Retrospeculative TV

RETROSPECULATIVE TV: The Tick: “Arthur Interrupted” (Episode 3, or possibly 8)

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Arthur decides to tell his mom and his sister (“Dot”) about his new “Lifestyle Choice.” They decide he’s crazy, and slap him in a nuthatch run by a guy named “Peacock,” who attempts to cure people of their predilection for Superheroism. It quickly turns out that Mr. Peacock is, himself, a latent superhero, and spends all night in his office trying on his patients’ confiscated costumes. Arthur discovers this, and is thrown into solitary.

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RETROSPECULATIVE TV: Babylon 5: “In the Shadow of Z‘Ha‘Dum” (Season 2, Episode 16)

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Finally, 38 episodes into the run of the series, and 23 episodes after the Shadows first showed up, we start getting some answers…

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RETROSPECULATIVE TV: The Tick: “The Terror” (Episode 2. Or was it 9?)

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Several astute readers have pointed out that while Liz Vassey is *IN* “The Adventures of Captain Zoom in Outer Space,” the not-at-all-shy-about-showing-off-her-body woman I referred to last week is undoubtedly Gia Carides. In looking at many tasteful-yet-revealing photographs of both women over the last two weeks, I have realized that, yes, I am in error, but I have done the work to fact-check it to make sure I’m not in error about being in error. Sorry to both. I apologize.

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RETROSPECULATIVE TV: Babylon 5: “And Now For A Word…” (Season 2, Episode 15)

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Now that we’re safely on the downslope side of Season 2, and the show has *finally* found its footing, we get our first really ‘format breaking’ episode. This time out, the story isn’t told as though it’s a standard hour of B5, but rather it’s shot as though it’s a 23rd century news show *about* the Babylon 5 space station. The story, then, is told through the eyes of the reporter and the camera crew. We see what they see, don’t see what they don’t see.

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RETROSPECULATIVE TV: The Tick: “Pilot” (Episode 1)

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All B5 and no play makes Kevin a dull bot. Seriously: it’s been like six months since I’ve done a “Retrospeculative TV” review that *wasn’t* about B5, and as much as I love the show, my obsession is even beginning to wear thin on me. Added to which, this feature was intended to showcase smaller, overlooked, obscure series, and not stuff people done to death online. B5 definitely isn’t that.

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RETROSPECULATIVE TV: Babylon 5: “Hunter, Prey” (Season 2, Episode 13)

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What a difference half a season makes! Just twelve episodes ago - heck, just six episodes ago - this story would have sucked. It’s solidly C-grade at best, but the way it’s handled - particularly the Sheridan stuff - bumps it up to B-minus effortlessly, despite the workmanlike plot. The show knows who and what it is now, and suddenly, finally, it’s a joy for me to introduce it to you.

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A-Plot:

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RETROSPECULATIVE TV: Babylon 5: “Acts of Sacrifice” (Season 2, Episode 12)

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In the second half of the season, we hit a stride that is more-or-less typical for the main sequence of the series, and we hit a format that’s not *exactly* typical, but it’s kind of their go-to comfort zone when they need to show a lot of balls in the air. If I were going to pick an episode as the one where Straczynski’s “Original Concept” of Babylon 5 (Which came to him in the shower in 1988) BECAME what we now think of as Babylon 5, I’d say this was the best candidate for the point of transition.

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RETROSPECULATIVE TV: Babylon 5: “All Alone in the Night” (Season 2, Episode 11)

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It’s now June 2259, and Sheridan has been on the station six months. He’s expecting General Hague to make a low-profile visit to the station, but even so he’s getting antsy. When Invonova reports some odd appearances and disappearances on the fringes of the shipping lanes, he jumps at the chance to get in a little flight time, and heads out with some of Zeta squadron.

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RETROSPECULATIVE TV: Babylon 5: “Gropos” (Season 2, Episode 10)

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One of the more noteworthy things about B5 was its relative egalitarianism. In the era when it ran, pretty much everyone on every space show was an officer and a gentlemen from an idealized society in which everyone had a perfect education, freedom from want, full intellectual stimulation, and in which nobody (To paraphrase a Ferengi) ever seemed to have to go get the chairs. In other words, no one ever seemed to have any work beyond punching buttons, or occasionally walking drinks to tables. And their ain’t no money.

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RETROSPECULATIVE TV: Babylon 5: “There all the Honor Lies” (Season 2, Episode 14)

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We get our second pretty much exactly perfect episode of the season, and like the first (“Soul Mates”) this one was also written by Peter David.

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