Toren’s Guide to Star Trek Voyager: Season 5

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NIGHT

The guys who seem evil are good, and the guys who seem good are evil. Janeway becomes a seclusive weirdo who won’t come out of her ready room or see any of the crew. That seems like grounds for dismissal but luckily I’m not a counsellor or doctor so yeah, go nuts Janeway. Also did you know that space can be polluted with radiation? 5.5/10

DRONE

Ensign Mulcahey, Seven’s nanoprobes and the Doctors mobile emitter have a baby. Bit of a rehash of “I, Borg” from TNG with Seven in the mix. 6.9/10
Continue reading “Toren’s Guide to Star Trek Voyager: Season 5”

Toren’s Guide to Star Trek: Voyager Season 4

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SCORPION PART 2

The Borg send a drone that just happens to be human to work with the Voyager crew on a weapon that can defeat their nemesis, Species 8472. Despite the fact that they are from another dimension, Kes communicates with them telepathically. The Voyager-Borg alliance prevails but the borg double-cross forces Janeway to destroy all but Seven of Nine. 6.5/10

THE GIFT

Once stripped of her human identity by the borg, Seven now has her borg identity stripped by Janeway. This causes an ethical dilemma for The Doctor but luckily not for Janeway. Meanwhile Kes’ mental powers are blossoming dangerously and we finally get a conversation between Neelix and Kes about their mysterious breakup. Kes explodes into who-knows-where but not before sending the ship out of Borg space with her powers. 6.5/10

DAY OF HONOR

Paris and B’ellana get mushy in space suits while marooned in space. 5/10
Continue reading “Toren’s Guide to Star Trek: Voyager Season 4”

Toren on the Storm Crow Podcast

toastEpisode 3 of the Storm Crow Cast features Toren Atkinson talking about The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets, Spaceship Zero the album and the roleplaying game, Star Trek, cartoons, and Star Trek cartoons. It all happens in the Storm Crow Alehouse on Broadway in Vancouver.

Listen and you could win a Spaceship Zero CD and signed copy of the SSZ roleplaying game!

Listen to it on google play or on iTunes

Top 3 Star Trek: Animated Episodes

A few facts about the 1973-1974 Star Trek: The Animated Series:

  • All the original series actors returned to voice their characters except for Walter Koenig, who was not asked for budgetary reasons. James Doohan did several ancillary characters.
  • It was produced by Filmation, the same studio that brought us He-Man and Fat Albert.
  • It was the first Star Trek series to win an Emmy Award.
  • The animated series introduced the concept of the Holodeck, best known from ST:TNG and introduced Kirk’s middle name as Tiberius.
  • Two new alien crew members were introduced (to replace Chekov) – the feline Lt. M’Ress and the orange, six-limbed Lt. Arex.

toastThe Slaver Weapon

Season 1 episode 14

Written by Larry “Ringworld” Niven, who I kind of interviewed on my podcast Caustic Soda. He incorporated his own “Known Space” mythos including the cat-like Kzinti. Spock, Sulu and Uhura are captured and have to prevent an ancient weapon from falling into the hands of the Kzinti. Rather unfortunately, in my opinion, instead of having the characters wear space suits on the inhospitable alien planet, the series uses the very cheaty “life support belts.” The only Kirk-era episode of any series to not include Kirk! Alan Dean Foster adapted this episode into a full length novel.

toastYesteryear

Season 1 episode 2

Spock uses the Guardian of Forever – which was introduced in the classic series episode “City on the Edge of Forever” – to travel back in time to when he was a child on Vulcan and prevent his own death. Written by Dorothy DC Fontana who wrote many great original series episodes, and Mark Lenard reprises his role as Spock’s pappy, Sarek. Keep your eye out for the Enterprise’s Andorian first officer and the introduction of the Vulcan animal sehlat which they brought back for the ST: Enterprise episode “The Forge.”

toastThe Survivor 

Season 1 episode 6

A missing Federation philanthropist is found on a damaged spacecraft and reunited with his old flame aboard the Enterprise, but he is not what he seems. Also he has a crazy space moustache and cravat tie. Here we get an idea of the kind of alien they could do in a cartoon but never in the original live action series. Carter Winston was voiced by Ted Knight (Mary Tyler Moore, Caddyshack)

 

Resto-Rants: Seasons In The Park

If you didn’t enter this restaurant with a reservation, you’ll have plenty of them by the time your meal is served.

Seasons In the Park

Their blurb: none, thankfully.

MENU

Address: West 33rd Avenue and Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC
Open 11:30am – 10pm
Booths? No
When I dined: Victoria Day (Monday) at 2pm
Noisy? No
Candies with your bill? No
Lives up to it’s name? Seasons? The service made me think of a long cold winter, and the food had all the freshness of autumn. Spring and summer were not present.

I came here with a friend and her family, four adult diners. When we arrived on time for our reservation the hostess was expecting 3 adults and a child, but that got sorted without difficulty and we were seated by the window overlooking the park and with a view of the city. This is the selling point of the restaurant I suppose, and luckily the staff can’t fuck that up short of pulling some blinds down.

It wasn’t very busy when we arrived and it became less so as we waited. It was some time before our server showed up and while he was very pleasant, his presence was frequently missed. Throughout the visit I pined over my oft-empty glass of formerly water.

We ordered the vegetarian tasting board, which was the only item to arrive promptly. Everything on the board was listed on the menu but it was mostly very sad. The grilled asparagus, as lifeless as it was, was still probably the highlight of the dish. A tiny bowl of mixed nuts and tiny salty pickles made me shake my head. There were only three small pieces of bread that came with. If it weren’t for the complimentary bread that came some minutes afterward, we would have had to dig in to the mediocre camponata and hummus and eat it off our cutlery or filthy fingers. That complimentary bread, by the way, was good and warm, but the butter that came with was cold and hard, prompting me to tear open the bread and bury a chunk of butter inside the bread in a vain hope that the butter would at some point become spreadable.

The QE Burger, according to my friend, was ok – not great. I tried one of his fries and they were nothing to write home about. The brunch pizza with roast potatoes, egg, bacon and onions sounded and looked promising, but a bland, floppy crust neutered it. Only the zesty dill cream cheese offered any redemption there. Apparently the seafood linguine carbonara was the winning dish of the meal, but since I don’t eat seafood I didn’t touch it. My loss.

My own food consisted of two items.

Firstly, cauliflower gratin, which was reasonably priced for brunch but was seriously underwhelming. I left half of it uneaten.

The lowlight of the meal was, for me, easily the stir-fried chicken with soy sesame sauce. Friends, I am here to tell you, this dish was an insult to my mouth, my pocketbook and probably all Asians everywhere. You know that hole-in-the-wall Chinese fast-food joint Buddha’s Orient Express at the Commercial/Broadway skytrain station? The place that is basically mall food fair Chinese “cuisine” but not as good as most mall food fair fare? Season’s was a quarter step above that. Now I don’t consider myself a food snob – maybe you like Buddha’s Orient Express and if you do, more power too you. But I ate there once. ONCE. And Season in the Park’s stir-fried chicken with soy sesame sauce is some low budget sloppy-ass prison food.

DO NOT RECOMMEND.

Biggest Rave: Now that I have experienced the view and the lackluster food here I can look forward to a bright future of never having to come here again.

Biggest Rant: The menu here is more expensive than I’m used to, so I hoped that the food and service would match the cost. My hopes were drawn and quartered. Before I got my food, I held great resentment for the couple next to us who arrived well after we did and were served their food well before us. After I got my food, I held great resentment to everyone else.

Enjoyed this review? Check out all my Vancouver restaurant reviews at http://www.thickets.net/toren/category/resto-rants/

Resto Rants: Red Wagon

They say the signature dish is the pulled pork pancakes with Jack Daniels syrup, so naturally I ordered something else.

Red Wagon

Their blurb: “A neighborhood joint”

MENU

Address: 2296 E Hastings St, Vancouver, BC
Phone: (604) 568-4565
HOURS: All over the place. Look it up.
Booths? Tragically no, since this would be the perfect place for them.
When I dined: Saturday afternoon
Noisy? Yes.
Candies with your bill? No
Lives up to it’s name? I didn’t look very hard but I didn’t see any wagons, red or otherwise.

There were no tables available when my group of three arrived so we elected to take a seat at the bar vs waiting for a table. I’m not a fan of sitting at the bar but it’s definitely the lesser of two evils since waiting for food is never preferable. Once there, the stools were fairly comfortable but there was no room for my bag and I sat next to a pile of menus. Fair deal, I suppose.

I had the 3-egg omelette with mushrooms, smoked brie, caramelized onions and arugula. The omelette was fine, the sourdough toast was good (hard to screw up), and there were lackluster homefries (all one word on the menu).

Overall, not impressed but I would absolutely give it a second chance. They seem like they’re trying hard. The website says Red Wagon Restaurant but the URL is redwagoncafe.com – what’s the deal Red Wagon? WHAT ARE YOU???!!?

Biggest Rave: I liked that when I asked for peanut butter they didn’t give me a tiny disposable plastic tub but rather a steel bowl with a scoop of PB from a giant jar. The other best thing about this restaurant is that there’s a bubble tea cafe on the same block that makes an excellent matcha slush. This bubble tea place also offers passport photos.

Biggest Rant: The ‘homefries’  did not taste good. I’m not sure what it was, but I recognize the flavor of not-good potatoes. It’s very distinct. I don’t know what causes it but I suspect freezer burn. I had to pour a fair amount of ketchup on them to disguise it. Sadness prevailed, since potatoes are usually the best part of a breakfast.

This photo comes from Yelp. Yelp allegedly has atrocious business practices so I allegedly feel okay about stealing the image.
This photo comes from Yelp. Yelp allegedly has atrocious business practices so I allegedly feel okay about stealing the image.

Enjoyed this review? Check out all my Vancouver restaurant reviews at http://www.thickets.net/toren/category/resto-rants/

Toren’s Guide to Star Trek: Voyager Season 3

Click here for Season 1
Click here for Season 2
Click here for Season 4
Click here for Season 5
Click here for Season 6
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BASICS PART 2

Grima Wormtongue is back! Conveniently he dies so he is remembered as a hero and we don’t have to develop his character any more. 6/10

FLASHBACK

Tuvok remembers Captain Sulu! Tie-in to Star Trek: the Undiscovered Country. 6.75/10 mostly due to Sulu.

THE CHUTE

Paris and Kim are prisoners on a space prison where a device makes them aggro. Paris gets shanked. Captain Janeway crosses a line getting involved in alien politics. 5.5/10

THE SWARM

The Doctor starts forgetting stuff so they have to activate the holographic Dr. Zimmerman EMH diagnostic program. The only way to fix the doc’s brain is to overlay the brainy-matrixy-blahblahblah from the diagnostic program holographic dude onto the doctor, which means there will be no more diagnostic program. Oh, also a swarm of aliens attack the ship. 6.75/10

FALSE PROFITS

Tie in to the TNG episode “The Price” in which two ferengi are lost in a wormhole. Now they’re in the Delta Quadrant doing their ferengi thing. Neelix pretends to be a ferengi and it suits him. Also probably the most perfectly-named episode of any Star Trek episode. 7/10

REMEMBER

Torres’ dreams are used by a psychic alien to bring to light genocide in their recent history. 6/10

SACRED GROUND

For no good reason, Janeway’s “faith” in science is put to the test when she has to perform a bunch of dumb rituals and believe in magic in order to save Kes’ life, which was inflicted by alien monks for no good reason. 5.5/10

FUTURE’S END (2 parts)

OF COURSE Voyager travels back to 1996 Earth! But they don’t stay because that would be temporal weirdness. Ed Begley Jr and Sarah Silverman act! 6.75/10

WARLORD

Kes’ body becomes the host for a male warlord but he continues to put girly makeup on his new body, and it’s weird for his wife. Jennifer Lien gets to act like a cartoon villain. 6/10

THE Q AND THE GREY

Q is back and this time he wants to have baby-making sex with Janeway and isn’t the kind of omnipotent being to take no for an answer. Why? There’s a civil war going on in the Q and naturally it takes the form of the American Civil War because otherwise how could our tiny minds comprehend? The Return of Suzie Plakson as Q’s ex-wife, who takes the form of a woman, of course, because otherwise how could our tiny minds comprehend? 5.5/10

MACROCOSM

The ship is infected with a macrovirus and Janeway gets all Ripley on it. Notwithstanding actors struggling with CGI monsters, pretty good! 7/10

FAIR TRADE

Neelix becomes a drug dealer when he reunites with an old Talaxian associate. Also there’s a space cloud. 5/10

ALTER EGO

Kim falls in love with a holodeck lady but then the hololady falls in love with Tuvok but then the lady turns out to be an alien and she’s a big creepy nerd. 5.7/10

CODA

Janeway dies and goes to the afterlife where she hangs out with her ghost dad. Surprise! Ghost dad is an alien and he wants to eat her soul! But she refuses to go and the Doctor revives her. 6/10.

BLOOD FEVER

Vorik the Vulcan gets the pon farr and wants sexy times with B’ellana Torres, but she punches him. Then Torres goes into heat and tries to sex up Tom Paris, which would normally be fine for him except she’s not able to give consent in her crazed state, induced by a psychic whatever from Vorik. Then Vorik fight it out and that cures them because I guess fighting is like sex. 5.4/10

UNITY

Chakotay crashes on a planet with ex-borgs who were severed from the collective. The ex-borg have split into two warring factions. To heal his wounds Chakotay must join the ex-borgs’ scaaaaary neural link. Chakotay then goes to the dormant Borg cube that Voyager finds and against Janeway’s orders reactivates a doohicky that links all the ex-borg together so there’s no more fighting between the factions. This episode is a prelude to some species who are so powerful they can defeat the borg. 6/10

DARKLING

Kes gets romantically involved with a douchy alien because apparently she broke up with Neelix. Meanwhile the Doctor becomes all Mr Hyde evil Doctor and wants to destroy the good doctor that’s still inside him. Hammy and dumb. 4/10.

RISE

On a mission of mercy, Tuvok and Neelix are trapped on a space elevator. They get mad at eachother during a murder mystery. 5/10

FAVORITE SON

Harry Kim learns that he is not a human – he’s actually a member of a race of space succubi, except of course he’s not really. 3/10.

BEFORE AND AFTER

In a prequel to the episode “Year of Hell,” Kes experiences time weirdness and reverts back to a fetus. 6/10

REAL LIFE

The Doctor creates a holographic family so he can experience “real life” but the program gets too real when his daughter suffers a fatal accident. Meanwhile, crazy space anomaly is dangerous. 6.5/10

DISTANT ORIGIN

Lizardman scientist tries to convince the religious leaders of his planet that they evolved from Earth dinosaurs. 7/10

DISPLACED

Aliens con the crew into thinking they switching places with them by accident, but actually the aliens are trying to take over the ship. 6.8/10

WORST CASE SCENARIO

The safety protocols are disengaged in the holodeck thanks to the ghost of Seska and Tuvok’s mutiny simulation. 6.9/10

SCORPION PART 1

An extradimensional species is destroying the Borg and if Voyager wants to pass through Borg space to get home Janeway will have to cut a deal with them. 7/10