Farscape or Babylon 5?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by kirk55555, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^But that's part of the point no? It's a source of suspense, much like Hitchcock's "bomb under the table" scenario. Giving the audience information the characters don't have is a very old and proven way of keeping people interested.

    Going back to Dune for a second, the real reason I found the newer books so tedious is because they're just a purely linear description of events. "This happened, then some thing else, and then...and then...and then....zzzzz." Unlike his son, Frank Herbert knew how to draw in readers, not with big events but with big ideas. Most of the original Dune books are really just a series of conversations and interior monologues that really brings the characters to life. Indeed, most probably don't notice it at the time, but for a series of books about the rise and fall of civilizations across thousands of years there's actually very little action. Most of the battles happen "off-screen", save for that one right near the end of Chapterhouse.

    Likewise in B5, we're given a glimpse into the fates of these characters. We get to see the world through their eyes and it gives greater depth to the events of the "present" knowing how some things will go down later on. Yes, Londo will one day in the next few decades find himself joined to a keeper. At the end of 'Rising Star' we even hear from Delenn (presumably speaking from some point in the future) : "The next 20 years would see great changes, great joy and great sorrow. The Telepath War, the Drakh War. The new Alliance would waver and crack but in the end, it would hold." But none of that spoils anything really, now does it? Given what we've seen, an open conflict involving human telepaths seems to be inevitable. But that doesn't make watching the events that precipitate it any less interesting.

    Or to give an example closer to reality; the other day I watched 'Lincoln' for the first time. Did it matter that before I saw a single frame of film I knew that he would successfully see slavery permanently abolished, or that he would at some point have a one way trip the the theatre? Of course not. The same is true with just about any kind of historical drama where the backdrop is well known. In a sense, that's what the likes of B5 & Dune are. They're framed as historical dramas that just so happen to take place in a fictional future.
     
  2. hyzmarca

    hyzmarca Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Spelling out the future evnts of a character can give a story structure and prevent it from careening off into the wild black yonder, like nBSG did. On the other hand, it can really limit the writers and prevent them from taking the story in interesting directions. As a constraint it is a double-edged sword.

    For example, Valkyrie was a good movie, but it was ultimately harmed by the fact that they felt that they had to keep Hitler alive. The problem wasn't the spoilers, though. It was the fact that keeping Hitler alive ruined the climax and destroyed any emotional catharsis that the movie had built up to that point.

    In Londo's case, though, I felt that his fate was satisfying, given everything that came before. There wasn't any other way that it could have gone, really.
     
  3. kirk55555

    kirk55555 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, maybe its a "proven way of keeping people interested" (although in general I feel it does the opposite a lot of the time), in this case it definately didn't work. I'm interested in the current stuff I don't know, but knowing the future just makes me angry. If Londo's going to get posesses, I want to find out about it around the same time he does, or atleast sometime after. I don't want it ahead of time. Its a totally different situation then Dune, or Lincoln. Lincoln is a historical thing, its not fiction where anything could happen (unless its a historical fiction, but you know what I mean). B5 isn't a book, where I feel that kind of spoiler is more reasonable sometimes. Its a TV show, and one that benefits from you not knowing things. Some tV shows its fine (watching Smallivlle, I knew Clark was going to become Superman eventually) but B5 isn't that way. It was a brand new series, it wasn't connected to anything before it. You had no expectations of what was to come, even the so called "predictions" could have gone anyway (because most writers wouldn't actually have every single "prediction" turn out to be true :shifty:). It just doesn't feel right to me, and ticks me off. Also, I like Brian Herbert's stuff. His Dune House Trilogy was awesome. Frank did a better job in the main series (although I liked Brian's 2 books that finish it) but his son really fleshed out some of the characters like Duke Leto and the stuff that happened leading up to Dune (Although the Butlerian Jihad books weren't very good, but I didn't really like the idea of reading about that event anyway, because the event itself didn't interest me that much).
    Anyway, on to the episode I just watched.

    Secrets of the Soul - So we have some more telepaths, and one has telekinesis. Lyta was right when she was talking about how the B5 crew didn't help her very much after all she did, but Byron is not a good guy. I don't think he's evil, but he's definately not a good guy. He's an arrogant telepath with a superiority complex. The guy who injured the telepath was wrong, but taking vengeance on him just makes their position worse, since security now knows (although can't exactly prove) that atleast some of the telepaths are dangerous murderers. Atleast Byron wasn't encouraging it (at that point, although by the end of the episode his seemingly sincere desire to not become violent looks like it won't turn out to be as important to him as I originally thought it was watching this episode). The hyach were crazy to do what they did (not unique really, but crazy). They don't deserve to go extinct, but it is a situation they caused, its all their fault. If Byron's people are vicious killers without him, maybe they don't deserve to be free. Say what you want, but a "mundane" or group of them who murder someone for vengeance would be put in jail at the very least. The Lyta/Byron stuff was gross, although her memories were interesting. The fact that they were telepathically..."screaming" during the event was creepy. The vorlon connection to telepaths is interesting, but it looks like it may make Byron go from what he was (an ass with a superiority complex, but not an evil person really, although some of his actions and inactions have made him lean that way) to crazy violent fanatic (aka Bester with less restraint). I kind of hope it doesn't go that route, but it would be interesting. Overall, this was a good episode.
     
  4. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    You mean it didn't work for you. It obviously worked pretty well for a lot of other people, myself included.
     
  5. kirk55555

    kirk55555 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Day of the Dead - This episode had the potential to be awesome from the beginning, and it lived up to it. A B5 episode written by Neil Gaiman (whose comic work I've always really liked, Sandman is my favorite comic series ever) and starring Penn & Teller? My mind was blown when they showed up in the beginning as Rebo and Zooty. They were perfect for the parts. Lochley ignoring G'Kar was a bit annoying. It all turned out well, but what if something bad had happened because she wouldn't even let G'Kar speak? One of these days, I hope being an ass comes back to haunt her. Seeing dead people was an interesting idea. All the various encounters were interesting (although I'm not sure why Morden was the one talking to Lennier). Even Lochley managed to have good scenes with the dead woman she was talking to. This episode was just great.
     
  6. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    Well, did you gain any new Appreciation or Understanding of Lochley's Rigid "By The Book" attitude, now that you know she used to be a homeless drug whore who got a wake up call when her friend Lizzie OD'ed? That Rigid "By The Book" personality is likely what keeps her on the straight and narrow
     
  7. kirk55555

    kirk55555 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There's being on the "straight and narrow" and then there's being an idiot. I'm still not a fan of hers, but Gaiman did manage to give her a few good scenes where I didn't just feel she was there just to cause conflict with the good guys, something JMS hasn't been able to do so far (although I'm sure JMS had some input into those scenes, I'm still counting Lochley getting to be something other than a complete jackass as being because of Gaiman's writing). To be clear, I don't find her scenes in other episodes painful or anything (although she has a tendency to annoy me with her treatment of Garibaldi). Its just that the character is not a good person, she's someone that you hate, but it seems like you're supposed to. I've compared her to a less effective Bester (who is definately an awesome character who you love to hate) and she's still that, she just has a bit more of a sympathetic past. It doesn't stop her from being nothing but a detriment to the good guys, except when Sheridan forces her to do the right thing. Besides, it doesn't sound like her dad kicked her to the street. It sounded like she ran away, and everything after that was her fault. Now, if its revealed that her Dad was evil or was beating her or something, I'll change my opinion a bit, but at this point her "sympathetic backstory" seems to have been caused by her being an idiot. Not that it would hcange my general opinion of her anyway (a lot of bad guys have sympathetic backstories) but, while her scenes this episode and the backstory were good, I don't really feel sorry for her at this point, not that it would make a difference to what I feel about how the character acts now even if her bad past wasn't her fault, like it seems to imply in this episode.
     
  8. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    Ah, OK, I thought you were irritated the character exists.

    When I express my hate for a character, I use that for characters I think damage the show, characters I wish weren't on it. Characters like Bester or Adami Winn (DS9) that I "Love to Hate", I express as liking or loving the character (Though, obviously I wouldn't want to know them in real life, since they are such a piece of work, LOL)

    Personally, I don't love Lochley, but, I appreciate the drama she brings to the arc, and think the arc is better with her prescence
     
  9. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    While Lochley is easily one of my favourite characters, I think part of the problem with the way she comes across in the season has to do with her role being defined out of a necessity to replace Ivanova. Originally the plan was for Ivanova to do not just about everything Lochley ended up doing, but what Lyta ended up doing too. You can imagine how much more dynamic things would have been if it was Ivanova being stuck between her duty as CO of B5, her loyalty to Sheridan and her sympathy for the telepaths.

    Lyta has the advantage of being an established character with a relevant back-story, so she slides into the telepath/romance half of Ivanova's role quite easily. Lochley on the other hand just has the "new CO butting heads and asserting her authority" side of things, which by itself doesn't paint her in a very good light.

    Still, like I said, she is a favourite and it'll become clearer later on why as the telepath plot comes to a head and (*choosing words carefully*) the better half of the season kicks into full gear. That aside, I think Scoggins does a great job and it's just unfortunate that it took this long to give her something to do with a little more range.
     
  10. kirk55555

    kirk55555 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, honestly, Lochley is inbetween. I don't really hate her, and I can see why the character was created, but I don't really enjoy her character. I think she could be removed and it wouldn't hurt anything. The bester connection isn't quite right because I actually really like the character of Bester, while Lochley its more like I tolerate her. The biggest compliment I can give the character is that I don't feel like she ruins an episode she's in, I just get annoyed by her sometimes and in general think she's unneeded. Then again, I watched a lot of Farscape episodes with the worst character I've ever seen, Chiana, so any other character is going to have an almost impossible time seeming as useless or episode ruining by comparison. Still, Lochley isn't near that level. She's annoying and a jackass, but she doesn't effect my enjoyment of an episode, so I tolerate her and don't feel anything stronger than annoyance with her, normally. Thats not a glowing reccomendation, but its different than hating her.
     
  11. kirk55555

    kirk55555 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In the Kingdom of the Blind - Its interesting to see Byron's group transforming into the brotherhood of Evil Telepaths. They are starting to personify all the bad things people say about telepaths, and the next episode takes it even further. All the talk about the Regent on the centauri homeworld is interesting, but it would be much better if it was a mystery and I didn't know exactly what was happening. Still, the g'kar/Londo stuff this episode was great. The telepaths have pretty much decalred war now, so anything that happens to them is their own fault. How did they expect the ambassadors would react? I never thought I'd say this, but Lochlet was kind of right. sheridan should have just told these telepaths to leave. They're just a bunch of fanatics, and next episode they become violent fanatics. This was a good episode.

    A Tragedy of Telepaths - Lochley calling in Bester was probably a good move. He's not a good guy, but at this point Byron's group has crossed the line from annoying and unhelpful to fanatics, and later in the episode, some become very violent fanatics. They really do deserve to be taken by the Psi Corps at this point. Seiing G'Kar's aid was interesting. The scene where they're trying to figure out how to save her was funny.The plan they came up with was good, having her escape happen in view of everyone. Londo/the regents talk was interesting, although its just making me fear the episode where Londo stops being Londo even more. I haven't talked much about the Centauri raiding ships, but there is not much to say. Its just the shadows old allies using their old master's tactics, and the Alliance reacting like they usually do, with stupidity untill Sheridan stops them. Overall, this was a good episode, and I'm wondering what will happen next.
     
  12. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    We will all come together in a better place, a better place...
     
  13. JoeD80

    JoeD80 Captain Captain

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    There's actually a specific goal in mind in this case.
     
  14. kirk55555

    kirk55555 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Phoenix Rising - The violent members of Byron's group really went full terrorist this episode. Using the dead body as a message was creepy. Garibaldi's confrontation with Bester was interesting. I figured Bester had done something to insure Garibaldi couldn't hurt him. His solution, comparing what he did to Asimov's three rules, was interesting. It was nice to learn more about Byron's backstory, and what specifically made him change his ways. I didn't know that Byron had it in him to kill one of his group members, regardless of what they did. The ending wasn't too surprising. While I didn't guess they'd blow themselves up, Byron seemed like a guy who would martyer himself. Its funny that, even though he died because of what was done in his name, people are still doing violence because of him (like the Psi corps HQ being blown up in his name). Overall, this was a good episode. It will be interesting to see what happens now that the telepath plot is mostly done with.
     
  15. flavaflav

    flavaflav Captain Captain

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    "on a scale of 1 to 10, how stupid do you think i am anyway?" :lol: Bester is frickin awesome
     
  16. kirk55555

    kirk55555 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Ragged Edge - Londo and g'Kar's banter is always good. G'kar's reaction to his book getting stolen was great. Gqaribaldi's trip to the Drazi homeworld was interesting. His drinking is also causing problems, and I'm sure it will cause more before the season is done. I'm glad that Sheridan and company aren't blaiming Londo for the Centauri attacks. The reason for not telling him anything makes sense. G'kar trying to argue with his followers about his book was funny, especially when he slammed the narn's head in the book. So, Franklin will leave B5 at the end of the year? Well, the way the season seem to work, that will be at the end of the season, so its not a big deal. Overall, this was a good episode, with some great G'Kar and Londo moments.
     
  17. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    Remember the end of the season is the end of the series, so Franklin leaving is a big deal.
     
  18. chrisspringob

    chrisspringob Commodore Commodore

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    IIRC, there were several references in Season 5 to Franklin leaving "at the end of the year", or of other stuff in the show that was due to wrap up the story "at the end of the year". It always struck me as strange that no one ever varied the phrase-ology, like saying "in December" or "in X months".

    Actually, did they ever refer to specific months in B5? I know that in "Deconstruction of Falling Stars" there are references to specific dates, as there are in Crusade. But other than that, does anyone ever refer to months by name? Or for that matter, to days of the week by name? (Granted, TV in general is pretty bad about doing that.)
     
  19. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    There's a New Year's celegration in Chysalis and Sheridan and Garabaldi talk it snowing back on earth in Za'Ha'Dum. While few dates are mentioned the year changes in the credits.
     
  20. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    'A Tragedy of Telepaths' starts with Lochley giving her log entry as June 16, 2262, but yeah, aside from season finales and premiers (which always take place around new years) specific dates are few and far between. When they are mentioned it's usually retrospective, like "remember back in August when...." Which is fine, because who the hell remembers uses dates in conversation anyway?

    One assumes they were intentionally avoided for the most part because it allowed JMS some wiggle room in terms of continuity. Trying to track the specific days and times of fictional events can be a nightmare and a writer can really paint themselves into a corner over time unless they're *very* meticulous. Even a show like '24' which supposedly took place in real time could never get it 100% consistently to the minute.