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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."


I always think of Adam Richman (he of Man vs Food fame), who is Jewish and cares not one iota for the dietary laws.

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Qwertycoatl
Dec 31, 2008



Actually something that struck me as odd about the scene in S1 (spoilers just in case but it's pretty tame):
The rabbi doesn't know whether the alien food is kosher and comes up with a decision on the spot, but I'd have expected the matter to have been extensively discussed (although not necessarily reaching a consensus) basically as soon as eating alien food became a thing people could do

ultrafilter
Aug 23, 2007

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



The_Doctor posted:

Oh heck, so there’s tie-in comics, and they’re plot relevant? That makes them fairly unique. Worth tracking down?

There are 14 comics and 18 novels that make up the Babylon 5 extended universe. None of them are essential, but some are nice to have. Here's a quick rundown on when you can read the various bits without spoiling anything:
  • After season 2: comics #1-11, novels #1-4 and #6
  • After season 3: novels #5, #7 and #9
  • After season 4: comics #12-14, novel #8
  • After season 5: novels #10-18
Comics #1-4, novel #9 and comics #12-14 make up a story and are probably the highlight of what's out there. Comics #5-8 and novel #7 are standalone and provide nice background for the show. Novels #10-18 are less closely tied to the show but still generally pretty good. Everything else is summarized on the Luker's Guide and you should probably read those pages after you finish the series.

Horizon Burning
Oct 23, 2019
:discourse:


Most of the B5 novels are extremely bad. Like, the author hadn't really watched the show or knew anything about space bad. The exceptions are generally regarded as the Psi Corp trilogy, The Shadow Within, To Dream in the City of Sorrows, the Technomage trilogy (if you like the Technomages), and the Centauri Prime trilogy. But virtually all of these ones should be read after you're done with the TV series, as they're either set after Season 5 or deal with plot elements from the later seasons. I don't know much about the comics, however.

SlothfulCobra
Mar 27, 2011



I don't think she's particularly observant either. She doesn't go to regular service or seek out religious guidance, she just goes for special occasions. Which isn't really an uncommon way of maintaining a religious identity at all.

I do feel like the acting/directing doesn't really put much effort into fleshing out her national identity, which is a bit of a shame because she's the only explicitly non-american member of the human main cast. The show still manages to create a feeling of internationalism with the aliens seeming genuinely foreign to Earthforce's America, but it is a bit of a shame that Earthforce doesn't really seem that uniting of Earth's general population. Maybe if they kept the Gambian doctor from the Gathering it would've worked better. I guess it does give B5 a more unique feeling from Star Trek, but it's just a shame that it doesn't come off like what they wrote the setting to be like.

Also, past season one, the less american-seeming president Santiago isn't around anymore, and there does seem to be very clear aesthetic reason why president Clark is very American. The Japanese senator also goes away in the political shift, and circumstances seemed to conspire against the three attempts at adding an asian person to the cast.

Grand Fromage
Jan 30, 2006

L-l-look at you bar-bartender, a-a pa-pathetic creature of meat and bone, un-underestimating my l-l-liver's ability to metab-meTABolize t-toxins. How can you p-poison a perfect, immortal alcohOLIC?




The_Doctor posted:

Oh heck, so there’s tie-in comics, and they’re plot relevant? That makes them fairly unique. Worth tracking down?

The ones I've read have been pretty boring. All the ancillary material is canon though, including all the novels. Those are supposed to mostly be good, particularly the Technomage and Psi Corps trilogies. I again have those and haven't read them.

ultrafilter
Aug 23, 2007

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



Horizon Burning posted:

Most of the B5 novels are extremely bad. Like, the author hadn't really watched the show or knew anything about space bad. The exceptions are generally regarded as the Psi Corp trilogy, The Shadow Within, To Dream in the City of Sorrows, the Technomage trilogy (if you like the Technomages), and the Centauri Prime trilogy. But virtually all of these ones should be read after you're done with the TV series, as they're either set after Season 5 or deal with plot elements from the later seasons. I don't know much about the comics, however.

"most of the eighteen novels are bad but there are eleven that are actually pretty good" is certainly a take.

Grand Fromage posted:

The ones I've read have been pretty boring. All the ancillary material is canon though, including all the novels. Those are supposed to mostly be good, particularly the Technomage and Psi Corps trilogies. I again have those and haven't read them.

It's best to regard everything in the EU as canon to the extent that it doesn't conflict with the show.

Incelshok Na
Jul 2, 2020


The most important part of the books/comics is that some of them play a big role in Dark Distorted Mirror which was a very popular piece of fan fiction during the original run. I haven't read it since the show was on the air, but I remember it being extremely good. And I'm not normally one for fan fiction/EU stuff.

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."


I’m imagining that’s some B5 take on the mirror universe?

Incelshok Na
Jul 2, 2020


The Battle of the Line goes differently and Earth gets nuked.

Incelshok Na fucked around with this message at 17:23 on Sep 16, 2020

ultrafilter
Aug 23, 2007

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



Oh, I forgot the novelizations of the first three made-for-TV movies. Those sure are a thing that exists.

Lemniscate Blue
Apr 21, 2006

Here we go again.

Much of this page feels like it belongs in the other thread lest someone get careless.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Lemniscate Blue posted:

Much of this page feels like it belongs in the other thread lest someone get careless.

That's a good idea. Thank you for editing your post IN.

Horizon Burning
Oct 23, 2019
:discourse:


ultrafilter posted:

"most of the eighteen novels are bad but there are eleven that are actually pretty good" is certainly a take.

Personally, I'd exclude To Dream, the Technomages, and the Centauri ones as being worth reading but hey, it wouldn't be something awful if Goons didn't flip out at the slightest provocation.

CainFortea
Oct 15, 2004








Pretty sure it's more a callout about the math involved.

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."


S3ep09 - Point of No Return

“Intelligence has nothing to do with politics.”

Vir’s back again! I honestly thought he’d been put on a bus and we’d not see him again for some time, but hey, still in the titles and semi-regular. Anyway, Lwaxana’s here with secrets! Yes, Londo will be emperor, but so will Vir?! I don’t know why Londo is so afraid at the end, she clearly says they’ll both be emperor, one after the other dies. It’s better for them to both keep the other safe, honestly. That said, I’m eagerly looking forward to Emperor Cotto’s reign. :allears:

The initial scenes as the crew all deal with the martial law situation back at home have just the right desperate edge to them. They know they’re far from the madness occurring on Earth, but even with information being scattershot at best, they can tell it’s going to come to their doorstep soon. There’s some solid tension throughout and I love it.

Garibaldi’s small speech to the assembled Nightwatch members was appropriately ineffectual. I appreciated that at least one of the security team wanted no part of it when they were handing out the armbands. Good integrity. That said, the chief might want to go through his employment criteria a bit more stringently in future, maybe employing questioning like ‘are you joining to just beat up people based on poorly conceived notions of what ‘subversive’ means?’ and ‘will you go full fascist at the drop of a hat?’

Nightwatch getting some semblance of power for roughly 18 hours then it being taken away again was nicely cathartic. I did honestly think Sheridan was going to just space them, which would have been just as satisfying. Blame a faulty airlock, there’s all sorts of craziness going on, there was no time for maintenance, oops. Ivanova’s right though, it’s only a temporary measure, and won’t last long. Hopefully Hague appears soon (I predict next episode) and this can start to be fixed. That said, if Hague and his ship are the only big cruiser left, is there enough power there to turn the tide? Presumably they wouldn’t want to bring in the White Star on that action, for fear of blowing their cover.

Tying the Nightwatch solution in with the Narn was pretty clever, and a good way of putting G’kar back into a position of importance in this new alliance. Being on the outside while Things are clearly going on, and as he says, he’s had all the time in the world to work out pertinent details.

The Earth plotline proceeds with more bombast, while definitely feeling like the middle of an arc, solving some problems, creating new ones. I’m guessing next episode it all comes to a head. Great stuff.

SlothfulCobra
Mar 27, 2011



The_Doctor posted:


Vir’s back again! I honestly thought he’d been put on a bus and we’d not see him again for some time, but hey, still in the titles and semi-regular. Anyway, Lwaxana’s here with secrets! Yes, Londo will be emperor, but so will Vir?! I don’t know why Londo is so afraid at the end, she clearly says they’ll both be emperor, one after the other dies. It’s better for them to both keep the other safe, honestly. That said, I’m eagerly looking forward to Emperor Cotto’s reign. :allears:


You never seen Macbeth? Hella awkward.

ultrafilter
Aug 23, 2007

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



The_Doctor posted:

S3ep09 - Point of No Return


Anyway, Lwaxana’s here with secrets!


This is another one of those 90s cultural details that's probably lost on a modern audience. At the time, there was a certain amount of animosity between B5 and DS9 fans for reasons that are too stupid to recount. Getting Gene Roddenberry's ex-wife to come on for an episode was meant to signify that it was OK to be a fan of both shows. That worked on some people, but the rest of us just took it as a sign that we were right.

I'd say something about how that parallels a modern day situation, but I'd probably just be reading too much into it.

SaintFu
Aug 27, 2006

Where's your god now?

ultrafilter posted:

Getting Gene Roddenberry's ex-wife widow to come on for an episode was meant to signify that it was OK to be a fan of both shows.

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."


SlothfulCobra posted:

You never seen Macbeth? Hella awkward.

Oh my god, I studied it twice in school. :doh:

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."


S3ep10 - Severed Dreams

“Never start a fight, but always finish it.”

This episode is apparently only 43 minutes long, somehow? But I definitely just watched a full 90 minute feature film. So much went on, and I paused so often to jot down notes, this might be the longest I’ve spent watching an episode of Babylon 5. Plus I watched this episode last night, and I’ve spent the last hour forming my notes into some semblance of coherence.

The way the Clarkstown went down reminded me that none of the ships in the universe seem to have shields. Wait, both of their wives? Is Hague dead?! Oh man, he was killed offscreen and replaced by Captain Braxton. I can see the narrative logic in getting rid of Hague, it removes this leader the B5 crew have all been deferring to, and forces them to stand on their own two feet, realising their own destiny.

Why couldn’t the Alexander’s starfuries just use the same jump point when they were escaping the Clarkstown? What was the necessity of them being inside? We’ve seen them do it before, and it even happens in this episode when the Roanoke and Agrippa turn up?

The Shadows making alliances with many in the League of Non-aligned Worlds, and encouraging them to fight one another. I’m assuming it’s a divide and conquer strategy. If they’re fighting one another, they’re not allying together. Again, are the Shadows coming directly to them, or negotiating through meat puppets? Nightmare shapes rocking up and proposing cordial coalitions seems unlikely.

Bombing Mars for rejecting martial law (shiny new bigger starfuries!). Christ. I remember thinking/predicting Babylon 5 would eventually break with Earth way back last season, and I’m glad to see it all finally came to a head. They were constantly treated unfairly (charging your own officers rent, please find room and board for 25,000 troops on zero notice, etc), and the more recent events pushed them into fighting the fascist forces amassing back home. I’m really interested in where this fight will go now, EarthGov/Psi-Corps being aligned with the Shadows really just makes them another part of the Shadow army that the Army of Light has to defeat.

Delenn breaking the Grey Council like that. :stare: Her rescue gambit was most impressive, arriving like that, very reminiscent of Gandalf the White arriving at Helm’s Deep to turn the tide. Although now Earth knows the White Star, at least as a Minbari ship. Apparently those gargantuan mile-long Earth ships turn on a dime when they need to hightail it out of there.

The epilogue with the “we’re going to have some problems with sabotage for a while” is a nice touch. Proper clearing out of a fash organisation like Nightwatch would be a very messy affair and you’d definitely have more hidden members than the armband wearers.

The Earth civil war arc gives me horrible anxiety about the next few months. Clark’s MO is eerily prescient of the situation in the US right now. Set your allies up in relevant positions, quash all dissension. Fantastic episode, and a great conclusion to this arc. I can see why I was told to binge it, even if that wasn’t actually possible for me. Maybe if I ever get around to a rewatch where I don’t have to take notes!

The_Doctor fucked around with this message at 07:54 on Sep 20, 2020

Zaroff
Nov 10, 2009

Nothing in the world can stop me now!

Regarding the general...

General Hague was supposed to be in this episode, but the actor portraying him chose to do the DS9 episodes Homefront and Paradise Lost so meaning he wasn’t available. As a result, JMS intentionally killed off Hague off-screen as revenge. As noted, it actually works out better for the story, and JMS had intended for him to die sooner rather than later.

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."


Zaroff posted:

Regarding the general...

General Hague was supposed to be in this episode, but the actor portraying him chose to do the DS9 episodes Homefront and Paradise Lost so meaning he wasn’t available. As a result, JMS intentionally killed off Hague off-screen as revenge. As noted, it actually works out better for the story, and JMS had intended for him to die sooner rather than later.

Oh, huh. I knew I recognised him from DS9, I didn’t realise the overlap was that tight though.

Winifred Madgers
Feb 12, 2002



The_Doctor posted:

S2ep10 - Severed Dreams

Why couldn’t the Alexander’s starfuries just use the same jump point when they were escaping the Clarkstown? What was the necessity of them being inside? We’ve seen them do it before, and it even happens in this episode when the Roanoke and Agrippa turn up?


If you're talking about the starfuries left to fill in B5's complement, all berths were filled on the surviving ship(s) (I forget the actual tactical situation), so while they could escape, the rebels would always have to have a fighter wing outside the ship, or wait until they join up with another ship that lacked fighters. It's a matter of efficience and practicality.

SlothfulCobra
Mar 27, 2011



The_Doctor posted:

S2ep10 - Severed Dreams

Gotcher numberin' wrong there.

I feel like there's a lot of naivety in the way they handle the civil war, but it's also thoroughly enviable to imagine being in a world where you haven't seen massive splits in society growing and growing to show you about where the divide would be and how many people would be willing to just go along with attacks on civilians. Clark seems like he went into things a whole lot more intentionally than our current bumbling fascist overlords, but without as much of an ideological backing.

Narsham
Jun 5, 2008


Son of Sam-I-Am posted:

If you're talking about the starfuries left to fill in B5's complement, all berths were filled on the surviving ship(s) (I forget the actual tactical situation), so while they could escape, the rebels would always have to have a fighter wing outside the ship, or wait until they join up with another ship that lacked fighters. It's a matter of efficience and practicality.

No, that’s not what he’s referring to. At the opening, the Alexander can’t jump without dealing with the pursuing ship because that would mean leaving the fighters behind.

It’s never explained. We do know fighters can’t open their own jump points and that they have the endurance to travel some distance in hyperspace. It’s possible these fighters were burning fuel during the escape and lack the endurance, and maybe returning via the hangar is too tricky with hyperspace currents. Alternately, the fighters jumping would require the Alexander to hold the jump point longer, exposing it to further attack, though that doesn’t seem to be the implication of the discussion. Presumably the pursuing ship could just jump after them, so there’s other good reasons to disable or destroy it.

Grand Fromage
Jan 30, 2006

L-l-look at you bar-bartender, a-a pa-pathetic creature of meat and bone, un-underestimating my l-l-liver's ability to metab-meTABolize t-toxins. How can you p-poison a perfect, immortal alcohOLIC?




It might be because they're ship-generated jump points? We see Starfuries use jump gates but I don't remember if ship jump points ever allow other ships to use them as well.

Winifred Madgers
Feb 12, 2002



Oh, okay. I chalk that up to the fighters were engaged away from the ship, and turning to run for a jump point would leave them vulnerable.

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."


SlothfulCobra posted:

Gotcher numberin' wrong there.

:hai: Fixed

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


The nice thing about catching up on the show 25 years after the fact is that most every question has already been asked and definitively answered.

Re: Starfuries

It's basically what Grand Fromage guessed. Fighters can use the stationary jump gates just fine, but not the ship-generated jump points. A jump point collapses in on itself once the generating ship passes through it, so other ships risk being torn apart since the jump field is centered on the generating ship. The incoming Earthforce fighters that are shown are coming through B5's jump gate.

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."


Now I’m wondering how much control B5 has over its jumpgate. Can it effectively close it off if it wanted to? Like a stargate iris or what have you.

MrL_JaKiri
Sep 23, 2003

A bracing glass of carrot juice!


It definitely has some, because it moves the struts apart for the explorer ship in Distant Star

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


The_Doctor posted:

Now I’m wondering how much control B5 has over its jumpgate. Can it effectively close it off if it wanted to? Like a stargate iris or what have you.

Someone had asked why the gate wasn't shut down beforehand:

jms posted:

It takes about a day to power down, or power up a jump gate. It operates more like a fusion reactor than a light bulb. So not only wasn't there enough time, even if they *had* had enough time, you'd want to leave the gate up and running in case you needed to evacuate for any reason; otherwise you'd cut off your main escape route.

Lemniscate Blue
Apr 21, 2006

Here we go again.

MrL_JaKiri posted:

It definitely has some, because it moves the struts apart for the explorer ship in Distant Star

This implies that something bad happens if a ship that's bigger than the current configuration tries to use a jump gate, which leads me to wonder: could you effectively block a jump gate by moving it's struts to, say, 20 meters apart? And if so what happens when a big ship tries to come through?

It'd be a tactic with very situational application because most bug warships can create their own jump points out of hyperspace, but we see a lot of them still use jump gates anyway so they're not trapped until their jump engines recharge - keeps their options open. But it'd be useful for setting traps.

Assuming it doesn't destroy the gate.


Edit: I just woke up and didn't realize which thread this was in. Spoilered just in case.

Lemniscate Blue fucked around with this message at 13:45 on Sep 20, 2020

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."


Mine the area directly in front of the jumpgate. :colbert:

Narsham
Jun 5, 2008


Lemniscate Blue posted:

This implies that something bad happens if a ship that's bigger than the current configuration tries to use a jump gate, which leads me to wonder: could you effectively block a jump gate by moving it's struts to, say, 20 meters apart? And if so what happens when a big ship tries to come through?

It'd be a tactic with very situational application because most bug warships can create their own jump points out of hyperspace, but we see a lot of them still use jump gates anyway so they're not trapped until their jump engines recharge - keeps their options open. But it'd be useful for setting traps.

Assuming it doesn't destroy the gate.

Destroying your own jump gate essentially isolates you, as only large warships have jump engines, not trading ships or freighters. I would assume you’d get maybe one ship coming out, destroy your gate, and the rest jump in manually. As no warship is worth more than a gate, it isn’t worth doing.

It’s also probably true that the jump gate can’t function unless there’s a minimum distance between the struts creating enough room for the jump point to form. If you could form jump points inside solid objects, jump drives would be effective weapons.

Mines might be effective, but as they are presumably cloaked or EM shielded they would probably pose a hazard to civilian traffic even if you deactivated them. It’s unclear how large B5 mines are and there’s a clear reluctance about using them outside an active combat.

Antifa Poltergeist
Jun 3, 2004

"We're not laughing with you, we're laughing at you"





Have one jump gate in front of another that leads directly into the first so that you have a jumpgate ouroboros

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.

Antifa Poltergeist posted:

Have one jump gate in front of another that leads directly into the first so that you have a jumpgate ouroboros

Now you're thinking with portals.

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."


And my take on how B5 hyperspace works is ‘don’t think about it’.

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Narsham
Jun 5, 2008


Antifa Poltergeist posted:

Have one jump gate in front of another that leads directly into the first so that you have a jumpgate ouroboros

Just don’t put them too close together. That would be a bonehead maneuver (no offense).

An interesting nuance to consider: an attacking fleet puts itself at something of a disadvantage coming through a jump gate, although that does allow a jump with fighters already deployed. The main reason to attack in this way is to make it much harder for anyone to escape, as only a jump-capable ship can get away; anyone else has to come straight through you to get to the jump gate.

A few systems have multiple gates, but they’re always so far apart that the attackers could jump cross-system to catch anyone fleeing unless they lose the battle.

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