infinitejest: (Default)
Day 10 - A show you thought you wouldn't like but ended up loving

Babylon 5: I remember seeing previews for the pilot when I was 11 and being really excited about a new science fiction show. At that time, I was watching Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine regularly... and, while I enjoyed them, the Star Trek universe was a known quantity. I was eager to discover something new.

Unfortunately, Babylon 5: The Gathering straight up sucked. Many of the character designs were bad, the acting was awful, and I was utterly unenthralled. My great disappointment faded into forgetful ambivalence, and my 12th year was spent absorbed in the final season of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

In November of 1994, I was taking a computer class under the auspices of a teacher who was a sci-fi nut. She absolutely loved Babylon 5, and she hosted after-school parties after each new episode aired, screening them in the computer lab for those who had permission to stay. As a young geek, there was no way I was passing up teacher-sanctioned social geekery.

I don't remember which new episode we watched on the first viewing I attended; I do remember, though, that it was a double-header. She showed us "Babylon Squared" after the new episode and, in spite of Michael O'Hare's one-note performance, I was hooked by the end of the afternoon. (Especially knowing that Captain John Sheridan was on the way.)

I got my mom hooked along with me - she had long been a sci-fi fan as well anyway, and the idea that Scarecrow Bruce Boxleitner took over from the subpar Michael O'Hare was all she needed to hear. Thus began a journey in intense fandom love through my 17th year.

I keep meaning to revisit the series now, over a decade later, but I haven't managed to commit to it yet. From a few episodes I've randomly watched in the past couple of years, though, I think such a re-watch will be a mixed experience. I still love the characters and the concepts, but some of the writing makes me wince.

Quixote, on the other hand, answers Ron Moore's Battlestar Galactica. Before the miniseries aired in 2003, he was firmly in the "Galactica in name only" camp. He was convinced it was the worst idea ever and would be horrible, but he was equally committed to watching the miniseries so he could complain on an informed level. Of course, by the time the second part ended, he was done and a BSG fan through and through. (I was also a big fan of BSG in the beginning, but it took "33" to sell me on it.)

30 Days of TV: The List )
infinitejest: (doctor who: bad wolf)
Day 09 - Best scene ever

I feel like I should be prefacing each of these posts with the reminder that my answers are constrained by what I can remember when I sit down to do this meme. I do put a good measure of thought into each question, going down the lists of my favorite or important television shows, probing my memory for "best scene ever" examples, for example. But I don't have an eidetic memory, so I have to rely on whatever my mental net can pull out of the mess of my media memory at the present. I'm sure if I had longer to ponder the question, I'd come up with more or different answers; however, with an on-and-off 24-hour consideration here in the summer of 2010, this is what I came up with.

Also, I have chosen to interpret "best scene ever" as "coolest, most bad-ass (optionally hilarious) scene ever."

I think I'll go with a top 5.

Note: I've included links to these scenes where possible for those who want to relive them; if you haven't seen the episodes in the first place, however, I don't recommend watching them out of context!

5. Mal first demonstrates his unique brand of negotiating in Firefly.
This is one of those quintessential scenes from the second episode ("The Train Job") of Firefly that firmly demonstrates these protagonists are not entirely Good Guys. It also does so in a macabrely funny manner. It's part of what made Firefly such a strong and compelling show.

4. Buffy finds her inner core of strength in "Becoming: Part Two."
I couldn't find a decent clip of this one, sadly: in the season finale to the second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, her vampire boyfriend Angel has lost his soul once more and become the terrifying Angelus. Naturally, Angelus has stalked Buffy and his game culminates in a good, brutal round of taunting battle. Since I can't find a clip, allow me to quote from Alexander Thompson's transcript of the episode:

Transcript here! )

3. Daleks vs. the Cybermen from New Who.
This is my optionally hilarious choice: in the season finale ("Doomsday") of the second season of the new Doctor Who, you have this extended scene of the Daleks and the Cybermen smack-talking each other. I was hysterical with laughter the first time I saw it, which helped some considering I was sobbing with heartbreak by the end of the episode.

2. Ambassador Delenn, Defender of Babylon 5
I love Big Damn Heroes: Delenn is the quintessential definition of one such in Babylon 5 and this is one scene by which that is incandescently apparent. The fierce temperance of her words and the way the Earth Alliance warships don't even hesitate before leaving always has me shouting "Fuck yeah, Sea King!" Or, you know, something like. The scene is from "Severed Dreams" (3.10).

And the most kick-ass scene?

1. Battlestar Galactica to the rescue on New Caprica.
If you plan on watching Battlestar Galactica, but you haven't seen through Season 3, don't read this! That said, this was one of the most amazing scenes in the show, even while being immersed in a bunch of sub-par aspects of the show fore and aft. When Adama dropped the Galactica into atmo in "Exodus: Part 2", I'm pretty sure I punched the air with amazed glee. Watching them launch the vipers and then do an FTL jump away sealed the deal: I was crowing that Adama had huge, titanium cajones.

Quixote says that he concurs with most of my choices.1 He adds that he considers the closing scene of "Time Enough at Last" from The Twilight Zone to be one of the most iconic scenes ever. He also wants to mention the closing scene of The Prisoner in "Fall Out" for its sheer WTF?! scene awesomeness.

1. I can specify that he's not including Buffy the Vampire Slayer in his echo.

30 Days of TV: The List )
infinitejest: (Default)
Day 08 - A show everyone should watch

I chose to interpret this question as "in the history of television of which you have experience, which show do you think everyone should watch?"

The Twilight Zone. This brilliant show spans 156 episodes in the original series - I still haven't seen them all, which I count as a bit of a blessing. Each Twilight Zone marathon sees me sitting down to enjoy old favorites and looking forward to those I haven't yet seen. While the show varied wildly in quality, it cannot be denied that it served as a playground for some of the most brilliant writers of science fiction. Further, it's a household name (even among people who've never watched any of it) and can serve to introduce non-genre fans to science fiction, fantasy, and horror... and perhaps lead them to checking out genre works. Anything that can fire the imagination and emotions the way The Twilight Zone has (for a few generations, now!) should be a must-watch. Not that I think everyone should be required to watch every episode - I still haven't done that, preferring the laid-back approach mentioned earlier. However, I think everyone should watch at least a few episodes.1

Quixote says: The Prisoner. Not only is the show genius beyond sheer entertainment value, but it is in many ways the progenitor of the entire modern television show. He considers it so catastrophically ahead of its time plot-wise that it wasn't understood when it first aired and not really emulated until Babylon 5 emulated it in the 90's. Now, most television shows at the very least have some type of over-arcing story even if they don't spend every episode focusing on it.

My husband gives an honorable mention to The Fugitive in that vein as well, because it similar plotting ideas even before The Prisoner even did, though it was The Prisoner that took it to the extreme with a definitive beginning, middle, and end. The Prisoner was the first time the plot was the point rather than the thing you had to get around to stay on the air for several years.

1. Preferably including "The Obsolete Man", "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street", and "Time Enough at Last" to name a few.

30 Days of TV: The List )
infinitejest: (buffy: the wind speaks)
Day 07 - Least favorite episode of your favorite TV show

Incredibly brief answer tonight... thanks to a chronic health condition, I am under the weather and worsening. I need to be in bed.

I'm sticking to answering from Buffy the Vampire Slayer for this one, since it's what I used on yesterday's favorite episode question.

There are more than a few cringe-worthy episodes of Buffy, and today I'm going to call out "I Robot... You Jane" (1.8) and "Ted" (2.11). One for castigating "TEH EVIL INTERNETS!!11!" and the second for its heavy-handed storyline.

I can't get any more in-depth. I'm hurting too much.

Quixote says that it's Babylon 5's "Midnight on the Firing Line," for being one of the worst episodes of S1 (which was an awful, awful season) and becase it's a rehash of the deplorable pilot with nothing original in it.

30 Days of TV: The List )
infinitejest: (buffy: the wind speaks)
Day 06 - Favorite episode of your favorite TV show

This is worse than asking me for my favorite television series. Seriously. I've been thinking about this for the past two days, and I've decided to randomly pick one of my favorites (listed partially in this post) and give you one of my favorite episodes therefrom:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I love musicals, and I love meta-commentary... so it was a complete shoe-in that I would love Once More With Feeling (S6E07). For those of you who haven't seen the show, a-- well, er, showtunes demon comes to Sunnydale and henceforth not a scene goes by in which the population doesn't break into song and dance.

I love it completely and helplessly. I know most of the songs (am fuzzy on a few, so I can't claim complete memorization), but have never been to a sing-along. I didn't even know they had them until a couple years ago.1

Quixote has selected "Severed Dreams" from Babylon 5 as his favorite: in his opinion, it basically encapsulates everything that made Babylon 5 great.

1. I came late to Buffy... I didn't watch S1 until I started badly missing American TV while living in Japan. I'd heard good things about Buffy the Vampire Slayer and one of my coworkers was really into it, so I ordered the first season sight unseen. A month later, I ordered the entire set from I mainlined the series in less than two months. It was a bit mad.

30 Days of TV: The List )

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