad that Alexander Siddig doesn’t like this episode and the direction it took his character. While I enjoyed the overly enthusiastic, young doctor, I feel this episode really makes his character richer and more complex.

1. Trials and Tribble-ations

ds9-5-trialsandtribbleations

There’s just no contest. Everything about this homage is pure perfection. I could fangirl over it all day.

Voyager Season Three

5. Worst Case Scenario

voy3-worstcasescenario

This is a fun one where we get to see how the Voyager crew would have responded to a Maquis coup on board the ship.

3-4. Future’s End, Parts One and Two

voy3-futuresend

I mean, what’s not to love about Voyager traveling back in time to 1996 and Tuvok’s do-rag?

2. Blood Fever

voy3-bloodfever

This one definitely has awkward moments but the relationship development that takes place is everything.

1. Before and After

voy3-beforeandafter

Something about this episode just sticks with me. It’s an interesting look at alternate timelines and seeing Kes’ life play out completely differently.

What are your favorite episodes from these shows’ seasons?

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?

My Top 10 (Er, Or So) Movie/TV Heroines (& Maybe Books Too…)

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is Top Ten Favorite Heroines From Books, but I did this topic just barely over a year ago for a TTT Rewind, so I thought I would focus on my favorite heroines that I know exclusively from movies and TV. And I got carried away. Ahem.

This week’s list is in no particular order…

1. Peggy Carter from Captain America/Agent Carter

peggy-carterWhat an amazing coincidence that today is the day of the Agent Carter TV season finale! If you’ve read this blog for a while you know I love me some Peggy Carter. I think she is awesome in basically every way.

2. Jemma Simmons from Agents of SHIELD

Simmons_Season2You know who is also a big fangirl of Peggy Carter? Jemma Simmons from Agents of SHIELD! Jemma might not have the ability to kick butt the way Peggy does, but she’s incredibly gifted in science and uses her abilities to fight for what’s right.

3. Lady Sif from Thor

lady-sifAnd one more from the Marvel universe! Lady Sif is basically like Peggy Carter from another realm. She is also way more awesome than Jane Foster, who I don’t dislike, but she’s not Sif.

4. Kate Beckett from Castle

Kate-beckett2I’ve been watching Castle since day one, and I’ve always liked Beckett, but I think I’ve come to really like her more and more these past two or three seasons. I’ve definitely enjoyed watching her character grow.

5. Olivia Dunham from Fringe

Anna-TorvSpeaking of character development, there’s also quite a bit for Olivia Dunham in Fringe! Some of you were here for my Fringe journey back in 2013, and you saw just how crazy hooked I got on the show. That passion has definitely died down now, but I still have a lot of love for Olivia.

6. Dax from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

daxNow that Charlene has finished DS9 (sorry for anyone else who hasn’t but might one day) I can safely say Jadzia AND Ezri Dax! This might be a cheat, because they are two different people, but oh well, two bad. They are different but I love them both. Jadzia is so spunky and smart, and Ezri I can just completely relate to.

7. Princess Leia from Star Wars

leiaI mean, she’s a princess who can shoot and fight for the cause. She’s pretty awesome.

8. Kaylee from Firefly

kayleeI love Kaylee. She’s sweet and fun and loyal and good at what she does.

9. and 10. Susan Ivanova and Delenn from Babylon 5

babylon5ladiesI thought for a while whether or not to include these two before I finally decided to. I feel quite separated from the show these days, even though I only saw it 2-3 years ago, I think because it doesn’t have the community like Star Trek; and also unlike Star Trek and Fringe, I didn’t find any Babylon 5 podcasts to enrich my experience. But when I think back to the show, and these two women, I’m just blown away all over again. Both of these women exhibit strength in different ways and they go through such interesting arcs. I’ll say it again: if you are a fan of science fiction, you should really watch this show (just look past the production value, they were on a budget).

BONUS Runner-Ups: Deanna Troi from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Molly Mahoney from Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.

AND BECAUSE I CAN’T STOP…

BONUS #2: My Top 6 Fave Heroines from Books That I’ve Read Since Last Year!

(1) Hermione from Harry Potter, (2) Vin from Mistborn, (3) Cress from The Lunar Chronicles, (4) Seraphina from Seraphina,  (5)Alina from The Grisha Trilogy, and (6) Deryn from The Leviathan Trilogy

OK I AM DONE NOW.

Who are your favorite heroines from books/TV/movies? 

My Top 5 Favorite TV Shows & Top 5 Favorite Movies

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is Top Ten Favorite Movies or TV Shows, so I decided to do my Top 5 of each. These are kind of in order, starting with my absolute favorite, though sometimes the numbers can be shuffled a little bit depending on my mood!

My Top 5 Favorite TV Shows

1. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

deep_space_nine_crewWhen I first started watching Deep Space Nine, I had just come off of the best of times for The Next Generation, and starting all over again with a new Star Trek series definitely had its growing pains. But THEN… the multiple episode story arcs, the obstacles the characters had to overcome, how dark the overall tone of the show became and yet how it actually thrived in humor as well (minus those Ferengi episodes… but no show is perfect…)… simply put, I fell in love with it. The characters, their struggles and stories, the station… and then the ending was satisfying and yet left me wanting more. Just thinking about it makes me want to binge it watch it all NOW.

2. Babylon 5

babylon-5Simply put, Babylon 5 blew me away and I was not expecting it. There are many similarities between it and Deep Space Nine, yet the production budget was clearly lower. But the characters, their story arcs, the overall story arc for the show… while Deep Space Nine did an extraordinary job in very similar ways, in some ways, Babylon 5 honestly outshines it (until its last season… but we won’t talk about that…). The writer/creator of the show actually had the story planned out in advance, as well as contingencies for characters leaving the show, and the thoughtfulness of it really shows (again, until… well, you know…). If you love science fiction or simply amazing storytelling, give this one a chance. (And it’s not too similar to DS9, I promise.)

3. Star Trek: Enterprise

Star-Trek-enterpriseEnterprise doesn’t get a ton of love from the Star Trek community, and it’s too bad. I can understand in some ways… the first season had more misses than hits, some of the characters had vanilla personalities and static arcs, and it didn’t move forward with the Trek timeline. But seasons three and four (er… minus the-finale-that-shall-not-be-named) were so strong. The show got Deep Space Nine level dark and heavy fast and I ate it all up. I also enjoyed seeing the rough stuff that had to happen before Star Fleet could become what it did.

4. Star Trek: The Next Generation

star-trek-the-next-generationThe Next Generation was seven years of hits and misses and everything in-between, but I have got to say, there is something about this particular group of characters that will stay with you always. Apparently the cast all got along really well in real life (and still do when they’re together for conventions!) and I think that helps their dynamics. Plus, there are some really fabulous episodes of Star Trek in the show that explore humanity, love, and make you think a lot.

5. Fringe

fringe-castIf you have read my blog for a while, then you were probably here for my journey through watching Fringe seasons 1-5 (you can read my general recap for the show here). It had some low points, but overall it was really strong and intriguing, and I don’t think I ever felt so deeply invested in a show before. I was listening to episode recap podcasts (The Fringe Podcast by Golden Spiral Media, in case you’re curious) nearly every day, my husband and I were deciphering the glyphs given between the commercial breaks of each episode with the glyph app, we would exchange theories at the dinner table, and simply put I was completely into it. I loved the main characters so much and the storylines were just so interesting.

My Top 5 Favorite Movies

1. Inception

inception (1)Inception is, without a doubt, my absolute favorite movie. Every time I watch it I have new questions, feel so wrapped up in Cobb’s mind, and am amazed by how these complex strands are tied together at the end. It blows me away every single time and I feel like it is the standard for its genre of film (however you would even classify it, because I sure don’t know). It challenges my view of the world and inspires me to create. Simply put, I love it.

2. Pride and Prejudice

pride&prejudice-2005Pride and Prejudice (2005) was my very first exposure to Jane Austen, and how thankful I am to have discovered it. The film is beautiful visually, and watching Matthew Macfayden and Keira Knightley as Darcy and Elizabeth is just perfection to me. It gets to me every time. I used to watch this movie so much I almost got tired of it for a while, but after a break I am back to loving it just as much as I did before.

3. While You Were Sleeping

while-sleepingWhile You Were Sleeping may be a 90’s rom-com, but I have loved this movie for well over a decade now, and it will always be near and dear to my heart. I actually don’t care for most romantic comedies, but While You Were Sleeping feels pitch-perfect to me every time. It’s witty, charming, and interesting, and even if the look is aged, the story doesn’t feel aged. I will always adore it.

4. The Dark Knight

the-dark-knightI love what Nolan did with Batman, and the second film in his Dark Knight trilogy was, in my opinion, the strongest and most intriguing. When I watched The Dark Knight for the first time I was in college and minoring in psychology, and I was so blown away by how much a superhero story captured the psyche of mankind. Every time I see it I am struck by how dark, challenging, and bone-chilling it is. And Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker? Quite possibly the best villain to grace the big screen EVER.

5. The Phantom of the Opera

phantom-of-the-operaThe Phantom of The Opera was the first musical I truly came to love. I think it is a gorgeous movie and I love the music and the story. Every time I watch it or listen to the soundtrack I get caught up in it all over again.

What are your favorite TV shows and movies? Let me know if you’re a fan of any of my favorites! 

A Few Thoughts on Agents of SHIELD Season 1 Finale “The Beginning of the End”

Alright, so I’ve gotten behind on things, as I really wanted to discuss the last three episodes of SHIELD and I simply got busy and by this point I’ve forgotten details, but I remember that they were AWESOME. Especially the finale, which I did rewatch (while multitasking, which generally results in me not actually absorbing as much of it as I would have liked, but I have a weird thing about rewatching TV episodes I’ve seen before when I’m home alone where I always feel like I have to do something else at the same time, I don’t know why!). But I wanted to share a few of my thoughts.

* WARNING – SPOILERS! *

– It was basically perfect. I thought the storylines that needed to wrap up did so nicely and without getting too tropey. Ward wasn’t redeemed and is still an antagonist in the eyes of the team. Garrett was killed in the most awesome way. But of course, there were things planted to make way for new storylines in season two (and there is going to be a season two, yay!).

– Fitz + Simmons = OMG FEELS. Look, I know I’ve been kind of obsessed with the Fitz-Simmons development lately, but seriously, the chemistry! These two will break your heart.

So my prediction for these two in season two, with Fitz being alive but possibly not quite the same, is that he’s going to lose some of his memory and forget that he admitted to Simmons that he had feelings. He may even forget that he started to develop feelings for her. Meanwhile, Simmons will have to grapple with knowing while still trying to figure out if she feels the same way.

Fitz-Simmons-boxElizabeth Henstridge has been quoted as saying that “Fitz is going to be her main priority. 100%” in season two. So yeah, I’m dying. I NEED SEASON TWO NOW.

– Nick Fury tells Coulson it’s his job to rebuild SHIELD, and to do it right. I’m sure this will be a big part of Season 2. And I’m hoping that in doing this, by Avengers 2 he can finally let the Avenger crew know that HE’S ALIVE!

– AGENT KOEING LIVES! Sort of… So at the end of the episode we’re introduced to Agent Billy Koeing in a new secret facility of SHIELD, twin brother of Eric Koeing perhaps? And by twin brother, I mostly mean clone, because I’m thinking there must be several Koeing clones in these secret bases. I mean, he says the same exact things! It seems a bit unethical but… I’m game to have Patton Oswalt back on the show.

The show did start off slow, but there was a point where it really started to pick up and would deliver week after week, often times getting better week by week. I finally grew to love and care about the characters, there was a lot of action, some fun cameos and references, and some back-stabbery. Now that SHIELD has found its footing, I really can’t wait for season two, and especially with Agent Carter being picked up alongside it! I love Haley Atwell as Agent Carter and I’m really looking forward to how they translate her character for TV.

Share your thoughts on the season finale of Agents of SHIELD, as well as your thoughts on the show overall and what you’d like to see in season two! 

My Thoughts on Agents of SHIELD Since Winter Soldier

This probably goes without saying, but just to be safe, this post is filled with spoilers from all released episodes of Agents of SHIELD.

As I mentioned in my review of Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier, the show Agents of SHIELD was clearly building up to the movie. And it was obvious after the movie that the repercussions of what happened there was going to bleed onto the show. It all started just days after the movie released, with the episode Turn, Turn, Turn.

skye-gun

The whole episode is fashioned in such a way that we are constantly questioning who is loyal to SHIELD and who is loyal to Hydra, as well as make you wonder and guess and re-guess who “The Clairvoyant” is. Needless to say, I really did not see it coming that it would be Agent Garrett!

IAIN DE CAESTECKER

Triplett: “But hey, if we get questioned, let me talk. You’re a surprisingly bad liar.”

Simmons: “I know. But I’m getting better at it.”

This episode was jam-packed with action and misleadings, and also many character moments. Coulson still doesn’t trust May completely, even though she is an “ally.” Fitz is crazy worried about Simmons. Ward tells Skye that he has feelings for her and they share a kiss. And of course, we learn the truth about Garrett. And then at the end, we see Ward kill Agent Hand and nod towards Garrett. But then he seems distant as Garrett starts telling stories of his grand escapades of the past. What’s going on with Ward? Surely he’s a double or triple agent, right? We never heard him say, “Hail Hydra!” and besides, it doesn’t seem to fit that he would be bad.

ward-distantNext was Providence, in which everyone starts to question what’s next as SHIELD has obviously shattered. Coulson makes an impassioned plea to his team that they are Agents of SHIELD, not Agents of Nothing, and they must continue to fight for what they know is right. And meanwhile, Ward and Garrett go to the Fridge to spring out those being kept there, and to grab anything that can be beneficial to the cause of Hydra.

Raina: “So you’re a liar. You’re a fraud.”

Garrett: “An artist. A con artist, perhaps, but an artist all the same.”

From the coordinates that light up on his SHIELD badge, Coulson is able to find a secret SHIELD facility called Providence where Remy the rat Adam Goldberg Patton Oswalt Agent Koenig is waiting for them (or at least for Coulson). He tells the team that Fury is dead, though reveals to Coulson in private that Fury is actually alive, but only a few people can know, and that the rest of the team will have to pass a lie detector before they are trusted.

coulson-koeing I have to say I loved Agent Koenig so much in this episode and the next, and I’m so sad we won’t get to see more of him! This episode also solidified, at least in my mind, that Ward is really working with Garrett, at the very least, and he is allegiant to him first and foremost. It will be interesting to see if anything happens with that allegiance if Garrett dies or if he makes Ward choose between him and Skye. At the end of the episode, Garrett sends Ward off to get Skye’s hard drive encrypted, and of course poor Skye has no idea who Ward truly is when he reunites with the team at the end.

BRETT DALTONEver since the episode “FZZT,” I’ve been all aboard the Fitz-Simmons ship. Fitz has a couple of moments where you can see that his feelings for Simmons have truly gone past those of a brotherly/sisterly nature and have turned into more of a romantic love for her. But of course, Simmons is clueless.

Simmons: “Did you mean what you said earlier? About Coulson?”

Fitz: “I don’t know know, Jemma. I want to believe that Coulson knows what he’s doing but…”

Simmons: “Well, we still have each other.”

Fitz: “Yeah. Good. Cause the last thing I want is for things to change.”

Simmons: “It’s too late for that.” 

coulson-cold-badgeThis week’s episode was The Only Light in the Darkness, in which any previous caring I had for Ward before is absolutely gone by everything he does, May leaves, we finally meet Coulson’s lovely cellist, and the Fitz-Simmons feels only grow. It starts off with everyone going through the lie detector test Koenig mentioned to Coulson in the previous episode.

B.J. BRITTThe lie detector sequence was great because it provided even more insight into each character. When asked, “Why are you here?,” May decidedly says Coulson. Simmons admits she’s not sure. When asked if they were stranded on a deserted island with a box, what’s in the box, most people have practical answers, but Simmons declares she wants the TARDIS, and after asking for the variables of the box and being told to say what first comes to mind, Fitz finally says that Simmons would be in his box. (*FEELS!!!*)

PATTON OSWALTWhen Ward has his test, his readings are all over the place. Koenig starts to suspect him. But then Ward is able to work around it through half truths, convincing Koenig at least temporarily that he’s a good guy. Unfortunately, Koenig pays for that mistake and Skye finds a dead Koenig and with this, the truth about Ward. And though she has her freak-out moment, she is able to pull herself together enough to think and act. I’m really glad Skye is wise to the truth now and I’m interested in seeing how she handles herself in the next episode as she is off with Ward.

AMY ACKER, ELIZABETH HENSTRIDGEI loved Amy Acker in her role as Audrey Nathan, AKA, the cellist. Her plot involves a villain of the week who Garrett released from prison, obviously to keep Coulson busy in chasing after him to protect Audrey. But it was all so sad that Coulson had to just watch her from a distance. And then when he kissed her on the forehead and told her he was there and then ran off before she woke… ACK! FEELS!

“Why don’t you tell her the truth? That you’re still alive? … It’s just – the way she talks about you, it sounds like the two of you had something nice… So it’s not because you’re afraid to talk to her?” – Fitz

Yes, more Fitz pining at the end, with more clueless Simmons. My heart is breaking for Fitz. TELL HER HOW YOU FEEL, MAN!

And then the episode ended with May and… Mama May!

mama-mayMay doesn’t know who to trust , other than her mom, and is on the hunt for Maria Hill, who will be in next week’s episode. I’m intrigued by all this.

In short: I’m enjoying the direction of the show and how it keeps bringing its A game. I love Fitz-Simmons. I’m so over Ward, though I am somewhat interested in his backstory. I loved Koenig (RIP!). I continue to love Coulson. I’m curious to see what happens with May, Skye, and Triplett too. And the finale, I have a feeling, is going to leave us with a brutal cliffhanger.

What are your thoughts on these last few episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

TV Series Finales

This post is inspired by the highly controversial finale of How I Met Your Mother that aired on Monday night. I didn’t actually watch the finale since I’ve only seen a handful of episodes, and I won’t spoil you all on here, in case you’ve somehow managed to avoid spoilers and don’t want to know the end, but I can certainly understand why after years of character development, fans of the show would be upset with the ending.

This led me to think about the finales of the various series I’ve watched, the finales where they knew it was their finale and had the chance to plan properly for it. Here’s my ranking of eight TV show finales, all from TV shows I watched from beginning to end, staring with my favorite going down to my least favorite…

1. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, “What You Leave Behind”

ds9-vic-loungeWhen I watched this finale and saw the above scene at Vic’s, it felt so right. It was exactly the sort of note Deep Space Nine needed to end on after the turmoil of war the characters had gone through. It’s hard to get a much better finale than Deep Space Nine, I think, and the only way it really could have felt more complete was if they actually made movies afterward to follow up what happened, because even though it was closure enough, it definitely left an open door and a desire for more. There are books that explore what happens next, which I might get around to reading one day. But sometimes it’s also fun just to imagine for myself.

Story Closure Satisfaction: 4.5/5

Character Closure Satisfaction: 4.5/5

Emotional Satisfaction: 5/5

The more things change, the more they stay the same.” – Quark

2. Fringe, “An Enemy of Fate”

fringe-my favorite thingIf  you ever binge watch Fringe, just be sure the tissues are ready when you reach the end because HOLY GENE (that’ll make sense if you watch the show ;)) the feels are real. Unfortunately, Fringe never answered all the questions I wanted them to and some of the finale lacked logic to me, but it was still really satisfying, especially emotionally.

Story Closure Satisfaction: 4/5

Character Closure Satisfaction: 4.5/5

Emotional Satisfaction: 5/5

“You are… my very favorite thing.” – Walter Bishop

3. Babylon 5, “Sleeping in Light”

babylon6-finaleLike most finales, Babylon 5’s was very bittersweet. It was sad, but I don’t think it could have really ended any other way. And it was a pretty powerful conclusion for the grand story arc J. Michael Straczynski had planned (errr… minus a lot of season 5). This is only #3 on the list because the two before it are so strong, but this one really was too.

Story Closure Satisfaction: 4.5/5

Character Closure Satisfaction: 4/5

Emotional Satisfaction: 4.5/5

“A toast… to absent friends, in memory still bright.” – John Sheridan

4. The West Wing, “Tomorrow”

west-wing-tomorrowWest Wing ran for seven seasons, which means we got to see most of President Bartlett’s two term Presidency, and fittingly, the last episode is him and his crew leaving the White House to make way for the new President. In this episode there’s a lot of reminiscing and a lot of having to show the new folks the ropes for when they take charge. From this list, this is the finale I saw longest ago so it’s the foggiest on my mind, but I do remember being very satisfied overall with the conclusion.

Story Closure Satisfaction: 5/5

Character Closure Satisfaction: 4/5

Emotional Satisfaction: 4/5

Man: Hey, you work there?/ C.J.: Pardon?/ Man: I said, do you work up there? In the White House.C.J.: No. I don’t./ Man: Oh, sorry./ C.J.: No problem.Man: Must be something, huh?/ C.J.: Yeah. Yeah, it must be something.

5. Star Trek: The Next Generation, “All Good Things”

tng-pokerThe closing scene of “All Good Things” is perfect, and while there is some callback in the episode that is nice, it also involves a lot of Q. I’m not a big fan of Q (John deLancie, yes, Q, no) and his antics, and especially his antics from the first episode of TNG, which unfortunately is where a lot of the callback in this episode comes from. It also shows some of the future, and all I remember from that is one thing that left me disappointed. Still, I think that future never really comes to fruition anyway, and we see more of the characters in the movies (though let’s not talk about Nemesis being the end for it all… sigh…). I do remember enjoying this finale pretty well though.

Story Closure Satisfaction: 4.5/5

Character Closure Satisfaction: 4/5

Emotional Satisfaction: 4/5

So, five-card stud, nothing wild… and the sky’s the limit.” – Captain Picard

6. Star Trek: Voyager, “Endgame”

voyager-endgameThe ship Voyager spends seven seasons in another quadrant of the galaxy, trying to make its way back home, and so of course for the finale, everyone wants to see Voyager make it home. But how will it happen? How long will it take? I don’t want to spoil what happens, but let’s just say that maybe this wasn’t the best execution of the idea. But not the worst either. It was just a little more convoluted than I prefer. They also made an interesting choice with a couple of characters I didn’t really see coming, and I didn’t love it or hate it, but now that I know the real life back story of why it happened, it seems kind of lame. But overall, it’s a pretty good finale.

Story Closure Satisfaction: 4/5

Character Closure Satisfaction: 3.5/5

Emotional Satisfaction: 4/5

Set a course… for home.” – Captain Janeway

7. Chuck, “Chuck Versus the Goodbye”

chuck-goodbyeThe Chuck finale was good for the secondary characters. If I were to rank my satisfaction for that part of the finale alone, the numbers would be higher. But for our two main characters, Chuck and Sarah, completely different story. Again, without spoiling anything, all I can say is it does feel like an undoing of previous character development, and that was frustrating and heartbreaking both. I mean, it could have been worse, but it was more than bittersweet.

Story Closure Satisfaction: 2.5/5

Character Closure Satisfaction: 2.5/5

Emotional Satisfaction: 2.5/5

“… tell me our story.”  – Sarah Walker

8. Star Trek: Enterprise, “These Are the Voyages…”

These_are_the_VoyagesSorry for the butt shot, but almost every picture I found for this episode was a major spoiler. This episode is truly the sorriest excuse for a finale or a “Valentine to the fans” (as Rick Berman and Brannon Braga called it… gag me…) EVER. Which is so disappointing because to this day, it’s the last episode we have of Star Trek ever, and the episode before this one was really quite good and would have made a fitting finale. But this is terrible garbage. The premise is ludicrous, what happens to some of the characters is inane, and it just made me ANGRY. I’m giving story closure a rating of .5 only because we see the beginnings of the Federation. That was the ONE good thing that happened. I really enjoyed Enterprise overall but this finale was truly the biggest disappointment for a TV show ever, and from what I gather, nearly every Star Trek fan agrees.

Story Closure Satisfaction: .5/5

Character Closure Satisfaction: 0/5

Emotional Satisfaction: 0/5

Here’s to the next generation.” – Captain Archer

What are your favorite and least favorite finales? (And please avoid spoilers, unless you’re talking about the aforementioned shows.)

Review: Almost Human, Season One

In a not-so-distant future, human cops and androids partner up to protect and serve. – from IMDB

almost-human1Almost Human is a sci-fi show that just finished up its first season on Fox with a 13 episode run, and I am hoping and crossing all my fingers and toes that it won’t be the last season, but with it being on the bubble, I am aware of the unfortunate possibility. I just want MORE! More of these great characters, more of this interesting world with its developing technology, and more of the hinted at story arcs. Why did Valerie, a genetically engineered “Chrome” decide to become a cop? What makes Dorian so much more special than all the other DRN models that Captain Maldonado reactivated him for duty to work with Kennex? What happened with Anna and why is she listening in on Kennex? And what in the world is on the other side of The Wall?! Why is it there in the first place? I need to know!

If I had to describe Almost Human in my own words, I would say it’s a detective bromance set in a future where crimes evolve with the technology and the lines between man and android are sometimes blurred. Karl Urban, starring as the main character John Kennex, is perfect in his role. If you love Dr. McCoy from the new Star Trek movies (and seriously, who doesn’t?!)…

vulcan-mindThen you’ll love Kennex…

cat-issuesAnd Michael Ealy is perfectly paired with Urban as his android partner who has been programmed with “synthetic soul,” which makes him more human than the more generic models of androids. He is always delivering perfectly-timed quips and enjoys giving Kennex a hard time, and he also has more serious moments when he reflects on humanity in ways that Kennex cannot.

I enjoyed the rest of the main cast as well, and in 13 episodes, we definitely did not get enough of them. I want to learn more about each of their characters, and all the actors/actresses, in addition to the great writing, are responsible for that.

AH-secondarycast

Minka Kelly/ Mackenzie Crook/ Lili Taylor

I can see the reasons why Almost Human may not have gained popularity, despite how much I truly enjoyed it. For starters, it can’t seem to decide if it wants to episodic or serial, which can be frustrating for people who prefer one sort of show over the other. Each week there is a new case, but there are also several mentions sprinkled in that hint at an overall storyline or, even more frustratingly, seem super important and make you think it will be addressed in the next episode, but then it’s not. Because of this, audiences who learned not to rely on these supposed important plot points may not make an effort to tune in every week, and then those who prefer the episodic nature might still do the same, because they’re not looking for a week-to-week story arc.

What was also super frustrating was that Fox decided to air the episodes out of order, so one week Kennex and Dorian would be buddy-buddy, and the next week Kennex would be ready to throw Dorian out of the window from frustration. The development of the characters and the story did not make much sense in the order the episodes were shown.

There’s also the fact that it was just not given enough time for word to properly get around about the show. Those who love Fringe (which by the way, I think spent its first season with some of the same struggles as Almost Human, but then found its feet and improved) and similar shows would really enjoy Almost Human, and they just may not have discovered it yet. Perhaps it is a niche target audience, but I think there are people who would like it who might not think to seek it out. Words like “sci-fi” and “androids” may make the show seem heady or out there, but the show really is about being human. And can’t we all relate to that?

One of my favorite episodes, “Perception,” was ultimately about a teen girl trying to live up to her mother’s potential, and how far someone is willing to go for the vindication of someone they love. There might be talk of genetically engineered humans and printed drugs in the process, but ultimately, the story is about people.

The season finale was not dramatic, it did not raise many more questions, and there was not a cliffhanger. They left the Kennex-Dorian relationship in a satisfying place, I think in case that if this was it, at least their relationship would have closure. But there is still so much left to be explored.

I really believe in the potential of this show. I hope Fox will too. I want more Almost Human!

Did you watch the first season of Almost Human? What were your thoughts on it? 

Review: I Spy, Season Two

See my review for I Spy, Season One here. I Spy is an action-adventure TV series from the 196os that focuses on Alexander “Scotty” Scott (played by Bill Cosby) and Kelly Robinson (played by Robert Culp), who pose as a tennis player and his trainer, but are actually secret agents for the U.S. government.

i-spy-season2What I love about season two of the show is that the characters are already established, as well as their friendship, so we dive right into new stories with the two. I felt there was a more diverse range of locations this season, from Italy to California to Spain. Kelly’s still picking up women left and right, but he’s also smoking a lot more, and Scotty’s about as straight-laced as ever, though he gets to loosen up some this season. I also found the season to be overall more political, espousing American ideals and speaking out against Communism quite a bit. There is a blend of serious episodes with more fun, romp-like episodes, and while I have a lot of appreciation for the serious ones (minus the ones that the late Robert Culp wrote, because with all due respect to him, they weren’t that great), I generally preferred the fun ones (unless they were trying to be fun and then weren’t, particularly an episode involving an Italian boy named Gino…).

scott&kelly

Episode Stand-Outs

The first episode I enjoyed a lot was “One of Our Bombs Is Missing,” in which Kelly and Scotty have to recover an A-bomb from an American military aircraft that crashed in Italy. There was a colorful cast of side characters that made this one enjoyable, including a man trying to hook Kelly up with his daughter (who he insists is a very good cook) and a priest.

oneofourbombsOne episode where I found the premise intriguing and would like to see done in a more modern way was “Father Abraham.” A very young rocket scientist has volunteered to be tortured and give false information to some bad guys (probably Russian Communists, but I don’t remember for certain) all to win the approval of his father. Part of me found it far-fetched, and yet, it really was intriguing because the character himself was an enigma to me, and I don’t know how to explain why. I suppose because he seemed so young, early to mid-twenties, and was a fairly attractive guy who could probably find a lady to settle down with and live a normal life, but he chose this whole other, dangerous path. I think it could be a great movie or book, and that it could expound so much more than this episode could.

fatherabraham“Child Out of Time” was interesting in that is focuses on an extremely bright girl who ends up an orphan. With this episode, I found her character more interesting than the actual story. She kept these secrets that her mother had memorized, valuable information that many people wanted, but once that’s given away, there’s nothing left for her except to go live with some nuns. She was the sort of character that I wanted to know more about (like the guy from the aforementioned episode), and it would be interesting to find out how she was doing ten years later. She formed a sweet friendship with Scotty, and I really hope he kept in touch with her.

childoutoftime

The last one I really enjoyed was “Night Train to Madrid,” a story that feels like an Agatha Christie novel, yet is almost light-hearted in some ways. It was definitely a good murder mystery story, and it almost entirely takes place on a night train ride.

nighttraintomadrid

Groundbreaking For Its Time

As I mentioned in my season one review, this series was groundbreaking for the time, with some really great on-location shots, political commentary, and a black man and a white man working together as equals on screen (and that black man, Bill Cosby, won 3 Emmy awards for his 3 years on the show). I have to say that this show and Star Trek both did a lot for 1960s television.

But Not Perfect…

Unfortunately, women were a bit objectified at times in the series, especially in the two episodes Culp wrote for the season. I don’t even consider myself a feminist, but most of the girls were air-headed and willing to abandon everything for a man, or pig-headed but still willing to abandon everything for a man who completely disagrees with their philosophy. Thankfully, they weren’t all that way and some were actually very capable and not annoying.

Also, sometimes I am amazed by how incompetent Kelly and Scotty can be, getting captured, people figure out who they really are, or them not being armed when really, they should be at all times. But there are also times they are completely competent and get the job done!

And Speaking of Star Trek (as I was, uh, a paragraph ago)…

There are several Star Trek actors that made an appearance in this season of I Spy, from Walter Koenig (you may know him as Chekov) to Ricardo Montalban (who you may as the original KHAN!!!!) to Salmone Jens (who was an awesome character in I Spy, but less so as the Female Changeling in Deep Space Nine). There are others (mostly people who played much smaller roles in Star Trek), and it was always fun to discover someone from Star Trek on I Spy. Oh, and Opie Taylor made an appearance too!

i_spy_vera_ricardo_montalban

ron-howard-ispy-cropOverall, it was good, and though there were a few clunkers, it was a stronger season than the first. My husband and I hope to be able to get a hold of season three sometime, but unfortunately for some reason it’s a bit pricier than the other two. I’d give I Spy season two 3.5 stars.

3.5starsIt’s definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re a fan of spy stuff and/or Bill Cosby.

Anyone else a fan of I Spy? 

This Week in TV: The Super Bowl, Almost Human, and Agents of SHIELD

With all three of my TV shows coming back this week with their first episode of 2014, plus with The Super Bowl this past Sunday, I thought it would be worth talking about what caught my attention on TV this week. Even if you don’t watch these shows, feel free to read on because who knows, maybe it’ll spark your interest!

I’m not talking about Castle, because it’s an established show and there was nothing particularly special about this week’s episode, but Almost Human and Agents of SHIELD are both in their first season and are revealing new things every week that are piquing my interest. But first…

The Super Bowl

Russell WilsonI saw/heard a lot of people say they thought this year’s Super Bowl was boring. I don’t understand how one could feel this way unless (1) they were rooting for the Broncos (obviously) or (2) they don’t actually care about football anyway. Sure it was a blowout, but it was fun to watch.

Just to be clear, I’m only moderately interested in football. I have teams I like and I enjoy watching them when they play well, and especially if they run the ball because it’s way more exciting than passing it. Also, I was rooting for the Seahawks because of my disliking for Peyton Manning. It’s a lousy reason to root for a team, but it’s the truth.

So maybe I took too much pleasure in watching Peyton throwing interceptions.

And in his disgruntled facial expressions.

And of guys on the Seahawks running with no danger of being tackled as they made their way to the end zone.

And I also could have been on a sugar high because my husband and I had the bright idea of eating a Skittle for every point Seattle scored. (Why Skittles? Because of this guy.) Personally, I thought they might score 21 points. I wasn’t even dreaming of 43. Holy cow, guys. It was a LOT of Skittles.

But what I wanted to talk about mostly was the commercials. Overall, not  a bad batch, but not many really stood out either. Most were just better than mediocre.

In case you’re unaware, USA Today does this thing where people rank the Super Bowl commercials and  they announce on Monday how everything ranked. Their top 5 were as follows:

1. Budweiser, “Puppy Love”

2. Doritos, “Cowboy Kid”

3. Budweiser, “Hero’s Welcome”

4. Doritos, “Time Machine”

5. Radio Shack, “Phone Call”

(Sorry this don’t mean much if you didn’t see them; I’ll include videos of some of them later.)

Puppy Love being number one was not a surprise to me. Who can resist an adorable story about furry best friends?

The second one, The Dortios Cowboy Kid, really fell flat for me and I didn’t find it funny, so I was surprised to see it so highly ranked. The other Doritos commercial, however, made me chuckle.

I thought the Radio Shack commercial was also funny and clever. I’m glad they’re choosing this way to brand and market themselves now instead of calling themselves “The Shack” like they were for a while…

One of my favorites was, without a doubt, the Tim Tebow T-Mobile commercial (there were actually two, but we’ll go with the first one here), as he explains what you can do without a contract (plus I’m a Tebow fan):

Another commercial I found quite funny and clever was done by Turbo Tax…

And lastly, I feel I have to mention Jaguar’s commercial of British villains…

How fun is that?

Almost Human

I’ve been enjoying Almost Human, but it’s been painfully obvious that they’re showing the episodes out of order, and the mythology I was kind of hoping for from a show developed by the same people who did Fringe hasn’t really been present. However, I enjoy the characters, it’s been an interesting look into a possible future, and they have made some references that can certainly lead to more in the story later. One of these references that has particularly piqued my interest is to “the wall.”

almost-human-the-wallIn this episode they finally addressed it further, but we still don’t know much about it. I don’t think the wall is around the entire city, but runs through it. And it sounds like it is definitely separating them from an unsavory place. But what goes on there? How did it come to be this way? So many questions! But we did see someone going over the wall at the end of this week’s episode, so it will certainly come back up. I also think we’re at the point where the episodes might finally be shown in order. And though I’m dying for an episode that explains more about the wall, I’m also intrigued by the next episode because it’s about Valerie, one of the detectives, and about others who are genetically engineered. I’m definitely interested in seeing how genetic engineering is portrayed in this universe. 

almost-human-valerieIf you’re interested in science fiction, check this show out. I think it’s going to get even better.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

After the first three episodes of SHIELD aired, I shared my thoughts about the show. I was slightly disappointed, as I expected more from a Whedon show, but I saw a lot of potential in it. I know a lot of people gave up on the show, and if you’re one of those people, you should really come back to it. You have until March 4 (ugh, such a long break after an earlier long break and only one new episode!) to catch up. The characters are finally starting to feel like real people you care about, with relationships and personality traits and past lives. Every week more clues about a larger storyline are being given, more elements are coming to light, and just when one thing is answered, something else arouses our curiosity. Skye’s past is of interest now, as well as more on Coulson’s death, and who the heck is the clairvoyant, and what does she/he want?! And I adore the interactions between Fitz and Simmons, as I have mentioned before. The plot is thickening week by week, so do yourself a favor and check it out.

agents-of-shield-ep-11Also, Emma Approved is back from its month hiatus! Hooray!

Which Superbowl commercial was your favorite? Are you a fan of Almost Human or Agents of SHIELD?