Babylon 5

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Kail, Nov 21, 2015.

  1. chrisspringob

    chrisspringob Commodore Commodore

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    "Mind War" is also important, and I'd throw in "Parliament of Dreams" as well.
     
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  2. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It gets better after season 1, IMO.

    Plan A) Watch S1, looking for things that the show might tie back to further on. Keep in mind that it will get better, fairly quickly.

    Plan B) Jump to S2, enjoy the show, go back to S1 once you've got your interest and want to see how it all started.

    Plan C) Watch "in the Beginning" first, then decide whether that was of enough interest to you to pursue one of the other plans.

    I still haven't seen a good chunk of S1. I know there's a lot in it that's relevant to later episodes, I just don't -care-, and I think I've seen the episodes that particularly merit being seen.

    Hell, I basically got into the show in mid-S3, when my friends were already addicted and I'd be hanging out with them and completely disinterested. All it took for me was the appearance of a particular ship design, at which point I went all, "What the hell is that?" And I never looked back.

    Of course, if you think opinions of S1 are divided, just wait until people start talking about the stuff that followed the show. :p
     
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  3. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    The show tells a great story. Largely told by the show's creator, the story is laid out wonderfully over the 5 years by and large. One main writer keeps that story on target but there is a lot of suffering from JMS's flaws as a writer, too. There are a lot of repetitive speeches and repititious and clunky language forms from many characters. His writing romance is simplistic at best. The telepaths are an interesting idea but much about them is only left to the audience to infer. Overall, it is a great show. Season One is much more easily appreciated after seeing the whole show. Most episodes take on much more significance when you can see how their themes played out through the whole 5 years.
     
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  4. Mage

    Mage Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Watch season 1. All of it. Not all episodes matter to the overall plot of the show, but IMO, you should have atleast seen it once. When we do rewatches of it, my girlfriend and I skip some eps, sure. But for a first time viewing, I say watch it all.
     
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  5. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Meh. I'm sure it's a YMMV situation, but I don't think my B5 experience has significantly suffered from my choosing to omit certain S1 episodes.

    Of course, S1 isn't really the only time there are episodes (or at least portions of episodes) I wouldn't mind not having seen. But I suppose that's true of any television series.
     
  6. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Admiral Admiral

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    I was grabbed by the line "There is a hole in your mind", which revealed to me that this was likely to be a heavily serialised story. The reveal during Signs and Portents had me firmly hooked. However, my attention did wander during episodes such as TKO, Grail, Eyes, Legacies and Believers, and Infection is a bit of a shlockfest. The average quality goes up quite a few notches after season 1 with the odd stinker (Gray 17 is Missing) and season 5 is a curate's egg for the reasons mentioned previously.
     
  7. Taelon

    Taelon Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5 over at midwinter.com is a pretty good resource for deciding which episodes are worth watching.

    Google "Babylon 5 wham episode" and it should be the first result.
     
  8. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Babylon 5 is indeed one of the best TV shows ever. It's a novel and each episode is a chapter. The first season is better than a lot of people think. Michael O'Hare's intense "Vietnam Syndrome" Sinclair is a very unusual leading man, and it's a shame he had to be replaced (although Bruce Boxleitner turned out to be excellent). One of the three moments in the first season that got me hooked on this show was when Garibaldi confronted him about his risky behavior. The other two moments were G'Kar's speech about ants and Sinclair's speech about why we must go to the stars. The latter is what really cinched it for me.

    You should watch the whole thing, start to finish, every episode. It's excellent television and very good Science Fiction.
     
  9. FPAlpha

    FPAlpha Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    I remember this site from back in the 90s when private internet was still in its infancy and i regularly read it for background information on B5.

    However for a B5 first time viewer i'd stay away from it because it is very spoilerish and you shouldn't spoil yourself in this show. I had the fortune to see it in the original airing in a time where there were no readily accessible internet message boards so spoiling oneself took time and dedication which i couldn't bring up so i was unaware of even the synopsis for most episodes.. glorious time.

    Of course that came with drawbacks as during the season 3 finale in the last 5 minutes where i was on the edge of my seat my parents barged in and talked about really unimportant stuff so i missed the last 5 minutes of it.. of course there were no reruns and that summer was hell :lol: (i also remember TNG's Best of Both Worlds.. my best friend and me were truly shocked when they revealed Locutus and lost our marbles when Riker gave the fire command.. cue black screen).
     
  10. Forbin

    Forbin Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Do NOT watch "In the Beginning" in the beginning. It spoils a couple of big surprises. The movie was made when the show moved to the TNT network (after the 4th season, I think?), to introduce the plot to new viewers. Consequently it spoils major plot points that had happened up to then.

    Definitely watch season 1 through. Be patient. They're finding their way, trying different things, laying out some landmines for later plots. Then everything starts to take off in season 2. Seasons 3 and 4 are some of the best sci fi TV you're ever going to see. 5 starts out slow for reasons mentioned above, then the comes to a very satisfying and remarkable finale.

    The effects: This was the very beginning of TV-budget CGI. Matter of fact, this show broke the ground for it. They worked directly with Newtek on the Video Toaster and LightWave software. IIRC, they started out rendering effects for the show on a roomful of parallel-processing Commodore Amiga computers! You basically have this show to thank for all TV-level CGI that came after. So don't be ungrateful. ;)
     
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  11. Forbin

    Forbin Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    Also, to get the full effect we first-time watchers had, you should wait a couple of weeks between episodes, watch one or two at 2:00AM, and wait up to a year between seasons. In fact, the best way to simulate how the show was first aired may be to give the DVDs to a stranger and have him give you a call 5 minutes before he decides to watch an episode.

    Syndicated 'scheduling' was hell.
     
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  12. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Truth. :lol:

    To the OP: yeah, I remember being distinctly unimpressed with the pilot and with first-season B5 just generally. It did improve, though unfortunately the "human" cast -- which after all was the window into the show -- IMO never was particularly strong. It developed into very fun long-arc storytelling regardless which eventually learned how to get the most even out of more limited acting talents (and I agree with the poster who notes how underrated Bauxleitner's work is), and Katsulas and Jurasik's double act is worth the price of admission all by itself.
     
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  13. Timby

    Timby o yea just like that Administrator

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    Bruce Boxleitner is a poor man's Michael Douglas. I don't get the appeal of him at all. He's the equivalent of a wet blanket for me.
     
  14. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    In the lap of squalor I assure you.
    Some heroes are awkward and stilted.

    Did Bruce go out of his way to claim that he was going for a Dynamic Horatio Hornblower figure with Sheridan?
     
  15. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Oh I wouldn't class him as a great thespian or anything, but he's charismatic and more than competent and sold Sheridan's character well enough. Certainly he stood head and shoulders above the rest of the "Earth Alliance" cast on his arrival and felt like he belonged on screen with some of the show's better actors. (In a way that was not really true of O'Hare, unfortunately.)
     
  16. Timby

    Timby o yea just like that Administrator

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    Man, I could not agree with you less. I loved O'Hare's work on the show. He sold his character perfectly.

    Boxleitner felt like he was trying to sell me a 1985 Chevy with 300,000 miles on it. Just so smarmy.
     
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  17. Tim Walker

    Tim Walker Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It is hard to praise B5 without giving away the plot.

    Think of Season 1 as introductory. Season 2? More interesting than 1. Season 3 is more interesting yet.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2015
  18. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Admiral Admiral

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    The main arc running from mid season 2 through the end of season 4 is the best stretch of the show.

    Season 1 is not that great. It's episodic and often cheesy.
     
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  19. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    My personal view is that Boxleitner's acting is more dynamic and offers more general and universal appeal. O'Hare's on the other hand is more layered and subtle...but I have to be in the right frame of mind to appreciate it.

    I don't think it's advisable to compare the two simply because I think they were portraying very different types of character, and they acted the character they were portraying well.

    It's not dissimilar from Pike vs. Kirk, really. I don't think Shatner could have credibly portrayed Pike...but he was never meant to.
     
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  20. Forbin

    Forbin Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The best thing about it, for me, was Andreas Katsulas and Peter Jurasic. Individually they're fine actors. Together, some kind of magic happened. Throw in Mira Furlan's own kind of brilliance at just the right moment in her life, Jerry Doyle's casual everyman acting, Flounder's long-suffering anxiety, Claudia Christian's wise cracking authority, and Pat Tallman's earnest vulnerability... It's a wonderful ride.

    I have Pat and Claudia on facebook, and what's really cool is that they're all still friends and all get together for dinner regularly, and post reunion pictures.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2015
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