Babylon 5: What If The Shadow War Came Last?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Mr Light, Sep 16, 2013.

  1. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

    Dec 7, 1999
    Sometimes when I'm at work I play around with the B5 episode list, rearranging the series to make it work better...

    I was always disappointed that the series basically climaxes in 4X06 and that everything is basically an aftermath of that. I know that JMS wanted to show the beginning, middle, and aftermath of a war, but it's not dramatically satisfying.

    So here's my version of the best possible B5. I basically tried to eliminate every bad episode. I condensed it into four seasons and incorporated the movies and novels as well.

    In this version, events proceed normally up to "Ceremonies of Light and Dark", the halfway of the series. At this point in the aired showed, the Clark/Earth storyline abruptly disappears from the series and it becomes about the Shadows. Earth conveniently doesn't really do anything until after the Shadow War is over, then that storyline resumes. Sheridan builds the greatest ever alliance of races to win the Shadow War... then they don't really do anything until the Clark War ends and then the Alliance comes into being.

    In my version, the Clark/Earth storyline continues from 3X11 to its end point. The Earth and Minbari civil wars are resolved prior to the Shadow attack. Then the Shadow War begins.

    I extend the Shadow War so that it's not prematurely condensed because JMS thought the show was getting cancelled. More space for active conflict with the Vorlons and the Shadows, more time to learn more about Lorien and the First Ones.

    Because of this timing, the Centauri being on trial in Season Five is not for attacks on shipping lanes, but for their active complicity with the Shadows.

    By including the novels into the series proper, we can finally have the REAL ending of the show within the series... the Centauri Prime Trilogy which resolves the entire Centauri/Drakh/Londo/G'Kar/Vir storyline.

    Oh, and Byron's only in two episodes :p :p :p

    101 The Gathering 1
    102 The Gathering 2
    103 Midnight on the Firing Line
    104 Parliament of Dreams
    105 Sky Full of Stars
    106 Deathwalker
    107 Signs and Portents
    108 Voice in Wilderness 1
    109 Voice in Wilderness 2
    110 Babylon Squared
    111 Crystalis
    112 Points of Departure
    113 Revelations
    114 Geometry of Shadows
    115 Coming of Shadows
    116 GROPOS
    117 All Alone in the Night
    118 Acts of Sacrifice
    119 And Now For A Word
    120 Shadow of Z’ha’dum
    121 Divided Loyalties
    122 Long Twilight Struggle

    201 Fall of Night
    202 Matters of Honor
    203 Come the Inquisitor
    204 Convictions
    205 Day in Strife
    206 Voices Authority
    207 Dust to Dust
    208 Messages From Earth
    209 Point of No Return
    210 Severed Dreams
    211 Ceremonies Light Dark
    212 Sic Transit Vir
    213 Late Delivery Avalon
    214 Atonement 1 Originally, this was supposed to be a multi-episode arc in S4. It got squished in the cancel crunch, then
    215 In the Beginning 2 when he got the TNT movies he went back to fill in what he skipped over.
    216 In the Beginning 3
    217 Lines of Communication
    218 Thirdspace Would have been cool to encounter the Thirdspace invasion while the Vorlons were still around
    219 Rumors Bargains Lies
    220 Battle of Minbari Have you noticed that in the great Minbari Civil War we never actually see them fight each other?!?!?!
    221 Moments of Transition
    222 No Surrender No Retreat

    301 Exercise Vital Powers
    302 Long Night Londo
    303 Face of the Enemy
    304 Between Darkness Light 1 The Ivanova / Shadow Destroyer battle
    305 Day of Dead
    306 Interludes Real Time
    307 Dark Light 2 Rescuing Sheridan
    308 End Game
    309 Rising Stars
    310 Kingdom of Blind
    311 Phoenix Rising
    311 War Without End 1
    313 War Without End 2
    314 Grey 17 is Missing
    315 Ship of Tears
    316 Interludes Examinations
    317 Walkabout
    318 Rock Cried Out
    319 Technomage 1 Flashback to what the Technomages did in Season One
    320 Technomage 2 Flashback to what the Technomages did in Season Two
    321 Shadow Dancing
    322 Z’ha’dum

    401 Hour of the Wolf
    402 What Happened to Mr G?
    403 Technomage 3 We flashback to the events of "Z'ha'dum" from Galen's POV
    404 The Summoning
    405 Falling Toward Apotheosis
    406 Apotheosis 2 More screen time for Ulkesh!
    407 The Long Night
    408 Into the Fire More screen time for actually attacking the Vorlons. more First Ones and Lorien.
    409 Into Fire 2
    410 Epiphanies
    411 Darkness Rising
    412 All My Dreams Torn Asunder The Centauri are held on trial for working with the Shadows.
    413 Centauri War Battle The Centauri "War" sure didn't last long. Let's get a proper huge battle in there.
    414 Movements Fire Shadow
    415 Fall Centauri Prime
    416 Wheel of Fire Three episodes of the characters saying goodbye to each other? "Skip to the end"
    417 Centauri Prime 1 Londo and Vir in the years after the show ended
    418 Call to Arms 1
    419 Call to Arms 2
    420 Centauri Prime 2
    421 Centauri Prime 3 Twenty years in the future, the climax of the Centauri/Drakh storyline
    422 Sleeping in Light

    Your thoughts?
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013
  2. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 31, 2002
    Of course it's subjective, but I prefer it the way it is. Remember that the story isn't about the Shadow War, or the Narn-Centauri War, or Earth Alliance Civil War. It's about a place and the people who lived and worked there against the *backdrop* of a brief maelstrom of history. Because of this, I don't believe it would have worked better if the climax had been the way you propose.

    For one thing, dealing with Earth before the Shadows is just plain odd since Earth was essentially as much in the Shadow's pocket as was Centauri Prime. Also, it'd make no sense for the AoL to take time out from countering an all out assault on the League worlds to sort out one mostly insular rogue state--yeah, in this war, Earth was North Korea. ;)

    Another problem is that the set-up wouldn't work as well either. Placing 'Severed Dreams' a full season earlier would dramatically truncate the slow creep of a totalitarian regime, which was a major theme of the show.

    For my money, the only real weakness of the show's overall pacing is down to the show makers having to adapt on the fly to external events--the slight compression of the civil war arc when they thought the show was cancelled, Claudia Christian's unexpected departure and the loss of the original season 5 notes all conspired to throw things off.

    Short answer: IMO a better order would have been the one initially intended. ;)

    As far as I'm aware, the Shadow War wasn't compressed at all, it was all in the latter half with the Earth and Minbari civil wars. Indeed I think the season finale would have been 'Intersections in Real Time', so we're only talking three or four extra episodes.
  3. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

    Oct 8, 2005
    Los Angeles, California
    My main dissatisfaction with the show is that JMS dogmatically stuck to the one season = one year formula in the fifth season. Had he expanded the canvas somewhat, the series could have actually told the stories that it could only hint at and have avoided all the lousy one-offs.
  4. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Gray Owl Wizard Premium Member

    Jan 2, 2011
    Sacramento, CA
    From what I understand, there was no truncation of the Shadow War due to Cancellation fears. I believe, only the final four of S4 (Not including Deconstruction of Falling Stars) were truncated, they were meant to stretch out into the first couple/few episodes of S5. On the flipside, Byron and his people would've started flowing in, in the background at the end of S4, so there would've been a smoother transitition between Seasons/Plot lines. Then of course, there is Ivanova's originally intended S5 Arc.

    Putting those things back, is about all I'd change and I wouldn't want to lose Deconstruction of Falling Stars, I know some don't like it, but, many of us like it quite a bit.
  5. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

    Dec 7, 1999
    He did say "Into the Fire" would have been a two parter originally.

    I'm expanding the Shadow War because it's my favorite part of the series. For me, the show was about the Shadows and Vorlons. I want more more more :p Thank god for the Technomage Trilogy, it really filled in a lot of questions about them.
  6. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Gray Owl Wizard Premium Member

    Jan 2, 2011
    Sacramento, CA
    Thanks, I don't recall hearing that about Into The Fire.

    Oh, and I agree it would be awesome to have the Books put onscreen. I'd want those as after the show Proper MiniSeries. I think each Trilogy could easily make up a 3 Part Mini (2 - 3 hours a part, with Commercials, so basically three double length or longer Episodes per Trilogy). I'd also like to give To Dream in the City of Sorrows and The Shadow Within, a movie a piece, ala In The Beginning.
  7. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 31, 2002
    Yeah I've often said over the years that if they were ever to make a new series or mini based on existing B5 material, the Psi Corps Trilogy would be *ideal*. Three separate yet closely connected stories, mostly takes place on Earth, very few characters from the show (none at all in book 1.)

    Sadly though I think Walter's days of playing Bester are gone. From what I've seen of him, he's looking very frail these days.
  8. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

    Dec 7, 1999
    I don't have it on me but I also have a five year version of this plan, which includes "Dream in City of Sorrows" and "Shadow Within" and "In Valen's Name" episodes. Valen's Name, for those who don't know, was a 3 issue comic book showing the gang discovering an ancient Babylon 4 in present day with some flashbacks to Sinclair-as-Valen.
  9. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Gray Owl Wizard Premium Member

    Jan 2, 2011
    Sacramento, CA
    Speaking of Valen, although I love where B5 went, I remember being disappointed at first when War Without End ended and the show didn't continue with Valen scenes in the past alongside the main storyline.
  10. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

    Nov 9, 2007
    My thoughts are that's still two too many.:bolian:
  11. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Gray Owl Wizard Premium Member

    Jan 2, 2011
    Sacramento, CA
    Heh, I would think even people who hate Byron's character with every fiber of their being would still appreciate the Barbecue Episode. "We will all come together in a better place, a better place..."
  12. Gary Mitchell

    Gary Mitchell Admiral Admiral

    May 16, 2001
    ¯\_(°·O)_/¯ Under your bed ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
    Dismember Byron!