Babylon 5


Peace, Love and Unity
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I didn’t actually start watching it until season 3, just at the time when the entire story line was at its peak, which was certainly serendipitous.

I had a friend who had most of season 2 and the early season 3 episodes I'd missed on video, so I got to see those. Never really saw anything of season 1, though.

Point is, when Bab 5 was at its peak, we had some of the best sci-fi on TV. Even better than that, we had some serious and interesting treatments of spiritual and metaphysical issues. This was the era of season 3.

The episodes covering the subject of the mysterious Babylon 4 station was a superb treatment of time.

Unfortunately, everything started to go downhill after season 3 – and season 5 itself was just one big cheap fast let down. Whatever creativity J. Michael Straczynski experienced when writing earlier episodes, he seemed to completely lose it as quickly as he developed it.

Anyway, that's my appraisal of it - I simply can’t wait for the season 3 episodes to make it to DVD. :)

Okay, after that waffle, what were everyone's favourite bits? :)

I really love that serie. Actually, Starczinsky didn't know up to the end of Season 4 if there would be or not a Season 5, so he made sure that the main plot was closed by the end of Season 4. The very last episode of Season 5 was actually originally the last episode of Season 4, but was replaced as Season 4 closing when they knew there would be a Season 5. IMHO, Season 5 is not really part of the whole cycle. Season 1, still IMHO, is more a teaser for the following seasons.

I'm currently doing an interresting exercise, which is writing an alternate Season 7 of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" using a big number of B5 quotes (usually Vorlon quotes) in a completely different story. The result is, in my completely biaised opinion, quite good.

I'm way out of it, scifi-wise and such. I like the old One Step Beyond, The Next Step Beyond, The Omega Factor, and some of the old Dr. Who series as well as the one series I now own on DVD (gotta get a tv and a DVD player or a computer with a DVD player installed): The Storyteller.

I just can't suspend my disbelief enough to get into the more recent scifi and fantasy stuff to get interested. Heck, it started a long-running gag for one of my RPG characters: "I prefer books." :lol: :D

Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine
Heh, Doctor Who was a great British classic. :)

I wonder which people thought handled time better - Dr Who or Babylon 5, though?
In this science fiction author's humble opinion, B-5 was the best SF ever to appear on film or TV. Other American TV shows had used the concept of an on-going story arc (soap operas, if nothing else!) but its use in an epic SF story here was masterful and unknown in SF programs. For each individual episode to have an interesting plot and a satisfying resolution, and yet maintain the suspense of the overall story arc, was magnificent. Some particular episodes--I'm thinking especially of the one viewed through the eyes of two maintenance workers--were sheer genius. The final season was pathetic, agreed, and due entirelyto the constraints imposed on Straczinsky, as described by Baud. I was particularly dissapointed in the somewhat lame resolution of the Shadow War at the end of the 4th season, where Sheridan ends the war between the Shadows and the Vorlons by giving them both a sharp scolding. Much of the FIRST season was weak as well. Things got much better when M.J.S. took on the Herculean task of writing every show. Overall, though, the plotting and the characterization makes Star Trek look like a Saturday morning cartoon series.

I had the opportunity to be on the set, actually. I was in LA for a weekend a few years back to work with one of the show's stars--Peter Jurasik (Londo)--on a book with shared credit (shameless plug: "Diplomatic Act," by W.H. Keith and Peter Jurasik) and Perter took my wife and me on a tour of the set. Got to sit in the fighter mock-up. The bridge was dressed for the Babylon 4 episode, and we got to meet . . . geeze, I forget his name, now. The actor who played the FIRST captain of B-5. Met him in make-up, where he was being fitted out for his brief appearance as Valen, the long-ago Mimbari hero. And in a totally unrelated job--working on an SF video game production in New Jersey, I got to work with the guy who played B-4's captain (again, can't remember his name.)

Excuse the name-dropping. I couldn't resist. Even when I can't remember the names I'm dropping!
Glad to see people don't think I was being overly critical about Bab 5. :)

What impressed myself most was the Babylon 4 tie-in - the fact that he wrote a thoroughly convincing exploration of the possibilities of time-travel as having specific and surprising limitations. It was always frustrating that the Star Trek writers could never do anything similar (ie, treat time as time), despite eluding to Bab 5 (there was a Voyager episode where they did so in a story arc involving time travel - and staring into a snowglobe, as like Delenn's famous repeated sequence).

Season 3 was a triumph - but 4 showed that he was writing himself into a situation he couldn't resolve.

There were some great conceptual threads throughout the show, though - not least, the Vorlons. The death of Kosh was truly an episode - a great climax and a sublime way of establishing future tension.

Glad you were able to meet some of them - Peter Jurassik's character - Londo - had a great character double act with G'Kar. It was a sincere shame we never saw how they truly reached their final confrontation, as visited once in one of those great future scene moments.

Anyway, someone warn myself when Babylon 5's Season Three will be out on DVD. :)