CBS vs Paramount? Old Star Trek vs Confused Star Trek? ST Discovery = Epic fail? and JUSTICE LEAGUE?!

 

Some Times you wonder how what is seemingly obvious  is utterly lost on people in positions of power.

VALERIAN movie? Great concept on paper , great visuals, the leads are as interesting as watching paint dry. I would not in a million years have chosen those two people to helm that movie. They have no visual interest.

The latest Universal bomb in THE MUMMY, completely predictable. White Egyptians, unless they are Boris Karloff, just never a good idea.

Casting and visuals and chemistry is still a HUGE part of what makes a film or show work and why it is dead on arrival.

It is one reason the JUSTICE LEAGUE movie is despite everything they are trying to course correct and do right, can’t fix intrinsic issues they have done wrong. The comic book decided to put CYBORG in the comic, not because he is a good character, but because he hit three demographics they throught would make for both multiple diversity streams and good merchandising. He was a Black crippled robot.

TRANSFORMERS has proven that robots sell, all day long. On top of that being able to add a character of color to the blindingly white DC universe, ticks that box, and making him a cripple, ticks the handicapped audience. A lucrative and growing segment condsidering how many young men and women this country sends overseas to mutilate and get mutilated.

Here is the issue though. It doesn’t make sense for CYBORG to be in the Justice League, beyond tokenism and a blatant money grab.

From a story point it makes NO SENSE in the comics, and it makes no sense in the movies. I’m all for characters of color toning down the lilly whitness of the Justice League, but not awful characters. The JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED cartoon has shown a great character of color that deserves to be in the Justice League and works great in the Justice League… John Stewart, The Green Lantern, And you know what, he also has kick ass powers and is more than a walking toaster. The late great Dwayne McDuffie made John Stewart a great character, and the Justice League a great AND diverse team without sacrificing quality or common sense. They were great BECAUSE of that diversity and love that Dwayne imbued that series with, that made it great.

Greatness is a thing that seldoms gets said in the same sentence as JUSTICE LEAGUE. Unlike the AVENGERS that has a few notable stories you can hand people to sell them on these characters for live action movies, most notably Mark Millar’s THE ULTIMATES  followed by Steve Englehart’s, Gerry Conway’s, Jim Shooter’s and Kurt Busiek’s runs; the JUSTICE LEAGUE has very little that holds up, or is of appeal to a movie going audience. Outside of deconstructive and apocalyptic stories, the twilight of the Gods type mythology such as KINGDOM COME, and some Morrison work, there are almost no great JUSTICE LEAGUE comic stories. The best the JUSTICE LEAGUE has ever been is in the McDugffie helmed cartoon.

The current comic and the current movie unfortunately, has learned nothing from the late McDuffie’s lead.

Add to that the Cyborg and Flash costumes are crap (didn’t you learn anything from the GREEN LANTERN train-wreck about CGI costumes) and you have a movie that could have been great, crippled by by people who are going to lose dollars to save pennies.  People ignorant or uncaring of the part visual chemistry plays in whether a thing works or not.

And that brings us back to Star Trek.

 

Looking at the cast photo of Star Trek Discovery… that cast has no visual interest, no chemistry. The same issue suffered by THE ENTERPRISE cast, and to a lesser degree the VOYAGER cast. There was no joy or interst or chemistry in this combination of people.

Watching  the latest STAR TREK DISCOVERY Trailer, I find the trailer interesting, however the jury is out on whether that translates into good. There was no excitement in that trailer, a bunch of uninteresting looking people, no visual chemistry or excitement to them, and a general air of uninterst and lack of joy in the whole.

You are in effing space, that should be awe-inspiring to the cast and to the viewer. But all that comes across in that trailer is how dreary everything is. The one male lead, who I know to be a good actor, he perhaps has never been the most rousing actor, and whether lead or not, you need somone immediately that grabs your eye, and you can say, yep, here is a hero or man of action, or somone who can command a screen and command the attention of viewers. Without a doubt great scenery chewing actors is the hallmark of great Star Trek, whether it is William Shatner, or Leonard Nimoy or Patrick Stewart or Johnathan Fraker or Avery Brooks or Michael Dorn.

The star of this series, is a lead actress, and she is clearly charismatic, but you can’t act in a bubble, without that chemistry  of clicking actors around you and fun plots, it is just dreariness. And that’s what came across in the trailer… dreariness.

And a lot of changes for change sake.

The change to the Kilngons… strikes me as… foolhardy at best. THE NEXT GENERATION hit a home run in being able to make an interesting but crude visual race of the Kilingons… better. Not just better, but a rousing transcendent success.  The way the Original Series hit a home run with the Vulcans and the Romulans, the Next Generation hit that Home Run with the Klingons.

You don’t fix what isn’t broken. And in this case DISCOVERY’s redesign of the Klingons just seems change for change sake, that tears down a success, and what could have been an easy inroad to the series for fans craving the popular Klingons, becomes instead a detriment.

Just poor, poor thinking.

Along with that the idea of trying to make American audiences pay to see this series that initially needs as much groundswell of support it can get, is just idiocy. Out of the gate you set an antagonistic relationship between show and audience.

I will, needless to say, not be paying for this show, no more than I had any intest in paying to see VALERIAN or THE MUMMY.

But I will keep abreast of it through online reviews and podcasts, and I hope it can prove me wrong. But if Paramount stick to the visuals and that tone and that cast, that seems clearly set in stone for the first year….you may have an interesting SciFi show, but you arguably wont have a good show, and you definitely won’t have a great Star trek show.

Paramount instued of suing the AXANAR fan film, should have gone with that filmmaker to produce their new show. It is obvious that the fan films have more heart, intelligence, and fun, and understanding of what makes good Star Trek than Paramount has.

PARAMOUNT’s rebooted STAR TREK films, a case of diminishing returns, from the excellence of the first one, to the too self indulgent but still great second film, to the atrocious third film; points to a company that is in desperate need of course correction. And that same folly and arrogant stupidity that highlights their dealings with the fans, mars their handling of this latest television show.

For more on this, I want to direct you to a MIDNIGHT’S EDGE YouTube video, that revealed some of the reasons for Paramount’s mishandling of the latest Star Trek property and where CBS fits in. It’s a riveting and informative bit of reporting.

 

 

 

 

 

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Streaming TV Show of the DAY : Star Trek CONTINUES

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I’ve covered quite a few fan projects on this blog, some really exceptional ones. Among the best are those related to the Star Trek universe. STAR TREK CONTINUES is a web series that the term fan project does a bit of a disservice to.

This is a full fledged production as smooth and polished as the Original Star Trek series that it revives. Not simply a homage this web series continues the unfinished five year mission of the original series (which was cancelled after three seasons). STAR TREK CONTINUES conceit is that it starts off in the 4th (never seen) season of The original Star Trek.

And going along with this conceit, STAR TREK CONTINUES first episode PILGRIM OF ETERNITY, before watching you really should watch the season two episode of the original series, titled WHO MOURNS FOR ADONAIS. STAR TREK CONTINUES premiere episode is a direct follow-up to that 1967 episode, complete with the actor who played in that episode, reprising his role here.

You’ll have so much more appreciation for exactly how wondrous STAR TREK CONTINUES is, if you precede it by watching that 1967 episode. You’ll also have a far better understanding just how excellent Vic Mignogna is, largely the driving force behind this labor of love, in his role as the iconic James T. Kirk. Vic Mignogna has Shatner’s Kirk down to an alchemy, it’s not science, it’s magic.  From the walk, to the pauses, to the lift of the chin, to the way he sits, this isn’t mimicry, or mockery, it is acting of a very high and compelling level.

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Vic Mignogna understands and loves the role, and that comes across, as does his passion and expertise for the original series. Wearing an insanely impressive number of hats from director, to editor, to writer, to producer, to star, Vic Mignogna has put together an impressive production and a large and varied cast.

From Christopher Doohan reprising, excellently I might add, his father’s role of Mr. Scott, to Kim Stinger doing a lovely Uhuru, to Michele Specht ravishing in her role as new character Dr. Elise McKennah, to the towering 84 year old Michael Forest (with many movie and tv credits to his name) reprising and bettering his 1967 performance of Apollo, it is a series that would have made Gene Roddenberry proud, and makes this fan of Roddenberry’s endearing dream…  incredibly impressed and happy.

Now not everything works of course. Not all the actors do as well a job of bringing to life their characters as the above actors do. But considering everyone is largely doing this for the love, the general level of performances is fantastic, and the costumes, and makeup, and sets and special effects and writing is jaw droppingly good quality! Every bit professional level. Hell, this show is easily better than most of the post-DS9 Star Trek television shows that Paramount paid small fortunes to produce.

Now I like the JJ Abrams STAR TREK movies, I think they both were fantastic. That said, I think there is a place in this digital world, for Chris Pine on the big screen, and Paramount backing the STAR TREK CONTINUES series and having Vic Mignogna on the small screen.

Okay enough praising this series. Go watch the 1967 episode WHO MOURNS FOR ADONAIS courtesy of Amazon Prime for free, then go to the STAR TREK CONTINUES website to view the existing three episodes. If you have Roku, you can go to the Vimeo Channel here for an easy way to view it on your tv.

And once you are as impressed with the series as I am, help them keep it up by swinging by their web page and sharing the love and donating; so that you can help keep this great project coming! And tell em HT sent ya! 🙂

Enjoy!

 

Paramount STAR TREK DVDs & Blu-Rays to Buy and the ones to Avoid!

Paramount is a bit of a mess when it comes to triple and quadruple dipping and because of that, determining what version is the best DVD or Bluray for you to own, can be difficult and time consuming. Well I’ve done homework (yes, I said homework) for you, my beloved reader 🙂 , to hopefully help make that decision making process… easier.

First, Avoid the 2009 Bluray versions of any of the earlier Star trek films (WRATH OF KAHN, UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY, and FIRST CONTACT), and stick to the 2disk DVD Directors cuts. Links are below. You just get more bang for your buck, and Paramount in a year or two will release Director’s cut version of the movies on Bluray, with better mastering.

However I would recommend the Star Trek Original Series Complete Seasons 1-3. Paramount did an okay job on those Blu-Rays, with exception of cheap packaging, and no labeling on the disks.

The 2004 Star Trek Original Series Complete Seasons 1-3 DVDs are better packaged than the blu-rays, and come with labeled disks, but the Bluray’s offer you remastered images and the option between viewing with CGI effects or original effects.

Pretty cool. So not perfect, but you gain more than you lose, by going with the Blurays over the DVDs for Star Trek Original Series. Also the very reason the 40 year old series could be processed into HD Blu-rays was because it was shot and mastered on film, the same as any movie, As opposed to many shows of the 80s and 90s, including DS9 and TNG, that were cheaply mastered and processed on video, meaning the original masters are not on film, so no true HD is possible with these shows, they top off at 480i.

For a pretty absorbing read on why you wont be seeing true HD Blurays of DS9 (my favorite of the Trek shows, followed by the original series, and then Next Generation. You’ll notice I omitted Voyager and Enterprise. 🙂 Send hate-mail to—) ) anytime soon go here and here.

So bottom line the existing DVDs of DS9 are the best you’re going to see of the series for the immediate future, if not the indefinite future. At the very least until technology goes up, and the cost goes down. So, below I have put a link to the DS9 set, as well.

For the JJ Abrams STAR TREK they did a good job on that Bluray, so would suggest the 3Disk Bluray. Though only 2 of those 3 disks I consider worthwhile.

Well those are my suggestions, and links (of what I consider the best, in terms of content and presentation and extras) are below:

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – The Director’s Cut (Two-Disc Special Collector’s Edition)

Star Trek – First Contact (Two-Disc Special Collector’s Edition)

Star Trek VI – The Undiscovered Country (Two-Disc Special Collector’s Edition)

Star Trek (Three-Disc Edition) [Blu-ray]

Star Trek: The Original Series – Seasons 1-3 [Blu-ray]

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Complete Series

Star Trek Fan Collective – Captain’s Log

Hope This helps.