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September, 2017:

Star Trek: Discovery – Screw It…

This isn’t any sort of review on Star Trek Discovery, it’s just a straight out complaint about how ridiculous this whole scheduling streaming etc thing that’s going on with this show is.  So here’s the basic idea.  the new Star Trek series, is exclusive to CBS’s AllAccess Netflix clone.    I kept thinking this was some new deal CBS was pushing but apparently the service has been around for 3 years now.  News to me, shows how well it’s doing I suppose.  It also follows the Hulu Model, where there is a lower priced tier with ads and a high priced tier without ads.  CBS knows that Trek is really popular, or was at some point, so it’s something they are using to try to leverage success out of their dumb streaming service.

I guess I also heard wrong about Discovery being available on regular broadcast TV.  Last I had checked, it was supposed to be broadcast on regular TV weekly, then only available “on demand” with All Access.  I can deal with that, I have a DVR.  Except the DVR goes to crap when a show gets delayed, and thus gets cut off.  This is kind of an issue with cable boxes in general not being very dynamic in their scheduling, but it also feels kind of intentional.  Ok, no CBS doesn’t have control over football, apparently there was a game earlier in the day, but how often does a game NOT go over.

So what do I end up with?  half an episode of Star Trek and half an episode of some crap with Oprah having some sit down bitch fest about Trump.  And of course, it’s not available on demand.  How convenient.

The reality is, I’m irritated, but I probably really shouldn’t be.  I really haven’t cared much about Trek since Star Trek Voyager.  The new movies are all terrible.  Star Trek Discovery seems to be getting rather mixed reviews anyway.  I’m also not paying for CBS’s Netflix.  Maybe, MAYBE if it were ABC, and it had all of the Marvel stuff included, but a lot of that is already on Netflix.  CBS has very little programming I even care about, and I’m not paying monthly for one show.  I might get a free month once the entire season is available, like I plan to do for Hulu and Runaways.

Which kind of touches on another reason this whole thing is lame, they aren’t putting out all episodes at once Netflix style, they are still being released weekly.  This kind of shows how completely tone deaf CBS is on just WHY Netflix is popular.  People don’t want ads.  People want to binge watch and not wait weekly.  People want lots of good content.  One show, weekly, with ads?  I can find that on regular TV, and my DVR has a fast forward function.

The Orville – S01E02 & 03

You know what’s extremely annoying? Bumping around the time slot on shows, especially new shows, like The Orville. This is especially true for new shows. The Good Place did this last year and Episode 2 basically got lost in the flow after it’s “1 hour premier” then “On the regular time slot”. Anyway, thankfully, there is on demand, where you can’t fast forward through commercials like you can with the DVR.

I’m not entirely sure if I will continue talking about this show weekly, but I did want to at least do a follow up after last week’s Episode 1 write up. The show has definitely managed to shake off some of it’s “Pilot Syndrome”. The humor is more subtle and the actual plot lines are much more substantial. Surprisingly, there is actually a bit of continuation of plot lines across episodes. During Episode 2, it turns out Bortus, the Not-Klingon dude is having a child, which takes him out of the action for the duration of the episode, but transforms into the plot of the third episode. I honestly didn’t expect any level of over arching plot to this series, so this is a surprising twist and frankly, bodes well for the potential staying power.

Apparently it’s getting panned by the Critics however. It seems like everyone was hoping or expecting “Family Guy in Space”. Instead we get Star Trek with some humor. Granted sometimes it’s dick and fart jokes level humor, but a lot more it just feels like people making jokes occasionally. Instead of “everyone is all duty all the time” Star Trek, we get a bunch of folks working on a star ship being people. Which is kind of nice.

Also unlike Star Trek, there isn’t always a happy ending solution. The third episode involves Bortus and his mate’s baby. Bortus is a Moclan. They kind of come off like Klingons, but mostly for being gruff and stern and brooding, less so for being party animal warriors. Moclans are also all male. I mean it’s not quite the right description since they are single gender, but having a pair of “gay Klingons” is entertaining all on it’s own, if only because it’s a different juxtaposition of ideas. It also works well since it’s just the way they are, being aliens. It turns out that they aren’t so single gender as one might think, just more that females are extremely rare, since Bortus has a baby girl. The plot of the episode revolves around the decision whether or not to change the girl into a boy, a common Moclan procedure, given their culture. While there are some revelations, the ending doesn’t really turn out how one might expect since they opt to go through with the procedure.

Because culture really is a hard thing to shift. You’ve got an entire species of alien who has been doing this for generations. They aren’t going to deus ex their way into making the “good choice”. The better part is that the show doesn’t come off as some preachy sappy pandering piece for rights of the baby or whatever. Good arguments are presented for both choices and the reality as it were is that these aliens are not humans. The great example used is that humans correct a cleft pallet, they just do it. Moclans see this gender issue in pretty much the same light. It’s not a problem to do the procedure, it’s a problem not to do the procedure.

I’m looking forward to more of The Orville, I just kind of worry it’ll get canned for not being Family Guy enough.

Weekly Wednesday Haul – BAF Edition

This week saw the completion of a couple of Build a Figures.  First off, I added the Homemade Suit Spiderman from Spiderman Homecoming.  This also gave me the last piece for the Vulture Build A Figure.  He is pretty awesome with his huge wings, but it still feels like he could have just been say, a $30 deluxe figure or something.  


A while back I started collecting Giant Manparts when Ross had the wave for cheap.  I recall back when this wave was new, I had a delimma on if I wanted Cap from this wave or from the Thanos wave.  Apparently I had chosen Thanos, because it turned out that I didn’t have Giant Man’s head.  I never did finish that Thanos because I opted for the Marvel Select but I went ahead and ordered the head for Giant Man off of eBay.

I have to say, I am kind of disappointed, his arms are stupidly short for proper human proportions.
Lastly, since I have Jessica Jones now, I went ahead and picked up Elektra from the Netflix wave.  I probably was going to get her anyway.  I am still a little iffy on the others for reasons mentioned but that Daredevil is growing on me and I kind of really want to finish Man-Thing.

The Orville – S01E01

So the obvious comparison here, is of course, Star Trek.  The story I’ve heard is that Seth MacFarlane has wanted to do a Star Trek series for a while but CBS has told him no, so instead, he’s not making The Orville, for Fox.  A better comparison is probably the movie Galaxy Quest.  Both are not quite parodies of Star Trek.  I say not quite because while both have their comedic elements and take their queues from Trek, both have their own little ideas and both have some level of trying to be serious behind them.

I kind of worry that this mixture may end up being the downfall of The Orville in the long run.  The Family Guy/Seth MacFarlane audience is going to expect a constant barrage of comedy, something that this show doesn’t really offer.

Yet.

Yet is definitely the possibility here.  Personally, I hope the show steers more into the serious side.  I’m not a huge fan of the Star Trek reboot films, and I’m not sure what Star Trek Discovery will bring, but this show definitely feels more like the older Trek when things were a bit more fun and less super serious all the time.  I say “yet” because this first episode definitely reeks of classic Pilot Syndrome.  It doesn’t quite know what it wants to be and half the episode is devoted to introducing the cast with a kind of flimsy plot tacked onto back end.

I do have to say the resolution of the actual plot and threat was pretty clever and did a nice job of wrapping together several of the previous elements that had popped up during the show.

I also don’t mind the comedy.  I don’t watch a ton of comedy TV these days and have not watched anything from Seth MacFarlane in years but I do enjoy it.  The little side comments and commentary worked well, some of the more random gags, like the guy working on repairs in the window at the end of the episode, not so much.

The cast all were pretty enjoyable.  There’s definitely potential in each of them to have some fun chemistry and interaction.  Some of the effects felt a little off but that is probably a result of Pilot Syndrome as well as the lower budget comedy series nature of the show.

I think a lot of my ultimate enjoyment of this series depends on what directions it heads off into in the future.  I’m not sure the Trek formula, even as a parody, works too well if things remain too episodic.  It kind of needs some level of world building, that’s what makes it fantastical and enjoyable.  Without the backdrop of the universe, I’m not sure that a bunch of random jokes making fun of Sci-Fi really will work in the long run without getting repetitive.

 

Review – Transformers – Combiner Wars – Computron (Technobot Giftset)

Combiner Wars was definitely an interesting take on the line.  The need for every figure to be a robot and a vehicle and an arm or a leg really made for some pretty similar designs across the board.  All of the most well known combiners, Superion, Menasor, Bruticus, Defensor, ended up with a release in the main line.  Devastator got a massive Titan Class boxed set release as well.  One vehicle combiner missing from the mainline was Computron.  Instead of individual releases, Computron came available at the tail end of the line as a boxed set only, though he consists of repaints of previously released figures.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

The boxed set for Computron consists of 7 figures, 5 forming the core combiner and one Legends class partner, like all of the other releases, who happens to also include another even smaller partner toy of it’s own.  Unlike the other 4 known combiners, Computron is a straight update of his normal 5 members, no stand ins like Rook of Alpha Bravo.  It’s also worth noting that there was also a Japanese boxed set released around the same time that costs around the same price.  There are a lot of different design choices in which molds are used and both sets contain unique new remold versions of Strafe.  I do not own the Japanese version but there are pluses and minuses to each design choice and a lot of what it comes down to is a preference of G1 cartoon vs G1 toy aesthetics.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Lightspeed

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

I want to start with Lightspeed since he’s probably the most boring of all of the figures in this set.  Not really so much because of his design, but because he’s a repaint of the Streetwise/Prowl mold which is itself a remold of the Breakdown/Wildrider mold.  Basically, this mold has been used a ton throughout this entire line and so it’s starting to feel a little tired.  On the plus side, it’s one of the better molds in the line.  He has a nice range of pose ability, his transformation is a little more interesting all around and it works well as both an arm and a leg.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

The overall shape fits pretty well as an update to G1 Lightspeed as well.  The original toy was a bit more orange in color however.  This color works pretty well though and homages closer to the cartoon color pallet.

Nosecone

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Next up we have Nosecone.  Probably the weakest figure in the entire set, primarily due to the choice in base mold.  The original Nosecone was a drill tank thing.  Rather than take the Takara route of extensively remolding Rook, Hasbro’s Nosecone is simply a repaint of Brawl from the Combaticon set with a new drill bit turret.

A lot of Nosecones flaws are simply due to using the Brawl mold, which is the weakest in the line.  He is so close to being pretty good though, at least in robot mode.  The waist joint however is very poorly designed, things accordion together to connect the legs to the torso, but the accordion action isn’t quite a solid as it wants to be or should be.  He does have a pretty nice paint job in robot mode as well which helps.  The paint apps are more designed to homage the original toy than the original cartoon.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Where things fall apart is the vehicle.  The intended design is to position the turret out what is the back of the original tank.  The problem is this means the bottom of the feel are really obviously exposed in all of their hollow glory.  You’re better off just positioning the drill facing forward the way Brawn’s turret sits and calling it a day.  It’s mildly less accurate but looks a heck of a lot better.

Strafe

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Strafe is kind of the polar opposite of Nosecone and Lightspeed.  Where both of those were straight repaints, Strafe is an extensive remold of the Air Raid mold.  Where Air Raid turns into an F-14 fighter jet, Strafe has an entirely new front half and a completely different wing assembly on the legs.  The only real noticeable bits that are the same are the robot parts and the rear tail fins.  As such he shares the same basic transformation that all of the Aerialbots used with the clam-shell leg mechanism and the arms folded to the sides and the nosecone backpack.  All of the Aerialbots are solid figures however, which translates into a nice plus for Strafe.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Unlike his Aerialbot counterparts, Strafe’s “funky space ship” alt mode allows him to wear his bulky undercarriage much more well.  He isn’t trying to be a sleek jet, so the body bulk and complete lack of aerodynamics become much more excusable.

Afterburner

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Afterburner is the pseudo new mold of this set.  The motorcycle mold in Combiner Wars showed up originally in Takara’s Defensor set for Groove.  There has been rumor and speculation that the US release received Rook in place of Groove because of safety issues involving the clear plastic canopy, due to scale issues of the motorcycle, and possibly just because the mold is a little large for a standard deluxe and this didn’t fit price wise.  Eventually Groove did get a limited release in the states through several online retailers.  Afterburner however is the most reliable way to get the mold in the US, though Afterburner is also a remold and not just a straight repaint of Groove.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

I can see why he might have failed standard safety tests, that window backpack just sort of hangs off of the top of the figure and clear plastic tends to be more brittle than the standard plastic used in most figures.  On the other hand, here we are, with a regular mass release version of the mold.  The speculation that he’s too large is feasible as well, he is definitely taller and bulkier than most of the Combiner Wars deluxes.  The scale issue, at least in Afterburner’s case, kind of falls away however.  Groove is a police motorcycle, thus would be much smaller than his fellow Protectobots.  Afterburner is a space motorcycle.  Who says he isn’t a giant space motorcycle.  Especially when all of his friends are giant robots.

Scattorshot

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Scattorshot is a repaint of the much more muted color pallet, mass released, Scattorshot who is a remold of the Aerialbot torso, Silverbolt.  The mass release version of the figure was very bland and mostly red, and formed the torso for “Beta-tron”.  I’m not sure why he ended up with two releases, my only real assumption is they weren’t sure Computron would actually get a release.  The boxed set version has a lot more white spots of color and different shades of red, which really helps make the mold look a lot less… beta, in design.

This mold is one of the better torsos in the line, but the individual robot is a little funky looking with it’s huge boots.  It does work for Scattorshot though, the original toy also had some kind of funky proportions going on with his body.  The funky space wings really help to make him seem different than Silverbolt as well, which is nice.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

The vehicle gets a new node piece in the form of a giant cannon, in addition to the previously mentioned space wings.  There are enough little greebly bits added to the vehicle to help him stand out even more from Silverbolt.  The torso, doesn’t fare quite as well however, as it very much resembles Superion’s torso.

Scrounge and Cybaxx (Boltax)

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Because there were little “helper” transformers in the Legends scale for each of the other combiners, Computron also includes a repaint of Generations Cosmos and Payload in the form of Scrounge and Boltax.  Both are relatively obscure G1 comic characters, both of which were originally yellow gold colored.   The original Scrounge seems to turn into some sort of wheel thing, so Cosmos’ flying saucer works pretty well there.  Boltax doesn’t really have an original alt mode, his association here is more on the “smart guy” side of the Technobots theme.  He was sort of an omniscient librarian in his original form.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

The new head on the Cosmos mold is a nice little touch, it would have been really simple and easy to just make him a repaint.  Given that this is an older mold from an older line, the interactivity with the larger Computron is pretty weak.  Where Menasor and Defensor got new chest pieces and Superion and Bruticus got guns, Scrounge sort of becomes a shield that loose bolts onto existing pegs and Boltax turns into an undersized targetmaster style gun (just like Payload).  Well, undersized for Computron, less so for any of the individual robots.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Computron

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

So, being apart of Combiner Wars, and the combiner Computron, these figures all merge together to form one giant robot.  He’s actually got quite a bit going for him in his combined form, compared to the other combiners in the line.  Despite some of the individual flaws, all of these figures are good limbs.  Couple this with the Silverbolt/Scattorshot torso and you end up with a pretty solid combined robot.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

What also helps make this set is that he also includes a new set of hand/foot pieces.  The individual releases all came with various hand/foot bits that could be either a hand or a foot.  They were also a bit undersized for the combined robots, especially for the feet.  Computron here has two dedicated feet that are much larger than the previous hand/foot gun pieces, and two nicely sculpted left and right fists.  The Hand/Foot Guns all were also designed to work as a left or right hand.  These pieces really help him look more beefy and properly proportioned in his combined form.

His color scheme is a little hodge podgey, though the tones are all sort of in the same general pallet and there is a lot of colors across the limbs that helps everything feel a bit more blended.  He also benefits from the boxed set benefit of budget, because he has a bit more paint apps across the board, which helps make him look really nice.

Overall, Computron is a really great complete package of a combiner.  He’s probably my favorite of the 5 combiner sets that I own (Superion, Bruticus, Defensor, Menasor, and Computron).  The techno spacey Cybertronian theme of all of the vehicles helps these guys stand out in a sea of Earth modes and help hide some of the bulky-ness flaws of the Combiner Wars line.  You also get an entire set instead of having to hunt down individual robots, which makes things a lot easier.

 

Weekly Wednesday Haul – Cheers Luv, Sixshot Has Arrived Edition

The thing I hate most about Pre Orders is the wait.  I ordered Nendoroid Tracer back when she was first announced in February.  And now, here she is, 6+ months later.  Nendoroid is put out by Goodsmile who also makes the Figma line.  I’ve never had a Nendoroid before.  Tracer here I believe has more articulation than a standard Nendo, but the line is basically super deformed versions of various anime and video game characters.  Tracer is pretty neat, I was a little on the fence with the concept but I’m really looking forward to Mei now.

I also managed to luck into FINALLY finding Jessica Jones from the Netflix Marvel Legends Wave.  She’s pretty much as nice as I had hoped.  Too bad we’ll probably never get Killgrave.  I imagine the next Netflix Wave will give us Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and probably Kingpin, plus some other random comic dudes.

Speaking of luck, I also found several Transformers I had assumed I’d completely missed out on with Titans Returns Sixshot and Octane.  There was also a Blitzwing but my wallet can only take so much at once and frankly, while Titans Return Blitzwing looks nice, I am alright with my Combiner Wars Blitzwing.  The old Classics Octane though, that thing is a huge pile of garbage in almost every way, he seriously needs and update.

Then there’s Sixshot.  Sixshot is a character that I’ve really wanted a good figure of for a long time.  One, I like the idea and design, even if all of his modes are mediocre “modes”.  More importantly, he kills Ultra Magnus in the Japanese show, and since Ultra Magnus is one of my favorite Autobots, it seems appropriate to have a kick ass toy of his killer.  Or something.  I also just really like his overall design.  The transformation is about as expected for all of the modes, Slightly different positions for his arms and legs for the most part.

I’ve seen a lot of complaints with this guy as well but he’s decent.  I have not had any real issues aside from his submarine mode keeps wanting to flip itself over for some reason.

 

Review – Transformers – RiD – Bisk

I have yet to actually watch any of the Transformers Robots in Disguise show, but very early on one of the designs showed off was for a character named Bisk.  Everyone hoped Bisk would get a toy but early indicators where we had one Decepticon for a dozen Autobots, it didn’t seem likely.  Thankfully things changed and we ended up with our crazy Lobster Man Transformer.  He’s even gotten a repaint named Thermidor.

Transformers Robots In Disguise Bisk

Bisk, has the pleasure of having a Lobster for his animal theme.  He definitely takes this theme above and beyond with his lobster head and giant Lobster Claw hands.  Even his vehicle mode kibble hanging off of his back works since it sort of looks like a lobster shell.  I can fully understand how this zany looking robot would not work for some people, he certainly stands out with other Transformers, especially non RiD Decepticons, but he certainly has a ton of character from this look.

Transformers Robots In Disguise Bisk

This character even goes a bit deeper than expected with his Vehicle Mode.   Transformers Robots In Disguise is a sort of sequel to the previous series, Transformers Prime.  It shares a general design ascetic and the plot is a sort of follow up to the previous series, though the tone of these two shows is quite different.  Bisk’s vehicle very much resembles the Vehicon Drones that were ever present in Transformers Prime.  He’s not an exact match but the overall shape is there.  His guns even mount on the front headlights the way the old Vehicon guns do.

Transformers Robots In Disguise Bisk

His guns also work in robot mode via the same pegs, mounting on top of his lobster claws.  The claws are particularly interesting, the arm joints aren’t quite traditional joints for up and down and rotation, but there are essentially two different elbow joins next to each other, which allows for his claws to work both in a vertical and horizontal orientation.  It really helps add to the range of poses he can make using his big ol’ claws.

Transformers Robots In Disguise Bisk

Overall, though the aesthetic won’t work for everyone, Bisk is a pretty fantastic addition to the Robots in Disguise line up.  He looks nice in both modes, the Transformation is pretty straight forward and he just oozes character.  He’s nicely poseable too, which is always a good feature.

Weekly Wednesday Haul – Force Friday Edition

It really feels like this kind of forced #ForceFriday deal on Star Wars toys isn’t nearly as huge as they would like for it to be.  I doubt there will ever be a good recreation of the whole Prequels toys madness.  It does make it convenient to just get everything I care about all at once I suppose.  Though that wasn’t a lot.  I’m pretty much only into Black Series figures these days.  Of the figures released I really only cared about 3 or 4 of them, maybe, one of which is Rey, which I passed on because I’d rather hold out for the Resistance outfit or possibly even the Figuarts.

I did end up picking up three Black Series figures though, first is Grand Admiral Thrawn.

The biggest travesty of Episode 7,8, and 9, is it negates the Thrawn Trilogy books, which were pretty much considered by most to BE Episode 7, 8, and 9.  They were really great and wrapped up things well.  A lot of this was due to how awesome Thrawn was.  Basically he took over the remains of the Empire after the Death Star II was destroyed.  It seems like Thrawn is still in play some how, I think maybe he has shown up in the Rebels show maybe, and I heard rumors he may yet show up in Episode 8 or 9.  He’s a nice figure for a basic officer dude.  I hate that he doesn’t include his Force Negating Ysalamiri.  It’s a small lizard with the ability to negate the use of the Force in a bubble around it’s presence.  Thrawn carries one around on his neck full time for the sole purpose of protecting himself from Jedi light and dark.

Even better, the Black Series has put out regular old classic Storm Troopers again.  I picked up two of them but unless they all vanish quickly I expect to pick up several more in the next few months.  Generic squad builders like this are so great for a lot of reasons.  They tend to look best in packs of 5 or 6, but they also work great for photos since it gives some generic dudes for any hero to battle against in great numbers.