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Old October 9 2012, 12:17 AM   #31
Kegg
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Re: Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

Honestly I was recommended by B5 fans to watch In the Beginning first, and while it spoiled me, it also basically gave me a reason to keep watching through the first year. So there is something to just watching that (or a selective viewing of the first season boiled down the 'essential' episodes, which is the approach that the AV Club's recent Babylon 5 reviews have suggested).

Reverend wrote: View Post
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.
Relatively, sure. But that a show gets better can be reason to stick with it during a rocky first year that doesn't excuse the first year from being in many respects really terrible.

You want a show to get better, but you'd prefer it (ideally) to also not get really bad. TNG's been mentioned, and I love that show too, and that show had a pretty dreadful first year, and just because the series really put itself back together in its third year on TV doesn't mean it had to be as bad as it started out as.
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Old October 9 2012, 01:54 AM   #32
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Re: Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

^
Heroes

I definitely think with Babylon 5 it was a result of JMS writing a novel for television. While the first few chapters of a novel do have to hook you, how many people say, "Oh, that's a great book, I loved the first few chapters."
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Old October 9 2012, 03:03 AM   #33
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Re: Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

Kegg wrote: View Post
(or a selective viewing of the first season boiled down the 'essential' episodes, which is the approach that the AV Club's recent Babylon 5 reviews have suggested).
I ranted about that suggestion at the time too. Season one is what hooked me on to the show. I don't buy the assertion that it's not a good season. Of course I like "Infection" so what do I know. But I managed to hook two of my friends on B5 with the first six or so episodes.
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Old October 9 2012, 03:46 AM   #34
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Re: Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

shivkala wrote: View Post
^
Heroes

I definitely think with Babylon 5 it was a result of JMS writing a novel for television. While the first few chapters of a novel do have to hook you, how many people say, "Oh, that's a great book, I loved the first few chapters."
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Old October 10 2012, 01:09 AM   #35
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Re: Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

^The exception that proves the rule?
Kegg wrote: View Post
Reverend wrote: View Post
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.
Relatively, sure. But that a show gets better can be reason to stick with it during a rocky first year that doesn't excuse the first year from being in many respects really terrible.

You want a show to get better, but you'd prefer it (ideally) to also not get really bad. TNG's been mentioned, and I love that show too, and that show had a pretty dreadful first year, and just because the series really put itself back together in its third year on TV doesn't mean it had to be as bad as it started out as.
Oh I agree, but it's a bit of an 'apples & oranges' comparison. First off: B5's first season wasn't *anywhere* near as dire as either of TNG's first two years. I mean those were legitimately horrible overall.
Secondly, the reason B5's first season was weak by comparison to the later ones wasn't a result of the same total lack of direction and oversight that plagued early TNG. It was mostly down to what I'd call an acceptable degree of growing pains coupled with a rather unfortunate BTS squabble.

Really, there are only two, perhaps three genuinely *bad* episodes in the entirety of B5's first season, a bunch of so-so and some downright excellent ones. With TNG I honestly can't name a single season one episode that I enjoyed. Indeed most were either pretty awful or utterly forgettable.

So, while yes, B5 made a few missteps very early on, the writing was by-and-large consistently good and I think, most importantly, the characters were consistently written. In TNG, characterisation was all over the map and it only got better when someone finally took a firm grasp of the reigns behind the scenes.
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Old October 10 2012, 01:29 AM   #36
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Re: Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

I still find complaints about TNG's first season rather strange, the ratings were high and they won a Peabody Award for The Big Goodbye. If anything their problems seem to come from trying to make an emsemble series and the series worked better after they lost Tasha Yar. The first season of TNG also suffered from a ravolving door of writers.

Still just I'd stated in the Stargate forum even B5 needed more than one season to really get started.

Staying on topic though In The Beginning can stand by itself, it was after all the movie of the week so to speak and plenty of people saw it without prior knowledge of the series. It works better in conjuction with the series but for the most part it works just fine on it's own.
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Old October 10 2012, 01:59 AM   #37
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Re: Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

On my recent re-watch of Babylon 5, I did hold off on "In the Beginning," for one, because I couldn't find my VHS tape of it and for another, I personally like watching it later on in the run. I personally don't agree with JMS as I think some things, such as the parts with Sheridan only work later in the series. Otherwise, you "meet" him and he becomes a focal point of the movie, but never appears again until Season 2.

Then there's the big mystery of Season 1, what happened to Sinclair on the Battle of the Line. "In the Beginning" spoils that.

I can see the argument for watching "In the Beginning" first on a re-watch. However, I don't think it's something you should watch before starting the series.
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Old October 10 2012, 02:18 AM   #38
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Re: Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

Reverend wrote: View Post
^The exception that proves the rule?
Kegg wrote: View Post
Reverend wrote: View Post
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.
Relatively, sure. But that a show gets better can be reason to stick with it during a rocky first year that doesn't excuse the first year from being in many respects really terrible.

You want a show to get better, but you'd prefer it (ideally) to also not get really bad. TNG's been mentioned, and I love that show too, and that show had a pretty dreadful first year, and just because the series really put itself back together in its third year on TV doesn't mean it had to be as bad as it started out as.
Oh I agree, but it's a bit of an 'apples & oranges' comparison. First off: B5's first season wasn't *anywhere* near as dire as either of TNG's first two years. I mean those were legitimately horrible overall.
Secondly, the reason B5's first season was weak by comparison to the later ones wasn't a result of the same total lack of direction and oversight that plagued early TNG. It was mostly down to what I'd call an acceptable degree of growing pains coupled with a rather unfortunate BTS squabble.

Really, there are only two, perhaps three genuinely *bad* episodes in the entirety of B5's first season, a bunch of so-so and some downright excellent ones. With TNG I honestly can't name a single season one episode that I enjoyed. Indeed most were either pretty awful or utterly forgettable.

Babylon 5 is not as bad as some make it out to be, as it had to start from scratch. Now TNG did have some quality episodes in its first season (The Big Goodbye, Conspiracy , and The Neutral Zone are three off the top of my head that are of high quality) and there is a core of decent episodes in season 1 (along with painfully bad episodes) Actually both series are kinda the same in having a lukewarm season one, then a strong run, (though TNG strong run starts at season 3) then the last season is lukewarm.
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Old October 10 2012, 09:01 PM   #39
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Re: Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

off-topic - did you ever finish season 5? I recall your review thread stopping in the middle of it. There's quite a chunk of story missing if you haven't yet watched the run from "Meditations on the Abyss" onwards.
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Old October 10 2012, 09:05 PM   #40
Kegg
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Re: Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

There's way more than two or three 'bad' episodes in the first season of Babylon 5. From my last run-through I still have the impression that most episodes are mediocre or worse, so the comparison to TNG's first two years is not made lightly. There's nothing quite as bad as say "Code of Honor" or "Up the Long Ladder" but nothing quite as good as "The Measure of a Man", so that balances out.
JoeD80 wrote: View Post
Kegg wrote: View Post
(or a selective viewing of the first season boiled down the 'essential' episodes, which is the approach that the AV Club's recent Babylon 5 reviews have suggested).
I ranted about that suggestion at the time too. Season one is what hooked me on to the show.
It is a season that begins pretty dreadfully, "The Gathering" is also pretty bad, it's mostly seriously subpar and quite frankly if I went into Babylon 5 just starting with the first season there's a very good chance I would have simply dropped it (as indeed many have).

And the AV Club reviewer provides his recommendation of essential episodes in acknowledgement of the fact that many people have tried to watch the first season, found it crap and gave up... nor is he actually physically stopping anyone from watching the show however they like.

So it's a position that makes absolute sense. What worked for you doesn't work for everyone and vice versa.
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Old October 10 2012, 09:21 PM   #41
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Re: Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

If they find the first season crap, then Babylon 5 likely isn't their kind of show. Sorry, not buying "absolute sense."
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Old October 10 2012, 11:03 PM   #42
Kegg
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Re: Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

JoeD80 wrote: View Post
If they find the first season crap, then Babylon 5 likely isn't their kind of show. Sorry, not buying "absolute sense."
...you might have missed the part where I said I probably would not have stuck with the show based on the first season.

Obviously if I'm arguing for the value of the AV Club's approach, I must be someone who thinks the series improved later on and that watching the show was not a complete waste of time.

So I do not follow where your problem is.
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Old October 10 2012, 11:10 PM   #43
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Re: Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

Kegg wrote: View Post
JoeD80 wrote: View Post
If they find the first season crap, then Babylon 5 likely isn't their kind of show. Sorry, not buying "absolute sense."
...you might have missed the part where I said I probably would not have stuck with the show based on the first season.

Obviously if I'm arguing for the value of the AV Club's approach, I must be someone who thinks the series improved later on and that watching the show was not a complete waste of time.

So I do not follow where your problem is.
I don't know why, because I enjoyed B5 S1, for the most part, from the get go, but, yea, S1 is struggle for alot of people to get through. There were a few episodes in S1, I didn't care for in first run (most of them I found a new appreciation for on rewatches, being able to see how they fit into the picture as a whole, and being able to seperate A stories that weren't so good from B stories that were [IE: TKO for instance])
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Old October 11 2012, 03:50 AM   #44
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Re: Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

JoeD80 wrote: View Post
off-topic - did you ever finish season 5? I recall your review thread stopping in the middle of it. There's quite a chunk of story missing if you haven't yet watched the run from "Meditations on the Abyss" onwards.
I am finishing a ds9 run then i am going on a B5 run and finishing out. I got worn down by the telepath arc, as it was the worse bit of B5.
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Old October 15 2012, 04:09 AM   #45
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Re: Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

Kegg wrote: View Post
So I do not follow where your problem is.
Pretty sure I iterated it above already. Just because the later seasons are better doesn't negate the quality of the first season. Anything else I say is me going around in circles again.
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