Even the best sketch comedy tends to be pretty filler-heavy, but this small handful of short episodes is perfect. Watch the first episode and tell me you hate this.
This season starts with Dr. Blake Downs coming back from the dead and Childrens Hospital temporarily relocating to an army base in Japan. Dr. Sprat becomes a secret agent, Sy fakes a five-star restaurant to hoodwink a famous hospital reviewer, and it all comes together in a violent, gory battle of compatriot against compatriot. I hate that I have seen every episode of this show because I miss new Childrens Hospital so badly.
I only played the Mass Effect games years after this was released, so the original incomplete ending wasn't a big issue for me. Super fun, much more consistent expansions, incredible atmosphere of war and finality. I hate to be one of those Canadians, but I loved starting the game in Vancouver (and the weird fact that Bioware is located in Edmonton, of all places). I appreciate that they would put so much effort into building such a complex universe and so many unusually well-developed characters, and end it so finally that there is no real opportunity for a meaningful sequel.
I read this once as a teenager and once in my thirties. Both times it was like a punch in the face. But a happy punch in the face. Even knowing the outline of the story, there's a sense of tension and fear hidden in the details that I've never experienced in any other book. The philosophical themes are subtle and unpretentious, and tangle themselves effortlessly into the frightening sense of vastness and emptiness and time. Maybe the best proof there is that a book can be short and sweet and part of a low-brow genre and still blow most fine literature out of the water.
Every second of this was beautiful.
Maybe it was too good. Valve kept one upping themselves until they gave up on single player entirely. The industry, already moving towards multiplayer at that point, has never even tried to top this, which makes it seem as fresh and exciting as when it came out 12 years ago (!). Can you imagine a game from 1995 looking and feeling as good in 2007 as this does now?
Underneath the quirkiness and humour and beautiful scenery, there's a heart-breaking story about parenthood, responsibility, and substance abuse. I love it and I wish I'd never seen it. Taika Waititi is the greatest filmmaker of the decade.
You expect the Tick to be a bit weird, and I'm glad they updated the weirdness. Cartoony jokes, side-by-side with subtle running gags and callbacks, mixed with serious character development, gives this a feeling that is as awkward and unbalanced as it is engaging and hilarious.
The first two series were superheroes comedies for the time of cheap cartoons, Tim Burton's Batman, and Dark Age comics. This is the superhero comedy for the time of Zack Snyder, Chris Nolan's Batman, and 20+ spaghetti-tangled MCU movies.
My favourite Herzog documentary. Antarctica, bright colours, passionate scientists. Herzog tries to be his normal self, saying things like "For most of our time here, we had postcard-pretty weather conditions. This was frustrating because I loathe the sun", but actually he manages to make the world look like a cooler, more positive place.
Best of Both Worlds, Part II - This is one of the most famous episodes and deserves its reputation. Not much to say except it was great how they turned Shelby and Riker from bitter enemies into an excellent team, and it's crappy how we then never see Shelby again. It also wraps up a little too nicely, but that ends up being a fake out. - 5/5
Family - They decided a good epilogue to their cyborg war storyline would be a slow-paced agricultural family drama, and they pulled it off. Kind of seems like showing off, really. - 5/5
Brothers - Data's single-mindedness makes him a scarier villain than Lore. I have to give this episode credit because every time I watch it, partway through I stop thinking about the fact that they're all the same actor. - 4/5
Suddenly Human - This one takes on a large number of controversial topics, and gets tangled in its own thematic web. It's extremely clumsy but I've always liked it. - 4/5
Remember Me - McFadden and Stewart do an excellent job of balancing frightening and hilarious. The good parts are as good as the Wesley parts are bad, which in some way is the highest praise you can give a TNG episode. - 5/5
Legacy - When an enemy approaches one of the faction members, a light starts blinking on their chest as a warning, basically turning their heart into a bright, shining target in the dark. And it explodes if you try to remove it. They voluntarily have these planted under their skin as a sign of loyalty, even though their enemy sensors can detect these devices from miles away. I know Star Trek invented cell phones and pads, but wow did it have some bad ideas as well. Also, when the Enterprise crew members first go down to the planet, there's a man who is flexing so hard that he starts to get confused. - 2/5
Reunion - It's a slow starter, but ends up being a solid Klingon politics episode. Also, they show the Enterprise bridge from an angle you don't normally see, and you really get a sense of admiration for its nice carpeting. - 5/5
Future Imperfect - The first half is reasonably good, although it treads over pretty familiar territory. The second half just keeps getting wackier and wackier. I'm no stranger to tomfoolery, but this was just a bit too much for me. On the other hand, I really liked the extra-futuristic communicators and hairstyles. - 2/5
Final Mission - Wesley insults and smugly second-guesses an innocent Zelda fan into suicide. This is the last episode with Wesley as a regular character, and they made him extra-annoying just to make sure no one would miss him. - 2/5
The Loss - One of my favourite "Diana Gets a Headache" episodes. The writing is sharp and character-focused, and I really appreciate how they tie the a-story and b-story when Diana is speaking alone with Riker. - 4/5
Data's Day - Part of me thinks this episode is a little to cute for its own good, but it is really enjoyable throughout, and Keiko's introduction is hilarious. - 5/5
The Wounded - Every time I've watched this episode, since I was a little child, I was really on board till the last ten minutes, and I'm not sure why. Maybe it's Picard letting the clearly unbalanced civilian-killer free to go home with dignity. Maybe it's the fact that we never see any of the complicit crew members. O'Brien would have walked right by them, right? Nonetheless, this episode has excellent dialogue and excellent performances, and I can say from experience that it is an extremely accurate portrayal of food politics in an intercultural marriage. - 4/5
Devil's Due - Watching it just now, it felt like this episode was made for Captain Kirk, except for the hilarious data parts, which were the clear highlight. It's watchable, but cheesy and out-of-place for sci-fi, and Picard is slightly out of character. I looked it up, and it turns out it was a reworking of a script made for a failed 1970s Star Trek revival. - 3/5
Clues - Data always makes an excellent villain, but Diana sure doesn't. - 4/5
First Contact The Episode Not The Movie - A great idea which Star Trek made great use of again and again. The specific details of the plot are a bit convoluted, but the overall story is really engaging. They also brought in a lot of great character actors, including Lilith from Cheers (in a role that seemed hilarious 30 years ago, but is kind of creepy today), Dr. Chakwas as the hero, and a man who distractingly sounds like the guy from Unsolved Mysteries. - 5/5
Galaxy's Child - Geordi has an office? Why the hell do we never get to see Geordi's office? - 2/5
Night Terrors - The beginning is extremely tense. It's fun to see everyone exhausted out of their minds. Something about the ending is completely unsatisfying. If the aliens can convey words/concepts like moons and eyes, why not just say 'hydrogen'? A lot of people complain that the special effects are bad, but did we ever watch Star Trek for the great special effects? - 4/5
Identity Crisis - THAT BEING SAID, some of the bad special effects are made even worse in HD, and this one crossed a line for me that it didn't during its original TV run. It's a common theme with these season four filler episodes, but this one has a lot of potential and then just crashes. When Geordi was reconstructing things on the holodeck, I was glued to the screen. A few minutes later, then the women was giving her impassioned speech, I was close to throwing up. 3/5
The Nth Degree A.K.A. Flowers for Barclay A.K.A. The Barclaymower Man A.K.A. Smarclay - My favourite part about the Barclay episodes is all the knowing looks of frustration/embarrassment/confusion between crew members.- 5/5
Qpid - In many ways, it's extremely stupid, but it's main purpose is comic relief and it's hilarious enough to get a pass. - 5/5
The Drumhead - Extremely creepy in the best way possible. It's a tad heavy-handed towards the end, but a good reminder how easy it is to make someone look guilty when you're holding the cards. - 5/5
Half a Life - It's great to seen Winchester in anything, and Majel Barrett give the performance of her life. It's treatment of cultural relativism is a lot more subtle than what you'd typically expect from Star Trek. - 5/5
The Host - "I do like to go into a situation as well informed as possible, and I must say that your staff has been quite helpful in briefing me." More like debriefing wink wink wink.
Anyway, the ways that they rewrote the trill after this episode ruined this one a bit in retrospect. DS9 trills are just more interesting, and all the changes go beyond simple continuity errors. I like the theme, but it was handled clumsily. On the plus side, Jonathan Frakes does get to flex his acting muscles here by proving that he can play a character more smug than Riker. - 4/5
The Mind's Eye - The Geordurian Candidate. The Romulans brainwash Geordi by showing him countless scenes of unbearable 'horror' offscreen. This was made before the web so they didn't realize how blasé you could become to horrifically shocking images after a while. - 4/5
In Theory - A kind of-funny/kind of-sad woman dates Data for a while. There's also a b-story where the ship is almost destroyed or something. - 4/5
Redemption Part 1 - This is some pretty solid Star Trek, but the last season's closer and the previous Klingon politics episodes were all so strong that this is a bit disappointing by comparison. - 4/5
The overall average score is 4.04, rounding up to a perfect 5/5.
They did a really good job. If I had tried writing this, it would probably have just been Thanos ordering an everything bagel, and then being really disappointed.
An over-the-top combination of violent slapstick and the most miserable of British humour.
It takes a handful of sturdy, reliable sitcom tropes and twists them into near-unrecognizability. The entire cast is brilliant, the writing is excellent, and Roisin Conaty's blind enthusiasm brilliantly offsets the rest of the show. Even with a rocky first episode, I couldn't recommend this strongly enough.
Australia has been hiding the masterpiece America has been trying to make since the 30s. This makes everything Frank Capra did look pretty poor by comparison. Extra points for having an unrecognizably young Eric Bana.
An updated version of old B-movies, in the best way possible. What it would be like to watch Logan's Run or Omega Man as new movies, instead of decades-old Sunday reruns.
It would be pretty easy to say this is the greatest psychological thriller of all time. The handful of movies that come close always have something a bit cartoonish to them, but what drives Taxi Driver is an unrelenting sense of disturbing realism. It's also aged well; out-there serial killers feel like freak occurrences, but unhinged, isolation-maddened wannabe-super heroes are all over nowadays.
What an amazing and beautiful cast this was.