Tag Archives: TV

Species of the week: Pahvan

Designation: Sentient

Homeworld: Pahvo

Fandom: Star Trek

Appearances: Star Trek Discovery

The Pahvans are a planet-wide network of noncorporeal beings who exist in perfect harmony. Manifesting as a blue cloud they were able to communicate with other species when they came into direct contact. Despite their lack of bodies they were able to build physical constructs including a transmitter calling other races to join them in harmony.

The Pahvans felt familiar to me, but I can’t put my finger on what they remind me of. I guess any noncorporeal entity is going to look pretty similar and I do love an alien that is truly alien to even a multi-species Federation

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Species of the Week: Gormagander

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Designation: non-sentient

Homeworld: Unknown, possibly none

Fandom: Star Trek

Appearances: Star Trek Discovery

 

Gormaganders are large creatures the size of a small spaceship who dwell in the open reaches of space. They were endangered,  partially because of hunting, but also because their need to seek out alpha particles, their main source of food, overrode all their other instincts, including reproduction. Encounters of these creatures were extremely rare and any discovery prompted recovery to a xenologic facility under the Endangered Species Act.

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I do love a good space whale, and I respect that Star Trek: Discovery were gutsy enough to just call it such in the episode. I think as long as they’re not overused within the fictional universe they belong to (something I think Star Wars is at risk of) then they are a fascinating idea to explore and I always like seeing new and original designs on the concept.

Star Wars for very young kids – part 2

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We’re living in a great time for Star Wars fans who want to introduce their younglings to Star Wars but don’t want to expose them to too much violence. In this post I’ve selected episodes from Season 2 of Forces of Destiny that have no fighting or at least keep the action to a minimum.

You can read my post about season 1 episodes HERE

Shuttle Shock

Shuttle Shock is a fun adventure featuring BB-8. Kids adore the little droid (especially when he does his trademark thumbs up!) so it’s an instant favourite. The episode is an interlude in The Last Jedi with Finn and Rose en route to Canto Bight. They come across some giant space jellyfish which shock the shuttle and present mild peril but they aren’t particularly scary in themselves kids love the bright colours and they don’t appear too scary.

Jyn’s Trade

Jyn’s Trade is a sweet episode featuring Jyn Erso having a run in with an adorable Chadra-Fan child who steals her necklace in the hopes of trading it for some food. After chasing the child and retrieving her necklace she realises that all the child wants is to eat so she willingly gives her food.

The Path Ahead

“Can we watch Yoda in the bag?” is something I’ve heard often. This episode features more of Luke’s training on Dagobah and the wise master teaching his pupil to trly on the force to navigate. But seeing Yoda wriggle into Luke’s backpack and his classic chuckle is a great way to introduce kids to Star Wars. I would definitely say this is my number one recommendation, especially as it ties so closely to the Empire Strikes Back scene.

Porgs!

This episode features Chewie and R2 on Ach-To dealing with some pesky Porgs who steal wiring from the Falcon. After chasing them down they help the creatures find better materials to build their nest and leave them in peace. Kids love the hilarious Porgs and it’s a great way to introduce them to Chewie and R2.

 

These are the episodes which feature no weapons or violence of any kind. The following videos do feature them in a limited sense but I still feel they’re suitable as they don’t feature violence in a direct way.

 

Porgs!

Another episode on Ach-To with the pesky birds, this time causing problems for Rey when they activate her lightsaber then run off with it. I’ve added it here because the lightsaber is activated but it’s never used as a weapon and it is retrieved safely by Rey.

Monster Misunderstanding

I add this one here hesitantly because it does feature blasters firing, but never at people. The Sando Aqua Monster is ramming a building on Naboo. I tell kids that the Naboo guard are trying to scare it away as the blasters don’t appear to be harming the creature at all. The Sando Aqua Monster is less scary than it’s appearance in Phantom Menace and never directly attacks Amidala or other characters and, when reunited with it’s child, is seen playing peacefully in the ocean. Personally I think it’s fine for young kids, but you might want to watch it first and make your own judgement.

 

And that’s it for Forces of Destiny. However there are plenty more videos for young kids out there, including the growing collection of Galaxy of Adventures shorts so I’ll be back soon with another post!

Species of the week: Kel Dor

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Designation: Sentient

Homeworld: Dorin

Notable members: Bo Keevil, Plo Koon

Fandom: Star Wars

Appearances: Resistance, Prequel Trilogy, Clone Wars

 

The Kel Dor come from a planet with an atmosphere toxic to most  other species. This requires them to wear breathing equipment in what is considered a normal environment by most other species. Their species were most famous for their expert pilots; including Jedi Master Plo Koon and experminatal stunt fighter pilot and Ace Squadron member Bo Keevil.

 

OK so I haven’t seen much of Star Wars: Resistance but the fact that he is a Kel Dor has made Bo Keevil a favourite character of mine. It also doesn’t hurt that he has a sweet-looking experimental ship with multiple wing configurations that I would have given my left arm for a toy version of as a kid. We need more Bo Keevil!!!

Species of the week: Kelpien

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Designation: Sentient

Homeworld: Kaminar

Notable members: Commander Saru

Fandom: Star Trek

Appearances: Star Trek: Discovery

 

Kelpiens are a species native to the agrarian world of Kaminar. On their world there are only predators or prey and their species are the prey. As such they have extremely heightened sense and abilities including threat ganglia that instinctively raise in the presence of danger. Very few of their species venture offworld and Saru was the first member to leave and join Starfleet.

I’m getting into Star Trek: Discovery and I like the design of Saru who has a modern aesthetic that still would feel at home with classic Trek races.

Star Wars for very young kids – part 1

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If you have very young children you may find yourself wishing Star Wars had just a little less…war in it so that you can share it with them. Thankfully we are in a golden age of Star Wars and there is a decent amount of content out there now where no one picks up a blaster or lightsaber, which I’m going to cover here.

Starting this week, I’ve picked out some episodes from Forces of Destiny season 1.

Sands of Jakku

The first episode of season 1 features Rey shortly after meeting BB-8. They encounter the night watcher worm, which might be scary for some children. Rey gets BB-8 back without using violence and then takes pity on the creature, feeding it which sends a positive message

 

The Padawan Path

This episode features Ahsoka who is late for a Jedi Ceremony. She runs late because she stops to help people in need. She does use her lightsabers in the episode but only to safely disable a malfunctioning droid, which she does without destroying it.

 

Beasts of Echo Base

This episode features Leia rescuing Chewie from a Wampa. The wampa is quite scary, though less so than it’s appearance in Empire. Leia puts herself in danger and distracts the wampa so Chewie can escape. No weapons are used.

 

Tracker Trouble

This episode features Rey, Finn, Han and Chewie finding a bomb aboard the Falcon. There’s no violence at all, but the episode is very wordy and not very engaging for younger viewers (or older ones in my personal opinion!)

 

An Imperial Feast

While the episode is technically about Ewoks trying to eat Stormtroopers it is very safe for kids. It features some slapstick humour and the kids will love the Ewoks. It also has a message about resolving conflict peacefully.

 

The Happabore Hazard

This episode features Rey retrieving a Quadjumper. She stops and has compassion on a Happabore (the big beast Finn shares a drinking pool with) who in turn helps her.

Crash Course

This episode is fairly safe, but I felt it was mostly punishing you for not watching Rebels as I had no idea what was going on, which I felt was a problem with the second half of the season. I didn’t have a problem with using Ahsoka and Sabine, but this episode assumed you knew the context of the story as well. If your kids are watching Rebels then you probably don’t need this video!!!

 

Well that’s it for season 1. I’ll post again with selected videos from season 2 soon

Sluggish Reaction: The Man in the High Castle seasons 1 and 2

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I gave Amazon Prime Video a whirl recently and one of the big draws for me (alongside them getting Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger) was this series. I love Philip K. Dick novels and they are seemingly an unending source of inspiration for  film and television producers as this latest addition shows. This is one of the novels I’ve never got round to reading but it’s Post-WW2 setting had always intrigued me as it stood out from most of Dick’s work which is set in the future. So the chance to see it on screen was very exciting.

The Plot

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I’ll try to avoid spoilers as much as possible going into this. The show is set in 60s in the U.S. a few years after Nazi Germany and Japan won the war by dropping a nuclear bomb on Washington D.C. America has been divided into the Greater Nazi Reich and the Japanese Pacific States with a lawless wasteland dubbed the Neutral Zone in between.

The Plot centres around the Resistance against both Japan and Germany, with tensions in both countries raised due to an ageing and increasingly unstable Fuhrer. But the show has a Sci-Fi twist with the inclusion of the titular character who collects films which show an alternate reality where the Allies won the war.

I respect that the show doesn’t make this a focal point except where it needs to be, the plot is centered on the characters and their struggle and the films are a mystery to most of the characters and the audience.

The Characters

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The show features a range of characters who are all compelling. Unassuming Juliana is drawn into the world of the Resistance by her sister’s death and cannot let go, though it costs her nearly everything even Frank who wants to stay out of it but is compelled to fight back as the consequences of her actions affect him. One of the most intriguing characters is John Smith, devoted family man and the very dangerous leader of the SS in the United States. All the characters have a real humanity and are trying to make their way in the world they find themselves in and you can’t help sympathizing with all of them.

A-Bombs and F-bombs

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The second season in particular builds tension as supposed allies Japan and Germany both contemplate the possibility of nuclear war to secure their foothold and characters on both sides conflict with their loyalty to their leaders when faced with the possibility of mutually assured destruction.

I would mention that the series does have a fair amount of salty language in, which I wasn’t keen on. The obvious argument would be that it builds realism and fits with the darker tone of the show but I personally felt that the series stood well enough on it’s own to not need that. There is also some nudity, which is sparingly used, but again I didn’t feel was at all necessary to the plot.

Verdict

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The show has a great cast and is finely crafted. The first season felt a bit slow in getting going (particularly with the epically long title sequence!!) but it put the building blocks in place and the second season felt stronger because of it.

I know season 3 is out now, but unfortunately for me there wasn’t enough on Prime Video for me to continue subscribing so maybe I’ll pick this up again in the future as well as get around to reading the novel!!

 

Who should be in the Cassian Andor show: The Empire

One more look at who could possibly co-star in the Cassian Andor show, this time looking at the Imperials who might appear. To be completely honest, it’s going to be a no for most of these and honestly I think that’s more exciting – I like the idea of a new villain more than the recurrence of a familiar face and while from the Rebel side I think one or two recurring characters would be good, and possible essential, I don’t think the same can be said for the Empire.

Darth Vader

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As the Dark Lord himself said…Nooooooooooooooooooooo!!! I do not think Vader should show up in the show. I know he has appeared in Rebels but his presence was warranted especially with the size of the Rebel action and the presence of Ahsoka. He is too big to have a minor role and I worry about not doing him justice in this format.

Orson Krennic

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While I could see it as a possibility I have to go for no. Krennic seems pretty obsessed with the Death Star project for a long time, which is only discovered by Cassian in Rogue One. It is possible he may have had some side projects which Cassian could have a hand in taking down, but they have a pretty long face to face moment and it seems clear they have never met before.

Galen Erso

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A more definite no for me. Galen is a top-level Imperial weapons researcher. The only way Cassian would interact with him is to try and kill him, which is pretty clear from Rogue One. Also again his entire work is focused on the Death Star, so Cassian following him and learning nothing about the project would just make him a bad spy.

Grand Moff Tarkin

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Again no. The process of re-creating him was experimental and expensive and I can’t see them recreating it for TV. Same goes for Motti, Tagge and other Imperials seen in A New Hope. They could re-cast but it seems more straightforward to go for new characters. I also looked into the Imperials shown in the visual guide but they’re all based on either the Death Star or Scarif which places them outside the scope of the show – unless they have an earlier posting elsewhere.

Palpatine

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Palpatine is a potential, as any Imperial would potentially report back to him, but like Vader he’s too big of a character to have in a background role I feel.

Thrawn

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I’d love it – live action Thrawn would be a dream come true for so many of us. It would be cool to have Cassian tracking this rising star in the Empire, but without some kind of victory it would be hard for the series to have a satisfying resolution.

Hmm…this is getting very negative. I’m struggling to think of anyone else from the films and I’m not well versed enough in Rebels and the books, comics to know if names I’ve heard like Rae Sloane would fit into the timeline

Doctor Aphra

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I know there’s a lot of clamour for this character to transition to screen. I enjoyed her introduction in the comics and I could see her making a decent one-off appearance as a shady contact.

OK, I’m struggling here. Basically my conclusion is that our most likely option is to get a completely new character when it comes to the main antagonist, but I had a quick look into Legends too.

Ysanne Isard

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I think the Imperial Security Bureau, led by Ysanne ‘Iceheart’ Isard were such great antagonists in the X-Wing books that she would be well worth bringing back to Canon. Even if it was not necessarily her but have a similar character in the same role and have Imperial Intelligence with their resources compete with Cassian would certainly fit the ‘spy thriller’ mold.

OK and with that my well has run dry – please drop a comment and let me know if you agree, disagree or know of someone I’ve missed

 

Who should be in the Cassian Andor Show: The Rebellion part 2

I’ll continue looking at who could be associated with the new Cassian Andor show on Disney+

Pilots, Officers and Troops oh my!

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There are too many Rebel personnel on Yavin 4 to list. My guesses for who could appear would be anyone associated with Alliance Intelligence. From the troops Melshi’s name was the only one that stood out to me which makes him the most  likely candidate. Blue Eleven in her role as a U-Wing transport pilot would also be a  logical choice.

Alliance Senators

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All of the Senators have interesting backstories. I think it would be cool to see one of them recruited and making the bold step to join the Alliance and pledge their homeworld’s support to the Rebellion.

Saw Gerrera

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I’m going to say…no. While Yavin 4-based characters could conceivably fit into the show adding Saw would just tie it too closely to Rogue One and the show needs to stand on it’s own. The only interesting possibility is seeing Saw as a member of the Rebellion before his extremist ways caused them to cut ties with him, but I’d rather see that told through other Partisans as again the film clearly suggests he and Cassian never met

The Partisans

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Having said that I think the Partisans or the origins of the Partisans would be cool to see. We’ve seen one of the Two tubes brothers appear in Solo so more connectivity would work fine. I would like to maybe see Beezer Fortuna show up as a contact or see Rebels who fight with Cassian become disillusioned and leave to join Saw.

Tivik

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I really liked the idea of this character coming into the series when I heard it- especially as he and Cassian clearly have a history. Daniel Mays is a great actor and definitely deserves more screen time in the Star Wars galaxy. I think they could play on the tragic ending aspect – one thing that occurred to me was that it would be more tragic if his bad leg was in some way due to an incident caused by him and Cassian working together in the past.

Enfys Nest and the Cloud Riders

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Another idea that’s been batted around on some podcasts is Enfys Nest. Now the more I think about it this idea has some potential, depending on what stories they want to tell. I like the idea of the Rebellion forming against the Empire but this group feeling a moral duty to oppose Crimson Dawn and criminals as well as or instead of the Empire as a whole

Anyone/Everyone from Star Wars Rebels

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A near-constant topic on Star Wars videos is the possibility of Rebels characters transitioning to live-action. I haven’t watched much of the show so I’m not as attached to the characters as some are. I’m not against more connectivity at all, I found the appearance of the Ghost in Rogue One really exciting, but as I don’t have the same attachment I don’t feel the need for any of these characters to make an appearance, which will be the position of most fans as it will be hard to crowbar them in without either making their role minor or spending a lot of time explaining who they are. Of the cast I’d say the most likely appearance would be Hera as she is most associated with the main Rebellion and would be easy to cast as she’s a Twi’lek

Well that’s it – any Rebels I’ve missed, please drop a comment and let me know!