A Niner Watches Babylon 5 (NO spoilers, please)

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

  1. sidious618

    sidious618 Admiral Admiral

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    Atonement is a rather loved episode AFAIK but I agree with TGB. It's not bad but it sure isn't one of my favorites and I find it to be one of the few "meh" episodes in season four (possibly the only one come to think of it).
     
  2. Hound of UIster

    Hound of UIster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Actually they do kill each other, but in these cases such as ritual duels, the blame is shouldered entirely by the victim.
     
  3. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Centauri prophetic talent is, I'd say a unique feature of the species. Perhaps the Vorlons were experimenting with different types of metasensory abilities and the Centauri got DNA from the Nephalim that did well on instant lottery tickets.

    As for the Minbari; have you ever heard of ANY Minbari prophecy that wasn't credited specifically to Valen?

    I don't think the Vorlons had a specific idea that the Humans and Minbari needed to bump ugliest to breed a race of super-psychic-ninjas, that was more of a by product of the whole Valen/Sector 14/Triluminary thing. Plus of course the fact that humans and Minbari can't actually mate and produce offspring. The only reason it worked at all is because one of the breeding pair have had their DNA altered, specifically to make them compatible.

    I will say though that it is pretty clearly established in the Greg Keyes novels and short story that the human telepaths were most defiantly the Vorlons' pride and joy and they had much bigger plans for them. The plans were cut a little short of course, thanks to IPX poking around Syria Planum.
     
  4. Hyperspace05

    Hyperspace05 Commodore Commodore

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    Narn's had telepaths, but the telepaths were all killed. No genes to pass on - at least strong enough genes.
    (see "Dust to Dust", S3),
     
  5. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Racing Mars (***½)

    Poor Sheridan. He takes his first holiday in a long time and all that ends up happening is that he can't watch TV, he gets punched in the face and he has awkward sex. Actually, it sounds a lot like my last holiday.

    So, Sheridan and Delenn finally consummate their relationship. Maybe. Knowing the Minbari and their rituals, "exploring one another's pleasure centres" probably involves the explorer wearing a radiation suit. As for Sheridan's "Woohoo!", considering the fact that there's no holodecks in the B5-verse and that the adult channel has been shut down for a year, just seeing Delenn's bra was probably enough for him to give that reaction. He's also ashamed by the prospect of having sex while people listen through the thin walls from the other room, thereby proving that he never went to college.

    Meanwhile, Garibaldi has joined an anti-Sheridan group. You know you've made it to the big time when you have a group of people that hate you. Also, I'm not entirely sure that Garibaldi is acting normally. I think that maybe, just maybe, something happened to him when he disappeared.

    On the other side of the galaxy, Marcus and Franklin get married in a beautiful ceremony performed by Captain Jack, but they don't consummate their marriage, much to Marcus' disappointment. Although the religious conservatives appear to be right, gay marriage will lead to the destruction of our freedoms, just look what happened to Earth under President Clark. Speaking of Clark, is it possible that he has been altered by one of these parasites that seems to have infected the Centauri Regent guy, and which one day will infect Londo? Because that would make a lot of sense and explain his lack of motivation so far.

    Scott Bakula: 55
     
  6. Can

    Can Commander Red Shirt

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    "Adult Channel unavailable due to jamming" now that's a big problem really I can't imagine living without one :lol:

    Garibaldi's slide to dark side opens up interesting possibilities right TGB ? You do not see that kind of character devlopment in space usually

    Marcus and Stephen were just funny together....though most of the humour comes from Marcus himlf , Dr. Franklin just reacts....

    Clark's motivations are simple and obvious....He ( and his regime ) is just a representative of xenaphophia out of control back Earth. He had been stating this with "needs of our people" speech just after Santiago's assasination. Earth was going on this road with xenaphophia and fear , paranoia since beginning....
     
  7. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You're right in that Clark's personal motivations are never directly addressed, but you can pretty much piece it together from his policies. He's a xenophobe, he's power hungry and he managed to get the backing of a certain rather powerful but shadowy group within Earthgov.
    I think Crusade was going to address them a little more directly, but there's all sorts of connections made in the Psi Corps novels that link Clark with the Syria Planum excavation, Earthforce's New Technologies and Bio-weapons divisions, the upper management of of IPX, certain senators, industrialists and of course elements within Psi Corps. Still, it all probably just comes down to a collective desire for power.

    Part of the reason we never really know what the baddies are up to is because JMS made a conscious decision to keep it mostly from the main characters' perspective. Which I think is a good idea since it's not really that important and it'd get a little silly having the odd scene with Clark sat around his big table at Earthdome with Bester, Morden, Skeletor and Lex Luthor, plotting their next evil scheme. DS9 is a little guilty of this and I think they ended up making Dukat and Weyoun more interesting to watch than the likes of Sisko, which doesn't do the show any favours.

    Technically true, but not entierly. You'll see when you get around a certain B5 movie I shan't mention. I don't want to spoil the surprise, but you get to see Corwin eagerly demonstrating how he uses his 'love-bat'...(SO not kidding!)
    I rather like how the show managed to sidle past things that, at the time, Star Trek couldn't even touch and get away with it. By making a joke out of it they basically said that sexual orientation, marriage etc. is a non-issue for 23rd century humans without ever having to have a "message" show on the subject. BSG did it too, but about a decade later. Trek pretended to address it, but got out of it on a Trill technicality.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2010
  8. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    "Marcus, this is the kind of conversation that can only end in a gunshot."

    :guffaw:
     
  9. Aeon

    Aeon Commander Red Shirt

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    Sounds awfully familiar.
     
  10. stonester1

    stonester1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Which is why I never see teh internets replacing the DVD collection.

    :D
     
  11. lennier1

    lennier1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Isn't that a Crusade spoiler? ;)
     
  12. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That depends on whether his becoming a "baddie" is natural character development or the result of brain washing, and the continual monochrome flashbacks to his capture seem to indicate the latter. Watching a character like Garibaldi slipping to the dark side would be interesting if it were "real", but because of the way it has been playing out so far it has felt artificial. I'm sure there'll be a point to it eventually, but right now all I want to know is what's really going on. If Garibaldi has been programmed to hate Sheridan then why, and by who?

    This is where I have to disagree, this was one of DS9's great strengths and one of B5's weaknesses. All the way back in season 1 one of my biggest complaints was that B5 had poor villains and that these were hampering the hero characters; Sinclair seemed weak because the quality of his antagonists was poor. Things have mostly improved since then, but even still, none of the antagonists have been as good as pre-Waltz Dukat. Sisko seemed strong because he wasn't going up against a glorified MacGuffin like Clark, he was going up against a man, a fleshed out individual that we knew, someone charismatic that we could understand (once again, I'm talking about pre-Waltz Dukat ;)). Lord Refa is the best antagonist B5 has thrown up so far, but he's dead now.

    DS9 focusing on the villains also opened up story opportunities that would otherwise have had little meaning. Take Damar's rebellion, which I think was one of the best elements of the final season. You could see he wasn't a big fan of the Dominion all the way back in the occupation arc, and after becoming the puppet-leader of Cardassia we got to see how his relations with Weyoun were strained. His decision to rebel is very similar to Sinclair's decision to break away from Earth because you could see them both coming a mile away, and I would argue that Damar's speech in The Changing Face of Evil is just as effective as Sheridan's in Severed Dreams. It shouldn't be the case, when Damar was first introduced he was little more than a Cardassian goon, but because the show chose to include him and developed him over several years, he became an interesting character that provided the show with some great moments.


    Lines of Communication (***)

    Sheridan, tired of the inescapable bias against his interests in the media, organises a new news network to give a fair and balanced version of the news. Uh oh. :scream:

    Meanwhile, on Mars, Franklin cheats on Marcus while Marcus is left all alone with his telescopic stick thing. Poor Marcus, just as he thought he was finally going to get laid. Previous to that, Franklin gave a speech explaining that Babylon 5 wants to help the rebellion against Earth but only if the rebels stop targeting civilians. Hmm, makes sense. Thinking back, that's all that seemed to happen in this story, Franklin gave a speech and now everyone is onside. The end. Now he gets to play with some boobies.

    Meanwhile, on a White Star ship, Delenn meets a Drakh, an alien that comes from that time-displacement room from the Enterprise pilot. For some reason he enjoys dancing, probably because his condition is like being on a permanent ecstasy high. He finds out that Delenn is on the ship and decides to kill her because he's evil (the fact that he's a Sith Lord should have given that away sooner), and the White Stars only just manage to escape... only to turn back around again to kick some high Sith ass. The Drakh lost the battle because once they saw the lasers coming from the White Star fleet they put on their Faithless CD and started to have a rave. That was their undoing.

    Now Delenn must return to Minbar to try and prevent a civil war between the three castes. Or something

    Say, where has Londo gone? I miss him. :(
     
  13. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Don't get me wrong, I really like DS9 but the strength of the villains was such that at times, it felt as if Sisko could have been a plank wood with a combadge drawn on it and it wouldn't have mattered much.
    As for B5, I suppose it depends on how much importance you place on villains, or even how you define them. Sure Clark is a "baddie" of a sort, but only in a distant sort of way, as leaders of opposing forces really are. For me, the real antagonists of B5 are Londo and G'Kar. Most of what they get up to is what drives a good portion of the drama on the show. They can be at each other's throats at times while neither of them has to be a "baddie".

    I think what DS9 and B5 really had in common was how developed the antagonists were. Even snakes like Bester and Morden had some humanity and - at least to their minds - a point of view that justified their acts. The fact that they're used sparingly only makes them that much more effective IMO.
    Of course, to be fair I should admit that you get a much better picture of what makes those two tick from the novels than from the show.

    As for the Drakh, yes it's true; under that suit he's really Tyres from Spaced. ;)
     
  14. hyzmarca

    hyzmarca Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The funny thing is that though he is presented as a one-dimensional evil overlord, Clark was right, for the most part.

    Look at it from Earth's point of view. The Minbari attempted to commit systematic genocide against humanity. If they had completed their final solution, there wouldn't be a single human being left alive in the entire universe. They wren't defeated. There wasn't a change of leadership. The people in power on Minbar are the very same people who thought that it was an awesome idea to exterminate humanity down to the last child. They stopped, at the very last possible moment, due to a crazy and unbelievable religious revelation. Is it remotely sane to trust people who are that capricious about genocide? What's to say that they wouldn't get another religious revelation and start up again?

    The fact of the matter is that the Minbari could still annihilate humanity ith minimal effort and as long as that was possible they were a ticking time bomb waiting to go off for no other reason than the fact that their culture sees genocide as a perfectly reasonable solution to little misunderstandings.

    And then you can take a look at the bigger picture and see how devastating the Psi Corps could be to the Shadows if Earth entered the Shadow War as a client of the Vorlons, which would have been inevitable if Santiago remained in power. That would have escalated things far faster than had actually happened, as the Shadows would have no choice but to pull out the Primordial battlecrabs and planetkillers to counter the effects of human telepaths.
    Given how much effort the Vorlons put into Earth, they weren't going to take destroying it lightly and probably would have delayed for as long as reasonably possible. They might have even made an attempt at a less apocalyptic purging of Shadow influence. Either way, being last on the Vorlons' shitlist is a heck of a lot better than being first on the Shadows' shitlist. And the actual events of the series demonstrated the truth of this, as the Vorlons never did make a move against Earth.

    Clark pretty much single-handedly saved humanity from extinction with his paranoid isolationist policies.
     
  15. Ensign_Redshirt

    Ensign_Redshirt Commodore Commodore

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    Personally, I never needed to have Clark's motivation explained. That's because I don't need Hitler's motivations spelled out either. Clark was a political extremist with a thirst for power... like many people in history before. That's nothing particularly special. I guess JMS's point was: "It happened before, it can happen again." :p
     
  16. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't entierly disagree with the basic sentiment but I do have a couple of points.
    First off, Santiago in power would not have inevitably lead to a Vorlon/Psi Corps alliance. After the Icarus mission, the Shadows had an in with EarthGov and had already turned Psi Corps from a threat into an asset. If anything was inevitable it was Santiago's death as he got in the way of some very powerful people. The only way that could have been different is if the Grey Council had contacted the EA first as Dukat wanted, or if the first contact didn't go down as it did with a twitchy captain on the Prometheus. After all, it was that staring contest with oblivion which gave those shadowy figures the impetus to pursue organic technology with such a single minded desperation. Without the Minbari War they'd only have been a bunch of toothless Earth-first trouble makers.

    As for Clark, I wouldn't say the war made him "right" so much as gave him something for people to fear that he could exploit to gain power. You're right though, from Earth's perspective they have no reason to trust a race that almost wiped them out and the war undoubtedly did considerable (though by no means irrecoverable) damage to the collective cultural psyche.

    When it comes to what the Vorlons did and didn't do during the Shadow War, I think it was only a matter of time before they got around to Earth. It may have been under Shadow influence but it was by no means being used as a hub or base like most of the others that were destroyed, so it would have been a lower priority target than the others. Remember that most of the planets they had bases on were mostly colonies and low-tech worlds (Narn, Coriana VI, etc.) Aside from Centauri Prime, the Shadows tended to stay away from large population centres and advanced civilisations.
     
  17. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't know, I see Avery Brooks as hammy moreso than wooden. ;)

    See, there's something I hadn't considered, and I wish that the show would attempt to put the opposing argument across like that. I'm not saying they have to say that Clark was in the right, because he wasn't, but it would be good if the show spent some time trying to get his point of view across before denouncing it.

    Personally, I think it's a good idea for Hitler's motivations to be spelled out. It's easy to disregard Hitler as a madman, considering some of the things he did it can be difficult to think of him as anything else, but there's a reason why he turned out the way he did and there's a reason why people voted him into power. An examination of why is more interesting than the simple label of him being evil, at least it is in my opinion.

    Also, Downfall was a bloody good film almost entirely because of the character of Hitler. ;)


    Conflicts of Interest (**½)

    As I said in my last post, Garibaldi's turn to the dark side feels artificial due to the way the start of the season suggested that it was due to him being brainwashed by the Shadows or PsiCorps or some other group that wears black, such as the Catholic church. Some lines in this episode haven't helped that impression as Zach makes comments about how Garibaldi has changed ever since returning to the station. It doesn't feel that Garibaldi is really turning on Sinclair, so that dispels a lots of the drama for me. The way I see it, either two things will happen: 1) It will be revealed that Garibaldi was altered and he's not responsible, therefore I'll be vindicated, or 2) It will be revealed that nothing is wrong with Garibaldi and he really has turned on Sheridan, in which case I'll feel cheated out of the drama by some misdirection earlier in the season.

    There's some good moments in this episode, Lise showing up again is unexpected and brings back parts of the "real" Garibaldi, the parts of him that are not affected by his Sheridan-hating. There's also some good moments for Zach as he has to confront Garibaldi on a few occasions. Much of the rest of the episode is the usual stuff; shady dealings, a shootout and a chase through the air ducts. It's not bad, but not great either.

    I'm confident that this arc is going somewhere, one of the great things about this show is that there is a point to almost everything, so once I find out what the point of this arc is I'm sure I'll regain interest. But for now I'm left feeling impassive about the whole thing.
     
  18. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Any reason you keep interchanging Sinclair and Sheridan? Another in-joke over my head?

    I like where the Garibaldi arc goes, though I'll let you be the judge of that. I do agree with your assessment of the arc up to this point, though.
     
  19. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    Heck, even Boxleitner did it once!
     
  20. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    If it is then it must be over my head too. :vulcan: I catch myself doing it from time to time and try to correct it, I thought I caught most of them. It happened a lot during the start of season 2, I thought I had finally gotten past it recently. Has it been slipping through a lot?

    I don't know why I do it, but it dates back to before I watched the show and knew their names but always mistook them for one another.


    Rumours, Bargains and Lies (***½)

    So, Sheridan dances with Jesus in the bright sunlight, and everything turns out okay. Firstly, the start of this plot is weird, having Sheridan sitting alone and laughing to himself may be a sad reflection of who I am as a person, but I'm fairly sure that I'm insane and shouldn't be given any responsibilities. I'm not sure what that says about Sheridan. Secondly, why did he keep his plan a big secret? His actions caused everyone to think he was a bit mental, why couldn't he just tell Ivanova and Marcus what was going on rather than having them gawping at him? The League members also looked a bit silly, huddling together in corridors scared by the prospect of ghost ships. The concept was fine, but in execution it made them seem a bit dumb.

    While all this is going on, Delenn is trying to stop the Minbari civil war, which is pretty interesting. Delenn's actions make her seem very aloof and above the concerns of her own people, which was kind of the point, but I'm not sure if that's the sort of thing we should be praising as Lennier suggested. The religious underlings wouldn't have tried to kill everyone if Delenn had just talked to them about her plans sooner rather than keeping them in the dark. Nonetheless, it was nice to see Neroon again, he seems like a very nice and open-minded guy.

    Wait, he betrayed them?! :wtf: Son of a...

    Scott Bakula: 56
     

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