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Old October 6 2012, 03:24 PM   #16
Distorted Humor
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Re: Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

ATimson wrote: View Post
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Then again, I recommend folks who have lower tolerance for bad SF to start with season 2 - as I am a heathen.
On the one hand: noticeable quality increase.

On the other hand: you miss quite a bit of setup.

I'd say that while you could abbreviate season 1, omitting it entirely probably isn't a good idea. But you could cut it down to 8-10 episodes (depending on how many of Chekhov's guns you want to see hung, vs. just fired) without doing noticeable harm to the story.
I have thought the same. These 8 are some of the better episodes of season 1, and gets you to seasons 2-4 quickly.

"Midnight on the Firing Line"
"Mind War"
"And the Sky Full of Stars"
"Signs and Portents"
"A Voice in the Wilderness (Part 1)"
"A Voice in the Wilderness (Part 2)"
"Babylon Squared"
"Chrysalis"

Optional - Good episodes, and "The Quality of Mercy" is is not only has a fun B-plot, but introduces a major Chekhov's gun
"The Parliament of Dreams"
"Deathwalker" or "Believers"
"The Quality of Mercy"
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Old October 6 2012, 04:06 PM   #17
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Re: Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

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I got this DVD from the local library and was wondering which to watch first? I have never seen any B5 but I know that In the Beginning was made later but set before The Gathering so I'm not sure which to watch.
Different schools of thought

In The Beginning is a prequel, intended to be watched after you see most of the Series unfold, my opinion is that's best, so, you don't inadvertantly spoil anything.

JMS' opinion is it shouldn't damage your viewing pleasure to watch In The Beginning First

It is a rather fantastic Introduction to the Series, and a fantastic Movie, and since JMS says it won't hurt your enjoyment, it should be OK.

Definitely, on a rewatch, it is a Stellar First Episode, but, I still think (despite the Creator's opinion) it's best to watch it later on your first run through the Series.

It's definitely a movie that could help to more easily indoctrinate someone into B5 watching.
JMS' opinion is correct.

I still remember fifteen years later how annoyed I was when I first watched Babylon 5 (on VHS), and saved the movies for last, thinking that they had to be watched last, (Excepting, of course, The Gathering, that obviously being the first first season episode), only to discover that they take place at specific points in the storyline. In The Beginning should be seen before The Gathering.

It's even in the title.
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Old October 6 2012, 05:39 PM   #18
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Re: Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

Distorted Humor wrote: View Post
Optional - Good episodes, and "The Quality of Mercy" is is not only has a fun B-plot, but introduces a major Chekhov's gun
"The Parliament of Dreams"
"Deathwalker" or "Believers"
"The Quality of Mercy"
"The Quality of Mercy" should probably be watched, because when its A-plot is referenced later on in the series, it's almost incomprehensible without having seen the episode. I have an incredible soft spot for "The Parliament of Dreams," too, and "Deathwalker" gets a fairly important callback.

"Believers," however, is just so incredibly ham-fisted. It's got all the subtlety of a sledgehammer slamming into your skull, as though the script was originally titled "Baby's First Ethical Dilemma" or something.
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Old October 6 2012, 07:42 PM   #19
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Re: Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

Timby wrote: View Post
"Believers," however, is just so incredibly ham-fisted. It's got all the subtlety of a sledgehammer slamming into your skull, as though the script was originally titled "Baby's First Ethical Dilemma" or something.
Yea, but, on the other hand, for what it was, it was done far better and less cop out then anyone else would've done it
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Old October 6 2012, 08:21 PM   #20
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Re: Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

Timby wrote: View Post
Distorted Humor wrote: View Post
Optional - Good episodes, and "The Quality of Mercy" is is not only has a fun B-plot, but introduces a major Chekhov's gun
"The Parliament of Dreams"
"Deathwalker" or "Believers"
"The Quality of Mercy"
"The Quality of Mercy" should probably be watched, because when its A-plot is referenced later on in the series, it's almost incomprehensible without having seen the episode. I have an incredible soft spot for "The Parliament of Dreams," too, and "Deathwalker" gets a fairly important callback.

"Believers," however, is just so incredibly ham-fisted. It's got all the subtlety of a sledgehammer slamming into your skull, as though the script was originally titled "Baby's First Ethical Dilemma" or something.
I completely agree. "Belivers" has always struck me as a story that would have been more at home on TNG than Babylon 5. The scene between Sinclair and Franklin in the Rock garden in particular. I was SEEING Sinclair and Franklin, but I was HEARING Picard and Crusher.
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Old October 6 2012, 09:06 PM   #21
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Re: Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

ATimson wrote: View Post
I'd say that while you could abbreviate season 1, omitting it entirely probably isn't a good idea. But you could cut it down to 8-10 episodes (depending on how many of Chekhov's guns you want to see hung, vs. just fired) without doing noticeable harm to the story.
And, if you want Chekhov himself to be there as a gun is ung, you have to watch "Mind War."


RandyS wrote: View Post
Timby wrote: View Post
"The Quality of Mercy" should probably be watched, because when its A-plot is referenced later on in the series, it's almost incomprehensible without having seen the episode. I have an incredible soft spot for "The Parliament of Dreams," too, and "Deathwalker" gets a fairly important callback.
My problem with "The Quality of Mercy" is that it's a good episode, but not a great one. However, it hangs too many of Chekhov's guns to skip. The way I figure it, the episode was written to (a) hang the guns and (b) provide a break between "A Voice in the Wilderness" (both parts)/"Babylon Squared" and "Chrysalis," as the previous three episodes were very "heavy" and the season finale is, without being spoilerish, a bit of a game changer.

RandyS wrote: View Post
Timby wrote: View Post
"Believers," however, is just so incredibly ham-fisted. It's got all the subtlety of a sledgehammer slamming into your skull, as though the script was originally titled "Baby's First Ethical Dilemma" or something.
I completely agree. "Belivers" has always struck me as a story that would have been more at home on TNG than Babylon 5. The scene between Sinclair and Franklin in the Rock garden in particular. I was SEEING Sinclair and Franklin, but I was HEARING Picard and Crusher.
Though I don't picture Crusher in Franklin's spot. I could, conceivably see Pulaski being there. However, I could also see some deus ex machina somehow taking the story in a different direction than B5 went in.
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Old October 6 2012, 10:40 PM   #22
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Re: Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

Timby wrote: View Post
Distorted Humor wrote: View Post
Optional - Good episodes, and "The Quality of Mercy" is is not only has a fun B-plot, but introduces a major Chekhov's gun
"The Parliament of Dreams"
"Deathwalker" or "Believers"
"The Quality of Mercy"
"The Quality of Mercy" should probably be watched, because when its A-plot is referenced later on in the series, it's almost incomprehensible without having seen the episode. I have an incredible soft spot for "The Parliament of Dreams," too, and "Deathwalker" gets a fairly important callback.

"Believers," however, is just so incredibly ham-fisted. It's got all the subtlety of a sledgehammer slamming into your skull, as though the script was originally titled "Baby's First Ethical Dilemma" or something.
Well, the A plot device is mentioned in season 2, and is given enough explanation that no one i know had a hard time with it. Of course, it later used in a gut punch in 4.

But that as close as i am going to walk to spoilers.
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Old October 6 2012, 10:54 PM   #23
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Re: Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

RandyS wrote: View Post
Timby wrote: View Post
Distorted Humor wrote: View Post
Optional - Good episodes, and "The Quality of Mercy" is is not only has a fun B-plot, but introduces a major Chekhov's gun
"The Parliament of Dreams"
"Deathwalker" or "Believers"
"The Quality of Mercy"
"The Quality of Mercy" should probably be watched, because when its A-plot is referenced later on in the series, it's almost incomprehensible without having seen the episode. I have an incredible soft spot for "The Parliament of Dreams," too, and "Deathwalker" gets a fairly important callback.

"Believers," however, is just so incredibly ham-fisted. It's got all the subtlety of a sledgehammer slamming into your skull, as though the script was originally titled "Baby's First Ethical Dilemma" or something.
I completely agree. "Belivers" has always struck me as a story that would have been more at home on TNG than Babylon 5. The scene between Sinclair and Franklin in the Rock garden in particular. I was SEEING Sinclair and Franklin, but I was HEARING Picard and Crusher.
You might rewatch Ethics then beacause there's no way I could see that being a scene on TNG.
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Old October 6 2012, 11:33 PM   #24
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Re: Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

^The premise may have been very TNG-esq, but the resolution is something else altogether. I can't see TNG ever going down that road.

...DS9 maybe, but not TNG.
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Old October 6 2012, 11:54 PM   #25
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Re: Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

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^The premise may have been very TNG-esq, but the resolution is something else altogether. I can't see TNG ever going down that road.

...DS9 maybe, but not TNG.
I'm not sure it's really that important and there's no way I'd compare B5 to DS9, the rules of Star Trek post the Prime Directive pretty much guides DS9, Voyager and TNG.

Still though on topic, TNT audiences saw In The Beginning before seeing the rest of the series and it really didn't matter all that much to them.

And I've always thought the way movie moves from Sheridan to Sinclair to be alttle odd. For us long time fans we know who they are and what their roles in the storyline is but Sinclear really doesn't get a proper introduction in the movie nor does the movie tell the viewer what happened to Sheridan.
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Old October 7 2012, 07:43 AM   #26
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Re: Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

**SPOILERS**

In the Beginning suffers from the Same problem Revenge of the Sith. Instead of laying extra clues so that it's possible to watch them in chronological order without spoiling anything. Lucas in particular wasted half an hour of air time tying up loose ends that simply did not need tying up. Leave Anakin burning and presumed dead on the edge of the volcano, don't use the V word,don't show the birth of the children, DON'T KILL PADME FOR NO REASON EFFECTIVELY CONTRADICTING DIALOGUE FROM RETURN OF THE JEDI and don't underscore in fluorescent pink both the names of the children and where they end up.

The could have shown what happened on the Minbari ship without spelling things out I think.
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Old October 8 2012, 08:46 PM   #27
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Re: Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

I never understood the "skip episodes in season one or even the whole season to get to the good stuff in season 2." 90% of television series are going to be better in their second season. Doesn't mean they were bad in the first.
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Old October 8 2012, 09:20 PM   #28
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Re: Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

While that is probably true, it doesn't stop a lot of the first season from being lousy.
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Old October 8 2012, 10:57 PM   #29
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Re: Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

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While that is probably true, it doesn't stop a lot of the first season from being lousy.
Right. Look at Star Trek: The Next Generation, for example. Most of its first season is dogshit, outside of a handful of episodes, and the second season still had some major growing pains.
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Old October 9 2012, 12:07 AM   #30
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Re: Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

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I never understood the "skip episodes in season one or even the whole season to get to the good stuff in season 2." 90% of television series are going to be better in their second season. Doesn't mean they were bad in the first.
I know, right? To me a show's first season being generally the weakest is a *good* thing. It means it got better as it went along and didn't deteriorate with each subsequent season. Indeed, there are a number of notably mediocre/bad shows that pretty much fit that description. 'Earth: Final Conflict', 'Andromeda' and 'Sliders' leap to mind.
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