Babylon 5

DIrishB

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So a long time ago, a friend of mine recommended I check out Babylon 5. I'd always been reluctant to give it a chance since I'd previously heard it described as similar to Star Trek.

Then some time passed, and Bass recommended it to me, describing it as probably the first sci-fi show genuinely crafted for adults. Not to say its T&A, but that it was a genuinely thought-provoking and well-written show with interesting characters. I was sold.

Then I forgot about that conversation for oh...3 or 4 years. Then I remembered it the other day. Hence, I've ordered the B5 movie collection (since it contains the Pilot, The Gathering, which isn't on the S1 DVD set) and the Season 1 set.

Besides the obvious reasons for wanting to check the show out, I've also been told it has a very tight continuity, right down to including major events or revelations in the tie-in novels and comic books for the show. I thought that was pretty cool (treating the spin-off stuff with some degree of importance and gravity as opposed to merely an opportunity to cash in on the name), and I'm eagerly awaiting to check everything out (in as close to chronological order as possible).

For anyone who has seen this show, what am I in for?
 

Bass

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I hadn't seen this.

THE GATHERING isn't that good. Especially since you can't get the original televised version which at least, was shorter. Also, a number of things change between THE GATHERER and the first episode MIDNIGHT ON THE FIRING LINE.

And yet, there's stuff in the pilot that's actually relevant to later seasons.

The good news is that MIDNIGHT ON THE FIRING LINE is very good, and it gets better and better as it goes.

You're in a for a treat.

(By the way, the reason I think it's one of the greatest SF shows is twofold: firstly, the arcing plots are very well foreshadowed and designed and tighten it in a way that many shows like STAR TREK never tried and it does it properly unlike BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. Straczynski had a plan and it works. Secondly, unlike any other SF show, BABYLON 5 has the best designed alien cultures as well as a really consistent, cohesive future history for Earth.)
 

DIrishB

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I hadn't seen this.

THE GATHERING isn't that good. Especially since you can't get the original televised version which at least, was shorter. Also, a number of things change between THE GATHERER and the first episode MIDNIGHT ON THE FIRING LINE.

And yet, there's stuff in the pilot that's actually relevant to later seasons.

The good news is that MIDNIGHT ON THE FIRING LINE is very good, and it gets better and better as it goes.

You're in a for a treat.

Sweet.

A friend of mine said a good description of Babylon 5 is to look at it as what Star Trek wishes it could be: interesting, relevant, and genuinely touching. I'm not sure if thats fair or not without having seen it, but he's a pretty smart guy, so I'll lean on that for now.

(By the way, the reason I think it's one of the greatest SF shows is twofold: firstly, the arcing plots are very well foreshadowed and designed and tighten it in a way that many shows like STAR TREK never tried and it does it properly unlike BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. Straczynski had a plan and it works. Secondly, unlike any other SF show, BABYLON 5 has the best designed alien cultures as well as a really consistent, cohesive future history for Earth.)

I remember now, it was the BSG thread where you recommended B5 to me. I'm looking forward to it.
 

Bass

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It's slow going first time round, but if you're not digging it, give it up until AND THE SKY FULL OF STARS or go further and do my "FIREFLY TEST" (that's where you watch 14 episode since that's all FIREFLY got). I look forward to hearing your thoughts. I miss B5. It ages pretty well to be honest.

But I haven't time! For the new DOCTOR WHO is beginning and I am sooooo excited!
 
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DIrishB

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It's slow going first time round, but if you're not digging it, give it up until AND THE SKY FULL OF STARS or go further and do my "FIREFLY TEST" (that's where you watch 14 episode since that's all FIREFLY got). I look forward to hearing your thoughts. I miss B5. It ages pretty well to be honest.

I'll be patient with it. A nice slow build is exactly what I'm looking for, and even better, it seems the pay-offs with B5 are almost always worth it, according to my friend's summation of the show.

And again, I think its uber-cool JMS oversaw even the comic and novel tie-ins, writing outlines for the authors to build off, so as to fit his overall vision. Great idea that seems like it was handled well in terms of execution (again, according to my friend's opinion).

I'm really going to try to watch and read everything in the chronological order JMS intended.
 

Bass

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Just go straight from THE GATHERING into the first season and you're fine, chronologically. Do not watch IN THE BEGINNING straight away because while it is awesome, it gives up a big number of plot points from the first two seasons.
 

Bass

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DIrishB

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Just go straight from THE GATHERING into the first season and you're fine, chronologically. Do not watch IN THE BEGINNING straight away because while it is awesome, it gives up a big number of plot points from the first two seasons.

Oh I know. I'm waiting till the end to watch In the Beginning. I know its mostly a prequel tale, but my buddy told me the framing story takes place at the end of the show's timeline, and that it did rely on plot points from later in the series I probably wouldn't want spoiled early on.


I like the secretary of the crazy hair guy and the lizard dude.

I don't know these people yet, but hopefully I will soon.

The DVD Movie set and Season 1 should be to me by Monday or Tuesday (maybe earlier if I'm lucky so I can check out a few episodes this weekend).
 

DIrishB

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This show is pretty great. The first season starts a bit slow, introducing and allowing the viewers to get to know the characters and setting. Sometimes Michael O'Hare's acting is a bit wooden, but thats about the only complaints I have.

The writing truly is top-notch. Foreshadowing is extremely well done, and its a nice breath of fresh air to watch the show knowing JMS plotted and outlined the whole show before it ever went on the air. The dialogue is almost always great, and often truly memorable. A few choice quotes I rather enjoyed from the first 10 episodes or so:

Ambassador Kosh: "The avalanche has already started, it is too late for the pebbles to vote."

Ambassador Mollari (on arranged marriages): "Love. Pah! Overrated. Here: Look. These are my three wives: Pestilence, Famine, and Death. Do you think I married them for their personalities? Their personalities could shatter entire planets. Arranged marriages, every one. But they worked out, they inspired me. Knowing they were waiting at home for me is what keeps me here, 75 light years away."

There were more but I forgot to write them down.

Anyway, I'm about halfway through Season 1 and really enjoying it.
 

Bass

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This show is pretty great. The first season starts a bit slow, introducing and allowing the viewers to get to know the characters and setting. Sometimes Michael O'Hare's acting is a bit wooden, but thats about the only complaints I have.

I love Michae O'Hare and I have to say, he's not wooden. Some people say he is, but I've never thought so and much later I found out that what people thought was 'wooden' was an intentional acting choice by O'Hare to represent that he's got post-traumatic stress disorder. I guess for some it works, and others not. I love him.

The writing truly is top-notch. Foreshadowing is extremely well done, and its a nice breath of fresh air to watch the show knowing JMS plotted and outlined the whole show before it ever went on the air.

What foreshadowing have you seen? I want more episode-by-episode reviews. I love seeing someone watch this for the first time. :)

The dialogue is almost always great, and often truly memorable. A few choice quotes I rather enjoyed from the first 10 episodes or so:

Ambassador Kosh: "The avalanche has already started, it is too late for the pebbles to vote."

:D That is one of the most beloved lines. Kosh has loads of great lines.

A word of caution: JMS reuses some of his dialogue in other works. After B5, I was reading his comics and there were the same lines. CHANGELING repeats a mantra a character in B5 has. It got very annoying and I couldn't watch B5 for a while because it seemed shallow. So I'm basically saying that too much JMS is repetitive. But this is his best work by far.

Ambassador Mollari (on arranged marriages): "Love. Pah! Overrated. Here: Look. These are my three wives: Pestilence, Famine, and Death. Do you think I married them for their personalities? Their personalities could shatter entire planets. Arranged marriages, every one. But they worked out, they inspired me. Knowing they were waiting at home for me is what keeps me here, 75 light years away."

I love Londo. Also, that line is a double set-up. It sets up two things. One is very obvious, the other is very subtle.

Londo is really the heart of the show for me.
 

DIrishB

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I love Michae O'Hare and I have to say, he's not wooden. Some people say he is, but I've never thought so and much later I found out that what people thought was 'wooden' was an intentional acting choice by O'Hare to represent that he's got post-traumatic stress disorder. I guess for some it works, and others not. I love him.

He's growing on me. I think my biggest gripe with O'Hare's acting was just that, but after seeing And the Sky Full of Stars and other episodes expanding on Sinclair's time in the Minbari war, it does make a certain sense.

In The Parliament of Dreams, when Sinclair's old flame Catherine Sakai returns (played by Julia Nickson who is smoking hot), there was a scene in Sinclair's quarters between the two that was a bit hard to watch. Apparently JMS doesn't do love scenes too well. The dialogue was very ham-fisted, almost laughable: "Don't touch me unless you mean it." Ugh.

But as the first season went on, Sinclair definitely grew on me, and the explanation that it was PTS makes a lot of sense. I'm really looking forward to his return in Season 3.

I'm also interested to compare and contrast the similarities and differences between him and Boxleitner's Sheridan.


What foreshadowing have you seen? I want more episode-by-episode reviews. I love seeing someone watch this for the first time. :)

In the first season, quite a bit. I don't think its an exaggeration to say that just about EVERY episode of the first season foreshadows major events to come or changes in characters, hints at secret events past which are actually interesting, etc.

Its hard to remember them all, but there's been a lot of mentions about Sinclair's missing memory due to the Minbari. "There's a hole in your mind" is mentioned by the Minbari assassin in The Gathering, and just about any scene between Sinclair and Delenn in the first 15 episodes hinted at the missing memory plot line.

There's also a lot of foreshadowing concerning the upcoming war with the Shadows. In the Parliament of Dreams, during the Minbari religious rite (or marriage ceremony according to Catherine Sakai), Delenn's dialogue basically mirrors not only what Valen went through in the past, but what humanity and other alien races will go through in the near future.

The techno-organic artifacts brought aboard in Infection I'm pretty sure are related to Shadow technology, though that wasn't hinted at or said in the episode itself (since hardly anyone knows they've returned at this point in the show).


:D That is one of the most beloved lines. Kosh has loads of great lines.

Indeed. I really look forward to each scene with him, hoping for him to drop hints of whats to come.

A word of caution: JMS reuses some of his dialogue in other works. After B5, I was reading his comics and there were the same lines. CHANGELING repeats a mantra a character in B5 has. It got very annoying and I couldn't watch B5 for a while because it seemed shallow. So I'm basically saying that too much JMS is repetitive. But this is his best work by far.

I don't doubt it. But despite his later habit of shafting his own dialogue, so far I'm really enjoying B5. The characters, the setting, all are interesting and dynamic, and still with lots of room to grow.

I love Londo. Also, that line is a double set-up. It sets up two things. One is very obvious, the other is very subtle.

Londo is awesome. G'Kar is also pretty cool.

So far, I think Richard Biggs as Dr. Franklin is a pretty interesting character. There's something Biggs infuses into the role that just gives the character an automatic and accepted dignity and authority.






I've finished the first season, and while I wait on the second season to arrive in the mail I've started re-watching Season 1 to pick up on anything I missed.
 
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Bass

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He's growing on me. I think my biggest gripe with O'Hare's acting was just that, but after seeing And the Sky Full of Stars and other episodes expanding on Sinclair's time in the Minbari war, it does make a certain sense.

In The Parliament of Dreams, when Sinclair's old flame Catherine Sakai returns (played by Julia Nickson who is smoking hot), there was a scene in Sinclair's quarters between the two that was a bit hard to watch. Apparently JMS doesn't do love scenes too well. The dialogue was very ham-fisted, almost laughable: "Don't touch me unless you mean it." Ugh.

But as the first season went on, Sinclair definitely grew on me, and the explanation that it was PTS makes a lot of sense. I'm really looking forward to his return in Season 3.

I'm also interested to compare and contrast the similarities and differences between him and Boxleitner's Sheridan.

Sheridan's a lot more fun and less somber. JMS is very theatrical in his dialogue, which is a problem on screen. On stage it would sound fine. But on screen... not so much.

In the first season, quite a bit. I don't think its an exaggeration to say that just about EVERY episode of the first season foreshadows major events to come or changes in characters, hints at secret events past which are actually interesting, etc.

Its hard to remember them all, but there's been a lot of mentions about Sinclair's missing memory due to the Minbari. "There's a hole in your mind" is mentioned by the Minbari assassin in The Gathering, and just about any scene between Sinclair and Delenn in the first 15 episodes hinted at the missing memory plot line.

There's also a lot of foreshadowing concerning the upcoming war with the Shadows. In the Parliament of Dreams, during the Minbari religious rite (or marriage ceremony according to Catherine Sakai), Delenn's dialogue basically mirrors not only what Valen went through in the past, but what humanity and other alien races will go through in the near future.

The techno-organic artifacts brought aboard in Infection I'm pretty sure are related to Shadow technology, though that wasn't hinted at or said in the episode itself (since hardly anyone knows they've returned at this point in the show).

I thought you a) knew nothing about the show (how do you know about the Shadows?! CHEATER!) and b) That you were only a few episodes in. Yes, there is a lot of set-up in the first season. I wouldn't really go back and rewatch it though because you'll drive yourself crazy. Keep moving forward! (Or, watch the Matt Smith DOCTOR WHO because it's great.)

I don't doubt it. But despite his later habit of shafting his own dialogue, so far I'm really enjoying B5. The characters, the setting, all are interesting and dynamic, and still with lots of room to grow.

Yay!

Londo is awesome. G'Kar is also pretty cool.

So far, I think Richard Biggs as Dr. Franklin is a pretty interesting character. There's something Biggs infuses into the role that just gives the character an automatic and accepted dignity and authority.

I love Londo and G'Kar. And I'm glad that someone else likes Franklin too! He seems to get a lot of crap from people, but I think he's terrific. BELIEVERS is a very powerful episode.
 

DIrishB

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Sheridan's a lot more fun and less somber. JMS is very theatrical in his dialogue, which is a problem on screen. On stage it would sound fine. But on screen... not so much.

Thats a good point. Eh, not a big deal. And since Julia Nickson is so damn beautiful, I'm extra forgiving in her case.



I thought you a) knew nothing about the show (how do you know about the Shadows?! CHEATER!) and b) That you were only a few episodes in. Yes, there is a lot of set-up in the first season. I wouldn't really go back and rewatch it though because you'll drive yourself crazy. Keep moving forward! (Or, watch the Matt Smith DOCTOR WHO because it's great.)

I admit, in an attempt to watch everything in a certain chronological order, I had to go ahead and do a bit of research. Also, as I watch the show, I notice things I completely forgot about but knew previously somehow...I never watched the show on the air, but had a general knowledge of it from advertising, commercials, my buddy constantly egging me on to watch it...

So, I do have a general knowledge of the show, but no specifics (beyond the first season at this point).


And I began re-watching Season 1 only because I'm waiting on Season 2 to arrive in the mail. I figured it wouldn't be a bad idea since I genuinely enjoyed just about every episode, and as said, figured I might've missed a few things on the first run through.

And I'm glad I did...I only watched these episodes a week ago, and expected to have to force myself through them, but the re-watchability aspect of the show is surprising. I'm just as intrigued, if not more so since I sort of know what to look for now.


And I know some would argure that spoilers ruin the experience, and while that may be true in terms of a surprise aspect, I'm kind of glad I did the research I did. If anything it gives certain dialogue or events more gravity since I have an idea of whats coming without knowing specifics...it gives it that weight without robbing it of the surprise (at least not too much).



I love Londo and G'Kar. And I'm glad that someone else likes Franklin too! He seems to get a lot of crap from people, but I think he's terrific. BELIEVERS is a very powerful episode.

Believers is a great episode.
 

Bass

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BABYLON 5 is indeed, very re-watchable for some reason. I think it's because it's so well-layered. I'm glad you're enjoying it! :D
 

DIrishB

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So I just started watching Season 2. I like Sheridan, he's a competent commander, a little more by the book than Sinclair was, but he still has an element of cowboy to him. He's likable, and will probably only get more so as the show goes on.

I do miss Sinclair already though. While Boxleitner's Sheridan is a worthy replacement, there's still a hole you can feel in the show by the loss of O'Hare, though as time goes on I'm sure it'll become less noticeable. Oh well, we'll always have Season 1, Commander Sinclair.

Why did O'Hare leave the show? Was it to do mroe theater, other TV or movies? Just wondering, as the only info I can find on him pre and post B5 is theater work.


Anyway, I'm liking Season 2 so far. Its obvious from the title of the season "The Coming of Shadows" that there's some interesting stuff coming, and I expect this season to insert more action and adventure as compared to Season 1. Still hope we get to see some cool character episodes, but I'm sure thats a safe bet, given the nature of the show.
 

Bass

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So I just started watching Season 2. I like Sheridan, he's a competent commander, a little more by the book than Sinclair was, but he still has an element of cowboy to him. He's likable, and will probably only get more so as the show goes on.

I do miss Sinclair already though. While Boxleitner's Sheridan is a worthy replacement, there's still a hole you can feel in the show by the loss of O'Hare, though as time goes on I'm sure it'll become less noticeable. Oh well, we'll always have Season 1, Commander Sinclair.

This is funny because this is how a lot of people feel until about half way through season 2 and Sheridan gets his awesome stripes.

Seriously, prep yourself for the awesome that is THE COMING OF SHADOWS and IN THE SHADOW OF Z'HA'DUM...

Why did O'Hare leave the show? Was it to do mroe theater, other TV or movies? Just wondering, as the only info I can find on him pre and post B5 is theater work.

Long story and it was a confluence of events. Basically, the studio didn't like him and wanted him gone, but this only hastened what was going to happen anyway.

The major reason for him leaving was that JMS realised he'd simply got too many coincidental things happening with Sinclair, too much was happening to him and he needed to change up the characters. The original intention was to have Sinclair be slowly phased out over the first half of season 2 (within about six episodes) but they decided to just start off with him gone, and I believe that was O'Hare's idea. Apparently, it was mutual, and indeed, except for the bizarre schism between CHRYSALIS and POINTS OF DEPARTURE, the show never really misses a beat. But it's very clear, once you watch the rest of the show, that Sinclair couldn't have both his own ending and Sheridan's ending, which was the original intention before season 1 got started. And then there's all the stuff with Sakai that would've happened - I can't say much without spoilers. (By the way, I have the original pitch of what would've happened if Sinclair hadn't left the station, which I'll tell you when you're done.)

And, fun fact: lots of B5 timelines out there that you can indulge in. :)

Anyway, I'm liking Season 2 so far. Its obvious from the title of the season "The Coming of Shadows" that there's some interesting stuff coming, and I expect this season to insert more action and adventure as compared to Season 1. Still hope we get to see some cool character episodes, but I'm sure thats a safe bet, given the nature of the show.

THE COMING OF SHADOWS is exceptionally good, as is IN THE SHADOW OF Z'HA'DUM. There's some awesome, awesome stuff coming your way.
 

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