A Niner Watches Babylon 5 (NO spoilers, please)

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

  1. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You seem to be confusing culture with genetics and I assure you, the former is far more divisive then the latter. A pair of Irish parents can absolutely have an English child simply by having and raising that child in England. I know this because I went to school with several of them.

    And as for those "36.2 million Irishmen living in the USA." They're not Irish, they're Yanks with Irish ancestry, just like I'm an Englishman with Welsh, Swiss and we're pretty sure Norman and Nordic ancestry (among a great many others.)

    Now when it comes to B5's telepaths, the separation between teep and mundane isn't at all genetic because the telepath gene is present in most if not all humans, it's just latent in most cases (that's why dust works.) The difference is entierly cultural. telepaths perceive the world around them in a fundamentally different way that mundanes cannot comprehend and by which they automatically feel threatened.
     
  2. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Who says they're not both? Actually I can assure you that'd be the case. You'd be surprised the number of Irishmen, famous Irishmen, born in the United States or Great Britain (for example: Eamon De Valera, one of Ireland's more notorious and enduring statesman, was born in New York to an Irish immigrant mother and a Hispanic father. James Connolly was born in Edinburgh.)*

    Mary Robinson sort of hit it on the head when she used the word 'diaspora', as much as I wince at using a word borrwed from the Jews and originating in the Greek. Ireland's everywhere and nowhere; as the result of centuries of perpetual exile and emigration (from the flight of the Earls - the end of the Gaelic nobility - to the exodus following the Great Famine... to hell, right bloody now with the economic crisis.)

    Point is: Identity - cultural, racial, national, whatever - can be pretty fluid.

    *Er, these are famous in Ireland, that is. Sort of. Damned if I know if kids these days would know what the heck I'm talking about.
     
  3. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Totally agreed. In fact that was sort of the point I was making. hyzmarca asserted that English parents cannot have Irish children and visa-versa, which of course they absolutely can, as can any number of combinations of nationality, cultural or religious backgrounds. It can however depend on how you define being a member of said groups.
    Of course the fact that said children can be raised as culturally separate from their parents doesn't mean they will. As you say; fluid.

    Were digressing a bit I think by getting caught up in the real world analogies so to just reassert what I previously stated; there is absolutely an appreciable difference between B5's teeps and mundanes that is entierly cultural in origin.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2010
  4. Vestboy

    Vestboy Captain Captain

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    My biggest problem with Byron is he preaching a level of seething, red-faced separatist hatred, and then seemed genuinely surprised that it led to violence. His blackmail-for-a-planet ploy was destined for failure, to the point that I think his eventual martyrdom was his plan from the beginning, because, as others have said, he ran a cult.
     
  5. Ensign_Redshirt

    Ensign_Redshirt Commodore Commodore

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    Byron overestimated his leadership skills and wrongly assumed that he had successfully converted his followers to his own pacifist beliefs. When push came to shove, he was unable to keep his people in line. And blackmailing the Alliance was a bad plan to begin with (born out of rage rather than a rational assessment of the situation). He was a bad leader, probably even worse than President Sheridan during the whole Byron affair.


    Subconsciously anyway. I doubt that it was deliberatly planned though.
     
  6. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It should also be remembered that Byron was at his core an idealist. The man was raised by Psi Corps but somehow, despite the best efforts of mentors like Bester he retained a sense of personal conscience and left the only life he'd ever known rather than become like those he had once respected. Now up until this point he had still lead a pretty sheltered life and while the last four or five years on the run would still have opened his eyes somewhat to the realities of the big wide galaxy, he's still somewhat naive.

    Of course he has to be a little naive to be that charismatic and inspiring. Any hint of true cynicism and I don't think so many would have followed him for so long. It wasn't so much that he underestimated his leadership abilities so much as he overestimated how much of what he taught had sunk in. Some of those blips weren't raised by the Corps like him, some were just ordinary people who were essentially kidnapped from their parents as young children or teenagers. They got a chance to live in the real world for a time before the Corps got hold of them and so it's natural they'd regard Byron as somewhat out of touch, no matter how well meaning.
     
  7. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Ah, like Archer. Except planned in advance. :)

    And we'll never forgive you for it. :p

    Worldwide there's around 70 million people in the so-called diaspora, while the highest the population ever achieved on the island was 8.5 million back just before the famine. Between the 1840s and 1960s the population of the island was in an almost continual decline as people emigrated to other countries. Sadly, that could be about to happen again due to the economic crisis.

    [​IMG]

    But the Corps is mother, and the Corps is father. Many telepaths are taken away at a young age and forced to live within the Corps, and in the Corps they are taught that they are different from mundanes. They live different lives from the rest of us, and within the Corps they have formed their own culture. It's not right that this has happened, but it is what happened and now there's a large group of telepaths that do feel they are their own ethnic group. Some of them want their own homeland where they can administer themselves rather than living under rules imposed by a majority that fears them.

    That depends. Some people have moved here over the years for a variety of reasons, and they have lived here for so long that they have become Irish by culture if not legally. It happens all the time with people moving to America and eventually becoming Americans. And let us not forget that the most famous Irishman of all, Saint Patrick, was British.

    If they just picked a planet at random to settle down on, what's to stop the Drazi coming along one day to claim the planet and force them out. Star Trek already dealt with this sort of situation with the Maquis, so clearly Bester was a closet Trekkie. ;) To feel secure on any new world they would need to have a legal status guaranteed by the other races.

    The government, that's who! To be an Irish citizen you either need to be born here or one of your parents has to have been born here. You can apply for citizenship if one of your grandparents was born here, but you have to apply for it and submit various certifications. After that, you're disqualified.

    But not to worry, soon you'll be able to pay our government for the privilege of owning a certificate that says you're of Irish descent. Order now and you'll get a free toaster with a picture of Joe Dolan on the side. This offer is too good to pass up!


    The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father (***½)

    Welcome to the new Babylon 5 spin-off show: Trust the Corps. This show follows everybody's favourite fascist, Bester, as he travels across the galaxy capturing rogue telepaths. Part of the purpose of this show is to show all the viewers that Babylon 5 isn't the centre of the whole universe... but every episode will involve Bester travelling to Babylon 5 because that's where all the most expensive sets are. Accompanying Bester is his cute young assistant, Lauren, who has a thing for shortish men with a vaguely Russian accent. She's trying to get into Bester's pants, but will she succeed? You'll have to watch to find out. Each week they will be accompanied by a minority character that will be killed during the course of the episode.

    In this pilot episode, Bester is forced to travel to Babylon 5 again to retrieve a telepath that has gone crazy and can shred people's minds. Turns out he has multiple personalities and he's using his power to gamble. Bester and Lauren are accompanied this week by an Asian man and his method of death is being stabbed through the heart. Bad luck, old chum. The plot's not amazing but as a pilot to a police procedural series it's not bad. The real heart of this show is the characters. And by that I mean Bester, not Lauren. It's also quite interesting to see Zach from a different perspective, he almost seems like a jerk.

    As I watch this show I'm going to count the number of characters that are played by Dean Stockwell.

    Dean Stockwell: 2
    Minority Characters Killed: 3 (1 for each of the rogue telepath's personalities)
     
  8. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    And with that we said goodbye to Bester.
     
  9. Admiral Shran

    Admiral Shran Admiral Admiral

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    It's now been three days since I watched Byron blow himself up and I'm still glad to be rid of him.
     
  10. Hyperspace05

    Hyperspace05 Commodore Commodore

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    Trust me, that feeling never goes away. :)
     
  11. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I thought and still do that "The Corp Is Mother" is one of the better episodes of season 5. The procedural story itself might not be terribly interesting, but really it's all about Alfred Bester front and centre for an hour. As I observed upthread it was just easier to root for Bester then his often bland telepathic adversaries, and that's doubly true here.

    True, but I read in the Irish Times a few days ago the government is considering (and/or going to) implement some sort of officially Irish certificate for those with Irish descent.
     
  12. OdoWanKenobi

    OdoWanKenobi Admiral Admiral

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    I'm surprised with the love for The Corp is Mother, The Corps is Father. I found that episode to be incredibly dull. I was sad that it was the swan song (at least on screen) for such a great character as Bester. It just didn't go anywhere, and didn't matter.
     
  13. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Bester Trivia: Unlike everyone else, Bester was not rid of Byron after his death. The 3rd Psi Corps book reveals that Bester was in his mind, still trying to talk him down when he went kaboom. As a result he gets an impression, or echo of Byron's mind (much like that mirror trick he did in this episode) stuck in his head for years afterwards, taunting the little git.

    This was very nearly not Bester's on-screen swan song; before Crusade was cancelled, the very next episode that was to be filmed would have featured Bester, now a war criminal on the run with agents of a powerful corporate type with a grudge hot at his heels.

    And that's the way we like it! What? You think it's an accident that everyone hates us? ;)
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2010
  14. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    When Byron blowed himself and his sheeple up, my wife actually said "Oh, thank god."
     
  15. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    The Drazi are my favourites too. :) I consider them, in a very real way, the "heart" of Babylon Five. I couldn't imagine the show without them. :lol: And the visit to their homeworld was a good sequence of scenes. Nice visual designs and a nice change of pace- it was good to get away from the confines of the station for a bit (well, there was the Royal Palace on Centauri Prime, but that's quite confining too).
     
  16. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    :lol:
     
  17. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Aw. :( I was hoping for an episode where Zach and Franklin went running through his head for some reason.

    You mean in the story I linked to?

    Personally, I think it's a money grabbing exercise and I wouldn't be at all surprised if they sold the certificates to anyone willing to pay regardless of their descent. Not that I'm complaining, the more money foreigners pay for stuff like that the less I'll have to pay in the future.

    I just thought it was gross incompetence.


    Mediations on the Abyss
    (**)


    Lennier returns to the station and he's sent on a secret mission to zzzzz zzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    It's not entirely boring, but it's not exactly what I consider interesting either. Lennier meets a screw-up that has no place being in the Rangers, the screw-up screws up, then he tries to kill himself but Lennier screws that up for him, then the screw-up is given a desk job so that he's out of the way. What is this, the civil service? Anyway, nothing really happens here.

    Meanwhile, Vir is promoted to Ambassador and he zzzzzz zzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    This story isn't all that boring either, and I was wondering at the beginning of this episode where Vir has been for the last few months. But other than attacking a Drazi with a sword, not much happened here either.

    G'Kar got a new eye so now he zzzz zzzzzzz zzzzzzz.

    Okay, I'm being really unfair on this episode in the written section, but I've scored it a 4, which officially means "meh". This appears to be one of those lulls between story arcs where pieces are put into place very slowly for the arc to come. It's all necessary, but it's not the most exciting television. The best parts involved Sheridan and co talking about the situation involving the Centauri and the ships that are getting blowed up real good. My guess is that the truth will be revealed and Sheridan will have to go through with his promise that he'd assist the other races in getting revenge. And that will be the fall of Centauri Prime that was prophesied by the DVD case.
     
  18. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This is what I get for writing a response while alt-tabbing.
    I just think it's a miraculous coincidence that this idea occured during an economic downturn.

    I thought that was the best strand of the episode.

    Actually, let me rephrase that: It's the only strand I remember. This episode is a complete blank. "There is a hole in your mind"; I think is the Minbari expression. There are a couple of unmemorable episodes in the mid stretch of the season, really.

    I recall the human captain seeming a little dull; the Minbari others a trifle petulant, and the whole thing held together by Lennier, a character that generally I've liked.
     
  19. sidious618

    sidious618 Admiral Admiral

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    That episode always put me to sleep, too. You have a good run ahead of you, though.
     
  20. Hound of UIster

    Hound of UIster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    For some reason, I always thought the Captain's dead sister was Bester's first lover in the PsiCorps Trilogy.