Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sci-Fi Reviews

Still recuperating I'm afraid, but enough time for a blog post on some internet TV I've been watching (Yes! I have internet again and can watch TV again for the most part. Yippee!)

Star Trek: New Voyages has released a new episode. It's called "The World Enough and Time". The crux of this is that in a freak transporter accident young Sulu is aged 40 years or so and is then played by George Takei for the remainder of the episode. This is pretty cool, but unfortunately the previous episode featured young Chekov contracting an aging virus and ages into Walter Koenig. Not that the original series didn't rehash concepts in rapid succession, the Menagerie and Court Martial occurred in rapid succession as if suspiciously using the same court set they'd obviously spent some dollar that needed a return.

Anyroads at over 60 minutes this is pretty good -- it's better than the Chekov episode simply because they killed Chekov off with his rapid aging and for some inexplicable reason he's as young as ever and alive in the next episode.

You can watch it here with Flash. I must confess to misgivings over the preview for the next episode.

I've also seen Babylon 5: Lost Tales finally.

The problem with previous Babylon 5 spinoffs is they've had a different feel to the original series (IMHO good in the case of Crusade, bad in the case of the Legend of the Rangers). Even more-so is the fact that each spinoff has from the word go had an "epic" premise. In Crusade it was a 5 year mission for a cure to Earth's plague. In Legend of the Rangers it was the Hand, a race more powerful apparently than the Shadows (who were supposed to be the most powerful and the last of the First Ones). This meant that when Crusade was cancelled and Legend of the Rangers failed to merit a series (quite rightfully, as I recall it was awful) this left a massive unresolved backstory in the B5 universe.

With the Lost Tales JMS has obviously learned from this mistake. The first Lost Tales is unabashedly small-scale in stature, with the first story relating to a demon aboard Babylon 5 while the second story relates to a Dead Zone-esque moral quandry in the vein of the old "if you knew Hitler as a boy and saw his future would you kill him?" Both stories are roughly 35 minutes in length -- shorter than an episode of the B5 series.

Not a lot of money was spent on this project. A lot of the sets are pure CGI. The first story features literally 3 characters - Colonel Lochley, a character introduced in Season 5 of B5 and carried over into Crusade that JMS obviously likes even though she's a poor man's Ivonova (she was left in charge of B5 at the end of the original series though, so her involvement isn't exactly inappropriate), the older gentlemen from "7 Days" as a very convincing and refreshingly wise and witty Catholic priest and a possessed man. The second story has 5 characters - President Sheridan, Galen (a very cool character from Crusade that JMS is taken with), a reporter, a Centauri Prince and Lochley briefly.

Very small scale, but ultimately entertaining. The writing is stellar, the dialogue witty and there are seeds for a larger plotline in there somewhere. There's also tributes to G'Kar and Dr. Franklin's actors who died in recent years.

If Lost Tales goes the way of Legend of the Rangers then I'll be disappointed - I hope there's more of these to come.

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