Steven Universe Review: “Jailbreak” (Season 1B, Episode 27)

Steven Universe Jailbreak

“Tonight, there’s gonna be a jailbreak
Somewhere in this town!
See, me and the boys, we don’t like it.
So we’re getting up and going down!”
– “Jailbreak”, Thin Lizzy

Airdate: March 12th, 2015

Written By: Joe Johnston, Jeff Liu, and Rebecca Sugar.

Plot: After getting head butted by a brutish Homeworld soldier, Steven wakes up in a cell on a prison ship. Unfortunately, the cell doors don’t take into account human biology, so he’s able to escape. While looking for the others, he comes across three particular prisoners. One is Ruby, a tomboyish hothead desperately looking to initiate contact with her partner, Sapphire. Sapphire, meanwhile, is a more levelheaded and stoic prisoner who has been vocalizing through the prison, clearly to garner Ruby’s attention.

All while Lapis Lazuli has hit the depths of despair, resigned to what awaits them on Homeworld. Her desperation, however, does not take into account a prisoner rebellion – in particular, Ruby and Sapphire teaming up once again to try and fight Jasper.

Go on.

Guess what their strategy is.

Review (SPOILERS FROM MOMENT ONE):

Ah, yes. “Jailbreak”. It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll, and here we are – not only the final episode of Season 1, not only it’s climax, but also probably the single most well-known episode in the history of Steven Universe. Poll anybody on the street what they know about Steven Universe, and you’ll get a select few answers:

  1. “SECURITY!”
  2. “Isn’t that the show about that kid that summons weapons by eating ice cream? Even Into Darkness had a better premise than that.”
  3. “That fandom made me abandon Intersectional Marxist-Leninist Feminism and vote for Trump.”
  4. “Oh, yeah, one of the characters is actually two lesbians in a purple British trench coat.”

Yeah, that last one is what everybody thinks about. Garnet is not one person – she’s two people. As one person.

This is gonna be weird to explain… Continue reading

Movie Review – Star Trek: Nemesis

Nemesis_poster2.jpg
“A Generation’s Final Journey Begins…” (Taken from Memory Alpha)

“You’re wasting time!” – the Viceroy, to the movie Shinzon.

Premiere: December 13th, 2002

Written and Directed By: John Logan and Stuart Baird

Plot It’s 2379. The Romulan Senate has just been assassinated en masse by being turned into stone en masse. This is part of a chain of events involving Shinzon, a clone of Picard who found himself brought up in mining pits by Remans, an alien race disliked by the Romulans. As you would guess, the Enterprise is sent to investigate, and Picard gets a look at the mirror of himself… sort of.

Maybe.

If you squint hard enough.

Review:

Y’know, after the dull fest that was Star Trek: Insurrection, I was actually getting myself hyped up to review the fourth and final movie in the TNG part of the film franchise, Nemesis. Not because I was particularly excited for a movie often ranked as the weakest of the franchise, but because after Insurrection almost served as a sleep aid, I figured that Nemesis would be at least slightly better. I wasn’t expecting anything good, but I figured that it would be more interesting than its predecessor. In fact, maybe I would be surprised and the movie would actually be halfway decent. Even if neither the director or the writer were involved with Trek before (in fact, the former never saw an episode before), maybe some new blood was needed.

So, I popped the movie into my PS3.

And, indeed, I was surprised. It did hold my attention more than Insurrection did. Because Nemesis ain’t a bad film. No, no.

It’s shameful.

In the interest of not burying the lede any further, it is hands down my least favorite of the TNG films. Pending a rewatch of Into Darkness, it might even be the worst of the entire film franchise. Oh, yeah – this movie is worse than the one where Kirk finds God. Worse than the one where Kirk gets crushed under a poorly constructed bridge. Far worse than The Slow-Motion Picture. Hell, even the reboot films are less irritating than this. This movie killed the franchise the way fans knew it for 40 years – and depending on how charitable you are to the reboots, stuck the knife in one of America’s most recognizable franchises.

To paraphrase a quote from Jeremy Clarkson, how was so much done so badly by so many?

Well, let’s start by going to the yin to this movie’s yang, The Wrath of Khan. Continue reading

OK K.O.! Debuts Tomorrow Night

OK KO Let's Be Heroes Title

Just a reminder for anybody interested that Cartoon Network’s newest show, OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes is set to debut tomorrow night (August 1st) at 6:15. For the impatient, the first few episodes are online right now.

I bring this up because the show is the brainchild of Ian Jones-Quartey, well known as a Steven Universe alum. It got its start in 2013 as part of a shorts program from Cartoon Network, became a web series that debut on YouTube and on CN’s Website last year, and is now set to hit Cable TV. Continue reading

Scullyfied Simpsons: “Beyond Blunderdome” (Season 11, Episode 1)

 

Homer yelling at Mel Gibson in "Beyond Blunderdome"
Our hero – proclaiming his wife as property because Mel Gibson is at the front door. Were these writers trying to make him unlikable?

 

Movie tickets? That’s hardly worth destroying a car!” – Homer Simpson. To be fair, that is a fine piece of logic, that I’m sure will carry through the season.

Airdate: September 26th, 1999

Written By: Mike Scully

Plot: An electric car manufacturer entices potential buyers to test drive with possible gifts. Homer’s reward for test-driving (read, destroying) the car is two tickets to a test screening of Mel Gibson’s newest movie, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. While Marge (who is infatuated with Mel) loves the movie like most of the audience, Homer is much more critical. It’s Homer’s critique that gets through to Gibson, however, and the duo embark on a controversial edit of the film to amp up the action.

Review:

Wow! I’m actually impressed! I can tell from this episode alone that Season 11 is going to be haphazard. That takes a special kind of effort, writers, but you showed it! Good for you – enjoy my somewhat neurotic rant on this episode.

Yup, Season 11 starts off on a rather… less than satisfactory note with the aptly-titled “Beyond Blunderdome”. (They tried to make a punny, and they made a funny in ways they didn’t imagine.) So, what do we have here? Jerkass Homer? Homer getting a job? Zany schemes? Jerkass Homer getting a zany job? Well, you guess right if you got the latter, but there is one big issue with this episode that would damage it, even without the Mike Scully cliches.

It’s a love letter.

To Mel Gibson. Continue reading

Steven Universe Review: “Political Power” (Season 1B, Episode 25)

Screen Shot 2017-07-06 at 4.22.29 PM 1
Every civilization is three meals away from revolution. Beach City, meanwhile, only made it one night without power.

“Tip the truck!”  – Nanufea. Politics is strange…

Airdate: March 11th, 2015

Written By: Hillary Florido and Katie Mitroff.

Plot: Pearl’s EMP, constructed to destroy the robonoids, instead takes power out in Beach City. With the power still out the morning after, Mayor Dewey is forced to go to the Crystal Gems to try and get some assistance. Steven tags along and gets an inside look at how spin works, as well as how the facade of strength factors in the chain of command. Kinda timely

Review:

I know it’s a bit of a strange way to start off a review of Steven Universe, but stay with me…

Why was Donald Trump elected President of the United States?

I don’t pose that question in a “holy macaroni, we actually elected him” sort of way, although, holy macaroni, we actually elected him. I pose the question in a more contemplative, analytical way – what drove so many people to vote for a political neophyte? The answer, like most things in life, is complex. Reasons given include a rejection of the Democratic Party and the perceived elitism in modern culture, a feeling of the working classes being left out economically and socially over the past few decades, Secretary Clinton coming off as inauthentic and manufactured, concerns over terrorism and crime rates, a few votes used him as a vehicle for more odious rationales, etc.

Still, say what you will about the man, but President Trump’s campaign was undeniably grandiose. That made him stand out amongst a crowd of politicians that stuck to their own platitudes – all while creating a few of his own, ironically enough. He promised his supporters the world by appealing to their Id (even if that attracted and included more insensitive and politically incorrect elements), and generally speaking, it worked enough to get him in.

Now, what does this have to do with our silly little TV show? (Besides the fact that the writers probably got inebriated the day after the election?)

Three words – Mayor Bill Dewey.

…you’re all prepping your torches and pitchforks, I presume?

Continue reading

Movie Review – “Star Trek: Insurrection”

Star_Trek_Insurrection
Taken from Wikipedia, made by Paramount’s marketing department, I think.

“In the event of a water landing, I have been designed to serve as a flotation device.” – Data. That’s the best piece of dialogue in the whole movie.

PremiereDecember 11th, 1998.

Written By: Rick Berman and Michael Piller. (Directed by Jonathan Frakes.)

Plot: The Federation has to deal with a conflict on a planet that seems to generate youth. The Ba’ku and the Son’a are in cahoots, and the Federation seems to side with the Son’a. However, Picard and Co. seem to have a conflict with this arrangement, particularly after hearing the Ba’ku’s side of the conflict… and encountering the youth-generating properties of the new planet themselves.

Review:

There’s a general consensus in Star Trek fandom that Season 1 of The Next Generation is, well, not up to par. Various reasons have been cited, but the one that seems to take precedence was the overly moralizing tone that the first season had. Granted, Star Trek has always been about exploring the human condition, but there was a certain smugness to the first season of TNG – this idea that humanity had reached perfection, and the mere thought that earlier civilizations or those that had different ideas (read, those that went against Roddenberry’s socialistic utopia) were wretched and needed to be talked down to. Considering that this show was made in the Reaganite/Thatcherite era, it’s a small wonder that it didn’t get axed after one season.

Thankfully, Roddenberry was kicked upstairs and the show’s reputation improved dramatically. It became less pretentious, the characters became far more likable, and hell, conflict between the characters began to pop up. By the time TNG ended seven years later, it had etched itself as one of the most beloved TV shows of the late 80s/early 90s time period.

By 1998, the Star Trek franchise had evolved, with Deep Space Nine adding far more character complexities and an over-reaching plot – the Dominion War – to the entire Star Trek universe. Still, evolution doesn’t necessarily mean perfection – DS9 was coming to an end the year after, having been punted to poorer timeslots due to the decline of syndicated drama; the consensus was that Voyager massively underperformed in terms of writing, with some accusing it of the same smugness that seeped through early TNG; and ratings for both never reached the heights of TNG. There was this slow feeling coming in that the franchise was starting to run out of steam.

First Contact, though, was a resounding success commercially and critically – guaranteeing a 9th movie for the franchise. To keep up, Trek would need to continue to build its universe on a larger scale, keep in tune with the events of Deep Space Nine, to learn from the writing flaws of Voyager, etc. Frakes was back in the director’s seat, and Rick Berman was teamed up with Michael Piller to pen the new movie. Would the franchise that gave us Kirk and Picard boldly go into the 21st century?

Well, Insurrection came in and gave us our answer.

…It’s boring.

Far, far more boring than TMP. Yes, I went there – I was more fascinated by The Slow-Motion Picture than Insurrection.

But why?

Continue reading

Steven Universe Review – “The Message” (Season 1B, Episode 24)

 

That's a huge marshmallow mic.
That’s one huge marshmelon on a stick.

Don’t you know? Video killed the audio star!” “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” – Steven and Greg. Well, this episode does have a message – raise your kids on healthy doses of new wave.

Airdate: March 10th, 2015

Written by: Lamar Abrams and Hellen Jo

Plot: Remember the wailing stone that the Crystal Gems picked up in the northern hemisphere? Well, it’s starting to receive transmissions from parts unknown. With no way to transmit it, the Gems reluctantly turn to everybody’s favorite van dweller. Their expectations are lowered, not necessarily to Greg’s pleasure. Little do they know that the message is being transmitted from Steven’s old summer fun buddy…

Review:

Well, here we are. The first episode of Season 1B’s ending arc.

It’s been a long time, eh?

To frame it all, the end of Season 1A was epochal in the grand scheme of the series, expanding Steven Universe’s universe (heh) far beyond Beach City into the darkest and deepest depths of space. However, the heart of the show still lies solely amongst the Crystal Gems and their interactions with each other and the worlds they are trapped between. Aliens on Earth, expelled from their own land, all but raising their dead leader’s son while shutting out his father, they are in a continuous balancing act.

“The Message” finally confirms that the house of cards that they built up for many years has finally, completely collapsed – and while many are involved, no one else bears witness to this like Greg does.

(And yes, I am aware this makes our second Greg episode in a row. Neat, eh?)

Continue reading