5 Unsung Episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation [Star Trek Week]

There are many, MANY lists of the greatest Star Trek episodes, from the greatest of each series to the best of the Borg. As a veteran Trekkie who has been watching since I was seven, I have had over twenty years to form opinions on these matters.  I’m going to spotlight my favorite episodes from The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager that are among my personal favorites, those that might not agree with all the best-of lists, but are still stellar episodes that might inspire you to pull out your DVDs or fire up Netflix and have a little re-watch party. This post focuses on the unsung TNG favorites of my youth that I can watch again and again:

Thine Own Self: Now, this is not a commonly known episode so I’m gonna summarize a bit: Data loses his memory while surveying a pre-industrial world and wanders into a town carrying radioactive metal canisters. He, of course, doesn’t get sick but tries to find out why the townspeople are.  He befriends and stays with a local man and his young daughter, but the rest of the town begin to mistrust him since his arrival coincided with their illness. Scared when an assault exposes his android conponents, they eventually bury him and the metal outside of town, and he’s rescued by the Enterprise crew. When he’s reactivated, his usual memories are intact but he doesn’t recall anything that happened on the planet.

This episode just completely showcases excellent dramatic work from Brent Spiner, and I enjoyed watching Data, who usually knows everything, work through the ‘mystery’ of the illness. Spiner’s praises are sung often, but rarely is this episode cited. Data’s connection with the little girl also reconnects Data with the more child-like aspects of his characters we remember from earlier seasons and those special moments of innocence he has throughout the series. 

Hit the jump for the full list of TNG’s unsung greats!

Review: Transformers: Fall of Cybertron

Cybertron is dying. The Autobots struggle to evacuate. The Decepticons want all the Energon. Sounds like a perfect time to TRANSFORM AND ROLL OUT! 

Transformers: Fall of Cybertroncontinues the chronicle of the Autobot/Decepticon conflict that High Moon Studios and Activision began in 2010’s Transformers: War for Cybertron. This series has triumphed where so many obligatory movie tie-ins have failed, harkening back to the G1 era in both Soundwave sound and style, pleasing your inner child of the 80s, and maintaining a scale truly deserving of a planet full of giant robots.

 

One Shall Stand…

For those who came in late, Fall picks up exactly where Warleft off, as the core of Cybertron is shutting down and the Autobots are prepping the Ark for planetary evacuation. But the Ark can’t launch, much less carry an entire army to a new planet, without the Transformers’ precious lifeblood, Energon. Enter Megatron and those pesky Decepticons. In a struggle as desperate as you might think, each robot faction sends their best soldiers, infiltrators, and powerhouses into the fray in order to come out on top. And you get to take control of the best of the best!

Hit the jump to read more about Fall of Cybertron!

BCC 2012: Interview with “Morning Glories” Artist Joe Eisma

I haven’t exactly hidden my love for Morning Glories in the past. (Volume 3 review coming soon, spoiler alert: it’s still bloody incredible.) So when I saw that the artist Joe Eisma was going to be at Baltimore Comic-Con this past weekend, I knew I had to chat with him about this spectacular Lost-cross-Runaways series.

I approached his table, where Joe was doing a sketch for another con goer. I saw some of the MG pages for sale, and I suddenly wished I had more money and more space in my apartment.

After finishing the sketch, Joe graciously shook my hand, his wry smile widening as I gush over the book. (Totally unlike the creepy version of himself played here.) He kindly took a few minutes to chat Morning Glories: the ramifications of issue 19’s shocking events, the start of the newest arc with the introduction of the Truants, and what to expect for the rest of this “season.”


OPEN THE FRIDGE: One of the things that I love about your art is your ability to capture character so well. For a book like Morning Glories, the emotions that play off of characters’ faces are so important, and you achieve that so strongly. What goes through your head when you try to capture what Nick [Spencer, Morning Glories writer] is trying to convey?

JOE EISMA: Well, I went to college to study film – I didn’t go to art school or anything – so I always look at it like I’m a director. I know that sounds kind of pretentious, but you know, I see the characters [in] a “how can I get the best performance out of them?” [kind of way] or whatever.

Angry Hunter is angry.

I’ll get the script and there’s obviously, in Nick’s writing, a lot of emotion going on there with the characters, so I want to bring that out as much as I can. With comics, we’re very limited with what we can do; we’re not like TV or video games. We’re very static. So, my thought process is always to overemphasize, overexaggerate a reaction just to really drive it home. Because of the fact it’s a 2D medium, I’m always just looking for the best way to amplify the mood of any scene.

Hit the jump for the full interview with Eisma!

Review: Green Lantern #0

This month marks the anniversary of the New 52 relaunch from DC Comics. However, instead of simply going ahead with business as usual and filling the comic shop shelves with #13s, DC is publishing issue #0s for every New 52 title still in print, from “Action Comics” to “World’s Finest.”

Paging the Doctor: An Interview with Robert Picardo [Star Trek Week]

Star Trek Week continues today on OTF, with a super fun interview with Robert Picardo, a veteran of stage and screen that you geek folk know best as The Doctor from Star Trek: Voyager.  We sat down with Bob and he brought us up to speed on his life and passions! 


Open the Fridge: Having done so much television and having worked with so many people, what are you impressed by these days?

Robert Picardo: That’s a great question. I would say of the new shows last season, “Homeland” was my favorite. Starting with Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, and Damian Lewis; it’s an amazing cast. Great writing. And that is my favorite show of last season. Beyond that, I’m really enjoying “Newsroom”, starring Jeff Daniels, who was my understudy in my first Broadway show. He’s an extraordinary talent. I love his character in [Newsroom]. The cast, across the board, is excellent. Aaron Sorkin’s wirting is extraordinary. Those are my two favorite present shows. I’ve also been catching up on shows that I missed from when “Voyager” was running and when it was off the air, when I was furiously trying to get another job. I just watched the first four seasons, and I’m just now on season 5, of “24.” Great show. One of my good buddies, who’s here this weekend, Gregory Itzin, was on, when he played President Logan. Great performance. That’s what I’ve been watching lately.

Hit the jump for more of our conversation with Robert Picardo!

Review: Doctor Who, “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”

“WHAT IS HAPPENING IN LIFE RIGHT NOW?!”

This is a phrase that I uttered while watching “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship.”

Not because it was bad — on the contrary, it was quite enjoyable — but because this thoroughly funny episode was blowing my mind with its borderline ridiculous series of events and all of its blink-and-you’ll-miss-it zingers. There wasn’t much in the episode by way of character development or story arc advancement (which classifies this as a “filler” episode in my opinion — a little surprising given the Ponds’ imminent farewell), but damn if I didn’t have a blast watching it anyway.

(Normally, I’d pepper this review with memorable quotes, but seriously, there are so many gems in this one, it’ll be way too much to list them all.  As always, PLOT SPOILERS FOLLOW.)

Moffat’s series 7 decree to create one-and-done, blockbuster episodes (this week’s movie poster is above) was certainly evident in “Dinosaurs,” as the plot took off a lightning pace. The Doctor receives a message via Psychic Paper while Queen Nefertiti (Riann Steele) does… uh… something that makes the Doctor’s eyes roll back in his head with enjoyment.

Rounding up John Riddell (Rupert Graves, Sherlock), early 1900s big game hunter, and the Ponds — inadvertently including Rory’s father Brian Williams (Mark Williams, Harry Potter) — to complete his “gang,” the Doctor brings all of them to a continent-sized ship in a collision path with earth. If they cannot alter the ship’s trajectory within 6 hours, the Indian Space Agency will be forced to blow it up.

As they explore, they find dinosaurs. On the spaceship. And it is fantastic.

Hit the jump for the full “Who” Review of “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship!”

Paltalk Goes to “The Next Level” with Kevin Tracy

You’ll have yet another place to get your technology fix tomorrow night when “The Next Level” goes live on the Paltalk Video Chat Social Network.  We don’t often write about other people’s programs, but – full disclosure – this show is being hosted by Kevin Tracy, proclaimed “tech junkie” and friend of OTF.

Designed to be a weekly, interactive livestream, “The Next Level” will feature the latest trends in tech, hottest gadgets, and as much geek news as the internet can handle with Tracy (whose last name does not have an “e”) at the helm.  (Although that pitch line sounds an awful lot like the tagline for OTF. Not that we’re bitter.)

Paltalk, a popular video chat service, lets users create public chat rooms of completely variable sizes, letting people video chat and share with people all over the world — all for free.  “The Next Level” will be an interactive show, leveraging Paltalk’s network to connect directly with the viewers.  This unique delivery system for their broadcasts lets viewers can become participants, as they can immediately respond and contribute to Kevin’s live show.

“I am really excited to talk tech with the Paltalk members all over the world,” said Tracy. “The show is a perfect fit for the high tech Paltalk community.”

While anyone can create a public chat room to spread their message to the masses, “The Next Level” joins other Paltalk-sponsored livestreaming shows, such as “The Diana Falzone Show” and “The In Touch Weekly Show with Dorothy Cascerceri.”

“We think that Kevin’s show, with a focus on technology, will be a great addition for the Paltalk community,” said Jason Katz, CEO of Paltalk. “What better way to showcase our video technology than a show that talks about technology hosted by a technology expert.”

We at OTF are very proud of our friend and colleague, and wish him well on his new show. Although he has never worked with us in a professional capacity, we’re sure that his passion will come through in his work.  Be sure to support him on his new venture when it premieres tomorrow night (Sunday, 9/8) at 6PM EDT only at Paltalk.

Full press release after the break.

Baltimore Comic-Con Starts Tomorrow!

Don’t be surprised if you see some costumed vigilantes roaming the streets this weekend, Baltimore, because Baltimore Comic-Con is back in town!  Starting tomorrow, comic book fans will invade the city’s Inner Harbor to mingle with their fellow fans, to meet some of their favorite creators, and to celebrate the

True Blood Recap – Season 5, Part 2

As you all can see, I fell off the True Blood recap wagon in the midst of summer fun. The second half of season five is also partly to blame – it was kind of weak, no?  Here is what went down in the rest of season five, how I felt about it, and what I think is in store for the future of True Blood

Terry and Patrick, chased by the Ifrit fire demon
Ultimately, when Patrick and Terry returned to Bon Temps with the Ifrit hot on their tail, Terry told Arlene what had happened. She and Holly seek out Lafayette’s medium-powers to hold a seance and determine how to get rid of the Ifrit.  The woman they killed appeared and says one must take the life of the other. Patrick runs his selfish ass right out of there and when he endangers Arlene, Terry shoots him dead and the Ifrit consumes him, leaving Terry and Arlene in peace. Man, Scott Foley’s track record ain’t so good!  He died on Grey’s Anatomy last season too. 

Sheriff Andy and Holly
Andy’s cheating with Maurella the faery has resulted in her pregnancy, which Holly finds out about in the finale when she shows up at Merlotte’s and goes into labor.  Holly helps deliver the babies – four girls. Maurella then reminds Andy of his pact to keep them safe, and leaves the girls with him before flitting back to the faery world.  Holly is not pleased with his infidelity and Andy is dumbstruck that he now must care for four half-faery girls.

Alcide
Is now packmaster after defeating JD with his layabout father. His dad (played in scruffy glory by Robert Patrick, who I hate from his useless days on the X-Files) gave him some V so he could compete against JD’s stupidity. There was not enough shirtlessness from Alcide this season; they better recifty that next year.

Sam and Luna, shot by shifter-haters; Hoyt
Luna, in her rage and agitiation over losing daughter Emma (who went to her grandma wolf and was subsequently taken as a pet by Rev. Steve Newlin when Russell stopped by to distribute his blood to the pack), transforms into Sam at the hospital and becomes very sick. Sam sneaks her out and nurses her back to health. The two devise a plan to get Emma back that involves infiltrating the vampire Authority as wee mice and/or flies – more on this later. We find out that Hoyt has fallen in with the pack of idiots who shot Sam and Luna, and they’ve kidnapped Jessica so he can kill her and get his revenge. 

Hoyt doesn’t kill Jessica, of course, and is instead drugged and tossed into a hog pen of the Dragon – the leader of the morons who are killing supernatural folks.  Ex-Sheriff Bud Dearborn and some gross woman he’s cheating on his wife with are in charge of the whole operation, which Sookie discovers when she stops by to ask about her parents’ death. She’s also tossed in the pen, but Jason and Andy show up in time to save her and Hoyt, and arrest Bud. 

Shortly after, Hoyt decides to leave for Alaska to start a new life on an oil pipeline team.  He calls a meeting with Jessica and Jason at Merlotte’s, and begs Jessica to glamour him into forgetting about both her and Jason.  It was a sad scene, especially for Jason, who lost his best friend. Hoyt departs Bon Temps and the show for his new life. 

Hit the jump for the full recap of where your favorite Southern Vampires are after the second half of Season 5!