A Niner Watches Babylon 5 (NO spoilers, please)

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

  1. Ryan Thomas Riddle

    Ryan Thomas Riddle Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    IIRC, Gaiman was ecstatic that Penn and Teller were hired since he is a fan of the magic/comedy duo.
     
  2. Sykonee

    Sykonee Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I blame most of the guest actors for this, and not just Cas- Bakula. Most of them were quite poor in this episode. I swear the woman informant had to be a robot!
     
  3. Neroon

    Neroon Mod of Balance Moderator

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    To each their own. I'll agree with you on Bernie Casey, but Wanda de Jesus was fine for me. Intriguing to look at, she had a military demeanor that can come off as stiff. It seemed to me as being more authoritative and almost intimidating.
     
  4. Sykonee

    Sykonee Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I have to admit, however, that I quite liked Boxleitner in this episode. He was great in coming off like a by-the-book hard-line Earth Gov administrator, all the while working to impede The Bad Guys' efforts in the process.
     
  5. CorporalClegg

    CorporalClegg Admiral Admiral

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    I always like a good conveniently contrived work-around. This one ranks right up there with the Empire commander not shooting the escape pod with no "life signs."
     
  6. Can

    Can Commander Red Shirt

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    Hunter , Prey is a hit and miss for me...Learning Vorlon technology , especially their organic ships was interesting....I quite liked woman informant you mentioned. He was quite sarcastic ( "I Don't have any easy answers Captain ) But the Max the Abductor character was awful....Not only bady written but horribly acted...There was no air of menace on him. He might just be a comedian...
     
  7. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I half expected Max to shout "OH YEEEAAAAAAAAAAAH!" whenever he was on screen.
     
  8. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There All the Honour Lies (***)

    This is another difficult episode to judge. Ever since the first episode of this season I was hoping that more would be done with the Sheridan/Minbari situation, but most of the time it didn't even register. Now it's back, but once again the story feels a little too routine; Sheridan killed a Minbari in self defence and he must prove that it wasn't murder or be kicked off the station. We learn more about Minbari culture and their clan system, and Lennier was more interesting in this one episode than he has been at any time before, but the episode still isn't that great.

    Then there's the b-story about turning B5 into a deep space franchise. I can see what they were going for, some of the merchandising that goes with sci-fi franchises such as Star Trek is insane, but it broke the fourth wall in a way that undermined the more serious stories. I mean, why would someone make a doll of Londo? Who would buy one? (Other than G'Kar, of course. I imagine he could have some fun with it.) There was a few moments I liked, such as the Drazi wearing a human mask, but otherwise I found it distracting.

    There's a c-story about Vir being replaced, which could only end one way considering how it was set up. Of course Londo was going to back Vir up, this is a television show and that's how these things work. Much like Lennier, this was Vir's best episode so far, but that's not saying much.

    I guess there was a d-story (or was it a subset of the a-story?) where Kosh takes Sheridan as a student. What did we learn about the Vorlons from this story? We learned that they set up a monastic Jawa choir in a crawl-space they couldn't possibly fit into in their encounter suits. Yes, this is what I wanted to learn about the Vorlons. :vulcan:

    The actress that played Na'Toth Prime (as opposed to nuNa'Toth) showed up again and that actress is... Scott Bakula. He always did look good in a skirt. I must not have noticed him when he played Na'Toth due to the make-up.

    Scott Bakula: 31
     
  9. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    They also have a habit of spelling out the name of one of the effects people. Strange that.

    This might sound odd, but this episode led be to wonder if the secret behind the Vorlons and their encounter suits was actually that the ship was the real Vorlon while the thing in the encounter suit was a remote controlled bio-engineered/cybernetic avatar or servitor. I have to admit I was a little disappointed when the idea turned out to be wrong. I really liked that idea at the time.

    I think what lead me down that path was the bit mentioned above when the ship displays a message, then Kosh bows his head and leaves, as if it was giving him instructions.
     
  10. stonester1

    stonester1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Me, again, I loved it. It revealed more about the characters (always good) AND it showed them thinking about something besides the "job" and the "big picture stuff". A very human moment.

    Science fiction especially needs stuff like this. Because it's easy to get distanced from the human in that genre.
     
  11. Can

    Can Commander Red Shirt

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    This episode was basicly about unresolved situation and cold even hostile relations between Sheridan and certain sections of Mimbari society. It is refreshring to see that Mimbari are not uber advanced and developed in everything. They might be ahead of humanity in technology and Social / Philoshopy issues but even they or at least some Mimbari individuals still have the capacity of holding grudge , enmity and hostile feelings..They are not Vulcans of B5 after all. But of course this storyline basicly came back to a simple detective story and "who had done it ?" question...A very lame way of adressing this plot line...

    The idea of "Deep Space Franchise" was fun...When JMS wishes and tries hard he can joke about issues he wishes to mention in a smart way...

    Vir is getting more like a character in this episode and less like a bumbling overweight bad comic relief....

    And finally "beauty in dark" well I liked monestery rhymes if nothing else...
     
  12. Jan

    Jan Commodore Commodore

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    ...is insane. --JMS
    IRL when JMS held his 'garage sale', those dolls went for mega-bucks.

    They weren't Vorlons (just in case you were serious).

    JMS didn't write that part. Peter David, who wrote the episode did.

    Jan
     
  13. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    Dude, turn in your membership card!
     
  14. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I've never felt they were better than us socially or philosophically. Their highly regimented life sounds downright distressing, and most of their philosophy of life I'm rather leery of, really.

    As for the episode, well. Every season needs a jokey reference to Londo's genitalia, doesn't it?
    You actually clicked on this? Not afraid of anything, are you?
     
  15. Brian

    Brian Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You mean their mimbarship card? ;)
     
  16. hyzmarca

    hyzmarca Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    JMS's dislike of merchandising dates back to his days working on Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future.

    Mattel, the toy company that sponsored the show, just wanted a half-hour advertisement from their new Captain Power toys and "interactive" video games.
    JMS wanted a mature series that took a realistic look at the toyline's post-apocalyptic premise, an epic multi-season story about life, love, war, and death in a wasteland ruled by machines.

    The result is one of the few Saturday morning children's series that can boast having a one of the main characters commit suicide, but one rife with pointless time-wasting scenes designed to interact with the toys. And to add incult to injury the series was canceled after the first season because the toys were an unmitigated failure.
     
  17. Hound of UIster

    Hound of UIster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    He also did stuff with He-Man & She-Ra earlier alongside Ditillio.
     
  18. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    I almost said that, but I didn't wanna be mean. :)
     
  19. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    And Now For a Word (**)

    This was actually the first episode of B5 I watched, my sister thought it would be a good way to get me interested in the show, so she allowed me to watch it and told me that when I was older I could watch the rest. :vulcan: I couldn't remember anything that happened in it, but as I watched the episode I remembered certain scenes, such as the bit with Kosh, or the Psi Corps ad. I remembered liking the fact that the episode was in the style of a documentary program but not caring about much else. Well, this time it was the other way around.

    I used to think that the show-within-a-documentary-show format was neat, but then I actually began to watch shows that tried it and realised that it wasn't so neat after all. The West Wing had an episode like this in its fifth season called Access, and the only reason why Wing-nuts don't consider that one of the worst episodes of the show is because it is largely considered to be an alternate universe so it is unfair to judge it. BSG had an episode sort of like this too, and the interview sections of that episode just felt awkward. The truth is that I have yet to see this style of episode done well, and that's because these types of shows are annoying enough in real life with their sound-bites and faux-smiling presenters, so why would I want to watch them in my fiction?

    Another part of the problem with this episode is that it feels like an excuse to get across a lot of exposition to the audience, we get scenes of the presenter filling us in on background information about Babylon 5, and the interviews with the various ambassadors are used as exposition to fill us in on their home worlds. Frankly, it's a little boring. The best parts of the episode are the bits where scenes play out as if the cameraman wasn't there, such as the council scene. The worst part is that the story between the Narn and Centauri is very interesting and if this had played out as a normal episode it could have achieved a score of 7 or 8 depending on the b-plot, but because it is framed as a news program it feels frustratingly constricted.

    Oh, this episode has terrible image cropping issues due to the news captions. On a purely superficial level, this is probably the worst-looking episode I've seen so far.
     
  20. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Alas, the series uses the documentary conceit another couple of times, though never as much as this episode uses it. I like certain things in the episode (like Franklin's monologue), but would have preferred they be incorporated into an episode that didn't use the fake documentary conceit.

    And, oh yeah, Access was terrible.