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

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Old July 16 2009, 12:44 PM   #1
neozeks
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Another Babylon 5 first time viewer.

Well, I saw there were several threads of this type about Babylon 5 and I thought I should join the fun.
So, firstly, my favourite TV show ever is Deep Space Nine. I never really cared about the rivalry between the shows. Well, actually, in the end I cared in the sense that hearing how supposedly similar the two were made me want to check B5 out! Now, I'm currently in the middle of season 3 (last ep 'Severed Dreams').
In brief: I found The Gathering to be very good (must be because I've seen the SE, without the gorilla ). Definitely got me interested. Season One was unfortunately not that good (I'd rank it above TNG's first seasons but below DS9's first). But it had it moments - Sinclair demonstrating Earth's dominant beliefs, everything about the Psi Corps, the aliens - and I stuck with it. Season Two was a vast improvement (though I didn't particurarly like the solution to the Minbari surrender mistery; of course, if that was the REAL answer). Season Three has so far continued in the same vein. I still like DS9 better but I'm definitely not sorry I checked B5 out and hope there's even better to come.
Now in more detail. What i liked:
-The main characters/actors. First of all let me say - Sheridan is Da Man . O'Hare's acting was very iffy but the character grew on me and at first I didn't really like Boxleitner. That changed soon. I really liked watching how he adapted from a through-and-through military ship captain to military governor who has to tackle the fine art of diplomacy (though it's a peculiar type of diplomacy I still remember the 'then shut your ears and hum REALLY loudly!' line to G'Kar when he protested the coming of the Centaury emperor. Doubt Sinclair would say something like that). Then Dellen . Did I say i really like her? She's so elegant and pretty and exotic and classy and yet not a damsel in distress but a strong lady (i'm sure i don't have to quote the famous line from 'Severed Dreams' - that was great).
G'Kar and Londo obviously, though i like G'Kar better; Londo just seems a bit aimless, contradictory, one episode he's having doubts, the next he is celebrating mass murders of Narns. I also like Franklin (more in the first season actually, now he seems to be a bit in the background). Talia too (she's hot! i guess I agree with Ivanova ) Speaking of Ivanova, her character somehow still seems not to have fully realized it's potential. Morden has the best 'I am eviiiiiiil' smile I have ever seen. In the end, unlike many others, i'm somewhat indifferent about Garibaldi. I find him a bit cliched, predictable.
-The aliens - nicely developed and varied. I especially like their look. Props to the makeup and costume department, especially seeing how the budget was limited. I particularly like Kosh (well, his suit). Now that's ALIEN.
-The general scientific 'realism' of the show - in the sense that there are rarely any weird particles or strange anomalies or stuff like that. The ships manouver realisticaly. The station has to spin for gravity. There's no universal translator.
-The general interconnectedness (is that a word? ) of the story, of course.
More to come later.
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Old July 16 2009, 01:41 PM   #2
clint g
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Re: Another Babylon 5 first time viewer.

Ahh to watch B5 for the first time. Tis something special I shall never have again. Enjoy it while it lasts
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Old July 16 2009, 01:43 PM   #3
Jan
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Re: Another Babylon 5 first time viewer.

I want a limited mindwipe so I can watch B5 for the first two times again. Yes, two. Because that's the time you can really appreciate how much was really set up long in advance.

Lucky first-timers!

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Old July 16 2009, 03:50 PM   #4
Admiral Jarok
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Re: Another Babylon 5 first time viewer.

I think we need a B5 forum here.
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Old July 16 2009, 04:18 PM   #5
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Re: Another Babylon 5 first time viewer.

Admiral Jarok wrote: View Post
I think we need a B5 forum here.

we kinda do
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Old July 16 2009, 05:31 PM   #6
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Re: Another Babylon 5 first time viewer.

neozeks wrote: View Post
So, firstly, my favourite TV show ever is Deep Space Nine. I never really cared about the rivalry between the shows. Well, actually, in the end I cared in the sense that hearing how supposedly similar the two were made me want to check B5 out!
This is exactly what made me want to look at B5.

Have fun, you're in for a good time. You'll love it.
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Old July 16 2009, 06:04 PM   #7
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Re: Another Babylon 5 first time viewer.

Mal wrote: View Post
Admiral Jarok wrote: View Post
I think we need a B5 forum here.

we kinda do
As a longtime Babylon 5 fan, I am loving all these threads popping up this summer.
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Old July 16 2009, 08:49 PM   #8
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Re: Another Babylon 5 first time viewer.

Hey, thanks for all the good wishes! Jan, I know exactly what you mean with the limited mindwipe, felt that with a number of things.

Now, i don't want to spoil the party but, to be fair, I also have to point some things I didn't like so far (please, don't kill me ).
-First a thing that annoys me the most. I'm also a great Tolkien fan. Now, obviously, I love a good homage but in this case I feel JMS has crossed a certain line in 'borrowing' from LOTR. Bear with me: the third age of mankind, the Shadow(s), the Grey Council, Z'ha'dum, the second coming of Darkness. Now, I could live with that but then we have complete lines lifted - 'Expect me when you see me', 'Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger." We have the Techno-mages (wizards), the Rangers. And then we have Ivanova running from the Eye like Frodo on Amon Hen while Draal serves as Gandalf. And the breaking of the staff. And the Black-Riderish shriek the Shadow-vessel releases on Mars (described in the very same words and the same images). Heck, it seems Peter Jackson stole the shriek from B5! It just irks me and seems somewhat... distasteful.
-The dialog. JMS obviosly can write good lines, but his dialog too often feels somewhat stiff and not natural. There are too many speeches at innapropriate times and the humorous scenes, well, most feel somewhat forced. I watched a random episode of DS9 after watching several B5 episodes and it struck me how smoother and more natural it seems.
-I mentioned I like how there are no anomalies and such. Well, the other side of that of course is that you have to turn to other things for your stories. And here it seems every other episode it's a murder or a fugitive or a bombing or terrorists. Garibaldi conducts an investigation in almost every episode. Sometimes I feel like I'm watching a cop show in space. (maybe it's just because I'm indifferent to Garibaldi)
-Just one more minor nuissance. I find the sets to be, honestly, ugly and bland. I know they had a limited budget but they did muuuch better with the aliens.

Now I'm off to continue with the third season.
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Old July 16 2009, 08:54 PM   #9
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Re: Another Babylon 5 first time viewer.

Straczynski has almost never written effective humor. His gags usually go on for too long ("I'm gonna sue somebody!" in season four), or are never funny in the first place.

As for the Lord of the Rings references, I see no problem. JMS admits Tolkien as being a serious influence. It's not as if he's stealing without giving credit.
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Old July 16 2009, 09:02 PM   #10
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Re: Another Babylon 5 first time viewer.

Harvey wrote: View Post
As for the Lord of the Rings references, I see no problem. JMS admits Tolkien as being a serious influence. It's not as if he's stealing without giving credit.
Ah, but there is a point when it's just too much influence, especially if it's not very subtle. I guess it differs from person to person.
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Old July 16 2009, 09:37 PM   #11
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Re: Another Babylon 5 first time viewer.

Well - I had never thought of the similarities between the cries of the Ring Wraiths and the shadow ships...interesting....

The similarities never irked me because in the end I felt that B5 had enough of its own story to make the homages fun to notice but not outright stealing...
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Old July 16 2009, 09:39 PM   #12
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Re: Another Babylon 5 first time viewer.

Welcome B5 first-time viewer No. 5,550,599...

Heh, I kid though. Hope you like it.
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Old July 16 2009, 09:43 PM   #13
Harvey
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Re: Another Babylon 5 first time viewer.

I should also admit that I never particularly cared for Tolkien. So I'm less distressed by liberally ripping him off than perhaps another writer I might care more about--an Arthur C. Clarke or a P.K. Dick, for example.
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Old July 16 2009, 09:44 PM   #14
Jan
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Re: Another Babylon 5 first time viewer.

While there's no doubt that there was a Tolkein influence, JMS drew on mythology and many other myths and archetypes...the same ones that Tolkein did, actually. It's just that you're probably more familiar with Lord of the Rings than you are the ancient mythologies. And while I'll grant you the 'Do not meddle' line, 'Expect me when you see me' has been such a common expression for so long it's kind of like saying JMS lifted 'What do you want' from someplace.

Most of the time I liked the humor in B5 and even if I didn't, I appreciated that there were breaks from the heavy hitting drama from time to time. The lack of any light moments was what drove me away from the new BSG.

The dialogue gets cited fairly frequently but JMS said early on that he'd decided that in B5's day there was a swing to a more formal style. That said, he also tried hard to ensure that each episode had all of the data a new audience member would need to follow that episode without the benefit of several minutes worth of 'Previously on Babylon 5' clips in the beginning of each episode. That made for some *really* clunky segments of exposition on some poor actor's part a lot of times.

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Old July 16 2009, 10:07 PM   #15
Harvey
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Re: Another Babylon 5 first time viewer.

Yes, the lack of "previously on Babylon 5..." segments certainly added weighty (and clunky) pieces of exposition for the actors to deliver. This is probably a better approach for television, but I'd prefer easily skippable re-caps on DVD. But Straczynski wasn't making a series for DVD, and hindsight is 20/20.
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