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Babylon 5


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So, anyone else into it/seen much of it?

I'm midway through season 2 at the moment.

I've never seen it before, as when it was originally on TV, I used to always be busy the night it was on, and missed so much of it that I just never watched it. Recently I went to my local DVD rental store and they had the whole series, so I've rented them out in sequence and watched them.

It has a multitude of problems. The characters, whilst colourful and interesting, are often lacking in believability. The actors at times can be atrocious. The music varies between great epic sweeping motions and midi filth, and the visual effects leave much to be desired. Lastly, it certainly lacks the professional veneer of, for example, Deep Space 9.

This may not seem like a glowing review so far, I admit.

However, the key thing about B5 is that every episode fits together to form a single complete story arc. Given, DS9 also does this to a small degree, but the overall story is nowhere near as interesting and multi-faceted as B5's. Despite it's multitude of flaws I can't get enough of it.

So, what do other forumites think? And remember, NO SPOILERS.

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Yes, I never watched it when it was originally on channel 4, except for a few episodes, and kind of thought the same as you.

However, watched the lot on Sky a few years later (Jesus, 10 years ago!!), and fell in love with it.

Just you wait.. ;)

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It's great and always has been. One or two of the actors are a bit dodgy as are some of the earlier special fx. Still best story arc in a sci-fi show ever and Season 3 is amazing. ;)

Oh and if and when a Spaced fan turns up in this thread and says that stupid obvious line - go fuck yourself!

And there is a thread somewhere on here.

Yes, I never watched it when it was originally on channel 4, except for a few episodes, and kind of thought the same as you.

However, watched the lot on Sky a few years later (Jesus, 10 years ago!!), and fell in love with it.

Just you wait.. ;)

No one ever listens to Zathras. ;)

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The story is pretty great, as are the effects (not so much the sets) and some of the actors, though Straczynski's writing is frequently pretty gash. He has plenty of moments though - for example, pretty much any time G'Kar says something.

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Shame about the way the network fucked the pacing up towards the end, but otherwise it was a joyous experience to watch. The way the story gradually unfolds if wonderful - small off-hand events in early episodes becoming major axis' of later story revelations.

G'Kar was a joy to watch, as was Londo's character arc. Alway thought Mr Morden was pretty neat too.

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I was just going to comment on how daft the dialog was, but it's been done for me!

Things I loved about B5:

Seasons 2, 3 and 4

Londo and G'Kar

Zathras

Bester

Garibaldi

The entire backstory

The less than perfect future

The main baddies of the series and their ships and how they did business and and and...

Things I hated about B5:

Series 1 and 5

Delenn and indeed her entire race! (zomg racist!)

The daft dialog (apart from the aformentioned Londo and G'Kar)

How bad the CGI has aged

So yeah, it was a pretty good series

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I've heard it described as the founder of modern-day story arcs. Not sure if its true, but it sounds about right to me. I don't remember any series before it being so epic in scope, planning out 5 years of plot which is referenced frequently right from the start. These days, it seems that every big-budget series does it. The novelty is certainly gone. TV was magical when this was first airing in its 4th season.

I was very excited by the show as the plot knitted together more tightly, the characters got more refined and fleshed-out. The Londo/G'Kar relationship is probably some of the best character development there is (on TV at least). It is a shame the scripts were written by a nursery class, but I guess the budget had to be trimmed somewhere (besides the sometimes-ropey production values). But at the end of the day B5 was never about that. It was about the spectacular story-arc, and this is what it should be remembered for.

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I was in a comic book shop a while ago, and one of the employees yelled to the owner that it was a big pile of shit. It was enough for the owner to sack him, so it must be pretty good in some people's eyes. The other guy didn't seem too bothered though.

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I absolutely loved it up to about half way through season four. Season three is pretty much perfect, and it's such a shame JMS was forced to cram two seasons worth of story into the fourth, only to get the fifth given back to him at the last moment.

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I was in a comic book shop a while ago, and one of the employees yelled to the owner that it was a big pile of shit. It was enough for the owner to sack him, so it must be pretty good in some people's eyes. The other guy didn't seem too bothered though.

Why has no one commentated on that :(

You have to love spaced.

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Got the Universe boxed set, watched it all the way through over about 6 months. Great stuff and honestly a completely coherent story arc (unlike certain shows Icould mention) although you can feel the damage that the threat of cancellation did to Season 4 these days.

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As well-conceived as the story is, it's poorly served by some attrocious acting and even worse scripts. In the final analysis, you'd be mad not to be left wanting a lot of the time, especially in this day and age where scripted television is arguably better than it's ever been.

That ain't to say I don't like it a lot though.

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I beared with it on C4 through the Sinclair series, but when Sherriden took over it became the best space opera on TV at the time. DS9 went from being self contained episodes to following B5's lead of overall story arc. Actually I think B5 was one of the first series to do this.

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Yep.

I believe it was also one of the first to do proper 3d modelling for its space-battle fx, too.

Which is probably why they haven't aged quite so well. Can't complain.

Apparently they had to totally redo the modelling for....dunno, I think for crusade, or the one-off movies they did. Apparently the studio misplaced a load of the effects archives and lost loads of ships. Pfft.

Still.

You have to wonder how much better it would've been had the networks not been such bitches.

Some things never change.

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Watching Babylon 5 makes you a better person. FACT.

Personally I don't think the CGI has aged too badly, it can get away with it in the space battles, it only falls apart completely when it does people.

The criticisms people have levelled are fair, some of the acting is a bit weak, and there a few truly awful episodes like TKO and Grey 17 is Missing. But what it does well it does SO well that any grievance can be forgiven, the fact I still enjoy watching it far more than say, the flashier and sexier BSG says a lot.

If you've just started watching, do stick with it, season one is a bit clunky but is important viewing as it sets up stuff that will be reflected on in future seasons, season 2-4 are superb though, 5 was let down by JMS being told 4 was the last season he would be allowed to make so the story arc got shoved forward a bit leaving 5 with half a season needing to be filled with other stuff. It's still worth watching though... the last episode... *sniffle* .

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Yep.

I believe it was also one of the first to do proper 3d modelling for its space-battle fx, too.

Which is probably why they haven't aged quite so well. Can't complain.

Apparently they had to totally redo the modelling for....dunno, I think for crusade, or the one-off movies they did. Apparently the studio misplaced a load of the effects archives and lost loads of ships. Pfft.

Their original plan for the series was to shoot the live action on film, but render the CGI to NTSC video tape. The live action would therefore be at the highest possible quality, and they could re-render the CGI to suit whatever new TV standards came along.

Between the VHS releases of the series and the arrival of DVD, the studio did indeed lose all of the CGI models. So we're stuck with lower quality on the CGI bits of the show itself, and they had to redo everything for the new movies. Woe!

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  • 1 year later...
Just noticed that FX are showing Babylon 5 again starting tomorrow - The Gathering pilot movie at 6pm on Monday 9th Nov, and then starting on series 1 proper each day at 7pm from Tuesday 10th.

The gathering is proper shite, hard to imagine it actually got made into a series based on that! Still B5 is one of my favorite shows of all time, although its probably left as a memory these days because revisiting it on a big screen TV might spoil my youthful amazement with the special effects of the 3/4th seasons.

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The gathering is proper shite, hard to imagine it actually got made into a series based on that! Still B5 is one of my favorite shows of all time, although its probably left as a memory these days because revisiting it on a big screen TV might spoil my youthful amazement with the special effects of the 3/4th seasons.

Agree that The Gathering isn't great, but IIRC (I've not watched B5 since Crusade ended) it does contain plotlines that tie in to the whole series arc in quite a big way. The whole first season is best watched retrospectively just so you can see the seeds of future events.

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