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4 days ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Babylon ... · 5 replies · +7 points

I was obsessed with this show as a kid. It was my favorite thing when I was like 13-14, I hero-worshiped JMS. I'm not sure how much it will hold up for adult me. Of the two things I was Special Interest-level fixated at the time, Babylon 5 and Animorphs, I haven't rewatched/reread either in a decade and a half but when I review my memories of Animorphs my reaction is "Yeah, that seems really great! Great taste, little me!" and when I review my memories of Babylon 5 my reaction is, "Hmmm, I think I'd be way, way less forgiving of a lot of this today." (Tone expectation spoilers: V guvax zl 14-lrne-byq zvaq jnf fhpu gung gur WZF'f irel cbzcbfvgl jnf gnxra nf rivqrapr gung V jnf jngpuvat fbzrguvat ernyyl terng. Rirel ovt vzcbegnag fcrrpu gung frrzrq fb vzcerffrq jvgu ubj qrrc naq zrnavatshy vg jnf znqr guvax "V fher nz yhpxl gb or jngpuvat fhpu n qrrc naq zrnavatshy fubj!") But rewatching along with Mark, it does seem pretty solid so far! Characters are established, worldbuilding is worldbuilt, a sense of mystery begins to grow.

Babylon 5 was announced shortly before Deep Space Nine was announced (I heard that some people, when they read the DS9 press release, assumed that show they had heard about a little while earlier had been retooled as a Star Trek show), but Deep Space Nine beat it to air. JMS, who had pitched Babylon 5 to Paramount before he pitched it to the Warner Brothers, has always accused DS9 of ripping him off. Is he right? I don't know! There are similarities even here at the pilot movie. One race that was until recently under a brutal occupation from another. A space station commander haunted by memories from the big war. The original announcements were even more similar. The Minbari were originally described as fluid shapeshifters. In the actual pilot, the Minbari assassin just has a "Changeling Net." There are also a lot of differences though, I don't know if the similarities are enough to constitute solid proof of plagiarism.

When this pilot was shot, the idea was that Delenn was a masculine character played by a cis woman actress to make him seem more alien. When they couldn't get the voice-deepening they were planning to do in post working the way they wanted, they abandoned that idea, and fortunately Delenn was never actually referred to with a pronoun in the pilot so it was easy to drop. I think this is probably for the best, "Man played by afab to seem more exotic and otherwordly" is not something that would have aged well. (Early second season spoilers: Cerfhznoyl Qryraa jbhyq unir orpbzr n jbzna ng gur fnzr gvzr fur orpnzr cnegvnyyl uhzna. Genaf jbzna cynlrq ol pvf jbzna jbhyq yvxryl nyfb abg unir ntrq jryy.)

5 weeks ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Steven U... · 3 replies · +12 points

White Pearl! Creepy! Not voiced by Deedee, but by her Diamond's VA! Cracked face! We've never seen a gem cracked not on their gem, have we?

White Diamond! Creepier! Terrifying! In a show full of moms learning to be better at momming, it looks like we have met the Worst Mom Of All! Is she the reason the gems of Earth were corrupted instead of shattered? Did she know Pink was alive all along? Was this Pink's real punishment?

We finally get confirmation of Centipeetle's name, as implied in Jungle Moon she is Nephrite. Specifically Nephrite Facet-413 Cabochon-12, a designation I'm sure was chosen at random for no particular reason.

"Steven will be fine," said Garnet, pretty ominously. Is White going to want hostages to ensure that Pink/Rose/Steven doesn't start up another rebellion?

Re: foreshadowing of White Diamond, we've seen the newer Diamond Authority symbol showing Yellow, Blue, and White Diamonds since the first season finale Jail Break, and the older symbol showing Pink, Yellow, Blue, and White since Sworn to the Sword. From their reactions it sounds like Steven and Amethyst didn't notice the symbols any more than Mark did, though! We've also seen her hand and her silhouette in relation to the corruption attack, as well.

7 weeks ago @ - The Black Market · 2 replies · +9 points

7 weeks ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Steven U... · 2 replies · +11 points

So many great moments in 22 minutes. The opening song, the wedding, "I've felt worse", "I do it for me!"

The house, the barn, and Rose's sword all destroyed. . . in the episode after the gem who builds stuff is brought back into the fold! That's convenient! After the house went I figured the van was a goner too, maybe with Greg trying to ram one of the Diamonds by trying to drive it into their heart, but Greg's home is the only home still kicking.

I wonder how much of the odd visual presentation of the last third of the episode was an aesthetic decision versus an animation budget issue. Everyone standing in place doing repetitive movements was probably simpler than having Steven's astral form move throughout the actual fight scene.

So now Steven has two Diamonds on his planet. Good news, they're not gonna want to hurt him anymore, will in fact be desperate to protect him from further harm, and will probably be reluctant to piss him off by harming his loved ones. Bad news, that's pretty much all he's got. It's just been made clear that even the combined forces of all Steven's allies can't stand up to them for long. Well, he's also got a geoweapon, but one that can't express its full power without destroying the planet, something Steven may have to find a way around if wants to use it as leverage against the Diamonds. Plus, they presumably have no idea about Lion's portal to the Sun Extinguisher, which could come in handy.

New forms for Lapis and Peridot. Now that Lapis has finally comitted to being a crystal gem they'll be getting stars. And maybe Bismuth can cook up some new limb enhancers based on the foot they still have. New opening sequence as well? Or maybe that will wait until Jasper is brought onto the team as well.

Lapis and Bismuth didn't seem to recognize each other. Well, they had other things to worry about. Plus Bismuth's armor was concealing her gem. When Lapis does recognize her, I expect they'll hit each other for an episode before teaming up to save either Steven or Peridot from something. Maybe we'll find out what Lapis was actually doing on Earth all those years ago. I think of a fusion of these two would look really neat. Rainbow wings!

Steven declaring the Diamonds to be "family" makes me wonder if this is going to turn into some kind of "dysfunctional biological (err, geological) family versus loving found family" analogy.

7 weeks ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Steven U... · 1 reply · +9 points

I don't think assassination of an enemy leader would generally be considered a war crime? (I mean, it is to the gems, to them killing a Diamond is less a regicide and more a deicide, but by human standards, this has not generally been considered an illicit war tactic.)

7 weeks ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Steven U... · 4 replies · +13 points

This episode was great, finally reintroducing a character I've wanted to see more of for a long time, though still noticeably skirting around any clear explanation of what took so long. Sapphire says "I'm so sorry, we should have-" [presumably "let you out sooner"] but not really why they didn't. It's been fifty episodes, about a third the total length of the show so far. If they were going to wait that long, there should have been some dialogue much, much earlier explaining Steven's reasoning and when he planned to let her out. Even a single sentence somewhere would have helped. Even now, the closest we get is a vague implication that was out of fear she would attack Steven again. Given that, as pointed out in the original Bismuth episode itself, Steven has always been a strong adherent of the Goku method of making friends in every situation but this one, this isn't entirely convincing as an explanation? Maybe there were scheduling issues of some kind involving Uzo Aduba, maybe it's just poor pacing. Maybe it wouldn't have seemed quite so long without the weird broadcast schedule.

Neither Steven or Bismuth bring up the original quarrel over whether or not shattering enemies is "not something a Crystal Gem would do." One of the first thing Steven says to her is "Well, you were right" but he's talking more about "Rose Quartz was not to be trusted" than "Rose Quartz should have used the Breaking Point." Bismuth later says "And here I thought shattering a Diamond would solve our problems" but she's saying that she no longer thinks it would have worked, because of the corruption weapon, not commenting on wartime ethics. This is wise of both of them, hashing out that argument isn't what should be doing now.

Some of the dialogue here clarifies something I had still been wondering about- The Assassination of Pink Diamond by the Coward Rose Quartz was indeed at the very end of the war, and Pink/Rose was playing both sides for the full thousand years.

The muffled screaming in the lava bit was fantastic. Though I couldn't help but notice that when Bismuth comes up she says "Oh my gosh! It all makes sense now!" Not "oh my stars", but "oh my gosh," which is a minced form of "oh my God", which sure raises a lot of questions. Maybe Gosh is the name of some important Gem thing.

11 weeks ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Galavant... · 1 reply · +4 points

Farewell, Kingsley, we hardly knew ye!

. . . no, seriously, he didn't even sing a song. Why add an extraneous character for the last few episodes, who just facilitated some plot complications that probably could have been managed with the existing characters, and then kill him, if he wasn't going to sing a song?

I was never quite clear on what hold Kingsley has over Gareth? Is it just the idea that Kingsley never truly gave up his claim to throne and just by showing up again gets it back, along with the right to command Gareth to kill Richard?

This is a surprisingly. . . confident season ender, one that depends entirely on the existence of a second season, for something so risky and experimental on broadcast TV. (Or maybe that's why it ends like that, like Lynch and Frost throwing as many simultaneous cliffhangers as possible into the Twin Peaks first season finale to lure the producers into giving them a second?)