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The_Doctor
Mar 29, 2007

"The entire history of this incarnation is one of temporal orbits, retcons, paradoxes, parallel time lines, reiterations, and divergences. How anyone can make head or tail of all this chaos, I don't know."


S2ep20 - The Long, Twilight Struggle

ďNo dictator, no invader, can hold an imprisoned population by the force of arms forever. There is no greater power in the universe than the need for freedom. Against that power governments, and tyrants, and armies can not stand. The Centauri learned this lesson once. We will teach it to them again. Though it take a thousand years, we will be free.Ē

We now return to the room with the chair and curtains, which is a really small throne room by the way. The Narn-Centauri war has been bubbling away for 6 months in show time, and only bobs to the surface now and again. Too much realistic conflict is wearing, and this ending is a gutpunch.

Draal! Back to the Forbidden Planet below! I like how they hang a lampshade on recasting the actor. John Schuck hamming it up all over the place. Huh, so Zathras is from Epsilon III? So presumably the Machine had/has a part to play in the Babylon 4 story?

The empty Markab seat in the council. :smith: And now thereís no Narn seat either. The mass driver bombing of the Narn homeworld felt a bit toothless as it was just shown as some bland clouds forming, instead of the powerful feeling it should have evoked. This should have been Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and instead it was ink clouding in water. Show me the people element, buildings falling, merely inferring the destruction feels weak.

Londo wavers between regret for his actions and casual warmonger, and Iím sad for the loss of fun Londo. He sees the Shadows and their power are coming at too high a cost, with additional genocide. His expression looking out at the destruction of Narn is one of sadness and regret, but he still plays his part in the council chamber as the face of the Centaurum.

The reveal of Rangers! The Great Machine! Sheridan now has all these resources at his disposal, with Delenn deliberately placing the station as the headquarters of the army of light in the fight against the Shadows.

An alright episode, drawing a line in the sand saying the Narn-Centauri war ends here, and now weíre focussing on the Great War storyline. GíKar is on great form with that impassioned speech, defiant but broken.

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ultrafilter
Aug 23, 2007

It's okay if you have any questions.
:fart:



The_Doctor posted:

S2ep20 - The Long, Twilight Struggle


The mass driver bombing of the Narn homeworld felt a bit toothless as it was just shown as some bland clouds forming, instead of the powerful feeling it should have evoked. This should have been Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and instead it was ink clouding in water. Show me the people element, buildings falling, merely inferring the destruction feels weak.


Per the Lurker's Guide, the five minutes of CGI in this episode took about a month to produce. Given the production deadlines involved, what we got is probably at the absolute limit of what could be done.

AARD VARKMAN
May 17, 1993




I take offense to (in reply to The_Doctor's latest post on S2E20)

saying that was a "decent episode", that episode was fantastic! it may be my love of Londo, and his move in to this basically irredeemable monster role, but I think it might be my favorite episode of the series so far. Londo at the window witnessing the real effects of his maneuvering. Mwah

E: also just the effect on G'Kar and urghhhh

AARD VARKMAN fucked around with this message at 20:32 on Aug 8, 2020

Winifred Madgers
Feb 12, 2002



Too vehement perhaps? Edited out, anyway.

Winifred Madgers fucked around with this message at 04:49 on Aug 9, 2020

Polaron
Oct 13, 2010

The Oncoming Storm



Don't do this, dude.

Polaron fucked around with this message at 11:40 on Aug 9, 2020

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk










Polaron posted:

Don't do this, dude.

Winifred Madgers
Feb 12, 2002



Polaron posted:

Don't do this, dude.

Edited, in the interest of comity. Please do the same.

Winifred Madgers
Feb 12, 2002



Anyway I don't think I was giving hints or whatever, I was essentially agreeing with TheAardvark. The show is always less about events and more about characters and themes. But I'll abide by the thread's wisdom above my own in this regard.

SlothfulCobra
Mar 27, 2011



Personally, I thought the barfight was the most impressive visual of the episode. Even if the bombing of Narn with that zoom in on Londo in the ship is probably more technically challenging.

It probably costs a fair amount to get all those people fighting onscreen, and it really displays how so many of Babylon 5's sets have a lot of depth to them, even though they don't often get a chance to play with that depth.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk









It's more the 'what is this thread for' aspect, I think? Like we can't really meaningfully argue about Relevant Themes and maintain that, so it belongs in the other thread.

Thanks for editing your post :shobon:

I'd also like it if we keep posting the relevant episode number above any spoiler blocks tyvmia

The_Doctor
Mar 29, 2007

"The entire history of this incarnation is one of temporal orbits, retcons, paradoxes, parallel time lines, reiterations, and divergences. How anyone can make head or tail of all this chaos, I don't know."


Donít tell me how to watch TV, thanks. Unless itís a better episode order like earlier this season or something. Then tell me how to watch it.

Vavrek
Mar 2, 2013

I like your style hombre, but this is no laughing matter. Assault on a police officer. Theft of police property. Illegal possession of a firearm. FIVE counts of attempted murder. That comes to... 29 dollars and 40 cents. Cash, cheque, or credit card?

The_Doctor posted:

Donít tell me how to watch TV, thanks. Unless itís a better episode order like earlier this season or something. Then tell me how to watch it.

:hmmyes:

One point, not about how to watch TV, but related to your most recent episode summary (2x20) and a few earlier comments:
I've often seen B5 described as being very theatrical in its production style, and I never quite knew what was meant by that. Like, the dialogue style, the way the characters were portrayed, the scope of the story? ... it just wasn't clear to me what people were saying. Your reaction to the Centauri homeworld and imperial throne room made it clear to me in a way I'd overlooked before:

"Awesome, get to see an alien homeworld and it's ... a room with some curtains."

"You know this throne room is actually really small."

Given the confines of the station (and the limitations of doing composite shots) it's just always seemed natural to me that the whole story takes place indoors. So thanks for pointing out the curtains.

The_Doctor
Mar 29, 2007

"The entire history of this incarnation is one of temporal orbits, retcons, paradoxes, parallel time lines, reiterations, and divergences. How anyone can make head or tail of all this chaos, I don't know."


Oh, I get it. As weíve said repeatedly, Babylon 5 is basically a play on screen, and thus thereís very similar limitations. I also listen to a lot of Big Finish audio plays, and thereís similar amounts of things being described and not actually seen.

However, I also feel like (2x20) youíre doing the Narn a disservice by not showing their genocide, and concentrating on the monster watching it and how he feels about it. Of course he should be made to watch the things he has wrought. This is your doing, Londo, donít look away. All Iím saying is it feels a bit light. You could have had one single shot of what those mass drivers do when they hit the ground, from a people level, just to ram home that these are people, and not just numbers on a screen. Hell, even just some buildings vaporising. Weíve not seen the Narn homeworld before now (I think?), so to get a glimpse pre-rubble would have been nice. Centauri Prime got one at the start of the episode, why not afford Narn the same privilege before you destroy it? It makes the Narn feel lesser in the creatorís eyes.

MrL_JaKiri
Sep 23, 2003

A bracing glass of carrot juice!


The_Doctor posted:

S2ep20 - The Long, Twilight Struggle


An alright episode


How dare you

Doctor Zero
Sep 21, 2002

Would you like a jelly baby?
It's been in my pocket through 4 regenerations,
but it's still good.

Midjack posted:

Got a link to the recorder from Amazon?

Yes. But first let me say that I am an idiot and have poor long term memory or something, because the recorder is a lot more than I remembered. I was probably thinking of a cable that would allow me to connect the VHS to my Mac, and that was $30, not the one I ultimately bought. So I was off by a factor of 4.

Regardless, if you are interested, it does do a fantastic job.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07V9JNRZY/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Winifred Madgers
Feb 12, 2002



The_Doctor posted:

Oh, I get it. As we’ve said repeatedly, Babylon 5 is basically a play on screen, and thus there’s very similar limitations. I also listen to a lot of Big Finish audio plays, and there’s similar amounts of things being described and not actually seen.

However, I also feel like (2x20) you’re doing the Narn a disservice by not showing their genocide, and concentrating on the monster watching it and how he feels about it. Of course he should be made to watch the things he has wrought. This is your doing, Londo, don’t look away. All I’m saying is it feels a bit light. You could have had one single shot of what those mass drivers do when they hit the ground, from a people level, just to ram home that these are people, and not just numbers on a screen. Hell, even just some buildings vaporising. We’ve not seen the Narn homeworld before now (I think?), so to get a glimpse pre-rubble would have been nice. Centauri Prime got one at the start of the episode, why not afford Narn the same privilege before you destroy it? It makes the Narn feel lesser in the creator’s eyes.

I still disagree, you can see from space that the explosions are immense. The whole production, from Londo's palpable horror, to the way it's shot, to the music, says enough imo. But, I suppose it does take all kinds to make a world, even if I do think you all are, in various ways, a bunch of weirdos.

ultrafilter
Aug 23, 2007

It's okay if you have any questions.
:fart:



The_Doctor posted:

Don’t tell me how to watch TV, thanks. Unless it’s a better episode order like earlier this season or something. Then tell me how to watch it.

In season 3 episodes 4/5 and 12/13 were swapped for various reasons. There's no real reason not to watch them in broadcast order, but the option is there if you feel like it.

Neo Rasa
Mar 8, 2007
Everyone should play DUKE games.

:dukedog:

The_Doctor posted:

Donít tell me how to watch TV, thanks. Unless itís a better episode order like earlier this season or something. Then tell me how to watch it.

One "episode" order thing is the other movies besides The Gathering. It's not quite as pat as just watching the series and then watching the movies due to when some of them were meant to take place vs. when they finally got released vs. things that they spoil/when they matter in the show.

I'd recommend this order:

Thirdspace - This movie is a one off story that takes place during season 4 of Babylon 5, and it's a pretty fun interlude! The best point to watch it is after episode 8 of season 4.

In the Beginning - I like this flick, a lot of flashback and later scenes that flesh out some of the earlier setup for the show, yet instead of watching it first like a pilot (and like some lists recommend doing!) it "takes place" at a very very specific point in the series. Thematically and spoiler-wise the best point to watch it is right after episode 9 of season 4.

River of Souls - This one takes place a few months after season 5 ends, so of course don't watch it til you finish that.

A Call to Arms - This movie is very uneven imo but overall it has some really really cool world building and implications of stuff for how the setting is going to go. However it is also meant to introduce us to the cast of the spin off series, Crusade, so obviously don't watch this til you've seen all of seasons 1 through 5 and those three other movies because this is basically it (unless you plan to watch Crusade as well).

That leaves us with two more, Legend of the Rangers and Lost Tales: Voices in the Dark. Legend of the Rangers was the unsuccessful pilot for another spin off series but it's pretty goofy (and also has that particularly stupid weapons system you may have seen YouTube clips of). You can definitely see why it didn't inspire anyone to pick it up. It feels kind of last gasp honestly, B5's characters grabbed me relatively fast, but these folks all feel aggressively stock imo, like sci-fi show clip art. Some of the humor really does land though. It takes place sort of during season 5 but I wouldn't consider it essential viewing.

Lost Tales: Voices in the Dark is from 2007. If you want to see a couple of B5 characters way past their prime sitting in front of green screens talking about stuff, then, ugh, I'd probably still skip it.


That leaves one other thing, Sleeping in the Light. This was the last episode of season 5. Some people recommend making this the very final Babylon 5 thing you watch. And that's fine, but just watching it whenever you go through season 5 is fine too imo.

Neo Rasa fucked around with this message at 23:29 on Aug 9, 2020

Action Jacktion
Jun 3, 2003


I don't know if anyone cares but maybe some of those titles or descriptions should be in spoilers.

MrL_JaKiri
Sep 23, 2003

A bracing glass of carrot juice!


Watch the films after you're done if you want to. They were produced during S5 and are far from essential. No need to thread them in.

Action Jacktion posted:

I don't know if anyone cares but maybe some of those titles or descriptions should be in spoilers.

Also the final episode of S5 is called Sleeping in Light :mad:

MrL_JaKiri
Sep 23, 2003

A bracing glass of carrot juice!


I also agree that describing exactly the earliest time to watch a stand alone movie to not be spoiled by something is itself a spoiler and should be not in this thread.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk









MrL_JaKiri posted:

I also agree that describing exactly the earliest time to watch a stand alone movie to not be spoiled by something is itself a spoiler and should be not in this thread.

Let's call a general halt to helping people with their b5 journey as the discussion it produces is wearying. this thread is all about the joy of discovery, e.g. Gary's hair strip

Angry Salami
Jul 27, 2013

Don't trust the skull.


Regarding 2x20: I think something B5 does a lot is have major events happen off-screen, with characters only able to get limited information about what's really going on. For example in Season One, "Voice in the Wilderness", there's the whole subplot about rioting on Mars, but we never see Mars, we're in the same position as Garibaldi, trying and largely failing to get news from the ground. Or how often we see the ISN news broadcasts rather than the actual events they're reporting on.

So I think it's pretty consistent that we don't see the details of the situation on Narn. We know it's horrific, but just like Londo or G'Kar or any of the other characters, we only know what's publicly available and don't have an on the ground perspective.

Winifred Madgers
Feb 12, 2002



If I can pipe in with one last thought on the movies, I'm not sure how a contextless optimized watch order for them could be considered a spoiler, any more than an optimized episode order is. If I'm watching something serialized I always appreciate a guide, like when we were going through Stargate my wife found an optimized watchlist that maximized the number of SG-1 and Atlantis episodes we could watch, without spoilers, sequentially rather than just going back and forth between the shows, and I found that really helpful and enjoyable. I guess you could say, if you're paranoid to an unhealthy degree, that led us to know that e.g. season 9 episode 1 ended a multi-part episode or had something referred to in the next episode of the other show. But that's a little extreme.

Doctor Zero
Sep 21, 2002

Would you like a jelly baby?
It's been in my pocket through 4 regenerations,
but it's still good.

Son of Sam-I-Am posted:

If I can pipe in with one last thought on the movies, I'm not sure how a contextless optimized watch order for them could be considered a spoiler, any more than an optimized episode order is. If I'm watching something serialized I always appreciate a guide, like when we were going through Stargate my wife found an optimized watchlist that maximized the number of SG-1 and Atlantis episodes we could watch, without spoilers, sequentially rather than just going back and forth between the shows, and I found that really helpful and enjoyable. I guess you could say, if you're paranoid to an unhealthy degree, that led us to know that e.g. season 9 episode 1 ended a multi-part episode or had something referred to in the next episode of the other show. But that's a little extreme.

On the other hand, some people don't even look up future episode titles, so best to err on the side of caution. IMO the "blind watch" should be as close to the pure 1st time viewing experience as possible.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk









Doctor Zero posted:

On the other hand, some people don't even look up future episode titles, so best to err on the side of caution. IMO the "blind watch" should be as close to the pure 1st time viewing experience as possible.

Honestly, I barely even vibe with the concept of spoilers because I reread and rewatch things constantly and enjoy the good ones more each time, BUT, this thread is about taking in a genuine masterwork of storytelling (for all its quirks and foibles) untainted so I'd really appreciate an utterly anal approach to non-spoilering. Talking about specific eps under tagged spoiler blocks is fine, everything else, use the other thread.

Jedit
Dec 10, 2011

Proudly supporting vanilla legends 1994-2014



sebmojo posted:

Honestly, I barely even vibe with the concept of spoilers because I reread and rewatch things constantly and enjoy the good ones more each time, BUT, this thread is about taking in a genuine masterwork of storytelling (for all its quirks and foibles) untainted so I'd really appreciate an utterly anal approach to non-spoilering. Talking about specific eps under tagged spoiler blocks is fine, everything else, use the other thread.

Not to backseat, Seb, but I'd be loath to allow the Other Thread posters to comment on plot at all. Like, I remember the thoughts I had the first time I saw ep 220, but in stating them I would be revealing what is important enough for me to recall a quarter century later. I think that if we post here at all it should only be to discuss production and then only about the specific episode.

Winifred Madgers
Feb 12, 2002



Doctor Zero posted:

On the other hand, some people don't even look up future episode titles, so best to err on the side of caution. IMO the "blind watch" should be as close to the pure 1st time viewing experience as possible.

Well what's a "pure" experience though? Should we enforce that they watch by air date only? That seems rather presumptuous, and if someone does want a "when is best storywise" order I'd rather someone give that in here than forcing them out into searching the internet at large with spoiler landmines galore.

Jedit
Dec 10, 2011

Proudly supporting vanilla legends 1994-2014



Son of Sam-I-Am posted:

Well what's a "pure" experience though? Should we enforce that they watch by air date only? That seems rather presumptuous, and if someone does want a "when is best storywise" order I'd rather someone give that in here than forcing them out into searching the internet at large with spoiler landmines galore.

Then wait for someone to ask for it. And spoiler it if you do.

Neo Rasa
Mar 8, 2007
Everyone should play DUKE games.

:dukedog:

Doctor Zero posted:

On the other hand, some people don't even look up future episode titles, so best to err on the side of caution. IMO the "blind watch" should be as close to the pure 1st time viewing experience as possible.

i'm sort of jealous that that's even possible, like for the movies especially and how they play (or don't) off the show? There were plenty of extensive tv spots and articles about their purpose and stuff like that weeks before they aired so the knowledge you had going in was waaaaay more than the descriptions I gave. This went for the show itself too, "next week, on Babylon 5" and "coming on up tonight's episode of Babylon 5" was a thing.

Like if you had your TV on at all and were tuning in to any TV show, a blind watch as we'd define it now isn't at all what that pure 1st time viewing experience would be.

And for truly great TV like Babylon 5 that's fine imo, when you have such strong actor chemistry and performances? Having a general idea of "x/y/z is the setup for this episode" doesn't really hurt it much to me when how the major events play out is still going to be a surprise.

Son of Sam-I-Am posted:

Well what's a "pure" experience though? Should we enforce that they watch by air date only? That seems rather presumptuous, and if someone does want a "when is best storywise" order I'd rather someone give that in here than forcing them out into searching the internet at large with spoiler landmines galore.

That was part of why I posted the way I did, I was going to find a link to post originally but like, holy poo poo SPOILERS. :wtc:

Neo Rasa fucked around with this message at 17:33 on Aug 10, 2020

SlothfulCobra
Mar 27, 2011



Personally I feel like the purest experience is catching a few episodes in bits and pieces and hearing friends make comments on parts of the show that you haven't seen before finally knuckling down to watch the whole show and find out that most of the connective tissue that you imagined was in the gaps that you missed wasn't what you expected it was.

But this isn't the place for my grand theory of messy viewing, because this is a little environment specially carved out for no spoiling, which is fine. There's a different place to go to talk freely.

Ayin
Jan 6, 2010

Have a great day.


Neo Rasa posted:

There were plenty of extensive tv spots and articles about their purpose and stuff like that weeks before they aired so the knowledge you had going in was waaaaay more than the descriptions I gave. This went for the show itself too, "next week, on Babylon 5" and "coming on up tonight's episode of Babylon 5" was a thing.
ON THE NEXT BABYLON FIVE

for all the dvds' faults, I was pretty stoked to have those again :)

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Son of Sam-I-Am posted:

Well what's a "pure" experience though? Should we enforce that they watch by air date only? That seems rather presumptuous, and if someone does want a "when is best storywise" order I'd rather someone give that in here than forcing them out into searching the internet at large with spoiler landmines galore.

A pure experience is where they can watch it without having nerds who have already seen it barge in and answer questions they haven't even asked.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Doctor Zero posted:

Yes. But first let me say that I am an idiot and have poor long term memory or something, because the recorder is a lot more than I remembered. I was probably thinking of a cable that would allow me to connect the VHS to my Mac, and that was $30, not the one I ultimately bought. So I was off by a factor of 4.

Regardless, if you are interested, it does do a fantastic job.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07V9JNRZY/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Awesome, thanks!

McCloud
Oct 27, 2005



"I do feel I need to clarify my last unfortunate post. I meant that as a joke for what I assumed was a person in their early 20s. It honestly didn't even occur to me that Alphinaud might be a minor.We all have our brainfarts sometimes."
-McCloud




Midjack posted:

A pure experience is where they can watch it without having nerds who have already seen it barge in and answer questions they haven't even asked.

Lemniscate Blue
Apr 21, 2006

Here we go again.

Midjack posted:

A pure experience is where they can watch it without having nerds who have already seen it barge in and answer questions they haven't even asked.

Angry Lobster
May 16, 2011

Served with honor
and some clarified butter.


Midjack posted:

A pure experience is where they can watch it without having nerds who have already seen it barge in and answer questions they haven't even asked.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk









^^^

CainFortea
Oct 15, 2004




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AARD VARKMAN
May 17, 1993




it's fine, I've only been spoiled like 3 separate times in this thread by people who forgot what episodes things happened in..


kind of a lovely situation, because the responses from people who have seen the show do help goad me along in to continuing watching. like (season 3 E1 spoiler, I guess) Garibaldi's hair strip.

For the most part I'm glad to have knowledgeable people posting about the show. It's hard for me as someone who binge watches shows to put any effort at all in to writing up my thoughts without some kind of feedback.

My request is that the knowledgeable show watchers seriously consider what they're posting, and run it by the other thread first. I really don't want y'all to decide to stop posting here entirely to protect us, but please spoiler tag everything strongly and run it by eachother. If people stop posting in this thread I will just watch the show through, and probably love it, but I do like having this way to discuss it in depth, and I'm just not the kind of person who documents their thoughts on TV without having some feedback.

Honestly, if you've seen the whole show, put everything in spoilers and seriously, seriously think about what you're saying. The comments that haven't been inadvertant spoilers have been really nice to have while watching through the show.

AARD VARKMAN fucked around with this message at 20:29 on Aug 11, 2020

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