Happy 20th Birthday BABYLON 5


Television

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And so it began.

It's actually rather depressing the show is so old. I remember I started watching it in my penultimate year at secondary school and followed it avidly for the five years it was on. The very first time I ever went on the Internet was to look up info about the show. Great times.


Yes, those were good times. Happy birthday B-5! And a special thank you to J. Michael Straczinsky!

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

Gary and I have been watching this show recently. Its an old favorite of his and a new favorite of mine.

Paizo Employee PostMonster General

I love this show. In fact we are working our way through it right now watching an episode or two a night after the kid goes to bed. We're about midway through season 3 (aka "one of the best seasons of science fiction TV ever made ever anywhere evar"). Sara hadn't seen the show before so I found it useful to skip about half the episodes in season 1, mostly the "oh hey it's a series show set on a space station, what's the crazy space station happenings this week?" episodes.

Edit: On preview, hi baby!


IIRC, a lot of those episodes, while not particularly good themselves or having any real effect on the overall storyline, did do a lot of world and character development. Some of the specific stuff comes back later, but more importantly it gave them and you a chance to get a feel for the characters and the station before getting into all the bad craziness.

Not my favorite parts, by any means, but I think they served a purpose. Could have been done better, but it's hard to see how to avoid the "crazy space station happenings this week" without diving into the main plot early, which would have been a mistake.

Liberty's Edge

We are old...

Shadow Lodge

As a huge fan, I'm going to say something a bit blasphemous...I kind of wish the final season hadn't happened. They shoved everything that mattered onto the end of season 4, and that resulted in a season 5 that just kind of meandered aimlessly with a few plot threads that nobody really cared about. Like the telepath guy...could have done without him. I truly think the show old have been better off overall if season 5 had never happened.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

We lived for many years without cable TV, but the only way to see Babylon 5 was on TNT, at the time, and so I shelled out money for cable.

Darn that JMS, making spend all that money!

Delenn, Kosh, G'Kar, that show had some great aliens. Even Londo had his moments. "What do you want, you moon-faced assassin of joy!"

Shadow Lodge

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Even Londo? EVEN? Half of the moments of awesome or funny came from Londo.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

"And The Rock Cried Out No Hiding Place" remains one of my favorite television moments. Ever.

The interplay between Londo and G'kar on that. Brilliant.

Spoiler:
Kthulhu, please join me in the People Who Hate Byron club. He was my least favorite character and my least favorite story arc. He was obsequious, narcissistic, and absolutely blind to the damage he was doing his own cause. He also kept Lita from realizing just how bad Zach had it for her, and is directly responsible for everyone who cared about Lita ending up as her enemy. That guy, man. THAT. GUY.

Dark Archive

Kthulhu wrote:
Even Londo? EVEN? Half of the moments of awesome or funny came from Londo.

"But in purple! I am *stunning!*" Thud.

"And if you see an insect, about so high, kill it before it develops language skills!"

Yes, he was a riot, but he didn't feel as 'alien' as the others.

As for Byron, yeah. It didn't help that every other scene he was in was interminable, but his final appearance seemed to take for-freaking-ever and to be so broadcast obvious that all of the other characters ended up looking like morons for being surprised by it.

Any 'good guy' who can make you eagerly side with Bester is failing at his job...

Whispered B5 heresy; I like Talia better than Lyta.

Silver Crusade

14 people marked this as a favorite.

I absolutely love Babylon 5!

EDIT: This is my fifth attempt at posting this comment. The first three attempts were sabotaged, and the fourth mysteriously disappeared just before I hit 'Submit Post'....


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Set wrote:
Whispered B5 heresy; I like Talia better than Lyta.

*also whispered* Pain

Silver Crusade

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"I'd like to live just long enough to be there when they cut off your head and stick it on a pike as a warning to the next ten generations that some favors come with too high a price. I would look up at your lifeless eyes and wave like this." - Vir Cotto

spoiler:
And two seasons later, my Sicilian father pointed out to me the waive Vir gave to Mr. Morden's head was a reference to this scene, which he remembered and had been waiting for the payoff.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Kthulhu wrote:
As a huge fan, I'm going to say something a bit blasphemous...I kind of wish the final season hadn't happened. They shoved everything that mattered onto the end of season 4, and that resulted in a season 5 that just kind of meandered aimlessly with a few plot threads that nobody really cared about. Like the telepath guy...could have done without him. I truly think the show old have been better off overall if season 5 had never happened.

Well, If I remember things correctly, JMS didn't know if the network was going to renew the show for another season, so he did his best during Season 4 for the plot. Near the end, he got the impression that there wasn't going to be another season, so he tried to wrap things up.

At the last second, the network wanted to do another season, and JMS was hosed. Hence why we got what we got.

That's why Sleeping in Light was originally filmed near the end of Season 4, but since of what happened, it was held off from being aired until Season 5.

And if it's not painfully obvious by now, I'm also a huge fan ;-)

Of course, after 20 years, I'm surprised that I haven't "simply stopped" myself ;-)

Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

I absolutely love Babylon 5!

EDIT: This is my fifth attempt at posting this comment. The first three attempts were sabotaged, and the fourth mysteriously disappeared just before I hit 'Submit Post'....

LMAO! I think you just won the thread...


That's awesome! A friend just lent me the series and I just started watching it for the second time a few weeks ago. One of our regular players is preparing a Bab 5 campaign :)


Bab 5 saved science fiction on TV JMS taught people how to use a story arc... With out Bab 5 there would be no Buffy or Firefly

io9 Story on the evolution of Bab 5.

Shadow Lodge

Entilzha wrote:

Well, If I remember things correctly, JMS didn't know if the network was going to renew the show for another season, so he did his best during Season 4 for the plot. Near the end, he got the impression that there wasn't going to be another season, so he tried to wrap things up.

At the last second, the network wanted to do another season, and JMS was hosed. Hence why we got what we got.

Yes, that's exactly what happened. As it is, I think the series would have been stronger if he had simply declined to do a season 5.


Kthulhu wrote:
Entilzha wrote:

Well, If I remember things correctly, JMS didn't know if the network was going to renew the show for another season, so he did his best during Season 4 for the plot. Near the end, he got the impression that there wasn't going to be another season, so he tried to wrap things up.

At the last second, the network wanted to do another season, and JMS was hosed. Hence why we got what we got.

Yes, that's exactly what happened. As it is, I think the series would have been stronger if he had simply declined to do a season 5.

Perhaps, but better still if he'd known he had season 5 to work with all along.


As dissapointing as Season 5 was compared to 2-4, I still glad they made it.

For that matter, I wish Crusade had stayed longer. I just started to get invested in some of the characters but they only made what 12 epsiodes?

Dark Archive

Lyta Alexander wrote:
Set wrote:
Whispered B5 heresy; I like Talia better than Lyta.
*also whispered* Pain

And that reminds me of another favorite B5 line.

"First you will know fear, then you will know pain, and then you will die. Good day!"

It's interesting how Vir developed through the series, while Delen and G'Kar's aides kind of floundered.

Shadow Lodge

Set wrote:
Lyta Alexander wrote:
Set wrote:
Whispered B5 heresy; I like Talia better than Lyta.
*also whispered* Pain

And that reminds me of another favorite B5 line.

"First you will know fear, then you will know pain, and then you will die. Good day!"

It's interesting how Vir developed through the series, while Delen and G'Kar's aides kind of floundered.

Will Robinson, er, I mean Lenir, at least lasted thought the majority of the show. Na'Toth didn't even get written out, she just kinda vanished without a trace.

Dark Archive

Kthulhu wrote:
Will Robinson, er, I mean Lenir, at least lasted thought the majority of the show. Na'Toth didn't even get written out, she just kinda vanished without a trace.

I liked the first actress they had for Na'Toth, who seemed to have some fire to her (kind of like Worf's girlfriend Kehlayr, from the Next Generation Star Trek), but the second actress came off as a frightened mouse of a thing by comparison.

And then, yeah, she mysteriously vanished.

It was probably to cut down on extra characters, but it seemed a bit odd to have the military commander of B5 *also* serving as Earth's de facto ambassador to the other races in council. Probably for the best. If the ambassador and the commander of the station ended up disagreeing, it would have been yet another source of conflict, and the show hardly needed more conflict, with all the factions going on!


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Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Lord Refa: "Why should I do as you say?"
Londo: "Because I have asked you; because your sense of duty to our people should override any personal ambition; and because I have poisoned your drink."


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Boom. Boom boom boom. Boom boom. Boom! Have a nice day!

The Exchange

Netter Digital who did the CGI on Babylon 5 did the Hypernauts. Go watch the miniseries.


Funny enough, the roommate and I have recently been watching B5 (but not season 5), then I saw this thread. Halfway through season 1 until halfway through season 4 have been influencing my GMing for, well, coming up on 2 decades.


Ambassador Londo Mollari: But this - this, this, this is like being nibbled to death by... what are those Earth creatures called? Feathers, long bill, webbed feet... go 'quack'...
Ambassador Vir Cotto: Cats.
Ambassador Londo Mollari: Cats. Being nibbled to death by cats.


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Susan Ivanova: "I've been fighting imperialism my whole life, and now it turns out I'm the expanding Russian border."


The 8th Dwarf wrote:

Bab 5 saved science fiction on TV JMS taught people how to use a story arc... With out Bab 5 there would be no Buffy or Firefly

io9 Story on the evolution of Bab 5.

BABYLON 5 was an important step forwards in the evolution of how SF developed on screen, with the creation of pre-planned story arc and a trend towards serialisation. That trend was happening anyway, both long before B5 (the original BSG, DOCTOR WHO, THE PRISONER, UFO and BLAKE'S 7 all had ongoing story arcs) and at the same time (QUANTUM LEAP, ST:TNG and THE X-FILES all had recurring plot elements). B5 codified some of the stuff that was going on, but it wasn't earth-shatteringly revolutionary.

We certainly would have still gotten BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. In fact, BUFFY predates B5 (the origial BUFFY movie was released in 1992, a year before B5's pilot episode aired and two years before the first season proper aired) and its development process happened fairly independently of anything else that was going on at the time. Whedon was a fan of ongoing storylines and would likely have put that into place anyway. FIREFLY grew out of that and things like STAR WARS and BLAKE'S 7.

I enjoy B5 as much as the next person, but there has been a tendency to radically overstate it's impact on television or the genre. It remains an extremely obscure show by most standards.


Cats. Being nibbled to death by cats.

:-)


Kthulhu wrote:
Will Robinson, er, I mean Lenir, at least lasted thought the majority of the show. Na'Toth didn't even get written out, she just kinda vanished without a trace.

From what I remember the original Na'Toth actress developed an allergy to the makeup. The replacement was too different for JMS, so he dropped the story rather than have a chain of actors playing one part.

"Any sign of that unidentified object? Can you identify?"

"Negative Babylon Control, not on a bet."


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This remains, to this day, my favorite television show, ever. Not even Game of Thrones or Macross Frontier could push it from that perch.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Didn't Na'Toth succumb to an unfortunate airlock incident?

And following the assumption of a season per year, won't Sherridan be sleeping in light soon?

Reggie.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Feeling old right now.

My favorite Londo quote: If I was a retro booster, which button would I be?

Scarab Sages

Kthulhu wrote:
Even Londo? EVEN? Half of the moments of awesome or funny came from Londo.

One of my favorite Londo moments was when he did the Hokey Pokey.

Shadow Lodge

Werthead wrote:
The 8th Dwarf wrote:

Bab 5 saved science fiction on TV JMS taught people how to use a story arc... With out Bab 5 there would be no Buffy or Firefly

io9 Story on the evolution of Bab 5.

BABYLON 5 was an important step forwards in the evolution of how SF developed on screen, with the creation of pre-planned story arc and a trend towards serialisation. That trend was happening anyway, both long before B5 (the original BSG, DOCTOR WHO, THE PRISONER, UFO and BLAKE'S 7 all had ongoing story arcs) and at the same time (QUANTUM LEAP, ST:TNG and THE X-FILES all had recurring plot elements). B5 codified some of the stuff that was going on, but it wasn't earth-shatteringly revolutionary.

We certainly would have still gotten BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. In fact, BUFFY predates B5 (the origial BUFFY movie was released in 1992, a year before B5's pilot episode aired and two years before the first season proper aired) and its development process happened fairly independently of anything else that was going on at the time. Whedon was a fan of ongoing storylines and would likely have put that into place anyway. FIREFLY grew out of that and things like STAR WARS and BLAKE'S 7.

I enjoy B5 as much as the next person, but there has been a tendency to radically overstate it's impact on television or the genre. It remains an extremely obscure show by most standards.

It was, however, the first American show to really do a series-long story arc. Most of the other US shows you mentioned didn't really have that, to include Buffy (seasonal arcs, but largely unrelated to each other). In fact, I don't think US TV would really have another example until Lost.

Obscurity doesn't necessarily mean that something can't be massively influential. H. P. Lovecraft's popularity would be hard pressed to be described as anything but obscure. But because some of his fans also became writers themselves, his influence on the genre has vastly exceeded his own personal popularity.

While series-long arcs on American TV are still not exactly the norm for television, they are far FAR more common these days than they were in 1993, when Babylon 5 was essentially the only one in existence.

Scarab Sages

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I loved this show when it was on TV. It quickly became one of my favorite shows of all time. And I still do love it. I've got each season on DVD, and watch some of my favorite episodes every so often. Some of my favorite highlights:

Socks, fasten, zip!

Zathras have sad life, probably have sad death, but at least there is symmetry.

Delenn: This is Ambassador Delenn of the Minbari. Babylon 5 is under our protection. Withdraw or be destroyed!
Earth Force Officer: Negative! We have authority here. Do not force us to engage your ship.
Delenn: Why not? Only one human captain has ever survived battle with a Minbari Fleet. He is behind me. You are in front of me. If you value your lives, be somewhere else.

G'Kar!

Scarab Sages

Passing Through Gethsemane - one of my favorite episodes and one of the best guest stars ever!

Shadow Lodge

I actually disliked it whenever Sheridan and Ivanova were not available, and control of the station seemed to fall to Delenn. They had a perfectly acceptable second officer in Corwin.

Probably my biggest criticism of the show is that it fell victim to the same problem that most Star Trek shows have: the main characters have to be involved in EVERYTHING, even when someone else would be a more logical choice. Although it's admittedly not nearly as bad about this at Trek.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NsdQzoIXIE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2AXASQPFQo

These are probably my favorite scenes (about Londo specifically) across all five seasons. I started laughing before I even clicked the link.

Silver Crusade

RadiantSophia wrote:
Halfway through season 1 until halfway through season 4 have been influencing my GMing for, well, coming up on 2 decades.

This.

I have friends who have never heard of this show, even though they know DS9 and ST:TNG. They were just never exposed to it (the tv station showing it where I live kept bouncing the show around on the weekends until they finally settled on Sundays at 1 AM before TNT got a hold of it). From the pilot movie on, I made time for that show. My mother loved the Star Treks so she had no issue watching them, but she couldn't get into B5 like I did. We'd argue about my watching it (eventually leading me to sneak around behind her back just to see it, no small feat considering that the only TV was in her room).

"Comes the Inquisitor" is a favorite, as are "...And The Rock Cried Out No Hiding Place", "A Late Delivery From Avalon", and "Interludes and Examinations". But I think my all time favorite episode of B5 is "Believers", from season 1. How the main plot ended up being resolved flew in the face of most sci-fi shows I'd seen (at that time I think only "City on the Edge of Forever" from ST:TOS and "The Cold Equations" from The New Twilight Zone had that kind of resolution as far as American Sci-Fi was concerned).


I love B5...remember watching it in high school when it was on TV (yes...this brings to mind depressing realizations of age.

to join in on the importance of plot arcs that B5 established for TV, I still think it is unique among shows in that the 5 year arc was decided upon and they had time to actually show that story.

Yeah X-files had a plot arc, but like lost and Battlestar, I am pretty sure they had no idea how to end the show and just made crap up as they went.


Bad actors (with a few exceptions, of course), stupid stories, atrocious dialogue. But, by the gods, was that show addictive.

*dons asbestos suit*

Shadow Lodge

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Sorry, Fabius, the thread for Star Trek is over that way. points We're talking about Babylon 5 here.

Liberty's Edge

I loved the Centari and Londo in particular... that was a character with "character". Next favorite were G'kar then Gerabaldi and Ivonova. I like Sheridan too but just wasnt as interested in his character. Now, on the other hand, I disliked Delen with much vigor...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Okay, now I feel old.

I do remember that there was an episode of DS9 in which the Klingons invaded the station, and I thought it was a pretty good episode.

And then, two weeks later, B5 aired Severed Dreams, where the EDF invaded the station. It was a far more powerful episode, and one of the best episodes of any TV show, ever.


Kthulhu wrote:

I actually disliked it whenever Sheridan and Ivanova were not available, and control of the station seemed to fall to Delenn. They had a perfectly acceptable second officer in Corwin.

Probably my biggest criticism of the show is that it fell victim to the same problem that most Star Trek shows have: the main characters have to be involved in EVERYTHING, even when someone else would be a more logical choice. Although it's admittedly not nearly as bad about this at Trek.

I am sure I read somewhere that the Mimbari paid for half the station.

Shadow Lodge

Which in no way changes the command structure of Earthforce. I served at RAF Alconbury for three years. Pretty sure the entire thing was provided to us by the UK government. That doesn't mean that the Wing Commander left anyone from the UK in charge when he wasn't around. Hell, Delenn wasn't even a military member of her own race...she was a politician and a diplomat.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Excuse me, since I don't remember the particular episode. Was this during the time period where Babylon 5 had segregated from the Earth government? Because in this case the command structure really doesn't apply that much anymore. Sheridan even stopped wearing his uniform for a while, before getting issued his new one. From Delenn.

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