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Old January 25 2010, 10:21 PM   #76
Kegg
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5

tomalak301 wrote: View Post
I'm reading this thread, and I'm starting to wonder if I was in a minority on a few things. For one, I like the characters (especially Ivanova, and was sad with Christian left)
I think I'm in the minority as far as Ivanova goes, at least among B5 fans. As far as the ensemble goes, well, it's a mixed bunch. G'Kar, Londo and Delenn would be the standouts for me, and I'll throw in Franklin as the token human. A lot of the rest I could just as easily live without, honestly (ok ok Lennier and Vir... wait they're still aliens.)

It's not as great as Farscape (Which I thought had better stories, actors, characters, and chemistry, and even though they had puppets, those puppets are more human than some other Scifi Characters),
Correct. B5 has puppets too, they just aren't very good. If GodBen is resentful there's no gorrilla bartender, well, just wait for the giant bug black market guy. *spoilers!*... he runs a black market.

stonester1 wrote: View Post
I only disagree on Farscape. Yes, it completely rocketh, but B5 is still tops in my book.
Has there ever been any Fiver-Scaper wars?

If not, can we start one now?
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Old January 25 2010, 10:28 PM   #77
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5

A Problem with having many writers is arcs start to lose focus. This is a problem I had with BSG (Among other things, since I think it's one of the most overrated shows in the last decade but that's a different topic). With B5, having one mind almost write the entire story, it kept things simple and straight to the point.
I had the same problem with BSG (that's one of the main complaints people always level against it), but I also had a problem with B5 because it represents the other extreme. Having one person lead the grand story is perfectly OK, but nothing demands that the same person writes almost every last script down to the details. He can just be the lead writer or producer or something in charge, writing the key episodes and supervising and approving the others. I think DS9's team (Piller/Behr/Wolfe/Moore) did a reasonable job with that.
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Old January 25 2010, 10:29 PM   #78
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5

Targeted jumppoints vs wormhole weapons....
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Old January 25 2010, 10:38 PM   #79
Kegg
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5

neozeks wrote: View Post
Having one person lead the grand story is perfectly OK, but nothing demands that the same person writes almost every last script down to the details.
True. Also, you know what else B5 coulda used? A 'previously on' tag at the start of every episode. Not something important for someone marathoning the show on home video but it could have helped when on TV.

Lindley wrote: View Post
Targeted jumppoints vs wormhole weapons....
Well I didn't mean in Star Trek v. Star Wars sort of way (typified by the stardestroyer.net fare where heroes who routinely defeat the Borg for a living are apparnetly helpless against an Empire which can't defeat teddy bears) but I'm game for that too.

My Peacekeeper Command Carrier is so much better than those Earth ships! Probably. I think. I bet Moya could starburst away in time, anyway. And Luxan warrior would so probably beat a Narn in close combat! Also, Hynerians would wrest any Centauri eating championships rather handily.
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Old January 25 2010, 11:04 PM   #80
Jan
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5

Kegg wrote: View Post
True. Also, you know what else B5 coulda used? A 'previously on' tag at the start of every episode. Not something important for someone marathoning the show on home video but it could have helped when on TV.
I've always wondered why they didn't do that. Something as targeted as the Buffy 'previously on' segments would have saved a whole lotta exposition for the poor actors.

As for minority views, I'm in the camp that could take or leave Ivanova. Didn't like the telepath who wasn't Lyta, either.

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Old January 25 2010, 11:06 PM   #81
Pemmer Harge
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5

tomalak301 wrote: View Post
I'm reading this thread, and I'm starting to wonder if I was in a minority on a few things. For one, I like the characters (especially Ivanova, and was sad when Christian left) even though there are a few issues I have here or there. I thought the chemistry between Garibaldi and Sinclair was pretty good, and really liked the chemistry between Christian and Boxlietner.

Also, while some things didn't work in the show, I thought for the most part, things were really tight and well rounded. A Problem with having many writers is arcs start to lose focus. This is a problem I had with BSG (Among other things, since I think it's one of the most overrated shows in the last decade but that's a different topic). With B5, having one mind almost write the entire story, it kept things simple and straight to the point. However, one thing I am starting to notice from Seasons 1-2 and 3-5 is that even though the station was 5 miles long, it felt very short. At least the first two seasons gave us some scope on daily life on the station, something that was ignored later on.

Still, after getting into this show last year and getting the DVDs and currently watching Season 4, I really do like it, and consider it one of the best shows ever.
Ditto to most of this, although I've yet to sample BSG. I've always really liked the characters on B5 (though Zack doesn't have much character development and it took me a while to warm up to Lyta) and I think the show did a good job on selling most of them to the audience early on. It also handled departures and new arrivals pretty well, although when Claudia Christian left after Season 4 she did leave something of a hole. The relationship between Sheridan and Ivanova was definitely something I missed once it was gone.

I personally prefer this show to anything in the Star Trek franchise by quite a wide margin.

That said, The Gathering is probably one of the worst episodes. The show improves by an almost ridiculous amount.
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Old January 25 2010, 11:09 PM   #82
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5

Dennis wrote: View Post
Harvey wrote: View Post
And that was the heavily re-written version of the script, too. But I'm not big on the first season, which basically comes down to six episodes that really matter and a lot of mediocre universe-building (which, in retrospect, has a little more value, but not a lot more). IMO.
Oh, there were seven or eight good episodes - stories only "matter" if they're good, not because they fit into and advance some kind of "arc." It doesn't help that the metastory in B5 was mediocre, derivative and ended in a sham climax ("Get out of our galaxy!").
Oh, I wouldn't disagree. I felt the arc you refer to didn't end properly (though I can forgive one stupid line, as it is in a sea of thousands). A few of my favorite episodes of the series are, indeed, standalones. But most of the standalones in the first season are terrible, and as such, don't matter much. Except as an academic exercise illustrating how to waste William Sanderson and David Warner at the same time.
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Old January 25 2010, 11:13 PM   #83
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5

Geez, people... How hard it is to avoid discussing spoilers???
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Old January 25 2010, 11:18 PM   #84
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5

Bloody hell, I'm swimming in posts! :lol

Originally posted by TheGodBen:

The Gathering (**½)

The epic series Babylon 5, from the epic genre writer J. Michael Straczynski, begins with an epic tale where the fate of ... a puppet is at stake.

The plot isn't that interesting, it's a typical whodunnit story involving shape-shifting and telepaths, the sort of safe, generic storytelling you'd see on Murder She Wrote. Okay, so maybe you're not going to see this sort of plot in Walker Texas Ranger, but for a science fiction show this episode feels very run of the mill. What sets the story apart is the political element involving the council deciding what to do with Sinclair, but even that is a bit simplistic for what is supposed to be a United Nations in space; it's just four people sitting at a desk voting in their own personal interests, they didn't even vote to create a committee to investigate whether they should hold a vote.
I agree. I missed The Gathering each time I did a run through of B5, and just went straight in at Midnight on the Firing Line, which is almost a second, much faster-paced pilot. When I finally got around to see The Gathering, I was a little bit scared.

The story definately plods, and the exposition throughout is painful at times. I don't think I need to watch it again, as I've said elsewhere in the thread. The score is right.

I'm still very confused about the Earth Alliance. It seems like Earth might be a military dictatorship, which I have no problem with from a story-telling point of view, I'm just unsure if that's the intention. The Earth ambassador to the council is a military officer rather than a diplomat, and when he is temporarily removed from command his XO on the station is appointed to the council in his place.
Nah, not a military dictatorship, which will become clearer in more focused episodes, like the next one. It does seem odd at first that the military would have a presence on a council, but Sinclair and the XO are trained. It's a neutral station for diplomacy.

Whenever I heard a particularly bad line in Voyager or Enterprise I'd check online for the script to make sure I have it right, then I'd take the piss out of it. But I can't find scripts for B5 online so I'm forced to get the DVD, find that scene, listen carefully and transcribe it myself. Well I'm too lazy to do that, so unless somebody knows of a shadowy site out of JMS's reach I'll be forced to work off my own memory, and after years of neglect my poor brain is struggling.
JMS released script books that were commercially available. They're a fantastic read, just prohibitavely expensive to pick up on eBay! It sucks, I know. Who mentioned Harlan Ellison?

I guess I should talk about the characters. Sinclair is interesting enough, his back-story is compelling and his personality isn't repugnant, so he's already a step-up on Archer.
Hee!

G'Kar looks like he could be interesting, so does Londo, Delenn not so much, not even when she wears her one ring to rule them all. Garibaldi? Meh, I couldn't possibly say. Takashima and Kyle seem quite dull, I'm glad they'll be fired for planting the coffee bean tree against regulations. (Does anybody else find it amusing that Takashima goes on a long rant about how it has been a long time since she has broken the rules only a minute after explaining that she broke the rules with the coffee bean tree?) But the stand-out character in this episode was Kosh! Wow, what an amazing performance, and he did it all without saying a word!
Yeah the more interesting characters grab you instantly. I love all the mystery of Kosh, and Sinclair. Ah, feeling all nostalgic for season 1 now! Takashima was a particularly useless character.


There wasn't as much gorilla bartender as I would have liked, but there was more than there ever was on DS9, so that's a big plus in favour of this show.
I thought Quark was somewhat gorilla-like?

I'm reneging on my decision not to have counters for this show...

Deep Swindle Nine: 1

Here's another: The first officer is a woman. This coincidence is too amazing to have happened by accident, females only make up 49.76% of the world's population, the odds are clearly against it.

Deep Swindle Nine: 2

In a similar vein, the doctor character on DS9 is a man. After TNG had two female doctors, what are the chances that they'd suddenly make their next doctor a man? It's too unlikely to be anything other than a deliberate steal.

Deep Swindle Nine: 3

This one will blow your mind: Sinclair. Sisko. Both begin with an S. But wait, there's more! Sinclair was a company which famously made the ZX-Spectrum computer, while Cisco is a company which makes networking equipment. What uses networking equipment? Computers!

Deep Swindle Nine: 4

Both station names end with a number. I was wary of this one at first because I used to believe that station names often have numbers at the end of them in Star Trek, such as Starbase 74 or Deep Space K-7. But then I saw this:



9 is just 5 with an extra line! Coincidence? I think not.

Deep Swindle Nine: 5


Finally, when the Vorlons arrived we saw B5 deploy its weapons. DS9 did a similar thing in The Way of the Warrior and Call to Arms. Check and mate.

Deep Swindle Nine: 6

(Though I say these things in jest, a part of me fears that these "arguments" might have seriously been used at some point during the flame wars.)


Glad you brought the funny.

Nice review. Now get watching!

And where is the KelKel avatar?

Last edited by Seven of Five; January 25 2010 at 11:25 PM. Reason: Big stupid head
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Old January 25 2010, 11:20 PM   #85
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5

Jan wrote: View Post
Yeah, JMS protects his copyrights. What would you expect, he and Harlan are good buddies.
There's a difference between copyright protection and what I feel JMS is doing in this case, which is using past works for further profit. It's his right to charge for them if he so pleases, and if somebody else was trying to profit from his works he should demand his money's worth, but that doesn't mean he has to pull down scripts which were once freely available to all so that the only way to access them is through purchasing them. I'd like to think that if I were a writer I wouldn't do that to my largely internet-focused fanbase, but I'm one of those degenerates that grew up with the internet and believes that everything should be free just so that I don't have to pay for it.
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Old January 25 2010, 11:27 PM   #86
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5

Which I totally disagree with. I find the sense of entitlement that comes from the internet generation dismaying, unbecoming and completely unrealistic.

JMS is a creator of ideas. If people wish to partake of them, they SHOULD have to pay, it's how he makes his living. I don't begrudge him that at all.

If you don't want to pay, don't pay. But don't act like JMS owes YOU his work for free. He doesn't.
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Old January 25 2010, 11:35 PM   #87
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5

Hyperspace05 wrote: View Post
Geez, people... How hard it is to avoid discussing spoilers???
People tend to take over threads like this and turn it into a discussion of the whole series, when really we should only be discussing TheGodBen's reviews and the episode in question. It happened in that other B5 thread, that recent Farscape thread, and the Dune thread.

Last edited by Hanukkah Solo; January 26 2010 at 12:16 AM.
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Old January 26 2010, 12:06 AM   #88
chrisspringob
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5

Hyperspace05 wrote: View Post
Geez, people... How hard it is to avoid discussing spoilers???
Agreed. People, the OP is only one episode in. Can't we restrict this to the stuff that he's already seen, and move other discussion to another thread? You may even be spoiling things by discussing which characters enter and exit the series at different times, as the TheGodBen doesn't necessarily know stuff like that.
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Old January 26 2010, 12:36 AM   #89
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5

Kegg wrote: View Post
As far as appeal goes, I think B5 is basically a cult show because you simply have to be willing to overlook a lot of problems, like acting, SFX, music and occasionally writing - be someone willing and inclined to appreciate the show for its broader scope and all that. Something like nuBSG isn't as good when it comes to the big picture and the answers to the big questions, but it's also rather superior in all of those other fiddly little details (which are far more important for any show on a day-to-day basis).
Heh. Great break down. Probably why, in the end, neither B-5 nor nuBSG really worked for me.

Balance, people. It's all about the balance.
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Old January 26 2010, 01:20 AM   #90
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5

I'm still very confused about the Earth Alliance. It seems like Earth might be a military dictatorship, which I have no problem with from a story-telling point of view, I'm just unsure if that's the intention. The Earth ambassador to the council is a military officer rather than a diplomat, and when he is temporarily removed from command his XO on the station is appointed to the council in his place.
Some of this will be revealed in due course, but I don't think it spoils anything to explain the basic set-up: -

The Earth Alliance is a "Multi-Tiered Democratic Republic", which basically means each member state within the Alliance (mostly old the superpowers or consortiums of what used to be third world countries) has a seat in the Earth Senate and a President ellected by popular vote.
Each member state (Russian Consortium, Chinese State, Central African Bloc, North American State, etc.) run their internal affairs more or less how they like and choose their representatives how they see fit, though within the bounds of EA laws.

B5, while in neutral space is an EA built station (with significant funding from the Minbari and to a lesser extent, the Centauri.) The "Babylon 5 Advisory Council" as you saw it is made up of the five "big powers" - Earth Alliance, Minbari Federation, Narn Regime, Centauri Republic & the Vorlon Empire - and the League of Non-Aligned Worlds. The League is made up of a dozen or so relatively minor powers and while each League world has an ambassador, the League itself get only one collective vote on the council, while the "Big Five" get one each. While many of these world have had diplomatic relations with each other in the past (the Vorlons being the most isolationist) it usually took the form of the odd trade agreement, single embassies and missions of the respective homeworlds or in a few cases, a declaration of war; this is the first time they've all had representatives in one place at the same time for a specific purpose.

The reason Sinclair is on the council and representing Earth is because B5 is under a military governorship. Not the same thing as a dictatorship because Sinclair's authority comes directly from the Earth Alliance President and on political and diplomatic matters is answerable to the Babylon 5 Senate Oversight Committee. All of which is separate from his authority and responsibility as an Earthforce officer.
It may seam a bit much for a mere Commander (lower in rank that a Starship Captain) and it is. The reasons behind this will be addressed down the road.
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