As I promised in my last blog, I’m back! Yes, dear readers, I am back and better than ever because I have come up with a brilliant plan to keep my site updated. From now on, I am going to combine two of my favorites activities for everyone’s blogging enjoyment; watching tv and making fun of said tv, for a new series I like to call “What Amy’s watching”.
I want it to be known that I really do enjoy serious writing and artwork, but for some reason that I have yet to fathom I seem to enjoy terrible writing and Internet memes even more. I can’t help myself! I’m drawn to kitsch and camp like a moth to a flame.
With that in mind, I think it’s time that I tackled the amazing 70s space epic that is BATTLESTAR GALACTICA!
Before I even begin to talk about BSG TOS, I feel obligated to let everyone know that NuBSG is quite possibly my favorite show of all time. I realize that there are some hardcore BSG TOS fans out there that don’t like Ronald D Moore’s darker version of the story and, while I am not old enough to have any nostalgia about the original series, I can understand their feelings on the matter. But, I respectfully submit that the two shows are really not that much alike and that it is more than possible to enjoy both of them for different reasons.
For example, I enjoy these two shows in the same way that I enjoy Star Trek’s TOS and DS9. DS9 had an epic war arc and characters that showed real growth throughout the run of the show. It appeals to me because I empathize with the long term stories on an emotional level, and because I enjoy when investing time in a show feels like it has a pay off at the end.
However, I enjoy Star Trek’s TOS because it’s almost a cowboy show. The big three are so legendary, Shatner’s acting is so over the top and the aliens so much more colorful than later iterations of the franchise that the show is often times the most fun of the Trek pantheon. You would never see some of truly zany stuff TOS got away with in later incarnations of the show. Remember that time Kirk was made to be a horse? Or that time those alien bimbos stole Spock’s brain? Everything to do with the Gorn?
I feel pretty much the same way about NuBSG vs BSG TOS. NuBSG frequently moved me to tears and had me right on the edge of my seat with crazy plot twists and turns, but did it have a robo-daggit? No sir, it did not.
Alright then, with that explanation out of the way, I think we can move on to the show itself.
Many people over the years have criticized BSG for being a blatant rip off of Star Wars, when in fact it is a rather imaginative rip off of the book of Mormon. Being the Apple of his day though, this did not stop George Lucas from Suing Universal Studios for copyright infringement. Thankfully though, he promptly had his ass handed to him when Universal pointed out how much he himself had stolen from Silent Running and Buck Rogers.
For those that aren’t familiar with the 70s incarnation of this show, there are some pretty major differences between BSG TOS and NuBSG. The most obvious of these, of course, being that Starbuck has a penis in one and a vagina in the other; although one could definitely make the argument that the character is kind of a dick in both. *ZING!*
In my research for this blog (YES, I do research… Don’t look so surprised!), I uncovered something else that I feel I need to mention before this viewing party begins. Dirk Benedict, the actor who played the original Starbuck, is a frakking misogynistic asshole in real life. If you doubt the word of a blogger you’ve just met (the internet’s most reliable source), I encourage you to read his entire butthurt rant, “Starbuck: lost in castration”, HERE.
In his essay on how the monstrous labia lips of feminism are constantly hanging over and seemingly consuming the universe *pauses to make a note to self to compose my own space opera entitled “Battlesnatch Vaginica“* Dirk composes such literary gems as “men hand out cigars, women hand out babies”.
I have to admit, the baby quote almost amuses me more than it infuriates me because it would seem to indicate that Dirk thinks women have some kind of baby vending machine between their legs that doles out children on a regular basis. It almost sounds as though he believes women are the reproductive equivalent of Santa, handing out offspring to everyone on the good list. Or maybe on the naughty list, I’m not really sure.
I confess, finding out what a jerk Starbuck is in real life almost soured me on this project enough to drop the idea and make fun of something else. But, then my ovaries rose up out of my body (I spend a lot of time in the hospital for such things) and told me not to back down. In response, I told them that they were right and that I should take the high road with this one, to which my left ovary (that’s the spunkier one) replied “Frak, no! Just destroy him with memes!”.
To which I said; “So say we all”.
Ok, let’s get down to business here. Today I’ll be recapping the first episode of the show; “Saga Of A Star World (part one)”. I’ll be watching it on Netflix because Netflix is awesome enough to continually answer all my TV watching prayers by adding shows I never thought I’d get to see again. For example, did you know Netflix now carries Dinosaurs?!? It’s like they have a portal directly into my dreams! But, I digress.
Even just in the first second of the opening I can tell that, unlike Trek’s TOS on Netflix, no one has bothered to clean up or remaster this show. Not that it matters though, because I can love a scratchy show just as much as one with a shiny new CGI finish.
This show’s theme song is truly epic, by the way. I would even say it’s on par with Star Wars, which I feel is a mighty big compliment considering the budget difference between the two.
After the theme song, the show opens with it’s standard monologue; “there are those that believe that life here began out there…” and I can’t help but want to mentally insert “yes, and they’re called Mormons. I see you there, Gary Larson!” somewhere in the middle of this thing. But still, it’s an attention grabbing intro and I actually prefer it to Kirk’s “where no man has gone before” speech in the Trek universe.
As the actual plot begins to unfold, we see the Quorum of twelve on their way to meet the Cylon delegation and toasting to a new era of peace aboard the Atlantia. The champy is flowing and the metaphorical back patting is gratuitous.
Back aboard the Galactica, the we see a shirtless Starbuck-
…engaging in a conversation with an overly eager Zac Adama. Zac wants Starbuck to give up his patrol shift because, damn it, he’s ready to be taken seriously as a pilot! He’s not just Apollo’s little brother who somehow managed to be approved for flight because nepotism exists in the BSG universe too. He’s qualified, excited and raring to go!
As Apollo enters the room, Zac is quick to announce that Starbuck is
drunk sick and can’t fly. Apollo decides to toy with him by asking out loud who they could possibly get to replace Starbuck, and stops just short of concluding “I’ll just use the robo-daggit.” before finally caving into Zac’s begging.
Upon hearing the good news, Zac lets out the most Luke Skywalker-ish squeal I’ve ever heard on TV, while Starbuck continues to give himself lung cancer and Apollo works his best smug face.
Apollo and Zac get in their vipers and head off into space and, man, those original series helmets are silly looking.
Amazingly, the special effects on this show remain cool after all these years. The models they use are truly a thing of beauty, and remain fun to watch even when everything going on around them is a mess.
Back on the USS Hubris, we see the President talking to none other than Count
Dooku Baltar. The President tells him that “[he has] secured for [himself] a place in the history books”. Brother, if he only knew!
One thing that’s always bugged me about BSG TOS is Baltar’s total lack of motivation to collude with the Cylons. I mean, seriously, what’s in it for this guy? He helps the Cylons commit genocide… And then they attempt to execute him. Smooth move there, buddy.
Anyway, Baltar gives the President a handshake and then struts off to laugh maniacally in a corner about how brilliant his evil plot is. Or, at least, that’s what I imagine is happening off screen.
The president heads off in a different direction to talk to resident worry wart, Commander Adama. Adama explains that he can’t see this alliance working out because humans love freedom, independence, asking questions and Cylons
are communists hate those things with every fiber of their being.
The President remains unconvinced by this argument because they have Baltar on their side. And, honestly, what kind of a deranged moron would sell his people out to the Cylons when he has a cushy diplomatic gig going on at home? No, but really, why would Baltar do that? I NEED TO KNOW!
Switching back to the good stuff, we see Apollo and Zac being awesome in their awesome starships. Apollo has noticed a Cylon tanker and thinks that something in the milk ain’t clean because the Clyons are jamming all his sensors. Zac is totally clueless. Just in general.
Apollo sees a shitstorm ahead and turns his ship around. The camera switches views and we suddenly get out first glimpse of the Cylons! Yay!
The Cylon raiders are ambushing, but Apollo is a BAMF and he’s not going to let those toasters bring him down. Although, he loses some cool points here for actually uttering the word “Yahoo!” after knocking out a raider.
Unfortunately for Zac, the Cylons knock out of his engines. But, not to worry because they got all the Cylons and everything is going to be ok and-
Jk, there are a thousand Cylon raiders right behind that one and Zac is totally screwed. Apollo correctly announces that he has to warn the fleet, and Zac incorrectly states that he can “handle himself” with the Cylons. This is coming from the same guy who thought a Cylon tanker broadcasting a jamming signal thicker than Kim Kardashian’s backside is totally not suspicious at all. Yeah, good luck with that, Zac.
Apollo seems oddly hopeful about the situation and tells Zac that he can “fly with [him] anytime” before heading back to the Galactica.
Meanwhile, Commander Adama is also heading back to the Galactica with his daughter, Athena. This seems like a good time to ask a very important question; how many people on this ship are related to the commander?!?
Back in the command center, Adama sits down by his Motorola two pager to let the President know that
the commies are up to their old tricks his patrol ships are under attack and that he was right all along about everything. He suggests sending out an intercept force, but Baltar convinces the president that doing so would be “highly inadvisable” and the President, for some reason, agrees and nixes all plans to send ships out.
Colonel Tigh cautiously tells Adama that the two ships that are under attack are being lead by his son, Captain Apollo. Adama is totally unfazed by this and says “Well, if I can’t have confidence in my first born son, who can I?”. Tigh breathes that sigh of exasperation that always goes along with bad news and informs him that it isn’t just Apollo out there, it’s that other kid he produced too. The one with no piloting ability that made it through training because he had a passing last name.
Adama knows what that means.
Zac is somehow hanging on out there, when Adama decides to do an end run around the President’s orders by calling for a “battle stations drill”. Sneaky there, Adama!
Starbuck is in the officers quarters gambling like it’s going out of style, when the ship suddenly goes to red alert. People are running off to their posts but Starbuck, not wanting to lose his winnings just because of a measly little inconvenience like duty, is… Dear Lord, he’s shoving his pyramid chips into his pants. You stay classy, Starbuck!
We get a nice extended shot of a bunch of officers riding on some kind of group Segway thing to their posts here. It looks fun, honestly.
Back aboard the good shop delusion, the President is still listening to Baltar in spite of the fact that what’s he’s saying makes no sense whatsoever. But, I can understand why the President would trust that Baltar was telling the truth about a friendly *wink wink smirk* Cylon welcoming committee, because why would anyone betray their people to an alien race that wants to destroy their planet? WHY?!?
As the Cylons close in on the good guys, Baltar shockingly goes missing as the President helplessly realizes that he’s a total fool for ever believing anything that came out of Baltar’s mouth. But, again, I sympathize because why would someone collaborate with an enemy that wants to exterminate their entire species? IT MAKES NO SENSE!
Off somewhere in the distance, poor Zac “my brother runs the flight school” Adama is running into a bit more trouble with the Cylons than he can handle. Actually, he’s in a lot more trouble than he can handle because he barely has time to send out a distress signal before being blown to bits by the enemy. It’s a shame; he never even got assigned a cool piloting nick name.
Back aboard the Galactica, Adama and Athena are absorbing the bad news about Zac. Adama informs the president, as Athena cries.
Back in the awesome part of the show, Cylon raiders are busy being Cylon raiders. Models are flying around everywhere, things are blowing up… *pauses recap and grabs popcorn*
Apollo finds his way back to the command center on the Galactica. He rushes up to Adama and Tigh to let them know that Zac is out there and needs his help and-
Tigh informs him that there’s no hope, and- who cares? The special effects are back!
Back aboard the reddest ship you’ve ever seen, Apollo is denying that there are any Cylon base ships out there; only a couple thousand raiders. How could that be? Well, Apollo theorizes that the tanker he ran into earlier was a refueling point and that no base ships were needed. Tigh wants to know why they would do that, and I want to know why more stuff isn’t blowing up. But, Adama has a theory.
“get me the president!” Adama yells as he runs toward the com, and the camera switches back to battle shots. Not to cheapen the moment here, but damn! I love these models! I know what I’ll be looking to buy at Comic Con this year. In the fight between which show has the better toys, BSG TOS absolutely destroys NuBSG. There’s no contest among those action figures.
Adama warns the president that the Cylons are coming, but the president is still gazing down at the floor like “why did I ever trust a guy who listed ‘dr. Evil’ as one of his references? Stupid, stupid…” and actually adds that he’s lead the entire human race to ruin before getting blasted out of his self reflection by the Clyons.
BOOM. And here come the Cylon base ships, well within range to do serious damage to Virgon, Sagittaron and… Yes, Caprica. On a side note, why is Caprica seemingly the only colony that doesn’t end with “on” in the name? Why aren’t they Capricon?
But anyway, on the Cylon base ship, we get our first utterance of the Cylon catch phrase “by your command” and also the first glimpse of… Floating head guy. I think this guy is called the Imperious Leader, if memory serves. At the moment though, he just looks like a floating Afro on top of a bathrobe.
Anyway, he tells the Centurions to attack mankind. Which they do.
The Galactica pulls out of it’s assigned position to head towards home. But, maybe the situation isn’t too bad because TV’s back! The opening ceremony of the PEACE convention is on tv, and Jane Seymour is reporting that everything is Sunshine and Lollipops on Caprica.
She’s currently improvising because the giant PEACE display really isn’t getting the traffic they’d hoped for and they’re not getting the broadcast they’d hoped for from Kobol either. She doesn’t have to stall for time long though, because here come the Cylons!
Like a good reporter, instead of fearing for her safety or immediately worrying about her son, she asks “are we getting this on the camera?”.
She yells for Boxey when it becomes clear that her days as on TV are probably over, due to the likelihood that the station will be blowing up shortly. He comes running along with his daggit, but sadly the daggit doesn’t make it. Things continue to get blown up, and we see the Caprican flag burning to the ground.
People aboard the Galactica can only stand by and watch, and Colonel Tigh actually cries. I always find it rather moving when a grown man cries. Athena dramatically says “we were supposed to protect them!” and she’s not wrong. But, still, what could the Galactica do against all those Cylon ships? Get blown up, that’s what; as is evidenced by the fact that they’re the only surviving battlestar.
Meanwhile, Starbuck is in serious trouble (GOOD!) and needs help. Athena offers to assist him, but he’s all “nah, I need someone with a penis to do this.” and lets Tigh take the situation over.
He comes into the Galactica hot and, sadly, does not get torn to pieces. As soon as he exits the ship, he snaps that he’s “fine, no thanks to your father” at Athena. He then proceeds to rip Athena apart and generally act like a selfish jerk before she’s finally able to get a word in edgewise and tell him what’s happened.
Apollo and Adama head down to Caprica, and there’s not much left. Adama does find a lock box back home though with pictures of his wife and family, and apologizes to the charred images for having never been there. It’s a very sad moment, and Lorne Greene delivers as a man suffering the greatest loss of his life.
However, they can’t stay because crowds of people are coming to raptor. They’re scared, they’re angry and about a dozen of them want to know “where were you?”. I suppose the writing staff could only come up with one question in this scenario. Fair enough.
Apollo informs them that pretty much everyone is dead and that maybe they should calm down with the blame game. Adama rallies his strength and pretty much says the same thing, but adds that they will fight for survival by taking to the stars. This is followed by another great model shot. Yay!
And the word went forth to all the colonies, and so they went onward into space. It’s very poetic, but the stand out moment here has to be when a ship rolls by that says “Colonial Movers… We move anywhere!”. Ha!
Back on Caprica, Baltar is in full gloat mode.
But, the Cylons inform him that there are rumors that some of the humans survived and almost doesn’t count, Baltar! Baltar asks the Centurions what their standing orders are regarding humans, and the Cylons inform him that they’re to destroy them all. Seriously, why is Baltar helping them? And why don’t the Cylons just shoot him after that line? I mean, he’s human too, right?
Adama has gathered everyone together from the various surviving ships for a pep talk about a lost colony, remembered to them only through ancient writings. Serina asks Adama what he knows about this planet and, honestly, it doesn’t sound like he knows much. But, there’s a nice dramatic pause before he announces that the planet is called “Earth”.
Oh, and here comes the most uncomfortable segment in the whole show. Athena is stripping out of her standard issue pantyhose and garter belt uniform, when Starbuck walks in and begins to apologize for acting like Dirk Benedict earlier in the episode.
Athena hides behind a locker awkwardly as Starbuck says “I guess I was just looking to take it out on somebody” about his lost pilot friends and I really want to finish his sentence with “and you had a vagina.”. However, Athena accepts his half assed apology/sexual harassment.
Starbuck seems to be pressuring her to talk about their relationship, or maybe have sex, I’m not really sure which. Athena tells him “maybe later, when things aren’t so fresh in my mind”, and at this point she’s nearly climbing into the locker to get away from him. Jeez Starbuck, take a hint!
Athena tells Starbuck that he’s not relationship material because, well, he’s Starbuck. He says “I guess we see things differently”, and when he finally leaves Athena’s face says “THANK GOD!” more than words ever could.
Now we see Starbuck and Boomer walking around, dodging work that doesn’t involve blowing stuff up. Apollo and friends are meanwhile looking for tholium leaks and other such useful stuff aboard the Gemini. Apollo is having exactly none of Starbuck’s crap though and orders him to do his job.
Things are not looking good aboard this ship. People are thirsty because there haven’t had any water on the ship in two days (yikes!) and are presumably hungry too. It’s a nice touch to have people speaking in Geminese for this segment.
Apparently this ship has a resident
prostitute socialator though, so maybe they do have something fun going for them even if one cranky old woman wants to “feed her to the daggits”.
At least one other passenger has come from a luxury liner called “the rising star” and wants to know why that ship has everything this one doesn’t, and why he was cast off here with the dregs of society who have nothing. Boomer simply states that core control is aware of the problem. Whatever that means. I’m with passenger guy on this one, there’s clearly something they’re not telling everyone.
But, I guess I’ll have to watch the next episode to find out what that is because here comes the voice of Lorne Greene with next week’s episode preview! Boxey goes missing! Baltar gets threatened! More stuff blows up! Yay! I can’t wait.
All in all, I’d give this episode three out of four stars. It’s not perfect, but it’s certainly entertaining. It sets the concept of the show up nicely too, even if they later ruin some of the dramatic value of it by having romp episodes with four eyed night club girls and gun fights in the intergalactic wild west. But, those are discussion’s for later episodes!
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(Click images to enlarge)
For the past few weeks, I have been watching on Netflix Instant Queue. I have fond memories of this show from childhood. But, they’re the sort of blurry “I like the dude with the sideways mohawk and the lizard face guy” memories that are more akin to remembering the pictures from a book you haven’t actually read than a real impression of the show.
I was 7 or 8 years old when Babylon 5 premiered, so it shouldn’t come as a shock if I didn’t grasp some of it’s main concepts when it originally aired.
My family also watched while I was growing up. But, at some point the show got moved to an inconvenient time slot and we stopped following it. As a result, I didn’t actually see the whole show until two years ago. Personally, I’m glad things happened that way. I don’t think 12 year old me could fully appreciate the brilliance of episodes like “The Visitor” and “In The Pale Moonlight”. Because I got to see the show through adult eyes, I was able to really appreciate how good it is. DS9 has subsequently become one of my all time favorite shows.
I know mentioning DS9 in the same breath as B5 is a dangerous proposition, as there are still many people out there who cling to the old 90s rivalry between the two or who insist on perpetuating the idea that DS9 was a B5 rip off. I’m not trying to start a flame war here, nor am I going to waste energy on further beating that long dead horse. I’m just trying to give everyone a little background on what lead me to rewatch B5. I’m of the mind that if you like Sci-fi, you can easily enjoy both shows.
I’ve heard time and time again that if you’re a fan of DS9’s story arcs and strong character pieces, then you will love B5. In fact, my father insists that B5 was better than DS9. So, being the Sci-fi nerd that I am, I was thrilled to find out the show was available to stream on Netflix Instant Queue. Given how little I remember of the plot, I was prepared to have a similar experience to the one I had watching DS9. I looked forward to seeing familiar faces with the benefits of the maturity and experience I did not yet possess during the show’s original run.
I must admit though, the of B5 is largely horrible. Most fans of the show seem to know this already, but I really can’t stress enough how unbelievable awful some of the first season stand alone episodes are. They make the relative low points of DS9’s first season look like Citizen Kane by comparison. Bear with me though, because I am headed somewhere positive with this.
To give everyone a better understanding of how I feel about the show, I’m going to give you a quick snapshot of some of my thoughts on all the episodes I’ve seen so far.
WARNING! POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD!
The Gathering – Oh boy, those Amiga effects really have not stood up to the test of time. I feel like I’m watching , or maybe a really weird game. For some reason, I thought was named Rondo in my memory. That should say something about how much of this show I actually remember. The were cool in 1993, and they’re still cool now.
Midnight On The Firing Line – This is a little bit better than The Gathering. Episodes that focus on Londo and are always more entertaining than episodes that feature the excruciatingly dull human cast.
Soul Hunter – Oh man, really? An alien comes to the station in order to steal souls. It’s hard to say who was worse in this episode, or the guest star. Michael O’Hare is so wooden, I actually started referring to him as “Commander Pinnochio” right around this episode. This is a candidate for MST3K if I’ve ever seen one.
Born To Purple – Londo acts the fool when he finds himself being seduced by a beautiful bald woman with sinister motivations. I like Londo, so this was a huge improvement over Soul Hunter.
Infection – To be honest, I blocked this one from my memory. The only thing I can really recall from this episode was the hilariously clunky bit of exposition in the beginning when the reporter asks what happened to Babylon 1 through 4. I guess in the future, terrorist attacks and trillion credit space projects disappearing into thin air just aren’t relevant enough news stories to be remembered for more than a year. Then again, if our current international space station went missing, I’m not sure anyone would notice. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure most people are even aware that there is an international space station to begin with, sad as that fact may be. So, ok episode, carry on.
The Parliment Of Dreams – The station holds a week of religious ceremonies, and apparently Earth is the only world present with multiple faiths. Does anyone else find that odd? Oh well. The sequence at the end where Sinclair shows off all the different religions of Earth was kind of a nice touch, and had a sense of optimism that was done in a uniquely B5 way. I also appreciated G’Kar’s B plot. I’m not sure if G’Kar dealing with an assassination attempt was supposed to be funny, but I laughed all the same.
Mind War – This episode has Star Trek’s own Walter Koenig in it, which makes for a fun casting choice if you’re a fan of . The idea of someone being able to kill you with a thought is pretty cool. But, the cheesy ending hurts the episode a bit.
The War Prayer – I had to fight hard not to fall asleep during this one. Londo helps a young couple out of an arranged marriage, *yawn* and a bunch of pro-earth terrorists cause trouble on B5. The terrorist plot had potential, but was quickly stomped on by an obvious ending and horrible acting on the part of the guest stars.
And The Sky Full Of Stars – This is the first episode most people seem to cite as being actually good. I don’t know about all that, but it’s a little better than the preceding episodes. This one deals with Sinclair’s missing 24 hours during the battle of the line. Some strange stuff happens, and he gets beat up a lot. We also find out is somehow involved in all this and *ZOMG* will have to kill Sinclair if he ever finds out the truth of what happened. The problem with this episode is that it’s all set up with relatively little pay off. Also, I’m far more interested in what happened to B4 than Sinclair’s missing time. But, having been told many times that all my questions will eventually be answered, I’m ok with this episode being more of a building block than an actual story. This one is miles ahead of “infection”, at any rate.
Deathwalker – And we’re back to MST3K fare. Some super evil woman named Deathwalker comes aboard the station with a powerful drug that can make anyone immortal. The catch, in all it’s mad scientist B movie glory, is that you have to kill people to make the drug. For some reason. Since this woman has committed terrible crimes, some people want her dead. Some people just want the drug, at any cost. Obviously, disagreements ensue, and in the end the Vorlons sneak off like the silent bad asses they are and blow her ship up. Good for them, I say! Most of B5’s guest stars should have met the same fate, as far as I’m concerned.
Believers – Now, THIS is what I would call the first really good episode of B5! struggles with his sense of medical ethics versus an alien family’s religious views and the results make for some compelling drama, even though I did see the ending coming long before I was supposed to. It didn’t matter though, the episode was well played and I enjoyed it.
Survivors – I fell asleep during this one. But, I think the basic gist here is that is a former alcoholic with a troubled past. Also, the president has enemies.
By Any Means Necessary – A labor dispute gets ugly and an obnoxious prick from the Earth senate labor committee is sent in to be the one note villain of the week. Around this point, I found myself wondering why I was still watching the show. Between the terrible guest stars, the dated CG, the random changes in the show’s aspect ratio, the dull as dishwater humans… Well, you get the idea.
Signs And Portents – FINALLY! The show picks up a little bit here in what I’m told is the first real foray into the larger story arc in the series. Plus, as a bonus, a lot of stuff blew up in this episode. I’m not always a fan of action sequences. I tend to like more “talky” sci-fi. But, since the rest of the season was so sleepy in comparison, this was a nice change of pace.
TKO – I’m aware that this is a particularly hated episode of B5, and that a lot of people claim this is the worst episode of the entire series. To be honest, I didn’t think it was THAT bad. Don’t get me wrong, it definitely wasn’t good either. But, it wasn’t as painful as the first couple episodes in the season. Or, perhaps by this point I had seen enough horrible material from season one that I had lowered my standards to the point where this episode came off as at least passable entertainment. Neither the A or the B plot are anything to write home about. Garibaldi has some random friend who wants to compete in an alien boxing match, and Ivanova finally deals with the death of her father.
Grail – This is another episode a lot of people seem to hate, and that I didn’t mind. It has the guy who played the evil Gul in “chain of command” in it, which is awesome because, unlike most of B5’s guest stars, this guy can actually act. The main plot is about this guy looking for the holy grail, and there’s a fairly amusing peripheral plot about Londo locking himself in his quarters after he hears that there’s a Na’Ka’Leen Feeder on board the station. Ok, it’s not great. But, I didn’t fall asleep. So, it’s clearly better than “survivors”.
Eyes- This episode starts off with what seems like a hilariously obvious bit of awkward product placement for the 1993 Kawasaki Ninja Motorcycle. Garibaldi practically launches into a commercial for the bike after asks him what he’s building. I mean, he literally sounds like he’s going to end the scene by saying “if I lived in 1993, I’d run down to the nearest Kawasaki dealership and buy one with all the amazing special add-ons that could be purchased back then, in the past, because I’ve been told *by history books* that this thing came with a great warranty and that Kawasaki always delivered the best costumer service possible for their riders. I’ve also heard they had company wide discount sales during the month of July with low APR fees on loans and no sales tax until December! In the past, of course.”. However, I see on the Lurker’s Guide to Babylon 5 that J. Michael Straczynski has said they were not paid by Kawasaki to write that unintentionally hysterical scene. So, I’m actually somewhat mystified as to how all that blatant brown nosing made it into the final script.
The rest of the episode is kind of a missed opportunity due to the use of another hammy, over the top cartoon villain. However, I loved seeing as a telepath. Jeffrey Combs is one of my favorite Trek actors, so bonus points to this episode for having him on board. Oh, I also can’t forget to mention the ending scene where Lennier and Garibaldi ride their newly built crotch rocket around the station like teenagers in love, because riding a fast motor vehicle around in an indoor, crowded pedestrian area is exactly the sort of sensible example the chief of security should be setting for others on the station. Also, because the Kawasaki Ninja is an amazing bike, from the past!
Computer: The motorcycle was often considered a sign of freedom, sexual prowess and rebellion.
Lennier: Sexual Prowess?
Garibaldi: That’s right! Imma get your heart racing in my skin tight jeans, be your teenage dream tonight. Let you put your hands on me, in my skin tight jeans, be your teenage dream tonight!
(in case anyone really needed the soundtrack for this scene)
Legacies – This is the second episode of B5 I can really recommend as being good. A quick glance at Wikipedia tells me that this episode was written by none other than Trek veteran, DC Fontana! Being a woman who loves Sci-Fi, DC is something of a hero to me. She wrote for Trek when the Sci-Fi world was still very much a boys club. She suffered through a lot of sexism and even wrote under a male pen name for many years. In fact, I confess, I wasn’t even aware of DC’s gender before the advent of Wikipedia. As someone who aspires to write a Sci-Fi novel or two myself one day, I feel that I owe a lot to pioneering women like her. But, enough fangirl gushing, this episode keeps up a good pace throughout, has a fun mystery and even gives us an unexpected twist at the end. This is the episode that finally got me to buy into watching the rest of the series.
As of July 1st, Babylon 5 has been pulled from Netflix Instant Queue. WHAT THE FRAK!?! I was just starting to get into it! I suffered through almost all of season one, only to be rewarded with this?
Adding insult to injury for B5 fans, the new Sci-Fi show that will be replacing it in the instant queue line up is none other than… STAR TREK! Was Instant Queue not big enough for the both of them? Let the conspiracy theories begin!
No, no I kid. Everyone put your flame throwers down. I have to admit though, it would have been kind of ironically amusing if it had been replaced with DS9. But, no, it has been replaced with everything but DS9. Netflix now offers (YAY!), (Which I love, but have already recently rewatched and don’t really need to see again), (OK, sure. Why not?) and (eh… Yay?).
So, now I am left with a serious dilemma. Should I keep watching this show? After all the complaining and mocking I did for the first fifteen episodes or so, one would think it would be easy for me to walk away and dismiss B5 as a show better left remembered than seen. However, I have somehow managed to become invested in the story. So, where do I watch it now?
Let me make it clear for all of you that I am a deeply impatient person. I don’t want to wait for DVDs to come in the mail, especially since I know my boyfriend has many things in line on our Netflix queue that he would want to see before I could throw B5 in there.
I am also very cheap, so I’d really have to be convinced to pay to see the rest of the show. I’m willing to shell out money for something I know I like and will want to see many times again. I’m just not sure yet if B5 will turn out to be that kind of show for me. I certainly don’t ever need to see the majority of season one again, that’s for sure.
So, where does that leave me? As it turns out, it leaves me with The WB online! They have the show available to stream (with commercials, not that I mind that terribly) on their website. However, the online episodes seem to end part way through season two. Does anyone out there know if the WB rotates the seasons?
Well, if all else fails, I see Amazon does have all the seasons available used for reasonable prices. But, still, I would rather have continued on with Netflix. Oh well.
I suppose I will figure out a way to keep going with B5 because, as Ambassador Kosh would say; the avalanche has already started. It’s too late for the pebbles to vote.
Vorlons: what DON’T they know?
Here’s a sampling of some of the various B5 stuff I may eventually break down and buy on Amazon and eBay, for everyone’s withdrawal needs!