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Andromeda: If the Wheel Is Fixed (2002)
Season 3, Episode 1
8/10
What has happened to Beka and Tyr?
22 June 2018
After the events seen in the final episode of Season Two Beka and Tyr are missing despite the fact that the Eureka Maru returned to Andromeda. It is assumed they are lost in the 'tunnel'. They attempt a rescue but are unsuccessful... then suddenly Beka and Tyr enter the bridge as though nothing has happened. They soon start showing signs that they have been effected somehow. They insist that they are alright but it isn't long before they are trying to take over Andromeda and take it into the tunnel.

This was a solid start to series three although the possibility that Beka and/or Tyr might be permanently lost was rather spoilt by their presence in the new opening credits! On the plus side I liked that the story only featured the six regular cast members so anybody who had to suffer a gap between seasons can be properly reintroduced to them. The story provides plenty of intrigue as we wonder what has happened to Beka and Tyr... or even if the people we see are Beka and Tyr. Things get more interesting when Beka takes Trance for a flight in the Maru while Tyr seizes control of Andromeda; there is a sense that those aboard Andromeda are in real danger while strangely, in a good way, Trance never appears to be in danger because she seems unconcerned with Beka's actions towards her. By the end of the episode most things were wrapped up nicely although I'm still puzzled about the significance of the kitten that appeared and wasn't mentioned again! Overall a good start to the season.
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Andromeda: Tunnel at the End of the Light (2002)
Season 2, Episode 22
9/10
Is Trance's 'Bad Future' about to begin?
21 June 2018
It is two years since Captain Dylan Hunt set about trying to recreate the Systems Commonwealth now representatives of the first fifty members are aboard Andromeda to formally sign up. It soon becomes apparent that somebody else is aboard trying to sabotage the event. This individual is tracked down but just as he is about to be captured an unidentified alien materialises and drags the screaming man through a bulkhead. Soon various representatives are similarly taken so the remainder understandably want to leave. Trance warns that they must not leave... when this happened before they left and the 'bad future' she mentioned when Gold Trance replaced Purple Trance began. Soon ships start to materialise around Andromeda, attack then dematerialise before fire can be returned. More and more ships start to materialise and the situation looks desperate.

This episode brings season two to a thrilling conclusion. There is plenty of action, a mysterious threat and a cliff-hanger ending that leaves one wondering if some key characters didn't survive. The story starts well with some nice misdirection as viewers and crew alike suspect the obvious saboteur will be the main antagonist. The aliens are menacing and mysterious; there is a suggestion as to where they come from but no solid details about who they are or why they are attacking... we will obviously have to wait for season three to find out. I liked the fact that all of the main cast featured in the episode; in particular Trance as her warnings about a bad future appear to be coming true. The ending was exciting, as one might expect from a season finale... I'm glad I won't have to wait ages to discover what happens next.
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Volver (I) (2006)
9/10
Comedy and tragedy in this delightful Spanish film
21 June 2018
This film is centred on Raimunda; a woman who grew up in rural Spain but now lives in Madrid. After visiting her mother's grave, with her daughter Paula and sister Soledad, they visit her aunt. She is elderly and suffering from dementia; they are surprised that she copes so well. Terminally ill neighbour Agustina tells Raimunda that she was being helped by her late sister, Raimunda's mother. Back in Madrid things don't go well; Paula kills her abusive father and later, after their aunt dies, the ghost of their mother comes to stay with Soledad!

I really enjoyed this film; it may deal with dark themes at times but there is a lightness of touch that means one can enjoy the frequent humour. The characters manage to be believable despite the extreme situation. There are quite a few twists; some viewers may find some of them obvious but to be honest I thought the film might be more surreal than it was! The cast does a really great job; Penélope Cruz is particularly good as Raimunda and Lola Dueñas and Yohana Cobo impress as Soledad and Paula. There are other notable performances from Blanca Portillo as Agustina and Carmen Maura as the sister's mother. Writer/director Pedro Almodóvar brilliantly brings the story to life with plenty of little details that make the characters feel real. Overall I'd certainly recommend this to anybody looking for something a little different.

These comments are based on watching the film in Spanish with English subtitles.
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10/10
Part two is at least as good as part one
21 June 2018
Set approximately ten years after the events in 'Jean de Florette' we return to the same sale area of Provence. Jean's daughter, Manon, is now a beautiful young woman tending goats in the rugged hills near where her father attempted to farm. Meanwhile life is good for César Soubeyran and his nephew Ugolin, the men who cheated Manon and her mother out of their home and whose actions lead to the death of her father. Ugolin has developed feelings for Manon; he spies on her and puts hares and thrushes in her traps... she seems keener on the new school teacher though. Then she overhears two hunters talking about what happened ten years previously; in particular how César and Ugolin had blocked the spring. It isn't long before she seeks her revenge.

I really enjoyed 'Jean de Florette'; so much so that I watched this 'part two' within a week. I was pleased to find that this is at least as good as the first film... in fact I think I marginally preferred this one. No time is wasted explaining what happened in the first film so I would say that it is essential that you watch 'Jean de Florette' first. The story provides plenty of laughs as well as moments so tragic that one can't help feeling sorry for antagonists César and Ugolin. Emmanuelle Béart is a delight as Manon; making her seem simultaneously vulnerable and as tough as the goats she tends. Yves Montand and Daniel Auteuil are equally impressive as César and Ugolin. As one might expect there is another delightful recreation of inter-war France and lots of beautiful scenery that is great to look out but would be hard to work. Overall I'd say that if you enjoyed 'Jean de Florette' this is a must see; if you've yet to see that watch it before watching this.
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9/10
Save the Green Planet!
20 June 2018
Lee Byeong-gu is convinced that aliens from the Andromeda galaxy are living amongst us and are planning something dastardly to coincide with an upcoming eclipse. He is believes that Kang Man-shik, the head of a multinational conglomerate, is the aliens' representative on Earth so, with the help of his childlike girlfriend, he kidnaps the man and takes him to his remote home. Here he proceeds to torture the man to try to force him to put him in contact with the Andromedan leader. While this is going on the police are searching for Kang Man-shik and make a link to other disappearances.

This film is definitely bizarre; it is clearly a comedy with its strange set up and frequent ridiculous moments but it also has the power to shock. While the torture isn't too graphic most of the time there are disturbing moments... often as we see what Lee Byeong-gu plans to do next. The design of the room where Man-shik is held adds to the disturbing feel; especially after we see remains of previous victims. Ha-kyun Shin does a fine job as Byeong-gu; making the character sympathetic even though he is clearly dangerously insane. Yun-shik Baek also impresses as the naturally terrified and perplexed Man-shik. The tension rises nicely as the film approaches its surreal conclusion. This film certainly won't be for everybody but I'd certainly recommend it for those looking for something rather different.
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Andromeda: Immaculate Perception (2002)
Season 2, Episode 21
8/10
The Knights of Genetic Purity are targeting the Nietzscheans
20 June 2018
This episode introduces the Knights of Genetic Purity; a group of very well armed humans who believe in maintaining the genetic purity of the species... this means targeting genetically modified humans; especially the Nietzscheans. Dylan might not be a fan of the Nietzscheans but he won't stand by as women and children are massacred. Tyr wants to help the Orca Pride in particular even though they have had previous problems with them. This is because his wife is amongst them... as, he later learns, is his new born son. When he get to her he learns that his son could be somebody very special; special enough to make him the specific target of the Knights of Genetic Purity.

This was an impressive episode with some good action and nice twists. The Knights of Genetic Purity are clearly a bunch of Space-Nazis so it was not surprising that Dylan immediately opposed them... and not just because he wouldn't meet their strict views on genetics. They are impressive antagonists; clearly bad and very well armed... it is just a pity such a dangerous group was never mentioned before. There is good action both in space and in the tunnels where the Orca Pride are living. The latter location provides some touching scenes as Tyr learns that he has a son who he is obviously desperate to rescue. These lead to a particularly poignant scene as he tells Dylan what happened... this is somewhat weaken by the final scene but it was better to reveal certain details now than waiting till a later episode. Keith Hamilton Cobb was on really good form in the role. Gordon Michael Woolvett also impressed as Harper; his character, who I often find a bit irritating, provided a good double-twist. Overall I'd say this was a better than average episode.
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Andromeda: The Knight, Death and the Devil (2002)
Season 2, Episode 20
8/10
Dylan hears of a fleet of captured High Guard ships
19 June 2018
When Dylan hears that a fleet of High Guard ships that were captured after the fall of the Commonwealth, are being held by the Drago-Kazov Pride. In order to find this fleet he, Tyr and Rommie 'rescue' Ryan, the avatar of a ship that has been converted into a casino. He takes them to the fleet but Dylan discovers that these ships' AIs aren't keen to take his orders... they will have to decide what to do quickly though as the Nietzscheans have finally figured out how erase the AIs and are returning to do just that. Meanwhile Beka, Harper and Trance are back on Andromeda trying to recruit new commonwealth members; unfortunately they want to talk to Dylan.

This was a solid episode that provided some good action as well as raising some philosophical issues about the rights of artificial intelligence. There are some interesting twists as we learn that Ryan hasn't been entirely honest about how he escaped while the other ships couldn't; I was initially a little unsure about Michael Hurst's performance in the role but grew to enjoy it as we learnt more about his character. Christopher Judge also impressed as the avatar of a once powerful warship. I was fairly certain how the story would turn out but was pleasantly surprised when it didn't turn out that way. We must suspend disbelief a bit as the Nietzscheans finally figure out how to delete the AIs on the very day that Dylan is attempting his rescue... a bit of dramatic license there. The subplot back on Andromeda wasn't strictly necessary but added a few laughs. Overall a pretty good episode.
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7/10
The Amazing Adventure
18 June 2018
This inter-war comedy-drama is centred on Ernest Bliss; he is a millionaire but still isn't happy. A friend advises him to see Sir James Aldroyd, a Harley Street consultant. Sir James tells Bliss that the problem boredom; he has so much money he doesn't need to do anything. The two end up making a bet; Bliss must live for a year without touching his financial reserves; if he loses he must pat £50,000, if he wins he gets an apology. He leaves his expensive flat in the hands of his butler the catches a tube to the East End with only five pounds in his wallet.

He struggles to get a job but eventually gets one at a struggling business but after using some of his own money to help the company he moves on so he can't be seen as benefitting from his wealth. He later gets a job working as a chauffeur but keeps in touch with the secretary from his former job. They develop a relationship but will she settle down with a man she thinks is almost penniless?

The story is simple enough but works nicely. The protagonist may be rich but the message to viewers, few of whom could aspire to his wealth, is that money doesn't buy happiness; that it is better to be poor and happy then rich and bored... not too subtle but not as patronising as it could be. Gary Grant does a fine job as Bliss and Mary Brian is likeable as his romantic interest, Frances. There are a couple of entertaining if not entirely necessary subplots; one involving a pair of crooks who think Bliss is merely somebody who looks like him and try to recruit him to rob himself and second involving an employee who is trying to take advantage of Frances. Overall this isn't a classic but it is fun enough, especially if you are a fan of Cary Grant or 1930s British cinema.

These comments are based on watching the shortened version of the film; I must say it did feel a bit rushed at times so it would be interesting to compare it to the full length version.
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9/10
A delightful, tragic story set in rural France
18 June 2018
Set in Provence shortly after the First World War Ugolin Soubeyran, a returning soldier, dreams of growing carnations; unfortunately his land doesn't have enough water. His uncle César knows that there is a blocked spring on the neighbouring farm. After the untimely death of the man who owns the land they hope to buy it cheaply from the new owner; a hunchbacked former taxman named Jean. Jean, who arrives with his wife and daughter, dreams of farming the land. He plants crops and starts breeding rabbits; at first things go well but when the rain stops Jean and his family must travel miles a day to collect water from another spring. All the time his César and Ugolin watch waiting for Jean to give up and sell them the land.

This film is an utter delight with moments of humour as well as a degree of tragedy. Gerard Depardieu does a really fine job as the eponymous Jean; he makes you really feel the effort and heartache of his character as he toils away never knowing how close he is to a spring that could save his enterprise. Yves Montand and Yves Montand also impress as César and Ugolin; they make the characters amusing without them tipping over to being pantomime villains. The film also provides some beautiful but rugged scenery and captures rural French life at the time. Overall I'd certainly recommend this to anybody wanting a beautiful, character led drama... now I need to watch part two; 'Manon des Sources'.
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Babylon 5: Survivors (1994)
Season 1, Episode 11
8/10
Garibaldi: The Fugitive
17 June 2018
Following an explosion, shortly before a visit from the Earth President, the head of the presidential security detail tries to take over the investigation. Garibaldi, who used to know her objects, but when evidence emerges pointing to Garibaldi's involvement he suddenly finds himself a fugitive with few friends to turn to and plenty of enemies keen to settle old scores.

This was an enjoyable episode for many reasons. There is the mystery of who really caused the explosion and why... I'm sure nobody really thought it was Garibaldi. There is the question of how Garibaldi will final prove his innocence. And there is plenty of back story explaining why Garibaldi is the man he is. We get some decent action scenes; mostly fights involving Garibaldi. Jerry Doyle does a fine job as he takes centre stage as Garibaldi; he makes the character believable as things get progressively worse for him. Guest star Elaine Thomas also impresses as Major Lianna Kemmer, a character who once looked up to Garibaldi but now blames him for the death of her father seventeen years previously. The final resolution isn't too obvious and ultimately turns out to be connected to previously mentioned events thus elevating this from being a standalone episode. Overall a pretty good episode.
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Sky Blue (2003)
8/10
Sky Blue
16 June 2018
It is the 2142 AD and a hundred years have passed since an environmental disaster. In that time it has rained constantly and most of humanity is gone. The only survivors appear to be the inhabitants of the new city of Ecoban and the diggers, people forced to mine the fuel needed to keep Ecoban running. Now time may be running out for Ecoban; the man who helped create the system that keeps Ecoban running is now determined to stop it with the help of Shua, a man who was forced out of the city some time before. Shua infiltrates the city to steal vital data and while there he runs into his old friend Jay who is now a member of the security forces. He escapes with the data and a plan is hatched; it will mean returning to Ecoban along with members of the diggers.

I must admit I was a little surprised when I started watching this... the DVD box stated that it was in Japanese with English subtitles when it is in fact a Korean film that had been dubbed into English! That wasn't too much of a problem; the dub is decent enough and the visuals are great so it was nice to be able to fully appreciate them. The story might not be the most original but it was well handled and there are a few good surprises. The characters are impressive with likeable heroes, suitably unpleasant villains and some slightly ambiguous characters... most notably Jay. It was hard to know for certain which side she would ultimately side with although most people will probably guess correctly. The animation is really great, nicely combining 3D backgrounds with standard 2D characters. Overall I'd certainly recommend this to fans of animated dystopias.
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Andromeda: Belly of the Beast (2002)
Season 2, Episode 19
8/10
Andromeda gets eaten!
16 June 2018
When Andromeda receives a request for help from a planet saying it is about to be eaten by a giant space creature known as the Cetus they take it with a pinch of salt but go anyway. Dylan and Trance head to the planet in the Eureka Maru leaving the others in a position to destroy it if it really exists. When they get to the planet they observe two major scars on the surface whose age watches the locals story of the creature returning every six thousand or so years... and suggest it is due to return any day. Back on Andromeda they spot the creature but the distances involved mean any message they send to Dylan won't get there for forty five minutes... Beka will have to decide what course of action to take. Initial actions only lead to Andromeda getting eaten! They crew must race against time to find a way out. Meanwhile Dylan receives their message and rushes back and formulates his own dangerous plan.

This story does feel rather like an episode of 'Star Trek'... that isn't a bad thing though. The only characters to feature are the regulars so no time is wasted introducing 'characters of the week'; even the threat is an apparently unthinking entity so there is no point in negotiating. Having the crew divided is nothing new but it made a change to have Dylan and Trance on the Maru; Kevin Sorbo and Laura Bertram had a good chemistry in these scenes. While the most obvious threat was to those on Andromeda Dylan's rescue plan means everybody faces real jeopardy. The scenes on Andromeda are pretty exciting especially when Beka and Tyr discuss various options; one which is safer but will leave the planet at risk and another that would be far more dangerous but should save the planet. Overall an fine episode with plenty of excitement and good interaction between the characters.
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Missions (2017– )
9/10
Intriguing French Sci-fi
15 June 2018
This French Sci-fi drama follows the first manned mission to Mars; as they arrive in orbit they learn that they were overtaken by a mission sent by an American concern. However contact with that crew is lost so our protagonists are ordered to investigate. They find what appears to be a survivor; he wasn't one of the American crew though... he appears to be Vladimir Komarov, a Cosmonaut who died re-entering Earth's atmosphere in 1967! Over the course of the series the crew, in particular Jeanne Renoir the ship's psychologist, try to find out who or what Komarov really is. They are also concerned about how they will ultimately leave the red planet.

If you want lots of action in your sci-fi this might not be for you but if you want intelligent and intriguing science fiction then this should keep you gripped. There may not be action but there is plenty of tension when various things go wrong. Things turn interesting when Komarov is found; there is a real sense of mystery about whether it is really Komarov or something else altogether. I liked how they incorporated the very real story of the first death in space into the plot. There are some weaknesses of course; particularly when a rather aggressive second US team arrives. The cast do a solid job; with Hélène Viviès standing out as Jeanne. The ending does leave things open for a second season; I'd certainly watch if one is made. Overall I'd certainly recommend this series to fans of the genre.

These comments are based on watching the series in French with English subtitles.
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Andromeda: The Fair Unknown (2002)
Season 2, Episode 18
8/10
Return of the Vedrans
15 June 2018
As this episode opens Andromeda's crew make their way through the wreck of a Calderan ship; evidence shows that the damage appears to have been done by a Vedran... rather surprising as nobody has seen one since the Commonwealth fell three hundred years previously. Dylan is determined to find her and tracks her to the planet of Ral Parthea. This world was originally a nature reserve but not the Calderans are strip-mining the planet. Dylan, Rommie and Trance go down to the planet in the Eureka Maru and meet the descendants of the original human park rangers who offer to take them to the Vedran. It isn't esay going though as there are Calderans determined to stop them. Things are no easier for Beka, Tyr and Harper, back aboard Andromeda, as they are also having problems with Calderan forces.

This was a solid episode; there was some fine action both on the ground and in space as well as introducing the Vedrans, well one Vedran, for the first time. It was good to finally see one of these near mythical beings. This introduction was well handled, making the character more ambiguous than one might expect... so much so that Dylan must question an order she gives him. It was also interesting to learn how the planet of Tarn-Vedra, the base of the Old Commonwealth, may have come to be cut off from the slipstream routes and effectively lost. Overall a fun, action packed episode.
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Andromeda: The Things We Cannot Change (2002)
Season 2, Episode 17
7/10
Dylan is lost near a black hole
14 June 2018
As Dylan prepares for a mission near a black hole something goes wrong and the Eureka Maru depressurises; luckily he is wearing his EVA suit. The next thing he knows he is at home with a wife and child, Liandra and Ethan. Back on Andromeda the crew are working to rescue Dylan but it won't be easy; he is no longer aboard the Maru; instead he is drifting in space and his air is obviously limited.

Dylan continues to see his 'family' and it appears that he is about to retire; troubled by various events. He soon realises that something isn't right but has no idea what... has he forgotten what happened before and this is his new life; is it some sort of self-created delusion of the work of external forces. Whatever the truth his 'wife' is determined that he should retire.

This episode has a decent enough central story although the use of so many flashback scenes does at times threaten to relegate this to being a mere clip-show. At least these clips are related to the ongoing story rather than random highlights from previous shows as characters discuss 'remember when...' situations as happens in some clip-shows. The rescue operation was more interesting than Dylan's story as it included some tense moments; they was a degree of mystery surrounding Dylan's plot line but as we were shown him drifting in space some possibilities could be discounted a little too quickly. Overall this episode wasn't too bad... certainly better than I'd expected from one with so much 'archive footage'.
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Andromeda: In Heaven Now Are Three (2002)
Season 2, Episode 16
8/10
Beka commands a mission
13 June 2018
Beka has learnt the apparent location of an artefact known as the 'Engine of Creation'; a device that enables one to create and reshape matter to ones will... in essence it will grant any wish. Her initial plan is to slip off with Trance and Tyr but Trance states that if Tyr goes he will die and things will turn out badly for the universe. The myths state that three people are required to get the engine so Dylan goes instead of Tyr. They soon find that the area around the suspected location of the engine is booby-trapped; there is also another trio searching for it and they are willing to get violent to get it.

This episode is a fun little adventure that was clearly inspired by things like 'Indiana Jones' with deadly traps to be avoided or outwitted. There is also a fun fight at the end as Dylan and Beka fight their counterparts in the other group. It was also nice to see Beka take the lead for the mission; Lisa Ryder was on good form. Kevin Sorbo and Laura Bertram were also solid as Dylan and Trance. Once again there are some intriguing hints about Trance; especially as we learn more about Flux, the put-upon manservant of the other group. Overall I'd say that this episode has a different feel to most but is a lot of fun.
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Doomed to Die (1940)
7/10
A decent, fairly short murder mystery
12 June 2018
Shortly after a fire at sea that lead to the death of over four hundred passengers Cyrus Wentworth, the owner of the shipping line, is murdered. The police are convinced that the killer is Dick Fleming, the son of a rival shipping magnate, who was engaged to Cynthia, the dead man's daughter, against his will... he had also been head arguing moments before the fatal shot was heard. Cynthia is friends with reporter Roberta 'Bobbie' Logan and she calls in the detective Mr Wong to prove Dick's innocence. He soon finds another potential motive for murder; the ship was carrying a large number of Chinese bonds which have disappeared along with the passenger who was carrying them. There is also a disgruntled, recently sacked chauffeur and a Chinese servant who has disappeared to consider.

With these films one has to accept having a Chinese character being played by an actor who clearly isn't Chinese... this isn't too difficult as apart from his name it is easy to forget where Mr Wong is meant to be from! The mystery is intriguing enough and there are a decent number of suspects to keep the viewer guessing right up until the final reveal. There is also a fair amount of humour; mostly due to policeman Capt. William Street being exasperated by Bobbie Logan; in a running gag the feather in her hat keeps poking him... silly but amusing. The cast are solid enough with Boris Karloff being reliable as Wong and Marjorie Reynolds putting in a spirited performance as Bobbie. Overall this is far from a classic but it is fun if you enjoy films of the era.
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Andromeda: Dance of the Mayflies (2002)
Season 2, Episode 15
9/10
Zombies in space!
12 June 2018
As this episode opens the crew of Andromeda are attempting to rescue survivors after a drift is attacked. Before they can finish the job the attackers return to finish the job; surprisingly the attackers are the Than, a species previously considered friendly. As Andromeda flees with the survivors it becomes apparent that they are somehow infected. Their nervous systems are gradually shutting down before they die... worse still it would appear Beka is infected as well. The Than haven't given up trying to attack Andromeda and soon we find out why... the recently deceased start getting up and trying to infect the other crew members.

This was a superior episode with plenty of action and a few surprises. The action started immediately during the opening scenes as the crew race to save survivors before the drift breaks up only to have the mission curtailed when the Than attack. We then have the race to find a cure after Beka becomes infected followed by a thrilling fight against the 'zombies' whose true nature is somewhat different to classic undead for reasons that are explained. A particular highlight was a fight between an infected Trance Gemini and Rommie; this shows us that Trance is a lot tougher than she appears to be... Laura Bertram is great in the role. The rest of the cast are pretty solid too. Overall an exciting episode.
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Babylon 5: Believers (1994)
Season 1, Episode 10
7/10
A medical dilemma
11 June 2018
This episode sees two aliens arriving on Babylon 5 to seek medical treatment for their son. Dr Franklin tells them that if untreated he will die but thankfully a minor surgical procedure will save him. They categorically refuse permission as they believe cutting the boy open will cause his spirit to leave his body. Dr Franklin is exasperated that they will allow the boy to die because of religious beliefs so tells them he will seek permission from Commander Sinclair to operate anyway. This leaves the commander with a tough choice to make as the parents, whose species isn't represented on Babylon 5, seeks help from each of the major ambassadors. Meanwhile a transport ship heading to Babylon 5 has broken down in space where raiders are known to operate.

I must admit that stand-alone, issue of the week episodes aren't my favourite. It is a pity that the issue didn't involve an established species with known beliefs; as it was it felt as though the reactors wanted an episode that concerned the clash between religious belief and medical best practice so invented a new species who will probably never see again. For the most part the story plays out as expected; it has some good points though; I enjoyed the various reasons the ambassadors gave for refusing to help and the stories conclusion wasn't quite as I'd expected. The side story involving the rescue of the broken down ship was enjoyable enough but was definitely a minor part of the story. The main story put Dr Franklin centre stage so we got to know more about the character and his own beliefs, Richard Biggs does a fine job in the role. Overall a decent enough episode but one that I suspect will ultimately be fairly forgettable.
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Andromeda: Be All My Sins Remembered (2002)
Season 2, Episode 14
7/10
Beka gets news of an old friend's death
10 June 2018
Just as Andromeda is preparing to help a planet that is suffering from a natural disaster Beka gets news that her former friend and shipmate Bobby Jensen has died leaving her as sole beneficiary of his will. Dylan and Harper accompany Beka as she goes to collect what she has been left. Things don't go according to plan and they find themselves trapped in a minefield. As they await rescue Beka and Harper share a few stories about Bobby. Through these we learn why Bobby left the crew during the mission that saw Harper joined. The minefield isn't the worst of the crew's problems; they are later boarded by a group intent on forcing Andromeda to join an uprising on a slave planet... Dylan may be sympathetic to the cause but won't negotiate with a gun to his head.

This was a decent enough episode; the first part gave some nice backstory for Beka and Harper; it was interesting seeing how the latter came to be part of the Eureka Maru's crew. The character of Bobby is somewhat annoying bit I suspect that is intended to show how self-centred he is as he tries to use Beka to advance a cause he believes in. The 'big twist' half way through the episode isn't a huge surprised but things do get more interesting afterwards. Once the Maru had been seized it was fun watching a captive Dylan working to drive a wedge between those now in control. All this led to some solid fight scenes as the crew struggle to retake their ship. Overall this might not have been the best episode but it was still rather fun.
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Andromeda: Bunker Hill (2002)
Season 2, Episode 11
8/10
Going to war with the Drago-Kazov
9 June 2018
When the Drago-Kazov prepare to attack the Sabra-Jaguar Pride, Andromeda is called into help the latter as they are now members of the Commonwealth. Shortly before they go into battle Harper receives a message from his cousin back on Earth; things are not going well there. The Drago-Kazov are taking more humans as slaves so they want help. Harper and Rommie head to Earth in order to kick-start a revolt so that when Andromeda gets there the Drago-Kazov forces will be in the open. First they must deal with those threatening the Sabra-Jaguar... this fight gets off to a good start; a little too good. Soon Andromeda and the Sabra-Jaguar fleet are caught in a trap!

This was a pretty good episode; there was plenty of exciting action and for once Andromeda couldn't help everybody as expected. The scenes on Earth provided plenty of back-story for Harper as he and his cousin talk about what really happened to his parents before he left Earth. Gordon Michael Woolvett was solid in the role. The look of occupied Earth wasn't too original with plenty of rubble and people living in underground bunkers... perhaps a bit 'Terminator' but that wasn't a huge problem. The action back on Andromeda was fun with Elssbett Mossadim-Bolivar, wife of the Sabra-Jaguar leader, verbally sparring with Beka. The battle in space was enjoyable with a surprise trap that ultimately required some fancy flying to escape. Overall not a classic episode but still a lot of fun.
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Andromeda: Lava and Rockets (2002)
Season 2, Episode 13
8/10
Dylan kidnaps a new friend!
8 June 2018
Once again the Andromeda needs more supplies; this time Tyr and Dylan have gone off in the Eureka Maru to acquire them. Only Tyr returns. Rommie suspects that Tyr took the opportunity to leave Dylan at the first sign of trouble. Tyr protests his innocence and the two set off on the Maru to search for him. It turns out Tyr wasn't lying; after they split up Dylan boarded a craft piloted by rookie tour guide Molly Noguchi. As he is being chased by some unpleasant characters he effectively kidnaps her to make his escape. They are still being chased so the dangers are far from over. Back on Andromeda Harper is having difficulty accepting the 'new' Trance Gemini.

This episode was rather fun; there was a decent amount of action and there was a good chemistry between Kevin Sorbo and Kristin Lehman as Dylan and Molly even if she did fall for his charms a little quickly given that he kidnapped her and put her in a dangerous situation. The scenes between Keith Hamilton Cobb and Lexa Doig as Tyr and Rommie were a lot of fun too as she grew to trust him a little more. The action was nicely varied with explosions in space as well as some more impressive close quarters fighting. Some of the special effects are showing their age but that shouldn't bother people too much as they are pretty brief. Overall a solid episode.
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Prófugos (2011– )
9/10
The Fugitives
8 June 2018
This Chilean crime drama follows a quartet of fugitives as they go on the run after a drug deal goes very wrong. They are a very mixed group; Vicente Ferragut, a member of a powerful crime family; Óscar Salamanca, a former left wing opposition fighter; Mario Moreno, a brutal man who worked as a torturer for the previous right wing regime and Álvaro 'Tegui' Parraguez, an undercover police officer. The series starts with them smuggling a shipment of liquid cocaine into Chile from Bolivia; they head to the port at Valparaiso and the sale turns out to be an ambush. They flee and find themselves pursued by both police and other criminals. It soon becomes apparent that there are people in authority who are corrupt who are determined to keep details of what happened quiet so good cop Parraguez is considered a fugitive too. Over the course of the first season they travel through Chile, hiding out, dealing with various people who cross them and trying to get to the border with Argentina. After certain events at the end of the season the dynamics change but their problems are far from over as they divide and form new alliances.

I don't think I've seen any Chilean shows before but if this is anything to go by I'll have to keep my eye out for more... it was excellent. It certainly won't be for everybody; there are moments of extreme violence as well as sexually disturbing scenes. The characters are an interesting bunch; some are more sympathetic than others... some are without any redeeming features. Moreno is one of the least pleasant characters I've seen in any show; he is truly vile; Luis Gnecco does a great job bringing the character to life without making him a pantomime villain. There are several secondary characters who are almost as bad. The rest of the main cast is solid too; most notably Benjamín Vicuña and Néstor Cantillana who play Tegui and Vincente and Camila Hirane who plays Salamanca's beautiful but troubled daughter Irma who gets caught up in the action. The story is told at a good pace with action in every episode; it also shows off some fine scenery from the Bolivian border in the north to Punta Arenas in the far south. Overall I'd certainly recommend this to fans of crime dramas who are looking for something a little different.

These comments are based on watching the series in Spanish with English subtitles.
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Babylon 5: Deathwalker (1994)
Season 1, Episode 9
8/10
A war criminal arrives on Babylon 5
7 June 2018
As this episode opens G'Kar's attaché Na'Toth viciously attacks an alien who has just arrived on the station. She claims her victim is Jha'Dur, known as Deathwalker; a warrior-scientist who caused countless deaths in the course of her experiments. At first it is thought this woman can't be Deathwalker as she is too young but when she regains consciousness she confirms who she is. We also learn that she has made a medical breakthrough and most of the major civilisations want to get their hands on her and her discovery... much to the chagrin of the nonaligned worlds who were her main victims. Away from this main story Ambassador Kosh has hired Talia Winters assist in a negotiation; it is very strange; she sees nothing when she attempts to scan the other party and they talk in a way that makes no apparent sense.

This was a solid episode that raised interesting moral questions as each of the main races on Babylon 5 has a reason to protect Deathwalker; some want her work and another doesn't want to acknowledge that they had been sheltering her. I liked how the character is entirely unsympathetic so it is clear that anybody helping her is acting out of self-interest. Sarah Douglas does a fine job in the role. Tensions raise nicely when the Nonaligned Worlds disagree with the council's initial discussion. It was nice to see more of these minor worlds' characters. Without giving any details it is safe to say the finale is both surprising and most satisfying. The subplot involving Talia was also intriguing; the Vorlons remain the series' most mysterious species.
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Andromeda: Ouroboros (2002)
Season 2, Episode 12
9/10
Goodbye purple; hello gold!
7 June 2018
With less than a week till the Magog eggs in Harper's stomach hatch he proposes a radical solution. This requires him to work with Perseid scientist, Höhne to build a device that will bend space and time. This has effects on Andromeda and her crew before the machine is turned on... the fact that it will be turned on has caused a string of anomalies; Dylan finds himself back in the past before returning; Beka and Trance Gemini meet future versions of themselves while caught up in a battle that takes place in the future. If that weren't enough the layout of Andromeda has changed; corridors don't lead where expected; there are even internal doors that lead to space. As the crew struggle to get back to the machine they have to decide whether to destroy it so that none of what we saw would have happened or turn it in and allow certain changes to remain.

This is one of the series' more important episodes; if you skip it you will be left scratching your head wondering what happened to certain characters. In the opening scene a major character leaves a message telling the rest of the crew that they have left then nearer the end another character undergoes a major change. The story itself is interesting enough; even though I'm sure the idea of an anomaly effecting the layout of a ship was used in a Star Trek series the way this also included time shifts added something significant. We get plenty of action as the crew must deal with attackers in several different time periods as well as dangers cause by people finding themselves in deadly situations because they don't appear where they expect to be. The cast does a solid job; I particularly enjoyed Laura Bertram's portrayal of Trance Gemini; she makes the character very likeable while still seeming potentially dangerous. Her character has always been fairly intriguing but this episode makes her even more so. Overall I'd say I really enjoyed this episode; definitely not one to skip.
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