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Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Babylon 5 2-07: Soul Mates

Episode:29|Writer:Peter David|Air Date:14-Dec-1994

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm watching episodes out of DVD order again, as I've left Soul Mates until after A Race Through Dark Places. They aired the other way around in the US, as the network wanted to move an episode to an earlier air date and Race's VFX shots wouldn't have been finished in time, but this is their correct production and story order.

Why does it matter to you what order I'm watching the episodes in? Well it affects the SPOILERS you're going to be getting, as I avoid spoiling things that happen in later episodes, for the sake of people who haven't seen the rest of the series yet (or have forgotten it all), but as far as I'm concerned Race Through Dark Places has already been and gone, and is now fair game. Also, I'm going to recap this whole episode as I give my thoughts about it, so I'll be spoiling the hell out of it too.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Stargate: Atlantis 1-01: Rising

Episode:1-2|Writer:Robert C. Cooper & Brad Wright|Air Date:16-Jul-2004

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm writing about another epic feature-length Stargate spin-off series pilot episode! They didn't put an episode title on screen for me to screencap, but my sources (the DVD box) tell me that it's called Rising.

My sources also tell me that it was co-written by two guys who'd been there since the start of Stargate SG-1: Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper. Wright was its co-creator and Cooper came up with a lot of the backstory of the universe. It's been a long while since I've seen this episode and I can't remember if it's any good, but if anyone's got a handle on the convoluted mythology it's them.

It's definitely not me, as I'd stopped watching SG-1 for a long while by the time the spin-off started and I never got caught up with it. I skipped the entire 'search for the Lost City' arc, the blonde Dr. Weir episodes and, well I don't actually know what I've skipped... because I skipped it. Which may be a bit of a problem for me, seeing as Rising first aired the week after the SG-1 season 8 premiere New Order and picks up the story where it left off.

It aired in July 2004, ten years after the Babylon 5 and Deep Space Nine episodes I've been writing about lately, so that puts Stargate Atlantis in the Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who era of sci-fi television, where bringing back old series that died in the 80s was apparently in fashion. Meanwhile, Andromeda and Enterprise were about to start their final seasons, Firefly and Farscape fans were still holding out for some kind of ending, and Revenge of the Sith was just a year away from bringing the Star Wars prequel trilogy to a conclusion.

I'll be recapping the whole story and writing my comments as I go, so this will basically be wall to wall SPOILERS for the episode. I might even spoil a few things about earlier Stargate SG-1 episodes, but probably not much because... well, I didn't watch all that much.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 2-03: The Siege

Episode:23|Writer:Michael Piller|Air Date:10-Oct-1993

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm back to Deep Space Nine, watching second season episode The Siege, which is something entirely different to seventh season episode The Siege of AR-558 and should definitely not be mixed up with third season episode The Search... even though that's what I accidentally ended up writing on my notes.

The Siege is the dramatic conclusion to the 'The' trilogy, following on from The Homecoming and The Circle (I suppose you could also call it 'The Circle trilogy' if you want to be a soulless minion of orthodoxy). I can't see any strange Babylon 5/Deep Space Nine coincidences to mention here, but slightly space-stationy Stargate spin-off Stargate: Atlantis also starts its second season with an epic three-parter that's resolved with an episode called The Siege, so that seems like something worth mentioning.

The episode's by writer/producer Michael Piller and director Winrich Kolbe, the folks who kicked off Next Gen's first good season with the episode Evolution and would later work on Voyager's pilot Caretaker, so they've brought out the big guns on this one. Doesn't mean that it's going to be good, they've made a lot of crap between the two of them too, but I'm hopeful.

Okay, I'll be recapping the episode and writing my commentary under fuzzy DVD screencaps, so there'll be massive SPOILERS. In fact I'll probably end up spoiling things from other Star Trek stories too, but only ones that came before it. Anything released after 10th October 1993 is safe.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Babylon 5 2-08: A Race Through Dark Places

Episode:30|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:25-Jan-1995

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm back to Babylon 5 season two, writing about A Race Through Dark Places. My DVD's telling me I should be watching Soul Mates now, but I'm following the Lurker's Guide Master List which reorganises the stories into a more chronologically logical order, and it says that A Race Through Dark Places was always meant to come first.

What happened was the network, PTEN, planned to finish off 1994 with six new season two B5 episodes in a block (following straight on from the season one finale Chrysalis, which had been held back two months because... I don't even know why.) But then they decided to increase the block to seven episodes and Race Through Dark Places just wasn't going to be ready in time, so Soul Mates was aired in its place. They were aired in the correct order for me in the UK though... eventually.

Anyway the end result of this schedule shifting is that this is the first episode of Babylon 5 to air in 1995. It also means that there's another weird Babylon 5/Deep Space Nine coincidence for the ever-expanding list: both series aired exactly 29 episodes during their first year, which is a ridiculous number. Especially as one of DS9's episodes was feature length.

If you're wondering what else was going on in 1995, it was the year that Voyager, Sliders and Space: Above and Beyond started. Also they're not science fiction, but it says here on the internet that Hercules and its spin-off Xena both got a series this year and that's weird. Meanwhile in cinemas, sci-fi movie fans got to enjoy Johnny Mnemonic, Species and Sylvester Stallone's Judge Dredd. Yay.

Warning: I'll be sharing SPOILERS for this episode with my words and screencaps, and earlier episodes are fair game for spoilers too (aside from Soul Mates). I won't spoil anything that comes after though.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 2-02: The Circle

Episode:21|Writer:Peter Allan Fields|Air Date:03-Oct-1993

This month on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm watching The Circle, which is the very first episode of Deep Space Nine to have a 'previously on' clip at the start. That's because it's the second part of the The Homecoming, though you wouldn't know it from the title.

Up until this point, two-parters in Star Trek have been clearly labelled, so we've had The Menagerie, Part II, The Best of Both Worlds, Part II, Chain of Command, Part II etc. and Voyager would later continue the tradition. DS9 just had to be different though... except for the couple of times when it wasn't.

This is Peter Allan Fields' first story for the series after Duet last year, which was an oasis of awesome in that desolate wasteland of a season. I'm hoping that this is a: better, and b: pretty average for season two, because the series could really use a sharp increase in quality.

I'll be recapping the whole episode with beautiful SD screencaps from the Region 2 DVDs and throwing in some of my commentary along the way. This means that there'll be SPOILERS for the whole episode and I'm considering anything else with the Star Trek name on it released before October '93 to be fair game too. I won't spoil what comes after though... or things that came before in prequel.