A Niner Watches Babylon 5 (NO spoilers, please)

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by TheGodBen, Jan 24, 2010.

  1. apenpaap

    apenpaap Commodore Commodore

    GodBen's avatar is back, so I think he is too. Jimmy Bob seems to have been permabanned though.
     
  2. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I have returned from Z'ha'dum! ;)

    I don't want to go into specifics, but it does seem like I was perma-banned for my comment in that other thread. I emailed T'Bonz about it, I found her to be very fair in her response and I understand that it was a very difficult situation for her and that my comment exacerbated it. I apologised, I hold no grudges about the incident, I hope that she feels the same way, and I'm just glad to be back on the board. Watching Babylon 5 didn't feel the same not knowing if I could make smug comments about it in this thread in the future. ;)

    Anyway, I couldn't read the board during my trip to Z'ha'dum, as a result I couldn't read the kind words people left for me, so I'm going to take the time to smugly reply to all of them.

    You missed me more, right? :)

    Thank you for saying that, I hope that you come back now that I have returned. After all, I'm a much bigger draw than Jimmy Bob.

    You bet your a-... behind! (I've got to play it safe with my language now.)

    Thank you. :) It's nice to know that I'd be missed.

    I'll probably watch Crusade next, but I'll do that in this thread along with all the movies. Then the plan is to move on to DS9.

    Too late, I've already overtaken you, and soon I'll be three episodes ahead! Loser! :p

    Everybody has some skill, it's just a pity that mine doesn't lead to sustainable employment. :(

    I'm still not a fan of his hair. More later.

    Indeed. I tried to put in a good word for Jimmy Bob when emailing T'Bonz, but it's really up to him to make a case for himself. Naturally, I am not going to question T'Bonz's decision, I've learned my lesson and have no intention of risking my account, and this review project, again.


    Anyway, I've watched 3 episodes since the last time I posted, and they're a bit jumbled in my head, especially the last two. I'll post about them later today, but I hope you can understand if they're not very good.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2010
  3. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Welcome back!

    A minority opinion I'll air now: Byron is nothing compared to Galen.

    I'd suggest watching the film A Call to Arms prior to watching Crusade, anyway, as that film is a sort of prologue to that series.
     
  4. Admiral Shran

    Admiral Shran Admiral Admiral

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    Woohoo, TheGodBen's back! :biggrin:

    Just when I finally catch up to you viewing-wise I hear that you've been banned. I almost had a stroke (ok, no I didn't, I just fainted). :p

    I started watching the show around the time the third season review was posted. Been watching a hell of a lot of episodes every day since then.

    I got to say.... so far, I'm not as impressed as you have been TGB. For a show that has been hailed as the greatest thing to ever happen to television, I'm just not seeing it. It's entertaining, there's no doubt about that, and it has held my interest, but so did The Golden Girls and King of the Hill.

    That isn't to say the show hasn't had it's gems, however. I completely agree with giving Severed Dreams 5 stars. G'Kar's storyline at the beginning of Season Four was quite good (the scene where Cartagia has him whipped until he screams was nothing short of amazing). And I would have undoubtedly have given Passing Through Gethsemane 5 stars.

    (Speaking of Passing Through Gethsemane, whatever happened to Brother Theo and his religious order? :( I really liked them. I know we've seen them in the background in several episodes since then, but I wish the show had spent more time with them.)

    However, I don't see how Intersections in Real Time is a 5 star episode. It's almost a pity that points aren't being deducted for being TNG episodes, because this one reminded me FAR too much of Chain of Command, Part II. Only Chain of Command was much better since I care more about Picard than I do about Sheridan. A lot of other episodes are rated much higher than I would rate them, personally.

    So, so far, the show is good, but it certainly doesn't live up to the hype, at least not for me. I think it all boils down to something I said in TGB's "How do Niners feel about TNG" thread. DS9 had a large, already developed, backstory in TOS and TNG to build upon. Maybe that's why I find DS9 more satisfying than B5. I simply can't connect with this universe the same way I've done with the Star Trek universe.

    And now I have to ask a question - Since only one episode so far has received a zero star rating, which is better TheGodBen, B5's Infection or VOY's Spirit Folk?
     
  5. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Glad to have you back, TGB! :) It wouldn't be the same without you. I've made an apology or two when my antics here got out of line, so I certainly understand. ;)

    I'm eager to hear what you thought of the latest episodes. Starting with the Brakiri and their Friends On The Other Side, right?
     
  6. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    To be fair, Galen's hair is somewhat less annoying than Byron's. Hell, it's downright unobtrusive and not at all poncey.

    If I remember it right, the actor that played Theo had some ongoing health problems that meant he couldn't come back later. It's the same reason he couldn't come back in season 2 to play Draal again and was the very reason why the Theo character was created later on when he had gotten better. As for the "in-universe" explanation, according to the old CDROM Theo and his order were indeed still around in season 5, we just never saw him. Which is fair enough, it's a pretty big station after all.
     
  7. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Admiral Shran:
    Babylon 5 isn't the best thing to ever happen to TV perhaps, but it's a landmark space opera series with some epic storytelling and the like. I think it's still worth watching for those who consider themselves space opera fans (and if you don't, why would you post on these forums at all?). That said, I don't think it's aged that well - Babylon 5 felt far more impressive to me eight years ago then it does now; compared to the static landscape of Star Trek it's mesmerising, but to the fluctuating world of modern TV it itself seems static - but no matter.

    Also, "Intersections in Real Time" is significantly different from C"hain of Command" in that it's an actual chamber drama. "Chain of Command" just has a chamber drama subplot - the mind games between Picard and Gul Madred are just one strand of the plot, but here, the equivalent battle between Sheridan and his interrogator is the entire story.

    JMS has a background in theatre, and while that's usually pretty obvious in B5 - a series with a greater tendency for florid prose then most TV - it's blatantly obvious, in the very best sense, in that episode. I like Picard better then Sheridan too, but that really is the Sheridan's finest hour, and one of JMS's best scripts. The characterisation of the interrogator as a polite, affable and apolitical man is also an excellent touch.

    :lol:
    Touche, sir.
     
  8. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well I seem to be in the minority in not hating Byron, so I don't know what that means when it comes to Galen, I might just fall in love with him and marry a cardboard cut-out of him.

    I meant to watch A Call to Arms before starting season 5 but my brother insisted that he wanted to watch it with me as he hadn't seen it in years. He didn't show up and I didn't want to wait a week before starting season 5, so I decided to move on and watch it after the season instead.

    It could have been your big chance to take over the thread and finish the project! But instead I returned and denied you that glory. :p

    I don't think that it's the greatest show ever made, but I can certainly see why sci-fi fans back in the 90s considered it to be so good. There are things about the show I don't like, such as the fact that it can sometimes be overwritten and some guest characters are used as poor antagonists, but I do admire it for its ambition. I've watched better shows, but I still very much enjoy this show.

    I thought I had a reputation for score episodes poorly, it seems that I've lost it. :(

    I still connect with DS9 more than B5, but that's possibly because I grew up watching DS9 and it was my favourite show. Had I watched B5 back when it aired I may have a different opinion, both my brother and sister watched DS9, TNG and Voyager at that time, but once they got into B5 they both dumped Star Trek, and now they almost consider Star Trek to be a joke. That could have been me had it not been for the fact that my sister didn't let me watch it.

    Spirit Folk is technically better because it wasn't intended to be taken as a serious sci-fi story, but Infection is easier for me to watch and here's why: When I watched Infection I was extremely bored by it since I had seen it before, so I spent that time sorting out my wardrobe and organising my college material. It's offensively bad, but I can ignore it while it's on, so it's in the same league as Threshold, The Fight and Precious Cargo. However, with Spirit Folk and Fair Haven I cannot ignore them, I am transfixed by the horror and I cannot stop the rage building inside myself. The line from Spirit Folk about the town where the potatoes blighted in 1846 makes me want to shove potatoes down Bryan Fuller's throat, throw his body onto a fire and take him out once the potatoes are baked so that I can have a blood-soaked potato feast. :mad:

    *cough*

    I'm not sure that the episode elicits the same reaction from most people.

    Indeed it does...

    Day of the Dead (**½)

    A bit of a weird episode this, and one that I didn't even notice was written by Neil Gaiman until I looked up the actors, I'm so used to JMS writting everything that I stopped paying attention. It's an interesting sci-fi episode where the bizarre goings on are used to provide insights into several characters. The sci-fi element is as far as this show has ever gone in that direction, and the episode doesn't explain whether weirdness is caused by advanced technology the Brakiri brought to the station or if it really was supernatural, and I liked that ambiguity.

    Who met dead people? Well, Lochley met her space-heroin junkie friend and explained that she doesn't do drugs any more. I found this to be the least interesting of the plots because I barely know Lochley and I didn't know the blonde girl at all, so their connection didn't work for me. Garibaldi meeting that one-night stand he never had was weird, I would have thought there would be other people more important to him than her. Then there's Londo and Adira, which was a fun throwback to the beginning of the show, and Londo is usually worth the screen-time thrown at him. Oddly enough, the one I found most interesting was the one which made the least sense: Lennier and Morden? :wtf: Did Lennier even meet Morden?

    Meanwhile, Penn and Teller use their magic to remain alive into the 23rd century, but change their names to Rebo and Zooty so that nobody knows it's them. This story taught me something very important: comedy in the 23rd century is in a dire state across the galaxy.


    In the Kingdom of the Blind (***½)

    It's odd, I know that I probably should hate Byron, he's the sort of guy that I want to hate, but for some reason I can't bring myself to hate him as others seem to do. That's not to say that I love him, I just don't hate him no matter how much I try. The only good reason I can think of to hate him is his hair, but I refuse to judge a man just because his hair is so much nicer than mine and he gets to sleep with the cute red-head.

    Anyway, Byron hatches a plan to scan the minds of all the diplomats on the station in order to blackmail them into giving him a planet. That's an interesting way to go about things, certainly more interesting than placing bombs or kidnapping people. In the end his plan doesn't work and now he's holed up inside Baltar's harem awaiting his arrest, but at least he gets to spend his time with the cute and naked red-head.

    Meanwhile, Londo returns home to Centauri Prime and something happens were a racist tries to kill him. I don't remember much about this plot, what I remember is a grey alien in a dark corridor, but I can't remember if that's a Drakh or not. If it was then he wasn't high on ecstasy this time. Oh, and the Regent has been building Centauri ships and sending them out to blow up ships from other races. Hmm.


    A Tragedy of Telepaths (***)

    Lochley receives a telepathic message from Byron, she goes crawling through the cramped maintenance ducts and hears his important message: So long, nice knowing you. She should have kicked his a-... behind for forcing her to go through all that for no good reason, but she was too stunned by his magnificent hair. While all that is going on, Byron shows up and brings some telepathic troops to capture Byron's cult. Meanwhile, some telepaths decide to go for the violent option. I have a feeling that the next episode may be the one with the scenes from The Deconstruction of Falling Stars.

    Meanwhile, someone called Na'Toth shows up on Centauri Prime. Who was she again? Oh yes, that Narn woman that didn't do anything and disappeared without anyone noticing. G'Kar cares about her for some reason and forces Londo to rescue her. I was hoping this plot would be more than what it was and that Na'Toth would play a bigger role than she ultimately did. In the end this plot consisted of Londo telling a woman to take off her clothes and then him acting drunk. It was hardly worth bringing back Na'Toth at all.

    Lochley entering Byron's harem qualifies for a Captain Greyshirt because for all anybody knew the telepaths tricked her with their good feelings and their plan was to kidnap her. Besides, I haven't had to chance to use that counter in a long time.

    Captain Greyshirt: 16
    Scott Bakula: 69
     
  9. JoeD80

    JoeD80 Captain Captain

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    There's also the part of the Tragedy episode where the Drazi, Brakiri, and Gaim all try to blame each other for the recent attacks and Sheridan pulls out the threat of the White Stars to keep them in line. One of the scenes involving them reads a little differently after learning certain details from later in the season.

    Na'Toth is the equivalent to Lennier or Vir, and she did save G'Kar from the assassin's guild at one point. It does at least close the thread of "what happened to her anyway?"
     
  10. flavaflav

    flavaflav Captain Captain

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    In 'Day of the Dead', Lenier should have seen Marcus or Neroon. Seeing Morden made no sense at all. Londo acting drunk is the only reason I bother watching that episode.
     
  11. Hound of UIster

    Hound of UIster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    At this point, I think JMS was close to burning out on B5.
     
  12. OdoWanKenobi

    OdoWanKenobi Admiral Admiral

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    Thankfully, the latter half of the season really picks up.

    After you do complete the series, I implore you to watch In The Beginning and A Call to Arms before starting Crusade. A Call to Arms acts as a pilot of sorts for Crusade, and In The Beginning is worth watching because it's great. I'm one of the few that actually thinks River of Souls is pretty good, though.
     
  13. Admiral Shran

    Admiral Shran Admiral Admiral

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    It's definitely worth watching. I'm just saying that I don't find it as impressive as others do, that's all.

    On shows like TOS and VOY, I'll agree with you. But with DS9, and to a lesser extent TNG and ENT, I'll humbly disagree.

    Oh, you still have that reputation, no worries there; just not with this show. :p For example, some of your ratings in ENT's fourth season were kind of merger in my opinion. I also don't think Precious Cargo was all that bad; I actually liked it. And there have been some episodes of B5 I liked better than you did.

    The only episode, from any TV show I've ever seen, that made me feel that way wasn't Spirit Folk; it was ENT: TATV. But then, I don't live in Ireland (I live in Ohio of all places), so I can see where your coming from. Of course, I'm also firmly in the camp that believes that Berman and Braga deserve to roast in Hell for the abomination that was TATV.

    The highlighted text is enough reason for me to hate his guts. :scream: I HATE Byron! And this from a guy whose not particularly interested in redheads, at least ones not named Lyta. I hope he and his hair die dirty, horrid deaths at the hands of Bester in Phoenix Rising.

    Now come on Bester, don't let me down you wengeful, little Russian fascist. If you kill Byron and his disgusting hair, I promise you'll be my all-time favorite B5 character.
     
  14. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's actually less static then DS9 or ENT, though. The narrative drive of the arcs from year to year are more clearly defined (particularly in ENT's case).

    Now come on Bester, don't let me down you wengeful, little Russian fascist. If you kill Byron and his disgusting hair, I promise you'll be my all-time favorite B5 character.[/QUOTE]

    The ironic thing about Babylon 5 is on one level it wants us to be sympathetic to the telepaths outside the system - Talia Winters, Lyta Alexander, Susan Ivanova, Byron.

    But Bester is just way more fun and entertaining a character then any of those people I find myself more inclined to Psi Corps more often then not.

    I don't even remember that line. But then I haven't seen "Spirit Folk" since it first aired. I don't remember much now beyond really hating it and its preceding cutesy episode; not as much as "Up the Long Ladder" but close. There's a reason DS9 never did something like that and it's mostly because Colm Meaney wouldn't stand for that (Rumpelstiltskin was going to be a leprechaun, for example).

    My problem with this episode is that confronted with the unknown, everyone says, 'ah, screw it, it's alright because it didn't hurt anybody.'

    Something apparently transported a chunk of Babylon 5 into Brakiri space and made the people on that side all, well, see dead people. What scientist worth the title is going to write off investigating that just because it's relatively harmless? Aurora Borealis, eh, it doesn't have a perp sheet so it's fine...

    Well, that and Rebo and Zooty and the whole thing not being fun at all. It really got me angry and depressed about the whole state of the show when I first watched it.
     
  15. hyzmarca

    hyzmarca Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The problem with Byron is that he argues that human telepaths are owed a planet because they saved all the other races during the SHadow War. Except that Lyta was the only human telepath that actually participated in the Shadow War, and she only did that because of her loyalty to Kosh. Byron and his followers did absolutely nothing.

    So really, if anyone is owed a planet it's Lyta. Great, she can have one. There is a nice little out of the way place that's just perfect for their needs. It's called Za'Ha'Dum. She could do anything she wants with it, even blow it up if that's her fancy. She already did? Too bad, only one per customer.

    I don't think that Marcus or Neroon would have been able to provide Lenier with any useful advice or insight. You don't see who you want to see, but who you need to see.
     
  16. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^
    I think Byron's point is more they were created and/or screwed around with the Vorlons (I forget how it goes; some species have natural telepaths, others get their telepaths from Kosh and pals, and I think humans were the latter) and the Vorlons owe them, but since the Vorlons have taken a one-way ticket to metaphor land, the beneficiaries of the Vorlons owe them.

    Or maybe just long flowy wavy luxuriant blonde hair. I don't know.
     
  17. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well none of the main characters are scientists so it's not like they're qualified to investigate, or have the time for that matter. I'm sure IPX will want to send a bunch of scientists to investigate the scene but I doubt they'll find anything.
    Which is rather the point; if there's nothing to find, what do you do? For years people knew B4 just disappeared. Zap-flash-poof. Gone. No trace, no debris, no clue and no forwarding address. It was a mystery and such things are mysteries because they defy understanding. You can theoise all you like but without full possession of the facts there's no way to know for sure.

    Personally, my own pet theory is that it has something to do with that lone comet in the Brakiri system. Some ancient piece of First One tech that dose some funky jazz every time it's orbit comes close to Brakir.

    Plus, aside from being a fellow Minbari, Neroon had about as much to do with Lennier as Morden did. Less so when you consider Morden was, in a way, Lennier's opposite number.
    As for Marcus there's a very good reason why he shouldn't have turned up that's glimpsed at right at the end of 'Sleeping in Light'...
    He's not exactly "dead" dead and won't be for some considerable time.

    Actually all sentient telepaths are the result of genetic tampering of one sort or another (mostly Vorlon.) Telepaths can evolve naturally but the laws of natural selection precludes them from developing sentience the same way sentience precludes almost any further evolution without intervention. It's all spelled out pretty clearly in the short story 'The Nautilus Coil'.
     
  18. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That's different for two reasons:

    1) It was years ago. We can assume there were lots of sci-fi doohickeys at the scene trying to pick up trace residue of 'what the hell just happened,' but that's wrapped up faced with a blank.

    2) We don't have anyone sitting around whose religuous position is 'by the way, Babylon 4 is going to disappear now', and seem serenly content with the occurrence. The Brakiri actually know something about what the hell is going on and in getting their own chunk of Babylon 5 for the ceremony, directly made it happen to the station. Start cracking heads, get the Brakiri Ambassador talking as to what he knows, when he knows it, and I'll have a look at those mystical texts thank you very much. They may know nothing more then the religion end of it, but so what? The data given in the religious texts could be the key to cracking the mystery of who, what, or why this is going on.

    I have my theories I'll keep mum on until the series concludes, since it's dependent on some stuff TheGodBen hasn't seen yet.
     
  19. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    Your first clue that DotD was written by Neil gaiman should have been the suicidal druggy waif that appeared to Lochley. Even if I hadn't seen his name in the titles, I'd have seen Zoe and said "This must be a Neil Gaiman story!" :lol:

    I really enjoyed the episode, but who the hell is so completely mopey that they make their computer password "[loved one's name] is dead"?! :wtf:
     
  20. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Do they though? They may know they every 200 years on the night the comet arrives that the dead return. That's like knowing that every day the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. It's not the same thing as understanding why it happens. I'm sure they have a whole bunch of religious explanations (most of their religions are based on mysticism after all) but I wouldn't count on any of those being terribly helpful.

    I suppose what I'm getting at that while, yes there are going to be a lot of very clever people from several races looking into it but 1) They're not likely to find anything. And 2) It's irrelevant to the plot. It's a ghost story, not some episode of Star Trek that has to go into some long winded technobabble explanation involving holograms, transphasic metaparticles emanating from a subspace arse crack. Once morning comes, the story is over and that's all that matters.
    It happened, it was real (how else would Kosh be sending messages?) and buggered if anyone can understand it.

    My take on that was that Lochley, on some level, feels responsible for what happened to Zoe and needs to keep reminding herself in this way. Another slant on it could be to remind herself that she's alive and Zoe's not and it could have easily have been the other way around so make sure she makes the most of what she has.