Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

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2005-05-07 Entry: "Hitchhiking"

Thursday is election day, but there's time in the morning to finish up the Wonder Woman episodes first. And "Screaming Javelin" picks up where it left off Wednesday night, with a crazy man kidnapping athletes to form his own Olympic team. Yes, it's as silly as it sounds... why would someone kidnap other countries athletes and think he could ever enter them as his own in the games?

And apparently this is another guy Diana has met and defeated previously... they keep doing that this season, but it makes no sense as she was on Paradise Island up until the start of the season, so it would have to fit in the timeline between the episodes in this volume.

Oh, and the crown getting turned into a boomerang makes a re-appearance in this episode.

When they're not screwing with the continuity, they instead give us villains that Diana has apparently met a long time in the past, like Cagliostro, in "Diana's Disappearing Act." There's something going on with the oil selling countries, and the fact that they want to raise the price of oil. There's also a gold pendant that's more than it seems, a magician who tries to kidnap Diana, a pair of freaky mimes, and a whole bunch of alchemy.

It's probably one of the better episodes for this season, but then there's been some pretty weak ones, so hopefully this is a sign of things to come with the last 7.

Then on to election coverage... I probably should have blogged this as it happened, but was too busy cooking chili and getting drunk. It's definitely nice to be able to watch the results at a respectable hour of the day instead of having to stay up all night. I could go to bed around midnight having seen pretty much everything that was going to happen.

And Labour got a kicking... which was pretty much what everyone wanted... there were some bizarre swings in some seats, and the Tory / Lib Dem contests were all over the map as far as results - some the Lib Dems held on to, some had big swings to the Tories, and a couple had big swings to the Liberal Democrats. Of course, my old stomping ground is still solidly blue - I don't think the Vulcan or Mr Mackay are going anywhere any time soon (unless they get picked as new party leader I guess, in which case they'll be out after the next election).

Oh yes, Michael Howard has decided to stand down, once the party have changed the rules for electing a new leader so the old guard in the party can't elect another nutcase. And Blair will be gone in six months. So the only real question is how long will Kennedy stay on as Lib Dem leader? I've got nothing against him, but it's possible the party need someone with a bit more fire to attack the other two if they're going to make a big breakthrough next time... a bit less Mr. Nice Guy might help, but then it's never been all that successful for the Tories, so they might be safer carrying on with their slow and steady gains.

And then Friday kicks off with fending off a hangover... at least I can rest safe in the knowledge that Tony Blair has a worse hangover than I do this morning!

But anyway, we're on to Knight Rider, so we kick off with "Speed Demons" and Michael is checking on a death during a motorcycle race. There's something fishy going on with his teammate (who was injured in the accident that the life was lost in) and their lady friend. We have sabotage and KITT trying to keep up with a motorcycle on its own territory (and then getting a very hand-wavey upgrade from April to give him some more traction).

Then the two parter, "Goliath Returns" which pretty much runs as you'd expect. Woman from a few episodes back (the one where the kid took KITT over by remote control) who's obsessed with Michael has rebuilt Goliath and breaks Garth out of gaol. They've got some silly plan to kidnap a scientist by replacing him with a doppelganger, but Garth's vendetta against the Foundation keeps getting in the way.

And we get the Duel tyrannosaurus rex sound as the truck goes over the cliff. So they don't appear to be above stealing obvious motifs.

Finally, "A Good Knight's Work" sees Michael embroiled in a toy schematics theft case that turns out to be a set up by the guy who ordered Michael Long's death, and now blames Michael for killing Tanya (even though it was Tanya who killed Tanya by shooting at KITT).

The best bit of this episode is the turbo boost into the fourth floor apartment, and then KITT drolly wondering how he's going to get down.

Then I went out... I had this crazy idea about going to the cinema, which paid off with the viewing of Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. This was absolutely great.

The singing dolphins, the re-use of the original theme tune, the guide animations, the cast in general, Zooey Deschanel as Trillian, and the use of Neil Hannon for the end theme version of the So Long And Thanks For All The Fish song... these are the highlights. John Malkovich is probably the lowlight... what was this segment here for, other than to get rid of the second head and set up the Point Of View gun for the ending. And every time they mentioned Hamma Kavula, I got stuck with the Cinderella song bouncing around my head... bibbety, bobbety, boo!

Plenty of trailers before this film though - Star Wars, the Jumanji sequel, Zathura, an absolutely fantastic Chicken Little trailer that I was seriously questioning why they were trailing Hitchhiker's Guide, and a trailer for Valiant, which is the first time I've heard of this film... it could be quite good (but when was the last time Disney had a bona fide animated hit of their own?).

And then home and continuing with the rotation brings us to Quantum Leap and a disc that appears to have got a whole bunch of glue on the edge of it making my player skip. Even after cleaning it all off, it was skipping, but fortunately, a change of player seems to have fixed it. So, the four episodes begin with "Good Night, Dear Heart" and Sam's a mortician dealing with a woman who appears to have committed suicide drowning in a lake. Unfortunately, when Sam discovers a bullethole in her temple, he's got a murder on his hands, and a young Tom Paris as his likely suspect.

Working out the how she was murdered here is really blatantly easy, but I didn't guess the who, so it was quite a good mystery.

And then in "Pool Hall Blues" Sam becomes an aging pool player, Magic something or other, who has to help his daughter pay off a loan shark before she has to sell herself to pay for the blues bar she owns. It's surprising that Sam can't calculate the angles for himself in this pool game, but I guess it's so we can have more Sam / Al interactions in the episode.

"Leaping In Without A Net" reveals Sam has a fear of heights when he's forced to become a trapeze artist helping his sister make a triple loop without a net (and without dying). Not their best episode, but the guest cast include Fabiana Udenio (who played Londo's love, Adiera in B5), and Jan Triska as the artistes father (who played one of the better guest appearances in Highlander and Highlander The Raven, in the cop Nicolae Breslaw).

Finally, in "Maybe Baby" Sam's on the run with a woman and a stolen baby, trying to get to New Mexico to give it back to it's mother... except the woman may be lying and the mother may have died in childbirth.

And then we're back to Buck Rogers in "The Guardians" and it's bizarre-vision-palooza as Buck gets entrusted with a glowing green box that sends the Searcher hundreds of light years off course on a racing trip to the edge of the galaxy. Buck relives his freezing when his ship was lost in space, Asimov watches his crew starve to death, Wilma loses her eyesight, and Hawk gets briefly reunited with his lover.

"Mark Of The Saurian" seek Buck sick in bed, and everyone believing he's crazy when he's convinced he's seeing a strange green aura around the visiting Ambassador and his aides. When he suffers some pain he sees them as strange green lizard men, but it takes a lot of convincing to get the others to believe him... it gets even harder when the lizardmen analyze his blood and adjust their holographic projectors to fool even him.

"The Golden Man" sees them rescue a golden boy from a lifepod floating in space. He should come in handy when the Searcher gets stuck on an asteroid and is too heavy to push clear, as he's able to change the molecular structure of any metal. Unfortunately, he isn't strong enough to affect the whole ship, but there's another of his kind down on the planet nearby who needs rescuing... and he might be strong enough to adjust the ship. So they just need to rescue him from the penal colony he's trapped on.

Lastly tonight, "The Crystals" sees the Searcher without power, and Buck, Hawk, and Wilma are down on a volcanic planet looking for crystals which will allow them to move off again... it's the usual Star Trek search for Trilithium crystals episode, but with the cast of Buck Rogers. Of course, to distract them from their search, they find a mummy which they cart back to the ship for the doctor to look at (and the fact that the big cache of crystals beside the mummy start glowing the moment they walk away doesn't raise any worries?!).

And highlight of the night, we get the real Twiki back in this episode after the travesty of the last several...

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