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Babylon 5 - Franklin, Garibaldi, Ivanova, Sheridan

Babylon 5 Overview - by KJC


"The Babylon project was our last best hope for peace. A self-contained world five miles long, located in neutral territory. A place of commerce and diplomacy for a quarter of a million humans and aliens. A shining beacon in space, all alone in the night. It was the dawn of the third age of mankind, the year the great war came upon us all. This is the story of the last of the Babylon stations. The year is 2259, the name of the place is Babylon 5." - Captain John Sheridan, season 2 opening monologue


Babylon 5,” created by Michael Strazinsky, was a genius work, with a clear plot the entire way through the five years that it ran.  It was basically another telling of “The Lord of the Rings,” just that everything took place in space.


The space station Babylon 5 was created to bring together people of all different races in order to work out differences and have a peace ground in times of conflict.  The first four stations failed, but for some reason, the fifth seemed to endure.


Commander Jeffrey Sinclair was the first to oversee Babylon 5 on the request of the Minbari, a race the humans had been at war with for some time, and on the brink of the destruction of Earth, the Minbari had mysteriously surrendered.  What the humans didn’t know was that Commander Sinclair was fighting in the last line of defense and had been captured by the Minbari.  They discovered that he held the soul of Valen, their most revered prophet.  Because Minbari law stated that Minbari shall not kill Minbari, they had to make peace with the humans.  They wiped the commander’s mind of the events and promoted him as commander of Babylon 5 so they could keep an eye on him.  After a time, however, he realized that he had a “hole” in his mind, and soon the truth was revealed to him.  When he discovered what had happened, the Minbari moved him to their homeworld to become an ambassador for them.  Captain Sheridan then took over control of Babylon 5 for the next three years.


Sheridan had much conflict with the Minbari from the start, for he was known to them as the Starkiller, the only human who actually could destroy one of their most powerful battleships during the war.  It took much time for them to trust him.  When he came aboard, the Minbari ambassador, Delenn, had undergone a transformation prophesied about in which she became part human and part Minbari.  Eventually, Sheridan and Delenn fell in love and married, enduring through the Shadow war—a war against the ancient beings of the universe.  In this war, Sheridan lost his life, but it was restored to him by an Ancient who gave him twenty more years in which to do his work.  In the fifth year of Babylon 5, Sheridan became President of a new alliance of numerous races, leaving his beloved station behind.


The story really wasn’t about Sheridan, however.  Cleverly, the writer managed to fool the audience into thinking the story was all about the humans when it really was not.  No, it was much deeper than that.  Behind the great adventures of Sheridan & Co. were two men who desperately hated each other: G’kar, a Narn ambassador, and Londo Mollari, a Centauri ambassador.


They were of two races that hated each other with a passion so deep no one knew when they had begun warring with each other.  The Centauri had enslaved the Narns, but during the Babylon 5 era, the Narns had regained their freedom.  G’kar and Londo tried to kill each other many times, and Londo even had a vision of he and G’kar dying at each other’s hands.  As the years went by, however, their hatred diminished, and they became inseparable friends.  Alas, their friendship did not last long, for in the end days of Babylon 5, Londo, after becoming emperor of Centauri Prime, became the host of a left-behind Shadow enemy, and the Shadows took over the Centauri homeworld in revenge for Londo betraying them to Sheridan.  The tragedy of this was that no one knew that the Shadows had their hand in Londo’s demise.  Everyone thought that Londo’s personality had changed because he had become emperor.


Years later, Londo fought back against the Shadow that had enslaved him, pleading with G’kar to give him an honorable death.  Londo knew there was no way to remove the Shadow from his body without killing him, and the only way to escape was by death.  G’kar honored his request, but the Shadow fought back at the last moment, and Londo and G’kar died together.


Sheridan, too, lived the twenty more years the Ancient had predicted before he “stopped” as the Ancient had said that he would.  Delenn found his ship floating quietly in space, empty.  And as for Babylon 5, after years had passed, it too, stopped, and was destroyed.


Babylon 5” was an excellent saga I would highly recommend to anyone interested in watching a good science fiction television show.  It had to have been one of the best shows ever created, and all five seasons are now out on DVD.



Firefly - cast

Firefly Overview - by KJC


After the Earth was used up, we found a new solar system and hundreds of new Earths were terraformed and colonized. The central planets formed the Alliance and decided all the planets had to join under their rule. There was some disagreement on that point. After the War, many of the Independents who had fought and lost drifted to the edges of the system, far from Alliance control. Out here, people struggled to get by with the most basic technologies; a ship would bring you work, a gun would help you keep it. A captain's goal was simple: find a crew, find a job, keep flying.—Book, opening narration of “Firefly”


In my opinion, this was one of the most interesting takes on the future I have ever seen.  If there was any other name for “Firefly,” it should have been “Cowboys in Space.”  The characters spoke with accents right from a John Wayne movie and spun their guns and had fights just like in the old westerns—the only difference was that these guys flew spaceships and had a few laser guns.


This show, written by Joss Whedon, is centered around the captain of a firefly class spaceship called Serenity.  The captain’s name was Malcolm Reynolds, or Mal for short.  Apparently, Mal came from a questioning past fighting on the losing side against the government.  He lost his pride after the war, but kept on fighting for freedom as a struggling smuggler in his ship, Serenity.  He kept a loyal first officer, ZoŽ, a quirky pilot, Wash, a preacher, Book, a doctor and his sister, River, and Jayne, the dumb, yet almost lovable bodyguard.  The one character I despised was Inara, the beautiful companion—basically, her job was as a prostitute, but in those days, it was a well paying, honorable job.  I think her character could have either been left out, or rewritten.


This show was different in its views and background, with terraformed planets sprung up from Earth, and the toughened colonists that fought for their land.  Mysterious entities called Reavers—humans that used to be human, but had changed—ravaged the galaxy as well, destroying ships and leaving survivors who went insane.  It was definitely a hard galaxy that Whedon depicted.


“Firefly,” did, however, need improvement.  Whedon covered up terrible language by cleverly substituting vulgar phrases with Mandarin or other Oriental languages.  There was also much violence and sexuality in this show.  It bordered on being an R-rated television show, and was constantly pushing the limits.  I believe that if they had eliminated the bad language, toned down the violence, and eliminated the sex, this show might have lasted longer than it did.  As it was, I believe only six to eight episodes were shown, not even a half of a season.  I know that I did not watch several of the episodes just because of the R rating taste.  The shows that left that out, however, were the ones I enjoyed the most.


Apparently, Joss Whedon is writing a movie script called “Serenity,” based on this show.  All I can hope for is at least a PG-13 rating with no sex.  If it is what I’m hoping for, then maybe I’ll see it.  It might be interesting.



Lost Overview – by KJC


The Island is Waiting.


“Lost” has now become a national phenomenon, sparking a new trend for horror, fantasy, science fiction, and single word titles for television shows.  The storyline is clean and well written, with Pendereski-like qualities to the music scoring, lending a dark and mystifying air to the show’s elements.  There is little sexuality (tension between main characters), little swearing, and occasionally some graphic blood and gore.


This is one of the most unique shows I have seen in a long time that isn’t definitely science fiction, but could be if more elements to the story were revealed.  “Lost” centers around the survivors of a mysterious plane crash en route from Australia to the United States.  How they managed to survive the descent, when the plane was torn in half, no one knows.  Even more mysterious, one of the characters—John Locke, who was paralyzed from the waist down—can walk on the island after the crash.  No one knows exactly where they are, and there really is no hope of a rescue. 


The survivors band together and elect a leader, Jack Sheppard, a spinal doctor who took charge of the people after the crash.  Many responsibilities fall on Jack’s shoulders, and the people continually look to him when they need help.  The survivors begin to form bonds with each other, and gradually adapt to their survival on the island while still hoping for a rescue.  There is Kate, a mysterious woman onboard the plane as a prisoner being taken in for a crime that she has told no one about.  Locke, the paralytic turned cunning hunter, Sawyer, a man of mystifying intent and driven by revenge, Sun and Jin, the husband and wife from Korea who hold secrets from each other, Hurley, a man seemingly cursed by the number sequence 4 8 15 16 23 42 (which appears on the island), Michael and Walt, a protective father and a gifted son, Boone and Shannon, brother and sister, Claire, a girl pregnant with a child of a mysterious future, Charlie, a heroin addict of a former British rock band, and Sayid, a former Iraqi soldier.  Many characters hold this show together, and there are many threads to follow, but it is quite easy to get addicted.


In the storyline, the survivors manage to live for a few months on the island while discovering a strange distress call originating from somewhere within the island from a French woman who had been stranded for sixteen years.  They eventually find the woman, Danielle, who claims that ‘the others’ took her baby away from her when the black smoke came sixteen years ago.  She is instantly written off as a nut case, but there are a few who believe her story.  Many of the survivors die, one drowns while swimming in the ocean, a few are killed by a mysterious man named Ethan who eventually is killed himself, and Boone, brother to Shannon, dies when an old plane he is in falls off of a cliff as he is transmitting a distress call.


Towards the end of the first season, Danielle comes to the survivors, claiming that ‘the others’ are coming again and they must run and hide or they will die as the rest of her expedition did.  Locke discovers a hatch that he believes is the key to the island, and persuades the survivors that it could be their salvation from ‘the others’ if they can get it open.  They do manage to open the hatch, and so ends the first season, with everyone wondering: what’s in the hatch?


The second season begins where the first left off, with the opening of the hatch to reveal a well stocked bunker and a man who declares that the computer he commands will destroy the world if the number sequence 4 8 15 16 23 42 is not dialed in every 180 minutes.  Eventually, the man disappears, and, afraid that the man may be right, the survivors continue his vigil, taking turns dialing the sequence into the computer every 180 minutes.


Other survivors of the plane crash are discovered as well, and they are led by a tough, cool woman who takes command of every situation.  This group of survivors is plagued by ‘the others,’ and many of their group have been lost to these mysterious ‘others.’  Only time and more drawn out storytelling will inform us of all of the survivor’s outcome.

Mutant X - cast

Mutant X Overview - by KJC


Mutant X Lives.

Creation can have it's side effects.


“Mutant X” was not received kindly in the beginning, but soon developed quite a cult following.  The storyline followed a mysterious leader, Adam Kane, who led a small group of mutants against a government program called Genomex.  Genomex was responsible for the existence of these mutants, and had performed illegal experiments in order to manipulate human DNA and attempt to advance the human race.  Adam, it was soon found out, aided unwittingly in the genetic enhancements, and, feeling guilty about what he had done, went into hiding and founded a place called the Sanctuary, a place for mutants to hide.  The mutants were experimented on as children, and then, as they grew up, their powers came into being and they were rejected by all around them.  No longer accepted in the public eye and wanted by Genomex for their extraordinary powers and their uses in warfare and more experimentation, all mutants went undercover.


Adam formed a small group of four powerful mutants to aid mutants in hiding, calling them his “Mutant X” team.  Brennan Mulwray had the capability to create large amounts of electricity and expel it from his hands with enough force to power an entire city.  Shalimar Fox’s DNA was blended with animal DNA, giving her the reflexes, senses, and strength of a cat.  Jesse Kilmartin had the power to make his body as dense as stone, and then could change the density and walk through walls.  Emma DeLauro was a telempath, and had the ability to manipulate and sense a person’s feelings or thoughts, and also could expel psychic bolts towards enemies.  She died in an explosion in the second season.  Emma was replaced by Lexa Pierce, who had the ability to manipulate light to use as a weapon or to make herself invisible.


Together, the Mutant X team fought against Genomex, coming across many obstacles in their struggles.  Many new revelations were discovered about mutant powers along the way, but the series was cancelled in the third season with a cliffhanger finale.


In my opinion, this series had so much potential, but just could not live up to what could have been.  The first season struggled greatly, with every episode concentrating on a new mutant to save and a new crony to destroy.  The second season attempted to improve by throwing in new surprises about Adam’s past, but it still just wasn’t enough.  They also tried bringing in an even greater nemesis than Genomex, pulling out a super mutant who nearly destroyed the team, but ended up destroying himself in the process.  The third season tried even harder with the appearance of the mysterious Lexa Pierce and her ominous past, but it still wasn’t enough.  I thought it would not make it past three seasons, and I was right.  The only reason I watched it after a while was because of Victor Webster, who played Brennan, since he was some nice eye candy!  I would give this series one and a half stars out of five, but only for Webster.



Quantum Leap - Al and Sam

Quantum Leap Overview - by KJC


Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished. He woke to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that were not his own and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better.
—Opening narration, Quantum Leap


"You're part of a time travel experiment that went a little . . . ka-ka."—Al Calavicci


“Quantum Leap” was based on quantum physics, theorizing that one could “leap” through time.  Unfortunately, the scientist, Sam Beckett, who discovered how to leap did not discover how to get back once you have leaped.  He was stuck, forever leaping from time frame to time frame and from person to person.  The theory was that when you leap, you can’t leap by chance into different times—you have to leap from body to body in order to leap from time frame to time frame.  The catch was that Sam was never in his own body.


When you leap, you leave your body behind, but your mind will leap into another person’s mind, replacing their mind with yours while you are in their body.  They, on the other hand, are left in your original body.  Once Sam started leaping, it also left him with amnesia, with his brain like “swiss cheese.”  After a time, he figured out that he was a brilliant scientist who had been in a quantum leap experiment that had gone wrong. 


Apparently, he was leaping for a purpose: to change events in time that had happened for the worse.  In his first leap, he ended up as the pilot who broke the speed of sound.  Originally, he was supposed to die or fail to get to Mach, but Sam changed that and flew to Mach speed.  He found out that if he could not change time, he would be stuck forever in the body and the time he currently inhabited.  His friend, Al, was able to appear through the different dimensions as a hologram and help Sam out, but he was not able to help Sam get back home and in his own body.  Sam had to figure that out for himself.


Sometimes it was hilarious to see Sam when he ended up in a woman’s body, or a little old man, or other characters.  He had to dress and act like that character.  The audience saw Sam as Scott Bakula (the actor) all the time, but Sam saw himself in the mirror as whoever he was at the point of leaping.


The show lasted four and a half seasons and ended tragically with Sam sacrificing his life to save Al’s just as he was on the point of coming home.  It had quite a different look at what quantum physics theories may come to be, and I only wish that it had lasted longer.  I am urgently waiting for it to come out on DVD so I can see all of the episodes.  Currently, the first and second seasons are on DVD.




Total Recall: 2070 Overview - by KJC


In a high tech future, man is the only flaw.


This was one of those rare sci fi/mystery shows.  It had a short life, lasting only one season.  “Total Recall: 2070” was set in the future and centered on a detective, David Hume, and his partner, Ian Farve.  The show quickly became complicated from the start.  Hume’s original partner was killed by androids, and he became quite prejudiced against them.  It only made things worse when the company he worked for gave him a new partner, whom he found out was an android.  Farve was an Alpha android, and did not know who his makers were or what his purpose was.  At the time, it seemed fit that he was to work as Hume’s partner.  Their partnership started out very tense, but gradually they began to warm up to each other.  The mystery behind the show was Farve’s origins.  The audience never really knew if Farve knew who his makers were or not.  It was quite interesting to speculate whether or not Farve had a hidden agenda that he knew about or was unaware of.  Perhaps his makers put him with Hume for a purpose?  Perhaps he escaped from his makers somehow?  The audience never found out, for the show was cancelled after one season.


I believe this show had a lot of potential.  The mysteries Hume and Farve had to solve while at the same time trying to delve into each other’s pasts put interesting twists on present day mysteries.  The sci fi element made it all the more interesting to watch.  The only drawback was that the show became too confusing to follow, which is why I believe the ratings dropped and it was cancelled.  Every episode had to be seen, for if you missed one, you would be lost.  Other than that, it was well thought out.  “Total Recall:2070” is out on DVD, and if you are looking for a good sci fi/mystery show to watch, I would recommend this one alongside of “John Doe.”