I gave Star Trek Discovery another try

I started watching Star Trek Discovery when it premiered in 2017, and it didn’t go well. I only made it a few episodes, and I didn’t like the speechifying Klingons (or the font used for their subtitles), I really didn’t like Burnham, and I generally found everybody so disagreeable that no one good thing was enough to overcome all the things that weren’t sitting well with me.

In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have mainlined Enterprise before trying Discovery back then, because 1) I definitely had Klingon burnout and 2) The loss of a crew that I loved had me clamoring for another crew to love. And when your series starts with a mutiny and then expects you to love its mutineer…that’s a big ask. So it took four years (including a year of quarantine) to decide to try again.

To give an idea of how it’s going: I restarted season one near the end of March. It was 15 episodes. As I write this, it’s April 12, I’m nine episodes into season two and Discovery has become the show for which I neglect all my other shows, housework, a little bit of sleep and most cooking that doesn’t involve a microwave or freezer so that I might watch just one more episode. (I also started writing this post at the conclusion of season one. And, well, it’s been days and here we are.)

There’s a lot of gushing I could and will do about season two, but for me the non-spoilery turning point came right around the time I stopped watching, actually. A lot of things happened, but for me, the biggest turnaround was what didn’t: Far less time was spent listening to Klingons mumble gruntily around their teeth while I sat there unable to take in the intricate surroundings and costuming because I don’t speak Klingon and had to follow along with the subtitles. This gave more time for the things I cared about.

Namely, gobs of character development.

Stamets and Michael Burnham both got much more likeable. Tilly grew on me in kind of adorable ways. Saru got real about Burnham’s betrayal, and most importantly, Captain Lorca started to seem like more than a bit of a warmonger. He’s a soldier for sure, but you see notes of the explorer in him, too. And while he is A+ at manipulating people to get what he wants, what he wants right now is to protect his people from the Klingon threat and go home. Of everyone, Burnham, Stamets and Lorca ended up growing the most in terms of personality. Sometimes that meant a deeper understanding of themselves and their comrades and sometimes it meant getting to inject just a smidge of much-needed levity (the myriad ways Lorca does not give a damn about a space whale never ceased to make me laugh).

And it needs that levity.

There’s no denying that Discovery is a darker Trek. It’s way more violent than The Next Generation, and the fights are way more graphic than William Shatner rolling around and swinging his arms like a hammer. Betrayal, corruption and war are themes throughout season one, but so are love, redemption and heroism. And while season one and what I’ve seen of season two certainly show us an imperfect Starfleet, the ideals of Starfleet remain in the individuals. And that makes Discovery feel new and different without feeling wholly alien to the franchise.

Speaking of season two, as I write these words, it’s now April 15, I’m on episode 13 of 14, and I have been absolutely blown away by it. There’s definitely an argument to be made that season one doesn’t feel as much like Trek as people wanted (and indeed even though I ended up really liking it, there were some developments that I was really disappointed by), and season two makes up for that in a couple ways that I don’t want to spoil up here.

On rewatch, I’ve come to realize that I would recommend Star Trek Discovery to pretty much anyone, and for people who might have abandoned it or feel like it isn’t for them, I’d encourage waiting it out. I think you’ll be glad you did.

I was going to put a lot of spoilery thoughts beneath a cut, but 1) This is getting long already, and 2) I really want to go finish season two. So, stay tuned for Star Trek: Discovery Spoiler Talk.

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The Martian gets halfway there

It’s taken forever, but I finally got around to reading The Martian, the first book from my “Your Next Great Read” list put together by an actual person from my local library. At first blush, I really liked it, but the more I thought about it, the more I started to see cracks that make it something I definitely enjoyed but not something I’ll buy or read again.

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2019 Media in Review: TV and Books

This was a weird year. In the past, TV and/or movies have dominated my media intake, but not only did I see comparatively few movies, I only finished one season of a non-current TV show (that I’d been slogging through for years), struggled mightily to keep up with my currently-airing shows, and didn’t finish reading any books. I guess I played a lot of Splatoon in between complicated apartment hunting and eventual moving.

Time to finish up the 2019 Media posts and look forward to a more robust 2020.

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2019 Media in Review: Movies at home

I don’t really know what I did all year, but I didn’t watch very many movies at home. Only 14, down from 32 in 2018. Five (35 percent) were things I’d already seen. If you’ll bear with me while I get mathy for a moment, the 2010s was the most represented decade with 8 films (57 percent), followed by the 00s with 4 (28 percent). The 1990s and the 1970s had one each, and the most represented year was 2009. I watched the most movies (7) over the summer and no movies in January, February, May or September.

Here are my picks for Top 3 Movies at Home.

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2019 Media in Review: Movies at the Theater

The new year is upon us, and as such it’s time for the rounds of “What did I watch and read last year?” posts.  Let’s start with the 15 movies I saw at the theater in 2019.

Broadly speaking, I had a taste for adventure, with nine movies (60 percent) falling under that umbrella. Six were straight-up superhero films courtesy Marvel, Sony and DC. It just makes sense to me to see big actiony films on big screens. But I also caught a few dramas and one that ostensibly was horror but in fact really was not.

The following with comments (and review links where available but I wrote about shockingly few movies last year) are broken out into my Top 10 and Bottom 5.

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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

I wasn’t going to write about Rise of Skywalker. I didn’t think I had anything substantive to say that couldn’t be summed up in a tweet, but then I started seeing all the negativity around it. And I mean, on one hand that’s fine. People are allowed to think what they want about a movie, but when I started seeing a lot of “If you really like Star Wars, you hated TRoS” and “Here’s why none of us real fans like the Skywalker saga finale!” And it just irritated me because, I’m not going to start listing out all my Star Wars bona fides — whatever those are — but I’ve been a fan for 25 years and I loved Rise of Skywalker (and so did all the people I’ve talked to face-to-face about it, tyvm, internet). It had everything I wanted, and most importantly, it made me excited about Star Wars again.

So, if you’re feeling a little down about the pervasive online criticism and negativity, this is the post for you! Join me in gushing about this 40+ years in the making conclusion.

Spoilers, obviously.

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Terminator: Dark Fate SPOILER TALK

If you ask me, Terminator: Dark Fate had an incredibly strong opening moment and didn’t really back down from there. From the second the first production company logo company started to roll, I was all in.

This is the post that’s chock-full of spoilers. If you’d rather be reading the spoiler free review,  click this nice word cloud made with all the words in that spoiler free review.

Created at wordclouds.com

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I’m not here for Terminator: Dark Fate hate

So, I’m just going to say right at the top that I loved Terminator: Dark Fate. Where Genisys was an actual(sadly failed) attempt to do a real reboot, Dark Fate is a true sequel to Terminator 2: Judgment Day. It’s just not one you can binge watch. It needs a buffer period to make what it does resonate in a meaningful way. And for a first viewing, 28 years is about right.

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All about the Arrowverse

CW’s Arrowverse kicks off its 2019 season tonight with the series premiere of Batwoman, and I could not be last-minuting this wrap-up of last season’s shows any harder. It turns out these shows that are usually my happy-place brain candy TV options really kind of let me down.

Legends of Tomorrow, mostly delivered a fine season but the landing was rough. The Flash was the opposite with the bulk of the season dragged down by elements I didn’t care for, but it pulled up before completely crashing.  And then there was Arrow. Poor Arrow that started it all. After years of defending it against criticism, it’s finally become something I just want to be over because I can’t imagine there’s any saving it. There might be a speck or two to look forward to in the shortened final season, but for the most part, it has failed me hard.

So let’s break it down.

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Fall TV is here again

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Photo by Erik Dungan from FreeImages

I almost didn’t make this post about what I’m planning to watch this TV season. Mostly because I couldn’t find a source I trusted for premiere dates, scheduling and comprehensiveness after I realized so many of the returning shows on the TV Guide roundup had blurbs that were just not at all accurate. And also, from what I did find, there just wasn’t a whole lot of new stuff that I was that interested. Or there was Prodigal Son, which I won’t watch because Fox has broken my heart my too many times and the cast isn’t quite Must-See enough for me to do that again.

But TV Guide has updated, the Fall TV season writ large kicks off today, and here’s what’s on my schedule (all times central). What are you watching?

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