Posted in Television

The Essential Clone Wars: “Rookies”

***I must confess that, despite being a huge Star Wars geek, I have yet to see the landmark Clone Wars animated show in its entirety. I’m aiming to rectify that to a large extent here, as we look at pivotal episodes of the series in, “The Essential Clone Wars.”

Star Wars The Clone Wars, Rookies, image 1SERIES: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
EPISODE:
S1:E5 – “Rookies”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Dee Bradley Baker, James Arnold Taylor, Matthew Wood, Tom Kane, Matt Lanter
WRITER:
Steven Melching
DIRECTOR:
Justin Ridge
PREMIERE DATE:
October 24, 2008
SYNOPSIS: 
A group of rookie clones unite prevent a Separatist droid invasion.

***New around here? Check out our Star Wars review archive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

We start the episode off with what looks like a hologram version of a radio broadcast. That’s a cool little world-building (or in this case, universe-building) element to throw in.

Almost all the characters on The Clone Wars, especially this early in the show, always wear the same outfits. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. But in Obi-Wan Kenobi’s case, it can be distracting as he’s wearing battle armor. It looks out of place in scenes like the one on the bridge of the starship. In hindsight, I might have put him in something that looked a little less battle-ready.

Star Wars The Clone Wars, Rookies, Image 2

When I looked at “Ambush,” I noted how I’m not a fan of the battle droids being overly goofy. These stealth droid commandos, on the other hand, are right up my alley. They give off just the vibe you’d expect an evil robot army to have. They’re cold, efficient, merciless, and scary.

It took me a minute to realize that Echo, one of the clones we see in this episode, is also one of the main characters in The Bad Batch. I can only assume we’ll be seeing more of him and his evolution as we move through The Clone Wars and into The Bad Batch. That’s always a cool thing to see.

And of course, we have Rex and Cody in this episode. We know they’ll both play notable roles as time goes on.

“Big gun doesn’t make a big man.” That’s a good line. The kind that should be repeated often in certain parts of America…

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Television

The Essential Clone Wars: “Ambush”

***I must confess that, despite being a huge Star Wars geek, I have yet to see the landmark Clone Wars animated show in its entirety. I’m aiming to rectify that to a large extent here, as we look at pivotal episodes of the series in, “The Essential Clone Wars.”

SERIES: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
EPISODE:
S1:E1 – “Ambush”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Brian George, Corey Burton, Nika Futterman
WRITER:
Steven Melching
DIRECTOR:
Dave Bullock
PREMIERE DATE:
October 3, 2008
SYNOPSIS:
Yoda is lured into a trap by Count Dooku and Asajj Ventress.

***New around here? Check out our Star Wars review archive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

My research for this episode was my first exposure to how wonky the Clone Wars episode chronology can be. I invite you to check out Lucasfilm’s chronological episode order to see what I mean. But apparently, if one were to watch all the episodes in chronological order, “Ambush” would be the show’s fifth episode, rather than the first.

If nothing else, I guess it’s consistent with the Star Wars brand. This is, after all, the movie franchise that started with Episode IV.

Chronological issues notwithstanding, this was a good episode to start with. Everybody knows Yoda, so that was a nice hook for viewers who weren’t as familiar with Star Wars. It also establishes some of the main villains, who the good guy and bad guy troops are, the nature of the war itself, etc.

I’ve never like when the battle droids are overly jokey. That started in Revenge of the Sith, and continued here. It was the only thing in the episode that grated on me.

For whatever reason the Toydarians, King Katuunko in particular, don’t look as richly detailed as the other characters. First episode stumbles, maybe?

Obviously, the highlight of this episode is Yoda having the clones take their helmets off and then addressing them as individuals. The best line in his little speech? “Deceive you, eyes can. In the Force, very different each one of you are.” That’s a great Yoda line. 

On the subject of Yoda, I can’t imagine what it must have been like for Tom Kane to voice that character. At this point, he’d already played the character for the Star Wars: Clone Wars shorts that aired between 2003 and 2005. But this was obviously of a much larger scale. The character was, and still is, so closely identified with Frank Oz. But to his credit, Kane managed to make the character his own. He’s not as vocally flamboyant with Yoda as Oz was. But I might argue Kane gives the character a little more grit, which isn’t uncalled for in a show like The Clone Wars.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Television

Power Rangers Dino Fury, “New Leaf” Review

Ollie, Amelia, Power Rangers Dino Fury, New LeafSERIES: Power Rangers Dino Fury
EPISODE:
S29:E7. “New Leaf”
STARRING:
Russell Curry, Hunter Deno, Kai Moya, Tessa Rao, Chance Perez, Jordan Fite
WRITERS:
Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Maiya Thompson
DIRECTOR: Robyn Grace
PREMIERE DATE:
March 3, 2022
SYNOPSIS:
Ollie’s ego gets put in check, as Void Queen’s forces threaten the city’s water supply.

New around here? Check out the Power Rangers review archive!

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

It became pretty clear early in this episode that we were going to get some development here in the potential Ollie/Amelia romance. “New Leaf” doesn’t disappoint. It also delivers on some easily predicted, yet no less satisfying character development for Ollie.

I’m always on the look-out for former PR cast members when it comes to one-off characters like this Dr. Drake Flloyd. No such luck here. Though the actor, Jamie Irvine, has been on Shortland Street before. It feels like if you’re going to be in the New Zealand acting pool, you have to pass through Shortland Street at some point.

You don’t come to Power Rangers looking for quality CGI. That’s rarely been more evident than at the sight of that CGI octopus tentacle. Woof.

So now that Santaura and Tarrick have officially turned on each other, does that mean Void Knight is about to become a good guy? Or perhaps a sort of antihero, like Ecliptor was way back in Power Rangers in Space?

As Squashblight creates a storm cloud filled with his venom, Izzy says: “He’s gonna make it rain!” You just know that Maiya Thompson, who did the teleplay for this episode, smirked when she wrote that.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Television

Power Rangers Dino Fury, “Jam Session” Review

SERIES: Power Rangers Dino Fury
EPISODE:
S29:E6. “Jam Session”
STARRING:
Russell Curry, Hunter Deno, Kai Moya, Tessa Rao, Chance Perez, Jordan Fite
WRITERS:
Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Johnny Hartmann
DIRECTOR: Robyn Grace
PREMIERE DATE:
March 3, 2022
SYNOPSIS: 
Javi must endure a personal conflict to obtain a new Dino Key.

New around here? Check out the Power Rangers review archive!

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Typical supervillain brag by Void Knight. The zord jammer goes up, and he tells the Rangers exactly what it does. Tsk tsk…

On the subject of Void Knight, I assume we’re going to address at some point how his costume looks eerily similar to the Rangers’ suits? He’s got a similar sword, too. Might he and Santaura be from Rafkon? Or know what happened to it?

A nice little character moment for Jane, telling Javi’s father about how popular the livestream was, how well Javi did, etc. Nice to see her used as more than comic relief.

After fighting Wreckmate, Aiyon had another line about kicking “pirate booty. ” Because those lines in “The Festival” evidently weren’t enough. Ugh.

Ptera Freeze Zord, Power Rangers Dino Fury, Jam Session

In summoning its power, the Ptera Freeze Zord (shown above) appears to freeze the surrounding cityscape. That’s…one way to do things, I guess.

My prediction from last time about Santaura becoming the show’s big bad came true quicker than I thought it would. She uses Tarrick’s Sporix machine to power up and become Void Queen (shown above). Kind of a shame, actually. I was enjoying seeing Siobhan Marshall’s performance. Her live action performance, at least. She’s still the voice of the character.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Television

Power Rangers Dino Fury, “Stitched Up” Review

Power Rangers Dino Fury, Stiched UpSERIES: Power Rangers Dino Fury
EPISODE:
S29:E5. “Stitched Up”
STARRING:
Russell Curry, Hunter Deno, Kai Moya, Tessa Rao, Chance Perez, Jordan Fite
WRITERS:
Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Maiya Thompson, Guy Langford
DIRECTOR: Robyn Grace
PREMIERE DATE:
March 3, 2022
SYNOPSIS:
Izzy deals with drama over prom, while Void Knight develops a zord jammer.

New around here? Check out the Power Rangers review archive!

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

The humanization of Void Knight continues. Early in the episode, we learn his true name is Tarrick.

There’s also a Beast Morphers reference early on. Izzy references a show called “Kung-Fugitive,” and says Steel Silva is good in it. Steel Silva, of course, being the Silver Ranger in Beast Morphers.

The monster’s name is Junkalo. Is that supposed to be like juggalo? Naw, it couldn’t be. But it sounds like it, doesn’t it?

I like the quasi-rebellious dynamic Izzy has with her mom, and then the drama then ensues over the prom dress. I’m not sure if Izzy is the most developed character on this show, but she’s definitely in the top two. The other being Amelia. Dino Fury is doing right by its female Rangers.

Santaura, Power Rangers Dino Fury, Stitched Up

Santaura is played by Siobhan Marshall. It’s looking like the character may turn out to be the real big bad on Dino Fury. I’m game for that. Marshall isn’t chewing the scenery, and the white contacts really give Santaura a distinct look. So far, so good.

The prom stuff at the end of the episode had a genuinely good feeling to it. These characters feel like friends, and they seemed believably happy for Izzy and Fern. It made for the best ending to a Dino Fury episode yet.

By the way…Ollie, Amelia, and Javi all go to the same school as Izzy and Fern, right? So you’re telling me none of them had prom dates? Is that a plothole? Not necessarily. It’s more of an irritating trivia note.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Television

Power Rangers Dino Fury, “Tiny Trouble” Review

Baby Pacha, Power Rangers Dino Fury, Tiny TroubleSERIES: Power Rangers Dino Fury
EPISODE:
S29:E4. “Tiny Trouble”
STARRING:
Russell Curry, Hunter Deno, Kai Moya, Tessa Rao, Chance Perez, Jordan Fite
WRITERS:
Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Maiya Thompson
DIRECTOR: Charlie Haskell
PREMIERE DATE:
March 3, 2022
SYNOPSIS:
The Rangers feud with Void Knight’s forces over a miniturized zord.

New around here? Check out the Power Rangers review archive!

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

The balloon exercise Zayto had the team doing at the beginning of the episode was another nice look at the Rangers in training. It was creative and a good visual.

The Pacha zord wanders into the scene, and the Rangers learn it’s shrunk over millions of years. I don’t love the idea of a zord, even a tiny one, just wandering around the city waiting to be found. Isn’t that what Pokemon do? I’ve never been a Pokemon guy, so I don’t even have a clue.

Still, I almost wouldn’t mind Pacha staying small and acting like a pet for the Rangers. Why the heck not, right?

Hold on a minute, zords can reproduce? Like, that’s literally the line Ollie said. “Zords can reproduce.” Can we define “reproduce” for our purposes? How does that work exactly? I’m not even sure I buy it…

Blue Ranger Smash Battle Armor, Power Rangers Dino Fury, Tiny Trouble

I dig the Smash Battle Armor. It looks tailor-made to make toys out of. Almost like the Power Rangers equivalent to Hulk Hands. Doesn’t look like they make ’em, though. Seems like a missed opportunity.

I will say though, that once they got into the zord fight, they went a little too heavy on the boxing bit. I’m mainly talking about these two giants fighting in a boxing ring made up with power lines in the middle of the city. A little too much for my taste.

Santaura, our mysterious woman who’s been in stasis, finally wakes up at the end of the episode. Great closing shot with the eyes popping open, the contact lenses, etc. I was originally hoping they’d close the first season with a shot like that. But it’s every bit as effective here.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Television

Power Rangers Dino Fury, “Missing Pieces” Review

Zayto, Ollie, Izzy, Power Rangers Dino Fury, Missing PiecesSERIES: Power Rangers Dino Fury
EPISODE:
S29:E3. “Missing Pieces”
STARRING:
Russell Curry, Hunter Deno, Kai Moya, Tessa Rao, Chance Perez, Jordan Fite
WRITERS:
Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Maiya Thompson, Guy Langford
DIRECTOR: Charlie Haskell
PREMIERE DATE:
March 3, 2022
SYNOPSIS: 
Slyther tampers with the Rangers’ memories. Meanwhile, the search for Rafkon continues.

New around here? Check out the Power Rangers review archive!

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

So the best thing they could come up with for Slyther’s memory-tampering amulet was a steering wheel? Aw c’mon, prop department…

The T-Rex Cosmic Megazord makes the Dino Fury team one of the more travel-capable teams we’ve ever had. Obviously it can open portals to the far reaches of space and different dimensions. But who knows what else it can do, or where else it can go? The possibilities are intriguing.

“No, my dignity!” was one of Slyther’s more amusing exclamations. He’s like the villainous equivalent to Izzy in that he always gets the best lines.

Void Knight, Power Rangers Dino Fury, Missing Pieces

Really cool to see Void Knight mix it up with the Rangers, albeit briefly. That’s not always something you see from a lead villain. Also, it puts him over as a formidable opponent.

It’s interesting to me how the monsters in Dino Fury, like Wreckmate and Occulo, stick around for awhile. They aren’t simply destroyed in their debut episode, monster-of-the-week style.

I found myself legitimately intrigued by the mystery of what happened to Rafkon. It’s not often an entire planet disappears, after all.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Television

Power Rangers Dino Fury, “The Festival” Review

Dino Fury Cycle, Power Rangers Dino Fury, The FestivalSERIES: Power Rangers Dino Fury
EPISODE:
S29:E2. “The Festival”
STARRING:
Russell Curry, Hunter Deno, Kai Moya, Tessa Rao, Chance Perez, Jordan Fite
WRITERS:
Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Johnny Hartmann
DIRECTOR: Robyn Grace
PREMIERE DATE:
March 3, 2022
SYNOPSIS: 
The Rangers need a new weapon to take on the returning Wreckmate.

New around here? Check out the Power Rangers review archive!

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

“Triple Sun Festival”

I see that in the opening title sequence, Dino Fury is now labeled “A Netflix Series.” It’s even got the little “N” signature before the sequence even begins. I guess that technically means Power Rangers can now be categorized with shows like  Stranger Things, Ozark, etc. That’s…weird. But I’ll take it!

For the planet Rafkon’s Triple Sun Festival, Zayto’s teammates give him a set of nunchucks (shown below). Is it just me, or do we rarely see nunchucks on Power Rangers? I wonder why that is. Maybe it’s too hard for the stunt performers to swing them around while their visibility is a little more limited in the helmets? I’unno. I’m just spit ballin’.

After their respective fights with Wreckmate and Slyther, the Rangers are holding ice packs (Or are they heat packs?) over their civilian clothes. Lame. I get that they can’t show too much skin on a kids show. But still, lame.

Nunchucks, Power Rangers Dino Fury, The Festival

Solon and the Rangers looking at past teams for inspiration was a pleasant surprise. We saw footage from a variety of seasons, from Mighty Morphin to Wild Force to Ninja Storm to Samurai.

Question: Was Tommy’s voice dubbed over? That wouldn’t necessarily be unusual on its own, but everybody else sounded like themselves. Strange…

They did Jordan Fite no favors with that “I’m gonna kick your booty!” line. That was one of the more cringe-inducing lines all season.

For whatever reason, when a Ranger kicks a monster or something, Power Rangers likes to put in laser blast sound effects. As opposed to an impact or a kick sound effect. It happened a couple of times during the Gold Ranger’s fight with Wreckmate. I imagine it’s done to undercut the violence aspect, and make it seem more fantastical and sci-fi. But a kick is a kick, isn’t it? Kids understand that, don’t they? Even as a parent it doesn’t make sense to me.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Television

Power Rangers Dino Fury, “Numero Uno” Review

Void Knight return, Power Rangers Dino Fury, Numero UnoSERIES: Power Rangers Dino Fury
EPISODE:
S29:E1. “Numero Uno”
STARRING:
Russell Curry, Hunter Deno, Kai Moya, Tessa Rao, Chance Perez, Jordan Fite
WRITERS:
Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Maiya Thompson, Johnny Hartmann
DIRECTOR: Charlie Haskell
PREMIERE DATE:
March 3, 2022
SYNOPSIS: 
As Amelia struggles to balance Buzzblast with Ranger duty, Void Knight prepares for a return.

New around here? Check out the Power Rangers review archive!

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Really cool opening sequence with the Red Ranger running across the rooftops. Way to jump start things. The follow-up with Green and Gold leaping out from the building was fun too.

Wait, Amelia is in charge at Buzzblast (which is apparenetly one word, not two) while Jane is away? Isn’t Amelia supposed to be a high school kid? And isn’t Buzzblast supposed to be the Power Rangers equivalent to BuzzFeed, a globally renowned web site? Now there’s a gig that’ll look good on a college application…

So was this whole opening fight just a training exercise? Did they let a Sporix Beast loose and then time themselves as they went after it? Seems a little dangerous to me.

Void Knight, Power Rangers Dino Fury, Numero Uno

Amelia says her new show at Buzzblast is about “unsolved mystery.” Apparently she’s never seen Unsolved Mysteries. Another Netflix show, fittingly enough.

Aiyon’s line about whether they can trust “this lie brary person” had just the right about of cheesiness in it to be funny. Well done, writers.

Mucus swinging on a wrecking ball is likely as close as we’ll ever get to a Miley Cyrus reference on Power Rangers. And I’m okay with that.

The flamboyant flower cart owner, as we’ll call him, is played by Luke Bird. Delightfully over the top and cartoony.

Void Knight is back, which officially debunks the rumor I read about Lord Zedd returning as the main villain for season two. Zedd has to be back at some point though, doesn’t he? Otherwise, why go to the trouble of bringing him back?

A Megazord fight in cyberspace, huh? That’s a cool twist on things. We haven’t see that often…if ever!

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Television

Rob Watches The Mandalorian – Channeling His Inner Batman

The Mandalorian, season 1 posterSERIES: The Mandalorian
EPISODE:
S1:E6. “Chapter 6: The Prisoner”
STARRING:
Pedro Pascal, Bill Burr, Natalia Tena, Clancy Brown, Ismael Cruz Cordova
WRITERS:
Christopher Yost, Rick Famuyiwa
DIRECTOR: Rick Famuyiwa
PREMIERE DATE:
December 13, 2019
SYNOPSIS:
The Mandalorian is tasked with helping to free a convict from a New Republic prison ship.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

One name that jumps out at me from the get-go is Christopher Yost. He’s written his share of comic books, and also worked on Thor: Ragnarok. So Mando was in good hands here from a writing standpoint.

It was, and still is, incredibly surreal to see Bill Burr in the Star Wars universe. He’s one of the funniest comedians out there. And yet, his work as Migs Mayfeld isn’t necessarily comedic. This episode speaks well to his work as an actor.

So Mando and Xi’an (played by Natalia Tena) have a romantic history of some kind. I guess even in a galaxy far, far away, chicks dig the strong and silent type. How does that work, though? Like, physically? Mando never takes off his helmet, after all.

Boy does that make for some weird visuals…

So we’ve got ourselves a prison break heist episode. Mando is put on a team tasked with getting in, freeing a prisoner, then getting out.

When I saw this episode, being the nerd that I am, I couldn’t help but wonder how long a transition it was for the New Republic to establish themselves as the new law in the galaxy. The Mandalorian takes place five years after Return of the Jedi. So less than that. Pretty impressive all things considered.

The Mandalorian Chapter 6, the Prisoner

This is a nitpick, but it’s curious to me that there’s a mouse droid on this New Republic prison ship. To me, they’re synonymous with the Empire, the Death Star, etc. But again, that’s nitpicking.

The use of droids as prison guards is a little odd too. As they’re supposed to be the good guys, it feels like the New Republic should have live guards. Maybe there’s a lack of living bodies to give those jobs to. We eventually find out there’s only one organic on the ship.

Seeing Mando go into predator mode and hunt everybody down was pretty awesome. He was channeling his inner Batman.

Nitpicks notwithstanding, this is actually one of my favorite episodes. It’s nicely paced, there’s a great tension in the air, the characters are interesting. It just works. A very well done episode.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.