Friday, March 21, 2008

Stargate Withdrawal

Having finally caught up with the rest of the science fiction viewing world and watched Stargate: SG1 and Stargate: Atlantis up to the most recent episode (a cliffhanger, of course), I'm finally watching Babylon 5 with the family.

Transitioning between stories is always rough, and I have to say, so far, I'm still in Stargate-withdrawal. I have missed, I think, three of the eight episodes everyone's watched so far, and I'm sure that doesn't help, but, well, so far the show seems fairly miss-able.

The last episode I watched (episode 6, I think) for example, was fairly predictable--good friend comes. Prediction: she's going to die or get horribly injured, that's going to run the plot--That, after all, is what Old Friends (especially Old Friends who are shown laughing and happy) are for--to get themselves hurt, thus advancing the plot. It's a rough life, but someone has to do it. And, yes, Old Friend was attacked--injured, not killed, which was mildly surprising since I had rated death more likely, but too close to the "standard" to be all that exciting.

Also, about the time Old Friend shows up, someone else's Former Boyfriend appears and restarts the relationship. It's a cinch that he's a) Not Who He Seems to Be (Old Boyfriends are always relying on their charm to get them by as they engage in nefarious doings. Old Girlfriends frequently indulge in the same idle hope). Also, b) he pretty much had to be involved in the attack. And, yeah, he was, and Girlfriend was upset and wanted to Take Him Down, which she did--waaaay too easily.

Despite the above, I wouldn't say it wast really, a bad story--there were some good emotional notes & some decent character bits, and it might contribute to the rest of the arc in an interesting way.

The problem is--I've gotten used to not being able to accurately predict events in the story. With Stargate, the Old Boyfriend might have been the bad guy, or he might have been just who he seemed, or he might have been someone who would turn out to matter to another plot four, five, or fifteen stories down the way. Old Friend would also have had a variety of possible roles. Yes--they use very familiar archetypes, but there's almost always a new twist to them, and I enjoy that. It's fun to try to guess the plot and not be able to do it.

I miss that!

Right now, too, Babylon 5 seems to be taking itself terribly seriously, on top of recycling plots that maybe shouldn't be revisited (ever). A couple of nights ago they had a "talk down the computer" episode. Now, where might I have seen one of those before?

Plus, the writers committed what I consider the cardinal sin of writing: They didn't trust their viewers to get the message. After having the characters talk with each other, in appalled tones, about how this particular people had ended up extinct because they programmed their killer-robot-cyborg-things to kill all but pure whatever-they-were, and after telling the computer that it had failed in its mission to protect its people because it had killed them all for not being pure, and "no one is pure," they then had to have two of the characters had to have a solemn discussion about the subject of purity, and, then, of course, someone from their government had to show up to have the computer/robot/cyborg thing carted away by their own government for study, followed by a dismayed comment from Our Pair.

Y'know, I think I got The Message somewhere back there, like, oh, the first time they mentioned it?

I suspect most viewers did.

Last night the family watched episode 8, which is supposed to be the one where things really take off, but I was too tired to sit through it, so I'll have to catch up later. And, maybe then I will change my views.

Right now, though, I'm very much missing Doctor Rodney McKay & Lieutenant-Colonel John Sheppard, and the rest of the gang--and I'm especially missing a group of writers who don't take themselves and their show too seriously.

In addition, thanks to a friend of mine & some of her older LJ posts, (I'm catching up), I'm also missing Blake's 7, but that's a different story--and a different sort of story--entirely.

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