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Old December 23 2009, 07:09 PM   #796
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

I liked the music in "Home" -- especially the interesting flavor Velton Ray Bunch brought to the Vulcan sequences. (Bunch won the Emmy for "Similitude," and scored Quantum Leap.)

Also, there are some nice themes Dennis McCarthy and Kevin Kiner wrote in "Storm Front" that are used again in "Observer Effect."
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Old December 23 2009, 08:56 PM   #797
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

Home gets 3 stars out of 4 from me.

It was a transitional episode that wrapped up the Xindi stuff before launching into the prequel stuff and as such it wasn't completely involving. I was more interested in Spiner, Soong, Augments, arcs and prequel goodness that was ahead.

It isn't a bad episode. In fact, it was a nice change of pace to not be a big fast-paced epic high stakes plot-driven effects-laden hour--so I appreciated its more intimate character-driven focus. None of it was particularly groundbreaking and at times it felt like a poor man's version of TNG's "Family" but it was adequate.

The characters were never this show's strong suit and it was wise of the showrunners to do more plot-driven action adventure stories but T'Pol was always a compelling character to me so I enjoyed seeing her return home to Vulcan. I'm not a T/T fan but the interactions here were pleasant enough. I especially liked the T'Les/T'Pol scenes.

The Archer stuff was decent and I liked Hernandez--too bad she couldn't have had a more prominent role throughout the season. One thing that sort of bothered me was the fact that Archer kept questioning whether the Vulcans were right that humanity wasn't ready to be out in space. The sentiment is fine but the Xindi didn't attack Earth because of something Archer or another human crew did while out there but because of what future humans do in 400 years.

Soval was still unlikeable prick here but thankfully that changes in the Vulcan arc.

The show also did a good job in setting up elements for this season-introducing T'Les, her dismissal from the Science Academy, human xenophobia in the wake of the Xindi attack, the Columibia, Hernandez. And this episode did a good job in evoking a TOS feel that the show would continue to do to great effect for the remainder of the season.

I really enjoyed the Xindi arc. It was a nice way for ENT to do something unique but I can't deny that I was thrilled that it would finally embrace its prequel premise.
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Old December 24 2009, 04:11 PM   #798
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

Borderland (***)

Imagine how it must feel; years of Starfleet training and service, you're finally considered space-ready, you're assigned as part of the important engineering detail to do substantial repair work on the ship which saved your planet... and your job is to paint all the doors blue. You must be really envious of the guy whose job it is to lay the carpet.

The first part of the augments arc unfortunately does not focus on the augments enough, and it focuses on them too much somehow. The first act is good as things get political with the Klingons, we get introduced to Arik Soong, and Enterprise is relaunched with a new, beefier captain's chair. It's a good start to the arc. But ten minutes in the Orions show up for some fan-wank, T'Pol becomes an Orion slave girl, and Archer spends 20 minutes trying to rescue her and some unimportant people. It's a distraction which was okay but had nothing to do with the main plot. I can understand the writers needing filler material during the season-long Xindi arc, but in a three-episode arc this sort of thing shouldn't happen.

The augments themselves aren't that interesting at this point and we are treated to some pointless scenes where Malik and the other augments ham it up to near-Shatner levels while the lady augments wear conveniently torn tank-tops. Twice as smart as the average human and they still can't figure out how to stitch. I don't know why the episode thinks we'll be interested in the power-struggle between a bunch of brats we don't know, maybe some people were, but I was not. In the end the augments rescue Arik and the episode gives up pretending this this wasn't just a set-up episode for something bigger.

Archer Abuse: 29
Captain Redshirt: 32
Transporter: 17



Since it is Christmas Eve I guess this is the time when I should wish all the readers of this thread a very merry Christmas. But I'm not going to because I'm a grump, I have a cold, I am cold, and I just plain don't like Christmas anymore, so instead I'm going to wish you a Bah Humbug. So Bah Humbug everybody, and get back to bloody work!
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Old December 24 2009, 05:07 PM   #799
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

3 stars out of 4.

Borderland was a fun hour. I enjoyed it.

One thing the writers did this season was showing that the 22nd century was a bit unruly and that anything goes including piracy and slave trade giving the region a much needed sense of lawlessness. Every species is out for themselves trying to stake their claims to the quadrant and establish themselves as the major power. The Federation isnít yet around to establish order and every species is vying for territory. It makes sense that two formidable groups like the Klingons and Orions would mark territory leading to this no manís land. Some of the best things Coto did for the show was to build up the universe in which the crew occupy by fleshing out the 22nd century Alpha Quadrant both in terms of power players and geopolitical landscapes. Kudos.

I enjoyed it when the crew would visit an alien world whether in Broken Bow or Rajiin, for instance. And while not quite as exotic as either of those, I did find the slave market with its mix of aliens including a Tellarite different and a welcoming touch. Like in Broken Bow the crew are learning how other alien races conduct themselves and is an eye opening experience and I liked the continued reminder that a human starship and human presence doesnít carry the influence it will one day. Right now they are just another alien species afforded no more respect or concern than any otherótheir ships will be attacked, their people kidnapped.

T'Pol had a nice moment that further highlighted the qualities I most appreciated in her when amidst her own disorientation she manages to reassure the young ensign and later I liked how he attempted to return the favor by protecting her when the Orion came to take her away. Plus you gotta love the shot of the hulking Orion picking up T'Pol and showing her off.

And it was really cool to see an Orion female in a modern series as well as the well designed Orion males. Necessary? No. Fun? Yes.

The great escape was fun too and so perfectly Soong to take advantage of the mayhem to make a run for it.

And while not crucial to the story, the slave market/Orion detour was an entertaining diversion on the way to the real heart of the story with the Augments which continued in the next two installments. While they didn't really get much attention what screen time they did have allowed a glimpse into the players especially Malik and they certainly projected very well the same superiority and danger about them as Khan's genetic supermen except that these are younger and not quite as sharp. Manny's method of bringing the Augments into the 22nd century was brilliant and not the least bit contrived like it could have been. It makes a lot of sense there might have been embryos left over after the Eugenics War.

When it comes to the purely superficial side, I liked the makeover of the NX interiors with the new blue carpeting, blue accents and updated bridge including the much more fitting captainís chair. And the producers get away with it nicely since the ship was in need of refitting following the Xindi conflict. I liked TíPol was officially made a part of Archerís crews and his gift of a compass was a sweet gesture as she fully dedicates herself to this family. I liked the SF patch too. The cliffhanger definitely had me curious and was a nice way to end the episode leaving you wanting more. The scene also reminded me of TNG's Descent when Brent was playing Lore and had at his disposal a group of Borg.

Spiner does his usual good job and we get some insight into the man. And this would start a trend this season where the more interesting guest stars overshadowed the main cast and I didn't mind this since the ENT characters weren't that compelling. I think the writers realized that by this stage the audience weren't going to be attached to them so they wisely brought in interesting guest stars and more well-received recurring characters like Soval, Shran and focused more on how ENT could fill in blanks about the bigger Trek universe.

I really enjoyed the crew reuniting on the bridge before departing and Archer saying he was glad to have the crew back together and wouldn't have it any other way followed by Mayweather taking them back out into space from dry dock just like in Broken Bow.

The one issue I had was the lack of the crew reacting to the Augment threat or even providing a few anecdotes from their great great grandparents or something about it. Strong B.
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Old December 25 2009, 02:22 AM   #800
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

Home:
but then the episode solves Archer's dark night of the soul by having him get laid. How shallow are we as a society that we think a good roll in the hay is how we should forgive ourselves for torture and other nasty actions?
That's not really the point. Erika, whom Archer esteems highly, is able to convince him that he is worthy of being touched, that he is welcome back into the society of humanity despite what he had to do, and that he can cross back over the line that he described in Damage. It's not getting my ashes hauled makes everything all right; rather it's perhaps I am not so terrible, since this woman is still willing to touch me.

And since when does Archer enjoy rock-climbing?
I recall Archer and Trip went climbing in a S2 episode. They mentioned it in a conversation (something about one of them being heavy enough to cause a rock slide) just before they were captured or something. Might have been Bounty. So, no, not a ret-con.

The Augment arc is probably the best guest-star turn in all of Trek. Spiner's Dr. Soong is so nuanced and multidimensional that it makes it fun to watch. He really, really wants these augments to be all that he hopes, and his gradual realization how dangerous and uncontrolled they are, which wars with his desire to see his social experiment succeed anyway, is incredibly well handled.
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Old December 27 2009, 12:29 PM   #801
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

Why do you always have a cold Godben?
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Old December 28 2009, 03:53 PM   #802
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

Because I have an immune deficiency. Because I have AIDS. Which I contracted after being raped. While I was in prison. After my home burned down and I was falsely arrested for arson. I lost all my possessions. And my fiancťe died in the fire. You just had to bring it up, didn't you?

I was only sick three times this year, twice with minor head-colds and once with what I'm still claiming was the dreaded swine flu. I've only stopped reviewing because it's Christmas and I was given the complete box-set of The Shield on DVD and I rushed through the first season. It's quite good but I still prefer The Wire because it's less episodic and more procedural, and The Wire's big gay black guy is much cooler than The Shield's big gay black guy. But The Shield has some good characters and I've heard that somewhere around season 5 or 6 there's a big "Holy s**t!!" moment, so I can't wait to see what that is. I'm betting it's a musical episode.

I wanted to get back to Enterprise tonight, but it seems like I might be going to see some dumb looking movie called Avatar instead, but I'll definitely be getting back to it by the new year. Unless I die or something, which might just happen due to the icy conditions on the roads.

bluedana wrote: View Post
That's not really the point. Erika, whom Archer esteems highly, is able to convince him that he is worthy of being touched, that he is welcome back into the society of humanity despite what he had to do, and that he can cross back over the line that he described in Damage. It's not getting my ashes hauled makes everything all right; rather it's perhaps I am not so terrible, since this woman is still willing to touch me.
It's still a bit pat. I mean, Archer went from a guy moaning and complaining all the time and a guy who desperately wanted to get away from Hernandez, and the next morning he's randy Dr Archer. Why a doctor? I don't know, I just presume that doctors are particularly randy, especially OB/GYNs and Rheumatologists. Why Rheumatologists? Beats me, I'm just rambling now.

A quick lay isn't going to sort out Archer's problem unless it's with someone special to him, and while there is a brief mention to the fact that these two used to date, in three years there hasn't been a mention of her. Not to mention the fact that he dumped her for his career, so I have a hard time believing that he really loved her. But that might be because I'm not a career-minded person and I'm a really sappy guy, so if I had to choose between a job I loved and a woman I loved I'd choose the woman every time. I'm one of those "work to live" kind of people. Which is why I'm posting here instead of working on a project I have six days to complete. Oh dear, I'm rambling again, aren't I?

Anyway, I guess my point is that everyone should watch The Wire. It's not as amazing as the hype for it would have you believe, but it's a very good tv show with some great characters and it makes you reflect upon the pointlessness of the drug war. It also has Omar.
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Old December 30 2009, 04:00 AM   #803
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

Cold Station 12 (****)

This is one of the few season 4 episodes which I've seen more than once, in fact, it might just be the only. The first time I saw it I was in a very dispirited place in my life and I really enjoyed the episode, the second time I watched it I was in ideal conditions while in a great place in my life and I thought it was dumb. Now I'm sort of melancholy (damn you Christmas! ) and I enjoyed it again. Maybe there's something about watching a man being tortured to death on screen which resonates with the darker sides of our souls? Or perhaps this time I had already gotten used to the lower production values and it didn't bother me so much as the last time I saw it. Yeah, that's probably what it was, I just wanted to sound deep for a moment there.

The episodes begins in the past future as Soong tells "his children" that they're super intelligent while the camera passes a particularly dozy-looking kid. I bet that was Smike, the augment whose only super power is being able to hear really well. I can just imagine how he came about:

Scientist 1: I augmented my embryo so that she's 200% smarter than the average human and she's immune to all diseases.
Scientist 2: I augmented my embryo so that he's 5 times stronger than the average human, and he's well endowed.
Burt Bacharach: I augmented my embryo so that he has great hearing.
Scientist 2: That's all?
Burt Bacharach: What did you expect? I'm a bleedin' songwriter not a genetic engineer! It's a miracle I even managed that.
Scientist 1: I've been meaning to ask, what exactly are you doing here?
Burt Bacharach: I'm hiding from a randy rheumatologist.
Scientist 2: Yeah, me too.

In my defense, I found a channel on YouTube which uploads Craig Ferguson's show and it has had a strange effect on me.

Anyway, Smike explains that he was left behind because his superpower is useless and he would have slowed the others down. This definitively proves my theory that a ship's warp speed is determined by the average superpowers of the crew, as per this graph I made over 11 years ago:



Then there's a scene of Malik in bed with his sister, which I found disturbingly arousing, it's like Taboo 2: Electronically-Assisted Boogaloo all over again. And as all couples do after a coital encounter, they immediately put their underwear back on again just in case there's a camera-crew filming them. Interestingly enough, Persis will later take off her reasonably unblemished undergarment to put back on her conveniently torn tank-top, which is certainly an interesting choice. I mean, I'd keep the blue undergarment on under the tank-top if only to stop my brothers getting a look at my boobies through my chest-holes, but I guess that's just my puritanical upbringing.

I'm running out of time and I've only focused on inconsequential things from the first 10 minutes of the episode, so I'll rush through the rest of it in one paragraph: A good episode which builds to an excellent confrontation as Arik tortures and kills a man against his own desires. Some good dialogue kept me on my toes and earned the episode an extra mark. Malik's a 2D villain, Arik's not, Smike was annoying. I liked the touch of adding in Dr Lucas after mentioning him for three years, it's little things like this which help build the universe that is the 22nd century.

One last comment: Phlox and Archer talk about how Denobulans regularly use genetic engineering because the Denobulans know how to use it safely. So why wouldn't Phlox help the Valakians back in Dear Doctor? He thinks we should respect nature and allow genetic mutations to take their course while also thinking that it's good to mess with nature and play around with genetics? Ooooookaaaay.

Archer Abuse: 30
Captain Redshirt: 33
Transporter: 18
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Old December 31 2009, 06:55 PM   #804
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

The Augments (***Ĺ)

I'm going to commend this episode for something, and it is something which I am noticing about this season, the writers are being more inventive in their solutions to problems. In seasons 1 & 2, and even 3, action sequences felt horribly derivative because it was just guys shooting at one another, and that was usually it, and this problem goes back to Voyager and large parts of DS9 and TNG. At the beginning of this episode Archer is trapped in a shaft and he only has 30 seconds to escape a deadly virus. His solution? Explosive decompression into space and an immediate transport onto Enterprise. That's an inventive solution and not one I remember seeing on Star Trek before. Similarly when Enterprise takes on the D-5 cruiser they don't get into a firefight, Enterprise fires its grappler at the Klingon's nacelle and disables the ship by ripping some of the hull off. Earlier seasons would have relied on Enterprise shooting the engine instead, but here Mike Sussman is trying different solutions to problems we've seen hundreds of times before, and that's a trend I'm noticing this season.

It's a pity then that much of the plot is so pedestrian. Malik turns on Arik because Malik is a villain and that's what villains do in Star Trek. Persis turns on Malik to help Arik because Persis is the villain's consort, and that's what consorts do in Star Trek. Malik wants to kill millions of Klingons because he's a villain and... you get the idea. But while the plot is fairly humdrum the action set-pieces are interesting enough to nudge this episode up a few marks.

The ending is both weird and fan-wanky, neither in a good way. Earlier in the episode Arik talks about the Briar Patch and I considered that a good nod to the audience, but ripping off scenes from TWOK and having Arik talk about cybernetics was too much for my tastes. Also, the scene where Malik returns from the dead to kill Arik and Archer shoots a hole through his stomach... what the hell was that?

The Augment arc wasn't a great arc, but it was above the standard of the standalone episodes of the first two seasons, so they may well be onto a winner and I endorse this new direction for the show.

Archer Abuse: 31
Transporter: 19
Nipples Ahoy!: 17


That last one is for the scene of Malik and Persis in bed while she wears her blue under-garment, because all I could think during that scene was "Nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples... Hang on, they're both in their underwear, so he knew she was probably a traitor and decided to boink her before trying to kill her? Typical male. Nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipple, aw, she's dead and all the blood has stopped firming up the nipples. "
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Old January 1 2010, 10:45 PM   #805
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
..."Nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples nipples"...
I never understand what your point with nipples is (is? are?), is it a plus or minus in your book? I would think the former is true, but often your reviews paint the sex factor as a negative. Perhaps a chart or graph to explain your stance, nipple-wise.

PS: Are you counting the men in this nipple total as well?
Lotta sexy shirtless dudes in Enterprise, more so than the ladies to be sure.
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Old January 2 2010, 04:12 AM   #806
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

KottenFutz wrote: View Post
I never understand what your point with nipples is (is? are?), is it a plus or minus in your book? I would think the former is true, but often your reviews paint the sex factor as a negative. Perhaps a chart or graph to explain your stance, nipple-wise.
Okay, here's one I made earlier:



As you can see, if a nipple only flashes on the screen for a short time then it is not relevant to the plot, but the longer it appears on screen its relevance to the plot increases exponentially. However, if it is on screen for too long its relevance will decrease at a more linear rate and it becomes gratuitous. The red line indicates the special case of a particularly fine set of nipples, because that always aids my willingness to accept them as art.

For an example, if you haven't seen The Wire then look on YouTube for a video called "McNulty Gets Trashed" (I can't link to it because it has bare boobies). I really like that scene except the final bit of McNulty screwing the waitress because the guy is wasted, perspiring and has an injured hand, so having the waitress decide to sleep with him makes little sense and reeks of gratuitous flashing of the boobies. There was another scene in that same season where a woman called Aimee wakes up with her boyfriend Nick, and we see her topless for a few seconds as she changes into her top. (If you want pics do an image search for Kristin Proctor.) That scene was not gratuitous because they weren't on screen that long, it was a natural thing for someone to do after waking up, she was haing a conversation while doing it, and... damn, she had a nice pair.

So that's how I judge them. If their appearance makes sense and isn't the purpose of the scene then I'm perfectly happy with nudity or skimpy clothing, if they're there just to be there then I have a problem. When I'm distracted because my vulgar male mind is focusing on nipples in the middle of an important and poignant scene, and where it doesn't make sense for the character to be wearing that top because those two would not have just slept together given the current plot elements, I consider that a mark against the episode.


PS: Are you counting the men in this nipple total as well?
Lotta sexy shirtless dudes in Enterprise, more so than the ladies to be sure.
I am counting men, but I'm not counting any scenes which show Scott Bakula topless.
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Old January 2 2010, 07:40 PM   #807
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

So... nipple?
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Old January 3 2010, 03:10 PM   #808
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
Okay, here's one I made earlier:



Of all the graphs he ever posted, this was the most... *lip quiver*... human.

One thing I was happy for Enterprise to do was increase male nekkidness. Never would it advance the storylines, but it made up for years and years of skimpy female oufits.

I agree that human flesh can be very distracting, and it's better for it to have a point than just to be there, taking attention away from whatever is happening onscreen. The Augments definately fall into this trap, though perhaps in this case it's because the story is a bit iffy and needs a bit of nudity to make sure we don't notice.

I'm currently watching The Sopranos for the first time and that is full of nudity, with the cast spending half their time in a topless bar. That sort of exposure sort of veers wildly between clever and gratuitous. I'm in season 5 and I've probably only just gotten used to it!
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Old January 3 2010, 04:39 PM   #809
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

Praetor wrote: View Post
So... nipple?
Essentially, yes.

I should probably set up some sort of timer to automatically shut down my PC at 2am in order to to stop myself posting such things, if only for the sake of the children.

Seven Of Five wrote: View Post
I'm currently watching The Sopranos for the first time and that is full of nudity, with the cast spending half their time in a topless bar. That sort of exposure sort of veers wildly between clever and gratuitous. I'm in season 5 and I've probably only just gotten used to it!
Some of those scenes could focus on it a little too much, I remember the opening montage of season 2 having a slow motion shot of Paulie screwing a stripper on a pool table, and that wasn't needed (although watching the jigglies in slow motion was mesmerising). But hey, it makes sense for there to be topless women in a topless bar. At least I imagine it does, I've never actually been in a topless bar so for all I know they could all be fronts for midget racing.


Advice needed:

This is a rare thing because I'm actually interested in what other people think.

I know that this thread has died down a lot in the last few weeks so I'm not sure if there's any interest in me continuing reviewing episodes after Enterprise, so I'm trying to gauge people's opinions. My original plan was to move onto DS9 after I had finished Enterprise, but over the last few weeks I've been considering trying out Babylon 5 instead. I know I have to watch it some day if I'm to retain my geek membership card (and I need to keep that to get the ladies) and the longer I stay on this board the more likely I am to read spoilers, so it would be better to do it sooner rather than later.

It would be a thread similar to this one and the Voyager thread, except I'd be watching the show "blind" since I've not watched it before and have little idea where the plot is heading beyond something called the Shadow War. I'm sure people have done threads like that on B5 in the past, so is there normally any interest for them? Has there been one recently? Does anybody have any interest in me doing such a thread? Would you prefer that I stick with my plan of reviewing DS9 instead? Am I just wasting my time doing these threads?

Let me know your opinions any time before I finish Enterprise, I'll have to make my decision shortly before then so that I can make arrangements if I need to borrow the B5 DVDs.
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Old January 3 2010, 05:01 PM   #810
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

Do DS9 please. I don't like Babylon 5.
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