Let’s Talk About the Rights of Composite Beings

Although a few years back on my blog I had rated and given snarky mini-reviews of the complete Voyager series, there were a few episodes outstanding that I needed to finish up. One of those episodes was from the second season: “Tuvix.”

This episode deals with another transporter accident (*sigh*), this one involving Tuvok and Neelix, and a symbiogenetic orchid that fuses their DNA while in flux during transport. This doesn’t explain how their two uniforms are fused during transport, but let’s not dwell on minutia.

While the Doctor is working on a way to undo this process, the fused being – Tuvix – lives his life as a crewmember over the course of several weeks, and his crewmates (Janeway and Kes, primarily) try to come to terms with the whole situation.  When the “cure” is found, Tuvix refuses to submit to the procedure, stating that he “does not want to die.” After hemming and hawing, Janeway forces him to undergo the transport procedure which which ends the existence of Tuvix but restores Tuvok and Neelix.

This is an interesting episode not only for the concept but the way the writers handle Janeway and the crew. Throughout the episode we’re meant to sympathize both with Tuvix and with Kes. Without Neelix, Kes lost her loved one. Without Tuvok, his wife and children will never have a chance to be reunited with their husband/father (not that we as an audience have much investment in that, but it’s a point well made by Janeway).

Tuvix is portrayed as his own man, and it’s showcased how well he integrates into the ship (problem solving faster than Tuvik, cooking better than Neelix)

For much of the episode, Kes is understandably weirded out by Tuvix’s overtures toward her, and she distances herself from him until the last act when she reaches out to him and invites their friendship to grow. This is of course the point where the Doctor announces he’s found a way to restore Tuvok and Neelix, so we can never see the Tuvix/Kes friendship grow. When Tuvix refuses the ‘treatment’, Janeway transforms into stern executioner, complete with a scene where Tuvix is frogmarched down a corridor complete with military snare drum marching soundtrack. 

Since Voyager is an episodic show (right?) we of course have to end this episode where we began. But I can’t help wondering, what if…

What if it went for an entire season with Tuvix as part of the crew, and the crew and audience had more time to adjust. The episode focuses so much on Kes, Tuvix and Janeway that we don’t get any input from the other crew. In fact they’re just as cold to Tuvix when he is pleading for his life on the bridge. As Janeway stated in the episode, “if we had a way to separate him as soon as the merging accident happened, I wouldn’t have hesitated” — with even more time to accept Tuvix among the crew, would Janeway have honored Tuvix’ wishes when the separation option became available?

What if Tuvix had resigned as a Starfleet officer? Would Janeway still have marched him to sick bay for the procedure against his will? 

What if the merging of two crewpersons involved different genders? What if Neelix and B’elanna became B’elannix? 

It may not be accurate to say that Tuvok and Neelix died during the initial transporter accident, because in a way their memories and personalities both live on in Tuvix. But certainly as individuals they ceased to exist. And it wasn’t anyone’s fault. So does Janeway or anyone else have the right to force someone to ‘die’ (or become undone) so that two other people can be ‘resurrected?’  If Tuvix is both Neelix and Tuvok in one, then does that count as two votes? 

My take is that Janeway was wrong to force Tuvix to be separated against his will. And worse than that I think this was one of many missed opportunities this series could have made to grow and better itself. Imagine if Tuvix remained even though the procedure existed for him/them to be separated at any time. And then perhaps over the course of a season his personalities started to fight with one another, or his cells began to break down, or he started to turn into an orchid creature (sounds like something Voyager would do)… and so after coming to terms with Tuvix, now they have to come to terms with losing him, and then Tuvok and Neelix come back onto the show and they have to deal with all the fallout. I feel like this would be just as dramatic – even more so – than Janeway making the call to end Tuvix’s existence. 

But I think we all know that the only reason Tuvix died was because Voyager was episodic. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against episodic at all. Discovery & Picard made me pine for it.

How to Watch Classic Doctor Who

This is your guide to what episodes to watch during the first 26 seasons from 1963 to 1989, featuring the first seven Doctors.

(In Progress)

For the first two seasons of Doctor Who and most of the third (1963–1966), each episode carries its own title. At story #26 “The Savages” episodes are simply listed as Part 1, Part 2…etc.

Episodes are about 25 minutes.

Due to the BBC’s 1970s junking policy, 97 episodes of Doctor Who from the 1960s are no longer known to exist. As a result, 26 serials are currently incomplete, with one or more episodes represented only by audio and, in many cases, clips or still frames. For commercial release, some episodes have been reconstructed using off-air audio recordings, paired to surviving visuals or newly commissioned animation.

FIRST DOCTOR: Crotchety curmudgeon William Hartnell

Years: 1963-1966
Number of Seasons: 3ish
Theme: A lot of visiting Earth history
Best companions: Susan, Barbara and Ian
What to watch:

Story #1 “An Unearthly Child.” Four episodes
Story #2 “The Daleks.” Seven episodes. First appearance of the Daleks.:

Story #9 “Planet of Giants.” Three episodes

Story # 29 “The 10th Planet.” Four episodes. First appearance of the Cybermen. Final appearance of the first Doctor

SECOND DOCTOR: “Space hobo” Patrick Troughton

Years: 1966-1969
Number of Seasons: 3
Theme: more space, more action
Best companion: Jamie
What to watch:

Story #30 “The Power of the Daleks.” The originals are lost, there is an animated version (more like a motion comic). The Doctor regenerates for the first time.

Yeti

Story #38 “The Abominable Snowmen.” Six episodes.
Story #41 “The Web of Fear” Six episodes. Introduces Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart

Story #46 “The Invasion.” Eight episodes. Introduces U.N.I.T.

THIRD DOCTOR: Aristocratic secret agent John Pertwee – IN COLOR!

Years: 1970-1974
Number of Seasons: 5
Theme: Earthbound James Bond vs Aliens
Best companion: Sarah Jane Smith
What to watch:

Story #51 “Spearhead from Space.” Get to know the new Doctor. (4 eps)

The Master

Story #55 “Terror of the Autons.” The first appearance of The Master (4 eps)

Story #65 “The Three Doctors.” The three incarnations of the Doctor (so far) reunite to thwart the revenge-seeking Omega. (4 eps)

Story #70 “The Time Warrior” Introduces Sarah Jane Smith and the Sontaran race (4 eps)

FOURTH DOCTOR: Whimsical and warm Tom Baker

Years: 1974-1981
Number of Seasons: 7
Theme: Gothic horror
Best companion: Romana
What to watch:

Story #76 “The Ark in Space.” (4 eps) – Alien before the movie Alien.
Story #78 “Genesis of the Daleks”

…TO BE CONTINUED!

2019 Saturday Morning Cartoon Party: Dungeons and Dragons edition

This year the theme for my annual Saturday Morning Cartoon Party was… Dungeons and Dragons! I included cartoons in which the characters played D&D (in some version or another) but also some cartoons that were set in a fantasy world similar to D&D (Visionaries, Gummi Bears, Korgoth of Barbaria). It’s a long list and there were actually some cartoons on theme that I didn’t include due to time constraints (Voltron “Monsters and Mana”; My Little Pony “Dungeons & Discord”

Here’s the final schedule:

  • Here’s the cereal buffet!

At about the halfway point I did trivia. Here are the questions – how did you do???

  1. In the Dexter’s Laboratory episode “D&DD”, Dexter’s character is Hodo the Furry Footed Burrower. To what D&D race is this a reference?

2. In the Futurama episode “How Hermes Requisitioned his Groove Back” which iconic D&D monster guarded a corridor in the Central Bureaucracy Headquarters?

3. In the episode “Mazes & Mutants” the ninja turtles LARP in the sewer tunnels, perhaps an homage to which 1982 movie starring Tom Hanks?

4. The classes of the children in the D&D cartoon are: ranger, barbarian, magician, thief, cavalier and acrobat. Only one of these is a class that’s available to play in the Basic Set of D&D (1977). Name that class.

5. IN the D&D cartoon, Venger has a sycophantic servant. The type of creature and the name it goes by are the same two words. What are they?

6. In the Adventure Time episode “Dungeon” Finn comes across an ooze that resembles which classic 6-sided monster from D&D?

7. In the Simpsons episode “Home Goes to College” Homer plays D&D with his new geek friends. His character was slain by what creature/race?

VOICE ACTOR SECTION:

8. In the 2012 TMNT series, Raphael is voiced by an actor who famously played a hobbit on the silver screen. a) Who is the actor? AND b) What is the name of the hobbit?

9. In Futurama episode #216 “anthology of interest 1” which creator of D&D guest starred?

10. Zummi Gummi is voiced by Paul Winchell, He is better known for voicing which cartoon tiger?

HAPPY DAYS, Donny Most, 1974-84

11. Eric the Cavalier was voiced by Donny Most, who is best known for playing “Ralph Malf” on which live action TV sitcom?

12. Brendan Small co-created Home Movies. he went on to create and provide voice and music for which cartoon series featuring the heavy metal band “Dethklok”?

Dethklok

13. Name the comedian who guested on the premiere of Harmonquest who also voiced Mr Peanutbutter on Bojack Horseman, Deputy mayor Cunningham on Bob’s Burgers, and Gladstone Gander on the new Ducktales.

14. This actor voiced Uni and Tiamat in the D&D cartoon, but also voiced Elminster and Korax in the Baldur’s Gate video game. Who dis?
Hint: he is probably the most prolific voice actor in cartoon history – his most recent imdb role is in the 2020 film Scoob

TIE BREAKERS…

Dirk the Daring, Princess Daphne and the evil dragon Singe are characters in a 1983 arcade game that went on to become a short-lived saturday morning cartoon. What is the name?

In Stranger Things season 1, what is the name they give the monster which they borrow from the D&D game they’re playing

ANSWERS BELOW!

  1. HALFLING
  2. BEHOLDER
  3. 3MAZES AND MONSTERS
  4. THIEF
  5. SHADOW DEMON
  6. GELATINOUS CUBE
  7. ELF
  8. A: SEAN ASTIN; B: SAMWISE GAMGEE
  9. GARY GYGAX
  10. TIGGER
  11. HAPPY DAYS
  12. METALOCALYPSE
  13. PAUL F TOMPKINS
  14. FRANK WELKER
  15. TIE BREAKERS Dirk the Daring, Princess Daphne and the evil dragon Singe are characters in a 1983 arcade game DRAGON’S LAIR
  16. In Stranger Things season 1, the monster name which they borrow from D&D: DEMOGORGON

Just a Few Problems with Avengers: Infinity War…No Big Deal

Spoiler Alert.

SPOILERS!

So there’s a thing that happens very often with superhero movies, TV shows, cartoons, and even comics. I’m sure it happens with Harry Potter fiction too, or anything where there’s special powers involved.

The writers forget what the powers do. This is especially problematic with very powerful characters like Martian Manhunter. I remember distinctly watching some episode of one of the Justice League cartoons and thought “If Martian Manhunter had remembered that he can go intangible, this fight would be over by now.”

THOSE PESKY INFINITY STONES

This is a pretty big issue with the Infinity Gauntlet. Now, your average movie-goer likely doesn’t really know what the six Infinity Gems do, and they barely explore that in the film. I’m a huge nerd and I’m not even clear on this. Sure we could both look it up, but let me take a guess: (1) the space stone allows teleportation; (2) the time stone allows you to manipulate time (this one is actually well illustrated); (3) the reality stone allows you to change reality; (4) the mind stone lets you control minds (illustrated in the first Avengers film); (5) the soul stone…???; (6) the power stone…allows you beat the Hulk???

So let’s agree to set aside the “it’s just a show, you should really just relax” mentality, and dig in to the tiny nerdy minutia like a good writer should!

it’s inferred that Thanos is a very powerful entity even without the Infinity Stones, so we don’t really know how much of his power is innate and what comes from the stones. But that’s not a dealbreaker for me.

But those Infinity Stones…oh those Infinity Stones. Given their special powers, there seemed to be a lot of super-brawling that didn’t need to take place for Thanos to fulfill his mission. Sure, they were very entertaining super-brawls, but it seemed to me that Thanos had a very specific task that was all-important to him, and he wouldn’t waste time smacking down some Avengers/Guardians/etc even if it did “bring a smile to his face” (note this line from the trailer didn’t appear in the film).

YOU FORGOT YOU COULD CHANGE REALITY

It’s established I think earlier than halfway through the film that Thanos can use the Reality Stone to turn matter, including people, into ribbons or blocks or bubbles. And yet there are melees that occur subsequently where Thanos opts to hurl moons at the heroes rather than simply willing them into inoffensive vapor. Why? He didn’t think of it? He didn’t want to? Is the most dangerous Avengers villain actually just kind of a dummy or easily distracted?

TELEPORT YOUR ENEMY AWAY

And what about the space stone’s teleportation ability? If I’m fighting Iron Man, and for some reason I don’t want to turn him into bubbles, why not teleport him away to the edge of the universe?

And speaking of teleportation, let’s talk about Dr Strange’s magical gates. He uses one early in the movie and it cuts off the arm of one of the minions. So we know it can do that. If I’m Dr. Strange and I’ve got Mantis keeping Thanos is a groggy state, why not use the magical gateway to cut off his gauntlet-wielding arm? Or better yet, his head? Or is this him keeping to his Hippocratic oath? Failing that, why not plop a portal underneath Thanos and send him to wherever he sent Loki in Thor: Ragnarok? That seemed to work. Sure, Thanos could bring himself back, but it could give the heroes a few critical, game-changing seconds in a life-or-death situation.

It is good move on the writers’ part that the Mind Stone was saved for last, otherwise I would be complaining that there wasn’t enough mass mind control throughout the movie. Iron Man and Dr Strange giving you trouble? Make them fight each other with mind control!

ATOMIZE THE AVENGERS AND THEN GET THE STONES

Another thing that bothered me…just a little bit…was this: Thanos knew who Tony Stark was, that’s stated in the film. He knew, I’m sure, that Stark was responsible for the failure of the invasion of Earth (from the first Avengers film.) So if you’ve got a giant spaceship, or a fleet of giant spaceships, presumably you have nuclear technology. We had it in the 50’s for heaven’s sake. So if you think the Avengers are going to be a thorn in your side, why not nuke them? You could beam a bomb down to Dr. Strange’s sanctorum or just have a guy walk up with a briefcase. Same thing with the Avengers compound or wherever the two Infinity Stones are on earth…and then collect the stones from the debris. Sure, I know, there are many reasons this idea might not work (protective spells on the sanctorum, for example, even though Hulk smashed through the roof no problem), but my point is, at least explore the possibility of obliterating the Infinity Stone carriers from a distance and then collecting the stones, rather than sending a couple guys for a big ol’ donnybrook. Yeah, it’s not as gripping to watch as a movie audience member, but it bears consideration, no?

NOBODY’S REALLY DEAD

The last, and most majorest of the major gripes, is killing off characters that we know are coming back. EVERYBODY KNOWS that there’s going to be another Spider-Man film and another Black Panther film. What, you’re going to have these movies without the main characters? No. So why oh why would you kill off Spidey and Panthery in Infinity War? People say that the ending of A:IW is ballsy, but this move undercuts the ballsiness in a major way, so much so that I have a hard time believing that even the characters killed by methods other than the gauntlet are going to stay dead. Sure they could make Guardians of the Galaxy 3 without Gamora, but I would be very VERY surprised if that happens, given the way they handled Thanos winning the day.

Now, I know that Avengers: Infinity War is actually only half of the story, and we’ve got the conclusion coming up in a year, so maybe, just maybe, all my gripes will be addressed and it will all make sense. I guess we will all just have to wait and see.

In the meantime, I will re-read my Spider-Ham comics and hope he appears in Avengers 4.

Thanks for reading all the way to the end! Here is my Patreon if you like this and all the silly things I do.

 

Toren’s Guide to Star Trek Voyager Season 7

Click here for Season 1
Click here for Season 2
Click here for season 3
Click here for Season 4
Click here for Season 5
Click here for Season 6

UNIMATRIX ZERO PART 2

Oh snap you think that Tuvok, B’elanna aknd Janeway are borgified but they still have their individuality thanks to the Doctor! The queen threatens to destroy the entire borg collective which for some reason makes Janeway worried for a second. Seven kisses her literal dream man. 5/10

IMPERFECTION

All the wee borgs are taken away to live their lives except Icheb. Then Seven’s important borg bit fails and she will die if they don’t get a replacement from some other borg. Dead drones don’t work so Icheb gives up his, which he of course can get along without because he’s immature or something. 6.7/10

DRIVE

I thought B’elanna and Tom were already married but I guess not, so Tom proposes just when B’Elanna thinks it’s not going to work out between them because Tom loves racing more than her. 6/10

REPRESSION

Some ridiculous Maquis Bajoran mind control expert did a number on Tuvok years ago and now he’s spreading his mind control to all the Maquis on board until they mutiny and take over Voyager. It’s the Manchurian Candidate in space! Also we learn that there have been Bolians on board, I guess they were hiding for 7 years. 5.5/10

CRITICAL CARE

The Doctor is stolen and ends up in a hospital that gives medicine that could cure fatal disease lower class to the upper class that merely extends their lives. The Doctor is on ethically shaky ground when he breaks the rules to … 8/10

INSIDE MAN

Deanna Troi sets up Lt. Barclay on a date. But before that, an evil, cleavage-sporting dabo girl working with the Ferengi appropriates Barclay’s hologram that he sent to Voyager, so that the Ferengi can get Seven’s nanoprobes via a “geodesic fold” which will kill the crew. Kim eats green pie at the end. A bit anticlimactic but not bad. 7/10.

BODY AND SOUL

 

Doctor in Seven’s Body 7/10

NIGHTINGALE

Kim commands an alien vessel 5/10

FLESH AND BLOOD

Holograms revenge against hirogen 7/10

SHATTERED

Oh no! Another space cloud! This time it causes different parts of the ship to exist in various time periods, and only Chakotay can pass through. It’s like a clip show from previous seasons but he interacts with them. Also we get to see Voyager in the future with a grown up Naomi Wildman, which we know will never come true because of what happens in the series finale. Not bad at all, really! 7.3/10

LINEAGE

B’Elanna is pregnant and she wants to make the baby non-Klingon because of daddy issues. 8/10

REPENTANCE

prisoner is cured 7.5/10

PROPHECY

Klingons in the delta quadrant, of course they meet Voyager, why not? It’s all part of a Klingon prophecy, so that works out. Tom accepts a bat’leth duel and Neelix gets laid. 6/10

THE VOID

Janeway makes a mini Federation to get out of the void 7/10

WORKFORCE

Crew abducted, the Doctor becomes a command program. Janeway falls in love. 7/10

HUMAN ERROR

Seven neglects her duties and gets it on with holo-Chakotay. 6.5/10

Q2

In a rehash of “Q Who” a Q has to learn how to be a decent entity by becoming human. 7/10

AUTHOR, AUTHOR

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

FRIENDSHIP ONE

10

NATURAL LAW

oh no!/10

HOMESTEAD

Goodbye Neelix

RENAISSANCE MAN

Sabotage traitor!/10

ENDGAME

so long! /10