Tag Archives: review

TV Review – The Walking Dead Season 1

The Walking Dead is a TV series that has received a lot of praise in the past, especially its first season. I was living in Japan when it became popular, and I had access to it through Hulu. I was able to watch up until about the middle of the third season, then stopped watching for some reason. I’ve now decided to start watching it again, starting with season 1. As I have watched this before, there were no surprises.

When I watched it the first time, I enjoyed it a lot. The second time around, some of the jump scares still worked. I hadn’t remembered some of them. But I found that it’s more than just a zombie show. It’s a show about people. It’s about humanity. It’s about how humans cope with extreme situations which seem impossible to survive. People do things they would never do in normal circumstances.

Although Rick is a police officer, he shows fear and breaks down emotionally. Shane shows how much a person can change in situations like this. Glenn shows how resourceful a person can be, even if he was a pizza delivery driver. There are a lot of characters with unique personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. Daryl is a popular character, and I like him more in later seasons. However, he comes across as a hotheaded man who wouldn’t hesitate to kill. I also like Dale. He seems very compassionate and cares deeply for Andrea and Amy.

I felt that episode 4 was emotionally powerful. Without giving any spoilers, something happens that I don’t know if I’d be able to get through it emotionally. Incredibly difficult. It has a strong impact, even when watching it for a second time.

Throughout the season, you feel both hope and despair. You wonder who will die and who will live. Below, you will see spoilers!

Most emotional deaths

I’d have to say that Amy’s and Jim’s deaths were the most emotional. Especially Amy’s. I can’t imagine what went through Andrea’s mind when she shot Amy as she became a walker.

Death I was happy about

Ed’s death with satisfying. The abusive asshole deserved it. And his death was particularly gruesome.

Overall Impression

I think it was a solid start to the series. I enjoyed it a lot, and was looking forward to season 2. I still am. I’d give this a very solid 4 1/2 stars out of 5.

How about you?

What did you think of The Walking Dead season 1? Let me know in the comments below.

The Star Trek Project Video Digest 6 – My Wonderful Acting

As I work through The Star Trek Project, I keep thinking about how long this is going to take at this pace. Forever. I’m considering doing only The Original Series on video, as it’s the only one that really has a lot of things to nitpick and talk about. The other series are higher quality and tend to not have any noticeable problems or unusual things. What do you think?

Anyway, for this digest, I have one video, and it features my latest attempt at acting at the beginning of the video. Check out “What Are Little Girls Made Of?”

What did you think of my acting? Terrible? I agree! And let me know what you thought of this episode.

Star Trek S1E08 – Miri

Star_Trek_TOS_logo.svgWhat’s with the episodes with a high creep factor? Honestly, looking back at these episodes after several years of not watching them, I notice these things so much more. This is just yet another episode that has some awkward situations. As always, there are spoilers!

Season 1, Episode 8: Miri

Original Air Date: October 27, 1966

Stardate 2713.5

Planet: Parallel Earth

Featured Alien: Humans?

Main Cast: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Rand

Main Guest Characters: Miri (Kim Darby), Jahn (Michael J. Pollard), Farrell (Jim Goodwin), Redheaded Boy (Steven McEveety)

Things I Noticed

To start off, the age of this show is apparent. The planet’s size and mass were given in miles and tons. Yeah, right.

Also, you have to really suspend your disbelief with this episode. Another Earth? Yeah, right. What are the odds of that happening? So unlikely that it’s practically zero. Not only that, this wasn’t a parallel universe or an alternate timeline. This was in the same region of the galaxy that we live in. This is probably one of my biggest problems with this episode.

Why was Rand on the away team? I’m curious about what skills she has that are useful. It appears that her job on the ship is to attend the Captain and deliver reports for him to sign. She seems more like a secretary. But what’s she doing on the away team? That should be reserved for specialists.

I have to keep commenting on Shatner’s physical abilities. He runs funny.

When Spock uses his tricorder, all that happens is that it makes a sound. No image on the screen. It merely seems like a sound-making device. Even though he looks at it, it doesn’t seem to do much.

The trees and plants around the church look well-kept. They really shouldn’t. Also, plants should have taken over much of the roads and buildings if this world had been like this for 300 years. I doubt that children would be very interested in gardening if all they do is play in a Lord of the Flies-like fashion.

The interactions between Kirk and Miri were awkward. She’s an adolescent, but the way Kirk talks to her is creepy. This is a major red flag for me. I was cringing!

Miri hasn’t reached puberty yet, but her actress was 19 at the time. Jahn’s actor was 27. Not very convincing children. They seemed like teenagers at least, not 12 year old children.

Kirk said “you can help us best by clearing the computer banks.” Why? What purpose does it serve to clear a computer’s memory?

The bio computer is interesting. Just a box with buttons and red lights. How is data input? How do they read the data given out? Just how do these flashy blinky boxes work??

After 300 years, how do the kids’ clothes stay in such good shape? I doubt they have any good tailors.

Both Kirk and McCoy’s uniforms have opened on their left shoulders. Kirk has nothing underneath, while McCoy has a black shirt. Is this intentional?

The children have only a few months of food left. But how could they have had 300 years worth of food before? How much is that? And how could it be stored for 300 years? Wouldn’t it go bad?

Kirk tears his sleeves. Typical Kirk.

When the vaccine was found, there’s something that bothered me. How do blemishes fade that quickly? That’s not possible. Especially scab-like blemishes.

At the end, they leave the system at warp 1. Why go to warp 1? That’s only light speed. It would take them years to get anywhere.

My Impressions

This episode doesn’t get off to a good start. With the parallel Earth story, I just couldn’t get past the fact that there’s a planet in our part of the galaxy that’s identical to the Earth. That just doesn’t happen! But I guess after pushing that doubt aside, it was a decent episode. Nothing spectacular. There are just too many things that make it unlikely:

  • 300 year old children who haven’t advanced mentally. I have more faith in modern children on our Earth today.
  • Well-maintained trees and plants.
  • The kids aren’t wearing rags or completely naked.
  • Miri is a “child” yet looks like an older teenager. Jahn is also supposed to be a child, but looks even older than that. If they die at puberty, why has his voice changed?
  • A 300 year supply of food? Really? How?

Too many questions! I don’t think the writers were thinking about it very much.

As for the acting, it’s pretty typical. Kim Darby is decent as Miri. Michael J. Pollard irritated me as Jahn. Steven McEveety as the unnamed redheaded boy was even worse. But Kirk’s interaction with Miri was at times cringeworthy. I just felt embarrassed watching it.

Later on in the episode, Kirk, McCoy, and Rand were getting angry at each other quite a bit. Spock didn’t, since he wasn’t affected by the disease. I wasn’t impressed or unimpressed by their performances. Very neutral, to be honest.

Overall, I thought this was a decent episode. Not a strong one, but not terrible. Just too many awkward things going on.

Verdict

★★★ 1/2

Your Voice

What did you think about this episode? Do you agree with me about Kirk’s behaviour with Miri? Let me know in the comments below.

The Star Trek Project Video Digest 5 – I Wear a Moustache

The Star Trek Project is going strong on video, and I’m now up to episode 7, as of later this week. However, in this post, we look at episode 6.

“Mudd’s Women” is the sixth episode of the original Star Trek, and it introduces a recurring character, Harcourt Fenton Mudd. This character has a big moustache, so I tried to impersonate him. Check out the full video review and nitpicks.

What did you think of this episode? Let me know in the comments below. Did you like the moustache?

The Star Trek Project Video Digest 4 – My Worst Acting Ever

It’s been a while since I’d done a Star Trek Project video, but here is the next one. This time, it features my worst acting yet!

In each of these videos, I try to impersonate one of the characters and do what they did, both in the thumbnail and the intro for the video. For episode 5 of Star Trek, I show a pretty bad impersonation of angry evil Kirk. This is “The Enemy Within.”

So, what did you think of it? It was pretty bad acting, wasn’t it?

Something you may have noticed if you’ve seen previous videos is that I’ve reordered things and put the review first. The nitpicking came after. Let me know if you like it that way in the comments below.

Star Trek S1E07 – What Are Little Girls Made Of?

Star_Trek_TOS_logo.svgI always thought this was an odd episode. So few of the main characters are in this episode, and it focuses mainly on Nurse Chapel and Captain Kirk. Although Spock and Uhura are in it, no one else is. Did everyone just have a holiday that week? And it’s the episode with Lurch! So, as usual, there are spoilers!

Season 1, Episode 7: What Are Little Girls Made Of?

Original Air Date: October 20, 1966

Stardate 2712.4

Planet: Exo III

Featured Alien: Androids

Main Cast: Kirk, Chapel, Spock, Uhura

Main Guest Characters: Dr. Roger Korby (Michael Strong), Dr. Brown (Harry Basch), Ruk (Ted Cassidy), Andrea (Sherry Jackson)

Things I Noticed

At first, I was wondering what I can nitpick about this episode. It wasn’t easy at first, but things started appearing.

Chapel had a really weird smile when talking to Korby from the bridge of the Enterprise. It was awkward watching her.

You can really notice how short the women’s uniforms are in this episode. You could see the bottom of Uhura’s butt!

When Kirk and Chapel beam down to the planet, they’re not wearing anything warm, even though it’s an icy planet. However, the entrance may actually be a window.

Kirk helps Chapel down the cavern by holding her hand like she’s a scared little girl. You’d think as a Starfleet officer, she’d be a bit braver than that.

Dr. Brown is kind of creepy. He wasn’t programmed very well if he doesn’t speak or behave like a human.

More wooden furniture! I’m so surprised at how many episodes have wooden furniture. And it’s yet another episode of people working alone or in very small groups on a planet with little outside contact.

Andrea’s outfit is rather skimpy. But that’s pretty common in Star Trek. And maybe Korby wasn’t entirely honest about his relationship with Andrea.

Korby talks a bit funny. It’s not just his voice, but his accent doesn’t seem to match anything modern.

Kirk’s roll seemed unnecessary and rather awkward. But you know, Shatner isn’t really an action star.

Strange that the blank android looks like foam. The android creation process seems rather improbable. The speed at which the turntable turns would probably seriously incapacitate Kirk, but he seemed fine.

A first look at some Star Trek food. It looked like waxy pieces of gelatin. Not very appetising.

Shatner’s double walks so differently than Shatner. It was obvious it wasn’t him.

The stalactite Kirk used to attack Ruk looked like foam.

When Korby and Andrea were destroyed, was that an accident or did Korby commit suicide?

My Impressions

This episode was another awkward one. It was downright creepy. And I mean Michael Strong’s portrayal of Dr. Korby. Was he intentionally creepy, or is that how he usually acted?

This was never one of my favourite episodes. It doesn’t have the best acting or the best cast. No McCoy, no Scotty, no Sulu. That’s unusual. There just wasn’t the usual banter between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. I miss that! Majel Barrett wasn’t doing her best acting when she smiled bashfully while talking to Korby. However, I’ve seen her do that as Lwaxana Troi in The Next Generation.

The whole premise behind Korby’s plan to replace humanity with androids seemed unlikely, too. He seemed to think that everyone would love to have android bodies so they would never get sick or old. But then, they’d never experience the joys of having children or eating delicious food. Machines wear out and break down eventually. What happens when they all stop working? Can’t have children to continue the species.

Like I said, this isn’t my favourite episode. It was okay, just not one I really looked forward to. The only thing I found memorable about it was Ruk realising there can be no peace, and that Korby was bringing conflict to Exo III again. It should be mentioned that Ted Cassidy (Ruk) is best known as the actor who portrayed Lurch in The Addams Family.

Verdict

★★★

Your Voice

What did you think of this episode? Do you agree it was one of the weaker episodes, or did you enjoy it? Let me know in the comments section below.

Why I Review Self-Published Books

As someone who is writing a book and intends to self-publish, I want to support other authors who self-publish. That is why I review them.

You see, while I’m reading traditionally published books in physical form, I also read self-published books on Kindle. I usually have two books going at the same time, and I when I have a little time, I read the eBook.

But aren’t self-published books garbage? Absolutely not! There are some that are very good. Here are three that have received publishing deals after originally being published online or as self-published eBooks:

  • Riyria Revelations, by Michael J. Sullivan
  • Wool, by Hugh Howie
  • The Martian, by Andy Weir

Although I don’t have Wool, I have the other two, and will read them soon. I have also read some that don’t have a publishing contract and are very good. Sure, just like traditionally published books, you find some that aren’t very good.

Below, you can watch the review of the first self-published novel I ever read, Voidhawk, by Jason Halstead.

The original review is here, which I did nearly four years ago.

Do you read self-published books? Let me know in the comments below.

Star Trek S1E06 – Mudd’s Women

Star_Trek_TOS_logo.svgI went into this episode thinking it was a different episode. You see, there are two episodes featuring Harcourt Fenton Mudd, a serious one, and a silly one. Well, what we get here is the serious one. And of course, spoilers!

Season 1, Episode 6: Mudd’s Women

Original Air Date: October 13, 1966

Stardate 1329.8

Planet: Rigel XII

Featured Alien: None

Main Cast: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scott, Sulu, Uhura

Main Guest Characters: Harcourt Fenton Mudd (Roger C. Carmel), Eve McHuron (Karen Steele), Ruth Bonaventure (Maggie Thrett), Magda Kovacs (Susan Denberg), Ben Childress (Gene Dynarski), Herm Gossett (John Kowal), Benton (Seamon Glass), Farrell (Jim Goodwin)

Things I Noticed

Talk about a lot of guest stars. This is the first time we get to see Harcourt Fenton Mudd, the con man. He went by the name Captain Leo Walsh.

There’s another uniform change. This time, Uhura was wearing yellow. But this was one of the earliest episodes made, and was considered for the second pilot episode.

As we move on, we see an asteroid belt. Now, I blame the digital remake of this scene. There were too many asteroids. Asteroid belts are not that dense. You’re unlikely to ever see an asteroid as you pass through a belt.

This is also the first time we hear about lithium crystals. As we all know, dilithium crystals are used in starships. But since this is an early episode, I don’t think they’d established dilithium crystals as the focal point for matter and antimatter streams. I have the technical manual. I know how it works.

Mudd has a rather hairy neck. It’s a bit odd.

In the transporter room, this is the first time we hear about McCoy’s distrust of transporters.

I’d like to know how Mudd knows Spock is only part Vulcan, or as he says, Vulcanian.

I’d also like to know why there was a sine wave on the monitor during the lie detector test.

The police record on Mudd is somewhat humourous. Of course, no metric. Looks like a typed card with a colour mugshot. I love being able to pause to see things like this.

The women’s lives were basically described as being women who did the cooking and mending clothes on farm worlds, merely doing traditional women’s roles. Very outdated, and I wouldn’t have thought they’d be like this in the 23rd century.

Mudd says the lithium miners are rich. I thought money was not a factor in Star Trek. At least in Starfleet, they don’t need it.

I find it humourous that Mudd thinks he could buy the Enterprise and become Kirk’s commander. You can’t buy a Starfleet ship and command its crew. That’s like some rich con man buying an American aircraft carrier and assuming command of its crew.

Mudd says lithium is worth hundreds of times more than diamonds and thousands more than gold. Didn’t know they were trade commodities in the 23rd century.

The mining camp’s doors look like giant styrofoam blocks, not rock. Incredibly low tech for the 23rd century, including pans and wood furniture. The outside of the quarters are futuristic-looking, but the inside is like a cave. Weird.

I have issues with the mining camp’s attitude and willingness to collude with Mudd, basically holding the Enterprise hostage. Wouldn’t that result in the arrest and charging of the miners? I mean, they’re Federation citizens betraying the Federation’s military.

They have circular playing cards. Maybe they exist today, but I haven’t seen them.

So, a placebo can actually make someone’s appearance and skin condition change within seconds? Wow.

My Impressions

Another classic, especially with Mudd. He’s made the two episodes he’s in fun. I enjoyed this episode, though it wasn’t incredibly strong. There were so many things in this episode that made me question whether it’s supposed to portray the 23rd century. Star Trek was quite progressive for the 1960s, but it’s so incredibly outdated, especially regarding the attitude towards women. It handles race as being something that’s completely accepted. There are no racial issues. However it still treats women as being the “weaker sex” and objects for men’s desire.

Regardless, I still enjoyed the episode. Of the main characters, Kirk was the focus. Spock was a secondary focus, but it was mostly Kirk, Mudd, the women, and the miners. People criticise Shatner’s acting all the time, but I thought he was good in this episode. For one thing, he completely resisted the women! Amazing!

Verdict

★★★★

Your Voice

What did you think about this episode? Do you notice how women are treated in Star Trek? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Reflecting on Gardens of the Moon

Have you ever read a book that left a big impression on you even a few years after you read it? One of those books for me is Gardens of the Moon. I read it four years ago, but when I think about it, I remember the incredible worldbuilding, cultures, and characters.

The world is unique. It’s been developed from the ground up, and has a fully fleshed out history. There are so many different cultures spanning continents. And Malazan Book of the Fallen does span several continents. It’s a global story that lasts for many volumes. I’ve only read two. The characters are colourful, imaginative, and far too real. Even though they may be a completely different species than humans, they feel real when I read the books.

I did a review reflecting on my memories of the book on video. Take a look.

I think you get the message that I love how this world has been developed. I want to get back in it and spend more time there. And you know what? This is a book that I want to reread sometime in the future. I can’t say that for many books.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below.

Star Trek S1E05 – The Enemy Within

Star_Trek_TOS_logo.svgThe early part of Star Trek has some really good episodes. This is another one of those episodes that people think of when they imagine classic Trek. And in this one, we get to experience William Shatner’s acting range. Warning: there are spoilers!

Season 1, Episode 5: The Enemy Within

Original Air Date: October 6, 1966

Stardate 1672.1

Planet: Alpha 177

Featured Alien: Alien dog

Main Cast: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scott, Sulu, Rand

Main Guest Characters: No one notable

Things I Noticed

Right at the beginning, we notice how cheap the production is. The alien dog looks like a dog in a costume. Honestly, you can easily tell it’s a dog.

In the transporter room, Scotty uses a sensor that looks like cheap plastic. More cheapness.

There was a continuity error, as well. When Kirk beamed up (both good and evil Kirk), his uniform insignia was missing. But soon after, it was back. How’d they not notice that?

And in sick bay, the plastic 20th century spray bottles are back!

On to the crew quarters, they have interesting decor. They’re so industrial-looking. Also, Rand’s mirror is so foggy or scuffed up so much, you can’t really see a reflection very well.

Also, every time I see Rand, I wonder how long it takes her to do her hair like that. It seems so elaborate.

And in Kirk’s quarters, I noticed that he has makeup. Why?

While Sulu and the others are trapped on the surface of the planet with freezing temperatures, they try to fix the transporter on the Enterprise. Why not just send a shuttlecraft? Of course, they hadn’t been designed for the show yet.

What really surprised me is how deserted Engineering is. Doesn’t anyone work there?

When good and evil Kirk fight each other, you can see that Shatner’s double is taller than him.

This is the first episode that McCoy uses the exact phrase, “He’s dead, Jim.”

In the scene on the bridge later in the episode, the scratches switched cheeks on evil Kirk. I guess they just mirrored the film.

Sulu and the others were left on the planet at nearly -120 degrees. How could they survive? They were wrapped in thin blankets.

My Impressions

I really enjoyed this episode. This is definitely classic Trek. It’s one of those episodes I looked forward to watching. As this centres on Kirk, we get to see a lot of his acting. As good Kirk, he’s quite normal. He doesn’t do any over the top acting at all. I was impressed. But as evil Kirk, he is overly dramatic. It’s so goofy-looking.

Kirk’s acting is definitely the highlight of this episode. Both good and bad. All the other characters are as I would expect them. Their personalities are set by this time, and it looks like they’ve settled into their roles.

Overall, I think this is one of the better episodes. Good stuff!

Verdict

★★★★1/2

Your Voice

What did you think of this episode? Do you agree that it’s one of Star Trek‘s stronger episodes? What did you think of Shatner’s acting? Let me know in the comments below.