Tag Archives: Time Travel Shows

The 12th Doctor – Series 10, Episode 6 – “Extremis” – Hope in the World of Illusion

   “Extremis” is a great episode. It is easily up there with “Listen” and “Heaven Sent” for meditative explorations of who the Doctor is and what it means to be him, and it manages to pose bigger questions in regards to sentience too, which strengthens it further. Before I get into spoilers, this is a favorite that is well worth your time.

    The episode was directed by Daniel Nettheim and written by Steven Moffat, showing that when it comes to episodes that really should be individual bottle episodes, he can still do great.

   The story involves the Doctor (blind after last episode) is sent an email through his sonic glasses about the Vatican text “Veritas” a text that leads it’s readers to commit suicide. From here the Doctor works with Bill and Nardole to find out the mystery surrounding the text.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros: The Premise – The premise is very horror movie esque with the text that kills anyone who reads it and it quickly takes the richer turn where it questions reality. The episode begins with a jump down the rabbit hole and doesn’t stop until it is explored.

The Monks – The Monks are the main threat as they are the ones running the simulation that our characters (who are programs) exist in. They look like giant bats and seem to speak through their minds which is a great aesthetic. My only worry is that they’ll end up being as underwhelming as the Angels and Silents as both of them had really strong introductions but progressively had worse payoff down the line.

Whatever Happened to Missy – The episode begins with a flashback where we see Missy (the Master) being executed for her crimes. In the end she is saved by the Doctor who keeps her trapped for her time for her crimes as he knows she is still a threat. The scenes before he saves her are powerful as River sends Nardole to remind him of his goodness and Missy reminds him of their friendship as we learn that Missy is the one being held in the Vault.

The Nature of Reality and Sentience – Our characters exist in a simulation run by the Monks so that they can best learn how to conquer Earth. The programs are exist recreations of those on Earth and so are real and do exist, even though they are only programs. This is the core point of the Episode and exploring the horror of that knowledge.

What it Means to be the Doctor – The final reveal is the Doctor sending an email to himself through the psychic link in the glasses. This is great as it captures that the Doctor is the fighter and his point is resistance and defense of others and with that hope, even in death. This Program Doctor was amazing as in the end he became the Doctor. The Doctor is hope and in his last act of existence the program gave the Doctor and hope a chance.

Okay: The Vatican – The Vatican is okay, they are played for jokes a bit at the beginning but feel like another player in the threat of the unknown after we arrive at their Archive. I still think they could have been handled better though.

   This is an episode well worth your time that humanizes Nardole and Bill a lot (showing their flaws, courage) even though they and the Doctor are programs…at this point the programs are people showing just how powerful the threat of the Monks is as they have been killing sentient beings over and over again so that they can figure out how to best conquer Earth. I’m intrigued at where the story goes and if we will ever see the simulation our world in this episode exists in, come up again.

Final Score: 9.6 / 10. The Vatican bits can be hit or miss but the overall story is great.

The 12th Doctor – Series 10, Episode 5 – “Oxygen” – A Heavy Handed Enjoyable Space Thriller

   “Oxygen” is a flawed and amazing episode that is heavy handed with it’s message but is powerful in how it tells it’s story. This is one of my favorite episodes of the new series, even with all of the flaws. It changes things in a way that looks like it may last and we get to see more of the negative in humanity which we largely only got with the 9th and 10th Doctor. Suffice to say, before I get into spoilers…I recommend this episode.

  The episode was directed by Charles Palmer and directed by Jamie Mathieson.

   The story involves the Doctor, Bill and Nardole becoming trapped on a mining space station where they have limited oxygen and are being hunted by A.I. suits as they rush to save the survivors and themselves.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros: The Premise -The idea of a space station run off oxygen workers by is so wonderfully dsytopian I can’t help but appreciate it. It also gives tension and consequence immediately as the limited oxygen creates a ticking clock.

The Tension – The station expels all excess oxygen added to the station, which forces our heroes to get the suits where they only have a certain amount of breaths, on top of this the suits are controlling the dead who died from lack of oxygen and the survivors are fearful and angry. If any one of these goes over the edge, everything is over for our heroes.

The Miners – The miners are great, we get to see the politics and relationships between them and how they are survivors. They are the characters ready to do anything to get off the station which adds another level of tension to our main characters predicament.

The Doctor, Nardole and Bill – The dynamic between these 3 is wonderful. Nardole is the responsible worry wort holding the Doctor to his promise that he made Nardole make of keeping an eye of the Vault, Bill is the new adventurer who doesn’t have the Doctor’s recklessness the Doctor is the wizard, manipulating and planning his way through every situation even when it looks like he’s lost his mind and lost everything.

Consequences – The Doctor saves Bill but goes blind in the process from the vacuum of space. This is still true at the end of the episode and we see how powerless he feels as so much of what he does it tied to his ability to read what something by seeing it. I hope we have him this way for a while as even TARDIS tech could not heal his eyes.

Okay/Con – Execution of the Message – The message of the episode is that capitalism is bad and eventually people will be exploited for the very oxygen they breathe. I put this as okay because “Doctor Who” has always been a message show, the problem was this wasn’t done with enough “show” there was a good amount of “tell” even though we were witnessing the very premise and didn’t need to be told it. I won’t put it as a complete con but it was the weakest part of the episode.

  This is a flawed and amazing episode that is worth checking out. The tension is strong throughout the entire episode, Nardole and Bill clash with the Doctor while the Doctor has moments where even he loses hope. We also have minor characters we care about and perfect tension through the entire episode. This is an episode that I highly recommend. Can’t wait to see how the consequences of the Doctor’s blindness unfold.

Final Score: 9.4 / 10

The 12th Doctor – Series 10, Episode 4 – “Knock Knock” – Boring Side Characters in a Better Story

  “Knock Knock” is the worst episode this season thus far. We are given a whole bunch of side characters who give nothing to the film, a horror story that doesn’t really go anywhere and the Doctor as the biggest jerk he’s been thus far in Series 10. Before I go more in depth on these points, this episode isn’t worth your time and is skippable.

   The episode was directed by Bill Anderson and written by Mike Bartlett.

   The story involves Bill looking for a new place to live with a bunch of flatmates. When they meet the mysterious Landlord they sign the contract to live in an old castleesque house. All is not as it appears to be though as her flatmates begin disappearing and the Doctor arrives to help solve the mystery.

SPOILERS

The Pros: The Reveal – The reveal is that the Landlord is keeping his mom alive with the bugs who feed off the energy of people and help sustain her life. She is a part of the house and is wood. After she finds out the cost of her life she ends the life of herself and her son causing the house to collapse. This basic plot was interesting but it only felt real at the end…

The Landlord – The Landlord is creepy and David Suchet gives a lot of character to the role. He’s welcoming and threatening and he is easily the most compelling character in the episode. It’s a shame more wasn’t done with him.

Okay: The Doctor and Bill – The Doctor and Bill fight all the time. Bill is embarrassed of the Doctor since she wants to become friends with her flatmates and the Doctor isn’t listening to Bill because he wants adventure and to protect her. Neither was a pro this episode. The drama felt like drama for it’s own sake and not story.

The Cons: The Flatmates – I couldn’t tell you what any of them like. They aren’t really characters just plot contrivance and when all of them get taken by the house I found it hard to care. They distracted from the main story and there was no reason that we are given outside of Bill to care about any of them.

The Writing – The writing is cliche and atrocious. The Doctor tries to act all cool, Bill acts jealous and the kids don’t really function as characters just ideas of characters…so the tension is gone in the entire piece in what could have been a great horror episode.

   This is the worst episode of the series so far and I must emphasize again that it is skippable. You’ll get more time with the Doctor and the Vault later or just watch the Vault scenes on youtube. The story is a slog and even great characters like Bill and the Doctor cease to be interesting…The reveal and the Landlord are not reason enough to see this episode.

Final Score: 4  / 10

“DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” Season 2 – A Jumbled But Decent Season That Explores Letting Go and Grief

    “Legends of Tomorrow” is an interesting show to write about. This is a show that tries to do a lot and is dealing with an ensemble cast (both Legends and Villains this time) so because of that some characters don’t get the exploration they deserve or are as powerful as they could be. I still enjoyed this season and watched it all the way through, but it is debatable whether it’s quality beats Season 1 as Season 1 was so much more focused and had an overarching narrative that didn’t get distracted as much as this season did. If you like the CW DC Cinematic Universe you will probably enjoy this season though.

    The story involves the Legends working to stop the Legion of Doom, lead by Thawne (Reverse-Flash) from getting the Spear of Destiny, which can rewrite time and reality itself. They find allies in the Justice Society of America as people from their past are manipulated by the Legion and Reverse-Flash’s plans unfold.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros: The World – I really enjoy the universe of “Legends of Tomorrow.” This is a time travel show that has so much fun with the concept, with this time us visiting the Apollo mission, World War 1 and Cold War as some of the stand out episodes. This season really had a lot of fun with the premise.

The Legends – The Legends receive more development this season, to varying degrees of success, that I’ll get into later. I enjoyed them all though, even with the writing for all not always being good.

Stein – Stein changes the past in this! When he changes how he gets together with his wife they end up having a child together, which he didn’t in the other timeline. She becomes one of the allies of the Legends and we also learn that Stein knows that due to how old he is, he won’t be around as long. I suspect he will be the next to die among the Legends.

Jefferson – Jefferson goes through a lot of great development and comes the closest to being second-in-command as he is the one who outsmarts evil rip and is closest to Gideon after Rip’s departure. I’m looking forward to seeing how his leadership role further develops.

Rip Hunter – Rip is sadly missing through most of this season. When he does show up he’s wiped his memory to keep people from finding the Spear of Destiny but the Legends find his memories and the Legion of Doom gets a hold of them and makes him evil for a while until Gideon and the Legends restore him. They really should have done more with him, more Darvill is better.

Vixen – Vixen ends up joining the Legends when she sneaks onto their ship after a time traveler kills one of the Justice Society of America (who she is a part of). I really liked her character, she has a cool ability where she takes on different animal powers and her being the woman out of time gives her a great perspective in episodes.

Steel – Steel is the Time Detective who works with Rory to find the other members of the Legends when they are scattered through time at the outset of the Season. His arc is resolving things with his family and standing up for himself. He annoyed me a lot at first, but grew on me. I like that he is among the Legends.

Snart / Captain Cold – The Legion of Doom takes Snart out of the past and uses him against the Legends. He kills Vixen (she is brought back when Doomworld is rewritten) and helps Thawne win everything. He is evil through and through but Rory lets him know that he will change and that it is Snart’s action that turn Rory into a good man.

Rory – Rory has the loyalty arc again as he joins Snart when the Legion recruits Snart. This leads to Thawne and the Legion winning as they capture the Spear and create “Doomworld” a world where the Legends serve the Legion. Rory helps the Legends remember who they were and stops the Legion. His arc wasn’t needed and I wish he could have taken more of a Leadership role that Jefferson and Sarah take up…he is an underutilized character at this point, at least in regards to writing. His arc that is done well is when he has to let go of Snart and accept that he is dead.

Sarah Lance – Sarah Lance is made Captain by Rip when he leaves and her arc is accepting that role as well as giving up revenge against Dark and letting go of her sister and moving on. This arc is handled well, and her leadership grew on me. The only downside was Dark kept popping up so it was mercy again and again. It took away from her arc when it was done and showed initially the writers might not have known what to do with her role.

Thawne / Reverse-Flash – I really like Thawne / Reverse-Flash. He is a smart and ambitious character who actually wins for a while! Sadly Black Flash wipes him out of time again, but he will come back I hope. Flashpoint in “Flash” brought him back and I hope we will see it again. He is one of the best villains in the CW DC Cinematic Universe and in this he is humanized a lot, while still remaining a villain. I loved his conversations with Captain Atom and other members of the Legends…

The Crossover Event – The Legends, The Flash, Arrow and Supergirl all teamed up fighting the Dominators! This was an amazing event and I wanted more of it. This was the closest we have to a CW DC Justice League and I cared about all the characters, and felt the alien threat was great. Here is to more events like this.

Grief and Letting Go – The major theme this season was letting go and moving through grief. Rory and Sarah’s arcs were only completed after they said good-bye to those they loved and accepted how that person had changed them. This was powerful but felt weaker because Rip did this last Season with his wife and kid…It was still one of the better parts of the season though.

Okay: The Ending – The ending is alright. I enjoyed Rory saying good by to Snart and Sarah saying good by the Laurel but wasn’t a fan of Rip going off an adventure again and though the breaking time is intriguing (maybe Thawne will be back!) and I liked that Vixen and Steel are the new members of the Legends…it still felt unfinished and that it was more concerned with setting up Season 3 than having a final Season 2.

The Cons: Dark – Dark is also from “Arrow” and also a waste. Seriously the “Arrow” villains are just the most boring characters in the CW DC Cinematic Universe. He is smarmy and smug and loses every fight he gets into. It takes the Reverse-Flash rewriting reality to give him his only real win. If the Legion even comes back I hope he and Merlyn aren’t a part of it.

Merlyn – Merlyn is back from “Arrow” and doesn’t really do much. He loses every fight he gets into and his whole wanting his wife and son back is never explored. He really wasn’t needed for the Legion of Doom.

The Justice Society of America – These guys show up in World War 2 and hide parts of the Spear of Destiny throughout time with Rip Hunter. They are extremely underdeveloped though and I never got attached. They really should have been core to the season, as besides Vixen, none of them are needed for the plot at all. They aren’t the answer to the Legion of Doom and they seem to only exist this season because they exist in the DC universe.

   This season was stronger in many ways, but weaker in others. I felt Dark and Merlyn never went anywhere as villains. I also felt the Justice Society could have been explored more. Besides Vixen I didn’t feel like I really got to know any of them. They played a big role in separating the Spear but outside of that they weren’t needed for the story at all. I enjoyed Sarah letting go of her sister and Rory having to let go of Snart, the good-byes were the best part of the finale…and I’m hoping Thawne comes back, given he’s been erased from reality twice now…Thawne is one of the best villains to come out of the CW DC Cinematic Universe and he’s been the best antagonist the Flash has, so I really hope we haven’t seen the last of him. For overall thoughts, this is a good season that kept me interested in seeing where the story goes from here.

Final Score: 7.7 / 10

“Timeless” Season 1 – An Amazing Character Driven and Time Travel Show Well Worth Your Time

timeless

      “Timeless” is the best Time Travel show out right now. I feel comfortable saying this because “Legends of Tomorrow” is fun but it is mostly just good and “Doctor Who” has been going through the Moffat death so the less said about that show the better, unless he manages to not make the same mistakes he’s made during his run of Showrunner of the show…this show is counter to both of those.

       The narrative is tight, the characters have arcs, the history at least tries to be accurate and the tension is always high and the story is always moving. These are the non-spoiler reasons why you should really check this show out. This is the best show to come out of NBC since “Hannibal” though I have yet to finish “The Good Place” which could possibly beat this show in quality.

   The show was created by Eric Krypke and Shawn Ryan.

     The premise involves the adventures Lucy (Abigail Spencer) who is brought in by the government to hunt down a terrorist and former government agent named Flynn (Goran Visinjic) who stole their main Time Machine and is seeking to change history. Lucy (a history professor) must work with Wyatt (Matt Lanter) (a soldier) and Rufus (Malcolm Barrett) (one of the inventors and the pilot) to stop Flynn in the prototype Time Machine that still remains.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros: The Premise – The idea of trying to save the past or at least stop the past from changing too much by chasing another through time is fascinating, especially as it gives the writers a chance to interpret large events and what they mean in the context of American History and what might change if they hadn’t happened. It was this core premise that drew me into the show in the first place.

The Locations – We have DC during the Red Scares, the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln, the crashing of the Hindenburg, the Fall of the Alamo and others to name a few.

The Characters – The characters are the strongest part of this show, even the minor characters get some good exploration where their motivations are explored and we see why it is they fight.

Anthony Bruhl – Matt Frewer plays Bruhl, one of the scientists working with Flynn to stop Rittenhouse but who changes when he sees how Flynn’s actions are putting Rufus in danger. His arc is one of redemption as in the end he is helping the team stop Flynn from killing people through time.

 Special Agent Denise Christopher- Sakina Jaffrey has been in a lot of shows I like, from “Sleepy Hollow” to “House of Cards” she really owns the roles she is in and in this she is the government agent who learns the truth from the team and helps them fight Rittenhouse. The one way she is used by Rittenhouse is she brings in Flynn at the end.

Connor Mason – Mason is the inventor of the Time Machine and the organization Mason Industries that owns it. He is presented as an antagonist through most of the show because he is being blackmailed by Rittenhouse. Luckily he plays Rittenhouse and reveals their organization and we learn he knows that he is going to die but wants a good future for Rufus. Paterson Joseph is great in the role.

Jiya – Jiya is one of the scientists who is being trained to take Rufus’s place after Rittenhouse kills him. She is a great character who we see resist Rittenhouse when the team isn’t around and workis with Special Agent Christopher to do so. She is in love with Rufus and we see that they are partners at the end as she is not only helping them in enemy territory but she goes with them and pays the price (sees possible futures) when she is the fourth person on the ship. She survives but we don’t know the full consequences yet.

Wyatt -Wyatt is the soldier who learns that personal only causes more problems as his desire to bring his wife back only leads to him having trouble in the present and the war against Rittenhouse becoming all the more difficult. He is an honorable soldier who by the end has been shaped by his losses. Matt Lanter is great.

Rufus – Rufus is great, he brings perspective to history as there really isn’t any time in American History where things were good for African Americans. His cynicism to this helps bring down Lucy’s idealistic view of history and we see that he is great thinking on his feet and solving problems related to the ship, for example when they are stuck with the lifeboat broken he gives the equation through history for Jiya and the others to find them and bring them back. Malcolm Barrett is one of the strongest actors on a show of greats.

Lucy – Lucy is the main character and is tied to everything as we see it is her diary Flynn is using to target Rittenhouse (which makes more sense at the end) and we see her come to agree with Flynn’s aims by the end as in the present Rittenhouse is hurting those around her and upholding the worst parts of history. She also finds that her parents are both high up in Rittenhouse and that all her team did to fight them is for not. Abigail Spencer is amazing.

Flynn – Flynn is the antagonist through the series, who by the end we see was right all along. His sole goal is the destruction of Rittenhouse in all time and places in order to bring back his family they killed. In the end Lucy convinces him of nobility and to trust her grandfather to work from within to bring down the organization, but it fails as even though so many get taken out Rittenhouse no controls the Time Machine and Flynn is arrested by Agent Christopher for terrorism leaving Rittenhouse with no one to stand against them.

Rittenhouse – Rittenhouse is a fascist organization that is bound by blood that seeks to control the past, present and future. They are the primary antagonists

Time as Malleable – Events change when the teams go back in time. At one point Lucy loses her sister and her mom is no longer sick and she is married, the three of them show up in time under the names they gave and historical figures die who did not. Time always changes and can never be put back to how it was.

The Ending – We discover that Rittenhouse has the time machine when Lucy’s mom reveals that she is part of Rittenhouse too, all this after so many from Rittenhouse have been brought in from Lucy’s grandfather and Mason’s actions…The win ends up ringing hollow as Rittenhouse was the one playing them all.

Okay: Lucy’s Parents – Lucy’s parents are the least explored of the characters. We learn that they are both with Rittenhouse, but there reasons for choosing it beyond power aren’t really explored. This was a major missed opportunities, but the actors do a good job with what they are given.

    This is a series well worth your time if you have any passion for science fiction or time travel shows. The cast is solid and it does a good job of turning the expectations of the show on it’s head by the end setting up the rest of the season, but also how the show could have started in the first place as now Flynn is shown to be right as Rittenhouse has won. I’m curious to see how they deal with this and how our Team will fight back. The story ends with a dark twist, whether it is Jiya seeing a destroyed San Francisco in a vision, the arrest of Flynn and the reveal that Lucy’s parents are high up in Rittenhouse. Can’t wait to see what they do with this show in Season 2.

Final Score: 9.7 / 10

Rick and Morty – Season 2, Episode 8 – “Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate” – Jerry’s Story is Stronger

Interdimensional Cable 2 Tempting Fate

  The sequel is not as good as the original “Interdimensional Cable” though Jerry’s story is really good at showing just how much of a sad, lonely loser he is. The side stories aren’t really memorable.

     The story involves Jerry being transported to an alien hospital and learning that Space Ghandi needs his penis for a heart transplant since they are around the same size and shape forcing him to go through extreme means to try and not do it but be admired. A bored Rick creates another Interdimensional Cable network.

The Pros: The Improv Shows that worked – “Lil Bits” was funny describing food in a sexual manner, “Jan Quadrant Vincent 17” was a good satire of action films and “Mr Stealy” was good too. The rest were really forgettable and I agreed with summer that it was going for extremes and lost the humor.

Jerry’s Story – Jerry is a dick and he ends up going from wanting to get out of giving it away after being okay with it due to social pressure even it means saving a life and later trying to force the doctors to cut it off and holding them hostage. Jerry hitting rock bottom is really illustrated in this episode and just how desperate he is.

   The main group isn’t really there. Nothing is memorable about Rick, Beth, Summer or Morty as they are just watching the television. They had a lot more story last time. This was why the episode was weak. It depended way to much on Jerry and the short television improvs to carry the episode.

Final Score: 4 / 10

Rick and Morty – Season 2, Episode 1 – “A Rickle in Time” – The Consequence of Freezing Time

A_Rickle_in_Time

    “A Rickle in Time” kicks off Season 2 and actually stands really strong on it’s own. In this we get a glimpse of Rick’s good side as well as giving us the full consequence of what happens when you mess with time. It’s really well done.

    The story involves Rick, Summer and Morty dealing with the consequence of time being frozen as it fractures around them leading to them possibly being erased from reality while Jerry hits a deer facing Beth and Jerry to solve the issue and deal with Beth’s control issues.

The Pros: Fourth Dimensional Beings – These guys are in charge of policing time and it is one of them who gives Summer, Morty and Rick the collars they eventually use to escape back to reality. They have sentient guns and are powerless without the guns as one is beaten by Rick, though they are immortal so even if they are beaten they cannot die.

Summer – Summer deals with not being Rick’s favorite (no one is) and we see that she is as much part of the adventure as Morty now as she is the first to escape the collapse.

Morty – Morty nearly dies in this but Rick risks his life to save him helping Morty realize that deep inside Rick really does care…which further develops his relationship to his grandfather.

Beth – Beth deals with her perfectionist tendencies as she does everything to save the deer Jerry hits. In this we see her learn to let go when the only way to save the deer is to admit she is wrong and not qualified, though she can’t the chance to save the deer in the end and succeeds.

Jerry – Jerry’s cowardice is shown (he says if the police ask Beth should be blamed since his Ice Cream was Rum Raisin) but we see he can be smart as he gets some guys and fakes a Federal law to get the deer away from a hunter and his lawyer. Jerry really comes through as a good guy in the end.

Rick – Rick’s selfishness is on full display (him trying to kill his grandkids and himself) to his selflessness (risking his life to save Morty) showing just how complex he is and the fact that he is growing and does care about Summer and Morty, even if he denies it.

   This is an episode that really kicks off Season 2 on a high note and is well worth checking out. The character moments are awesome and all the family members get some sort of development. The animation is also in top form as is the comedy per usual.

Final Score: 9 / 10