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Peer Pressure/Peer Pressure (Redux)   1 comment

Above:  Dr. Nasreen

A Screen Capture

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SEASON 1, EPISODE 6

MAIN CAST

Michael Paré as Dante Montana

Claudette Roche as Lucretia “Luc” Scott

Tanya Allen as Percy Montana

Murray Melvin as Caravaggio (the ship’s AI)

Stephen Marcus as Rudolpho DeLuna

SUPPORTING CAST

Laura Landauer as Dr. Nasreen

Jazz Mann/Jasbir Mann as Ajit

Peter Pacey as Dr. McIntyre

BEHIND THE CAMERAS

Director = S. Philip Jackson

Writer = Julian Filkus

Composer = Annie Ingham

Length of the original episode = 0:47:23

Length of the Redux episode = 0:44:05

GENERAL COMMENTS ABOUT THE EPISODE

Above:  Ajit

A Screen Capture

  1. Laura Landauer is a singer and comedian who impersonates both Celine Dion and Elvis Presley.
  2. This was the first filmed episode.  The original episode from 2000 plays like a pilot episode.  The Redux version does not.
  3. We see the end of Rudolpho’s opening transmission from the original episode.
  4. The storytelling in the Redux episode is tighter than in the original episode.
  5. Dr. Nasreen, an expert in psychological traumatic stress, is insane, dangerous, and cruel.  She also has an unhealthy interest in her son.
  6. Caravaggio is a wonderfully sarcastic artificial intelligence.
  7. Dr. Nasreen developed a method of controlling hardcore criminals:  manipulating their magnetic fields to make them docile.  If they want to live, they must obey orders.  If a prisoner disobeys, his or her cerebral cortex self-destructs.  The delivery method is a red light flashed into the eyes.
  8. Dr. Nasreen is the suspect in the murder of one Dr. McIntyre.
  9. Percy is cute.
  10. Percy and Ajit flirt and have mutual puppy love.
  11. Percy does need to get off the ship and find more people to whom to talk.
  12. Dr. Nasreen orders Dante, under her control, to kill Luc and to enjoy doing so.  Then Luc, immunized from the red light zapping by Caravaggio, seizes control of the association and forces Dr. Nasreen to reverse the procedure on Dante, back at Mimas, from which Dante picked up Dr. Nasreen and Ajit.
  13. Mimas is a moon of Saturn.
  14. After Caravaggio humiliates Percy in front of Ajit, she reduces the AI’s intelligence so much that it begins to sing “What Shall We Do with the Drunken Sailor?”
  15. Ajit understands his mother’s character.  He stops her by spacing himself.
  16. Nasreen zaps herself.  Then she, back in a holding cell aboard the Transutopian, rocks back and forth and says, “Tell me what to do.”
  17. Percy mourns Ajit alone in her quarters.

REGARDING EARLY EPISODES OF THE FIRST SEASON

Above:  Percy Montana

A Screen Capture

The first season has a story arc in two parts:  the Divinity Cluster and the search for Travis Montana.  Some of the early episodes merely seem disconnected from each other, in the style of episodic television.  A few of them are so disconnected.  The relationships among many of these early episodes become clear in the fifteenth episode, Dark and Stormy Night, possibly the only good clip show ever.

Next:  Frozen, in which we see the Orchard and Etienne (from Family Values) again.  The Orchard is, overall, an assembly of amoral, sick bastards (including some female ones) who think that the ends (which are impossible) justify the means.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 20, 2019 COMMON ERA

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The Man Who Sold the World/The Man Who Sold the World (Redux)   3 comments

Above:  Dr. Novak, also known as Mr. Kavon

A Screen Capture

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SEASON 1, EPISODE 5

MAIN CAST

Michael Paré as Dante Montana

Claudette Roche as Lucretia “Luc” Scott

Tanya Allen as Percy Montana

Murray Melvin as Caravaggio (the ship’s AI)

Stephen Marcus as Rudolpho DeLuna

SUPPORTING CAST

Michael Halsey as Dr. Novak/Mr. Kavon

Noémie Kocher as Belle

Simon Fenton as Billy Ray

Timothy McNabb as Chorsky

Barry Hatt as Rusty

Kenn Hong as Buyer

George Harris as Darius Scott

BEHIND THE CAMERAS

Director = Luc Chalifour

Writer = Julian Filkus

Composer = Donald Quan

Length of the original episode = 0:47:23

Length of the Redux episode = 0:44:06

RUDOLPHO’S OPENING TRANSMISSION (OMITTED IN THE REDUX VERSION)

This one’s a corker. I found you a piece of work called Novak. Crimes against humanity. They don’t get bigger than that.Civil war on Callisto. They’re still killing each other over differences. I guess we’re still the same old species even out amongst the stars. Hatred still the tie that binds.
But today that human bond, love, has reared it’s lovely bottom, and I am off to “The Love Derby.” Of course, I might actually only taking about lust. Nope. No. No. No. No. I am actually talking about the messy stuff. Well, actually really what I’m talking about is deceit. Whoever really knows what lurks in the human heart. Well, I know, now that you ask. Along with all that sunshine and puppies and kittens and pretty coloured balloons, crap. There’s also the dark nasty bits of creepy crawly things, that scatter away when you flip that rock over. Your heart carries it all. It’s the only sure thing I know. And anyone who doesn’t believe that our hearts are filled with eternally warring angels and devils is leading with their glass jaw just waiting for a round house right.
Another great truth from my tower of wisdom is you get your heart broken then you gotta pick yourself up and make sure the next time you get them before they get you. I mean, who out there thinks that it’s better to be on the sharp end of the love stake as it plunges into your heart?
Gotta nasty piece of work coming your way. So quick step, stay sharp, ’cause this evil evil bastard Novak hasn’t a shred of love in his black, black heart.

GENERAL COMMENTS ABOUT THE EPISODE

Above:  Belle

A Screen Capture

  1. The crew of the Transutopian has been eating the “same slop” for a week.
  2. Percy, who dislikes studying history, has been skipping Caravaggio’s tutorials.
  3. Rudolpho dispatches the Transutopian to Pluto, to capture Dr. Novak (now calling himself Mr. Kavon), the “Butcher of Callisto.”  Novak/Kavon has been selling ores on Pluto and keeping the company of Belle (his girlfriend, whom he pretends to love, but really tolerates) and Rusty (a bodyguard).
  4. The settlement on Pluto is possible because of Core Magnetic Resonating Technology, or the projection of electromagnetic domes, beneath which terraforming is possible.
  5. Belle remains in denial about her boyfriend (for whom she kills bounty hunters) until the second half of the episode.
  6. Novak/Kavon has devised a way of fooling DNA identity tests.
  7. Callisto is a moon of Jupiter.
  8. During the Callistian Civil War (2254-2257), Novak, a member of the Hand of God, a group of scientists obsessed with purity and with accelerating the pace of human evolution, experimented on more than 20,000 victims.  As Novak told Luc, “I once had a very different calling, bioengineering.  I was going to create the new man, something divine.”  Later in the episode, Novak said, “The Cluster lives.”  Subsequently, Novak, speaking to Luc, described the Divinity Cluster as “the most important, most deadly game that’s ever existed.”
  9. Luc, as a young Ranger, helped to liberate a concentration camp on Callisto when Martian and Lunar forces ended the civil war.
  10. I have been pondering the internal chronology of Starhunter.  The main story opens in 2275 (in the original version) or in 2285 (in the Redux version).  In The Divinity Cluster, the first episode, Darius told Luc that Eccleston had discovered the Divinity Cluster three years prior, so in 2272 or 2282.  Yet Novak was working on the Divinity Cluster in 2254-2257.  He even isolated the genes for telepathy and consciousness before he had to flee.  On the other had, as Darius told Dante in Dark and Stormy Night (episode 15), early research on the Divinity Cluster was underway for at least two decades prior to the first season of the series, and the Orchard did not use the term “Divinity Cluster” yet.  We could have a case of retroactive continuity (retconning).
  11. Speaking of internal chronology, how old is Luc?  She was 20 years old in 2257.  If we accept the Redux timeline (as we should), she is 48 years old.  She looks closer to 38, though.   Perhaps Luc takes care of herself and ages gracefully.
  12. Simon Fenton was delightful in Matinee (1993), one of my favorite movies, one with a charming movie (Mant–“Half man, half ant, all terror”) inside the movie.  As the Elvis-aping Billy Ray computer virus, however, he is annoying.  This plot is the weaker part of the episode.
  13. An Older Wave, or an electromagnetic wave which one Dr. Older predicted, intersects with the orbit of Pluto every 28,693 years.
  14. Belle kills Luc.  Either Dante or Luc kill Belle.
  15. Rudolpho receives double the bounty for Novak.  Dante has become a better employee in Rudolpho’s estimation.
  16. Michael Halsey portrays the evil Dr. Novak very well.
  17. The special effects for Pluto and the Older Wave in the Redux version are better than those in the original version.  A good story, however, is not about special effects.

Next:  Peer Pressure, with perhaps the worst mother since Medea.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 19, 2019 COMMON ERA

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Siren’s Song/Siren’s Song (Redux)   1 comment

Above:  Percy and Ire

A Screen Capture

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SEASON 1, EPISODE 4

MAIN CAST

Michael Paré as Dante Montana

Claudette Roche as Lucretia “Luc” Scott

Tanya Allen as Percy Montana

Murray Melvin as Caravaggio (the ship’s AI)

Stephen Marcus as Rudolpho DeLuna

SUPPORTING CAST

Vincent Winterhalter as Petrakist

Kai King as Billy Tsunami

Nazneen Contractor as Ire

Neil Dickson as Major Wayne Bartlett

Darell Meshaeau as the Captain of the space yacht

Cheryl Quiacos as Attractive Woman aboard the space yacht

David Green as Prisoner #1

Seth Van Horne, Michael A. Durley, and Terry Mortlock as Commandos #3-5

Max White as the Steward aboard the space yacht

Edward Leslie as Dr. Slade

BEHIND THE CAMERAS

Director = Patrick Malakian

Writer = Nelu Ghiran

Composer = Donald Quan

Length of the original episode = 0:47:23

Length of the Redux episode = 0:44:05

GENERAL COMMENTS ABOUT THE EPISODE

Above:  Petrakist

A Screen Capture

  1. In Rudolpho’s opening transmission, omitted in the Redux version of this episode, he opines about monsters coming in various shapes and sizes, being everywhere, and always waiting.
  2. Prisoners escape from a maximum-security prison on Ganymede, a moon of Jupiter.  A few of these escapees seize a luxury space yacht and kill most of those aboard.  The Transutopian answers a distress call from the yacht.  Besides, Dante owes Rudolpho five years’ back rent.  Dante owed four years’ back rent three episodes ago.
  3. Officially, Luc is aboard the Transutopian to make sure that Dante does not foul up his missions.  Her presence does not prevent him from fouling up this mission, in which three escapees die and only Petrakist becomes a prisoner with a bounty on his head.
  4. Dante, discouraged, vows that this will be his last mission.  He encourages Percy to pursue a real life elsewhere, go to school, et cetera.
  5. A special forces black operations shuttle, with Major Wayne Bartlett and some other commandos aboard, intercepts the Transutopian, which Bartlett seizes.  He has a prisoner, a young woman, Ire, who escaped from the Phoenix research station, in orbit of Miranda, a moon of Uranus.  As we in the audience eventually learn, the Miranda sector has been under quarantine for at least thirteen years, due to the outbreak of the deadly Omega 47 virus.  The quarantine has prevented that virus from spreading, but Ire escaped the Phoenix station via a ship until special forces captured her.  She insists that she must get to Earth.
  6. Bartlett and his commandos, who insist that they follow orders, make no pretense of being charming and diplomatic.  Percy has contempt for them.  She calls them “stupid thugs” and asks them if they can count as high as four.  Even Luc, a veteran of special forces, has contempt for them.
  7. This episode is the first one in which Kai King plays Billy Tsunami, Percy’s favorite singer.
  8. Most of the Transutopian is abandoned and lacks gravity.
  9. Ire kills most of the commandos.  Petrakist kills Bartlett and one other commando.
  10. Ire says she has “enough pain to fuel the universe.”  She even regrets killing commandos.
  11. Ire sets the Transutopian on course for Miranda and the Phoenix research station.
  12. Ire has no life signs.
  13. Ire reveals that she must go to Earth (the opposite direction than the way to Miranda) to tell the story of what happened, not to hurt anyone.
  14. Ire resembles a young woman who died thirteen years ago, when the Omega 47 virus reached the Phoenix research station.
  15. Ire to Bartlett:  “Such hatred.  Contact with you changed us.  Colonists needed water.  Melted ice set us free.  Mixed with your DNA.  Give us your anger, guilt.  All new, thrilling.”
  16. After Bartlett merges with Ire, Miranda explodes.
  17. Caravaggio (doing his best Victor Bergman impersonation):  “Amazing, a deadly virus that was sorry.  Guilt really is the engine of the universe.  And it seems to have chosen not to infect any of you.  How discriminating of it.”
  18. Rudolph is livid with Dante until the captain pays off the back rent with the special operations shuttle.
  19. This episode made no sense to me the other times I watched it.  That has not changed.

Next:  The Man Who Sold the World, with space Mengele, hiding out on Pluto and selling ores.  We will return to the Divinity Cluster story arc.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 17, 2019 COMMON ERA

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Feeling Lost   4 comments

Seldom do I remember my dreams.

I did not sleep well last night.  In fact, I awoke too early.  My mind was busy, and I could not get back to sleep.  The details of the dream have begun to fade, but the scenario of being lost and not knowing where important items are has stayed with me.

That feeling describes me accurately.

Since Bonny’s death two days ago, I have been in a daze, with occasional moments of clarity.  In a moment I have made the transition from being articulate to being a sobbing mess many times.  I have, however, decided to force myself back into a routine today, for my own good.  I have always needed grace to do my job well, even on my best days.  (All of us always need grace and depend entirely on God.)  Today and the following days I need that grace more than ever.

I bid your prayers also for Bonny’s family and the repose of her soul.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 16, 2019 COMMON ERA

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Posted October 16, 2019 by neatnik2009 in Various Memories and Opinions

Tagged with ,

Family Values/Family Values (Redux)   4 comments

Above:  Jeb with Dante Montana

A Screen Capture

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SEASON 1, EPISODE 3

MAIN CAST

Michael Paré as Dante Montana

Claudette Roche as Lucretia “Luc” Scott

Tanya Allen as Percy Montana

Murray Melvin as Caravaggio (the ship’s AI)

Stephen Marcus as Rudolpho DeLuna

SUPPORTING CAST

Heidi von Palleske/Heather Belle-Matmor as Penny Montana

Philippe Simon as Etienne

George Harris as Darius Scott

Joseph Clark as Brad

Marc Belliveau as Telus

Denis Theriault as Jeb/Vincent Taylor

Cavanaugh Matmor as Baby Travis Montana

Paula Dawson as Cynical Onlooker

BEHIND THE CAMERAS

Director = Henri Safran

Writer = Nelu Ghiran

Composer = Donald Quan

Length of the original episode = 0:47:23

Length of the Redux episode = 0:44:06

GENERAL COMMENTS ABOUT THE EPISODE

Above:  Dante and Vincent, in a wonderful scene

A Screen Capture

  1. The Redux version of this episode incorporates nearly all of Rudolpho’s opening transmission.  In the original version, the transmission is distinct from the rest of the episode.  In the Redux version, however, we see the transmission broadcast throughout the Transutopian.  Rudolpho, between laughs, philosophizes about families as sources of both hope and pain.  The Redux version of the episode omits the end of the transmission, in which he brags about an imminent sexual encounter.
  2. The special effects of the surface of Mars, of outer space, and of virtual reality are better in the Redux version.
  3. The heart of this episode is character, however.  Let us not be so superficial as to focus on style over substance.
  4. I have never understood who or what Dante was talking to and seeing in virtual reality.  VR Penny, the simulation of his late wife, dead for a decade or so, seems self-aware.  But how can that be?
  5. Virtual reality Penny is breaking down after a decade.
  6. Penny Montana was a scientist.  As we learn in a future episode, Dante was a farmer on Titan.
  7. After nearly a century of terraforming and colonization, Mars remains a “dump.”
  8. Dante knows that Luc has a secret agenda, that she is not merely someone Rudolpho sent to keep Dante on task.  Luc tells Dante that she has not secret agenda, though.
  9. Etienne and Brad are partners in life and in grifting.
  10. Etienne takes pride in his crime.  He objects strenuously when learning that his reputation is that of a minor criminal.
  11. Brad is a walking negative stereotype of a homosexual.
  12. The bickering of Etienne and Brad provides comic relief.
  13. Percy tells Caravaggio that she has never been to Earth.  An observant person may recall that she was aboard the Transutopian in The Divinity Cluster (1.1) when the ship flew over New Los Angeles.  Percy did not walk on the surface of the planet, though.
  14. Percy has a fine sense of sarcasm.
  15. Dante has arrested Etienne four times.
  16. Cortex moderation, first degree, is an alternative to arrest in this case.  This alternative renders the subject a “drooling idiot” for a year.
  17. Luc is a veteran of military special forces.
  18. Mars is supposedly clear of Raiders.
  19. The origin of the Raiders:  Military leaders experimented on some soldiers, rendering them sterile.  So Raiders increase their numbers via abduction.  One may wonder though, how long these experiments have continued, given the existence of Raiders for generations.
  20. Somehow the forced crash of the first Raider vessel on Mars killed Brad.
  21. Denis Theriault, who played Jeb, the Raider boy, was 14 years old.
  22. The Transutopian, far past its prime, is full of obsolete technology.
  23. Percy encounters VR Penny via Dante’s virtual reality headset.
  24. Dante thinks that Jeb is Travis.  Jeb is actually Vincent Taylor, abducted from his family on Oberon nine years prior.  Vincent gets to go home.
  25. Darius Scott is all business with his daughter.
  26. Weight limits on the shuttle prevent Etienne from going with Dante and Luc when they decide to take Jeb with them back to the Transutopian.
  27. Etienne distracts Raiders with shell game con while Dante, Luc, and Jeb get away.
  28. In the sweet closing of the episode, Vincent, afraid on the way home, sits next to Dante as both of them gaze into outer space and Dante helps the boy to feel less afraid.
  29. Etienne escapes, to appear in another episode.

Next episode:  Siren’s Song, which has never made any sense to me.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 15, 2019 COMMON ERA

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Farewell   2 comments

I held onto you for your dear life as long as I could,

but you slipped away anyway. 

Vaya con Dios, Bonny. 

May you have the peace for which you longed

during your struggles.

Thank you for being part of my life for a decade.

You improved my life by merely being part of it.

Love,

Kenneth

Posted October 14, 2019 by neatnik2009 in Various Memories and Opinions

Tagged with ,

Trust/Trust (Redux)   1 comment

Above:  Tanya Allen as Percy Montana

A Screen Capture

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SEASON 1, EPISODE 2

MAIN CAST

Michael Paré as Dante Montana

Claudette Roche as Lucretia “Luc” Scott

Tanya Allen as Percy Montana

Murray Melvin as Caravaggio (the ship’s AI)

Stephen Marcus as Rudolpho DeLuna

SUPPORTING CAST

Mark Pegg as Alistair McNaughton

Gideon Turner as Jeremy McNaughton

Federal Agent #1 = Paul F. McCarthy

Federal Agent #2 = Robert A. Corbett

BEHIND THE CAMERAS

Director = George Medeluk

Writers = Nelu Ghiran and Peter I. Norton

Composer = Donald Quan

Length of the original episode = 0:47:23

Length of the Redux episode = 0:43:19

GENERAL COMMENTS ABOUT THE EPISODE

Above:  Tanya Allen as Audrey and Ken Finkleman as George in The Newsroom:  The Campaign (1997)

A Screen Capture

  1. This is a well-named episode.  Can Dante and Luc trust Percy?  Can Percy trust Jeremy?
  2. The Redux version of this episode benefits from tighter editing than in the original version.  Rudolpho’s opening transmission offers little information we do not learn during the course of the episode.  Furthermore, the cutting of the sparring practice scene between Percy and Luc, followed by the confrontation with Dante, does not hurt the episode.
  3. In the original version of the episode, we learn that Rudolpho has four bounty hunters under contract.
  4. In the original version of the episode, we learn that Percy, without Dante’s knowledge, had planned to compete in a sparring competition on Mars Orbital.
  5. How old is Percy?  She seems to be in the late adolescent years.  Tanya Allen was 24 or 25 years old when she filmed the first season, though.  That she was no longer a teenager was evident whenever the camera filmed her face from certain angles.
  6. Tanya Allen is cute.  She was cute in The Newsroom (1996-1997), in which her character, Audrey the intern, could never find a bran muffin.  She was cute in Starhunter (2000-2001) and Starhunter 2300 (2003-2004).  She has been cute in movies and in episodes of other series.
  7. Percy is brilliant.  She is a fine engineer and mechanic.  She is also immature and naïve.  Percy, boy-crazy, lets her guard down when she receives male attention.
  8. Alistair and Jeremy McNaughton are guilty armed robbery and attempted murder.  Jeremy attempts to convince Percy that he is a victim of a corrupt legal system.  Then he and Alistair try to kill Dante and Luc.
  9. Alistair and Jeremy become the first two prisoners at an automated prison, Mercury Correctional One, on the side of Mercury that faces the Sun.  They have life sentences.
  10. The new effects for Mercury, the Sun, and Mars Orbital are beautiful.
  11. Percy’s sparring, which angered Dante at the beginning of the episode, helped her fight the prisoners at the end of the episode.
  12. At the end of the episode, Dante and Percy have stopped arguing and reached an understanding.
  13. Dante is very protective of Percy, his niece.  He has one other surviving relative, Travis, his son, whom Raiders kidnapped years ago.
  14. The Transutopian is Percy’s home.
  15. The set design of the interior of the Transutopian is excellent.  The faded elegance is obvious.

Next:  Family Values, an episode relevant to the Travis story arc.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 10, 2019 COMMON ERA

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