Tuesday, November 8, 2005

The Lucky Seven… (Part II)

Battlestar Galactica
(Marx gives it an A)
Battlestar Galactica Episode Guide

Dude, this is so not your father’s Battlestar Galactica. Whether that is a good thing or not matters if you like your Battlestar Galactica with light action/adventure, mostly just heroic guys, and shallow robotic aliens that hate humans, or if you like your Battlestar Galactica with dark gritty action/adventure, more women heroes, and complex religiously fanatical robots that hate humans.

This series has some of the best writing, acting, directing, and special effects ever seen on a television SF series. It may be just too dark or too different from the original for some, but I am really enjoying this series. I waver back and forth on whether the characters are too flawed. But they do seem real or at least highly developed, don’t they? They are much more complex than your general heroic SF character. With the mid-season finale, “Pegasus,” I just can’t wait to see how they conclude that story arc. Few other shows make me feel that way anymore. (Lost is one of the few.)

This series will have many more seasons to go and I can’t wait to see them. I just hope they are sure to balance the feel of the series, so it doesn’t get to depressing.

(Marx gives it an A)
Lost Episode Guide

Wow, last season was great, especially the last few episodes. This season, the first three episodes blew me away. Now we know something about this island they are on. But there are still so many more secrets to learn. What is that creature? Who are the Others? What will happen to Walt? What happens if they don’t push the button? How does Eko know all of this stuff?

I have only one big gripe this season. Dude, the flashbacks are starting to get weak. I don’t mind some important, revealing ones dealing with Jack, Locke, Kate, Walt, or Sawyer. But the rest just don’t have anything new to tell (unless they have an unsuspecting secret…hmmm). Sure, seeing how Michael fought legally for Walt or how Sun and Jin first met is touching, but is it important enough to eat up a huge chuck of an episode? Let’s cut back on the flashbacks or stick to really important ones, like Jack’s from “Man of Science, Man of Faith.” I would really like to see flashbacks for some of the new characters, too. Like Eko or Ana-Lucia. These new characters have secrets to tell, so let us see them. The flashbacks worked great on so many levels last season, but they just seem like formula filling this season. Hmmm…perhaps I’m being to judgy or just nit-picking so I can find something wrong with this excellent series. A few more episodes of flashbacks should give us a better idea whether are not they have any new master plans for this season’s flashbacks. Actually, I’ve recently seen some rumors of things to come, which lead me to believe that these flashbacks may start to improve.

With that said, this is still, in my humble opinion, one of the best shows on television. Unless they totally jump the shark this season, Lost is destined to become an iconic series in SF history, like Star Trek and X-Files.

(Marx gives it an A)
Medium Episode Guide

Medium has grown into a very, very strong show. Yes, the Force is strong with this one. The acting is fantastic (even the kids do a great job) and the writing is twisted (in a plot twist sort of way, although some of the twists are dark indeed). Medium is a strange, but highly addicting mix of family life with psychic investigations into terrible violent crimes. I’ve also heard about an upcoming 3D episode…

Stargate SG-1
(Marx gives it a B)
Stargate SG-1 Episode Guide

I love Stargate. I so love this franchise. This truly is the new Star Trek for my generation. This season is in hiatus until January (darn you Scifi Channel!), but half of the 9th season (can you believe it has been nine years?) has aired thus far. We are introduced to a new threat (about time), the Ori. “Hallowed Are the Ori” I thought I should throw that out in case they are real. Please don’t kill me, Ori! These guys are scary cool and still very mysterious. What kind of ships will they use to invade? How can the Stargate dudes & dudettes hope to defeat them? Will the Jaffa ever get over their dependency issues?

First off, I loved Claudia Black as Vala. Her character really added something. I will admit that she was a little overused. I kid you not, I told my significant other that I thought she was getting so much air time because the writers wanted us to like her before they killed her. I was unfortunately right. Darn you Marx for your genius! It’s rough I tell ya. But it looks like the writers liked her too much and will bring her back. I really cringed, though, when I saw how they saved her. A little too Deus Ex Machina for me. But I really hope that they bring her back and make her part of the team. What rule is there that SG-1 can only have one woman? The humor she adds and the synergy she has with Daniel Jackson is just too good to let go. When she “died” it really took the oomph out of this season.

I also like the new general, Henry "Hank" Landry, played by Beau Bridges. The new doc played by Lexa Doig is good too. Lieutenant Colonel Cameron Mitchell, played by Ben Browder, is excellent. But, except for the first episode of the season, “Avalon,” Mitchell has been way underused. That is until “Babylon.” But, then back to underuse. I think the writers just haven’t figured out yet what they are going to do with him, but having him learn those Jaffa martial art moves was a real good step.

This season has breathed a new life in this long-running show. So much, that the writers almost changed the title of the series to Stargate Command. But, I can tell that the sense of adventure isn’t there as strongly as in the past. (Something to be expected with such a long running series.) But if they can pull off this new team and new threat, then I feel good about another season (or more) of SG-1.

Oh, and if you haven’t heard yet, SG-1 and Atlantis have been renewed for another season. This new direction is still a little rough around the edges, but there are so many new possibilities for stories with the introduction of these new characters, the aftermath of the fall of the Goa'uld, and the introduction of the Ori. Let’s hope that the writers figure out how best to use them.

Stargate Atlantis
(Marx gives it an B+)
Stargate Atlantis Episode Guide

Stargate Atlantis is doing anything but sinking. Although the Wraith are starting to get a little old, overall the season is much stronger than the first. Who knew that not only Ford vehicles could be turned into death machines, but so could Atlantis’s Ford? This turning Ford into a Wraith juice (yuck) addicted super Ford is an ultra cool twist for his character, and far better than the typical useless death of many a SF hero (Yar got killed by an oil goo monster, Fraiser didn’t duck, don’t get me started on the Lone Gunmen, and Anya got skewered – don’t worry Anya…it isn’t that Xander didn’t cry because he did not love you, he didn’t cry because he only has one eye for crying and…well…you know what happened to it).

The new character Ronon Dex (aka their Wolverine) is an excellent addition to the cast. Shepard is becoming a stronger character. So is McKay, but the writers do sometimes get a little carried away with him. Teyla is now the only weak link in the cast. Not necessarily because of the actress, but because the character is written just to perfect. She is a diplomat and a warrior. She is calm, patient, attractive, etc. The only thing wrong with her? She has inherited abilities giving to her from Wraith experimentation on her ancestors, but that wasn’t her fault. Some of the Stargate people don’t trust her. Yet again, not her fault. Lets see, Shepard doesn’t always follow orders, Ronon has a temper, and McKay is McKay (cowardly, egotistic, and a bit of a geek). Let’s see some depth to Teyla.

But otherwise, this season is shaping up nicely. It currently, to me at least, is beating out its older brother Stargate SG-1. There is just more action, adventure, and freshness. I have no doubt that we will see two or more seasons before this series ends.