“The Orville” Season 1 – A Show That Draws Inspiration From the Best Aspects of “Star Trek”

    “The Orville” is a show that only exists because of how much of a fan Seth MacFarlane is of “Star Trek” and Fox knowing just how great the cultural impact of “Star Trek” has been that a show that pulls full inspiration from it (while having it’s own tone and lore) and not get sued. What do I think of the show? I think the humor doesn’t always work but I love the drama and the characters. Seth MacFarlane put a lot of love into this show and it was perfectly cast in regards to the characters and their roles…and I can’t wait to see where the show is taken next.

The story involves Ed Mercer being given the chance to Captain the Planetary Union ship known as the U.S.S. Orville. He soon learns his ex-wife Commander Kelly Grayson will be his First Officer as they must sort out their issues as the new crew faces the drama of one another and the wider Universe the Planetary Union inhabits in the 25th Century. 

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros: The Universe – The Universe is a lot like “Star Trek” but a bit similar to our reality in that rather than the vague spirituality of Trek, everyone in the future is an atheist if they are part of the Planetary Union or any future person. There are countless aliens, most are humanoid (like “Star Trek”) but the Union is strong but not the strongest. The highly religious and zealotesque Krill are and they are a fantastic enemy in the episodes they come up in. Most of the episodes are solving dilemmas though, whether it is finding ancient ships and a civ. on board, interacting with a bronze age people that advances rapidly, or passing into 2D space. Like “Star Trek” this is a universe rich with possibilities.

The Crew of “The Orville” – The crew is overall amazing. I’m giving certain characters special treatment though, because they stood out to me and will mention some other notable things in this summary. The characters are complicated, you have Doctor Claire Finn who is woman who chose single motherhood because she wanted to be a mom and could have kids without needs a spouse or partner, you have Lt. Commander LaMarr who hid his intelligence because in the colony he came from it was looked down upon, but in turn becomes the Chief Engineer on the ship, you have Bortus who fights for the right of his child to choose his own gender in a species that has only males and a few others who I will go into deeper into the review of the show. The least notable is Lt. Gordon Malloy who is comedic and good at being a pilot and that is the extent. He isn’t complicated.

Alara – Alara is one of my favorite characters. She is the security officer on the ship and comes from a planet where her gravity is heavier so her species is stronger than most. We learn they also as a culture look down on military and similar professions as they see it as below their intellect. She went against her parents to join the Planetary Alliance and because of it holds herself to an impossible standard, and we see it when in an episode she faces her worst fears and the worst fears of her crew members and succeeds. It is a powerful episode and reaffirmed why she is one of my favorite characters on the show.

Isaac – Isaac is from a race of artificial non-biological beings who believe themselves to be the most superior life forms in the galaxy. Isaac joined in order to learn about humankind, and is our Data stand in. His arc is him learning how to care for humans and organics beyond just studying them and it is handled really well. I can’t wait to see where his arc goes.

Captain Mercer and Commander Grayson – The main arc that drives the story is the relationship between Captain Mercer and Commander Grayson. They are divorced after Grayson cheated on Mercer with a blue alien. We later learn the alien can make anyone fall in love with him when it is going through mating and that might have been what happened. There are a few false starts and with each friendship grows between them but Grayson cuts it off in the finale when she realizes that their love is causing Mercer to do things he wouldn’t have usually done as a Captain that put him and others at risk so they cut it off. It is touching and the arc is fun.

The Secular Future – The future is won by science and I loved it. This is a future where humanity has myths still but they mostly come from television shows and past knowledge, as far as we know there isn’t supernatural and there is no religion to speak of beyond the Krill or less advanced species and it usually comes up as a problem. Seth MacFarlane wrote this and it shows, and for what its worth as a secular agnostic humanist, I enjoyed this future greatly. Like “Star Trek” it showed a world not defined by religion but by even deeper ideas of self.

Exploring Dilemmas – One of the great things about “Star Trek” that “The Orville” does well is the exploration of moral dilemmas. Be they dilemmas of culture and technology (justice by “likes” and “dislikes”) the agency of a person within in a nation in regards to their family (an all male species forcing a newborn born female to be turned male and her choice being taken away, and this species if a major player in the Planetary Union) why there are rules for first contact (Kelly sets off a religion on a planet that exists orbiting through universes when she heals a little girl with her technology)  and countless other dilemmas where crew-members have to make choices where there isn’t always a clear answer.

Okay: The Humor – The humor is good at times but falls short on others when it has characters like Lt. Gordon going on away missions, when all he does is jokes, or Lt. LaMarr grinding on a statue on an alien society and no one on the crew being briefed on how the culture they were down studying worked as they searched for scientists who had gone missing…The humor made these stories that were largely solidly written otherwise, to go down in quality. Cheap laughs are not the way to go. When the show nails it, it is amazing, but it wasn’t consistent.

The Series Arc / The Episodic Nature of the Show – The show is largely episodic with the only consistent arc being Ed and Kelly working through what their relationship is now. I would have preferred more of an arc with the Krill, they do still a giant Krill warship in the last episode the Krill are in but it doesn’t go anywhere after that. That was missed potential that made the show not really get the great exit it deserved, since it really did have a great entrance. Solidly good show, but not great.

This is a show that if you are a fan of sci. fi., “Star Trek” or Seth MacFarlane, you will probably enjoy. This is easily the best thing he’s ever done by miles and I’m glad the show was renewed for another season. Where he chooses to take the show remains to be seen, as it could remain like TNG and TOS and largely remain episodic with some powerful episodes along the way, or it could go the way of DS9 and later ENT and give us some powerful arcs that payoff on a personal and galactic scale. I’m all for finding a good medium inbetween as well, arc episodes and bottle episodes together. As someone whose missed “Star Trek” since it went off the air and all we had were movies, this and “Discovery” made this Trekkie happy. If you like “Star Trek,” you should at least give this show a chance.

Final Score: 8.5 / 10. Humor often time hurt the drama and lack of an overall arc kept the season from greatness.

 

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Top 5 Films of 2016

rogue-one

       This was an amazing year for film! An animation was at it’s best with even sequels being good like “Kung Fu Panda 3,” and “Finding Dory.” Action films were great in films like “The Nice Guys,” “Doctor Strange,” “Star Trek Beyond” and “Rogue One.” We had an amazing western in “Hell or High Water” and the Coen Brothers’ “Hail, Caesar!” and a fantastic high concept Sci. Fi. film in “Arrival.”  These are my honorable mentions by the way, that I highly recommend you go check out.

     Of course we also had duds which I’ll give a dishonorable mention to here as well. The bloated crap of “Batman v. Superman,” the unfocused mess of “X-Men Apocalypse” the hack jobs of “The Jungle Book” and “The Secret Life of Pets” and even the boring “Warcraft” film which I really wanted to like. Beyond this there were a few that were decent that didn’t make the dishonorable list or honorable mention and sure as hell would not make my Top 5.

  So without further ado, here are my Top 5:

Captain America Civil War

5) Captain America: Civil War

Director Joe and Anthony Russo

      This position was really a toss up between 2 other films. “Moana” and “Zootopia” were vying for this place as I enjoyed both of those greatly and loved the larger points they made in their narratives. What kept them from getting this spot was too much Shakira in “Zootopia” which took me out of the film and the fact that “Civil War” took more risks while “Moana” played it safe and did the Standard Disney Hero Arc. In “Civil War” there was no hero arc and what we see is how the debate between security and freedom isn’t a simple one, especially in a world full of Gods and vigilantes. I wish it had grappled more with the question but it did not let the question take away from the core drama. This is the second year of my doing this that the MCU has had a film make the list with 2014 being the year “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Winter Soldier” were in my Top 5. This studio clearly has the art down and even has me excited for the overly rebooted Spider-Man because of how human and awkward they make him in this film. I enjoyed this film more than “The Avengers” and that is a favorite film, so folks I seriously recommend this film and can’t wait to see where they take the Franchise, though I wish this film had truly grappled with death and loss rather than the drama of the philosophical war of ideology, and that kept it from being higher on the list.

9.7 / 10

https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2016/05/09/captain-america-civil-war-2016-amazing-characters-in-a-story-that-explores-war-and-responsibility/

Deadpool poster

4) Deadpool

Director Tim Miller

   “Deadpool” is an amazing satire and deconstruction of the entire Super Hero genre as a whole and it does it with a limited budget and cast…This was a film the studio was expecting to fail but now it has changed the Super Hero paradigm. From making Rated R Super Hero films a thing again and making raunchy humor okay. I laughed so much during this film. This was the best comedy I saw all year and the only real cons that keep it from being perfect is the fact that it does look cheap at times and the villain was only okay. Deadpool really needed a good foil to work off of. If you haven’t seen this film and you like a great comedy or want to see the beloved super hero film torn apart (as a fan of the Super film I loved it) you should see this. The comedy starts with the opening credits and never stops and manages to have a good emotional core that drives it all.

Final Score: 9.8 / 10

https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/deadpool-2016-a-hilarious-satire-of-super-hero-films-and-a-brilliant-action-film-romance-and-comedy/

moonlight-poster

3) Moonlight

Director Barry Jenkins

    This was a powerful film written and directed by Barry Jenkins that tells a story of a young African-American boy growing up and wrestling with and coming to peace with his sexuality in a world everyone around him is hurting or hurting others. It is in this story of trauma that he is shaped as we see him as a boy, a teenager and finally a man and how different major events shape him as he seeks peace in the turmoil of everything around him. The only reason this film didn’t get Number 2 or Number 1 is because some characters drop out and are never brought up again and I felt that the ending did go on a bit long and could have all happened in one location. Besides that this is easily one of the best films of the year.

Final Score: 9.8 / 10

https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2016/12/07/moonlight-2016-a-beautiful-exploration-of-sexuality-trauma-and-healing/

everybody-wants-some

2) Everybody Wants Some!!

Director Richard Linklater

    “Everybody Wants Some!!” is a film I expected to hate when I saw the preview. A bunch of college kids who party and want to get laid…why on Earth would I want to watch that? Suffice to say this a film that is so much more than that. This is a film that reveals the complexity of people as individuals, in groups and wrestling the big questions like finding one’s purpose. I loved this film and found it to be perfect. It was a deep film that managed to still have fun and the basic premise of college kids wanting to get laid before college is still there but there is so much more going on and the reasons behind all of it get explored too. This film gave us a great ensemble cast and captured so much of the complexity of what makes humanity fascinating.

Final Score: 10 / 10

https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2016/10/31/everybody-wants-some-2016-a-beautiful-exploration-of-groups-sexuality-and-purpose/

Kubo and the Two Strings

1) Kubo and the Two Strings

Director Travis Knight

This is the first year since I started my Top 5 Films of the Year that an animated film has made the Number 1 stop. “Inside Out” made Number 2 last year but was beat out by “Fury Road” but here “Kubo” beat “Everybody Wants Some!!” and there are a few reasons why. Kubo is a film that not only deals with growing up but it deals with trauma, loss and forgiveness better than any film I saw this year. This is a story ripe with mythology and Laika’s animation captures it beautifully as we see Kubo’s hero’s journey as his relationship is explored with his parents, aunts and Grandfather. I was in this film all the way and as great as the other films were the ending of this film hits the hardest. The film is haunting, inspiring, funny and creative and at the core it explore that when you leave on an adventure you come back changed, and sometimes you lose people along the way. This core simple message solidified this film as the best film of 2016 for me.

Final Score: 10 / 10

https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2016/09/04/kubo-and-the-two-strings-2016-a-masterpiece-of-animation-with-an-unforgettable-story/

“Wayward Pines” Season 1 – A Classic Dystopian Exploration of Humanity With Great Characters

Wayward-Pines-Season-1

    “Wayward Pines” is a fantastic show, and I’m grateful it got renewed. This is a show that is hard to get into without spoiling sine the premise is a mystery so I’ll give you a selling point by a comparison. This show is like “X-Files” meets an episode of “Black Mirror” or “The Twilight Zone.” It really is brilliant. If the show had lesser writers or actors this concept could have fallen apart, but it stayed strong and in that it sold the premise, so in that I highly recommend it.

    The show was produced by M. Night Shyamalan (At this point this maybe the only thing he should be doing, rather than writing and directing), developed for Fox by Chad Hodge and is based on the novels of the same name by Blake Crouch.

SPOILERS ahead

     The story involves Agent Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon) seeking out his ex lover and partner Kate Hewson (Carla Gugino) who has gone missing in Idaho. After investigating he crashes and wakes up in the mysterious of Wayward Pines, ID where everyone is trapped inside and must seek out of the truth of the town.

The Pros: The Premise – The premise works really great as a town that feels off and is full of secrets is such a fun concept to explore. You can do so many things with this sci. fi. concept that you can do so much with as any action taken in the town will affect everyone.

The World – The world is really cool! The world of Wayward Pines takes place far into the future after humanity has been destroyed leading to David Pilcher to wake everyone up to make his ideallic paradise of his chosen in the town of Wayward Pines…the only city that has humanity in a world overrun by Abby (Aberrations, evolved human mutants who only kill and hunt). It is a fascinating world and you can see how it shapes the people in it.

Wayward Pines – The town is Pilcher’s paradise that he is willing to destroy if it won’t let him control it. We see this in the executions for lawbreakers, the fact that there was another Group before who Pilcher may have destroyed (or who might have destroyed themselves). It is really cool as you have a small group that is living Pilcher’s experiment.

The Characters – The characters are the strongest part and what really drive the story. I cared about what happened to them and that is what kept me in the story outside of the unique concept.

Arlene Moran – Moran is the receptionist at the police station and shows how courageous she is on multiple occasions. She is also the nosy member of the town and very loyal, giving her an interesting dynamic to everyone else. I really liked her character.

Harold Ballinger – Ballinger is Burke’s husband and is a stand up guy. We see he’s been fighting David as part of the resistance but is willing to see the truth to what is outside the town, though in the end he doesn’t live as the Pilcher mentality is instilled in the First Generation and a few of them kill him when Ethan Burke is holding them in the prison.

Arnold Pope – Terrance Howard plays a character who manages to be both threatening and empathic as we see he was someone who was a straight A student but was stuck as security guard until David Pilcher offered him an out. He became powerful as the sheriff of Wayward Pines and his loss of control with the arrival of Ethan Burke turns him into an even bigger tyrant as we see him full of regret as he kidnaps people that David Pilcher wanted to live at the end of the world in Wayward Pines. He is killed by Abbys when he tries to stop the Burkes.

Megan Fisher – Fisher is a hypnotherapist who is a true believer in David Pilcher, and in the end she wins. The First Generation survives and she manages to nearly wipe out all those in the generation who rebelled when she lets the Abbys in. She is someone whose perspective you can get (means justify the end) and her way of acting with manipulative empathy makes her compelling. Hope Davis did a great job.

Theresa Burke – Theresa like Ethan is on the path to find the truth and in the end sees that there can only be peace if they hold together. It is when Pam Pilcher reaches out to her that she discovers the truth and she takes it pretty well finding it on her own versus her thinking the town got to Ethan when he first tells her what happened. I liked her character.

Kate Hewson – Kate is Ethan’s ex-partner and former lover and is a great character who we see leading the rebelling against David Pilcher. This gives her power at the end as when she sees the truth she stands with the town together against annihilation. She stays empathetic throughout it and that seeing that her lack of information had made her so driven and willing to kill to free the town or escape. Garla Gugino is good in this role.

Ethan Burke – Matt Dillon is the agent who drives the story as he manages to stop the Sheriff from killing him and his family (and becomes Sheriff in the process), survives for a long time outside the town and discovers that the world is dead, and stops the rebellion and brokers a peace leading to David Pilcher’s attempt to destroy Group B. In the end he dies for the town, completing his arc as the man who didn’t want to be there in the first place.

Pam Pilcher – Pam is shown to be the villain at the beginning as she is the one calling for the killings for those who disobey and is always threatening Ethan. It isn’t until she sees how over the top her brother is getting that she allies with the Burkes and gets the town the truth. In the end she pays the price too as she has to kill David to stop him.

David Pilcher – Toby Jones is amazing! In this he plays the creator of Wayward Pines and we see how in the end was right about humanity and the fact that humanity would kill itself off. This makes him compelling as you see a man who generally cares about his group if only for his ego and it is only when his paranoia wins out with loss of control that he goes full villain. What a fantastic character.

The Nature of Humanity – The nature of humanity is a core part of the show. In it shows how too much information can cause people to destroy themselves (Group A) but also the danger of fascism and group think in the executions and David Pilcher willingness to execute Group B.

The Ending – The ending is really cool! There is the final fight against the Abbys while getting the survivors of Wayward Pines to safety while dealing with the threat of David Pilcher. At this point his sister Pam has turned against David, so it is great seeing her finally make the choice to shoot him as well as Ethan’s final sacrifice for his family.

Okay: The First Generation – The First Generation is the group of kids Megan Fisher their teacher is indoctrinating to follow the ideals of David Pilcher…they are his brown coat fascists…which makes them interesting but none of them have any depth, not even the Burke’s son. He’s okay but he is just there to show openness to accepting the ideas of David Pilcher and to later carry on his Parents’ ideas next season.

  The only real cons are the child actors, but they aren’t bad…I just didn’t care about them all that much. The adult actors added so much more empathy to their roles and their history to Earth’s past made their present situation in the future all the more powerful. The Ending is powerful too as David Pilcher is a hero even though he tried to kill everyone, and David Burke is hung in effigy even though he saved the town. It was powerful in that it showed no matter how much work human’s need for authority still stayed and the hero worship David Pilcher had instilled lived on. I can’t wait to see Season 2 to see the forms of resistance in the new Wayward Pines.

Final Score: 9.6 / 10

Zootopia (2016): A Masterpiece Exploring Prejudice and Communities

Zootopia Poster

   “Disney Animated Stuios” is pretty much the new Pixar in regards to quality animated storytelling. “Pixar” is now where old Disney used to be as they are releasing tons of sequels and it isn’t ‘garutneed they’ll make a hit (unlike “Disney Studios”). Seriously, “Big Hero 6,” “Frozen,” “Wreck-it-Ralph.” These are films this studio has put out and now “Zootopia” is up there among them as one of the best animated films I have ever watched. Much like those this film is intelligent with characters, comedy and themes and gives us a lived in world without a powerful story we can relate to our own world and ourselves. Before I get further and into spoiler territory, go see this film.

    “Zootopia” was directed by Byron Howard and Rich Moore while being written by Jared Bush and Phil Johnston and was produced by Clark Spencer.

SPOILERS ahead

    The story involves Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) moving to Zootopia to become a cop and finding out that the ideal world of animals that were once Predators and Prey isn’t the peaceful utopia she believed it to be. Together she must work with a hustler named Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) to solve the case on why certain predators are going feral and help save the city.

The Pros: The World – The world is awesome! It has a bunch of anthropomorphic animals and unlike a lot of “Dreamworks” films they don’t exist as jokes. There are fully fleshed out cultures and societies (of the the carnivore and herbivore variety) made to reflect our own, rather than satire pop culture…but that is the quality I’ve come to expect from Disney Studios.

The Animation – The animation is beautiful as Zootopia is split into different regions…from the Metropolis at the center, desert, rain forest, etc. It all flows together beautifully and I love how they show when animals go feral with the red eyes.

The Characters – The characters are the strongest part of the film as their histories are what inform the film, especially between Hopps and Wilde, who really carry the film. This is a film that is honest about it’s characters and in turn honest about our own basic humanity, with all of the pros and cons that come with it.

Mr. Big – Mr. Big is the gang lord of the Arctic region. He is an Arctic shrew who is pretty amazing as he helps our heroes once he learns that Hopps saved his daughter and in turn he makes her family and forgives Wilde for conning him.

Chief Bogo – Idris Elba is awesome in this! He plays a giant Water Buffalo who is the police chief of Zootopia. He has his own issues to work through as he doesn’t take Hopps seriously until Wilde calls him out for his prejudice against smaller animals and his belief they can’t be cops. He grows a lot and becomes of the few characters who remains a hero throughout the film.

Nick Wilde – Jason Bateman is fantastic as Nick, who is a tragic figure who had gotten beaten up by some herbivores as a kid because he was a carnivore, as they beat him up and muzzled him. From this we get why he doesn’t trust people and why he lives the sly fox stereotype. His friendship with Hopps is awesome as he helps her grow and she helps him grow as he becomes someone serious and stops conning others.

Judy Hopps – Hopps was beat up by a fox when she was little and her family hates foxes due to their experience in the countryside. That all changes when she goes to the city and befriends Nick. It is from there that she has to face herself when she helps the Assistant Mayor target predators when she blames their going feral on their DNA. From here there is one of the most touching scenes when she apologizes to Nick for all she’s done and they go to takeout the Assistant Mayor.

Prejudice and Communities – The main prejudices explored here are those based on body (Hopps ignored by the Police Chief and force) and carnivore vs. herbivore as the herbivores fear the Predators and vice versa due to times fear and hatred have been acted upon characters. We see this in how the Assistant Mayor uses the fear to limit predator opportunities and making Hopps a hero. It is when Nick and Judy get past their prejudices and Chief Bogo does too that they are able to take out the Assistant Mayor and her sheep who want revenge for being used and oppressed and wants to end the existent of carnivores.

The Cons: The Mayor and Assistant Mayor – I felt that these two were never fully explored. The Mayor was just someone taking advantage of the media to be better liked while the Assistant Mayor preyed on fear. There was so much more that could have been done with all of them. The mayor being a bully didn’t seem like a logical reason to target all carnivores.

Too Much Shakira – She is in this as Gazelle and she is everywhere. Seriously, at times this film feels like a Shakira commercial. I hated it as this city should listen to more people both in the news and music. This was the one thing that really took me out of the film.

  This was an amazing movie even if the Mayor and Assistant Mayor didn’t feel fully developed as characters, and there was way too much Shakira (and I like Shakira) as at times it felt like one giant music video selling her, especially at the end. These cons are overwhelmed by the positive though as the world is amazing and the core characters all go through character arcs that humanizes them and gives them depth. There is a lot to like about this film and I would not be surprised if it ends up making my Top 5 Films this year.

Final Score: 9.6 / 10

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – Upcoming Reviews

Sarah Connor Chronicles poster

  After watching “Terminator Genisys” my completionist side is coming out. I really want to finish up all the “Terminator Franchise” properties that are television or film so that I can rate them from Worst to Best. Also I really like Lena Headey and Summer Glau and seeing them in action out of their respected “Firefly” and “Game of Thrones” shows will be fun to review. After this I will also be able to do a rating of the different Sarah Connors, John Connors and Kyle Reeses and Antagonists of the Franchise so here is to that after that.

     I know full well that this series confuses the Franchise of the movie, but for all intents purposes “Terminator 3” did that with having Sarah Connor born in the 50s and “Genisys” did that will I guess opening up different timelines and having Skynet be defeated but not defeated? Essentially this series is confusing and doesn’t have much coherence as an overall whole so we’re just going to run with it and make it about the characters.

     The series aired on Fox, was created by Josh Friedman and was produced by 20th Century Fox and Warner Brothers Television.

    The story takes place between films as Sarah Connor (Lena Headey) trains John Connor (Thomas Dekker) for the coming Judgement Day while getting help from a Terminator Cameron (Summer Glau) sent back in the past to protect her and John from the Terminator’s already in the Timeline bent on destroying them.

     It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a Drama show episode by Episode with the last one being “Carnival” so it will be great to get back into that while doing the animated shows and movies on the side to balance it out.

Here is to the next story adventure.

Gargoyles – Season 1, Episode 12 – “Her Brother’s Keeper” – The Importance of Family

Gargoyles Her Brother's Keeper

“Gargoyles” season 1 was pretty short. Episode 12 is the penultimate episode of the season and is a good episode, but at the same time doesn’t have the high stakes that usually come with an episode like this. It does have a good theme though, that I’ll cover in the review.

“Her Brother’s Keeper” was written by Michael Reaves and directed by Takamitsu Kawamura and Kazuo Terada.

The story involves Elise and her relationship to her brother Derek as Derek decides to work for Xanatos after Xanatos saves his life during a robbery by Jackal and Hyena (the siblings in the pack) during this time too the new location is causing tension between the younger members of Clan Manhattan (Brooklyn, Broadway and Lexington) and these factors all come into play at the story unfolds.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Elisa Maza – She drives the story and she does it easily. She is concerned for her brother and is looking out for him, though in this episode she learns to let him make his own choices too, which is a good lesson any family can learn.

Derek Maza – You get why he wants to leave the police force as it is wholly defined by his family and Xanatos sets up a situation where he is a hero. Who wouldn’t fall for Xanatos? You also see that Xanatos treats him well on the job and challenges him to better himself.

Lexington, Broadway and Brooklyn – We see them fight like siblings, first over a video game flight simulator and later over trying to catch Jackal and Hyena. Broadway manages to fix up the Pack’s helicopter and make it theirs which comes in handy in the final fight against Hyena and Jackal and it ends with the brothers making up.

Hyena and Jackal – The two are siblings with Jackal being the calmer of the too and Hyena as the savage adrenaline junky wanting to kill. They are driven by the need to be powerful to some degree as Xanatos is mocked by them for his wealth and they latch onto the need for revenge for being stopped in stealing the jewel immediately. They are good antagonists in this and we see that their sibling relationship balances them out.

Fox – Knows the pack is working for Xanatos and admires him greatly. She lets Elisa Maza know about the set-up because she knows how untouchable Xanatos is and that Elisa is far out gunned. You see why she was Wolf’s second in command as she is good at seeing the big picture.

Xanatos – Xanatos get’s one of the Mazas as a bodyguard through his adept manipulations and manages to test Hyena and Jackal as dependable or not against the Gargoyles. He wins this entire episode once again showing why he is the best villain in this series when it comes to planning and traps and having them payoff to his advantage. Xanatos doesn’t lose.

Okay: Goliath – He’s just there telling Elisa that she needs to tell Derek the entire truth about them and in the final fight in the copter. He is just kind of there, but not used negatively at least. He is the one who tells them to value each other too as he lost all of his family when the Wyvern Clan was destroyed.

This episode does a lot and manages to accomplish a lot of it at least. Derek knows about the gargoyles, him and Elisa resolve their differences and the young members of the Manhattan Clan do the same. It’s a good episode on the importance of family and more on how Xanatos rocks as an enemy.

Final Score: 8.8 / 10. Really good.

Gargoyles – Season 1, Episode 6 – “The Thrill of the Hunt” – The Arrival of The Pack and Lexington Learns

Gargoyles Thrill of the Hunt

 

“The Thrill of the Hunt” is the 6th episode of the first season and was written by Michael Reaves and directed by Kazuo Terada. The story is a character centered episode with the main focus on Lexington.

The premise is “The Pack” is a television show that the gargoyles love because The Pack: Dingo, Jackal, Wolf, Fox and Hyena fight evil ninjas with honor. Lexington sees them as potential allies not realizing that all they want is a good hunt and see the gargoyles as prey after a mysterious benefactor sends them a package with the gargoyles’ pictures. From here the story unfolds.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Lexington – This is his episode and he owns it. He is the youngest of the gargoyles and him being outside of his time period makes it so he and the gargoyles believe what they see on tv as true, even if it is just a tv show. He introduces himself to the Pack and Fox manipulates him into bringing Goliath so they can start a hunt. After the incident he is hating himself for trusting people but Goliath says he is right and that they do need allies and to not be alone. It is a great episode for Lexington.

Goliath – Goliath is the one who thinks Detective Maza is enough, until Lexington makes him realize just how alone they are. His arc is understanding the idealism and practicalness of Lexington’s dream which informs his later actions. He also learns Xanatos will be getting out of prison soon so is pretty peeved.

Owen – is the main manipulator for Xanatos, as he has the pack playing on tv all the time so the Gargoyles will seek them out and be tested in their strength and on the dependability of the Pack.

The Pack – They have a great dynamic…Wolf and Fox are the leaders and Wolf is the one who loves fighting and hunting, Fox is the manipulator and his second in command, Jackal and Hyena are the rogues who revel in causing pain and Dingo is the tank who has an exploding boomerang as a weapon. They have an interesting dynamic as a group.

Xanatos – This guy is fantastic, this was another gambit to find out Goliath’s strength and to test the pack. He sees the loss as a gain that all went according to plan, once again showing why the Xanatos Gambit is such an amazing trope. Love this villain.

Okay: The Pack – Listing them here again because Jackal and Hyena are interchangeable and we don’t know why Wolf loves to hunt and fight. Would have loved to get more motivation behind them. Not a con, but also putting them in okay because they weren’t the perfect baddies like Xanatos.

I definitely recommend this episode. Not as good as the pilot, but a great character episode as it explores Lexington’s idealism and has Goliath grow as a character too. It is also a great glimpse into Xanatos never loses, everything is another trial in which he learns and grows.

Final Score of this episode is 9 / 10. Solidly great.