Posted 30 July 2008 - 01:25 AM
I just watched the first episode on Hulu. I never watched it back in the day. Does it get better?
The dialogue was amazingly bad, and the way it was delivered, with these big pauses between the speeches of any two characters, that psi officer obviously trying to remember her lines in her first appearance (the way she kept on looking down, and the way her voice went up and down, I think she actually may have planted a script), the commander of the space station showing no intensity during the battle (and why does he even go out in the field anyway?), the heavy, heavy exposition, and just general awkwardness all around...
The CGI was probably good back when, but now it looks like they're flying in badly rendered X-wings. And the plot! Especially the plot convenience of these raiders who come out of nowhere and end up in a perfect position to be used as bargaining chips, just isn't that good.
There were some good actors. The two main aliens, the one ambassador with all the hair and the other one with the spots, the Narn, actually seemed to do a decent job.
This show is generally loved around here. I have to assume that the plot gets more focused, the actors get better, etc. If not, it may not be for me, a personal taste thing.
So, does it get better, and when does it get better?
Posted 30 July 2008 - 02:04 AM
5: Parliament of Dreams (Some subtle arc stuff, some amusing stuff)
6: Mind War (Cool SFnal stuff with the Psi-Corps, and the introduction of everyone's favorite villain, Bester)
8: And the Sky Full of Stars (Arc stuff, touches on what happened to Sinclair at the Battle of the Line)
9: Deathwalker (Good SFnal concept)
10: Believers (The sort of episode that would end up touchy-feely on Star Trek, but not here. Also a great line from Kosh)
11: Survivors (Garibaldi character episode, with a good Londo bit)
13: Signs and Portents (this is where the 5 year arc really explodes onto the scene; excellent work all around)
16: Eyes (Some internal shakeup)
17: Legacies (Introduction of Neroon, a secondary Minbari character who'll be important down the road)
18-19: Voices in the Wilderness (the Great Machine introduced)
20: Babylon Squared (Great SFnal episode, with time travel stuff that touches heavily on the arc)
22: Chrysalis (Final episode, pretty taut and exciting, an important arc episode)
Posted 30 July 2008 - 02:07 AM
Posted 30 July 2008 - 02:10 AM
Edited by Ran, 30 July 2008 - 02:11 AM.
Posted 30 July 2008 - 07:03 AM
Overall, B5's biggest problems are 1) that a lot of the dialogue is very stiff and expository and isn't very natural or convincing, and 2) some of the actors on the show are so awesome that others look pretty atrocious by comparison. Peter Jurasik (Londo) and Andreas Katsulas (G'Kar) are both so good, and Mira Furlan (Delenn) is pretty decent as well for the first two seasons or so (her later decline is more the result of bad writing than the actress' fault), that a lot of the other actors suffer in comparison. It takes a few eps for Claudia Christian (Ivanova) and Jerry Doyle (Garibaldi) to find their feet, although both get a lot better as the series proceeds. Doyle's improvement over the five seasons is particularly impressive. Michael O'Hare (Sinclair) is woeful. He is decent in a few episodes, but usually either underacts to the point of catatonia or overacts to the point of ludicrousness.
The show does improve markedly, and Seasons 2-3 are excellent. 4 is okay, but was somewhat rushed to resolve storylines prematurely. However, the resolution to most of the storylines was done well.
Posted 30 July 2008 - 07:18 AM
The pilot, or the first broadcast episode?
Y'know, it doesn't matter, either way, they're both tossers for the most part.
It may be a bit of a struggle, and there ARE other lulls, but there are plenty of good parts.
Peter Jurasik and Andreas Katsulas are indeed two of the best actors anywhere. I swear, they could make a commercial for personal hygiene products a work of high art.
Well, there's always any episode with Bester.
Ok, maybe not Ironheart.
But really, Koenig's great even then.
Posted 30 July 2008 - 07:35 AM
The CG improves, the settings, customs, acting, music and everything else improve too. So keep watching.
Most good shows Ive seen so far suffer from the same problem.
Posted 30 July 2008 - 09:09 AM
No conclusive answer to that. There are quite a few people don't like the show, for different reasons.
Things that could turn you off:
1) The series relies heavily on CGI (in fact, in the 1990s it was a pioneer in the use of CGI) and those CGI nowadays look dated; though they improve in later seasons, they never achieve current standards.
2) The budget was considerably smaller than for the average Trek episode, and again, especially during the first seasons, it shows in the production values of the sets.
3) The series often uses a theatrical element not everyone is a fan of; meaning that writing and acting aren't intended to be "real" drama, but operatic drama. The acting and dialogue are often deliberately a bit over the top to reinforce the dramatic themes the characters represent. It's not what you usually see on TV, and as a result, some people consider it stilted. It works better with some actors (noteably those with stage experience) than with others. The theatrical element also shows in the lighting, the setting, which especially in later seasons sometimes resembles stage theater settings. It also often resembles a musical in the pacing structure of many episodes and arcs. It was an experiment attempting at orchestrating something like a theater set in space and done for TV, and as all experiments sometimes it succeeded and sometimes it failed.
4) Characters in the show are a mixed assembly of archetypes and real people as well as some sort of hybrids in between; accordingly some of them (usually the minor characters) appear stylised and don't act or talk like "real people".
5) Exposition: you'll have to deal with a LOT of exposition during season 1, but frankly, I don't see any other way to do that kind of show.
If you are uncomfortable with any of these elements, the show might not be for you.
Edited by mandy_k, 30 July 2008 - 09:27 AM.
Posted 30 July 2008 - 09:22 AM
Posted 30 July 2008 - 09:41 AM
Posted 30 July 2008 - 10:36 AM
There is also some character development in the series, so if you watch the first season you get to see the characters in other kinds of situation. You can see a lot of changes in how GKar and Londo, specially, behave. And those are two of the biggest characters in the show, if not the two major characters of the show.
Posted 30 July 2008 - 04:28 PM
The commander going out in the field isn't a sensible strategy, but it does fit Sinclair's character - he feels guilty that he survived the Battle of the Line when the rest of his squadron were killed and he can't even remember how he survived and so he often seems to have a bit of a death wish in the first season.
Posted 30 July 2008 - 05:09 PM
My first time through, I skipped The Gathering, Soul Hunter, Infection, TKO...and I think a few others, but don't recall which. Doing so was a very good idea, and didn't hinder my understanding of the show at all.
Yes, S1 is a bit shit. Maybe even a lot shit. Soldier through. It's worth it. Eventually.
Posted 30 July 2008 - 05:22 PM
It's bad, bad, bad and to endure it is to do something remarkable. For which there is a remarkable reward. Once you struggle through the first season, and a lot of the second, that's where Babylon 5 becomes good. And then gets better. Until it finally reaches a plateau of quality that is a great treat to behold. And then suddenly deflates into shitiness when Season 5 starts, gaining slight momentum here and there but mostly carrying on with the same tepidness.
Seasons 2.5-4 aren't flawless (well, four is). Sometimes those lame "stand-alone" episodes rudely intrude, but when the show is focused on the main story arc, it's brilliant.
You should carry on, man. It is worth it.
Posted 30 July 2008 - 05:40 PM
Posted 30 July 2008 - 09:37 PM
Thanks, guys :)
Edited by AverageGuy, 30 July 2008 - 09:41 PM.