20 December 2012

B5 Review: Comes the Inquisitor & The Fall of Night

The final two episodes of The Coming of Shadows, Season Two where, in the aftermath of the Narn-Centauri conflict we see Delenn and Sheridan put to the test and we get ever closer to the coming darkness...

Comes the Inquisitor
SebastianG'Kar tries to rally the other Narn on Babylon 5 in to a resistance against the Centauri and gather support from others on the station. Meanwhile, Delenn is put before an Inquisitor who tests her readiness for the coming darkness.

This was a more interesting episode than I remembered or gave it credit for. I had forgotten about G'Kar and the Narn resistance and Garibaldi's 'involvement'. I remembered more about the tortuous encounters between Sebastian and Delenn and eventually Sheridan. 

We get a great look at how Delenn thinks and after all she's been through this season, we can relate to her position and answers to some of Sebastian's questions. But, why would Kosh test her in such a manner? 

We are also left wondering about the fact that the Vorlons have visited Earth in our past and that humans (like Sebastian) have in fact visited the Vorlon homeworld. Why have we been visited and why are certain people 'chosen' to be taken/invited to their planet?

Unfortunately the DVD transfer of this episode ruins a few early scenes, there's one moment where Sheridan is talking with a guard and both their heads are cut off due to a title appearing at the bottom of the screen which is a bit of a shame. But while this episode is a slower pace and a break from the recent action, the insight gained from it makes it worthwhile.

Rating: 7/10

The Fall of Night
KoshThe Centauri have continued their attacks since the Narn conflict into the League of Non-Aligned Worlds. Earth sends a representative to Babylon 5 to usher in a new era of peace and a member from Nightwatch gets in touch with fellow members on the station for an update.

The finale for Season Two: The Coming of Shadows starts ominously with Babylon 5 fighter squadrons performing Centauri battle tactics and League representatives warning that the Centauri may attack Earth next after invading Drazi and Pak'ma'ra territories.

Earth sends Frederick Lantze to talk with the different governments while Mr Welles accompanies him as a member of Nightwatch. When a Narn heavy cruiser jumps into orbit on the other side of Epsilon III and asks for sanctuary, Sheridan does all he can to offer assistance, before realising this gets in the way of Mr Lantze's plans after signing a non-aggression treaty with the Centauri Republic.

A firefight ensues when a Centauri warship arrives and attacks the station when they refuse to hand over the Narn cruiser. Sheridan destroys the Centauri ship with Babylon 5's upgraded weaponry proving the station can now handle itself. Sheridan is forced to make a public apology as a result of his actions but a terrorist attack puts his life in jeopardy with no known way of rescuing him. Kosh reveals himself to everyone and Sheridan is saved.

Meanwhile, Mr Welles touches base with his Nightwatch members and confronts Zack Allan about his lack of reports while other crew members are very quick to reveal secrets and goings on. Zack's fears are realised when a shop is shut down in the Zocalo based on his testimony. The episode ends with Ivanova's warning of coming trouble back on Earth and Warren Keffer finally tracking down the ship that ship he has been searching for - paying the ultimate price for it...

The Fall of Night isn't as emotional a ride as Chrysalis was for Season One's finale but things have changed once again. Kosh has revealed himself and the Shadows will know this, not only that, but Keffer's footage of the strange black ship has hit the news networks. Delenn mentioned that the next conflict is coming and it would seem events are in place for that to become a horrible reality soon. Meanwhile, the Nightwatch is revealing its true colours and it appears that there could be trouble brewing back on Earth...

Overall Rating: 8/10


13 December 2012

Trek Review: Star Trek II - The Wrath of Khan

Admiral Kirk and crew come together again in an adventure that pits them against an old foe, Khan.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Movie Poster

Ever since I can remember, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was about those creatures that go inside your ears and Khan stealing Genesis. Now, in my first re-watch in a long time, I can appreciate the movie much more and take in the character moments as Jim Kirk battles a midlife crisis and comes up against an old enemy, one I'm sure he had long forgotten.

Chekov is assigned to a different ship in this film, the Reliant where he is the first officer to Captain Terrell (incidentally, I noticed this actor would later appear in Babylon 5!) They are looking for a planet devoid of any life to begin conducting experiments on a special project called Genesis. A project being overseen by Dr's Carol and David Marcus

On a planet that nears their requirement they come across the remains of a ship and her crew, led by a familiar face - Khan. Now with a means of escape, Khan takes the Reliant and maroons her crew on the planet in his quest to have vengeance against Admiral Kirk.

Khan

In their first encounter, Khan uses the Reliant to attack the Enterprise in a space battle that brings these two starships side-by-side like you would imagine in an old sea tale. When Kirk faces Khan, they are able to even the score and get away before taking on any further damage.

The crew head to Regula I, the space laboratory where Dr Marcus and her team were working on Genesis. They find the station deserted but some had transported within the planetoid below. Once there, they find the Genesis device and come under threat from Chekov and Terell, under Khan's control. When they fail, Khan describes his plan for Kirk and the others - leaving them marooned with no means of escape. This results in Kirk's famous KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN scene.

Enterprise at Regula I 

Interestingly, Kirk and Khan never actually interact face-to-face, they merely meet across the vastness of space via viewscreen and communicators throughout their confrontations. A recurring theme of the no-win scenario is played out through the film and how Kirk has dealt with such situations in the past may not help him face them in the present.

Star Trek II brings back those moments from The Original Series, of our favourite characters interacting as we're used to. They are not as detached as they appeared in The Motion Picture. They are definitely older, but still the same people we followed for three years of television. Khan brings a worthy adversary for Kirk but is totally blinded by revenge that he ultimately brings about his own demise. Then there is the ending...

Enterprise fires on Reliant 

Culminating in one final battle with both ships and crew facing the same tactical disadvantages within the Mutara Nebula. Khan's inexperience with a starship has him beaten by the Enterprise and her crew, but not wanting to give up, he plans to detonate the Genesis Device and take the Enterprise with him.

Fortunately, our heroes work to escape. But, while victorious the Enterprise and her crew pay a terrible price. The scene between Kirk and Spock hit a lot harder this time around and remains beautifully done.

Kirk and Spock

I only expected to rate this movie as high as a 4 but it certainly earns the extra half star. For the moment it's my favourite Trek movie, Star Trek VI is in danger of being toppled from its top spot!

My Rating: 9/10 or 4.5 Stars
Eleonor's Rating: 8/10 or 4 Stars (because of what happened to Spock!)

29 November 2012

Sci-Fi Review: Serenity

Serenity is the big screen debut and big bang finale for the ship and crew of the Firefly TV series. I originally watched this film a few years ago with no idea what it was about and found it a bit difficult to get in to and understand. After watching the series (see my review here), Serenity finally made a lot more sense and was a whole lot more enjoyable.

Serenity Poster 

An Operative is commissioned to pursue Simon and River Tam while Reynolds and the crew find out a disturbing secret about a world named Miranda. Reynolds takes it upon himself to get the secret out - no matter the cost.

There is a feeling that some time has passed in between the series and Serenity, although I have read it's only supposed to be a few months - this film makes it feel like it might have been longer. The ship is in more need of repair, some of the crew have gone on to other things, namely Inara and Book, while Simon is now ship's Doctor and River is a more accepted member of the crew, prompting Mal to have her accompany them on a 'routine' mission.

Simon decides to leave Serenity after he believes River's life was put in danger when Reavers showed up during that mission. But when River reacts to a message in a TV commercial and floors everyone in a bar, the Tam's find themselves back aboard Serenity once again and soon on the run from the Operative who uses Inara and all of their past associations to get to Mal.


What follows is a dark and action packed story involving death, Reavers, space battles, secrets and eventually finding a purpose in life. Serenity keeps the chemistry between our characters from the series with the interactions and humour intact.

Serenity manages to take us on a feature length adventure with our characters with the higher production values and a storyline that was probably more in line with what Joss Whedon wanted to do with the Firefly series. There was much to appreciate including an opening sequence that included an amazing single cut as we walk through the various areas of Serenity. This scene alone was great, but the movie, the story and action to follow continued to impress.

The Operative

Even with the darker scenes involving the ruthless Operative and his quest to find the Tam's at any cost, the usual level of humour from all our characters and no doubt under Whedon's guidance remains. I particularly liked how the relationship between Simon and Kaylee was realised in the climax of the film - even after the loss of some of our other beloved characters.

Mal is tested like he has never been in the series by the Operative's methods. This drives him to think differently and lead us (and his crew) to wonder if he's actually lost it. It all leads up to how the Reavers came to be and an epic space battle near the movie's end (I love space battles!)

Federation vs Reaver Battle 

It's a shame there will be no more adventures of the Serenity and her crew. This film does a decent job of tying things up while still leaving some options open. I never thought I'd get into the series - but I'm definitely saddened now that I've watched through it all and there's no more to come. Another blog that I perused in the creation of this review (and borrowed some images from) makes a valid call. 

We don't need more episodes of Firefly, but we definitely need a sequel to Serenity :)

Rating: 4.5 stars, 9/10.

03 November 2012

The Land of the Rising Sun

Just a quick note here. I was going to try and write up my review of the movie Serenity today but I have been spending most of it packing and preparing for our trip and while I have been neglecting my blog in the way of personal entries a bit - I guess this will have to do.

So, we're off to Japan for a couple of weeks - our first proper 'exploration' holiday trip since we ventured to Egypt and Dubai in 2010. Really looking forward to this one. We'll get to experience a Sumo tournament, check out the automotive culture with a visit to Mazda's museum in Hiroshima and AvGeek-out with a flight from Fukuoka to Tokyo and hopefully a visit to Narita's Aerospace museum.

I will report back once we return home.

Until then, Sayonara!

02 November 2012

B5 Review: Divided Loyalties & The Long, Twilight Struggle

We're getting ever-closer to the end of 2259 and Babylon 5's second season and with these two episodes, things are once again beginning to heat up.

Divided Loyalties
Susan and TaliaLyta Alexander returns to Babylon 5 on the run and with the news that there is a traitor among the station's command staff. We also learn a secret from another long serving character while Sheridan and Garibaldi look at recruiting Talia Winters into their circle.

This is another one of those episodes that takes us on a bit of an emotional roller-coaster as Lyta returns and turns things on their heads much to the discomfort of our crew. Sheridan opens up to Delenn about things while Ivanova hates having her loyalty questionned, particularly by a telepath - meanwhile seeking some comfort from Talia.

In the end, it appears we bid farewell to a member that has been there from the beginning - even recalling past episodes, is there no coming back for them?

Other questions arise about Ivanova's past, is there more for her in the future after what she reveals to Sheridan? Kosh must trust Lyta and what affect did her scan of him in The Gathering have on her that she is continuously being called to Vorlon space? Talia was once described as 'the future', but what happens now given the circumstances and is Kosh able to help at all if we remember events from Deathwalker?

It appears that since their first after-work drink in Ivanova's quarters, Talia and Susan have grown closer in friendship, or maybe more by this episode and it would seem too that something might definitely exist between Sheridan and Delenn as well...

Definitely an important episode in the arc and with a twist that Eleonor didn't see.

Rating: 7.5/10


The Long, Twilight Struggle
G'Kar and LondoSheridan meets Draal for the first time and the Narn-Centauri war comes to a horrific and crushing end.

This has always been a powerful episode for me since I first saw it. The impact of the events that close out the Narn-Centauri conflict (supported by Christopher Franke's powerful soundtrack) make it hard not to shed a tear.

G'Kar delivers one of his renowned and powerful speeches while Londo continues along the path he feels he has to follow, even after confessing to Refa he has concerns about his 'associates'...

The Long, Twilight Struggle is an interesting blend of hope and loss. While Sheridan and Delenn meet Draal and he offers his assistance to Babylon 5 and the crew, we see the hopeless situation the Narn are thrown in to - from their desperate and futile attack on Gorash 7 where the Shadows await, to the attack on their homeworld at the hands of the Centauri with their illegal weaponry. We learn a bit about the Earth-Minbari war from this episode too, where Franklin informs G'Kar that towards the end of the war, the Minbari bypassed several key colonies as they were ready to attack Earth itself - a maneuver played out very similarly to the Centauri in this episode.

While we end on a higher note, with Sheridan finally being made aware of the Rangers and sharing command of them with Delenn, we can only imagine the coming conflict that is being spoken of will take its toll on our characters far more than what the Narn and Centauri have just been through.

An emotional episode, this one goes up there with Chrysalis, scoring reactions from Eleonor both with the battle at Gorash 7 and the assault on the Narn homeworld.

Rating: 9/10

25 October 2012

B5 Review: To Dream in the City of Sorrows

There is no episode in the Babylon 5 series with this title, but I was fortunate enough to have been recommended to read this novel by some good friends and am very thankful they did so.

To Dream in the City of Sorrows
To Dream in the City of Sorrows book coverWhat happened to Jeffrey Sinclair after he was reassigned from commanding Babylon 5? What happened to Catherine Sakai and their plans to get married? To Dream in the City of Sorrows answers those questions and more.

It felt appropriate to start reading this novel after we finished Season One with the finale, Chrysalis. The novel (while told from a future point in the story at 2260) is mostly based amongst the events of 2259. As we were watching through the second season, I was seeing parallels in events between the novel and the series. We see Sinclair learning about the coming darkness and sending his messages via Ranger to Garibaldi and Delenn (The Coming of Shadows) and we find out that Sakai visited Babylon 5 during the crisis with Sheridan and the Streib (All Alone in the Night). 

We learn of Sinclair's difficulty adjusting to life on Minbar with no one telling him exactly what he needed to know and no one allowing him contact to Earth or Babylon 5. Amidst all this, he has to deal with Neroon and the uncooperative Warrior Caste who dislike humanity and appear to take it out on Sinclair and the other humans who come to Minbar to join the Rangers. 

We witness Sinclair's journey to becoming Entil'zha, leader of the Rangers, but then having to deal with Vorlon Ambassador Ulkesh. Vague enough for a Vorlon, but so different to Kosh who we have come to 'know' in the series and in this book. 

We learn more about Sakai and her work, but she discovers something quite strange and ominous in her travels. When she finally gets in contact with Jeff again, she decides to stay with him on Minbar and train to become a Ranger. 

The third piece of the story lies with Marcus Cole, a businessman whose brother, William has joined the Rangers. William visits Marcus to get him to come to Minbar, but their colony is attacked and William dies. Marcus then joins the Rangers and with Sakai and Sinclair, become the team to take part in an important mission to Sector 14 - with unfortunate consequences.

This is a great book and it fills in the story of Sinclair following his departure in 2259. Knowing where his path will take him later in the series, I will have to let Eleonor read this a little later, since the Prologue and Epilogue occur towards the end of 2260. But aside from those two parts, this book is worth reading throughout the series' second season - with pretty much no spoilers for the events that are coming.

Rating: 8/10

22 October 2012

B5 Review: Knives & Confessions and Lamentations

On the heels of In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum, season two, The Coming of Shadows is about to come to a thrilling run of episodes. But first, a slight break with Knives...

Knives
Urza Jaddo An old friend of Londo's, Urza Jaddo comes to Babylon 5 to ask for help. Sheridan on the other hand starts seeing strange visions after coming into contact with a dead Markab in an area of Grey Sector known as 'The Triangle'.

Urza and Londo's family names are among the most noble in the Centauri Republic. But now, Urza's family is in danger as he has been declared a traitor to the Republic. Urza informs Londo of the happenings back on Centauri Prime involving the murder of Prime Minister Malachi following Emperor Turhan's death (in The Coming of Shadows) in order to install Emperor Cartagia to the throne. Londo offers to assist Urza, as his old friend but when Urza learns that Londo is in league with Lord Refa, things drastically change and a duel between the two is called.

In the meantime, Sheridan must make sense of his visions or is it merely stress as Dr Franklin suggests? Or perhaps the answer lies in Sector 14 (from Babylon Squared), a prohibited sector of space the dead Markab happened to travel through on his way to Babylon 5.

Not the most important episode we have come across but some interesting bits of information come out of it. It would seem Londo has an opportunity to make some good from his recent decisions, things are not well back on Centauri Prime and you can play baseball on Babylon 5 and what was going on in Sector 14?

Rating: 6/10

Confessions and Lamentations
Sheridan and DelennA deadly plague has devastating effects on the Markab community while the other races take to violence against them.

This is one of those emotionally powerful episodes, much like Believers from the first season. We have known the Markab since the beginning, even if we hadn't realised it or noted their significance in the League of Non-Aligned Worlds. The situation they face is a plague that is 100% contagious and has a 100% mortality rate. Once symptoms are detected, death occurs within 24 hours. 

Dr Franklin works with Markab Dr Lazarenn to find some sort of cure or way to combat the plague. But the Markab have locked themselves into an isolated area of the station to remain contained from the other communities. Delenn and Lennier visit to offer them some hope.

This episode is mostly focussed on the Markab situation with some reactions from the station staff about whether the plague will affect other species. We also witness a Minbari meal 'ceremony' which Delenn shares with Sheridan in return for him sharing an Earth meal with her earlier in the year. We also learn that Lt Keffer has been using his StarFury in his free time to search for the strange ship he witnessed in A Distant Star. Sheridan has Ivanova order him to stop, possibly due to what he has learned from Delenn and Kosh in In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum. Finally, are we seeing the beginning of something possibly between Delenn and Sheridan? He does ask her to call him 'John' the next time they meet after she informs him she will be visiting the Markab in isolation...

Christopher Franke provides a beautiful theme to accompany this deeply sad episode. 

Rating: 7/10

18 October 2012

B5 Review: And Now For a Word & In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum

And Now For a Word
Cynthia Torqueman
An Interstellar Network News crew come to Babylon 5 to do a story on the station now that it has been operational for 2 years amidst heightening Narn-Centauri conflict in the area.

Cynthia Torqueman of ISN interviews the crew and ambassadors of Babylon 5 throughout her 36 hour stay. During her stay she and her crew see the Narn-Centauri conflict first hand, meet a less than optimistic Dr Franklin, catch a glimpse of Ambassador Kosh and upset Ambassador Delenn.

The Narn accuse the Centauri of shipping weapons of mass destruction to be used in the war through neutral territory. There are differing views on each side from both Londo and G'Kar about who started the hatred between the two races.

Amongst all that is going on, we hear minor tidbits of things back home including the establishment of the Office of Public Information and the Ministry of Public Morale. Senator Hidoshi, someone who had a lot of contact with Commander Sinclair in the first season is no longer in office and it seems that support for Babylon 5 might be waning. We also get to see a rather corny recruitment commercial for the Psi-Corps which reminded me of something from the movie Starship Troopers, but it provided some laughs at least.

I find it hard to like this episode but it is quite informative and well done. As a result, I give it a 6/10.

In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum
Icarus at Z'ha'dumSheridan is alerted to the fact that Morden, who has frequented Babylon 5 many times was on board the Icarus, the science vessel Anna Sheridan was on when it exploded.

Meanwhile, Narn refugees continue to fill the station and a spokesperson from Earthdome's newly formed Ministry of Peace comes to talk with Earthforce personnel about a new initiative.

This is a significant episode for this season with many more answers coming our way regarding the coming darkness and we learn a lot more about Morden in the process. Captain Sheridan becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to his wife by illegally detaining Morden, putting him at odds with Garibaldi, Ivanova and Winters. The Centauri want him released as a guest of the Republic and Delenn and Kosh reveal some disturbing information about why Morden must be released.

The Narn-Centauri War continues to go badly for the Narn and Dr Franklin is doing all he can to help the refugees coming through the station but at what cost? 

In a recruitment drive, the newly formed Ministry of Peace has formed the Nightwatch, an incentive for Earthforce personnel to earn an extra 50 credits to wear an armband and report any unusual activities or suspicious behaviour. It appears Earthdome is becoming quite paranoid back home with this and the Ministry of Public Morale seemingly designed to keep people under control and muzzled.

A lot comes out of this episode and we see Vir maturing in his role as attache along with everything else we learn. Sheridan has new resolve by the episode's end and Kosh even serves a warning to him about where this path will take him.

Rating: 7.5/10

07 October 2012

B5 Review: Hunter, Prey & There All The Honor Lies

Hunter, Prey
Franklin & Garibaldi incognitoDr Everett Jacobs, the personal physician to the Earth Alliance President is on the run and reportedly on Babylon 5 with stolen data and looking to defect to an alien government. Meanwhile, Sheridan makes it his mission to learn more about their resident Vorlon, Ambassador Kosh.

Following on from the developing story about trouble back on Earth, brought up in All Alone in the Night, we have a Doctor on the run with evidence to suggest that President Clark was not unwell when he disembarked Earthforce One prior to its destruction - killing then President Santiago and allowing Clark to take over the Presidency. Sheridan comes into contact with others who want Jacobs and his information kept safe while Earthforce Special Intelligence Agent Cranston and Babylon 5 security begin tearing the place apart looking for him.

Kosh's ship is sort of a character in this episode and plays an important part towards the end, allowing the crew to learn something about Vorlon technology in the process. Sheridan meets with Kosh and convinces him to teach him more about the Vorlon's. Kosh agreeing to teach Sheridan so that he will be able "to fight legends". 

This episode sees the continuation of a movement gathering information and intelligence against the current government on Earth - are we on the right side of things? It also sees what could be a beneficial relationship between Sheridan and Kosh in the making - why will Sheridan need to be ready to fight legends?

Rating: 6/10

There All The Honor Lies
Apparently, the Minbari never lieSheridan is accused of murdering a Minbari citizen and the key witness is found to be 'in error where the truth is concerned'. Meanwhile, Ivanova looks into a Babylon 5 merchandise shop that has opened in the Zocalo and Vir receives some disturbing news.

We learn a bit more about the Minbari in this episode in that apparently, they never lie as it is a great dishonour for their race. Only through a quick chat with Londo, do we realise this is not entirely true.

Amidst the turmoil Sheridan faces in this episode, Kosh comes to him and continues their lessons where Sheridan finds something beautiful in an unexpected place.

Londo is unimpressed by his likeness in figurine form on sale at the shop in the Zocalo and neither is Sheridan when he is shown a teddy-bear with his initials sewn into its jacket. The fate of the bear had Eleonor laughing out loud - bringing a lighter-toned end to what was mostly a serious episode.

Vir is out of sorts here with news that he is to be replaced as his position has become too important. Thankfully, Londo sorts it all out for him, allowing Vir to stay at his post.

From our Minbari witness, Ashan, we see more of that hatred towards Sheridan, 'Star Killer' and he also focusses some of that towards Delenn who he no longer recognises as Minbari and has no hesitation in letting her know so. Sadly, this appears to be an unfortunate consequence of her transformation among her people with her expulsion from the Grey Council in All Alone in the Night and other examples we have witnessed this season.

Rating: 6.5/10


04 October 2012

Fun with a Go Pro

I realise that for quite a while I have been abusing my blog a bit - the past year has been mostly filled with reviews of sci-fi TV shows which admittedly have given the blog a new lease on life but don't really live up to the blog's title: 'The World of Daniel' - even though sci-fi is certainly a big part of my life.

So I thought I'd write up this entry about a recent new toy I purchased and am quite enjoying - a Go Pro HD Hero 2.


If you haven't heard of a Go Pro before, it's basically a small (perhaps tiny?) camera capable of recording in full 1080 high-definition. It features three shooting modes, including fish-eye and can be taken just about anywhere to film anything. At lower resolution, video can be shot at 30 or 60 frames per second allowing video editors the option of smoother slow motion sequences. It can also perform as a still frame camera!

The Motorsport edition that I have comes with a robust mount that can be attached to most hard surfaces including car windscreens and exteriors, or even aeroplanes! The camera itself has a waterproof casing making it ideal for surfboarders, or wet weather conditions.

I have always been interested in attaching a camera to the side of a car to recreate those motorsport shots capturing the wheels in motion or just to get another perspective, but the thought of rigging up a dodgey mount and hanging a near $2000 camera from it was a bit scary. I knew the equipment was out there but it generally was always pricey. Roll on the Go Pro, at a cost of under $400AUD it is reasonably inexpensive for what it allows videographers to do. It opens up new possibilities.

My brother first took the Go Pro overseas and did some filming on the ski fields in New Zealand. It also did well filming some in-flight footage (from inside the cabin). When he returned home we tested it out in the car, mounted to the inside of the windscreen first and then we got a bit more adventurous and mounted it outside the car where it performed exactly as expected. 

Attached to inside of the windscreen for a car cruise.

 
Attached to the car door through some scenic roads.

These are basic applications but still offering more than we have been able to shoot effectively in the past. Here are some cool examples of Go Pro's being used in aviation (these aren't my videos)...


Go Pro + F-18 = Awesome!
 
 
Attached to the tail of a TwinStar.

A quick YouTube search will uncover many applications for the Go Pro and it appears to be the camera of choice for extreme situations due to its durability and low cost. Definitely a worthwhile investment - so much so I'm thinking that some time down the track I might acquire another one... or two :)

If you're in Australia and interested, JB Hi-Fi have recently begun stocking Go Pro's in store for about $369AUD and V-Sport are the Australian distributor. Many accessories are also available and of course it's worth shopping around for the best prices!

03 October 2012

B5 Review: All Alone in the Night & Acts of Sacrifice

All Alone in the Night
Sheridan and Kosh
Strange occurrences near Babylon 5 prompt Sheridan to go and investigate with a flight of Starfuries. His squadron comes upon an alien ship that takes out several fighters and captures the Captain. A lone pilot is able to return to the station to inform the crew.

Meanwhile, Delenn is called before the Grey Council to face the repercussions for her recent transformation.

Sheridan's situation brings him to meet a fellow Narn captive aboard the Streib ship. Fortunately, Delenn is able to assist in the recognition of the Streib and direct B5's forces to their homeworld. Delenn's situation is less fortunate with the ruling of the Grey Council and the realisation that not everyone shares her beliefs in the 'darkness' that is to come. Both Sheridan and Delenn, to some point become 'All Alone in the Night' as per the episode's title - a title that has been recited in both the first and second season's opening monologue.

General Hague returns, in person this time from his prior appearance in Points of Departure to meet with Sheridan and ends up assisting in the Captain's rescue from the Streib. The reason for his meeting confirms suspicions that many of have probably been aware of since the Season One finale, Chrysalis. Things are not well back on Earth - and what was Sheridan's dream all about?

Rating: 7/10

Acts of Sacrifice
Ivanova closes the deal with the Lumati
The Narn-Centauri War continues to wage on, forcing G'Kar to look for assistance from the other major governments, while Londo is coming to term with his new 'friends' coming to him for favours due to his new influence back home. Meanwhile, Ivanova is given the assignment of getting a new race, the Lumati to sign on with the Earth Alliance.

This is actually a more important episode than it appears to be. Each time I come to it, I forget a lot of what goes on, including the reactions to Londo's changed character (which hasn't suddenly changed, but this episode makes it stand out), the overly pompous views of the Lumati that make me laugh and the hard times the Narn are experiencing, particularly G'Kar, wanting more support to bring the war to an end while trying to keep his population under control on the station. It's the first we get to see of the Narn-Centauri conflict since the declaration of war in The Coming of Shadows and it may appear that things are not going so well for the Narn. Londo is quite confident the Centauri will win, though of course, he could be relying on making a call to Mr Morden should things not go quite as planned.

Definitely worth a watch. There is a lot covered in G'Kar's story and this is balanced out with the humour that comes from Ivanova's experiences with the Lumati.

Rating: 6.5/10

24 September 2012

B5 Review: The Coming of Shadows & GROPOS

Season Two progresses and we reach the title episode, The Coming of Shadows where things are about to be turned on their heads.

The Coming of Shadows
Emperor TurhanThe Centauri Emperor travels to Babylon 5 to send a message while Londo and Refa take advantage of his ailing health in a move that jeopardises everything that has been worked for so far. Amongst all this, Garibaldi talks with a strange man who has been following him.

This episode is an emotional ride as we go from one situation to another. The Emperor's arrival is a great boost for Babylon 5 but G'Kar is not impressed. Amidst all his hatred for the Centauri, the real shame of things is shown when he is made to realise why the Emperor wanted to come to the station. Sadly, that is all completely undone by the actions of Londo and Refa, capitalising on their own hunger for power and making a call to Mr Morden once again.

The galaxy is a different place by the end of this episode that includes some great moments between characters, some excellent special effects, JMS noted the use of real space images from the Hubble telescope and the return of an old face.

Rating: 7.5/10

I fear that in attempting to write a review without spoilers, I may have overlooked the obvious. This and the conversation in the comments section for this review with a good friend of mine has made me realise that this episode is highly underrated by the numbers I posted above - particularly when compared to more 'trivial' episodes we have already seen this season that scored relatively high in comparison.

We already know this is an important episode as it shares its title with the over-arching season we're viewing. It is a definite point of change in the Babylon 5 universe and one that brings a lot of pain and sadness with it. While it may be a bit hard to sympathise with either the Narn or the Centauri at times, the onset of war between the two of them is so tragic because we know how close we all were to seeing peace. Instead, the Emperor's trip almost amounts to nothing because of the actions of those who want power and have been touched by darkness.

The other important sequence from this episode lies within Londo's dream. Some of the images are self explanatory, the flashes from Midnight on the Firing Line and the 'great hand, reaching out of the stars', as referenced in The Geometry of Shadows. But there are other scenes in there that should at least be of interest, or worth noting in the back of your mind.

(Adjusted) Rating: 8.5/10 - this episode is a standout.

GROPOS
Marines hassle DelennA quiet night turns into mayhem when an Earthforce destroyer arrives with 25,000 troops looking for a stopover at Babylon 5

Lead by General Richard Franklin, father of Dr Stephen Franklin on Babylon 5 the troops are en-route to Akdor, a planet bordering Narn and Centauri space in order to secure the planet from a rebellion. 

The presence of the troops on the station causes uneasiness in the general population, including a confrontation with Ambassador Delenn and many fights in the station's social areas. The arrival of Richard Franklin brings out more of Stephen's past and we see that his father is of a much different way of thinking - even reflecting Earth's recent anti-alien sentiments.

Garibaldi almost gets lucky with 'Dodger' but manages to stuff that little relationship up as well, while we learn little bits here and there about the crew, including Garibaldi's father serving in the Dilgar War, Sheridan being posted on Akdor earlier in his career.

Rating: 6.5/10

22 September 2012

B5 Review: Soul Mates & A Race Through Dark Places

Soul Mates
Londo's Ascension CeremonyLondo summons his three wives to Babylon 5 while Talia's ex-husband pays a visit.

We get to meet Londo's wives which were previously referred to in The War Prayer. For the 30th anniversary of his Ascension Day, he has been granted the wish of a divorce from two of his wives, bringing him much joy.

Meanwhile, Talia goes through another emotional episode (on the heels of A Spider in the Web) where she is reunited with her ex-husband from the Corps, Matthew Stoner. Stoner is the type of guy you love to hate. His smooth talking just gets under your skin, particularly in his dealings with Security and Garibaldi. He claims he has found a way to leave the Corps and asks Talia to join him.

The episode combines humour, from Londo's interactions with G'Kar and his wives, to Delenn coming to terms with hair and cramps, with a bit of mystery with Stoner's storyline. Who was involved in the assassination attempt on Londo? Had Stoner really left the Psi-Corps? Was Talia being tested?

Overall Rating: 6/10

A Race Through Dark Places
Sheridan and Delenn at DinnerPsi-Cop Bester returns to Babylon 5 to investigate and uncover an underground railroad of rogue telepaths. Meanwhile, Delenn asks Sheridan to take her to dinner and Sheridan & Ivanova take a stand against EarthGov who want to charge them more for their quarters on the station.

This episode marks an important development in Talia's character. She is introduced to the rogue telepaths moving through Babylon 5 and hears their unfortunate experiences with the Corps which appears to assist in her helping the railroad avoid detection by Bester. We learn she is far more powerful than she realises and she is even told that she is 'the future'. This and her developing talents from Ironheart's gift in Mind War should help her but to what extent? A rebellion against the Psi-Corps or something more?

On the other side of things, we see Delenn learning about the personal side of being human and attracting the attention of many patrons at the 'Fresh Air' restaurant and there is some humour with Sheridan and Ivanova's situation, sleeping (or trying to) in the Captain's Office.

Ultimately, we will have to see where Talia's story takes her and while this appears to be an important step in that direction, my overall rating for this one is also a 6/10.

20 September 2012

Trek Review: Star Trek - The Motion Picture

After three seasons as a live-action show and a run of animated episodes, Star Trek made its big screen debut in 1979 with The Motion Picture. I'm not even entirely sure what the title means, but it's the only Trek movie title that doesn't really provide a hint to the story.

Star Trek The Motion Picture Poster

Three Klingon Battlecruisers come under attack by a strange cloud and disappear. Soon, Federation tracking station Epsilon IX meets a similar fate as the cloud continues on a course directly for Earth. Meanwhile, Spock is on Vulcan performing a sacred ritual known as the Kolinahr, but it is determined that his calling lies elsewhere.

Starfleet receives word of the approaching cloud and dispatches the newly refitted Enterprise, the only ship in range. Admiral Kirk takes command from Captain Decker and brings the old crew together, getting the ship ready to depart as soon as possible to intercept the cloud with maximum time before it reaches Earth.

Enterprise approaches cloud 

Star Trek on the big screen would have been a huge event for the fans of the series at the time. The Motion Picture was released two years after Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and ten years after 2001: A Space Odyssey. It would appear that this is Paramount's response to Star Wars, but I would say that the film draws more parallels with 2001.

The Motion Picture is a movie of exploring and understanding the unknown in a way that Star Trek is known for and even though our familiar crew has aged in the time between the series and this feature, their reunion is well shown and the dynamics soon return. By the movie's end, things are familiar once again.

Enterprise Bridge

The film begins with an overture and a starfield to the strings and orchestra lead by Jerry Goldsmith, something that is never done these days. The film paces itself, allowing viewers to take in the visuals. This too, is something that wouldn't be done today. A six minute tour of the exterior of the new Enterprise would be wasted screen time for Gen-Y viewers! The Motion Picture does have its detractors for its pacing and lack of action, but this is not an action movie like Star Wars.

The story may feel recycled from the episode The Changeling, but the cinematic scope and feel is far grander than that episode was able to convey. The Enterprise dwarfed by this huge living machine known as V'Ger and the interesting internal workings are all amazing on the large screen.

I decided to watch this through in Director's Edition format, the ultimate and complete version of the feature from 2001. However there were a few scenes, particularly notable on the bridge which had some strange blurring appearing in the background and some of the space shots with the Klingon ships didn't look their best.

Vulcan from the Directors Edition

Out of interest, I played back some scenes from the recent blu-ray theatrical release and was absolutely amazed at how much more detail appeared and how crisp everything looked. It's a real shame that the Director's Edition has not yet been brought to high definition and I understand the reason is because the new special effects were shot in DVD resolution and not 1080, but if they ever do decide to take on the project, I'm sure it will be a hit with fans as the Ultimate Edition. We can only hope!

V Ger

As a fan, The Motion Picture is a must see. It sums up Star Trek perfectly even if it isn't action packed, edge of your seat viewing. This is the movie that brought Star Trek to the big screen and would spawn five sequels with Kirk and crew. As the tagline reads:

The Human adventure is just beginning...

My Rating: 6/10 or 3 Stars
Eleonor's Rating: 8/10 or 4 Stars

18 September 2012

B5 Review: The Long Dark & A Spider in the Web

The Long Dark
Soldier of DarknessAn ancient sleeper ship from Earth finds its way to Babylon 5, bringing with it a woman from the 21st Century, her dead husband (who died during the journey) and a strange alien entity that unleashes itself on the station.

Meanwhile, a lurker named Amis begins telling tales of doom with the ship's arrival, bringing him to the attention of Garibaldi.

On the surface, this episode doesn't seem to bring too much to the table, except that the 'dark forces' on the Rim are continuing to rally their allies. This is one of the only Season Two episodes I caught during the initial run of the series on TV, my Dad showed it to me for the appearance of Dwight Schultz (from Star Trek: The Next Generation) as Amis. The connection with the human woman from the past is very similar to an episode from that series, although the addition of a Soldier of Darkness ensures this is an episode from the B5 universe.

We learn a fair bit about Earth exploration leading up to the present such as how jumpgate technology was acquired and the Doctor gets a bit of a look in this episode with a possible interest.

Overall Rating: 7/10

A Spider in the Web
Garibaldi and TaliaTalia is stalked by a strange man who should be dead.

This is a Talia oriented episode, from her involvement in negotiations between an old friend of hers and a representative of the Mars Free Government. Unfortunately, her friend is killed before the negotiations can conclude.

We learn of a secret organisation operating from Earth, the ruins of San Diego who appear to have infiltrated key areas, including Babylon 5. It would also appear that Psi-Corps are somehow involved.

This episode marks the first appearance of Zack Allan, which may not seem significant for the moment. It is also the first episode where we see Captain Sheridan liaise with an Earth official, in Senator Voudreau who asks Sheridan to monitor the negotiations taking place and report back. Another thing that may not seem important... for now?

While there is a fair bit of information to take in from this episode, it doesn't really strike a chord or remain too memorable. I can't remember if the threads of Bureau 13 are eventually picked up in later episodes, so for now, the Overall Rating is 6.5/10.

16 September 2012

Sci-Fi Review: Firefly

Firefly is one of those series I had heard much about from friends and colleagues but never got in to myself. I don't know why really, maybe it was due to a lack of exposure when it was current and that was probably due to its extremely short run on television. I was a fan of Joss Whedon's previous work with Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel though.

Firefly Logo

So, it was earlier this year when a work colleague lent me the DVD set for Firefly that I thought I'd give it a go and I'm glad that I did, although ultimately disappointed that the show never got to reach its potential.

The series follows Malcolm Reynolds and his crew aboard a cargo ship called Serenity, a Firefly class transport that they call home. Throughout the run of episodes we learn a bit more about each character and while things started a bit icy, particularly with the character of 'Mal' himself, I found I was soon able to warm to each of them.

Firefly Crew

Set in a time in the distant future and somewhere much further away from Earth, the pilot episode Serenity introduces us to the crew and ship as they pick up new passengers who aren't all they appear. It's not until the episode Out of Gas we get to see how the crew were brought together and how Mal came to acquire Serenity.

Serenity 

Among the new passengers and recurring cast picked up from the pilot, Simon and River Tam are central to a storyline involving River, a young girl who appears to have been tampered with by a government organisation for some other purpose. She exhibits strange and random behaviour throughout the series while Simon, her brother and a capable doctor attempts to figure out what exactly has been done to her. The rest of the crew, particularly Jayne believe River is a risk, but she proves her worth many a time, particularly in episodes Ariel and Objects in Space.

Simon and River Tam

The Serenity's crew mostly smuggle goods for a living, but occasionally try to do the right thing. We see this early in the series in The Train Job where they take on a smuggling operation from a crime lord, only to find they are smuggling much needed medicine supplies from a small town. Adventures also bring trouble with what could have been a continually recurring character in Saffron, introduced in Our Mrs Reynolds as a pretty young girl, wed to Mal who actually incapacitates the Serenity crew and attempts to have the ship sent to a scrapyard and who returns in Trash to convince the crew to steal a rare antique.

There is something in the relationship between Mal and Inara, a beautiful companion who travels with the Serenity crew in order to expand her business opportunities. The 'something' isn't quite fully realised in the series but interesting to follow while the relationship between Zoe and Wash could be seen as something quite odd, the show convinces us that it works with these two characters who appear to be completely opposite each other.

Jayne 

Plenty of Whedon humour subtly abounds throughout the show and each character gets to play their part in it, but Jayne would probably be the character 'in charge' of the comic relief as he is portrayed as a none-too-bright thug who was recruited to the Serenity crew basically because they offered him more money.

The interesting character Shepherd Book, is a preacher that joins the crew from the pilot episode but we quickly learn there is something more to him that's not entirely uncovered by the series end. He offers a lot of counsel to the crew but also shows he can carry his weight in tough situations as well, despite his religious background.

Then there's Kaylee, the ship's engineer who goes through the show in awe of the beauty of Inara and the lifestyle of the more fortunate while also looking for the attention of Simon Tam who can never quite say the right thing.

Mal and Kaylee

The show is beautifully shot and while the mix of sci-fi with American westerns is a bit of a weird mash-up, it was done convincingly enough that it didn't really bother me as a viewer. It was a shame to get into the series and begin to understand more about the crew dynamics, only to have the series end so soon. There definitely was a lot of potential in some of the storylines that were only just barely beginning to be explored.

If you're into sci-fi and haven't seen the show, I'd highly recommend it. There's only a handful of episodes to get through and it's quite an enjoyable ride. I now understand why it has such a following :)

30 August 2012

B5 Review: The Geometry of Shadows & A Distant Star

Season Two continues with these next two episodes which includes one of the funniest of the series.

The Geometry of Shadows
Green, PurpleIvanova is given the task of settling a Drazi conflict while Londo tries to gain an audience with a group of techno-mages to further his influence and ambitions back home.

The Drazi conflict forms the humourous side of this episode which Ivanova must deal with as part of her promotion to Commander. The idea that people would fight for a meaningless piece of coloured cloth is funny, but as the Drazi argue, how is it any different to a flag?

In the meantime, we meet Lord Refa, who informs Londo of trouble back on Centauri Prime and how Londo has been noticed by the right people. This prompts Londo to seek an audience with a group of techno-mages, passing through Babylon 5 on their way beyond the rim - fleeing an approaching darkness.

There are some good moments in this episode, including Ivanova's broken leg which was worked into the script, Garibaldi's return to form and more signs that something bad is coming. For those with the DVD collection, make sure to listen to the audio commentary provided by Bruce Boxleitner, Claudia Christian and Jerry Doyle :)

Overall Rating: 7/10

A Distant Star
Explorer Ship CortezAn old friend of Sheridan's comes to Babylon 5 to re-supply his Explorer ship and Dr Franklin imposes a diet (food plan) on the senior staff. Meanwhile, the Explorer ship hits trouble in hyperspace and several B5 fighters encounter more of those hellish, black ships...

We get a little bit more in John Sheridan's back story with the arrival of Jack Maynard at Babylon 5, to replenish supplies for his ship, the Cortez.

To assist in their recoveries, Franklin puts Garibaldi and Ivanova on a food plan to help them and includes Sheridan as well. 

En-route to her next mission, the Cortez is thrown off course in hyperspace. A distress call is received by Babylon 5 and a rescue is mounted using Starfury's from Zeta Squadron. During the attempt, Commander Galus, Zeta Squadron Leader is killed when a black, sinister alien ship collides with his and Keffer's. Keffer is able to direct the Cortez to the jumpgate and find his own way home eventually - and is promoted to Squad Leader.

A Distant Star provides us with some more back story to Sheridan and also moving along the storyline of the strange alien ship sightings. They seem to be becoming more frequent and more dangerous. Meanwhile, the Minbari population on Babylon 5 seem to be reacting to Delenn's transformation.

My only negative from this episode comes from the DVD transfer that omits the scene where a Starfury on patrol is completely dwarfed by the approaching Explorer ship. Due to the cropping of top and bottom of the effects shot, on DVD, the Starfury is almost unseen at the bottom as the Cortez passes by. Oh well... it's a ship geek thing :P

Overall Rating: 6/10.

28 August 2012

Trek Review: Star Trek The Animated Series

I thought it would be a good idea to sum up my thoughts on The Animated Series, as a whole. Just as I have done with the three live action seasons of The Original Series.

The Animated Series serves a purpose in continuing the adventures of the crew of the starship Enterprise in what could be described as their fourth season. Most of our regulars return with the notable exception of Ensign Chekov at the helm, instead replaced by the three armed and three legged Edosian, Lt Arex. The familiar dynamics between Kirk, Spock and McCoy remain and the advantages of animation shine through with other strange alien crew and characters, including the Caitian communications officer, Lt M'Ress who occasionally fills in for Uhura. There were also returns from familiar characters including Mudd, Cyrano Jones, Kor and others.

The Ambergris Element


The series started reasonably well, with early episodes showcasing that animation can create wonderful alien vistas that would have been too expensive for the live action series. Aside from this, the production crew were able to show they could still deliver Trek stories, in animation and even in a shortened timeslot. Perhaps the most popular of these is Yesteryear, which also scored highest of the entire series with an 8/10.

Other notable episodes for me include More Tribbles, More Trouble which sees a return of those furry creatures and the Klingons, The Jihad which introduces some new aliens and a quest to stop a war that could affect the galaxy (even with the reset button ending!) and The Pirates of Orion, each of these scoring a 7/10.

The Pirates of Orion

The series only dipped as low as a 5/10 on a few occasions for episodes that probably felt a bit monotonous or repetative. This was probably the only criticism for the series. While the live action shows would remain new and could be revitalised with a new soundtrack, by the time any viewer gets to about half way through The Animated Series, they would have likely heard each of the music pieces to accompany a particular scene. So much so that I could predict which music piece was about to play. This and the sometimes very still scenes that would play out (to keep down production costs) made the series a bit of a struggle to watch through at times.

There's no question that the episode content is mostly good, but some of the fun from The Original Series is missing due to the format. However, I still consider The Animated Series an important part of Trek, for its contributions to other episodes and for continuing the adventures of Kirk, Spock and co on the small screen for a little longer.

23 August 2012

B5 Review: Points of Departure & Revelations

Following the events of the previous episode and season finale Chrysalis, we rejoin the crew of Babylon 5 in the year 2259 for the show's second season entitled The Coming of Shadows.

Points of Departure
EAS AgamemnonBabylon 5 has been struggling following the death of Earth President Santiago, the attack on the Narn Outpost in Quadrant 37, the strange goings on with Delenn and the recall of Cmdr Sinclair to Earth.
Relief appears to be on the way when Captain John Sheridan arrives to take command of the station, following word that Sinclair had been permanently reassigned as Earth Ambassador to Minbar.

Meanwhile, a rogue Minbari warship has been spotted close to Babylon 5 with Sheridan's orders to alert the Minbari government should it appear.

Change is afoot with this episode, a new commanding officer, a new opening theme (something I liked about the series) and still a lot of questions unanswered. But this episode is quite significant in revealing a bit more about the truth behind the reason for the Minbari surrender at the Battle of the Line - ending the Earth-Minbari War.

For the ship geeks we get to see Sheridan's ship, the Agamemnon and a couple of Minbari War Cruisers. We are introduced to John Sheridan and Warren Keffer, a StarFury pilot in Zeta Squadron while Garibaldi remains in a coma and Delenn in a cocoon.


The only criticism came from when Kalain arrives at the station and asks a computer interface to show him a map, the first thing the computer informs him is where Green Sector is and that it's off-limits to unauthorised personnel!


A decent pilot episode for the new season. Good information, a bit of action but not too heavy - 6.5/10.


Revelations
Narn Cruiser at Z'Ha'DumG'Kar barely makes it back to Babylon 5 following an expedition to the Rim, Garibaldi is brought out of his coma and his shooter identified and Delenn emerges from her Chrysalis.

This is probably the episode fans would have expected to open the second season. Regardless of it being the second episode it definitely delivers and felt like it had a longer run time than most other episodes just to fit everything in.

G'Kar warns the council of an ancient race, gathering its forces on the Rim and mentions a planet named Z'Ha'Dum. The Narn government dispatch a ship to investigate briefly but it is destroyed - unknown to the others, via Londo alerting Morden of the fact.

Garibaldi regains consciousness after Franklin and Sheridan work to revive him using the alien healing device (confiscated in The Quality of Mercy). With Talia's help, Garibaldi is able to recall who shot him - what happens to the gunman though reveals that a lot more is wrong in the universe and back on Earth than we would like to believe.

Finally, the mystery about what's happening to Delenn is revealed when she returns to the council. The reasons for her 'change' to be revealed as the series progresses - I'm trying really hard to remain spoiler-free!

With all of that happening, we meet John Sheridan's sister, Lizzy who, through their interactions provides us some back story about John's past, his wife who has passed away on an exploration mission a few years prior and how John hasn't come to terms with it yet - burying himself in his job.

For all this episode has to give and all that it sets up for arcs to come, 7.5/10!

16 August 2012

Trek Review: How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth & The Counter-Clock Incident

The Animated Series comes to a conclusion with these final two episodes. The last television episodes for the original crew and the Enterprise in the form we've come to know her.

How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth
KukulkanThe crew of the Enterprise are tracking an alien probe that scanned Federation worlds and Earth's solar system and headed out into space. They soon encounter a strange alien space ship that reveals itself in the image of a huge serpent, recognised as Kukulkan.

It is thought that Kukulkan visited Earth's ancient civilisations, appearing as a god to the Aztec's, Mayan's and perhaps other societies. 

Taken aboard Kukulkan's ship, Kirk and co decipher a quick puzzle that brings them to a room where Kukulkan has collected a number of creatures from around the galaxy. Kirk and co work to free the creatures and so, show that Kukulkan is in fact a mere mortal.

An interesting episode and one I remember watching on a Saturday morning as a kid. I mostly remember the intricate design of Kukulkan's serpent ship (ship geek!) The idea that an alien being visited Earth's ancient civilisations is quite plausible and well represented in this colourful episode. My only critique would be the less than subtle replacement of Mr Sulu for Ensign Dawson Walking Bear, conveniently introduced in this episode as a Native American who would recognise Kukulkan when he reveals himself to the crew.

Otherwise, a decent episode and as the commentary revealed, one that won the Animated Series an Emmy! Overall Rating, 6/10.

The Counter-Clock Incident
Sarah April and Children Crew The finale of The Animated Series begins with a look at Commodore Robert April and his wife, Sarah who are being transported to Babel aboard the Enterprise for his mandatory retirement ceremony.

En-route, the crew discover a strange alien ship heading for the heart of the Beta Niobe supernova. In pursuit and attempting to rescue the ship, the Enterprise is inadvertently pulled through with the alien ship and finds itself in an alternate universe where space is white and the stars are black.

The crew must work to return to their universe and enlist the help of the Captain of the alien ship, but not before the crew begin de-aging in this reversed universe, leaving April and his wife, the eldest people aboard to take over and perform one last mission.

A somewhat fitting finale to the series, I do like the connection to Robert April as the original commander of the Enterprise and the conversation shared between himself and Kirk in the opening scenes. The reference to the Beta Niobe supernova from All Our Yesterday's is a nice tie-in for both series, however the warp scale is considerably different here than what we would see and hear of in future series - a ship travelling at Warp 30+ and the distances covered across the galaxies in this episode are unheard of in such a short time when we get to the 24th century Trek stories. 

The transporter saves the day for the crew in probably the first convenient resolution in the Trek universe and probably also dictated by the short episode timeframe of 20 minutes. It would have been nicer for a solution other than the transporter keeping a memory of everyone to fix the de-aging process. Technically, if anything happened to anyone on the ship, just throw them into the transporter and they'll be restored?

It was at least fun to see the bridge crew as little children I suppose :P 
Overall Rating: 6/10.

Anyway, The Animated Series has concluded after 22 episodes. The stories weren't quite there as they were in the live action series but it definitely was Trek (with most of the actors returning to lend their voices for the parts) and I consider this series just as canon as the rest of them. I'll post a summary review shortly.