Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by BruntFCA, Oct 5, 2012.

  1. BruntFCA

    BruntFCA Commander Red Shirt

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    I got this DVD from the local library and was wondering which to watch first? I have never seen any B5 but I know that In the Beginning was made later but set before The Gathering so I'm not sure which to watch.
     
  2. OmahaStar

    OmahaStar Disrespectful of his betters Admiral

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    Watch The Gathering first. If you haven't seen the rest of the series, In the Beginning spoils things through the end of the fourth season. Though most of it is set before The Gathering, the "wraparound" (it's a person several years in the future telling this story of the past) is a big huge spoiler.
     
  3. Sindatur

    Sindatur Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Different schools of thought

    In The Beginning is a prequel, intended to be watched after you see most of the Series unfold, my opinion is that's best, so, you don't inadvertantly spoil anything.

    JMS' opinion is it shouldn't damage your viewing pleasure to watch In The Beginning First

    It is a rather fantastic Introduction to the Series, and a fantastic Movie, and since JMS says it won't hurt your enjoyment, it should be OK.

    Definitely, on a rewatch, it is a Stellar First Episode, but, I still think (despite the Creator's opinion) it's best to watch it later on your first run through the Series.

    It's definitely a movie that could help to more easily indoctrinate someone into B5 watching.
     
  4. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    I find that "In The Beginning" is best watched when its framing story is set chronologically during the series -- after "Objects at Rest" and before the series finale, "Sleeping in Light." It spoils too many of the revelations that season one (not to mention bits in seasons 2-4) only doll out over time.
     
  5. ATimson

    ATimson Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Of the two, if I were having someone watch Babylon 5 for the first time, I'd say In the Beginning. The Gathering is just too rough around the edges.

    That said, if I were having someone watch Babylon 5 for the first time, I'd be tempted to just have them start with "Midnight on the Firing Line".
     
  6. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    That is a worthwhile point. "The Gathering" is... a rough 90 minutes of television. "Midnight on the Firing Line" isn't a great episode of television, either, but it gets the point across without too much silliness.
     
  7. Distorted Humor

    Distorted Humor Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    If you never seen b5, i would be tempted to skip both, the Gathering is rough, and ITB is spoilerish.

    Then again, I recommend folks who have lower tolerance for bad SF to start with season 2 - as I am a heathen.
     
  8. ATimson

    ATimson Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    On the one hand: noticeable quality increase.

    On the other hand: you miss quite a bit of setup.

    I'd say that while you could abbreviate season 1, omitting it entirely probably isn't a good idea. But you could cut it down to 8-10 episodes (depending on how many of Chekhov's guns you want to see hung, vs. just fired) without doing noticeable harm to the story.
     
  9. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The gathering is awful. it was awful, and every year it just gets worse.

    In the beginning is much better but it's also getting worse every year.

    Soon it's all going to be as impossible to watch as Disney's the Black Hole.

    ...

    Del Varner, the most dangerous man in the Universe my ass, good lord even as leader of the Suliban Cabal he was a minor irritant...
     
  10. Jan

    Jan Commodore Commodore

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    ...is insane. --JMS
    If this is your first viewing of the series, what you decide should probably depend on what kind of viewer you feel you are. If you enjoy seeing something the way it was originally presented (despite some rough edges and stumbles), start with the Gathering and watch at least through season 4 before watching 'In the Beginning'. If, however, you're a little more impatient and want to see just how good the series ended up getting, watch 'ItB' if you're tempted to give up at some point during season 1.

    Given time and attentive viewing, chances are you'll end up loving this show.

    Jan
     
  11. Ian Keldon

    Ian Keldon Fleet Captain

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    IMO, you will get more emotional resonance out of ITB if you wait until you have not only watched The Gathering, but the entire series up to the eps indicated earlier. The framing story takes on a whole different emotional aspect if you understand who the POV character is and why he is the way he is.
     
  12. Drago-Kazov

    Drago-Kazov Fleet Captain

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    I completly forgot about the Gathering, the Beginning is much better.
     
  13. Lonemagpie

    Lonemagpie Writer Admiral

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    Neither- forget The Gathering & start with Midnight On The Firing Line. Watch ITB at least after series 4.
     
  14. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Short answer: watch 'The Gathering' first, B5 seasons 1-4 second and 'In the Beginning' third. ;)

    Is it the Special Edition of 'The Gathering' or the original cut? If it's the original cut then I have to say it's pretty bad and won't give you an accurate sense of what the series will be like.

    'The Gathering' was a pilot movie and was made about a year before they finally came to make the series proper and there were a lot of small yet significant changes in the interim. Mostly aesthetic (costume & make-up design, radically different music composer, improved CG etc.) and a few casting changes, so it's still essentially canon.

    The 'special edition' version as you might imagine was something they did much later. It's a top down re-edited and re-scoring with some hokey stuff cut out, some deleted scenes re-inserted some CG shots replaced with newer material (establishing shots mostly.) In short, it's the better and almost universally preferred version.
     
  15. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Londo's most beloved nephew he's willing to go to war over, yet never to be heard of again in the next 5 years...

    Read Lyta's newspaper in the gathering.

    (was it Lyta's newspaper?)

    Signs and portents!
     
  16. Distorted Humor

    Distorted Humor Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I have thought the same. These 8 are some of the better episodes of season 1, and gets you to seasons 2-4 quickly.

    "Midnight on the Firing Line"
    "Mind War"
    "And the Sky Full of Stars"
    "Signs and Portents"
    "A Voice in the Wilderness (Part 1)"
    "A Voice in the Wilderness (Part 2)"
    "Babylon Squared"
    "Chrysalis"

    Optional - Good episodes, and "The Quality of Mercy" is is not only has a fun B-plot, but introduces a major Chekhov's gun
    "The Parliament of Dreams"
    "Deathwalker" or "Believers"
    "The Quality of Mercy"
     
  17. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

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    JMS' opinion is correct.

    I still remember fifteen years later how annoyed I was when I first watched Babylon 5 (on VHS), and saved the movies for last, thinking that they had to be watched last, (Excepting, of course, The Gathering, that obviously being the first first season episode), only to discover that they take place at specific points in the storyline. In The Beginning should be seen before The Gathering.

    It's even in the title.
     
  18. Timby

    Timby LIKE LIGHTNIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING Administrator

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    "The Quality of Mercy" should probably be watched, because when its A-plot is referenced later on in the series, it's almost incomprehensible without having seen the episode. I have an incredible soft spot for "The Parliament of Dreams," too, and "Deathwalker" gets a fairly important callback.

    "Believers," however, is just so incredibly ham-fisted. It's got all the subtlety of a sledgehammer slamming into your skull, as though the script was originally titled "Baby's First Ethical Dilemma" or something.
     
  19. Sindatur

    Sindatur Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yea, but, on the other hand, for what it was, it was done far better and less cop out then anyone else would've done it
     
  20. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I completely agree. "Belivers" has always struck me as a story that would have been more at home on TNG than Babylon 5. The scene between Sinclair and Franklin in the Rock garden in particular. I was SEEING Sinclair and Franklin, but I was HEARING Picard and Crusher.