General sci-fi show discusstion

Star Trek came up in another thread because I noticed the picture on Mriana’s account, in my opinion probably the greatest Star Trek personality of all time (though a really good argument could be made for Spock). So I decided to geek out and start a general scifi discussion, starting with Star Trek.

I would like to start off with some general opinions on different shows. My opinions vary wildly from the norm.

Original - Loved it as a kid, pretty unwatchable to me these days (the same with Gilligan’s Island). But the theme song still brings back fond memories. I think the first 4 letters of Shatner’s name pretty much describe what he did to his every scene (and double that for Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, a stupid song to begin with).

TNG - Far and above my favorite, but dated now and getting harder to watch and enjoy. I most enjoyed the quirky characters like Lwaxana and Q.

DS9 - Boring. Great premise, but a soap opera. I liked Odo and Quark, but the rest of the personal drama I didn’t care about.

Voyager - Ug. I watched every episode, but only because it was Star Trek. The writing was horrible, devoid of even the most basic understanding of physics or even scientific common sense. Episode 4 of season 1 (Time and Again) was an intolerable paradox with an ending equivalent to “It was all a dream”. In episode 10 of season 5 (Thirty Days) Voyager comes across a planet made entirely of water and the captain asks, “What holds it together?”, our first clue that the writers didn’t understand the basic concepts of gravity. As the episode progresses the crew finds that the people living there are separating the components of the water on the ocean planet to make energy, causing the heavier elements to sink to the bottom, which has begun to crush the mysterious object at the center apparently required to hold together a planet without rocks since, again, water apparently doesn’t have gravity. This was, you know, the whole “ton of bricks, ton of feathers” thing we’ve all known about since grade school. Apparently if you have a ton of bricks and a ton of feathers and you distribute them evenly in the pile it only weighs two tons. But if you put the much heavier bricks on the bottom and the much lighter feathers on the top, then it weighs TWO TONS! And who can forget the meme which was nothing more than a picture of the scene with the quote from the scene on the bottom, “Get the cheese to sick bay!”?

Enterprise - Scott Bacula is “Quantum Leap Guy”. Is is ONLY “Quantum Leap Guy”. He will never be anything but “Quantum Leap Guy”. And I wasn’t really a fan of Quantum Leap because he’s just SO BORING! Lots of time travel, which nobody EVER does right (see Voyager episode 4). I think it’s the first Star Trek series that I didn’t watch every episode of. I just didn’t care. And it was in the “past of the future”. You can visit the future’s past in an episode or a movie like TNG did with the one movie, but you can’t give me replicators and force fields and then expect me to be happy with poop recycling and polarized hulls.

Discovery - Another “past of the future” thing, but this time with a magic star ship. And the Klingons are f’ed up! In one episode of TNG, where the crew went back in time (using actual footage from the original series, if I recall), someone asked Worf where all the Klingons were and he stated that they were looking at Klingons. Some “thing” which he didn’t want to talk about happened between then and “now” that caused Klingons to change, and that was a fascinating concept. I was so hoping they would explore that. But no, they made the Klingons more alien, stranger, less likeable and less relatable. Then you throw in a magic star ship, which runs into a magic ball, which imparts magic data, which creates a magic future enemy in the past…I neither know nor care what the hell is going on at this point.

Star Wars - Give me a shot gun and some buck shot. I’ll wipe out every Jedi in an afternoon. That’ll teach you to bring a glowing knife to a gun fight, idiots. Seriously, I HATE, HATE, HATE mixes of past and future. And no, Star Wars was not “in the future”, but it was an advanced society using “futuristic technologies”. And their best weapon in a galaxy with a Death Star…was a sword. I’m sorry, but that’s stupid. It may have looked cool, but it was stupid. And Jarjar was unforgivable. I hate Star Wars, I have always hated Star Wars, I will always hate Star Wars. I have no idea how many movies there are, nor how many I’ve seen. Two, maybe? I’ve never gone out of my way to see one on purpose.

Firefly - I am SO GLAD this crap got canceled! I tried watching it ONCE. One of the characters from the future talked like she was from eighteen fifty suck, the end. The whole future-past thing I can’t stand.

Babylon 5 - I am SO GLAD this crap got canceled! Days of Our Lives was more exciting when Gene was doing his sifi crap when the terrible lab accident transformed him into Q, or something. It was all politics and sleeping pills, with some dumbassery on the side (the “techno-wizards” were dumb as hell!)

Stargate SG1 - Loved it! Love MacGyver, too, (NOT the reboot crap where MacGyver is okay with torturing people!) and the shout out was amusing. It got a little old with the constant need to up the enemies, though.

Stargate Atlantis - Really liked it. Lot’s of discovery, new things. I think that’s what I like most about scifi. I don’t care about your character development. Show me a thought I never considered before!

Stargate Universe - BEST SHOW EVER! I know, nobody else thinks so. But it is exactly what I like. They were stuck in space on an alien ship they didn’t understand, traveling to new worlds never before seen. The ship was full of who-knows-what. EVERYTHING was a mystery. It was ALL just waiting to be explored, to be discovered. Just about every episode was about something they had never seen before, something new, some new, alien mystery or planet or contraption.

And, just for fun, ANYTHING with Bruce Campbell. Bubba Ho-Tep, genius. Nursing home Elvis teams up with black JFK to fight a mummy dressed in a cowboy outfit. How could that NOT be good? Throw in Bruce Campbell and it’s perfect! Ash vs Evil Dead, awesome. Evil Dead 2 and, to a lesser extent, Army of Darkness, awesome. “Good, bad, I’m the one with the gun” is the best movie line ever! Evil Dead 1 was Evil Dead 2, only serious and a little boring. Jack of All Trades and Brisco County Jr, both super sweet! My Name is Bruce…hey, it had it’s moments!..okay, that ONE moment where he was running away, shooting at the demon chasing him and every time he shot, a townie died. So at least one scene was good!

TNG is the only television series you named that I’ve watched.

The original Star Trek movies are all brilliant, some more brilliant than others. I haven’t watched any of the new ones and don’t feel any compulsion to do so.

The original Star Wars were fun to watch. Yes, there were holes in the story big enough to maneuver a supertanker through, but it was fun anyways. I watched the newer one with Jar Jar and then another one with a ‘cute’ (gag me with a spoon) robot that rolled around- neither were good enough to make me want to watch any of the others.

Spaceballs is probably the best space movie out there.

There have been some other sci fi (outer space setting) series that I liked over the years that just stopped. I presume they were cancelled.

There was one that was a stand alone series that was really good that actually, eventually, had an ending. I think it was called Firefly or something like that.

Firefly was on my list as “made by the devil as my own personal hell”.

I like space in general. The superhero stuff can be good, can be crap. I actually just watched Doom Patrol and, surprisingly, it was pretty good. Not a DC fan normally, but this one had Tucker from Tucker and Dale vs Evil in it as a very convincing bad guy/narrator and didn’t take itself seriously. The “heroes” of the story were such non-heroes that even their wins weren’t portrayed as the standard superhero victory.

Mostly what I’m into, though, is the very notion of Star Trek. Striking out into the unknown with incredible technologies I never before imagined (at the time. Today I seem to have an awful lot of them in my pocket). That’s why I loved Stargate: Universe so much. A million years from Earth, near the edge of the galaxy, traveling faster than light on an ancient, barely explored alien ship with a bunch of unopened boxes in it. It just gets the imagination going. And I think it really added to the story for me that it was falling apart. It was still running, but needed a million years worth of repairs and maintenance, something I had never even considered before.

I am pretty accepting of all of the Sci-Fi stuff, unless it is too hokey. I watched Star Trek religiously when it was first broadcast. I thought it was the best show ever. Now it seems a bit hokey compared to the subsequent iterations of Star Trek. I watched all of all the episodes of those, too. Each time I thought they were great. I guess the Star Trek series that underwhelmed me the most was Deep Space Nine. But I still watched it.

One has to suspend belief, of course, in order to enjoy Sci Fi. e.g., in Star Trek, how did they NOT have problems syncing up, timewise, with the rest of their civilized universe? (Considering time is relative, and they travelled at light speed frequently. Time should have been passing faster in the Federation planets and elsewhere, relative to those on the Enterprise.) Or maybe there was an explanation for that, that I never heard.

(I figure the instant communication they had over so many light years could be chalked up to some sort of communication system based on entangled particles.)

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen every episode except from the Enterprise series. Bacula is just the one actor who can make space unexciting. (Oh! Last weekend I went to a wedding where the Lutheran preacher looked EXACTLY like the doctor from that series! I was very amused!) And every movie more than once.

But I have three pet peeves with sci-fi. I can’t stand scientific inaccuracies in well established fields, time travel done by writers who don’t understand it and mixing future and past. Voyager jumped the shark on two of those things multiple times.

In the water world episode I mentioned they did it twice. The writers clearly did not understand that water has gravity just like rocks do, or that putting heavy things on the bottom of a pile does not make that pile heavier.

And in the other episode I mentioned they came across a planet which was destroyed, so they stopped. While checking it out Janeway gets transported back in time to before the planet was destroyed. The crew sets out to try to rescue her and she witnesses their attempts in the past, realizing that it was their own efforts to save her which destroyed the planet. She seals the hole they are opening, which prevents the destruction of the planet. This time when they come across the planet, it is not destroyed, and also not warp capable. So, according to the Prim Directive, they do not make contact and just move on past it. So, essentially, the planet has to be destroyed in order to create the conditions which will cause the destruction of the planet, an obvious irreconcilable paradox to all nerds everywhere.

And Firefly and Star Wars go with the other one, mixing past dumbassery into my futuristic sci-fi. They do not mix as well as peanut butter and chocolate. If you’re a Mighty Boosh fan then you may remember the end of the closing version of the Eels song. “Elements from the past and the future, combining to make something not quite as good as either.”

Jarjar. How do you suppose the conversation about that one went? Lucas must have watched the finished product before okaying the release. I bet his thoughts went something like this…

“Holy shit, that was bad! Whose idea was that Jarjar dick? People aren’t going to want to watch THAT! It’s like a giant damned turd in the soup!..You know what? Fuck it! The fans will eat around it. Ship it!”

Whenever I think of Star Wars, JarJar comes into the fore of my mindscape. No thanks, I’ll stick with the Lord of the Rings.

I can do LotR. Not my favorite, but I didn’t hate anything about it and no single character ever reminded me of Jarjar.

I guess you did not read the Tolkien books as a young person.

As far as inspiring life lessons, I think the advantage goes to LOTR over Star Wars. e.g.:

“I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

I was a Steven King fan. The guy has a gift. I’ve always found vampires boring. Not the least bit scary. But Salem’s Lot scared the shit out of me.

Tim, did you like the LoTR books and movie?

I read the books a bunch of times since the late 80’s (I’m halfway through The Two Towers at the moment). The movies were surprisingly good, which is amazing considering the epic nature and deep history behind everything.

The fact they messed with and eliminated some parts was an unfortunate necessity, so it didn’t bother my a whole lot to not see Tom Bombadil or some of the other missing parts.

The Hobbit movies are another story. They were far too cartoony for me to ever waste my time watching again.

As far as inspiring life lessons, I think the advantage goes to LOTR over Star Wars. e.g.:
Hands down. Sam's quotes on life alone could fill a book.

There really are some timeless and eerily timely lessons to be found in it.

The Hobbit was literally written for a child. But the LOTR, in my opinion, was a masterpiece of entertainment. An entire world replete with it’s ancient history and the languages of the various kinds of peoples actually created as a foundation for the story.


I like Stephen King. “It” was one of the best, I think. (the book)

“It” was good, but a little unnecessarily creepy in parts. The part at the end where all the 12 year old boys had to have sex with the 12 year old girl, that was really not necessary to the plot and uncomfortable to read.

I didn’t even remember that part, in “It”, but it was one of his creepiest books, and that is saying a lot. Tho the very ending seemed a little hokey to me.

What was the book series that had the developmentally delayed guy who always spelled Moon (and everything else) M-O-O-N? That was pretty good.