OnScreen Game of Thrones Recap - “The Bells”

OnScreen Game of Thrones Recap - “The Bells”

We open on Varys writing a scroll. He is sending out ravens to Daenerys is devastated by the fact that word of Jon’s heritage is becoming more well known. She perceives it as a betrayal and executes Varys.  At the beginning of the series, it felt like the Spider had only been out for himself, but he really has done everything he could for the good of the realm and for the good of everyone around him. 

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Saying Goodbye to the Cast of The Big Bang Theory

Saying Goodbye to the Cast of The Big Bang Theory

The cast of television’s number one comedy, “The Big Bang Theory” filmed their last show on April 30, 2019. The following morning they arrived together at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood to make history. Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Keley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch put their handprints and signed their names in wet cement.

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SNL Mid-Season Report Card

SNL Mid-Season Report Card

This season of Saturday Night Live can at best be described as unremarkable. While we’re used to perhaps only have one or two sketches hit per episode, this season has seen multi-episode stretches go on before anything memorable is presented.

They’ve fumbled the ball when they have strong hosts such as Steve Carell, Matt Damon and Jonah Hill. They couldn’t save first time hosts from flubbing(Halsey, Clair Foy). And if you’ve grown tired of the political takes on the show, this season has put you to sleep.

The only two highlights of this season have been the John Mulaney(which is what happens when a former SNL writer is the host) and the fact that the hosting duties have been given to a bunch of people of color(six as of now).

But it’s going to take some strong shows to salvage my opinion of this season. Let’s check in to see how the cast is doing.

Safe

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The SNL End-of-Season Report Card

The SNL End-of-Season Report Card

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the cast of Saturday Night Live. At the end of each season, there is a sense of limbo as the status of cast members is unknown. Many come back, some leave, but it's been proven time and time again that in the cut-throat halls of 30 Rockefeller Center, it's safe not to get too attached to a cast member. So let's break it down and see how the cast fared this year. 

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The CW Passes on "Wayward Sisters" for Some Odd Reason

The CW Passes on "Wayward Sisters" for Some Odd Reason

Thirteen seasons in and no signs of stopping, there is no doubt that Supernatural is The CW's most popular show right now and arguably, ever. But with more seasons behind them than in front of them, it would make sense for the network to take advantage of creative pathways to keep the Winchester Universe alive as well as hold on to their ever-faithful fans. 

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A Journey Across the Small Screen: An Interview with Stephanie Rogers

A Journey Across the Small Screen: An Interview with Stephanie Rogers

We have all had dreams of being a TV/Movie star from when we were young. A small percentage of us try to make that dream a reality. An even smaller percentage of those people actually make in front of millions of viewers. I had the opportunity to speak with one of those people who made her dream a reality, the talented Stephanie Rogers, who has appeared in shows like Saturday Night Live, The Blacklist, The Knick, 30 Rock, Law and Order SVU, Smash, and many others. How did she get there, what has her journey been like, who have been the best movie stars to work with, and what advice would she give to anyone else who wants to live the dream.

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OnScreen Recap: Game of Thrones 'Beyond the Wall'

Brittany Strelluf

The following contains spoilers for season 7 episode 6 of Game of Thrones.

The Westeros Suicide Squad goes beyond the wall.  The team consists of Jon Snow, Ser Jorah Mormont, Tormund Giantsbane, Gendry Waters, Thoros of Myr, Sandor Clegane and Beric Dondarrion.   Each of these characters have proven to be worth their salt in a fight. Their plan was to grab a Wight and show it to Cersei, because the Frankenmountain apparently isn’t enough proof that zombies exist.

The banter is really enjoyable during these scenes, especially for those with an interest in the linage and lore in the Song and Ice and Fire universe. Tormund was fantastic in that gritty Wildling way. Tormund asks Jon how many people will have to die for his pride, this dialog echoes when Mance refused to bend to Stannis. Jon tries to give Jorah the sword Longclaw that Jorah’s father gifted him, but the knight refuses the sword. This is important because it shows Jon’s emphasis on his bastard status. It’s something that has haunted him his whole life and it will be exciting when Jon learns his true parentage.

A snow bear attacks the Squad. According to the lore set forth in the novels, snow bears are massive white bears that live north of the wall. They are much like real life polar bears except that they stand thirteen feet at the withers. This particular snow bear is also a zombified Wight. Thoros and Beric strike it with their flaming swords and it catches fire. The Hound is triggered and Thoros is injured. Thoros later succumbs to his injuries.

The men find an Other with a small group of Wights. The sound effects of the White Walkers was so horrifyingly inhuman.  It really drove home that these creatures are monsters. Jon kills the Other with Longclaw and the zombies are killed except one.  It looks like mission accomplished until the rest of the undead strike. The men retreat to an island and Gendry hoofs it back to Eastwatch.

Daenerys receives the distress raven from Eastwatch and flies into action. She mounts Drogon and takes all three of her children north. Beyond the wall the Magnificent Seven are literally fighting a losing battle when the Targaryen Cavalry appears and rescues the dream team. Dany reaches for Jon but he must continue to fight the walkers to save his people. Jon is overwhelmed by the Wights and sinks into the icy water as the Squad fly away on Drogon.  The Night King hurls a javelin at one of the dragons. The javelin hits Viserion, and the animal falls to his death. He slides into the lake and is lost in the icy black water. The Hound, Beric, Jorah, Tormund and Dany fly away with the two remaining dragons.

In a later scene, Jon Snow comes up for air and is being charged by the Wights. Just when it appears all is lost for him, a rider on horseback saves him. It is Jon’s Uncle Benjen, who saved Bran in a similar fashion last season. Coldhands gives Jon his horse and sends him off. Benjen fights the walkers with his last bit of strength.

At Winterfell Arya confronts Sansa about the letter she found. Sansa goes to look for it in her sister’s quarters. She doesn’t find the letter, but instead finds Arya’s portfolio of faces that she has collected. Arya was trained on detecting lies but somehow, she can’t tell that Sansa is telling the truth.  Arya has no clue how much her sister has grown through the years.  This plotline is a little frustrating and hopefully will work out in the next episode.

Jon rides up on Coldhands ex machina’s horse. They bring Jon into Dany’s ship. Dany sees Jon’s mortal wounds in his bare chest.  In a quiet conversation, Dany mourns Viserion and she vows to destroy the Night King and the Army of the Dead. “You have to see it to know,” she says “and now I know.” Jon finally bends the knee to Daenerys.

The final moments contain what is arguably the most important scene in the episode. The corpse of Viserion is pulled out of the icy lake and the Night King lays a hand on the dead dragon.  His blue eye opens, resurrecting him as a weapon for the army of the dead. The undead dragon is now the personal mount of the Night King.

There was so much that happened in this episode. This was the only episode that the time jumps that have plagued some viewers all season was really very jarring.  In seasons past the penultimate episodes were a huge plot point in the story as a whole. The horrors of the Night King and the threat of his new mount sets up a malevolent force to be reckoned with for the season finale and the next season.

OnScreen Recap: Game of Thrones Eastwatch

Brittany Strelluf

The following contains spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 5

Bran wargs a flock of birds and sees the vast army of the dead that is looming closer and closer every day. He is obviously shaken and orders ravens to be sent at once.

Over in Westeros, Bronn has saved the Kingslayer from a fiery death. He insists that no one gets to kill him but him until Bronn is paid adequately. Jaime reminds Bronn that Dany has two more dragons at her disposal. In a later scene, Jaime goes to Cersei. He tells her about the Dothraki and he claims that they will beat any army that the Lannisters throw at them.  Cersei learns the extent of the damage from the field of fire. A thousand wagons, and the scorpion weapon is gone. Jaime also informs her that Olenna was Joffrey's true killer.

Tyrion walks through the scorched battlefield. The scene effectively drives home to horrors of war.  The Khaleesi addresses the surviving soldiers.  She tells them to that she isn't there to murder them. She insists that she wants to make the world a better place. Then she insists that they must bend the knee or die. This is such a contrast to the woman who strategically earned her the love and devotion of the unsullied, whom she offered freedom and swore that no man who left would be harmed.

Randyll Tarly refuses to yield. Tyrion and Tarly trade words. Lord Tarly stands firm in his decision not to bend to Dany. Randyll’s son steps forward to stand by his father. Tyrion tries every tactic he can to save the two men. Dany has made the decision to kill them with dragonfire. Tyrion begs her to reconsider, but her choice is made. Dany sets them ablaze and the remaining Lannister soldiers submit to her will.  Book readers might see a parallel of when her father killed Rickard Stark and his son Brandon Stark.

Dany returns to Dragonstone. Jon connects with Drogon, and strokes the creature. This might be a crucial detail if many fan theories about Jon Snow are correct. The silver queen asks Jon about what Ser Davos said about Jon taking a knife to the heart. He dismisses it and before it can be discussed further, the two are interrupted by Dothraki scouts. They have Ser Jorah Mormont with him.

Tyrion and Davos arrive back in King’s Landing. Jaime and Bronn stride through the dungeons where the skulls of dragons lay around.  Tyrion and Jaime are reunited at last. The reunion is not one of brotherly love. Tyrion tells Jaime that Dany will suspend all military actions if Cersei meets her.  In a later scene, Jaime goes to Cersei. He tells her that he has met with Tyrion. Cersei informs him that she is pregnant.

In WInterfell, Arya lurks in the shadows as she spies onLittlefinger as he meets s meeting with variouspeople. In the shadows lurks Arya. She spies on Baelish as he meets a Maester. She breaks into his private quarters and finds a scroll from Sansa.  It appears to be Sansa's letter home that Cersei forced her to write, telling Robb Stark that their father Ned was a traitor and urging him to bend the knee to Joffrey.  Arya doesn’t know that her sister was forced to write this, and it makes it appear that Sansa betrayed their father. When Arya exits the room, we now see Littlefinger is waiting in the hallway. Littlefinger might be attempting to drive a wedge between the Stark sisters.

If you couldn’t read the letter, here is what it said:

"Robb, I write to you with a heavy heart. Our good king Robert is dead, killed from wounds he took in a boar hunt. Father has been charged with treason. He conspired with Robert’s brothers against my beloved Joffrey and tried to steal his throne. The Lannisters are treating me very well and provide me with every comfort. I beg you: come to King’s Landing, swear fealty to King Joffrey and prevent any strife between the great houses of Lannister and Stark."

Arya walks into a meeting, the people of WInterfell are addressing Sansa. They seem to be behind her as a leader.  Sansa reminds the rabble that Jon is the King.  The sisters exit to Sansa’s chambers. Arya realizes that her room was once their parents' quarters.  The two argue and it is very tense between them.

Tyrion and Varys are throwing back wine in the empty throne room. Varys talks about his experience with the Mad King. Tyrion insists that Dany is not her father. The Spider tells Tyrion he must make Dany listen to him. In the war-council room, Jon has received a note from a raven. He now knows that Arya and Bran are alive and well back in Winterfell.  Tyrion tells Jon to bring a Wight to King’s Landing.  Tyrion tells the small council that Cersei will only listen to Jaime and Jaime might listen to him. Ser Davos plans to smuggle Tyrion into King’s Landing. Ser Jorah volunteers to go north and bring back a walker. Jon insists on going as well. When Dany claims that she hasn’t given him permission to leave Dragonstone, he calmly tells her that he does not need her permission. He is a king. He put his trust in her for the sake of his people and asks her to do the same.

Ser Davos finds Gendry. Gendry is one of Robert Baratheon's bastard children. They are scattered all over Westeros. Ser Davos is such a joy whenever he is on screen. The Onion Knight takes Gendry with him. Their departure is interpreted by Cersei’s guards. Davos attempts to talk the Lannister guards away, but Tyrion appears and the don’t back down. Gendry kills them with a hammer. Gendry will be fun when the war comes.  Jon and Gendry meet. Their meeting was the beginning of a beautiful friendship that the audience didn't know they needed. Gendry is completely honest about who he is and why he is there. He offers his services to help Jon grab a Wight and bring it back to King’s Landing.  It is interesting to see Gendry back in play.

At the Citadel, the Maesters are reading Bran Stark’s scroll. Bran warns of the Night King and the Army of the dead.  The Maesters clearly don’t believe him.  Sam speaks up and claims that the news is truth. Tarly begs them to believe him and to tell everyone in Westeros that Winter has arrived. The Maesters dismiss him, and after Samwell exits, the audience learns that they have yet to tell Sam that his father and brother are dead, murdered by dragonfire. This also means that Samwell is in fact, the new Lord of the Reach.

Sam Samwell is growing weary of his menial tasks.   Gilly finds an annulment between Dany’s older brother, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen and his wife Elia Martell and remarried another in a secret ceremony in Dorne. This is actually an incredibly important find for Jon Snow.  Sam takes some books and scrolls and the little family leaves the Citadel.

Jon arrives at Eastwatch. The power team to retrieve a Wight consists of Jorah, the Hound, Tormund, Ser Beric Dondarrion, Gendry and Jon Snow. The men go beyond the wall and seek out the Army of the Dead.

After last week’s massive battle scene, this episode was much more muted.  The best scenes in this episode were the quiet moments surrounding the King in the North.   It is nice to see Davos playing a bigger role again. The meeting between Gendry and Jon was fantastic.  The most important moment was finding out that Rhaegar Targaryen was in fact married to Lyanna Stark.  Indeed, when Jon said “I am a king.”  He does not yet know how true that statement is.

OnScreen Recap: Game of Thrones The Spoils of War

Brittany Strelluf

The following contains spoilers for Season 7 Episode 4 of Game of Thrones.

At Dragonstone Jon takes Daenerys into the caves. This scene reminds viewers of a little about the ancient lore from the books. The first people who came to Westeros and at first fought with the Children of the Forest. They finally joined together to fight the Others and push them back beyond the Wall. Jon has found Chauvet style drawings of the Night King and White Walkers left by the Children of the Forest that tell this story.  The circles and spirals within the cave spring up often throughout the series. It appears that Dany is starting to soften and she agrees to fight with Jon, only if he bends the knee. They exit the cave and Dany receives word that Casterly Rock has been taken. Olenna is lost, along with Highgarden. Yara Greyjoy is also still held by Euron.

Theon washes up on Dragonstone at Jon Snow’s feet. Theon has regained some of his senses. When he asks about Sansa, Jon grabs him and says the only reason he is alive is because he helped Sansa escape Ramsay Bolton’s hand. If viewers are confused by Jon’s outrage, it might be because Jon believes that Theon had killed Bran and Rickon. (Theon would have killed them, at the first opportunity.) Theon is there to ask for help from Daenerys.

Littlefinger gives Bran Catspaw, the dagger that was meant to kill him in season one.  It my seems sincere, but many viewers who are privy to Littlefinger’s character might think that Littlefinger is trying to get on Bran’s good side. Possibly because Littlefinger played a role in Ned Stark’s death.  Bran echoes Littlefinger’s words “Chaos is a ladder” back at him. Meera enters and Baelish exits.  Meera tells Bran that she is leaving. Bran is emotionless at her departure, reminding the audience why he is many viewers least favorite Stark child.  Meera has tears in her eyes when she reminds him that her brother, Hodor, his direwolf Summer all died to protect him and deliver him home.  Not to mention a lifetime of trauma his paradoxical time traveling caused Hodor. 

Arya finally returns home to Winterfell. She is rebuked by the guards In a scene that parallels one in the first season. This scene shows how strong Arya has truly grown throughout the run if the show.  Arya and Sansa are reunited in the crypts of Winterfell. The actresses are friends in real life and their kinship shows in this scene. The sisters grew up at odds with each other.  Bran and Arya are reunited at last. Bran gifts Arya the Valyrian steel dagger that Littlefinger gave him.   Viewers might be reminded that Valyrian steel is very rare and is coveted by the people of Westeros. It is considered priceless. It also is one of the few things that can kill the Others and White Walkers.  Perhaps Arya will get a few kills in the battles with the others.  Whatever happens, it is amazing to see the Stark children together once again.

Brienne and Arya spar together in the courtyard.  In the books, Arya is a combination of all of her training and experience.  That really showed in the choreography and performance. This fight was fun, and it was eerily parallel of the trial by combat between the Mountain and the Viper that sealed Tyrion’s fate. 

An incredible war scene acts as the finale of the episode.   A wild hoard of Dothraki blood-riders attack the Lannister army.  The army braces for impact with shields and spears. The horse lords appear over a ridge, screaming and brandishing their arakh blades. Jaime assures Bronn that there is hope for survival, when we hear the cry of Drogon. The dragon sets the army aflame.  Bron shoots Drogon with Qyburn’s projectile and injures the animal.  Drogon plummets, but recovers and annihilates the scorpion.  Jaime watches his army is burned alive and slaughtered. Viewers can almost hear the echo of the Mad King’s rants in his head. 

Tyrion looks on the scene in horror to see his beloved brother and his queen in battle. Tyrion commentary echoes the feelings of the viewer, whispering “Flee, you idiot!” Drogon is on the ground and Dany is trying to tend to his wound. The Kingslayer gallantly attacks Daenerys joust -style. Drogon whips his head around and attempts to blowtorch the knight. Jaime is shoved out of the way by Bronn.

This episode was an incredible chapter in the story. It really pulled parallels from earlier seasons and brought lore in from the books. The lore was enough to excite book fans, and inform the more causal show fan. The Dothraki unleashed was incredibly exciting. In earlier seasons the Dothraki are obviously feared. Robert Baratheon is quoted in saying “Only a fool would meet the Dothraki in an open field.” he standout scene was obviously the end battle.  The practical effects and stunts were phenomenal.  It will be a long week to see what happens next.

Star Trek vs. Star Wars: The argument to end all debate

Greg Ehrhardt

Everyone loves a good debate; whether its discussing Yankees vs Red Sox, Trump vs Clinton, Roe vs Wade, debates stir up all sorts of intellectual curiosity that increases our awareness of people that do not share our world view. We come out of these arguments stronger and healthier as a people and as a nation………………………………………………………………..

Hmmm… Yeah I didn’t even believe that myself. Ok, let’s start over.

No one likes a good debate these days, and for good reason. However, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have one from time to time. A debate we should be having on a daily basis  is whether Star Wars is really the best sci-fi movie franchise out there. Heck, is it really even a sci-fi franchise?  (We won’t quite go there today)

Star Wars is so popular it has its own holiday, as we know. But, there is another sci-fi movie franchise that is arguably better than Star Wars and is more worthy of national and global holidays. The franchise, of course, is Star Trek. Sure, Star Trek is not exactly the plucky underdog in the Star Trek Vs Star Wars debate; there are still star trek conventions occurring to this day, and 5 separate live action series and going on 13 movies made. But, in my opinion, it is criminally underserved compared to the hype Star Wars gets on a daily basis.

So here I am to prove, once and for all, that Star Trek is a better movie franchise than Star Wars.

Some provisos before we get started:

1)      To keep this as apples to apples as possible, I will be focusing only on the Star Trek movies with the original cast and the reboot starring Chris Pine/Zach Quinto. My omission of the Star Trek Next Generation movies is not intended as a slight.

2)      I love Star Wars and Star Trek. This breakdown pitting them against each other is for fun only.

3)      The criteria I use to evaluate Star Wars Vs Star Trek is mine, and mine alone, and quite obviously subjective. There is no science to it (ironically enough).

4)      Credit to the format of this debate goes to The Sports Guy Bill Simmons. I could not imagine writing this any other way after reading his famous Pacino vs Deniro debate

Without further ado, let’s Make it So!!!

(sorry, I know I promised no TV and no Next Generation, but it’s hard sometimes)

Best Lead Male Character

Luke Skywalker vs Captain James T. Kirk

So you can make a pretty good argument that Obi-Wan Kenobi is the true lead male character of Star Wars: he has been in just as many movies as Skywalker in a prominent, leading role. However, since Star Wars is really about the soap opera of the Skywalker clan, and since Luke (I am guessing) features prominently in Episodes VIII/IX, I’m going with Luke here.

And let’s discuss Luke. He’s incredibly naïve, gives up constantly , ignores his future as it is being directly told to him, and, unbelievably, can’t even put up a fight vs the emperor by himself (sure sure, he defeats him by selling his dad on family and thus getting his dad to turn on the emperor, but he was going to be defeated by the emperor unless a 1-30 chance happened!!)

Isn’t it really important that our hero vanquishes the bad guy???

Meanwhile, we have James T. Kirk, who, by all accounts, hates to lose, cheats death constantly, not by midichlorians, but by his cunning and strategic attacks on his opponent’s weaknesses. He rejects temptation to the dark side with much more moral clarity than even Luke Skywalker.

You tell me who you want in the foxhole with you, Kirk, or Luke? If you want to get out alive, there is no question.

Edge: Star Trek

Best Leading Female Character

Princess Leia vs Lt. Uhura

Well, let’s see. We have a princess who isn’t afraid to shoot a gun and takes down Joba the Hut all by herself by choking him to death.

or

We have Lt. Uhura, who never in the entire movie franchise (or the tv series) assumed the captain’s chair for even a second, despite some very questionable red-shirts assuming command temporarily during that time. And when you get right down to it, Lt Uhura’s biggest contribution to accomplishing the missions in the movies was to do this.

No Contest

BIG EDGE: Star Wars

Best Supporting Character

Mr. Spock vs Han Solo

One is a brash gunslinger who now doesn’t even want to acknowledge ever shooting first in a bar scuffle.

One is a logic focused half earthling/half Vulcan who is brilliant, incredibly strong, and maintains an ethos of non-violence. However, he isn’t afraid to shoot first either when situations warrant.

So naturally, the edge goes to Mr. Spock. However, Han Solo will always have this going for him as far as drop the mic moments (the best ever)

Edge: PUSH

Best Villain

Darth Vader vs Khan

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Darth Vader frequently tops most people’s “best movie villains of all time” list, and his performance in A New Hope and Empire Strikes back certainly merits such an appraisal.

However…can a villain really be a villain if he ends up becoming a hero??? Can he??

Meanwhile, on the other side, we have a villain who not only revels in burying his opponents alive, but, in his opportunity to turn good and save innocent lives, decides to push the nuke button anyways.

(I mean, is this really a debate?)

Big Edge: Star Trek

Best Costumes

Star Wars’s best dressups come in the prequel, with fairly inventive, albeit ridiculous, outfits.

Meanwhile, Star Trek costumes look like something from an adult YMCA sleepover

HUGE EDGE: Star Wars

Best Prequel Movie

Phantom Menace Vs Star Trek (Chris Pine version)

As Rifftrax once said about the Phantom Menace (paraphrasing), “You know what I want from my sci-fi movies??? Talking. Lots and lots of talking about what happened”

As far as Star Trek prequel goes well first, there is………………I don’t need to cite anything!! It’s being compared against the Phantom Menace!!

(So you say Revenge of the Sith is the best prequel? Really? You sure??)

HUGE GIGANTIC EDGE: Star Trek

Worst Movie

Attack of the Clones Vs Star Trek: The Motion Picture

So Star Trek: The Motion Picture is so bad I punished OnStage movie critic Ken Jones to watch it as a result of losing a bet. And he ended up agreeing with me after being forced to write a review on it. Basically, I found watching certain paints dry more pulse pounding than that movie.

But of course, we’re comparing it to The Attack of the Clones, which, speaking of watching paint dry, features prominently scenes like this.

Sorry, no contest

(And Final Frontier is so bad its good. Sorry, it is.  Star Trek The Motion Picture is just painstakingly boring bad)

Edge: Star Trek

Best Movie

Empire Strikes Back Vs Wrath of Khan

Empire might be, still, the best action sequel ever made.

Wrath of Khan is still underrated for the non-star trek fans. It features some legitimately tense set pieces for the uninitiated, and features some commentary on the dangers of following a vendetta blindly and without thinking through the consequences.

All that said, Empire wins fairly handily

Edge: Star Wars

Best Moment

“I am Your Father” vs Spock’s Death

“I am Your Father” is iconic, a trend-setter, and a game changer for the franchise. HOWEVER, the part that has always bothered me is Luke’s reaction to it. Watch it here. It’s basically the 7 stages of grief compressed into 10 seconds. It’s an impressive bit of acting to accomplish it, but is it a little too scenery chewing? Doesn’t the denial phase take more than 5 seconds? Does he accept it that quickly?

Spock’s death scene, on the other hand, is Shatner and Nimoy’s finest acting accomplishment, by far. You watch it, in context, and think its two brothers saying good bye for the final time. Its haunting, and it takes an entire (unfortunately crappy) sequel to deal with those feelings.

“I Am Your Father” is understandably more in the cultural lexicon, and it gets points for that. It’s hard to take a line from a somber death scene and parody it. But, for my money, I can’t choose between one or the other. But I have to give the edge to what society chose

Slightest of slight edges: Star Wars

Cast Diversity

Star Trek features an Asian and African-American cast members, along with a Half Alien/Half-Earthling who serves as an allegory for racial discrimination amongst its starring cast. Oh yeah, and Star Trek featured the first ever inter-racial kiss on screen. (I know, I’m not supposed to talk about TV!)

Meanwhile, Star Wars has this to say about racial diversity

HUGE EDGE: Star Trek

Morals of their Stories

Star Trek has the following things to say from their movies

Sound decisions are never made while wearing pajamas at work” (Motion Picture)

“The needs of the many always outweigh the needs of the few” (Wrath of Khan).

Don’t mess with the earth or its animals, or environmental catastrophe will follow (The Voyage Home)

Learning how to use your pain to make you a stronger person (Final Frontier, and yes, there was a lesson to be learned from that movie besides “Stop making odd numbered movies Star Trek!”).

Revenge is never a good thing to base foreign policy around. (Undiscovered Country)

 All of these morals seem relevant today, no?

And here’s the two lessons from Star Wars:

1)      Only evil people speak in absolutes (don’t recall the great leaders of our time speaking in “both sides have a point” generalities, but never mind)

2)      Good conquers Evil…………………………………….which as we know from the 2016 US election is poppycock.

HUGE GINORMOUS EDGE: STAR TREK

So there you have it, by a final score of 6-4-1, I give you indisputable evidence that Star Trek is a better movie franchise than Star Wars.

Now, may the force live long and prosper with you, always.

 ~~~~~~

Greg Ehrhardt is an unabashed Star Trek fan and an occasional contributor to OnStage and OnScreen.

“Once Upon A Time Creates A Magical Musical”

Brittany Strelluf

ABC’s Once Upon A Time’s long-awaited musical episode “The Song In Your Heart” premiered Sunday May 7th.

Among those who sang  were Emma played by Jennifer Morrison, Regina  played by Lana Parrilla, Hook played by Colin O’Donoghue. Also performing were Charming played by Josh Dallas, Snow played by Ginnifer Goodwin, Zelena by Rebecca Mader, and Henry played by Jared Gilmore.

As well as Granny by Beverley Elliot, Grumpy by Lee Arenberg and Geppetto played by Tony Amendola.

The cast which performed seven original songs composed by Alan Zachary, Michael Weiner, and “Once Upon a Time” composer Mark Isham. Zachary and Weiner are best known for Broadway musical First Date, which has enjoyed success in the US and abroad.

The whole episode embodied the overlaying theme of hope that has been threaded throughout the entire run of the show. The music remained very true to the theme and feel of the show. The composers really understood and cared about the characters and their stories.  The theme in the shows end credits were incorporated in Emma’s tale which was incredibly heartfelt.  

Keeping with the show’s format of flashback plots that parallel to the current events of Storybrooke. We learn that Snow and Charming made a special wish that their unborn princess Emma will be protected.  As a result, their wish has the whole kingdom spontaneously bursting into song, much to the chagrin of Evil Queen. In present day Storybrooke, the Black Fairy, played by Jaime Murray, plans to unleash an evil curse on the town on the day of Emma and Captain Hook’s wedding. There were some very heartbreaking and uplifting moments woven throughout the episode. There were so many moments that beautifully compliment the characters’ various arcs, and parallel previous moments in earlier episodes.

All of the songs were very enjoyable. “Powerful Magic” was an adorable and strong opening number. A personal favorite was Captain Hook’s “Revenge is Gonna Be Mine.”  Props to Colin O'Donoghue who broke his foot while doing Fred Astaire’s chair trick from “Let’s Dance.” Rebecca Mader’s solo showed off her lovely voice. Of course, Hook and Emma’s duet “Happy Beginning” was something every Captain Swan fan needed and more.

While incredibly entertaining and canonically sound, this episode was much more than fun musical numbers, a sweet fairytale wedding, and setting up for the 2-hour finale. The musical episode served a higher purpose, it reminded fans of how great and very original “Once Upon A Time” really is. It is a tribute to the impeccable attention to details, redemption arcs, and excellent acting from the entire ensemble that drew fans in and carried the show over six seasons.

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Brittany Strelluf has a Bachelor's degree in theatre and a Master's degree in education from Avila University in Kansas City. She is theatre and English instructor. She recently served on a Teaching Advisory Board for The Nelson-Adkins Museum of Art. Her stage credits include Trojan Women, Camelot, and I Never Saw Another Butterfly.