Sunday, May 22, 2011

Babylon 5 (after 1.25 Seasons)

Netflix sez...
1994-1998 NR Seasons 1-5
With an intricate plot and dazzling special effects, this character-driven sci-fi series follows the dramatic personal and political events that unfold at the Babylon 5 space station as the station's human and alien residents seek peace. Located on neutral territory during the tumultuous 23rd century, Babylon 5 provides sanctuary for galactic ambassadors and also serves as a base for military officers protecting delicate alliances.

The 73rd Virgin sez...
So Netflix suggests that I might enjoy this based on interest in godawful American television from the early 90s? But I figure I'm always up for a good space opera and instead find, in the pilot episode especially, ghastly wooden acting. Michael O'Hare as Captain Sinclair personifies the 1970s-style somnalent furrowed brow of the sternly declared declarative sentence. When he is coached to smile or show humor he does it - declaratively. I guess Adam West was busy. He REALLY makes you appreciate Patrick Stewart.

And what do you reckon is the first big dramatic encounter during the 23rd century opening of Babylon 5 (our last best hope for peace)? You guessed it - a DRUG DEALER (he slings dust) - who takes a screaming woman hostage by holding something like a phaser to her head. Bleeding edge stuff, right there. To think that this limped along into the era of the breathlessly weird "Farscape" is like pondering Neanderthals trotting through the Roman Empire. To think that there are 119 episodes of this and 12 episodes of the forlorn "Firefly" is just sad beyond words.

If you care, instant view is in 4:3 rather than widescreen. I have read there is widescreen available. But why would you care?

2nd season - O'Hare is out and Bruce Boxleitner is in as Captain Sheridan. The stories focus more on the relatively engaging Jerry Doyle as Security Officer Garibaldi, and on the best actor in the bunch, Claudia Christian as Something Something Ivanavov. It is still wildly unchallenging, but not as laughable as Season 1. Russ Tamblyn of Tom Tnumb and West Side Story and Twin Peaks guests as the captain of a deep space explorer. He gives it the old college try, screaming orders at his seconds when his ship travelling through hyper-space is hit by - something. Sparks fly in the control room, a trash can fire starts in the background and they dont even bother to shake the camera around and have him bump into a desk. June Lockhart of Lost in Space(!) makes a guest shot and shows us how to do it old school. Otherwise not looking very auspicious, I'm afraid. Will keep trying.

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