Tag Archives: Star Trek

“A Man is the Sum of his Memories�

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Thanks to a bit of schedule changing by the BBC, this week we got a double bill of new Torchwood episodes, as BBC3 take over showing the first run of the new episode every week.

First up we have Adam. Gwen returns after some time away with her fiancee Rhys to find a stranger called Adam working at Torchwood even more strangely everybody else seems to know him, and indeed to think that he has been working there for three years. However, then Adam comes and touches her on the shoulder, and suddenly she has the same memories as everybody else. Things get really odd though when she goes home and summons the rest of the team because there is a stalker in her flat – the stalker being Rhys who she now totally fails to remember.

As with so many episodes, this was a rehash of a common sci-fi staple, using a loss of memory, and an external character to play with the dynamics in the main cast – the Next Generation episode Conundrum being another example that sprung immediately to mind. With the Torchwood episode, unlike Conundrum it is not quite clear whether Adam has any kind of wider ulterior motive, aside from wanting to survive – although he seems to thrive off allowing Jack to recover his childhood memories – but equally he starts to destroy these by the end of the episode.

Adam is eventually discovered when Ianto reads back in his diary and discovered that Adam is never mentioned. At this point Adam tries to keep Ianto quiet by creating memories of committing three gruesome murders in his memory, and then creating the memory of himself helping Ianto to hide the evidence. This causes such a dramatic change in personality for Ianto that Jack checks back in the CCTV logs and sees what has happened. Jack then helps his team, and finally himself to remember who they were, and to forget the last forty-eight hours, thereby erasing Adam from existence.

As a vehicle for exploring the characters, Adam works pretty well. Adam has manipulated Owen and Toshiko into almost diametrically opposite personalities, and even planted the memory of an affair in Toshiko such that she is willing to go up against Jack in Adam’s defence. It also gives an opportunity to add a bit of backstory to Gwen and Rhys as they try to rediscover Gwen’s memories. Last but not least we get to see Jack’s childhood memories (although notice nobody ever uses his name – so that secret is still kept) on the Boeshane Peninsula.

On a more general level, it also explores how much people are defined by what they remember, good and bad – indeed to take them back, Jack gets the team to each focus on key memories that define who they are.

Talking memories though – memories of quite how bad the first series of Torchwood actually was seem to be fading fast – another good episode – quite how long they can keep this up I don’t know…

P.S. Bonus points for anyone who can use their Bradley Branning levels of obscure Doctor Who knowledge to identify the source of the quote I used as the title for the post…

Star Trek XI Trailer

I shared the HD version of this on my link blog a couple of days ago – but the trailer has now turned up on YouTube too in a version that wasn’t filmed by someone in a cinema on their mobile phone…

For those not aware, this is a definite change of direction for the Star Trek movies in that they’ve handed control to a totally new team, and aside from Leonard Nimoy, no original cast members are involved – and William Shatner is still moaning about his character having been killed off

J.J.Abrams has already stated that almost any way to involve Shatner into the movie would feel like a transparent fanboy attempt just to get him in. Certainly that bodes well for the movie having a good story rather than being like some sort of fan movie at a convention. You can watch a video of J.J.Abrams talking about his ideas on storytelling in a TED video that I linked to a couple of weeks ago. The wikipedia article on the film is keeping pretty up to date with casting and production details.

Anyway, the trailer takes a few cues from the opening titles of Star Trek: Enterprise with soundbytes from the space race in the 1960’s layering into Leonard Nimoy delivering a very familiar line as the camera pans over the Enterprise. Certainly watching this the change of direction is pretty clear, and I’m looking forward to what J.J.Abrams makes of the franchise.

Even the Stars do Cheesy Fan Pictures

Under Attack

A few years back, Hyde Park hosted a big Star Trek exhibition, which as the fans we are we went up to see. Alongside various other recreations, the exhibition finished off with a recreation of the bridge set from Star Trek: The Next Generation complete with a little action sequence as the ship comes under attack.

Needless to say everybody goes round taking shots of themselves on all the sets, see our selection here, and everybody seems to have a shot of themselves on the bridge – here is Howard, Beth and mine, all in the same spot.

Reading Wil Wheaton’s blog this morning, I came upon this post which is about his visit to the gala opening of Star Trek The Tour in Long Beach, which seems pretty similar to the exhibition we saw in London – but he has much the same sort of shots as we took on our tour, so you get him leaping through the Guardian of Forever, plus a shot of him on the bridge – although being a star of the programme, he got a seat

It’s really quite amusing that even if you’ve been involved in the programme, it still seems to be a thrill to walk onto the bridge at that exhibition, and get all the same cheesy shots the rest of us do!

Going Boldly originally uploaded by WilWheaton.

Nebula Award Nominations

The nominations for the Nebula Awards are out, including a nod to Steven Moffat and Doctor Who, with Blink nominated in the script category. What is perhaps a surprise though is the inclusion, alongside Blink and a selection of major film scripts, of the script for an internet only Star Trek fan film, with a nomination for the Star Trek: New Voyages episode World Enough And Time.

Suddenly Human

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One of the favourite techniques used by regular weekly shows is to have an episode that plays with the underlying concept, so for example we have the Mirror Universe stories in Star Trek, or stories such as Superman II where the hero either looses or gives up his powers. Doctor Who has done similar concept breaking episodes at times in it’s history, and this week was one of those times, where we had a story where the Doctor wasn’t himself – indeed he wasn’t even the same race – as in order to hide from a group of aliens referred to initially only as ‘the Family’ he uses a device in the TARDIS called the Chameleon Arch that creates a new character and biology for him, allowing him to hide. His Timelord persona is safely stored away in a device disguised as a pocket watch ready for when he is able to come out of hiding.

The episode, Human Nature is based on the 1995 book of the same name, however whilst a number of plot elements and character names are reused, the plot is somewhat changed. The basic concept of the Doctor becoming human, and the main location as an English public school in the winter before the Great War are retained, but characters are changed. For example the widow Joan Redfern who falls in love with Doctor John Smith becomes a nurse in the TV episode, whilst in the book she is a science teacher. The reason for the Doctor becoming human is different than in the book too.

The episode operated on many levels. On the surface you have the story of the Doctor hiding from aliens who need the last of the Timelords, however as Beth pointed out in many ways it is a tragic story. Alongside the simple surface story one of the boys, Tim, appears to have telepathic powers and can see the future. Whilst these are partly in the main plot to allow him to see visions of Martha’s real life, he also at times gets premonitions of the impending war, including his death alongside a fellow boy from the school in an attack. There is also an element of tragedy surrounding Joan Redfern, who having lost her first husband is attracted to Doctor John Smith, but who you ultimately know will loose him as the personality and life are artificially generated and will disappear when the Doctor regains his previous character.

The episode is also a great opportunity for Freema Agyeman to shine as Martha Jones. Doctor John Smith obviously doesn’t remember who she really is, and believes she is just his maid. Whilst the Doctor is blissfully unaware, except through strange dreams, of his true identity, she is tasked with keeping him safe, and if something goes wrong bringing him back, her only guide being a list of instructions that the Doctor has left behind in the TARDIS, also hidden away so as not to attract attention.

Quite aside from having a great multi-layered plot, we also have some nice moments for the fans. Doctor John Smith has been keeping a journal of his strange dreams, and as he shows Joan the notebook, we see pictures he has drawn of creatures from the new series, but then for the first time an on screen acknowledgement of the previous series with the journal including images of many of the previous Doctor’s. Later on when Doctor John Smith is talking about his family he mentions that his parents are called Sydney and Verity, acknowledgement of Sydney Newman the Canadian TV producer who created Doctor Who, and Verity Lambert it’s first producer.

All in all I thought it was one of the best episodes of the new series, nicely evoking the atmosphere of the period, along with some scary badies whose traits were more unnerving compared to the cringe-making give-away of the Slitheen. Amongst all of that you also had a noticeably different character in Doctor John Smith at the centre, who even when he is confronted by the badies in the cliff-hanger, still can’t remember who he is. Great stuff, and I’m now really looking forward to the conclusion next week. Hints about that episode seem to imply that ‘the Family’ are part of a bigger plan. Part of the Mr Saxon story arc? We’ll have to wait and see.

Heroes Cool Details to Spot

We’ve been avidly watching Heroes since it started showing here in the UK. The series has attracted a couple of big sci-fi names into guest roles, and have dropped in a couple of references to their more famous roles. First to appear is Christopher Eccleston, better known as the ninth DoctorClaude, his Heroes character is fairly early on heard to use the ninth Doctor ‘fantastic’ catch-phrase. However the really stand out one has to be when George TakeiSulu in Star Trek – turns up as father to Hiro Nakamura. As he gets into his car, the camera pans across the license plate – NCC 1701!