Tag Archives: Television

Creative Star Trek Parodies to Watch for Expanded SFF Month

A star trek ship flying above a frozen moon. A planet that looks like saturn is in the distance. Earlier this year I learned that May is Expanded Science Fiction and Fantasy Month. This challenge is a simple one. Pick any science fiction or fantasy universe and read or watch stories that were set in it but that were not part of the original canon.

To give one example, you could read Star Trek novels that were written as continuations of that universe after The Original Series first aired.

My brain hasn’t been amenable to reading serious, full-length novels recently due to some concerns I’ve had about a friend who has Covid-19, so my first post in response to this challenge will be lighthearted and a little off the beaten path. My hope is to revisit this challenge later on this month with a response that follows the rules more closely.

There are are no spoilers in these videos unless you’re 30+ years behind on Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes and determined not to know anything about what was written about that universe in the 1980s and 1990s.

For everyone else, they’re simply good, clean fun for anyone who is looking for a pick-me-up during these trying times.

Klingon Style 

If you’ve never seen Gangham Style, I recommend watching it first. This Trekkie parody of it never fails to make me smile in large part because actual Klingons would be horrified by the frivolity and silliness of it all.

Make It So

If you enjoy Frozen and Star Trek: The Next Generation, this might be right up your alley. I can oddly see Captain Picard enjoying this tune so long as no one was paying too much attention to his reaction to it. It was a short, cheerful tune that used his favourite catch phrase, after all. What’s not to like about that?

All About That Borg

Fans of Megan Trainor’s “All About That Bass,” keep reading.

The Borg would have no use for this song, but I find it amusing. They’re by far the scariest villains in the Star Trek universe to me, so it’s nice to see them on screen without any chance of them assimilating anyone.

(Why do I keep figuring out if Star Trek characters would enjoy the songs about them? I have no idea!)

"The Orville" written in a stylized sans-serif blue font, similar to Star Trek- The Next Generation

The Orville

I saved my best recommendation for last.

Everything else on this list was a short music video. The Orville is a TV show that lovingly parodies Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Mike Henry and J. Lee in The OrvilleNo, it isn’t set in the Star Trek universe, but it’s easy to forget that since it was written by folks who were clearly well-versed in what the storytelling was like at this point in Star Trek history and who were fans of it.

Just like the shows it gently pokes fun at, The Orville follows an ensemble cast of characters who live and work on an exploratory vessel several hundred years in the future. The diverse crew includes officers from a wide array of planets and cultures who work in close quarters a long ways from home.

While I understand the need for recent Star Trek series and films to take darker turns in order to attract new audiences and keep up with the times, one of the things I enjoy the most about The Orville is how optimistic it is.

Life isn’t perfect there by any means, but you can generally count on things to work out well for the characters no matter what problems they face. There is a sense of hope and joy in this universe that permeates almost everything.

Sometimes these near-mandatory happy endings are included in the parody aspects of the plot, but it’s always done with good intentions. There is something comforting about this that makes me look forward to the third season even more earnestly now.

If you’re participating in the challenge, I look forward to reading about which stories or videos you’ve selected for it!

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Best TV Couples

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

I narrowed down this week’s prompt from best Book/Movie/TV Couples to Best TV Couples. There are some mild spoilers for these shows in the rest of this post.

David and Patrick from Schitt's Creek standing in their store and kissing.

David and Patrick from Schitt’s Creek

If you haven’t started watching Schitt’s Creek yet, I highly recommend checking it out! The storyline follows a wealthy family who moves to a small town after losing all of their money.

David was the spoiled adult son of this family. Patrick’s childhood had been full of hard work and thrifty choices. That is, it was the total opposite of David’s experiences in many ways! And yet somehow these two characters complement each other beautifully.

Chidi and Eleanor from The Good Place hugging each other

Chidi and Eleanor from The Good Place 

One of the things I love the most about Chidi and Eleanor is how similar their personalities. They both have a tendency to over-think things and spend more time brooding over their choices than actually picking one.

Chidi showed these traits immediately. Eleanor was more subtle about it, but I chuckled as soon as I realized that both of them were dealing with the same flaw (even if it wasn’t always expressed in identical ways in their lives).

Mr. and Mrs. Kim from Kim's Convenience. He says "I see everything" and she replies, "yeah, me too" in this gif.

Mr. and Mrs. Kim from Kim’s Convenience

Kim’s Convenience has become my favourite Canadian sitcom over the past few years. Many shows focus on the early years of a romantic relationship when everything is brand new and exciting. The cool thing about Mr. and Mrs. Kim is that they’ve been together for at least 25 years by the time the audience first meets them.

It’s wonderful to see how their relationship has matured and grown over time.

 

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Favorite TV Shows and Why

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

I wish this prompt had happened in January or July! I tend to watch lots of TV when the weather is freezing or unbearably hot. Spring and fall are when I cut back on shows and spend more time socializing with friends and visiting the great outdoors to soak up the mild weather.  With that being said, I will follow the prompt and talk about television instead of going off on a tangent about how much I want to go wander off into the woods for an afternoon.

These are my current favourite shows for reasons I’ll explain underneath the photo of each program.  If I were going to go out to dinner with any of you, I’d light up if you mentioned being fans of them as well.

The Handmaid’s Tale isn’t on this list because it won’t be out until later on this summer. Mindfulness is important to me, so I’m doing my best to wait until the first episode is out before getting excited about it.

Anne with an E

One of the things that always bothered me a little bit about L.M. Montgomery’s  Anne of Green Gables series was how much it brushed over Anne’s difficult childhood. She mentioned some pretty serious moments of child abuse and neglect to her new foster parents, and then the plot pretty much skipped over the trauma of those experiences for her. To be fair, these weren’t things that were discussed in too much depth in children’s books back then, and people living in the 1800s also had a much murkier understanding of how adverse childhood experiences could affect someone years later.

The cool thing about season one of this remake is that it hasn’t been afraid to explore how being abused, neglected, and abandoned by multiple caregivers had a serious emotional impact on Anne. I know some fans have criticized it for being too dark, but I think it’s going to be interesting to see how this more realistic approach to her story affects the person she becomes as she grows up.

I still need to watch season two. I’m so behind on shows!

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

I love the fact that this sitcom has a diverse cast but doesn’t fall back on stereotypes in order to make their jokes or explain who their characters are. All of the main characters and even some of the secondary ones are three-dimensional individuals. They feel like real people, warts and all.  It’s amazing to see how they’ve grown and changed over the years.

The running jokes are great, too. This isn’t the sort of sitcom I’d recommend watching out of order. There were things that happened in season one that are still being brought up by the characters years later.

Stranger Things

This was the show that taught me that people used to smoke everywhere and let their kids wander all over town without any supervision at all in the 1980s! Yes, I’m mostly joking there, but I was shocked by some of the cultural differences between that era and our own.

On a more serious note, I really like fantasy stories that are set in our world and feel as ordinary as possible. If not for the various supernatural stuff going on in this setting, it could have all really happened to my parents or other relatives who were teens or young adults back then. That’s quite appealing to me.

Black Mirror

I’m brand new to this show. It’s like The Twilight Zone in the sense that each episode is its own self-contained sci-fi or fantasy story. Of the few I’ve seen so far, there doesn’t seem to be crossover between any of them as far as characters or plots go.

I love the creativity of the episodes I have seen. The writers seem to take current trends and extrapolate what they might be like at a distant point in the future or in a version of earth where, say, a parent’s desire to electronically monitor her child is taken to the logical extreme.

I know I’m being vague here, but I really don’t want to give away spoilers. Let’s just say that this is a very thought-provoking program that I’m enjoying so much that I’m even willing to come home from the park early in order to watch it.

The same can be said for the rest of these shows, too. Ha!

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question. The image below is the list of upcoming prompts for this blog hop.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Became Great TV Shows

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

This week’s topic was a page to screen freebie. I’ve decided to narrow down my focus to five books that were made into wonderful TV shows. I’ve left off a couple of the titles that I always discuss on this blog (*cough* The Handmaid’s Tale) so I could focus on stories I haven’t talked all of your ears off about yet.

Tomorrow’s Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge prompt has what turned out to be a similar theme this week, so I had to divide my answers evenly between these two hops since so many of my answers would fit into both of them. I would have otherwise written a much longer post on this topic.

The Haunting of Hill House

Based on: Shirley Jackson’s “The Haunting of Hill House

Why I loved it: Paranormal stories always grab my attention, especially if they rely on psychological horror more than jump scares. The fact that this one had so much subtle foreshadowing on top of the psychological horror made it impossible for me to stop reading or watching it.

I also enjoyed the fact that the TV version found a fresh take on the characters while still remaining true to their personalities. That isn’t an easy thing to do…especially when some of the characters were of dramatically different ages and origins in each version!

The Magicians

Based on: Lev Grossman’s Magicians series.

Why I love it: This universe feels like Harry Potter for an adult audience. I love the unpredictability of the magic in it as well as the fact that the characters deal with serious issues like drug/alcohol abuse, depression, and abortion alongside delightfully joyful moments where talking rabbits deliver important messages or centaurs randomly cross your path.

Everything else I want to say about this series is filled with spoilers, so I’ll stop talking now.

True Blood

Based on: Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series

Why I loved it: I spent a year of my childhood living in the south, so southern food, accents, and culture can’t help but make my ears perk up. I also enjoyed the parallels the screenwriters made between the prejudice faced by vampires and the real-life prejudice that other groups deal with every day in our world. They did a nice job of gently nudging the audience into being more accepting without ever turning their episodes into an After School Special.

The Man in the High Castle

Based on: Philip K. Dick’s “The Man in the High Castle

Why I loved it: Imagine what the world would be like if the Nazis had won World War II and taken over North America. This definitely isn’t the right thing to read or watch if you’re in the mood for something cheerful, but it is a fantastic alternate history for anyone who has ever wondered how terribly things could have turned out in a different version of Earth.

I’m actually taking a break from this show right now because of how dark and gritty it is. It’s absolutely worth watching, though, and I do hope to return to it in the near future.

Little House on the Prairie

Based on: Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series

Why I loved it: This show ended before I was even born, but the stories it told are timeless. My step-grandmother taped some of the episodes on those old-fashioned VHS tapes people once had.  I used to watch those reruns in her living room while the adults chatted in another room.

It was so interesting to see how people survived in the 1800s when women cooked every meal of the day over roaring fires, antibiotics and automobiles didn’t exist, and everyone had to work under some pretty demanding (and often dangerous) conditions from sunup to sundown if there was any hope of the family making it through the winter.

This series seemed like an adventure to me when I read it as a young child. Seeing it play out on the small screen really drove home how much easier life is for us now.

 

 

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Characters I’d Like to Meet

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

All of the characters I’ll be talking about this week are from TV shows. I’m starting with the oldest show and ending with the most current one. Let’s see if any of you were or are also fans of them!

Lucy Lawless as Xena

My family didn’t have cable – or sometimes even a TV at all – when I was a young kid. As soon as that rule was gradually relaxed in the mid-1990s, I discovered Xena: Warrior Princess and fell in love with her campy plots and amusing takes on Greek mythology. It sure would be fun to hang out with her for a while and see what she thought of twenty-first century life.

Gillian Anderson as Dr. Dana Scully

Yes, The X-Files technically started a few years before Xena did, but I didn’t become interested in the adventures of Scully and Mulder until I was in college.

What I liked the most about Scully was her insistence that everything she and her partner investigated must have a rational explanation. As someone who was and is sometimes prone to worrying and leaping to conclusions, I always appreciated the reminder to stick to the facts until I know for sure what is going on.

COMMUNITY — “Intro to Statistics” Episode 106 — Pictured: (l-r) Donald Glover as Troy, Danny Pudi as Abed — NBC Photo: Chris Haston

Community is the funniest comedy I’ve ever watched. Troy and Abed were two characters in it who, among other hijinks, hosted a pretend morning show together for the sheer joy of using their imaginations.

Their personalities complemented each other beautifully. No matter what problems they faced – whether real or imaginary – they always found a funny way to deal with them. I’d be a guest on their pretend morning show in a heartbeat!

 

Simu Liu as Jung Kim

Kim’s Convenience is a hilarious comedy that’s set right here in Toronto and is still releasing new seasons. It follows the four members of the Kim family as the younger generation enters the workforce and their parents continue to adjust to the many cultural differences between Canada and Korea.

Jung, the oldest child and only son, dropped out of high school and got into some trouble as a teenager much to the chagrin of his parents. Now that he’s an adult, he’s working at a car rental shop and trying to piece his life back together. I love seeing the relationship between him and his family evolve in this show. He seems like he’d be a very interesting guy to meet, especially since the show writers have yet to go into a lot of details about what happened to him when he was a teenager.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question, and the image below is the list of upcoming prompts for this blog hop.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Shows I’m Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American readers! I hope you all have a table full of delicious things to eat and plenty of kindred spirits to share this meal with. Today’s post will be something short and sweet. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how happy I am to see the science fiction and fantasy… Read More

18 Science Fiction and Fantasy Shows I Can’t Wait to See in 2018-2019

Last year I blogged about the fourteen science fiction and fantasy series I was looking forward to watching during the 2017-2018 season. Wow, that was a lot of shows! Somehow I managed to continue watching almost all of them, though. Today I’m talking about the shows I’m currently watching or will be watching during the… Read More

Saturday Seven: Series That Should Be Turned Into TV Shows

Saturday Seven is hosted by Long and Short Reviews. A friend of mine is absolutely obsessed with Game of Thrones. I’d guess that at least a third of the conversations we have somehow include a reference to this show. Even though I’ve never actually watched Game of Thrones, I’m beginning to understand a lot of… Read More

How Social Media Is Changing the Rules About Spoilers

Those of you who have been following me for years might remember my post from 2014 about hating spoilers. Since then I’ve been paying attention to how social media – especially Twitter – has been changing the rules about if, whether, and when it’s okay to share spoilers. It was especially interesting to see how… Read More