A Picard Primer

Well, Picard is now officially out (With Season 2 around the corner, on CBS Access, and other online locations worldwide), and in our humble opinion here at NerdBeach we think it is great to see the man back in action. Sure, we could do with a lot less lens flare, but a Picard series, or any new Star Trek, is always welcome at the beach.

Photo Credit: CBS All Access

While we have been along with Star Trek since the start, I know there may be some fine folks that are new to Picard’s universe. And there may others that would just like to refresh their Picard back story as they take in the new show.

For that reason, we have scoured both the web and our memory to present a viewing guide of the previous Trek for your Picard priming pleasure. (And please note that this is not a reflection of favorite episodes, just episodes that are closely related to the back story of the Picard series and its characters.)

Star Trek The Next Generation

  • S1:E1-2 Encounter at Far Point
  • S1:E3 Naked Now
  • S1:E8 The Battle
  • S1:E12 Data Lore
  • S1:E23 Skin Of Evil
  • S2:E6 The Schizoid Man
  • S2:E9 The Measure of a Man
  • S2:E16 Q Who
  • S3:E16 The offspring
  • S3:E26 /4:1 The Best of Both Worlds
  • S4:E2 Family 
  • S4:E3 Brothers
  • S5:E23 iBorg
  • S5:E25 The Inner Light 
  • S6:E9 The Quality of Life
  • S6:E15 Tapestry
  • S6:E26 S7:E1 Descent 
  • S7:E10 Inheritance 
  • S7:E25 26 All Good things

Star Trek Enterprise 

  • S4:E4 Borderland
  • 4S:E5 Cold Station 12
  • S4:E6 The Augments

Star Trek Voyager 

  • S1:E1-2 Caretaker
  • S3:E17 Unity
  • S3:E26-S4:E1 Scorpion
  • S4:E6 The Raven
  • S5:E2 Drone
  • S5:E16 Dark Frontier
  • S6:E2 Survival Instinct 
  • S6:E16 Collective
  • S6:E19 Childs Play
  • S6:E26-S7:E1 Unimatrix Zero
  • S7:E2 Imperfection 
  • S7:E25-26 End Game

Star Trek Films

  • Generations
  • First Contact
  • Enterprise 
  • Insurrection 
  • Nemesis

Star Trek Shorts

  • Children of Mars

Fists of Bruce Lee Fury

I have on occasion browsed through the channels on the Pluto app, and I usually spend a few minutes when it comes to the “Fists of Fury” channel. I like this channel because it reminds me of “Kung Fu Theatre.” I was lucky enough to enjoy this bit of kung fu indulgence back in my younger days over broadcast TV. It would come on Saturdays, a few hours before Chiller took over the station for the night. Anyway, imagine my delight when I found 1973s The Real Bruce Lee on the channel. And by delight, I mean what a train wreck of Bruceploitation. Is that a word? If not, let’s just call it Fists of Bruce Lee Fury.

Movie Poster courtesy Madison World Film

Bruce Lee Fury and the Clones

When Bruce Lee died in 1973 at the top of his fame, hopeful Hong Kong Kung Fu actors rushed in to try to claim the dragon crown. There were many potential heirs, but two of the most successful were probably Bruce Li and Dragon Lee (you can’t make this stuff up.)

This is where it gets interesting. You’ll find that both Bruce Li and Dragon Lee star in The Real Bruce Lee. According to the movie poster, Dragon Lee got his start on this particular film. However, there are two earlier movies listed in his Kung Fu cinematic career.

As you watch The Real Bruce Lee, you may have a hard time telling which Bruce it is.  The confusion stems from a confusing plot and clips of the real Bruce Lee. Maybe you can turn it into a game, where you try to figure out which Bruce it is before the dubbed voiceover starts.

Speaking of the voiceover, when you watch it in the dubbed English you’ll find that the voiceover doesn’t even remotely match Bruce Lee’s voice. But that is nothing new for Kung Fu movies of that vintage.  At that time producers were working hard to expand their movies to the English audience. Apparently, there were not that many voice actors to be found. Or so it would seem to anyone who has watched too many Kung Fu movies.

Early Bruce Lee Film?

The taglines on The Real Bruce Lee claim that the movie was “An early Bruce Lee film found in the Chinese film archives and never seen before.” Now, as a reasonably sane person, you have probably deduced that if it was really a discovered film, then the Bruce clones would have no part in this Kung Fu flick. But since they did, well, it was more like old clips that were used to stitch together a new movie.

What is the end result of this Bruceploitation? Well, to be honest, I watched it all and enjoyed it. It was fun to see something from Bruce Lee that was different from the usual offerings. Even if they did have to send in the clones.

The Mystery of Bruce Lee’s Death
The death of Bruce Lee has never been fully explained. There have been many theories put forth, including one that he died as a result of a Death Touch from a Kung Fu Master. The only thing certain is that he died fron a cerebral edema in his sleep.

Netflix’s Erased Is Entertaining Live Manga

Another month, another binging of a time-traveling series on Netflix. Last time we checked out the German made adventure Dark. This round we look at Netflix’s Erased,  an original time-traveling series which finds its roots in Japanese Manga.

Netflix’s Erased Is Based On Manga

The show is based on the manga series Boku dake ga Inai Machi , which was published from 2012 to 2016. At that point, it was made into an Anime series, and now for 2017, we have the live-action version on Netflix. The big question, though, is it binge-worthy? Let’s take a look, and we promise to be as careful as possible to not reveal any important spoilers.

Time Travel Plot

Netflix's Erased
Poster Image Netflix

The series is basically about a young man that has episodes, he calls them “revivals”, where he goes back in time a few minutes. It happens randomly and rarely, but when it does our main character, Satoru, usually finds something that needs to be corrected or fixed. Once he does this time resumes again, and all is good. We are not privy to his previous revival experiences, but we are told that they happen.

Netflix's Erased
Image Netflix

We soon find that a revival leads Satoru down a path that leads into big trouble for him and others. A new revival then happens, leading him back into his past farther than he has ever travelled in the past. During his time in the past, which he lives through a younger version of himself with all of his memory intact, Satoru discovers that the real problem with the future stems from this time. Our hero goes about trying to save those around him that are impacted by an unknown nemesis. Things don’t always work out as planned, but our hero is determined. And so our story unfolds.

Limited Special Effects

The show doesn’t spend a lot of time on CGI or special effects, and it doesn’t need to – the only time effects are used is to show a revival taking place. Instead, the story is very character driven, with the interactions between Satoru and others taking precedence over time travel itself. The end result is a story that is very much a look at a less than perfect hero that (hopefully) triumphs over a faceless enemy.

Image Netflix

The story seems like it is wrapped up midway through the series, but it is actually just getting started. There are a few twists and turns that you don’t want to miss if you have invested the time to make it this far. I found the character of Satoru to be a very likable one, and watching Erased invoked a sense of understanding with the character, limited as he is as a student in school.

No English Dubbed Version

The show is presented in the original language with only subtitles for English viewers. While we have spoken about the convenience of dubbed foreign media before, Erased will require your full reading attention in order to experience it if you don’t speak the language. But a lot of the story relies on facial expressions and other such visual mechanisms, so giving it your full attention is worth it if you enjoy the story.

Is Netflix’s Erased binge-worthy? I do think it is, but not everyone will like the slower pace. If you are not enjoying it by the second episode, you probably should stop there before spending any more of your time. But I think that most people will find the show a treat, and if you like time travel stories that are soft on the time travel aspects I certainly recommend giving Erased a try.

Review: Netflix’s Time Traveling Series Dark is Binge Worthy

I like a good time travel show and have for years. I think it all started with reading The Other side of Time by Keith Laumer at an early age, and I still enjoy them. So it should be no surprise that I was drawn to Netflix’s new German time traveling mystery series, Dark. The show is now streaming on the entertainment website, ready for perusal if you have a Netflix membership. But is it worth your time to watch? Let’s take a look, hopefully without exposing any spoilers along the way.

To start with, if you like mystery shows, science fiction, or thrillers, it might be hard to NOT find something to like about Dark.  The 10 episode first season spans everything from government conspiracies to science fiction, with some child abduction and adultery thrown in for good measure. The show moves between three different time periods, so it can be a little challenging to keep everything straight. At least that seems to be the case at first, but it all settles down an episode or so into the series.

There have been some comparisons to Netflix’s other streaming series, Stranger Things, no doubt due to the younger characters that make up a lot of the show. But make no mistake, Dark is the bolder, adult version of that kind of story. The tone is set from the start of the series, and it doesn’t let up throughout the duration. The well-crafted show presents some strong performances from the ensemble, and even the music score serves well to keep the tone on an edgy beat.

The show is in German, but by default English speaking listeners will get an English-dubbed version to watch. While we have extolled the virtues of dubbed shows before, it really is up to the end user to decide if they want the original subtitled version instead. If so, just switch the language over to German and select the English subtitles.

Is Dark worth your binging time? I do think so, and I am looking forward to hopefully season 2. Things can get confusing if you don’t pay attention and the final episode will leave you grasping at the conclusion. It’s definitely a thinking person’s series, but it does have you guessing along the way. It’s the kind of show that is satisfying when the pieces fall into place, even if you do have to figure out a few for yourself.