Tales from the Cultural Wilderness Journal

Friday, December 31, 2004

Reflection, Surprise, Terror... For The Future

[Previous entry: "And So It Begins..."]

Season 1, disk 3, starts with "Deathwalker," and Kosh continues the hints at Talia's future telepathic abilities... but just when is the hour of scampering? Meanwhile, Na'Toth attacks a newcomer to the station, who she recognises as Deathwalker, the Dilgar scientist who performed evil experiments on Na'Toth's family. However, Deathwalker should be an old woman by now, so why hasn't she aged?

And we get some backstory about the Dilgar war, how the Earth Alliance helped the League of Non-Aligned Worlds defeat them, and a little of the legal structure of the Babylon 5 council.

"Believers," and more ethical dilemmas that don't really advance the story anywhere. In this case, between religion and medical science. What can be done, and what should be done. Of course, it has relevance in this day and age when morons on school boards try to portray Creationism as a valid alternative to Evolution. We should probably also abolish teachings of gravity, as the Earth is clearly at the center of the universe, and hey, gravity is only a theory after all...

"Survivors" sees the daughter of one of Garibaldi's old friends turn up to investigate a bombing on the station. Unfortunately, she seems to be gunning for Garibaldi's head.

What do PPGs fire? They're running through the alien sector, with methane gas billowing everywhere, firing at Garibaldi. Now, any sort of spark would ignite the methane and you'd have a pretty big explosion, so what's going on?

"By Any Means Necessary" sees G'Kar needing to get a G'Quan Eth for a religious ceremony, after his expected shipment is lost in a dockside accident. Due to the accident, the dock workers go on strike for better pay and conditions, and Orin Zento is sent in to resolve the labour dispute. This episode doesn't move the story on in any way shape or form (fortunately, it's the last on the disk and things pick up on the next disk), but I do like the resolution of the strike that Sinclair comes up with.

On to disk 4, with "Signs And Portents" which probably counts as the next "arc" episode. And we start with yet more raiders on shipping lanes. You know, shipping in the 23rd century doesn't seem to be all that safe!

Yay, and Mr Morden makes his first appearance. Sinclair lets Garibaldi in on his Battle Of The Line investigation. Londo obtains The Eye... some bit of Centauri jewelry that was missing for hundreds of years. And Morden starts his mysterious questioning...

"What Do You Want?" - G'Kar wants justice, to destroy the Centauri; Delenn never answers the question, but she does realise the Shadows have come; Londo wants the Centauri returned to greatness, to be what they used to be, to have it all back the way that it was.

Oh, and the seeress, Ladira, comes to B5. She starts by declaring B5 will be destroyed. She seems to be living the Shadow attack on B5 that would occur if B4 hadn't disappeared. She's also predicted Lord Kiro would be killed by Shadows. Which, obviously, gives us our first view of a Shadow ship. And her prediction for the station - a ship leaving and the whole station going up in flames - we'll see at least once more...

In "TKO" we get religious moments with Ivanova's rabbi, and we get a fair bit of brutality as Walker Smith comes on board to compete in the Mutai - some alien no-holds-barred combat event.

"Grail" sees David Warner come to the station to search for the Holy Grail. He recruits a man that thinks he's jinxed, and if he leaves the station it will explode or disappear like the previous four have. Meanwhile, a Nakaleen Feeder is loose on the station, a mind-leeching creature from Centauri space, that a criminal is using to eliminate anyone planning to testify against him.

And finally, "Eyes" sees Garibaldi building a motorcycle, which Lennier gets involved in, and an Earthforce colonel and his pet telepath (played by Jeffrey Coombs, so if I accidentally refer to him as Weyoun, don't panic!) come to test the command staffs' loyalty.

Garibaldi gets suitably suspicious about all the questions Mr Franks is asking, and discovers that they're some military investigation branch, and new regulations insist that all staff must submit to telepathic scan. But Ivanova won't accept that... and Weyoun looks suitably unhappy with his role.

Back with The 4400, and "Becoming" sees a serial killer, now one of the 4400, picking up his killing spree from where he left off. Meanwhile, Jordan Collier outs himself on television as one of the abductees.

Unfortunately, the serial killer has an airtight alibi, and the guy who apparently committed the latest murder hangs himself after taking credit for all 9 murders. The serial killer (Knox) picks out his latest victim, and then somehow controls another guy to kill her.

Jordan Collier meanwhile hosts a get together for the 4400, and he moves to hire Richard for a security job for his foundation.

Someone leaks the names and addresses of all the abductees to the press, and Shawn wakes Kyle up.

In "Trial By Fire" the hate crimes start - bombings perpetrated to kill the 4400. Kyle is awake, but doesn't really remember anything (presumably caused by his attempted abduction and Shawn's taking his place).

Collier opens his housing estate for the 4400. And a witch hunt starts to get rid of the head of the local Homeland Security division. Oh, and Kyle apparently isn't Kyle!

And finally, the episode I didn't see when the series aired, "White Light" - Kyle continues his search for something, and Maya wishes she were normal. Meanwhile, the witch hunter general, Agent Warren Lightel, takes Kyle into custody, just as Kyle works out where he's supposed to be. And what is Jordan Collier's interest in Lily and Richard's baby? More to the point, is it Richard's baby?

Well, the baby seemed to attack Jordan when Lily and Richard make their escape, Shawn nearly kills his brother over their mutual girlfriend, Kyle insists on going back to the beach where he was nearly abducted, Shawn decides to move in to Jordan's estate, and Kyle finds the light on the beach.

And then, he and Tom are zapped, and we finally get some answers. They were apparently altered by humans from the future to save the human race, and Tom has to help them. Of course, he would have got more answers if Lightel hadn't decided to shoot Kyle at that point...

And then six months pass, and Lily has her baby...

So where on earth are they going in the next series? Presumably Lightel has been thrown out on his ear for being a moron, and we'll get to see exactly what Jordan Collier's plans are, and there's liable to be a whole bunch more of the 4400 shown causing consequences and ripple effects that change the future to save the human race...

But, based on the theme tune, it's likely to die a rapid death sometime during season 2...

To break things up even more, I then descended into modern sci-fi cinematic rubbish, with Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Now, I've never played the video games, I've no idea what the backstory is beyond what was covered in the first film, and then what they show here, but this film still plays out like a first-person-shooter video game. The missions are set up, the introduction to what the next target is, and then we watch lots of people die horribly.

To be fair, I think I'd had just about the right amount of alcohol for this film (2 3rds of a bottle of wine) and it was fairly entertaining - a bit short, and clearly leaving things open for a sequel that may not get made (I can't remember what the box office figures were for the second film, but I don't recall them being all that great). Matt (from the first film) clearly doesn't come off very well here, but the female replacement for Michelle Rodriguez is a vast improvement!

So on the whole, a film to be seen with a few beers, don't take too seriously, and don't expect any mental exercise.

Sticking with films, I then watched Top Gun... it's been ages since I saw this last... I'd even forgotten that it was a Bruckheimer film. It wasn't quite as thrilling as I remember, but still just about managed to hold my attention. Tim Robbins' appearance was a surprise though.

And, working on this being the longest entry in a while, and it still being pre-midnight, and not feeling like getting in to the next B5 disk, I decided to risk Only Fools And Horses (series 1), so here we are with "Big Brother" where Del buys 25 leather briefcases, that subsequently turn out to be both stolen, and defective. Combination locks, but the combination is on a piece of paper inside the briefcase...

In "Go West Young Man" Del has the bright idea that second-hand cars are where the future is. So he buys a slightly dodgy car from Boycie, and then tries to sell it for a decent profit. Rodney persuades Del to go clubbing, and they take Boycie's E-Type Jag which they're looking after for him. Unfortunately, Rodney manages to pick a gay bar...

[Previous entry: "And So It Begins..."]

Thursday, December 30, 2004

And So It Begins...

[Previous entry: "The Crazy Plan"]

And here we go... "Midnight On The Firing Line" and they're gearing up already... I'd forgotten this show hit the ground running with the Narn attack on Ragesh 3. Susan Ivanova and Vir Kotto make their first appearances, and Delenn's appearance has mysteriously changed since the pilot movie.

Garibaldi didn't trust telepaths in the pilot, now we've got Ivanova's antagonism towards Talia Winters. And considering how everyone dislikes Bester, I'm presuming that telepaths are generally disliked (ignoring of course Ivanova's reasons for not wanting telepaths around).

Ah, and we get the Londo / G'Kar death vision mentioned... and Garibaldi's second favourite thing in the universe (cartoons). And we get Santiago's re-election. There's a hell of a lot set up here, which I guess will be made up for by the fact that nothing happens in the next three episodes...

In "Soul Hunter" we get Stephen Franklin's arrival as doctor and the introduction of the soul hunters. Of course, if I remember correctly, no-one ever explains what purpose the soul hunters have... and all we seem to meet are the crazy ones (here and in River Of Souls)... although there might be contact with them in one of those unfilmed Crusade scripts (I can't remember). They get a decent presence in the Dark Distorted Mirror fanfic series rewrite, but what is that based on?

"Born To The Purple" sees the Londo Mollari / Adira relationship set up, which admittedly won't get a payoff until much later. G'Kar's diplomatic aide arrives, and she's something of a pit-bull... she'll get replaced at some point by Na'Toth (especially as I didn't remember this one at all!).

And last on disk 1 - "Infection" - which, from what I recall, is a completely pointless stand-alone episode, that fails to be saved even by David McCallum as guest star.

"The Parliament Of Dreams" sees Earthforce's crazy idea to hold a week of religious celebrations on the station carried out. Sinclair's second random girlfriend turns up in this episode. G'Kar gets a message from an enemy on the Narn homeworld who's dying. Unfortunately, he's paid someone to kill G'Kar for him, someone close to G'Kar... And this is the episode Na'Toth appears in.

Lets see - Centauri religious ceremony: suitably debaucherous. Oh, Lennier makes his first appearance... I think that's all the regulars now. Ah... the Minbari religious ceremony - lots of ritual, just to eat a strawberry! And finally, our religious ceremony... personally, I think this is one of the best scenes of the series. Because really, how do you demonstrate the dominant religion of Earth?

Ooh - "Mind War" - the big set up for Talia Winters' future telepathic abilities in the Shadow War. Oh yeah, they write her out of the show and have to come up with a convenient rationale for Lyta being able to do the same thing...

Catherine Sakai gets us the first appearance of Sigma 957. And Walter Koenig makes his first appearance as Alfred Bester. You know, for all I complain about the first season of this show not really progressing the story anywhere, there's a lot going on here.

"The War Prayer" sees the first appearance of the Home Guard when a spate of anti-alien attacks break out station-wide. Otherwise, a thoroughly unmemorable episode...

And here we go - "And The Sky Full Of Stars" - of course, it leaves more unanswered questions than it actually answers, but we get a few vague hints about what happened at the Battle Of The Line, why the Minbari surrendered, and why Sinclair has that hole in his mind.

Anyway, two Earthforce personnel trap Sinclair in some strange mental construct, where they get to question him about his blackout. The station personnel (well, Garibaldi anyway) get to run around looking for the Commander, and fortunately, they've got a security leak that can lead them right there...

And because the next disk is four episodes of rubbish, I'm going to take a short break and watch something else for a couple of hours...

In this case, the Pilot episode of The 4400. I saw all but the last episode when it originally aired, but I'll refresh my memory before getting to episode 5. It all begins with Maya - the young girl who disappears March 3rd, 1946. We're then introduced to Richard, who disappeared May 11, 1951 in South Korea, after his squadmates had finished beating him up. Orson, who went missing on June 11th, 1979, we're going to see a lot more of in this pilot, and Kyle and Shawn (April 22, 2001) get their story told over the full first series (well, all 5 episodes of it).

And then we're off... 4400 people mysteriously reappearing all at once. Tom gets back into Homeland Security because he wants to find out what happened to Kyle (his son, who's been in a coma for three years) and Shawn (his nephew, one of the newly returned). The drab beige colourscheme and lighting in the quarantine area is an interesting choice. Maya shows her first signs of precognition. And then they're let out...

What happened with the numbering scheme? I thought they were numbered in the order they disappeared, but this seems almost random!

At Shawn's welcome home party, he manages to heal a bird's broken neck.

And now they're borrowing music from Kingdom Hospital... Ivy's "Worry About You"

Okay, I went out, and now I'm back... and I'm going to be stupid and watch the other 1400 episode on this disk - "The New And Improved Carl Morrissey."

Carl, fish stockist, and abductee for 18 months, and married to Grace (Chloe Lewis from ER), suddenly finds he can win any fight he's in. And the local park that he proposed in, is now overrun with thugs and lowlives. Fortunately, when he's attacked by them, he can easily retaliate.

So Long Ago, Another Life, I Can Feel Your Heartbeat. It's Not A Dream.... okay, I've no idea who the theme tune is by... must watch credits more closely, or track down the lyrics... let me see... okay, Amanda Abizaid, "A Place In Time."

Lily and Richard get an apartment. Maya attempts to make decent contact with the female star... whose name is still eluding me... thankyou show - Diana. Tom discovers Shawn's visit with Kyle. Not much else of interest happens - they start building their hypothesis that there's a big plan behind the returnees, but it's on scant evidence... we'll have to see how the rest of the series plays out though...

[Previous entry: "The Crazy Plan"]

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The Crazy Plan

[Previous entry: "The Day After The Day After Christmas"]

I'm going to at least finish this disk of the Jetsons... in "Elroy's Pal" Elroy is obsessed with the Nimbus The Great TV show. When he finds out there's a contest to win a visit from Nimbus, but the contest involves telling them why you love Moonies breakfast cereal.

And in "Test Pilot" both Cogswell and Spacely invent an indestructible jacket, and there's a race to test it to get it to market first. As such, Spacely needs a test pilot, and George, after having a physical, thinks he's shortly going to die, so he accepts the position.

Then I watched an hour of Bond marathon on Spike TV - I knew I'd be out for quite a few hours, so didn't want to get into anything seriously. I can't even remember what Bond film it was now... Moonraker I think, but it was one of those unmemorable Roger Moore films.

Anyway, I watched that, went hour for a few hours, came home, watched about an hour of A View To A Kill while I made phone calls, and then decided to actually follow through on my really stupid plan to watch all of the Babylon 5 storyline now I actually own it. So, even though I watched it fairly recently, I'm back with "The Gathering" and then tomorrow it'll be on to Season 1.

To be fair, I could skip to season 4 fairly safely as I'd watched up to the end of 3 at some point (at least, if my list of unwatched disks is anything to go by... I don't remember when I did it though). But I'm feeling crazy, and I desperately want to get even further behind on my viewing by spending a couple of weeks watching episodes I've already seen... so if you don't want to read about B5, you can probably skim the next few weeks in the hope I get bored and watch something else now and again...

Anyway, The Gathering - the introduction (and subsequent disappearance) of Lyta Alexander, the funny looking Delenn, having to put up with Laurell Takashima and whoever the doctor is before they're conveniently replaced, and the crazyness that a skin-topical poison can somehow penetrate Kosh's encounter suit. But enough with the bad things... what works?

Well, Michael O'Hare is already up to speed as Geoffrey Sinclair, and the Michael Garibaldi / Londo Mollari dynamic is already in full force here. It's presented in fullscreen, so there's no nasty cropping of CGI scenes (but then, there aren't all that many CGI scenes in it). G'Kar is pretty manipulative, which shows just how far he comes in the course of the series. And they throw in the back-story between Delenn and Sinclair, which is obviously the big hook for the series.

Minor plot hole - Delenn claims she's interested in meeting a Vorlon... but hasn't she already met one? I'll need to check this as I watch (but it's probably in In The Beginning, so it'll take me a while to get to and I'll probably have forgotten by then!). Now we need to see if there are any other holes (other than the one in my mind...).

Oh, and Sinclair's mysterious girlfriend number 1 is here... I'm fairly sure he gains a different one once the series gets going...

[Previous entry: "The Day After The Day After Christmas"]

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Day After The Day After Christmas

[Previous entry: "Boxing Day"]

Continuing with the Jetsons from last night, we start with "Elroy's TV Show" - Elroy gets to be Space Boy Zoom, and George quits his job to manage his son's budding career. Of course, Mr Spacely then has to get his son, Arthur on TV.

Then, in "Uniblab," Judy gets a ride to school with Buddy Blastoff, who looks and sounds suspiciously like Booster from two episodes ago. George has a meeting with Mr Spacely about a promotion. When he finally gets his problem with the dress-o-matic sorted out, Mr Spacely introduces him to Uniblab, the new robotic office manager. Unfortunately, Uniblab manages to get him fired in fairly short order.

"A Visit From Grandpa" sees Montague Jetson come to visit. 110 years old, and George's grandfather, he's certainly spritely. Dancing, baseball, bowling, even sky-skiing, he's up for anything. His way with the ladies certainly causes confusion with Judy and Jane, who think he's getting married and having a baby.

In "Astro's Top Secret" Mr Spacely and Mr Cogswell challenge each other after an antagonistic game of golf, and George gets the job of coming up with a strategy to put Mr. Cogswell out of business. Cogswell's spy sees George controlling Astro with what is apparently an anti-gravity device, and so has the dog kidnapped for interrogation!

And then, in a fit of insanity, I went out and watched Blade: Trinity, which would have been wretched, but Jessica Biel kinda takes your mind off how bad the film actually is (and to be fair, Ryan Reynolds stupid one liners are vaguely amusing in places). The ending is a little weak, and Dominic Purcell really doesn't have a lot to do, but otherwise, probably an improvement over the second film.

And is it me, or were they trailing a lot of horror films? The Amityville Horror, Dark Water, Constantine (which, to be fair, isn't really horror - it's Keanu Reeves finding the most wooden comic book hero he can, so he's got a chance of pulling the role off). Lots of horror trailers... but then, they're supposed to be appropriate to the film you're seeing, so other than the fact that Blade isn't horror (well, maybe the second one is... horrible, horrible, film!) they were spot on!

And then I came home and watched the first Mrs Bradley Mystery - Speedy Death. And I'd quite forgotten the twist in it... but Diana Rigg is always fun to watch, and Neil Dudgeon as the chauffeur trying to better himself by reading the dictionary gave a couple of amusing moments.

[Previous entry: "Boxing Day"]

Monday, December 27, 2004

Boxing Day

[Previous entry: "Success!"]

Amazingly headache free... after two bottles of wine I should feel worse than this shouldn't I? Anyway, I got to start the morning rewatching the last ten minutes of Ginger Snaps from last night, as I couldn't remember the ending (and getting around to posting yesterday's entry).

Then I managed to finally pick up all my outstanding parcels from the site office. My brother's present had arrived in this bunch (only he'd got me the gift set rather than just the 4 disk extended DVD of Return Of The King).

Going back to Dungeons And Dragons, saw me watching "Quest Of The Skeleton Warrior" - Dekkion, the titular skeletal warrior, and former Celestial Knight, needs the Circle of Power to break the spell on him. Fortunately, Dungeon Master has already told the kids that the Lost Tower, where the circle is, has a way home.

Then, in "The Garden Of Zinn" Bobby gets poisoned by a plesiosaur, and the cure is the foot of a yellow dragon, found in the garden of Queen Zinn. However, the Queen has other plans - something to do with the test of the worm.

In "The Box" an earthquake exposes a treasure chest, that Dungeon Master claims contains something valuable, and an equal amount pain and horror. It is Zandora's Box and if they take it to Skull Mountain and open it, they can rescue Zandora and go home. And, ahah, this is the episode where Venger gets a chance to destroy the amusement park.

"The Lost Children" have a ship that can take the kids home. But when they find the children, they find Venger has the ship in his castle. And Sheila actually gets to do something thief-like when she sneaks into the castle while invisible.

In "P-R-E-S-T-O Spells Disaster" Presto summons a tornado to escape some orcs, but manages to make everyone else (except Uni) disappear. They are trapped in a giant's castle being hunted by a slime beast. Meanwhile Presto has to master his magic so that he can help rescue them and save the golden dragons.

And to finish the disk, we have "The Girl Who Dreamed Tomorrow" wherein a girl they rescue from lizardmen dreams of the future when she sleeps. Terri and her dog have to be helped home, but Dungeon Master tells them they have to destroy the portal home before they leave...

Back to Ripping Yarns, and we commence with "Whinfrey's Last Case." London, 1913, The War Office, and the British military are worried the Germans are trying to start the war a year early! Whinfrey, who should be able to help them, has decided to take a holiday. He's rented a cottage on the Cornish coast, but something strange seems to be afoot in the village of Torpoint.

Barstoneworth, 1935, home to "Golden Gordon," is the setting for the next Ripping Yarn. It opens with Barnstoneworth losing to Brighouse 8-1, and Gordon doesn't take it very well, nearly wrecking the house in his despair. There's more bad news when the football club is to be sold to a scrap metal company.

Finally, "Roger Of The Raj" sees Roger oppressed by the strictures of living in upper class society, and he dreams of being able to run away and open a shop. However, when he and his girlfriend are set to elope to a small shop in London, his tutor turns up wanting Roger to lead the uprising of the proletariat in the formation of a socialist state.

Then I got distracted by the source code provided with my Game Programming books, so put on the first disk of Noir in the background - I had the english dub on because I didn't want to pay too much attention to it (and I wanted to see if the dub was at all watchable as I've recommended the show to someone who's unlikely to listen to the original language track). It's a bit too talky in places, but they left the music alone, so it's bearable.

And then, to finish up the evening, I did an episode of The Jetsons - "Rosey's Boyfriend" - based on the first two minutes, I'm guessing Booster is the boyfriend in question, although it's Judy who seems to be stuck on him, as she seems to be stuck saying "yes, Booster" over and over. So where does Rosey come in? Ahhh... the apartment janitor has built a robot handyman called Mack... here's the boyfriend in question. See, I'm not with it at this point... need sleep...

[Previous entry: "Success!"]

Sunday, December 26, 2004


[Previous entry: "Christmas Eve"]

Well, it started with a minor disaster - I pulled the turkey out of the fridge to prepare it for cooking, removed the giblets, and found them still frozen. After a frantic phonecall home, and a brief ten minutes on defrost in the microwave, I decided to risk the ice anyway.

So, after preparing the stuffing, and getting the turkey into the oven for its long bake, I settled down to watch The Box Of Delights. Now, I have fond memories of this show, and it holds up pretty well after all these years, but I'm still disappointed by the ending. If they're going to make a decent fantasy show, don't ruin it at the end by grounding it back in the real world. Allow a little bit of magic in.

Unfortunately, the turkey was looking a fraction undercooked when the show ran out, so I was forced to watch an hour of Liar, Liar. Not one of Jim Carrey's best films (to be fair, he's only made two films that are even barely watchable), and watching it on cable means I've got to put up with adverts. Yeesh!

Fortunately, the food turned out perfect - the Yorkshire pudding was a fraction overcooked, and the veg was a little soggy, but otherwise the turkey and roast potatoes turned out perfectly. Of course, I've got more turkey than I know what to do with, but that's to be expected.

While eating, I watched a suitably festive film - Die Hard 2: Die Harder - hey, it's set at Christmas! And then I meandered around for something else to watch.

While trying to decide, I put on a bit of "Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus" with Steve Guttenberg as Santa's son, searching for his wife before Christmas. At least, I'm guessing that's what it's about, as I came in half way through. And having Principal Snyder as his marriage counselor (or whatever his part is) is just strange.

But then, looking for a break in the pattern, I put on "The Ranch," and then spent ten minutes faffing around trying to determine if it was really supposed to be in widescreen or not. Bar stewards decided to release a 4:3 picture, even in the uncut and unrated version - what moron was in charge of their DVD releases?! Other than the picture problems, it was a really good show... and I'm extremely jealous of Jessica Collins - blonde haired, blue eyed lesbian... bestill my heart...

Finally, and extremely inebriated, I watched Ginger Snaps, but this morning couldn't remember the ending... otherwise it was quite a good horror film.

[Previous entry: "Christmas Eve"]

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Christmas Eve

[Previous entry: "Good Evening, Mr Phelps"]

First thing, I finished Black Books series one - well, okay, I watched an episode and a half when I got in last night, so only had two and a half to go. I then ran around doing crazy shopping type things, so I've got some chance of actually having some sort of Christmas lunch tomorrow.

Then I settled in with a pizza for an evening of DVD watching - at home it would have been fish and chips, but where am I going to get that over here?

First up, and suitably for today, "The Nightmare Before Christmas," Tim Burton's animated film about the Skeleton King's desire to do something different instead of the same old Halloween every year. I'm glad I finally got around to watching this, as it's a fun little film.

Then, in an attempt to finish up another disk, there was Ripping Yarns - "Across The Andes By Frog," the tale of Captain Walter Snetterton's epic journey in 1927. This was followed by "The Curse Of The Claw" - Maidenhead, 1926, and Captain Merson turns up at the door of Sir Kevin Orr, with an expedition of natives intending to search for a river passage in Burma, but they took the wrong train at Woking.

And then, to break things up a little, Phantom 2040: The Ghost Who Walks - which turns out to be the first 5 episodes of the TV show edited together really badly. It's a bit like the Defenders Of The Earth DVD in that regard... why they can't just release season sets of these shows is beyond me!

And four episodes of One Foot In The Grave gets me to the end of Series 1. First, in "The Valley Of Fear" Victor gets attacked by hooligans, and tries to rally the local residents to protect themselves. Then, in "I'll Retire To Bedlam" he gets trapped in the shed by bees for three and a half hours. In "The Eternal Quadrangle," Margaret thinks Victor is having an affair with the nude model from his art class, while he has to duel with her father over the vacuum cleaning. Finally, in "The Return Of The Speckled Band" an escaped snake causes confusion in the buildup to Victor's holiday in Athens.

So there we are - Christmas tomorrow, and The Box Of Delights is on the schedule at some point...

[Previous entry: "Good Evening, Mr Phelps"]

Friday, December 24, 2004

Good Evening, Mr Phelps

[Previous entry: "Part Two"]

An early start due to the holidays, and we get the Mr Phelps brought out of retirement to lead his squadron in an attack on an asteroid belt in "The Return Of The Fighting 69th." In this episode of Buck Rogers, a pair of scarred villains get hold of some old nerve gas and intend to attack Earth with it. Fortunately, the squadron of pilots Wilma retired a year ago know the asteroid belt like the back of their hands, so now they've just got to be persuaded to come back and take on the mission.

As this finished a disk, I was again struck with indifference, stuck trying to decide whether there was anything I really wanted to watch next. I finally settled on Spider-Man: The '67 Collection - "Sub-Zero For Spidey," another show that's been sitting on the shelf for ages waiting for me to get back to it... oh, actually, I've watched this one... lets skip on to "Where Crawls The Lizard" - this is what you get for leaving it in the middle of a disk for weeks, before trying to come back to it at the same place. And oh no, we've got a lizard-man whose white labcoat apparently isn't affected by submersion in a swamp.

Now, this isn't really my Spider-Man series - I grew up with a later version (swiftly followed by Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, and yes, Firestar was a hottie), and I'm not sure this has aged all that well... we'll probably have to give it a few episodes to be sure though.

And Dr. Connors' accident leads neatly into "Electro The Human Lightning Bolt" - when Electro breaks into J. Jonah Jameson's apartment, Spider-Man finally gets a photograph that might be worth something, especially when Jameson thinks Spider-Man was the culprit.

Electro seems determined to blame Spider-Man for his crimewave. But Peter is applying his scientific knowledge to countering Electro's lightning blasts. Oooh, and a Hall Of Mirrors... now that hasn't been done before... well, okay, it might not have been done before this was made, but it's a bit of a trite conclusion!

And we switch disks again (with more dithering, and a shelf re-arrangement to make it look like things are slightly more manageable). This time, I decide to see if my purchase of Black Books was actually a good idea or not.

Okay, when I'm laughing riotously after the first episode, it's pretty good. Some of you are going to want a premise aren't you... okay, Bernard Black owns a bookstore... and his friend Fran owns the store next door, and they drink a lot and don't really sell many books, and Manny gets hired accidentally after he swallowed the Little Book Of Calm and it was absorbed into his system and Bernard got into a fight with some Millwall supporters, and Manny was an accountant who could do Bernard's accounts... well, okay, it's very silly!

The second episode, "Manny's First Day" is equally silly, but I finally decided I should go out and forage for food, so we'll call it a day after two.

[Previous entry: "Part Two"]

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Part Two

[Previous entry: "Part One"]

Well, Buck's been turned in to the assassins. Except he manages to escape. Then he gets captured and persuades them he's another assassin, rather than the one he was previously impersonating. Then they discover he was lying, but he escapes again.

Lets be fair, for top assassins, they're pretty inept! And the empath woman doesn't appear able to spot the fact that Buck is lying to her constantly...

So anyway - here we are with Buck Rogers "The Plot To Kill A City: Part 2" - the improbable conclusion to the goofy first part. At one episode a night, this is going to take an age to get through, but the two busy nights this week are over, so hopefully my viewing rate will improve in the next few days.

[Previous entry: "Part One"]

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Part One

[Previous entry: "A Change Of Focus"]

Tonight's entry - a single episode of Buck Rogers - "The Plot To Kill A City: Part 1." You know, on the theme tune scale of great shows, this at least is pretty hummable, but it still didn't help the show survive more than a series and a half (of course, we could blame Hawkman for that... and we probably will when we get that far).

Anyway, it's still watchable after all these years... at least as long as you accept that it's going to be camp and kitschy as hell and go along with that.

Now, for someone who refuses to join the Earth Defence Directorate (or whatever they're called), Buck sure does go along with their crazy schemes pretty easily. But then, when Twikki has just been nearly blown up (or he gets to go gambling) he's a bit of a sucker.

So, Buck has to pretend to be an assassin, so he can meet up with a whole bunch of assassins, and discover what they plan to do to Earth. Of course, Wilma has to go along separately, seduce one of the other assassins, and discover their plans on her own. And of course, Buck's mission goes completely wrong from step one.

And what's with the fact that the evil empath woman can't tell that Buck is lying through his teeth the whole time?!

[Previous entry: "A Change Of Focus"]

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

A Change Of Focus

[Previous entry: "Letter To The Press"]

For those who hadn't noticed, it's been an absolute age since this was updated. Not a lot has changed, but most of my free time is taken up watching DVDs, and I've not felt like a good rant in a while... probably too despondent about the election - and yes, how on earth this country can call itself a democracy is beyond me; it was the most corrupt election I've ever seen!

Anyway, with the long break, and not feeling too much like writing long entries, I've decided to at least start cataloging the DVDs, films, and TV shows I watch... It'll sort of be Graveyard-lite (and yes, I'm still very slowly adding things to the Graveyard... I keep getting distracted by other shiny toys!). It may be interspersed with actual content some of the time, but don't count on it!

So, for today's viewing:

Batfink - "Pink Pearl Of Persia"

It's been soooo long since I saw this show - I'd remembered the "wings are like a shield of steel" but I'd completely forgotten about the "super sonic sonar radar." Not the greatest animation, but it brings back memories. And this opening episode isn't all that good.

Batfink - "The Short Circuit Case"

"That Mad Scientist is mad!" Okay... the first appearance of Hugo A Go Go, except his name isn't mentioned once in the episode... here he's just a mad scientist in his clifftop observatory.

Dungeons And Dragons - "Servant Of Evil"

You know, this show really needed a pilot episode, but here we are at episode 8 (I watched the first disk about a month ago, but the huge great boxed set is taking up waaaay too much shelf space, so I need to get some more done). And oh dear god, it's Bobby's birthday. Unfortunately, when he's chasing one of the presents, everyone else is kidnapped by Venger's lizardmen, and thrown in his Prison Of Agony. Fortunately, a handy amulet from Dungeon Master and a reluctant giant make an escape possible. The lava dragon is pretty cool, but Strongheart, the guy with the magic hammer is really pointless to the story.

Buck Rogers In The 25th Century - "Vegas In Space"

I got thrown by the first side of this disk, as I assumed "Planet Of The Slave Girls" was a normal length episode rather than a feature length monstrosity. But it's either this or Battlestar Galactica... A kidnapped programmer on Sinaloa could ruin a prominent businessman who everyone wants to arrest for criminal activity. Fortunately, he wants the girl rescued and will not only turn himself in, but provide information on the new Hatchet fighter that's causing the combat computers on the Earth fighters a problem. Fortunately for Buck, the plan involves going to a casino and gambling, so he jumps at the chance.

[Previous entry: "Letter To The Press"]


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