Farewell to “The Big Bang Theory”

From the time that the first episode of the TV sitcom #TheBigBangTheory first aired on Sept. 24, 2007, we were hooked. The main characters with all their quirks and their love of #SciFi & #Fantasy drew us in to watch every episode that aired, including the final episode that just aired this evening.

When it was first announced that the 12th season would be final season of “The Big Bang Theory”, admittedly, we weren’t happy; but at the same time, we know that every story eventually comes to an end. To their credit, the final episode did in no way disappoint. If anything, it only made saying goodbye to the these quirky characters a little more difficult.

So, we’d like to take a moment to thank Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady for creating this fantastic TV series. Next, we’d like to thank each of the main actors who brought these wonderful characters to life:

  • Johnny Galecki as Dr. Leonard Hofstadter
  • Jim Parsons as Dr. Sheldon Cooper
  • Kaley Cuoco as Penny Hofstadter
  • Simon Helberg as Howard Wolowitz
  • Kunal Nayyar as Raj Koothrappali
  • Melissa Rauch as Bernadette Rostenkowski Wolowitz
  • Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler Cooper

We’d also like to thank these actors for playing portraying these fantastic recurring characters:

  • Kevin Sussman as Stuart Bloom
  • Carol Ann Susi (1952-2014) as Debbie Wolowitz
  • John Ross Bowie as Barry Kripke
  • Laura Spencer as Emily Sweeney
  • Wil Weaton as Wil Weaton
  • Brian George as Dr. V.M. Koothrappali
  • Christine Baranski as Dr. Beverly Hofstadter
  • Laurie Metcalf as Mary Cooper

We also thank all of the other actors, the directors, producers, writers, and everyone else who brought this TV series to life.

Farewell from some very thankful fans.

The Big Bang Theory

“The Big Bang Theory” (2007 – 2019)

References

“Game of Thrones” & the Infamous Starbucks Coffee Cup

Many fans of the hugely popular #HBO #fantasy series #GameOfThrones weren’t too happy during the airing of the 8th season’s episode 4 entitled “The Last of the Starks” on the evening of May 5, 2019 when what appeared to be a #Starbucks’ paper coffee cup with a plastic lid was on the table in front of the seated character Daenerys Targaryen (played by Emilia Clarke) during a tavern scene:

"Game of Thrones" Starbucks Coffee Cupq

“Game of Thrones”, Season 8, Ep. 4: Highlighted Starbucks Coffee Cup

How unhappy are fans with this particular episode of “Game of Thrones”? Well, on IMDb,  every episode (beginning from Season 1, Ep. 1) has a rating of at least an 8.0. Many of the episodes have ratings well above a 9.0. But, how did fans rate Season 8, Ep. 4, “The Last of the Starks”? A measly 6.9. This is the first episode on the 8-year history of the series to earn a rating not only below an 8.0 on IMDb.com, but also a rating below a 7.0.

This episode also didn’t do well on RottenTomatoes, where it received a very low 57%. However, this isn’t actually the lowest rated episode on RottenTomatoes: that honor (or dishonor) goes to Season 5, Ep. 6. “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”, which has a very low 54% rating. But, similar to IMDb, nearly all of the other episodes have a high ratings on RottenTomatoes, typically over 90%.

Now, while we can’t say for certain whether or not the infamous Starbucks coffee cup is the reason for the lower ratings for this particular episode, it is very likely a factor as it also made the national news and was laughed about quite a bit on late-night TV shows.

From “Good Morning America”:

From Jimmy Kimmel:

From Stephen Colbert (the 2nd half of the video):

References

“Star Wars: The Clone Wars” Leaving Netflix in April

The animated TV series “#StarWars: #TheCloneWars” will be leaving #Netflix as of Sunday, April 7, 2019. The series, whose five full seasons were originally aired on the “Cartoon Network” from 2008-2013, was picked up by Netflix in 2014 and included a previously unaired partial 6th season that Netflix had exclusive rights to.

With Disney preparing to get its own streaming service up & running soon, the removal of “The Clone Wars” from Netflix isn’t surprising.

References

“Star Wars Resistance”: Is it Too Lighthearted, Comedic and Juvenile?

With “Star Wars Resistance” now on a holiday hiatus, let’s take a look at how well this new #StarWars animated series is doing as compared with its highly successful and well-loved predecessors: #TheCloneWars and #Rebels. For many, #Resistance is a departure from what many longtime franchise fans expected. For comparison, let’s recap its animated predecessors.

  • “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” (which aired from 2008-2013 on the Cartoon Network, then had a shortened sixth season on Netflix) was created by George Lucas with supervising director Dave Filoni. The series focused on primarily upon Anakin Skywalker, Obi-wan Kenobi, Anakin’s padawan Ahsoka Tano, various clone troopers, other Jedi, Separatists, etc. during the Clone War between movies II and III. The series featured many battles and encounters between the Jedi and various Sith and other dark Force users.
  • “Star Wars Rebels” (which aired from 2014-2018 on the DisneyXD network) was co-created by Dave Filoni, who was also an executive producer until season 3 when he was promoted to a higher position within LucasFilm Animation. This series began 15 years after the end of the Clone War and start of the Galactic Empire and featured a brand new set of characters to the “Star Wars” franchise: Ezra Bridger, Kanan Jarrus (a former Jedi), Hera Syndulla, Sabine Wren (a Mandalorian), Garazeb “Zeb” Orrelios and their older droid known as Chopper. The group begins to fight the Empire and helps to create the Rebel Alliance.

While the animation styles for “The Clone Wars” and “Rebels” were different, both used high-quality animation. Both series also featured a lot of elements common to the “Star Wars” franchise: fighting with light sabers, space battles, fighting the Sith, the more scummy elements, etc. Thus, both series attracted both children and adults viewers alike.

Both “The Clone Wars and “Rebels” have high ratings from viewers:

  • “The Clone Wars”: 8.1 out of 10 (over 38,000 votes) on IMDb; 94% Tomatometer with 89% audience score on RottenTomatoes.
  • “Rebels”: 8.0 out of 10 (over 21,000 votes) on IMDb; 100% TomatoMeter with 83% audience score on RottenTomatoes.

Now let’s look at “Star Wars Resistance” and what makes it so different:

  • “Star Wars Resistance” (which began airing in 2018 on the DisneyXD network) was created solely by Dave Filoni. The series takes place decades after the events of “Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi” and 6 months before the events of “Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens” occur. Thus, there is no current war. Part of the galaxy is governed by the New Republic, and part of it under the control of the First Order. Cameron Poe (who is not a regular character) assigns a young pilot named Kazuda Xiono to spy on possible First Order sympathizers. on the independent refueling station named Colossus on the outer rim planet of Castilon. Kazuda is young (maybe early 20’s), but acts more like a teenager. He spends much of his time with mechanics & pilots working on their own ships.

Given that this animated series is supposed to occur only 6 months before the events of “Star Wars VII”, its overall lightheartedness and tendency towards comic relief is inconsistent with the seriousness and grave threat that is present at the beginning of “Star Wars VII”. This lightheartedness & overuse of comic relief has given the impression that the series is geared towards a very young audience. It’s use of Japanese-style animation supports this impression. Additionally, the apparent lack of adults discussing this series on social media (unlike when its predecessors were airing) also suggests that the series has low appeal to adults who are long-time fans of the franchise.

Taking a look at the show’s ratings may give more clues:

  • “Resistance”: 4.7 out of 10 (over 1400 votes) on IMDb; 92% TomatoMeter and 77% audience score on RottenTomatoes.

While the scores on RottenTomatoes are not significantly lower for “Resistance” as compared with “The Clones Wars” and “Rebels”, its IMDb rating is and the total number of voters is also significantly low. This low number of voters on IMDb implies fewer adults watching the series than its predecessors.

This reduced viewership by adults can be demonstrated by the average number of viewers watching the first season episodes of “Resistance”: approximately 400,000 viewers per episode. By comparison, “Rebels” had an average number of 825,000 viewers per episode for its first season, and “The Clone Wars” had an average number of 2.75 million viewers per episode for its first season. Thus, the first season of “Resistance” has 48.5% of the viewers that “Rebels” had and only 14.5% of the viewers that “The Clone Wars” had.

Thus, it does seem that the more lighthearted, comedic and juvenile approach that has been applied to “Star Wars Resistance” as compared with its predecessors has not benefitted the series. Had the series applied the same seriousness as its predecessors, it would probably have more viewers and a higher rating on IMDb. Only time will tell how long this series will last.

Star Wars Rebels

References

No New “Doctor Who” in 2019; Show on Hiatus until 2020

The #BBC announced several hours ago that the very popular #DoctorWho TV series will not have a new season in 2019. Instead, it won’t return until 2020. The apparent reason for this was reported by Lizo Mzimba, the BBC’s entertainment correspondent, who said that while there was “a recognition that fans might want a series every single year, Doctor Who has almost uniquely complex filming requirements and a lengthy post-production period”.

Also, instead of a Christmas special as has been done since the show returned in 2005, a New Years Day show will be broadcast instead.

Jodie Whittaker as Doctor Who

Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor Who

References

Lost “Doctor Who” Story Resurrected as Animation

A 4-episode #DoctorWho story featuring the 2nd Doctor (played by Patrick Troughton) that had been erased by the BBC before it realized the show’s value has been resurrected in animation form after a complete audio recording of the story was found, along with stills of the story.

The story is called “The Macra Terror”. In it, the Doctor and his companions Polly (played by Anneke Wills), Ben Jackson (played by Michael Craze) and Jamie McCrimmon (played by Frazer Hines) arrive on a human colony in the far future. Although the colony appears to be a giant holiday camp for rest and relaxation, it has actually been infiltrated by a race of giant parasitic crab-like creatures called the Macra, who have brainwashed the people to serve them and create a special gas they need.

The Macra have only returned to ‘Doctor Who’ in one other story: they were featured 40 years after their 1967 debut in the 2007 episode ‘Gridlock’ that featured the 10th Doctor played by David Tennant.

The new animation will be available for purchase on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download beginning on March 18, 2019.

References

How the 1988 Writers’ Strike Forever Changed the Borg

Anyone familiar with #StarTrek probably knows who the #Borg are: a fictional race of #cyborgs governed by a hive mind with no individuality whatsoever. While they were introduced in the second season of “#StarTrek: #TheNextGeneration”, were the Borg as we know them the same as what had been originally conceived? No, they weren’t.

borg-display

The late producer & writer Maurice Hurley (1939 – 2015), who worked on TNG during its first and second seasons, had something very different in mind for the Borg. His original idea was partially captured in the final episode of the show’s first season (entitled “The Neutral Zone”). He originally intended that episode to be the first part of a two-part ark that would then open the show’s second season. But that ark never happen. Instead, only part of Hurley’s original idea was used: the Enterprise travels to the Romulan Neutral Zone to investigate the mysterious disappearance of several outposts, where the Enterprise encounters the Romulans (their first appearance in TNG), who are also investigating similar disappearances.

What happened with Hurley’s original idea? The writers strike by the Writers Guild of America happened in 1988.

Writers Strike 1988

Image from the 1988 Writers’ Strike

“The Neutral Zone” episode aired on May 16, 1988, two months after the writers’ strike began on March 7, 1988. The strike didn’t end until August 7, 1988, five months later and three months before the first episode of the 2nd season of TNG aired on Nov. 21, 1988. That episode (entitled “The Child”) was delayed due to the strike and was completely completely unrelated to the events in “The Neutral Zone”.

Had Hurley’s original idea been filmed, it would have had the Federation and the Romulans join forces to fight an aggressive insectoid race with a hive mind that was supposed to be responsible for the disappearance of the outposts on both sides. However, before the final first season episode was filmed, Hurley had to get the episode written quickly as the writers’ strike was widely viewed as being imminent.

So, Hurley took a fan submitted story by Deborah McIntyre and Mona Clee and used that as the basis for the episode along with part of his original idea. McIntyre & Clee’s idea was that the Enterprise would encounter three people from the 20th century who were cryogenically frozen centuries earlier, revive them, then have them adjust to life in the future.

Later in the second season of TNG, Hurley got to revisit his original idea for “The Neutral Zone” from the first season in the episode “Q Who”. But, his insectoid race (which probably wasn’t called the Borg at the time) never came to fruition primarily due to budgetary concerns. It was initially replaced with a reptilian race design, but that was also abandoned and replaced with the cyborg race that we know today as the Borg and was designed by costume designer Durinda Rice Wood:

220284-0

What survived of Hurley’s original insectoid race idea in the Borg was the hive mind.

So, thanks in part to the 1988 writers’ strike, the Borg because one of the most powerful recurring foes in the “Star Trek” franchise. They’re appearances include the following:

“The Next Generation” Episodes:

  • “Q Who” (Season 2, Ep. 16)
  • “The Best of Both Worlds, Part 1” (Season 3, Ep. 26)
  • “The Best of Both Worlds, Part 2” (Season 4, Ep. 01)
  • “I, Borg” (Season 5, Ep. 23)
  • “Descent Part, 1” (Season 6, Ep. 26)
  • “Descent Part, 2” (Season 7, Ep. 01)

TNG Movies:

  • “Star Trek VIII: First Contact”

“Voyager” Episodes:

  • “Unity” (Season 3, Ep. 17)
  • “Scorpion, Part 1” (Season 3, Ep. 26)
  • “Scorpion, Part 2” (Season 4, Ep. 01)
  • “The Raven” (Season 4, Ep. 06)
  • “Drone” (Season 5, Ep. 02)
  • “Dark Frontier, Part 1” (Season 5, Ep. 16)
  • “Dark Frontier, Part 2” (Season 5, Ep. 17)
  • “Survival Instinct” (Season 6, Ep. 02)
  • “Collective” (Season 6, Ep. 16)
  • “Child’s Play” (Season 6, Ep. 19)
  • “Unimatrix Zero, Part 1” (Season 6, Ep. 26)
  • “Unimatrix Zero, Part 2” (Season 7, Ep. 01)
  • “Imperfection” (Season 7, Ep. 02)
  • “Endgame” (Season 7, Ep. 25)

“Enterprise” Episodes:

  • “Regeneration” (Season 2, Ep. 23)

References