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Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


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.

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Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


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.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


Party Plane Jones posted:

Biggs was almost entirely deaf during filming for the show if I remember right. You can see him watching people's lips to see when he needs to do his line throughout the first season (after which point they figure out blocking and closeups better; everybody has more closeups from that point on)

Yeah. The lip reading and stuff is absolutely true. Biggs did fantastic work in every scene he's in.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


Maelstache posted:

I think I also read that Jurasik did Londo's hair the way it was as a joke, but then everyone just went along with it because they thought it was what he really wanted.

I remember something like this, too. I want to say that his hair was supposed to be short because only Centauri of status were supposed to have such outrageous hair (and Londo didn't have that status) or it was inverted.

Either way, Londo ended up with maybe the biggest hair of all the Centauri. No other Centauri - not Lord Refa, not any of the Emperors - come close.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


Found some comments around the web. Yes, Jurasik did the hair that way as a joke and people just went with it. So, the whole Centaur hair = status thing apparently resulted from that. (minor spoilers, not plot or story related) It is also why one Emperor is bald and the other has short hair as a fashion statement, because JMS apparently got tired of it and/or their hair would have to be like a peacock given Londo's style

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


Timby posted:

That's what Straczynski claims but I'm not entirely sure that tracks. In any event, much of what he says needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

I don't know, I can buy it. Imagine ending S4 with that, then beginning S5 with the Sheridan hallucinating talking to Franklin who turns out to be the interrogator. That would have been a pretty cool season opener.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


coyo7e posted:

http://b5books.com/2016/06/28/hbos-...lon-5-costumes/

as an aside: anybody ever get one of those coffee table books that're sold out?

I've got one. It's really cool. Great photos, great info about the props and sets.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


One of the things I do adore about B5 is how heavily they stuck to the idea that, in two hundred years, no one will have any idea what fashion (see above) or humor (Zooty! Zoot zoot!) or religion (Garibaldi's Pope comment in season 4) will look like.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


Paradoxish posted:

Last time I watched B5, it occurred to me that this episode is really the first point where it's obvious that something isn't quite right with Earth. Earth Alliance is basically set up like some kind of future, global Spacemerica, but "By Any Means Necessary" just casually drops the idea that EarthGov is willing to run around breaking labor disputes with the military. It's a nice bit of world building and foreshadowing.

Yeah. It's kind of a shame how little EarthGov is really talked about. They're kind of sinister in some ways. If you get into the Psi Corps Trilogy novels, one of which sort of covers the rise of the Earth Alliance alongside the Psi Corps, it's basically stated that they flat out invaded and annexed certain nations who weren't willing to join the Alliance.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


I think it's obvious that S4's arc would have been lengthened out as would the Earth stuff to do more than 3 episodes with. So much stuff was crammed into S4.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


Ah, yes, Delenn's hair. It bothered for a while, too, because that crest is basically an extension of a Minbari's skull and there'd be no way for her hair to do what it does.

However, I think it was the coffee table book that pointed out that it was supposed to separate from the back of her skull during her time in the chrysalis, basically, so there'd be a gap there.

I think for a lot of Season 2, though, she wears her hair over one side of her head.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


Sheridan's supposed to be a jingoistic All-American military person, yeah.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


Grand Fromage posted:

The Vorlons are really sinister if you are paying attention and not distracted by Real Kosh being cool. They did a good job with that and that there was nothing you could do with them. Vorlons killed somebody and you're pissed off. Vorlons don't give a gently caress and what are you going to do about it? That's what I thought.

e X posted:

Yeah, i think there is a line about how Lyta is the first person ever who actually went to Vorlon space and came out of it alive. Excluding the Minbari, you really get the impression that the Vorlons don't really care all that much about the younger races, it's really just about proofing their point right as well.

The Vorlons don't even seem to care about the Minbari. It's like the Minbari look up to them like space gods and the Vorlons are like 'Eh, whatever'.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


What's the spoiler policy? Talking about the Vorlons would necessitate some big reveals. I'm thinking about throwing it in spoiler text because we've got some first timers going through, don't we?

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


Data Graham posted:

Hahaha yeah I don't know if Jack quite works for me. Couldn't they have done without that on-the-nose epilogue? Whole thing felt unnecessary and detracted from the impact and mystery of the rest of the episode, and it's not like it was even important to explain the reference they were making.

It's a quirky classic sci-fi thing, really, but also lays seeds for the fact that the Vorlons aren't on the level. Deathwalker illustrates their approach towards politics (gently caress you, that's why) but Inquisitor illustrates that they care more about the end result than petty things like morals or justice.

Also, keep an eye out for that actor - Wayne Alexander - he shows up a lot.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


mojo1701a posted:

As I rewatched the show a number of months ago, it blew my mind when I realized that he played Neroon and Welles, the guy from Nightwatch (while giving me an odd Paul Ryan vibe).

He always made me think of a poor man's Colin Firth.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


Paradoxish posted:

I'm not sure if I'd really agree with seeing Garibaldi as a mouthpiece for the writers here. He's pretty consistently written with a bit of a hard nosed conservative lean, so I'd say this is more just Garibaldi being Garibaldi. At most he's just being used as a convenient way to offer an opposing viewpoint.

JMS has made it clear in the past that a lot of what Garibaldi says was taken from Doyle's beliefs and that he and Doyle disagreed on almost everything. In particular, the electric bleachers from the Gethsemane episodes has been directly confirmed as a quote from Doyle that JMS wrote in.

I really like the dilemma presented in the episode. I don't know if I'd think death of personality is justice, even if I can think through why it should be - there's still some part of me that sees the flesh as the person.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


Data Graham posted:

It definitely leaves it open for further discussion by the audience, rather than the didactic Trek style of bringing up a moral point just to take a stand on it. And different people in the main cast have different opinions, which is also refreshing.

I'm also pretty sure the cast have opinions which change in the same episode. Sheridan seems fine with it as a form of justice, but the glare he gives the murderer at the end shows that it's a bit more than just clinging to an ideal - it's harder when you're invested in some fashion.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


nerdman42 posted:

Its kind of weird how Londo was a mustache twirling villain for so long when his motivation is pretty drat reasonable. Sheridan even yells at him for being angry about having that Centauri emperor on board. How dare he be offended by the guy who allowed massive death and pain for his people?

The start of the Centauri/Narn war seems to have shifted the sympathy back to Londo though, so I can't complain

I'm pretty sure you meant G'Kar.

But not one hundred percent sure.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


Data Graham posted:

That directorial flourish at the end of "No Hiding Place", with Refa running for his life in slow-mo while the baptist choir sings gospel in counterpoint, wow nice.

It was pretty rough by today's standards (the music was a pretty poor arrangement), but I feel like I just watched the seed being planted that would later grow into a hundred "cinematic" scenes in TV dramas from BSG to Breaking Bad.

One of the best parts of B5.

I think the bit where the Londo hologram walks through or waves an arm through Refa was improvised by the actors.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


MrL_JaKiri posted:

Oh wow it's uh not exactly what you'd expect, thanks DG

Yeah, I have to know this, too. Pass it this way, if you don't mind!

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


Okay.

I agree with MrL_JaKiri.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


adhuin posted:

Is it Crusader bad? Ranger-movie bad? or just boring?

It's pretty bad. turn left has the right idea.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


Data Graham posted:

Something I was wondering—Garibaldi at one point mentions that Sheridan has had some "physiological changes" since getting back from the apostrophe planet. What changes? What am I missing?

Also, if he has spent the entirety of S4 under mind control that's going to be kind of a letdown, but I don't see what else it could be at this point.

There's a bit from the episode where they knock off Kosh's replacement where Sheridan says:

quote:

I had Franklin do a complete medscan. He found things in my neurosystem. Some kind of biochemical energy repairing and sustaining me.

I assume it's a reference to that.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


e X posted:

Despite the Telepath plot being pretty rough, everything that deals with the aftermath of the Earth Civil War and the Centauri is absolutely fantastic and arguably better than the Shadow War. It is so rare that a story actually has its heroes deal with the political fallout of their actions and the way Babylon 5 handles it is nothing short of amazing.

One of my favorite Sheridan moments is from Season 5. It's his completely ballistic "YOU WANT A WAR?! WELL, YOU'VE GOT A WAR!!" speech.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


Batham posted:

Yeah, and that's why I think Babylon 5 has one of the strongest endings out there. At the end, you feel as if an important part in history comes to a close and another one is about to begin.

Most other shows simply end their story, plotlines wrapped up. They don't offer a feeling of what comes after, not until the show gets picked up 20 years later for a new run.

Sleeping in Light might be the best finale in TV history.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


Data Graham posted:

What's everybody's opinion on "A View from the Gallery"?

I knew I remembered everyone talking a lot about it at the time, either because they really liked it or really hated it; I can't remember. Personally I thought it started out almost unbearable, with its tongue so far up its cheek it could taste its eyeballs, all "What does this thing do? I dunno, just wave it around, I guess we really are just extras who don't actually have lines beyond rutabaga watermelon rutabaga, huh". And having the guys just happen to cross paths with all the cast regulars during their rounds struck me as pretty unbelievable, as did the stumbly writing of their repartee. But it unexpectedly got a lot better for me once they met the telepaths and Bo did his cockpit-projection thing, which elevated it to another kind of stratum.

Corny but felt like an episode that B5 was entitled too at that point.

The stuff I think is more odd about it is the alien race who shows up, attacks B5 and boards it with lots of soldiers, but are never mentioned again and, I don't think, even given a name.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


Grand Fromage posted:

I don't remember the name of the episode but the one with Morden going around asking everyone what they want might be a good S2 choice.

That's S1.

A lot of the S2 episodes I think about recommending have a lot of answers. Points of Departure, In the Shadow of, The Long Twilight Struggle, Fall of Night (which was the first episode I saw)...

I think I'd recommend The Coming Of Shadows. It won a Hugo, after all.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


Technomages are one of the worst parts of B5, IMO. They're fine in the episode they're in but they became boring in every other appearance and I think the EU stuff said they were experimental weapons made by the Shadows? Yeah, that sucks.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


The other thing about the Technomages is how it sort of lessens the manipulations of the Vorlons.

The Vorlons and the Shadows have a truce of sorts and an idea: don't meddle with the younger races in the war. Well, the Vorlons started making telepaths and violating that agreement (and, could be argued, the genetics of entire species) which is one of the few things the Shadows were able to have a moral high ground on. It's one of my favorite parts from the final episode of Season 3.

But it turns out that Shadows were basically doing the same things to make their own weapons.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


Dirty posted:

Gideon's hover-bike chase and the Homunculous were particular low points, but I think they'd have looked bad in any series around that time period - they were both overambitious. I get that the homunculous wasn't supposed to be photoreal, but I assume was also supposed to not look laughable.

This was from the Firefly film, though, 6 years later. But yeah, Firefly CG was mostly much better than B5s. I partly place the blame more on budget and time, (and the mid-B5change in FX houses) though. Some early B5 space battles look much better than the later stuff.

One of the peculiar things that stands out to me in B5 CGI is the Omega-class warship. In Season 3, they have this bright red docking bay - like B5 itself has. But in Season 2, 4 and 5, they don't. I always wonder about that.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


turn left hillary!! noo posted:

We just finished season 3. I've seen the Corbomite Maneuver, the Picard Maneuver, and the Adama Maneuver.

None of them can hold a candle to the Sheridan Maneuver.

Sends 'em straight to Hell or your money back, guaranteed!

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


turn left hillary!! noo posted:

I can't remember if it was B5, maybe In The Beginning, or if I'm conflating it with like the Clone Wars or something, but I seem to recall the Minbari shooting down escape pods too.

I don't think anything like that is directly stated. However, the Minbari were absolutely waging a war of total extermination, so, shooting down lifepods was probably matter of course.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


MonsieurChoc posted:

You know, as much as they can be assholes, I still like the Vorlons. I blame Koch.

Kosh 1 owns.

Kosh 2 also owns, but to a much lesser extent.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


Dirty posted:

I remember reading, although I don't think this is mentioned in the series itself, that the station was unusually well-armed because of the fates of the previous 4. Still, it's kind of like the UN building sinking an aircraft carrier. But then maybe it could if it was in the middle of nowhere without much backup.

Grand Fromage posted:

Was it ever explicit in the novels or anything what happened to Babylons 1-3 or are we supposed to assume the Shadows blew all of them up like they were going to do to Babylon 4?

Neddy Seagoon posted:

Pretty much exactly that. All we know is they got bombed during construction, and given what you see when they deal with Babylon 4 it's not hard to wager who was behind the other attacks.

Sort of.

Babylons 1, 2 and 3 were all destroyed during construction. 2 and 3 were definitely sabotaged but I think Babylon 1 might have been an accident during construction (In The Beginning novel, I think). Babylon 4 was the biggest, most expensive station, which is why the Minbari wanted it during their war. (it could also move, which was due to Dirty's point, that the EA didn't want the project to be hosed up again). B5 was actually made using leftover parts and salvage from its predecessors, was the smallest of the five, and required substantial assistance from the Minbari and Centauri governments. I don't think B5's defence grid is ever stated as being particularly special either way, at least not until it is upgraded in Season 2.

edit: Actually, Grail points out that B1 was sabotaged during construction as well, and it's implied that the culprits of that particular act were never found.

Milkfred E. Moore fucked around with this message at Feb 27, 2017 around 11:46

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


Polaron posted:

While this is certainly true, I always assumed the only reason the Shadows went after B4 was because they recognized it from the last war.

I don't think the Shadows were awake and operating at that point in the timeline. I always thought the losses of B1-3 were the result of, like, Homeguard-types in the EA.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


Neddy Seagoon posted:

I never thought about it before it was brought up just now really, but think about it it; the last thing the Shadows would want is the younger racers unifying, or even co-operating to any extensive degree, which is exactly what a place like a Babylon station would almost certainly achieve.


They've always had agents in play, even if they themselves weren't active. Why do you think Humans suddenly gained Telepaths a mere couple of centuries prior to the show?

That was the Vorlons. The Shadows were asleep/dormant until the Icarus woke them up. The relationship between the Vorlons, Shadows and Psi Corp is illustrated further in that particular trilogy.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


And the thing is, if you can find and check out JMS' original-original idea, which the series was seemingly on track for as far as the end of Season 1, what we got seems to be so much better than what was intended.

Like, Babylon Prime? Come on...

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


gourdcaptain posted:

Yeah, a common repeated remark a friend and I had when I was watching B5 for the first time was Mira Furlan deserved career hazard pay for some of the dialogue she has, especially once she starts being pushed into the box of "Sheridan's love interest".

It always struck me as a bit awkward the main human character could only fall in love with an alien who was altered to be half human. Sends a bit of a weird message.

In general, space opera Sci-fi is always really bad about those sorts of messages. It's something I pointed out in the Geeky Star Wars Questions megathread when I was re-reading the X-Wing series, one of the few series of SW books to even point out relationships across species boundaries are probably a common thing.

There's this arc between a human X-Wing pilot (Gavin) and his bothan squadron wing-woman (Asyr). They hook up and become sort of 'the couple' of the series and a big deal is made about how something like that even works, what it means for their cultures, how people react, and so on. Then the author swerves at the last moment in the last book in the series, has Asyr mock-suicide herself and never tells Gavin that she survived for a really spurious reason. Gavin then goes on to marry a nice human woman who never shows up in any other material and Asyr, despite going on to start an underground revolution, never appears again. If you read inter-species as an analog to contemporary inter-racial politics, which is all it really amounts to in Star Wars, then the message there is 'bigots win' and 'you might have fun with a girl from another race, but grow up and marry a good, white woman'.

It's messed up!

For all the talk big sci-fi franchises do about how humans and aliens are exactly the same (because they're just stand-ins for contemporary ethnicities and associated issues, really) they have this weird thing which comes across as an aversion to race-mixing. "Yes, we're all the same and worthy of respect, but there's no way in Hell that my son is going to date one of those boneheads!" It feels like a very academic, clinical approach to equality, and it's the sort of thing seemingly espoused by every big sci-fi franchise (Star Trek, Mass Effect, for example).

B5, at least, often pointed out how a lot of the aliens species were a lot weirder than they appeared (Centauri had tentacles, for example). You've got Sheridan/Delenn, of course, but I think G'Kar is the only other character who crosses that line. Of course, B5 was made in a different time and probably couldn't have gotten away with much more than it already did.

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Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The truth is-


It makes you wonder if they would have gotten away with the original idea of 'Delenn goes from male Minbari to female Human' and how that would have been received in the 90s.

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