Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Star Trek Initiation: "Where No Man Has Gone Before"

"Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." This saying is proven to be all too true as the crew aboard the Enterprise discover in this episode. Unlike the first two episodes, the "enemy" this week is not a mysterious stranger, but a member of their own crew: Kirk's good friend Gary Mitchell. After the ship flies through a mysterious forcefield (or something like that? Correct me if I'm wrong) Gary's ESP powers develop into something more powerful and dangerous. Suddenly granted the powers of gods, Gary loses all perspective on humanity and all respect for human life--even the lives of his crew members.

I have to say I enjoyed this episode much more than the first two. I don't know whether I've just gotten used to the "Star Trek" world more now, or if this episode is actually better, but I found myself waiting nervously to see what would happen. At first it seemed the problem was almost the same as in "Charlie X"--how do you stop someone who's WAY more powerful than you?--but with the added complexity that they all remember Gary before he went psycho. Of course, Mr. Spock is the only one who can look at the situation "rationally." There was some interesting juxtaposition between Spock (the epitome of logical, unemotional thinking) and the ship's new psychiatrist, Elizabeth Dehner (who relies on emotions and finds herself falling in love with Gary). I thought it was ironic that Elizabeth was sent to observe how the crew members handled emergencies. The situation with Gary was definitely an emergency, and during the first evaluation, she was the only one who refused to consider the possibility of killing Gary before he became too powerful (his powers were increasing at an exponential rate). But they decide not to, and Gary becomes a bigger problem than they can handle.

At the same time, the ship is damaged from traveling through the forcefield. They decide to land on another planet, which has a power station with the parts they need. It's also completely barren. Their plan is to leave Gary behind, which he isn't too happy about. They lock him up in the room with the electric barrier. Charlie from last week was able to disable that pretty quickly (just take out the power source!) but for some reason it held Gary for a while. Oh, but then he developed telekinesis. Kirk's backup plan was to blow the power station up (with Gary inside) and they hooked up a self-destruct button. Gary used his mind to strangle the button-pusher, a guy named Kelso. It was a very intense scene, probably one of the best I've seen so far.

In case you were wondering, I happen to be watching the "digitally remastered" version of the show, where they went back and re-did the special effects. I haven't seen the original to compare it to, but I do like the look of the new effects.

I find myself liking Spock. I don't even know why, exactly. He's probably not a very good conversationalist. And I've noticed for the second episode in a row that he and Kirk play 3-D chess, which looks interesting. (Before you try and teach me the rules, let me say I'm not even very good at regular chess!). Oh, and I think the phaser rifle is pretty badass, even if it looks like a Super Soaker with a giant needle on the end.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Star Trek Initiation: Charlie "X"

So I know I promised one review a week and it's been nearly 2 weeks. Sorry. I'm back now with Episode 2: Charlie "X". Charlie is the only survivor of a spaceship crash nearly 14 years ago. He was three years old at the time, and somehow survived on his own. He's grown up on a nearly deserted planet, and suddenly finds himself on the starship Enterprise. Everyone is trying to help him at first, but Charlie's understandably not very good with people. He manages to alienate most of the crew members...and then they discover that there's something else odd about Charlie: he has incredible mental powers. He can make people and things disappear. He turns one woman into an iguana.

It reminded me of an episode of The Twilight Zone called "It's a Good Life" and, like the people controlled by little Anthony, the crew of the Enterprise has trouble controlling Charlie. I was really wondering how they were going to get him to stop sending people off into oblivion, and the ending really made sense. I did wonder why the aliens who gave him his powers didn't step in sooner, though.

The other night, I saw an old episode of "Night Gallery" with Leonard Nimoy. I was surprised by how pointy his eyebrows are in real life.

Look for another episode of "Video Revue" before the end of the month!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"Pushing Daisies" goes belly-up

Last year I was diligently following the news on "Moonlight" to find out whether or not it would be renewed. When it wasn't I got so bummed out that I stopped following TV news. Well, guess what? When that happens you fall WAY behind. The reason "Pushing Daisies" wasn't on last week? It was canceled back in November. Apparently there are a few more episodes that haven't aired yet, and nobody knows if/when they'll air. Good job, ABC.

Pushing Daisies: October 2007-November 2008

"Pushing Daisies" followed a man named Ned whose touch can bring the dead back to life--with two complications. First, a second touch will "kill" the person (or animal) again. Second, if the dead stay alive for more than a minute, something else must die in its place. Other characters include Chuck, Ned's former-dead girlfriend; Emerson Cod, a private investigator who knows Ned's secret; Olive Snook, who secretly loves Ned; and Chuck's aunts, Lily and Vivian, who don't know their niece is no longer dead. Ned works at a bakery called The Pie Hole with Olive and Chuck. In his spare time, he assists Emerson with murder cases by bringing victims back to figure out who killed them.

"Pushing Daisies" will be missed for its excellent character development, double entendres, and slightly psychotic sense of humor.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Star Trek: Initiation

Guess who's publicizing our new "Star Trek" feature?? Tell all the Trekkies you know! We're definitely looking for some new readers and podcast listeners!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Star Trek Initiation: "The Man Trap" (episode 101)

I was all set to watch "Pushing Daisies" tonight, but since the schedule changed I decided to start on my New Year's resolution instead. Thanks to the magic of online videos, I can watch all of Season 1 without having to buy the DVDs or pay $2 an episode on iTunes. Oh, and it's legal (Netflix Instant Viewing to the rescue!). Tracking down season 2 may be a bit tougher, but I've got time.

This was one of the few episodes of Star Trek that I'm somewhat familiar with; I've seen part of the episode but tonight was the first time I saw the whole thing. The basic premise for this episode is a shape-shifting salt-sucker (say THAT three times fast!). Captain Kirk and crew visit a planet that is mostly abandoned, except for Professor Crater (love the name!) and his wife, Nancy. Then people start dying, and it becomes apparent that "Nancy" is really a creature who can take any form. Professor Crater defends the creature, which is the last of its kind. He compares it to the "Earth buffalo" who, in this future, is completely extinct (not an unreasonable prediction, either then or now). We get a glimpse of the creature's true appearance at the end. It looks kind of like a Yeti combined with the mermaids from "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire".

It's strange to watch "Star Trek" because whenever I see Kirk, I think, "Hey, it's William Shatner before he got old and fat!" and whenever I see Sulu, I think, "It's Hiro's dad!" But I love recognizing actors, so it's cool. Oh, and I think I recognized Sulu's living plant (which is quite obviously a hand puppet) from the old "Addams Family" show. Quite a resilient thing, that plant. Morticia must have fed it well.

I learned that if I lived on the Enterprise, I'd probably go nuts. Everything bleeps or dings or makes some kind of sci-fi sound effect. Johnny says he'd probably love it.

Stay tuned for another "Star Trek Initiation" post coming soon!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Star Trek: Initiation

In addition to our resolution to do at least 2 episodes of Video Revue per month, this year I resolve to finally start watching Star Trek. There are two main reasons for this:

1. I don't really know if I can call myself a sci-fi fan until I watch what may be the most popular sci-fi show of all time.

2. When I go to the Star Trek movie later this year, I'd like to have some background on the show and characters.

So I have decided that the best way to do this is to watch every episode, in order, starting with the first "real" episode (not the pilot episode with Captain Pike). I'll have my reaction to each episode up on the blog, and I plan on doing at least one a week, so be sure to check back here often for more on my "Star Trek Initiation Challenge"!

(I considered calling myself "Star Trek Girl" a la "Twilight Guy" but I felt like a copycat. And anyway, "Star Trek: Initiation" has a better ring to it.)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

First show of 2009!

In our first-ever countdown episode (which was supposed to be PRE-New Year's, but whatcha gonna do?) Johnny and I count down our top 10 villains: the people we love to hate, the ones who give us nightmares (and occasionally make us laugh). It's quite an eclectic list...and you'll NEVER guess who Johnny's #1 is!

As always, you can subscribe to us on iTunes, or download directly from Podshow.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy New Year!!

This year, we resolve to do at least two shows per month. We sent the latest episode off to our tech guru and have yet to hear back from him about it, but that's okay. It's only January 3rd.

2009 is going to rock! If you haven't checked out our new site, please do! It's pretty cool.

We would now like to present the traditional Monica and Johnny rendition of "Auld Lang Syne."

Should old acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot
And days of Auld Lang Syne?

For Auld Lang Syne, my dear
For Auld Lang Syne
Should old acquaintance be forgot
What the *party horn blast* is "Auld Lang Syne"??