Babylon 5

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

  1. JWPlatt

    JWPlatt Commodore Commodore

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    I see the writing about Lyta's story as the flaw in this case, and not a designed, intentional, organic character flaw of Sheridan's to illuminate, for example, that no one is perfect. In this particular instance, that gives the writing way too much credit. Some in this thread feel the Byron story should have been nuked from orbit. I'm one of them. I was glad when he blew up (Yeessss! with a fisted elbow pump). I don't think mine was the desired reaction.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2016
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  2. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think the Byron subplot would probably have worked much better had he been introduced a lot earlier, like say season 3 or four when they started recruiting rogue telepaths to combat the Shadows. Having him show up and immediately cause discord in season 5 makes it difficult for the audience to sympathise, especially because before now we've barely glimpsed at what it really is to be a teep in human society or what it is to be in the Psi Corps.

    It would also have given the revelation that he was Bester's protégé a *lot* more weight.
     
  3. Mage

    Mage Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Lovely..... Had a change to meet Claudia Christian yesterday during a fantasy fair here in the Netherlands.... She never showed up, just disappeared. The organisation had no clue where she was. Appereantly, the day before, she showed up late. And to make it even more fun, at around the time she was supposed to do a small lecture on sunday, she posted pictures on her Facebook page of being in the Netherlands......
     
  4. Jan

    Jan Commodore Commodore

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    ...is insane. --JMS
    I think there might be two possible factors to that. First, Lyta was off-and-on Corps so Ivanova would have a distrust there, given her latent status. Also, remember the trouble Ivanova had dealing with Marcus since he didn't fit in her military worldview? Marcus pushed his way into being accepted but Lyta wasn't that sort.
     
  5. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah and then there's what happened with Talia, almost right after Susan let her in...

    Not that I was expecting Susan to be a friend (let alone a "friend") to Lyta, but I think she ought to have at least some awareness that Lyta was struggling and at least some sense of responsibility. She did come to Z'Ha'Dum with Ivanova and Delenn, she set up Ulkesh at great personal risk, helped break Sheridan out of custody, saved Garibaldi from execution and was instrumental in the final push on Earth. Literally saving thousands of EF lives pretty much single handedly.

    All it would have taken was to give Lyta an official position on-staff that would have her covered for room & board, even if it was only in an advisory capacity. Hell, making her the official liaison to all the telepaths they were using in the background could have been a thing. In hindsight, planting that seed early would have negated the need for a lot of the stuff with Byron later on down the line and made it feel a bit less rushed.

    Also, provided an interesting parallel for G'Kar's arc, with him finding himself an unwilling prophet and trying to escape it for the good of his people, while she could have embraced a similar role for the good of her people,
     
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  6. Kail

    Kail Commodore Commodore

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    Just had another "Aha!" moment. In a first season episode Neroon says to Sinclair "You talk like a Minbari, Commander". LOL. Awesome line in retrospect. Love it. Like a clue in a mystery. Neroon has no idea how right he really is.
    It's a whole different experience watching the show, now that I know more than the characters do.
     
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  7. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

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    Well, Zack saw Lyta as a person and not a telepath, but it's hard to be buddies with someone that can read your thoughts.

    I think it's hard for us, here watching a tv show, to appreciate the difficulty of having to deal with a real telepath being someone you see in life. And these characters are really written to be like a person, ( they seem to have thoughts and feelings that aren't dictated by the plot of the week but their own "life" experiences) so that's got to be creepy on some level no matter how much you like someone.

    Plus, they really were broke at the time.
    It's nice to say, "couldn't they let her stay there" but the amount of revenue that room could bring in could keep them from having some problems. No free lunch, indeed. It's a fact that a lot of real world people have a major problem accepting so it seems doubly so on a show where tv people always have what they need unless the plot calls for it and even then they get through the plot and still have it in time for the credits, usually.

    Plus, I'm not sure Sheridan forgave her for blowing up Za'ha'dum.

    And she was a buddy of the Vorlons, which in some ways makes the Corps look not too bad. I mean the Corps have guys like Bester, but the Vorlons are the Vorlons. And after Kosh died, most of the Vorlons mercy toward the younger races did, as well.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2016
  8. Aeon

    Aeon Commander Red Shirt

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    And it would have made more sense. Sheridan could have given the telepaths their safe haven during the third or fourth season since the station was not part of the Earth Alliance and obviously no one had love or affiliation with the PSI Corps. The trouble would have started after the end of the civil war when the station is turned back to the EA. Suddenly Sheridan would have this huge political, explosive mess in front of him because of good intentions that he didn't really think through at the time of crisis.

    Now, he just does it. Even though it's pretty damn clear that it won't work because of a) Alliance's Declaration Of Principles, b) Earth laws and c) the PSI Corps.
     
  9. JWPlatt

    JWPlatt Commodore Commodore

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    I notice the same thing every time through. It's lots of fun. Good to see you're taking the requisite retrospective tour. So... in which order will you be viewing? ;)

    http://www.trekbbs.com/threads/babylon-5.277345/page-4#post-11374053
     
  10. DarthPipes

    DarthPipes Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I know there were some issues with Lyta but after all she did during the Shadow War, the next interaction you have with her is trying to kick her out of her apartment is unbelievably stupid and ungrateful on Sheridan's part.

    Agreed that giving the telepaths a colony after they broke away from Earth would have made a lot more sense. Although considering how corrupt the Psi Corps were and how they should have been taken down after the Civil War, I didn't mind him sticking to them in Season 5. Problematic as that was.

    The bit with Garibaldi and the White Star was the stupidest writing in the show. We have a fleet of ships that needs instant responses to questions and we are going to assign it to just one guy that may be sleeping, showering, or taking a crap at the time they call, delaying his response. And then he is supposed to be calling Sheridan who might also be doing one of those same things, delaying it further. It was designed to fail, and it did.

    If you wanted it to work you would have assigned to the bridge or a command center that was manned 24/7 with some standing orders.

    Yes, this. There are supposed to be redundancies to make sure this kind of thing doesn't happen but they literally left the mission up to one man. And it's frankly bizarre Garibaldi being drunk at his post is never brought up again.

    I have mixed feelings about the IA and the Rangers and the idea that the Rangers can do whatever the hell they want (Learning Curve is the most blatant example of this). I certainly disapprovee of the way Delenn introduced the Rangers to Earth at the end of Season 4. A world that had just gotten over a dictatorship which nearly destroyed it and nearly led to a military invasion is not going to respond well to a fleet of starships flying over its surface in what was a deliberate act of intimidation. That was pure dick-swinging on Delenn's part.

    Though at the same time, people being upset at Sheridan leading a war against Earth has annoyed me too. Clarke had turned Earth into a brutal dictatorship, which many in Earth Force were fine with because they were comfortable hiding behind the "military doesn't set policy" crap. The fact that they would still be upset with Sheridan when it was learned that Clarke ordered a scorched Earth as his last act? Ridiculous. Clarke's final action provided without a doubt that those in Earth Force who didn't rise up against him were dead wrong.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2016
  11. JWPlatt

    JWPlatt Commodore Commodore

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    This sort of statement deeply confuses the thought that Sheridan, et al., are real people with the reality about the quality of the writing of that particular storyline. I would state it as the writers badly handled the characters as being unbelievably stupid and ungrateful. 'Unbelievably' is then attributed to the writers - not the characters. That puts the responsibility where it belongs and we can forgive the characters and their actors.
     
  12. Jan

    Jan Commodore Commodore

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    ...is insane. --JMS
    You mean beyond his getting fired and having nightmares.

    I sincerely doubt that anybody thinks for a moment that any of the characters are real. And it's writer. Singular. And as stated, the point was to bring Lyta to a point where she'd get angry and become a leader. That makes the writing quite successful. Remember, the show is about the process of how things come about (as much as anything else).
     
  13. JWPlatt

    JWPlatt Commodore Commodore

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    Jan,

    Some people speak as if things are real in the fiction even when they know they are not. It confuses the matter. Clarity is improved in analysis when the qualities of the characters are differentiated from the qualities of the writing - two very different things. DarthPipes speaks to the qualities of the characters as if they were intentional while I believe that the quality of the writing was poor in the specific instance discussed - to the detriment of otherwise better characters. Perhaps you only object to my interpretation.

    You also speak as if the characters had a specific fate, needing specific events to reach a specific goal. In fiction, anything is possible and I'd rather have seen a better story with Lyta than Byron's. Done better, Byron either wouldn't have been created, or he would have been done differently, perhaps with a different actor, and the characters would have made different decisions and had a different "fate." I certainly would not write Sheridan and crew as being "unbelievably stupid and ungrateful."

    Eleven writers are credited to B5 in this wiki article:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_involved_with_Babylon_5#Writers

    I wasn't going to take the time to research who wrote which episodes. It could well have been JMS who wrote all of the Lyta episodes, but I made it plural for the possibility that more than one of those on the list contributed, and you're being pedantic. I was giving more credit to JMS or the benefit of the doubt, actually, by distributing the responsibility for a lackluster storyline. If it was truly singular, a plurality might have been wishful thinking on my part.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2016
  14. DarthPipes

    DarthPipes Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I should have wrote that better on the Garabaldi storyline. What I meant was Garabaldi missing the call because he was drunk is never brought up again on the series and he never truly pays a price for that particular action when what he did was egregious. I agree with what was posted earlier that Garabaldi being the only person responsible in that situation with the White Star fleet was a badly-written plot point by JMS.

    And yes to your first point, Jan. Particularly the first sentence. No one believes that the characters are real.
     
  15. JWPlatt

    JWPlatt Commodore Commodore

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    Don't worry about it. That's not what I wrote. Jan's disclaiming confusion between reality and fiction is a clichéd objection meant only for hyperbolic use.
     
  16. Jan

    Jan Commodore Commodore

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    ...is insane. --JMS
    They did. It was pre-determined by JMS. That's what he wanted to explore and how he wanted to explore it.

    With no disrespect meant, that's not your choice. And they were written as thoughtless and yes, ungrateful, for a specific reason as previously stated - to bring Lyta to a particular state of mind. In the real world, if it had been possible to introduce the telepaths in the latter part of the fourth season so that their appearance, and therefore Lyta's change, could have been more gradual, that might well have been what happened. But given that the show had been cancelled, that entire thread was dropped from the fourth season and only resurfaced after the show was picked up by TNT.

    And why not write them as fallible human beings? Infallible and never-anything-but-noble-and-altruistic characters are pretty boring and predictable, IMO. YMMV

    Apologies. I thought it was extremely common knowledge that JMS wrote all of season three, all of season four and all but one of season five. I know it's been mentioned in this thread. That list is slightly wrong, btw. Harlan got story credit on two episodes but didn't actually participate in writing any of them.
     
  17. Kail

    Kail Commodore Commodore

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    I believe this was the way the writers felt about TNG when Roddenberry was alive. Perfect people/characters make for bad drama.
     
  18. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    The plot-driven nature of Babylon 5 means that the characters are (sometimes) more like chess pieces than living, breathing human beings — and this is a prime example of that. Sheridan and the rest of the crew behave a certain way towards Lyta in order to further a pre-determined plot, not because it makes dramatic sense for them to behave that way.

    Personally, I find myself gravitating more and more to character-driven drama rather than plot driven drama, but your mileage may vary. At its best, Babylon 5 managed both, but at it's worst, it was plot-driven all the way.
     
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  19. Snatcher42

    Snatcher42 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Kail, did you catch this major bit of foreshadowing right in episode 1?

    Ivanova: I do not like Santiago. I've always thought that a leader should have a strong chin. He has no chin, and his vice president has several. This to me is not a good combination.

    Also, did you watch any more of the movies yet?
     
  20. DarthPipes

    DarthPipes Vice Admiral Admiral

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    When I read about all the restrictions that Roddenberry put on his writers when it came to how they wrote the characters, I give them credit for not throwing a heavy object at his head.