Monday, November 30, 2009

Babylon 5 The Complete Fifth Season: The Wheel Of Fire

Wow. Finally. Closure. What a ride. What an epic story. And now to wrap it up. It's hard to believe it had consumed the past few years of my life, but it was an interesting ride and worth those special Straczynski moments along the way. So concludes my viewing analysis of Babylon 5 The Complete Fifth Season: The Wheel Of Fire.

As you know Babylon 5 Season Five was definitely not ranking up there at the top of my list. In fact, though my grading probably doesn't reflect it in retrospect with comparison to Season One, it was my least favorite of the five seasons. This, of course, puts the much maligned Season One above it slotting it into the four hole for me. I suspect, again in hindsight, I would appreciate Season One now even more than I did when I first viewed it as some here have suggested. Season Five cemented, for me, that the Psi Corps angle was my least favorite portion of the series. I simply could not appreciate that thread when it stood out there entirely on its own most notably in Season Five. Woven throughout the series in dribs and drabs as connected to The Shadow War story it was perfectly measured. The mystery of Lyta and the connection to the Vorlons was a delicious tease. When Byron [ugh!] was added to the mix and it became Psi Corps-heavy it lacked a certain something for me, call it the magic, call it Babylon 5-lite. Again, that's me and that's my entirely subjective take. Season Two, Three and Four were where it was at for me. Season Five ended with some strength following a fairly large dull period. However there were some strong moments to be sure. How would you rank the five seasons?

The DVD Box Special Features includes all-new, digital, widescreen transfers. Seriously, I never could see it in the picture quality of this series. Dated or not, it's a pretty poor transfer. It definitely needs to be revisited by someone and given some tender, love and care. I'd even love to see a Star Trek-styled Remaster with some touched up effects. There's an idea. I doubt Blu-Ray will ever happen for Babylon 5. It would be a pleasant surprise if it ever did. There's the Soundtrack Remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 as well. The documentaries worth a look include Digital Tomorrow and Beyond Babylon 5. I actually went to check these out for you, but realized once again that I LOST MY FREAKIN' DISC 5! Dang! I am really not happy with myself, but I really have to get over it. Anyhow, it wraps up with a few deleted scenes and some gag reels.

Farewell Babylon 5. You'll be gone, but not forgotten. Besides, maybe I'll hook up with Babylon 4 and time jump back to the beginning somewhere down the road.

Coming Soon: Babylon 5 Big 10 Episodes. Get your lists ready comrades!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Cowboy Bebop Session #19: Wild Horses

The always beautiful animation of Cowboy Bebop.

The latest entry sees our fearless hero, Spike Spiegel, crashed down on a hot, arid planet surface with to his Swordfish. Have I mentioned I love crash landings? The rest of the team ponders the whereabouts of Spike who has yet to check in for Cowboy Bebop, Session #19, Wild Horses.

Jet, Ein, Ed and Faye are keeping tabs on some pirates while they wait for Spike. Out in the desert Spike meets Myles, an assistant to an old friend called Doohan. Myles is apparently a big admirer of the Swordfish II, a monoracer, built by none other than Doohan himself. Myles drives Spike to a shipyard. We meet the "old man." Doohan is going to perform a bit of a tune-up on the old girl.
*
Back on the BeBop, the crew begins tangling with some bad news. Some baddie space pirates have connected to Faye's ship and the BeBop. On board the enemy ship we find the group is working with a nasty virus mixing system called Black Hell. The pirates exit the airspace indubitably leaving a nasty, little thing called a virus [or bacteria] on board the BeBop.
*
On the planet below Myles calls the Swordfish II a relic in need of some souping up. Doohan gets annoyed with Myles and sends him off. Doohan likens himself to the old Swordfish II.
*
Back on the BeBop, Faye receives an incoming call from Spike. Faye tells Spike Jet is working on a bacteria problem. Oh really. Frustrated Jet tells her it's a computer virus not bacteria. Ed and Ein are working overtime to help Jet no doubt. Faye is a sexy, bad ass but she has her intellectual limitations. This is amusing stuff.

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A van driver pulls up with a part for the Swordfish II. You get the feeling Spike and Doohan have known one another for a long time. I suspect Spike even worked for the old man at one time. They definitely think alike and Spike admires and respects the old man.
*
Spike returns to the BeBop and learns Jet had his Hammerhead shot up pretty good by their intended bounty. Spike's fairly dinged up as well. Jet receives the bill from Doohan on Spike's repairs. The BeBop is being hacked by the virus and Jet has a plan to go on offense against the pirates. If attacked by the connecting virus cables they will shut down the on board systems and fly manually.
*
At a gambling space station Spike and Faye fire upon the suspected bounty hunters. They are trying to weed them out. As a result the old monoracer finds their man and the associating villainy. The dudes attempt to attach their virus cables to the Swordfish II. An ungodly amount of cables are shot at Spike and the Swordfish II and he manages to evade all but one. Spike manages to break free and send the cable back upon the pirate vessel. Spike maneuvers through an asteroid field where he sees a pirate vessel explode as a result of asteroids.

Spike's fuel tanks are empty and Doohan offers to lend a hand. Doohan gives him some advice to clear free of Earth's gravitational pull. Spike manages to crash his Swordfish inside Doohan's space shuttle in a most outrageous move. The level of disbelief expected of the viewer is fairly ridiculous. The Swordfish II loses its wings in the process but Spike pulls off a miraculous landing. I know it's a cartoon, but this ranks up there with the Swordfish catching the falling man on its win earlier in the season. It just couldn't happen.
*
As this one concludes I kind of sort of scratched my head at exactly what it is I just watched. I mean, what was the point? Perhaps it's the style of writing from the anime creators. I just don't get it sometimes. It takes cool to weird new levels that somehow escape me. I know this series is not receiving the love from me, but the cel animation is something to behold.

Wild Horses: B-

Friday, November 27, 2009

Who On Earth Is Tom Baker?

This is about as irreverent and humorous as autobiographies get by a former science fiction super star. Tom Baker has no shortage of humor in his funny bones. The man is completely unhinged.

The book, Who On Earth Is Tom Baker?, is intelligent and witty and off the wall at times. It traces the man's life from childhood to life after his biggest role as Doctor Who. He is indeed one of the strangest, most frightening, oddly likable fellows you'll ever read about. It's a miracle his life became what it was really.

I must admit that I enjoyed the first portion of the book the most and felt it was at its most funny when referencing his youth. I was disappointed to find there was very, and I mean very, little coverage of his life as Doctor Who, maybe a chapter. If you think you'll get much insight into his relationships with Louise Jameson, Ian Marter or Elisabeth Sladen on the set or off think again.
*
It's a hard book to find being out of print, but worth a read and a few laughs to be sure. It's a unique pleasure to read as autobiographies go. If an autobiography is there to paint a portrait of a man and a personality, Tom Baker had it in abundance. Fortunately, as of this writing, he still does.
*
Who On Earth Is Tom Baker? An Autobiography: B+

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Great Bird Of The Galaxy: Happy Thanksgiving

Kirk: My God Bones, it's the Great Bird Of The Galaxy.
*
Bones: Will you look at that?
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Scotty: Ay Captain. What are we waiting for? We have a lot to be thankful for. Let's dig in.
*
Sulu: I was kind of hoping for duckling.
*
HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

MOON

One small step for man, one giant leap for clone kind.

I finally had a chance to see Moon by Director Duncan Jones, a.k.a. Zowie Bowie, a.k.a. son of music legend David Bowie. I suppose it's really not fair to have to live in the shadow of his father. Damn, that has to be frustrating. Well, I think Duncan Jones, as he prefers, has finally made a name for himself. The quiet little Moon is no slouch. He deserves the respect and praise he received for his film on his own merits. For me, as a friend put it, "it's different." It's a thought-provoking piece that remains with you after watching it. It's a simple concept of one man living on a lunar base on the moon owned by Lunar Industries.

Moon plays with a number of different concepts and possibilities and tackles such ideas as corporate indifference or even malfeasance, the future of human cloning and what it means to be human and alive. It is a powerful, emotive tale without being sentimental here, but indeed it was moving at points despite its cold, near desolate isolation.

Set design and visual effects are simple but credible. You'll love those Moon harvesters and Moon rovers. You even have a lunar base robot, Gerty [a nod to ET: The Extra-Terrestrial no doubt and even HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey], tending to the needs of one Sam Bell, deftly played in two different personas by the underrated actor Sam Rockwell. Rockwell's solo show is impressive. It may not be quite as gripping or intense as Tom Hanks' performance in Castaway, but the film is effective if slightly unnerving even creepy. I don't want to say too much, but I think it's worth a go. And when Sam Bell reaches out to his wife, Tess Bell, if that doesn't impact your heart and mind a bit I'm not sure what will.

In science fiction's strictest and purist sense it's easy to understand why this film is a darling for critics and for many fans. It is a solid, inventive piece of sci-fi isolation and human nature coping with loneliness, but it is much more. Save for the fact it was a tad too mild for my taste, it is very good. I would have preferred a touch more drama, maybe a bit more intensity, but it's still an ambitious and original picture and you can't fault Jones on vision or ambition. Honest folks, I don't need laserfire and alien creatures to be happy, but it's always nice.

Moon: B

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cowboy Bebop Session #18: Speak Like A Child

I am officially at the two-thirds mark of the series that is Cowboy Bebop. Unfortunately, I will not be the champion I had hoped I would be for the series. Nevertheless, I press on and look at its positives. It is clearly a landmark anime series. If one had to list a top ten in anime there's a very good chance this one would be in it. I'm a huge fan of Firefly and this was clearly influential on that series as one reader noted and as I may have mentioned in previous Firefly musings.

Here we are at the horse races with Cowboy Bebop, Session #18, Speak Like A Child. Faye Valentine gambles while juxtaposed with Spike enjoying a bit of down time fishing.

Faye receives a package handed to her by Jet. Jet ensures he will do his best to fully test the package for explosives.

I'm having a problem with this episode as my DVD is not responding properly. It clearly has a defect of some sort on this particular episode and is killing the flow of the story as the images keep jarring and freezing to a grinding halt. I'm afraid the review on this one will not be completed properly.

It would appear Spike and Jet attempt to find out what is on the video cassette, which is the package Faye received. Faye has left. Spike and Jet need to figure a way to play this Beta tape. They head to Earth in the BeBop.

We get a touch of Faye's past as suggested by title of the entry based upon a song/album by Herbie Hancock. The video contains a letter from a young Faye to herself.

I'm afraid I cannot fully comment on this entry as my DVD was defective. It's a shame because it looked reasonably intriguing.

Speak Like A Child: ?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cowboy Bebop Session #17: Mushroom Samba

It's ironic I should be writing about an episode with mushrooms. I made this killer Wild Mushroom Soup last weekend from scratch. It's an interesting process, broth included. Do you like 'shrooms? Let me rephrase that. Do you like 'shrooms you can eat for sustenance? I do. I love them. I never much cared for them on pizza. Still, I love fresh Shitake and Portobello mushrooms cooked inside a cream and broth soup with leeks, butter and more. It was a dandy soup I tell you.

If you're a fan of Cowboy Bebop and you've been following along you'll note I haven't been overly wild about the series. My expectations were through the roof based upon everything I had read or heard about the anime series. Quite frankly it just isn't delivering on the whole for me. I wish I could tell you I loved this sci-fi tainted adventure series surrounding its five central characters of Spike, Jet, Faye, Ed and Ein, but alas I cannot. I grade each entry for what it is, but a love affair with the show has not been cultivated for me for sure. I know I'm in the minority on this.

Here we are continuing my fungal enjoyment of Cowboy Bebop, Session #17, Mushroom Samba. Our story begins once again over food rationing and some emergency rations that have been eaten. Nobody takes responsibility for the missing food. "Bell peppers and beef" are always on Spike's mind.

A ship crashes into the BeBop and essentially initiates a "hit and run" leaving the BeBop off course. Western World Development Tract 8271. The BeBop crashes at the aforementioned site. I must tell you. I'm a huge fan of crash landing stories generally speaking. If a group of my fearless heroes crash lands on a remote planet, a hostile planet, a planet full of monsters, the more the better. I love when the odds are stacked against them. No matter how horrible a crash landing tale or film I can generally still derive something from it it. I loved Lost In Space, because the story was survival after crashing week after week. The ship crashed and the family had to cope. Pitch Black [2000] had a brilliant crash landing sequence by Director David Twohy even if the film never fully executed for me. Red Planet [2001]had a weird crash section too, but I loved it. Flight Of The Phoenix [2005] same thing. I suppose there are too many to mention, but some of those crashes are excellent and lead to some gripping dramatic situations.

Spike and Jet send Ed off to find some food in the arid desert-like conditions. I was totally digging the grooves of the music in this one. A flying vessel passes over the heads of Ed and Ein. Ed comes across a watermelon stand and they're just licking their chops. A hot, black woman [who looks like she's out of the 1970s TV series Mod Squad] pulls up in a vehicle looking for a man in a photo. She hands the man 1,000 dollars, buys a watermelon [I think that may qualify as stereotyping today, but much of it is obviously intentional] and then rides off in her car. Some of the images and animation shots are quite delicious in this one. I really enjoyed the colors and look of the episode.

As the woman rides off in her car leaving a trail of dust we find Ed and Ein have become stowaways. Police pull the woman [commonly referred to as racial profiling] over and check her trunk in a nearby town only to arrest her for having Ed and Ein inside her trunk [clearly not race-related]. Ed and Ein sneak away. It becomes clear to me there is a bit of a nod to the 70s in this episode with some of the characters and the whole period look of the blaxploitation pictures as they were often referred to back in the day. There's even mention of Shaft. A man with an afro assaults another man named Domino carrying mushrooms. Ed and Ein decide to eat up some of the dropped 'shrooms from his bag as he runs away. After eating the 'shrooms all is not right with their world as Ein begins hopping around the road rather oddly.

Ed and Ein return to camp. How they got back to the ship I'll never know. They leave a mushroom out to test on each one of their travelling companions as Faye, Jet and Spike each come along one by one. Followed with a simple hiccup and everything begins to get slower and stranger for the entire crew. Jet talks with his little bonsai trees. Spike converses with a frog. Faye stares into the toilet bowl seemingly drowning in its water. Ed and Ein just watch. Spike cannot seem to get up those stairs. Faye swims with fish [at least it wasn't excrement] as she makes strokes in place.

Meanwhile Ed spots the latest bounty broadcast and sees an image of Domino the man they saw in town earlier. They grab a motorized scooter [I suppose Ed stole it and if not I still don't know how Ed & Ein got back to the BeBop] and hustle off passing all of their crewmates who are seriously drugged up.

Ed and Ein spot the hit and run ship and surprise Domino. They chase him toward the other man. Domino jumps on a train and the man chases him in the stolen watermelon truck. The music is outtasight groovy, but it's all weird on Cowboy Bebop. The afro woman arrives and fires off a rocket launcher to get rid of the other guy in pursuit of Domino. It would appear these are all bounty hunters. Ein takes down the bad guy. The other two pursuers and the car explode.

I actually found this sequence to be pretty funny. Both the Ed and Ein portion made me laugh.

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Who knew animals could talk between species. Ha!
*
In the end Ed winds up with a bag of Shitake mushrooms. Dinner is served in the form of Shitake stir fry, Shitake stew, Shitake salad and Shitake on ice. They should try some wild Shitake soup. Everyone is bitching and moaning about eating mushrooms, but Ein and Ed aren't bothered and happily gorge themselves on them. And I thought kids were the ones who complained about stuff like that. More zany antics, but a good entry and surprisingly one with a lot of Ed that I actually liked.
*
Mushroom Samba: B+ [I told you I liked crash landing episodes]

Thursday, November 19, 2009

B5 S5 Ep22: Sleeping In Light

Babylon 5 ends "in fire."

Drum roll please..... Yee Haw! We made it! The final episode of Babylon 5. As we know, Season Five, Episode 22, Sleeping In Light, was actually slated to be the final entry in Season Four when it was still not yet determined there would be a Season Five. Fortunately Babylon 5 was picked up for a fifth season and this was shuffled to the back end of Season Five, while Season Four ended with The Deconstruction Of Falling Stars. Both entries take place in the future, while the aforementioned episode took place in the far distant future, Sleeping In Light appears to take place in the not-so-distant future. From the looks of it our friends have aged, so let us conclude with the calming title of Sleeping In Light. It's interesting to note the title of this final episode appears right at the very beginning leading me to believe we will not see the standard opening credit sequence we've come to expect.

The year is 2281, twenty years following the establishment of the Interstellar Alliance based on Minbar. Garibaldi narrates dreading the arrival of this day. With Sheridan resting beside Delenn grey of beard we hear the voice of an old friend, Lorien. This is the day we knew would come. This is the day Sheridan would die. It was way back in Season Four, Episode 4, Falling Toward Apotheosis, that Lorien gave some of his lifeforce to Sheridan to prolong his life. Sheridan sacrificed his life in the battle against evil Kosh a.k.a. Ulkesh by channeling his inner Kosh. Sheridan wakes knowing the day of his expiration is upon him. God, that's got to be an awful feeling. One thing is certain, Delenn and Sheridan are still very much together. Their love has endured. Delenn sits upright concerned for her husband's health. You can see it in her face. She, too, has been counting the days.
*
The aged John Sheridan is a silver fox of regal splendor. He is a robed leader and his wife Delenn remains by his side. They sit by a Minbari window. Sheridan tells his wife he can feel it in his blood and in his bones. His time grows short just as Lorien had promised it would. Sheridan refers to Lorien saving his life on Z'Ha'Dum, which resulted from his leap off of that balcony in Season Three, Episode 22, Z'Ha'Dum. I know I mentioned Lorien gave some of his life-giving power to Sheridan following his battle against Ulkesh. So which it is? Did he save him twice? Nevertheless, he definitely was saved on Z'Ha'Dum and you'll recall a number of philosophical exchanges between Lorien and Sheridan at the beginning of Season Four in The Hour Of The Wolf and Whatever Happened To Mr. Garibaldi? consecutively. Quite possibly he was saved twice. Time is up apparently and the message has been delivered to friends. Delenn and Sheridan look on as the sun rises.
*
Next, ahhh, the return of Claudia Christian as our beloved Ivanova. It makes sense she is here given the episode was slated for the end of Season Four. In a way, it also feels that much more nostalgic moving the entry here since it has been some time since we last saw her face. Seeing her we realize how much we have missed her. It would not have had the same impact in Season Four. Ivanova is a general now. A Ranger bursts into her office with a message. She must report to Minbar.
*
Vir is now a man of confidence and a bit of a player as he would have it. With two Centauri women in his bed, the new Vir is significantly more self-assured than the Vir of old. He is summoned to Minbar. I believe Vir is now the Centauri emperor. He would no doubt be keeper-free I suspect thanks to the understandably absent Londo. Londo was choked to death by his friend G'Kar in Season Three, Episode 17, War Without End Part Two. I'm not sure about G'Kar's cloth wrapped eye in the aforementioned entry given the fact he received a fine prosthetic eye in Season Five, Episode 14, Meditations On The Abyss. I can only assume that potential future once presented has been altered, but we don't know how. This is left to some interpretation.
*
Garibaldi sits and reads the paper. It was funny to hear him mention the Dodgers. I suppose their franchise is alive and well in 2281. How about the Boston Red Sox? I sure hope those damn New York Yankees have gone bankrupt and folded. Franklin, the chief of xenobiological research, is apparently visiting Garibaldi and has returned from playing a tennis match with Garibaldi's teenage daughter. They receive word on Sheridan's condition/ status.
*
On Minbar, Franklin looks at Sheridan as a physician. Sheridan asks, "how long have I got?" Franklin suspects four, maybe five days remaining. How exactly could he know? What seems to be the problem here? Delenn and Sheridan prepare in their hearts, but Sheridan prefers celebration over long faces. Later, the group of guests dine and laugh. It is clear Londo, G'Kar and others are absent, but Stephen Furst does a beautiful job with his scene. This is one of those shining moments I will miss.

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*
That's enough to choke up the softies, especially when Franklin moves to toast Marcus and Ivanova jumps in. That was special. The reunion truly is a celebration as all are united and embrace their friendship.
Susan Ivanova leaves the room for a moment emotional in knowing her friend John Sheridan will die. I recall, as you will, Ivanova's reaction to losing Sheridan and believing him dead following Z'Ha'Dum. She was always his loyal second-in-command and loved him dearly as a friend. Those things don't change even with the passage of time. I'm sure there are friends you have you feel just the same about despite not seeing them with the distance of years between you. Delenn understands what must come, but she remains strong in knowing he will be gone. She tells Ivanova how she has had twenty years to talk about it and prepare. Wow.

Can you imagine knowing your end date? Can you imagine knowing that day is upon you? As you know, I'm always thinking about death and the finality of it. You think about it, you prepare in your own way to accept such ends and yet you don't know when it will come. No matter how much you plan for it, is any one of us ever prepared to go? Maybe these things have a way of working themselves out. I'm not interested in finding out anytime soon.
*
Delenn speaks of how much she will miss Sheridan. Boy, I know how much I miss my father and think of him from time to time. He's been gone from my life now for about six years. Honestly, it seems like he passed just yesterday. You remember the smiles. You remember the laughter. You remember the embrace of a goodbye. What you wouldn't give to experience all of it once more sometimes. Ivanova talks of losing so many in her life. "There's no one left to play with, there's no joy anymore." I suppose it must feel that way for the aged who lose so many in their lives when they feel they are all alone. Ivanova must be in a tough place after losing Marcus so many years ago. Ivanova mentions David. David is the son of Delenn and Sheridan. He is on a ranger training mission. It was John's wish his son not be there when he passed so that he would remember him as he was. I definitely understand that. Still, if you have lost loved ones like me, even when my father was frail and a shadow of what he once was, I still remember the strapping, vibrant man. Those final moments in the end did not take those wonderful memories away from me. I remember his strength as clearly today as if it were yesterday. I remember handing him a Del's Lemonade while he delivered mail on his route. I remember his appreciation in July with the beads of sweat on his brow and that satisfied smile. Yes, those don't go away.
*
Two years ago Sheridan declined re-election to the Presidency of the Interstellar Alliance. Delenn was appointed his replacement. As a result, Sheridan headed up the Rangers. Delenn has asked Ivanova to be his replacement, a worthy successor. Ivanova heads off to do some sleeping. An anxious Sheridan asks if Ivanova will take the position. A hopeful Delenn tells him she needs some time.
*
Delenn and Sheridan retire for the evening. As he sits upright in bed I couldn't help but wonder what it was like to be sitting there waiting to die. He is taking it rather well. Sheridan shares a story of his father with Delenn about how he used to take him for a drive when he was a kid. He tells Delenn he needs to go out one more time for a ride to feel the space beneath him. Sheridan considers his end on his own terms. He's "always thinking strategy" as Delenn puts it. Come the next day, Sheridan wants it to be a happy one.
*
The next day dawns and Sheridan suits up in his old uniform. Delenn greets him in the hall. She hasn't seen him in his suit in quite some time. "It's a pretty day. A perfect day for a Sunday drive" speaks Delenn. I had a moment. I never expected their embrace goodbye to touch me, but it did. It was powerful, very emotional. I was choked up. I thought no way is this episode going to get me. It's not going to happen. Up until now I really wasn't feeling any kind of emotional connection of the sentimental kind. I was wrong. This is a poetic stunner, a real beauty given all that has come before and affected these two individuals. It resonates because of the bond they share and all they've been through.

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If ever I questioned their love and their devotion to one another and I recall times along the way that I did, I do not question its authenticity now. This felt real, genuine. I had my doubts about Delenn especially, as you know, but no more. That was painful [in a good way]. That's just crushing.
*
Sheridan returns to Babylon 5 one last time. He arrives at a very quiet station. Budget cutbacks have resulted in plans to shut down the station. Babylon 5 has been decommissioned and broken down. Sheridan grows tired and faint. The station is like a ghost town or more appropriately a ghost station. None of the thriving stalls of business dart the halls. There is no hustle and bustle of the alien cultures that once was in the Zocalo. It is a desolate place. Sheridan recalls moments from his time aboard the station. Zack surprises Sheridan with a personal greeting. The two reflect on the station. Sheridan remembers Lorien and knows the moment when he will "simply stop" is upon him. Zack escorts Sheridan out.
*
Sheridan departs in the White Star. His destination is Coriana 6, where they won the Shadow War. Sheridan arrives there. Meanwhile, back on Minbar, Delenn reaches for her missing husband while she sleeps, but he is gone. That moment is powerful in illustrating how hard it is to let go of those we are so used to holding onto. You really feel for Delenn in that moment. Poor thing.
*
Sheridan orders the computer to turn off all systems as he grows tired, weak and begins to fade. Like something magical out of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Sheridan is greeted by the glowing arrival of Lorien. Lorien informs Sheridan "they" have been waiting for him beyond The Rim. Lorien tells him his journey has ended and "another begins." It is time for Sheridan to rest as a beautiful, white light brightens his face. I can only imagine the whole sequence was fairly symbolic of Sheridan's passing into the next life, or in this case The Rim with Lorien and company.
*
Ivanova narrates indicating Sheridan's ship was recovered days later. His body, of course, was never to be found.
*
Back on Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczynski himself, as a member of the "shut down crew" turns down the power. His part in this was bittersweet. It had to be bittersweet for him. It's the perfect decision to be apart of the series in this way as the man always firmly at the helm, steering the series and in charge of its inevitable fate. As the shuttle exits the station along with other space vessels from a variety of alien races, the station ignites in the final act as it explodes illuminating the darkness of space. I wonder why you would have to turn off the power if you planned on blowing the station to smithereens anyway? I know, I'm being a smart ass. Besides, there's far more beauty including the Straczynski moment.

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"Babylon 5 was the last of the Babylon stations. There would never be another. It changed the future. And it changed us.... Mostly though, I think it gave us hope that there can always be new beginnings ... even for people like us." It might seem Ivanova might find a little hope in this message for her future.
*
Every morning Delenn would watch the sun rise on Minbar, with John, in spirit, by her side.

The final montage of images is comprised of a rapid fire flash of all those involved in the making of Babylon 5. The final credits really close out the series recalling all of the actors involved in its making. The split screen emphasizes how far each actor had come as the character they played. The changes in many of the characters' appearances is sometimes dramatic as well. It was interesting to note how they slipped a little additional information in there about Marcus. Ivanova has requested he not be properly buried in the hopes of "new resuscitation technology." Poor Ivanova, she is lost without Marcus and in a way you can see how alone she looks without him in her eyes. Of course this information was documented many years ago and perhaps she will move on with some closure. Still, as far off in the future as Babylon 5 takes place there's still no such resuscitation technology and I don't believe there ever will be. Cryogenics is a nice bit of science fiction, but if you're dead you're not coming back.
What a universe. What a journey. What an epic tale.
*
I enjoyed the reflective mood of Sleeping In Light. It was lovely and thoughtful and sincere. It's a real tribute to Straczynski's writing and the caliber of talent in his cast that really delivered such a fine slice of closure. While state-of-the-art at the time, the special effects were always a bit distracting for me in general, but it's the story and acting that make it so special and ensure the epic tale's sense of timelessness.

Sleeping In Light: B+
*
I do hope to bring you some of the remaining Babylon 5 films as well as the Crusade spinoff in the future. My sincere thanks to all of you who have been part of the journey and enjoyed the ride with me throughout my personal Babylon 5 discovery. There have been some terrific comments and insights along the way. The Babylon 5 faithful are a loyal, thoughtful base of science fiction thinkers.

And on that note I leave you with a nod to our dear boy Garibaldi. Ebbity, ebitty, that's all folks!

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Farscape: The Complete Series

I went into Best Buy today and picked up Farscape: The Complete Series. In a rare turn, Best Buy bested Amazon's price on the Farscape DVD box set. Amazon lists the item at 104.99. Best Buy is selling it for 129.99. It is on sale for 99.99. But here is the kicker. It was on sale on the Best Buy website for 69.99. I went in and had to force the price match option with a young lady who appeared to doubt my facts. After hanging me up for 4-5 minutes, while she checked the site and confirmed she could do it and discovered I wasn't hosing her I walked out of there with the complete series for 70 dollars. It's almost a steal!

I killed myself about three years ago collecting up the Starburst Editions of Farscape, which came in several different volumes a few of which were out of print. All of the Starburst releases are now discontinued. I got lucky on those. For awhile those were in demand and a fair bit of pain to find. To be exact, there were twelve volumes. The mini-series was an additional buy on top of it all.
 
Finally, they have released the entire series in one complete box. It's worth it folks. At least I hope it's worth it. I haven't watched the series yet, but I will someday soon I hope. I figured I would get the box set in the event it had some cool extras on it that couldn't be found on those Starburst Editions. I think there may be one or two things. One additional cool factor is the Best Buy edition also features a Best Buy Exclusive by including The Peacekeeper Wars Mini-Series as well. So you get the complete four season series and the mini-series finale in one tight cardboard box. Now that is one heck of a cardboard BOX baby! There's even a good bit of environmental sensitivity going on here.

Of course we'll have to do this all over again when a Blu-Ray release happens. Bastards! Still, I don't expect that to happen anytime soon, unless they get thirsty for more greenbacks.