Sunday, July 26, 2015

Across the Storm Divide

Defiance may be my favorite scifi show ever. When I started following Julie Benz on instagram last summer, a couple days before the season 2 finale aired, I was reminded of the show a fellow ST: Enterprise shipper* heartily suggested to me. (The lesbian relationship between a white alien and a petite brothel owner was slightly intriguing at the time and was what I was looking forward to in the show. Ultimately I didn’t like Kenya anymore than I liked Jenny, but to be fair I didn’t like much of The L Word.) Luckily it wasn’t the anticipation of girl-on-girl that hooked me on the show. It was Nolan and Irisa’s relationship. I recall that this friend did mention something about that, but it seemed insignificant at the time.

I don’t think you should ever understate the chemistry between Grant Bowler and Stephanie Leonidas when recommending this show to your friends. Their bond, fraught with complications, differences, and arguments is the highlight of the show, because the love between them feels real. “The Devil in the Dark” was an early emotional high-point. I just finished the second season, dear god, and after all that they’ve been through, you can still feel the affection Nolan has for Irisa even after all she’s done and she lies weeping, nearly broken, in his arms. His promise to her is something that only someone could give if they’ve been near where she’s gone and love her as much as he does.

When reading reviews of the show I hear mentions of the words ‘cheesy’ a lot and have trouble connecting them to anything on the show. Are some of Meh Yewll’s lines a little too acerbic, and are some of the criminal subplots a little too silly? Yes to both. But maybe Tony Curran and Jamie Murray and, frankly, everyone else, are so well-cast, the direction is so good that they get us through any rough patches.

Finally, the music. Bear McCreary has written a blog post on it, so anything I say will be dim in comparison. But the main theme makes my heart soar when I hear it, and the selected covers at the end of each episode were spot on and interesting every single time. Particularly noteworthy are Raya Yarborough's Time After Time and Ooh Child.  When season two opened with the futuristic-country number Across the Storm Divide I was blown away.

I’d like to say I savoured every single episode, and I did, until we just got too close to the end for me to stand it and I consumed them all, like the devouring mother.

I plan on playing the game someday and am watching the third season (yay!), so I may review and talk about Defiance in detail again soon. In the meantime I’d love to hear from you if you’ve stumbled across this post.

*Trip/Reed if you must know.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Farscape eps 1-5

I don’t really know why I didn't check out Farscape sooner. It doesn't come with many reviews these days. But when I caught up with Defiance, I needed something else to tide me over. I’ve only watched the first couple, but so far my opinion is favorable. I don’t think there’s a lot of deep plot in the first episodes of any show. The first episode introduced us to the concept that a Human astronaut has been thrown across the universe and falls in with a bunch of escaped prisoners, and an accident introduces our plucky Human to his arch-enemy. The next are comparatively lighter, seeking to show us the characters breadth and how they interact with one another, peeling back only a few layers of history and motivation.

Premiere was pretty good, which any pilot should be. I mean, John is clearly brilliant, piloting a craft of his own design, the best friend and dad both work at NASA, too. But then a freak solar wind (?) makes everything go wrong. The characters are introduced well enough, and the tie-in of their final escape and John’s experiment was very neat. What got me was the extended, awkward conversation between Zhaan and D’argo. Clearly the Fourth Sensation is something sexy and makes D’argo’s mouth go dry. Why they are talking about it now instead of in the food hall or even over a later getting-to-know-you sesh is unclear. Rygel’s promise to help now if John helps later is a puzzle because, yanno, does Rygel actually do anything? He does fart noble gas, though, which aside from being impossible, is funny.

Exodus from Genesis is a typical ‘light’ episode though. We learn a clear difference between Humans and Sebaceans (does anyone think of ‘Sebaceous’?) and John makes another mistake that causes another powerful person to hate him. Dude, seriously? Here are the first glimmerings of attachment between John and Aeryn though. Nice bonding while she’s, ahem, sick. Zhaan is a font of wisdom.

Back and Back and Back to the Future is suitably confusing, and good in that we get a first glimpse at D’argo’s history. His similarities to Worf increase, though. I hope there will be more distinctions as the series progresses. Rygel was the highlight of this episode though. Clearly.

Throne for a Loss was the best so far. It was funny, we learn some quirky stuff about D’argo’s species, everyone got a chance to shine. There was also great bonding between D’argo and Aeryn, I think they would make a fierce team, once they get over their differences. We also got a real look at Zhaan as more than just fast-hands, wise-words. Just a great episode.

PK Tech Girl was one I don’t have much to say about, however. Eh, Aeryn is a boss, Rygel is spitting on everyone, John is macking out with someone and I can’t help but think, he’s pretty and buff. Does he really not have a girlfriend, fiancĂ© or wife at home waiting for him? Thankfully, thank you so much, we finally address John being so far and with improbability of ever returning home. There was a glimmer of response from Aeryn when she realizes that god, he’s lost as much as I have, but I wanted MORE. I also think that I would be so much more freaked out about being gone and never returning than John is, but maybe he cries a lot off camera. Or maybe he’s still pretty detached from it? Like, it hasn’t sunk in yet?

So far this show is pretty good. It’s not Defiance, but it isn’t as clean as Star Trek and is very clearly Sci-Fi which is really all I wanted.

If you're browsing for more positive opinions, read this: You Fart Helium?