Recent Posts

 Babylon 5: Season 2 Review 
 Babylon 5 3-01: Matters of Honor 
 Babylon 5 3-02: Convictions 
 Babylon 5 3-03: A Day in the Strife 

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Babylon 5 3-03: A Day in the Strife

Episode:47|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:20-Nov-1995

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm writing about A Day in the Strife, an episode with a bad title! It's also the third episode of the third season of cult sci-fi 90 series Babylon 5, which I'm going to have to get through before I can start writing about cult series from the 00s or 10s.

The episode was directed by David J. Eagle and written by showrunner J. Michael Straczynski, but that's not really news as they're all written by Straczynski at this point. Some writing rooms struggle to plot out 13 episode seasons, he wrote an entire 22 episode season all on his own. So I suppose I can't really be too hard on him about the title.

David Eagle had only directed one B5 episode before this, In the Shadow of Z'Ha'Dum, but he came back many times afterwards for episodes like Severed Dreams, And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place and Falling Towards Apotheosis. I plan to avoid giving SPOILERS for anything other than this episode and the ones that came before it but... that's a pretty encouraging list of stories.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Babylon 5 3-02: Convictions

Episode:46|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:13-Nov-1995

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures I'm writing words about Babylon 5's Convictions, the second episode of season three.

There's a weird pattern going on with the titles here, as season two started with episodes called Points of Departure and Revelations, and now season three has started with Matters of Honor and Convictions. Sadly the episode after this breaks the pattern, as the title A Day in the Strife is nothing like season 2's The Geometry of Shadows. They should've gone with The Day of Strife and spared us from the pun.

Okay, I'm going to go through the whole episode now, writing my thoughts under screencaps, so if you want to avoid SPOILERS you'd better stop reading here. Though I'll only be spoiling events up to this point in the story arc, so if you're watching the series for the first time you don't have to worry about me ruining it for you.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Babylon 5 3-01: Matters of Honor

Episode:45|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:6-Nov-1995

Sci-Fi Adventures is back and I've finally reached Babylon 5's third season! Hopefully it won't take me three years to get through like the last season did, even if I am going to be taking long breaks every two months this time for the sake of my sanity.

Though hang on, isn't Matters of Honor a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode? Oh, that was A Matter of Honor, singular. This story presumably features multiple matters.

Babylon 5 liked to bring director Janet Greek in to direct the big episodes, like season premieres and finales, but she skipped seasons 3 and 4 entirely, so Confessions and Lamentations director Kevin G. Cremin was at the helm for this one. That was a good episode I think, though he also directed the moderately mediocre Spider in the Web, so this could go either way.

Generic SPOILER warning: Don't read any further if you don't want spoilers for the whole episode and the two preceding seasons of B5. Also you probably shouldn't listen to the DVD commentaries either. Those folks will ruin all kinds of things for you from the whole 5 year run if you let them. Me on the other hand, I won't say a word about what's coming. If you're a new viewer you'll be safe here.

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Babylon 5: Season 2 - The Coming of Shadows Review

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures I'll be writing a bit about the second season of Babylon 5, which has the overall title of The Coming of Shadows. Not to be confused with the episode The Coming of Shadows, which also has the overall title of The Coming of Shadows.

But first, here's a rare glimpse behind the scenes of Ray Hardgrit's Sci-Fi Adventures. When I first had the immensely dumb idea of starting my science fiction review site I also had the extremely sensible idea to get some episodes written up in advance. That way I'd have a buffer so I wouldn't disappear and leave the site dead during the months I was busy with other things. In fact all 38 Babylon 5 reviews published before my unintended absence last year were written ages before the site first went live on 1st April 2016. Unfortunately I got so distracted with writing about other sci-fi series and movies that I didn't get back to writing about Babylon 5, so when more important things hijacked my free time I'd already used up all my spare reviews. Which is why I disappeared for months.

The reason I'm bringing this up is that it may look like I started reviewing Babylon 5's second season episodes two years ago, but truth is it's actually closer to four years and I haven't rewatched the episodes since. I find it hard enough to keep 22 episodes in my head at the best of times, so I have no business trying to review this season really. Still going to do it though.

This is going to contain epic SPOILERS for everything in season 2 from Points of Departure to The Fall of Night, and probably earlier episodes too. If I can remember them.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Babylon 5 2-22: The Fall of Night

Episode:44|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:01-Nov-1995

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, this is it, I've reached the epic season finale of Babylon 5 season two! Well I'm just assuming it's epic to be honest, I haven't seen it in ages. But if it's half as good as season one's finale, Chrysalis... then I'll be only two-thirds satisfied with it, so ideally it'll be a little better than that.

In the last few episodes we've gone from a Long, Twilight Struggle to The Fall of Night, so things seem to have been getting darker. It made me wonder if this theme had been running through other titles this year, so I looked through an episode list and found Geometry of Shadows and The Long Dark near the start, and All Alone in the Night sitting there in middle. So no, I can't say I saw any journey into darkness in the titles.

I didn't see Janet Greek's name in the 'directed by' column all that much either, but I guess she'd earned a rest after Signs and Portents, Chrysalis, Points of Departure and The Coming of Shadows. Actually she was apparently suffering from pneumonia, but she came back just in time for the end of the season, before vanishing again for the next two years. Anyway she's a good director and that makes me think this will be good.

If you've just gotten hold of some second hand DVDs and you're watching the series for the very first time you might be thinking about listening to the commentary by showrunner jms and maybe even checking out some of those special features. I wouldn't recommend it though, because there's SPOILERS in there for later seasons. You're safe reading this review though, provided you've watched the episode and all the ones leading up to it, as I won't say a thing about where it's all going. Nothing that Ivanova doesn't spoil herself anyway.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Babylon 5 2-21: Comes the Inquisitor

Episode:43|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:25-Oct-1995

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm writing about an episode actually genuinely called Comes the Inquisitor. It's the one where an inquisitor comes to the station I guess.

The is the penultimate episode of Babylon 5's second season so I'm very close to being done with it, though it doesn't really feel like I'm at the end of something. Season two has been a lot more serialised than the first year, but it hasn't built up momentum leading up to anything likely to be resolved soon. There's been no sense of all the pieces falling into place before a massive turning point in the story. So to me this is pretty much just feels like season 2, episode 21.

There will be SPOILERS below for both this episode and the earlier stories that led up to it as I'm going to go through the whole thing writing text under screenshots. Though if you're watching the series for the first time you don't have to worry about me spoiling anything that happens after this episode. This is a first time viewer friendly review.

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Babylon 5 2-20: The Long, Twilight Struggle

Episode:42|Writer:J. Michael Straczynski|Air Date:18-Oct-1995

This week on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm reviewing The Long, Twilight Struggle, the antepenultimate episode of Babylon 5's second season! The last few episodes have been a bit miserable but if that title's anything to go by I expect this is going to be the one that really turns things around.

Here's some entirely useless facts for you: according to IMDb, John C. Flinn III was the director of photography for 102 of 110 Babylon 5 episodes, and this is one of the 8 he skipped. It's also one of the 9 he directed, and if you suspect there's probably a lot of overlap between those two lists... you'd be wrong. It's just this one. This was the third episode he directed after TKO and Soul Mates, so he's got the bottom and the middle of the ratings scale covered already, but was this his first really great episode? I'll tell you what I think later, though if you've seen it and remember which one it is I expect you already have your own opinion.

I nearly didn't show this screencap of the title because it spoils a character's surprise reappearance. But then I realised that the role was recast and this actor has never actually been in the series before, so all it really spoils is that a Minbari shows up at the start of the first act. But there will be massive SPOILERS below this point for both this episode and the ones leading up to it, as I'll be going through it one screencap at a time, writing about what happened and what I think about that.