Tor.com content by

Keith R.A. DeCandido

Fiction and Excerpts [4]
All

Fiction and Excerpts [4]

“Nothing like a bloodbath to start the day” — The Suicide Squad

From August 2017 – January 2020, Keith R.A. DeCandido took a weekly look at every live-action movie based on a superhero comic that had been made to date in the weekly “4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch.” He has been revisiting the feature every six months or so to look back at the new releases in the previous half-year. We looked at Black Widow last week, and in subsequent weeks we’ll cover Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, and Eternals.

While the word of mouth on 2016’s Suicide Squad was less than favorable, the movie was still a financial success, and Warner Bros. green-lit a sequel pretty much immediately. David Ayer was originally set to return to the director’s chair, but he decided to do Gotham City Sirens instead (a project that is still in limbo thanks to the weak box office of Birds of Prey and the apocalypse of 2020). After talking to a whole mess of directors, they finally settled on James Gunn.

[It’s not a toilet seat, it’s a beacon of freedom!]

Series: 4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Unexpected”

“Unexpected”
Written by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Directed by Mike Vejar
Season 1, Episode 5
Production episode 005
Original air date: October 17, 2001
Date: unknown

Captain’s star log. Enterprise is suffering several malfunctions, including the artificial gravity going out and the drinks dispenser not providing what is asked for. It quickly becomes apparent that there’s an issue with their plasma exhaust. Archer orders Reed to ignite the plasma exhaust, and they find the silhouette of a cloaked ship in the flashpoint of the exhaust’s being ignited.

[I can see my house from here!]

Series: Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch

Conducting the Larger Symphony — Star Trek: Discovery’s “Choose to Live”

There’s a lot to like about “Choose to Live,” but my personal favorite moment is toward the very end, when Vance and Burnham discuss the final disposition of the episode’s antagonist. Oded Fehr is simply brilliant here, aided by a superb script by Terri Hughes Burton, providing a canny and clever analogy that reminds Burnham—and the viewers—that there’s a bigger picture beyond the titular ship and its concerns.

Indeed, that theme—of characters thinking primarily of their own issues and missing the bigger picture—runs throughout the episode.

[Good will and leadership are two different things…]

“Such a poser!” — Black Widow

From August 2017 – January 2020, Keith R.A. DeCandido took a weekly look at every live-action movie based on a superhero comic that had been made to date in the weekly “4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch.” He has been revisiting the feature every six months or so to look back at the new releases in the previous half-year. This week we kick off the latest revisiting with Black Widow, followed in the weeks to come by The Suicide Squad, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Venom: Let There Be Carnage and Eternals.

Marvel’s age of heroes started in 1961 with the introduction of the Fantastic Four, and in those early Cold War-era days, many of the villains the various Marvel heroes faced were Communists of some manner or other. Cold War sensibilities influenced the origin stories of the FF (beating the “Commies” into space), the Hulk (a “Commie” agent sabotaged the bomb test), and Iron Man (Stark was in Southeast Asia selling weapons being used to fight the “Commies”).

One of the many villains from behind the Iron Curtain introduced in those early days was the Black Widow.

[“Don’t do this.” “Do what?” “Come after me. I mean, you’re embarrassing yourself—it looks desperate.”]

Series: 4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Strange New World”

“Strange New World”
Written by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga and Mike Sussman & Phyllis Strong
Directed by David Livingston
Season 1, Episode 4
Production episode 004
Original air date: October 10, 2001
Date: unknown

Captain’s star log. Crewmen Cutler and Novakovich are eating in the mess hall, the former reading an exobiology text and eating plomeek soup, the latter teasing her about her choice in food. They and everyone else in the mess hall are surprised to see the ship going into orbit around an Earth-like planet, which is a surprise.

[Are we allowed to squash alien lifeforms?]

Series: Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch

Sitting with Pain — Star Trek: Discovery’s “Anomaly”

Star Trek has, historically, been really really terrible with consequences.

On the original series, Kirk was present for the deaths of several important people to him: his best friend, his brother and sister-in-law, and two of the great loves of his life, one of whom was pregnant with his child. Yet he was never seen to feel any trauma beyond the episodes where those things happened.

And it wasn’t much better in the first wave of spinoffs. But if the trend toward serialization has given us nothing else, it’s given us TV writers who are willing to examine long-term consequences.

[Fine—I fly, you scan…]

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Fight or Flight”

“Fight or Flight”
Written by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Directed by Allan Kroeker
Season 1, Episode 3
Production episode 003
Original air date: October 3, 2001
Date: May 6, 2151

Captain’s star log. Enterprise has been sailing about in the unknown for two weeks now and all they’ve found is some animal life. They brought one on board: a slug, which isn’t doing well. We open on Sato staring at the slug in sickbay, where Phlox is trying to save the creature—whom Tucker has named “Sluggo.”

[I didn’t realize you spoke slug.]

Series: Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch

Winning a No-Win Scenario — Star Trek: Discovery’s “Kobayashi Maru”

The primarily feeling I get watching the fourth-season premiere of Star Trek: Discovery—which is entitled “Kobayashi Maru” after the training exercise seen at the top of The Wrath of Khan and which has become synonymous with “no-win scenario” even outside of Trek—is that this is what the show should’ve been in the first place. I’m far more invested in the thirty-second century than I ever was in back-filling the twenty-third.

The secondary feeling I got from this episode in particular is that this is what Star Trek is about: our heroes helping people.

[Are you seriously complimenting yourself on nearly getting us killed?]

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Broken Bow”

“Broken Bow”
Written by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Directed by James L. Conway
Season 1, Episode 1/2
Production episode 001
Original air date: September 26, 2001
Date: April 26, 2151

Captain’s star log. We open with young Jonathan Archer putting the finishing touches on a remote-control spacecraft model. His father, Henry Archer, looks on; he’s supervising the construction of a real-world version of the spacecraft, and they discuss how the Vulcans are being parsimonious with assistance with the project. It’s 2121, fifty-eight years after first contact.

[Your superiors don’t think we can flush a toilet without one of you to assist us!]

Series: Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch

Introducing the Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch!

Twenty years ago, the United Paramount Network premiered a show that was simply called Enterprise. It was the fourth spinoff of Star Trek and the first of those four not to have those two words at the top of the title. That aesthetic decision was reversed for its third season, being rechristened as Star Trek: Enterprise, which is how it’s currently identified on home video and streaming services and the like.

Starting next week, I’ll be doing an Enterprise Rewatch once a week every Monday.

[It’s been a long road from there to here…]

Series: Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch

Star Trek: Prodigy Is the Best New Trek Series

In the 1970s, Filmation produced an animated Star Trek series that was very much intended not to be a dumbed-down version of the live-action series. The general approach was to treat this like the fourth season of the TV show, and while some concessions were made to the Saturday morning timeslot (not to mention the more limited time frame of a half-hour episode as opposed to an hour), the show generally kept to the spirit of the live-action show that came before it.

The second of Secret Hideout’s animated series, and their fifth overall, Star Trek: Prodigy is specifically designed for children. It’s also the best Trek show of the current slate of Trek productions, and that’s not meant to disrespect Discovery, Short Treks, Picard, or Lower Decks—it’s just that Prodigy is that good.

[Spoilers for the first two episodes ahead!]

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: Seventh Season Overview

Star Trek: Voyager Seventh Season
Original air dates: October 2000 – May 2001
Executive Producers: Rick Berman, Kenneth Biller

Captain’s log. As with both TNG and DS9, Voyager went into its seventh season fully aware that it would be their last year on the air. To that end, several episodes were done with the notion that the show was ending in mind.

Like the two show-runners before him (Jeri Taylor and Michael Piller), Brannon Braga stepped back to the role of consulting producer, with Kenneth Biller taking over the show-running duties. One thing Biller tried to do was address certain outstanding issues, or at least revisit themes that hadn’t been dealt with in a while.

[It took you thirty-three years to come up with “Joe”?]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Endgame”

“Endgame”
Written by Rick Berman & Kenneth Biller & Brannon Braga and Robert Doherty
Directed by Allan Kroeker
Season 7, Episode 25/26
Production episode 271
Original air date: May 23, 2001
Stardate: 54973.4

Captain’s log. In 2404, Voyager is celebrating the tenth anniversary of her return home after twenty-three years in the Delta Quadrant. Admiral Janeway attends a party that also includes Captain Kim (CO of the U.S.S. Rhode Island), Commander Barclay (a teacher at the Academy), Torres (a Federation-Klingon Empire liaison), Paris (a holonovelist), the EMH (now married and having chosen the name Joe), and Naomi and her daughter, at the very least.

[Admiral Janeway visits on Sunday. Today is Thursday. Logic dictates that you are not who you claim to be.]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

The Good, the Bad, and the Awesome — Star Trek: Lower Decks Second Season Overview

After a first season that was horribly hit-and-miss, Lower Decks came back with a second season that fixed several of the first season’s problems, the primary one being that it mostly just sat back and allowed itself to be a Star Trek show, albeit one that was filled with humor and ridiculousness.

Even the reversals of the status quo changes shoehorned into the first-season finale were funny and actually worked in the context of the show. While it’s still not perfect, and suffers from some of the same inconsistent tone as season one, this sophomore outing is a far stronger show than the one that debuted in 2020. And so, we have, in contrast to the first-season roundup, the Good, the Bad, and the Awesome of season two…

[Cerritos strong!]

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Renaissance Man”

“Renaissance Man”
Written by Andrew Shepard Price & Mark Gaberman and Phyllis Strong & Mike Sussman
Directed by Michael Vejar
Season 7, Episode 24
Production episode 270
Original air date: May 16, 2001
Stardate: 54890.7

Captain’s log. Janeway and the EMH are pootling along in the Delta Flyer for a medical conference, the EMH’s opera singing keeping Janeway from sleeping. They encounter a subspace eddy in a Mutara-class nebula. The EMH also says that he thinks he and Janeway should socialize more.

[Fifteen minutes of sleep is all I really need…]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

Our Privacy Notice has been updated to explain how we use cookies, which you accept by continuing to use this website. To withdraw your consent, see Your Choices.