A Niner Watches Babylon 5 (NO spoilers, please)

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

  1. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I know. :) Sorry if I seemed angry, it's just that sometimes I feel like as if I know far too much about this show, and that was one thing I had no idea about.


    In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum (****)

    I had surgery on Tuesday night for my toe problem I talked about before, and since then I've been on pain-killers. I've also had trouble sleeping because laying horizontally causes by foot to sting, so I haven't been getting my full 10 hours of sleep a night. All of this has caused a sort of drug induced delirium. For example, on the way home from college today I could have sworn I saw a man wearing a trench-coat and fedora even though it was reasonably warm and not the 1920s. :vulcan:

    What does this have to do with Babylon 5? Well, I think I'm beginning to like Vir, and considering the fact that this is Vir I'm talking about I'm sure it must be related to the pain-killers and lack of sleep. So, for the next few days I will probably continue to enjoy Vir, but rest assured that once the drugs wear off he will be the first victim of my withdrawal symptoms.

    I really liked this episode, it gave answers but it also worked as a story for Sheridan. I liked how they tied in the Shadows and Mordin with the story of Sheridan's wife, well played show, well played. It's nice to see Sheridan losing the run of himself due to the grief of his wife's death, and the small hope that she may still be alive somewhere, I could definitely believe that he'd ignore the law to find out the truth. My main gripe about the episode is that Garibaldi resigned and then came back to work seemingly without consequence, but that's only a minor problem compared to what this episode gave in return. I wasn't expecting to learn this much about the Shadows so soon, but I'm even more happy that Sheridan is in the loop now because that means I will be too. (I hope.)

    The b-plot about the Night Watch is also good, it had conspiracies, a senseless killer and time travel. Wait, wrong Night Watch. This one was about a group trying to make Earth all fascist, and I'm interested in seeing more of this in the future.

    I'm too tired to write more.
     
  2. sidious618

    sidious618 Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, this episode is a great one.
     
  3. Neroon

    Neroon Mod of Balance Moderator

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    "In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum" is the episode that cemented the series as my magnificent obsession. Much of that is due to how Sheridan takes a detour through the dark side - albeit understandably.

    BTW.... I think reviews while TGB is on pain meds would be rather unique and entertaining. :techman:
     
  4. Brian

    Brian Vice Admiral Admiral

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    :guffaw:
     
  5. Fist McStrongpunch

    Fist McStrongpunch Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Pretty good episode. The next ep is another clunker, unfortunately, but then the rest of the season is gold.
     
  6. Brian

    Brian Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ... not to spoil your expectations or anything.

    :p
     
  7. stonester1

    stonester1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Oh, I had become obsessed long before. Episodes like this would come along to show me wrong when I was of the view that it simply couldn't get better, it was already so good.

    No sir...just you wait.

    :bolian:
     
  8. Ensign_Redshirt

    Ensign_Redshirt Commodore Commodore

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    "In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum" was the episode where I started to care about Sheridan as a character.
     
  9. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    :lol: Oh, everyone starts liking Vir in this epidode. He has his depths just like anyone else- it's just that everyone underestimates him (the audience included, at least up until this point).
     
  10. stonester1

    stonester1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Exactly, although, again I liked Vir much earlier on. He showed promise in season one, but Geometry of Shadows sealed the deal for me.
     
  11. Truth_Seeker

    Truth_Seeker Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I think the stand alone episodes are a little underrated in this thread. Most of them contain a lot of important philosophic topics and show the various alien cultures in much more detail, making them more realistic and believable.

    And some of them even have songs like:

    "Aaaa yaaaa veee taaaa
    lestero lestero veee eee eee"

    :)
     
  12. stonester1

    stonester1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Not to mention all the other peeks at the characters and this unique universe. Totally agree the standalones are underrated here.
     
  13. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Which would be fine if the episodes didn't find a way to cock things up somehow. I'm not opposed to standalone storytelling, I'm a fan of Star Trek after all, but I just don't think that the standalone episodes of this show are very good. Believers was very good, but other than that they've been mostly disappointing for me. Example:


    Knives (*)

    The Babylon Triangle? I have not heard of this before. I'm betting it's stupid. Oh look, a dead alien. And now the dead alien has grabbed Sheridan's face. Clearly Sheridan is now possessed by some sort of alien, I hope this episode doesn't drag on and pretend this is some sort of mystery. Oh look, Sheridan is seeing patterns which aren't there. That's a sure sign of being possessed by an alien. Now Sheridan sees some sort of monster that's not there. Another sure sign of an alien. Now Sheridan is seeing his wife's ship blow up real good. Alien. Now Sheridan sees a vision of his parents. I'm beginning to think that the big reveal in this episode is that Sheridan isn't possessed by an alien. Wait, no, he was possessed by an alien, and Dr Franklin is shocked by this revelation. Shocked I tell you! These guys needs to watch more Star Trek, they would have seen the alien coming a mile off.

    Meanwhile, with Londo... This story got off to a slow start, and I'm angry at it for pulling that whole "I'm going to kill you, Londo, with this knife, but I'm going to wait two minutes for the credits to roll and then I'm going to reveal that I'm not really going to kill you" thing. But it did become sort of interesting in the middle as Londo began to learn the truth about the conspiracy he is involved in with Lord Refa, this episode has a chance to do something worthwhile yet! :)

    Oh, a falling out. I like this. :D

    Oh no, please don't challenge him to a fight to the death! :rolleyes:

    Please don't be a fight to the death. :scream:

    Huh? :wtf: That had better not be a fight to the death.

    Balls!

    Are Western human civilisations the only ones where fights to the death are illegal?

    Is there some sort of rule that important episodes have to be followed by Lawrence G DiTillio episodes? Because I'm beginning to notice a pattern here.

    Captain Greyshirt: 12
     
  14. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
  15. Vestboy

    Vestboy Captain Captain

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    If memory serves, that's the last DiTillio episode. Ever. It's actually the last non-Straczynski episode, save one and a half in season 5.

    I wonder if the real reason Straczynski took over the writing completely was because the other writers-- namely DiTillio-- were just writing Trek episodes (and weak ones at that) set in the B5 universe.
     
  16. Ensign_Redshirt

    Ensign_Redshirt Commodore Commodore

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    "Knives" was the last Babylon 5 episode written by DiTillio... so, not anymore. :)

    Actually, it was the last B5 episode written by someone else than J. Michael Straczynski until Season 5's "Day of the Dead" (which was penned by Neil Gaiman).

    As for the episode itself... I kind of liked the Londo story, but the Sheridan stuff was of course bullshit.



    EDIT: Do'h, Vestboy beat me to it! Anyway, here are the full writing statistics for the entire B5 franchise (there are only few TV shows where it is so easy to compile):

    7 episodes: Lawrence G. DiTillio
    3 episodes: D.C. Fontana, Peter David (one of them a Crusade episode)
    2 episodes: Fiona Avery (both of them Crusade), Harlan Ellison did also co-write two episodes with JMS
    1 episode each: Kathryn M. Drennan, Scott Frost, Neil Gaiman, David Gerrold, Christy Marx, Marc Scott Zicree

    Everything else was written by JMS.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2010
  17. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well you'll be glad to know it never happens again, ever.

    On a completely unrelated matter and without trying to spoil anything; if at any time later in the series you hear the word "Denn-shah", I'd suggest you put your fingers in your ears and hum real loud until it's over. ;)
     
  18. Hound of UIster

    Hound of UIster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I would think so.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPqJShOIWxA

    When you have writers like Peter David doing it, you know there is a problem.
     
  19. Can

    Can Commander Red Shirt

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    Knives was just like TKO...Half of the script is a personal struggle story one of the maincast which is meh ...mediocre...Other unrelated half is terrible at best...Mediocre does not balance terrible...
     
  20. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The good thing about "Knives" is it's about Londo and Refa and Centauri.

    ...

    Look, I'm grabbing at straws here, okay? I like Londo and Refa and the Centauri. It'd be better than Talia Winters headlining this story, that's for sure.

    However, don't let anyone tell you you're out of the crapfest yet. Season two still has a lame hour or two under its belt which it must yet discharge... though it's also true it'll soon give you a nice bevvy of above-par episodes.

    Exactly.

    The problem with DiTillio wasn't that he was writing Star Trek episodes (nor is this really a problem with the other writers, the rest of which were almost entirely Star Trek alumni of one sort or another in the first two seasons). The problem is he wanted to set up plot threads and arc material, but since it wasn't his own idea JMS had precious little interest in the world building DiTillio gave a stab at doing.

    That, and his episodes frequently stunk, which is a problem that was more consistently an issue for random contributors.

    I do take issue with this, though:
    The arc episodes do this more often and do it better. With the rare exception of an episode like "Believers" and, say,
    "Confessions and Lamentations"
    , I can't think of many standalones that dealt with 'important philosophic topics' half as well as many of the show's arc episodes. B5's best Big Questions are the ones integral to the arc.

    So too, is it's exploration of alien cultures. We've already seen quite a bit of the Centauri at this point, for example, and the best Centauri material has been in stuff like "The Coming of Shadows".

    Further, there's the fact many standalones don't try to do either of these things. "All Alone in the Night" gives us crap all on the important philosophic department and even less as to alien cultures (it's an alien-of-the-week episode, even if these aliens ever show up again.) "In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum" gave us a helluva lot more on alien cultures than that episode.