Thursday, 2 April 2009

The Parliament of Dreams

I liked a number of aspects of this episode. The different religions help the B5 Universe to feel fully fleshed out which is important (although the line up of people from different Earth religions at the end wasn't my cup of tea). I also found myself warming to G'Kar. I think it is the way that he is singing as he makes his dinner at the start.

I was interested to see the use of torture in the episode. While it has been used in quite a lot of sci-fi since (the really quite unpleasant scene from Firefly springs to mind), I'm not sure that space was the kind of place where bad astuff like that was meant to happen anymore.

Liked the introduction of a love interest for Sinclair, much more believable that the red-head from the pilot (and much better acting).

Finally nice to see that all of the ambassador (except Kosh) now have a sidekick. For some reason I always enjoy the use of an unknowledgeable sidekick as a tool to give the viewer necessary background...

Born to the Purple

Another enjoyable episode. Liked the development of Londo's character and the way that we were relatively gently given additional background to the Centauri people. I slightly get the sense that the series is finding its feet as while there are hints of bigger things going on, these feel like stand alone episodes.

It feels like this episode sets out Babylon 5's stall for being a different kind of show. I can't imagine too many series where the story is driven by an ambassador's relationship with a stripper, still less a sci-fi series doing so (although I think that there are a few films where that wouldn't be out of place).

I thought that the best scenes were in the sub plot with Ivanova and her father, even though it was pushing her family's tragic background strongly I thought that they pulled it off.

The one irritating part for me was Sinclair not being recognised by the manager of the strip club. While some of the transients may not know who he is, I can't imagine that Babylon 5 is so big that all of the permanent residents don't know the captain of the Babylon 5, at least by sight.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009


I felt that this episode was something of step back, mostly to do with the quality of the production rather than the story which was fine if a little bland. I thought it was a nice touch to pick on Sinclair always putting himself on the line. It have been niggling at me and it was very well explained.

As always a pleasure to see Iliya Kuryakin.

I also thought that it was slightly strange that Babylon 5 was only two years old (although given that it was 10 years since the end of the Minbari war and there were four Babylons before it that makes sense). It does not feel like two years is long enough for a place to develop the seedy corners and the underworld that Babylon 5 has. It feels like an underbelly develops, it doesn't just appear fully developed. Could just be me I guess.

Monday, 9 March 2009

C'mon, its a romp

For those that are interested this is a version of a review that I put up at Amazon UK recently.

I have recently acquired the Fantastic Four double box set. I'm not proud of it. It's a bit like my fried chicken habit, and to be honest it cost less that a maxed out meal at my local takeaway (with many fewer calories). Also, much like fried chicken, even when I was eating/watching it I knew that it's no good for me but I kept going.

The individual films both have a large number of reviews all over the internet already so I'm not going to add too much. They pretty much jump on the bandwagon of the rebirth of superhero films over the last decade or so and there is nothing in them that you won't have seen elsewhere. To be clear, there is also nothing in these films that I found terrible (although some would disagree, and even I found the fall of Ioan 'Hornblower' Gruffudd to be tragic). Unfortunately there's not a lot to love either. Looking back there's no scene that particularly stands out for me from either film and that, for what is billed as an CGI heavy action film, says a lot. However, I did watch it through to the end so it couldn't have been all bad.

As for the boxed set itself, in my set I got, what I imagine are, the two single disk standalone DVDs in separate plastic cases but packaged together in an additional cardboard box. As far as I can tell there are only English subtitles on both. As for extras:

F4: Cast commentary, the Fantastic Tour (i.e. video diaries by and with cast and crew) , two music videos (and an album trailer) and bizarrely a plug for X Men 3
F4RotSS: A bunch of trailers, a couple of commentaries (one from the director and one from the producer + film editors) some extended and deleted scenes, some pre-vis scenes (i.e. very basic animated story boards), a feature on the the 'Fantasticar' and a documentary on some guy's relationship with the Fantastic Four comics.

I can't say that this is going to change your life, but these two films are mildly diverting for a few hours and they are better for your waistline than eating fried chicken...

Soul Hunter

Starting to move into the main series now and finally got to an episode that I have, pretty much, unambiguously enjoyed. Yes arguably it was over acted in parts but it was forgivable, there certainly wasn't any acting that I wanted to switch off for.

Most importantly for me the plot was coherent. The Soul Hunter appeared in his broken ship because he was being chased down by another Soul Hunter which is why the crew found out what was going on and could try to stop him. The Soul Hunter had become warped because he had been thwarted by the Minbari, which then also explained why he wanted Delenn.

Also loving Delenn's propensity to try to solve things with random acts of violence, which, for a Minbari ruler seems rather an unfortunate personality trait.

All in all very enjoyable. Looking forward to more

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Big day

Today I finished The Sea by John Banville, and watched the first episode of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and 30 Rock.

I loved one and liked the other two. Got a splitting headache so will expand anon.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Coffee, Joe, Java...

I like coffee. I like it a lot. If my doctor hadn't told me to stop drinking so much of it I would probably never drink anything else. Today I managed to indulge myself by spending a few hours in a couple of coffee shop chains while trying to get some writing/reading done. A rare respite. It's been a while since I've been in a coffee shop during the working day and it's a revelation. The clientele is entirely different from weekends and there is an ebb and flow during the day.

In the morning you get your office workers wandering in for their morning fix (although I imagine that they are fewer than they were 18 months ago). Most take away, leaving bleary eyed clutching their paper cup. A few, before 9 sit and read the paper, or a chapter of a book before they too leave.

During the morning you get a few workers in an out, but this is more the time of the student and the tourist. Both groups tend to drink in, the students louder, the tourists faster. You also get the occasional mobile worker taking down shots of coffee and tapping on their laptop.

The workers build again around lunchtime with the students and tourist reclaiming ground in the afternoon. They are joined by the mother (rarely father) and baby crowd, the ladies (and it was women not men) of indeterminate age who look like they are in town for the day (running a few errands, having lunch with a friend and possibly catching a show...I am shamelessly stereotyping I know).

I'm sure that the pattern changes again around commuter time and in the evening but I had to leave myself. Fascinating stuff for procrastinators and people watchers though.

You know what, I find coffee so interesting I may even start another blog just about it...Hmm.