I am Ready for Much More Star Trek Discovery

I have watched the occasional Star Trek film and television episode, but it wasn’t until Netflix’s Star Trek Discovery that I became a fan. I just finished watching season two, and I love the series now more than ever.

I have grown very attached to the characters in Star Trek Discovery, and I find their individual stories and how they interact with each other central to why I like the show so much.

The characters I like include Christopher Pike (Anson Mount), Gabrielle Burnham (Sonjah Sohn), Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp), Sarul (Doug Jones), Spock (Ethan Peck), and Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman). And, of course, who can forget Airiam (Sara Mitch)!

Prior to Episode 9: Project Daedalus, Airiam was mostly a side character existing in the periphery of the show. It’s a testament to the show’s excellent writing, how they managed to make me love the character of Airiam and break my heart in the confines of a single episode. Rest in peace, Airiam. Your sacrifice will always be remembered.

R.I.P. Airiam

This season is when familiar characters Christopher Pike and Spock return to television. I’m not familiar enough to compare the new and old, but I was very invested in the duo and their story arcs in Star Trek Discovery. And I do think Spock looks very different with the beard. I think it works on him.

Another episode I liked was Episode 14: Such Sweet Sorrow. The space battle sequence was so epic, I felt like I was watching a movie rather than a TV show. I recently invested in a pair of Q Acoustic bookshelf speakers and an Onkyo stereo amplifier. The sound production was so good, I found myself increasing the volume to movie theater levels, until my grandparents started banging on my door and yelling at me to turn it down.

I really hope season 3 is coming soon, and that there are many more seasons of Star Trek Discovery to come. I’m not even entertaining the possibility that the show will be cancelled. Please don’t let it be cancelled!

LOVE, DEATH + ROBOTS: My Favorite Episodes

Created by Tim Miller, LOVE, DEATH + ROBOTS is 18-episode animated Netflix series for adults that debuted on March 2019.

The first seasons features stand alone episodes all under 20 minutes long. A different team worked on each episode resulting in a variety of stories and animation styles.

I absolutely loved the first season as a whole. Anime and science fiction are two things I really enjoy, so watching this was double the fun!

I recommend watching the series in chronological order as there are lighter episodes interspersed between the heavier ones. It might be a good idea to spit your enjoyment into several viewing sessions to avoid information and sensory overload.

If you plan to watch the show, here are some of my favorite episodes from Love, Death + Robots:

Watch Love, Death + Robots on Netflix
  • Sonnie’s Edge – The first episode of the series is violent and visually stunning. It features blood and sex. Also, an epic monster versus monster gladiatorial battle. Definitely a great way to start the show.
Watch Love, Death + Robots on Netflix
  • Three Robots – Three adorable robots feature in the funniest and most lighthearted episode of the series. No sex or violence here. Just lovely comedic banter between post apocalyptic buddies.
Watch Love, Death + Robots on Netflix
  • Lucky 13 – A story about a pilot’s love for her aircraft. Once considered unlucky, the ship becomes this pilot’s Lucky 13 as she flies in various missions against the alien army.
Watch Love, Death + Robots on Netflix
  • The Witness – Featuring a man and woman seemingly stuck in a perpetual time loop this episode is one of favorites in terms of concept. However, the gratuitous sex and violence in this episode makes it one of the disliked in the series.
Watch Love, Death + Robots on Netflix
  • Beyond the Aquila Rift – The hyper realistic animation in this episodes lends to the dilemma a spaceship captain and his crew face when they are forced to question what is and isn’t real.
Watch Love, Death + Robots on Netflix
  • Suits – Fans of the Borderlands video game franchise will feel right at home in this episode that seems like an ultra-high budget Borderlands cut scene. They can literally hire the team behind this episode and hire them to produce an animated series for the franchise. Fans of tower defense games will love this episode too!
Watch Love, Death + Robots on Netflix
  • Zima Blue – This is the essential episode of the series. Thought-provoking and down to earth, it is the opposite of most of supercharged action and sex laden content prevalent in the series. This episode shows that despite advancements in animation technology that allow creators to manufacture feasts for the senses, what matters most is masterful storytelling.

There are many more amazing episodes of Love, Death + Robots. Actually, the only one I disliked was Episode 17: Alternate Histories, which shows Hilters from different multiverses dying repeatedly in comical ways. The episode was too corny for me.

Otherwise, I think the series is a must watch if you’re a fan of anime, science fiction, and great storytelling.

Black Summer Brings New Life to Zombie Apocalypse TV

It’s Holy Week weekend and I’m searching for a TV series to binge watch on Netflix. I’m about ready to start watching the first season of The OA, when I notice Netflix recommending me a new zombie series–probably because I recently watched and absolutely loved the first season of Kingdom. A quick Google search for Black Summer leads me to the article: Stephen King Raves About New Netflix Series “Black Summer.”

The master of horror fiction and one of my favorite authors says this TV show is amazing? Hell yeah, I’m watching Black Summer!

Synopsis from Netflix:

Set in the dark, early days of a zombie apocalypse, Black Summer stars Jaime King as Rose, a mother torn from her daughter who embarks upon a harrowing journey to find her. Thrust alongside a small group of American refugees, these complete strangers must find the strength they need to fight their way back to loved ones. But in order for Rose and her team to brave this hostile new world, they will need to make brutal decisions to contend with zombies – and each other. 

My Black Summer Review:

Black Summer‘s is the best zombie apocalypse TV series debut I’ve watched since the first season of The Walking Dead, and yet the two are quite different. Black Summer has a very small town setting compared to the Walking Dead‘s massive scope. The new show feels very intimate and in your face, shaky camera shots and all.

Black Summer is very action driven and grounded in the present. It focuses on the plight of its refugee characters, all headed for a stadium where survivors are being evacuated to. The show has a Game of Thrones vibe to it in a sense that no character is sacred. Anyone can die at any time. What’s different is that the viewer knows little more about the characters than the characters know about each other. Having zero flashbacks helps in this regard.

Every episode of the series is divided into several chapters, each with its own name. This serves as a breaks in between the fast paced story lines or action sequences (usually running sequences) and when shifting from one point-of-view to another. They even have chapters following the POV of protagonists turned zombies.

Despite the focus on action and the lack of backstory elements, Black Summer does tell engaging stories, the main one being a mother searching for her daughter. Where it excels is telling stories of tension, not from waves of zombies coming at you, but from being chased by a single zombie or being hunted by fellow humans. The fireman’s axe scene is golden.

One of my favorites in the series is episode 3, Summer School. Four of the protagonists take refuge in a seemingly abandoned school, when they realize they’re not alone. There is a kid in the school. Lead protagonist Rose wants to do the right thing. She wants to look for the boy and take him with them. What follows is a lesson for those who choose to follow their hearts rather than their heads.

I also loved episode 8, The Stadium. The season finale is only 20 minutes long. It’s twenty minutes of utter bullet hell chaos, and it’s absolutely brilliant!

Imagine the surviving refugees nearing the stadium. But to get there, they have to pass through the downtown area, where there is a much higher population of people and hence, many more zombies. It’s alright though because the group is armed to the teeth with guns.

Then, they see other refugees. Many more refugees, all armed with guns as well. You can imagine, every one of these groups starring in their own spin-off series. Everyone with their own stories of death, love and survival. But to the zombies, all they are is fresh meat.

So the zombies are coming in from every angle. All the groups of refugees are firing away like they’ve got unlimited ammo, instead of focusing on head shots. Refugees are firing behind other refugees, to save them from surprise attacks. Friendly fire ensues, so newly killed refugees are transforming into zombies. Everyone starts running and shooting. Chaos. Then the army sends planes to drop bombs and control the new outbreak. They hit humans and zombies alike. More chaos! Will anyone make it to the stadium alive?

Be warned, my favorite episodes are also the two lowest rated ones on IMDb. But if you want to watch an action packed zombie show that focuses on the meat of the story instead of the drama surrounding it, I very much recommend Black Summer.