Farscape or Babylon 5?

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

  1. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    Bad acting on B5: I don't think there was any from the main cast, but some of the one-shot background characters could be just AWful! The one I specifically remember is the woman and her family in down-below when Franklin was on his walkabout. The one when the kid's ball rolls up to him. She was projecting and waving and overemoting like it was a freshman high school play. Gah!
     
  2. kirk55555

    kirk55555 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I love the ME series. I own a PS3, and I played 2 & 3. I loved 2, and 99% of three (except the ending). They're the best sci-fi video games I've ever played, and they're just awesome in general.
     
  3. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Then you might notice something very familiar feeling about Babylon 5. I know that when I first played ME1 I had just such a feeling... ;)

    Not that I necessarily disagree, but I've actually met (completely bonkers) people who act *exactly* like that.

    Also, I think the bulk of the hammy guest actors are mostly only show up in season one. Or at least that's where the worst offenders are contained. For me the absolute nadir was that telepath girl in 'Legacies'. I swear, either the casting director had a concussion that week, or she must have been some studio big-wig's niece to land that part.

    Not to pick on the poor girl, but I happened to be watching 'Gone in Sixty Seconds' a few week back and...well, you remember that bit where the bloke had become a driving instructor and the girl can't drive to save her life? That's her. Am I crazy or is that some of the strangest cry acting ever committed to film?
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2012
  4. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    How about that crazy-eyed bitch who was supposed marry Vir? There was some pretty mediocre acting!
     
  5. Angel4576

    Angel4576 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think it's fair to say that yes, some of the guest acting left a lot to be desired, and at times, some of the dialogue that Joe wrote was pretty clunky, but, ultimately, the weight of the ongoing arcs was more than enough to compensate for that short-coming. Not to mention that the acting from the primary cast was actually very good.
     
  6. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Neither. I thought Farscape was junk, and B5 flawed and badly acted for the most part.

    I'd pick B5 if I had to...
     
  7. Jeff O'Connor

    Jeff O'Connor Commodore Commodore

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    Yeah, pretty much.
     
  8. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Thanks for playing.
     
  9. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    They're both basically good shows, both worth checking out if you like space opera TV (which as a peruser of the TrekBBS you probably do), although I'd consider Farscape the sigificantly better show in terms of acting, writing, etc.; Babylon 5 did benefit from a novelistic structure to its arcs and the ability to provide payoff for seeds planted years before.
     
  10. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    When Farscape came to Netflix I was excited to start watching the whole series. I was surprised and disappointed to find I couldn't rewatch the series at all. I just couldn't force myself.

    I think part of it was Moya. You can write "living ship" and "starburst" but it doesn't make any sense. While watching the convoluted plots and wild character gyrations of seasons two (partly I think,) three and four, being invested in the characters and what happened made it easier to ignore that. Then, on trying to rewatch, when I knew what happened and how the characters changed, Moya wasn't lost in the background. I know a lot of people feel a sullen rage at the insult of big words, but leaving Moya just there really doesn't work if you're paying attention. This is a huge problem for Farscape since Moya isn't just a cool prop but a kind of character.

    I think the rest of it is the slovenliness of the characterization, the arbitrariness of the plotting and the wayward drift from the themes. The last is pretty clearly illustrated if you remember the visit to Earth, where the alien characters D'Argo and Chiana pretty much shout out that one theme is the folly of human triumphalism and the provinciality of sexual puritanism (embodied in the characters respectively.) Except you know that Crichton really was the savior of the universe (included the unmapped territories!) and even China didn't really sleep around that much.

    By the end, Crichton and the crew, Aeryn with babe in arms, stride forth blasting the foe by sheer force of good looks and terminal coolness. Then, minutes later, Crichton rejects violence (:wtf:) and defeats the foe by demonstrating the folly of war with WMD. You can have your heroes win and you can have your heroes make a statement against war, but having them do both is having it both ways, which is no way.

    As for the arbitrariness of the plotting, the return to Earth, which should have been the climax of the Crichton's story, was suddenly turned into the discovery that they had to leave Earth. Way to piss on years of motivation folks.

    The amazing fact that Skarran intelligence depended upon a flower that didn't grow on their home planet asks how they ever got out into space. Ignoring the awkward moment, we saw Crichton and crew save somebody/everybody (who were they working for, again, as they did all this earthsaving stuff?) by blowing up the space garden where the flower was grown. Just the one? Then we discover that the flower does grown naturally...on Earth. Uh huh.

    As to the slovenliness of characterizations, Crais' weird gyrations from villain to tragic hero were not understandable. I never could figure out what Aeryn really thought of the Peacekeepers. D'Argo was sometimes hyperrage and sometimes wise and kindly. Crichton was sometimes smart and sometimes a comic fool. Only the muppet characters were allowed to stay in one character. There is such a thing as character change but mulitple personalities is something else.

    What was good about Farscape? There was quite a bit about it that was wonderfully well done, it's just not characterization, plot and theme. The dialogue was well done. The actors certainly were emotive (they had to be,) and getting to do many versions of a character certainly kept it fresh. The poplit humor was very well done indeed. The metafictional extravaganza, where the show consciously played with SF tropes, was also very well done indeed, a combination of light touch and affectionate regard rarely achieved. The set designs were wonderfully imaginative and owed nothing to Hollywood space opera. The music was good, avoiding Williams-lite but achieving the proper mix of exoticism and the familiar.

    Most of all, the show had a determination to entertain that would admit no foolish embarrassments about being SF. It didn't follow the Enterprise schema of naturalizing the fantastic but reveled in the garish. It deliberately went over the top to entertain. The ride doesn't bear repetition but it was a really fun ride, once.

    B5 however I can and have rewatched, and will again if I live long enough.

    Spoiler coded after I was reminded the OP hadn't seen the series yet.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2012
  11. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Perhaps you would like to spoiler code some of that? You're free to your opinion, of course, but it seems rather thoughtless to describe in some detail the endgame of a series that the original poster has not seen.
     
  12. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    @stj, though much of your post is snippets, that may not be easily followed by someone unfamiliar with the Series, there's an awful lot of spoilers in there, you should consider "spoilering" most of the first half of your post, as the OP makes clear he hasn't watched either series all the way through yet.
     
  13. Satyrquaze

    Satyrquaze Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Despite having seen next to nothing of Farscape I'm quite comfortable fully recommending Babylon 5.
     
  14. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Moderator

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    Made sense to me. If he had returned in the first year or even the second, maybe he could have made it work. By year four, he's no longer a fish out of water on Moya; now, he's a fish out of water on Earth. I think the show would have been too pat if "returning to Earth" had been the conclusion. Furthermore, the avoidance of that ending is foreshadowed all through season 3 with the assertion that "Earth is unprepared!" in the opening credits.

    There's some fairly interesting backstory on that I read somewhere. It's not in the show itself though. As I recall it ties in how Jewel's people and Peacekeepers are related to Humans.

    Does it? We don't really know. John made an offhand joke about it growing in his grandma's garden. Don't know if that's true or just John's sense of wimsy, but it caused a lot of trouble....
     
  15. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You know Greg, just sometimes I'll post not because I'm making a considered statement, but because I'm in a bit of a snarky or offhand mood and then I'll regret it. I didn't exactly advance the discussion much did I ?

    I didn't watch Farscape so it may not be 'junk'. The lack of Space Opera on TV bothers me and seeing the show listed I tried a couple of episodes. I really couldn't get into it - it may have been brilliant - I'll never know. I had a similar experience with Andromeda (but sat through a LOT more episodes).

    B5 I watched religiously - I am still impressed with what JMS achieved overall. The logistics, the amount written by him, the long arc, the adult approach and how much of the money actually made it to the screen.

    However, with the exceptions of Anreas Katsulas, Peter Jurasik and Stephen Furst, I have to say it had one of the most inept main casts I have ever seen (Bruce Boxleitner was meant to be an improvement ? Tracy Scoggins ?). The big arcs owed much to Lord Of The Rings and many government conspiracy takeover stories and (no fault of JMS) the rushed resolution followed by commissioning another season did it no favours. Having said that, he did botch it - the Earthdome arc should have been resolved first and the Shadow arc should have closed the season, allowing it more room.

    B5 was interesting, should probably have been more impotant and deserved a little more respect from me. Especially as a friend co-wrote the security manual. :)

    Please disregard my earlier post.
     
  16. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The foreshadowing is that Crichton should prepare Earth, which he doesn't. Basically he just leaves. In principle you could make the case that the series could have more than one climax, that the climax of Crichton's return to Earth wouldn't end the series. But it still should have been a climax. In terms of articulating some of the themes the writers wanted the show to be about, that episode was one of the most important they ever did. And in terms of being a climax, to a massive part of Crichton's arc, it should have been, well, you know, climactic. But nobody else likes the episode. It's anticlimactic.
     
  17. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Well, I'll admit to a bit of snark there myself, but your original post did seem like a bit of drive-by! :)
     
  18. Goji

    Goji Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think it's a fantastic episode, one of my favorites of the series. As for foreshadowing, I humbly submit the whole third season finale, "Dog With Two Bones", during which Crichton, with the help of Noranti, is forced to face his darkest fears about what could happen if he returned to Earth. Including the loss of Aeryn, who he comes to accept as meaning more to him now than Earth does (she being the "real bone" in the titular metaphor), and an invasion by Scorpius and the Peacekeepers that kills his closest friends and family.

    Which ultimately comes to pass in a way in "Terra Firma", when a Skreeth sent by Grayza succeeds in killing his childhood friend and his wife, and very nearly does the same to Crichton's whole family. After which, yeah, he "just leaves"... because Grayza and the whole Peacekeeper Army is hot on his tail, as evidenced by the Skreeth. Getting the hell away from Earth removes or at least diminishes Grayza's interest in it.

    As for "preparing Earth"... how, exactly? Crichton and co. don't have the firepower to repel a Peacekeeper or Scarran invasion on their own. If they did, they wouldn't have spent three years on the run. How could they, alone, prepare a backwards planet to fight not one but TWO ultra powerful empires?

    To summarize, by the end of Season 3 John realizes that Aeryn > Earth (stated in "Dog With Two Bones", obvious to anyone paying attention to Ben Browder's and Claudia Black's acting) and staying on Earth anyway = its likely destruction by Peacekeepers and/or Scarrans (implied in "Into the Lion's Den Part 2", "Dog With Two Bones", and almost occurs for reals in "Bad Timing").

    If this story, for whatever reason, didn't work for you, fine. But it *was* all there and for me, it worked splendidly.

    Also, Farscape rocks.
     
  19. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Crichton had already decided it was too dangerous to go to Earth and he loved Aeryn more, but he went anyway? Hmm. I know Crichton was inconsistently portrayed as really brilliant sometimes and really foolish sometimes but this seems really extreme. Glad it worked for you. As I recall, very few other people felt the visit to Earth was a dramatic high point, though.
     
  20. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Moderator

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    He didn't go intentionally, if you recall. But once he was there, how could he resist giving it a shot?