Monday, June 17, 2024

Episode by Episode - Star Trek: Enterprise


Season 3

Episode 71 Damage

 


The Enterprise is heavily damaged from their encounters in the last episode.  Archer is returned to Enterprise by the Aquarian Xindi.  He’s told to meet at specific coordinates in only a few days.  

 

In desperate need to make repairs and save Earth, the crew encounter aliens called Illyrians who provide some help but not enough to get Enterprise moving at warp.  Archer makes the decision to raid the ship and steal the supplies he needs.  

 

It’s the darkest episode of the season and not one that should sit well with anyone.  Heroes shouldn’t do bad things to save the day.  It’s certainly against the overall message of Star Trek which is peace and exploration.  Yes, it’s an Earth ship and not the United Federation of Planets.  But Archer leaves the Illyrians stranded in the Delphic Expanse with no warp drive, years away from their home planet. 

 

The stakes were high and his decision would ultimately save Earth but the idea that Enterprise is hurting other beings for their own gain is so anti-Star Trek it’s difficult to like the episode, despite how well written it truly was.  

 

The episode also reveals more of the true big bad, the sphere builders and how they are manipulating the Xindi.  “The Guardian” is manipulating time to their own advantages.  Some of the Xindi are now developing doubts about their plans to destroy Earth.

 

In a rather boring, annoying, unneeded plot twist we learn T’Pol has become addicted to Trillium-D and is injecting herself in small doses to experience emotions.  It’s an annoying subplot that wasn’t needed given all the other high drama floating around.   Also, very un-Vulcan and an illogical choice.   

 

Written by
Joseph Ammendolea
Owner/President
“I Like To Play With Toys” Productions®
ILikeToPlayWithToysProductions@Yahoo.com

Thursday, June 13, 2024

BRATS FAILS TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IT EXPLORES

Hulu’s Andrew McCarthy documentary Brats wasn't as intriguing as it should have been. In fact it was rather self indulgent and failed to understand or capture the true mysticism surrounding the 1980s Brat Pack.

Its key members and adjacent members spend the documentary complaining about a label which has defined their career for almost 40 years. It never digs deeper into what they were going through at that time, how they rose to that status, what their career was like after the label. It barely skims the surface with any depth. The nostalgia of seeing Brat Pack actors reminisce isn't enough to save this documentary. 



What it devolved into, entirely by accident, is a bunch of rich celebrities, in their very expensive homes, lightly complaining about something that made them rich. They do regret rejecting the label in the early days but to complain about how it affected their career while sitting in kitchens the size of other folks houses really makes it hard to relate. 

People living on multi-acre farms or living with scenic ocean views truly have no right to complain about hiccups in careers that gave them so much. 




It's not a documentary that mocks its fan base or disrespects it. It doesn't even hate on the label. It's a documentary that doesn't understand its fans. It's so out of touch with what Brat Pack really meant. At no point do the actors ever truly factor in the resonance their films had for people and pop culture. Not with any depth worth noting. A true miss on what could have been something amazing.



Written by
Joseph Ammendolea
Owner/President
“I Like To Play With Toys” Productions®
ILikeToPlayWithToysProductions@Yahoo.com

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

The DC Animated Universe Weekly Review - Batman: The Animated Series

Batman: The Animated Series

Episode 15 & 16

The Cat and the Claw Part 1 and Part 2

 


We’re not breaking this up because the two episodes tones are so consistent they deserve the same review. 

 

This was actually the first episode to air on TV but the 8th created.  It’s quite the introduction to the character.  We meet Catwoman for the first time and learn she’s Selina Kyle.  She’s a cat burglar that manages to trick Batman just enough to regularly get away.  

 

The basic plot is some type of terrorist conspiracy involving Red Claw.  Batman is trying to stop it. Selina Kyle is causing problems for the terrorist via her environmental lobbying. Her alter ego Catwoman is causing problems via her robberies.  We get a heavy showing of the difference between wholesome Bruce Wayne and tough as nails Batman.  Selina Kyle is way into Batman but thinks Bruce is just a nice guy and totally friend-zones him.  

 

The cliffhanger is the ultra bad guy Red Claw’s goons learn Selina Kyle is Catwoman.  

 

Red Claw causes shenanigans, kidnaps Catwoman’s best friend Maven. (Is Maven her lesbian girlfriend, lesbian best friend)?  Our guess is yes. Catwoman goes to save her friend, Batman finds the same location through his detective skills.  Massive fights take place.  Batman stops a big virus from being unleashed on Gotham.  Catwoman defeats Red Claw.  

 

Batman tracks Catwoman back to her apartment and arrest her for her criminal activity.  He totally wanted to bone her but Batman doesn’t tolerate crooks.    

 

There are better episodes in the series but for what became an intro episode it’s not bad.  It’s not a particularly exciting two-parter.  Some episodes just don’t have enough time when you have two villains and are trying to develop a romance.   Catwoman’s design is based on Michelle Pfeiffer from Batman Returns which actually turned out really nice.  She’s a brunette in the comics but it’s a nice change to have her as a blonde in the show.  

 

Written by
Joseph Ammendolea
Owner/President
“I Like To Play With Toys” Productions®
ILikeToPlayWithToysProductions@Yahoo.com

Monday, June 10, 2024

Episode by Episode - Star Trek: Enterprise


Season 3

Episode 70 Azati Prime

 


Enterprise arrives where the Earth destroying weapon is being built.  They investigate the area and Archer decides to pilot a shuttle to the area to destroy it himself.  The mission will be a death sentence.  He doesn’t want to order anyone else to die.  

 

Archer then gets transported 400 years into the future by recurring time travelor friend Daniels.  Daniels tells Archer the Sphere builders are the real big bads and are defeated in the future in a unified effort of many aliens including humans and Xindi.  Archer tells Daniels to stuff it, returns to his own timeline, and pilots the shuttle anyway.

 

Archer gets to where the weapon is but the weapon is gone, he is captured by the Xindi and interrogated.  He starts talking to the Xindi and somewhat convinces Degra (the creator of the Xindi weapon) that if humanity is destroyed, Sphere Builders will destroy the Xindi.  Basically Archer starts spewing the Daniels time travel mumbo jumbo. 

 

While Degra is investigating his claims, the Reptilian Xindi attack Enterprise and do serious damage to the ship.  End of episode

 

It’s a solid episode with a lot of tension and great plot reveals.  If you’re invested in the overall plot of season three, this is fun.  But it took a long time to get to these moments and there is a lot more of season three left to unfold. 

 

Written by
Joseph Ammendolea
Owner/President
“I Like To Play With Toys” Productions®
ILikeToPlayWithToysProductions@Yahoo.com

Friday, June 7, 2024

BanGos - I Get Weak

 Live at the South Huntington Public Library a performance of I Get Weak by BanGos.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

The DC Animated Universe Weekly Review - Batman: The Animated Series

Batman: The Animated Series

Episode 14

Heart of Ice



This is one of the best episodes of the entire series and the DCAU as a whole.  The introduction of Mr. Freeze is absolute perfection.  The creators took a joke villain from the comics and 1960s Batman show and turned him into a tragic rogue an audience can find themselves rooting for.  

 

Ultimately Batman has to stop him because Mr. Freeze is seeking revenge against the man who killed his wife and turned him into a freak who can only live in sub zero temperatures. 



It cements Mr. Freeze as one of Batman’s best rogues in the entire series.  Every episode with him was tragic and frightening and it all started with the tone set in Heart of Ice.  Even the ending with Mr. Freeze sitting in his cell looking at a statuette version of his wife is so ominous.  Couple that with an epic musical score and you have a timeless story.

 

The episode is so influential that it changed the character in the comics and also influenced how he was portrayed in the film Batman & Robin.  So what you have is a film series that influenced a cartoon and then the cartoon influenced the film series.  Even though Batman & Robin sucked, it was cool to see how the animated series was defining Batman.  



Shoutout to Mark Hamill as corporate jerk Ferris Boyle. 




Written by
Joseph Ammendolea
Owner/President
“I Like To Play With Toys” Productions®
ILikeToPlayWithToysProductions@Yahoo.com

Monday, June 3, 2024

Episode by Episode - Star Trek: Enterprise


Season 3

Episode 69 Hatchery

 


The Enterprise comes across a Xindi Insectoid ship filled with eggs.  Archer gets infected with something that makes him want to do everything he can to protect the eggs.  His orders start becoming erratic.  The crew is pitted against one another.  Archer’s overzealousness is finally stopped and he’s treated for his condition and the Enterprise continues on their mission.

 

It’s not a bad episode but clearly season three is stretching out their Xindi storylines because they are nine episodes away from the conclusion of season three.  So the writers are throwing in any odd filler episodes they can come up with, in order to slow down the progress of Enterprise from saving the day before the end of the season.  

 

Written by
Joseph Ammendolea
Owner/President
“I Like To Play With Toys” Productions®
ILikeToPlayWithToysProductions@Yahoo.com

Friday, May 31, 2024

BanGos - Going Down to Liverpool

 BanGos perform Going Down to Liverpool.



Wednesday, May 29, 2024

The DC Animated Universe Weekly Review - Batman: The Animated Series

 Batman: The Animated Series

Episode13

I’ve Got Batman in my Basement



This is the absolute worst episode of Batman the Animated series. It’s also one of the worst episodes in the DCAU.   Batman gets injured or poisoned or something and a kid hides him from the Penguin. The Penguin figures it out and attacks the kids.  Batman gets better in just enough time to save the day.  

 

Everything about the episode is so annoying; the children characters are lame, the Penguin looks like Danny DeVito’s Penguin in Batman Returns but is much more sophisticated.  The Penguin voice acting is great but the character design is crap.  That was a failing due to Tim Burton’s film influence on the show. 

 

Written by
Joseph Ammendolea
Owner/President
“I Like To Play With Toys” Productions®
ILikeToPlayWithToysProductions@Yahoo.com

Monday, May 27, 2024

Episode by Episode - Star Trek: Enterprise


Season 3

Episode 68 Doctor’s Orders

 


The Enterprise has to fly through an anomaly that only Dr Phlox is immune to.  Therefore he’s forced to take on additional duties while everyone is put in a coma.  Antics ensue, he suffers from paranoia, in his crazy state he still manages to save the ship.  It’s actually a really fun episode with a nice twist.  Phlox hallucinates that T’Pol is helping him when she is really put to sleep as well.  It was a nice lighthearted break from the series of heavy storylines the season circled around.  

 

Written by
Joseph Ammendolea
Owner/President
“I Like To Play With Toys” Productions®
ILikeToPlayWithToysProductions@Yahoo.com