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Old January 26 2010, 02:13 AM   #91
RandyS
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5

sojourner wrote: View Post
You can skip season 5, it's the definition of "tacked on".
Season 5 wasn't bad. Just the Byron stuff. That shit was the definition of bad.
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Old January 26 2010, 02:20 AM   #92
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5

A couple of points:

If the OP wishes discussion of spoilers to be verboten, he can request that. Until he does though, it's free and open, so please don't get too bent out of shape.

Secondly, GodBen please do NOT start up the "war without end" regarding the DS9/B5 "which came first". I appreciate your humorous take on it, but trust me... both side have good points and understandable perspectives, yet in the end it always ends badly and it profiteth nobody. And I will shut down any thread that tries to start it up again.

---

Regarding the show... as you all might expect, I found the special effects superb for the most part but then I watched it when it first aired. Compared to what aired at that time and that B5 used such a high degree of CGI - which was not being done by anyone else then - I liked the bravery and the distinct difference it brought. The music... another point where people will differ for certain.. I thoroughly loved and still love it, in part because it was different. It stood apart from Trek - the standard barer if you will - and that intrigued me.

The acting is definitely a mixed bag, but then I tend to not be as inspecting. Andreas Katsulas and Peter Jurasik were tremendous alone and together, and most people seem to agree with that. Katsulas especially so, could evoke tremendous power under all of that latex. The rest of the cast, well ... had its strong and weak points, good days and bad days. I suspect that's true of just about every show however. The only consistently weak points were the rather cartoonish "bad guys" you'd see for one episode. Again, though... that's going to be quite common me thinks. Boxleitner while not an A-list actor, is imho underrated. HIs turn in a S4 episode is especially effective. Furlan had moments of genius, but perhaps not as many as I'd like to have seen. I tend to feel that way about most of the primary cast. There are superb examples of this, but I will save that for when GodBen gets to those reviews.

Bottom line... I don't' consider any of these to be real weaknesses.

Difference is quite often good. Not always, but often enough that I will almost always give a show a chance if it's got a reputation for standing apart. B5 does that, and I do feel that's what makes it popular with such a devoted following. Cult or not, it's there and likely to stay there, adding to a great variety of choices for sci-fi fans.
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Old January 26 2010, 02:20 AM   #93
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5

stonester1 wrote: View Post
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.
I never said he owes me anything, I just consider it to be a sign of disrespect towards his fanbase.

These review threads have earned me a very small fanbase of a half-dozen people that read them and reply with their own opinions infrequently, which isn't much but it is far more than I deserve and more than I thought I would ever have. Early into reviewing Enterprise somebody came into the thread and told me I should stop because I was rubbish, I wasn't saying anything interesting and my jokes weren't funny. I had no problem with the guy not liking me or my reviews, but coming into the thread to tell me to stop as I'm rubbish seemed rude, so I replied by saying that if he doesn't like the thread he doesn't have to read it, and he in turn replied with a long post of reasons why I should stop. A small group of my supporters came along and backed me up, and they said some very kind things about my reviews. I don't say this often, or at all, but I'm hugely appreciative of those guys, they're the reason why I made a picture of a topless Scott Bakula on the back of a pony, or why I spent an hour one night creating a fake website which probably only made one person chuckle a small bit.

If somebody told me that they'd give me money for writing this crap but in return I'd have to charge those guys to read it, I wouldn't do it. Not because I don't like money, I love the stuff, I'm quite the collector, but because I have enough respect for myself that I couldn't lower myself to choose money over the kindness of my peers.

But wave a million euro cheque in front of my face and I'd quickly change my mind. Screw self-respect and principles, I want that giant cheque!
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Old January 26 2010, 02:24 AM   #94
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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
Acting and writing I'll grant have their debatable points.

SFX----I don't consider this a "problem", merely indicative of the time. The SFX were cutting-edge when the show was made. "The Gathering" won a visual effects Emmy. If you extend the criticism to the entire production value it has a bit more merit; some of those plywood walls were a little too flimsy, and the early virtual sets certainly have issues.

And the music---not a problem at all. The music is terrific. Well, to be fair, season 1 had some issues in that regard, but after that it settled in nicely, and there's some fantastic scores down the road. Did you know that Babylon 5 has a complete orchestral score for every single episode? Not many series can claim that.

I mean, there's no way you can call music like this a weak point: link (Warning, this contains season 4 clips, but no spoilers if you keep your eyes closed).
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Old January 26 2010, 02:56 AM   #95
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5

Lindley wrote: View Post
Did you know that Babylon 5 has a complete orchestral score for every single episode? Not many series can claim that.
Really? Except for Star Trek, which was produced in a different era with different standards, and the final season of Enterprise (which saw its budget cut, and thus elected to use synthesized scores for some episodes), every episode of the Trek franchise has a complete orchestral score.

Franke was obviously allowed much more creative freedom in his scoring, though.
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Old January 26 2010, 03:22 AM   #96
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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
Exactly so.
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Old January 26 2010, 03:30 AM   #97
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
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.
I can tell you for certain that JMS' scripts were *never* freely available with his permission. Ever. They weren't pulled down when the script books were planned, they've always been pulled any time they were found.

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Old January 26 2010, 03:42 AM   #98
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
stonester1 wrote: View Post
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.
I never said he owes me anything, I just consider it to be a sign of disrespect towards his fanbase.
What an utter load of crap.

The nerve of a professional writer to actually expect to be compensated for the effort he or she has put forth and not just give it away to the fans. Wow. How disrespectful!

How about some respect to the folks who create all this entertainment and the effort they put forth doing so? Nope, it sohuld all be on the net so it can be downloaded ad infinitum for free. Why? Because we're the fans, that's why. To actually expect us to pay for any of it, why that would be disrespectful.

I have no idea what you do to make a living, but I am guessing you aren't going to go and do whatever it is for free just because someone likes it are you? Or if you are, you should ask to see your boss first thing tomorrow morning ans tell him you won't be needing those paychecks anymore. I'm sure he'll appreciate it.

Gotta side with Harlan Ellison on this one when he says "Pay the writer!"
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Old January 26 2010, 03:46 AM   #99
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5

Neroon wrote: View Post
A couple of points:

If the OP wishes discussion of spoilers to be verboten, he can request that. Until he does though, it's free and open, so please don't get too bent out of shape.
When I wrote my thing, I was trying to avoid spoilers. One thing that I got spoiled on when I was watching the show was Christian leaving at the end of the 4th season. That really isn't a spoiler because A) It aired 15 or so years ago, and B) It's ambiguous enough to not reveal anything big. I think that was the only thing I mentioned in terms of spoiler. I understand the need to not be spoiled (Hey, I just did one of these threads, still doing it kinda during my second watching, and I was quite happy to not be spoiled) but since TheGodBen has only watched The Gathering, it's not really much to go on to have a valid conversation, especially since unlike mine, there are actually some posters here who bring up valid points of the issues with the show.
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Old January 26 2010, 04:23 AM   #100
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
stonester1 wrote: View Post
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.
I never said he owes me anything, I just consider it to be a sign of disrespect towards his fanbase.

These review threads have earned me a very small fanbase of a half-dozen people that read them and reply with their own opinions infrequently, which isn't much but it is far more than I deserve and more than I thought I would ever have. Early into reviewing Enterprise somebody came into the thread and told me I should stop because I was rubbish, I wasn't saying anything interesting and my jokes weren't funny.
I've seen that kind of thing a few times around here. My response? Fuck 'em. They don't like it, they don't have to read. They think they can do better, by all means, STFU and demonstrate.

But no one has to be a jackass and come in and tear up someone's reviews just because they are an anonymous, otherwise powerless coward on an internet site.

With you, brother. Carry on and review away.

BUT...if JMS wants you to pay for consuming his stuff, you need to pay the man.

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Old January 26 2010, 04:35 AM   #101
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5

No problems with paying JMS to read his stuff. I've invested in the scriptbooks--heavily, I must say. I just think it was a lousy move to make them available for a limited time. Now the only way to get them is to pay second-hand sellers on ebay ridiculous prices, and that money isn't going to JMS.
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Old January 26 2010, 04:52 AM   #102
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5

Such as it is with the modern day, the internet and collectibles.
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Old January 26 2010, 03:33 PM   #103
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5

I don't see this any differently than for a novel. As long as the copyright is in place, no one has any business transcribing a script to the internet (though I admit I do reference them myself ) any more than they would a novel. Just because you watched it for free once on your television doesn't mean it's free. Someone paid for it then (the studio and advertisers), and if you want your own personal copy, you should pay for it now.

I just wish they hadn't done that "limited run" crap, artificially driving up the after-market price. Which as someone pointed out earlier, doesn't make the writer a dime.
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Old January 26 2010, 04:37 PM   #104
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5

Firstly, Reverend, Thank you for explaining the structure of the Earth Alliance, that's really helpful.

Neroon wrote: View Post
If the OP wishes discussion of spoilers to be verboten, he can request that. Until he does though, it's free and open, so please don't get too bent out of shape.
Well, actually, I requested it in the first post. I emboldened and underlined it, and I even put an exclamation mark at the end of it so as not to confuse people. See:

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
Beyond that I know very little, so if you are reading this thread please don't post spoilers! Thank you.
Clearly the problem here is that I put on the fašade of a nice guy by saying thank you and using that smiley face because I wanted people to like me, but instead they just ignored me so I'm going to revert back to being a cunt. It's the only way to get people to respect you, it seems.

Okay, so it's probably not the only way, but it is the only way I'm willing to try.

Secondly, GodBen please do NOT start up the "war without end" regarding the DS9/B5 "which came first". I appreciate your humorous take on it, but trust me... both side have good points and understandable perspectives, yet in the end it always ends badly and it profiteth nobody. And I will shut down any thread that tries to start it up again.
Fair enough. I hoped that by making it as absurd as I did that nobody would take it seriously, but if people can't accept satire then so be it, I'll bend over. Personally, I feel that such people should be burned in a big fire, which is one of the reasons why Obama didn't pick me as Attorney General.

Jan wrote: View Post
I can tell you for certain that JMS' scripts were *never* freely available with his permission. Ever. They weren't pulled down when the script books were planned, they've always been pulled any time they were found.
I fail to see how pointing out that JMS has always been a cocksucker is a good defence.

Mysterion wrote: View Post
What an utter load of crap.

The nerve of a professional writer to actually expect to be compensated for the effort he or she has put forth and not just give it away to the fans. Wow. How disrespectful!

How about some respect to the folks who create all this entertainment and the effort they put forth doing so? Nope, it sohuld all be on the net so it can be downloaded ad infinitum for free. Why? Because we're the fans, that's why. To actually expect us to pay for any of it, why that would be disrespectful.

I have no idea what you do to make a living, but I am guessing you aren't going to go and do whatever it is for free just because someone likes it are you? Or if you are, you should ask to see your boss first thing tomorrow morning ans tell him you won't be needing those paychecks anymore. I'm sure he'll appreciate it.

Gotta side with Harlan Ellison on this one when he says "Pay the writer!"


When my former workplace sends me a cheque for the work I did a few years ago then I'll concede that you have a point, until that time I'll point out to you that most of us don't work in jobs where we get paid for the things we did many moons ago. In fact, I specifically remember that the contract I signed for one of my jobs made it explicitly clear that anything I do during work hours or on company property is legally theirs. That was especially odd considering it was a call-centre.

I'm not opposed to the writers being compensated for their work, I supported them during the writers strike because I think they should be getting more money from things like DVD sales and online viewers. But if I were a successful writer of course I'd want my scripts online for free, that way my fans could use them as a reference, and it's not like as if most people are going to use the scripts as a substitute for the finished product. It's as sheet music is to music, reading the notes and the lyrics isn't the same as listening to the actual song, and if I was a musician I'd want my sheet music online so that fans could play it on their own instruments.

I spend around 15-30 minutes a day putting together these short reviews, and when it comes to season recaps it can take 2-3 hours. And there are days like today where I just don't feel like doing it because I'm tired and pissed off by a shoddy service I was provided with this morning and it has ruined my whole day. But I sat down and I wrote it out, not because I'm being paid, but because I know some other people like to read them.

But today I have decided to exercise my rights as the writer of these reviews to be reimbursed for my time doing this. If you want to continue read them then you, and only you Mysterion, must transfer €250 into my PayPal account. Everyone else gets to view it for free, but I've decided that you have to pay for the privilege, and you're not allowed to question my wisdom on this because you have no right to read my words without my consent. And because I'm such a neat guy I'll even knock €100 off the price, so now you can read these reviews for the bargain offer of only €149.99! I'll even throw in an autographed picture of me. If you don't pay me and you read a single word of my reviews I will consider it copyright infringement, and even though I'm such a nice guy that I wont pursue legal action, you'll know what you've done.

If you want to pay then send me a PM and I'll send you the details for my PayPal account.

(Gods, it's such a relief to be me again! )


Midnight on the Firing Line (***)

This is the first real episode of the show so I shouldn't expect Earth-shattering revelations or the universe being turned upside down, but for a show famous for having lasting consequences this episode sure does wrap up neatly. There's an a-plot about the Narn attacking the Centauri and there's a b-plot about some raiders attacking ships (for some reason), and the barely-existent conclusion to the barely-existent b-plot provided an easy out for the a-plot. When does this show stop being like Star Trek?

The Narn/Centauri plot is much better than the story from The Gathering because it's not based around the fate of some puppet I don't know, and it could have long-standing consequences for the whole galaxy. It also features plenty of G'Kar and Londo, and they're easily the most interesting characters so far. That being said, there is a scene where Londo gets a gun and plans to kill G'Kar (reminiscent of the time the Russian ambassador to the UN tried to kill the German ambassador) which manages to be tacky when the new telepath lady sees it in her mind, and trite when Garibaldi talks him down from committing the crime. Combine this with the ending to the episode and this story suffers a quite a bit.

There's one scene which has stuck in my mind since I watched this episode two years ago, the bit where Ivanova explains to Sinclair why why she wont vote for President Santiago because of his lack of chin, along with his VP's double chin. I've finally figured out why I hate that line so much; Sinclair doesn't react to it, he doesn't laugh to it and he doesn't even give that pity laugh that I'm abundantly familiar with. It seems to be an attempt at a clever comment which wasn't all that clever, so instead it feels awkward. Once again, something I'm very familiar with. (See, it just happened again!)

I prefer the new uniforms, and the Council actually feels like a council this time due to the inclusion of the League of Non-Aligned worlds.

Commander Greyshirt: 2

Why is this episode labelled Sabre Rattling on the DVD case? (Region 2) It seems odd, especially considering it is still called it's regular name on the DVD menu and the episode itself.
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Old January 26 2010, 04:46 PM   #105
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
That being said, there is a scene where Londo gets a gun and plans to kill G'Kar (reminiscent of the time the Russian ambassador to the UN tried to kill the German ambassador) which manages to be tacky when the new telepath lady sees it in her mind, and trite when Garibaldi talks him down from committing the crime. Combine this with the ending to the episode and this story suffers a quite a bit.
Oddly enough this was a key scene for the person who got me into the show. He insisted for him it was a moment where it was first indicated how different this show was from Star Trek; after all, Garibaldi totally would have killed Londo just there. When on any Star Trek would a regular castmember have threatened to do that to another regular castmember?

Uh, yeah. Babylon 5 often only seems daring when contrasted to Star Trek's more conservative, status quo attitude - it's not exactly the nuBSG of edgy sci-fi. On the other hand, that was the only game in town more or less.
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