Channel Flip: "Space Precinct"
Episode: "Friends," selected at random
We open on a pair of angry, hardened criminals dressed for mayhem:
I mean, they could be mandatory identification vests of their faction, but as they argue about whether Reeve is going to talk (sure), we can already tell both of them are dressed from the heart.
A lady wakes up in a tiny space room, looks around, and repeatedly hits an enormous red button under a huge window showing nothing but the cold, glittering blackness of space. The two vesties explain it doesn't work, because they've disabled it, because she's a hostage. This is the only indication I have that this woman was not trying to blow herself out an airlock. I am honestly still not convinced. (I'm also not convinced where anyone's from. This is a pile of extremely deliberate and occasionally slipping American accents.)
Cut to a a city! Wait, this place is surrounded by plants and a blue sky. I WAS PROMISED A SPACE PRECINCT.
A lady alien's video-com comes alive without her permission (the future is terrifying). An avatar appears, demanding an exchange. Our three-eyed alien protag gets her cop kit on and heads out, conflicted.
A DoRight cop exposits into a PDA with his son, upstandingly. A Hothead Cop wanders in, hotheaded about the lady. Alien coplady slides past, accompanied by the only incidental music this show could afford after puppetry costs. (I'm already reeling from logistics.)
As alien cop goes upstairs, we hear Captain Alienface recapping how police don't negotiate with terrorists, but that's sad since Jane's a cop. Man, that's a handy phone call. All caught up!
And alien cop heard it, too, and heads to the holding area. But before she can make a break for it, Officer DoRight stops her.
Busted. (Please notes, cops of the future will just tape construction-paper ties to their collars, I guess.)
Tooki explains the vesties arranged a trade because police wouldn't negotiate. He chastises her for not telling him the situation. Dude, you know the situation! The Captain just recapped it!
Cut to the ship, where lady vestie's incredibly complicated scrunchie has driven her to contemplate murder (been there). Wait, an idea!
Cut to the precinct, where she announces she's turned off Jane's air! Only an hour to live! Exchange that dudebro hostage!
Well, since we're past the forty-minute mark, you don't just threaten a Space Police Officer and get away with it! Space Police are on the case, hiding out in a space garbage scow so they can space jump onto the vesties' ship and space rescue their colleague. (How they located the ship is a space mystery.)
PS, I appreciate this view of space as the junkyard of the future.
They turn the hatch wheel (thank goodness these hackers don't have surveillance) - will they be in time?
Alien vestie has had enough of slowly suffocating Jane, and demands they put the air back on. They're not murderers! Oh, wait, never mind, lady vestie is. Welp, awkward.
But DoRight and Hothead have unwheeled the last of the cutting-edge door technology, and sneak into the ship, and space-arrest the hell out of lady vestie. Hothead opens the door to Jane! (It reads "Escape Pod" - one space mystery solved.) Then he grabs her face and shakes her and shouts he can't live without her! God, I hope they're dating, otherwise this is terrible. She opens her eyes; as she struggles to breathe, he kisses her. Wow, they had super better be dating.
But we'll never know, because it's timestamp.
What It All Means, I Bet: Well, no one ever gets to make fun of Babylon 5's effects again, that's for sure. In fact, what this show mostly means is that I can go back and rewatch Babylon 5 with a light heart, knowing that the '90s was an awkward time for a lot of SF on TV, especially specifically Space Precinct.