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Star Trek: Discovery season 2 Captain Pike Star Trek: Discovery season 2 Captain Pike

Entertainment & Arts

10 Things Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Must Do to Avoid Epic Failure

Season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery is the swing season for the series. These are several directives to ensure this newest season gets it just right.

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10. Season 2 Must Establish the Captain of Discovery for the Remainder of the Series

Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike CBS

That furrowed brow that says s*** is going down

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So, we have learned just enough from the trailer for Star Trek: Discovery season 2 released at SDCC 2018 to have a tentative grip on the future of Discovery’s captains chair. The valiant Captain Pike (Anson Mount) of the Enterprise is taking what appears temporary command of Discovery under emergency Starfleet regulations. With the appearance of the ominous “red bursts” occurring 30,000 light years away, Discovery is the sole candidate to go poke around given its incredible distance from Federation space. 

No question this will be fun to watch, however the idea that this will become a permanent command arrangement seems unlikely. Nor does it truly answer the bigger question going forward.

As Star Trek: Discovery season 2 plows forward, there is a glaring absence that would be terminally traumatic for any of the series predecessors: Who is USS Discovery’s friggin’ captain going to be?

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Before season one’s cliffhanger ending encountering THE Enterprise, Discovery was on-route to pick up their new captain on Vulcan. Of course no one bothers to mention who that captain awaiting their new command will be. None of the crew bothers to ask, “who is this new C/O that will be making life or death decisions for me?” For explorers of the final frontier, there was a curious lack of curiosity.

What is more surprising is the seeming total lack of fan interest as to who this captain might be. Though perhaps it’s not altogether shocking given the ironclad nature of the cliff-hanger conclusion dictating the fan bases attention.

The lack of an established captain at any point is unprecedented in Star Trek lore. The only reason Discovery can endure this debacle is entirely due to the narrative structure of the show, and it’s main character being Michael Burnham – an unprecedented form of storytelling that departs from all prior Star Trek series.

For all intents and purposes, the gut intuition indicates that this Captain on Vulcan is likely the Prime Universe incarnation of Gabriel Lorca.

The tragedy of the Mirror Universe Gabriel LorcaCBS

Right guy. Wrong universe.

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#TeamLorcaPrime

This conclusion is based on one simple reason: How easily the Prime Lorca was written off by Admiral Cornwell (Jayne Brook) and Starfleet Command. It was readily assumed that Lorca could never have survived in the Mirror Universe. Yet this seems remarkably short sighted.

Putting aside the fact there is no certain way to confirm Prime Lorca’s demise, the audience must take note from Discovery’s experience in the Mirror Universe itself.

Most importantly by taking a close look at the alternate versions of established characters they encountered – foremost of which is Commander Landry (Rekha Sharma).

The Reality of Mirror Universe Doppelgänger’s in Star Trek: Discovery

The late USS Discovery Chief of Security, Commander Ellen Landry is very telling in this regard. In Landry’s Prime Universe incarnation, she would hardly be anyone’s first choice as a Federation diplomat.

Landry projects a rough personal exterior, an inclination for solving problems with a phaser, and to a degree possesses a bigotry toward non-human species and cultures. It’s fair to say Landry would have had trouble making friends on Picard’s Enterprise.

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When the audience is introduced to Landry’s Mirror Universe alternate, it’s revealed that she was a key member of Lorca’s failed coup who then was being endlessly tortured in retribution. Yet the only difference between the two Landry’s is their respective allegiances.

In the Prime Universe, Landry dutifully served under Lorca’s command, as well as that of Starfleet. Yet almost none of her other characteristics were seemingly different. This is the critical point regarding how the writers might be thinking about Discovery’s foray into the Mirror Universe, and how it may impact future events in Star Trek: Discovery season 2. Nor does this revelation apply to only one minor reoccurring character alone. Cadet Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman) comes to a similar realization about her mirror self.

Tilly vs. Killy

When then Cadet Tilly undergoes introspection upon learning of her Mirror counterpart – the one and only Captain Killy – Tilly’s reflections very aptly identify the subtle differences between her and her Mirror Universe self – aside from the obvious preference for recreational genocide.

In Tilly’s view, the difference between her and the nightmarish Killy is the warped nature of their shared ambitions. Specifically how Killy has been contorted to create a pariah that fits seamlessly into a ludicrously satanic empire.

However at their shared core the two versions of Tilly are not altogether dissimilar. It is their life circumstances that have dictated entirely different personal outcomes. One has been twisted into a mass murderer in the name of human superiority, while the other is an example of the best Starfleet and the Federation has to offer.

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Where Lorca Fits

When this reasoning is applied to Gabriel Lorca, a great deal begins to fall into place. If the Mirror Lorca was so cunning as to mask his origins, get himself in line to command Starfleets great strategic secret weapon, then use it to return to his native Mirror Universe, there is absolutely no reason to believe the characters Prime Universe version would be any less capable. Not even in a setting far more barbaric than that of his origin.

Even with the Prime Universe being an altogether smoother ride by comparison, Mirror Lorca could have been exposed at anytime and failed.

Above all else, introducing the Prime Lorca provides the writers with a singular opportunity to keep developing an altogether highly unorthodox Starfleet captain. Lorca is the perfect captain for the motif Discovery has embarked upon.

Even if his Prime Universe self is a more measured and pacific product than the twirling mustachio super villain of season one, Lorca will never be anything close to what fans have come to expect from other Starfleet captains. For what its worth that is a golden narrative asset, and one that would be abjectly criminal to waste.

Official Evidence for Lorca Prime

When asked at SDCC 2018 if Star Trek: Discovery season 2 will encounter the Prime Lorca, Alex Kurtzman’s one word response was, “Maybe.” It’s hardly going out on a limb to conclude that his no-so-cryptic answer equates to a tacit confirmation.

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If indeed the prospect of Jason Isaacs returning to portray the Prime Gabriel Lorca comes to pass, it can only signal that the writers are on the best path for Discovery’s long term viability. Long story short, he’s just too damned good. More importantly, Lorca is vastly superior to any other possible alternatives moving forward.

Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 – In Short

With all of the possibilities Star Trek: Discovery season 2 has before it, its clear that its the swing season for the entire series. The inaugural season, however generally positive in its outcome, was but the first at-bat. From Klingons to possible captains, Discovery season 2 will dictate the trajectory and tempo for the remainder of the series.

Despite whatever direction they may choose to proceed, it is most important that they do so assertively. Once again, with the entire franchise a midst great change and possibility as a whole, never has it been so important that they proceed as boldly as their longtime credo has demanded.

Write to Paul K. DiCostanzo at pdicostanzo@tgnreview.com

Follow Paul on Quartz

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Paul K. DiCostanzo is the Managing Editor for TGNR. He is a noted public speaker, an emerging historian of the Second World War, a vocal advocate for Crohn’s Disease/Ulcerative Colitis, and highly regarded interviewer. Prior to TGNR, Paul has a background in American National Security and American Foreign Policy. He has served as the Managing Editor for TGNR since March 2015.

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CadreCinematique

Mourning Filmstruck

The death of Filmstruck is the latest symptom of our rapidly devolving film culture: This is a look at what we’ve lost, and what lies ahead.

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Image Credit: Filmstruck

The demise of Filmstruck is a major loss to the world of cinema. If you were to log on to film Twittertm – that specialist ghetto of cinephiles (“or what you’d call film buffs” as Matthew remarks early in the late Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers) you would realize that many of us are in mourning for a rapidly depleting film culture.




Across the country, most Americans do not have access to an art house theater, and it’s even less likely that they would have access to a repertory theater. Those in New York City can pick their poison between the Metrograph and Film Forum and Village Quad Cinema. Heck they’ve even got the NiteHawk in Williamsburg. Those in LA have the New Beverly. Most of us, however, are just plain out of luck.

Two years ago Filmstruck seemed like the solution. A collaboration between Warner Brothers and the Criterion Collection, Filmstruck was a hand-curated outfit that seemed like film school on a Roku. From Rohmer to Ozu, Sembene to Akerman – world cinema was at your fingertips. You want to spend 83 minutes with Alma from Persona? Sure can. You could check in with Guido Anselmi or Sam Spade or Mabel Longhetti or any of several versions of Orpheus by just pressing a button…and now it’s gone.

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A Half Remembered Dream Factory

Claudia Cardinale in Frederico Fellini's 8 1/2Francinex/Cineriz

Claudia Cardinale in Frederico Fellini’s 8 1/2

Every day we seem to forget more of our history. Hollywood is no exception. Often they seem to be leading the way. Hollywood has always been America’s dream factory, and there are some real talented and nice people out there – people who care desperately about movies.

Yet, because of the vagaries of corporate America, and the rush to the all-mighty dollar that capitalism surely compels, Hollywood has become a system that is ruled by puffed-up Harvard MBA’s in slick two-button suits looking for ten percent profit on the next remake.

Now, I don’t really have anything against these people, it’s just that many of them don’t really know or give a lick about the classic days of the industry, the history of world cinema, or even current world cinema beyond their own distribution pacts. They only worry whether their new one hundred million dollar piece of content is going to be allowed to play in China, and whether it will allay some its substantial budget with international pre-sales.



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In turn, we have the creation of these monster conglomerates through very big mergers such as Disney buying Fox, or in our case AT&T buying Time Warner, which has led directly to AT&T shutting down Filmstruck.

See, they want to invest only in core businesses that will generate substantial return. This makes complete sense from a business perspective. Except, in the olden days of Hollywood the guys that ran the place, like Louis B. Mayer and Irving Thalberg, saw the picture business as more than just a profit machine. They understood they were creating a product that was intangible – a motion picture, not a widget.


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Ingmar Bergmans 'Persona' | Cadre Cinematique


Sure, they were interested in making money, they damn well weren’t commies, but at the same time they were making something near Art and they were passionate about it.

Cinema Homogenized

Lillian Gish in D.W. Griffith's Broken BlossomsD. W. Griffith

Lillian Gish in D.W. Griffith’s Broken Blossoms

There was a time when it felt like cinema could change the world. In his review of The Dreamers (to circle back), Roger Ebert reminisces that back in ’68, Chicagoans were lined up on the sidewalk in the rain to see Godard’s Weekend. Imagine that now? Wouldn’t happen.

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AT&T closed Filmstruck because they believed it was niche. Great cinema like Casablanca and King Kong, The Seven Samurai and Weekend, which all those people lined up for all those years ago, is now just niche content.


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Keye Luke: An American Son


What’s the use of going to a movie theater if movies are just content no different from a YouTube video? Hollywood has forgotten its heroes. Cinema seems to have forgotten what cinema is all about – stories that move us or elucidate the world around us – or even sometimes elucidate feelings or emotions so deep-seated they would never stir without that silver-screen mirror.

Agnes Varda's HappinessAgnès Varda

Agnes Varda’s Happiness

The last three movies I watched on Filmstruck were the creepy Japanese ghost story Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan (1959), the vibrantly alive magical realist bossa nova-driven romance Black Orpheus (1959), and Mikio Naruse’s masterful Floating Clouds (1955). Maybe my feeling towards Filmstruck and cinema itself is like Naruse’s lovers’ warmer brighter past in French Indochina – a deeply romantic paradise to which we can never return.

I certainly hope that’s not the case. I hope the future of cinema and the future of repertory streaming services spreads out before us like a mighty bounty.

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To ensure this, we all have do our part. Watch movies. Buy movies.  All movies.  Become cine-literate in everything. Especially the classics.

(Article Continues Below...)

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Preservation in the Post-Filmstruck Era

Lourdes de Oliveira in Marcel Camus' Black OrpheusDispat Films/Gemma/Tupan Filmes

Lourdes de Oliveira in Marcel Camus’ Black Orpheus

What’s next? The terrific physical media company The Criterion Collection is starting their own streaming channel. Will it succeed? Only if enough of us are interested in preserving our globe’s sometimes shared, sometimes divergent cultural heritage.

Mikio Naruse's Autumn Has Already StartedMikio Naruse

Mikio Naruse’s Autumn Has Already Started

Films are doorways into past and future worlds. These stories have shaped us, and allowed a plethora of fascinating cultures to share their preoccupations, hopes, and fears with other, sometimes very different people, in every far-flung nook and cranny of this astonishing world.  These dreams, stories, and feelings are too important to be allowed to just fade away.

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Please preserve them.

Write to David B. Sporn at dbsporn@tgnreview.com

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Entertainment & Arts

The Man in the High Castle Universe: How the Axis Won WW2

Exactly what the hell went so wrong to create the High Castle dystopia? Second World War historian Paul K. DiCostanzo examines the possibilities.

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With the interminable wait for season three of Amazon Prime’s portrayal of Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle concluding on October 5th, we pose the singular question underlying the series thus far: How could the Axis powers have defeated the United States and its Allies in The Man in the High Castle Universe? The following interpretation is one possible “universe” of Man in the High Castle. One in which we explore the biggest question for most viewers: How the Axis won WW2, or more specifically, “How did the US lose World War II?”

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As the show straddles the genres of Alternate History and Science Fiction, the world of High Castle is based on counter-factual history. That being said, the scenario below is projected from historical events that could explain the tragic collapse of the Allies and ultimate rise of the Axis powers.

The Man in the High Castle Universe: What went wrong?

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(A stark contrast in the two above maps that mark the conclusion of the historical and fictional WW2)

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For an American living in the 21st Century, the victory in the Second World War is even more fundamental to their worldview than even the American Revolution of 1776. It is, after all, the founding story of the modern United States and the rest of the world as we know it.


Related »
The Forgotten Declaration of Independence Signers Who Lost Everything for Signing


The concept of the Allies losing to the satanic enemy of Nazi Germany and its Axis collaborators hits home in primordial fashion. It is a concept so deeply disturbing that the dystopia such a defeat would create is generally unthinkable. Yet in the High Castle universe, that is exactly what happened. So, what exactly went wrong in the High Castle timeline?

How the Axis won WW2: The Man in the High Castle Universe Historical Contradiction

In the High Castle universe, many well known events of the Second World War have outcomes clearly contrary to the viewer’s universe. In both the series and the classic novel, details are scarce as to exactly how the Axis managed victory over the Allies.


Related »
The Complete Guide to The Man in the High Castle Season 3 - Premiering 10/5


Putting aside the little information divulged by the show so far – including Nazi Germany’s clear development of the first strategic nuclear weapon – what happened to the Allied nations that allowed this disaster to occur? While there are several distinct possibilities, one must start with the life of one Sir Winston Spencer Churchill.

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Amazon Releases “The Man in the High Castle” Season 3 Date; New Trailer at SDCC

Fans of Amazon’s “The Man in the High Castle” see light at the end of their tunnel, as the two year wait for season 3 is coming to a confirmed end.

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Screen shot from The Man in the High Castle newest trailer from SDCC

San Diego, CA – This weekend at San Diego Comic Con (SDCC), after a seemingly interminable wait, fans of Amazon’s hit series The Man in the High Castle finally have the answer to their biggest question: when is the show coming back? To the audience’s delight, Amazon confirmed that season three will premiere on October 5th, 2018.

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To further whet their fans’ appetites, the series’ showrunners also released a new trailer for the upcoming season during their panel at SDCC. 

SDCC 2018 & The Longer than Expected Road to High Castle Season 3

Season two of the show debuted in December 2016, after which there had very few indicators of when season three would see the light of day.

In February of 2017 Amazon Prime renewed High Castle for its third season, and filming began in late June of last year.

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Additionally first reported by Deadline, Amazon publicly released their order to renew the series for its fourth season as well. No date for its release has yet been revealed.

At this weekend’s San Diego Comic Con, The Man in the High Castle announced not only the answer to the most burning question – thats is, when season 3 will debut –  but also shared its first substantive trailer regarding season three since October 2017.

Though only a minute in length, the powerful sneak peak will further stoke the flames for the show’s ravenous fans.

(Article Continues Below...)

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New High Castle Trailer: Further Exploration into Science Fiction, and a Mobilizing Resistance

This newest trailer for High Castle season three covers an exceptional amount of ground and leaves the audience with little question as to what the newest installment will focus upon.

The clip depicts further collaboration between Juliana Crain and Hawthorne Abendsen – the so-called “Man in the High Castle.”

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Specifically, they are working to combat the Greater German Reich’s experimental weapon which allows them by means of technology to traverse the series’ multiverse; all courtesy of Nazi R&D. This marks the shows most forward foray into The Man in the High Castle‘s science-fiction origin up to this point.

Moreover, it depicts a revitalization of the American resistance against the respective occupying Axis powers Germany and Imperial Japan. 

The Man in the High Castle is one of Amazon Prime’s most watched series, based on Philip K. Dick’s novel of the same title published in 1962.

The series is set in the United States, in a fictional 1962 in which the Axis won WWII – and occupying a defeated US.

To enjoy the sneak peek, click at the top to watch the newest trailer for High Castle season 3!

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The Man in the High Castle is exclusively available for streaming on Amazon Prime

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