Posts Tagged ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’

4 Good Entry Points to Big Franchises–Friday Four

Guardian of ForeverFor those still developing a taste for sci-fi, the prospect of jumping into a major franchise can be an understandably daunting one. With some of them having literal weeks worth of footage accumulated, it’s hard for a newcomer to know where to start. The beginning would seem to be the obvious answer, but that’s not always the case, especially with the numerous shows that suffered through low quality in their early days. Sometimes it can just end up turning you off a show that you might otherwise love; I know I personally had a hard time getting into both Babylon 5 and Stargate when starting from the beginning, but was able to try again with later episodes and really dig in. Other shows have just been running so long that early installments can be hard to watch with how dated they are, something a pre-existing investment in the show can help to counter. The best way, often enough, is to find a so-called “gateway episode,” one that’s enticing enough on its own to pique a viewer’s curiosity into continuing on their own.

So if you’ve found your way here and are wondering how to try out a big franchise, or if you’ve got a friend or loved one you’re eager to convince to watch with you, here are 4 big franchises and the episodes that I personally feel are perfect for introducing people to them.

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4 Clues That Your Alien Predecessors Are Guilty of Abuse–Friday Four

PhoenixIf you’re a member of a relatively young race, just emerging onto the interstellar scene after discovering some means of traveling faster than light, it’s a big old galaxy out there. Odds are, you’re not the first to go into space. Heck, you might’ve been beaten to the punch by millions of years, by alien species that no longer exist (at least on this plane of reality). The lucky ones will strike out into a galaxy with adventure and hidden treasures around every corner, all set up by their thoughtful predecessors. If you aren’t so lucky, you might find yourself in a galaxy of traps and disasters lying in wait, left behind by those negligent early races… or worse, the situation you’re left with is outright malevolent!

Here’s how you can quickly survey the galaxy and decide what’s in store for you out there among the stars.

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4 Celebrity Fan Cameos–Friday Four

GuinanWhen you’re a celebrity, it’s a little bit easier to pull some strings and get a bit part on a TV show that you love than it would be for the average fan. Whoopie Goldberg famously got the role for Guinan after hearing about TNG from LeVar Burton and calling up Gene Roddenberry directly. And most celebrities don’t get quite so large a role as she did–sometimes you can’t even recognize them there at all!¬†This is a little different from the Noteworthy Cameos from a few months back, as those were all people who were relevant or had a good reason for being on the shows, where as these were more for fun, either on the part of the actor or the producers. So with that in mind, here are 4 celebrities who showed up on sci-fi shows in some particularly unusual situations.

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4 of the Most Unusual Aliens on TV–Friday Four

8472One of the things that TV-based sci-fi often gets ragged on for is that the aliens tend to look suspiciously like ordinary humans. Sure, they might have cranial ridges (bumpy foreheads), or extra fingers/less fingers, or maybe even extra eyes or tails. But they’re still two arms, two legs, one head, approximately 5-7 feet tall. This is definitely a limitation of the medium, and there’s no arguing against it. Even as CGI gets cheaper and more realistic, it’s still far too expensive to use as extensively as most viewers and writers would like.

But those restrictions only stand on alien characters or species that have to show up often. When it’s an alien that only has to appear once or twice, however… the sky’s the limit, as these 4 bizarre alien species prove.

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4 Ways Your Trip Through Time Can Go Wrong–Friday Four

Doctor TARDISAre you planning on building a time machine? Or maybe you’re just trying to figure out what to do with the one you’ve already got? Well, you’ve come to the right place, my friend. I have here four of the big mistakes that new time travelers make early in their careers. If you don’t want to return home to a future of Nazi Zombies from Space, or even just get back, excited to share your invention, only to find that no one remembers who you are, then you better read over these sci-fi missteps first.

And for the love of all that exists, DON’T EVEN GO NEAR HITLER!

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4 of the Biggest Unanswered Questions–Friday Four

ParasiteA lot of the time in long-running shows, or even just shows that manage a few seasons, there will be some big things that are brought up, and then never heard from again. Often it’s because the answer would’ve been a huge shakeup for the status quo, but not always. Sometimes it’s just a plot thread that was left hanging in case the writers ever decided they wanted to revisit it. But then the story started to go in a different direction, and it didn’t really make sense any more to dust that idea off and drag it out of the closet. So looking back on the finished shows later, it can become a rather large mystery for the fandoms: what is the deal with this unresolved plot thread?

In that vein, here are 4 big questions raised by series, usually early in their runs, that were never answered.

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4 Episodes That Rocked the Status Quo–Friday Four

FireIn the time of episodic television, the status quo was king. No matter how bad things got, you’d always know that by the end of the episode, things would be back to normal. The rare exceptions were two-parters, but even then, it almost never had a lasting effect on the characters or the world. In sci-fi, this was usually a little more justifiable; when Kirk and company take off, they leave the planet of the week behind, and all the problems along with it. Other shows that didn’t have a starship at their disposal had a much harder time escaping that fact, often to the show’s detriment. And even running away aboard the Enterprise didn’t excuse the lack of character development that, say, Kirk’s infamous trysts should have had on him.

But once in a while, an otherwise episodic TV series would make a bold step, and that changed the show (or sometimes the entire franchise) forever. It might be a profound character moment, or the side effect of a planned retool, or even something as simple as a marked change in tone, but for whatever reason, these episodes took that status quo and shook it up so much that it never was quite the same.

And surprise, surprise, this list includes SPOILERS for the tagged shows, so proceed at your own risk if you aren’t caught up.

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4 In-Universe Familiar Faces–Friday Four

Capaldi Ten The theme around here of late has been all about the actors behind our favorite characters–or sometimes the smaller characters, who are important nonetheless. When it comes to casting in a shared universe, sometimes it turns out the best man or woman for the job might look a little… familiar. You go back and look, and yep, they’ve already had a part somewhere in there! Sometimes this results in a reworking of the plot, changing the new character to be the same as the old, like¬†Stargate Atlantis did with David Hewlett’s Rodney McKay. Other times, there’s a little joke where the resemblance is brought up, or the problem is ignored altogether. So here are 4 cases where the actor or actress previously showed up in a small part before breaking through to the main cast, and how the show dealt with it.

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4 Noteworthy Cameos–Friday Four

Stan LeeCameos can happen for all kinds of reasons. Maybe it’s someone who’s been very important behind the scenes, or in the show’s history, and they wanted to get on screen again (or for the first time, in the former’s case). Just take a look at Stan Lee’s many, many cameos over the years. Or maybe it’s just that all shows have their fans, and sometimes those fans are famous people who can pull the strings to appear on screen. Or perhaps it’s just a notable personality–not necessarily a celebrity in the usual sense, but a politician, or a scientist, or a high ranking military officer in a military-themed project. Here are 4 cameos that hit all those marks, and have a little more to them to boot.

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4 Episodes That Cause Huge Plot Holes–Friday Four

AsgardIn shows with a lot of standalone episodes, one of the consequences that crops up is that a concept introduced in one episode ought to have really, really huge implications for the universe. Like, enormous. We’re talking world-changing at the very least. And yet, the events of that episode are rarely ever brought up again. So here we go, 4 episodes that should’ve been rocking the foundations of these shows, but went by practically unnoticed.

 

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