30 August 2014

B5 Review: Day of the Dead & Learning Curve

A one in two hundred year Brakiri festival comes to the station and a Ranger finds himself in trouble against a new crook in Down below...

Day of the Dead
The Brakiri are celebrating their Day of the Dead which occurs once every 200 years on the arrival of a comet in their home system. They purchase a section of Babylon 5 so that those on the station can also take part. Meanwhile, Lennier and comedy duo Rebo & Zooty arrive on the station.

This episode on the DVD set was actually supposed to come after 'Secrets of the Soul' but the chronological order suggested it should play now, so I've chosen that order. 

While G'kar would prefer to sleep at CnC while Londo, Lochley, Lennier and Garibaldi all experience visits from the recent dead.

Londo is reunited with his love, Adira while Lochley is revisited by an old friend of hers who commit suicide. Garibaldi meets 'Dodger' once again and Lennier is visited by Mr Morden. While each is able to gain some insight or catch up with their visitor, Lennier is warned that he will one day betray the Rangers - to which he determines that Morden is simply lying.

Meanwhile, Sheridan and Delenn entertain Rebo & Zooty, although Sheridan ends up spending a lot of time attempting to figure out what has happened to the section of the station the Brakiri have purchased during the night.

This episode is good for bringing back some old and liked characters as well as revealing more about Lochley's past. Due to the airing order of this one, Lochley also lets slip something about her former relationship with Sheridan in this episode, something we don't find out until a later episode (depending on which order you watch them in!)

Rating: 6.5/10

Learning Curve
Two Ranger instructors come to Babylon 5 to meet with Delenn, bringing a couple of students with them. When one gets caught up in a struggle in DownBelow, he must go through Mora'Dum, the application of terror.

In the mean time, Garibaldi tries to find out more about Captain Lochley, confronting her directly over which side she fought on during the civil war but there are also hints in this episode that there's more to her relationship with Sheridan - something that is revealed to Delenn.

We see more of the Ranger's in this episode, including their training on Minbar which has seen Pak'ma'ra inducted but difficult to find a purpose for. We also learn that Lennier has been pushing himself harder in training than he need to - as if in an attempt to prove something.

Rating: 6.5/10

23 August 2014

B5 Review: The Paragon of Animals & A View from the Gallery

The Interstellar Alliance continues in baby steps with these next two episodes of Season Five...

The Paragon of Animals
The Alliance investigates the plea of an alien race called the Enphili as Garibaldi attempts to enlist Byron's telepaths into his covert intelligence team.

The Raiders are back and up to no good as they attack a fringe world in Drazi space. The Enphili call on a Ranger to send their plea to the Alliance at Babylon 5 while Sheridan is having trouble convincing the league worlds to sign G'kar's Declaration of Principles.

Lyta meets Byron in an attempt to get him to come around to the idea of using some of his telepaths for covert missions. Byron reveals that the Drazi ambassador has been lying to the Alliance and is helping the Raiders in their attacks on the Enphili.

In a show of force, and with this gathered information, Sheridan and Delenn commit the available Whitestar fleet to protect the Enphili home world against an incoming Drazi fleet. The Drazi ambassador is forced to admit their involvement and this helps Sheridan convince the other governments to sign the Declaration of Principles.

There's some movement in the storyline for Byron's telepath colony and their introduction to Lyta as well as continued development of the new Interstellar Alliance.

Rating: 6.5/10

A View from the Gallery
Events as the station is attacked by a new alien race from the point of view of a couple of maintenance workers, Mac and Bo.

The new alien race are not named but appear to be humanoid after we see Security fight them and Byron's telepaths turn one back. We see Lochley in action and under the pump during the fight and we learn much more about G'kar and Londo when they were younger.

The main thing that bothers me with this episode is that we have two regular maintenance crewmen who, in the timing of this episode get to interact with each of the major players on the station (except perhaps, Lyta) and that just seems a little too coincidental for me - but it does show the goings on of the station from a different perspective.

Rating: 6/10

17 August 2014

Trek Review: Official Starships Collection - USS Defiant



Among what seems to be a bit of a Federation onslaught, Eaglemoss bring us Star Trek's 'tough little ship', the Defiant.

The Magazine
This issue provides a decent overview of the Defiant during its time on Deep Space Nine. From the troubled development after the first Borg incursion to seeing action against the Dominion.

The overview and orthogonals are well enough detailed for the ship which we got used to in four seasons of the show. Again, the section about Designing the Ship is most interesting as the designers were charged with creating a ship that looked like no Starfleet ship that had come before. Some of the designs are quite out there.

Eaglemoss have done another great job with this issue and aside from one typo which references 2271 instead of 2371, I'd say this is a flawless issue with the right amount of content and details.

Rating: 9/10

The Ship
I'll start this section by addressing a major flaw that was pointed out by reviewers in the UK and US, the port side Starfleet pennant was printed in reverse on the model released over there. Surprisingly, the one I received had the left markings removed completely and this was soon followed online by the revelation that the Japanese release had the pennant corrected (courtesy of The Trek Collective). Mine seems to be a unique version for the moment as other Australian releases appear to be the incorrect version.

The model of the Defiant is a nice piece. I've never had a miniature version of this ship but Eaglemoss have continued their string of high quality releases with detailed panelling and markings (aside from the above mentioned error on the port engine).

The ship is quite light and it's hard to determine the plastic from the diecast. Like some of the other ships released, the transparent plastic doesn't have the light up effect due to the model's construction. 

The forward module almost feels like it could separate from the main ship (a point that is referred to in the magazine), and the stand attaches at the rear like a lot of the ships released lately seem to. For the short time I had the ship on display this didn't seem to be a problem like the Bird of Prey or some of the others though.

Overall, this is another great example from Eaglemoss, despite a weird printing issue and how that's being dealt with. I might have to source a Japanese corrected version at some point.

Model Rating: 8.5/10

Don't forget to check out my other reviews from my Star Trek Official Starships Index Page!

15 August 2014

B5 Review: No Compromises & The Very Long Night of Londo Mollari



The season Babylon 5 never thought it was going to get starts with the inauguration of Sheridan as President of the Interstellar Alliance and Londo having to face up to a past mistakes...

No Compromises
Captain Elizabeth Lochley arrives at Babylon 5 to take command as a man arrives intent on taking Sheridan's life. Meanwhile, a group of refugee telepaths arrive looking for a place to stay.

Lochley is introduced to the crew and the station and thrown straight into the investigation surrounding a dead Ranger and threats to Sheridan's life. Rubbing a few of the crew the wrong way. It's only with the help of one of the telepath refugees that Sheridan is able to be saved.

This episode begins a bit of a slow burn for the final season with a new introduction, theme song and new dynamics for our characters. As a starter to the new season, it's a good episode to set the tone of what's to come.

Rating: 6.5/10

The Very Long Night of Londo Mollari
One of Londo's hearts threatens his life as he faces his past mistakes and Delenn comes to realise that Lennier has decided to walk another path.

After collapsing in the cargo bay, Londo is taken to Medlab facing death. In his mind, he confronts visions of Delenn, Vir and G'Kar, attempting to help him, help himself. He must face his shortcomings and prove he wants to live.

Lennier has decided to pursue a calling with the Rangers, a decision that surprises and upsets Delenn. We know Lennier is leaving due to Delenn's union with Sheridan, and that conflicts with Lennier's feelings for her. 

This episode reminds us of Londo's journey and finally apologising for his actions, particularly those involving  G'Kar. We learn a bit more about the Centauri and farewell Lennier, for the moment.

Rating: 7/10

04 August 2014

Trek Review: Official Starships Collection - USS Voyager


Australia finally got its shipment of Intrepid class USS Voyager's for subscribers, being the first ship offered from the Voyager series and the resilient ship that was lost 70,000 light years from home.

The Magazine
We get another well presented issue with Voyager with some nice introductory information about the ship and it's state of the art features. There wasn't much looking into individual quarters or the hardships faced during the journey home but, much like the Enterprise -D which had seven years of episodes to pull information from, Voyager I suspect had similar considerations to be made.

Two pages are dedicated to the unseen Aeroshuttle that was housed in the bottom of the saucer section. I'm not sure why this craft never saw screen time, and instead they built the Delta Flyer (more than once).

I found the design section most interesting with some new images of how the ship almost looked, including a vertical fin on the back and an AWACS style pod on top. More interesting details come through in the section regarding the different filming models for Voyager, including the physical model and the CGI versions.

The magazine is informative and sheds light on plenty of new and unseen details. It could probably benefit from more information that appears to have been skimmed but there are few complaints. Interestingly though there are no pictures of the ship with her nacelles in the angled warp configuration.

Magazine Rating: 8/10

The Ship
Eaglemoss have reproduced the Intrepid class ship with their usual level of detail and quality. I'll admit it now that I'm not a huge fan of the Voyager design from certain angles, but the miniature is well produced.

Some of the joins along the main hull are a little obvious but all the panel detailing is shown as well as the starship markings and emblems. Though seeing the Starfleet arrowheads outlined in red is a little different/inaccurate. 

Voyager is one of those designs that doesn't feature Aztec hull details, but all of the other hull shades are shown along with the escape pod hatches and phaser strips.

As we've come to expect from particularly the Federation starships, the warp engines feature translucent plastic for the warp grilles, but as the engines aren't hollow, they don't 'light up' when held up to the light like the Enterprise's we've seen released.

The stand attaches to the rear much like the Klingon Bird of Prey, K't'inga and Romulan Warbird. As I've made known in those reviews, I'm not a fan of this method but the Voyager shape doesn't make any other type of stand really suitable. For the short time I've had the ship on display the stand doesn't appear to be a problem - certainly not Bird of Prey levels of bad anyway.

I think fans can be happy with this one. It is a great representation and a decent size.

Model Rating: 8/10 

Don't forget to check out my other reviews from my Star Trek Official Starships Index Page!