Category Archives: Television

Cosmos #3

The episode begins with Tyson describing how pattern recognition manifested in early civilization as using astronomy and astrology to predict the passing of the seasons.

The origin of comets only became known in the 20th century due to the work of Jan Oort and his hypothesis of the Oort cloud.

Then the collaboration between Edmond Halley and Isaac Newton in the last part of the 17th century in Cambridge is described. This would result in the publication of Newton’s Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica.

Halley’s contributions are mentioned, including determining Earth’s distance to the sun, the motion of stars and predicting the orbit of then-unnamed Halley’s Comet using Newton’s laws.

The episode ends with an animation of the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies’ merging based on the principles of Newton’s laws.

Edmund Halley

Cosmos #2

Tyson describes both artificial selection via selective breeding, using the example of humankind’s domestication of wolves into dogs, and natural selection that created species like polar bears.
The Ship of the Imagination shows how DNA, genes, and mutation work, and how these led to the diversity of species as represented by the Tree of life, including how complex organs such as the eye came about as a common element.

He covers the five great extinction events that wiped out numerous species on Earth, while some species, such as the tardigrade, were able to survive and continue life.

The episode concludes with an animation from the original Cosmos showing the evolution of life from a single cell to humankind today.


Cosmos #1

This 2014 series featuring Neil deGrasse Tyson is a re-creation of Carl Sagan’s original series from 1980. Tyson opens the episode to reflect on the importance of Sagan’s original Cosmos, and the goals of this series.

Then it’s into the “Ship of the Imagination”, for a reflection on our place in the universe. Just when it’s getting a bit vague, he concentrates on the persecution of Renaissance Italian Giordano Bruno who challenged the prevailing geocentric model held by the Catholic Church. This is illustrated by a hand-painted animation.

Then he is using the concept of the Cosmic Calendar to provide a metaphor for this scale. The narration describes how if the Big Bang occurred on January 1, all of humankind’s recorded history would be compressed into the last few seconds of the last minute on December 31. An old device, but it works to set the stage.

Produced by Seth MacFarlane and Brannon Braga (Star Trek) with music by Alan Silvestri.


Steve & Marty

Steve Martin & Martin Short
An Evening you will forget for the rest of your life.

Two veteran comedians do a vaudeville act live on stage and it’s recorded for Netflix.

Close friends since they worked on Three Amigos in the mid-Eighties, Martin and Short have been touring as a team for several years, honing a stage show. This is probably them at their best, even if there are a few fluffs and mis-steps.

Marty steps below the level of witty with a crude costume and Steve brings things to a stop with an extended banjo sole. Fortunately he has the Steep Canyon Rangers to play with.

Best line (by Steve) “There’s a big difference between the banjo and the guitar: The banjo has a round pot … with a skinhead stretched over the top, and it projects the sound outward … and the guitar can get you laid.

The show is 70 minutes long.


Eric Idle’s Dick

Eric Idle – What about Dick (2012)

I had never heard of this until it was spotted on Netflix. Warning – do not watch this late at night, you may miss some of the jokes.

This is a recording of a live performance of a recording of an audio drama. (Eric will explain).

It tells the story of the subsequent decline of the British Empire as seen through the eyes of a Piano. The Piano narrates the tale of Dick; his two cousins: Emma, an emotionally retarded English girl; her kleptomaniac sister Helena and their dipsomaniac Aunt Maggie who all live together in a large, rambling, Edwardian novel. When the Reverend Whoopsie discovers a piano on a beach, a plot is set afoot that can be solved only by a private Dick.

It features a cast of top British actors:
Eddie Izzard (doing all of his accents – sometimes badly)
Billy Connolly (who sometimes forgets his lines, despite reading from a script)
Russell Brand (just plain weird)
Tracey Ullman (who delights in being naughty)
Tim Curry (perfect for these roles)
Jane Leeves (still sexy 14 years after Frazier)
Jim Piddock (who I don’t know)
Sophie Winkleman (who looked familiar – she was on Two and a Half Men)
Eric Idle (as the narrator)

There are songs, sing-a-longs, silly nonsense and a very large dose of British naughtyness that Eric (along with the Pythons invented). Essential viewing for Eric (and Monty) fans.


Eric Idle


Jane Leeves


Tracy Ullman (1990)


Sophie Winkleman and Ashton Kutcher on 2.5 Men

Lost in Space 10

Lost in Space 10 – Danger, Will Robinson


John and Don survived the explosion and are clinging to ship wreckage in orbit, with only a few hours of oxygen left.

Plotonium to the rescue !

Victor Dhar hails them from the Resolute, telling them it will leave in just over an hour.

Again, drama dictates there should be a ticking clock. In fact the time left is arbitrary and dependent on the Resolute’s engines.

Maureen traps Dr Smith and the robot in order to search for John and Don.

At last, Dr Smith is trapped. They should just space the bitch (or remove the air).

Just as they’re about to retrieve them, Dr Smith and the robot escape.

OH NO – How….. predictable 

When the alien robot is about to kill Will, his robot remembers him and attacks the alien robot, saving Will. In the fight, both robots are flung out into space and the garage ramp is damaged.

It’s the Alien Queen vs Loader from Aliens for the new generation… not quite.

Will goes outside the hull to manually close the hatch. Afterwards, he loses his grip but is saved by his father, who was rescued by Dr. Smith.

Awwwww, ain’t family reunions cute (not)

Before they can dock with the Resolute, the alien engine aboard the Jupiter 2 sends it and the Robinsons to a different galaxy.

Danger, Will Robinson – Here comes season 2 !



Lost in Space 09

Lost in Space 09 – Resurrection


Will tries to signal his father using simple radio, convinced he survived the explosion.

Another strange tech blooper. If Will can contact his father in space, why can’t he contact the Resolute ?

Dr. Smith drives herself and Maureen to the alien wreck, and tells Maureen she didn’t know Maureen was needed for the ship launch, and when she knocked her out, the ship exploded. She does promise helping Maureen get her kids off the planet, if she in return helps Dr. Smith with the alien ship.

Will discovers that the rocks he collected in the cave are petrified biomass that can fuel the Jupiter ships to reach the Resolute.

Another case of people doing stupid things. The crew should have been looking for fuel replacements as soon as they landed.

Judy uses GPS to track Smith and Maureen. She manages to disable Dr. Smith, but the robot reactivates and is revealed to obey the Doctor’s commands.

Again, stupid Judy fails to secure a prisoner only to find Smith recovers within minutes and the robot uses science/magic to restore himself.


Lost in Space 08

Lost in Space 08 – Trajectory


Maureen is now the know-it all and tries to stop an impossible launch of a spacecraft. But it’s her action-man husband that jumps aboard and stops the flight.

Dr Smith gets put in the slammer after her alias is discovered, but they should have put tape over her mouth to avert the coming catastrophe.

Meanwhile, Don & John pilot a lighter ship to reach the Resolute in orbit. It all ends unexpectedly. It seems that this will be the first and only new series of the show.

It’s still not clear why they can’t communicate with the resolute. Even now, handheld devices can communicate with GPS satellites. So why not 40 years later?



Lost in Space 07

Lost in Space 07 – Pressurized


Maureen finds a watermark on the gun belonging to their 3D printer, and Will confirms the robot made it and he had hidden the gun under his bed. His parents note that everyone had been through their Jupiter at some time and anyone could’ve taken the gun; Smith directs their suspicions to Victor.

While driving, John and Maureen flee a geo-phenomenon and end up stuck in a tar pit into which the vehicle slowly submerges. To escape the vehicle, Maureen uses the helium weather balloon to create a shielded path to the surface.

OK – this is pushing physics to the limit and beyond. To create the pressure necessary to displace the tar, would have crushed the human body. The problem was they stayed chatting for too long and should have immediately attached the winch cable to a tree. Even stranger is why they would enter the vehicle as it was sinking and not just jump free ?

Lost in Space 06

Lost in Space 06 – Eulogy

Maureen tells her family about the black hole but is afraid the other colonists might panic.

John has a heated argument with the other survivors about the robot. In the end, despite an enraged Angela claiming it killed her husband, John convinces the community to allow the robot to stay and takes Will on a hike to discuss Will’s responsibility for the robot’s actions.

Don also retrieves identification of the real Dr. Smith, later showing Judy. Maureen learns that Hiroki also knows the planet is dying.