Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Trailer Update

I normally don’t make posts like this personally – this is more SQT’s area of interest. However, I spent the latter half of my week in Anaheim watching trailer after trailer, so here we go.

To start with, in honor of Celebration Anaheim, 3 Star Wars-related trailers. In order of release:

Star Wars Rebels Season 2

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Star Wars Anthology (Spinoff) #1: Rogue One (sorry for the relatively low quality!)

Now that we’ve gotten Star Wars out of the way, how about some other long-awaited movies:

Fantastic Four

Jurassic World

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Teaser 1

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Teaser 2

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Television Shows Watched: March 23 to March 29

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Had I realized that I wasn't missing anything, watched all of the episodes on time, and there were only three episodes, I probably would have posted this...in the first week of April, at least. So here's my TV shows followed from March 23 to March 29.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Love in the Time of Hydra is, interestingly enough, named for two former Hydra agents. Still, Ward's plot is the main one of this episode, so that's fitting, even if the cliffhanger from the end of the previous episode is the plot that this episode will be remembered for. I'm a little surprised it wasn't given more focus, honestly, but I suppose they knew they needed a setup episode before getting this plot involved with the main cast. This is an okay episode, but I'm kind of tired of following Ward as the morally grey character and would love to just see him get punched out.

The Flash: Rogue Time infuriated me. This is one of the cheapest tricks in television – to introduce momentous changes to the story for shock value and then erase them to avoid having to advance the story. The end of the love rectangle – and of the sneaking around Iris - was as much a part of why I loved “Out of Time” as the introduction of Thawne's real name and seeing it all taken back was just infuriating.

Arrow: Suicidal Tendencies is a Deadshot background story, which tells me that the ending is false. Deadshot is almost certainly going to show up in a later episode, probably the next Diggle-focused one. Beyond that, this isn't bad. Roy and Ollie are working together, which is one more step toward the televised Justice League that I expect to see soon (particularly with the title of an upcoming Flash episode).

Not a whole lot to say on this week's episode, but there's going to be a whole lot more to say with the post for next week!

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

An Unearthly Podcast: Episode 100

 

In our 100th episode, Flynn and Fyrehart join Mad Matt, Ran-San and the Man in Black to discuss Series 7A now that we're older, wiser, and know what the hell we're doing!

Monday, April 06, 2015

An Unearthly Podcast: The Best of Both Worlds (April Fool’s Special)

In our 99th episode, Probably the most unusual episode of Doctor Who. But it still has Cybermen!

Happy April Fool's Day 2015!

Sunday, April 05, 2015

An Unearthly Podcast: Closing Time

 

In our 98th episode, It's "Closing Time", but The Doctor and the AUP crew are still for a Series 6 episode. Join us as we walk through one of our last modern Cybermen episodes!

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Television Shows: March 16 to March 22

NoSpoilersIt's time for another round of TV commentaries! We've got a full board this week; at least as full as it will be for the foreseeable future.  

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: One of Us focused mainly on Skye's father, whom I had actually forgotten about in the months since he last appeared on the show. That, and examining Skye after it was finally revealed in the previous episode what was going on with her. Here, we have a group of supervillains up against S.H.I.E.L.D., which may bode well for the future. On a personal level, I did find this to be a fun episode, as the villains built up their team and we learned more about May's past.

The Flash: Out of Time is just what a show needs after coming back after a break. Sisko discovers who Wells really is, and gets the reward of his real name (thereby saving us from the risk of an unnecessary retcon). Barry and Iris's relationship changes – implicitly changing the other relationships, unless this turns out to be a Xanlow. Honestly, while I applaud their finally getting together, the constant dating drama that the Arrow/Flash team thinks is necessary to maintaining viewers is probably the most frustrating part of the shows. We know that Black Canary and Green Arrow have dated for decades, we know that Iris was always with Barry, please let's just move past that to something interesting, okay? Not that a little bit of it is a cardinal sin, but they are severely overdoing it with both shows. Oh, and Iris knows who Barry is, which is also cool. I'm sure this will cause drama at work, so maybe the relationship drama can...who am I kidding?

Arrow: The Offer has convinced me that Oliver Queen chose Intelligence as his dump stat. It would have taken two minutes to explain why he didn't tell Laurel's father about Sarah, and he's considering turning his back on all of his own arguments because a girl that he broke up with is dating someone else. Admittedly, taking someone who is both gorgeous and brilliant off the market is a blow to everyone in that universe who dates women (and no, it would not surprise me in the slightest to find Nyssa and Felicity boinking in a season or so), but Oliver's decisions in this season have had me starting to wonder if every success he's ever had was the result of dumb luck. Oliver Queen was never known for his smarts, but at least he used to be charming and have a best friend who was Green Lantern; this version has neither of those virtues.

Power Rangers Dino Charge: Let Sleeping Zords Lie. After all the KyoryuCyan memes lately, I’m going to have trouble getting used to “Aquamarine”. I can understand why they did it, but that doesn’t mean that assuming kids these days are too stupid to figure out what Cyan is is the right call. Interesting how successful the bad guys are at finding Energems. I sure hope there’s not a Navy (or will they call it “Dark Blue”) one out there that they might find before the Rangers.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Casey Jones vs the Underworld was an episode I actually expected to be Casey-focused. Well, it was to the extent that any other episode has been, but not entirely. It's a story about Casey going off half-cocked and surviving as a combination of dumb luck and having friends. It works as a story about how even a lone wolf benefits from having friends to fall back on, but the start of the episode (focusing on how he was left out of the Battle of New York) plus him being the butt of the turtles jokes (Leonardo is the first to laugh when he point out that while he succeeded in stopping a crime, no, he didn't beat the Purple Dragons, and the rest of the turtles follow suit) does a better job of making it seem as if Casey is completely inept and wears that mask because he should be wearing a helmet. I've never been a huge fan of Casey in this series (I'm an Apritello fan), and even I feel this one was a little harsh towards him.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Television Shows March 9 to March 15

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It's time for another round of TV commentaries! No Flash, Arrow or Rebels for the time being, but that leaves me with five shows to keep on top of.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Who You Really Are ended the deception plot pretty quickly. Of course, Jemma didn't really have time to react yet so I don't know how it's going to be handled, but that would have been really annoying were it to be drawn out for three or four episodes, so I appreciate that. This episode is kind of making me wonder if Captain Mar-vell is going to be introduced in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. That would be interesting, largely because it would mean that it would interact in some way with Carol Danvers' Captain Marvel if AoS is still going on by then.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Battle of New York is the sequel story to “The Invasion” and it's one that we've been waiting for since the end of Season 2. Fittingly, it's a double-length (or a two-parter aired in one go, whichever you prefer) episode. Leonardo announced after a power upgrade that they were returning to New York, and here they do, along with a whole bunch of other characters we haven't seen in a while. This episode truly lives up to its title and is a real battle, with eight mutants doing everything they can to drive the Krang out of New York. Oh, and the return of the Turtle Blimp, which really says all I need to say about this episode: I loved it.

Power Rangers Dino Charge: The Tooth Hurts was...okay. The conflict was pulled off fairly well, for Power Rangers. The resolution seemed a bit off. Again, not that I expect perfect from Power Rangers, but Green seemed to take Black too much to heart – rather than combining the two methods. Still, I may be taking the words a bit too literally; after all, it starts with everybody joining the Green method before he tells them that it’s going to be the Black method.

Normally on a slow week like this I would like to supplement this with webshows, or shows that I don't normally watch. Unfortunately, I'm rather backed up at the moment, and rather appreciative of the fact that I only have three shows to watch. So this is a short one from me.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Television Shows March 2 to March 8

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It's time for another round of TV commentaries! No Flash or Arrow for the time being, but that leaves me with five shows to keep on top of.

Star Wars Rebels: Fire Across the Galaxy is the season finale for season 1. Unfortunately, due to the show's tendency to start and stop without any notice, I was not aware this was coming. Luckily, it was brought to my attention. This actually comes at a perfect time for me, though, as between the start of Rebels and the end of the season I've actually watched all of The Clone Wars, with the exception of the incomplete episodes on StarWars.com. As a result, the revelation of Ahsoka at the end of the episode means a whole lot more to me than it would have initially. Still, what catches my attention the most at this point is the question of what the Inquisitor was talking about – was he discussing Kanan awakening the Dark Side within himself, or knowing that his death would call the attention of a more powerful Force user?

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Aftershocks was the return of the series after a mid-season break, populated by the new (or temporary) Agent Carter. “Aftershocks” deals with the results of the transformations that occurred in “What They Become”, specifically Raina, Skye and Trip. The latter was killed in the transformation, which triggers changes in everyone, particularly Jemma and Coulson, which is...awkward. This leads to a forced conflict and to Skye's new Carrie powers being kept secret; ultimately, a well executed version of some tired plots I'd rather have avoided.

Gotham: Everyone Has a Cobblepot I'll admit was a surreal experience for me. I watched it while acquainting myself with Knights of the Old Republic II, which means I mainly remember it as Jim Gordon and friends narrating while I investigated a post-apocalyptic Peragus II. Still, I love the concept of Jim Gordon launching a serious investigation into the root of the corruption in Gotham and making just enough difference to keep himself in the force and keep himself and Bullock moving up without having a chance at seriously fixing things. I'll need to rewatch this with my full attention one of these days, though.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Pig and the Rhino was pretty much the episode that fans of the 1987 series have been waiting for since 2012. The episode knew exactly what the climax was and how to deal with it, and it was a stroke of genius having the no-nonsense boss-type love the names Bebop and Rocksteady and having the more comical character hate them. While I still wish for the real Irma to show up (kidnapped by the Krang and kept to study, perhaps?), on the whole I have to say I am not disappointed with the way beloved elements of the show have been introduced.

Power Rangers Dino Charge: Breaking Black was an interesting piece. It did teach me all I needed to about the black ranger, which was its point, but I don't particularly like this black ranger, so that's a mixed bag. Still, I appreciate the way they're introducing each episode. It definitely makes me like this season more than the previous two/four. This gives me a lot of hope for the upcoming 25 episodes.

Monday, March 23, 2015

An Unearthly Podcast: Cyberwoman

In our 97th episode, we tackle the question: Is "Torchwood: Cyberwoman" the worst Cyberman episode ever? Tune in and find out!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

7 Days of Legends: Tales of the Jedi–The Golden Age of the Sith

GAotSWhile Dawn of the Jedi is a rather new invention, for over fifteen years, this prologue by Kevin J. Anderson to Tom Veitch’s Tales of the Jedi comics was the start of the Star Wars universe. The reference guides - The Essential Atlas and Chronology - had stories, there were articles written by Del Rey and LucasFilm Ltd staff - but in terms of easily consumed stories, this was the Genesis of my generation of fans.

Tales of the Jedi: Golden Age of the Sith starts with issue #0: Conquest and Unification. This story features Jedi Apprentice Odan-Urr on a mission for his Master Ooroo. This Jedi Scholar, whining the entire time about how he is not cut out for this mission, teaches the skill of Battle Meditation to Memit Nadill, Jedi advisor to Empress Teta of the Koros System, which would historically be known as the Empress Teta system. That makes these the titular Unification Wars, the wars fought between Empress Teta and the dissidents within her system to unite the worlds there under one common front. What's of note here is that while Teta clearly seems to be a wise and benevolent ruler (as we'll see later), we have yet to see any indication as to what the cause of these wars are. Whether this is a Firefly style war of simple domination or whether the rebels in question did something to require unification, we never know, but ultimately Teta wins the war.

Golden Age of the Sith proper begins with fraternal twins Gav and Jori Daragon, two down-on-their-luck fringers in the Koros System. Feeling that they are out of options to make their way, they steal their parents' ship from the custody of Aarrba the Hutt to use for one last chance as deep space scouts - individuals who risk their lives by entering hyperspace along unplotted coordinates and selling those coordinates to Spacers' Guilds. There's a subplot involved here wherein a merchant lord used a route that Gav and Jori had found, but labeled to be unsafe to use, but that won't become important until later.

I feel it's important here to address the matter of the Sith. Tales of the Jedi, in large part, exists to bring the Sith from their original state as a distant Empire to the Sith that we know today. It doesn't go the whole route, of course - the Rule of Two wasn't introduced in this series, and I'm uncertain as to what year Jedi vs Sith was released - but it takes long steps over the course of the next several miniseries. In Golden Age of the Sith, Emperor Marka Ragnos has just died after a century of unquestioned rule (once he removed the head of Simus, who now functions as a member of the Sith Council, anyway), and the question of his successor is in question. Naga Sadow, who is the fastest to claim the title of Dark Lord and Emperor for himself, feels that the only way for the Sith to survive is to unite the Empire against a common enemy and begin to take new ground through force. His chief opponent, Ludo Kressh, is convinced that Sadow's plan is folly and is sure to guarantee the destruction of the Sith people through war.

The Daragons, led by the Force, though they do not know it, find what in other circumstances would have been a very fortuitous prize indeed: an unimpeded Hyperspace corridor that leads from the Inner Core to the Outer Rim. This corridor from the Koros System to the Imperial throne world of Korriban is one that would rarely be used in the future, owing most likely to the fact that a pathway between the centers of power of both the Sith and the Empire would likely be filled with hyperspace mines and fortified areas for the next 5,000 years. For the purposes of events in the comic's near future, however, the Daragon Trail, as it will come to be known, has become the most important thing in the galaxy.

The rest of the volume is spent following two sequences of events: the reactions in the Koros system to Gav and Jori's actions (both the saurian spacer who blames the Daragons for the loss of his ship and the Hutt who felt both robbed and betrayed by their actions), and Naga Sadow's manipulations of both his human captives and his fellow Sith Lords

For an early Kevin J Anderson story, Golden Age of the Sith requires relatively little in the way of leaps of faith. Once you can believe that the Sith and Jedi both have different powers than the ones that you're familiar with in the modern era, this works as a tale that transforms from a quaint historical anecdote into an epic about a major turning point in galactic history once the Sith discover the Republic.

I'd like to take a moment to talk about the art, not only for this story, but for the entire Tales of the Jedi line. This is an older story, as far as Star Wars is concerned, and certainly art standards for comics have changed since the 90s, especially for publishers with less budget behind them than DC and Marvel. Still, while the art of this series would not be appreciated in the modern day, for a historical story such as this, I actually feel like the art present here is superior. It gives it a sort of gritty feel, as though you're looking at a recollection, rather than watching events as they happen. It also gives a sort of mystical tone to the proceedings that I feel matches very nicely with the Sith sorcery and more fantastical powers exhibited by the Jedi in the Tales line of comics.

As a whole, Tales of the Jedi: Golden Age of the Sith does not tell a complete story, but it was never intended to. This story acts as a massive prequel, comparable to Fellowship of the Ring in its role in the buildup to massive, galaxy-spanning war. The Sith build up for war, not only with the Republic, but with themselves, and with a title like Fall of the Sith Empire following, it's not hard to imagine the results of such a two-front war on the Sith.

My recommendation of Golden Age of the Sith, then, is that you should read it if you intend to read both parts of the Great Hyperspace War. In fact, if any of this appeals to you, my suggestion is to buy the Omnibus Edition of Tales of the Jedi Part 1. This features the whole of the Great Hyperspace War, in addition to several of the succeeding stories one thousand years in this story's future.