Saturday, January 21, 2006

Stargate SG-1—Ripple Effect

The Upshot: All right, whose been screwing around with the space-time continuum again??? The team at Stargate Command (SGC) is baffled by the appearance through the Stargate of multiple, nearly identical SG-1 squads.

Next to time travel, the concept of parallel universes and alternate realities that co-exist with our own is perhaps the most intriguing concept of science fiction. It’s a concept that is revisited on the most recent SG-1.

Alas, “Ripple Effect” started out with such promise. Lt. Cols Mitchell and Carter, Daniel Jackson and Teal’c arrive back at SGC earlier than expected followed soon afterward by the regularly scheduled SG-1 team.

Egad! There’s a rift in the multiverse as teams from alternate realities begin showing up left and right—16 SG-1 teams in all.

Along with a roomful of Samantha Carters, the surprise guest from a parallel universe is Dr. Janet Frasier, whose counterpart in the “real/prime/original” universe was killed a couple seasons back. The Legion of Sam Carters soon figure out is some darned singularity (read: black hole for you non-scientists) that got in the way of the Stargate wormhole and “our” reality was the hub for all the mirror universes.

In lieu of taking the time to figure a way to get all the alternate teams home, Gen. Landry orders the dimensional rift sealed to prevent more alternate reality incursions so all his universe’s SG teams aren’t jammed up and they can go back to fighting The Ori.

In the alternate Dr. Frasier’s reality, their Earth is being decimated by an Ori created plague—the same plague that the “original” SG universe just cured. If they remain trapped there, they can’t save their own world.

This sets up a nice potential dilemma as the alternate Dr. Frasier and Gen. Landry argue about the merits and morality of saving his reality at the expense of her own and that of the 15 other stranded teams.

But then it gets all predictable as the first alternate team, dressed in dark SG-1 uniforms (which should have been a giveaway….perhaps they should have had goatees), didn’t arrive in our reality by accident but it was a planned incursion to steal something to take back to their reality. Of course the “evil” SG-1 is defeated, and sent home, as are the 15 other SG-1 teams. No muss, no fuss.

Even more than the original Star Trek rip-off of the evil mirror universe theme, this episode took a page from the Star Trek: Voyager playbook where 45 minutes is spent building up a complicated and interesting premise only to be left with 10 minutes to quickly and (too) easily solve resolve things in such a way where everything is returned to status quo.

Let’s take a moment to consider the possibilities if the writer’s hadn’t hit the “easy” button:

A) The alternate Dr. Frasier remains trapped in our reality knowing her own world has been doomed and now consigned to a world where she is not only dead but her past/history doesn’t quite match this reality.

B) Even more daring would be to mix and match the SG-1 team members, where alternate Carter or Teal’c remains in our reality, introducing a familiar yet new dynamic. Together again for the first time.

C) Going hog wild would have been some drastic change or disaster in our reality and/or following one of the SG-1 teams back to their world instantly resetting the whole show.

But in the end, it was the same ole same ole. Like we’ve said before, if you don’t expect too much, SG-1 will deliver.

Look for posts on Friday’s Stargate Atlantis and Battlestar Galactica forthcoming.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Justice League Unlimited--news & wishlist

For fans of Cartoon Network's Justice League Unlimited (JLU), Mile High Comics' has posted a very good article titled "Doing The Justice League" by Steve Fritz about the new upcoming JLU season based on interviews with JLU executive producers Bruce Timm and James Tucker.

The Upshot: Expect the new season to ramp up during the late spring or early summer. Look for Supergirl to take a trip to the future to meet the Legion of Super Heroes, more Legion of Doom/Villains Unlimited and the return of Hawkman to the JLU universe.

Check out the story here:

Nobody asked us but while we're hot, here are some things FBW would like to see on JLU.

Captain Marvel vs. Superman—A fair fight rematch! Last season, the World's Mightiest Mortal made his first appearance in JLU in last season's "The Clash." But the Power of Shazam got the serious shaft in the fight with Superman. The fix was in. Ok, we get it, Superman is the star of the show and of the DC Universe...but Captain Marvel deserved better. Bring him back.

The Justice Society of America--Ok, we've seen Wildcat, Dr. Mid-Nite, Stargirl (with S.T.R.I.P.E.) Sand and Atom Smasher around the Watchtower but without the Golden Age/original Flash and Green Lantern, it's not the JSA.
Early in the show, the JL met the "Justice Guild"--trademark hassles reportedly jammed up the first animated JL/JSA crossover but it's not too late. Cross your fingers.

A Kingdom Come adaptation--Most of the characters featured in the 1996 Alex Ross/Mark Waid classic mini-series about superhero armageddon in the (near) future have already been introduced into JLU continuity (with the big exception of The Spectre). Some of the story would doubtlessly need to be tweaked to fit into the JLU universe and adapted for television but wouldn't it be sweet to watch KC come alive? Bonus: It would satisfy our call for a Superman/Captain Marvel rematch.
Maybe it could be the last JLU story...what a way to go out! SHAZAM!

Monday, January 16, 2006

FBW's Comic Pics for Jan.18

Birds of Prey # 90-- Calculator's quest to unmask Oracle turns super-deadly as Deathstroke joins the hunt!

Green Lantern Corps Recharge #4 (of 5) --On the run for their lives in the forbidden Vega System, the Lanterns discover a secret that threatens the future of Oa!

Infinite Crisis # 4 (of 7) --The Crisis continues to explode across the DC Universe as a great power is unleashed. But whose side is it on? Witness a shocking confrontation between Batman and Nightwing, a vicious battle that threatens to tear the heroes of the DCU further apart, and a startling change to the recently deceased.

JSA Classified #7 --Concluding the 3-part "Honor Among Thieves!" A flurry of betrayals, an overwhelming show of force, and the loss of a teammate threaten all hope the Injustice Society might have of saving their friend and their own skins! If you liked Villains United, you'll dig this story arc.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Battlestar Galactica --Resurrection Ship Part 2

The Upshot: The battlestars Pegasus and Galactica go head-to-head with Cylon baseships in a battle that will change the face of the war. But for Lt. Kara Thrace, Starbuck, the real war is with her conscience, as she steels herself to carry out Commander Adama's order to assassinate Admiral Cain, while Cain independently and simultaneously has plotted to assassinate Adama.

Spoiler warning!!!! Read below at your own peril. If you missed BSG on Friday, Sci-Fi usually broadcasts an encore of the episode on Monday night at 11 p.m. E.S.T. (check local listings).

Two words: Holy Frak! A downed pilot, prisoner torture and dueling assassination plots all before the first commercial.

During the previous week ending the 3 month long cliffhanger we had to wait to see what would happen when Vipers from Pegasus and Galactica were poised to go head to head. The timely intervention of Starbuck in the new stealth viper with pics of the Cylon cloning ship was enough to pull the two sides back from sparking a civil war.

Starbuck's "crazy ass stunt" despite its easy way out of a tough plot spot actually works because it’s consistent with her character to date. We've learned that Pegasus also had a civilian fleet after the Cylon attack on the twelve colonies but Admiral Cain ordered the ships stripped for parts and the civilians left to die.

President Roslin, with only days to live from terminal breast cancer, lays it out for Adama: "you have to kill her." Adama asks Starbuck, his surrogate daughter, to carry out the hit and his son Lee, "Apollo," to watch her back.

Both Starbuck and Apollo are torn by what's asked of them. Starbuck respects Cain and Apollo can't belief his father and the president would cross that line. You can see Apollo's world falling apart as he's been demoted, transferred and his moral compass is upside down because the rub is...both Adamas are right. That is in a nutshell is BSG and why it is so great.

In my posts about the Stargates, I had been lamenting at the limited character development. On BSG, character is king. So much so when a major space battle and turning point in the human/Cylon war is little more than a secondary plot point as we wait for the two military leaders to take a mob-style whack at one another.

After a chat with Boomer the Cylon prisoner and talking about why the Cylons hate humans, Adama relents and pulls Starbuck back. Meanwhile, the Pegasus XO back out and doesn't order the hit squad of ready marines on Adama and crew.

Dr. Baltar takes a step away from guilt ridden madness toward embracing the Cylon dark side when he stops listening to the Number Six Cylon in his head and professes his love for the Number Six model held prisoner raped and tortured on Pegasus. Baltar helps her escape.

I won't give it all away but from the frequent commercial teases, it's not hard to predict that Admiral Cain is number one with a bullet.

Michelle Forbes, formerly Ensign Ro of Star Trek: The Next Generation, does a masterful job with the role she is given. Just when we think she is a total megalomaniac, she does or says something that we can't help but agree with. She did wrong things but not for wrong reasons.

What she represented was the path that Adama could have easily taken but fought hard not to. Cain's demise felt inevitable and premature at the same time. It would have been interesting to see the conflict between the two officers with similar goals--humanity's survival--but with dramatically different methods--continue to play itself out.

The episode ends with a clearly deteriorating President Roslin promoting Adama to Admiral and the affection and friendship between them is touching. Since Mary McDonnell is not said to be leaving the show, it will be interesting to see what the future holds for the cancer stricken leader. Stay tuned.

Sci-Fi Friday Roundup--The Stargates

Sci-Fi Friday night was pretty good overall with all three offerings--Stargate SG1, Stargate Atlantis and Battlestar Galactica--all coming in with solid episodes. The best of the night, as always was BSG, but the two Stargates managed to be surprisingly entertaining.

Stargate SG-1 --Collateral Damage

The upshot: Lt. Col. Mitchell stands falsely accused of murder on an off world diplomatic mission, but he remembers committing it, thanks to technology that grafts memories into someone else's mind.
Through the probing of his memories to prove his innocence viewers get a little bit of character development of the new SG-1 leader. What at first looked like a boiler plate low-impact murder mystery came in with a clever twist at the end but the real mover of the episodes was the glimpses of Mitchell's past--his test pilot father who lost both legs in a crash and a friendly fire bombing where he unwittingly killed innocent refugees.
These touches gave what had now been a really annoying character a little bit of heart. Let's see if it lasts.

Stargate Atlantis --Epiphany

The Upshot: Lt. Col. Sheppard finds himself on a planet where time passes more rapidly, with no way to contact his team or return to Atlantis.
As the team works frantically to rescue him, Sheppard endures weeks alone (from his perspective) before venturing out, encountering a frantic man running from an invisible monster, getting is ass kicked and waking up in a commune of humans who seek the path to ascension.
The rest of the episode progresses with cutaways between the Atlantis team in "real time" rushing to find a way to rescue Shepherd before it’s too late while in "portal time" Sheppard is the stranger in a strange village.
Dr. Weir gets off Atlantis and off world to lead the rescue mission but still has relatively little to do. Dr. McKay, the only Canadian on the show who isn't pretending to be not Canadian, remains an insufferable ass but figures out the deal and everyone goes into the portal and to the rescue.
The village unites to kill the monster and then moves on that other plane of existence that is ascension.
Sheppard carries the episode but unlike the attempt at character development in the previous hour's SG-1, Sheppard continues to muddle through as his annoying, one-line spewing self--an honors graduate of the Richard Dean Anderson school of one dimensional characters.
There has been buzz that future episodes will reveal more of Sheppard past, including the Afghanistan incident, but so far what we've seen is what we get with SA's action hero.
All-in an amusing waste of time.
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