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Why I’m terrified about the new Jean-Luc Picard non-Star Trek series

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Why Im terrified about the new Jean-Luc Picard non-Star Trek series

When news broke last year that Patrick Stewart was coming back to play Jean-Luc Picard in an upcoming television series on CBS All Access, I was thrilled. Captain Picard is the best character in the Star Trek universe (sorry Kirk and Spock fans) and has left without a real conclusion following Star Trek: Nemesis 17 years ago.

There’s more to Picard’s story, and why not take advantage of the seemingly ageless Stewart?

Then, I started reading more about it. That’s when I started getting worried. While there’s nothing wrong with this being a step in a different direction than the starship captain we’ve grown to love, there seems to be such an emphasis on the new direction for the character that it makes me wonder just how far off the reservation they’re going.

For one thing, they aren’t saying anything about the Star Trek universe itself. They aren’t talking about him as a captain, which makes sense since this takes place 20 years after the events of Nemesis, but one might expect him to be an admiral or possibly commandant of Starfleet Academy. That still may be the case, but I doubt it considering how much attention they’re giving to the character rather than the universe in which he resides.

It’s very possible I could be totally wrong. But when I read comments like the following from executive producer Alex Kurtzman, I start to wonder if the new Picard is less of a space trekker and more of a great character doing different things later in life that have nothing to do with saving the alpha quadrant.

“And so, the question becomes, ‘What has happened to him in that period of time? Have there been occurrences that forced him to reckon with choices that he’s made in his life? How do you hold on to being the person everybody loved when the circumstances around you may have changed so radically?’ And those are the big questions that we’re asking.”

While nobody would expect the circumstances to pick up anywhere near where they left off, I’m very hopeful that he’s not a grape farmer (as he was projected to be at the end of the televisions series), a boring ambassador, or a poet of some sort. The thing that made Picard such an interesting character was his ability to lead in the strangest situations, to come up with solutions to problems like nobody else in the galaxy, and his commitment to doing the right thing no matter what the consequences would have been.

But the biggest reason I am concerned is that modern interpretations of older concepts tend to lean towards a very leftist perspective on society. The Star Trek universe has always had a left-leaning ideology, but it was acceptable because the future as described in the series is one that is conducive to leftist principles. Capitalism, for example, seems to be only available in remnants because technology has allowed a more socialistic ideal to happen. Nobody starves. Everybody has what they need to survive and thrive. In this fictional world, socialism is possible because it’s fictional. We may be very well aware of the untenable doctrines of socialism in our society, but fiction opens the door to sensibilities that are impossible in the modern world.

If the show wants to demonstrate these leftist concepts by bringing Picard to planets that are similar to our modern Earth, it’s possible they could turn the show into a calling for social justice warriors with Picard trying to demonstrate what’s possibly while evil industrialists battle him for the sake of greed. There’s nothing to indicate this is the case, but a scenario similar to this as the backdrop for the new series seems very much in line with the direction Hollywood has been heading since the last ST:TNG movie was made.

They may deliver an intriguing character study that deviates slightly from the series but maintains the core of Jean-Luc Picard. I hope so. As long as they don’t have him milking strange alien creatures, I guess something is better than nothing.

 


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Avengers: Endgame ending has leaked. Here are two reasons to avoid watching it.

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Avengers Endgame ending has leaked Here are two reasons to avoid watching it

Don’t worry. I won’t spoil the movie for you for two reasons. First, I haven’t watched the leak. Second, if I watched the leak, I wouldn’t be so cruel as to spoil it for anyone. I’m not Rosie O’Donnell.

What I will do is attempt to dissuade you from trying to find the ending. There are two important reasons to avoid it. The first is obvious. With the moving coming out in a little over a week, why would anyone who enjoys Marvel movies want to have the culminating movie spoiled for them? You’re almost there, kid. Wait it out.

The second reason is less obvious. Hackers love to take advantage of buzz. They find what people are trying to find on the internet, especially things like spoilers or pirated shows, and they use the interest as an opportunity to spread malware. This has become so common, those who are fighting hackers will do the same thing by hunting for trends and anticipating which ones are going to be hit by the hackers.

You can’t really trust anyone when it comes to fleeting interests like this. Even mainstream media sites have linked to what they believe to be a safe and innocent piece of content, and for a time it is. But once interest grows and traffic starts going up, hackers replace the original safe content with malware-laced content, hitting all the unsuspecting victims until their subterfuge is discovered. But by the time that happens, they’ve already infected countless devices.

Do yourself a favor. Wait a week and a half. It may be hard for some who are so desperate to find out if Captain America or Iron Man jumps on a Thanos hand grenade to protect their friends, but it’s worth the wait.

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Game of Thrones Final Season Episode One: Review and Predictions

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Game of Thrones Final Season Episode One Review and Predictions

If you have not seen the episode read this later. For those of us who have seen the episode, let’s proceed. HBO broke the Iron Bank spending upwards of $90 million on this final season, so how did the first episode turn out? Season seven of Game of Thrones was perhaps the worst in the show’s run, only possibly second to season five. The renowned wit of the first four seasons was dumbed down and replaced with nostalgia. Every character fast travels except the Others. What really made the last season worse was that the show fell into the standard good vs evil dichotomy which goes against the very spirit of the show. All the heroes and all the villains seemed to be on their respective sides, which is not how Game of Thrones is supposed to work. For all it’s flaws the seventh season was a masterpiece from a production standpoint.

Verdict: Episode one breaks free from the good vs evil but is undermined from excessive nostalgia.

A few positives are worth mentioning before we delve into the main takeaways. First, the Theon “rescue mission” was ended quickly. This was a bad story arc, simply due to lack of realism. However the show wrote ended it so swiftly before it wasted more screen time. Second, the new theme song which expanded upon the remaining locations where the show takes place. It’s worth noting that the Wall and Essos plotlines are indefinitely suspended. A few negatives. The show insisting that Raeghar Targaryen named both of his sons Aegon. Highly unrealistic, and possibly a ploy to work in the possible Targaryen, or Blackfyre, claimant in the books who arrives in the Stormlands with the Golden Company. The overbearing nostalgia was simply fan service and nothing more. The episodes best moments were when it was building to a future event instead of focusing on how great the past was. Is it just me or did Jon’s sword shrink? It’s a bastard sword which is fitting for his status, but it didn’t appear as such when Arya held it.

Northern Politics

One of the best written plot points from this episode was the politics of the North. The North remember. They remember the Kings of Winter and the Stark Kings in the North. They remember the King Torrhen Stark as the King-Who-Bent-The-Knee and Robb Stark as the King-Who-Lost-The-North. Most applicably, they remember what the Targaryens did to the Starks. With all this, it is unsurprising that the North rejects its new Queen. More interestingly, the North feels abandoned by Jon Snow. The situation is confusing. The nobles reject Daenerys but they do not know who is actually in charge. After all, they chose Jon Snow, not Sansa or the Targaryen claimant. Jon Snow’s position is ambiguous, as is his place in the new regime. Jon Snow serves a single cause, while everyone else looks beyond. the Northern plot intensified with House Glover abandoning the Starks to fight on their own. There’s a clear lack of leadership in Winterfell and perhaps it’s because Jon Snow is blinded by love. Or perhaps it’s because Sansa Stark is a pitiful wartime leader.

Logistics of War

Jon Snow has chosen to consolidate the forces of the North and Targaryens at Winterfell and make a first final stand against the Others. The little Lord of Last Hearth was sent to bring the remaining strength of House Umber to Winterfell. As the battle of the Bastards depicted battle most accurately in the show’s run, season eight depicts the logistics of war more accurately than any other. Winterfell has the largest army since those who fell in the Field of Fire, maybe larger. However, it is winter; the North is depleted from the first and second phases of the War of Five Kings. They do not have the means to put up a protracted siege. They must fight or die. The North cannot feed the dragons, though one wonders how it an keep the Unsullied or the shirtless Dothraki hordes warm. This seems reminiscent of Alexander the Great marching his great host across the desert from India at great costs. This was a high point for the show’s writing.

Southron Politics

Cersei predictably uses her cooch to maintain the alliance with the Ironborn. Euron Greyjoy reveals how uninterested he is in the politics of the realm, wanting sex and little more. Yara seeks to retake the Iron Isles. The Golden Company contracts with the Iron Throne. However the show, once again ignores the backstory of the Golden Company. They are exiles who have a long history of being on the losing side of Targaryen civil wars. The Reach, Stormlands, and Dorne are all irrelevant. An emotional moment occurred when Daenerys confronts Samwell Tarly, firstborn son of Randall Tarly who she controversially executed by dragon fire. The distraught Sam is then encouraged by Bran to tell Jon Snow.

Wars to Come

The highest point of excitement came when the expedition to Last Hearth found Lord Umber displayed in an murder tableau resembling the first scene in the first episode. This was the least annoying nostalgic moment in the episode.

Predictions

Game of Thrones has finally painted Daenerys as a flawed ruler, selfish and unworthy of rule. In the books, she is whimsically incompetent, as evident in Mereen. The show shields her from these struggles, mostly having Tyrion bare the responsibility for setbacks. Daenerys also cannot bare a child meaning her reign would have no closure. But perhaps closure will not exist. The Seven Kingdoms could very easily slip back into their autonomous rule. The Ironborn seem to anticipate such as Yara heads back to Pyke. The North relishes the opportunity to do it right this time. But should the Seven Kingdoms unite, as most kingdoms are too depleted to muster an army Daenerys seems unlikely to come out on top. She is owed three betrayals. The last one being for love. Initially, Tyrion seemed the most likely candidate, as Daenerys was warned against trusting lions. But Jon Snow betraying Daenerys is the first set up for this final betrayal the show has undergone. Another interesting tidbit is the Azor Azai story of the man stabbing his lover to forge the perfect sword. Jon Snow has a worthy sword and a love for the realm that could exceed his love for Daenerys if he were to stop thinking with his appendage. But this author is on Team Lannister backing the rightful Lord of the Rock, Tyrion Lannister, and whatever schemes he conjures to usurp the Throne.

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Star Wars fan Gabriel Garcia predicted ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ name in 2012 (as well as the Emperor’s return)

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Star Wars fan Gabriel Garcia predicted The Rise of Skywalker name in 2012 as well as the Emperors re

Mark this down as dumb luck, skilled prognostication, predictive programming, or a wild coincidence. But it deserves to be marked down as… something.

In November, 2012, Star Wars fan Gabriel Garcia posted a cryptic pair of predictions: the title of Star Wars: Episode IX and the return of the Emperor, whose laugh can be heard at the end of the first trailer for the movie.

The only thing the Twitter user got wrong is the episode number.

Granted, predicting Star Wars title’s isn’t hard. There’s a particular rhyme and reason to all of the titles and this latest installment matches the theme. Nonetheless, it’s an intriguing little glitch in the matrix.

Unfortunately, I’m not very excited about seeing the final installment of the series. The last one was too much of a debacle. I’m not sure J.J. Abrams can correct the awful course Rian Johnson set up.

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