Posts Tagged ‘Babylon 5’

What Could Have Been: Babylon 5: Crusade Season 2

Crusade Season 2 ExcaliburWith Babylon 5 standing as one of the crowning achievements of serialized television in the 90’s, it’s no surprise that it eventually got a spinoff. And Joe Michael Straczynski (henceforth, JMS) had plans that were just as big–a full five season arc, just like Babylon 5 had. Babylon 5 always painted itself as the “anti-Star Trek,” so I think many people were surprised to see it branching out into spinoffs in the same way as that franchise. Unfortunately, TNT executives had little patience or understanding as to what they’d signed up for and didn’t give the show a chance to finish, killing it after only 13 episodes (heck, before they’d even aired). So once again we’re left to examine what could have been: Crusade season 2.

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6 Degrees of Science Fiction–Friday Four(-ish)

Kevin Bacon X-MenEver heard of “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon?” It’s a little game people like to play with celebrities, based on the idea that you can get from any one actor to another (typically the aforementioned Kevin Bacon) by naming someone who was in a movie with another actor, who starred alongside a third in a different movie, and so on, until you make it to an actor who appeared on screen with Kevin Bacon. Today’s Friday Four (well, six, this week) is going to engage in some fun trivia by pulling the sci-fi version of this–counting each jump from universe to universe, how many jumps away are some of the biggest Sci-Fi heroes from each other? Let’s find out!

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4 of the Most Questionable Actions by Heroes–Friday Four

Poisoned PlanetSo if you’ve got your main characters, and they’re the heroes. Once in a while, they’ll end up fighting against people who aren’t so bad, and maybe are even heroes themselves. That doesn’t mean they stop being heroes, though, right? But just as there are honorable or well-intentioned villains, there can be heroes who do things that will even cause the villains to stare on in shock. The heroes perform actions that are almost (or sometimes are) unjustifiable, and they don’t always see the problem with that. So, here are 4 of the worst, most questionable actions done by sci-fi “heroes.”

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4 Scenes Improved By Real Life Context – Friday Four

Riker TromboneWhen making TV shows, there are a lot of people involved in the process. Writers, actors, directors, producers… the list goes on. And often times relationships and life events (or sometimes even global events) that either develop during the course of the show, or those that the creators bring with them, will turn out to have an effect on the show itself. Sometimes this is a fairly simple, small thing, like Riker’s trombone playing in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Jonathan Frakes played trombone, and they worked it into his character. Other times, it ends up having a big effect on the show, altering the course of the plot and forever changing the characters. Knowing this real life context can make these moments more hilarious, more poignant, or just more interesting. So here are 4 moments improved by reality.

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4 of the Best Developed Sci-Fi Relationships — Friday Four

Zoe and Wash 2With Valentine’s Day tomorrow, and carrying on our theme from last week, I thought it’d be nice to honor those couples who are really shown to have a great relationship. Whether that relationship blossomed before our eyes on screen, went through dozens of horrible obstacles, or just came together through a shared need, these couples show that sci-fi romance doesn’t have to happen only at the end of the story, nor does it have to be a shallow “Hero’s Reward” sort of thing. So here are four couples that both earned and proved their love.

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4 of the Most Grueling Sci-Fi Costumes – Friday Four

He knows his luck.

He knows his luck.

One of the more unique aspects of sci-fi television series is that it often presents us with non-human characters, which are used in a variety of fashions to help bring the world of the show to life. The only problem is that the majority of these non-human characters are played by human actors (the rest being CGI or puppetry), and that means heavy makeup and prosthetics. Some, like Christopher Judge’s makeup for Teal’c, is quite simple and unobtrusive. Others, like Michael Dorn, not so much; his forehead now has permanent discoloration from wearing the Worf prosthetic for nearly fifteen years. And yet, there are still people in shorter roles that suffered far greater for their art. Here are 4 of the longest, most difficult, or most painful costumes seen on television.

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Psychic and Sci-Fi: Why the connection?

Psi CorpsSo, after the abysmal premiere of a certain recent miniseries, people’s reactions to the various twists seemed to suggest a question was forming in the minds of sci-fi fans everywhere: why, exactly, are psychic or telekinetic powers considered to be an acceptable plot device in sci-fi? It’s certainly a divergence from most of the other tropes of sci-fi. After all, one of the ground rules that separates sci-fi from fantasy is “technical possibility.” We believe aliens could exist; we believe Artificial Intelligences are possible; traveling through the stars in massive spaceships? Well, we’re already halfway there. Sure, the execution isn’t always terribly realistic, but those are generally concessions to storytelling than deliberate breaks from reality. Star Trek‘s aliens mostly look like humans because Star Trek is a TV show and the characters have to be played by human actors (at least, until very recently with CGI). Psychic powers are the one exception that’s still often considered to be part of the sci-fi writers’ workbag–so why?

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4 Episodes The Creators Hated – Friday Four

Threshold 1Putting on a TV show is a lot of work. They have to get together as many as 26 episodes, and have them written, filmed, and edited by the time that they’re scheduled to air. There’s no flexibility here. Movie dates get moved back sometimes, but this almost never happens with television (upcoming Syfy miniseries Ascension is a rare example, having been moved back from November to December). What all this really means is that, well, they just don’t have time to make sure every script is perfect before sending it out. Sometimes, the writers just have to accept the fact that this episode is going to be crap and there’s nothing to be done about that. Other times, no one realized how bad this would be on screen until it was already too late, and they can’t just throw the footage away. Everyone just has to make it as best they can and deal with it.

That’s how we ended up with these, four episodes so bad that the creators are more than willing to admit that they screwed up. So let’s honor their honesty by taking a look at what made these episodes worth rejecting.

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4 Strange Sci-fi Crossovers – Friday Four

Doctor Who Dimensions 2Crossovers are a funny thing; as I alluded to earlier in the week, most early crossovers were between popular shows on the same network that weren’t necessarily meant to be in continuity with each other when they were created. That’s how we end up with things like Adam West’s Batman and the original Green Hornet in the same universe. This tends to have some strange consequences, where previous in-jokes (like Batman watching Green Hornet on TV) no longer make sense or cause outright contradictions when trying to combine the two continuities. And while a main character crossing over is by far the easiest, most obvious, and hardest to deny of all the crossover types, there are many, many other ways for two shows to imply that they coexist in the same universe–some of which don’t even necessarily require permission from one of the shows! And that’s how we end up with these, some of the weirdest crossovers seen on TV.

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