Archive for the ‘Nelu Ghiran’ Tag

Dark and Stormy Night/Dark and Stormy Night (Redux)   2 comments

Above:  Darius Scott and Dante Montana

A Screen Capture

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SEASON 1, EPISODE 15

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

George Harris as Darius Scott

BEHIND THE CAMERAS

Director = François Basset

Writer = Nelu Ghiran

Composer = Donald Quan

Length of the original episode = 0:47:23

Length of the Redux episode = 0:44:16

GENERAL COMMENTS ABOUT THE EPISODE

Above:  Luc, Contemplating the Murder of Her Father

A Screen Capture

  1. This is a clip show.  As far as clip shows go, it is a well-done one.  Dark and Stormy Night is vastly superior to the clip show in the second season.
  2. This episode picks up where the previous installment, Half Dense Players, ends.
  3. The exposition dump in this episode links it and almost all of the previous episodes together.  Many clips come from The Divinity Cluster.  The Redux version of Dark and Stormy Night includes a brief clip from episode 1.22, Resurrection.
  4. The Redux version of this episode, unlike any other one thus far, opens with Rudolpho’s opening transmission.  He includes accepting money from the Orchard and shows Percy’s recorded demand that Dante get to fire Luc.  Dante may not fire Luc, Rudolpho says.
  5. Luc and Dante arrive at an understanding at the end of the episode.
  6. Darius is a control freak.
  7. Luc explains the Divinity Cluster to Dante.
  8. Darius boards the Transutopian and meets Dante.
  9. Luc no longer trusts her father.
  10. Pacquette’s faction of the Orchard seeks to control the Divinity Cluster, ostensibly for the benefit of the human race.  Darius and his faction seek to gain more information then make the news public, in a controlled way.  Darius and his faction seek to find Eccleston, presumably traveling between dimensions, before Pacquette’s faction does.  Darius wants Dante and Luc to find Eccleston before Pacquette does.
  11. The Divinity Cluster allows some people to travel through other dimensions.  Departing for another dimension looks like dying to the uninformed.
  12. The Divinity Cluster also allows some people to move back and forth in time, therefore, to be immortal.
  13. Penny Montana, Dante’s late wife, was an Orchard scientist working on what became known as the Divinity Cluster.  Eccleston built on her work.
  14. Unbeknownst to Darius and the Orchard, Luc has the injector Eccleston designed and used in the first episode.  Darius thinks the injector is lost.
  15. We have a repeat of the internal dating problem the move of the present from 2275-2276 in the original version of the first season to 2285-2286 in the Redux version of the first season.  In a clip from Frozen, Dante gives the date of his son’s abduction as November 3, 2264–just over a decade prior to the events of that episode.  Within the Redux chronology, that date must be November 3, 2274.
  16. Darius offers to help Dante find Travis in exchange for Dante helping Darius.
  17. The Orchard has a thorough dossier on the Raiders.  As we learn before the end of the first season, the Orchard and the Raiders are not strangers to each other.  (I would be careful about spoilers, but the first season, in its original form, aired in 2000-2001.  After more than eighteen years, the anti-spoiler clause has expired.)
  18. Darius and Luc depart on hostile terms.
  19. Luc is done working for the Orchard, but not playing along with them.  She shows Dante, still unsure about whether to believe Darius, Eccleston’s injector.
  20. Darius departs the Transutopian, after having left a tracing program.  Dante will lead the Orchard to Travis, Darius says.  Then the ship carrying Darius explodes.
  21. Luc declares her father death to be “cold-blooded murder.”
  22. Luc has been protecting Dante and Percy throughout the series.
  23. She no longer has divided loyalties.
  24. Dark and Stormy Night links episodes, ties up loose ends, and moves the story arcs forward.

Next:  Super Max, a lighter episode and a palate-cleanser.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 6, 2019 COMMON ERA

Siren’s Song/Siren’s Song (Redux)   3 comments

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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Family Values/Family Values (Redux)   8 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. VR Penny is the downloaded soul of Penny, as we learn in a subsequent episode.
  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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Trust/Trust (Redux)   3 comments

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.
  3. In the original version of the episode, we learn that Rudolpho has four bounty hunters under contract.
  4. Percy is 18 years old, according to G. Philip Jackson, one of the creators of the series.  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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. The new effects for Mercury, the Sun, and Mars Orbital One are beautiful.
  10. Percy’s sparring, which angered Dante at the beginning of the episode, helped her fight the prisoners at the end of the episode.
  11. At the end of the episode, Dante and Percy have stopped arguing and reached an understanding.
  12. Dante is very protective of Percy, his niece.  He has one other surviving relative, Travis, his son, whom Raiders kidnapped years ago.
  13. The Transutopian is Percy’s home.
  14. The set design of the interior of the Transutopian is excellent.  The faded elegance is obvious.
  15. The only hint of the Orchard story arc comes at the end, when Luc hastily puts away her Orchard communicator when Percy knocks on the door of her quarters.

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

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 10, 2019 COMMON ERA

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The Divinity Cluster/The Divinity Cluster (Redux)   11 comments

Above:  Tanya Allen as Percy Montana

A Screen Capture

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SEASON 1, EPISODE 1

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

George Harris as Darius Scott

Mark Powley as Eccleston

Ron Donachie as MacDuff

Charlotte Weston as Pacquette

Helen Latham as Lily

David McAlister as Professor Renfrew

Nikki Grosse as Carmel

Anette Shaffer as Lapis

David C. Wade as Middle-Aged Man #1

Richard H. Wade as Middle-Aged Man #2

BEHIND THE CAMERAS

Director = Patrick Malakian

Writer = Nelu Ghiran

Composer = Donald Quan

Composers = The Insects (Bob Locke and Tim Norfolk)

Length of the original episode = 0:47:23

Length of the Redux episode = 0:44:08

FORMATTING CHANGES FROM THE ORIGINAL VERSIONS OF STARHUNTER TO STARHUNTER REDUX

FORMAT OF AN ORIGINAL EPISODE

Opening credits

Opening transmission from Rudolpho DeLuna

Story

Closing Credits

FORMAT OF A REDUX EPISODE

Teaser

Opening credits

Story

Preview of the next episode

Closing credits

REGARDING THE OPENING TRANSMISSIONS FROM RUDOLPHO DELUNA (FIRST SEASON ONLY)

Each first-season episode of Starhunter opened with a transmission from Rudolpho DeLuna, the owner of the Transutopian (the Tulip).  The recipient of this transmission was frequently uncertain, but the transmission usually provided an exposition dump, frequently with some levity.  This was nice, given the dourness of Dante Montana.  One learned that Rudolph enjoyed the pleasures of life, often to excess, and not always for his own good.

These opening transmissions, mostly absent from Starhunter Redux, were frequently absent from syndicated broadcasts of the original Starhunter years ago.  Cutting these segments allowed for selling more advertisements.

Above:  Rudolpho and His Big Sandwich

A Screen Capture

RUDOLPHO’S OPENING TRANSMISSION FROM THE DIVINITY CLUSTER (ABSENT FROM THE REDUX VERSION)

You see, it’s like this; I run a good operation–not the best, but not the worst.  But it’s a hard business I’m in–long hours, low cash flow, high risk, ungrateful employees.  But nobody said I had to be in the bounty hunter business.  Nobody put a gun to my head.

Well, actually, that did happen once.  I was at some lowlife Martian bar.  These drunk terraforming engineers thought I–I–had improperly touched this cute little hydraulics expert.  Which, of course, I had.  Later that night, it was nothing but improperly touching till the sun rose in that pink Martian sky.  No, don’t get me started talking about my love life.  You won’t have the stomach for it.  Believe me, I barely do.

But, if I have learned anything in this sorry life, it’s that nothing ever is what it first seems.  It doesn’t matter if it’s tracking down or bringing in the scum of the solar system or trying to mend a broken heart by falling into the arms of the first little cupcake that comes your way.  Uncertainty rules everywhere, friend, but the mysteries out there pale in comparison to the mystery that is about to explode in all of us.

GENERAL COMMENTS ABOUT THE EPISODE

Divinity Cluster 09

Above:  George Harris as Darius Scott

A Screen Capture

  1. Rudolpho lives on and works from the Moon.
  2. The ship is the Transutopian.  In Starhunter 2300 and Starhunter Redux, the name on the vessel is “TRANSUTOPIA CRUISE SHIP HHS,” with most letters faded.  On the original version of the ship, the name is “TULIP.”  The interior of the Transutopian includes a tulip motif.
  3. As far as I can tell after consulting science websites, the continental arrangement for Earth three million years ago is accurate.  Also, hominids existed at that time.  This was apparently before the emergence of Australopichecus africanus.
  4. The current year in the original episode is 2275.  The current year in the Redux episode is 2285.  That change helps to synchronize this season with the second season/series, Starhunter 2300.
  5. The most obvious differences between the original and Redux versions of this episode are special effects; the new effects are better.  Now Eccleston’s eyes glow green when he is under the influence of the Divinity Cluster.  The screen on the tracker Pacquette gave MacDuff to locate Eccleston is different.  Some backgrounds and foregrounds are more detailed.  New Los Angeles looks better.  We see the domes on the Moon.  Some of the members of the Orchard attend the meeting via holograms in the Redux version.
  6. The Orchard, with a few exceptions, is an organization of amoral men and women.  Some members have a sense of right and wrong, but others are quite willing to betray each other and to sacrifice the lives of innocents casually.  The vain quest to control the Divinity Cluster and to guide human destiny is the ultimate goal.  Darius, one of the more sympathetic members of the Orchard, is slightly less Machiavellian than his peers.
  7. Eccleston discovered the Divinity Cluster (four genes) three years prior to the episode.  This detail seems to contradict certain subsequent episodes.  However, we of the audience learn that the term “Divinity Cluster” did not exist back then, before this episode.  One may harmonize the seeming contradiction somewhat by asserting that the discovery of the Cluster resulted from decades of work.
  8. George Harris, who portrays Darius Scott, has gravitas to spare.  The combination of his voice, posture, and acting with his eyes is always impressive.  Darius, one of the more sympathetic Orchard characters, is a recurring character during the first season.
  9. The new effect of a holographic tree turning above a table in the middle of the Orchard conference room is a nice touch.
  10. The “killer earthquake of ’56” devastated Los Angeles.  New Los Angeles is next to old Los Angeles.  Given the addition of a decade to background dates (such as 2275 becoming 2285), I suppose the earthquake occurred in 2266 instead.
  11. The dry dock at the Moon looks different in the original and Redux versions of the episode.
  12. The new effects for the alien vessel from three million years ago are quite lovely.
  13. If this episode had a movie rating, that rating would be PG-13.  However, most of those elements could be absent and the plot of the episode would lose nothing.
  14. Eccleston enjoys the company of women.  At the end of the episode, when he leaves this dimension, those pleasures cease to be an option for him.
  15. The Divinity Cluster sets up the series well.  We learn of Dante’s single-minded search for his son, Travis.  We of the audience also learn of what Dante and Percy do not know yet–the Divinity Cluster.  These two plot threads merge later in the first season.
  16. Percy has been stuck aboard the Transutopian too long.   She is brilliant, but not well-adjusted.
  17. Earth is a polluted wasteland in the late twenty-third century.  Most of the human race lives elsewhere in the solar system, but a few million people remain on the home planet and work to restore it.  As the season progresses, we learn of various federations (Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) in the solar system.
  18. Last night, when I watched both versions of the episode simultaneously, I kept having to synchronize a scene in the original version to its counterpart in the Redux version.  Seldom did synchronization within a scene translate into the continuation of synchronization for long.  The editing of the original version into the Redux version started with the cutting of Rudolpho’s opening transmission and continued with a few brief cuts and addition of new effects throughout the episode.  Pauses became shorter, I noticed.
  19. Darius tells Luc that a human being has 100,986 genes.  According to the Human Genome Project (1990-2003), that number is actually about 30,000.
  20. Lily to the unfortunate Dr. Renfrew:  “You will not suppress the Divinity Cluster.”
  21. Rudolph to Dante:  “Relativity is a damned lousy excuse for not paying your bills.”
  22. Eccleston cured MacDuff’s brain tumor with neuronanoprobes.
  23. Dante harbors suspicions regarding Luc.
  24. Luc has Eccleston’s injector.
  25. MacDuff has magnificent eyebrows.
  26. Eccleston is alive in another dimension at the end of the episode.

Next:  Trust, an episode in which the Divinity Cluster is not a plot point.  Percy is prominent, though.  That is always good.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 9, 2019 COMMON ERA

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