Babylon 5

RETROSPECULATIVE TV: Babylon 5: “TKO” (Season 1, Episode 14)

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So after two-and-a-half great episodes in a row, we’re right back to crap city. A lot of people consider this the worst B5 episode every. They’re wrong. It isn’t even the worst B5 episode we’ve seen thus far in the first season. It is pretty terrible, though, and yet there is one thing to like.

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Garibaldi’s old friend, Walker Smith, visits the station. He’s a washed up prize fighter who got blacklisted, and he hopes that by competing in an alien combat sport - the Mutai - he’ll get enough notoriety to get his career going again. It works. Yawn.

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BABYLON 5: Legend of the Rangers: So what would have happened if it had gone to series?

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We haven’t engaged in any irresponsible, groundless speculation about Babylon 5 in a while - really since before I interviewed Joe Straczynski ( http://www.republibot.com/content/interview-joe-straczynski ), and since my POP 3 server (Whatever that is) won’t let me check my Email, this seems a fine time to start. Added to which, I’m feeling much less sick than I have over the last 10 days, but still not well enough to do anything useful, so, here we go:

My question is: “What Was Legend of the Rangers” all about? What would have happened if it had gone to series?

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SONG OF THE WHENEVER-WE-FEEL-LIKE-DOING-ONE: "Preliator" by Globus (2006)

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Welcome back to our wildly-infrequently-scheduled "Song of the week" feature. Now, ordinarily, we only do songs that are about SF (A surprising number) or songs with videos that are SF related (Also a surprising number) or both (Somewhat less common than you'd figure, surprisingly). We generally don't do FMVs or songs that *aren't* about SF because, hey, what's the point?

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RETROSPECULATIVE TV: Babylon 5: “Signs and Portents” (Season 1, Episode 13)

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The second flat-out great episode in a row, and a total barn-burner of a story at that. From this point on the story begins to move faster and with more impetus.

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RETROSPECULATIVE TV: Babylon 5: “By any Means Necessary” (Season 1, Episode 12)

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This one is a watershed, kids; B5’s first actual *important,* game-changing episode, though most of us aren’t going to like it

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RETROSPECULATIVE TV: Babylon 5: “Survivors” (Season 1, Episode 11)

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My one word review? Maudlin. My longer review? Read on:

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President Santiago (Re-elected in “Midnight on the Firing Line”) is en rout to B5 aboard “Earth Force 1.” (Oooh! Nice!) Meanwhile, there’s an explosion in the Cobra Bays (From whence the fighters are launched). The Presidential Security Team that arrived on the station about the same time investigates and finds evidence of sabotage. Further investigation implicates Garibaldi. Garibaldi runs to try and clear his name, and eventually he does. The president arrives at the station without incident.

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RETROSPECULATIVE TV: Babylon 5: “Believers” (Season 1, Episode 10)

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Last week I pointed out that B5 was tackling territory already well-traveled by Trek, and yet it did it in a much better fashion. This week does it again, and in a much better fashion still. I’ve long grumbled that TNG refused to take a non-didactic, non-preachy angle on *any* issue, and as such there was little or no drama, little or no risk, no moral ambiguity, and ultimately little-or-no meaning. The show was, as a whole, an exercise in “Luring intellectuals into believing what they already know to be true.” (To quote They Might Be Giants).

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RETROSPECULATIVE TV: Babylon 5: “Deathwalker” (Season 1, Episode 9)

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The show is definitely beginning to get some feet under it. I’ve mentioned once or twice that some of these early episodes feel like they would fit better in other series - the Outer Limits, or TNG, or whatever. Well, this episode bears more than a few similarities to the TNG realm of storytelling - a clear-cut moral tale with good guys and bad guys and a strong (If obvious) message about the triumph of good over evil and the perfectibility of humanity.

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RETROSPECULATIVE TV: Babylon 5: “And the Sky Full of Stars” (Season 1, Episode 8)

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The first year of B5 is pretty inconsistent and dull, and never so much as in the first third of the season, but for those who’ve soldiered on thus far, they get some payoff: The mystery of Sinclair’s disappearance at the Battle of the Line is revealed, and a larger mystery emerges from that one.

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RETROSPECULATIVE TV: Babylon 5:: “The War Prayer” (Season 1, Episode 6)

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Grrr. The average is ebbing down again. Not terrible, and there’s some more world building here that is worth watching, but that doesn’t disguise the overwhelming feeling of “Meh” that pervades this episode.

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