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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Entertainment & Interests > Science Fiction & Fantasy

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

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Old July 30 2012, 06:27 PM   #1
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Farscape or Babylon 5?

I'm planning to order some things from in a few days, and I'm trying to decide between buying the first season of two different shows, Farscape and Babylon 5. I've seen one episode of Farscape before and thought it was good, plus two of the actors ended up being main characters in the last season of one of my favorite sci-Fi shows, Stargate SG-1, and I like the actors. On the other hand, Babylon 5 (which I know pretty much nothing about) seems to have more of a Star Trek feel, and I like that. Both are similarly priced, I'm just wondering if anyone here who has watched them would reccomend one over the other. I'd get them both if I could, but I'm only going to be able to afford one. In case it helps, my favorite sci-fi shows are (in order) - Star trek (the whole franchise), Firefly, and Stargate SG-1.
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Old July 30 2012, 06:30 PM   #2
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Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

Tough choice. Personally I own Farscape but not B5, though I liked both shows.

There's one more season to B5, plus a number of follow-up movies.
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Old July 30 2012, 06:32 PM   #3
Professor Zoom
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Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

I like them both. Both have weaker first seasons than the rest of their runs. B5 has a lot of foundational episodes in the first season, planting seeds for later, but they feel very episodic. Whereas Farscape is pretty much episodic, with a few seeds.

If it matters to you, Farscape's effects are much better than B5's and most of the acting is better. B5 feels like a product of its time--which I'm not saying is a bad thing, it just is and for some that's important.

Its hard for me to choose. If Star Trek is in the lead, then maybe B5.
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Old July 30 2012, 06:41 PM   #4
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Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

Very tough choice.

Both have been known to be a little hard to get into, in early S1, but, both become absolutely fabulous Series in my opinion. B5, and Farscape plus DS9 are my 3 all time favorite Series.

Farscape has far more comedy, and they really twist some SciFi tropes on their heads. Babylon 5, is a more serious take (Though Farscape certainly does take things seriously)

If you like Ben Browder's wise cracks in SG1, you'd probably be better off going with Farscape first, because Cameron Mitchell's personality is pretty similar to his Farscape character John Crichton. Buffy had alot of these same type culture wise crack references, and of course Col O'Neill was doing it on Stargate SG1 before Ben Browder was

Babylon 5 is just a sight notch above DS9 and Farscape, in my opinion, but, your mileage may vary.

Alot of the acting portrayals in Babylon 5 are more formal and Shakespearian in nature, which doesn't work for some people.

I own all 3 on DVD (My first 3 DVD Series Purchases, actually) and I would definitely find my collection lacking without any of the 3 being in it.
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Old July 30 2012, 06:44 PM   #5
Professor Zoom
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Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

It looks like the first season of B5 is streaming on Hulu, you can test it out before purchase. And I think Farscape is streaming on netflix, haven't looked in a while.
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Old July 30 2012, 06:52 PM   #6
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Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

I just saw B5 on hulu. I'll definately check out an episode or two to help make my choice.

I loved DS9, its probably my favorite ST series (although I might rank TNG higher just because i've been able to watch more episodes of it). I think that, with my tastes in sci-fi, I'll like both Farscape and B5. Right now I'm leaning toward farscape, but not enough to make a decision yet.
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Old July 30 2012, 06:55 PM   #7
Greg Cox
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Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

I'd go with Farscape. B-5 was a good show that has much to recommend it, but I always thought Farscape was more fun.

(Full disclosure: I edited the Farscape novels and wrote for the official magazine, so I may be a trifle biased here!)
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Old July 30 2012, 07:15 PM   #8
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Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

Farscape has more of a Star Wars (OT) space swashbuckling adventure feel. In fact I've always felt Farscape is probably the closest i've ever seen to a star wars tv series - not in terms of plot - but just the feel. genuinely exotic aliens, frantic hallway chases with blaster fire going back and forth, infiltrations, sieges, galactic empires, on the run, etc.

B5 has more of a political DS9/(nu)BSG/ST feel. A lot about diplomacy, political allegories, interactions between different races, wars, etc.

I'd watch the first "regular" episode of B5 on Hulu (Midnight in the Firing Line). It's actually a pretty good tone-setter, even though the main story arcs aren't introduced yet.
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Old July 30 2012, 07:16 PM   #9
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

If you want a more Star Trek feeling series, go for B5.
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Old July 30 2012, 07:40 PM   #10
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Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

You should buy one, then the other when you can afford it. I don't think you can make a bad choice, but I'll lean slightly towards Farscape. Along with being dramatic, epic, compelling, and all that, it's also funny.
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Old July 30 2012, 07:42 PM   #11
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Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

I just watched the first episode of B5. It was good, which actually didn't help me make my decision I enjoyed the characters, and the story was pretty good. I want to see where it goes from there, and learn more about the universe.

Before, I was leaning towards Farscape. Now, I don't know which one I want to see more. Having a ST feel is cool, but its not a deciding factor. Farscape has a lot going for it, as well. I guess I'll just have to keep thinking about it. I'll definately be getting both eventually.
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Old July 30 2012, 07:43 PM   #12
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Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

They are both two of my favorite shows, but if I were you, I would go with Farscape right now.
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Old July 30 2012, 07:46 PM   #13
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Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

Really depends what you're looking for. Both shows are very good indeed, both shows pushed the envelope for tv sci-fi and featured some unforgettable characters...but they're also fundamentally different animals.

First off, a disclaimer: B5 is not "like Star Trek", at all. Some superficial (and purportedly not coincidental) similarities to DS9, but that's as far as it goes. It's very much it's own show and would often (sometimes pointedly) approach things that Trek wouldn't touch, or address them from a totally different angle.

Now that that's out of the way, I love Farscape: is a fun, colourful, often comical adventure series that was unjustly cut down before it's time. B5 on the other hand is a complete story spanning five seasons, with a definite beginning middle and end. In terms of storytelling I'd say it's closer to Firefly than BSG in that while there is strong epsiode-to-episode continuity, it wasn't totally serialised.

Farcape was more or less made up as they went along. Going in they had onle a vague idea of which way the show was heading and so, it meanders quite a bit. B5 was planned from the get go and for the most part, things went according to that plan. Of course it helped that the plan included the possibilities of course correction, cast changes and thinking up a better idea in the intervening time so it comes off as fairly seamless.

B5 got to finish it's story. When you see the last episode, you're not left wanting more (in a good way.) Farscape suddenly cancelled and the last episode leaves you feeling like the rug just got pulled out from under you, then rolled up and used to beat you about the head. Sure, they got a chance to tie up some loose ends later on with a mini-series, but that was a very wonky affair.

I suppose if it comes down to money, I say go with Farscape because it only has 4 seasons and even then you can probably skip most of the first season and you won't miss much (think early TNG in terms of inconsistent direction and quality of writing.) It doesn't really get good until a certain pale chick turns up. While B5 also had some first season growing pains, there's a lot there that lays the ground work and sets up some things that won't fully pay off for several season--Indeed, a surprising amount of it you really only notice in a second viewing--So basically, if you get B5, you'll be hooked and want to buy all five sets.

If you get Farscape, you'll have fun and might pick up the other three. Getting hooked on Farscape is cheaper, so long as you can deal with a lack of a definitive ending.

Last edited by Reverend; July 30 2012 at 07:57 PM.
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Old July 30 2012, 08:05 PM   #14
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Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

I like both shows, but if your choice is "Babylon 5 or......", then the only time Babylon 5 would lose is if the "or" is Star Trek.

As good as Farscape is, it'll never be better than Babylon 5.
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Old July 30 2012, 08:28 PM   #15
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Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

Farscape is better than Babylon 5 in many departments (acting, humor, visual effects) and slightly more ambitious than Babylon 5 in the way it upends genre expectations. Some are put off by the series' extensive use of puppetry and its rather off-beat sense of humor, though.

The first seasons of both shows exhibit growing pains, but plant seeds for the future, so it's not a great idea to miss them. The first season of Babylon 5 is especially rough, and the pilot only moreso ("The Gathering," which is part of the movie box set and not the first season box set, at least in the US). Farscape, in my estimation, took less time to find its voice.

Both series end up being rather arc-based, and manage to finish off those arcs, but leave a number of minor arcs dangling.

In the end, I like both series, but prefer Farscape.
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babylon 5, farscape

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