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Science Fiction & Fantasy Farscape, Babylon 5, Star Wars, Firefly, vampires, genre books and film.

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Old September 16 2013, 11:20 PM   #1
Mr Light
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Babylon 5: What If The Shadow War Came Last?

Sometimes when I'm at work I play around with the B5 episode list, rearranging the series to make it work better...

I was always disappointed that the series basically climaxes in 4X06 and that everything is basically an aftermath of that. I know that JMS wanted to show the beginning, middle, and aftermath of a war, but it's not dramatically satisfying.

So here's my version of the best possible B5. I basically tried to eliminate every bad episode. I condensed it into four seasons and incorporated the movies and novels as well.

In this version, events proceed normally up to "Ceremonies of Light and Dark", the halfway of the series. At this point in the aired showed, the Clark/Earth storyline abruptly disappears from the series and it becomes about the Shadows. Earth conveniently doesn't really do anything until after the Shadow War is over, then that storyline resumes. Sheridan builds the greatest ever alliance of races to win the Shadow War... then they don't really do anything until the Clark War ends and then the Alliance comes into being.

In my version, the Clark/Earth storyline continues from 3X11 to its end point. The Earth and Minbari civil wars are resolved prior to the Shadow attack. Then the Shadow War begins.

I extend the Shadow War so that it's not prematurely condensed because JMS thought the show was getting cancelled. More space for active conflict with the Vorlons and the Shadows, more time to learn more about Lorien and the First Ones.

Because of this timing, the Centauri being on trial in Season Five is not for attacks on shipping lanes, but for their active complicity with the Shadows.

By including the novels into the series proper, we can finally have the REAL ending of the show within the series... the Centauri Prime Trilogy which resolves the entire Centauri/Drakh/Londo/G'Kar/Vir storyline.

Oh, and Byron's only in two episodes

101 The Gathering 1
102 The Gathering 2
103 Midnight on the Firing Line
104 Parliament of Dreams
105 Sky Full of Stars
106 Deathwalker
107 Signs and Portents
108 Voice in Wilderness 1
109 Voice in Wilderness 2
110 Babylon Squared
111 Crystalis
112 Points of Departure
113 Revelations
114 Geometry of Shadows
115 Coming of Shadows
116 GROPOS
117 All Alone in the Night
118 Acts of Sacrifice
119 And Now For A Word
120 Shadow of Z’ha’dum
121 Divided Loyalties
122 Long Twilight Struggle

201 Fall of Night
202 Matters of Honor
203 Come the Inquisitor
204 Convictions
205 Day in Strife
206 Voices Authority
207 Dust to Dust
208 Messages From Earth
209 Point of No Return
210 Severed Dreams
211 Ceremonies Light Dark
212 Sic Transit Vir
213 Late Delivery Avalon
214 Atonement 1 Originally, this was supposed to be a multi-episode arc in S4. It got squished in the cancel crunch, then
215 In the Beginning 2 when he got the TNT movies he went back to fill in what he skipped over.
216 In the Beginning 3
217 Lines of Communication
218 Thirdspace Would have been cool to encounter the Thirdspace invasion while the Vorlons were still around
219 Rumors Bargains Lies
220 Battle of Minbari Have you noticed that in the great Minbari Civil War we never actually see them fight each other?!?!?!
221 Moments of Transition
222 No Surrender No Retreat

301 Exercise Vital Powers
302 Long Night Londo
303 Face of the Enemy
304 Between Darkness Light 1 The Ivanova / Shadow Destroyer battle
305 Day of Dead
306 Interludes Real Time
307 Dark Light 2 Rescuing Sheridan
308 End Game
309 Rising Stars
310 Kingdom of Blind
311 Phoenix Rising
311 War Without End 1
313 War Without End 2
314 Grey 17 is Missing
315 Ship of Tears
316 Interludes Examinations
317 Walkabout
318 Rock Cried Out
319 Technomage 1 Flashback to what the Technomages did in Season One
320 Technomage 2 Flashback to what the Technomages did in Season Two
321 Shadow Dancing
322 Z’ha’dum

401 Hour of the Wolf
402 What Happened to Mr G?
403 Technomage 3 We flashback to the events of "Z'ha'dum" from Galen's POV
404 The Summoning
405 Falling Toward Apotheosis
406 Apotheosis 2 More screen time for Ulkesh!
407 The Long Night
408 Into the Fire More screen time for actually attacking the Vorlons. more First Ones and Lorien.
409 Into Fire 2
410 Epiphanies
411 Darkness Rising
412 All My Dreams Torn Asunder The Centauri are held on trial for working with the Shadows.
413 Centauri War Battle The Centauri "War" sure didn't last long. Let's get a proper huge battle in there.
414 Movements Fire Shadow
415 Fall Centauri Prime
416 Wheel of Fire Three episodes of the characters saying goodbye to each other? "Skip to the end"
417 Centauri Prime 1 Londo and Vir in the years after the show ended
418 Call to Arms 1
419 Call to Arms 2
420 Centauri Prime 2
421 Centauri Prime 3 Twenty years in the future, the climax of the Centauri/Drakh storyline
422 Sleeping in Light

Your thoughts?
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Last edited by Mr Light; September 17 2013 at 02:23 AM.
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Old September 16 2013, 11:39 PM   #2
Reverend
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Re: Babylon 5: What If The Shadow War Came Last?

I was always disappointed that the series basically climaxes in 4X06 and that everything is basically an aftermath of that. I know that JMS wanted to show the beginning, middle, and aftermath of a war, but it's not dramatically satisfying.
Of course it's subjective, but I prefer it the way it is. Remember that the story isn't about the Shadow War, or the Narn-Centauri War, or Earth Alliance Civil War. It's about a place and the people who lived and worked there against the *backdrop* of a brief maelstrom of history. Because of this, I don't believe it would have worked better if the climax had been the way you propose.

For one thing, dealing with Earth before the Shadows is just plain odd since Earth was essentially as much in the Shadow's pocket as was Centauri Prime. Also, it'd make no sense for the AoL to take time out from countering an all out assault on the League worlds to sort out one mostly insular rogue state--yeah, in this war, Earth was North Korea.

Another problem is that the set-up wouldn't work as well either. Placing 'Severed Dreams' a full season earlier would dramatically truncate the slow creep of a totalitarian regime, which was a major theme of the show.

For my money, the only real weakness of the show's overall pacing is down to the show makers having to adapt on the fly to external events--the slight compression of the civil war arc when they thought the show was cancelled, Claudia Christian's unexpected departure and the loss of the original season 5 notes all conspired to throw things off.

Short answer: IMO a better order would have been the one initially intended.

I extend the Shadow War so that it's not prematurely condensed because JMS thought the show was getting cancelled. More space for active conflict with the Vorlons and the Shadows, more time to learn more about Lorien and the First Ones.
As far as I'm aware, the Shadow War wasn't compressed at all, it was all in the latter half with the Earth and Minbari civil wars. Indeed I think the season finale would have been 'Intersections in Real Time', so we're only talking three or four extra episodes.
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Old September 17 2013, 12:29 AM   #3
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Re: Babylon 5: What If The Shadow War Came Last?

My main dissatisfaction with the show is that JMS dogmatically stuck to the one season = one year formula in the fifth season. Had he expanded the canvas somewhat, the series could have actually told the stories that it could only hint at and have avoided all the lousy one-offs.
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Old September 17 2013, 12:59 AM   #4
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Re: Babylon 5: What If The Shadow War Came Last?

From what I understand, there was no truncation of the Shadow War due to Cancellation fears. I believe, only the final four of S4 (Not including Deconstruction of Falling Stars) were truncated, they were meant to stretch out into the first couple/few episodes of S5. On the flipside, Byron and his people would've started flowing in, in the background at the end of S4, so there would've been a smoother transitition between Seasons/Plot lines. Then of course, there is Ivanova's originally intended S5 Arc.

Putting those things back, is about all I'd change and I wouldn't want to lose Deconstruction of Falling Stars, I know some don't like it, but, many of us like it quite a bit.
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Old September 17 2013, 02:15 AM   #5
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Re: Babylon 5: What If The Shadow War Came Last?

He did say "Into the Fire" would have been a two parter originally.

I'm expanding the Shadow War because it's my favorite part of the series. For me, the show was about the Shadows and Vorlons. I want more more more Thank god for the Technomage Trilogy, it really filled in a lot of questions about them.
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Old September 17 2013, 02:45 AM   #6
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Re: Babylon 5: What If The Shadow War Came Last?

Mr Light wrote: View Post
He did say "Into the Fire" would have been a two parter originally.

I'm expanding the Shadow War because it's my favorite part of the series. For me, the show was about the Shadows and Vorlons. I want more more more Thank god for the Technomage Trilogy, it really filled in a lot of questions about them.
Thanks, I don't recall hearing that about Into The Fire.

Oh, and I agree it would be awesome to have the Books put onscreen. I'd want those as after the show Proper MiniSeries. I think each Trilogy could easily make up a 3 Part Mini (2 - 3 hours a part, with Commercials, so basically three double length or longer Episodes per Trilogy). I'd also like to give To Dream in the City of Sorrows and The Shadow Within, a movie a piece, ala In The Beginning.
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Old September 17 2013, 03:35 AM   #7
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Re: Babylon 5: What If The Shadow War Came Last?

Yeah I've often said over the years that if they were ever to make a new series or mini based on existing B5 material, the Psi Corps Trilogy would be *ideal*. Three separate yet closely connected stories, mostly takes place on Earth, very few characters from the show (none at all in book 1.)

Sadly though I think Walter's days of playing Bester are gone. From what I've seen of him, he's looking very frail these days.
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Old September 17 2013, 03:45 AM   #8
Mr Light
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Re: Babylon 5: What If The Shadow War Came Last?

I don't have it on me but I also have a five year version of this plan, which includes "Dream in City of Sorrows" and "Shadow Within" and "In Valen's Name" episodes. Valen's Name, for those who don't know, was a 3 issue comic book showing the gang discovering an ancient Babylon 4 in present day with some flashbacks to Sinclair-as-Valen.
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Old September 17 2013, 04:16 AM   #9
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Re: Babylon 5: What If The Shadow War Came Last?

Speaking of Valen, although I love where B5 went, I remember being disappointed at first when War Without End ended and the show didn't continue with Valen scenes in the past alongside the main storyline.
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Old September 17 2013, 03:45 PM   #10
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Re: Babylon 5: What If The Shadow War Came Last?

Mr Light wrote: View Post
Oh, and Byron's only in two episodes

Your thoughts?
My thoughts are that's still two too many.
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Old September 17 2013, 04:13 PM   #11
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Re: Babylon 5: What If The Shadow War Came Last?

RandyS wrote: View Post
Mr Light wrote: View Post
Oh, and Byron's only in two episodes

Your thoughts?
My thoughts are that's still two too many.
Heh, I would think even people who hate Byron's character with every fiber of their being would still appreciate the Barbecue Episode. "We will all come together in a better place, a better place..."
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Old September 17 2013, 06:39 PM   #12
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Re: Babylon 5: What If The Shadow War Came Last?

Dismember Byron!
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