At suitboyskin's recommendation, I have started watching Babylon 5, a program that I had until now never caught up with. It is a strange missing link between traditional genre television and how it has evolved in recent decades. The writing on the show is absolutely fantastic, creating a complicated political environment and using the science fiction concepts extremely well. Sure, all the aliens are just humans with prosthetics, but if one takes that in stride, the show has many rewards.
However, the program does have strange drawbacks. I had been warned about the early 90s CGI, but while it is a bit jarring to see the fuzziness of the composite shots when viewing the show in widescreen, I didn't find the effects to be that bad in context. I also have to admit that Christopher Franke's synth scores have grown on me.
No, the weirdness of the show is in its performances. Both Sinclair (Michael O'Hare) and Sheridan (Bruce Boxleitner) are television heroes of the old school - O'Hare of the 60s, Sheridan of the 70s, and at times they do come across as being anachronistic, albeit never less than effective (this is also true of Jerry Doyle's Garibaldi). Despite the dated acting styles and character archetypes, the characters are used quite well. Dr. Franklin (Richard Biggs), for example, is an infuriating character, but the storylines he is involved in are almost uniformly fantastic. The mean level of performance is very different on this show than in most of the genre programs that bear its influence, from latter-day Star Trek spin-offs to Battlestar Galactica (the latter of which features some astounding acting on a regular basis).
This is not to say that all of the performances are dated. Even though my first reaction to Stephen Furst as Vir was "Flounder in space?" not only do they really pull it off, but the character is one of the most interesting, along with Peter Jurasik's Londo, and Andreas Katsulas' G'Kar, both of whom do an excellent job of conveying characters at extremes. The show also had a really stunning guest shot by Brad Dourif.
Anyway, I am finding the show extremely engaging, and all of my reservations are very minor. I'm currently on the penultimate fourth season.
I've been listening to the David Arnold mix and I think that it is done. The decision to do the retooling yesterday was a very good one; the selections are more balanced among the three represented scores, and the disc itself is a more consistently engaging listening experience. The cover artwork looks great. So far, all I've printed out thus far is the the disc itself, which is an image of the Stargate, and looks quite arresting. I will be posting the track listing and liner notes shortly, but, as I've mentioned, it already appears in the Composer Compilations section of my mix list.
I must admit that I'm actually quite looking forward to Elizabeth: The Golden Age. I really enjoyed the first film, and am most eager to see the cast return, especially Geoffrey Rush's Walsingham.