Saturday, September 30, 2017

September 2017 End Of The Month Report!

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September was both a big month for television for the blog and a chance to kick back a little. Having completed reviews of American Gods Season 1 episodes, we've started going back through the first season of Supergirl! With any luck, we'll be entirely caught up with that before the new season begins. We also were at the forefront of reviewing the new episodes of Star Trek: Discovery and can help save our readers time and attention from that story! As we head into Oscar Pandering Season, we're actually excited about the sheer volume of new products and media we have in the pipeline for reviewing!

We are adapting the Amazon product links as we reference old reviews now. Most of the links have been properly converted and the reviews now have the right products associated with them. We appreciate our readers sticking with us through Amazon reconfiguring, which is likely to be ongoing for a bit longer!

This month, we picked up three new followers on Twitter, but no new subscribers! We are always trying to get people to become regular readers and subscribe, so if you enjoy what you're reading on the blog, please subscribe by clicking on the right side of the blog to get updates with each posting. As well, if you read a review that really affects you, be sure to "share" it! PLEASE share a link to the blog, not the content of the article; this keeps people coming to the site and, hopefully, liking what they find once they are here! We're slowly growing our readership, so sharing and subscribing to the blog is an important way you can help! If you’re subscribing, please tell your friends about the blog!

In September, we updated the index pages every few days, but then frequently forgot to upload the changes, so the index pages were not as useful as we usually want for our readers! The primary Index Page, is usually updated daily and lets you know what the featured review is and has an up-to-the-day tally of how many reviews have been reviewed in each category! Check it out and feel free to use that as it is a much more useful and organized index to the reviews I've written!

If you enjoy the reviews, please consider clicking on the links in the reviews and purchasing items. We really appreciate all the purchases made through the blog as that keeps us going. As Halloween and holidasy shopping begins, if you're going shopping online, please come through the blog to to it. Thank you so much!

At the end of September 2017, I have reviewed the following:
590 - Book Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Star Trek Books
Graphic Novels
959 - Music (Album and Singles) Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Music Reviews By Rating (Best To Worst)
Music Reviews In Alphabetical Order
3310- - Movie and Television Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Movies By Rating (Best Movie to Worst)
Movies In Alphabetical Order
Best Picture Oscar Winner Film Reviews
Television Reviews
The Star Trek Review Index Page (All Star Trek Reviews In Order)!
The Star Trek Review Index Page (All Star Trek Reviews From The Best Of The Franchise To The Worst!)!
The Doctor Who Review Index Page (All Doctor Who Reviews In Order)!
The Doctor Who Review Index Page (All Doctor Who Reviews From The Best Of The Franchise To The Worst!)!
240 - Trading and Gaming Card Reviews
Gaming Cards Reviews
Star Trek Gaming Cards Reviews
Star Wars Gaming Cards Reviews
The Lord Of The Rings Trading Card Game Reviews
Other Gaming Cards Reviews
Trading Cards Reviews
921 - Toy and Christmas Ornament Reviews
with specialized pages for:
Ornament Reviews
Star Trek Toys
Star Wars Toys
Lord Of The Rings Toys
Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Angel Toys
Comic Book, Movie, Television Toys
Plush and Other Toys
1046 - Food, Drink, And Restaurant Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Cheese and Meats
Ice Cream
Other Food
280 - Pet Product Reviews
Cat Product Reviews
Dog Product Reviews
Rabbit Product Reviews
115 - Travel Reviews
Destinations Reviews
Hotels Reviews
229 - Health And Beauty Product Reviews
215 - Home, Garden, Appliance and Tool Reviews
109 - Electronics, Computers, Computer Games and Software Reviews
62 - Other Product Reviews

The Featured Review For The Month of September is my review of: Destiny: The Collection!
Check it out!

The month of September was packed with new, highly-read reviews, especially
for new television works! For September, the Top Ten Reviews of the month were:
10. Game Of Thrones - Season 7
9. Man Of Steel
8. The Good Place - Season 1
7. Travelers - Season 1
6. "The Return Part 17" - Twin Peaks
5. Friends From College - Season 1
4. "Battle At The Binary Stars" - Star Trek: Discovery
3. Little Evil
2. "The Vulcan Hello" - Star Trek: Discovery
1. "The Return Part 18" - Twin Peaks

I pride myself on being an exceptionally fair reviewer, but one who is very discriminating. I believe that most reviewers are far too biased toward both what is current and toward unduly praising things. I tend to believe most things actually are average and they ought to follows something around a Bell Curve. Mine is a little lopsided, but not as lopsided as most reviewers I know (who would probably have peak numbers between ten and seven)!

For my reviews, the current count is:
10s - 333 reviews
9s - 528 reviews
8s - 1017 reviews
7s - 1127 reviews
6s - 1053 reviews
5s - 1335 reviews
4s - 1002 reviews
3s - 779 reviews
2s - 381 reviews
1s - 255 reviews
0s - 125 reviews
No rating - 142 articles/postings

There was a decent amount of movement this month, but no new additions to the all time Top Ten Reviews, though for some wonderful reason people were reading our #1 review even more this month! At the end of September 2017, the most popular reviews/articles are:
10. Oz The Great And Powerful
9. The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bone
8. Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events - Season 1
7. Warm Bodies
6. Iron Man 3
5. Now You See Me
4. Tyler Perry's Temptation
3. The Burden Of Being Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
2. The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug
1. Man Of Steel

Thank you again, so much, for reading! Please share links to the blog with friends and spread the word!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Friday, September 29, 2017

Awkward Redefining Comes When "Behold . . . The Inhumans" Opens Inhumans Season 1!

The Good: Moments of concept and character
The Bad: Stiff acting, Generally lame special effects, Boring plot, Crowded character palate
The Basics: Inhumans begins with an unremarkable coup in "Behold . . . The Inhumans," which is a fairly low beginning a Marvel Cinematic Universe series.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is getting quite crowded. To be fair, the Marvel Comic book source material is a pretty vast collection of books. But expanding and developing the comic book world into the Marvel Cinematic Universe has some inherent challenges. When Inhumans was first announced, the plan was to make a film and that seemed to get put on hold based upon how the Inhumans were developed over the course of the second and third seasons of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. (reviewed here and here, respectively). And that direction worked for the often very realistic portion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: on Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., the Inhumans were defined as super-powered individuals who had Kree DNA in them that was activated by terrigenesis - exposure to terrigen crystals.

That changes with "Behold . . . The Inhumans," the pilot episode of ABC's Inhumans television show. Inhumans is an eight-episode season of Marvel Cinematic Universe television that redefines the Inhumans and Earth's moon in the MCU. And, much like the use of the facehuggers in the Alien films, terrigenesis is radically redefined in Inhumans with no cocoons and a pretty much instantaneous transformation.

On the island of Oahu, Hawaii, a young woman who has undergone terrigenesis is chased by anti-Inhuman mercenaries. She is rescued by a green-skinned Inhuman named Triton, who offers to take her to the City Of Attilan, a supposed refuge for Inhumans . . . cloaked on Earth's moon. There, Medusa - Queen of the Inhumans - and Black Bolt rule over the City. Their lives are upended when a Pathfinder-style probe knocks into the cloaked borders of Attilan and Gorgon stomps on it. Despite Black Bolt's brother, Maximus, wanting to attack Earth preemptively, the Inhumans continue their isolation. But when the Attilan Royal Family comes together for a terrigenesis ceremony, Maximus is given a prophecy from one of the would-be Inhumans.

Triton's death on Earth comes to the attention of the Attilan Royal Council , but Maximus openly stands against Black Bolt and other Royals are offended that they did not know of Triton's mission. Maximus, beginning to believe that the vision the young Inhuman had might be true, turns to the leader of the Genetic Council for support. Maximus and an ally in the Genetic Council take out the leader and begin a coup against Black Bolt's regime . . . set as he is on bringing the Inhumans from the moon to Earth.

Arguably the biggest issue with "Behold . . . The Inhumans" is that the source material is an ensemble piece and that is a lot to thrust into an hour debut. The result is that Inhumans begins as a collection of weakly characterized watered-down versions of mutants. Medusa is established instantly as possessing long hair that moves independent of her hands (she is possibly telekinetic and telepathic in this rendition) and Maximus is an Inhuman who simply underwent terrigenesis and lost his Inhuman DNA. Were it not for my familiarity with the source material, Black Bolt would appear in "Behold . . . The Inhumans" as a boring mute king. Eventually, a flashback explains Black Bolt, but it is hard to care about the coup against him when the character is so ill-defined and boring.

Attilan has a caste system, which is glossed over in "Behold . . . The Inhumans." Maximus seems at moments to be sympathetic to the mundane Inhumans (if there is such a thing), but "Behold . . . The Inhumans" ends before any of that can be satisfactorily explored. In a similar fashion, "Behold . . . The Inhumans" is packed with new, unfamiliar, characters. As a result, characters are thrust into various situations and rescued or threatened by others who have no clearly established abilities before those abilities are revealed. As a result, "Behold . . . The Inhumans" is packed with what appears to be characters stacked into the episode for plot convenience, as opposed to genuine characterization.

In "Behold . . . The Inhumans," Lockjaw is introduced (in advance of Captain Marvel). The giant dog with teleporting powers is rendered with some of the worst CGI in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Even worse than the special effects in "Behold . . . The Inhumans" is the acting. None of the performers in "Behold . . . The Inhumans" seem particularly engaged in their roles. Arguably the actor who I'd seen in the most works before this was Ken Leung and he is given virtually no chance to illustrate his charisma or talent as Karnak in "Behold . . . The Inhumans." Iwan Rheon is stiff as Maximus and Eme Ikwuakor seems like he is just delivering lines - not embodying a character. Serinda Swan is virtually emotionless as Medusa, which is problematic given the horrific nature of what happens to her character in "Behold . . . The Inhumans."

Ultimately, "Behold . . . The Inhumans" is a simplistic coup and aftermath story involving a slew of ill-defined, poorly-presented characters the viewer fails to care about.

For other Marvel Cinematic Universe pilot episodes, please check out my reviews of:
"The H Word" - The Defenders
"Pilot"- Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
"Into The Ring" - Daredevil

[Knowing that single episodes are an inefficient way to get episodes, it's worth looking into Marvel's Inhumans - The Complete First Season, which is also a better economical choice than buying individual episodes. Read my review of the premiere season of Inhumans here!


For other television reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Generic Ice Cream, Wonderful Additive: Edy's Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Is A Mixed Bag!

The Good: Good ingredients, Affordable, Good flavor for the peanut butter additive
The Bad: The ice cream is generically sweet and minimally flavored, Not overly nutritious
The Basics: Edy’s Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Ice Cream is a nice twist to the cookie dough ice creams . . . even if the ice cream itself is not overly exceptional.

I am told, by the person I trust most in this life, that I like strong flavors much more than the average person. As such, my views on some ice creams may differ from those who enjoy more wishy-washy flavors or have mild palates. In the case of Edy's Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Ice Cream, I definitely fall on the front that the ice cream is far too weak to hold its own with the peanut butter additive in the dessert. Had Edy's used a peanut butter flavored ice cream instead of a sweet cream ice cream, the Peanut Butter Cookie Dough ice cream might have been a rousing success. As it is, the ice cream is mild, the additive is not prevalent enough and the result is a more average overall ice cream than one that truly wows those who like strong flavors.


Edy’s ice cream comes in a one and a half quart cylindrical container. The Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Ice Cream is a smooth ice cream broken up by quite a swirl of peanut butter and a few random sized Peanut Butter cookie dough pieces. At (locally) $5.99 a half gallon, this Edy’s ice cream is an affordable, mid-range ice cream. This is a new, limited edition of Edy’s ice cream, so it has not hit every market yet and is not necessarily going to be made a part of the regular line after its limited edition run ends.

Ease Of Preparation

Edy’s Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Ice Cream is a light ice cream with two overpowering additives. As an ice cream, preparation is ridiculously simple: one need only open the top of the container, scoop out a half cup and consume! There is no trick to preparing or eating the Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Ice Cream.


The Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Ice Cream has a strong peanut butter scent to it. The aroma to this ice cream effervesces quite a bit, even when the ice cream is completely frozen. This is not one of the ice creams that requires it to near the melting point to develop an inviting bouquet.

In the mouth, the Edy's Peanut Butter Cookie Dough ice cream is dominated by the generic sweet cream flavor. The average bite of the Peanut Butter Cookie Dough ice cream is sweet without any real distinction. The peanut butter swirl in the sweet cream ice cream is dry and peanut butter flavor in a way that instantly overwhelms the ice cream. The chunks of actual peanut butter cookie dough are dry and grainy and distinct in their peanut butter flavor. The squishy blobs of frozen cookie dough are flavorful and they are so overpowering in the mouth that they establish the a dryness in the mouth that is very different from the flavor of the ice cream.

The Peanut Butter Cookie Dough ice cream has a fairly strong, dry aftertaste that lingers in the mouth for about three minutes after the last of the ice cream is consumed.


The Edy’s Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Ice Cream is a generally smooth ice cream with a substantial cookie dough additive. The one and a half quart container represents twelve half-cup servings. In the half-cup serving, there are 120 calories, 35 of which are from fat. The four grams of fat represent 6% of the RDA of fat, with 8% of one’s RDA of saturated fat coming in the 1.5 grams of saturated fat in this ice cream. One serving has 5 mg of cholesterol (that’s 2% of the RDA!) and 55 mg of Sodium (2% RDA). The only other real nutrient is three grams of protein, though there is also 8% of the RDA of Calcium and 2% of the RDA Vitamin A in the Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Ice Cream.

Edy’s has decent ingredients, which is nice. Made primarily of Non-Fat Milk, sugar, and corn syrup Peanut Butter Cookie Dough is a decent ice cream! There is nothing unpronounceable in the ingredients list, though the last few ingredients are more preservatives and coloring agents than anything one might find in a grocery store. There are allergy warnings for milk and peanut ingredients. It is not marked as Kosher.


Edy’s ice cream is both a frozen and a dairy product, so it is pretty obvious that it must be kept frozen in order to remain viable. Kept frozen it remains fresh for months; the container we bought last week had an expiration date of January 2018.

The Peanut Butter Cookie Dough ice cream is very light, but will certainly stain light clothing and some darker clothing. When the ice cream melts and gets onto fabrics, it will require one to wash it right out. On nonporous surfaces, the ice cream wipes off exceptionally easily.


Edy’s Peanut Butter Cookie Dough ice cream is good, but for those who love more flavorful things, it is likely to underwhelm a little more than thrill.

For other Edy’s ice creams, be sure to visit my reviews of:
Limited Edition Twinkie Ice Cream
Mint Brownie Ice Cream
Mint Cookie Crunch


For other food reviews, please visit my Food Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Supergirl Tests Into Average With The Erratic "Red Faced"

The Good: Interesting main plot, Moments of character, Good performances
The Bad: Terrible characterization of Cat Grant's mother, Very simple plot, Recycled plot elements
The Basics: "Red Faced" develops the Supergirl test story when Red Tornado enters the mix.

I recently did a convention at which Glenn Morshower was a guest. This was particularly exciting for me because Morshower is an actor who is in almost everything I enjoy, so I figured that I would have a lot to talk with him about if I had the chance. Alas, the convention was pretty busy for me and I did not actually have a chance to talk with Mr. Morshower, nor did I run into him randomly at the convention (for which I had the perfect ice breaking line!). So, when I sat down today to rewatch and review the Supergirl episode "Red Faced," I was pretty excited as this was Morshower's entrance into the DC Television Universe.

"Red Faced" picks up after the events of "How Does She Do It?" (reviewed here!) and it picks up the plotline from that episode that Supergirl is being tested. While the prior episode insinuated that Max Lord was behind testing Supergirl's abilities, "Red Faced" has the U.S. Military directly testing Supergirl. The episode introduces the Justice League character Red Tornado as a villain.

Supergirl is flying around relaxing when she hears two drivers getting into a scuffle. Supergirl rescues a soccer team from getting run over and the footage of the driver assualting Kara makes the National City news. Max Lord uses the opportunity to decry Supergirl and it is in a distracted state that Kara runs into Lucy Lane. Lucy Lane's father, General Sam Lane, is in National City and wants to have Supergirl fight his anti-alien android, the Red Tornado.

When Supergirl manages to defeat the Red Tornado, Alex Danvers takes the android's severed arm to Lord Industries. Alex wants Lord's help in finding the Red Tornado in its stealth mode after Dr. Morrow is fired by General Lane. When Olsen and the Lanes leave dinner, Red Tornado appears and Supergirl manages to protect National City, though the Tornado escapes.

"Red Faced" features a decent moment with Kara when she finally stands up to Cat Grant. Grant's mother visits and when she is emotionally aloof and outright mean, Grant punches down to Kara. Kara stands up for herself and it is refreshing to see and disappointing to see how quickly she backs up. Cat Grant takes Kara out for drinks and has a decent discussion with her. Grant makes some good points with Kara about expectations surrounding women in the workplace and the show manages to be not overly heavyhanded.

Unfortunately, Cat Grant's glimmer into insight is marred by her narcisism. Grant seems like she is developing - enough to recognize that she is angry at her own mother and taking it out on Kara - but then backsteps. Sadly, Cat Grant's horrible mother is similarly erratically characterized. The worst of cruel narcissists, Katherine Grant at one moment seems like a first wave feminist (calling out the "girl" part of "Supergirl"), the next seeming entirely old fashion (preferring a male doctor). The ridiculous split in her characterization is head-scratchingly distracting.

From the main characters, Kara spends "Red Faced" learning how to channel her anger effectively and the process is a generally good one. Kara gets reasonably upset and it turns out she has been carrying a lot of anger. Unfortunately for Supergirl, "Red Faced" is all about absolutes. Kara is treated like there can only be one true source for her anger, Lucy Lane makes a drastic character decision that needs not to be so exclusionary and Winn's father issues make him pliant to the Danvers girls desires and all these issues are problematic.

The primary villain in "Red Faced" is T.O. Morrow, the creator of Red Tornado. Morrow is a pretty generic mad scientist character in "Red Faced," though the idea that the military is developing an anti-Kryptonian defense is a good one.

Director Jesse Warn does an excellent job of choreographing and editing the fights between Alex and Morrow and Supergirl and the Red Tornado. Warn also gets some impressive performances out of Melissa Benoist as both Kara and Supergirl.

"Red Faced" is unfortunately derivative - do all Millennials have game night or just the ones in the DC Television Universe?! And the final shot of Hank Henshaw is pointless and insulting. The result is that "Red Faced" splits the good with the bad and ends up as perfectly average super hero television.

For other works with Glenn Morshower, please check out my reviews of:
Transformers: The Last Knight
“The Beginning Of The End” - Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
“Ragtag” - Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Revolution - Season 1
After Earth
Transformers: Dark Of The Moon
X-Men: First Class
The Men Who Stare At Goats
Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen
All The King’s Men
“North Star” - Star Trek: Enterprise
The West Wing
“Resistance” - Star Trek: Voyager
Star Trek: Generations
“Starship Mine” - Star Trek: The Next Generation
“Peak Performance” - Star Trek: The Next Generation


For other television season and episode reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Tidy Cats Lightweight 4-in-1 Strength Clumping Cat Litter Works!

The Good: Absorbs odors, Excellent clumping, Cats use it consistently, Decent aroma
The Bad: Not flushable
The Basics: Tidy Cats Lightweight 4-in-1 Strength Clumping cat litter works wonderfully to do all that is promises for a decent price!

One of the dangers of reviewing a lot of very different products and experiencing many different things as a person of limited means is that occasionally, I run into territory where I might end up sounding like a cheap infomercial. When it comes to cat litter, I tend to go toward inexpensive, but after stocking up on a discount brand litter that did not clump at all, I saw the merit of using a brand name clumping cat litter. Yeah, it might sound like a crappy infomercial, but the truth is that Tidy Cats Lightweight 4-in-1 Strength Clumping Cat Litter turned me around on the differences between cat litters that were inexpensive and ones that were cheap.

Tidy Cats Lightweight 4-in-1 Strength Clumping Cat Litter is a great example of how a well-made product with a marginally higher initial expense to it may result in saving money in the long-term. Use of the Tidy Cats Lightweight 4-in-1 Strength Clumping cat litter resulted in far less waste than using cheaper litters that had no real clumping ability to them.

The Tidy Cats Lightweight 4-in-1 Strength Clumping look like little a standard clay cat litter. Each piece of litter is a little gray granule of litter that is approximately 1/16” in diameter. There are little blue granules mixed in with the gray clay litter pieces and there is a fair amount of litter dust in the cat litter.

If changing a cat's entire litterbox, one 8.5 lb. jug will fill an average litterbox to about 2 1/2" deep. When first filling a litterbox, the Tidy Cat Lightweight 4-in-1 Strength Clumping cat litter emits a clean, soapy smell. The aroma seems to be more than enough to quickly overcome any scent from cat waste and when the litter box is first filled, it makes the room the litterbox is in smell soapy and clean. The Tidy Cats Lightweight 4-in-1 Strength Clumping Cat Litter's aroma fades after about half an hour after the litter is dispensed from the jug or bucket it comes in.

When your cat uses the litterbox, the Tidy Cats Lightweight 4-in-1 Strength Clumping cat litter clumps within seconds. I have been able, in the past, to sift the litter almost immediately after Elim uses the box (he has a habit of coming in while I am cleaning out the litterboxes and showing me just how good he is at using the box, necessitating further scooping!). The clay binds to the urine within seconds and it clumps well-enough that a litter scoop can easily be shaken to sift out the remaining litter. Whenever our three cats bury their litter, the blob of clay remains solid. What impressed me was that each time the cats buried their urine-soaked litter clump, the Tidy Cats Lightweight 4-in-1 Strength Clumping Cat Litter emitted a new burst of soap scent.

Equally impressive is how the Tidy Cats Lightweight 4-in-1 Strength Clumping cat litter worked when it came to Evie, Elim and Timber pooping in the litterbox. Even when the cats poop - and Timber has had bouts with terrible-smelling feces - the moment they bury it, the scent of poop is sublimated by the Tidy Cats Lightweight 4-in-1 Strength Clumping Cat Litter. The result is that no matter how bad the poop might smell, the Tidy Cats Lightweight 4-in-1 Strength Clumping Cat Litter effectively eliminates its odor.

What drives the Tidy Cats Lightweight 4-in-1 Strength Clumping Cat Litter down a bit is that it is not a flushable litter. While the Tidy Cats Lightweight 4-in-1 Strength Clumping Cat Litter clumps incredibly well, it cannot be flushed, lest it clog up one's plumbing.

Despite that, the Tidy Cats Lightweight 4-in-1 Strength Clumping Cat Litter does what it promises and it is more than enough to truly lock up the bad aromas of cat waste and clump in a way that allows one to get the most out of the litter without wasting the product. That makes it a pretty remarkable cat litter that does all it promises!

For other cat litters, please visit my reviews of:
World's Best Multiple Cat Clumping Formula Cat Litter
Tidy Cats Pure Nature Cedar, Corn, & Pine Clumping Cat Litter
Cat's Pride Scoopable Litter


For other pet product reviews, please be sure to visit my Pet Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Supergirl Bites Off More Than It Can Chew In "How Does She Do It?"

The Good: Development of Max Lord, Moments of fleshing out James Olsen, Plot pacing
The Bad: Melodramatic romantic subplots, Somewhat obvious plot progression, Forced character conflicts
The Basics: "How Does She Do It?" diminishes Supergirl some by mixing a smart series of antagonist revelations with a cheap series of romantic subplots and a generic "women must want kids" theme.

One of the unfortunate aspects of the first season of Supergirl was that the show was erratic, in terms of quality. The show oscillated between the worst soap opera conceits and a generic Villain Of The Week (usually aliens) plot that has become the bane of most super hero dramas. Coming off the stunningly good and smart episode "Livewire" (reviewed here!), Supergirl struggled to maintain the sense of originality and character complexity with "How Does She Do It?"

"How Does She Do It?" quickly gets mired in the melodramas of James Olsen's relationship with Lucy Lane and Kara babysitting Cat Grant's son. There is something pretty overtly sexist about the first major female superhero in the DC Television Universe getting saddled with episodes that focus on the most banal romantic relationships and have the super heroine stuck babysitting. Cat Grant, up until now, a strong independent feminist icon type character, is reduced to another female stereotype - she is the woman who "has it all" and in the process of bothering to have a child (for no clear, particular, reason) is a terrible, neglectful parent.

Supergirl is blissfully flying around National City when she is targeted by a drone, which she brings down and returns to the DEO. Hank Henshaw denies that the DEO developed the advanced drone and they begin investigating the origins of the drone. When Cat Grant wins the Siegel Prize - the first time she has beaten Lois Lane - Kara volunteers to take care of Grant's son. When Supergirl rescues a building from a bomb, a drone spies upon her and evaluates her capabilities. Alex Danvers figures out that the drone Supergirl disabled came from Lord Industries, so she and Henshaw investigate Lord's company, posing as FBI agents.

When a routine sweep of Lord Industries finds a bomb, about to go off, Alex calls in Supergirl and while Kara is able to get the bomb outside of National City, Supergirl is wounded. Rescued by Henshaw, Kara witnesses his mysterious eyes while she is being healed in a tanning bed. At CatCo, Winn Schott bonds with Grant's son, Carter, who has a crush on Supergirl. Eager to get out of the "friend zone" with Olsen, Kara inadvertently advocates for Lucy Lane. When Max Lord goes ahead with launching his environmentally-safe, super-fast train, Supergirl is sent to prevent sabotage. But when a bomb threat is called in to the airport and Carter ends up on Max Lord's train, Kara is torn between the two targets.

At its best moments, "How Does She Do It?" is a decent episode that slowly reveals Hank Henshaw's true nature and develops the idea that someone is testing Supergirl's abilities. The episode's high points feature Max Lord slowly developing as a scientist who appears to the world as an altruist who is more than he appears. Lord, known to fans of DC Comics, as a villain, starts to get peppered into the Supergirl narrative with his source material's character defects.

The thing is, the romantic character entanglements in "How Does She Do It?" are not all bad, but the forced inclusion of Kara into them is. "How Does She Do It?" establishes the first season as a mess of romantic entanglements that are painfully soap operatic. Kara has a crush on James Olsen, Winn Schott has a crush on Kara, Lucy Lane is legitimately fighting for her relationship with James Olsen and Olsen is torn between choosing between Kara and Lucy; the web is presented in an annoyingly melodramatic and with a sense of "who will end up with who?" as opposed to having substantive relationships beyond flirtations.

The issue with "How Does She Do It?" is that the story actually has a romantic relationship that could be compellingly explored: Lucy Lane and James Olsen. Lane is troubled by how Olsen's obsession with Superman, and now Supergirl, influenced their romantic relationship. While Olsen is sore over being dumped by Lane, Lucy has come to National City to try to work on the relationship because she wants to try to salvage the good parts. The often familiar relationship issue of how work comes between two people could be given a fresh spin on Supergirl, but instead of giving James Olsen a real sense of owning the episode and a genuine conflict of his own, "How Does She Do It?" pays lip service to the Lane/Olsen relationship in favor of framing Olsen's romantic problems as a medium for Kara Danvers to feel hope and crushed by Olsen's arc.

Supergirl does a decent job of making a slow revelation of Hank Henshaw, which is nice. However, the failure in "How Does She Do It?" of Alex or Kara to reference what Eliza told the pair in the prior episode is a problem with the show's neglect of its better serialized aspects. Henshaw is insinuated as having a nefarious past and Alex is suspicious of him in "How Does She Do It?" But when Alex gets new evidence that Henshaw might not be all she thought he was, she does not at all reference her father's fate.

Cat Grant is presented as problematic in "How Does She Do It?" as well. Before now, Carter has been referenced, but Cat Grant has shown absolutely no (good) maternal qualities. In "How Does She Do It?" Grant is erratically characterized as trying to get Carter to acknowledge Supergirl's non-physical attributes . . . right after deriding Kara's.

"How Does She Do It?" suffers because of its lack of focus. Knox is an interesting antagonist, as a bomber who seems to be a part of testing Supergirl's abilities. Olsen's character arc is potentially interesting, but it gets brushed aside in Kara's eagerness to get out of the friend zone and the wishy-washy relationship she has with Winn and (now) Carter. The episode feels distracted and while it is loaded with potential, the episode fails to satisfactorily develop any of its disparate plotlines.

For other works with Scott Michael Campbell, please visit my reviews of:
Brokeback Mountain


For other television and movie reviews, please visit my Movie Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Good, But Not Chocolate Flavored, FiggyPops Choco Crunch Supersnacks Are Good!

The Good: Great ingredients, Flavorful, Decent nutritional value
The Bad: Expensive, Does not taste even remotely like chocolate
The Basics: Made In Nature FiggyPops Choco Crunch Supersnacks are a pleasant enough organic snack, even if the "choco" and "crunch" elements are hardly represented by the fruity snacks!

Despite being pretty reticent about liking the things I like, I have discovered that I am pretty open to new experiences and products. For the right price, I'll try just about any new product and I find I enjoy reviewing products that stretch the limits of what I would normally experience. When it comes to snacks, I am pretty open-minded, especially as I have aged and nutrition has become more of a factor in my snacking decisions. When a package of Made In Nature FiggyPops Choco Crunch Supersnacks arrived in front of me, I thought nothing of trying them.

Actually, that is not entirely true. Having recently had a lousy experience with Larabar Fruit And Nut Bars (reviewed here!), I was a bit gun-shy toward snacks that were fruit-based, but promising to be something more flavorful and interesting than flat-out fruit. Fortunately for me, Made In Nature FiggyPops Choco Crunch Supersnacks were quite good . . . even if the "Choco" in their name implies a chocolate flavor that does not at all materialize in the snack.


Made In Nature is a health food company and the Made In Nature FiggyPops Choco Crunch Supersnacks are the first product I have tried by the company.

The package of FiggyPops Choco Crunch Supersnacks is a 1.6 oz. foil pouch that holds five snacks. Each FiggyPops fruit & nuts snack is an oblate spheroid roughly 1 1/4” in diameter by 3/4” thick. The FiggyPops Choco Crunch Supersnacks come in various sizes of pouch - from 1.6 to 4.2 oz bags. The treats themselves are reminiscent of macaroon cookies with coconut on the surface of the soft sphere.

Ease Of Preparation

Eating Made In Nature FiggyPops Choco Crunch Supersnacks is simple. After removing five snack spheres from the bag, simply stick them in your mouth (one at a time!). There is no challenge to eating this snack or preparation required; these are an entirely ready-to-eat food!


The FiggyPops Choco Crunch Supersnacks have a smell of coconut and chocolate. The scent of cocoa in the bouquet is inviting and intriguing. The combination of chocolate and coconut in the aroma of these snacks is enough to give the consumer hope that the treat will delight anyone who loves fruit and chocolate.

In the mouth, though, the Made In Nature FiggyPops Choco Crunch Supersnacks are dominated by the flavor of the coconut. The dry fruit flavor of coconut is immediately evident and very strong. Breaking the coconut shell that surrounds the soft snack spheres, the consumer is overwhelmed by a sweet and sour flavor of dates and cherries. The fruity flavor is dry and the sweetness of the cherries is not enough to overcome for long the coconut on the snack's exterior. The flavor is not bad at all, but there is no real chocolate flavor in these snacks. Instead, these are ideal for someone who wants a fruity snack with a fruit and nut texture to it.

The FiggyPops Choco Crunch Supersnacks leave a slightly sour and dry aftertaste in the mouth that lasts for about five minutes after the last of the snacks is consumed.


Made In Nature FiggyPops Choco Crunch Supersnacks are intended as a healthy snack and they are quite good on that front. Each 1.6 oz. Made In Nature FiggyPops Choco Crunch Supersnacks pack represents a single serving and they are made of decent ingredients and loaded with dietary fiber. Made primarily of organic dates, organic pepita seeds, and organic figs, the ingredient list is made of entirely recognizable ingredients. These snacks were produced on equipment that processes tree nuts and there is a warning that some might contain a pit, but I did not encounter pits at all in mine. These are certified organic, appear to be Vegan-compliant (though they are not so noted) and I cannot see why they would not be gluten free based on the ingredients.

Made In Nature's FiggyPops Choco Crunch Supersnacks have 190 calories, 100 of which are from fat. A full serving represents 25% of one's RDA of saturated fat, but they are cholesterol-free. Surprisingly, they are comparatively low in sodium with only 85 mg (4% RDA) per serving and there are 5 grams of dietary fiber. Consumers also get 4 grams of protein from each serving of the snacks. These snacks give consumers 4% of the RDA of Calcium and Vitamin A and 10% the RDA of Iron, but not much else.


As a healthy snack, Made In Nature FiggyPops Choco Crunch Supersnacks remain fresh so long as they are kept in their sealed bag. Our bag had an expiration date of May 1, 2018, so these do not have the best shelf life for a snack of its type. The only real clean-up for the Made In Nature FiggyPops Choco Crunch Supersnacks comes from wiping up crumbs, though I also found there was quite a bit of shaved coconut left in the bag after I was done consuming them!


Made In Nature FiggyPops Choco Crunch Supersnacks are quite good, so long as one does not go into the experience expecting anything even remotely chocolate-flavored. The expense of the package of FiggyPops Choco Crunch Supersnacks is a bit high, but for the quality of the ingredients, it is on par with other high-end snacks. The result is a fruity snack that is likely to satisfy its target demographic, if not the general public!

For other reviews of random foods, please check out:
Frosted Orange Crush Pop Tarts
Uncle Ray's Maple Bacon Potato Chips
Good Thins The Oat One Sweet Oat & Flax snacks


For other food and drink reviews, please check out my Food And Drink Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Awkward Thanksgiving, Awesome Supergirl Villain: "Livewire" Is A First-Season Hit!

The Good: Good realism for the family relationship, Special effects, Good villain, Character development
The Bad: Somewhat predictable plot, Chemistry between two of the leads
The Basics: Supergirl introduces its first big villain of the week as "Livewire" makes her debut in a spectacular episode.

In its first season, Supergirl got off to a rough start and the first few episodes were tough to get through. Before it hit its stride, Supergirl was an aimless super hero show that paid lip service to its female characters by pointing out time and again that they were women. The reason Supergirl survived its first season and managed to grow a fan base was because - for as erratic as the show is - it had some truly amazing episodes that transcended the somewhat stale superhero genre. The first knock-out episode of the series was "Livewire."

"Livewire" is the Supergirl Thanksgiving episode and it is the rare episode in the superhero drama that completely nails the realism of an uncomfortable interpersonal relationship. "Livewire," on its surface, is a Super-Villain Of The Week episode of Supergirl, but has a strong b-plot focused on the troubling way that Eliza Danvers treated her daughter Alex while growing up and the effects that she had on developing Alex. "Livewire" is preoccupied by illustrating the effects of both neglect of a child and giving a minor an adult level of responsibility. Fortunately for those who have experienced or witnessed those types of abuse, "Livewire" manages to not let Eliza Danvers off the mat; instead, Alex has the moral high ground and she keeps it for the episode without simply resolving her rightful anger and disappointment within the hour episode.

Supergirl is at the DEO when an alien prisoner gets loose. She has to subdue the alien while Alex waits for Kara to return home, where Alex frets about the impending arrival of their mother. National City's shock jock Leslie Willis begins criticizing Supergirl and, because she holds Willis's contract, an offended Cat Grant is able to transfer her to reporting on traffic from the CatCo traffic helicopter. Alex, in the meantime, is convinced that Eliza is quietly furious at her for allowing Kara to become Supergirl. When the traffic helicopter is caught in terrible weather, Supergirl attempts to rescue Willis, but she is struck by lightning during the rescue, transforming Willis.

Leaving the hospital, Willis is accosted by a jerk and when she inadvertently electrocutes him, she begins to explore her abilities. Transforming herself into pure electricity, Willis disappears into the power lines. At Kara's apartment, Eliza, Winn Schott, and Alex have a painfully awkward Thanksgiving, which includes Kara leaving the table to take a phone call from James Olsen. Somewhat drunk, Alex comes out to her mother about being a DEO agent. Kara is called into the CatCo offices to help with a technical issue when Willis manifests as Livewire. With the help of DEO technology, Supergirl and Cat Grant team up to thwart the villain.

Supergirl continues the trend of characters in various comic book franchises of having troubling relationships with their parents. Alex knows her mother well-enough to recognize that Eliza does not approve of Kara being in the public eye. Alex is held responsible for Kara's actions and seeing Eliza critical of her is tough to watch, but incredibly accurate for anyone who has an uncomfortable relationship with an emotionally aloof parent.

"Livewire" features a flashback scene that fleshes out the relationship of the young Kara and Alex and Eliza and Jeremiah Danvers. Eliza and Jeremiah have a troublingly cold relationship. Helen Slater and Dean Cain have no on-screen chemistry to make their relationship believable. Ironically, Malina Weissman and Jordan Mazarati have far better on-screen chemistry as the young Kara and Alex to play a realistic pair of young sisters. The flashback scenes also reveal how Hank Henshaw met the Danvers's and the episode fleshes out the backstories well.

While the villain of the "Livewire" is not initially incredible, Brit Morgan does well with the material she is given. The episode instead fleshes out the characters of Alex Danvers, Eliza Danvers, and Cat Grant remarkably well. In fact, none of the characters have bad arcs in "Livewire" - it is in this episode that Jeremiah Danvers is shown making the noble sacrifice for his family and Winn Schott tells Kara that his father is in prison. All of the characters are given something to do in "Livewire."

Alex Danvers, however, is the big winner of "Livewire." Alex Danvers, up until now in the season, has been a loyal operative of the Department Of Extranormal Operations (National City's anti-extraterrestrial government organization) and that was essentially a big twist for her character early on. She has been working behind-the-scenes to keep Kara safe and off the radar of those who hunt aliens and when Kara comes out as Supergirl, she brings Kara into the fold, allowing her to remain autonomous on Earth. Alex Danvers, however, is a far more interesting character than that by the fact that she has structured her entire life around keeping Kara safe. While that might seem like an honorable goal, in "Livewire" the origins of that characterization are revealed with much more destructive implications. Alex Danvers was charged with a parental level of responsibility when she was just a little girl and that, appropriately, messed her up. She has spent her adult life working on honoring her mother's edict without any positive reinforcement or affection from her mother. Alex Danvers is realistically screwed up, even if she has hid that fairly well up until this point. Chyler Leigh plays the revelations of how Alex was groomed quite well. Leigh plays the part with realism and while the sense of reversal is profound, Leigh plays the character with a consistency that never makes the revelations feel abrupt or unreal.

Cat Grant finally moves beyond being a monolithically "bitchy boss" character in "Livewire." In "Livewire," Cat Grant starts to see some of the consequences of her actions - like with Leigh's performance, Calista Flockhart manages to sell the transitions without feeling like they betray the core character. Grant fostered Willis's career to benefit her company without considering the larger ramifications of Willis's destructive nature of her broadcasts. Cat Grant's understanding of the consequences of her actions are balanced by Grant having no clue who Winn Schott is and her having no real understanding of Kara's backstory. The result is a character arc within the episode that feels very organic and not at all forced.

Helen Slater and Melissa Benoist are good in "Livewire." The two play their relationship as that of a protective mother and a daughter who is tired of watching her sister get treated poorly. Slater plays Eliza with a sense of (apparently) benign overprotectiveness. Eliza is not overtly abusive and in the course of the episode, her daughters standing up to her becomes a wake-up call for her to be honest with them. Benoist plays Kara with a realistic sense of concern. In "Livewire," Kara transitions from thinking Alex is being somewhat paranoid about how Eliza treats her to coming around and having the strength of character to stand up for her sister.

While "Livewire" has moments where it falls into the usual super hero conceits - taking down the titular character is painfully easy in the episode thanks to a macguffin from the DEO - the character-driven aspects of the episode are the dominant and most successful portions of the episode. The result is the first hit episode of Supergirl!

For other works with Brit Morgan, please visit my reviews of:
"We Can Be Heroes" - Supergirl
True Blood - Season 4
True Blood - Season 3


For other television season and episode reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Monday, September 25, 2017

An Average Blend From Lavazza: Lavazza Caffe Filtro Ground Coffee

The Good: Caffeinated, Flavorful
The Bad: Not overly flavorful, Comparatively expensive
The Basics: Lavazza Caffe Filtro ground coffee is all right: not exceptional, not bad.

I often find myself looking for new coffees to thrill me and every now and then, I stumble upon a decent staple coffee. Lavazza Caffe Filtro ground coffee might be that; it is a good, but not incredible coffee. I tend to like dark roast coffees and the Lavazza Caffe Filtro ground coffee is not that. For a medium roast coffee, Lavazza Caffe Filtro is all right, but it is not a coffee that is going to excite consumers.


Lavazza is a premium coffee company that recreates an Italian coffee experience. We found the Caffe Filtro Espresso in an 8 oz bag of ground coffee beans.

The Caffe Filtro Espresso Blend is an aromatic blend that smells, appropriately, of coffee. We blended it for use in both our standard coffee maker with no issues.

Ease Of Preparation

Caffe Filtro ground coffee is easy to prepare, because it is a ground coffee. After opening the bag, measure out one heaping tablespoon for every cup of water in your coffee maker. Caffe Filtro ground coffee is intended for automatic (drip or percolating) coffee makers. This is NOT an instant coffee. As a result, it needs to be brewed and I use a Hamilton Beach machine (reviewed here!) with a Crucial Coffee #4 Permanent coffee filter (reviewed here!).

Consult your coffee maker's instructions for how to brew the coffee. However, as far as the basics go, you'll need a coffee filter, which you put the Caffe Filtro ground coffee in and then brew through your coffee maker. The directions recommend making a pot at a time and serving it within twenty minutes and brewing complete pots does seem to net a more unified taste to the coffee (nothing too weak or too strong, no surprise sips that are uncommonly bitter - which has not happened at all with this coffee!).


Lavazza Caffe Filtro ground coffee smells fairly weak, but earthy and like coffee. The aroma of the Lavazza Caffe Filtro ground coffee seems to fade somewhat quicker than other coffees, but when it is steaming, the scent is fine.

In the mouth, the Caffe Filtro coffee is simply coffee flavored. This is a comparatively light blend. The coffee is not bitter at all, but it does not have a strong, roasted flavor, either. The Lavazza Caffe Filtro coffee is appropriately coffee flavored without any kick or body to it.

The Lavazza Caffe Filtro Espresso has no real aftertaste to it.


This is coffee, not something that appears on the nutrition pyramid! Lavazza Caffe Filtro ground coffee does not contribute anything to one's daily recommended allowance of anything. In fact, the bag does not have any ingredients, save a mention of a 100% blend of Arabica beans.

This is a caffeinated blend, but it does not have much kick to it. The Lavazza Caffe Filtro ground coffee wakes the consumer up, but without any real flair or punch to it.


Caffe Filtro ground coffee ought to be stored sealed in its container with the top firmly closed. Coffee is known to absorb flavors of food nearby it, so keeping the bag tightly closed is highly recommended. There are different schools of thought on refrigerating open coffee and I have a very clean refrigerator with a lot of ways to segregate coffee, so I tend to come down on the side of refrigerate it. The container makes no recommendations on that count, though the bag of Caffe Filtro ground coffee would not expire until June 30 2018, so I doubt it would go bad long before then!

After brewing, coffee grounds ought to be disposed of. These grounds may be thrown in the trash when used or put in a compost pile, if available. Coffee grounds make great compost.


Lavazza Caffe Filtro ground coffee is a very average, but not bad, making it a tougher sell than some other Lavazza blends.

For other coffee reviews, please visit my reviews of:
Caribou Coffee Medium Roast Coffee
The Organic Coffee Co. Rainforest Blend Coffee
Peet's Coffee Major Dickason's Blend Coffee


For other food or drink reviews, please check out my Food Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Legitimately Terrible: "Battle At The Binary Stars" Continues The Degredation Of Star Trek: Discovery!

The Good: Special effects, Moments of performance
The Bad: Terrible characterizations, Banal plot, Less-than-subtle racism
The Basics: "Battle At The Binary Stars" continues the Star Trek: Discovery retcon of the Star Trek universe into utter ridiculousness.

Despite my many, many, trepidations about Star Trek: Discovery, I was actually quite excited about watching the second episode of the series. When I sat down to the pilot episode, I was mired in the many problems with the show's concept and the behind-the-scenes issues surrounding the show (that it was intended to launch the CBS All Access streaming service, rather than being developed based upon a strong, Star Trek concept). But, when I sat to watch "Battle At The Binary Stars," I had vented the angst about the concept and suffered through the terrible pilot episode that was kindly evaluated to be a complete mess.

"Battle At The Binary Stars" is, sadly, no better than the pilot episode to Star Trek: Discovery.

"Battle At The Binary Stars" picks up immediately after the events of "The Vulcan Hello" (reviewed here!) and it is impossible to discuss the second episode of Star Trek: Discovery. After all, "The Vulcan Hello" climaxed with the U.S.S. Shenzhou, a power struggle having broken out on the bridge between the Captain and first officer, facing off against a decloaking fleet of Klingon starships. As the name suggests, "Battle At The Binary Stars" leads to a conflict between the StarFleet vessel Shenzhou and the least-Klingon looking Klingon starships yet seen in the Star Trek franchise.

Seven years before she mutinied against Captain Georgiou, Michael Burnham arrives aboard the Shenzhou where she behaves more like a Vulcan than a human. In the present, Burnham is relieved of duty. The Klingon, T'Kuvma, acts as a prophet to attempt to unify the twenty-four Klingon houses and get them to fight the StarFleet presence as a threat to their way of life. The wounded helm officer, Connor, visits Burnham in the brig moments before the Shenzhou is significantly damaged. With Burnham trapped in the brig, the Shenzhou is crippled.

With the StarFleet fleet decimated, T'Kuvma informs the Shenzhou crew that they have been warned against exploring further into Klingon space. Burnham manages to escape the brig and when she is reunited with Georgiou, the two hatch a plan to avert a war with the Klingons. When the Klingons begin collecting the bodies of their dead, Georgiou beams a bomb onto one of the corpses. When trying to capture T'Kuvma, Burnham and Georgiou encounter resistence and Burnham is beamed back to the Shenzhou alone. Burnham is court martialed for her various crimes.

"Battle At The Binary Stars" has admittedly wonderful special effects. When the Shenzhou has holes blown in it so that Burnham's brig is basically a cube next to vacuum, the effect is awesome. The destruction of the Europa is similarly cool.

Effects, however, are a minor part of a show. The Klingons in "Battle At The Binary Stars" do not sound at all like prior, established, Klingons. The Klingons fret about their losses, as opposed to acknowledging up front that their casualties in the battle with the StarFleet are honored dead who fell in battle (for Klingons, there is no greater honor). T'Kuvma is essentially a religious figure and he is thinly, but uninterestingly, characterized in "Battle At The Binary Stars."

The title of "Battle At The Binary Stars" pretty much details the entire plot of the episode. The Klingons square off against the Shenzhou and when more starships arrive, shooting occurs. There is no real character development in "Battle At The Binary Stars;" the most interesting character dynamic continues to be the relationship between Captain Georgiou and science officer Saru, but they are not given a significant number of scenes to carry the episode.

Instead, "Battle At The Binary Stars" wastes time showing how Burnham escapes the brig - apparently the Shenzhou's central computer has an ethics routine that rivals that of Commander Data's - and fleshing out T'Kuvma's backstory. But, essentially, "Battle At The Binary Stars" is a starship fight that culminates in a physical altercation between two humans and two Klingons that goes on far longer than one would expect hand-to-hand combat to last between the two groups.

For a show set in the Star Trek universe that is being championed as a triumph of progressive casting, it is hard not to cringe at the racism in "Battle At The Binary Stars." Captain Georgiou is of Asian descent (actress Michelle Yeoh is of Malaysian descent; it is unclear where Georgiou is from in the narrative). She quotes Sun Tzu, captains the Shenzhou, and prepares to make a kamikaze flight on the Klingon flagship. The white Admiral who leads the StarFleet fleet captains the U.S.S. Europa (ethnocentric much? Sure, it's a Jovian moon, but it screams "Europe!"). And by the end of the second episode, the mutinous black protagonist is headed to jail. Perhaps next week, Star Trek: Discovery will find some pleasant stereotypes about Native Americans, Jews and arabs to insert into Star Trek lore (read that with as much sarcasm as possible).

Sarek continues to be problematically rendered in Star Trek: Discovery and the concept of the Vulcan katra is completely bastardized in "Battle At The Binary Stars" to transition from an end-of-life way to save the Vulcan soul to a marginally uncomfortable video chat inside Burnham's head.

"Battle At The Binary Stars" seems like an important plot event for Star Trek: Discovery, though the titular starship still has not made its appearance. Beyond that, the episode sucks. The Orville feels more like smart, classic Star Trek than Star Trek: Discovery does two episodes in. The custodians of the Star Trek franchise continue to prioritize flash over substance and the result is television that might appeal to fourteen year-old boys, but if it does, they aren't the fourteen year-old boys who fell in love with the cerebral episodes of the original Star Trek and I shudder to think of the world they might create.

For other works with Michelle Yeoh, please visit my reviews of:
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2
The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor
Memoirs Of A Geisha
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Tomorrow Never Dies


See how this episode stacks up against others in the Star Trek franchise by visiting my Star Trek Review Index Page where the works are listed by rating!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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