Babylon 5 [SPOILERS]

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Babylon 5 [SPOILERS]

#1  Postby Nostalgia » Mar 07, 2010 11:44 pm

I'm not really sure how as a die-hard sci-fi fan I'd managed to go 15 years and never watch Babylon 5. But over the last week I've started to stream it. And I have to say - I'm impressed. The acting may be a little wooden in places and sometimes the writing isn't the most sophisticated, but overall it's quite compelling.

Full of politics and fairly adult themes. And there was one episode were every human faith had a representative, and the atheists were first!

But anyway, I'm half way through season 1....does it get better/worse?
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Re: Babylon 5

#2  Postby j.mills » Mar 08, 2010 12:21 am

The plot is Big, plays a long game, you wanna watch it right through; although IIRC season 5 was a bit of a bolt-on. It was more popular in the UK than the US, I believe, and after a hurried winding-up at the end of season 4 there was a push from here to keep it going. There are some epochal moments of TV SF in there, and some great character arcs. (They also tried some straight-to-DVD stories later, but they seem to have been regarded as irrelevant and too low-budget. Not seen.)

I'm guessing you're already on top of Battlestar Galactica... :)
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Re: Babylon 5

#3  Postby NineOneFour » Mar 08, 2010 12:50 am

MacIver wrote:I'm not really sure how as a die-hard sci-fi fan I'd managed to go 15 years and never watch Babylon 5. But over the last week I've started to stream it. And I have to say - I'm impressed. The acting may be a little wooden in places and sometimes the writing isn't the most sophisticated, but overall it's quite compelling.

Full of politics and fairly adult themes. And there was one episode were every human faith had a representative, and the atheists were first!

But anyway, I'm half way through season 1....does it get better/worse?


Seasons 2-4 make Season 1 look lame. It really does get that good. Season 5 is sort of wrap-up.

Until the reboot of Doctor Who and BSG, nothing at all compared to Babylon 5, although the graphics don't hold up all that well.
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Re: Babylon 5

#4  Postby cateye » Mar 08, 2010 1:07 am

I'm a big fan of B5 - and indeed what has already been said is my opinion, too: seasons 2-4 are kick-arse!
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Re: Babylon 5

#5  Postby Kytescall » Mar 08, 2010 3:36 am

Season 1 bored me... But I recall I enjoyed Seasons 2~4 very much. Gave up half way through Season 5.

All in all, it had a few dramatic moments, and the Starfury fighters were really cool, but I keep remembering the anthropomorphic aliens. I can never take a sci-fi story seriously when it has humanoid aliens.
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Re: Babylon 5

#6  Postby NineOneFour » Mar 08, 2010 3:46 am

Kytescall wrote:Season 1 bored me... But I recall I enjoyed Seasons 2~4 very much. Gave up half way through Season 5.

All in all, it had a few dramatic moments, and the Starfury fighters were really cool, but I keep remembering the anthropomorphic aliens. I can never take a sci-fi story seriously when it has humanoid aliens.


Not all of them were anthropomorphic...
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Re: Babylon 5

#7  Postby Kytescall » Mar 08, 2010 3:59 am

NineOneFour wrote:
Kytescall wrote:Season 1 bored me... But I recall I enjoyed Seasons 2~4 very much. Gave up half way through Season 5.

All in all, it had a few dramatic moments, and the Starfury fighters were really cool, but I keep remembering the anthropomorphic aliens. I can never take a sci-fi story seriously when it has humanoid aliens.


Not all of them were anthropomorphic...

Right, the Vorlons... They were cool up until the point where it turned out they were energy beings or something. I think that was cheap.
Then there were the Shadows... Their motivation was quite interesting, if logically questionable, but they were basically large transluscent praying mantises - no more alien than humanoids.
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Re: Babylon 5

#8  Postby Aught3 » Mar 08, 2010 4:17 am

B5 was probably my favourite sci-fi show, but I have to say I did enjoy the new Dr Who.

I don't really see anthropomorphic aliens as a big turn-off for a sci-fi show, I mean I've already accepted the premise that humans have become a space faring species flying through space at faster-than-light speeds. If it happens that most of the aliens they meet are humanoid that doesn't seem to ruin the story, especially considering how much cheaper and easier it is to use human actors rather than CGI in every scene.
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Re: Babylon 5

#9  Postby cateye » Mar 08, 2010 4:20 am

Aught3 wrote:B5 was probably my favourite sci-fi show, but I have to say I did enjoy the new Dr Who.

I don't really see anthropomorphic aliens as a big turn-off for a sci-fi show, I mean I've already accepted the premise that humans have become a space faring species flying through space at faster-than-light speeds. If it happens that most of the aliens they meet are humanoid that doesn't seem to ruin the story, especially considering how much cheaper and easier it is to use human actors rather than CGI in every scene.

That, and the fact that it's almost impossible to think about an alien that does not look somehow similar to something humans already know. For that matter I haven't seen any SF which had truly alien aliens, and I doubt I ever will...
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Re: Babylon 5

#10  Postby Kytescall » Mar 08, 2010 5:00 am

Aught3 wrote:B5 was probably my favourite sci-fi show, but I have to say I did enjoy the new Dr Who.

I don't really see anthropomorphic aliens as a big turn-off for a sci-fi show, I mean I've already accepted the premise that humans have become a space faring species flying through space at faster-than-light speeds. If it happens that most of the aliens they meet are humanoid that doesn't seem to ruin the story, especially considering how much cheaper and easier it is to use human actors rather than CGI in every scene.

They could be more conservative with the number of alien races in the show, and the frequency at which they appear. Babylon 5 was going in the right direction with the Vorlons - you never got to see them until the end of the season. Pity there actually wasn't really anything to see. But the point is, that was supensful and mysterious, the way a completely alien life form should be treated in a story.

I completely believe that you can have a space opera on TV that doesn't break any law of physics, and has perfectly plausible aliens. It's just a matter of getting someone with the scientific understanding and imagination to pull it off.
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Re: Babylon 5

#11  Postby j.mills » Mar 08, 2010 7:03 pm

Plenty of non-humanoid aliens in SF books. Up till now it's been men in rubber suits on screen, with a bit of painted plastic on their foreheads. But now that we can make Avatar (albeit even that used humanoid aliens!), the possibilities are wide open. Failure to depict more interesting aliens now can only be down to failure of imagination.
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Re: Babylon 5

#12  Postby JeffD » Mar 08, 2010 8:18 pm

I loved B5. I think it could have went longer, but it was a good show. I also agree, seasons 2-4 were the best of the series.

If you do like sci-fi though, another GREAT show that many dont know about, (because it only lasted 1 season) was FireFly, by Joss Whedon. There was also a movie that went with it, Serenity. I was really disappointed to find out about it, then find out they only did one season, after seeing it.
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Re: Babylon 5

#13  Postby obscured by clouds » Mar 08, 2010 8:21 pm

B5 is probably my favorite Sci-Fi series. It actually tells a story, and not just another week of shooting aliens. While all series have many shows that are not relevant to the main story line, I think B5 kept on tack better and all Sci-Fi series. B5 has a beginning middle and end. Something most writes forget.

I also have the DVD set, something I should watch again.
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Re: Babylon 5

#14  Postby Varangian » Mar 09, 2010 12:27 am

B5 is great, and there are several story arcs with memorable characters. We have the Londo/G'Kar conflict, Garibaldi''s troubles, Delenn's transformation... My fave character is Ivanova for her outlook on things. As for the FX, they are still pretty good, considering that they were made on an Amiga.
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Re: Babylon 5

#15  Postby obscured by clouds » Mar 09, 2010 12:51 am

Varangian wrote:B5 is great, and there are several story arcs with memorable characters. We have the Londo/G'Kar conflict, Garibaldi''s troubles, Delenn's transformation... My fave character is Ivanova for her outlook on things. As for the FX, they are still pretty good, considering that they were made on an Amiga.

That is what I wanted to hit on, the story arcs! :thumbup:
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Re: Babylon 5

#16  Postby cateye » Mar 09, 2010 7:20 am

Varangian wrote:B5 is great, and there are several story arcs with memorable characters. We have the Londo/G'Kar conflict, Garibaldi''s troubles, Delenn's transformation... My fave character is Ivanova for her outlook on things. As for the FX, they are still pretty good, considering that they were made on an Amiga.

:shock: On an Amiga!? Wow, I'm impressed now!
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Re: Babylon 5

#17  Postby obscured by clouds » Mar 09, 2010 7:23 am

cateye wrote:
Varangian wrote:B5 is great, and there are several story arcs with memorable characters. We have the Londo/G'Kar conflict, Garibaldi''s troubles, Delenn's transformation... My fave character is Ivanova for her outlook on things. As for the FX, they are still pretty good, considering that they were made on an Amiga.

:shock: On an Amiga!? Wow, I'm impressed now!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babylon_5#Visuals :thumbup:
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Re: Babylon 5

#18  Postby drl2 » Mar 09, 2010 6:05 pm

MacIver wrote:I'm not really sure how as a die-hard sci-fi fan I'd managed to go 15 years and never watch Babylon 5. But over the last week I've started to stream it. And I have to say - I'm impressed. The acting may be a little wooden in places and sometimes the writing isn't the most sophisticated, but overall it's quite compelling.


Some of the acting gets better later. :) Andreas Katsulas, the actor who plays G'Kar, manages to turn that character into one of my favorite SF characters ever, in spite of having to act around a prosthetic face.

Full of politics and fairly adult themes. And there was one episode were every human faith had a representative, and the atheists were first!


J. Michael Straczynski ("JMS", the writer/producer, is openly atheist, though his writing often deals sympathetically with religious ideas.


But anyway, I'm half way through season 1....does it get better/worse?


Seasons 2-4 are the real meat of the saga; season 5 wasn't as good in my opinion but had its moments. The various attempts at follow-up series, made-for-TV or direct-to-video movies, etc., lacked the compelling overall story arc and never really lived up to the "main" series.

At the time the series was first run, JMS was an active poster on the usenet group rec.arts.tv.babylon5 (or something to that effect - it's been a while), so fans could interact with him and hear news about what was going on behind the scenes, hints of upcoming episodes, etc. - and once or twice lines from posts in that forum ended up on the show (- watch for a line about "drooling" somewhere in season 4 as an example).
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Re: Babylon 5

#19  Postby drl2 » Mar 09, 2010 6:09 pm

cateye wrote:
Varangian wrote:B5 is great, and there are several story arcs with memorable characters. We have the Londo/G'Kar conflict, Garibaldi''s troubles, Delenn's transformation... My fave character is Ivanova for her outlook on things. As for the FX, they are still pretty good, considering that they were made on an Amiga.

:shock: On an Amiga!? Wow, I'm impressed now!



Well, it was a render farm of Amigas with Video Toasters, but yeah. :)
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Re: Babylon 5

#20  Postby drl2 » Mar 09, 2010 6:18 pm

JeffD wrote:
If you do like sci-fi though, another GREAT show that many dont know about, (because it only lasted 1 season) was FireFly, by Joss Whedon. There was also a movie that went with it, Serenity. I was really disappointed to find out about it, then find out they only did one season, after seeing it.


I'll second the Firefly recommendation. I didn't care much for it when it was first broadcast, because the story seemed disjointed and incoherent. I gave the movie Serenity a chance, though, and loved it, so I went back and rented the series DVDs to re-evaluate. As it turned out, the reason for the "disjointed and incoherent" perception was that the network in its great wisdom had decided to change the order of the episodes. When watched in the correct order, it turns out the series is much better!

As for Dr. Who: I have, for some reason, never been able to get into this show in any of its incarnations. I've tried as recently as last year to watch a few episodes of the latest series, but it just didn't work for me. (And what's the deal with that talking skin flap, anyway?)
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