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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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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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?


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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Sci Fi Fun

Thoughts and Questions about The Force Awakens

The following are my expanded thoughts on something I wrote in a discussion thread on this movie.  I’ve noticed that many fans are going in the same direction so  I wanted to get my thinky-thoughts out before reading more of anyone else’s.   I may update this post once or twice more as things take shape so check back.

Spoiler Alert Ahead!  If you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want to know what happens, stop reading now.  If you don’t care, read on Garth.  For a good summary of The Force Awakens see here, here and here.

I enjoyed the film as much as anyone else.  John Scalzi wrote that a good indication of whether it is enjoyable (I’m paraphrasing here) is if you make it through the film without stopping to nitpick.  I probably had that in mind while watching and I was kinda annoyed with the whole Death Star Starkiller Base segment.


Starkiller Base Planet

The first time we see this weapon, General Hux orders it fired, which sends beam of energy into space that fragment and streak toward multiple Republic planets!  From the planet that Maz Kantana’s temple/bar is on, everyone observes with only their naked eyes several planets being destroyed, presumably in the same solar system.

I’m all for suspending disbelief and taking some liberties with physics to make a scene work, but this was a total abuse of Hollywood Physics.  If just one planet in our system were to explode, all the others would fall out of orbit and life as we know it would be O-ver.  That green tropical planet everyone is one suddenly becomes New Hoth.

 The Politics

Fans are pointing out that it doesn’t make sense that the Resistance and the Republic are two separate entities fighting  the New Order, which is essentially the remnants of the Empire.  My theory is that they glossed over this because Star Wars is for children, first and foremost. Therefore it probably is not the best use of creative resources to develop a plausible political structure of what the galactic government landscape is post-Empire since its just going to be backdrop anyway.  Besides a lot of that has been explained in the Extended Universe, which technically is no longer Star Wars Cannon, Abrams et al are pulling from it liberally when it suits their needs.

Random Thoughts, Observations and Unanswered Questions

maz-kanata-lightsaberLightsabers:   I’m so pleased they figured out a way to hurt wound people without actually severing a hand or arm.  In another thread we are debating whether you have to be a jedi to use a lightsabers.  The answer is not at all, it just helps.  General Grievous used lightsabers quite well and was not a Jedi

The Force:  in the prequels it seemed like the Force was so powerful it turned Jedis into god like wizards.  I’m glad to see it scaled back a bit.

Who is Rey:  Perhaps Luke’s daughter.  I really hope they don’t  make her the sister of Kylo.  when Han and Leia talk about their son they don’t mention other children and as a parent of twins I got to tell you, that isn’t natural.  I suppose they could be under the impression that she died instead of being left on Jakku.  They could have shown her to be more Force-adept, perhaps when she is scavenging she could drop a tool or part and use the force to lift it back.

In the beginning, Poe shoots Kylo Ren from afar and Kylo captures the shot.  At the end of the movie, Chewbacca shoots Kylo from afar and nails him.  Probably because he’s distracted by having killed his father and all the baggage that comes with that.  [Holidays will be awkward to say the least.]


I liked what I did see of Poe.  He doesn’t strike me as a Han reboot but instead as a seasoned warrior who wants to be where the action is.  He was on an important mission at the start of the film and he was part of the battle of planet ice at the end.

  • Finn:  could be a relative of Lando or Windu or just a random newbie.
  • In ANH Luke watches Ben sacrifice his life.  In TFA Rea sees Han do pretty much the same thing.
  • in the OS, you have Luke, Leia, Han and Chewbecca.  In this one we have Rey, Poe, Finn and Chewbacca.
  • how does a base that big with that many storm troopers have so many empty corridors for Rae to sneak around unnoticed anyway?
  • did we really need that gun fight with the smugglers?
  • Why does C3Po have a red arm?  And who was the old man who was killed in the beginning?  Apparently he has a backstory that we didn’t get much of from the movie.

Well we just have to wait until May 2017 for Episode VIII.


While searching for something else, I came across this daisy from the early 70s. Silent Running — not to be confused with the hit song by Mike + The Mechanics — is a 1972 environmentally themed American science fiction film starring Bruce Dern. According to Wikipedia, it was directed by Douglas Trumbull, who had previously worked as a special effects supervisor on science fiction films, including 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Andromeda Strain. Clearly his budget was a little more constrained for this one.

The film is set in “The Next Century” where all flora on Earth has been rendered extinct. Dern plays Freeman Lowell, an astronaut who is given orders to destroy the last of Earth’s botany, kept in a greenhouse aboard a spacecraft. While the plot makes very little sense, and the plot holes can probably fit an asteroid belt, the thing to keep in mind is that this pre-dates Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica, yet had constructs like Greenhouses in outer space and droids (called drones in the film) with personalities and semi-sentient characteristics.

Since everything gets recycled, rebooted or flat out re-made, it might not be too long before some aspiring writer, director and/or producers decides to give this a shot. Who knows, maybe Mike + The Mechanics are even available for the soundtrack.

Free Fun Friday is where I like to feature a video that has gone viral or is otherwise interesting. It started as a way to make a quick blog entry so that I wouldn’t go too long between post for my readers. Now it’s sort of evolved as a way to stretch my writing muscles and flex my creativity neural pathways.

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When I was about 10 years old, my mom would take me and a friend to $1 movie night at the local movie theater. Usually we’d watch the movie together but once in a while, the movie a couple of 10 year old boys wanted to watch was just too juvenile for an adult, or another movie that was playing was more suitable for an adult. My mom would allow us to watch the movie on our own as long as we behaved, didn’t yell “fire” and meet up with her by the concession stand once our movie ended.

So we were allowed to see Spaced Out, a movie my mom thought was a campy but age appropriate Star Wars ripoff. Instead it turned out to be a movie with a horrible plot, unrealistic premise and a whole lot of nudity and sex! That’s right this was essentially sci-fi soft porn. My mother would never have allowed me, let alone one of my friends that she was responsible for, watch such a movie. This wasn’t a case of Parent Fail, it was a case of the Industry downplaying the level of sexual situations and quantify of nudity in the film. My guess is the film, which was released first in the U.K. (1979) then the United States (1981), wasn’t submitted for a rating in the first place (not a requirement, even today).

Unfortunately, my mom realized what kind of film we were watching and pulled us out of the theater — with about 10 minutes left of the film. So as bad as the plot was, I always kinda felt cheated that I didn’t find out how that Orgy in Space ended. My 10 minute search of the internet has only revealed the above trailer with French Subtitles. I recommend you read the reviews on IMDB — I was surprised to learn Bob Saget did the Stereotypically gay rendition of the ship’s computer voice.

Free Fun Friday is where I like to feature a video that has gone viral or is otherwise interesting. It started as a way to make a quick blog entry so that I wouldn’t go too long between post for my readers. Now it’s sort of evolved as a way to stretch my writing muscles and flex my creativity neural pathways.

Thank you for reading and I hope you will comment below. Please also do any and all of the following — I know pushy right!

  • “Like” and “Share” this post using those buttons under the headline.
  • see some mildly amusing photos and posts on my Facebook Fan Page.
  • follow me on Twitter @Icarus2013
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Sci Fi Fun

What in the world ever happened to Maren Jensen?

Colonial Warrior and hottie AthenaDo me a favor? Click my “like” button and join our Facebook community.

A bought of insomnia in the wee hours of the morning led me to scanning my Facebook feed and among them I happened across this post.

Geeks like me who grew up in the 70s and early 80s were big fans of Battlestar Galactica, one of the first space operas in the post Star Trek days. Many of us had a healthy crush on Colonial Warrior Athena AKA Maren Jensen.


a Facebook Fan page by James Flagler, the president of the Maren Jensen Fan Club states:

  • Maren Jensen was born September 23rd 1956, in Glendale California, she attended Hebert Hoover High school, where she was an honors student (Maren was a straight ‘A’ student throughout high school) she went to UCLA on a scholarship. (where she majored in Law and Theatre-arts)

    Bet everyone was too intimidated to ask her to prom

    Bet everyone was too intimidated to ask her to prom

  • Maren’s stunning and exotic good looks (Danish and Hawaiian decent) soon landed her television commercials and a career in modeling. She was on the cover(s) of the most popular beauty, fashion and glamour magazines there are, in both the United states and Europe.

  • In the 1980s, Maren was engaged to Don Henley (lead singer for the musical group the Eagles) and she also developed Epstein-Barr syndrome (which cut her acting career short) Maren recovered, but she left show business behind for good.

  • Maren and Don broke off the engagement, but have remained very good friends over the years. Maren helped Don Henley with the Walden Woods project in the 1990s, it is dedicated to protecting the Walden Woods (in Massachusetts) from development.

  • Maren is married and has a family. She lives in the New York metro area. Family, friends and business have her returning to the Los Angeles metro area from time to time.

I contacted Mr Flagler and through a volley of emails learned some interesting things about her.  On the Battlestar Galactica Fan Page, someone suggested the reason Jensen “disappeared” as the season went on was because she wouldn’t go the casting couch route.

“Maren’s time on Battlestar Galactica was reduced, because she was not an established actress and was in an adjustment period, going from model to actress, and at times, her acting was sub-par according to Glen A Larson, the producer of the show,” Flagler said. He went on to mention that Maren and Glen clashed out in the open at times because he thought she was lazy because she did not know her lines but it was the fact, that Maren was already feeling the early effects of Epstein Barr Syndrome (which drains a person of their energy) making daily activities difficult. Maren was taking acting lessons while shooting Battlestar Galactica and was paid $100,000 in advance to do BSG.

Flagler said he created the Maren Jensen fan page “because I really like the work that M.J. did….on Facebook, I saw numerous fan pages for Cheryl Ladd…and not one for M.J., so I thought, what the heck?”

this pic was taken (spur of the moment) by a fan, at a sci-fi media convention, many many years ago. (photo credit: James Flagler)

this pic was taken (spur of the moment) by a fan, at a sci-fi media convention, many many years ago. (photo credit: James Flagler)

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