The Pilot Marathon Part 1

Deutsche Version | Part 2

Every story has a beginning and for a TV show it’s (often) the Pilot. I simply love pilots. It’s the one episode that I watch more than any other episode of the show.

I’ll watch them in the order in which they stand on my shelves, so there’s no secret master plan why one show comes before or after the next. πŸ˜‰

As Kosh would say: And so it begins.

Xena: Warrior Princess

What’s the show about?
The former warlord Xena has reformed and fights now for the good. She and her sidekick Gabrielle travel through the ancient world of Greece, North Africa and Asia. They fight with and against other warlords, demons and gods.

What happend before?
Xena is a spin-off of Hercules where Xena was introduced. Back then she was still a warlord until she lost her army due to a mutiny. After that she helped Hercules defeat a vicious monster.

“Sins of the Past”
Xena cannot escape her past even when she tries to. On the way to her hometown Amphipolis she saves a group of people – including a young girl called Gabrielle – from being captured and sold into slavery. The attackers are under the command of Draco. When she denies him a real fight he decides to destroy Amphipolis and kill everyone. Now Xena has to protect a town that does not want her to be there…

My Opinion
Since the character was already introduced in Hercules one doesn’t learn much new about Xena in the pilot. Even if she had an affair with Draco remains unclear.
I always favoured Xena over Hercules because it was a bit darker and her enemies (Callisto, Ares, …) were more interesting

But there is one thing that bugs me while I’m watching the show. While I grew up I read a lot of greek mythology. I’ve read the Iliad, the Odyssey, I watched every Hercules/Heracles movie there was. And I am still used to the german names of everything: Herkules, Achilles, Zeus, … . While the spelling is only slightly different, the pronunciation is completely different. Everytime I watch Xena or Hercules and they pronounce greek names it sounds totally wrong. Period.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

What’s the show about?
The crew of the Galaxy class starship Enterprise, designation NCC-1701-D, “explores strange new worlds, new civilizations and goes bodly where no one has gone before”. Captain Picard and his men, women and android travel through the known universe and beyond, analyze space phenomena and negotiate peace or trade treaties.

What happened before?
TNG plays roughly a century after Captain Kirk’s five year mission (Star Trek) and about 70 years after the Kithomer conference (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country). Klingons and the Federation are no longer enemies.

“Encounter at Farpoint”
Captain Jean-Luc Picard has just taken over the command of the Enterprise. On the way to the newly-built Farpoint Station on the planet Deneb IV the Enterprise is attacked by a being that calls himself a “Q”. It demands that the human race is to return to their own solar system. After a “trial” which seems to take place in a late-21st-century court room, judge Q decides to put the ship’s crew on probation depending on whether they are able to solve the mystery of Farpoint Station.

My Opinion
When I watched the pilot for the first time back in 1990 or 1991 on german television I was thrilled. Star Trek was back on the screen! I devoured every new episode and I liked Q from the beginning. Since I wasn’t born when the original series ran and I watched it only a few years earlier I was unprejudiced about the new show.
TNG is my second-favourite Star Trek show (directly after DS9 [Star Trek: Deep Space Nine]).

Again I was surprised when I watched the show with english audio track. No one of the main characters is able to pronounce the captain’s name correctly, not even the captain himself. πŸ˜‰

Quantum Leap

What’s the show about?
Sam Backett jumps through time and space. But he does not do it with his own body and he cannot control where or when he jumps. But wherever he goes, something went wrong in the original passing of events and Sam has to fix it. His only help is Al, an admiral that lives in the time Sam came from and
presents himself to Sam as a neurological hologram that only Sam can see or hear.

A man wakes up and does not know who, where or when he is. The only thing he does know is that he’s not Captain Tom Stretton, but that’s who is supposed to be. And Cpt. Stratton is supposed to fly an experimental mach-3-jet. Sam has lost practically all memories about him and his life and Al isn’t allowed to give him his memory back because it would weaken the chances of successfully bringing Sam back. But the original Tom Stratton has died in the attempt of surpassing mach 3 and Sam has to survive this trip in order to return home.

My Opinion
I love this show because it’s always fun to see how Sam has to adapt to his new body and environment, especially when he jumps into a non-white/non-male. I also thought that it was a great idea that Sam tries to contact his father again, when he has the chance to.

Stargate SG-1

What’s the show about?
Mankind is not alone in the universe. An ancient race built a transportation system to connect thousands of planets throughout the galaxy. The entry/exit points of that system are the stargates. Earth sends units to other planets to initiate trade and looking for allies and possible threats. The first of the units is designated SG-1, consisting of Col. Jack O’Neill, Cpt. Samantha Carter (who also happens to have a doctorate in astrophysics), the archaeologist Daniel Jackson and the alien Jaffa Teal’c. Together they save the world more than once.

What happened before?
In the movie the stargate was a point-to-point connection to the planet Abydos. Daniel Jackson manages to open that connection and goes with Col. O’Neill to Abydos. As soon as they arrive they find a tribe who worships the egyptian sungod Ra – only that Ra is real and an alien. A few thousand years ago Ra abducted people from Earth and brought them to Abydos. But the people on Earth rebelled and buried the stargate. Daniel and Jack have to fight agains Ra and manage to kill him, but only Jack returns from Abydos.

For the concept to work they had to change a few things. For once, the stargate is now a multi-gate network. For another Ra was portrayed as “the last of his kind”, not one of many Goa’uld god-impostors. Also there were no signs of the Goa’uld pouch on Ra’s Jaffa.

“Children of the Gods”
A year after the events in the movie the project “Stargate” is practically shut down. But then a Ra-look-alike comes through the gate, kills several soldiers and abducts a female soldier. After that Colonol O’Neill’s bluff is called and he has to disclose that Daniel is not dead and that Abydos was not nuked. After the team around O’Neill successfully returns to Abydos they learn that there is not only the Abydos and the Earth gate but also many thousands more. But then Abydos is also attacked by this new enemy and they kidnap Daniel’s wife and Skaara, a friend of Jack’s. And so a rescue mission is set up, which will lead to strange new places and to new friends…

My Opinion
Great show (sorry for the repeating comments, but if I wouldn’t like my TV shows I wouldn’t have them πŸ˜‰ ) although it became a bit repetitive in later seasons. I loved O’Neill’s comments and the countless references to Star Trek and other cultural references (from the pilot: “It took us 15 years and three supercomputers to MacGyver a system for the gate on Earth”).

Stargate Atlantis

What’s the show about?
As its predecessor it’s about exploring a galaxy with the help of the stargates and fighting an evil and supposedly superior enemy. I’ve only watched the first season until now.

What happened before?
Stargate Atlantis is a spin-off of Stargate SG-1 and started simultaneously with the 8th season of SG-1. It begins after the great battle against Anubis’ forces over the Antarctica.

With the help of the Antarctica ZPM (zero point module) Stargate Command is able to open a Stargate to the Pegasus galaxy, to Atlantis. An international team consisting of military and scientists goes there in the knowledge that it might be a one-way trip. But soon after their arrival they get into trouble of all sorts. The Atlantis ZPMs are depleted and the shields cannot hold back the water much longer and the scouting party is attacked by a race called “Wraith”, a race that seems to have wiped out the Ancients who built the stargate system and Atlantis…

My Opinion
I don’t know… I never got really warm with Atlantis. Maybe I had an overdose of Stargate. But more likely is that I didn’t like the concept of the Wraith. The Wraith are a race that has wiped out the Ancients and nonetheless the humans can pull up a good fight. The problem with unbeatable enemies is that writers have to find a way to make them beatable (take the Borg as an example what they were in TNG and what they became in VOY [Star Trek: Voyager]). You can go to a certain point before it becomes implausible. And the wraith are just another “ΓΌber-enemy” in the line. In SG-1 we had Apophis, then Anubis, then Baal, then the Ori and somewhere in between the Replicators. And Atlantis? They haven’t really arrived yet and meet the next ΓΌber-enemy.

I just got trhe second season for a good price, let’s see when I make the time to watch it.


What’s the show about?
John Chrichton is the only human being in a strange part of the universe. There he meets the strangest of aliens and tries to find a way back home. The show never seemed to have a road map but instead seemed to base on the concept “what hilarious idea do put in writing for next week”?

John Chrichton is an IASA astronaut and he tries to prove a theory. For that he conducts a low orbit experiment that goes wrong. He accidentally opens a wormhole that brings John Chrichton in a totally unkown part of the universe. He lands on a prison transport that has just been taken over by the prisoners.

My Opinion
That show is freaking hilarious. Loved every bit of it. I was really grateful that they made the fifth season, even if it was an abridged version.

The 4400

What’s the show about?
4400 people have been abducted from Earth over the years – and suddenly they all return in a great ball of lightning. But somehow they’ve changed. They have no recollection of what happened to them but everyone seems to have a newly aquired special ability.

1939. A little girl disappears. 1951. A black soldier disappears from Korea. 2001. A teenager disappears from a beach while his cousin falls into a coma. 2004. A comet is headed directly to Earth and it’s coming in hot. Every try to shoot it down fails. But then it suddenly slows down and comes in for a landing. And it brings: The 4400. 4400 people suddenly return from … where? No one really knows. They are released to the world and they have to find their way in it – except that some of them (all of them?) are different now and the world has changed, too…

My Opinion
I’ve only watched the first season (yeah, all 5 episodes! πŸ˜‰ ) but I liked it, but wei’ll have to see how long the Freak-of-the-Week concept is going to work.

Alien Nation

What’s the show about?
250,000 aliens from the planet Tencton are stranded on Earth. The aliens were bred to be slaves. They are stronger and often more intelligent than Humans and they have to adapt to the live among the population of Los Angeles. Five years have gone since their arrival on Earth. The Human cop Matthew Sikes and the Newcomer cop George Francisco solve cases both in the human and the newcomer community.

What happened before?
The TV show is loosely based on the movie, but the story of the movie is not connected to that of the show. In fact, parts story of of the movie are re-written for the pilot.

“Alien Nation”
The first “Newcomer”, Sam ‘George’ Francisco, has become a detective and he gets assigned to a Human. Detective Matthew Sikes on the other hand has lost his partner, who was shot by a Newcomer. Together they have to solve a case of mysterious deaths that are somehow connected to Matt’s old partner…

My Opinion
Can’t wait to get my fingers on the five TV movies they’ve made afterwards. It was a really good show even when it lasted only one season.

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century

What’s the show about?
Buck Rogers is an astronaut who’s been frozen in his spacecraft for 500 years and is been resurrected in the late 25th century. Earth has seen a nuclear holocaust and mankind lives in a few shielded cities and depends on the trade with other worlds. Buck Rogers has now to live in this world and to adapt to this new culture.

What happened before?
It’s a remake of the 1939s, but since I’ve never seen this, I do not know what they’ve taken over and what not.

In the year 1987 Buck Rogers is send on a mission that should’ve lasted 5 months. Due to a cosmic accident he is frozens and awakes 504 years later on the Draconian flagship under the command of princess Ardala. Earth seeks a trade treaty with the Draconian Empire and Aradala’s father who rules over 3/4 of the known universe. But Buck is suspicious whether the empire has the best interests of Earth in mind.

My Opinion
This is one series I just bought because of the pilot. I watched that show in the late 80s on television but only a few episodes because I had a regular appointment when the show was running. After I bought the DVD set, I watched a few episodes but it didn’t interest me that much. That’s also the reason why I haven’t got the second season. But the pilot I could watch over and over again. I could laugh my ass off everytime Buck shows that Earth pilots how to fly in a dogfight.


What’s the show about?
Captain Reynolds commands an old Firefly class starship called “Serenity”, after the Serenity Valley, where a deciding battle in the Unification War has taken place. Reynolds and his crew smuggle stuff and loot abandoned ships as well as they do regular transports of people and cattle. And they try to avoid contact with The Alliance and the Reavers.

While they’re looting a ship an Alliance cruiser detects the Serenity and they can barely escape but now they’ve got a search warrant for them and their employer won’t take the looted items. In a try to sell them elsewhere they take passengers to the planet Boros with a little detour…

My Opinion
To sad that the show only lasted for a dozen episodes. It was an interesting concept especially with all these different characters and the ambiguous captain.

Part 2