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Author Topic: Sell Me On Babylon 5  (Read 2430 times)
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ATB
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« on: October 14, 2008, 03:30:48 PM »

This series came highly recomended and I'm only 5 minutes in and the acting is terrible the 'graphics' are only slightly better.

A friends said it's a deep and well thought out series.....but I'm having trouble getting past the bad hair.

Should I keep going?
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« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2008, 03:32:21 PM »

Ok. A ship just exploded and it looked like someone set off a firework and recorded it with a camcorder.

Maybe BSG has spoiled me?

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« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2008, 03:39:36 PM »

Season 1 is a bit rocky, but then seasons 2 through 4 really take off (season 5 is OK, but they wrap up alot of stuff in season4 due to them expecting to be cancelled).  Of course the SFX don't hold up well, but it's stil passable.  I'd say soldier on through season 1 (stuff from it will pop up in the later seasons) and at least try season 2.
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« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2008, 04:12:21 PM »

Quote from: CeeKay on October 14, 2008, 03:39:36 PM

Season 1 is a bit rocky, but then seasons 2 through 4 really take off (season 5 is OK, but they wrap up alot of stuff in season4 due to them expecting to be cancelled).  Of course the SFX don't hold up well, but it's stil passable.  I'd say soldier on through season 1 (stuff from it will pop up in the later seasons) and at least try season 2.

Agreed.  Initially, I preferred DS9 to Babylon 5.  As the seasons progressed, i reversed that opinion.  2-4 are good.  I never watched 5 because of the dramatic shift in characters and roles.  Garibaldi is great and stuff gets better once Scarecrow comes on board. 
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« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2008, 04:19:10 PM »

You'll be hooked by the end of season two, guaranteed. But the first dozen or so episodes of season one are definitely difficult to get through if you're used to modern sci-fi television.

The effects are definitely poor by today's standards (and even then, the infant CGI contrasted poorly with Star Trek's model work). But I found that I adjusted to it. And the plot more than made up for it, anyway.

Really--don't give up on it. It's worth your time. And the Centauris' hair does improve in season two. icon_lol (The Narn makeup impresses me to this day, though.)
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« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2008, 04:34:51 PM »

I almost didn't make it past Season One - almost entirely due to Captain Cardboard, whose name escapes me due to self-preservation.  Once Bruce Boxleitner replaced him, and the characters became more developed, I was hooked.

Stick with it, I doubt you will regret it!  icon_razz
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« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2008, 04:44:32 PM »

Quote from: CeeKay on October 14, 2008, 03:39:36 PM

(season 5 is OK, but they wrap up alot of stuff in season4 due to them expecting to be cancelled)

Is that what it was?  My girlfriend and I bought the entire set this year, having never watched more than the first series previously, and loved it until that final season.  When they went back to doing alien of the week episodes after the fantastic spectacle of the last four series, all we could say was WTF?  We didn't even finish watching it, it didn't feel right.

But yeah, series 1-4 are bloody fantastic.  Great storyline.  We should really watch the films which we also bought.
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« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2008, 04:50:52 PM »

Quote from: Huw the Poo on October 14, 2008, 04:44:32 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on October 14, 2008, 03:39:36 PM

(season 5 is OK, but they wrap up alot of stuff in season4 due to them expecting to be cancelled)

Is that what it was?  My girlfriend and I bought the entire set this year, having never watched more than the first series previously, and loved it until that final season.  When they went back to doing alien of the week episodes after the fantastic spectacle of the last four series, all we could say was WTF?  We didn't even finish watching it, it didn't feel right.

yep.  TNT agreed to do the fifth season at the last minute, and they even had the last episode of the series filmed but did a new one once the TNT deal went through.  Of course, TNT went on to smother JMS for Crusade, insisting that he 'sex things up'.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2008, 04:53:40 PM by CeeKay » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2008, 06:38:18 PM »

Yes, B5 improves dramatically, especially in Season 2.  Visuals effects also improve quite a bit but they just won't ever be at the level of BSG due to the time period when B5 was made.  That said, the battle in Severed Dreams is second only to the finale of RotJ in terms of space battles for me. 

B5 is easily my favorite TV series of all time. 

The visual effects hold up worse on DVD though.  When they show was first aired, the effects were only rendered to 640x480 (a 4:3 aspect ratio) to save time and money even though the rest of the series was done on film in a 16:9 aspect ratio for an eventual widescreen release.  The intention was to go back and re-render the effects for any eventual home widescreen release but the effects company lost all of the computer files with the relevant info.  So, for the DVD, they actually zoom each visual effects shot in order to make it widescreen, and that reduces the visual qualify even more. 

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« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2008, 07:59:11 PM »

Not much to add, except that the Bride of Ironrod and I have been watching the series for the past few months. We're 1/3 of the way into season 3 now and very glad that we persevered through the early episodes.
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« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2008, 08:03:39 PM »

Will also add that the series doesn't take off until the second season.  As someone who missed season one when the show was airing, I would suggest that you can skip the first season altogether (at least for now) and still enjoy the show.  I've heard others make the same recommendation.
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« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2008, 08:22:37 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on October 14, 2008, 06:38:18 PM

The intention was to go back and re-render the effects for any eventual home widescreen release but the effects company lost all of the computer files with the relevant info.  So, for the DVD, they actually zoom each visual effects shot in order to make it widescreen, and that reduces the visual qualify even more. 

I thought I remember reading somewhere where they used a fan-made model of B5 in one of the movies too as they no longer had the CG models and such.
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« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2008, 08:31:27 PM »

Quote from: Sarkus on October 14, 2008, 08:03:39 PM

Will also add that the series doesn't take off until the second season.  As someone who missed season one when the show was airing, I would suggest that you can skip the first season altogether (at least for now) and still enjoy the show.  I've heard others make the same recommendation.


There's quite a few episodes in later season that reference and continue things that happened in Season 1.  I would suggest to try not to skip it.  I do agree with everyone else though, once you hit season 2 it gets ALOT better.  For me the biggest thing I hated about season 1 was the captain.  Once they replaced him in season 2 with a better actor the show got a lot better.
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« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2008, 08:48:56 PM »

sounds like it suffered from the same problem with farscape.  early jitters making it hard to watch.  FS also references season 1 events though, so skipping it is equally ill-advised.

i want to watch b5 eventually, but it never took off with any of my friends and i haven't thought to spend the coin on it. 
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« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2008, 09:07:37 PM »

Quote from: faide on October 14, 2008, 08:31:27 PM

Quote from: Sarkus on October 14, 2008, 08:03:39 PM

Will also add that the series doesn't take off until the second season.  As someone who missed season one when the show was airing, I would suggest that you can skip the first season altogether (at least for now) and still enjoy the show.  I've heard others make the same recommendation.


There's quite a few episodes in later season that reference and continue things that happened in Season 1.  I would suggest to try not to skip it.  I do agree with everyone else though, once you hit season 2 it gets ALOT better.  For me the biggest thing I hated about season 1 was the captain.  Once they replaced him in season 2 with a better actor the show got a lot better.

Yeah, but I don't think it's absolutely required.  I got into B5 about half way through season 2 and didn't see the episodes before that until much later.  I don't think it seriously affected my understanding of what was going on.  And, as I said, you can go back to them later and enjoy them.  When this issue has come up on other boards, the idea of skipping season 1 and judging the show by how you respond to season two before giving up has enjoyed some support.

I guess what I'm saying is that whether you ultimately like B5 or not has a lot more to do with enjoying season 2 and beyond for their own reasons.

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« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2008, 09:11:04 PM »

Skip season 1 and you miss the start of Zathras!
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« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2008, 09:18:04 PM »

Echoing EVERYBODY else in this thread. Season 1 lays out some of the background with a lot of cheesy acting. Season 2 is when it gets good. The series climaxes around middle of Season 4, and then lulls painfully and without real greater direction until the end of Season 5 with a really good finale.
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« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2008, 10:00:18 PM »

I dunno...

I pretty much thought the best part of season 1 was the captain, who of course... *spoiler editing here before posting*  I wasn't nearly a much of a fan of season 2-4 for the most part.  It definitely picks up in season 2-4 and the end of season 5 is pretty ridiculous...

If you like long intertwined storylines with large amounts of political stuff you will love babylon 5.

I still think DS9 was better, but I digress.

Oh and I hated Farscape, so there smile
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« Reply #18 on: October 14, 2008, 10:04:16 PM »

Quote from: Isgrimnur on October 14, 2008, 09:11:04 PM

Skip season 1 and you miss the start of Zathras!

Quote
So Zathras talks to dirt. Sometimes talks to walls or talks to ceilings, but dirt is closer. Dirt is used to everyone walking on it. Just like Zathras, but we have come to like it. It is our role. It is our destiny in the Universe. So you see, sometimes dirt has insects in it. Zathras like insects. Not so good for conversation, but much protein for diet.

Zathras not of this time. You take, Zathras die. You leave, Zathras die. Either way, it is bad for Zathras."
« Last Edit: October 14, 2008, 10:06:23 PM by pr0ner » Logged

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« Reply #19 on: October 14, 2008, 10:13:35 PM »

I had pretty much the same problem as you over three years ago.  My wife and I stuck with it and ended up loving the show.  You should too.
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« Reply #20 on: October 14, 2008, 10:33:31 PM »

Skip S1 only if the only alternative is missing out on the show altogether.  If nothing else, make sure you watch from the first season:

Midnight on the Firing Line
And the Sky Full of Stars
Signs and Portents
Voice in the Wilderness 1&2
Babylon Squared
Chrysalis 
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« Reply #21 on: October 15, 2008, 03:16:08 PM »

Selling Point #1:



At no point does this character appear topless.
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« Reply #22 on: October 15, 2008, 03:50:54 PM »

Quote from: SensuousLettuce on October 14, 2008, 03:30:48 PM

Should I keep going?

Yes you should, Gears buddy.
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« Reply #23 on: October 15, 2008, 04:12:23 PM »

Quote from: hepcat on October 15, 2008, 03:16:08 PM

Selling Point #1:



At no point does this character appear topless.

ah, Vir, the unsung hero of the story.
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« Reply #24 on: October 15, 2008, 04:55:36 PM »

Quote from: CeeKay on October 15, 2008, 04:12:23 PM

Quote from: hepcat on October 15, 2008, 03:16:08 PM

Selling Point #1:

At no point does this character appear topless.
ah, Vir, the unsung hero of the story.

Who thank the Gods never appears topless. Great selling point, BTW. biggrin
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« Reply #25 on: October 15, 2008, 04:59:22 PM »

As much as I want to quote him taking to Mr. Morden, I feel it would to spoiler-ish.  That has to be one of the best lines ever written.
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« Reply #26 on: October 15, 2008, 05:02:29 PM »

I would consider Susan Ivanova a rather better selling point, myself.  Phwoar, eh lads?  Eh?  Eh?  Phwoar!
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« Reply #27 on: October 15, 2008, 05:46:29 PM »

Quote from: Huw the Poo on October 15, 2008, 05:02:29 PM

I would consider Susan Ivanova a rather better selling point, myself.  Phwoar, eh lads?  Eh?  Eh?  Phwoar!

Spoiler for Hiden:
One of the reasons I didn't watch Season 5.
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« Reply #28 on: October 15, 2008, 06:02:20 PM »

Quote from: Huw the Poo on October 15, 2008, 05:02:29 PM

I would consider Susan Ivanova a rather better selling point, myself.  Phwoar, eh lads?  Eh?  Eh?  Phwoar!

plus you can google her Playboy spread!  unibrow
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« Reply #29 on: October 18, 2008, 03:45:43 AM »

Quote from: CeeKay on October 15, 2008, 06:02:20 PM

Quote from: Huw the Poo on October 15, 2008, 05:02:29 PM

I would consider Susan Ivanova a rather better selling point, myself.  Phwoar, eh lads?  Eh?  Eh?  Phwoar!

plus you can google her Playboy spread!  unibrow

Or not if you value, you know, the ability to see.

I liked the series with season 2 but once things picked up at the end I was in absolute love with the series during seasons 3 and 4. One episode in particular in season 4 is essentially a two man play (and that's not spoiling anything since I'm being vague) and all it is is the power of two actors in a room verbally sparring. Fabulous hour. Absolutely riveting drama. Season 5 gets a bad rap for the following reason - the first half sucks, but the finale is balls to the wall awesome. The final five are where all the plot threads for the whole show converge and it's amazing stuff.

That being said, DS9 did it so much better it's kinda ridiculous.
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« Reply #30 on: October 18, 2008, 05:05:31 AM »

Quote from: whiteboyskim on October 18, 2008, 03:45:43 AM

Quote from: CeeKay on October 15, 2008, 06:02:20 PM

Quote from: Huw the Poo on October 15, 2008, 05:02:29 PM

I would consider Susan Ivanova a rather better selling point, myself.  Phwoar, eh lads?  Eh?  Eh?  Phwoar!

plus you can google her Playboy spread!  unibrow

Or not if you value, you know, the ability to see.

I liked the series with season 2 but once things picked up at the end I was in absolute love with the series during seasons 3 and 4. One episode in particular in season 4 is essentially a two man play (and that's not spoiling anything since I'm being vague) and all it is is the power of two actors in a room verbally sparring. Fabulous hour. Absolutely riveting drama. Season 5 gets a bad rap for the following reason - the first half sucks, but the finale is balls to the wall awesome. The final five are where all the plot threads for the whole show converge and it's amazing stuff.

That being said, DS9 did it so much better it's kinda ridiculous.

Yeah I gotta agree about DS9.  Plus, it didn't have singing telepaths (!) so that's a big plus.
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« Reply #31 on: October 18, 2008, 08:43:26 PM »

I never watched Babylon 5 when it first came out. It looked freaky and silly and I thought it'd be cancelled in a snap. After it became apparent that it wasn't going to be cancelled, I didn't watch. Too much had happened and how could I catch up? This was when I was 14-years-old, the internet relatively slow, and DVDs scarcely on the scene.

Then I joined OO and someone talked about that dopey looking series of which my public library had received a donated complete VHS series collection. So I started watching and ...

It was silly but not boring. Then as the first season went on, I actually started enjoying it a great deal. By the second season - which was like my second month of watching as I checked the videotapes out of the library rapidly - I was hooked. There was drama and humor and a larger plot coming into play. The third season was fascinating and  I avidly watched every episode.

Then...then SOMEONE TOOK ALL THE TAPES AWAY! The librarians said they'd been checked out! All of them I asked? Since these were donated materials the library database tracked the tapes but only with a "Media" label identifier; meaning I could neither locate nor request their return. Donated media instead of being returned to a certain library branch stayed at the branch they were returned to, so basically the series was randomly scattered throughout 12 branches. I've never actually seen any of them there though.

That was almost 2 years ago now.  That silly little TV show sucked me in and then broke my heart.

I'm too cheap to buy the DVD series or join Netflix or ...

But I'd recommend the show though. If it appalls you or bores you, I wouldn't say to "stick with it, it gets better" because I think the show was consistently the same throughout (obviously I enjoyed it though). If however you reject it 'cause you think it's silly or inane, au contraire! this is not a "pretty girl, lots of shooting, comedy, nothing means much, random plot elements, discontinuity-filled" story: it's an epic series with a great story arc and it was COMPLETED! Imagine that: a show that actually fulfilled its mission without being cancelled after six or seven random episodes!

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« Reply #32 on: October 18, 2008, 08:53:02 PM »

Every episode credits Harlan Ellison as "Creative Consultant". 'Nuff said.
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« Reply #33 on: October 20, 2008, 04:57:37 PM »

Quote from: Isgrimnur on October 15, 2008, 04:59:22 PM

As much as I want to quote him taking to Mr. Morden, I feel it would to spoiler-ish.  That has to be one of the best lines ever written.

Oh, now you've done it, you've said the M word!
With apologies to Jack Sheldon, JMS, and the creators of Schoolhouse Rock:

The (abbreviated) Tale of Mister Morden

Spoiler for Hiden:
Mister Morden walked out the door.
Mister Morden walked.
Mister Morden talked to Londo.
Mister Morden talked.
Mister Morden was an evil man.
Mister Morden was…
Mister Morden is the subject of the Shadows.
What his Associates say he does.

Like many others, I started watching at Season 2.
Here's my suggestion if you are really finding Season 1 painful:
Start with Season 2. At some point, the references to earlier events will compel you to go back and watch season 1.
You can go back to the first season and be much more engaged with plenty of "Oh, that's what they keep talking about" moments.
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« Reply #34 on: October 21, 2008, 12:58:24 PM »

Morden gets much more fleshed out in the 3 Technomage books that tell the tale of the Technomages....which is a very very good story and seamlessly integrates with everything that happened on the show including giving more insight into events....including when Sheridan is on Zha'dhum
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