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New Escapist Column! On How “The Rings of Power” Balances Itself Between “The Lord of the Rings” and “Game of Thrones”…

I am doing weekly reviews of The Rings of Power at The Escapist. They’ll be dropping every Friday morning while the show is on, looking at the Lord of the Rings prequel as it progresses from one episode to the next.

The Rings of Power is very obviously a prequel to the events of The Lord of the Rings, and so exists in the shadow of Peter Jackson’s earlier cinematic adaptation. However, it emerges into a very different landscape, twenty years later. Audience expectations have shifted, along with their relationship to the larger fantasy genre. The Rings of Power asks what it means to be a Lord of the Rings prequel in a post-Game of Thrones world, and finds itself navigating the boundaries that have been reset.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

Star Trek: Voyager – Cold Fire (Review)

This February and March, we’re taking a look at the 1995 to 1996 season of Star Trek, including Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. Check back daily Tuesday through Friday for the latest review.

Cold Fire is an episode that exemplifies the feeling that second season’s treading water.

Cold Fire opens with a somewhat unconventional recap of Caretaker. Unlike most “previously on…” sections of Star Trek: Voyager (or the Star Trek franchise as a whole), this block is narrated by Majel Barrett in-character as the ship’s computer. It becomes clear that Cold Fire is interested in following up on the dangling threads left by Caretaker, with the crew of Voyager encountering the female mate alluded to in Janeway’s conversations with the eponymous Nacene character from Caretaker.

Everything burns...

Everything burns…

This should be a big deal. After all, the Caretaker is the character responsible for plucking Voyager and the Val Jean out of the Alpha Quadrant and depositing them on the other side of the galaxy. Finding another being with a similar amount of power presents a very real and tangible opportunity for Janeway to get her crew home. If the Caretaker could pull them all the way across the Milky Way, then it stands to reason that Suspiria could send them all the way back. Cold Fire presents a potential end to Voyager’s journey.

Unfortunately, Cold Fire never really does anything with that storytelling angle. Even when Janeway comes face-to-face with Suspiria at the climax of the episode, she never asks the powerful entity to send her crew home. So Cold Fire feels like an episode that spends forty-five minutes walking in circles, accomplishing little of note.

"It's probably just the inertial dampeners acting up..."

“It’s probably just the inertial dampeners acting up…”

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