Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 1’s Top 5 Episodes


I have been going through Star Trek: The Next Generation on Blu-ray since Christmas. I currently started on the third season. I decided sometime ago to blog my top five episodes per season. I will say that I am more than satisfied with the quality of the Blu-ray releases so far.

5. Encounter at Farpoint, Pt. I & Pt. II

It was really hard to choose a top fifth episode. It was a toss up between the Encounter at Farpoint Parts I & II and the Lieutenant Worf centric episode Heart of Glory. In the end, I decided that Encounter was the better episode. Of course it started the whole series too.

In this episode we become acquainted with the characters of the Enterprise. Worf, Yar, Troi and Picard are aboard the Enterprise en route to pick up Riker, La Forge and Beverly & Wesley Crusher from Farpoint Station on Deneb IV. However the Enterprise crew is interrupted by an omnipotent asshat named Q and places all of humanity on trial (I actually love the character Q). The Enterprise undergoes saucer separation for the first time on screen (and no our favourite Betazoid/Human hybrid isn’t behind the wheel… this time…). The saucer under the command of Lieutenant Worf.

The saucer section manages to getaway and the stardrive is held on trial by Q masquerading as a Judge in a post-WWIII courtroom for a session of a kangaroo court. In the end they learn that Farpoint Station is a creature that had been suffering. The loved one came to rescue it. The Enterprise helps reunite them.

I love this episode because well. It’s awesome.

4. Datalore

Am I seeing double?

Am I seeing double?

The crew of the Enterprise comes to Data’s homeworld of Omicron Theta. It isn’t much of a homecoming for the lieutenant commander… They discover the planet lifeless, no colonists, wild and plant life remains. The away team led by no one other than Commander Riker beams down at the coordinates that the Tripoli discovered Data twenty-six years prior.

They eventually stumble across Data’s “Father” Doctor Noonian Soong’s lab. They discover a similar type android in pieces that looks identical to Data. They bring it back to the Enterprise and decide to assemble it. After the assembly of the “new” Android is complete the Android identifies himself as “Lore”. He tells them that he was built after Data and was made more humanlike.

Eventually we’ll find out that this is a lie. Lore informs Data that he was built first but because the human colonists feared him their Father Doctor Soong dissembled him and builds an “inferior” Android – Data. Lore eventually turns Data off and assumes his identity to lure the Crystalline Entity to the Enterprise to pay tribute. It turns out this entity was the root cause of destruction of Omicron Theta. It feeds on life.

Wes suspicions grow about how Data is acting and brings it forward to Picard. The Enterprise crew eventually learns of Lore’s ruse. Data and Lore fight like brothers do. Lore is beamed away.

I love this episode. It makes me wish that I too had an evil twin brother… -sigh-

3. Skin of Evil

And the goop monster enters

And the goop monster enters

The Enterprise is set to rendezvous with Shuttlecraft 13 transporting Deanna Troi from a conference. The Shuttlecraft crashes into Vagra II. The crew of the Enterprise after a series of errors with the dilithium crystals is able to repair – because if you’re an engineer on a starship, you gotta be a bloody miracle worker.

When the away team led by no other but Commander Riker beams down to rescue the shuttlecraft. They come across a sinister entity known as Armus. Who was hellbent on torturing members of the Away  Team and Deanna Troi. At one point he envelopes Riker. And another he downright murders Lieutenant Natasha Yar.

I loved this episode because it shows that space isn’t safe nor does everyone want to befriend you. It’s a dangerous place and gave room for awesome character development for the characters with the death of Natasha Yar.

2. Where No One Has Gone Before

Wesley Crusher wearing his hipster sweater. "Change your sweater, Wesley!" - Picard

Wesley Crusher wearing his hipster sweater. “Change your sweater, Wesley!” – Picard

In this episode we become acquainted with a recurring character known as The Traveler whom is important in the overall Wesley Crusher storyline. In this episode the Enterprise receives an experimental warp drive modification. Kosinski and his assistant come aboard the Enterprise.

Once they’ve installed the modification the Enterprise gets tossed across the universe to a neighboring galaxy designation M33 also known as the Triangulum Galaxy. They learn that it is Kosinski’s assistant The Traveler that caused the malfunction. The Traveler is exhausted and unsure if he has the energy to bring the Enterprise crew home.

Symptoms of this travel shows that they are see things that aren’t there. Like Picard’s mother, the rape gangs of Yar’s homeworld Turkana IV. They eventually return home to the Milky Way Galaxy with help from the Traveler assisted by no other but Wesley Crusher.

This episode is pretty detrimental for character development for two characters: Picard and Wesley Crusher. Picard learns that although Wesley Crusher is a child he is valued part of the Enterprise‘s crew. And for Wesley Crusher being promoted to acting Ensign.

I have watched this episode countless amount of times while I watched it syndicated, or on DVD and now on Blu-ray disc. Wesley was never really one of my favourite characters and he’s grown on me with my recent re-watch.

1. Conspiracy 

If this won't give you nightmares... what will?

If this won’t give you nightmares… what will?

Captain Jean-Luc Picard receives a communique from an old acquaintance Captain Walter Keel to meet in secret. He is exposed to suspicious activity in the upper echelons of Starfleet. Picard returns to the Enterprise assigning Lieutenant Commander Data to investigate. They stumble across Captain Keel’s command destroyed with no survivors. Their investigation brings them to Earth. They learn that people do not seem to appear who they are. In the end, Admirals are being controlled by an alien race slug. Riker and Picard destroy the Queen.

This is my top favourite episode because I loved the conspiracy and something dark and sinister lingers in the galaxy which makes them a formidable opponent. My only disappointment is that this race’s story never continues, even though the story itself seems to be resolved.

Review · Batman: Arkham Origins (PC)


Another game beaten, another review. I finally completed Batman: Arkham Origins. I picked it up at launch and been slowly but surely played through the game. Like every year, October through to the end of November is the “blockbuster” window where a lot of video games that I want to get come out in this period. It doesn’t help that I picked up an Xbox One…

Please note this isn’t a review for you if you don’t appreciate the occasional f-bomb and you don’t want to read something that may spoil the game for you.

Overall I found that the game’s cinematics and graphics were breath taken for the most part on my PC. I  also found the story tiresome. I realize the game focuses more on Arkham Asylum’s origins more than Batman’s. I don’t think there’s ever been a triple-A title video game that has gone through the whole story, which I found pretty disappointing in Arkham Origins

When the game was first introduced to the world, I was really hoping that it would have gone through Batman’s origin story along with the darkness that Arkham Asylum beholds and the dark sinister force it possess. I didn’t want the Joker to return as the primary antagonist  since I am a big fan of Mark Hamill’s portrayal. With that, I wasn’t too thrilled that they went with a different voice actor for Bruce Wayne/Batman and given Kevin Conroy the boot. Although, I wasn’t disappointed with Roger Craig Smith as the Cape Crusader’s voice. I wasn’t too fond of Troy Baker’s Joker.

While I didn’t want the Joker to be the primary antagonist in Arkham Origins even if it made sense due to the darkness that Arkham Asylum and the Joker share. But I was really hoping they would have used the note from Alan Moore’s Batman: The Killing Joke‘s back story for the Joker. I think it would have been a lot more funner game if you were up against The Joker as the Red Hood. You did see it in a high on drugs flashback but it wasn’t the same. I also wish that the Black Mask had a much larger role. I think his death was pretty premature, unnecessary and disappointing. Of course it wasn’t meant to be so they came up with this story.

I found the ending to be somewhat satisfactory but I wonder what the new developer Warner Bros. Games Montreal will do next. While I was disappointed that Rocksteady Studios isn’t behind the development of these games, I really really hope they are working on a Justice League game that centers on Superman and Wonder Woman. But we’ll have to wait and see.

Like it’s predecessors Arkham Origins has quite a lot of secondary objects like capture the Most Wanted fellows and collectathons. If you complete the game you unlock a bunch of different Batman suits. There’s multiplayer that I have no interest in playing nor the challenges. I may check out I Am the Night mode or whatever they call it but I’m in no rush.

The breakdown for Arkham Origins are:

Story: 3 out of 5
Graphics: 5 out of 5
Gameplay: 2.5 out of 5
Playability: 4 of 5
Overall: 3.5 / 5

Man of Steel 2, Squared


I blogged last year on my two cents about Ben Affleck being casted as the iconic Bruce Wayne/Batman character in the Man of Steel sequel. They were so wrong.  The only casting news I was pleased for this feature so far was Gal Gadot being casted as Wonder Woman. Out of the three women in the running, the Director made the right call.

They’ve casted Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor and Jeremy Irons as Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred Pennyworth.

Lex Luthor

I realize that Director Zac Synder’s envision for Superman vs Batman that Lex Luthor and Clark Kent/Superman are of the relative same age and possibly grew up together in Smallville, Kansas. I’ve always viewed him more of a much older man who’s hellbent on ruling the World.

If I was directing I would have actually chosen Jeremy Irons for this role. I’ve always loved it when Irons plays a baddie.

Alfred Pennyworth

I really wanted to see Patrick Stewart as Alfred Pennyworth it’s been so long since I heard Jeremy Irons speak in his native English accent.

Team Canada Line Projections


The following players have been named to Team Canada’s National Men’s Ice Hockey Team for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.

Goaltenders: Roberto Luongo (Vancouver Canucks), Carey Price (Montreal Canadiens), Mike Smith (Phoenix Coyotes)

Defence: Jay Bouwmeester (St. Louis Blues), Drew Doughty (LA Kings), Dan Hamhuis (Vancouver Canucks), Duncan Keith (Chicago Blackhawks), Alex Pietrangelo (St. Louis Blues), P.K. Subban (Montreal Canadiens), Marc-Edouard Vlasic (San Jose Sharks) and Shea Weber (Nashville Predators)

Forwards: Jamie Benn (Dallas Stars), Patrice Bergeron (Boston Bruins), Jeff Carter (LA Kings), Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins), Matt Duchene (Colorado Avalanche), Chris Kunitz (Pittsburgh Penguins), Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) Patrick Marleau (San Jose Sharks), Rick Nash (NY Rangers), Patrick Sharp (Chicago Blackhawks), Corey Perry (Anaheim Ducks), Steven Stamkos (Thunder Bay Lightning), John Tavares (NY Islanders) and Jonathan Toews (Chicago Blackhawks)

Anth’s Line Projection

Forward line #1: LW Chris Kunitz, C Sidney Crosby, RW Rick Nash

Forward line #2: LW Patrick Sharp, C Jonathan Toews, RW  John Tavares

Forward line #3: LW Patrick Marleau, C Steven Stamkos, RW Matt Duchene

Forward line #4: LW Jeff Carter, C Ryan Getzlaf, RW Corey Perry

Undressed forwards: Patrice Bergeron and Jamie Benn

Defence #1: Jay Bouwmeester, Shea Weber

Defence #2: Duncan Keith, Dan Hamhuis

Defence #3: P.K. Subban, Drew Doughty

Undressed defender: Marc-Edouard Vlasic,  Alex Pietrangelo 

Starting Goalie: Roberto Luongo

Backup Goalie: Carey Price

Undressed Goalie: Mike Smith

What do you guys think?

2013 In Review


The majority of this post contains information that I blogged about throughout 2013. I may have included additional in real life tidbits that haven’t been mentioned previously.

January

I reviewed the Last Resort series finale. I still think it is one of my favourite television series from the 2012-2013 television season. I wrote a couple of blog posts regarding the #SaveBCFIlm campaign, here and here.

February 

I made predictions on who would win what for the Oscars. I got Best Director, Best Sound Editing and Best Original Score correct. I plan on doing them again.

March

The family adopted an Airedale Terrier named Archer (finally)! He’s my little rabble rousin’ shit disturber but I love him for it. Emmadale and him get along famously. I’ve nicknamed him Archer the Turduckendale. MMmmmm… Turducken…

I also went in to write my permittee exam for the director’s guild. I didn’t pass it on the first attempt.

April

I read my favourite novel of 2013, A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron. I even wrote a review about it. I would also read the sequel and the series’ conclusion later in the year titled A Dog’s Journey. Both are really great reads. I have several other novels on my shelf by the same author that I haven’t gotten around to reading yet.

In April I began my annual Stanley Cup prediction series Stanley Is Coming. I think it’ll be making a return this year. Maybe if the Canucks even make the playoffs?

June

I wrote an opinion piece on posting spoilers on social media and what the etiquette should be. Someone even mostly agreed with me. If they fully agreed with me, the fabric of space-time continuum would have been torn into oblivion. Looking at you James!

I also wrote about who should replace Matt Smith as The Doctor on the hit television series Doctor Who. I suggested John Hurt, Wil Wheaton, Alex Kingston, Lenora Crichlow, but I really wanted Patrick Stewart (make it fucking so!). But ultimately the role went to Peter Capaldi.

I also made my second trip to Seattle, Washington to watch my Vancouver Whitecaps FC play the Seattle Sounders FC. Sadly the Caps would lose but I still had a great time with friends.

I also loss a schoolmate and good friend. I’ll miss him.

July

I was super busy with work but I got my first tattoo! Ready to see it? This is it! my tattoo

 

It represents the three things that I love: Airedale Terriers, Metro-Vancouver and the Vancouver Canucks. No regerts (hahahahahaha!)…

August

At the beginning of August I trekked to Portland, Oregon to catch the Vancouver Whitecaps FC on the road against the Portland Timbers. They would lose on the road but I had so much fun! I got to drink a lot of craft beer! See a dear good friend and meet his family. Also gotta see Star Trek in the Park! Sadly, I didn’t get to go to Voodoo Doughnuts or Big Ass Sandwich but my friend and I are going again in 2014, so I’ll make sure I get to check those places out. 

Also after the game, a moron from Calgary, Alberta (cheering for the Portland Timbers) came over to our table – my friends and I were minding our own business, having a couple pieces of pizza and he red cards us all. What a wanker! We all gave him a hard time from being from Alberta. What a tool.

I also blogged about the tattoo I got above. Oops, forgot about that

I rewrote that permittee exam for the guild and passed! Yahoo!!!

I also signed up for Extra Life 2013.

I also wrote a blog post about who should replace Christian Bale as the Dark Knight and not Ben Affleck.

I also went to Penny Arcade Expo 2013 and had a lot of fun! 

November

I more than doubled my $300 goal for Extra Life in 2013 and plan on doing it again in 2014. I am so pleased with myself and many other Extra Lifers who raised estimate $4 million USD for Children Miracle Network Hospitals across North America. Here in British Columbia we raised an estimate $57,000 for BC Children’s Hospital. I am so happy.

December

I got an Xbox One and wrote my second ever video game review for Ryse: Son of Rome. I think I may do it more often.

Christmas was good. It was small, just family. I miss my Granddad. Miss you Granddad. Christmas, just isn’t the same without you.

 

Review · Ryse: Son of Rome (XB1)


You know when your mother or father warned you not to play with sharp objects? This was this game… And they were wrong. So. So. Wrong.

Ryse: Son of Rome is a hack and slash action adventure video game exclusively available for the Xbox One developed by the German developer Crytek (makers of Crysis). I’ve been pretty excited for this title since I heard about it at E3 2010 press conference. It was planned to be a Kinect only title. It was a title that interested me the most and I tried to keep up to date.

When I heard it was going to be a launch title for Microsoft’s next generation console, I knew it was a must own. I was able to get my hands on the co-op multiplayer experience at Penny Arcade Expo this year as well and knew that I had to get myself a copy of the game as soon as it was available.

I loved the story, it’s loosely based on Roman history, however, I found it kept true to the Roman military tradition, their brutality yet their impeccable organizational skills with a mix of the hierarchy and social class. I give the story a 5 out of 5.

The video game itself was graphically stunning. Beautifully well done using the new CryEngine. The characters, buildings and environments seemed lifelike. I give the graphics a 5 out of 5.

Gameplay, it is a hack and slash so I found that the controller didn’t fully utilize the whole new Xbox One controller. One problem I had even though I hate having a jump button I always seemed to push the ‘A’ button when going up… when it happens automatically. The controls can be frustrating in this game but they are easy to master. . Also the Kinect voice commands are pretty useful and found no problems using them. But shouting ARCHERS SUPPORT ME… confused the shit out of my dog…  Also? Focus. Use Focus. That is all. Sick. I give gameplay 4.5 out of 5.

Now onto playability. I think there is a lot of it. Especially with the co-op multiplayer where you play as gladiators in the Coliseum. It’s a good game to have if your buddy has it too. That way you can kick hordes of other gladiators in the balls. Well, stab them with sharp objects. I also plan on going back and getting the achievements that I am missing.

This game is a must own title if you are planning on getting an Xbox One! I really hope that Crytek develops another game just like this one. So awesomes.

Overall  5/5.

In Review: Extra Life 2013


This year I participated in a twenty-five hour gaming marathon for Extra Life. We fundraised $57,000 estimate for BC Children’s Hospital and the whole community raised a record breaking $4 million. And I of course, raised $635. I more than doubled my $300 goal this year and tripled my $200 goal from the year before.

I had a whole lot of fun and I am gonna do it all again in 2014.

You can still donate by clicking here.