If you are a devotee of time travel...

Monday, September 26, 2022

Captain Phil interviews Paul Levinson about the Rise of Fascism and other Current Dangers


Welcome to Light On Light Through, Episode 339, in which Captain Phil on WUSB-FM Radio (Stony Brook, New York) interviews me about the rise of fascism in the United States and other current dangers.

 


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Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Podcast Review of Quantum Leap (2022) 1.1


Welcome to Light On Light Through, Episode 338, in which I review the new Quantum Leap (2022), first episode.

more about quantum entanglement in "The Chronology Protection Case" (movie, Amazon Prime) (novelette).


more about quantum entanglement in this FREE movie on Amazon Prime

CPCPosterKindle02 1_zps5pemuqzw

or read the novelet

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Quantum Leap (2022) 1.1: Off to a Good Start



The new Quantum Leap sequel debuted on NBC tonight.  I was prepared not to like it, though recently, I've very much enjoyed the sequel of The Man Who Fell to Earth on Showtime, and, for that matter, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds on Paramount Plus.  And turns out I did enjoy this first episode of the new Quantum Leap, for all kinds of reasons, which I'll tell you about after I warn you about spoilers ahead...

[In case you missed that: Spoilers ahead ...]

First, I very much like the way this new Quantum Leap handled its connection to the original Quantum Leap, on NBC  from 1989 through 1993.  We learn that Sam, the original leaper, never returned from his last mission.  This leaves open the possibility that he could return in some way before this rebooted series concludes.  I predict that we'll see Sam again, older and played by Scott Bakula, in the final episode of this season (even though Scott Bakula himself says we won't see Sam again).  We also learn that Al, played by Dean Stockwell, passed away last year -- a nice homage to Dean Stockwell, who also left us last year, and who also received a nice dedication at the end of this episode.  Also worth mentioning is that Al's daughter is wearing his ring, which means she'll no doubt play a role in the new series.

Next, I think Raymond Lee's Dr. Ben Song is a good time traveler, offering an effective balance of physicist smarts, wisecracking, and even willing to throw a punch, which of course hurts his hand.  Likewise his fiance, Kaitlin Bassett's Addison, whose hologram more or less accompanies Ben on his jaunts.  That job was done by Al in the original series, who was pretty much the only other major character in the original.  The 2022 series has expanded the team, and that looks like it'll work well, too.

Of course, everything in Quantum Leap depends on where in the past the time traveler lands -- in whose body the traveler finds himself -- and what the traveler needs to do.  In the original series,  the best episode was the double episode in the final Season Five, in which Sam leaps into the body of Lee Harvey Oswald.  I'm hoping we get a least one such cosmically important story in the new season.  In the meantime, I'll look forward to all the twists and turns this unique kind of time travel can bring us in the new series.





more about quantum entanglement in this FREE movie on Amazon Prime


CPCPosterKindle02 1_zps5pemuqzw

or read the novelette

Monday, September 12, 2022

House of the Dragon 1.4: Lust and Tea


Push really comes to shove in the lustful, pivotal episode 1.4 of House of the Dragon on HBO Max tonight, in which ...

[of course, spoilers ahead]

Daemon takes Rhaenyra to a brothel, makes like he's going to ravish her, can't do it, but leaves her in the mood, so she seduces Ser Criston back in her room.  And then the strategic chess game starts.  The Hand tells the King that one of the Hand's informants saw Rhaenyra and Daemon going at it.  Rhaenyra denies it.  The King doesn't believe her (in the very last scene, the Grand Maester brings her a tea that takes care of "any unwanted consequences" of the tempestuous evening), but the King uses the occasion to order her to marry Ser Laenor.  The King also fires the Hand for spying on his daughter.

So where does that leave us?  First, we don't see Rhaenyra drink the tea.  The episode ends with her looking at it.  If she concludes before she takes the tea that she might want those consequences, well, that would move the narrative in a whole different direction.  If she marries Laenor and gives birth to Criston's child ... I can't recall whether Game of Thrones "science" has anything akin to DNA testing, but we certainly haven't seen any evidence of it in House of the Dragon.

And who will be the new Hand?  Daemon's been banished again, and I assume Ser Criston does not have a high enough rank.  How about Ser Harrold?  That would be fine with me.

As I mentioned in my review of the first three episodes last week, the King is getting more impressive in every episode.  His actions tonight were both shrewd and powerful -- using his anger at Rhaenyra to pressure her to get her betrothed, which is just what he wants.  He didn't look too good in the coming attractions.  But those could be deceiving, and I hope we get to see him in all the episodes this season.

See also House of the Dragon 1.1-1.3: Drawing Me In

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Moonfall: Bad News



Well, the Wikipedia article about Moonfall (now on HBO Max) quotes the consensus on the Rotten Tomatoes site:  "Whether Moonfall is so bad it's good or simply bad will depend on your tolerance for B-movie cheese."  I have a pretty high tolerance for grade B movies, but I have to say that I thought Moonfall was just plain and simply bad.  Very bad.

Where to start?  The intellectual hero of the movie, K.C. Houseman, pretends to have a doctorate, and promulgates a crackpot theory that the Moon is really hollow inside, powered by some alien technology, which turns out to be right!  But that theory is so ridiculous, that what message are we supposed to get from Houseman being proven correct at the end?  That crackpot theories could be right?  I have no objection to that possibility generally, but given the flood of crackpot theories about COVID (such as the one about Bill Gates embedding microchips in vaccines), a pandemic which has cost so many lives, I would say this is one of the worst times to make a movie which champions nutcase theories.

And, frankly, the storyline around that theory makes no sense, and grows like a field of mushrooms out of control.   In the end, it turns out that there's not only an alien operating system inside the Moon, which can actually be helpful, but a malignant force that has a grievance against organic life.  Science fiction author Greg Benford once distinguished science fiction from fantasy by remarking that fantasy is playing with the net down.  I always thought that was not really fair or true, given that Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Game of Thrones are all excellent fantasy with very precise, logical constructs.  But if Benford's distinction were true, Moonfall is not even playing with the net down.  It's playing with no net at all in sight, or ever there.

The special effects are ok, and about the only thing worth seeing in this disaster of a disaster movie.  But they're certainly not worth paying for, and I'm not happy I wasted just time watching this on HBO Max last night.



Monday, September 5, 2022

Podcast Review of House of Dragons 1.1-1.3


Welcome to Light On Light Through, Episode 337, in which I review episodes 1.1-1.3 of House of Dragons on HBO Max

Blog post written review of these episodes.

FREE: My short story, It's Real Life -- expanding it into a novel, and working on a radioplay of the story, is why I haven't put up a podcast review in a month.

 

 


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House of the Dragon 1.1-1.3: Drawing Me In


It's been almost a month since I posted any reviews here -- I've been busy expanding my alternate history story, It's Real Life, in a novel, and helping put together a radioplay of the story -- and I figured House of the Dragon would be a good series to resume my reviewing.  I saw the first three episodes, and I really enjoyed them.  Indeed, I liked them more than some of Game of Thrones.  Here are some non-spoiler reasons:

1.  The dragons are handled very well.  Their scorching fire is very effective and great to have on your side, but the dragon and especially its rider are not invincible.  They can even be hit by well-aimed arrows.  We saw some of this in Game of Thrones, but that action was in momentous battles, and in House of the Dragon it's just a fact of war.

2. I like the way the story just in the first few episodes jumps ahead a few years.  This seems like an excellent way to tell such a big story.

3. There a far fewer pieces and physical places in House of the Dragon so far than in Game of Thrones, and I like that, too.  There were times when GoT had so many moving pieces, the narrative was hard to follow.

4. House of the Dragon at times almost has a Walt Disney Cinderella-like quality -- look at that coach that carries the King in episode 1.3 -- and I sorta like that, too.

Now for some spoilers ...

5. Matt Smith's Daemon is a great character.  He's defeated in that joust in the first episode, but he comes back like gangbusters in the third episode.  True, he wouldn't have made it on his own, but he single-handedly wiped out enough of the bad guys to make it possible for the cavalry to come in and save the day.

6.  Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) and Alicent (Emily Carey)'s  stories are both a little obvious and predictable at this point, but they're well played and interesting enough to keep me watching.

7. Same for King Viserys (Paddy Considine), whom I didn't much like in the first episode, but he's growing on me, and could have the makings of a really pivotal, unpredictable character, after all.

So count me in as a fan, and I'll keep watching and reviewing.



Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Tokyo Vice: Vivid, Dirty, Colorful, Riveting


Just finished watching the eight episodes of Tokyo Vice, first season, on HBO Max, and I'm sorry I didn't see them sooner.  A vivid, dirty, colorful sojourn into the Yakuza underbelly of late 1990s Tokyo, with cinematography so convincing you can smell the smoke, taste the booze and the delicious food as you're glued to a narrative so compelling you don't want to be anywhere else.

The story is said to be loosely based on Jake Adelstein's nonfiction book with the same name as the movie.   In both cases, he's a young American who gets a job as a crime reporter with a Japanese newspaper -- first American to get such a job.  I haven't read the book, know nothing more about the real Adelstein, so the rest of this review will be about the television series.

The story in the series abounds in partnerships -- business, romantic, even cop and criminal.  My favorite of these is a triad of sorts between Jake, Samantha (a hostess in a men's club with dreams and plans for opening her own), and Sato (an up and coming enforcer for one of the two Yakuza clans in a life and death struggle for dominance in Tokyo).  The acting of Ansel Elgort (I last saw him The Goldfinch), Rachel Keller, and Shô Kasamatsu in these roles was just superb.   Other partnerships that animate the narrative are Jake's with Detective Katagiri, and Sato with Ishida (second in command but running the day-to-day operations in the gang).  Ken Watanabe and Shun Sugata put in memorable performances in these roles.

There are, unsurprisingly, a bunch of surprising twists in just about every episode.  I won't tell you anything specific, but I will say I very much regretted the apparent murder of a very major character in the end -- though I always say that if you don't see the character's head literally blown to pieces there's at least an outside chance that the character survived -- and I'm not a big fan of series that start with a provocative scene, and then devote the rest to the story that happens years before.  But there will be a second season, and Tokyo Vice is so good that I it give my highest rating even with these flaws.


Friday, August 5, 2022

Podcast Review of The Orville season 3 finale


Welcome to Light On Light Through, Episode 336, in which I review episode 3.10 of The Orville on Hulu

Blog post written review  of this episode

Podcast reviews of The Orville third season:  3.1... 3.2 ... 3.3... 3.4... 3.5... 3.6... 3.7-3.8... 3.9

Joel McKinnon interviews Paul Levinson about Star Trek and The Orville on McKinnon's Seldon Crisis podcast.

First chapter of It's Real Life novel, mentioned at the end of the podcast


Check out this episode!

The Orville season 3 Finale: Matrimony and the Prime Directive



A really satisfying, gratifying season 3 finale of The Orville on Hulu this past evening, especially welcome after last week's harrowing, kinetic masterpiece in which a major crew member was lost.

[Spoilers ahead ... ]

The two main themes were a treatment of the Prime Directive ala The Orville, and the marriage of Claire and Isaac.  Not doing anything that might unhinge a less-than-space-faring civilization is of course a theme that goes back to Star TrekThe Orville handled it well -- as it did back in the first season in episode 1.12 --  this time with its story of Lysella (well played by Giorgia Whigham), back from the "Majority Rule" episode 1.7 of the first season.  The short lesson Grayson gives her is a fine primer on the dangers of what contact too early can do,

And speaking of the first season, it was also good to see Alara (Halston Sage) back from the first two seasons -- as a guest at Claire and Isaac's wedding.  That ceremony and its build-up had all kinds of goodies, including Bortus's atrocious effort at being best man, Gordon's excellent job at it, the wedding vows, the Kaylon guests, and Ed and Kelly holding hands at the end.

I've been raving about the music in the past two episodes, and the concert in space of songs in my lifetime continued with Aretha in the background, Bortus giving an atrocious rendition of Elvis (I know, you're not supposed to use the same word twice in such proximity, but there's no other word for Bortus's performances), and Gordon on guitar singing James Taylor's "Secret of Life".  Now, I liked Gordon and Charly's harmony last week more than just Gordon alone tonight, and the same for Simon and Garfunkel a little more than James Taylor, but Gordon's performance was still memorable, and an excellent capstone to the role music has played this season of The Orville.

Gordon also figured in the time travel nod in which the sandwich he sent to the future a few episodes back suddenly appears.   That's what I call continuity!  And the expression on Mercer's face, who knows that he made Gordon forget what happened to him after he sent the sandwich ahead, was just right.

The Orville has really grown up this season into a wonderful science fiction series.  It has managed to retain its humor -- see what I said above about Bortus -- while presenting consistently superior stories, such as tonight's marriage of a human woman and an android.  I'll see you back here with reviews of every episode of the 4th season, wherever and whenever it might be.




See also The Orville 3.1: Life and Death ... 3.2: "Come and Get Me ..." ... 3.3: What Do Bill Barr and Ed Mercer Have in Common? ... 3.4: The Captain's Daughter ... 3.5: Topa ... 3.6: Masterpiece of Time Travel with a Missed Opportunity ... 3.7: Seconding that Emotion ... 3.8: Dolly Parton and Topa ... 3.9: Why It's Becoming Better than any Current Star Trek

And see also The Orville 2.1: Relief and Romance ... The Orville 2.2: Porn Addiction and Planetary Disintegration ... The Orville 2.3: Alara ... The Orville 2.4: Billy Joel ... The Orville 2.5: Escape at Regor 2 ... The Orville 2.6: "Singin' in the Rain" ... The Orville 2.7: Love and Death ...  The Orville 2.8: Recalling Čapek, Part 1  ... The Orville 2.9: Recalling Čapek, Part 2 ... The Orville: 2.10: Exploding Blood ... The Orville 2.11: Time Capsule, Space Station, and Harmony ... The Orville 2.12: Hello Dolly! ... The Orville 2.13: Time Travel! ... The Orville Season 2 Finale: Alternate History!


And see also The Orville 1.1-1.5: Star Trek's Back ... The Orville 1.6-9: Masterful ... The Orville 1.10: Bring in the Clowns ... The Orville 1.11: Eating Yaphit ... The Orville 1.12: Faith in Reason and the Prime Directive

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Peaky Blinders Season 6: The Big Twist



Well, it's rare indeed that a series on as high a level as Peaky Blinders surprises me at the end as much as the final, sixth season of Peaky Blinders did, but, yes, indeed it did, big time.  

[Spoilers ahead ... ]

What I'm talking about, of course, is Tommy not really dying of some kind of tubercular infection of his brain stem, as his doctor told him and even showed him on (by our standards, primitive) X-rays.   Turns out that doctor is a Nazi, and convinced Tommy he was dying as the key to a nefarious Nazi plan to get Tommy to take his own life.   Given Tommy's seeming invincibility to bullets fired by his enemies, the fascist plan of getting Tommy to die by a bullet fired by his own hand, as a way of ending his own existence, as a way of avoiding needing care that could only be given by those who loved him very much, was pretty ingenious.  But Tommy figured it out, just in time.

How did he manage to do that?  Not completely clear, but the likely explanation is Tommy wasn't feeling as sick as he should have, if he was really dying of natural causes.  And there's also this: maybe Tommy realized he was suffering from tremors and hallucinations before he picked up the lethal bacillus from his sweet little daughter Ruby, who did succumb to it.  One thing is clear: Tommy hasn't lost his mastery of strategy, including his capacity to recognize a brilliant piece of work by the Nazis that almost succeeded, which included doing everything they could to separate Tommy from his wife Lizzie, who might have at least been a little suspicious of the doctor who broke the bogus news to Tommy.

As always in Peaky Blinders, the surrounding characters were played perfectly.  The scene between Tommy and Arthur, when Tommy tells his older he's dying, was nonpareil.  Cillian Murphy and Paul Anderson were once again just perfect in the roles.  And so were the Naziss -- of the British and American variety -- played with subtle to conspicuous despicability.  At the end of the final episode, though their plan was foiled, they're still at large and riding high.  Good to see there'll be a a final Peaky Blinders movie coming up.  Stay tuned, at least a few years, for my review.

See also Peaky Blinders: Peak Television ... Peaky Blinders Season 3: Still Peak ... Peaky Blinders Season 4: Best So Far ... Peaky Blinders Season 5: New Window on Fascism



Saturday, July 30, 2022

Podcast Review of The Orville 3.9


Welcome to Light On Light Through, Episode 335, in which I review episode 3.9 of The Orville on Hulu

Blog post written review  of this episode

Podcast reviews of The Orville third season:  3.1... 3.2 ... 3.3... 3.4... 3.5... 3.6... 3.7-3.8

Joel McKinnon interviews Paul Levinson about Star Trek and The Orville on McKinnon's Seldon Crisis podcast.


Check out this episode!

Friday, July 29, 2022

The Orville 3.9: Why It's Become Better than any Current Star Trek



Having just watched The Orville 3.9, let me explain why I think The Orville is better than any current Star Trek series, as well as in the same league with The Original Series and The Next Generation.

It's because The Orville is not beholden to any prior or current Star Trek, not burdened with being true to all that was Star Trek before, and is Star Trek now.  The Orville can plot its own course, take its own chances.   And now that it's on Hulu not Fox, The Orville is also free fromall the network constraints, including length of episode and language.

Spoilers ahead ... ]

Episode 3.9 makes use of, and epitomizes all of those advantages.  It was unafraid to kill off a semi-major character, Admiral Perry (played by Ted Danson) and a major, vibrant new character introduced just this season, Ensign Charly (played by Anne Winters).  Charly was so impressive, she even sang some great harmony and lead when she and Gordon performed Simon and Garfunkel's "Flowers Never Bend with the Rainfall" in Grayson's family cabin.  And the lyrics of this song -- "I'll continue to pretend, my life will never end" -- have a special, pang-in-your-heart significance, given Charly's extraordinary sacrifice at the end of the episode.  This accentuates the ethical incandescence of Charly doing this to save the Kaylon, whom she understandably hated up until the episode before last.




The story line was also top-notch, for a bunch of interlocking reasons.  "The Orville" has increasingly become a continuing story this season.  Episode 3.9 picks up on the Moclans leaving the Union, and they form an alliance with the Krill against the Kaylon.  And by the end of the episode, the Kaylon (impressed by Charly's sacrifice) are aligned with the Union.  These seismic shifts are conducted with subtlety and apt motive.  For example, the Moclan at first balk at giving the Krill co-command of their military, because the Krill leader is a woman.   And we see the Kaylon leader very aware of the enormity of Charly's sacrifice.

The battle scenes were also outstanding, especially the spaceship dogfights between the Union and the Kaylon vs. the Moclan and the Krill.  All of this was reminiscent of an extended scene from a movie like Star Wars, and was possible because "The Orville" as been given room to the breathe on Hulu, in this case, an hour and nineteen minutes.

Next week is the season 3 finale.  I'm very much looking forward to that, and to many seasons to come.




See also The Orville 3.1: Life and Death ... 3.2: "Come and Get Me ..." ... 3.3: What Do Bill Barr and Ed Mercer Have in Common? ... 3.4: The Captain's Daughter ... 3.5: Topa ... 3.6: Masterpiece of Time Travel with a Missed Opportunity ... 3.7: Seconding that Emotion ... 3.8: Dolly Parton and Topa

And see also The Orville 2.1: Relief and Romance ... The Orville 2.2: Porn Addiction and Planetary Disintegration ... The Orville 2.3: Alara ... The Orville 2.4: Billy Joel ... The Orville 2.5: Escape at Regor 2 ... The Orville 2.6: "Singin' in the Rain" ... The Orville 2.7: Love and Death ...  The Orville 2.8: Recalling Čapek, Part 1  ... The Orville 2.9: Recalling Čapek, Part 2 ... The Orville: 2.10: Exploding Blood ... The Orville 2.11: Time Capsule, Space Station, and Harmony ... The Orville 2.12: Hello Dolly! ... The Orville 2.13: Time Travel! ... The Orville Season 2 Finale: Alternate History!


And see also The Orville 1.1-1.5: Star Trek's Back ... The Orville 1.6-9: Masterful ... The Orville 1.10: Bring in the Clowns ... The Orville 1.11: Eating Yaphit ... The Orville 1.12: Faith in Reason and the Prime Directive



Joel McKinnon and I discuss Star Trek, The Orville and much more



watch The Chronology Protection Case FREE on Amazon Prime

 


Podcast Review of No Time to Die


Welcome to Light On Light Through, Episode 334, in which I review No Time to Die, the final Daniel Craig as James Bond movie

Blog post written review  of this movie


Check out this episode!

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

No Time to Die: Quibbles about that Death



My wife and I finally saw the new (to us) final Daniel Craig as James Bond movie -- on Amazon Prime. We very much enjoyed it.  In fact, although it has its flaws, I'd say No Time to Die is certainly among best James Bond movies ever made.

[Spoilers follow, of course.]

Let's begin with that shocker of an ending: Bond dies.  I didn't like to see that as it was happening --not at all -- but it is a highly original way of ending a Bond movie, and deserves credit for that.  It does explode or reveal as a myth the fact that Bond never dies.  Those around him die, and he must suffer that.  But not Bond himself.

The words on the screen at the end of the movie assure us that we'll see Bond again, and this will no doubt occur the way it's been presented in every transition to a newly acted Bond since it first happened back in Sean Connery's reign, actually twice, once for one time with George Lazenby, and then for a new series of Bond movies with Roger Moore.  In those and every subsequent case, the new Bonds were introduced with no mention of the fact that they looked different from their predecessor.  The same logic says the new post-Craig Bond can be introduced with no reference to his predecessor being killed.  What this, I suppose, means is that Bond's death at the end of No Time to Die is no big deal -- even though it meant the world in the context of that movie.

I did have two quibbles about the two characters must crucial to that death.  Rami Malek was superb as the arch-villain Safin who engineered Bond's death -- no one can match Malek's way of delivering powerful lines in a soft voice and a nearly expressionless face.  But given the profundity of Bond's death, I would have rather seen it done by a life-long adversary, like Blofeld, who's not able to step up to that role because he's earlier been killed by Bond in another nefarius Safin move on the lethal chessboard.  Similarly, although Madeleine (well-played by Léa Seydoux) with a most worthy love of Bond's life. we unfortunately don't meet her until the beginning of this very movie.  I would have rather seen someone we already got to know in previous movies.  Of course, since Vesper was already killed, it would have been difficult to pull someone out of the earlier Craig as Bond movies, but, nonetheless, that would have added a special gravitas in No Time to Die.  Bond's daughter was a really nice part of this movie, and had a gravitas of its own, but a mother with a history of Bond loving her before this story began would have added more.

Otherwise, I thought every other aspect of the movie was outstanding.  I especially loved the reprise of Louis Armstrong's "We Have All the Time in the World" at the end of No Time to Die.  The reprise, of course, was from Her Majesty's Secret Service, where it was also played at the end of the movie.  In other words, the death of Bond's true love, and then all these years later, the death of Bond, get the same musical aftermath.  Unless you're made of stone, that song is bound to bring a tear to your eyes.

Thinking about what the next Bond movie will bring, we have  the question of how many of the agents and administration in No Time to Die with survive.  I see no reason why all of them can't, deprived of course of any grief at the loss of the Bond played by Craig.  I've seen and really enjoyed every Bond movie ever made, pretty much in the year in which they were released, and I'm looking forward to more.




See also The New James Bond -- Without the Golden Pun ... It's Not HBO -- It's a Quantum of Solace

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Podcast Review of The Orville 3.7 - 3.8


Welcome to Light On Light Through, Episode 333, in which I review episodes 3.7 and 3.8 of The Orville on Hulu

Blog post written reviews  of these episodes: 3.7 and 3.8

Podcast reviews of The Orville third season:  3.1... 3.2 ... 3.3... 3.4... 3.5... 3.6

Joel McKinnon interviews Paul Levinson about Star Trek and The Orville on McKinnon's Seldon Crisis podcast.

First chapter of my just finished novel -- mentioned in the podcast -- alternate history about The Beatles: It's Real Life


Check out this episode!

Saturday, July 23, 2022

The Orville 3.8: Dolly Parton and Topa



The Orville checked in yesterday with another superb episode -- 3.8 -- a ninety-minute bases loaded home run that continued the story of Topa, and, believe it or not, had the real Dolly Parton in the holographic flesh singing and playing a significant role.  You may be getting tired of hearing me say the episode of The Orville I'm reviewing is the best so far in the series, and/or the episode clearly puts The Orville in the best of any Star Trek territory, but both are true once again about this episode.

[Spoilers ahead ... ]

First about Dolly: Heveena's haven of Moclan women, striving to increase their number, and free themselves of the Moclan male insanity of wanting them to have no existence at all, venerate our very own Dolly Parton.   We first hear about this, then get a tantalizing playing in the background of "Jolene" (good choice -- my favorite Dolly song), and then Dolly herself on The Orville's whatever its called holodeck, summoned by Captain Mercer to talk sense to Heveena.   Dolly succeeds, at least in part because she sings "Try" (another great and very appropriate Dolly song, about the stars).  Dolly (de-aged) looked and sounded great.  She would have looked and sounded great without the de-aging.




Meanwhile, we get a powerhouse story of Topa, with all the trimmings.  Back on Earth, we're treated to a meeting of all the Union delegates, including the humorous slime (the voice of which was played by the late Norm MacDonald), who, unfortunately don't speak.  I was hoping we'd at least see them raise their amoebic extended hands, like we did for Yaphet in a recent episode, helping Isaac and some tech creature frantically working to fix something.

Grayson and Bortus put in some good hand-to-hand combat with the Moclan who are keeping Topa hostage in a black ops enclave, and Bortus gives the Moclan who was torturing Topa just what he deserves.  I was sorry to see Grayson order Bortus to stand down.

Before the episode is over, Klyden is back in the fold, he invites Grayson to the family dinner table, and Bortus and Klyden have renounced their Moclan citizenship.  Their home is now The Orville.  The Moclans leaving the Union may not be good for the fight against the Kaylon, but it made for one really satisfying ending in this outstanding episode.





See also The Orville 3.1: Life and Death ... 3.2: "Come and Get Me ..." ... 3.3: What Do Bill Barr and Ed Mercer Have in Common? ... 3.4: The Captain's Daughter ... 3.5: Topa ... 3.6: Masterpiece of Time Travel with a Missed Opportunity ... 3.7: Seconding that Emotion

And see also The Orville 2.1: Relief and Romance ... The Orville 2.2: Porn Addiction and Planetary Disintegration ... The Orville 2.3: Alara ... The Orville 2.4: Billy Joel ... The Orville 2.5: Escape at Regor 2 ... The Orville 2.6: "Singin' in the Rain" ... The Orville 2.7: Love and Death ...  The Orville 2.8: Recalling Čapek, Part 1  ... The Orville 2.9: Recalling Čapek, Part 2 ... The Orville: 2.10: Exploding Blood ... The Orville 2.11: Time Capsule, Space Station, and Harmony ... The Orville 2.12: Hello Dolly! ... The Orville 2.13: Time Travel! ... The Orville Season 2 Finale: Alternate History!


And see also The Orville 1.1-1.5: Star Trek's Back ... The Orville 1.6-9: Masterful ... The Orville 1.10: Bring in the Clowns ... The Orville 1.11: Eating Yaphit ... The Orville 1.12: Faith in Reason and the Prime Directive



Joel McKinnon and I discuss Star Trek, The Orville and much more



watch The Chronology Protection Case FREE on Amazon Prime


Monday, July 18, 2022

The Orville 3.7: Seconding that Emotion



Well, we saw Isaac in simulated flesh in episode 3.6 of The Orville last week, and in this past Friday's episode 3.7 we get to see him love Claire.

[Spoilers ahead ... ]

Love and sex (and death, too) were actually everywhere in this episode.  Claire and Isaac kiss.  Lt. Commanders Lee and Keyali are in bed together several times, and the literally broken bones that Lee keeps getting from Keyali's passion make for one of the humorous interludes.  Freud with his focus on libido and thanatos would have been happy to see all of it.  I know I was.

We also get an important backstory about what led to the Kaylon attack on the Union.  It was no fun being a robot slave to a sadistic species.  Unfortunately, the Kaylon generalization that all biologicals were the same as the ones who tormented them was not entirely warranted.

Back to Isaac and Claire, I once again would have liked to have seen a different ending.  Though letting Isaac keep his emotions and Claire so fulfilled in her love for him would have changed the dynamics on The Orville for sure, I think it would have been fun to see at least a few more episodes of that.  Television series always seem to have a tendency to revert to their "bibles" -- the specs on the characters that writers need to abide by -- but sometimes it's better to tear out those pages and toss them in the metaphorical trash bin.

At least we get to see Charly finally come to terms with her understable fury with Isaac, which of course was bound to happen, but it will be good to see them working together in the future.




See also The Orville 3.1: Life and Death ... 3.2: "Come and Get Me ..." ... 3.3: What Do Bill Barr and Ed Mercer Have in Common? ... 3.4: The Captain's Daughter ... 3.5: Topa ... 3.6: Masterpiece of Time Travel with a Missed Opportunity

And see also The Orville 2.1: Relief and Romance ... The Orville 2.2: Porn Addiction and Planetary Disintegration ... The Orville 2.3: Alara ... The Orville 2.4: Billy Joel ... The Orville 2.5: Escape at Regor 2 ... The Orville 2.6: "Singin' in the Rain" ... The Orville 2.7: Love and Death ...  The Orville 2.8: Recalling Čapek, Part 1  ... The Orville 2.9: Recalling Čapek, Part 2 ... The Orville: 2.10: Exploding Blood ... The Orville 2.11: Time Capsule, Space Station, and Harmony ... The Orville 2.12: Hello Dolly! ... The Orville 2.13: Time Travel! ... The Orville Season 2 Finale: Alternate History!


And see also The Orville 1.1-1.5: Star Trek's Back ... The Orville 1.6-9: Masterful ... The Orville 1.10: Bring in the Clowns ... The Orville 1.11: Eating Yaphit ... The Orville 1.12: Faith in Reason and the Prime Directive



Joel McKinnon and I discuss Star Trek, The Orville and much more



watch The Chronology Protection Case FREE on Amazon Prime

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Podcast Review of The Orville 3.6


Welcome to Light On Light Through, Episode 332, in which I review episode 3.6 of The Orville on Hulu

Blog post written review of this episode

Podcast reviews of The Orville third season:  3.1... 3.2 ... 3.3... 3.4... 3.5

Joel McKinnon interviews Paul Levinson about Star Trek and The Orville on McKinnon's Seldon Crisis podcast.

First chapter of my novel in progress, alternate history about The Beatles: It's Real Life


Check out this episode!

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

The Orville 3.6: Masterpiece of Time Travel with a Missed Opportunity



Another superb, powerful, intellectually complex and morally challenging episode -- 3.6 -- of The Orville,  and it's about time travel.  This episode was so good, I think it will take its place along with "City on the Edge of Forever" and "The Inner Light" as an all-time great Star Trek (in The Orville's case, Star Trekian) time-travel episode.  But I'll be honest with you.  I didn't like the ending.

[Spoilers follow ... ]

I would have had Mercer et al take Malloy and his family back to the future, as Malloy suggested.  It would have avoided all the potential damage to the future -- no Union, etc -- that Grayson astutely outlined.  Although Mercer and Grayson were technically right that Malloy should have held on and not mixed with our 21st century populace -- let alone have a wife and two children -- come on, have a heart.  Malloy's new family, and what he learned in his 10 years in our time on Earth, would have made for even more intriguing characters aboard The Orville.

I will say that in taking the route it did, this fine episode of The Orville followed in the time travel tradition of the original Star Trek.  Kirk loses his 20th love in "City on the Edge of Forever," for the same reasons as Malloy does in The Orville.  And, even worse, Kirk initially has a memory of that love.  In The Orville, it is Mercer, Grayson, and the rest who must carry the burden of that memory with them.  They inform Malloy about what happened, but that's not the same as having a real memory from your life.

I think rather than upholding "The City on the Edge of Forever" tradition, The Orville had a chance to do something new.  But, hey, I'm just a viewer not a writer for this series, and 3.6 was nonetheless a kind of masterpiece, with the bonus of seeing Isaac in the "flesh".




See also The Orville 3.1: Life and Death ... 3.2: "Come and Get Me ..." ... 3.3: What Do Bill Barr and Ed Mercer Have in Common? ... 3.4: The Captain's Daughter ... 3.5: Topa

And see also The Orville 2.1: Relief and Romance ... The Orville 2.2: Porn Addiction and Planetary Disintegration ... The Orville 2.3: Alara ... The Orville 2.4: Billy Joel ... The Orville 2.5: Escape at Regor 2 ... The Orville 2.6: "Singin' in the Rain" ... The Orville 2.7: Love and Death ...  The Orville 2.8: Recalling Čapek, Part 1  ... The Orville 2.9: Recalling Čapek, Part 2 ... The Orville: 2.10: Exploding Blood ... The Orville 2.11: Time Capsule, Space Station, and Harmony ... The Orville 2.12: Hello Dolly! ... The Orville 2.13: Time Travel! ... The Orville Season 2 Finale: Alternate History!


And see also The Orville 1.1-1.5: Star Trek's Back ... The Orville 1.6-9: Masterful ... The Orville 1.10: Bring in the Clowns ... The Orville 1.11: Eating Yaphit ... The Orville 1.12: Faith in Reason and the Prime Directive



Joel McKinnon and I discuss Star Trek, The Orville and much more



watch The Chronology Protection Case FREE on Amazon Prime

Friday, July 8, 2022

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 1.10: Everything!



Well, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, already off to a generally superb start, posted its far and away best episode so far, 1.10, the season finale, which in one fell swoop contributed mightily to the corpus.

[Some spoilers ahead ...]

This episode had everything -- at least, everything of what I most like and consider most important in the Star Trek universe: time travel, Pike learning the hazards of trying to avoid his fate, Pike and Spock drawing closer, the Romulans, and ... Captain James T. Kirk!

The set-up: Captain Pike gets a visit from his older self, determined to get the current Pike not to do something now that will profoundly alter the future.  Current Pike touches a Klingon time-travel green crystal which instantly lands him on the future Enterprise.

The story moves quickly.  Pike and the Enterprise soon find themselves in a standoff with the bellicose Romulans.  Fortunately, the Enterprise gets a visit from none other than James T. Kirk.  We've already met Sam, James T's brother. This James T. Kirk (very well portrayed by Paul Wesley) is a little younger Shatner's Kirk, and we get the pleasure of seeing him and Spock meet for the first time.  We also get to see James T. flex the smarts and ingenuity of this Star Trek foundational kingpin.  (And, as a special treat, we hear the voice of a Scot in engineering -- hello Scotty!)

Before the episode is over, we see some great strategic jockeying between the Federation and the Romulans. But, predictably for this stage in human-Romulan interstellar relations, life-and-death battles in space result nonetheless.  And ... Spock is a casualty.  He survives.  But his body is badly damaged, and a crestfallen Nurse Chapel tells our time-traveling Pike that Spock will never be the same.

Our Pike realizes that his current actions will set in motion a series of events in which Spock not Pike will be the one who is mutilated, who suffered the fate of Pike as shown in "The Menagerie".  In a sage, satisfying, emotionally rewarding ending, Pike not only discovers that he can't let this happen to Spock, but he and Spock mean a lot to one another.  And this sets up nicely the mutiny that Spock will commit in "The Menagerie" to get his former Captain to a planet where he can live out his life in some happiness.

As I've been saying in these reviews -- and in interviews as well, such as the one I did a few weeks ago on Joel McKinnon's Seldon Crisis podcast (see below) -- I think Strange New Worlds is up there with TOS and TNG.  This season finale brings that point home with light speed.

See also Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 1.1-1.2: Great Characters, Actors, Stories ... 1.3: "Instead of terraforming planets, we modify ourselves ..." ... 1.4: The Gorn and the Wub ... 1.5 Going to the Chapel ... 1.6: Two Stories ... 1.7: The Kiss ... 1.8: Ends of the Continuum ... 1.9: Momentous!



Joel McKinnon and I discuss Star Trek: SNW and much more


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