• Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives









  • Awards & Nominations

Star Trek – Day of the Dove (Review)

This July and August, we’re celebrating the release of Star Trek Beyond by taking a look back at the third season of the original Star Trek. Check back every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the latest update.

It is striking how iconic and influential the third season of Star Trek is.

The third season is often written off, by both fans of the show and members of the production team. There are any number of reasons for this; a slashed budget, an exodus of talent, a new producer, conflicts behind the scenes. There is also the simple fact that the third season is wildly more variable than either the first or second seasons of the series, with its most consistent string of episodes being the three episodes from Is There in Truth No Beauty? to The Tholian Web.

Crossed swords.

Crossed swords.

However, in spite of that, there is a sense that a lot of what modern fans consider to be Star Trek is rooted in this dysfunctional assemblage of episodes. This applies to all sorts of things. The third season offers more than its fair share of continuity minutiae, from the first appearance of a Klingon ship and the first space battle in Elaan of Troyius to the first appearance of the IDIC in Is There in Truth No Beauty? to the memorable appearance of the Tholians in The Tholian Web. However, the season’s legacy is more than just one of continuity.

It occasionally seems like the franchise’s philosophy is truly galvinising over the third season, that Star Trek is coming close to explicitly embracing a utopian humanist philosophy. With The Empath, the show laid out a template for the “humans are special” stories that would dominate the early years of Star Trek: The Next Generation, a much more effective (and less condescending and patronising) celebration of humanity’s potential than later episodes like Lonely Among Us, The Last Outpost and The Neutral Zone.

Into darkness.

Into darkness.

Day of the Dove is an episode that is singularly influential in terms of the future of the franchise, both in terms of continuity detail and in terms of its core themes. Most superficially, Day of the Dove offers the first real suggestion that the Klingons might be anything more than vaguely Asian antagonists, suggesting a culture that makes sense internally and allowing them an agency earlier stories lacked. Kang is in many ways the first true Klingon, who would fit comfortably with the spin-offs’ interpretations of the Klingons.

The episode’s influence runs deeper than that. Like The Empath before it, there is a clear sense that Day of the Dove has embraced the idea of the twenty-third century as a utopia in which mankind has transcended all of their hate and violence. Star Trek is presented as something approaching a paradise.

Don't blame me. I voted for Kodos.

Don’t blame me. I voted for Kodos.

Continue reading

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Blood Oath (Review)

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is twenty years old this year. To celebrate, I’m taking a look at the first season. Check back daily for the latest review or retrospective.

Blood Oath is a pretty fantastic piece of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and kicks the second season back into gear after a few mediocre (although not embarrassing) episodes. While it’s hardly the best episode of the year, and comes with its share of problems and baggage, it’s a tight and well-constructed piece of space opera. It’s a pulpy Klingon adventure, with the show’s best exploration to date of the existential problems of being Dax and a relatively simple (but potent) moral dilemma. It’s also just great fun.

Here's Kor!

Here’s Kor!

Continue reading

The Avengers: The Crossing Omnibus (Review/Retrospective)

“One of the nineties’ most notorious narratives!”

– well, the back cover wasn’t lying

The Crossing has become a watch-word for nineties excesses. Essentially a gigantic crossover between The Avengers and the various Iron Man books (including War Machine and Force Works), it is renowned for its clumsy editorial mandate: the event was designed to replaced Tony Stark with a younger version of himself. Fans have come to reflect on The Crossing as one of the most awful comic book storylines ever concocted, an example of the mess that Marvel had made of their line of books during a decade not exactly renowned for its taste.

I know it’s fashionable to trash The Crossing, and I know that it is every bit as ridiculously nineties and forced as its editorial mandate would suggest, but I can’t help but think there are some nice ideas to be found here, if one wades in deep enough into the crap. Don’t get me wrong, there’s not nearly enough to justify the tangled bloated mess of a plot, and I’m not going to argue the consensus is wrong, but I do think the massive catastrophic failure of The Crossing was one of execution, rather than one of ideas.

Shockingly bad?

Continue reading

X-Men: Inferno – Fantastic Four (Review/Retrospective)

With our month looking at Avengers comics officially over, we thought it might be fun to dig into that other iconic Marvel property, the X-Men. Join us for a month of X-Men related reviews and discussion.

This weekend, we’re taking a look at one or two of the smaller Inferno crossovers. These issues are collected in the crossovers companion book.

I have to admit, one of the best things about these companion books collecting the tie-ins to mammoth crossovers like Acts of Vengeance or Inferno is that way that they seem to capture a particular moment in time. In the Inferno collection alone, you get a taste of Walt Simonson’s Avengers, Ann Nocenti’s Daredevil and Chris Claremont’s Excalibur. I will confess that I am woefully poorly versed in the history of The Fantastic Four, arguably Marvel’s “first family.” The issues collected here, for example, are my first sampling of Steve Englehart’s tenure on The Fantastic Four.

A good old fashioned death trap!

Continue reading

Kurt Busiek’s Avengers – Avengers Assemble! Vol. 5 (The Kang Dynasty) (Review/Retrospective)

April (and a little bit of May) are “Avengers month” at the m0vie blog. In anticipation of Joss Whedon’s superhero epic, we’ll have a variety of articles and reviews published looking at various aspects of “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.”

I’ll be honest. I am still not sure what to make of Kurt Busiek’s Avengers run, republished here in five lavish oversized hardcovers. The first three volumes of the set included the stellar artwork of George Perez, but the fifth and final volume contains the entire Kang Dynasty (aka Kang War) saga. For those unfamiliar with the storyline, it was a fairly massive plot told over fifteen issues and an annual, and marked the climax of Busiek’s five-year tenure on the title. For better or for worse, it’s a more than adequate conclusion to his run – complete with many of the flaws which chipped away at it, but also possessing many of the recognisable strengths.

"Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos!"

Continue reading