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Alara Kitan Sleeps Well Alara Kitan Sleeps Well

Last night’s new Orville, “Firestorm”, seemed mainly to be another set of homages to Star Trek until the end when it took things in a surprising and satisfying direction. Directed by Brannon Braga and written by Family Guy writer Cherry Chevapravatdumrong, the episode is an entertaining and effective contemplation of…

Now We're Going to Talk about Judy Now We're Going to Talk about Judy

I just finished watching through the third season of Twin Peaks again. I really loved how David Lynch kept information about episodes out of the media before they aired—the experience of allowing a story on screen to unfold on its own terms is increasingly becoming too rare. I’m really disturbed by a diminished…

Never Cheat Peter Cushing Never Cheat Peter Cushing

The final Amicus anthology horror film was 1974's From Beyond the Grave. Once again featuring a framing story starring Peter Cushing it has some of the best imagery of the series as well as some of the most moralistic subtext.

The Death of a Disco Dancer The Death of a Disco Dancer

A very nice Star Trek Discovery last night. It made absolutely no sense and yet it felt like the most coherent episode of the season. Maybe this is where Nicholas Meyer started exerting his influence after the previous episodes burned off the remains of Bryan Fuller’s ideas because the excitement, action, and…

House on the Tracks House on the Tracks

I’d think it difficult to be led astray by the title of 1964's Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors. Though as a matter of fact we never see Dr. Terror’s house—but it is a satisfyingly lurid horror anthology film, the first of a series for which British studio Amicus would become famous in the 1960s and 1970s. Like most of…

The Doctor and the Wardrobe The Doctor and the Wardrobe

The big Doctor Who news this week was the reveal of the 13th Doctor’s costume. I like it. When I heard about Jodie Whittaker being cast, my main concern was that, as good as she is on Broadchurch, she doesn’t display any of the silliness I like in my Doctors. The outfit looks like it’s already doing some heavy lifting…

Cupid's Now Time Cupid's Now Time

While The Orville is generally a mixture of drama and comedy, it showed last night that in the comedy department at least it can outdo Star Trek. The occasional comedy episode of any Star Trek series is usually pretty awkward but in a homage to the “Naked Time” and “Naked Now” episodes of Star Trek and Star Trek: TNG…

Not Such a Crazy Place Not Such a Crazy Place

By the mid-70s, Vincent Price was already known well enough for horror roles that he could star in a tongue in cheek murder mystery homage to them, 1974's Madhouse. The film’s awareness of its own camp never amounts to the joy of a Rocky Horror Picture Show or Little Shop of Horrors serving instead merely to undermine…

Paper Thin Rebels Paper Thin Rebels

I finally got caught up on the new season of Star Wars Rebels, which as of Monday is eight episodes in. Unfortunately I’d been rewatching Clone Wars so the problems with Rebels were even more painful. It’s not as bad as those excruciating Forces of Destiny shorts, there are one or two things about Rebels that’ll keep…

Project Peaks Book Project Peaks Book

I spent a few days devouring Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier, a short book that any Twin Peaks fan would read in double time. But I haven’t read The Secret History of Twin Peaks, also written by Mark Frost, released before the première of season three. Partly I avoided it because of this quote from David…

Disco Connexion Disco Connexion

Thanks to some improbable alien misunderstandings, Klingons and Starfleet came together in several ways in last night’s new Star Trek Discovery, “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum”, a Roman saying which translates to “If you want peace, prepare for war.” One Klingon seems to espouse the likely meaning of the term in this…

Recognisable Stranger Recognisable Stranger

Winona Ryder is putting weird shit on the wall again so it must be time for another season of Stranger Things. A better season than the first one, as it happens, and the first one is really good. Stranger Things 2 brings back a lot of plot elements from season 1 but layers over Aliens and Adventures in Babysitting on…

The Doctor Book The Doctor Book

The works of Rudyard Kipling and William Blake find their way into the 2012 Doctor Who audio play The Emerald Tiger, an entertaining adventure for the Fifth Doctor. Most of the twists are pretty obvious but the usual good chemistry between Five and his three companions pairs well with peril in 1920s India.

Trek of the Orville Trek of the Orville

Last night’s new Orville, “Into the Fold”, was the most Star Trek-ish episode yet—no surprise considering it was written by Brannon Braga and Andre Bormanis and the episode was directed by Braga. It felt very much like an episode of Voyager where Janeway or someone else, having crash landed on a planet, has to rely…

Infinite Thoughts Sparked by a Little
Weird Infinite Thoughts Sparked by a Little Weird

One of the most important things about effective weird fiction is for the prose to give a sense of the visceral experience. Caitlin R. Kiernan excels at this as she shows again with this month’s new Sirenia Digest and its story, “Albatross (1994)“.

In Fear of Madness In Fear of Madness

The intricacy of plots people hatch to make you feel like you’re going crazy can make you feel like you’re going crazy. Hammer dials gaslighting up to a gas inferno with 1964's Nightmare. Obviously influenced by Hitchcock, the plot is too absurd to have satisfied Hitchcock’s obsession with detail but it’s a delightful…

Disco Inferno Disco Inferno

So I guess disco does live on in the Federation imagination—this week’s new Star Trek Discovery, “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad”, featured “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees in the form of a sample in a song by Funkmaster. So maybe they just don’t know it used to belong to a genre called disco? Maybe they don’t…

Good Artists and Masks Good Artists and Masks

It would be sort of comforting to think that influential men in the entertainment industry who prey on women are also talentless. That’s part of the fantasy presented in the 1962 Hammer version of Phantom of the Opera, and a big part of why the film never rises above moderately interesting. It does, though, have some…

Flip on the Loch Flip on the Loch

Another week and I’ve listened to a good Sixth Doctor Doctor Who audio play featuring his companion, Flip; in this case the 2012 audio play Wirrn Isle. Featuring the menacing insectoid species from the television story The Ark in Space, this audio play has some great atmosphere, set on a frozen lake in Scotland, over…

Be Careful How You Love a Statue Be Careful How You Love a Statue

A particularly entertaining new episode of The Orville last night, “Majority Rule”, provided suspense, insight, and satire based on the idea of social media run amok. Like most episode concepts on The Orville so far, this one has plenty of precedent—I was reminded of the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode…

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