Willkommen im Neuen Jahr!

Wir sind heuer Silvester wieder daheim geblieben, haben „Bake Off: Crème de la Crème“ und „Monaco Franze“ geschaut, Festplatten und Keller aufgeräumt und die nächste Reise geplant.

Glücklicherweise wissen wir mittlerweile, dass unsere beiden Katzen mit dem Feuerwerk gut umgehen können – während andere Stubentiger sich im Bad hinter der Toilette verkriechen, springen Becky und Rufus begeistert auf die Ablage des einzigen Fensters, bei dem wir die Rolladen nicht runtergelassen haben, und schauen fasziniert nach draußen, wo es knallt und blitzt. Chill as fuck.

Abgesehen davon verbringt man diese ruhigen Tage ja gerne mit Rückschau und Einsicht. Um es langsam angehen zu lassen, sammele ich deshalb an dieser (und morgen an anderer) Stelle noch mal ein paar kurze Wortmeldungen von Facebook für Wortvogel-Leser, die noch nicht im Netz des Sozialen Miteinanders hängen. Dabei handelt es sich meistens um knappe, mitunter auch englisch gehaltene Meinungsäußerungen, Kurzkritiken und Verweise.

Gut, dass wir verglichen haben – Weihnacht wird televisionär wieder komplett bei den Briten verbracht: Maigret, Great British Bakeoff, Big Fat Quiz of the Year, Not going Out, The Highway Rat, 30 years of French & Saunders, etc. Rule Britannia, Britannia rule the (air)waves!

Dass das britische Weihnachtsfernsehen dem deutschen um Lichtjahre voraus ist, kann man schon daran ersehen, dass niemand, der seine Murmeln beisammen hat, darauf käme, die historischen Programmdaten des deutschen Weihnachtsfernsehens auf einer eigenen Webseite aufzubereiten.

„Maigret in Montmartre“ is yet more proof that Rowan Atkinson has found his third career defining role. Apart from his spot on acting, this outing also features stunning locations, a precise eye for zeitkolorit (as we Germans love to call it) and an abundance of exquisit camerawork. This is as good as classic crime novel adaptations get – and far better than Kenneth Branagh’s vanity attempt „Murder on the Orient Express“.

Okay, the xmas special of „Dr. Who“. While intriguing and full of solid character moments, I was disappointed by its complete lack of an external story. This was basically a succession of discussions from key characters of the show’s history. I can’t imagine this episode having ANY worth for viewers unfamiliar with huge chunks of the franchise. Especially the specials used to be solid entertainment for non-Who fanboys and fangirls, too.

P.S.: Will they start bringing back recast versions of other older Who incarnations now?

While the pilot for „The Orville“ maintains the charade of selling a comedy show, the second episode already drops the pretense: this is Seth MacFarlanes „Star Trek“ homage, a love letter to TNG and to horizontal storytelling. It doesn’t feel fresh or edgy, but it makes up for it by catering to the fans that fell in love not with special effects or huge story arcs, but with characters and witty interplay.

Whoa, „The Orville“ went dark – and smart – by episode 3. This is the most TNG like show since TNG. The critics will learn to eat their hats. And it took the SJW douches from io9 almost a full day to complain that the „gender issue“ episode of „The Orville“ wasn’t „inclusive“ enough. I expect more – demanding a boycott of the show would’ve been nice, too. And no mention of Brannon Braga’s and/or Seth MacFarlane’s white male privilege?! An oversight, I’m sure.

Episode 4 of „The Orville“ drops all pretense of being a comedy for full TNG style storytelling. They even use a director who has worked on all Trek shows since TNG, including the „Enterprise“ pilot. While it still lacks a certain edge, it works as Trek light.

„The Orville: Pria“ was another very TNG-like episode with Cherlize Theron as a guest star (she is a friend of MacFarlane and co-starred with him in „A million ways to die in the West“). It is very hard to dispute the fact that the lightweight characters and the relatively banal problem solving stand in the way of real drama. If „The Orville“ really wants to be more than comedy, it has to deepen the characters and up the stakes.

Latest episode of „Orville“ manages to sneakily transition from comedy to dark drama, examines the Krill culture as an analogy for Islam, then humanizes it, only to reiterate that in faith based conflicts, no one truly wins. Oh, and it also sets up a larger story arc not dissimilar to „Star Trek Discovery“. Best episode yet.

Oops, totally missed last weeks „The Orville“: Well, it’s „Star Trek meets The Black Mirror“ as we meet an overly simplified version of Earth where Social Media gets to decide EVERYTHING – even life and death. Eschewing FX and huge set pieces, this is the kind of social commentary episode that TOS and TNG always did so well. And yes, I kinda like the idea that there is still a place for horizontal, self-contained shows – you know, the way it used to be…

„The Orville: Into the fold“ (ep 8, for those keeping track) handled another Trek standard: the „small group stranded on an alien planet with limited means of survival“ episode. Unfortunately, it was seriously underwritten and especially Isaac continues to be a very limited character. As drama, it was lacking real… well, drama, almost passing for a kid’s show if it weren’t for the widespread cannibalism. Yeah, cannibalism. Weird. All in all, a lesser outing.

„The Orville: Cupid’s Dagger“ is basically another TNG episode that uses a very constructed and isolated incident to make a point about human nature – the only difference is that MacFarlane is taking it way further than Trek ever could. The potentially uncomfortable tone is offset by the most comedy content since the pilot. While I thoroughly enjoy the show, I still think it needs to grow up a bit – Trek has (for better or for worse). However, having a couple with marital problems as the leads continues to be the best idea Paramount never had. It gives the show an immediate emotional core that Discovery is lacking even going into the season finale.

Okay, „The Orville: Firestorm“ revisits another old staple in Trek history, the „weird nightmares start tormenting the crew“ episode (a bottle show with surprisingly convincing CGI monsters). This one focusses on Alara Kitan, but it’s ultimately too paper thin and doesn’t really give us a deeper understanding of her character. While I love „The Orville“ for not being „Star Trek Discovery“, it needs to toughen up a bit. A rethink of the flat lighting scheme would also help.

Oops, I actually forgot to give my two cents on the last episode of „The Orville“ (New Dimensions) – fitting, since it’s one of the most forgettable eps they have done yet, full of unconvincing and convenient techno babble and a less than compelling „human angle“. When „The Orville“ is good, it’s like TNG at its best – this is TNG at its worst. Eps like this are only kept afloat by the character interplay. And the visualization of the „two dimensional dimension“ looks like a system breakdown of a „Dance Dance Revolution“ arcade machine:

Since the original season finale has been pushed to next year, „The Orville: Mad Idolatry“ is our final visit to the faux-Trek show that put up a surprising fight against Paramount’s official contender. But in hindsight, while it is a very amiable show that provides comfort food to sci fi fans overwhelmed by complex, dark and vertically told TV epics, it’s also a very safe and predictable series that feels outdated and a little cowardly. It has rarely lived up to its potential of being the „true“ Trek successor and „Mad Idolatry“ is a perfect example: a very high concept episode that races through the development of an implausibly earth like civilization, criticizing (as MacFarlane is wont to do) the destructive effects of organized religion using some VERY basic analogies. While way better than last week’s „New Dimensions“, it’s a throwback to TNG’s humanist episodes that only comes to life when it culminates in an unexpectedly peaceful resolution. I know I am repeating myself, but: the relationship between the two leads is mainly what keeps this afloat. Of note: The great Neil Dickson („Biggles“, „She-Wolf of London“) reduced to work as a glorified extra. And this – bet you’ve never seen THAT on Star Trek:

Geile Sache – deutscher B-Horror versucht, in der Verleih-Beschreibung zum Ende noch die Kurve zur „Relevanz“ zu nehmen:

„In den Heilstätten, einem düsteren Ort in der Nähe von Berlin, wollen die erfolgreichsten YouTuber Deutschlands eine 24 Stunden Challenge um den Thron austragen. Die Geschichte der Heilstätten ist voller Grauen und Brutalität und noch heute halten sich Berichte um paranormale Aktivitäten von diesem Ort. Ausgerüstet mit Nachtsicht- und Wärmebildkameras wollen die YouTuber diesen Gerüchten nachgehen. Sie bekommen schnell zu spüren, dass man in diesen angsteinflößenden Ruinen sein Glück besser nicht herausfordert. Doch als sie aussteigen wollen, bemerken sie, dass es dafür längst zu spät ist…

HEILSTÄTTEN, der in atmosphärischen und authentischen Kulissen spielt, schafft es nicht nur, dem Zuschauer ein gnadenloses Horrorerlebnis näher zu bringen, der Film greift auch ein hochaktuelles Thema auf. Im digitalen Zeitalter, in dem sich die Menschen an Klickzahlen messen, stellt er die Frage: Wie förderlich ist Social-Media für unsere Jugend und wie weit gehen wir für Klicks?“

Who wore it better? Left: Odette Annable as the new big bad Reign in the CW TV show „Supergirl“. Right: Joan Severance as the titular hero in Roger Corman’s 90s franchise „Black Scorpion“:

This should be made. Better yet: this should’ve been made in 1992. Gremlins was an awesome franchise that petered out too fast, got no made for DVD sequels, crappy TV shows or animated spinoffs.


Okay, I just ruined my favorite sci fi movie, „Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan“. When Checkov finds the belt and whispers „Botany Bay?!“, I clearly heard „Bought on Ebay?!“. This cannot be unheard. Try it:


The DC animated universe seriously needs some fresh blood – this could be it.

Ever wondered why the movie poster design so rarely lines up with the actor’s names?

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„And yes, I kinda like the idea that there is still a place for non-horizontal, self-contained shows“ – Ist das ein Schreibfehler für „non-vertical“, oder verstehe ich etwas nicht?


Happy new year. Vielen dank fuer viele tolle posts 2017 und dass 2018 besser wird!


> And this – bet you’ve never seen THAT on Star Trek

Einen Männernippel oder was genau meinst du da? TNG war in der Hinsicht eigentlich auch schon recht weit. Ich kann mich zwar nicht an einen Nippel erinnern, aber an eine Whirlpoolszene mit Klingonen und Betazoiden und diversen Folgen, wo das Thema Sex in Dialogen erörtert wurde, was angesichts der Zeit, wann das produziert wurde, ja auch fast wieder revolutionär war.