Star Trek Deep Space Nine – tape 2311

We’re deep in Sky territory for this tape, so there’s hours of shouty, quick-cutting ‘We’re so great’ sky trailers. One such abomination opens this tape.

It’s Deep Space Nine, the Star Trek series that was worse than Babylon 5, but better than Voyager. Mostly. I lost track towards the end, as I seemed to do with most of them (except TNG).

Shattered Mirror is the first episode here.  Jake is shocked to meet his mother from a parallel universe. But he seems to get over the surprise remarkably quickly. No good can surely come of this.

Sure enough, Jake has soon disappeared. Transported to the alternate dimension. It’s a mirror universe story where everyone wears eyepatches. (Or is that Doctor Who?). Of course, since this is DS9 and Sisko is the hero, he already has a goatee so they can’t use that as a signifier for evil.

There’s quite an elaborate space battle at the end, which shows how much CGI has improved the effects – in the Next Generation days, the entire sequence would have played out in bridge reaction shots, but this one is very kinetic, with ships rushing hither and yon.

Where it doesn’t really match up to TNG is in the emotional resonance of the story. Despite at least two major characters dying, it doesn’t move in the same way that, for example, Yesterday’s Enterprise does (to pick another alternate universe story). But that might simply be because I’m not as invested in these characters as I was with the Enterprise crew.

After this episode, recording switches, but we’re still on Sky One. This time, it’s something differemt. Stephen King’s The Langoliers. This was based on one of the novellas in Four Past Midnight, and adapted and directed by Tom Holland, who had previously written the surprisingly excellent Psycho II and written and directed the classic Fright Night.

It opens like a typical disaster movie, with the introduction of those who we presume will be the major players in the drama, including hitman guy, cut-price Gordon Gecko, creepy blind psychic girl, and Everywoman. David Morse plays a pilot, so there’s an outside chance he’ll be a good guy in this one – he’s one of those actors who you can cast in virtually any role, good or bad, and it’s hard to guess which it will be.

David Morse

The story revolves around a commercial flight, but it’s not a crash that affects it. Blind psychic girl wakes up to discover her aunt isn’t sitting next to her, and panics. Then she finds out the plane is almost empty. Only a handful of passengers remain, while everyone else has just vanished, leaving headphones, false teeth and even a wig behind.

Dean Stockwell plays a mystery writer – King liked writers as subjects – who comes up with an explanation that’s almost as unbelievable as the actual plot.

Dean Stockwell

Because it appears that all radio traffic has disappeared, the plane redirects to Bangor, Maine – Stephen King’s home town. But when they land, there’s still nobody around, and everything ‘feels’ wrong.

Sadly, I only have part one on this tape. I think I saw part two, so it’s probably on another tape I haven’t got to. Fingers crossed.

Following this episode, there’s a massively long trailer for Springhill, This is a programme I never watched, because it looked like just another soap opera – this trailer did little to suggest otherwise, save for a vaguely portentous feeling. It was created by Paul Abbott and Frank Cottrell Boyce, and included Russell T Davies in its writing staff.

The recording continues, and we have Manhunter – not the Michael Mann Hannibal Lecter movie, but a reality show where an angry American goes after wrongdoers on camera. Recording stops during this show.

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