John Camarena

1 2 3 33

The Geeks’ Watch – Episode 185 Cursed Season 1 Eps 1-5

“The future comes, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall miss no game, withhold no news, report all rumors. I shall wear no jerseys and plead allegiance to no side. I shall live and die on my webpage. I am the word in the darkness. I am the watcher of the tv. I am the megaphone that informs the realms of geek. I pledge my hands and name to the Geek’s Watch, for geeks and all the geeks to come.” John, Jess, Mitch, Stephen, and Elizabeth talk about their week’s watch, then begin the review of the firs 5 episodes of the Netflix series ‘Cursed’.

On The John: My Top 5 Unanswered Questions In Star Trek: The Next Generation

An Editorial By John Camarena

Growing up, there were two types of geeks: those that liked Star Wars and those that liked Star Trek. Though there was certainly some overlap, you were usually relegated to one camp of the other. The original series of Star Trek premiered in 1966, a time that was rife with civil unrest, and made for a great vehicle to convey social commentary along with an optimistic view of a future where humanity has learned to work together for a common good. Then in 1977 Star Wars came along and blew that boring Trekkie nonsense out of the water with an epic space opera about good vs evil, with lightsabers and awesome space combat. The popularity of Star Wars reinvigorated interest in science fiction, so in 1979, Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released, and it had to be one of the most boring movies ever made. It was slow, plodding, and dense. This is where the distinction between the franchises became the most contrasted; while Star Wars was entertaining popcorn fare, Star Trek became a philosophical and character driven venture with deep clinging to actual science. The lines were drawn and Star Trek became known as the franchise for the uber-nerds. For the rest of the decade, Star Wars would be over and Star Trek kept pumping out movies of debatable quality with the original cast. Then in 1987, Star Trek returned to the small screen with The Next Generation. Featuring an all new cast, a continuation of the story taking place about 80 years after the original series ended, and updated production value and special effects; this series would pump new life into the aging franchise, attracting fans old and new alike. I would catch episodes randomly when they first aired between 1987 and 1994, but didn’t care much for it. I was loyal to Star Wars and looked down upon trekkies as they were considered geeky even by geek standards. And yet, there was always a curiosity about the series, and a pandemic has a way of opening up opportunities to binge several seasons’ worth of shows. So I dove in head first to experience the entirety of Star Trek: The Next Generation and finally go where so many others have gone before.

Some preconceived notions before going: I had assumed that Captain Picard was a bad ass, Commander Riker was a ladies man, and there would be no overarching story line, mostly just a story of the week with the occasional call back to other episodes. I was very wrong. While Captain Picard was, in essence, fearless, he was also a skilled diplomat who only resorted to violence as a last resort. He was always composed and exhibited an air of class and sophistication. Also, it turned out that Picard is a consummate ladies’ man in his own right, having possibly the most chances at romance compared to Riker, or at least wasn’t exploited as much as Riker. While there is much to dive into, I’m going to start with the big unanswered questions left over in the show. These are some of the things that I thought had a good set up, but are never resolved within the show or direct films. Some of these plot points have been covered further in the companion books or spin-off series, but I don’t read so these will remain unsolved mysteries.

1.
The Dyson Sphere. Season 6, episode 4 titled “Relics”.  The Enterprise rolls up on a distress signal coming from a very old shuttle and find it crashed on the outside of a Dyson sphere. Inside the shuttle they find Montgomery “Scottie” Scott in an energy stasis he rigged up while waiting for rescue. The main plot is Scottie coming to terms with now living 75 years later, so the relic in the title is both the Dyson sphere and himself. Now, a Dyson sphere falls into a science fiction trope I’m actually quite fond of: the Big Dumb Object. Typically this is an impossibly huge and derelict alien structure. Part of their mystery comes from not knowing who built these objects, how they work or what their purpose may be, with technology that is far more advanced than what the protagonists usually can understand. Dyson spheres are structures designed to enclose entire planets, or in this case, a solar system, as there is a sun at the center of this sphere with what looks like a planetary surface complete with atmosphere along the inside of the sphere. Basically it’s a giant enclosed Halo ring. What is its purpose? Who built it? Where did they go, as it appears to be abandoned? Who knows. They have one throwaway line at the end of the episode about sending a research team to study it and that’s it, onto more important things I guess. This drove me nuts, as this is exactly the kind of thing that I would have loved to watch an entire episode about, but the fact that the main plot is actually quite good lets me forgive it, this time. Side note: they also completely brush off that Scotty basically created an alternative to cryogenics for preserving/extending life. Up until now, we’ve had characters from decades if not centuries prior being reanimated from cryogenic freezing, but Scotty’s improvised method would have been a major leap in the field of life extension.

2.
Klingon Jesus. Season 6, episode 23 titled “Rightful heir”. So Worf has a crisis of faith and goes to a sanctuary to pray for a while. That’s all fine and everything, but then he thinks he has a vision of the Klingon Jesus name Kahless. This is no vision at all, but rather a flesh and blood reincarnation of the messianic figure that founded the Klingon Empire. At first everything seems to check out; they ask him questions only the real Kahless could know the answer to and looks exactly like the depictions in the cave paintings; you know, the way you would authenticate any resurrected mythological hero. Worf jumps right in to accepting Kahless but soon the cracks start to show. Long story short, it’s revealed that this Kahless is not divine transubstantiation, but rather a clone created from genetic material from an ancient knife that belonged to him. Basically it would be like someone took the Shroud of Turin and Jurassic Parked a Jesus out of it. The cat is let out of the bag and rather than killing the clone, Worf helps convince the current Klingon Chancellor, whom Worf also helped get into power mind you, to accept Kahless as emperor in name only, serving as a figurehead with the chancellor still running the day to day side of things. Ok, so what happens to the Klingon political atmosphere next? Do all Klingons accept this as truth? Is there a mass shift within the factions that were constantly trying to obtain power in the empire? We never find out.

3.
“Thomas” Riker. Season 6, episode 24 titled “Second Chances”. In this episode, the Enterprise goes back to an abandoned Star Fleet base where Commander William Riker performed some heroic rescue operation a few years back. They are trying to retrieve some old data when they come across a survivor that has been living in isolation for 8 years, and this is no ordinary survivor, but an exact copy of Riker! How can this be? Well, the explanation is that there was a disturbance that was affecting the transporters at the time, and this caused a feedback loop that made an exact copy of Riker, and one got transported successfully while the other remained back on the base. So Riker now has an exact copy of himself with all the same memories up until the transporter accident, meaning they are essentially the same person up to a point. What kind of challenges does this pose? Well for one, Enterprise Riker is a higher rank, so copy Riker has to take orders from his other self. Second, this Riker never broke up with Deanna Troi, the ship’s counselor with whom he had a relationship prior to the beginning of the show. Enterprise Riker and Troi agreed to go their separate ways to further pursue careers in Star Fleet, and only coincidentally ended up together again on the Enterprise several years later. So when copy Riker sees Troi for the first time, it’s like nothing has changed and immediately wants to continue their relationship. The two Rikers have to learn to work together despite their differences and eventually come to an understanding. Copy Riker accepts that Troi moved on and decides to continue his own career in Star Fleet by taking an assignment on another ship and… that’s it. Copy Riker adopts their middle name of Thomas as his first name in order to more clearly distinguish himself from the other Riker, but aside from that, we never find out how Thomas Riker shakes out after the events of this show. Original Riker had a troubled history with his still-living father that received some resolution in a different episode, but Thomas would technically still have those paternal hang-ups, unless he off-screen decided to pay their father a visit in order to have the same catharsis. Did he struggle with living in the shadow of the other Riker? Did Star Fleet want to study him and see if the accident was repeatable and there was practical application to the copying? Though he does make another appearance Deep Space 9, his ultimate fate is unknown.

4.
The Seed Race. Season 6, episode 20 titled “The Chase”. Another episode similar to the Dyson sphere plot, this one has Picard’s former archeology professor on the verge of a huge discovery with galaxy-spanning implications. The professor is attacked and dies before he can complete his research, but other alien races are interested in his discovery also, particularly the Cardassians. After piecing together the clues using markers found in the DNA of several of the galaxy’s sentient races, the Enterprise converges on a distant planet along with some Klingons, Romulans and Cardassians. The other races believe they are being led to an ancient and powerful weapon or power source left behind by a long extinct alien race. Once they collect all the necessary DNA, a hologram of a humanoid alien appears and explains that they explored space millennia ago and found no other intelligent life, so they left samples of their DNA on different planets and let evolution takes its course. The other races were not impressed by this information, and the Cardassians were downright offended at the thought that their origins were tied to the other races. The episode ends with Picard and the Romulan captain sharing a moment where they imagine that perhaps someday, all the races could come together over their shared origin instead of quibbling over their present differences, but that’s it. This seed race, like a more benevolent version of the Engineers in Prometheus, is a fascinating concept and also helps to explain why the majority of the alien races in Star Trek all basically look the same. But who were they really? Besides their DNA, did any of their tech or structures survive? Did they build the afore-mentioned Dyson sphere? I would think that a scientific discovery of this nature would also have far-reaching consequences, both good and bad, but this episode makes it seem like the handful of people that saw this revelation are going to keep quiet about it, as it may not be worth the trouble it could cause. Very unsatisfying. Perhaps we are meant to infer that this microsample of reactions is indicative of how the rest of the galaxy would have handled the news.

5.
Wesley Crusher. Season 7, Episode 20 title “Journey’s End”. Regardless of how one may feel about the character in the early seasons, Wesley Crusher seemed to be poised for a promising future. Being a gifted student that got to serve on a star ship while still very young, it was pretty much a given that he was going to have a luminary career. He is also the son of two Star Fleet Officers; his father died while under Picard’s command on a different ship, and his mother was the chief medical officer aboard the Enterprise. Early on, a random episode introduced a character known only as the Traveler; an alien with the ability to travel to different dimensions and across vast stretches of space seemingly at-will. In Wesley’s last appearance on the show, he goes on a vision quest that basically convinces him to leave Star Fleet and follow the Traveler to begin learning how to expand his mind and explore the universe and other dimensions. I guess. While it’s not a bad thing that he was presented as some wunderkind meant for greater things, the real question here is why did he return to Star Fleet? At the beginning of the final Next Generation movie, Nemesis, Wesley is present at Riker and Troi’s wedding, in Star Fleet uniform. He very decisively abandoned Star Fleet in that TV episode, but then here he is, back at it apparently. There’s no explanation for this and there is a deleted scene where he says he’s working as an engineer on Riker’s ship. That’s fine, but what happened with the Traveler? Did he accomplish enlightenment and decide to come back to a more mundane existence? Did he fail in his endeavors? For what was seemingly a pretty epic and open ended story arc, it would surely be disappointing to end up exactly where he didn’t want to be after everything that happened. Perhaps he will appear in a future season of Star Trek Picard and have a throwaway line about how he realized he had some unfinished business, but I’m not holding out for a satisfactory resolution.

There are still plenty of other mini-mysteries to wonder about in this series, such as Worf’s time-traveling son, multiple paradoxes and time loops, and of course, the Q. Join me again next time as we wonder what the hell was the point of it all!

The Geeks’ Watch – Episode 184 The Great Finale

“The future comes, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall miss no game, withhold no news, report all rumors. I shall wear no jerseys and plead allegiance to no side. I shall live and die on my webpage. I am the word in the darkness. I am the watcher of the tv. I am the megaphone that informs the realms of geek. I pledge my hands and name to the Geek’s Watch, for geeks and all the geeks to come.” John, Jess, Mitch, Stephen, and Elizabeth talk about their week’s watch, then discuss the final three episodes of Hulu’s ‘The Great’ season 1.

On The John: The Best Of YouTube Vol. 2 – Ladies Edition

An Editorial From John Camarena

Well it’s been a nice hiatus brought to you by COVID-19, but life goes on and so must the creation of content. Continuing with my series of favorite Youtube channels, the next three are specific in that they are all intelligent, geeky ladies that create longer form videos. Chock-full of interesting information, ranging from topics about pop culture media and hot takes to deeper psychological and social issues, these creators never fail to have my attention. 

Jenny Nicholson
Jenny is an acerbic young woman who is deeply steeped in the nerdy fandoms of Star Wars, Harry Potter and especially Disney. She’s a former Disneyland employee and admits she has a fascination with theme parks in general and Disney parks especially. Jenny’s style is to deep-dive into whatever she’s making a video of, whether it’s a movie, book, or even merchandise, all while providing a running commentary and generally tearing them apart in a loving fashion. The majority of her videos are filmed from her bedroom, with a few rare exceptions that have her out and about at a con or otherwise somewhere outdoors. While she is never mean-spirited, she does not mince words when calling out the ridiculousness of the plot holes or story decisions in the books or movies she’s discussing, and has sharp observations combined with a sweetly innocent and slightly monotone voice. While most of her videos are 20 minutes or longer, she also has a few shorter videos where she sarcastically pretends to pitch movies by solely highlighting the elements of that movie that arguably made it bad, or just presents a short video on a recent moment in pop culture. She’s also fascinated by Reylo (Rey and Kylo Ren) fan fiction, and reviews these stories as well as other questionable works of fiction in her dry style. She’s also collaborated with Screen Junkies/Fandom Entertainment for a series called Millennial Falcon, in which she would speak to guests about Star Wars-related topics, and while she obviously had a higher budget for the production of those videos, they lack the charm of her independent videos. Some of my favorite videos include “15 Very Dumb Things in Fantastic Beasts 2”, “Justice League Bad”, and “Tomorrowland Ruined My Life and Dreams”

Lindsay Ellis
Now, while Jenny is precociously sardonic and satirical, Lindsay is much more sharp and scathing. Previously known as Nostalgia Chick on Youtube’s Channel Awesome, she continues on her own channel where she post videos about pop culture observations, with a heavy emphasis on reviews of Disney movies, but also touches on other relevant releases. Lindsay’s content is approached with a more academic eye and really breaks down the tropes involving feminism and woke culture, or rather the way that some of the media tries to implement it and usually in the worst way possible. Lindsay also hosts the PBS Digital Studios series It’s Lit!, which focuses on literature, and is now an author herself, with her first novel, Axiom’s End, set to be released soonish. Some of my favorite videos she has created include “Woke Disney”, a dissection of the Dumbo remake and the problems it chooses to ignore; “The Hobbit” 3-part mini documentary; and “How Aladdin Changed Animation (by screwing over Robin Williams)”. Overall, Lindsay is not shy about taking a stance regarding the messages that pop culture media tries to, and often fails to depict.

Contrapoints
Natalie Wynn is probably one of the most interesting and unique Youtubers I’ve come across in recent history. But unlike other controversial Youtubers like your Logan Pauls and your Jon Trons, she is an academic intellectual that earns her vitriol by challenging preconceived societal norms and surely antagonizing her detractors head-on by performing as a multitude of characters, each meant to mock a certain stereotype such as fascists, TERFs, and even herself. Found while searching for videos about the incel phenomenon, Natalie caught my eye thanks to her colorful and moody lighting and fancy wardrobe. She has in distinctive sense of humor, that when paired with her clearly brilliant analysis of important social topics, make for some long-form videos that are never boring. What is probably the most refreshing aspect of her video style is her willingness to explore her own psyche in relation to the subjects she discusses, and being very honest about her feelings from the perspective of a person transitioning into a woman. Natalie’s videos, when viewed chronologically, contain a meta-narrative as she becomes more accustomed to the changes she’s going through, both literal and metaphorical. Although her videos tend to be on the longer side, her style of humor peppered throughout very well written and filmed video essays keep you engaged. Besides the before-mentioned video on incels, I also highly recommend Beauty, which focuses on the preconceived notions of attraction and the lengths that some go through to achieve physical perfection, and Shame, in which she analyses her struggle to figure out dating and physical relationships during her transitioning. 

I highly recommend checking them out, if only for a different perspective to what is a mostly male-dominated medium, but are strong enough to stand on their own.

The Geeks’ Watch – Episode 183 The Great S1XE7 “A Pox On Hope”

“The future comes, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall miss no game, withhold no news, report all rumors. I shall wear no jerseys and plead allegiance to no side. I shall live and die on my webpage. I am the word in the darkness. I am the watcher of the tv. I am the megaphone that informs the realms of geek. I pledge my hands and name to the Geek’s Watch, for geeks and all the geeks to come.” John, Jess, Mitch, Stephen, and Elizabeth talk about their week’s watch, then discuss Hulu’s new original show ‘The Great’, episode 7, “A Pox On Hope”.
1 2 3 33
Twitter

Twitter Feed:

#MCU
Journey Into Mystery - Eps 12
#AntMan (2015) http://geekeliteradio.libsyn.com/journey-into-mystery-eps-12-ant-man-2015?tdest_id=991493

This week we're having some fun talking the times films TRIED to fool us ... and failed! What twist or out there plot development did you see coming a mile away and feel all superior about calling?

#PodcastHQ #PodernFamily #FilmTwitter #plottwist

Freeform has cancelled 'Sriens' after three seasons.
https://tvline.com/2020/08/05/siren-cancelled-season-4-freeform/

Hulu has cancelled 'High Fidelity' after its first season.
https://tvline.com/2020/08/05/high-fidelity-cancelled-hulu-season-2-zoe-kravitz/

Load More...