Niners Unite...around Babylon 5! - The Lost Threads

Discussion in 'Deep Space Nine' started by Neroon, Aug 20, 2007.

  1. Neroon

    Neroon Mod of Balance Moderator

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    Never forget the fact that when they filmed the end of season 4, there was going to be no season 5. At all. Consequently, the entire story had to be compressed frenetically, with several subplots suffering for it.

    Also, understand that this ending was meant to be different. It was not to be some huge conflict resolved in yet another titanic battle. It was what Sheridan said - a war of ideology. It was the quintessential allegory to a very basic human struggle - chaos vs order. Heck... it's a struggle faced by the universe itself, right down to the creation of the stars.

    As to the Shadows lacking a "face"... that I can understand. In one sense, that's what made TNG's "Best of Both Worlds" so haunting. To have Picard become a Borg, speaking in that mechanical voice, it was saying "this is your fate". However, consider this. The Vorlons all along manipulated the younger races in a genetic way so they'd appear as beautiful, similar creatures to those same races. The Shadows also used other races to do their bidding. This is why we see Morden, who in effect IS the Shadows face to the humans and other races. It was never their way to work openly until the time was right.
     
  2. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Moderator

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    The Shadows and Vorlons didn't really "make up". But their disagreement did become meaningless, and they were wise enough to realize it.

    The entire source of the conflict was that they disagreed about how the younger races should be guided. At the Battle of Coriana, a fleet made up of all the younger races who were advanced enough to be relevant mutually decided that they would no longer be guided by either side.

    Even so, I think they would have simply destroyed the fleet and started over with a fresh crowd of faces if Lorien hadn't been there to convince them of the significance of the decision.

    Sadly, Sheridan's "Get the hell out of our galaxy!" line weakens the entire thing, diverting attention from what's really going on at a crucial moment. But there's not much that can be done about that.
     
  3. Neroon

    Neroon Mod of Balance Moderator

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    Sheridan's line really didn't bother me all that much, perhaps because I was so caught up in the seeming newness of the type of resolution.

    But yes, Lorien's presence was key because both the Vorlons and Shadows venerated him so. It's true that the willingness of the younger races to protect Sheridan's ship helped drive the point home, but it was Lorien who made them understand it deeply enough.
     
  4. Phily B

    Phily B Commodore Commodore

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    While making that post, I did think about BoBW and The Borg but they sort of made Picard the bad guy in that episode, plus it was a one off for the most part until Voyager raped The Borg. I just think a species who are the main bad guys need a face, it'd be like the Dominion without Dukat or Weyoun or the Daleks without Davros. I am sort of glad that it ended a season early, or I think the Earth War may have been a lot less fast paced than it was, I do like fast paced arcs with no filler between. It was slightly disappointing to see that Kosh was the only Vorlon who wasn't an ass clown too.
     
  5. chrisspringob

    chrisspringob Commodore Commodore

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    Regarding the linkage between the Shadow War and the Earth Civil War, it seems to me that they were pretty well intertwined up until "Severed Dreams"/"Ceremonies of Light and Dark". At that point, the Earth Civil War kind of fell off the map until "Epiphanies". When I was first watching the show 10 years ago, I was kind of expecting the fact that Earth was an ally of the Shadows to be more significant in the Shadow War in late Season 3 / early Season 4, but oh well, it's a minor thing.

    Regarding the Shadows having a "face", I'm actually quite happy that we didn't get to know any of the Shadows personally. The Shadows and Vorlons are supposed to be thousands of years ahead of the younger races. Their thinking and their personalities should be as alien to humans as modern human thinking is to cavemen (or even as human thinking is to slugs?). I just don't think a human writer could convincingly pull off portraying a Shadow as a fully fleshed out character.

    Yes, we've got Kosh, a Vorlon, but he was written so cryptically that I don't think this was much of a problem. We never really got inside his head. (This is a minor complaint I have with the Technomage Trilogy, which occasionally tried to take us inside Kosh's head. Not sure that I really found it convincing.) Anyway, the bottom line is that I have a strong preference for SF that doesn't try to humanize super-advanced alien races. I just don't think it works very convincingly. (Same logic applies to the Borg, and it's why, while I think First Contact is a fun movie, I really dislike the idea of a Borg Queen.) IMHO, what works much better is when the super-advanced alien race just seems like an unstoppable force of nature, that follows a logic of its own, that we puny humans can barely comprehend. And I'm glad that that's the direction JMS decided to take with the Shadows.
     
  6. chrisspringob

    chrisspringob Commodore Commodore

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    Just to clarify, I forget if this has already been mentioned, but the original idea was to end Season 4 on the events of either "The Face of the Enemy" or "Intersections in Real Time", with the Earth Civil War then ending around 4 or 5 episodes into Season 5. Also, "Into the Fire" would have been a 2-parter and a couple of other things would have been stretched out, like the Minbari Civil War. So, in the "original outline" (to the extent that there is such a thing) the Earth Civil War would have been stretched out *somewhat*, but only by a few episodes.
     
  7. Neroon

    Neroon Mod of Balance Moderator

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    I THINK that S4 was originally going to end with "The Face of the Enemy". If that is the case, it'd be a heckuva way to hang off that cliff. Maybe not quite to the level of "Z'ha'dum", but it'd have been good
     
  8. Jan

    Jan Commodore Commodore

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    ^^ At various times JMS has said that 'The Face of the Enemy' would have been the Season 4 cliffhanger and at others, 'Intersections in Real Time'. Either way, Sheridan would have definitely been in trouble.

    Jan
     
  9. Neroon

    Neroon Mod of Balance Moderator

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    Personally, I would prefer "The Face of the Enemy" as the finale with "Intersections in Real Time" as the S5 premiere. That way, S4 ends on a note of hopeless uncertainty. S5 would then start you out with a bit of relief but it wouldn't let you off the hook.

    BTW, continuing through vol 12. I get a kick out of jms's mea culpa over some of the episodes such as "Learning Curve" . He really takes himself to task over the way he ends "A View From the Gallery" as well, with Mack's interaction with Lochley. Good to hear because he's right on both counts, in my estimation.
     
  10. Jan

    Jan Commodore Commodore

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    Mack's "You're all right in my book" was probably the line I cringe over the most in the whole series.

    He's been pretty forthright about things when he thinks he's made a mistake, I think. I don't agree with his theory about Byron, though.

    Jan
     
  11. Neroon

    Neroon Mod of Balance Moderator

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    I have to go back through that passage again, because I'm still not sure what to think about it.

    Byron's Breck Brood is one of those things that could have worked out had it been handled differently. Had we been able to care about them. The potential was there, but ... I just can't stand that part of the story. To me, that is where the strain of things on jms really shows up.
     
  12. The Habs Fan

    The Habs Fan Commodore Commodore

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    Interesting. The Face Of The Enemy would have been a great season finale. And "Intersections In Real Time" just happens to be my favourite B5 episode, so that would have been a good choice as well.
     
  13. Jan

    Jan Commodore Commodore

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    I think his theory about the goths may have been fairly accurate. It's the 'nerd getting the prom queen' part I don't agree with...but then I'm not a guy and I was never anywhere close to being the prom queen. ;)

    I think it worked better on paper but I also noticed while doing the 'read and watch' thing that there were some moments that were cut that showed Byron among his people that might have helped to sell their devotion to him better. I also think it didn't help that all of his group were unspeaking until the point where the group split up. Thinking back to "A Race Through Dark Places", we were far more sympathetic to those rogue telepaths because we heard their stories.

    One thing for sure. In this volume and the last one you can practically feel JMS's exhaustion back then radiating off the page.

    Jan
     
  14. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    So, as I told Jan via PM some time ago, I finally decided to buckle down and start buying the scriptbooks. As far as I'm concerned, with all the DVDs, the eleven canon novels, all of Chris Franke's score CDs, and now all 15 scriptbooks, I'll have every bit of Babylon 5 I'm interested in at my finger tips. I have all the DVDs, and am well on my way towards completing my CD and novel collections.

    My first two scriptbooks--volumes 1 and 12--arrived today. They're a little smaller than I had expected, but other than that, these books do not disappoint. They're not for the average viewer, but for someone with an interest beyond that measure, they are really something special. I have class, and I've barely scratched the surface on these, but when I more thorougly complete them, I'll post some more comments. VERY interested to see what JMS has to say about Byron, and what I read by him concerning Learning Curve was right on the mark.
     
  15. Neroon

    Neroon Mod of Balance Moderator

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    See... I'm not so sure about the goth angle, either. The "prom queen" explanation seems far-fetched. Then again I never got to date the prom queen. But her identical twin sister did ask ME to her prom. :thumbsup:
     
  16. Ryan Thomas Riddle

    Ryan Thomas Riddle Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Speaking of script books, how's the 12th volume and all the concept art? (going to pick this one up eventually).
     
  17. Jan

    Jan Commodore Commodore

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    ...is insane. --JMS
    Two words...Penisaurus Alien. <g>

    The intro on this one isn't as much fun as previous books, you can tell that JMS was exhausted. And not a single footnote! But I enjoyed seeing some of the early concepts a lot and there's a photo of Andreas discussing the prosthetic the first time he wore it that's good. It's obvious that the art department had a good sense of humor. Also, there's a memo that JMS wrote to the cast and crew before the Season 5 Christmas break that's great.

    Jan
     
  18. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    I really liked the memos on the creation of the main title sequence for year five. It put it in perspective, and makes me appreciate it a whole lot more.

    The thoughts on "Learning Curve" were pretty much spot on, as well.

    I totally disagree with JMS' interpretation of fan-backlash towards Byron, though. My gripe is not that Byron is a character who can quickly make people follow him, or somehow an archetype that I despised in high school. My gripe is that the actor playing Byron and the writer behind him (JMS) completely and utterly fail to create this character. Byron is unconvincing, not charismatic, not even close to being Bester's equal, he has hair so perfect in the middle of Brown Sector that it's ludicrous, he goes on painfully self-important and embarrassingly long verbal tangents, and doesn't even have any followers that are close to being fleshed out into three dimensions.

    In short, I'm not against the concept of the character. I'm against the complete failure to conceptualize the character.
     
  19. Phily B

    Phily B Commodore Commodore

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    Has anyone heard that story about Michael O'Hair from Garibalidis radio show?
     
  20. Neroon

    Neroon Mod of Balance Moderator

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    That's pretty much how I felt about Byron. The actor is a nice enough guy, though he drinks waaaay too much. But I never once cared about him. Any charisma he may have had was overwhelmed by the arrogance he exhibited towards people who had done him or his own people no wrong. There's no denying the plight of telepath discrimination, but still.... about the only time I sympathized with Byron was when Bester was around.
     

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