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Johny Cee
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on: November 30, 2009, 06:32:00 PM

I caught pretty much the entire series on TNT as reruns years ago, but I had been meaning to rewatch the show.  Especially since it is so lauded by its fans.  Managed to track down the first four seasons at a great price, and off we go for a rewatch:

Season one:

I think I mostly skipped this season.  I remember being bored, in between being frustrated by terrible effects and awful actors.  I think I basically tuned this out and picked up the show towards the beginning of season two.

Thoughts on the rewatch:
- Bad, bad, bad, Jesus FUCK this is bad.
- Londo and G'Kar are bright spots.  Great actors who really invest in their parts and make them work.
- Sinclair is a shitty character.  The actor comes off as wooden. 
- The other three main human characters (Doctor, Garibaldi, and Ivanova) are meh.
- Heavy handed allegory.
- The stand-alone episodes were atrocious.  Many felt like luke-warm and low-budget remakes of Star Trek episodes.
- Story arc episodes were better.

Overall, the plotting in each individual episode is atrocious.  How many times are the entire command staff going to bugger off and leave the janitor in charge of the station?  The villains are always evident five seconds after they walk in, because they proceed to twirl mustachios and tie someone to the railroad tracks.

Seriously...  how many times can Sinclair (whose relation to the chain of command is odd and arbitrary) tromp over the military and political hierarchy and walk away without a problem?

I actually didn't bother to watch the last two episodes.  I couldn't take it anymore, and went on to season two.

Season two:

- Sheridan is an improvement.  Better character that fits the situation.  Better actor, who can pull off the principled soldier archetype.  A big improvement is that he plays along with the political powers while covertly working against them.
- Ivanova and Garibaldi have grown more into their roles.  The Doctor's character has no overarching purpose, so any time he gets pushed into the plot for an episode it feels massively jury rigged.
- Londo and G'Kar are still good.  The Centari-Narn war is a wonderful story arc, and leads to some great scene chewing.
- Dialogue veers between wonderful and atrocious. 
- The Nightwatch story arc gets going.  Which is....  stupid.  Obvious pseudo-Nazis are obvious.
- The actor who played Talia Winters realized she was far too striking to hang around, and jetted.

Overall a great improvement.  Some good political and intrigue storylines.  Still some hacky and hokey writing here....  especially since the quality of actors varies between excellent and god awful.  Londo can pull it off.  Many of the others?  Not so much.

Lots of interesting use of monologues.  Unfortunately, since the show was on the air, we've had Deadwood.  That's how you monologue, cocksucker.

Season three:

I'm in this season now.  We've upped the action quota, and most of the overarching story lines are in place.  Less "episode of the week" crap, and there are now a sufficiently built up stable of small parts that we're less subject to the vaguaries of the guest actor. 

- Secession from Earth and decaying political situation back home.  Generally pretty well done, besides the still obvious pseudo-Nazis.
- Shadow War arc is developed.
- The Sfx are less offensive.
- Londo and G'Kar are still good.
- I've started fast forwarding through Doctor-centered episodes.  Addicted to stims?  Who gives a shit!  I feel sorry for the actor...  he's not awful, the writer just doesn't know what to do with the character.
- Delenn/Sheridan romance is fairly engaging.


Overall so far:

- The Tolkien Estate didn't sue?  Sooo many parallels to the Lord of the Rings.
- Minbari are a little too "Space Elves" trope.
- Lots and lots of ham.  There's some decent or flat-out wonderful bits (Londo and Sheridan), but it really falls down sometimes.
- Problems with ambiguity and subtlety.  Besides Londo (and a lesser extent Bester), it's pretty easy to divide up everyone into White Hats and Black Hats. 
- Bad acting.  There are some fucking atrocious actors running around here.
- Pretty much anything Londo or G'Kar do is gold.  The Narn/Centari story arc is also
- The religion seesaw.  We alternate between openly endorsing religion/spirituality/ideology and the episode of the week where dangerous religous/ideologues are fanatics that need to be exterminated.


The show really suffers from being viewed in a world that has seen BSG, HBO's successful exploitation of niche audiences, and a bunch of Whedon series. 
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Reply #1 on: November 30, 2009, 06:38:00 PM

The series is basically made worthwhile by Londo and G'Kar. Everything else is bad-to-acceptable, mostly, but they're both excellent. Particularly in season 4. Basically they act circles around the rest of the cast (Lyta and the doctor are particularly weak) and do so in elaborate makeup to boot.

BTW did you watch the pilot? If you thought the first season was bad...  swamp poop I really have no idea how anyone watched the pilot and decided "yes, let's make the rest of this series."

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Johny Cee
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Reply #2 on: November 30, 2009, 06:57:50 PM

The series is basically made worthwhile by Londo and G'Kar. Everything else is bad-to-acceptable, mostly, but they're both excellent. Particularly in season 4. Basically they act circles around the rest of the cast (Lyta and the doctor are particularly weak) and do so in elaborate makeup to boot.

BTW did you watch the pilot? If you thought the first season was bad...  swamp poop I really have no idea how anyone watched the pilot and decided "yes, let's make the rest of this series."

The pilot's awfulness is legend.  I don't think I've ever seen it, but I could barely bring myself to watch most of season one so I won't be attempting to find it.

Lyta is fucking awful.  Patricia Tallman is possibly the worst actor on the show.  SHE WAS SO BAD I SPECIFICALLY LOOKED UP HER NAME.  She doesn't even fit as eye-candy....  I have to assume she was sleeping with one of the show runners, or she has Keanu's agent.

The Doctor isn't at that level of bad.  He's obviously from the Soap Opera school of acting, but the main problem there is JMS had no idea what to do with his character.  It almost always feels like they're shoe-horning the plot to give him something to do.  His character has a completely confusing backstory.  Somehow he graduated from Harvard Med, is a senior officer in Earthforce, spent a significant amount of time hitchhiking, worked in some kind of research, etc.  Also, he tends to randomly be close to whomever the random guest star is: an old archeology professor, Presidents personal Doctor, General father, etc.

And in desperation, they occasionally throw him some other character's story lines...  Garibaldi has an addition problem, but it gets thrown to the Doctor because they didn't know what to do to keep him as a visible main character. 


I have been wondering how much of the problems are a result of direction, script, and production.  Some of the guest stars who I know aren't terrible actors seem awful.  Larry (from Newhart, or the innkeeper in Deadwood, or the Joker's henchmen in the original Batman, or Sebastion in Bladerunner, or a creepy torturer in Lost, or...) comes of as a terrible actor, as does Brad Douriff (Wormtougne, the Doctor in Deadwood).


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Reply #3 on: November 30, 2009, 06:58:22 PM

The only reasoin I finished watching the whole series was for Londo and G'kar.  Otherwise I think the show was basically as good as most of the crap that the SciFi channel puts out.

DS9 > Babylon 5.
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Reply #4 on: November 30, 2009, 07:02:29 PM

I thought ivanova had her highlights.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xO9Vr_nBE8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXyDi_91UXw

Actually, I really need to rewatch this myself. I missed a lot of episodes the first time I watched this, so it didn't all make sense. Got hold of it all and had a month long marathon (or something), and I came away a complete fanboy. That was quite a few years ago though, chances are I'd be less impressed this time around.

The main thing that still gets me to this day (and I'm showing my nerdy side here) is how some of the graphics were made on, I believe, Amiga 3000 or 4000's, specifically the pilot. The subsequent graphics were apparently on pentiums and DECs. I actually watched the show just for that, initially.

In my mind, DS9 and Babylon 5 were pretty equal, with DS9 obviously having the leg up graphics-wise with being made at a later date, and Babylon 5 having more of a cohesive storyline.

I really need to watch Bab5 again though, I think I'll probably be shocked.

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Reply #5 on: November 30, 2009, 07:06:41 PM

The core arc episodes hold up pretty well, as does the Narn-Centauri plotline. Most the of rest is bad. JMS really needed someone around him to tell him when he was being a self-indulgent egotist, which was all too often. The rising action of S2 and S3 is the best the show has to offer, and bears rewatching today. The falling action of S4 is ok until we find out the secret backstory of the Shadow-Vorlon conflict, which--not to spoil--is so fucking trite and shopworn that you can tell JMS had no fucking idea what the real deal was until he wrote himself into a hole. From that point on the show falls into a steep decline. I think there was some potential that the falling action could have been pretty good, but among other things, I think JMS fell in love with his characters & the better actors too much and started Mary-Suing their character arcs too much. Some of the dark potential and foreshadowing goes totally to waste. The beginning of Season 5 is as bad as SF television gets.
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Reply #6 on: November 30, 2009, 07:42:51 PM

You really need to power through everything in Season 1 or some stuff in seasons 3 & 4 don't make as much sense.  There are some Lost-level continuity type things.


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Reply #7 on: November 30, 2009, 08:25:42 PM

Quote
Londo and G'kar

It can't be said enough, the series was worth watching just for these two, both the actors and their associated sotrylines were a grade above the rest of the show.

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Reply #8 on: November 30, 2009, 08:33:14 PM

Re: the weirdness towards the end of Season 4, its my understanding that a lot of that was last minute rewritten under some heavy time pressure because they didn't expect to be able to do a 5th season. Impossible to say if it would have been better without that, of course. It also means that Season 5 is a bit of a mess because they had to kind of scramble to come up with additional story.

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Reply #9 on: November 30, 2009, 08:45:59 PM


In my mind, DS9 and Babylon 5 were pretty equal, with DS9 obviously having the leg up graphics-wise with being made at a later date, and Babylon 5 having more of a cohesive storyline.


DS9 started a year before Babylon 5.
Johny Cee
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Reply #10 on: November 30, 2009, 08:49:49 PM

The core arc episodes hold up pretty well, as does the Narn-Centauri plotline. Most the of rest is bad. JMS really needed someone around him to tell him when he was being a self-indulgent egotist, which was all too often. The rising action of S2 and S3 is the best the show has to offer, and bears rewatching today. The falling action of S4 is ok until we find out the secret backstory of the Shadow-Vorlon conflict, which--not to spoil--is so fucking trite and shopworn that you can tell JMS had no fucking idea what the real deal was until he wrote himself into a hole. From that point on the show falls into a steep decline. I think there was some potential that the falling action could have been pretty good, but among other things, I think JMS fell in love with his characters & the better actors too much and started Mary-Suing their character arcs too much. Some of the dark potential and foreshadowing goes totally to waste. The beginning of Season 5 is as bad as SF television gets.

My present theory on the overall story arc:

The first three and a half seasons are basically a scifi retelling of LotR.  
- Sheridan is a combo of Aragorn and Frodo.  The whole Zahadum angle is basically Frodo at Mount Doom, complete with being saved by Eagles Angels while the Shadow forces are diverted at the Black Gate Babylon 5.
- Kosh is Gandalf, complete with rebirth
- Delinn is Arwen, right down to being half-elfMinbari
- The Denethor/Gondor angle is done poorly as Earth gov.
- Londo is a more ambitious reimagining of Saruman that really works.

The final Vorlan stuff (from what I can remember) is basically a riff on Moorcock's Elric (Chaos v. Order, where both aren't nice people), though a bit of the Eternal Champion gets fused in earlier.


What I'm most disappointed with is the squandered potential in some of the setup.  The Earthgov storyline would have worked much better if it had focused around a scared, reacting Earth faction that was stumbling towards isolationism, appeasement, and reactionary missteps.  Instead it's basically turned into an obvious neo-Fascist allegory.

The Centari/Narn conflict is the best handled...  though it would have benefited from the Narns being bigger assholes in season one, and the Centari being significantly less gratuitous genocidal maniacs later.  More former Yugoslavia, where the cycle of blood is one group reacting to the previous groups outrages with their own, and less 1930's Germany.

To be honest, I'm not sure the Vorlons could be legitimately set up as the next villains and still be true to the early world-building.  It just comes off as forced and odd for the formerly standoffish, isolationist, and (mildly) manipulative Vorlons to all of a sudden act like the giant, obvious assholes they become.


One thing I really liked about Farscape:  The Peacekeepers were authoritarian assholes, but that's because the Scarrans were genocidal, slaving sociopaths who were significantly stronger.  It's classic declining corrupt empire and ravaging barbarian hordes.

Guess it's time to watch the first episode of season 4.
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Reply #11 on: November 30, 2009, 08:55:34 PM

Re: the weirdness towards the end of Season 4, its my understanding that a lot of that was last minute rewritten under some heavy time pressure because they didn't expect to be able to do a 5th season. Impossible to say if it would have been better without that, of course. It also means that Season 5 is a bit of a mess because they had to kind of scramble to come up with additional story.

This is pretty widely circulated.  It really doesn't change that the Earth story arc was obvious and felt contrived, or that the Vorlons would have needed to act completely differently from previously.

The telepath stuff was just handled poorly from the beginning, though.  I understand that Lyta was supposed to be Talia (until the actress bailed in season two), but it felt weird and forced from what I remember from ages ago.

I didn't actually bother to buy season five, my memory of it is that poor.  There were some standout episodes...  mostly dealing with the near and far future timelines, but there is a hell of a lot of dross to sift through.
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Reply #12 on: November 30, 2009, 10:08:54 PM

The show really suffers from being viewed in a world that has seen BSG, HBO's successful exploitation of niche audiences, and a bunch of Whedon series. 

That pretty much is all you need to say.  If you try to watch it after the fact, you're not seeing it in the filter of when it was first seen, and there simply wasn't that much Sci Fi on TV then.  Hercules, X-Files and DS9.  Hm.  B5 hit a sweet spot with a serial that told a massive, epic arc of a story.  It was something that had been lacking in prior shows, and that's part of why I loved it.  It set out to tell a STORY.. not to milk a series for as many years as the ratings would allow.   

JMS had a beginning, middle and end to tell and this was damned innovative for the time.  Those weak one-off episodes of the first season were done at the behest of the financial backers who were worried nobody would follow such a series.  They felt people would get lost or lose interest if it wasn't simply another "Problem of the week" show like every other one on TV.  The top 10 from 1994..

1.    Seinfeld (NBC)
2.    E.R. (NBC)
3.    Home Improvement (ABC)
4.    Grace Under Fire (ABC)
5.    NYPD Blue (ABC)
6.    Murder, She Wrote (CBS)
7.    Friends (NBC)
8.    Roseanne (ABC)
9.    Mad About You (NBC)
10.    Madman of the People (NBC)


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Reply #13 on: December 01, 2009, 02:14:21 AM

In my mind, DS9 and Babylon 5 were pretty equal, with DS9 obviously having the leg up graphics-wise with being made at a later date, and Babylon 5 having more of a cohesive storyline.
DS9 started a year before Babylon 5.
Well, so it did. I could've sworn I saw bab5 prior to ds9, but the start date does indeed say it started a year prior. Ah well, no matter, I still sit corrected.

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Reply #14 on: December 01, 2009, 07:38:21 AM

See, I think the imaginative infrastructure was there for JMS to take a left turn into something more like Vernor Vinge Fires Upon the Deep with the Shadows-Vorlons. But if not, stick to the Tolkien rehash, it's more palatable than Chaos-Order, which is just ho-hum and stupid.

More importantly, I think the rewriting going on in S4/S5 also affected some of the interesting foreshadowed possibilities for the characters. What I would have been much happier with is this:

Sheridan comes back from Z'ha'dum a changed man. He still loves Delenn, but he doesn't really trust her any more.
Delenn in S1 was a bit of a plotter; let's see more of that in S4/S5: a compulsive manipulator. She loves Sheridan, but she can't give up trying to control the chess board, which drives him further away.
Sheridan is driven by the renewed conflict with Earth towards political leadership, which he doesn't want and isn't much good at. He's not Abraham Lincoln, he's Ulysses S. Grant, in over his head. As President, his tenure is marked by a series of escalating mistakes that leave him filled with regret. 

etc.: don't give these people happy endings, for the most part. Make the falling action tragic: they saved the galaxy, but at a high personal cost. I even think this was originally part of his plan, and it still held together with Londo and G'Kar's arc, which has a clever twist to it.
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Reply #15 on: December 01, 2009, 12:13:11 PM

DS9 > Babylon 5.

You all shut your filthy whore mouths.

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Reply #16 on: December 01, 2009, 12:53:53 PM


Sometimes irony is pretty ironic.
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Reply #17 on: December 01, 2009, 01:07:41 PM

Babylon 5 was conceived of looooong before DS9. DS9 was a reaction to Babylon 5, much to the chagrin of writer Robert Wolfe, who thought it was a really neat idea on its own. He also thought JMS stole his idea. Personally I think they staged the whole thing!

Oh, and I rather like Sheridan and Delenn living happily ever after. Everybody else has to do things But At What Cost??? Them growing old together was an interesting and oddly original twist. Same with both of Sheridan's parents still alive, and him decidedly NOT being an orphan of The Great War Of Long Ago.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2009, 01:10:56 PM by Slyfeind »

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Reply #18 on: December 01, 2009, 02:58:11 PM

I watched this show sporadically when it was on live, and then religiously when it was repeated on TNT or something.

I've been meaning to rewatch this series.  Perhaps I'll start soon.  I remember loving it to death.
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Reply #19 on: December 01, 2009, 03:18:56 PM

I'll chip in for DS9 > B5 as well however...

I think B5 could have been the better show.  It really could have been great but there were too many frayed ends, badly done plotlines and general writing into corners that went on. As it stood, B5 in its entirety was just ok and no you can't just cherry pick a season here or there, or Londo/G'kar(who are still awesome) and say it was the better show.

DS9 for all it's faults is somewhat of the opposite in that it could have been a generic next gen pt2 but it actually tried to go in a different direction than the standard trek fare. Sure it faltered along the way, took a while picking up the pace but while the actors weren't heads and above the rest, none really lagged behind for me. The episodes themselves were more good than bad and the show that could have been 'meh' ended up being good.  The biggest thing it had going for it was that in the end DS9 felt complete, in that you could watch the entire thing with a better sense of cohesion, even if the plot itself didn't have as much meat to it.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2009, 03:20:27 PM by Lakov_Sanite »

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Reply #20 on: December 01, 2009, 03:21:02 PM

They were both flawed shows that were elevated by a couple fantastic acting performances (Avery Brooks was, bar none, the best captain in any ST incarnation) that happened to have somewhat similar setups. I don't know that I could pick one or the other as 'better'.

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Reply #21 on: December 01, 2009, 03:34:12 PM

I liked them both and you're right about brooks.  "in the pale moonlight" is one of the best star trek episodes of any franchise and worth watching.

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Reply #22 on: December 01, 2009, 03:41:09 PM

i dunno, I actually liked the Vorlons and the Shandow plot. It's probably still my favorite plot in sci-fi. The episdoe where they kill Kosh, and the episode where b5 breaks away from earth, are my all time favs.

I too watched this show again recently, the difference being I watched it on saturday night with some good friends as we drank, and our fun came from ripping apart the bad stuff it did. We still ended up liking it more than all the Star Treks (which we still like(.

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Reply #23 on: December 01, 2009, 04:19:36 PM

i dunno, I actually liked the Vorlons and the Shandow plot. It's probably still my favorite plot in sci-fi. The episdoe where they kill Kosh, and the episode where b5 breaks away from earth, are my all time favs.

Umm.  The death of Kosh and the station seceding are both from season three, and part of the Shadow War arc.  The Shadow War arc is solid.

We're bad mouthing the "Vorlons go crazy" and get kicked out of the galaxy plot from season four.  On a show where the main strength is building overarching story elements, it's badly done.  It invalidates the first three seasons of world and society building around the Vorlons, which includes the thousands of years of Minbari history on the Vorlons.

I don't see how, even if the series story wasn't advanced by a year because they thought that they were getting canceled after season four, you can tell this story and be consistent with the earlier seasons.


I watched a few episodes of season four last night.  I had completely forgotten about the "Garibaldi is brainwashed" plot.  Ugh.
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Reply #24 on: December 01, 2009, 04:58:39 PM

I think it could be done. The idea is that the Vorlons have actually been working the angle that ends in the big war all along; there just wasn't time in an accelerated 4th season to properly transition them from 'mysterious good guys' to 'heeeeey wait they're totally manipulating us' and make it credible.

Now that's not to say they'd have pulled it off, but I think it could have been done.

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Reply #25 on: December 01, 2009, 05:14:53 PM

The "Vorlons go crazy" part was very much part of the plan, and no, it doesn't invalidate the stuff from earlier season. The Vorlons always portrayed themselves to the younger races as angels, religious beings of mystery who were benevolent but really, they were out to control the evolution of the races just like the Shadows. The only difference was their methodology. When the First Ones went beyond the Rim, they left the Vorlons and Shadows as guardians of the universe and over time, these powerful beings got full of themselves, and started to believe their own hype. They started to see the Shadows not as compatriots with different ideas about how to do things but as "THE ULTIMATE EVIL." They were corrupted by their own self-righteousness - thus they saw any race with Shadow influence as corrupted by the ultimate evil, which could only be dealt with by fire. Kosh likely would have disagreed, saw it coming and had prepared Sheridan and DeLenn for the problem.

As for the costs, everyone had to pay a cost. Sheridan only got 20 years with Delenn, Ivanova lost Marcus without ever having the romance they deserved, and they all had to go through some bad shit after the Shadows left.

Now, granted, the 5th season was mostly crap beyond the final episode (which was filmed to go at the end of Season 4 in case Season 5 never happened - they were always on the knife's edge of renewal or cancellation). Claudia Christiansen got herself kicked off the show, the telepath war was never really dealt with to my satisfaction (though the tie-in novels on the telepath's history and the technomancers were REALLY GOOD), and the Drakh war with the Centauri didn't get nearly enough play. There was probably enough material for a sixth season, but he was deadset on only doing 5. Crusade might have helped that had it been given a chance to grow.

As for the similarities to Tolkien, those were mostly intentional.

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Reply #26 on: December 01, 2009, 05:26:46 PM

Everybody had to go through bad shit, but Sheridan and Delenn still lived happily ever after, relatively speaking. 20 years is more than most people get. (Definitely more than Marcus and Ivanova got!)

I really, really liked how the Vorlons were portrayed as just as "bad" as the Shadows. I think it would have been crazy WTF if it turned into Good Vorlons versus Evil Shadows. With the exception of Kosh, the Vorlons seemed like this hoity-toity over-controlling parent.

Edit: Yeah, Kosh was over-controlling too, but I think he realized it in the end when he let himself die.

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Reply #27 on: December 01, 2009, 06:16:48 PM

I think Mass Effect does a good job of telling the B5 storyline.  awesome, for real

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Reply #28 on: December 02, 2009, 05:00:12 AM

Season 1-3:  Babylon5 > DS9

After Sisko grew his beard and shaved his head, DS9 got leaps and bounds better and overshadowed Babylon 5.

Except Londo und G'kar. Those two were perfect from start to finish! I always thought Babylon 5 was the story of Londos rise, fall and redemption.
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Reply #29 on: December 02, 2009, 07:49:48 AM

I would much rather have had the Shadows and Vorlons turn out not to be so much good or bad as irremediably alien, gods knocking over anthills while fighting over shit that the ants don't even really understand and can't be translated meaningfully into terms that humans or Minbari or anyone else could understand. Which would have been another comeuppance for Delenn, among other things: to really have to face that she'd been shilling for a bunch of transcendent aliens who manipulated her and her entire species like they were clay, which is something that she really never did have to dwell on. Like I said, I thought JMS was kind of close to that as a possibility at the end of S3/beginning of S4, and then I think the script got away from him and the potential need to wrap the show in four seasons made him fumble some of the development of the arc and do some shorthand about Chaos and Order that felt very unsatisfying and trite.

I'd also almost have rather that he said no to a S5 once he knew that the whole arc's pacing was totally out of whack. The first half of S5 is so bad that it really affected my ability to remember the show fondly, the same way that a good fiction series with a terrible concluding volume tends to be like spoiled fruit. There are so many misfires in the first half of S5: Tracy Scoggins. Byron. Lyta. "A View From the Gallery". Even the 2nd half episodes are weaker than they should be until "The Fall of Centauri Prime".
Numtini
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Reply #30 on: December 03, 2009, 10:22:28 AM

It's almost impossible to really judge B5 anymore. We're used to arc shows now. In fact, I find it almost impossible to accept a show that doesn't have one, but wasn't this one of the first with a preplanned arc on US TV? And a lot of the political commentary revolves around the 1990s and I think it comes off as dated. One of the things this thread made me wonder about is how rewatchable BSG will be in 15 years. The acting is infinitely better, but there's a lot of 9/11 angst and Iraq occupation stuff in there. Will it age well?

S5 was a mistake. Better it just died. And S5 brought back all the bad casting. JMS just can't cast. He likes looking at wood and should stick to writing. I've heard his WW-Z script is fantastic, but they're apparently rewriting it. Oh and Tracy Scoggins is fantastic in the snarkaliciously cheesy Dante's Cove -- think Dark Shadows meets gay/lesbian porn.

If you can read this, you're on a board populated by misogynist assholes.
Johny Cee
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Reply #31 on: December 03, 2009, 11:19:06 AM

It's almost impossible to really judge B5 anymore. We're used to arc shows now. In fact, I find it almost impossible to accept a show that doesn't have one, but wasn't this one of the first with a preplanned arc on US TV? And a lot of the political commentary revolves around the 1990s and I think it comes off as dated. One of the things this thread made me wonder about is how rewatchable BSG will be in 15 years. The acting is infinitely better, but there's a lot of 9/11 angst and Iraq occupation stuff in there. Will it age well?

I was thinking about story arcs the other day...  Babylon 5 definitely pushed ideas into the mainstream, but I'm not sure arcs were entirely unheard of.  Aren't most soap operas arc based?  How about the old '80s evening dramas like Dallas?  

I really need to track down and watch Blake's 7....  That show is usually pegged as the major innovator for scifi television storytelling, including story arcs and characterization.


I think BSG will hold up pretty well.  It's actually more about morality and flawed characters.  Even the overt occupation stuff is told from the side of the terrorists, which makes it much more interesting.

The major difference between BSG and B5 is gray morality versus black/white morality.  Bab5 tended to have sides jump back and forth between white hats and black hats, excepting Londo (which is more a testament to how good that actor was).  There wasn't alot of ambiguity.  

 BSG had sympathetic flawed characters doing morally reprehensible things (crazy pirate Tigh and suicide bombings, Adama and Roslin's political manipulations).

Edit:

I am pretty disappointed at the missed opportunities around the Sheridan/Delenn/Rangers.  The Rangers are essentially a militarized messainic cult centered around the One, fighting against capital E Evil.  One of the other Minbari even points out that that never turns out well. 

But it gets played straight.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2009, 11:24:16 AM by Johny Cee »
Johny Cee
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Reply #32 on: December 03, 2009, 11:20:41 AM

You can now buy the entire Farscape series, minus the final miniseries, for $60 from Amazon.  I'm thinking this might be my next rewatch.
Der Helm
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Reply #33 on: December 03, 2009, 11:23:31 AM

BSG had sympathetic flawed characters doing morally reprehensible things (crazy pirate Tigh and suicide bombings, Adama and Roslin's political manipulations).

Hm, I somehow stopped watching BSG during Season 2 (I think) is it worth watching the rest ? Do the finish the storyline ?

"I've been done enough around here..."- Signe
Prospero
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Reply #34 on: December 03, 2009, 11:27:40 AM

You can now buy the entire Farscape series, minus the final miniseries, for $60 from Amazon.  I'm thinking this might be my next rewatch.
That causes me physical pain. I don't like to think about how much I spent to buy the series for my wife a couple years ago. It wasn't ST:TNG crazy, but it wasn't that far off.
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