Category Archives: TV

Pokemon: Indigo League Retro Review S1 E6-10

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It’s been a little while since my last Indigo League retrospective and I’ve written quite a few things in between, but here we are yet again. In between watching and reviewing several other shows lately (of which you should be seeing more meat in terms of reviews releasing) I’ve also taken the time to rewatch old Pokemon episodes and catch myself up accordingly. As such, I’ll be presenting another five episodes today and once I’ve completely finished rewatching The Clone Wars you can expect a continuation of the blog series from season two onward (including Rebels).

My previous Pokemon: Indigo League retrospective can be found here if you do not wish to search overly much for the original post itself. As always, I’m going to be breaking down Ash and his crew’s ongoing adventure into bite-sized portions that are much more manageable both for review and consumption. So without further ado, let’s get down to business.

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Ep. 6: Clefairy and the Moon Stone | 22m

Even as I remember it fondly today having just recently revisited the episode, the Mt. Moon-centric episode has always been one of if not my very favorite Pokemon episodes of all time. I’m not sure what the initial draw of it was for me all those years ago but now I just enjoy the enigmatic presence of Clefairy and later Clefable, as well as the first showcase of evolutionary power beyond the normal evolutionary track itself. Ash, Misty, and Brock meet a scientist (Seymour) who is being attacked by confused Zubat- all of this ties into yet another unoriginal Team Rocket scheme of course as well. Needless to say, it always boils down to Team Rocket wanting to either steal Pokemon or something that will inherently increase their power. In this case it’s the latter and the Moon Stone itself, which is fabled to be in the caves somewhere around Mt. Moon. Although there is a lot of shenanigans and mysticism involved, ultimately the Moon Stone is shattered and transforms many nearby Clefairy into Clefable, an even more rare Pokemon who sends Team Rocket packing. Grade: A

Ep. 7: The Water Flowers of Cerulean City | 22m

Having ended the previous episode with some timely signpost graffiti courtesy of Gary Oak, Ash Ketchum’s greatest and original rival, Cerulean City’s journey starts with Brock mocking the young hero for his willingness to let Gary stay one step ahead and forces him to go to battle other opponents in anticipation of a rival challenge. Misty, to her credit, attempts to divert them from heading to this particular city (for reasons that are more apparent later on) but nothing will deter Ash. When Ash does arrive at the local gym it’s not exactly what he was expecting and he finds three apathetic sisters more concerned with their looks and synchronized dance routines. Somewhat discouraged but still wanting to earn his badges the correct way, he moves on. Enter Misty. The friend (and as it turns out, fan of hard work and making Ash work hard particularly) returns and forces Ash to battle her for the Cascade badge he covets dearly. Just when it looks like Team Rocket will miss their entrance for once, the trio crashes the show and Misty/Ash team up to take them on. After they’re done with, it’s another solid win in the books as the crew continues on their journey. Grade: A

Ep. 8: The Path to the Pokemon League | 22m

With two badges down and untold adventures to come, Ash and his friends head off into the relative unknown- purportedly making their way to Vermilion City which holds luxury and intrigue. Of course now is the perfect time to encounter some local trainers who wish to test Ash’s prowess- so enter A.J, who also has a tent full of wild pocket monsters for the crew to ooh and ahh over. And did I mention A.J’s gym has been undefeated? Needless to say, A.J isn’t exactly the best with how he treats his Pokemon but figures the ends justify the means. And right on cue, Team Rocket starts to weasel their way into this setup as well. Ironically, A.J and his Sandshrew take it upon themselves to defend their gym and their honor, even if it means pretty much destroying the place in their bid to send Team Rocket heading for the hills. As we learn by the end, all trainers do things their own way and Ash and A.J must inevitably head their separate ways as they each make their own legacy and work towards entering the Pokemon league proper. Grade: B+

Ep. 9: The School of Hard Knocks | 22m

As the narrator says the friends will continue on their adventure in “perfect harmony,” we see that this is in fact nowhere near reality and Misty is still rightfully angry about her bike being totaled. Soon they stumble upon what looks to be the very definition of ‘school of hard knocks’ when they encounter kids quizzing each other on all things Pokemon- with the added bonus of doing so while amping up the speed on a treadmill. If that’s not interesting plot development, I’m not sure what is. In fact, the entirety of this so-called Pokemon Technical School is something of a satirical take on real universities and their issues and that alone makes me love Pokemon so much more. Before long, Ash and Misty (and sort of wallflower Brock) are doing their best to battle the local cliques and stick it to the student body, er man. Despite his lack of general knowledge in most regard, Ash proves that you don’t necessarily need to be a know-it-all to win matches. Hands down the best moment comes when Team Rocket stumbles in and is subsequently attacked by not one but all of the students who’ve gathered around- citing that “bad guys don’t play by the rules” and as such they don’t merit one on one confrontation. Grade: B

Ep. 10: Bulbasaur and the Hidden Village | 22m

Ash and his friends start off once more in the wilderness and find themselves reliant upon his often off-the-mark “instincts.” Things quickly go awry as the trainers experience everything from falling into a watery canyon to being caught in a hunting snare. Later on things take an unexpected turn when they encounter an atypical village that has been erected for injured Pokemon to recover and recuperate in. Team Rocket is shown to be essentially following the kids and also ironically falls into every single pitfall that the others had already encountered, often hilariously escaping just barely. Later on when they finally make it to the so-called “Pokemon health spa” as well, their advances are of course denied by the gathered pocket monsters who’ve grown particularly unruly when it comes to dealing with insensitive trainers and the likes of Team Rocket. In the final moments, both Ash and Misty would like to battle for the right to capture Bulbasaur but it is of course Ash who wins this right and wins the following battle before they turn their gaze back to making the trip to Vermilion City. Grade: A-

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Well, there’s the next series snippet of my Indigo League reviews and retrospective. I hope you’ve been enjoying everything so far and will continue to read and review my words and thoughts as well as supply your own. Enjoy!

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Pokemon: Indigo League Retro Review S1 E1-5

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If you know anything about me and my writing in general then you probably know that not only do I write about a variety of subjects, I also enjoy writing semi-nostalgically about how old television shows hold up by my current standards as well. I’ve written about episodes of The X-Files before here as well as Season One of The Clone Wars, which I plan to continue at some point in the future but can also currently be found here.

Chances are, if you watched Pokemon: Indigo League in your youth or adolescence then you’ve grown up with and are pretty familiar with Ask Ketchum and the rest of the interchangeable crew of trainers (most notably Brock and Misty, I would venture to say). You undoubtedly remember the shenanigans Team Rocket would pull off- or rather the shenanigans they would hilariously fail to pull off. Chances are, you may even remember many of the episodes and their morals themselves fairly clearly. Regardless of your circumstances or what you may or may not have retained, I’ve taken the liberty of rewatching the entire season and breaking it down into bite-sized portions for individual episode reviews (in several batches).

Without further ado, let’s get to talking about Pokemon: Indigo League’s first five episodes- from “Pokemon- I Choose You!” to “Showdown in Pewter City.”

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Ep. 1: Pokemon- I Choose You! | 22m

For a series starter and the premier episode of a lengthy saga- that being Pokemon in general and regardless of what subtitle may accompany each season, the first episode of Indigo League does a really good job of cementing a lasting resentment of the entitled Ash Ketchum and ironically making viewers (at least of my age and right now) immediately dislike the young boy. That having been said, it also manages to bring him in a circular and redemptive arc by the end of the episode and beginning of the second- showing that there are at least two sides to every character and that maybe he’s not quite so bad as he seems. What initially makes you disdain the entitled lad will inevitably morph into recognition that yes, he has his flaws but he will do anything and everything for his friends and companions. As such, this premier episode is a perfect beginning to the season and the fifty-one episodes that will follow. Grade: A

Ep. 2: Pokemon Emergency | 22m

The second episode of the season follows directly on the heels of the previous one and essentially serves as part two of a two-part episode. Ash and his newfound friends- both Pokemon and human alike, head to Viridian City and encounter the dastardly doofuses of Team Rocket. Despite the dire situation that they initially find themselves in and the demeaning words of Team Rocket and a scheme that will leave the local Poke-Center devoid of its main constituents, Ash and his crew of course manage to one-up the morons and send them packing in style. Although it helps to bring viewer favor more in line with actually liking Ash and in finding hilarity in each and every Team Rocket encounter from here on out, the episode has its strongest moments in the first half rather than in the next. Grade: B-

Ep. 3: Ash Catches a Pokemon | 22m

This episode carefully balances the morals and themes representative of the previous two and seems to pull it off a lot better- rather than being too heavy handed with either comedy or tragedy, it walks a thin line down the middle. Truthfully, there are few genuine tragic moments in Pokemon as it is ultimately catered towards children and young adults, however some moments are sad and that’s something that permeates even the happier episodes when issues like friendship and treatment come up. After Ash catches a Caterpie and realizes that Misty is deathly afraid of all bug-life, he of course can’t help but terrorize her while all Caterpie wants is to be recognized as a friend and companion by the two of them. It’s heartbreaking in a way if only for the short period of time before Ash actually appreciates the Pokemon more fully and before Misty manages to overlook her fear in favor of being more open and less resentful. Grade: B+

Ep. 4: Challenge of the Samurai | 22m

Not only is it the first episode to not feature the prominent pocket monsters in the title itself as a shameless plug, but “Challenge of the Samurai” also features a fast-paced and pretty exciting plot as well when compared to the last few episodes. Caterpie has quickly evolved from his initial form into Metapod- the cocoon-like second evolution that looks pretty good but pretty much operates as a more functional land-Magikarp for all its knowledge of combat. When the group encounters a trainer in the woods who dresses as a samurai and vows to face each new trainer in battle, Ash wastes no time in challenging the trainer and basically being as arrogant as he possibly can be. Thankfully the two trainers are basically mirror images or each other and essentially their battle devolves into a stalemate between their Metapods until it is rudely interrupted by an angry swarm of Beedrill. As one might expect, this leads to Ash abandoning Metapod and later returning to witness its evolution and subsequent decimation of the swarm. Grade: B

Ep. 5: Showdown in Pewter City | 22m

Here we finally get to see the introduction of another key cast member in Ash Ketchum’s interesting and often varied ensemble- Brock (the Rock?). After dealing with some collective Team Rocket (and Meowth) shenanigans which I’ll essentially avoid for now considering their plans usually retain the same one-dimensional purpose of stealing other people’s Pokemon, Ash makes his way to his first gym battle. As he faces off with a pretty desensitized Brock (because dramatic and tragic backstory!), he realizes that he isn’t strong enough to win the battle quite yet and not nearly as ruthless as Brock seems to be. Flash forward to Ash being tutored by a mystery merchant on the outskirts of town and you get a little more backstory about the hardness that Brock showcases as well as his motives. Predictably, in their second face-off Ash eventually gets the better of Brock only because the two otherwise evenly matched opponents realize that they should better care for their Pokemon and their families and futures. Oh, and the mystery merchant turns out to be Brock’s estranged father who has finally returned and the rest is history. Grade: A-

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So there you have it, the first segment of Indigo League’s episodes and subsequent reviews and grades. Feel free to comment with your own nostalgic or opinionated thoughts as well as gripes, concerns, or any feedback at all really. I look forward to providing you all with some more fresh content in the future as well as the next post regarding Pokemon: Indigo League.

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The Promise of Oasis

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The best thing I’ve read regarding the pilot of 2017’s Oasis is that it features Game of Thrones alum Richard Madden as a Scottish space priest- yes you read that correctly. And in a weird sort of way that’s exactly what the premise is here and why the Amazon original show has such promise and I hope that it can find its way into a full series.

I urge all of you science fiction geeks and thought-provoking television fiends to delve deeper into the details regarding the show because I do not think you’ll be easily disappointed. Not to be confused with a 1993 series of the same name but revolving around a completely different genre of television, Oasis does indeed follow a space-faring priest as he makes his way to a remote colony. If you’re interested in the source material itself, look no further than Michel Faber’s writing.

In many ways, the sense of exploration and wonder the pilot alone has wrought within me reminds me of something akin to my time with Mass Effect and of course other science fiction materials that I’ve read in the past- notably Robert Heinlein and Spider Robinson’s Variable Star. There are several moments where the camera pans to show the awe-inspiring desert that surrounds the exoplanet settlement, or as it is in real life, the desert regions in which the show is shot. For an original film that probably doesn’t boast the largest of budgets, I’m really excited to see an emphasis on story and dynamic character contrast if it kicks off for good.

Besides its obvious messages on the human condition and themes revolving around the inevitable environmental calamity facing our planet even now, what most excites me regarding the story is the scribe behind it. The pilot itself is written by Mat Charman- of Bridge of Spies nomination fame, and directed by Kevin Macdonald- of The Last King of Scotland and 11.22.63 renown. If you want to get into talent within the show itself, look no further than Richard Madden (Robb Stark of Game of Thrones) and Aislin McGuckin (of Outlander).

From my own viewing experience last week and combined with what general sentiments I’ve heard from others who’ve watched and/or reviewed the pilot, Oasis draws many similarities and comparisons with classics such as Dune and contemporary televisions shows and films like Interstellar and The Expanse. Having heard of but not read the novel it is based upon, I’m interested to see where the show itself could go if it is given the promising funding it deserves. I am not aware of the current state of Amazon’s ‘originals’ program in comparison to networks such as Netflix, however I do think the pilot has made a strong enough showing for why the show deserves a chance. And it probably doesn’t hurt that it’s received good reviews.

I definitely think it is important to search the web for some of the behind the scenes flicks and videos that explain sort of what vision the show is going for and some of the mystery and world-building it is attempting to pull off as well. There are some gorgeous shots and also some themes that in a way remind me of amazing space epics such as Joss Wheedon’s Firefly as well. In fact, many tropes sort of emerged that reminded me in a way of the misadventures of Captain Reynolds and his crew, albeit without much of the spacefaring adventuring and privateer lifestyle.

Especially in light of some of the projects that have been given life on subscription based media outlets such as Netflix or Hulu in the past, I think Oasis could be a very strong and unique showing for Amazon and its ‘originals’ programing. I’m really interested to see how this series progresses in the future and whether or not we get to see the continuation of Peter Leigh as a character as well.

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Broadchurch Series One- A Retrospective

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By now I have no doubt that many of my closest friends and companions know I am a huge fan of British television shows and all things of similar status. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy television shows from every nook and cranny, just that I happen to have acquired a particular fondness for many of the recurring actors between BBC network dramas and typical British soaps. The subject of course of this particular blog post is none other than the first of the would-be and will-be trilogy, Broadchurch. It is not in fact about either a big church or even a church at all, but rather the name of a quaint Wessex town where devious cases are brought to life.

If you’ve seen or know anything about Doctor Who then no doubt you’ll see several familiar faces in both the Tenth Doctor and Rory Pond (I jest of course, it’s Williams), or rather David Tennant and Arthur Darvill. This is no Hamlet and certainly no Legends of Tomorrow, and yet both of these high caliber actors find themselves similarly in specific and terrific roles alongside many other talent castmates- look no further than Olivia Colman. You may be wondering why it is I am just now bringing up the series, and it’s actually quite timely I’ll have you know. The third series of Broadchurch started a little bit shy of a month ago and I’ve been rewatching the first two as both preparation and penance for when the third is finally available to me.

First things first, allow me to tell you several of my favorite items and themes from the show- they’re probably not quite what you would expect. The first series has some amazingly emotional and believable moments and none have been hammered home more vividly than anytime the scene just sort of pans out and allows the sweeping musical score to roll in. It is in these moments that silent revelations take place, new clues develop, and all sorts of emotional deliveries are given without a single word having to be spoken. In essence, it’s genius. Musical scores have always been and will always continue to be some of the best ways to convey ironically silent messages through sights and sounds.

My second point of interest is the scenery and vivid imagery presented throughout the series- it honestly helps sell the story and plot lines more than even the best deliveries on the part of Tennant or Colman. You cannot develop a good story or film or television piece without apt usage of scenery in conjunction with metaphor and imagery. Many things are as unspoken as with musical scores and evidently people do like to see aesthetically enthralling or pleasurable images as well- who would’ve thunk it. There are countless moments- some of which take place in conjunction with sweeping musical melodies or melancholy camera panning, where the show just pans to something that offers the viewer their own off-screen revelations or makes something equally exciting known. Those are the moments we live for.

The third and perhaps most obvious and equally important aspect of the show is that the acting is phenomenally handled and sold whether it be simple investigative scenes or brilliantly heartbreaking revelations regarding murder. The first and even second series follow along the same familiar narrative lines, and yet there is still so much room for the injection of ample amounts of backstory and tragic character development outside of those two well-tread case lines. I never got tired of progressing the plot of the first series particularly, nor did the slight deviations into side characters or the main scenes steal any of the drama or tension away from the murder investigation processes themselves. Truly, I echo many viewers’ and critics’ sentiment that this could be many of the involved actors’ finest work to date.

I’ve been meaning to write on a more regular basis, and in some ways I’ve met that goal while in others I’ve noticeably lacked and lagged behind. Hopefully these tidbits here and there are enough to keep what fans I have satiated and my varying topics prove to be both engaging and interesting enough as well. I’ll do my best to be back when I can with more content in the future, and of course to write my own vivid opinions about things that crop up over time- as is all one can hope to do as a writer, pleasing both their own frantic heart and the minds of the reader. Cheers, all.

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Why You Should Watch Jack Taylor

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If you’re into the sort of thing, the online providers of mixed media (predominately television shows and films) such as Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, and HBO typically offer some quality entertainment and interesting specimens. One such series that has recently struck a chord somewhere deep within the dark recesses of my sleep deprived and otherwise addled brain is none other than ‘Jack Taylor.’ Allow me to state some of the selling points for the series to begin with, in all of its Netflix glory (although there are at least three new episodes not yet available on the streaming service).

Iain Glen, better known as ‘That Guy’ from the often sub-par Resident Evil films and even better better known as Jorah the Explorah from Game of Thrones (HBO), is featured as the titular character Jack Taylor. The series is predominately set in and around Galway- Ireland for those of you unfamiliar to the lay of the land. So you’ve got your fair share of drinking, smoking, and unsavory thuggish sorts going toe to toe with J.T. and constantly getting outwitted and beaten soundly (typically in the literal sense as well). The show is similar to the popular BBC Sherlock series in that it typically boasts three film-length episodes per series and is based upon novels revolving around the same titular character (written by Ken Bruen). One interesting additional note is that the episodes typically originate on local Irish television channels as well.

It is very much a dark, cynical, and gritty show- so essentially everything I love besides petting unicorns and smelling daffodils while skipping around meadows. Jokes aside, the show features story arcs and characters from the novels themselves and despite following in the same thematic footsteps and potential cliches, it all still works and is directed with such things in mind. Unsurprisingly, Jorah- er Jack, is easily the highlight of each lengthy film, although Garda Noonan (Nora-Jane Noone/Siobhan O’Kelly) is just as witty and well-portrayed. It won’t often throw you for true twists that you don’t see coming, but it’s far from mere pulp fiction or trashy romantic paperbacks that most people spend their time with. Think of it as something along the lines of Lee Child’s ‘Jack Reacher’ series, although not in terms of being made into a feature-length Tom Cruise film.

The gist of what I’m getting at here, without trying to give everything up and give everything away in order to ruin things for you, is that it’s definitely worth a watch. Perhaps the first few episodes get off to a little bit of a rocky start in terms of cliches and stereotypes typically found in thrillers and novels of that sort. But the characters are what really piqued my interest and got me invested and I’ll bet if the series sounds like it’s up your alley, then they’ll probably interest you as well. Iain Glen has long been a favorite of mine in terms of lesser-known on-screen actors who’ve come from great theatrical and producing backdrops. His film roles may be minimal in terms of the limelight (although Mountains of the Moon is pretty amazing) and he may be predominately known for guest roles or his acting slot on Game of Thrones, but he thoroughly sells the Jack Taylor vibe and has quickly become a favorite in that capacity for me as well.

And here’s a quick fun-fact for you as well. Glen starred alongside such notable names as Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Jeremy Irons, Liam Neeson, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Edward Norton, Ghassan Massoud, Alexander Siddig, Jon Finch, David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, Maton Csokas, and Michael Sheen. If those names themselves don’t all ring a bell, look up some of the films and works they’ve been involved in and you’ll get a better picture. Needless to say the most well-known involved include but are not limited to Star Trek, The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Penny Dreadful, and so much more.Iain Glen is good. Jack Taylor is good. Well, the show. Try it out.

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For the Love of Spock- A Touching Tribute

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For the Love of Spock is a biographical documentary directed by Adam Nimoy (son of Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy) and released in September of this year. The run-time is just shy of the two hour mark, coming in at roughly 1 hour and 51 minutes total. It is currently available on Netflix and I am almost positive it is more than available on other streaming services as well for those of you interested in the material.

I recently watched the documentary on a whim and was touched by the equal parts tribute and historical glimpse into both the character of Mr. Spock and the character of Leonard Nimoy respectively. It truly is a marvelous work in its own right but is even more important to myself and the millions of Trek fans out there that have appreciated the series and fandom over the years because it not only gives light to previously unknown or relatively unknown details behind the scenes, but also operates as a fully functional tribute to Spoke/Nimoy himself.

Adam Nimoy cleverly pieces together footage and film from a variety of Trek sources and couples that with appearances on-screen and off by fellow actors and directors and friends and family who have worked with Spock/Nimoy over the years and/or otherwise had an influence upon him or he upon them. I cannot tell you how heartening it was to see the origins of the character as well as Leonard Nimoy’s acting career both explained and revisited by both Nimoy himself and his compatriots. Appearances by William Shatner and George Takei are easily some of the highlights but even they pale in direct comparison with the segments moderated or discussed by Leonard Nimoy himself.

Originally, the work was prescribed to be a documentary project telegraphed by the father/son duo themselves and exploring both the history and impact of Spock through the years. While it is still very much so, it has since taken on another purpose and that is choreographing Nimoy’s own chronicles within and without the character due to his death in early February 2015. I think it is a very well-thought out documentary and also one that should be watched and can be appreciated by fans and non-fans alike. It is just as much a tribute to the character and the series as it is a calling for mankind to work together and seek to embody the very values oftentimes dictated and shown by Spock to viewers. While on one hand he is seen as an emotionless and logical half-breed, on the other he is perhaps the most human of us all.

Whether you have watched the series and the films since their inception, came on board with the new era of films under J.J. Abrams, or have never watched a second in your life and don’t quite know what I’m talking about besides a pointy eared man with strange eyebrows and a horrendous bowl cut, you should still watch and absorb the details of the documentary. I think you will find them insightful and helpful even outside the realm of the fandom and Trek universe, even outside of Nimoy’s career and life. In more ways than one, Star Trek is just as much a contributor to the rise of science fiction in mass media in the latter years of the twentieth century and certainly in the beginning of this twenty-first one. Without the writings of esteemed science fiction authors we may not have seen Trek, but without Trek we may never have seen or heard of the films and stories which have since influenced game developers to ply their craft and trade as they have these last several decades.

Science fiction has rapidly grown from a pulp fiction to a cult following in mass media and has spawned numerous flagship franchises such as Star Wars and Alien, not to mention Star Trek as well. Science fiction has extended from television and film and written works to gaming as well and it’s hard not to see the influence in galaxy spanning quests such as Trek in games seeking to do the same or similar things, even outside of games directly related to the Trek franchise itself. So if you don’t feel any sort of investment in the documentary because you can’t call yourself a fan of the series or its material, or you feel at odds with viewing a biographical and non-fiction films because you feel those are “boring,” think instead about where gaming would be without the man who has been a cultural icon and part of one of the most influential and important projects in history.

Some men and women are born leaders or grow to become some of the most influential politicians, leaders, and philosophers of our time. Others, like Leonard Nimoy, make their own mark upon culture and people and trod their own path towards both greatness and influence.

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Ice In My Veins: The X-Files Retrospective Pt. 1/XX

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If you know me at all, then you’ll know that enjoy a wide variety of television shows- virtually any genre is game if it features an interesting story, memorable characters, and overall quirkiness. I enjoy everything from Quantum Leap to Firefly, but the object of my affection for the purpose of this post is The X-Files which debuted in 1993 and has never quite left the scene, fading in and out of existence all the way up until this year.

It is my goal to provide a random blog post here and there with the intent of tackling one of my favorite episodes from each season of the show. I predominately liked the first few seasons, however that’s not to say there aren’t memorable episodes among the latter years as well. The specific episode in question for today’s retrospective look is the eighth episode of the first season, entitled “Ice.” Here’s a little backstory for it for those of you who haven’t seen the show, who have but don’t remember, or for those of you who may be interested. WARNING: Spoilers abound! I won’t ruin every minute detail, but I may come pretty close.

Chris Carpenter- cited with creating the series as we know it and also with the writing and filming of the majority of its episodes, essentially states that this episode was heavily influenced by films such as “The Thing” and novellas such as John W. Campbell’s “Who Goes There?” As with the majority of The X-Files’ episodes, which deal with extraterrestrial or paranormal activity, this episode falls into the former category and deals with a team of deceased scientists inside an arctic research facility. Just where do everyone’s favorite FBI detective duo come in? Sent to investigate the mysterious radio silence of the base, Mulder and Scully (accompanied by several scientists and their pilot) encounter a strange alien organism that has lain dormant in the ice for thousands of years.

For a show rooted in genres and tropes such as the supernatural, horror, modern myths, and conspiracy theories, this particular episode got my blood pumping and my mind thinking. Between the thought of what an organism such as the parasitic worm they encountered could do should it break quarantine, the creeping sensation that anyone in the group could be infected and masquerading as sane, and the moral choices and dilemmas between how best to approach the situation, it is a tense thriller of a forty-five minute episode.

The most obvious inspiration for the episode is John Carpenter’s 1982 rendition of “The Thing” which has since been remade by other cinematic directors to varying success. The X-Files’ take on “the thing” is intriguing in its own narrative and nail-biting, chilling, and overall sensational in my own opinion. It quickly establishes a narrative for the one-off story of the episode and introduces the key characters- three scientists of varying backgrounds such as geology and biology, Mulder and Scully who hardly need an introduction by this point, and the maverick plane pilot crazy enough to fly them to the remote arctic ice core drilling facility.

Sticking to the vein of tense alien horror flicks, the episode goes by but not without killing off a few of its cast for added effect. It helps that the set is one confined location and that the arctic weather outside and the death of pilot “Bear” effectively traps the crew in with the parasite. Knowing next to nothing about the worm-like creature, how it is transferred from hosts, and more importantly how to eradicate its presence in their body, this serves as a tense experience overall. Perhaps the greatest moments of all are when each member of the crew showcases little ticks as lack of sleep and exhaustion get to them, causing viewers to question who, if any of them, may be infected with the parasitic life form.

This culminates into a wonderful scene where Mulder puts Scully’s trust to the test and they square off with guns held on each other, leading the former to be briefly imprisoned on suspicion of infection while the others search for a cure. Later on there is another brilliant scene between them that ratchets up the tension even further when Doctors Hodge and DaSilva ambush Mulder and Scully, seeking to introduce the alien life form into Mulder’s bloodstream in hopes of combating the one they think is already inside. I won’t completely spoil the twist, but needless to say Mulder isn’t the one who is infected and things play out quite differently than expected, blood-curdling screams and all.

As with the best moments of the show, “Ice” embraces the cliches of horror thrillers and tense extraterrestrial encounters, making for an interesting homage and an intriguingly moral episode. To top matters off, when Mulder recommends returning to the base in order to more properly investigate the alien life form found there, he is told that the army has destroyed all trace evidence. As will be a continuing theme for the show, there’s something potentially much larger at stake and in play. Conspiracy theorists abound!

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Milly Schmidt

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Elan Mudrow

The Ridges of Intertextuallity

Storyshucker

A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.

What Inspires Your Writing?

A blog dedicated to writers...and the people, places, and things that spark their creativity

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