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adhuin
Sep 15, 2008

Sobriety blows

Lot of bad episodes had terrible rubber monsters, like Season 1 Infection, or the Season 3 Grey 17 is missing.
Still love this show and rewatch it every couple years. Even the Crusade and the TV-movies.

EDIT: I see that the Lurker's guide to Babylon 5 is still up after all these years.
It is the best source of references, little tidbits and JMS musings on the show.

adhuin fucked around with this message at Aug 12, 2016 around 12:41

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turn left hillary!! noo
Feb 12, 2002



I knew this was going to happen to this thread. Anyway we've made it through the first six episodes of season 1, last night with Mind War, and there hasn't been a stinker yet. I know a lot of people dislike Soul Hunter and Infection, but the worst you can say about them is they're episodic, which is par for the course as the world building of season 1 prior to the meat of the show's arc. And Bester is already so good. I really buy Sinclair and Catherine as well. I mean it's all low budget and has a severely dated '90s aesthetic, but in that context, even at its worst it's perfectly serviceable.

Baloogan
Dec 5, 2004
Probation
Can't post for 2 hours!


Fun Shoe

a e s t h e t i c

Baloogan
Dec 5, 2004
Probation
Can't post for 2 hours!


Fun Shoe

i watched up to the end of the shadow war
but haven't yet started on the earth civil war ending stuffs

i mi ght rewatch season 1 i think, i skipped it because ive already seen the drat series a dozen times already in fullll!

VolticSurge
Jul 23, 2013

This is no shitpost,boy! No shitpost!



So,as someone who has just started to rewatch the show,any episodes you'd suggest I avoid? It's been a while,I'm a bit rusty

Grand Fromage
Jan 30, 2006

You wildly underestimated my liver's ability to metabolize toxins.

Nah. I'm watching it straight through and it's all enjoyable. Even the bad ones are fun in their badness.

turn left hillary!! noo
Feb 12, 2002



VolticSurge posted:

So,as someone who has just started to rewatch the show,any episodes you'd suggest I avoid? It's been a while,I'm a bit rusty

I always recommend watching them all, especially if it's been a while. If you haven't got time to spend watching bad B5 then you don't have time to spend watching good B5, because the bad stuff is almost always not that bad, and intermixed with some good stuff. There's always something in even the worst episodes that either redeems it right then and there, or pays off later.

Action Jacktion
Jun 3, 2003


I just finished watching all of Captain Power. It wasn't incredible but it was deeper and more mature than the average kid show. The DVD set has a 90-minute documentary that's worth watching; it has interviews with JMS and other people who went on to work on B5, plus behind the scenes videos going back to pre-production. Anyway, if you're looking for something to watch and are thinking of going through Stargate Atlantis for the third time, consider this instead.

Kingtheninja
Jul 29, 2004

"You're the best looking guy here."


Redirected from the star trek thread, hi! Ill be watching the show for the first time. I decided I'll watch every episode, I'll post some thoughts along the way for anyone who likes reactions. Starting season 1 tomorrow, I know a little about the story so I'm pretty excited to check it out.

turn left hillary!! noo
Feb 12, 2002



Welcome, glad to have a new watchthrough, always good for discussion. You'll probably pass my wife and myself shortly as we are not that fast to get through shows, but I have seen it about a half dozen times and she's seen it once.

When we finished she immediately wanted to start again, because she wasn't as keen on season 1 and wanted to see it with fresh eyes knowing what happens later. It really does improve immensely on a rewatch, but that first time leads to some great payoff later on, so stick with it.

Kingtheninja
Jul 29, 2004

"You're the best looking guy here."


Only a couple episodes down, I find it weird how often Sinclair sorties in a fighter. I figured he'd do more of what Ivanova does, but maybe he just wants to get off the ship.

Grand Fromage
Jan 30, 2006

You wildly underestimated my liver's ability to metabolize toxins.

JMS explained it, in the actual Navy to keep your flight pay you have to fly a certain number of hours a month, regardless of your rank or position. Same applies in Earthforce, they mention it later in the series.

Also you want to use your actors and stuff but there is a real world justification too.

Angry Lobster
May 16, 2011

Served with honor
and some clarified butter.


Kingtheninja posted:

Only a couple episodes down, I find it weird how often Sinclair sorties in a fighter. I figured he'd do more of what Ivanova does, but maybe he just wants to get off the ship.

He's a pilot at heart, he says sometime that he descends from a family of pilots since the Battle of Brittain, and if you pay attention you can see in his quarters and old sign with something along the lines "Sinclar Air trips", probably a past family enterprise. Also he fought in the Battle of the Line in a fighter, which is one of the most important moments of his life, so yeah, he is quite fond of that. I suppose career officers in the Earth Alliance fleet have to go through a fighter pilot phase before joining the upper ranks.


EX-GAIJIN AT LAST posted:

Welcome, glad to have a new watchthrough, always good for discussion. You'll probably pass my wife and myself shortly as we are not that fast to get through shows, but I have seen it about a half dozen times and she's seen it once.

When we finished she immediately wanted to start again, because she wasn't as keen on season 1 and wanted to see it with fresh eyes knowing what happens later. It really does improve immensely on a rewatch, but that first time leads to some great payoff later on, so stick with it.

I started rewatching the series approximately when this thread was created this time I didn't skip season 1 as I did last time, many years ago and I'm grateful I watched it, it's far better than I remembered.

Data Graham
Dec 28, 2009



When B5 was newly airing I only saw bits and pieces of it. I missed the first season or two (not having access to a TV at college), and then afterwards I only saw the odd episode here and there, and Thirdspace at its cast premiere because I knew a guy who worked on it. Beyond that it was all pretty vague and mysterious to me, floating on the edge of my awareness.

I've got it all in front of me now, though. Time to see what was what.

Baka-nin
Jan 25, 2015



I only managed to watch a few episode of the series when it first aired since it kept disappearing and popping up on another channel at a different time. I did however get to see all the films that were released because the Sci fi channel made a big deal of showing them. Like one a week, I was able to piece most of it together and it intrigued me enough to buy the dvd box set that came with everything including the crusade spin off. I've caught up with the show and watched everything apart from the spin off, I did catch a few episodes years ago but aside from the premise it didn't really leave an impression on me.

Is it worth watching?

turn left hillary!! noo
Feb 12, 2002



Crusade probably would've been more worth it much like B5 season 1: only in context of what was to come. Imagine (the first half of) B5 season 1 without anything else that followed, and worse music.

Waffles Inc.
Jan 20, 2005



I'll always really, really love B5 not just because of its quality, but because when I was a kid (like under 10) my mom would tape both B5 and TNG and I would hang out and begrudgingly watch TNG with her in order to get to B5. As a kid I couldn't stand Star Trek, I thought it was all boring as hell, but I was immediately hooked to B5.

It also helped that I had a tremendous preteen crush on Delenn

As far as great episodes of Science Fiction go, I think "Passing Through Gethsemane" is one of the best sci-fi morality plays out there

Data Graham
Dec 28, 2009



Watched the first episode, and hahaha holy gently caress this is terrible

I don't mean the story, the story's pretty good. And the characters. And I don't even mind the super-low-budgetude of the sets and music or the primitive CGI. I mean the acting, I mean jesus christ. And the writing too! I had been under the impression that JMS was some kind of screenwriting royalty, but this is some of the clumsiest hi-I-am-the-first-episode exposition dialogue I have ever heard. "Hello Londo, let me recap the shared history of our two races in a completely organic manner." "Why yes Meester Bruce Willis Stunt Double, that is fine plan."

(I suppose it'll be explained why Londo has this ludicrous scenery-chewing accent but Vir sounds like some white-bread guy talking through prank vampire fangs.)

But yeah, I know it gets way better, and I can see there's the seed of some great storytelling here. It's just, I know I was supposed to expect something dated and flawed, I guess I just wasn't expecting those particular parts to be so glaring.

Waffles Inc.
Jan 20, 2005



Data Graham posted:

Watched the first episode, and hahaha holy gently caress this is terrible

I don't mean the story, the story's pretty good. And the characters. And I don't even mind the super-low-budgetude of the sets and music or the primitive CGI. I mean the acting, I mean jesus christ. And the writing too! I had been under the impression that JMS was some kind of screenwriting royalty, but this is some of the clumsiest hi-I-am-the-first-episode exposition dialogue I have ever heard. "Hello Londo, let me recap the shared history of our two races in a completely organic manner." "Why yes Meester Bruce Willis Stunt Double, that is fine plan."

(I suppose it'll be explained why Londo has this ludicrous scenery-chewing accent but Vir sounds like some white-bread guy talking through prank vampire fangs.)

But yeah, I know it gets way better, and I can see there's the seed of some great storytelling here. It's just, I know I was supposed to expect something dated and flawed, I guess I just wasn't expecting those particular parts to be so glaring.

The folks in the thread telling you not to skip anything are overreaching a bit. Season 1 is incredibly rough and there are some absolute dumpster-fire episodes.

turn left hillary!! noo
Feb 12, 2002



Waffles Inc. posted:

The folks in the thread telling you not to skip anything are overreaching a bit. Season 1 is incredibly rough and there are some absolute dumpster-fire episodes.

We're not telling him that because we think it's objectively good (although I'd argue at worst it's a product of its time, especially in the way of obvious exposition like this example - a weird bridge between vastly differing eras of television).

We're telling him to watch it all so he can form his own opinions and not just parrot what the goon consensus already says. Who in the hell would want that, this thread would be pointless. This way he'll be able to articulate his impressions rather than relying blindly on ours, and maybe we'll learn a thing or two we hadn't considered before.

If you don't agree then I'd argue you either don't like B5, or at best like it for the wrong reasons.

Data Graham
Dec 28, 2009



I mean one of the most obvious "product of its time" things is right in the cold open, the line that gets cut off. It's like:

"Tell them we're under attack! Tell them it's the—"

—and you can hear that big floppy em dash sitting there in the script because there's nothing written after it. There's a split second of pause before the scene cuts away, long enough to make the cutoff sound completely artificial, long enough that the actor might as well have sucked in a big old breath.

Modern shows are very careful to avoid that sort of thing, either by having really intricate naturalistic dialogue or by placing your scene cuts so that awkward pauses like that are masked. Or both.

This isn't a criticism, it's just kind of a trip reminding myself what TV was like in 1993. Nowadays even a mediocre TV show is shot like a feature film in the 90s would have been, and we look at BSG and call that dated. We've become so spoiled.

Baka-nin
Jan 25, 2015



Speaking of early B5 roughness, what was the deal with that Praying Mantis crime lord? I think they just dropped him without a trace because it looked terrible and I bet was a pain in the arse to get working. But it just sticks in my head. It was on the show right? I didn't just dream it up? I tried looking it up on the B5 fan wiki but couldn't find anything. It just kept linking me to the shadows.



Data Graham posted:


(I suppose it'll be explained why Londo has this ludicrous scenery-chewing accent but Vir sounds like some white-bread guy talking through prank vampire fangs.)


Yeah I think there were two explanations, one is that Londo is from the Centari Republics nobility, most of the other nobles also speak with a stereotypically toff accent though they mainly spoke with Britishish accent while Londo always reminded me of a Romanian Boyar. I don't know why because he doesn't sound like any Romanian I've ever met, but I just can't help seeing Carpathian castles.

The other one which I think might have been a fan answer was that he learnt English from a bloke who talked like that (a Romanian Boyar perhaps?) so he emulated the accent while Vir just speaks like a guy from tech support.

Gaz-L
Jan 28, 2009


Some of the other Centauri nobles have the same accent. Jake Carter from Stargate for instance had it. I think it's a combo of old money and where on Centauri Prime he's from.

SalTheBard
Jan 26, 2005

Somebody call Totoro

Whats the easiest way to watch B5? I watched Season 1 when it first aired and loved it. Then I kind of dropped interest in the show but I watched things like the Shadow Wars that I thought were cool.

adhuin
Sep 15, 2008

Sobriety blows

People only wish that Nagrath was a product of a fevered nightmare. He's real and pretty much got canned, because humans with rubber-masks are easier to work with.

Angry Salami
Jul 27, 2013


Baka-nin posted:

Speaking of early B5 roughness, what was the deal with that Praying Mantis crime lord? I think they just dropped him without a trace because it looked terrible and I bet was a pain in the arse to get working. But it just sticks in my head. It was on the show right? I didn't just dream it up? I tried looking it up on the B5 fan wiki but couldn't find anything. It just kept linking me to the shadows.

Yeah, N'grath. He appeared a few times in the first season but got dumped because they never felt the prop looked right. The costume ended up appearing on Buffy as a one-off monster.

Baka-nin
Jan 25, 2015



adhuin posted:

People only wish that Nagrath was a product of a fevered nightmare. He's real and pretty much got canned, because humans with rubber-masks are easier to work with.




Angry Salami posted:

Yeah, N'grath. He appeared a few times in the first season but got dumped because they never felt the prop looked right. The costume ended up appearing on Buffy as a one-off monster.

Aha! for context, this is what I was talking about



I can see why they thought it was a good idea on paper, he looks pretty menacing in that close up above but all he did was stand around in a gassy room, and looked really fake in wide shots.

Baka-nin fucked around with this message at Sep 7, 2016 around 03:01

Data Graham
Dec 28, 2009



That Soul Hunter episode was pretty tits.

Lots of cheesiness still, but the acting (especially from the title character) was a 1000x improvement over anything in episode 1, just for the guy's creepiness and menace and general weirdness.

Plus I love how your POV keeps getting jerked back and forth between "Wow these people are crazy and evil" and "Wait, they're actually doing something cool and good and metaphysics is real" and "No wait this one guy is an actual lunatic even by their standards".

kant
May 12, 2003


Experiencing the bad helps you appreciate the good!

Besides even in the bad episodes there's almost always something being hinted at for the future. Every time I re-watch I find something new I missed.

Farmer Crack-Ass
Jan 2, 2001

"You can't do that, Space."

"I can do anything I want! I AM THE MASTER OF TIME!!!"

Data Graham posted:

I mean the acting, I mean jesus christ.

If overacting isn't your thing, space opera is probably not the right genre for you.

Paradoxish
Dec 19, 2003

Will you stop going crazy in there?

Farmer Crack-rear end posted:

If overacting isn't your thing, space opera is probably not the right genre for you.

Aw, come on. Babylon 5 is really bad on this front, especially in the first season. B5 is probably one of my top five favorite shows of all time, but the acting and writing ranges from serviceable to really atrocious.

Shbobdb
Dec 16, 2010

by FactsAreUseless


Love this show.

If you are new to it, treat the opening episode of S2 as the pilot. It's in medias res as gently caress but really works. Watch S1 as a filler after S3. Rewatch S2 and S3. Then watch S4. Wait a long while. Then watch S5 and try really hard to love it. Watch the movies in release order given the above scheme. Rewatch the whole thing again.

That's more or less the order I watched it in, though for the real experience you need to catch some 5-10 min clips from S1 and S2 (while you were changing channels during commercials from a slow/rerun episode of another show you were watching and maybe got stuck). This is the ONE TRUE ORDER.

Also, did they ever fix the CGI on the releases we can watch now? If not are there :files: of the non broken stuff like with Bevis and Butthead or are we all just stuck?

Dirty
Apr 8, 2003

Let's get our doughnut on

Data Graham posted:

I mean one of the most obvious "product of its time" things is right in the cold open, the line that gets cut off. It's like:

"Tell them we're under attack! Tell them it's the—"

—and you can hear that big floppy em dash sitting there in the script because there's nothing written after it. There's a split second of pause before the scene cuts away, long enough to make the cutoff sound completely artificial, long enough that the actor might as well have sucked in a big old breath.

Ugh, this. Saw this in a lot of things over the years, and every time it bugged me. So easy to fix in editing, and that B5 example is among the worst. For me, the actual worst is in Star Trek TMP when Spock walks onto the bridge and Sulu has to be interrupted by Kirk while already saying the most unnatural sounding line in history:

Sulu: "Why! Why it's Mister-"

- pause
- everyone else turns to look
- a strange quiet falls upon the bridge
- people stare at Spock for hours
- V'Ger reaches Earth and destroys it
- the Federation collapses, mass panic and starvation
- civilisation falls
- after millions of years, the sun explodes
- the universe eventually contracts back into a single point
- another big bang happens
- planets and stars form
- humans evolve, the Federation is formed
- V'Ger is detected approaching Earth
- Spock walks onto the bridge

Kirk: "-Spock!"

Yes. What a spontaneous interruption.

Milky Moor
Aug 27, 2006

I wasn't supposed to
Discover data I could use
Where did it come from
A simple look, a tender touch


The thing I've never understood about those obvious 'script ends here' pauses is why they don't just write an ending to that sentence, then edit it to cut it off. It just seems obvious to me.

I'm a huge B5 fan. It's a show where, as others have said, it gets better the more you know about it. I'll cross post some of my stuff from the GBS thread.

quote:

That's a really good insight. The casting is superb, even if they're not the best actors, because they give it their all and they're bringing a lot of heart to the performances.

Take Jerry Doyle, the most recent of B5's dearly departed. The guy was basically playing himself and Doyle's self doesn't seem like the nicest person to be around. That story JMS mentions in the eulogy, of Jerry haranguing a guest star? That wasn't a no-name actor he was yelling at. It was one of their big name award-winning guest stars. He broke an arm on set during the filming of Severed Dreams and that footage was used.

Michael O'Hare, suffering from severe mental illness while playing a character with war-induced PTSD and a 'hole in his mind'. Jeff Conaway, playing a 2IC who was 'given a second chance' and was doing his best not to screw it up. Mira Furlan, Delenn, from war-torn Yugoslavia who then had a plot about her homeworld breaking into sectarian civil war. You could find something like that, some grey reflection, for every actor on the show, probably right down to a lot of the guest stars who, themselves, did wonderful things for the characters they played. Take, for example, Bester's distinctive 'dead' hand which was purely an invention of Walter Koenig.

B5's central message - that 'faith manages' - is only enhanced by the more you know about the show and the people involved. It's really quite remarkable.

Or you think about Richard Biggs, who had some pretty severe hearing difficulties and yet gave fantastic performances time after time. For all the talk of a Babylon curse affecting the fictional station, it certain seems that there was one hanging around the cast and production, too.

I adore the show because the reusable sets, melodramatic acting and rotating cast of guest stars who you begin to recognize by voice because they're always in alien masks gives it this wonderful stage production feel, as others have pointed out.

Data Graham
Dec 28, 2009



"Born to the Purple"—nice, feels like a Trek TOS story. I'm a little confused, though: I'd gotten the impression that B5 was a highly serialized show, with a long-running story divided into little chunks in the vein of latter DS9. But it feels a lot more episodic here, I guess more like, well, early DS9. Is that an emergent thing that comes about later?

Also how much did B5 and DS9 borrow from each other? I sure do see a lot of Quark/Odo in the Londo/G'Kar relationship.

Milky Moor
Aug 27, 2006

I wasn't supposed to
Discover data I could use
Where did it come from
A simple look, a tender touch


Data Graham posted:

"Born to the Purple"—nice, feels like a Trek TOS story. I'm a little confused, though: I'd gotten the impression that B5 was a highly serialized show, with a long-running story divided into little chunks in the vein of latter DS9. But it feels a lot more episodic here, I guess more like, well, early DS9. Is that an emergent thing that comes about later?

Also how much did B5 and DS9 borrow from each other? I sure do see a lot of Quark/Odo in the Londo/G'Kar relationship.

B5 and DS9 have a strange relationship.

JMS shopped B5 to Paramount before going to WB. One of the things he gave them was an extensive series bible containing character bios, plot arcs, worldbuilding stuff and I think about twenty arc episode synopses. Suddenly, Paramount comes out with ST DS9 which has a lot of strange parallels with B5 and they rush to release it a few months prior to B5's pilot. While I doubt there was direct plagiarism as such, I do think that there were people high up who maybe massaged things without telling the writers and such where their ideas were coming from. Otherwise, there's just a lot of strange coincidences.

There was someone who claimed to have worked on DS9 who said as much a few years ago, and you can find old JMS usenet postings where he seems pretty frustrated with how DS9 is, somehow, doing similar plot arcs at similar times as B5.

As for being serialised... B5 is pretty episodic at times but the beauty is that there are things in those episodes, often minor things like a line of dialogue or a character, who come into plot relevance later on. Born to the Purple is one of those episodes and it has some pretty big payoffs down the line!

Season 1 is kind of a long prologue, slowly setting up a lot of elements that will be brought up again later.

Maelstache
Feb 25, 2013

I don't have the time to fill out questionnaires


Milky Moor posted:

I adore the show because the reusable sets, melodramatic acting and rotating cast of guest stars who you begin to recognize by voice because they're always in alien masks gives it this wonderful stage production feel, as others have pointed out.

Yes, the theatrical ACK-ting! is something you kind of have to learn to love about Babylon 5. Everything about the show is inherently stagey, but having grown up on British sci-fi and children's dramas that doesn't bother me at all.

Seems obvious to say it, but if B5 were to ever get rebooted it would have to be a very, very different show, as there's no way you could make it in that "people having arguments in very similar-looking sets" style now.

Wait, Jerry Doyle died? poo poo, I had genuinely no idea. The B5 Reaper claims another one.

Just Ivanova and Sheridan left of the B5 command staff, then? Oh, and Corwin. And those others that never spoke.

adhuin
Sep 15, 2008

Sobriety blows

Milky Moor posted:

There was someone who claimed to have worked on DS9 who said as much a few years ago, and you can find old JMS usenet postings where he seems pretty frustrated with how DS9 is, somehow, doing similar plot arcs at similar times as B5.

Or characters:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9WkQTzAcYk

An actor for a Rebel general couldn't make it to a pivotal episode, because he had been booked as a Rebel Admiral in a DS9 episode.

Timby
Dec 23, 2006

Your Mother!


Maelstache posted:



Just Ivanova and Sheridan left of the B5 command staff, then? Oh, and Corwin. And those others that never spoke.

Lochley.

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Maelstache
Feb 25, 2013

I don't have the time to fill out questionnaires


Timby posted:

Lochley.

Duh, of course.

Shbobdb posted:

Also, did they ever fix the CGI on the releases we can watch now? If not are there :files: of the non broken stuff like with Bevis and Butthead or are we all just stuck?

Short answer: Nope. The best source I've been able to find, short of hunting down all the VHS releases, is buying episodes through the VUDU streaming service, which has them in the 4:3 original broadcast versions. I experimented using a capture card to try recording some of them via my Xbox(their PC streaming app is dogshit and seemingly designed to make screen capture impossible) and the results were pretty good, but the thought of actually sitting down and recording the entire lot is a bit of a daunting prospect.

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