Enterprise – Season 3

I started watching Enterprise after Christmas, because it is the one Trek I didn’t really see at the time and I wanted to get it done before new Trek came along. The first two seasons were generally good (with the occasional turkey) but my progress slowed dramatically as I tried to slog my way through the terrible third season. The biggest offender is the lack of narrative flow but general direction and acting occasionally also look rushed and quality occasionally takes a massive dip. Oh, the silly upbeat music is silly too.

  • The arc story frequently demonstrates urgency with time being a critical factor then the crew immediately get distracted by the story-of-the-week.
  • The crew (especially Archer) spend a lot of time being highly moralistic then do something ethically dubious. I guess this is why so many alien races in other Trek accuse the Federation of only pretending to wear the moral superiority hat.
  • Episodes have no ending; they just stop after 40 minutes. Each episode has a story of its own but all too frequently it closes with an unsatisfactory
  • Characters have flaws, those flaws are fully resolved during an episode and then resurface in a later episode to be resolved again. The Reed/Hayes relationship is the worst offender where half a dozen episodes have the B plot of Reed/Hayes have a problem. Problem is resolved. Reed/Hayes can now cooperate.
  • Lots of people carry the idiotball just for the sake of having a story (this isn’t very different from seasons 1 and 2.
  • There is a lot of padding. The “We will take you to see the council” mini-arc requires 4 episodes of which 3 go from A to B to C, meeting the same sub-faction people at each stop (The forth is a time travel story).
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Signs and Potents – Episode 1.13

Signs and Potents is a key episode. You can tell that because I’ve gone from four episodes in a post to just one. Turn away now if this is a first watch because there will be spoilers. Continue reading

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Breaking Bads – Episodes 1.9 to 1.12

Watch TV Air Date: 18 Nov, to 21st Nov 2013
My watch date: 9th Dec 2013

It has taken me eleven months to complete this blog, so my apologies if it seems a little disjointed.

Deathwalker (9/12/13)

This episode provides more introductions. Lennier seems so incredibly naive early in the series. Garibaldi gets to do some moralising, which is good to see from a character in danger of being the guy that gets his hands dirty and Sinclair has some “fun” trying to deal with his conscience.
Kosh got some good action here, being sneaky with regard to Talia, getting to be cryptic and finally Vorlon ship pop up and show off exactly how overwhelmingly powerful they really are.

Star Quote – “You will find their power quite impressive for a few seconds” – Ivanova. She is getting all the good lines.

Believers/Survivors (10/12/13)
I have lumped these two episodes together because they are very similar. Not many shows would take the time to mentally trash member of the main cast (unless their name is O’Brien), and even fewer would do so in such a way to leave that character with a fundamental personality flaw that will continue to rear it’s head for the next 4 and a half years.

Believers gets into Franklin and shows his God complex. He believes that he can and should save everyone and when he fails it really hurts. This episode is worth watching just to see how the perfect doctor fails with rejection and failure and this is the point from which is cycle of despair begins.
The story isn’t the most engaging and a little ponderous but it does give time to catch a breather between the intensity of Deathwalker and the action of Survivors and By Any Means Necessary. This episode throws up more interesting questions about people’s choices. I don’t know if Believers is a good or a bad episode. In the end, I think I will have to declare that it is different and leave it at that.

Survivors is Die Hard meets B5 and gives Bruce Willis Jerry Doyle a chance to run around the station, although he disappointingly fails to don a string vest. Good action and no heavy thinking required. Since B5 is often thought of as a more cerebral SciFi, this is quite a change to the normal course of things but it works well and shows how well B5 works accross a range of concepts. Here Garibaldi’s past and drink issues arise and we see him hitting the bottle and starting HIS cycle of despair. We see that the all-star security chief has some major weaknesses that won’t be resolved in one episode. We aren’t in the Alpha Quadrant any more.

Star Quote – “Don’t worry about me. I’m just going to sit here and knit” Ivanova – Believers

By Any Means Neccessary – Watched 11/12/13
Another lighter episode. This marks the end of the introduction to the main cast. After this the plot really starts to kick off. You can tell that this ends the introduction arc because it calls back to the very first episode. Londo withholds the plant that G’Kar needs in part because of what the Naarn did to to Londo’s nephew in the first episode.
On a personal basis, I love Londo and G’Kar bouncing off each other. It is just a shame that this is only the B-story. I could watch a whole season of just those two. The main story is strong and gives Sinclair a chance to show his true colours. He is a thinker, more than willing to manipulate and apply the rules as written as opposed to the follow the direct intent of orders when he thinks that they are wrong.

Overall, these four episodes are about rounding off our introduction to the characters and letting us know what they are all about. The JMS usenet quotes mention that the order of episodes 5 to 12 can be shown in almost any order, but I think that this works out very nicely.
Next up, the S1 core arc episode,

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Babylon5 – The Lost Tales

This is a review of the 2007 straight to DVD movie. While it sells itself as a movie it is actually more like two shortened episodes that take place at the same time. Those two stories play one after the other as opposed to being the traditional A story with B story filling the games. It is sort of like a double A-side.
I’m not entirely sure why it needs to end with the B5 boom scene and some G’Kar quoting. It feels a bit of a heavy introduction and tries to tie into a heavy back-story. That isn’t really necessary. They don’t need a big recap. Only an ardent B5 fan will end up watching this latest excerpt. Continue reading

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Crusade – Series Summary

This is my summery of Crusade, my opinion about the aborted series and a general roundup of the adventure.
It was always going to be a tough job doing a follow-up to Babylon 5. Even the less popular fifth season was a very good show on a par with the best of other programs at the time. Trying to strike gold for a second time was never going to be easy. Crusade gives it a good go. There are some hits and some misses, as you’d expect from a new series, and in general it doesn’t do too badly.

TL:DR

Crusade was a good series with strong one-shots, developing characters interesting stories and a catching arc. It was hampered by hyper-intelligent characters randomly being mind-blowingly stupid to just to create conflict, creator/studio disputes and not being Babylon5 Continue reading

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Crusade 1.09 – Racing The Night

Second episode in and I am probably watching the wrong one. JMS picked The Long Road to follow the exposition heavy War Zone because it was a good character piece. Me on the other hand, I jumped to this because it was supposed to be the first episode and I can see how that would have worked. It doesn’t use the standard, first meetings of all the characters that is typically done in stories, but instead drops us right into the action with a team that has already been working for a while. This lets the main characters naturally show us some of their main characteristics, starting with the opening with Gideon’s recklessness, gambling nature, then runs through all the other key characters and the tendemcy of everyone to withhold information. I also like the B5 callback. Babylon5 was the last best hope for peace. Gideon is our last best hope for Earth (they are doomed). Continue reading

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Crusade 1.08 – Appearances and Other Deceits

Earthforce have sent some busybodies to get in the way of the crew while they are working. I guess this is another episode about executive meddling episode as JMS delivers a take-that to the studio for standing in the way of his vision. Ironically this is also the last episode in my view order, so I guess we know who won that argument in the end.
Earth is still a bit of a mess and finding the cure is currently second priority keeping the general population calm. Key to that is making Gideon appear competent to the folks back home and the mission is making progress. Something tells me they will need more than a change in uniform to portray that message. Continue reading

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Crusade 1.07 – The Rules of the Game

Welcome to Crusader on Babylon 5. This has the potential for to be a great episode. Any episode that features the Brakiri ambassador has got be be good. It is good to see him standing firm to his own rules as opposed to being led around by the nose by Sheridon. Interesting policy they have offering “regional protection.” I’d of thought that 10% of GDP might be quite high cost. As a comparison, in the real world spending on military, only Oman (11.5% in 2013) and Saudi Arabia (9.0%) are even close (3rd place Afghanistan spends 6.2%). Continue reading

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Crusade 1.06 – Ruling from the Tomb

Ah, continuity issues. This episode introduces Lochley to Crusade for the first time. Hang on a moment, wasn’t her first meeting with Gideon. I can only conclude that the earlier meeting with was such a traumatic experience that everyone tried to forget about.
This episode takes place on Mars and revolves around a conference set up about the plague and everyone not getting along together because they all want to be in charge.

In B5, it seemed as though Lochley was nearly always wrong compared to the shows long-runners. Here she is the one in the right. I am not surprised that she gets grumpy at Gideon. Instead of assisting with her he rides rough-shot and assumes authority over her investigation. He is incredibly hands-on with everything and must be terrible at delegation.

It is good to see Trace again. He seems a balanced character with a bit of depth. It is a shame that the network didn’t agree and he would of been cut even if the show had continued.
The Eilerson/Durenna relationship really lifts this episode. The b-story is almost more interesting than the main story. We hear about Eilerson privileged but sheltered upbringing, which explains a lot about him, and it also resists using him as the butt of all the jokes. We get to see him getting himself into and out of trouble in his own special way and that he dances very well when drunk. I don’t think they could have used drunk-Eilerson’s flotation devices comment. Eeep!

Things would of probably been a lot easier to solve if they had taken the surrounded murder captive as opposed to shooting him in the head from behind. There will probably be all sorts of trouble after what Gideon had said. Could you imagine the panic today if someone announced that an infectious desease was incurable and deadly? No one would believe them if they later said they were joking. People always believe bad news and that people providing good news are either motivated by self-interest or lying.

I enjoyed this episode. It had a good balance of fun and drama and gave Eilerson the much needed boost to his character that he required.

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B5 Crusade 1.04 – The Path of Sorrows

Welcome to flashback central. Today’s journey will take you into a land of exposition and backstory. Hold on tight and please enjoy the ride.
I think the sequence finally explains why everyone behaves like such an arse in this series. It actually get results. Got a wall that requires tears to get past but no one can figure that out? Just insult people until you get a reaction. Galen secretly loves it because he gets to show off how good he is at solving puzzles while also being all big and scary. He has a reason to be a dick but I do feel sorry for poor Dureena. Continue reading

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