‘Star Trek: Discovery’ returns franchise to thoughtful sci-fi roots (TV review)

As a franchise, “Star Trek” has boldly gone many places, and not all of them have been good.

While the original series is legendary, and “Next Generation” improves on it, things started to fall apart with “Deep Space Nine,” which cribbed so much from “Babylon 5” that it felt like a cheat calling it Trek at all. “Voyager” upped the camp level and became the goofy uncle of the franchise. It was ridiculous, over the top, fun, but never very good. The less said about “Enterprise,” the better.

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‘Cloverfield Paradox’ pays lip service to science, turns into a familiar space thriller (Movie review)

“The Cloverfield Paradox” (which recently debuted on Netflix), the third installment of the loosely connected Cloververse saga, takes topical physics such as the recently discovered God Particle and the popular multiverse theory and smashes them into a movie that has little to do with science. Let’s just say it’s not going to pass muster with Neil deGrasse Tyson or Michio Kaku. But while the space station crew’s paranoia amid a series of disasters is familiar, there’s still fun to be had here if you’re in the mood (and if you already have Netflix, you saved money on a movie ticket this time around).

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All 10 short stories from ‘Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams,’ ranked (Book review)

Even if you’ve watched Amazon Prime’s “Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams,” you still don’t know the 10 short stories they came from. The teleplay writers tended to be inspired by the yarns more so than doing straight adaptations of them. The good news is that you now have 10 more pieces of “Electric Dreams” entertainment, collected in a 2017 tome from British publisher Gollancz. Each story has a short introduction from the teleplay writer.

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‘Supergirl’ vs. ‘Riverdale’: Which is the dumber show? (TV commentary)

Since I have for some bizarre reason watched every episode of “Supergirl” (now in Season 3) and “Riverdale” (now in Season 2), I might as well get a blog post out of it by asking: “Which is the dumber show?” It’s kind of like deciding whether the Patriots or Eagles are the team worth rooting for in the Super Bowl: It’s a brain-spinner.

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All 10 episodes of ‘Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams,’ ranked (TV review)

“Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams” (Amazon Prime) has one of the best opening-credits sequences in recent memory: The music gets tenser and creepier as we see a pregnant man, a chicken-legged woman and a beachgoer walking a cloud on a leash to his mind. Then PKD himself, despite being deceased since just before “Blade Runner’s” release in 1982, pops into the frame – but the back of his head is all wires: He’s an android.

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‘The Shape of Water’ turns ‘E.T.’ into a romance for adults (Movie review)

Director and co-writer Guillermo del Toro puts a lot of winning elements from successful films into a blender and delivers “The Shape of Water” (2017), now in theatrical wide release. Mixing familiar substance with loads of style, this Oscar-y yet accessible movie carves off bits of “E.T.,” “Splash,” “Splice,” “The Help,” “Big Fish” and “Beauty and the Beast,” and throws in Michael Shannon’s skill at playing a villain and Octavia Spencer’s specialty as the chatty best friend to create a foundation for a sweet love story.

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‘Valerian’ flashback: ‘The Complete Collection, Volume 3’ (Comic book review)

Looking for a “Valerian” fix after last year’s movie, “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” I’m delving into the comics that started it all, by Frenchmen Pierre Christin (writer) and Jean-Claude Mezieres (pencils and inks). “The Complete Collection, Volume 3” includes “Ambassador of the Shadows” (1975), “On the False Earths” (1977) and “Heroes of the Equinox” (1978).

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‘Valerian’ flashback: ‘The Complete Collection, Volume 2’ (Comic book review)

Looking for a “Valerian” fix after last year’s movie, “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” I’m delving into the comics that started it all, by Frenchmen Pierre Christin (writer) and Jean-Claude Mezieres (pencils and inks). “The Complete Collection, Volume 2” includes “The Land Without Stars” (1972), “Welcome to Alflolol” (1972) and “Birds of the Master” (1973).

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‘Blade Runner 2049’ is gorgeous … and slooooow (Movie review)

“Blade Runner 2049” (2017) – now available via Redbox and streaming – brings us back into the world of the 1982 Ridley Scott classic. It feels like director Denis Villeneuve, who also helmed the overrated “Arrival” (2016) and the excellent “Prisoners” (2013), just wants to play in the sandbox of “Blade Runner,” complete with all the action figures and gadgets. There’s no debating that this is a gorgeous film, but every scene is twice as long as it needs to be for story purposes, and the characters are nearly copies (give me credit for avoiding the “replicant” pun) from the original, starting with blade runner K (Ryan Gosling) standing in for Deckard (Harrison Ford). If you just want to soak up the “BR” vibe again, you’ll be in heaven; if you expect new sci-fi themes or ideas, you’ll be let down.

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First episode impressions: ‘Black Lightning’ (TV review)

“Black Lightning” (9 p.m. Eastern Tuesdays, CW) distinguishes itself from the other CW DC Universe shows by being set in a real world more so than a cartoony world. It’s much closer to the dramatic parts of “Atlanta” than the silliness of “Supergirl” (which is easily the dumbest show I’ve ever watched 52 episodes of).

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