Jump to content
Werthead

Babylon 5

Recommended Posts

14 hours ago, Werthead said:

You get a sense of that in To Dream in the City of Sorrows. I think the benefit (?) of the change is that Catherine Sakai isn't zombified by the Shadows and later killed, whilst Anna Sheridan starts off that way. Doing it to Catherine, a character we actually get to know over a season or a season and a half, would have hurt more, but this way she gets a happy (ish) ending.

Oh, I know that she sort of gets her happy ending with Sinclair there. I just would have found that arc much more powerful if she had gotten around to play it. The whole thing happening to a character we actually knew would have been even more effective than it actually was. And it was very effective anyway.

And Anna isn't really zombified. More, say, permanently and irrevocably brain-washed. She is still alive and still herself aside from the whole free will part. That is what makes it so hideous.

Do you know why they didn't get Julia Nickson back for the wrap-up of the Sinclair story? She could have been there when they sent Babylon 4 back in time, accompanying Sinclair.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Werthead, will you include the B5 TV films in your review, after season 5 perhaps?  I'm interested to read you opinion on them, including the terrible Legend/Rangers and the 2007 dual episode Lost Tales disc.  IIRC there were 5 or 6 TV films as well prior to the Rangers and Lost Tales, I hope you cover these as well.  The Lost Tales CGI was much improved IMO, imagine what a re-boot or B5 feature film could look like now...there was one 30 second clip of Centauri ships fighting near earth vs EF cap ships and fighters that really impressed me.  Now 10 years later, I imagine it could be even better, not that this is what made/makes B5 great, but it certainly contributes to the great stories and characters.

Edited by SerHaHa

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A B5 reboot would be wonderful and has long been hoped for.

Decent budget, new CGI, I'd just be interested in a completely new look. 

Lost Tales was disappointing because it was such a brief effort, but nice to be back in that world for a bit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Signs and Portents is my latest episode. The first truly interesting episode of this season, as it clearly hints at many things to come.

On the other hand, the one previous to it, By Any Means Necessary, features more egregious 90s transposition to the 23rd century, and quite clumsily at that. The acting of the guest stars in this one was horrendous. I would say that Battlestar Galactica (2004) did it much better with its Dirty Hands episode.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

 

Do you know why they didn't get Julia Nickson back for the wrap-up of the Sinclair story? She could have been there when they sent Babylon 4 back in time, accompanying Sinclair.

 

JMS had an odd habit of simply dropping abandoned storylines rather than trying to circle them back into the arc (Sinclair and B4 was an exception, as it was too big to be ignored), like Talia's fate, so I think it was just that.

Quote

 

Werthead, will you include the B5 TV films in your review, after season 5 perhaps?  I'm interested to read you opinion on them, including the terrible Legend/Rangers and the 2007 dual episode Lost Tales disc.  IIRC there were 5 or 6 TV films as well prior to the Rangers and Lost Tales, I hope you cover these as well.  The Lost Tales CGI was much improved IMO, imagine what a re-boot or B5 feature film could look like now...there was one 30 second clip of Centauri ships fighting near earth vs EF cap ships and fighters that really impressed me.  Now 10 years later, I imagine it could be even better, not that this is what made/makes B5 great, but it certainly contributes to the great stories and characters.

 

That's the plan. I've never seen River of SoulsLegend of the Rangers or The Lost Tales so that'll be quite interesting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Corvinus said:

Signs and Portents is my latest episode. The first truly interesting episode of this season, as it clearly hints at many things to come.

Yeah, that's the first episode with a glimpse - but only a glimpse - of the overall story.

22 hours ago, Corvinus said:

On the other hand, the one previous to it, By Any Means Necessary, features more egregious 90s transposition to the 23rd century, and quite clumsily at that. The acting of the guest stars in this one was horrendous. I would say that Battlestar Galactica (2004) did it much better with its Dirty Hands episode.

Actually, I find the idea of a strike on a space station pretty good, it shows that this isn't the fantasy Star Trek wonderland. And as far as I know workers still do strikes on occasion, even in our present day and age. Although I agree that those days might be over in the US and the UK.

There are other episodes in the first season I'm not exactly fond of - 'TKO' and 'Grail', for instance. And, of course, 'Believers'. What did happen to those murderous parents in the end? I wanted to know that.

And by the way, since I'm right now also re-watching DS9 I've to notice a rather annoying tendency in Star Trek episodes that is not done in Babylon 5. They resolve the crisis of the episode in the last possible moment, being unable to properly address the repercussions of the moral or personal dilemma in the episode itself. Babylon 5 does this much better by having, at times, 5-7 minutes for a proper reflection of things.

16 hours ago, Werthead said:

JMS had an odd habit of simply dropping abandoned storylines rather than trying to circle them back into the arc (Sinclair and B4 was an exception, as it was too big to be ignored), like Talia's fate, so I think it was just that.

Could be. I just find it curious that he apparently did revisit her in the novels and hinted at her ultimate reunion with Sinclair in one of the comics. It may be the he only thought about her later on down the road but in light of the fact that they were married she should have been there when the story was wrapped up in the show.

I'm very pissed about the way Talia was handled, too. Why not just kill her? But I thought in her case it was more or less Andrea Thompson's decision not to return as a guest star in the subsequent seasons. They certainly could have made her 

Spoiler

a recurring villain.

And there were certain clues how to resolve the situation, both via Ironheart's gift or via the scans Kosh made of her.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

But I thought in her case it was more or less Andrea Thompson's decision not to return as a guest star in the subsequent seasons

On the contrary, Thompson was very happy to return for further appearances to wrap up her story (I know as I asked her at BabCom 96, when she was signing after a stage appearance with Jerry Doyle). However, Straczynski seemed to take it personally whenever an actor (or anyone else, actually) disagreed with him and his responses could be a little petulant. This was definitely in that bracket.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Signs & Portents is great, really worked as the beginning for the long arc, but might have been even better if it was the 2nd or 3rd episode instead of the 13th.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

This was a saga all in its own right.

Hah, I remember hearing JMS talk about swallowing a mitful of Percocet (PercoDan back then) due to a dental emergency right before his pitch, and that the words just spilled out of him in such a positive manner from being out of pain, that he swept their doubts away.  Funny how the world turns on such small things, no broken tooth = probably no B5 in the universe.  Deep.

 

I'm looking forward to your opinions on a first viewing on a few of those B5 films Werthead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Werthead said:

On the contrary, Thompson was very happy to return for further appearances to wrap up her story (I know as I asked her at BabCom 96, when she was signing after a stage appearance with Jerry Doyle). However, Straczynski seemed to take it personally whenever an actor (or anyone else, actually) disagreed with him and his responses could be a little petulant. This was definitely in that bracket.

Oh, okay, that was then an extreme dick move on his part. Come to think of it, she would have been still married to Doyle during that time, making it even more easy/natural for her to show up in some fashion on the show. The various guest appearances of Alyson Hannigan on Angel were also much easier to arrange due to her relationship with and eventual marriage to Alexis Denisof.

And quite frankly - if he wanted no longer work with her then he should have just killed her. That would have served the story much better than the non-ending he gave us.

I really feel retroactively pissed about that whole thing. Talia had a very interesting story ahead of her, and her story could have gotten even more interesting if she had not done, loosely, what JMS later gave back to Lyta. Hell, her presence in some fashion could have made the entire arc in season 5 light years better.

Do you have any details on the Christian disaster? I only read the contradicting statements of both sides from the Lurker's Guide.

Watched 'Grail' today again. And it is not that bad. But the central pretense is for pretty much anybody with as much as a little background in medieval literature. The Holy Grail is a myth. Period. This spiritual search thing would have worked much, much better with a less ridiculous Mac Guffin.

2 hours ago, SpaceChampion said:

Signs & Portents is great, really worked as the beginning for the long arc, but might have been even better if it was the 2nd or 3rd episode instead of the 13th.

Could be. I watched Babylon 5 only very sporadically in the 90s in TV. Taking in the series on DVD made it less difficult to wait for the crucial episodes. There is a slow and subtle buildup throughout the entire first season - the Minbari mystery, the situation on earth, the Psi Corps, Kosh, etc. - and I actually find the fact that we are very much dealing with mundane political problems at first a very good start.

Whenever I re-watch the series I'm constantly surprised at how different G'Kar is in the beginning. Him starting out as the most villainous of the regular characters and then going down the road he does works very well. And it is pretty much the same with Londo. If we had him hooking up with Morden so early the feeling of early episodes feeling the kind, melancholic, bumbling Londo would be much different.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

There are other episodes in the first season I'm not exactly fond of - 'TKO' and 'Grail', for instance. And, of course, 'Believers'. What did happen to those murderous parents in the end? I wanted to know that.

Of course? I was under the impression that Believers was generally quite highly regarded. The parents were acting within the accepted bounds of their culture; they would have mourned the loss of their kid and moved on. Earth law wouldn't apply.

9 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Babylon 5 does this much better by having, at times, 5-7 minutes for a proper reflection of things.

Yes, that's something I like about the show.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
50 minutes ago, felice said:

Of course? I was under the impression that Believers was generally quite highly regarded. The parents were acting within the accepted bounds of their culture; they would have mourned the loss of their kid and moved on. Earth law wouldn't apply.

Well, I'd have liked to hear that being mentioned in the episode. They make a great deal out of the question whether 'Earth law' (or rather human morals) are to be applied in the medical question. That should mean they should also discuss whether it is allowed to murder your own child on the basis of your religious beliefs. And considering that the boy was healed after the operation this was very much a murder. It should have been punished as such. It is one thing to let your child die because of (stupid) religious beliefs. People do that in our world, too. But quite another to actually kill your own child because you consider it a demon/animal.

The subject matter is pretty interesting but I find the question is phrased wrongly for my taste. It should have been superstition vs. reason and not belief vs. belief as they played it, with Franklin essentially 'believing' in his medical mission. Or they should have left it more dubious whether the operation actually did fundamentally change the boy. There is a very subtle hint in that direction but when he later meekly goes along with his own murder and actually shows that he loves his parents still very much. If it was possible that the parents weren't just deluded on the matter then they would have been justified at least to a point. But the kind of way they wrap this up feels just very wrong to me.

50 minutes ago, felice said:

Yes, that's something I like about the show.

Yeah, it is done pretty well here, especially since the dialogue is usually quite good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Watched 'Grail' today again. And it is not that bad. But the central pretense is for pretty much anybody with as much as a little background in medieval literature. The Holy Grail is a myth. Period. This spiritual search thing would have worked much, much better with a less ridiculous Mac Guffin.

 

I like "Grail". I remember when I watched (and taped) it when it first aired. It was the first of a new batch of episodes that played during the summer of '94. "Grail" to "The Quality of Mercy", they held back "Chrysalis" until October started the stupid B5 tradition of holding the last 1-4 episodes of a season until October/November.

But that summer, there wasn't anything good on except new episodes of Babylon 5 and Robocop: The Series. So I was grateful for those. 

I liked the Centauri feeder monster, Londo's reaction to hearing about it, and the tease of learning more about Kosh (though not really) but Kosh did get some time in that episode (imposter and genuine) and I always loved his scenes, seeing if any light would be shed on the Vorlon mystery, and Kosh was just an awesome character.

And David Warner is such a great actor, the only thing he really couldn't save was Star Trek V.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

 

Funny how the world turns on such small things, no broken tooth = probably no B5 in the universe.  Deep.

 

The killer app in the proposal was Thornton's CGI reel. That's really what saved the show and got it the greenlight. Before that point WB were sceptical because they didn't think they could afford ST:TNG style full screen opticals. It was when the guy who'd worked on V said "This is how we get round it" and Thornton pointed out that he'd created the graphics on a sub-$1,000 computer that WB realised they could pull off the effects on the budget they had.

Quote

 

Do you have any details on the Christian disaster? I only read the contradicting statements of both sides from the Lurker's Guide.

 

Sure. Basically Christian got an offer to do a movie, so she asked JMS for 3-4 weeks off (probably 3-4 episodes max) to do the film. He said okay, but could only give a verbal guarantee. The movie producers wanted a written contract. Warner Brothers didn't want to do that: her contract bound her to agree to do all 22 eps even if JMS only wrote her into 17-18 episodes. That created a stalemate, as the movie company wouldn't give her the role unless WB gave a written guarantee she would be free and WB couldn't do that (it would actually create a contract renegotiation situation, which was a headache they didn't want to deal with). Part of the problem is that Christian believed that JMS was guaranteeing that written contract and he wasn't. The whole thing blew up at a B5 convention in Blackpool (in the UK) so Christian didn't have her agent to hand and JMS couldn't talk to the studio immediately very easily, and there was a lot of crossed wires.

 

Quote

 

Earth law wouldn't apply.

 

Actually, it would. B5 is an Earth Alliance station. The diplomatic immunity and free passes the ambassadors get is very much an Earth ideal they've put on the station so it can work. The ordinary alien citizens are all bound by the rule of the station, including not committing murder. Sinclair made a judgement call to boot the parents of the station to avoid a major diplomatic crisis with their race, who probably weren't all that (I don't think they even rated membership of the League) but why create the storm in the first place?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, drawkcabi said:

I liked the Centauri feeder monster, Londo's reaction to hearing about it, and the tease of learning more about Kosh (though not really) but Kosh did get some time in that episode (imposter and genuine) and I always loved his scenes, seeing if any light would be shed on the Vorlon mystery, and Kosh was just an awesome character.

And David Warner is such a great actor, the only thing he really couldn't save was Star Trek V.

Yeah, those are basically the elements I realized were pretty good. And the CGI of the monster is pretty good.

12 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Sure. Basically Christian got an offer to do a movie, so she asked JMS for 3-4 weeks off (probably 3-4 episodes max) to do the film. He said okay, but could only give a verbal guarantee. The movie producers wanted a written contract. Warner Brothers didn't want to do that: her contract bound her to agree to do all 22 eps even if JMS only wrote her into 17-18 episodes. That created a stalemate, as the movie company wouldn't give her the role unless WB gave a written guarantee she would be free and WB couldn't do that (it would actually create a contract renegotiation situation, which was a headache they didn't want to deal with). Part of the problem is that Christian believed that JMS was guaranteeing that written contract and he wasn't. The whole thing blew up at a B5 convention in Blackpool (in the UK) so Christian didn't have her agent to hand and JMS couldn't talk to the studio immediately very easily, and there was a lot of crossed wires.

Oh, what a mess. And such a pity in light of the fact that so many of the main cast showing up in the opening credits do not show up in all episodes. The 5th season could have been much better if she had carried the telepath story.

12 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Actually, it would. B5 is an Earth Alliance station. The diplomatic immunity and free passes the ambassadors get is very much an Earth ideal they've put on the station so it can work. The ordinary alien citizens are all bound by the rule of the station, including not committing murder. Sinclair made a judgement call to boot the parents of the station to avoid a major diplomatic crisis with their race, who probably weren't all that (I don't think they even rated membership of the League) but why create the storm in the first place?

That kind of thing is actually discussed in the story. Sinclair already ignored another species' rules/beliefs when he forced Dr. Kyle to try to save Kosh (never mind the question whether he was actually in danger or not) back in the pilot, and they bring that up. Now it becomes a question whether Babylon 5 is just an earth colony dominated by human law, or truly this neutral port of call thing they talk about during the opening credits.

And, yes, it is a main point in the story that the parents' species is very obscure and has indeed no representative on the station. They ask all the main ambassadors to represent them, after all.

But the question of parents murdering a child for any reasons is neither discussed nor ever ruled upon. And that is the much larger issue/crime brought up in that episode. And they completely drop the ball there. And I find they don't deal with the proper disgust/horror at what the parents did. They sort of make the thing about Franklin and his obsession in the wrap-up in the end, and that's just disrespectful to the subject matter. Sure, he misjudged the situation and thought the parents would get over their superstitions/zealotry and just be happy that he saved their son. But they weren't. He was wrong in his estimation of the parents, but not in the handling of the situation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Babylon 5 Rewatch: Season 1: Episodes 11-12

Survivors has Jerry Doyle becoming a better actor but it still a bit rote. By Any Means Necessary is a lot better, even if the idea of B5 having cargo hauled around by the 23rd equivalent of Frank Sobotka and his team from Season 2 of The Wire is a bit hard to swallow.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finished season 1, and started season 2.

I thought the last few episodes of season 1 were all really solid, and I particularly enjoyed A Voice in the Wilderness double-episode arc.

Babylon Squared was also solid, and like Signs and Portents it gave more glimpses towards the dark future ahead. The episode has made me pose a question though - How come the Earth Alliance has been so willing and able to construct 5 massive space stations in the span of 10 years. They must have wanted this project to succeed real bad no matter the cost. Which makes the political situation on Earth a bit ironic, that just when it looked like they were finally getting it right, elements in Earth gov decided to go all Trump.  

I also greatly enjoyed the finale, very fast paced, with way more stuff happening in one single episode than anything prior. But I guess the plan, all along, was to end it in several cliffhangers.

Btw, up until the finale, I didn't even notice that G'Kar was not even present for several episodes. Right now I think Londo is a much better presence, both for comical reasons, and for the more serious philosophical dilemmas.

I've started season 2, but have not finished the first episode yet. Now I knew about the major character/actor change, but I have to ask why? Was it part of the story, or the actor playing Sinclair left for other reasons?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Other reasons - it was kept quiet at the time, but after O'Hare died a couple of years back JMS revealed he was struggling with mental health problems.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×