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The Menagerie – Part I

Star Trek ClassicStardate 3012.4: The Enterprise is summoned to Starbase 6, apparently by Captain Pike, who commanded the ship before Kirk. Commodore Mendez shows Kirk, Spock and McCoy, however, that Pike was recently paralyzed in an accident and could not have signalled the Enterprise. Spock creates false messages from Kirk and sends them to the ship, instructing the crew that Spock and Pike will beam up immediately, the Enterprise will be piloted by computer to its next destination, and that Kirk will be staying behind. Kirk and Mendez follow the Enterprise in a shuttle, which runs out of fuel when Spock refuses to slow the Enterprise down so the shuttle can come aboard. Spock finally allows Kirk to catch up and then places himself under arrest. Kirk is unable to disconnect the computer from the helm, and Spock’s court-martial begins. Spock offers, as evidence, visual records of a voyage on the Enterprise on which Spock and Pike served 13 years earlier. The bridge then informs Kirk and Mendez that the recording is being sent to the Enterprise from Talos IV – a planet that, according to Starfleet regulations, is absolutely off-limits to all vessels, punishable by death.

Order this episode on DVDDownload this episode via Amazon's Unboxwritten by Gene Roddenberry
directed by Marc Daniels
footage from The Cage directed by Robert Butler
music by Alexander Courage

Guest Cast: DeForest Kelley (Dr. Leonard McCoy), James Doohan (Mr. Scott), George Takei (Lt. Sulu), Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura), Sean Kenney (Captain Pike), Malachi Throne (Commodore Mendez), Hagan Beggs (Ensign Hansen), Julie Parrish (Miss Piper)

Appearing in footage from The Cage: Jeffrey Hunter (Capt. Christopher Pike), Susan Oliver (Vina), Majel Leigh Hudec (Number One), Peter Duryea (Lt. Tyler), John Hoyt (Dr. Boyce), Meg Wylie (The Keeper), Adam Roarke (CPO Garrison)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Menagerie – Part II

Star Trek ClassicStardate 3013.1: Spock reveals that the Keeper of Talos IV has control of the viewscreen and the evidence being presented. The screen shows the events that occurred during Pike’s visit to Talos IV in great detail, but Spock has difficulty convincing Kirk and Mendez of the validity of what they are seeing as well as the tremendous power of the Talosians. When the evidence suddenly stops, Mendez orders Kirk and Pike, the ranking officers forming Spock’s trial board, to make their verdict, and all find Spock guilty. The final part of the record of Pike’s adventure then continues, and then Commodore Mendez vanishes from the Enterprise. The Keeper himself tells Kirk that the Mendez that accompanied him in the shuttle and the trial was an illusion projected from Talos IV, and that Pike is welcome to return to the planet and be restored, as Vina was, to his former strength and health.

Order this episode on DVDDownload this episode via Amazon's Unboxwritten by Gene Roddenberry
directed by Marc Daniels
footage from The Cage directed by Robert Butler
music by Alexander Courage

Guest Cast: DeForest Kelley (Dr. Leonard McCoy), James Doohan (Mr. Scott), George Takei (Lt. Sulu), Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura), Sean Kenney (Captain Pike), Malachi Throne (Commodore Mendez), Hagan Beggs (Ensign Hansen)

Appearing in footage from The Cage: Jeffrey Hunter (Capt. Christopher Pike), Susan Oliver (Vina), Majel Leigh Hudec (Number One), Peter Duryea (Lt. Tyler), John Hoyt (Dr. Boyce), Meg Wylie (The Keeper), Adam Roarke (CPO Garrison)

Notes: Both parts of The Menagerie used footage of the original series pilot The Cage as the visual evidence of Pike’s early mission; in truth, the framing story was hurriedly written by Gene Roddenberry and was designed to be shot quickly so the re-use of the already-produced (and already paid for) pilot episode could fill a critical gap in the schedule caused by production delays.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The City On The Edge Of Forever

Star Trek ClassicStardate 3134.0: McCoy accidentally receives an overdose of cordrazine as the Enterprise encounters turbulence. He beams down to an unexplored world where he enters a time-travel device known as the Guardian of Forever and changes history in the 1930s. Kirk and Spock also return to the 30s, where Kirk falls in love with peace activist Edith Keeler. When McCoy is finally located, Kirk must allow history to run its course, resulting in Edith’s death, or he will leave history altered irrevocably, with no chance of returning to the future or the Enterprise.

Order this episode on DVDDownload this episode via Amazon's Unboxwritten by Harlan Ellison
directed by Joseph Pevney
music by Alexander Courage

Guest Cast: DeForest Kelley (Dr. Leonard McCoy), James Doohan (Mr. Scott), George Takei (Lt. Sulu), Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura), Joan Collins (Sister Edith Keeler), John Harmon (Rodent), Hal Baylor (Policeman), David L. Ross (Galloway), John Winston (Transporter Chief Kyle), Bartell La Rue (Guardian voice)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Star Wars

Star WarsAs construction nears completion on the Empire’s awesome new battle station, the moon-sized Death Star, members of the Rebel Alliance procure its construction plans, entrusting them to Princess Leia Organa. But Darth Vader is quick to capture her ship, kill much of the crew, and take her prisoner. But she has already passed the plans on to the adventurous R2-D2, who abandons ship along with C-3PO, landing on nearby Tatooine. Scavenging Jawas salvage the two droids and auction them off to Owen Lars, who hands them over to his nephew, young Luke Skywalker, to get the droids into shape to serve around their farm. Luke accidentally activates a recorded message from Leia, a desperate plea for the assistance of Obi-Wan Kenobi. When Owen forbids Luke to track down Kenobi to ask him about the message, R2-D2 sets out on his own to find him. Luke and C-3PO catch up to the determined droid, but are attacked by desert-roving Tusken Raiders, and saved at the last minute by the cloaked hermit, Ben Kenobi. Upon seeing Leia’s message, Ben admits that he is actually Obi-Wan Kenobi, one of the very last Jedi Knights, and tells of how he witnessed the murder of Luke’s father, Anakin.

Imperial forces trace the two droids to Tatooine, following their trail to Owen’s farm. When Luke discovers that his uncle and aunt have been killed by the Empire, he pledges to follow the elderly Jedi Knight to the planet Alderaan. They go to the seedy Mos Eisley spaceport, where they happen upon the renegade space freighter captain Han Solo and his Wookiee sidekick Chewbacca. Solo, desperately in need of money to pay off crime lord Jabba the Hutt, takes Luke, Obi-Wan and the droids on as passengers, but quickly realizes that his passengers have attracted the interest (and firepower) of the Empire. Solo’s ship, the Milennium Falcon, arrives at Alderaan to find the planet has been smashed into lifeless bits – the handiwork of Darth Vader and the Death Star. Solo accidentally runs into the Death Star not far away, which seizes the Falcon in a tractor beam. Han, Luke, Chewbacca and the droids try to evade the Imperial forces and rescue Leia, while Obi-Wan sets out to disable the Death Star’s tractor beam and face Darth Vader one final time. Obi-Wan is cut down in a lightsaber duel with Vader, but the others succeed in escaping, unaware that a homing device has been planted on the Falcon, allowing the Death Star to track the ship down to the Rebel base on the third moon of Yavin.

With only a short time to spare, the Rebels must prepare for a fight to save themselves from extinction – and Luke Skywalker, in becoming the hero of the ferocious battle against the Empire, brings himself to the attention of Darth Vader.

Order the DVDswritten by George Lucas
directed by George Lucas
music by John Williams

Cast: Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia Organa), Peter Cushing (Grand Moff Tarkin), Alec Guinness (Obi-Wan Kenobi), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Kenny Baker (R2-D2), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), David Prowse (Lord Darth Vader), Jack Purvis (Chief Jawa), Eddie Byrne (General Millard), Phil Brown (Uncle Owen), Sheelagh Fraser (Aunt Beru), Alex McCrindle (General Dodonna), Drewe Hemley (Red Leader), Denis Lawson (Red Two – Wedge), Garrick Hagon (Red Three – Biggs), Jack Klagg (Red Four – John “D”), William Hootkins (Red Six – Porkins), Angus McInnis (Gold Leader), Jeremy Sinden (Gold Two), Graham Ashley (Gold Five), Don Henderson (General Tagge), Richard Le Parmentier (General Motti), Leslie Schofield (Commander #1), James Earl Jones (voice of Lord Darth Vader)

Notes: The subtitle “Episode IV: A New Hope” was added to the opening crawl for the movie’s 1981 re-release, presumably to be consistent with the labeling of The Empire Strikes Back as Episode V.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Empire Strikes Back

Star WarsIn the wake of their destruction of the Death Star, the Rebels are forced even further into hiding by the Empire’s relentless pursuit, especially now that Darth Vader has learned the identity of the Rebel pilot who toppled the Empire’s mighty space station. Luke Skywalker, while investigating a meteorite which has just crashed near the new Rebel base on the ice planet of Hoth, is attacked by one of the indigenous predators. Luke uses his budding skill with the Force to escape from the creature, but is too badly injured to return to base on his own. The image of Obi-Wan Kenobi appears, urging Luke to go to Dagobah, where he will find the last of the Jedi Masters, Yoda. But before Luke can ask any questions, Han Solo rescues him just in the nick of time.

What Luke doesn’t realize until it is too late is that the “meteorite” he sighted was an Imperial probe droid landing on Hoth. Darth Vader and his task force follow the probe droid’s lead to Hoth and launch a devastating ground attack, killing many of the Rebels and forcing the rest to retreat even further – but Vader’s real quarry, Luke, evades him yet again. Luke and Artoo slip away to Dagobah, while Han, Leia, Chewbacca and C-3PO escape aboard the Millennium Falcon. The Imperial forces pursue the Falcon through a treacherous asteroid field, while Luke crash-lands in the swamps of Dagobah and reluctantly befriends a small green creature who promises to take him to meet Yoda. During the pursuit of the Falcon, the Emperor contacts Vader with a new agenda – Luke Skywalker is to be turned to the dark side of the Force, not killed.

The creature who is helping Luke soon reveals that he is Yoda himself, and despite reservations about Luke’s lack of patience and his anger, both Skywalker pedigrees that led his father to a dark fate, the last living Jedi Master begins Luke’s training. Halfway across the galaxy, Han decides to find a safe haven for the Falcon and its beleaguered crew after too many close calls, ultimately choosing Bespin’s Cloud City, which is run by an old friend of his (and the original owner of the Falcon), Lando Calrissian. But shortly after arriving at Cloud City, C-3PO is blasted to bits, and Lando delivers Han and the others into the hands of Darth Vader and bounty hunter Boba Fett. Worse yet, as a test of a carbon-freezing process which he hopes to use to capture Luke as a gift for the Emperor, Darth Vader has Han frozen in carbonite before handing him over to Boba Fett. Lando, growing worried that the Imperial presence on Cloud City will become permanent, switches sides to join with Leia and Chewie, who are suspicious of his motives, but they trust him when he tells them where to find Fett’s ship.

In the meantime, Luke has experienced a vision of a future in which his friends are being killed by the Empire, and he hastily postpones his Jedi training to go to Bespin to help them, much to the dismay of Yoda and Obi-Wan. Luke arrives just in time to see Han’s frozen body being taken to Boba Fett’s ship, but he is unable to help his friends. Luke has just stepped into a trap carefully orchestrated by Darth Vader, who reveals, after a lightsaber duel with Luke, that he is actually Anakin Skywalker, Luke’s father.

Boba Fett escapes Cloud City with Han in custody, taking him back to Jabba the Hutt. Leia and Lando are unable to stop the bounty hunter, and Luke now faces the prospect that his destiny, like that of his father, may lead him to become a servant to the dark side of the Force.

Order the DVDsstory by George Lucas
screenplay by Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kadsan
directed by Irvin Kershner
music by John Williams

Cast: Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), David Prowse (Darth Vader), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Kenny Baker (R2-D2), Frank Oz (Yoda), Alec Guinness (Obi-Wan Kenobi), Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett), John Hollis (Lando’s Aide), Peter Purvis (Chief Ugnaught), Des Web (Snow Creature), Clive Revill (Emperor Palpatine), Kenneth Colley (Admiral Piett), Julian Glover (General Veers), Michael Sheard (Admiral Ozzel), Michael Culver (Captain Needa), John Dicks (Imperial officer), Milton Johns (Imperial officer), Mark Jones (Imperial officer), Oliver Maguire (Imperial officer), Robin Scobey (Imperial officer), Bruce Boa (General Rieekan), Christopher Malcolm (Zev – Rogue 2), Denis Lawson (Wedge – Rogue 3), Richard Oldfield (Hobbie – Rogue 4), John Morton (Dak – Luke’s gunner), Ian Liston (Janson – Wedge’s gunner), John Ratzenberger (Major Derlin), Jack McKenzie (Deck lieutenant), Jerry Harte (Head controller), Norman Chancer (Rebel officer), Norwich Duff (Rebel officer), Ray Hassett (Rebel officer), Brigitte Kahn (Rebel officer), Burnell Tucker (Rebel officer)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Return of the Jedi

Star WarsLuke sends R2-D2 and C-3PO to the palace of Jabba the Hutt on Tatooine, where R2 plays a recorded message presenting the two droids to Jabba as a gift. A bounty hunter soon arrives with Chewbacca in chains, and a thermal detonator in hand to bargain a higher sale price for the Wookiee. But all is not as it seems. The bounty hunter is Leia in disguise, but mere moments after releasing Han from captivity in carbonite, she is captured by Jabba. Luke soon arrives, telling Jabba in no uncertain terms that Han, Leia, and the droids will be handed over to him – or the Hutt will pay a fatal price. Jabba has Luke thrown into a pit with an enormous, ravenous creature, which Luke manages to kill. Enraged, Jabba now sentences the Jedi apprentice – along with Han and Chewie – to be fed to the sarlacc which lurks in the Dune Sea. However, with the help of Artoo and Lando – who had infiltrated Jabba’s operation as a bodyguard – Luke foils this plan as well, releasing his friends and ending Jabba’s reign over the underworld.

Returning to Dagobah to finish his Jedi training, Luke finds that Yoda is in very poor health. The dying Jedi Master tells Luke that only one task remains before the young apprentice truly becomes the last Jedi Knight – but that task is the defeat of Darth Vader. Obi-Wan appears to Luke, explaining the true fate of Anakin Skywalker and both of his children, who are strong with the Force. Luke knows he must defeat Vader – or win him back from the dark side – but doubts his ability to do so. But Vader is already busy constructing a new and more powerful Death Star, this time under the direct supervision of Emperor Palpatine. The Emperor has arranged for details of the new Death Star’s defenses to be leaked into the hands of the Rebel Alliance, hoping that they will commit their entire fleet to destroy the space station . . . which is already fully operational and well-defended, more than ready for a Rebel onslaught.

Luke joins a Rebel taskforce assigned to destroy the defense shield installation on the forest moon of Endor, which the Death Star orbits. Han almost fatally endangers the mission, but unexpected help arrives in the forms of Endor’s native life form, the Ewoks. Worrying that Vader will sense his presence and capture the entire Rebel team, Luke turns himself over to the Imperial troops as Han and Leia continue their risky gambit to lower the Death Star’s shield in time for a Rebel attack fleet to destroy the station. And aboard the Death Star, the Emperor, with Darth Vader’s help, attempts to lure a second generation of Jedi Knights named Skywalker into the dark side of the Force . . .

Order the DVDsstory by George Lucas
screenplay by Lawrence Kadsan and George Lucas
directed by Richard Marquand
music by John Williams

Cast: Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Sebastian Shaw (Anakin Skywalker), Ian McDiarmid (Emperor Palpatine), Frank Oz (Yoda), James Earl Jones (voice of Darth Vader), David Prowse (Darth Vader), Alec Guiness (Obi-Wan Kenobi), Kenny Baker (R2-D2), Michael Pennington (Moff Jerjerrod), Admiral Piett (Kenneth Colley), Michael Carter (Bib Fortuna), Denis Lawson (Wedge), Tim Rose (Admiral Ackbar), Dermot Crowley (General Madine), Caroline Blakiston (Mon Mothma), Warwick Davis (Wicket), Kenny Baker (Paploo), Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett), Femi Taylor (Oola), Annie Arbogast (Sy Snootles), Claire Davenport (Fat Dancer), Jack Purvis (Teebo), Mike Edmonds (Logray), Jane Busby (Chief Chirpa), Malcolm Dixon (Ewok warrior), Mike Cottrell (Ewok warrior), Nicki Reade (Nicki), Adam Bareham (Star Destroyer controller #1), Jonathan Oliver (Star Destroyer controller #2), Pip Miller (Star Destroyer captain #1), Tom Mannion (Star Destroyer captain #2), Tony Philpott, Mike Edmonds, David Barclay (Jabba the Hutt)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Inner Light

Star Trek: The Next GenerationStardate 45944.1: The Enterprise discovers an alien probe of unknown origin, which detects the Enterprise and sends a transmission. Picard is knocked unconscious. He “wakes up” as Kamin, an astronomer on the planet Kataan. As Kamin orients himself to life on this world with his wife Eline, he tries to make some attempts to locate the Enterprise, discovering in the process that Kataan faces imminent destruction from a sun about to go nova. Kamin ages yars, has children with Eline, watches old friends die and tries to convince people that their days on the planet are numbered. Meanwhile, on the Enterprise, where Picard has been unconscious for mere minutes, Riker is determined to break the probe’s hold on Picard – but severing the link could kill Picard while he is still trapped in the mind of Kamin.

Order the DVDsteleplay by Morgan Gendel and Peter Allan Fields
story by Morgan Gendel
directed by Peter Lauritson
music by Jay Chattaway

Guest Cast: Margot Rose (Eline), Richard Riehle (Batai), Scott Jaeck (Administrator), Jennifer Nash (Meribor), Patti Yasutake (Nurse Ogawa), Daniel Stewart (Young Batai)

Notes: Daniel Stewart, who plays the part of Kamin’s son in this episode, is Patrick Stewart’s real son. Many elements of this story are mentioned by Picard in the sixth season episode Lessons.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

All Good Things…

Star Trek: The Next GenerationStardate not applicable (prehistory): On the planet Earth, the crucial moment in which life is sparked in primeval chemicals fails to occur. The planet remains uninhabited and the human race never comes into existence.

Stardate 41148: A vaguely disoriented Captain Jean-Luc Picard arrives aboard the starship Enterprise to take command, shortly after which he suddenly orders a red alert. After this incident passes, he issues a number of inexplicable orders, trying to deliberately bring about a meeting with an entity known as Q, and later setting the Enterprise on a fateful course for a spatial anomaly in the Devron system…

Stardate 47998.1: A very disoriented Captain Picard reports that he has been shifting from the present to two very specific points in the past and future – seven years ago when he first arrived aboard the Enterprise, and 25 years into the future. En route to the Neutral Zone to investigate a massing of Romulan forces near a spatial anomaly in the Devron system, Picard is accosted once more by Q, who finally pronounces the verdict of humankind’s trial which began at Farpoint – guilty.

Stardate unknown (the future): A retired Jean-Luc Picard, suffering from a degenerative neurological disorder, has settled in France to tend to the family vineyards. Geordi, now a writer, visits Picard, who complains of unsettling images from nearly three decades ago. In the course of tracking down the cause of Picard’s visions, nearly all of his old crewmates are recruited in the quest, made difficult by strained relations between the Federation and the Klingon Empire, as well as those among the crew. Their destination is the Devron system, where, to Picard’s surprise, there is no sign of the existence of a spatial anomaly. At the heart of Picard’s mystery lies the secret needed to restore the flow of human history.

Order the DVDswritten by Ronald D. Moore & Brannon Braga
directed by Winrich Kolbe
music by Dennis McCarthy

Guest Cast: John de Lancie (Q), Denise Crosby (Lt. Tasha Yar), Colm Meaney (Chief O’Brien), Andreas Katsulas (Tomalak), Clyde Kusatsu (Admiral Nakamura), Patti Yasutake (Nurse Ogawa), Pamela Kosh (Jessel), Tim Kelleher (Lt. Gaines), Alison Brooks (Ensign Chilton), Stephen Matthew Garvin (Ensign), Majel Barrett (Computer Voice)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Coming of Shadows

Babylon 5When the Emperor of the Centauri decides to pay a surprise visit to B5, G’Kar decides to assassinate him. And he’s not the only one with designs on the throne. Refa, a power-hungry associate of Londo’s, wants Londo to deliver an address that will decry the Emperor’s politics, a speech which will be remembered after the Emperor’s death, already planned by Refa and his backers. But before the Emperor can even be touched by either party, he falls ill for the final time. In medlab, he entrusts Franklin to deliver a pledge of peace to G’Kar. Meanwhile, Refa panics, fearing that a competing assassin has struck first. Londo offers to summon the Shadows to conquer a Narn colony in quadrant 14, and Refa sends a flotilla of Centauri warships to claim the territory. Arriving Narn ships are shot down by the Centauri, and the Narn respond by declaring war on the Centauri. And it is revealed – though only to Garibaldi – that Sinclair is on Minbar, preparing for the coming of the Shadows. His warning, though it cannot be revealed to anyone else is to beware…and stay close to the Vorlon.

Order now!Download this episodewritten by J. Michael Straczynski
directed by Janet Greek
music by
Christopher Franke

Guest Cast: Michael O’ Hare (Ambassador Jeffrey Sinclair), Fredric Lehne (Ranger), Malachi Throne (Centauri Prime Minister), Jeff Conaway (Zack Allen), William Forward (Refa), Turhan Bey (Centauri Emperor), Neil Bradley (Kha’Mak), Ardwight Chamberlain (Kosh), Jonathan Chapman (Narn Pilot #2), Bryan Michael McGuire (Customs Guard #1), Kim Strauss (Narn Pilot #1)

John Copeland, Douglas Netter and J. Michael StraczynskiNote: This episode won the Science Fiction Society’s Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation in 1996, beating out the films Toy Story, Apollo 13 and 12 Monkeys and the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode The Visitor. This was the first Hugo awarded to a television series other than Star Trek (or one of its spinoffs) or Twilight Zone, and only the seventh Hugo to be given to a television series in 43 years of the Best Dramatic Presentation category.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Severed Dreams

Babylon 5All hell has broken loose within the Earth Alliance. Fighting between General Hague’s rebel forces and President Clark’s loyalists have spilled a great deal of blood on both sides, and when the governor of Mars refuses to implement Clark’s martial law decree, civilian colonies on Mars are bombed. Hague’s ship, the Alexander, arrives at Babylon 5, but Hague himself has died in a recent battle. Joined shortly afterward by another rebel ship, Sheridan prepares to declare Babylon 5 an independent state – a state which must brace itself for an inevitable attack from Clark’s forces. If the battle is lost, not only with many on Babylon 5 lose their freedom…they will also very likely lose their lives.

Order now!Download this episodewritten by J. Michael Straczynski
directed by David J. Eagle
music by
Christopher Franke

Guest Cast: Kim Miyori (Captain Sandra Hiroshi), Rance Howard (David Sheridan), Phil Morris (Bill Trainor), Bruce McGill (Major Ed Ryan), James Parks (Drakhen), Jonathan Chapman (Religious Minbari), Joshua Cox (Lt. Corwin), Maggie Egan (ISN Reporter #1), Matt Gottlieb (ISN Reporter #2), Kim Strauss (Narn)

LogBook entry by Dave Thomer

33

Battlestar GalacticaFor an entire week, the Cylons have attacked the Colonial fleet every 33 minutes. Every time, a Cylon base ship appears and launches fighters and missiles, and every time, the fleet barely escapes – usually with more casualties than the last time. Baltar continues to experience visits from the Cylon woman known as Number Six, visits only he can see or feel, whether he’s aboard Galactica or Colonial One. It’s while he’s aboard the President’s ship that Baltar overhears that another Colonial scientist, claiming to have information on how the Cylons overcame Caprica’s defenses, is requesting an audience with the President. When he learns this, Baltar’s encounters with Number Six take on a new urgency, and she implies that this “problem” can be taken care of – with a little bit of Cylon intervention. The ship carrying that scientist doesn’t make the next FTL jump on time – and the ships of the fleet, and Baltar, get a temporary reprieve. But when the Olympic Carrier does reappear, the Cylons are right behind it…and even though the Olympic Carrier’s complement of passengers is over 1,300, Adama must weigh those lives against saving the rest of the fleet.

Season 1 Regular Cast: Edward James Olmos (Commander Adama), Mary McDonnell (President Laura Roslin), Katie Sackhoff (Lt. Starbuck), Jamie Bamber (Captain Apollo), James Callis (Dr. Gaius Baltar), Tricia Helfer (Number Six), Grace Park (Lt. Boomer)

Order the DVDsDownload this episodewritten by Ronald D. Moore
directed by Michael Rymer
music by Bear McCreary

Guest Cast: Michael Hogan (Colonel Tigh), Aaron Douglas (CPO Tyrol), Tahmoh Penikett (Helo), Kandyse McClure (Dualla), Paul Campbell (Billy Keikeya), Alessandro Juliani (Lt. Gaeta), Sam Witwer (Lt. Crashdown), Alonso Ozaryun (Socinus), Nicki Clyne (Cally)

Notes: Despite many a rumor to the contrary, there is no relation between actresses Grace Park (Galactica’s Lt. Boomer) and Linda Park (Star Trek: Enterprise’s Ensign Hoshi Sato), though both are of Korean descent. Production designer Richard Hudolin has a knack for giving SF franchises a new look – not only did he work on numerous episodes of Stargate SG-1, but he was also responsible for the striking redesign of the TARDIS for the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie. The airdate above reflects the episode’s U.S. premiere; it premiered a few months earlier on the UK Sky One satellite channel.

Original UK Airdate: October 19, 2004

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Empty Child

Doctor WhoTracking a space vehicle that’s capable of limited time travel as it plummets toward Earth, the Doctor and Rose are unaware at first that they’ve arrived in Britain during the Blitz. The Doctor begins looking for the crashed spacecraft, while Rose, trying to reach a child she sees dangerously close to the edge of a tall building, puts herself in danger and is rescued by the handsome Captain Jack Harkness. Supposedly an American advisor to the Royal Air Force, Jack reveals himself to be a rogue former “time agent,” and assumes from such things as Rose’s cell phone that she is too. In the meantime, the Doctor has also encountered the mysterious child Rose saw earlier, wandering around London even in the midst of bombing raids and asking for his mother. He seems to be following a group of homeless children led by a young woman named Nancy, who fears the child and tells the Doctor to keep his distance from him. The Doctor discovers that the child isn’t the only person in London asking for his mother. A plague has begun creeping through the population, especially close to the crash site of the spacecraft, disfiguring its victims with wounds identical to the little boy’s and literally molding the flesh of their faces into the shape of a gas mask – just like the one the child wears. The Doctor catches up with Rose and Jack and discovers that Jack is responsible for bringing the alien ship – a Chula combat ambulance vessel – to Earth, and is thus responsible for the spreading plague.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Steven Moffat
directed by James Hawes
music by Murray Gold

Guest Cast: Albert Valentine (The Child), Kate Harvey (Night Club Singer), Florence Hoath (Nancy), Cheryl Fergison (Mrs. Lloyd), Damian Samuels (Mr. Lloyd), John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), Robert Hands (Algy), Joseph Tremain (Jim), Jordan Murphy (Ernie), Brandon Miller (Alf), Richard Wilson (Dr. Constantine), Zoe Thorne (voice of the Empty Child), Dian Perry (Computer voice)

Note: Along with The Doctor Dances, The Empty Child won the Best Dramatic Presentation (Shortform) Hugo Award in 2006.

Reviews by Philip R. Frey & Earl Green
LogBook entry by Earl Green Continue reading

The Doctor Dances

Doctor WhoCornered by gas-masked mutants all asking “Have you seen my mummy?”, the Doctor manages to bluff his way out of danger and, with the help of Rose and the still somewhat suspect Captain Jack, begins to learn the nature of the spreading plague. Jack’s stolen Chula ship carried a cargo of highly adaptable sentient nano-genes, capable of performing instant surgery on an injured person to heal their wounds at the genetic level. But the nano-genes’ first contact with a human – the dying little boy, mortally wounded in a bomb blast – left them with confused information as to what humans look like and how their bodies work. So now the genetic changes are remaking everyone in the dead boy’s image, from the gas masks to his frantic search for his mother…and the changes will spread across the entire Earth as an unstoppable plague, unless the Doctor can somehow provide the nano-genes with more accurate information.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Steven Moffat
directed by James Hawes
music by Murray Gold

Guest Cast: Albert Valentine (The Child), Florence Hoath (Nancy), John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), Luke Perry (Timothy Lloyd), Damian Samuels (Mr. Lloyd), Cheryl Fergison (Mrs. Lloyd), Joseph Tremain (Jim), Robert Hands (Algy), Jordan Murphy (Ernie), Brandon Miller (Alf), Richard Wilson (Dr. Constantine), Zoe Thorne (voice of the Empty Child), Dian Perry (Computer voice)

Note: Along with The Empty Child, The Doctor Dances won the Best Dramatic Presentation (Shortform) Hugo Award in 2006.

Reviews by Philip R. Frey & Earl Green
LogBook entry by Earl Green Continue reading

Serenity

FireflyAn Alliance Operative reviews Simon and River Tam’s escape from the experimental facility where River was modified. He highlights a particular comment by the lead scientist – that several members of the Alliance Parliament had seen River to observe her progress. Given River’s psychic ability, that means that she could possess vital secrets without even realizing it. This is a grave threat, and must be dealt with. For starters, the Operative kills the scientist. Then, he turns his attention to finding River.

On Serenity, Mal, Zoe, and Jayne prepare to take River out for a payroll-robbery job over Simon’s objections. Mal is in no mood to hear them; he reminds Simon that their increased need to avoid the Alliance has resulted in the crew passing up jobs, and work is hard to come by. Serenity is barely holding together and the crew needs to be paid. Now they have a job, River might be useful, and so she’s going. Mal turns out to be more right than he knows when River detects the Reavers coming early enough that the crew can complete the job, get a few people to safety in a bank vault, and barely make their own escape. But the potential danger is the last straw for Simon; once they collect their share of the bounty for the job, he and River will leave Serenity, just as Inara did months before.

Things don’t go nearly that smoothly, however. At the meeting to hand over the stolen payroll, River watches a broadcast that suddenly triggers some of her programming; she begins attacking everyone in the bar and does a stunning amount of damage. Simon is able to knock her out thanks to a programmed safe word, and Mal takes both of them back aboard Serenity. They learn from Mr. Universe, one of their communications contacts, that the broadcast had subliminal transmissions encoded in it. The Alliance deliberately went to a lot of trouble to trigger that outburst from River in order to find out where she was. And thanks to the security video from the bar, they do.

The Operative visits Inara at her temple and forces her to contact Mal and invite him to visit. It’s clear to Mal that the situation is a trap, but he decides to go anyway in order to assess the situation. Before he does, he gets some advice from Shepherd Book, who’s now living in a community called Haven. Once again, Book’s counsel – and former experience, whatever it may be – prove useful. Mal is barely able to escape, along with Inara, from the Operative, and Serenity manages to get away from the Alliance pursuit ships. But when they return to Haven, they find the place has been leveled and Book is dying. In fact, the Alliance has destroyed every place that Serenity has sought refuge, in an effort to keep them from disappearing. The Operative once again asks Mal to turn over River.

Instead, the captain is determined to find answers. Their only clue is Miranda, a word that River spoke right before her attack in the bar. She uses the ship computers to identify it as a planet on the outer edge of the solar system, one thought to be uninhabitable. The only way to get there is through Reaver space, so Mal orders the crew to disguise Serenity as a Reaver vessel, no matter how distasteful that may be. The crew reluctantly complies. When they arrive, they find a stable environment and multiple cities with advanced technology – and nothing but corpses that appear to have died peacefully. A weak signal beacon leads them to a recording made by an Alliance officer. She explains that most everyone on the planet died as a result of exposure to an experimental substance designed to make human beings less aggressive, more passive. On most of the population, it worked too well – they became so passive they simply stopped doing anything, including eating and breathing. But a small minority had their aggression hyped up to the maximum and began preying on everyone else – the Reavers. They were not settlers made mad by the edge of space. They were driven there by the Alliance.

Mal is determined to release the recording to the public, to let people know what the Alliance has been up to and weaken their hold. He sets out for Mr. Universe, hoping to broadcast to everyone in one fell swoop. Anticipating another trap laid by the Operative, Mal lures the Reavers to follow him, initiating a massive conflict between the Reavers and the Alliance. Wash manages to bring a severely-damaged Serenity to rest on the planet right before a Reaver attack impales him. The survivors plan a last stand to buy enough time for Mal to reach Mr. Universe and make the broadcast. But the Operative has already killed the broadcaster and destroyed his main facility. Mal’s last hope is a hidden backup facility . . . but he’ll need to survive one more face to face confrontation with the Operative while his crew survives an onslaught of Reavers and Alliance soldiers.

Order the DVDsDownload this episodewritten by Joss Whedon
directed by Joss Whedon
music by David Newman

Cast: Nathon Fillion (Mal Reynolds), Gina Torres (Zoe), Adam Baldwin (Jayne Cobb), Alan Tudyk (Wash), Jewel Staite (Kaylee), Morena Baccarin (Inara), Summer Glau (River Tam), Sean Maher (Simon Tam), Ron Glass (Shepherd Book), David Krumholtz (Mr. Universe), Chiwetel Ejiofor (The Operative)

Notes: Mal mentions that River and Simon have been aboard Serenity for eight months.

LogBook entry by Dave Thomer

The Girl In The Fireplace

Doctor WhoThe Doctor, Rose and Mickey explore a strange, unoccupied starship, sitting at a dead standstill in deep space – with its engines operating at full power to punch several holes through the fabric of time. Several chambers within the ship open into pockets of Earth’s past, specifically the history of France. The Doctor quickly discovers that the ship’s occupants, elegant but deadly clockwork robots, are interfering with the history of a young girl who, in exhibits chronicling her young adulthood, becomes known as Madame de Pompadour. The Doctor repeatedly interferes with the robots’ attempts to alter history, and unwittingly goes from being Madame du Pompadour’s imaginary friend to her savior at several points in his history. But to save her from the robots’ last attack, the Doctor may have to maroon himself thousands of years in Earth’s past, leaving Mickey and Rose stranded in the future.

Download this episodewritten by Steven Moffatt
directed by Euros Lyn
music by Murray Gold

Guest Cast: Noel Clarke (Mickey Smith), Sophia Myles (Reinette), Ben Turner (King Louis), Jessica Atkins (young Reinette), Angel Coulby (Katherine), Gareth Wyn Griffiths (Manservant), Paul Kasey (Clockwork Man), Ellen Thomas (Clockwork Woman), Jonathan Hart (Alien Voice), Emily Joyce (Alien Voice)

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Continue reading

Blink

Doctor WhoSally Sparrow’s inquisitive nature, and eye for a good photo, leads her to a creepy abandoned house. Under the house’s peeling wallpaper, Sally discovers a message – written to her by name – containing a warning from someone called the Doctor. When she returns to the house with her best friend, Sally is stunned when her friend vanishes – and then a man claiming to be her friend’s descendant arrives at an appointed time with a letter from his ancestor…in the distant past. Sally goes to share the shocking news with her friend’s brother Larry, and finds him obsessed over several DVD easter eggs, all of them containing cryptic (and occasionally incomprehensible) messages from a man called the Doctor. But the video messages from the Doctor are very clear on one thing: alien killers in the guide of weeping angel statues are stalking the Earth…and if Sally and Larry blink when they encounter the statues, they’re dead. But why isn’t the Doctor on hand to fight the aliens himself?

Download this episodewritten by Steven Moffatt
directed by Hettie MacDonald
music by Murray Gold

Guest Cast: Carey Mulligan (Sally Sparrow), Lucy Gaskell (Kathy Nightingale), Finlay Robertson (Larry Nightingale), Richard Cant (Malcolm Wainwright), Michael Obiora (Billy Shipton), Louis Mahoney (Old Billy), Thomas Nelstrop (Ben Wainwright), Ian Boldsworth (Banto), Ray Sawyer (Desk Sergeant)

Notes: This episode is based in part on Steven Moffat’s short story “What I Did On My Christmas Holidays, By Sally Sparrow”, which appeared in the 2006 Doctor Who Annual as a ninth Doctor story with a much younger Sally – and no weeping angels. The original short story can be read at the BBC’s official Doctor Who site here.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Continue reading

The Waters Of Mars

Doctor WhoThe TARDIS materializes on Mars in 2059 near Bowie Base One, the first human settlement on the red planet. The Doctor’s stroll across Mars is interrupted by an armed robot, which brings him back to the base at gunpoint. It’s only when the Doctor meets Captain Adelaide Brooke and her crew that he remembers how history records the fate of Bowie Base One: the base is doomed to be destroyed when Brooke activates the self-destruct mechanism. Why she did it, or will do it, is still a mystery – one in which the Doctor is reluctant to get involved. But when other members of the Bowie Base One crew stop communicating with their crewmates, it seems that the Time Lord has no choice but to play a pivotal role in the events that will transpire. The Doctor soon discovers the truth: a living form of liquid is taking over the crew one-by-one and intends to force an evacuation so it can stow away aboard the escape vehicle and begin to take over Earth. But even knowing that, the Doctor hesitates to interfere – the death of Brooke and her crew is a pivotal event that sets the stage for humanity’s eventual expansion into interstellar space, and not allowing them to die could undermine all of Earth’s future history. But does the entire crew have to die? It’s not as if anyone’s around to enforce the laws of time if the Doctor decides to save them.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Russell T. Davies & Phil Ford
directed by Graeme Harper
music by Murray Gold

Cast: David Tennant (The Doctor), Lindsay Duncan (Adelaide Brooke), Peter O’Brien (Ed Gold), Aleksandar Mikic (Yuri Kerenski), Gemma Chan (Mia Bennett), Sharon Duncan-Brewster (Maggie Cain), Chook Sibtain (Tarak Ital), Alan Ruscoe (Andy Stone), Cosima Shaw (Steffi Sherlich), Michael Goldsmith (Roman Groom), Lily Bevan (Emily), Max Bollinger (Mikhail), Charlie De’ath (Adelaide’s Father), Rachel Fewell (young Adelaide), Anouska Strahnz (Urika Ehrlich), Zofia Strahnz (Lisette Ehrlich), Paul Kasey (Ood Sigma)

The Waters Of MarsNotes: The Doctor mentions a mighty empire on Mars that may have contained and frozen the Flood; it’s likely that he’s referring to the Ice Warriors (not seen on TV since 1974’s The Monster Of Peladon starring Jon Pertwee), though other Martian societies have been portrayed in Doctor Who, including the godlike Osirans and the Ambassadors of Death. A sign that The Waters Of Mars is a true product of the DVD/download age, the many “computer screens” depicting the crews’ biographies can be read in full when paused. Waters is dedicated to Barry Letts, producer of Doctor Who from Jon Pertwee’s second adventure through the first Tom Baker story, who died shortly before this special premiered.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Continue reading

The Pandorica Opens

Doctor WhoA series of events ripples through time and space upon the completion of Vincent Van Gogh‘s latest painting depicting the fiery destruction of the TARDIS. Many of the Doctor’s friends and allies encounter the painting through time, from Winston Churchill to Liz 10 to, finally, River Song. River draws the Doctor to Earth at the time of the Roman Empire to show him the painting, which she believes is a warning Van Gogh received in a vision. Within the painting itself is a time and a location, leading the Doctor, Amy and River to Stonehenge.

The Doctor finds a chamber beneath Stonehenge, containing a large, cubical object of alien origin: the Pandorica, something which River has mentioned before but the Doctor believed was a myth. But before the Doctor can investigate or open the Pandorica, dozens of alien ships descend into the sky over Stonehenge: many of the Doctor’s enemies have come to call. While he bluffs his would-be captors into leaving, River attempts to move the TARDIS closer to the Pandorica, but the timeship begins behaving erratically and is flung violently through the time vortex. It begins to seem as though the Doctor is destined not to be at the controls of the TARDIS when it suffers the fate forseen by Van Gogh.

The Doctor’s enemies return to Stonehenge, and only then does the Doctor realize the horrifying truth: the Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans and many more have set aside their differences to conspire against their greatest enemy. With their combined forces against him, the Doctor may be doomed, and the universe along with him.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Steven Moffat
directed by Toby Haynes
music by Murray Gold

Guest Cast: Alex Kingston (River Song), Arthur Darvill (Rory), Tony Curran (Vincent), Bill Paterson (Bracewell), Ian McNeice (Winston Churchill), Sophie Okonedo (Liz Ten), Marcus O’Donovan (Claudio), Clive Wood (Commander), Christopher Ryan (Commander Stark), Ruari Mears (Cyber Leader), Paul Kasey (Judoon), Howard Lee (Doctor Gachet), Barnaby Edwards (Dalek), Simon Fisher Becker (Dorium), Joe Jacobs (Guard), Chrissie Cotterill (Madame Vernet), David Fynn (Marcellus), Nicholas Briggs (Dalek / Cyberman / Judoon voices)

The Pandorica OpensNotes: This marks the first time Daleks, Cybermen and Sontarans have all shared the screen in anything other than a flashback (if one wishes to count flashbacks, however, the first time would have been during the flashbacks experienced by the fourth Doctor at the end of part 4 of Logopolis). Classic Doctor Who aliens name-checked but not seen include Drahvins (Galaxy Four), Zygons (Terror Of The Zygons), and curiously, the Chelonians, a reptilian warrior race introduced in the New Adventures novels published in the 1990s (specifically, in “The Highest Science”). This marks the first time that an element specific to the New Adventures has been acknowledged by the new TV series. The Slitheen are also mentioned, but are not seen.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Continue reading

The Big Bang

Doctor WhoTrapped in the Pandorica by his enemies, the Doctor is powerless to prevent the universe from ending. The collapse isn’t instantaneous, and Earth is at the epicenter, growing cold and dark as every star in the universe vanishes. Young Amelia Pond remembers the stars, though, despite what everyone tells her as the changes ripple backward through time.

Freed from the Pandorica, the Doctor embarks on an elaborate attempt to manipulate the timeline; while Earth still exists, he can influence its history and make changes to the present. But he’ll need help, and there’s where the problem lies: Amy is dead, River has probably died in the cataclysmic explosion that has ripped the TARDIS apart, and Rory isn’t who anyone thought he was. Time is running out, even for the Time Lord.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Steven Moffat
directed by Toby Haynes
music by Murray Gold

Guest Cast: Alex Kingston (River Song), Arthur Darvill (Rory), Caitlin Blackwood (Amelia), Susan Vidler (Aunt Sharon), Frances Ashman (Christine), Barnaby Edwards (Stone Dalek), William Pretsell (Dave), Halcro Johnston (Mr. Pond), Karen Westwood (Tabetha), Nicholas Briggs (Dalek voice)

Notes: Notes for this episode could spoil major elements of the story, so you’ll find the notes below.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Continue reading

The Doctor’s Wife

Doctor WhoA telepathic distress call-in-a-box – a technology used only by the Time Lords – tracks down the Doctor’s TARDIS in deep space. Eager to find out if the sender of the distress call is still alive, the Doctor follows the call to its point of origin: an asteroid that exists outside the boundaries of the universe in its own “bubble universe”. But upon making the trip, the TARDIS’ energy – and, according to the Doctor, its soul – is drained, leaving the ship immobile. A very strange couple of humanoids, with a green-eyed Ood servant they refer to as “Nephew”, occupy the living asteroid, while a woman named Idris exhibits wildly unusual behavior near the Doctor. The Doctor sends Amy and Rory back to the TARDIS for their own safety, and soon enough discovers that he’s walked into a trap: the couple inhabiting the asteroid have several Time Lord distress call boxes stowed away, which they’ve used to lure many Gallifreyans to their deaths. The Doctor also finds that Idris’ body is inhabited by another life form: his own TARDIS. The mind of the living asteroid is taking her place as the controlling force in his TARDIS, while the timeship’s actual living essence is trapped in a human body never meant to hold it. Now his companions are trapped in the TARDIS with a malevolent entity, and time is running out to return the TARDIS’ own energy to it.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Neil Gaiman
directed by Richard Clark
music by Murray Gold

Guest Cast: Suranne Jones (Idris), Michael Sheen (voice of House), Paul Kasey (Nephew), Adrian Schiller (Uncle), Elizabeth Berrington (Auntie)

The TARDISNotes: The Time Lord telepathic distress call boxes haven’t been seen since the Doctor himself summoned the Time Lords with one in 1969’s The War Games. This is the first new series episode to show areas of the TARDIS other than the console room or the wardrobe glimpsed in The Christmas Invasion. The “junk TARDIS” console, like the Abzorbaloff before it, was designed by a young Blue Peter competition winner. The Doctor’s Wife was a title that the late producer John Nathan-Turner kept poster on a bulletin board in the Doctor Who production office in the 1980s, credited to writer Robert Holmes. There was never any such story in the planning: it was a ploy to try to discover the identity of a mole in the production office who was leaking advance information to fanzines. The Doctor’s Wife won the Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form, Hugo Award in 2012, beating out two other episodes from this season (The Girl Who Waited and A Good Man Goes To War).

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Continue reading

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