Star Trek: New Frontier – The Returned (Part I)

 Star Trek: New Frontier – The Returned (Part I)

Written by: Peter David

Cover Art: Doug Drexler

Published by: Pocket Books (Simon and Schuster)  **eBook format only**

Release Date: July 6, 2015 


Lieutenant’s Log: Set three months after the events in Blind Man’s Bluff, Captain Mackenzie Calhoun is lost, seeking out any survivors of his species (the Xenexians), after they were annihilated by the D’myurj; while facing his own inner-demons and some tough choices as to how to move forward. 

Meanwhile, Admiral Shelby tries to bring her husband back from the brink, Soleta lies in a coma on Bravo Station, Burgoyne 172 commands the Excalibur and Robin Lefler continues to exile herself, and Cwansi, away from New Thallon. 

Embarking on a perilous, if-not questionable, mission to destroy the D’myurj, Calhoun and crew must tread carefully; encountering friends, foes, and an alien race that may be the greatest threat the Federation has ever faced.

My Take: Peter David is back! What a terrific opening, too, for this 3-part eBook series; (and, be advised – the future of the New Frontier saga is, quite-literally, in our hands). If you’re  a fan of the NF series, or – if you’re just now picking it up, I beg you to buy these eBooks – the fate of Captain Calhoun rests with you! If you are just discovering New Frontier, I invite you to checkout my blog about the creation of the series; I interviewed John Ordover and Paula M. Block, in regards to their involvement, as well as included my brief interview with Peter David, at 2014’s Salt Lake Comic Con’s FanX.

Taking my cue from the legendary David Gerrold, there are three questions a reviewer should answer…

1) What was the author trying to do? In this case, the title speaks for itself: Peter David has returned, breathing new life into the New Frontier series that has lain dormant since 2011’s Blind Man’s Bluff. In The Returned Part I, Peter David does an admirable job of bringing Captain Mackenzie Calhoun and the Excalibur crew back to his fans, and – in a big way, for the stakes have never been higher. For me, this novella is one of the best in the New Frontier series, thus far. My personal favorite, however, remains to be 2000’s Restoration, and aspects of that novel are revisited, here, as well. Without giving too much away, it seems Moke has had a Thor spot, regarding his feelings for Mac…

2) How well did the author do? In my opinion, PAD is absolutely brilliant! The pacing of the story had me plowing through it (I’m currently re- reading it), and I found myself both – surprised, and – laughing out loud; especially, during a few scenes with Soleta, (as well as, during some scenes with a returning favorite from NF’s earlier days…) There is no shortage of David’s brand of humor, or – of the plot twists and 180° turns that Peter David is famous for in his writing style. Just when you think you’ve got it nailed, turn the page… 

3) Was it worth doing in the first place? Damn-right, it was! Grozit! We were left hanging at the end of Blind Man’s Bluff (over four years ago), and the fans have been anxiously (albeit-patiently, considering the circumstances…) awaiting The Returned‘s resolution to those events; as well as, the return of Peter David, himself, into the Star Trek fold! I must say, I’m delighted to see both! My one complaint would be that Peter David gave readers no kind of reminder in regards to Morgan Primus, or her fate, all those years ago – I had to Google it, because it was driving me crazy trying to remember back that far! 

That said, I cannot wait for The Returned Part II on August 3rd, to see how Peter David carries this story forward – I refuse to say end, dammit! New Frontier has been my favorite series (behind Deep Space Nine, that is), since it debuted in 1998, and I’m looking forward to seeing New Frontier go on to its 20-year anniversary – including a hardcover!!  Which means, YOU need to order these eBooks – even if you can’t stand the digital format. It’s all about numbers, here, folks! It’s all about Peter David. It’s all about paying it forward…

Now, before I wrap this up, I have some information about this novella’s cover. Everyone (myself, included) has been curious as to why there’s an Ambassador class U.S.S. Excalibur represented, as opposed to the Galaxy class, Calhoun now commands. So, I asked Star Trek icon Doug Drexler about it. ‘That was at the request of Pocket Books. No synopses or beat sheet from them on that one. Just the request for that particular ship.’ Indeed, Mr. Drexler said he would have caught the mistake if he’d been provided with a complete synopsis. As it was: ‘They actually sent me a rough sketch for it, including the background. I had very little to do but place the model and light it.’ I’ve sent a similar query to Alan Dingman, but he has yet to respond. I will keep digging, though…

My Amazon Rating: 🖖🖖🖖🖖🖖 BUY THESE BOOKS! 

‘Til, next time, see ya ‘out there…’ 

Lt. Eric Cone 

Star Trek: The Tholian Web (1 of 2)

 Star Trek: The Tholian Web #46 (Part 1 of 2)

Publisher: IDW Publishing

Writer: Mike Johnson

Artist: Rachael Stott

Colorist: Davide Mastrolonardo

Letterer: Neil Uyetake

Editor: Sarah Gaydos Story Consultant: Roberto Orci

Cover: Joe Corroney and Brian Miller

Release Date: June 17, 2015 

Lieutenant’s Log: The U.S.S. Enterprise is heading home from the Delta Quadrant; having repaired the ship and replaced the dilithium crystals that they picked up from the Dark Market in ‘Eurydice’s’ conclusion, last month. 

Already behind schedule with their mission of exploration, Captain Kirk is anxious to pickup where they left off. However, as the ship nears the Alpha Quadrant, it inexplicably drops out of warp, and the crew begin to act strangely…

The Story: Mike Johnson returns us to ‘episodic’ territory, while giving this version of ‘The Tholian Web’ enough tweaks to make it into something new. Here, Kirk isn’t lost to interphasic space, there’s no mention of the U.S.S. Defiant (as in TOS) and the Tholians, themselves, aren’t seen until the end of the issue – their ships, that is. While the story did keep me reading, I wasn’t wowed, by it. 

There were some good aspects to Mike Johnson’s retelling, though. I liked that McCoy was back – and, as fiesty as ever – giving us the ‘feel’ of that iconic triad we love so. However, I wasn’t impressed by Bones’s ‘out of character’ (to me) response to the situation, that the crew find themselves in. He would be the last one to leave the crew without its CMO, and in such dire straits. And, trust me, this crew needs its doctor in this story.

Another thing that was a plus, for me, was that we get to see the Enterprise do that one thing, that we never got to see it do in an episode. That alone, makes this issue worthwhile and I’m glad to see Johnson include it here. It makes the cliffhanger all the more compelling. 

The Art: It was hit-and-miss. Rachael Stott and Davide Mastrolonardo have some great panels throughout, and-yet…I wasn’t awed by the likenesses of the crew. In her previous work on ‘The Primate Directive,’ I was left slack-jawed, at times. That isn’t the case, here. But, that’s not to say the work isn’t good, either; I just wasn’t as wowed, as I expected to be. If I had to give it a grade, I’d give it a B+.

As for this issue’s cover, Joe Corroney and Brian Miller have done a great job. Lots of good character likenesses for Kirk, Chekov and Scotty, and lots of detail and vibrant color, as we’ve come to expect. It’s a cover I’ll hang on my wall. That said: Why are we seeing Chekov in the red shirt and goggles from Into Darkness? It’s my hope, that one day we might go back to the covers having some relevance to the story being told within.

Does anyone else remember those days? For examples: DC’s ‘The Final Mission’ had all of the crew disembarking from the Enterprise, or Marvel/Paramount’s ‘The Early Voyages’ #1 represented everything that was terrific about Captain Pike’s 5-year mission. How is it, that we’ve come to having these covers being done months before the story is even written? It’s frustrating to the readers, as well as to the artists, themselves. Rant over.

My Take: I went ahead and gave ‘The Tholian Web’ four stars, because the story kept me reading and left me just curious enough to see its conclusion. And, while the crew acted a bit predictively, there were some good moments with Kirk, Bones, Scotty and Sulu. Plus, I’m anxious to see if the Tholians show their faces in the next issue. The art isn’t spectacular, but it gets a passing grade; especially for the exterior shots of Enterprise near the end. But, YOU be the judge, eh…

‘Til, next time, see ya ‘out there…’ 

Lt. Eric Cone 

Taking My Life Back, Year One

 It’s after 2 am. I’m sitting on the porch in the dark, I’m listening to the crickets and the far-off traffic echoing up the hill from I-15. After reaching into the low-hundreds, today, a soft breeze is making the quiet of this normally-clamorous house all the more relaxing.

I ‘came out,’ to your overwhelming love and support, a year ago, and I haven’t looked back. You stayed!! Right here by my side; you came along for the ride and you’ve been a part of something extraordinary (at least, it’s been that way, for me). 

Sitting here in this blissful quiet, I’m thinking back, and I’m feeling pretty grateful to all of you; (while, simultaneously, mourning the passing of my brother-in-law, Chuck Dilas, who has been a steady (albeit, long-distant) constant in my life, for nearly 36 (??) years). Chuck’s passing has hit me a lot harder than I imagined it would, and it’s just sinking in, really, that he’s gone from this life… How incredibly hard it must be for my sister, then; she’s lost her soulmate, her teen hero and sweetheart, left to push forward without him. 

Chuck was a good man, and I’m going to miss him. But, I’d like to thank him, for taking care of my sister and staying by her side; for loving her and those two boys (and their grand babies). And, thank you, also – for leaving us with some of the most beautiful homes, barns, decks, patios, porches, flower-beds, and furniture, on the planet. Thanks, for all of the laughs and good times (and, the bad ones, as well) that you have left with us – and, for all of that good reefer, back in the day, man! ***takes a toke*** RIP Chuck…

Yeah… I’ve endured my share of painfull losses over the past year, but I’ve gained so much more! I can look in the mirror without shame or doubt. I can answer questions, truthfully, with no regrets! Hell – it’s even getting easier to just downright volunteer it, so as to be honest from the very start. “Hi! I’m Eric. I’m gay. Problem..? Good – ‘Cause, fuck you, if you had one!” 

It’s been a terrific year; it’s been an awful year… But, I’m still standin’.  And, I’m most-thankful, for your standing here with me. Your continued understanding and outpourings of support are absolutely awesome!!

There are a couple of people I’d like to thank, by name: my daughter, Erica; my sisters, Terri and Dawn; my second-cousin, Michael Cone; and…thank you, to all of those folks my ‘blog heard ’round the world’ inspired, gaining the courage to be themselves, by taking the time to read it. Good on ya!

For those of you who’ve joined me over the year (and, might be, only-now, figuring it out) – I’m Eric. I’m gay. Problem..? Good…

I’m still the same guy I was, before you started reading this; I’m just that much-more fabulous… 😉

Thanks, to all of you.


Behemoth: Chapter 2

 Behemoth: ‘Tooth and Claw’

Publisher: Monkey Brain Comics

Writer: Chris Kipiniak

Cover and Interior Artist: J.K. Woodward

Letters: Jesse Post (of Letter Better)

Release Date: May 27, 2015 

Précis: As Theresa Fowler continues to mutate and hang on to her humanity, the ‘pack’ is put through continuous drills and constant observation. Rayne continues to be a hard ass; especially, when Theresa and Rex begin to exhibit feelings for one another. Tensions within Project Behemoth mount from all sides, as the newly-formed team prepares for their first mission. But the endgame, here, changes everything going forward.

The Story: As with Chapter 1: ‘This Is What You Are’, I’m impressed with the way BEHEMOTH co-creator Chris Kipiniak is moving this new series forward. While, he does bring in new character development with ‘Tooth and Claw,’ he still manages to keep enough mystery in the story to keep readers interested; I’m anxious to find out: 1) how the pack carries out their upcoming mission together, 2) how Theresa and Rex will manage to keep their sanity – as well as survive Rayne’s ‘kill’ order, 3) where their relationship is going and 4) how much of an impact the conclusion will effect the team, as a whole. There’s still the questions of why Behemoth was created, to begin with; who is Rayne and how did he choose these infected members to be in the project;  and, how will he be able to keep his iron-fisted control on the monsters he’s created? 

Young adults will sympathize with Theresa, growing to admire the courage and hope she engenders, in maintaining the humanity still within her heart and soul. And, they’ll pull for her and Rex, too, as their relationship begins to flourish – despite Rayne’s efforts to destroy them. They seem to be shaping up as a formidable pair to be reckoned with. There were a couple of light-hearted moments between them, but I’d like to see a bit more humor thrown in.

My only gripe, deals with Rayne, himself. In Chapter 1, Rayne is introduced as a major, yet his uniform insignia designated him as a four-star general. In Chapter 2, Rayne is greeted as a general (by the research team), but his insignia now ranks him as a major. Which is it going to be? 

As for the art, J.K. Woodward has nailed it, again. And, checkout that cover! Totally cool! This issue is jam-packed with incredible panels; which, in concert with Jesse Post’s lettering, moves the story along fluidly from page to page. But, it’s J.K. who brings these characters to life with his unwavering attention to the details and his undeviating likenesses of the characters he’s created. I especially loved the training drills and fight scenes, and the pack members, individually, or as a whole, are phenomenal! I’m curious to know who Dr. Seligman is based-upon, though; she looks very familiar, to me. 

 Overall: Fantastic second issue! Good story progression and continuing character development; the art is spectacular and my interest remains piqued. If it wasn’t for the ‘major’ gaffe with Rayne’s rank inconsistencies, I’d have given ‘Tooth and Claw’ five stars. As it stands, I’ll go with four. 

‘Til, next time, see ya ‘out there…’ 

Lt. Eric Cone 

Armageddon’s Arrow

Star Trek: The Next Generation – Armageddon’s Arrow

Written by: Dayton Ward

Cover Art: Doug Drexler and Ali Ries

Published by: Pocket Books (Simon and Schuster)

Release Date: May 26, 2015

Lieutanant’s Log: After events in THE FALL leave the still-floundering Federation reeling, the freshly-upgraded Enterprise E departs on a new mission of exploration in the Odyssian Pass, leaving the Typhon Pact and political intrigue behind.

Captain Picard and crew come upon a massive alien derelict from another time, adrift for decades; however – there are lifesigns detected, and the ship attacks the Enterprise without cause.

Sending an away team to investigate the ship, Picard soon finds himself facing a first-contact situation that pits him against two warring worlds, his hands tied by the Prime Directive and a ship that could annihilate anything in its path.

My Take: The iconic David Gerrold recently posted that a ‘reviewer’s’ job is to answer three questions: 1) What was the author trying to do? 2) How well did they do it? and 3) Was it worth doing in the first place.

Let’s take the first, shall we. Dayton Ward’s objective (it seems) was to move us past the stagnation of the Typhon Pact series and set readers back on a course of ‘seeking out new life and new civilizations,’ while letting us get an in-depth feel for this ‘new’ crew he now commands; as well as shining the light on Picard, himself. In light of all that has happened to him, does Jean-Luc still have what it takes to command a mission of this magnitude? With a resounding ‘yes,’ I would say Mr. Ward has succeeded masterfully.

The second, then… Mr. Ward has done a brilliant job of kicking-off this new mission. It was a breath of fresh air, for me, to see us getting our asses back out there and doing what we do best: exploring. The crew was well-written and gave us plenty of character development; the two alien species we encounter were well-thought out and the situation they face makes the reader reflect on our own society and our own politcal turmoil, today. Plus, Mr. Ward infuses the story with lots of humor, plenty action and suspense, a wealth of Star Trek lore, that includes ‘canon’ and non, and he sets a rapid pace that keeps the reader on the edge of their seats until the final pages, leaving us with a sense of hope for our own peaceable kingdoms, here on Earth.

Finally – Was it worth doing? Hell yeah! It was a terrific reading experience and a shining example of what I call #GreatStarTrek. I enjoyed getting inside of Picard’s head; seeing him as, not-only the flagship of the fleet’s commanding officer, but as a husband and father, and how he handled the delicate situation he and his crew find themselves facing.

It was great to see the spotlight shone on the rest of his crew, as well; most-notably, Commander Worf and T’Ryssa Chen – the latter performing admirably, while providing plenty of moments of both comedy and poignance. Also, it was nice to see Dr. Crusher (whom had been posted briefly at DS9) reunited with Captain Picard and René.. And…LaForge has a girlfriend – FINALLY! That, in and of itself, was well-worth the doing.

No, other than a few (in my opinion) drawn-out action sequences, NYT Bestseller Dayton Ward has proven himself, yet-again, why he is one of the reigning champions at Pocket Books, in regards to Star Trek fiction. I thoroughly enjoyed ARMAGEDDON’S ARROW, and I hope you will, too.

My Amazon Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

‘Til, next time, see ya ‘out there…’

Lt. Eric Cone

*Enterprise Art (shown above) by Ali Ries and Keaira Finlay

Star Wars: Lords of the Sith

 Star Wars: Lords of the Sith

Published by: Del Rey

Written by: New York Times Bestselling Author Paul S. Kemp

Cover Art by: Aaron McBride Jacket Design by: Scott Biel

Publication Date: April 28, 2015 

Précis: A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… Eight years have passed since the Clone Wars ended, and the Empire rules the galaxy with an iron grip. Emperor Palpatine and his apprentice Darth Vader, Dark Lords of the Sith, are at the height of their power. Feared by most, there are those who would like to crush the Empire… 

On Ryloth, a planet that supplies slave labor to the Empire, and a narcotic known as ‘spice,’ a resistance movement sees an opportunity to quash the Empire and gain its independence. Led by Cham Syndulla and Isval (former slave and trusted confidante), they set in-motion a bold plan, which, if successful, will free the galaxy, once and for all. 

Unaware of the evil they’re dealing with, Syndulla and Isval bring the Emperor and Vader crashing to the surface of Ryloth. Stranded, without communications and hunted from all sides, Palpatine and Darth Vader must rely on the Force, their implacable skills, and – each other, to survive. 

Or…could it be, that the Emperor’s vengeful apprentice will use this opportunity to usurp his master’s power..? 

The Story: A short time ago at a Barnes & Noble in a city very close by… I recently picked up this brilliant book (which comes in at 299 pages), and I was immdiately swept-up in that far-away galaxy from the first page! This is good Sith! For me, Lords of the Sith is right up there with The Thrawn and Darth Bane Trilogies, as well as Kenobi. I know there have been reams of Star Wars novels written over the decades, but – I, myself, have only read about a dozen; and only a few of those have focused on Palpatine and Vader’s relationship, in particular. I found Lords of the Sith to be quite refreshing, in this regard, because Kemp does exactly that – shining the spotlight on both of them in a wholly-new approach. (Please, feel free to correct me on this, if I’m wrong; as I’m not as versed in SW lore as, no doubt, the rest of you.) 

 After a phenomenal space battle upon entering the Ryloth System, Palpatine continues to display the utmost-confidence in [their] situation; as all the while, he seems to question Darth Vader’s loyalty, testing and goading his apprentice at every turn. I loved seeing the Emperor manipulating Vader, even as he’s teaching the tormented former-Jedi-turned-Sith invaluable lessons. Also, we’re given the opportunity to see just how powerful the Emperor truly is in the ways of the Dark Side. Kemp had me awed; I was on the edge of my seat during several of their close-call misadventures. 

 And, don’t discount Darth Vader, who proves he’s no slouch in wielding the Force. I was slack-jawed on a couple of occasions, as the armored menace to the galaxy, at-large, effortlessy displayed his incredible skills. He, also, proves that – despite being haunted by his past – he can hold his own against his master; not afraid to question Palpatine whenever he feels it’s necessary, while absorbing the knowledge the Emperor imparts throughout, becoming evermore powerful. I loved getting inside of Vader’s head, too; as Kemp lays bare the roiling emotions and – the ghosts of his past, that forever consume him, using his feelings of hate and anger to fuel his lust for power.

What I found fascinating, also, was Cham Syndulla (shown above) and Isval. Knowing that Lords Sidious and Vader will go on reigning in dictatorial fashion for decades to come, I kept wondering: How in the hell can this resistence succeed?! You find yourself hoping – against the odds – that these would-be heroes will, indeed, pull this implausible scheme off! And, damned if they don’t give it their best. But, the endgame sets up everything that is to come, leaving me completely satified – filled with ‘new hope’, as it were. I loved the many characters and plot twists that Kemp brings to his writing, weaving an engrossing tale of action, adventure, betrayal, deceit, and – yes, loyalty to all they believe in, all the way to its conclusion.

 My Take: As I’ve been writing this, I’ve been watching A New Hope (today, May 25th, marks the 38th anniversary of its theatrical release, in 1977); which – inevitably, has led to watching The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi… In regards to Lords of the Sith, it’s no wonder that in just two-weeks time, it’s gone to a third printing. This book is HOT! I guarantee, you will be astounded and amazed by this incredible book. And – Luke, Leia, Han and Chewie are nowhere to be found within its pages! Who knew, that a Star Wars novel could be this AWESOME, without that lot?! If you’re a true fan, Lords of the Sith is must-have novel. 

My Amazon Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

‘Til, next time, see ya ‘out there…’ 

Lt. Eric Cone 

My Childhood Declassified – One ‘Cyborgs: A Bionic Podcast’ At A Time…

 First-off, I just want to apologize, right off the bat, if this seems a bit windy. I’m relatively new to this whole social-media thingamajig, while many of you readers have been in the game (it seems) from the beginning. You’ll forgive me, then, if my over-exuberance for this subject gets the better of me – as I, too, want to share my bionic experience, with you. That, and I do want to give you my take on Cyborgs: A Bionic Podcast, along the way. So, bear with me, would ya. Besides, y’all love this stuff, as much as I do.

On March 7, 1973, when the pilot movie ‘The Moon and the Desert’ premiered on ABC for the very-first time, I became a wide-eyed, awestruck, lifelong fan of The Six Million Dollar Man – (and, later-on, The Bionic Woman, as well). I was almost 7 years old, then, but I had no idea – sitting in front of that TV with my dad – just how much these two series would impact my life. Hell, even Star Trek doesn’t hold that kind of place in my heart, and if you know anything about me, I practically breathe air, just for my chance to read the next adventure with Kirk, or Picard; or my favorites, Captain’s Benjamin Sisko and Mackenzie Calhoun.

See, Steve Austin and Jaime Sommers weren’t your usual superheroes; unlike Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, these were smart, funny, everyday human beings, who were just as fragile as the rest of us. Despite their having undergone bionic replacement-upgrades, I fantasized that could be Steve Austin – and, I was…just ask my family. But, unbeknownst to me, I wasn’t alone.In 1975, Steve Austin – ‘action figure’ – changed my life, again. When I tore that Christmas wrapping off of that box and saw Steve Austin inside (and, as an added-bonus, the ‘sold separately’ Bionic Transport and Repair Station, too), well…the joy and excitement of this 9-year-old was palpable! Indeed, it’d be pretty-accurate to say, I was over the damn moon! It’s my belief, that I joined a chorus of boys (and, maybe a few girls, too) around the world – in the countless-thousands, I’d wager –  that resonated so-profoundly, that our combined jubilence changed the course of TV and movie tie-in marketing history forever. Barbie and G.I. Joe may’ve been first – in fact, I got the ‘talking’ Joe, that Christmas, too – but, Steve Austin (and, later, Jaime Sommers – my sister had her), set the bar for everything that has come down the pike, since then. The creativity, durabilty and care that went into making these remarkable toys was incredible! And, they still capture the imaginations of middle-aged geeks, today. I’m one of them! (Just for the record, though, I am not a fan of the recent bionic knockoffs, from Bif Bang Pow. Sorry.)

Today, the Kenner line of bionic toys and accessories are some of the hottest, most-sought-after items on the internet! The nostalgia for these toys is even sparking fan pages, such as The Bionic Toy Action Page, (created by David S. Lawson); I’m an active member there, myself. It’s a place where we (all 1,337 of us) can play and have fun – together – like never before. My original action figures were lost (to many years of ambitious play), decades ago, but I am one of the fortunate few to have been reunited with these iconic toys; thus – enabling me to create ‘new’ adventures to share with fellow geeks across the planet. 

Unfortunately, we were left devastated, when both series were cancelled in 1978, leaving the core fans to move on. You all might remember that over-the-top, far-fetched flop called Star Wars, eh..? Or, those must-have Kenner toys, that that worldwide phenomenon spawned, in the millions? I mean, hell, it’s no secret that [they] passed-off our Bigfoot, as Chewbacca! Needless-to-say, though, we grew up, carried-on, and our interest waned with the shows’ absence in our daily lives. However, that all changed in May of 1987, with the made-for-television movie, The Return of the Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman – (coinciding right about the same time as Al Gore’s new invention, the internet, was just beginning to take the world by storm… 😉). 

The reunion of our childhood heroes, reignited our interest in those first-gen Cyborgs (that we’d previously-thought lost to television oblivion) in a BIG way. Many of the old-school fanboys (and ‘babes’) began to reach out to one another in ways that had never been possible, before; creating the beginnings of what is referred to, now – as the ‘bionic renaissance.’ Books were written, websites were created and two new reunion movies were produced: 1989’s Bionic Showdown and 1994’s Bionic Ever After? The Sci-Fi Channel brought both series back, as well; bringing in, not-only the ‘old’ diehards, but a whole-new generation of fans, in the process. There were even hopes that two new ‘modernized’ series, with Tom Schanley and Sandra Bullock, would be brought to the small screen; but, of course, those aspirations never panned-out. The closest we came to that, was CBS’s short-lived series Now and Again, with Eric Close and Dennis Haysbert, (1999-2000). There’s even been a lot of unsubstantiated-hype about making a major fearure-film over the years; although, that’s beginning to look like a reality, after all. The current fervor, notwithstanding, all of this led to the logical next step…

In 2010, 32 years after they went off of the radar, Universal Studios, in partnership with TIME/LIFE, (in a project overseen by the genre’s truest fans), we were finally given the best gift to come along, since that long-ago Christmas, in 1975. The Six Million Dollar ManThe Complete Collection, was the most-anticipated DVD-set of its kind! This off-the-charts, bionic-lover’s extravangaza includes 100 uncut, unedited, painstakingly-remastered episodes, the original and syndicated-versions of all three pilot movies, The Bionic Woman crossovers, and the reunion movies, all on 40 blow-your-mind-away discs; plus – a cache of never-before-seen bonus materials and informative cover inserts, that you won’t find anywhere else; all gathered together in a collector’s box that is (in my opinion) second-to-none! My God – that soundchip just ROCKS! (BTW, you don’t need ‘The Midas Touch’ to get these. You can pratically steal this spectaculer set, RIGHT NOW, for only $99!! Just click on the link, above). 

That release was followed-closely by The Bionic Woman DVD-set, in 2010-11. It’s not as lavishly-packaged, mind you; each season is sold separately; but, still – these 14 bonus-packed discs are a must-have for any true bionic aficionados, worth their salt.

That said, these releases were a long-awaited wish-come-true, for me; allowing me to re watch these iconic, groundbreaking, if not, cheesy and campish television classics anytime I want. While writing this, I’ve enjoyed ‘Day of the Robot’, ‘Wine, Women and War’, The Return of Bigfoot’ and ‘Welcome Home, Jaime'; as well as, the bonus featurette, ‘Bionic Action…Figures’, with Paul K. Bisson; including a slew of the shows’ stars, creators, writers and fans. 

Which brings me to why I’m writing this, in the first place: Cyborgs: A Bionic Podcast, hosted by John S. Drew, and his bionic pal and guru, Paul K. Bisson. This winner of the 2014 Parsec Award (for Best Speculative Fiction Fan or News Podcast) makes re watching The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman episodes a real treat; allowing me the opportunity to relive those long-gone days of my childhood, in a whole-new way. In each podcast, Drew and Bisson are joined by ‘guest pals’ and ‘guest babes’ – they’re a prestigious band of bionic geeks, too; which includes the likes of NYT Bestselling Author Dayton Ward and USA Today Bestseller Keith R. A. Decandido; plus – Betsy Dodd (The Bionic Blonde), James Sherrard (The Bionic Woman Files), Hugo and Nebula award-winner Robert J. Sawyer; as well as Matt Hankinson (The Complete Collection’s Chief Creative Consultant), Billy Flynn, Alex Green, Joe ‘The Major’ Burns, and many, many more. 

Each podcast gives a no-holds-barred, brutally honest, oftentimes – hilarious, review of each episode (in the order they aired on TV, back in the day); fondly deconstructing these fan-fave classics, while laying-bare the good, the bad and the ugly alike. Drew and Bisson discuss everything: the stars and guest-appearances, the writers and directors, the stories and behind-the-scenes minutiae, fashions, bionic sounds and effects, bloopers and gaffes, the legends, myths and rumors; even including those beloved toys and, my favorite: ‘Six Million Degrees of Star Trek Separation’. All the while making the listeners feel right at-home – if you’re a fan, you’re always welcome. At the end of each podcast, (which have an approximate running-time of about an hour), they rate the episodes reviewed on a 1-to-5 ‘bionic limbs’ scale.

So far, Drew and Bisson have covered the three pilot movies and 51 regular-season episodes; they’re now into Season Three of SMDM, and they’re just getting into Season One of BW. Plus, there are 10 ‘Critical Assignment’ and 5 ‘Case File’ podcasts. These include Lee Majors and Lindsay Wagners first-ever, separate – and, joint-panels at Dragon Con, in 2013; as well as, in-depth interviews with Robbie Rist, Tom Schanley, Richard Lenz, Jim McMullin and Guerin Barry. All I can say is, I’ve just caught-up, but I’ve already started listening to them, again – they’re THAT GOOD!! And, it’s all because of the hosts, John S. Drew and Paul K. Bisson. Their affection for these shows is contagious, coming through your speakers loud and clear. If this review gets you to give Cyborgs: A Bionic Podcast a try, then I suggest you begin with ‘Critical Assignments’ 0.3 and 0.7: Bionic Roundtable Parts 1 and 2; here they discuss the making-of, and they kickoff the release of The Six Million Dollar Man: The Complete Collection. 

I only have one gripe: When John gave a shoutout to the five-star raters, from iTunes, (in Season Two: Declassified), he called me Cone, ‘S’ GatorOne… (Please insert bionic breakdown sound-effect, here, Paul.) That’s Cone, ‘E’ Gatorone, (or, Lt. Eric Cone, Federation Security), John; but I forgive you, pal. No ‘Lost Love’ here. 😉

My Rating: 💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻

‘Til, next time, see ya ‘out there…’ 

Lt. Eric Cone 🖖