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27 January 2012

Babylon Fields (2007)

All I've heard on Google+ this past fortnight is SOPA this and PIPA that. It seems to be all that anyone on the internet is talking about. I'm not going to talk about that, but on a related topic, I did see see that the British Student Richard O'Dwyer lost his battle to be extradited to the US on Monday. His crime - one that could land him in prison for 10 years - was to host a directory of links to sites where you can download pirated films. It all seems a bit harsh to me given that there doesn't seem to be any suggestion that he's been involved in piracy. Don't get me wrong - I've no interest in protecting criminals - but has O'Dwyer actually committed a crime here? Does giving directions to a thief make you an accomplice in their crimes? I guess O'Dwyer will find out the hard way.

This topic might seem a bit heavy for the Ukulele Blog, but it just dawned on me that I might have done something illegal last week! I say 'might', because I'm not entirely sure.

I'm dead... and confused... can you help me?
Babylon Fields, CBS 2007

Following a hot tip from a friend who I shall simply call Miss X, I watched the unreleased pilot for an American TV series called 'Babylon Fields'. That's all well and good you might think, but get this... I watched it online... on Google Video. Oh no! What have I done? And why am I blogging about it? Have I lost my mind? :-s

Okay... I'm going to assume that everything is above board and okay here... otherwise Google would have blocked it wouldn't they?

Wouldn't they?

Of course they would...

Wouldn't they?

The Dead rise
Babylon Fields, CBS 2007

Let's talk about Babylon Fields!

I'm late to the party once again. Babylon Fields is ancient history. The pilot was produced by CBS in 2007 and had it made it out of the blocks, it would have become the first ever primetime zombie show. It didn't make it out of the blocks and that honour now belongs to AMC's Walking Dead. Unbelievably for me the pilot is reputed to have cost 7 million dollars to make. Yeah right! I don't believe that, but more unbelievable is the fact that it never got broadcast. Surely you'd have thought that they'd want to get some of their investment back? Obviously not.

As with all good zombie shows, Babylon Fields starts on the day that the dead rise. All over America waking corpses dig their way out of their graves and head for home. They may be dead, but on the whole they seem to have retained pretty much all of their faculties. Despite dusty clothes and the odd worm, there's little evidence of rot and ruin; They can walk and talk and think and do pretty much everything they could when they were alive! How weird is that!

Yep... that was your hole my friend...
Babylon Fields, CBS 2007

We all know that zombies are bad... but are these ones? That's the underlying theme of the pilot and it keeps us guessing right up to the end. We don't get an answer. In the main everything seems strange but kind of okay. There is only one real hint that there might be badness to come when abusive-husband zombie is transfixed momentarily by the sight of blood. He quickly snaps out of it, but you can bet that this would have been explored in the series had it gone ahead.

The question Babylon Fields most seems to want to explore is how various different people react to the return of the dead. We have friends and family returning from all walks of life: children, syblings, parents, granparents. As you might expect, everyone copes differently and while there's nothing unexpected on that front, it's fun to watch it unfold.

Zombie love
Babylon Fields, CBS 2007

One thing that seems to have caused a few ructions when the pilot was made was the suggestion that it contained Necrophilia. Technically, I guess it does. It's not graphic or in my opinion odd in the context of the story. I honestly don't know what all the fuss was all about. Is this making me sound strange? Let's move on...

A criticism of the pilot that seems fairly universal is that the acting is wooden. Yeah, I have to agree. I didn't recognise any of the actors. They weren't terrible, but by the same token, they weren't brilliant either. I think that they would have grown into their parts had they been given the chance.

Big cop... little cop...
Babylon Fields, CBS 2007

Right... I'm closing off...

I enjoyed the pilot. I clicked on the film thinking I might just steal a quick peek and ended up watching the whole thing. To be honest, I probably got everything I needed from the one episode. It stands up pretty well as a piece in its own right.

On the Triple-B I'm going to risk a visit from 6 Federal Agents by recommending that you borrow this DVD. Oh no... you can't. Well, whatever you do... don't download it!


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