15 November 2017

'Star Trek: Discovery' season review - Part One

The Vulcan Hello 

In what seems to be the first part of a two-part prologue we get a strong introduction to Michael Burnham, who is headstrong to put it mildly. The episode honours original Trek while taking it up a level and the 'new' Klingons look great.

 

Battle at the Binary Stars

They certainly didn't do battles like this back in TOS, that's for sure. Not quite as good as the first episode, but a strong part two in which Burnham's plan goes completely Pete Tong MBE. It's a pity that Georgiou is only around for two episodes, but someone had to be the sacrificial lamb here and Michelle Yeoh does a great job.

 

Context is for Kings

Lorca… seems rather untrustworthy. Our proper 'pilot' introduces us to a batch of the new queue, including some welcome comic relief in the form of Cadet Tilly, an intriguing story arc involving new technology that seems likely to end badly and some epic quoting of Alice in Wonderland. Burnham is annoyingly self-confident, but I think she's meant to be here and part of the "Discovery" of the title is her finding her tact.

 

The Butcher's…

A regular named character dies with relatively little warning, there's some questionable activity going on with this ship and we get a rather classic twist on the big scary alien. A distinctly average episode, but things are moving along.

 

Choose Your Pain

The strongest episode so far. We're really getting into the story now and amazingly Mudd manages not to be annoying. Deeply dislikeable, that's for sure, but definitely not annoying. Glad that one particular character didn't die and it's also clear that Lorca has some serious issues.

 

Lethe

An episode focussing very much on Burnham's own background, this is a well-written tale although arguably not the best. The 'Disco' T-shirts are hilarious – even many of the crew weren't aware of them. Interesting twist ending mind – Lorca is looking more suspicious now.

 

Magic to Make…

Definitely the most fun – and funny – episode so far. Works perfectly fine as a standalone and is arguably the most Trek episode so far. Harcourt Fenton Mudd again isn't annoying, which is amazing and it's nice to see the 'personal log' back.

 

Se Vis Pacem...

Another very Trek episode; this wouldn't be out of place in the original series, that's for sure. A lot of good twists along the way, strong material for everyone (including the Klingons) and a strong cliff-hanger.

 

Into the Forest I Go

A great fall finale, which ties up a good deal – but by no means all – of the loose ends. Some really great action throughout, some strong tension (one particular character has become much loved) and a superb cliff-hanger that I'm looking forward to seeing resolved.

Overall

Started fairly strong, got very strong. The characters are all memorable and recognisable on sight, which is a good thing. The visual update works and I'm looking forward to Part 2 in January.

11 November 2017

Remembrance 2017

I've just come back from a holiday in Malta, which was itself subjected to a two and a half year siege and thousands of air raids by the Axis powers during the Second World War. It was the most bombed place on earth in relation to its size. The RAF suffered huge losses defending a small but strategically vital island and 1,300 civilians themselves were killed.

It's not just soldiers who are victims of war - it never has been. Refugees, reporters, aid workers and others, all are impacted in some way.

We will remember them.

06 November 2017

'Mystery Science Theater 3000' 11.10, "Wizards of the Lost Kingdom"

This 1985 American movie is very silly without possessing the understanding that it is silly, which would make it more enjoyable. It seems that only 58 minutes of footage was actually usable from the production with the prologue (heavily edited here) lifted from other films. It has a 2.6/10 rating on IMDB, which is not good by any stretch of the imagination.

Accordingly, we get ourselves a very good episode of the show, with riffs that, while lacking any legendary ones, gently keep me engaged. The interludes further sending up the movie are also very strong.

Not a classic, but another really solid effort.

8/10

04 November 2017

Saudi Arabia intercepts long-range ballistic missile heading for Riyadh

BBC News Report

 

This is probably the first time a ‘rebel’ group has managed to fire a missile of that long a range – I strongly suspect that they modified a Scud to do this. However, it took a lot of work for relatively little gain… as do most ballistic missile programmes.

 

Suspect this will get quite a bit of analysis in the next couple of weeks.

23 October 2017

Thoughts on Brexit

I strongly suspect we will be heading for a no deal situation and reverting to WTO rules when dealing with the EU-27. This is going to be highly inconvenient for many people, especially in terms of foreign travel and trade. I doubt it will be as bad as some think, but it’s not going to be easy to deal with for many.

 

Perhaps, in time, we’ll re-join the EU. We’d have to accept Schengen and possibly the Euro, but would either of those be that bad? The problem with immigration is that we’re not building enough houses, basically.

14 October 2017

Harvey Weinstein

The allegations against this man, who had huge power in Hollywood until recently, are serious and deserve proper investigation. However, sexual misconduct is a problem not just limited to Hollywood but is a society-wide problem.

I think there is a simple thing that people should do: ask permission before making any sexual moves on another person. What you may interpret as being a tease is not always so.

07 October 2017

Secret '67

I am currently running a 1960s set espionage game over at Myth-Weavers going bay the name of 'Secret '67':

Please take a look. I'm having a very good time writing this and the research I have done to get the period detail correct (especially regarding transport) has been very interesting indeed.