content by

Keith DeCandido

Fiction and Excerpts [3]

Fiction and Excerpts [3]

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Albatross”

Written by Dario Finelli
Directed by Bill Reed
Animated Season 2, Episode 4
Production episode 22019
Original air date: September 28, 1974
Stardate: 5275.6

Captain’s log. The Enterprise has just delivered medical supplies to the planet Dramia. Just as the landing party is about to beam up, though, the Supreme Prefect’s aide Demos issues a warrant for McCoy’s arrest. He is accused of being responsible for a plague that ravaged Dramia II nineteen years ago. McCoy was part of an inoculation program, and shortly after the program concluded, a plague wiped out hundreds.

Spock investigates, but records from the era are spotty. However, Vulcans are immune to the plague in question. Kirk takes the Enterprise to Dramia II. Demos follows, and Kirk permits him to sneak on board. Kirk then impounds Demos’s ship, since he stowed away. They’re too far from Federation space for instant subspace communication and Demos is now trapped on the Enterprise, so he can’t travel to a starbase to report Kirk’s investigating out of his jurisdiction.

[“Plague? Why didn’t you tell me?” “You wouldn’t give me a chance.”]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “The Practical Joker”

“The Practical Joker”
Written by Chuck Menville
Directed by Bill Reed
Animated Season 2, Episode 3
Production episode 22021
Original air date: September 21, 1974
Stardate: 3183.3

Captain’s log. The Enterprise is finishing its asteroid mapping expedition 72 hours ahead of schedule. As they approach the last asteroid, they’re ambushed by three Romulan ships. The Romulan commander insists that the Enterprise violated the Romulan border, which Kirk denies.

Sulu detects an energy field—one not on Spock’s charts—and Kirk has him fly through it in the hopes of losing the Romulans, at which it succeeds.

[When I get my hands on the clown who’s behind all this, I’ll put him in sickbay for a week!]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch Batman! “The Entrancing Dr. Cassandra”

“The Entrancing Dr. Cassandra”
Written by Stanley Ralph Ross
Directed by Sam Strangis
Season 3, Episode 25
Production code 1722
Original air date: March 7, 1968

The Bat-signal: It’s midday at the Gotham City Alchemical Bank & Trust Company which, according to the sign on the door, is “A financial institution so conservative it pays no interest at all.” Okay then.

Dr. Cassandra Spellcraft and her husband Cabala swallow their invisibility pills and proceed to invisibly rob the bank, so it appears only that a bag of money is floating out of the bank. Gordon is informed of the robbery, but before he can call Batman, Cassandra and Cabala enter the office, still invisible and, after subduing Gordon and O’Hara, call Batman. Cassandra taunts him and assures him that he won’t be able to stop her from entrancing the city.

[This is the kickiest weapon you’ve ever dug, Batman.]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Bem”

Written by David Gerrold
Directed by Bill Reed
Animated Season 2, Episode 2
Production episode 22018
Original air date: September 14, 1974
Stardate: 7403.6

Captain’s log. The Enterprise has taken on Ari bn Bem, a representative from a recently contacted species, as a passenger. He will be observing Starfleet’s exploration and first-contact protocols in action.

Delta Theta III is a planet with some aboriginal life forms. Kirk’s mission is to plant monitoring devices without the locals seeing them. Bem—who has spent the last six missions in his quarters, not noticeably observing much of anything—volunteers to go on this landing party. Kirk is reluctant, but Bem insists, and he beams down along with Kirk, Spock, Scotty, and Sulu.

[Sir, this one does not demean oneself by the use of casual violence to accomplish goals. But you may demean yourself if you wish..]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch Batman! “The Joker’s Flying Saucer”

“The Joker’s Flying Saucer”
Written by Charles Hoffman
Directed by Sam Strangis
Season 3, Episode 24
Production code 1720
Original air date: February 29, 1968

The Bat-signal: The citizenry of Gotham City is convinced that there will be an alien invasion, despite assurances by Gordon to the contrary. Professor Greenleaf is trying to convince Barbara (who’s actually working in the library!) that humanity should submit to their new alien overlords. While Barbara doesn’t buy Greenleaf’s story, she does see a green-skinned and -haired man vandalizing the library.

Faced by near-harassment from the people of Gotham, Gordon does the same thing he always does when required to do his job: he calls Batman. The Dynamic Duo slide down the poles and drive to GCPD HQ.

[I’ve thrilled many a woman, Batgirl, but I’ve never sent one into orbit before!]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

An Action Hero without Action or Heroism: Iron Fist Season One

After watching the first three episodes of Iron Fist, my initial impressions were that Finn Jones was engaging and mostly harmless in the title role, that Colleen Wing as played by Jessica Henwick was a breakout character with whom you do not mess, and that the show started out as an unfocused mess.

Well, ten episodes later, and the first two impressions are soured, and the third has held true, sadly.

This is not to say that season one of Iron Fist is a complete disaster, but it is the least of Marvel’s Netflix offerings so far, and there are three primary culprits—the treatment of the lead character is a scattershot mess, the show can’t make up its mind who the villain is, and there’s very little fun to be had.

[THERE BE SPOILERS HERE for season one of Iron Fist!]

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “The Pirates of Orion”

“The Pirates of Orion”
Written by Howard Weinstein
Directed by Bill Reed
Animated Season 2, Episode 1
Production episode 22020
Original air date: September 7, 1974
Stardate: 6334.1

Captain’s log. There’s been an outbreak of choriocytosis on the Enterprise, but McCoy has it under control, so the ship can still fulfill its mission to attend the dedication ceremony for a new Academy of Sciences on Deneb V. However, Spock collapses on the bridge and is taken to sickbay. He’s contracted choriocytosis, and it’s fatal to beings with copper-based blood.

The nearest supply of the only drug that can cure him is four days away, but Spock will only live for three. (Why the Enterprise didn’t stock up on the drug when the outbreak first occurred is left as an exercise for the viewer.) However, Kirk is able to arrange a delivery—the Potemkin is able to obtain the drug, they’ll transfer it to the Freighter Huron, which will deliver it to the Enterprise. Spock is put on restricted duty.

[We get what we want, plus our neutrality remains intact?]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch Batman! “I’ll Be a Mummy’s Uncle”

“I’ll Be a Mummy’s Uncle”
Written by Stanley Ralph Ross
Directed by Sam Strangis
Season 3, Episode 23
Production code 1725
Original air date: February 22, 1968

The Bat-signal: King Tut is being treated at the Mount Ararat Psychiartric Hospital. Tut has gone on and on and on and on about his problems for so long that his shrink falls asleep, giving Tut the opportunity to make his escape. He immediately hits the Rosetta Stone Company (according to their sign, they are manufacturers of cornerstones, curbstones, cobblestones, and milestones) and steals $47,000.

[“Why me?” “Why not you?” “That’s logical.” “I’m nothing if not logical.”]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “The Jihad”

“The Jihad”
Written by Stephen Kandel
Directed by Hal Sutherland
Animated Season 1, Episode 16
Production episode 22014
Original air date: January 12, 1974
Stardate: 5683.1

Captain’s log. The Enterprise arrives at Vedala, along with representatives from several other species, summoned by the ancient space-faring race for a special mission. Kirk and Spock are specifically summoned, along with Tchar, hereditary prince of the birdlike Skorr, Sord, from a lizardlike species, M3 Green, an insectlike lockpick, and Lara, a humanoid hunter.

The mission comes from Tchar: the soul of Alar, the spiritual leader of the Skorr, was archived in a sculpture, which has been stolen. The Skorr government has kept the theft secret from their people, but they won’t be able to keep that secret forever, and when they learn that the soul of Alar has been stolen, the Skorr will launch a holy war against the entire galaxy.

[I’m not even afraid anymore, just tired.]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

A Confusing Lack of Action: First Impressions of Iron Fist

Three episodes into Netflix’s Iron Fist, and several things are evident:

One is that Finn Jones has a certain relaxed charm. He’s charming and engaging in the role, for the most part. Another is that you do not mess with Colleen Wing. She will own your ass. The third, sadly, is that for the first time we have a season of a Netflix MCU show that is not gripping in its early going. (The two most flawed of the previous four, Luke Cage season 1 and Daredevil season 2, had their issues later in the season.)

I will have a more detailed review of the entire season once I’ve viewed all thirteen episodes, but here are my impressions of the first three episodes from three different perspectives: as a fan of the Iron Fist comics character, as a martial artist, and as a regular ol’ TV watcher.

[“In another life, this would’ve been romantic.” “In another life, you wouldn’t have drugged me and sent me to a mental hospital.”]

Holy Rewatch Batman! “The Great Escape” / “The Great Train Robbery”

“The Great Escape” / “The Great Train Robbery”
Written by Stanley Ralph Ross
Directed by Oscar Rudolph
Season 3, Episodes 21 & 22
Production code 1723
Original air date: February 1 & 8, 1968

The Bat-signal: Calamity Jan and Frontier Fanny spring Shame from the Gotham City Prison with a big red tank. O’Hara calls Gordon, who is at his daughter’s place, along with Bruce, where they are having fondue. Gordon has O’Hara use the bat-phone, and Bruce nervously activates his cufflink, which signals Robin and Alfred that they need to set up the bat-answer-phone. (Why Robin doesn’t just answer the bat-phone himself—which he’s done in the past—is left as an exercise for the viewer.)

Gordon says that Shame has escaped. The recorded Bat-voice says that they’ll be right there. (Why Batman doesn’t just use a recording every time Gordon calls, given how generic these calls tend to be, is also left as an exercise for the viewer.) Gordon excuses himself, as does Bruce, as it wouldn’t be proper for him and Barbara to be alone together without a chaperone. (Ah, 1968…)

[You know we ain’t no good in a fair fight!]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

A Brief History of Iron Fist in the Comics

In 1966, Masutatsu Oyama, the founder of Kyokushin—an Okinawan karate style that still exists and thrives today—sent one of his best students and teachers, Tadashi Nakamura, to New York City to bring karate to the United States. Nakamura was but one of many people who came from Asia to the United States to bring martial arts to a country that was growing ever-more curious about it. I mention him in particular because there’s a direct line from Oyama sending Nakamura to America and my own study of the martial arts. In 1976, Nakamura formed his own karate style, Seido, and one of his best students and teachers—William Oliver—formed his own in 2001, Kenshikai, and that’s the discipline that I study today.

The same year that Nakamura traveled to New York City to open a dojo here, a young man named Bruce Lee co-starred in a TV show called The Green Hornet. While the show only lasted a season, Lee’s impact was tremendous, and he quickly rose to prominence as an action star. Lee pioneered his own martial art, Jeet Kune Do, and he soon became immensely popular both in acting circles and martial arts circles. His tragic death in 1973 only served to enhance his legend. And it was in part because of that legend that Iron Fist was born.

[…that hand begins to smolder, to glow, until it become like unto a thing of iron!]

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “The Eye of the Beholder”

“The Eye of the Beholder”
Written by David P. Harmon
Directed by Hal Sutherland
Animated Season 1, Episode 15
Production episode 22016
Original air date: January 5, 1974
Stardate: 5501.2

Captain’s log. The Enterprise is investigating the disappearance of the crew of the U.S.S. Ariel, a six-person ship that was on a scientific mission to Lactra VII. In a briefing, Spock shows Kirk, McCoy, and Scotty the last log entry made by Lieutenant Commander Markel. Half the crew beamed down and disappeared. Markel and the other two beamed down to try to find them. Nobody’s heard from any of the half-dozen crew in six weeks.

While Arex conducts a sensor scan—he has detected several different types of life forms, but no cities or other indications of civilization—Kirk, Spock, and McCoy beam down to the coordinates that Markel and his party transported to.

[“It’s still a risk.” “That’s why we’re here, Bones.”]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch Batman! “Penguin’s Clean Sweep”

“Penguin’s Clean Sweep”
Written by Stanford Sherman
Directed by Oscar Rudolph
Season 3, Episode 20
Production code 1721
Original air date: January 25, 1968

The Bat-signal: At the Gotham City branch of the U.S. Mint, the Penguin breaks into steal a gift for his moll. O’Hara calls Gordon to let him know, as he’s at Wayne Manor, escorting Barbara to a meeting with Bruce to discuss her new position as the chair of the anti-littering committee. Gordon has O’Hara call Batman, so Alfred tells Bruce that a water pipe burst, and he needs a hand with the shut-off valve by way of covering to let him go into the study to answer the red phone.

Batman and Robin head to GCPD HQ, somehow arriving after Gordon has returned, even though Gordon has to travel the same distance and doesn’t have the benefit of a jet-powered vehicle. When they arrive, they bump into Penguin, his moll, and his two henchmen in the elevator. The Dynamic Duo escort the foursome to Gordon’s office, but it turns out that Penguin didn’t steal anything from the mint. Penguin threatens to sue the GCPD for false arrest but Batman points out that he still broke into the mint. Batman offers to drop the criminal charges if he drops the suit.

[You’re not protected against a good right jab, you slimy bird!]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!