Archive for the ‘Opinion/Analysis’ Category

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1 Retrospective

Hail HYDRAWith Defiance having finished its second season, it’s time for me to shift gears and get ready for my next series to review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I know, I keep starting out with things that are on their second season, but there’s not a lot of new stuff coming in the near future (Syfy’s Ascension excluded) so I’ll run with what I’ve been into. To the topic at hand, then: SHIELD (as I will refer to it for the sake of my keyboard) was a highly anticipated show last year, and when it premiered it didn’t exactly meet everyone’s expectations. Even the highly anticipated tie-in with Thor 2 was a bit of a disappointment for those who (unrealistically) expected a cameo or something. It was frustrating because, much like season 1 Defiance, there was a lot of potential going unused as the show dealt with small and seemingly irrelevant details. Things changed big time, however, after the winter break.

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What Could Have Been: Stargate Atlantis Season 6? TV Movie?

AtlantisThe demise of Stargate Atlantis has long been a point of contention in the Stargate fandom. While the story of how it ended has changed over the years, the commonly believed version is that Atlantis was canceled to make room for Stargate Universe, which aimed to take the franchise in new (not necessarily fan-approved) directions. The truth is a bit more complex, but even at the end of its run, Atlantis was popular, with solid ratings, an active fanbase, and growing good will for accepting and addressing some of the more common criticisms of the show. Whether its cancellation was deserved or not, we have to face the fact that with the reboot in the works, there’s no going back to Atlantis. With that in mind, the show’s writers have been uncommonly open about their plans, particularly Joe Mallozzi, who posted in great detail what he felt he could share about Stargate Atlantis season 6. There’s a lot to dig through, however, so I’m going to try to condense it all in one place.

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Defiance Season 2 Retrospective

Command postThe second season of Syfy’s Defiance has ended, with a pretty good two episode finale. While I tend to focus on small moments in my reviews of each episode, I’d like to stop and look back now at the season as a whole. I feel this is the best way to gauge the quality of it, as things that didn’t really seem to contribute much before may have more to offer in hindsight. So, let’s take a look at some of the running storylines of the season and the new things that were added to try to see what worked and what didn’t.

Needless to say, this is 100% spoilers. Proceed only if you’ve finished the season!

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The Shared Universe and Film Tie-ins

The BusAgents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was heralded upon its arrival as something revolutionary. A television series, set in the same universe as films, affected by the fallout of each one as they were released while allowing viewers to keep an eye on this world in the interim. It’s something not too different from how Defiance‘s MMORPG connection was described. And, much like with Defiance, it’s something that actually has been seen before, although few people tend to think of it in the same way. This time, however, it’s a much better known property: Star Trek. You see, when The Next Generation started in the 1980s, the feature films with the TOS crew were still being produced. Let’s take a look at some of the significant differences between the approaches of these two series and how the concept of a shared universe has evolved.

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Dawn of a New Doctor

CapaldiIt’s kind of a big deal when a new Doctor comes around. As far as most viewers are concerned, it’s only happened twice so far: Eccleston to Tennant, and Tennant to Smith. That’s not to belittle the importance of the older Doctors from before the 2005 series, it’s just a fact of the show with its current level of popularity. So for many of them, the upcoming season 8 premiere will be their first time seeing a new actor in the role without the benefit of hindsight that they have when looking back at Eccleston or Tennant. Naturally, it’s an exciting time in the Doctor Who fandom, and hopes are riding high on Capaldi’s performance dealing with what some perceive to be the problems plaguing the show as of late. So, you might ask, what does a change like this mean?

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The Problem with Prequels

Yoda Obi-WanI think everyone’s familiar with the Star Wars prequels, and how universally panned they are. There are a lot of reasons: bad writing, bad acting, pushing the limits of CGI and greenscreen way past where the early 2000s could realistically support them… but not all of the problems are so easy to explain. Some of them aren’t limited to just Star Wars, but rather common afflictions of all (or at least most) prequels. So today we’re going to examine the concept of the prequel, as one of the inevitable ramifications of the rampant efforts towards franchise creation over the last 20 years, and look at just where they often go wrong.

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What Could Have Been: Enterprise Season 5

NX-02, Columbia, might've been an indicator of what a refitted Season 5 Enterprise would look like.

Could the NX-02, Columbia, have appeared again in Enterprise season 5?

With all this talk of cancellation, I thought it might be interesting to go back to some of those shows that were struck down in their prime, to see just what we all missed out on. One of the most well-documented cases is that of Star Trek: Enterprise season 5, which the former producers have been quite open about discussing. While some people hold out hope that Enterprise might be revived on Netflix, the reality is that as long as the movies are going, there’s no chance, and even if it was to somehow return, they’d likely have to come up with some new ideas (preferably ones that avoid the problems with prequels). Given this, let’s take a look at the fifth season we might have seen, in some alternate universe where networks in 2005 understood the concept of DVRs. Read more

The Multimedia Franchise: Defiance vs. .Hack//

TsukasaDefiance is often touted as a one-of-a-kind, groundbreaking multimedia franchise, the first time that a video game and a television series have been so closely tied together. But most fans of the show aren’t aware that a TV series tied in to a video game has been done before. And, of course, where better for such an experiment in cross-media storytelling to take place than Japan? Just over a decade ago, the .Hack// franchise emerged, all at once, across every form of popular Japanese media available. And while it probably wasn’t the first, it’s one of the best examples I know of where it began in multiple, connected forms instead of spreading out. Read more

ANALYSIS: What “Putting the Damage On” Revealed

Doc Pottinger AmandaAs a character-focused episode, the events of Defiance‘s Season 2 Episode 5, “Putting the Damage On,” give us an interesting glimpse into the psyches of three of the main characters. Since this is likely to have big ramifications moving forward, I thought it’d be interesting to take a look at just what these revelations mean for each of them.

Spoilers for episode 5, if that’s not already obvious.

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Jean-Luc Picard: Hardboiled Hero?

Picard costumed Watching Star Trek TNG as a kid, one of the things that I always wondered about was why an upstanding, philosophical guy like Picard would ever want to run around in the 1940s noir-style world of Dixon Hill in his free time. It just didn’t seem like the kind of thing that would appeal to him, and yet it’s one of the few moments in the entire series where we see Picard earnestly having fun. But now, having read some of the most famous books of that time, I think I understand why.

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