Thursday, June 21, 2012

Babylon 5: Legend of the Rangers - To Live and Die in Starlight

Read my review of Babylon 5!

As part of my rewatch of Babylon 5, we've been watching the movies to wrap up everything now that we're done with the series. Tomorrow I'll be talking about River of Souls, but for today we've got a tv movie that was actually a pilot to a failed spin-off called Legend of the Rangers.

I remember when this first came out, I was super excited for it. I loved Babylon 5, and I really loved the Rangers. So to see more about the order and meet more Rangers? Great fun, sign me up.

I even remember liking it when it came on the first time. But I think it was probably largely because of expectations and how much I missed the original show, because there are some serious problems with the movie even though there's a gem of a great idea in there.

The basic plot line was great, and I've seen pilots for great series that were much worse than this one. It had a lot of the hallmarks that made Babylon 5 such a great show although "The Hand" left a little bit to be desired (it had a been there, done that kind of vibe. Felt like leftover Thirdspace ideas really).

The characters were okay to start off with, they needed more dimension. As a stand alone movie that would be a problem, as a pilot that's not that bad.

But the movie completely falls apart when it shows the tech for the ship. They make a huge deal out of this weapons system, you can tell the writers and producers thought that it was fantastic and really going to be a hallmark of the show. UGH. I honestly think that half the reason they didn't pick up a show based on this was because they kept going back to that weapons system.

For people who haven't seen it, the basic idea is that the person who is manning the weapons jumps into a virtual reality area with zero gravity. The VR projects the area around the ship and the ranger in charge PUNCHES AND KICKS to fire the weapons.

No, I am not making this up. And it looks as dumb as it sounds. In super tense moments and the middle of battles we kept going back to this. It breaks up all the tension.

One day, I would love to see somebody go back to The Rangers and create a show or a comic series. I don't know if I want JMS to do it because I think creatively he's on to new tracks and he's doing interesting stuff now. But it's a neat concept, it's a shame it wasn't done well right off the bat and we never got that series.

Once Upon a Time: Final Part!

Read Part One Here
Read Part Two Here
Read Part Three Here

Here's the last installment of my reviews of Once Upon a Time. Next week, I'll explain why I gave up on the show Revenge halfway through and switched to watching Supernatural.

Heart of Darkness: I was very happy with this episode, because it really started the plot moving somewhere and because the show was letting itself stay in that dark mood it had gotten into with Red-Handed. Everything in this episode is about building on the fact that Rumpelstiltskin has a very long plan in mind for everyone and he's been playing everybody at every moment from the beginning. Even if I wasn't already invested in seeing how Rumpel and Belle worked out, I'd be in it just to see what game he's playing. Sadly I knew it was probably too much to hope that the show continued on this theme.

Hat Trick: My best friend commented about this episode that the story was interesting and Jefferson was an interesting character but where the hell had he been all this time? I completely agree. This episode just proved over again that the show has no sense of it's own cannon and they're not even trying to make things make sense half the time. We're supposed to have this small, close-knit town that only has one cop and never bothers to hold elections for Mayor (yes, I know, part of the curse) but that there can be a mansion on the edge of town that is still close enough to town to see things through a telescope and nobody's mentioned it before?

Yeah, yeah, magic telescope. But land without magic, right? I just can't make it make sense. And because of this episode I started questioning every single logical inconsistency in the whole show. Like, how is Henry aging if time is stopped? How has he not noticed that he's growing and he's with a different group of school kids every year because they're still 8 years old and he's 9 now?

Anyway, I liked the way they bring in the Wonderland mythos, and I actually was okay with Regina in this episode because she was just being a general unstoppable bitch queen and that was cool by me.

Unfortunately, Emma is still doing her whole "Lalala, I'm not listening, I don't believe anything even when people who have nothing to do with this start to say the same things Henry is saying and there's mounting evidence blah blah THIS ISN'T REAL AREN'T YOU LISTENING TO ME??" *sigh* Getting old.

The Stable Boy: I finished watching this episode and all I could think was "you have GOT to be kidding me."

THAT is what's fueling Regina? She's killed countless people, her own father, cursed everyone, destroyed their entire world, because she's holding a grudge against a TEN YEAR OLD? A ten year old who was manipulated by her abusive mother? You blame SNOW instead of your HORRIBLE AND ABUSIVE MOTHER?

Screw Regina, she's one of the worst characters ever put on television. I can't even talk about this episode, it was so stupid.

The Return: Oh thank goodness they're back to Rumpelstiltskin and his story. Especially because this part deals with Bae and finally reveals to us what Rumpel's long game has been all this time. He's created every single step of all of this, creating the curse, convincing Regina to use it, bringing Snow and Charming together, everything has been to bring him back to Bae and we haven't even finished seeing what all he's going to do and I can't wait. Also, seeing Mr. Gold opening up to Archie was amazing and what a brilliant moment for two brilliant actors.

The Stranger: This episode was one of those where I think that it again is showing us that the writers didn't actually have a large plan from the beginning because the way they cover up the differences between the new story (August going through the cabinet) and the original pilot are a bit clunky at best.

Also, August does go about things the wrong freakin' way, but Emma, goodness. I'm so over her. I'm tired of her refusing to listen or even acknowledged anything. She's being stupid and I hate watching characters be stupid repeatedly just because the writers aren't sure how to have somebody gradually come to believe something and grown and change over the course of time. And I hate where they're going with how Emma is dealing with Regina and Henry.

An Apple Red as Blood: I'm just going to start ignoring the plot holes I kept finding in the show by watching it all in such quick succession. I'm glad we're finally to the kick-ass Snow White stuff again, and that Snow is finally told what went wrong to make Regina hate her.

I'm also glad that somebody is finally telling Emma that she's being stupid and not really dealing properly with this feud with Regina and how she's mishandling this if she wants to keep Henry around. Thank you Archie for always being the voice of reason. Also, the second that Regina brought that apple out, did ANYBODY actually think anything different was going to happen with it?

A Land Without Magic: If they had taken this plot and all the revelations and character development in it and stretched it out over five episodes, ditched a few stupid things earlier on, and still ended in the same place this show would have been so much more awesome than it was. But seriously, this is what happens when you don't plan ahead. Showrunners, you need to be Rumpel, not Regina.

Emma believes suddenly because of one throwaway comment that wasn't even all that unusual or strange (but is also completely inexplicable coming from a doctor). What a lame way to deal with that particular necessity. But the payoff for Rumpel's plan and how everything tied together in the end? Perfection. The resolution of his storyline was amazing.

There's a ton of great stuff in this ep. Please, could the second season be a-planned ahead and b-this good and c-focused on Rumpel and Belle with Regina being a side character?

So, my general feelings on this whole show! Basically it was a show that has a LOT of promise and the premise is strong. With Jane Espenson involved, I know that it will at least be strong enough for me to watch the second season. But I really want them to go in with a solid plan, this isn't a mythology and a story type that you can just make up as you go. Or at least, not the way they've been doing it. You either need to go full on Babylon 5 or just be early X-Files and go monster of the week. You can't have both, you know?

And I want to see them really step it up when it comes to the art direction. I realize that they're going for the Disney version of these fairy tales. But Belle and even Snow White show that you can do that but not make it cheesy and dumb. And since the show was a hit they can spend a little more money on getting some good wigs this time around I hope.