Pop Culture, Sci Fi Fun

The 100 series finale recap: The Fight is Over

One of my many guilty pleasures has been watching The 100 since it debuted in 2014. The 100 is a post-apocalyptic science fiction drama television series developed by Jason Rothenberg, loosely based on the book series by Kass Morgan. At first it seemed like a typical CW show: good looking young actors portraying teens who will hook up with one another and experience angst. But the series found its footing over the next few episodes, and focused more on the post-apocalyptic world, with a dystopian society thrown in for flavor.

I’m going to assume anyone reading this has an interest in the show, knows the story and has seen the series finale by now.  Also, there are a lot of writers out there who make a living off reviewing The 100, so this post won’t be so much a review of what was, but what went wrong and what could have been.  I actually liked the series ending for what it was — a riff off the Battlestar Galactica ending — but only because it put an end to a season that became harder and harder to justify as each episode aired.


The 100 was always about survival in a world that would rather kill you than simply let you exist.   First it was The 100 versus the Grounders.  Then Mountain Men.  Then Artificial intelligence, etc.  This formula worked well in the early seasons.  Eventually, the earth ran out of enemies so the writers brought some from outer space in the form of prisoners from the Eligius IV mining expedition returning to earth.  This would be a bit of a stretch except for two important elements.

First, if you had space stations, you presumably had space ships.  Second, and more beneficial to the storyline, the writers planted an Easter Egg midway through Season Four that most fans noticed before that season’s finale.  By alluding to the Eligius missions beforehand, the introduction of a ship returning to earth to set up the conflict for Season Five doesn’t look too much like anyone pulled something out of their asses at the last minute.

It became a different show in Season Six when it morphed into The Muppets 100 go to Outer Space.  Using the same idea as Season Five, but without any build up or bread crumps, it felt a little forced that there was this planet of humans that conveniently left earth before the bombs went off — but not too much before so they were familiar with Season Five villain turned hero Diyoza.  Once again the 100 become the invading foreigners bringing death and destruction and no interstellar immigration authority in sight.

Season Seven doubled down on credibility and completely retconned an element from the past: Bill Cadogan and the Second Dawn disciples.  Personally, I would have preferred more Becca Franko.  The storyline that Cadogan had Becca burned at the stake, a storyline that always seemed to me to lack foresight.  Becca was the Tony Stark of The 100 universe (sans iron suit) and there were more opportunities for her character other than being the answer to who invented this piece of technology that allows us to advance the plot.

 The whole storyline with the Dark Commander seemed unnecessary other than what else do we do with Madi?  Except the whole she’s a nightblood and that made her valuable to the Primes would have been enough to fill episodes.  

Season Seven had some issues outside of The 100 universe.  Not only was filming rushed because of COVID-19, but two of the actors — Eliza Taylor and Bob Marley, married in real life — experienced a miscarriage that obviously devastated them.  Marley, who publicly admits to suffering from depression, requested time off from the show.  It is wonderful that they allowed it, but as the second lead cast member, it is hard to write a story around it.

What I would have done was keep Season Six focused on the Primes and the Children of Gabriel.  Once you moved what was left of the Grounders to outer space, there was no longer much use for them and their barbaric, primitive ways…keep them in cryo storage.  

Instead of having Sheidheda try to take Madi over so fast, they should have introduced the Dark Commander arc more slowly while the Primes were busy trying to body snatch the young night blood.  You could still have the transfer to Russell Lightbourne’s minddrive plot twist.  He kills Bellamy in the first episode of Season 7, sparking unsuppressable desires of revenge from Echo, Octavia and of course Clarke.  Revenge for Bellamy!

It wouldn’t be the first time the show killed a major character.  The 100 has made it clear time and time again that no one on the show is safe. And given that they killed him off in episode 13 anyway, it would have been better to kill him in the first episode and make it the storyline of the last season.

Instead of Cadogan killing Becca, it could be shown it was more of a History became legend, Legend became myth thing where Becca faked her death using the anomaly stone.  We could lose the higher beings and ascension and focus on the humans finally doing better and have no more wars among themselves.  A society made up of Skykru, Grounders, believers, Children of Gabriel, Elgiusians (instead of prisoners) that live in a real City of Light designed by Becca.  

ah, what could have been.  Oh well…

May we Meet Again


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aggregation aggregation aggregation, Pop Culture, Sci Fi Fun

I binge watched Lost In Space so you didn’t have to

Before I begin my review of Netflix latest series Lost In Space, I want to set the table, so to speak. First, it’s not easy for me to watch anything these days. Movies involve a babysitter and a tight window of opportunity. Our TVs are usually streaming Octanauts or PJ Mask (and whatever the next cartoon my douche-nugget 3.5 year olds find appealing). The intersection of time that I’m in front of a TV and there isn’t a small child usurping it is extremely scant.

So when I say that binged watch anything these days, I really mean that I watched consecutive episodes in a finite amount of time spread over a couple of days versus the more conventional definition of completing a season in an afternoon or a series within a weekend.

Second, I wasn’t going to bring up the 1998 Lost In Space movie and instead pretend it never happened. However, it should be noted that in my research for this post, I learned that the movie was meant to come out in 1997, which is the year the original series was set in. It also had cameos from all the living members of the original cast. But more importantly, the changes in the movie from the series cannon created a starting point for Netflix Lost In Space (heretofore LIS) to look at. There were a few things in the movie that worked and many more things that didn’t.

Finally, because the series has been out almost a week, which is practically a lifetime in these TV watching times, WARNING WILL ROBINSON! SPOILER ALERTS WILL ROBINSON!

The to-do list for a reboot is not as difficult as creating a new series from scratch. Most people who would watch this show are already familiar enough with the Robinson family. Sure we still have to introduce Dr Smith, the Robot, and some plausible explanation for why the hell a family is being sent into outer space.

When pitching the idea of a LIS reboot, one must decide if it supposed to be a grown-up remake for a more sophisticated era or just the original campy series with a higher budget. I read that the original series went from serious sci-fi odyssey featuring the entire family to campy show about the antics of a wacky doctor, a chatty robot, and a brainy kid. This reboot tries to shed the campy and be more like ABC’s Lost set in space instead of an island.

I really wanted to like this series, I really did. One of my childhood staples was watching LIS reruns on TV. And I don’t hate this reboot. I enjoyed it for what it was and would look forward to a Season Two and beyond if that happens. But halfway through the 10 hour series I was still waiting for something meaningful enough to happen so that I would be cheering for the Robinsons to succeed.

What I liked

The gender switch of Dr Smith. Didn’t see that coming and thought it was very refreshing, just like when they made Starbuck a girl on BSG reboot. I just hope this doesn’t become a lazy goto thing with reboots. “Luke, I am your mother!”

The Robot.  As I said above you need to introduce the robot.  In previous iterations, the Robot was a standard issue piece of equipment on Jupiter ships.  In this reboot they made it an alien quasi-lifeform.

Judy and Don West.  In the 60s series, they were engaged but you wouldn’t know it.  In the 1998 movie, it’s a boring subplot that Don is trying to get into Judy’s pants win her affection.  In this one the sexual tension is subtle, real and organic.  They don’t even realize how attracted they are to one another because — d’uh — they are too busy trying to survive on a hostile planet.

What I didn’t

The pace of each episode moved very slowly. Each episode feels 20 minutes too long.  In the original series there was the predicament de jour.  In this series if feels like a never ending series of predicament, solution which leads to new predicament.  It’s exhausting.

There’s a difference between not being scientifically accurate and being lazy. In most sci-fi sagas, technology only works as much as the plot needs it to work, usually just enough to get someone into or out of a bind.

I can accept that on some planet, water freezes rapidly enough to trap someone yet it is warm enough for a thin spacesuit to keep you alive above the ice.  But its a stretch to think that an alien engine can suddenly propel a ship that is out of fuel.

Here’s some more Lost In Space thinky-thoughts for your digestion:


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On a whim I purchased a 3 pack of Geekbes Smart Socket WiFi Mini Plug (Model YM-WS-1) a few weeks ago.  Ordinarily smart sockets are not a thing I  cannot live without, but it was a flash sale at Newegg so I figured a $25 investment wasn’t going to break me.

I have been looking for a solution for two problems I have:

1)  Easy way to turn on and off the lights in my garage
2)  Easy way to reboot my modem without running down to the basement



The app that comes with the smart socket allows you to turn them on or off from your phone, and set a schedule.  I didn’t expect the ability to schedule your sockets.  I also wasn’t sure that the WiFi signal from my router (80 ft away) would reach these devices or provide a stable signal, but as I said for $25 it was worth taking the chance. It turns out that not only does the wifi signal reach our alley, but this app does work over cellular data as well.  [It wasn’t clear from the marketing description.]

Sometimes I need to hard reboot my modem.  running down to the basement where it is located isn’t always practical.  But with this app, I can quickly turn it on and off from my favorite chair.  It does seem paradoxical that turning off the device that controls the WiFi would still allow me to turn it back on, but it seems to do just that.  I’m guessing either the WiFi session is still alive for a few seconds or the capacitor in the switch holds enough power to stay on.  Or magic.

I did try rebooting the modem remotely when we were visiting relatives in Mississippi .  It turned the modem off, but unfortunately not back on.  I may experiment with setting the modem to reboot once a week via the schedule to see if that works or probably just leave well enough alone.

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Tech Thursday

Review: Geekbes Smart Socket WiFi Mini Plug


A long time ago in a galaxy very far away some terrible things happened.   A dispute between the Republic and the Trade Federation sowed the seeds for the Rise of an evil Empire; a forbidden love affair between a jedi and a Queen exposed a clone army; Manipulated by a genius Sith Lord, the Galactic Senate voted the Chancellor emergency powers,  and worse yet, Jar Jar Binks was made a representative of Naboo!

Yet in spite of all of that, something has always bothered me about the story we have been told.  While I’m sure Anakin Skywalker and Emperor Palpatine did some terrible things under the guise of hard decisions to ensure the stability of the Empire, I’ve always had a hard time believing that Anakin actually killed all those younglings in the Jedi Temple.

Remember, the Rebel Account is a history (It was a long time ago, man! in a far off Galaxy) written by the victors.   You can bet they took certain creative license to put them in the best light and the Empire in the darkest.  Perhaps the Death Star wasn’t really the size of a moon and maybe they didn’t blow up Alderaan, but merely carpet boomed the heck out of it.

“And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth. And the events of the attack on the Jedi Temple passed out of all knowledge.”

Let me present my case with this video slideshow:




Maybe one of the most mortifying moments in Episode 3 might not have been as devastating as people have been told, when looked at from a certain point of view.  And remember, Han Solo shot first.

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Sci Fi Fun

What if Anakin Skywalker didn’t kill the Younglings after all?

Getting It Off Your Chest, Tech Thursday

Hey Alderman: Let the teenager sell me alcohol already!

Scene:  Me in a long line at Jewel.  My Super Power is the ability to always choose the slowest moving line.  If there are three registers open, no matter which one I pick, it will grind to a halt.

Finally it’s my turn and the young checkout clerk (what do they call them these days?) processes my order.  He gets to my booze and has to get someone who is 21 to push a button.

Yes that’s right, the checkout clerk is not empowered to push the button because he might do this for his underage friends who might want to buy alcohol while he’s working.  Like teenagers don’t have a million other ways to get alcohol and other gateway drugs.


We have to wait for eternity (usually a minute or two but that ONE time it was upwards of 5 minutes) for the one 21 year old dude on staff for such an occasion to walk over and press a button.  Sometimes its a older lady who I imagine ponders the exact sequence of events that lead to her working at a grocery store in her golden years.

I’m not one to shout the Nanny State Warcry, but still, it’s a little much.  We have soda taxes and plastic bag taxes and technically we card everybody even if it is obvious they served in World War I.

Maybe we could just program the registers to scan my driver’s license so we can avoid the 2-5 minute wait.  Or maybe we could just trust the kid.  I’ve heard that giving teenagers a little responsibility is a good thing.


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aggregation aggregation aggregation, Becoming a Parent, Life Hacks, Parent of Twins, Tech Thursday

Parents need kidproof appliances, not refrigerators that can stream Game of Thrones

I like technology as much as the next geek, but only to the extent that it either really helps make my life easier, or it is really cool without a high cost of entry.  Alas there are some technologies out there that miss both these markers and will not be seen in our household any time soon.

I'm so gonna take over this house while you are sleeping inferior Human

I’m so gonna take over this house while you are sleeping Inferior Human

I’m sure there is some benefit to having a fridge with a video screen. “Playing music, displaying the weather, showing a calendar, functioning as a digital whiteboard, and putting together a shopping list are all activities that might make sense on a fridge. Some other features, like mirroring your TV or smartphone contents” might be beneficial if you spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

What parents really need are refrigerators and stoves that are smart enough to prevent little children from fucking with them.  We have a french door fridge and for a long time, moose and squirrel could only open the freezer section.  Now that they are older (two and a half) they can reach the fridge doors quite easily.  They have the dexterity to open the doors but lack the understanding that they can break any of the ridunkulously expensive drawers within.  Don’t bother replacing those because finding the one for your exact model will be a Sisyphean task and will likely cost almost as much as a new fridge.

I want a fridge that will lock. Yes I know you can buy locks but those look ugly and are a PITA to open and close when you want something. How about a simple code or button that locks the fridge so toddler cannot open them? The best that is available today is you can lock the ice maker. BFD!

As for ovens, is it too much to ask for ones that with oven door locked? How about burner knobs that can be disabled and re-enabled when children are around?  I’m really not gonna leave food in my stove the way I do a slow cooker and use my phone app to monitor, preheat and adjust the oven’s temperature.


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The previous owner of our house had installed some speakers in the ceiling of the kitchen.  The speaker wires feed into a cabinet above the fridge.  I can play local OTA radio stations (aka Celestial Stations) and CDs through it ( He left behind a non-working CD player which I have replaced with an old school stereo receiver). However, it would be cool if I could to stream music through those speakers from either my PC or Spotify.

In my perfect world I would also be able to add additional wireless speakers in other parts of the house, maybe even using the sound bars of TVs (have not bought sound bars yet) thus being able to hear whatever choice of music I want throughout the house.  There are solutions out there but they can be rather expensive and it doesn’t make sense right now to put a fancy State-of-the-Art AV receiver in a cabinet.

So after a little research, I purchased a Dayton Audio WFA02 Audio Adapter which claims to let you connect your analog system with your PC or Music Streaming Service.


While this device didn’t have all the functionality I was looking for, at the discounted price of $40 it is worth it as a stop-gap solution for playing my music until I either upgrade to a SONOS system or get a better house.


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Tech Thursday

How I got my old school stereo system to stream music inexpensively

aggregation aggregation aggregation, Tech Thursday

Some things to consider before cutting the Cable Cord

Cutting the Cord is the new thing these days. So much so that Cable Companies are actually paying attention. You can find a lot of good articles about how to do it here and here and here.

But there are some things to keep in mind before you ditch cable. Essentially it boils down to what are you trying to accomplish?

Maybe you want to be a purist and just have a regular old TV with local OTA stations. Get yourself a good OTA HD antenna and you are good to go as long as you live in an urban area with good line of sight television stations.  Or you could just get rid of your TV and do things like read Proust in the original French and then interpreting it into postmodern dance.

Most people want the benefits of cable without the high costs. Here’s the thing. you still need an internet connection and a good one at that.

In 2015, the FCC redefined what constitutes “broadband” speed in the US as 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) download speeds, up from 4 Mbps, which was the standard since 2010…. In the FCC’s 2016 Broadband Progress Report, it said 34 million US citizens (10 percent) lack access to such speeds; 23 million of those people are in rural areas.– PC Mag.com

We have Comcast, also known as Satan’s Overachieving Sibling, for our internet.  Like most (all) cable companies, Comcast doesn’t separate their internet package from their basic bundle, so we get all the OTA channels and other lame stations no one watches.   Before we had cable, I simply connected an old PC to our TV and watched a lot of stuff online.  I was using an older technology but today most laptops come with at least one HDMI cable and if you have a new HDTV, you are in business.

However, most people want a Living Room Theatre-like experience without getting too techie.  You need a some type of Media Streaming device, i.e. the hardware.  There’s Roku, AppleTV, Chromcast, Amazon Fire TV, (others I’m missing).  You can also buy a SmartTV but these aren’t the panacea they promised.  For one thing, as the model gets older, the supported apps diminish.  And some  SmartTVs don’t play nice (I’m looking at you Samsung) and some media streamers are locked out.  For instance, for the longest time I couldn’t get HBO Go on my Roku, even though I could get HBO on our cable and on my SmartTV.  Though Samsung and Sling swear there exist Samsung TVs out that that it will work, I cannot get SlingTV on my specific model.

The streaming hub is just one part though.  Most come with some free channels but again, just like with cable, you get what you pay for.  You’re not gonna be able to watch Game of Thrones, Walking Dead or The Hunger Game movies for free until you add Subscription Service  (read: paid) like SlingTV, Netfix, Hulu, etc.  Some of these have free and pay options and again, the free stuff is very limited.

Some linkage for your research:


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Life Lessons, Tech Thursday

If you really like a free app, make a donation to keep it around

image To manage the emails for this blog, I used an app called Mailbox.  I also subscribe to a lot of other blogs (pro-tip for bloggers: do this!)  with this email address and the nice thing about the app was when I was behind in my reading, I could forward an email to the future.  It wasn’t a perfect app and it left a bit to be desired such as having to deal with one email at a time instead of being able to select a batch.  Still it was a handy way to separate my personal spam email from my professional spam blog.

Unfortunately, Dropbox decided to shut down its email management application along with Carousel, a photo sharing app.  While not admitting it directly, I suspect Dropbox couldn’t figure out a way to monetize it.  The same thing happened with Google Reader, an RSS feed aggregator that many nerds including myself loved because it was so simple to use.

It always boils down to money.  Even if there was never any intent on making money directly off users, the development, maintenance and support didn’t come free even if you didn’t pay a dime for it. This is especially the case when you’re using something offered for free.  Because you never know when something will end.

Actually, you probably do know it’s going to end someday and are just in denial that someday will come sooner than you think if someone doesn’t keep paying to keep the lights on.

The same is even more true outside the virtual world of the internet as well.  Your favorite restaurant, clothing store or watering hole won’t be around for long if you don’t frequent them.

So if you have a favorite restaurant, bar or boutique store it might be smart to make it part of your routine to visit them as often as economically feasible and make a purchase.  As for the free apps, they usually and not so subtle  .ask for donations.  Sending them a $5 isn’t going to keep the lights on.  But if everyone who used the app did, they would be inclined to keep it around even if they pour the revenue into some other product.

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By now you probably have seen the movie and if you haven’t, well okay spoiler alert. I think there are at least three camps for who Rey’s parents are.

  1. She’s Han and Leia’s other child
  2. She’s Luke’s daughter (hopefully with EU favorite Mara Jade)
  3. She’s Ben Kenobi’s grand child

There are probably a few other smaller camps out there but these are the front runners. The obvious flaw in #1 is that Han and Leia would not forget they have another child. The flaw with #2 and #3 is that Jedi aren’t supposed to have attachments, or marital relations.

If you watch this video, at around 3 seconds, Ben Kenobi says “I was once a Jedi Knight…”

Once, as in no longer. It’s very possible that after the events of Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan no longer considered himself a Jedi. Or to avoid suspicion perhaps he even tried to have a relationship with someone while waiting for young Luke to grow up.

My just thought up 5 minutes ago theory is that Rey is a clone with Skywalker DNA. Think about it. Anakin was supposed to be the Chosen One. What if someone wanted to create another Chosen one?

When Luke lost his hand (and his light saber) at Bespin, it had to go somewhere. What if someone found it, brought it to Kamino and plugged it into the clone machine and set it to female? [Note: I’m making these references without needing to look them up, go geek me.]

Bonus argument: the Stormtroopers of the Star Wars universe were copied influenced by the Sardaukar of the Dune universe. In the Dune books, a multitude of Duncan Idahos are created as Gholas, essentially clones. While there are some technical differences, Gholas are essentially clones. Gholas are able to awaken their original memories when they experience a psychological trauma. As a plot device, all the Duncan Idaho Gholas are put through a psychological trauma to make them true Duncans.

What if whomever is cloning Skywalkers decided to not leave anything to Nature versus Nurture chance, and plop them down on a desert planet that recreates as much as possible the conditions Anakin grew up in. Who knows, there are probably lots of desert planets in the Star Wars universe. And if dropping a young kid off there with vague promises to return some day isn’t psychological trauma, I don’t know what is. There could be Darth Vader clones all over the place.

IF YOU LIKED THIS POST I BET YOU’LL ALSO LIKE: Thoughts and Questions about The Force Awakens


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