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Old September 13 2012, 03:39 PM   #1
Dream
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I liked DS9 and the Dominion War, would I like Babylon 5?

I'm rewatching TNG right now, and want to try something new after I finish that, before starting my DS9 rewatch.

I've heard a lot about Babylon 5. Is it really similar to DS9 as space station shows? How is the acting and is it as arc heavy as what DS9 became in its later seasons? I keep hearing that B5's first season and last season were really weak, can they be skipped?
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Old September 13 2012, 03:50 PM   #2
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Re: I liked DS9 and the Dominion War, would I like Babylon 5?

Babylon 5 is amazing... it simply is...

the first season can be a bit slow to get into, as it's quite heavy going at times, with some arc and storylines that won't be finished up for another season or so...

But if you have the time, it's seriously worth getting into... it's not a series where you can skip through it though, it's one where every episode counts towards the overall storyline... a fantastic marathon though

I wouldn't really compare it to DS9 though, despite the space station fact, they are very different shows with extremely different arcs and ideas.

Go into it with a fresh perspective, and you'll find yourself loving the characters and storylines very quickly

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Old September 13 2012, 03:59 PM   #3
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Re: I liked DS9 and the Dominion War, would I like Babylon 5?

Dream wrote: View Post
I'm rewatching TNG right now, and want to try something new after I finish that, before starting my DS9 rewatch.

I've heard a lot about Babylon 5. Is it really similar to DS9 as space station shows? How is the acting and is it as arc heavy as what DS9 became in its later seasons? I keep hearing that B5's first season and last season were really weak, can they be skipped?
All loaded questions.

At the time DS9 and Babylon5 aired, there was a rivalry between many of the fans of each, some have never gotten over that, and love one, while detesting the other.

They were indeed both set on a Space Station and some things happened in both shows, to where one set of fans would accuse the other show of copying.

I personally believe each show was fueled by the other, making both of them better for it.

B5, S1, has an awful lot of Universe building and putting "Checkov's Guns" on the wall. You can't tell until later, so, on a first watch, you may not appreciate some of the early episodes as much as you would watching them again after having seen the entire show, where you can see just how much was foreshadowed early on. I would definitely not suggest skipping S1 (Nor S5).

B5 S5 - At the end of S4, it was believed the show was going to be cancelled, so JMS rushed some plot developments to conclude themselves at the end of S4, therefore S4 ends with an all high adrenaline high. TNT came along and renewed B5 for a S5, but, by this late hour, S4 was already in the can. Some of the things tied up in the final 4 episodes of S4, were meant to continue a few episodes into S5, and some of the stuff in early S5 was meant to start before S4 ended, giving the show a smoother structure. Having ended S4 in such an extravaganza, this caused S5 to have a "start Up" feeling for the first half (Plus some folks just hate that early S5 arc anyways), and there was also some behind the scenes issues, such as an Actress not signing on in time, and having to be replaced by a different character, causing JMS to ahve alter some of the characters taking certain parts of the arc. IMHO, though, the Second half of S5 is every bit as good as the best of Babylon 5 (Generally seen as S3 and S4).

Regarding the acting, I don't think there was any problem with the acting from the principle cast, some of them are phenomenal, and even the couple of actors who aren't the greatest actors, were well cast for their part, IMHO. Alot of the dialogue is formal stage-like, so, some folks take that as being poor acting. There are many exceptional guest stars, and a few not so great guest stars

So, I would say, if you can just let yourself flow with the show, without wanting to "Rush the progression of the Arc", you will be well rewarded. If you watch S1 and half way through S2, and still haven't found any enjoyment in it, then S3, S4 and the second half of S5 probably won't change your mind. If you do get halfway through S2 and are still on board, you are in for some awesomeness, through most of the rest of the Series.

B5 and DS9 are number #1 and #2 of my list of favorite shows.

There is very little dropped before playing out, and almost nothing that comes out of nowhere. It's pretty much all foreshadowed, and what's foreshadowed generally plays out, only a couple of things didn't work out because of behind the scenes issues, and the arc was generally diverted another direction to get it back on course.
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Old September 13 2012, 04:01 PM   #4
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Re: I liked DS9 and the Dominion War, would I like Babylon 5?

I don't like comparing the two myself, especially not in the sense of which is a "better" show. It's apples and oranges to me; B5 is a great example of how a tv show can work very well when it's pre-conceived and plotted out from the beginning. DS9 didn't have that advantage, and sometimes it shows...but then, doesn't that make it more impressive when it holds together well despite not having been pre-planned?

Anyway, I think B5 is definitely worth a watch, though much of S1 can be skipped IMO; much of the (often minor) arc-building that occurs in that season may be more fun in retrospect than during a first run. S5 is also less than stellar during the first half, though it picks up with a vengeance later in the season.

Then there's the spin-offs...
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Old September 13 2012, 04:24 PM   #5
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Re: I liked DS9 and the Dominion War, would I like Babylon 5?

Thanks for all the comments, guys.

I survived the first two seasons of TNG. I can survive the first season of B5 I guess.

I enjoy both episodic (TNG) and arc heavy (DS9) Sci Fi shows as long as they are done well. I keep hearing about B5, but never been able to check it out until now. I recently saw the lower prices on Amazon for the B5 dvd sets. Looks like they also repackaged the sets into better thinner dvd cases too! Why can't Paramount be as nice with Trek?
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Old September 13 2012, 04:25 PM   #6
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Re: I liked DS9 and the Dominion War, would I like Babylon 5?

it's worth it... if you enjoy arc heavy shows, then you'll love B5...

it's got some absolutely hilarious scenes, and some that are very dark and meaningful... including one of quite possibly the most unnerving death scenes i've ever witnessed lol

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Old September 13 2012, 05:12 PM   #7
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Re: I liked DS9 and the Dominion War, would I like Babylon 5?

I consider DS9 as the best Trek show (yes.. even better than TNG or TOS! ) and with B5 you get the same level of amazing characters and a huge storyline that gets built up slowly but steadily.

Back when it was originally aired i was glued to my seat as a teenager and luckily the internet was still in its infancy so the chance of being spoilered was quite low.

Personally i think most DS9 actors were better than the ones in B5 but the character arcs of Londo Mollari and G'Kar that span the entirety of B5 are just epic.

If you liked DS9 you will definitely enjoy B5.. get past season 1, the occasional bad filler episode and the outdated CGI scenes and enjoy the story.
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Old September 13 2012, 05:31 PM   #8
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Re: I liked DS9 and the Dominion War, would I like Babylon 5?

It's true that there's a lot of weak episodes in Babylon 5, but if you can trundle through the first season of TNG to get to the good years, you'll probably have sufficient cheese tolerance for Babylon 5's first year. Even at its best the show will never look like it costs a lot, and it's true there's mawkish and self-congratulatory elements in JMS's writing that can become grating over time... but honestly by and large, warts and all, B5 is a hell of a show and if you're a big fan of space opera - especially serialized space opera, and especially DS9 - it's worth a look.
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Old September 13 2012, 05:33 PM   #9
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Re: I liked DS9 and the Dominion War, would I like Babylon 5?

My answer would be simply: yes.
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Old September 13 2012, 06:57 PM   #10
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Re: I liked DS9 and the Dominion War, would I like Babylon 5?

Yeah, go for it.
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Old September 13 2012, 09:11 PM   #11
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Re: I liked DS9 and the Dominion War, would I like Babylon 5?

Depends.

The acting is very hit or miss and the production values aren't even on par with the original Star Trek.

It was done on a pretty tight budget and, unfortunately, it shows.
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Old September 13 2012, 09:15 PM   #12
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Re: I liked DS9 and the Dominion War, would I like Babylon 5?

My two pence worth. I love DS9 and I love Babylon 5, and I think I'd pretty much conccur with what most people have said, chances are if you liked one you'll like the other.

The first season is the show at its weakest, but as has been stressed, the groundwork is laid for some fantastic twists and turns, and even if you don't think much of S1 after seeing it, I guarantee by seasons 2 and 3 you'll be looking back and realising what you thought was throwaway stuff wasn't that at all.
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Old September 13 2012, 09:22 PM   #13
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Re: I liked DS9 and the Dominion War, would I like Babylon 5?

Season 1 is okay. I remember seeing it and thinking 'this is just Star Trek on a space station, interesting SFX but I don't see it lasting,' However, it picked up as it went along. But it was only really during S2 that I got interested (even though I preferred Michael O'Hare to Bruce Boxleitner). And then I got hooked.

As has been said, a lot of the dialogue is hokey as hell (and speaking of which, JMS must have typed the word 'hell' about 10 zillions times when he was writing the show) - The West Wing it is not. The acting is generally either wooden or hammy, with a few notable exceptions (Katsulas, Mumy - Jurasik was enjoyable but fairly hammy, IMHO).

I don't agree that the production values made it look bad - I'm aware of how low budget it was but I think it looks fine for that and I think that their aliens looked a lot more diverse and, well, alien than most Michael Westmore designs.

Seasons 2 - 4 were some of the best sci-fi ever seen on tv at the time, even if I think that DS9 ultimately did surpass it, with its final few seasons. Sadly, JMS, fearing cancellation, rolled his original ideas for Season 5 into the last half of S4 and there was a rushed feel to the end of it (even if it still pretty much rocked).

Season 5 was somewhat redundant as a result and adds little to the mythos but the final episode (filmed during shooting for Season 4) is wonderful.

All in all, I'd say go for it.
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Old September 13 2012, 09:37 PM   #14
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Re: I liked DS9 and the Dominion War, would I like Babylon 5?

Ian Keldon wrote: View Post
My answer would be simply: yes.
So would mine.

You want to try something interesting? Try one episode of DS9 and Babylon 5 a day together until they run out.

That's how I saw Babylon 5 for the first time in the summer of 1999, and the results were....interesting to say the least. Particularly if, like me, you were a first time viewer of B5 and had followed DS9 from day one. Of course, this was before DVD's, there were tapes EVERYWHERE.

As far as the rivialry between fans goes, let me only say that while I can see both sides of the argument, it's really a non issue since I got two excellent sci-fi shows to watch out of the deal.
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Old September 13 2012, 09:39 PM   #15
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Re: I liked DS9 and the Dominion War, would I like Babylon 5?

i'm the same...

when it comes to the 'rivalry', i quite happily sit on the fence and love both shows

just don't go into B5 thinking things are roughly the same size as in DS9... one thing you have to get used to in B5, is the scale things are built to...

take the B5 station for example... it's 5 miles long, compared to DS9 with a 0.9 mile diameter...

Ships follow the same rule... the standard exploration class ship in B5 is about 4 miles long, give or take... with rotational sections set throughout for gravity

M
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