random geekery post

July 16, 2011

So.  Babylon 5.  Was that not the best-plotted ongoing TV series of all time or what?  I only mention this because it’s been maybe 7 or 8 years since the last time I watched it most of the way through, and I discovered this week that a bunch of episodes from the first couple of seasons are online.  You can probably guess what I’ve been doing with my time…  And, like I am every time I watch this show, I’m amazed at how early some of those dominoes get set up, and how beautifully they get knocked down.

Also, I still really love Vir.

12 Responses to “random geekery post”

  1. Beccy H Says:

    FX (a UK cable channel) keeps replaying Babylon 5 … I keep seeing things I missed the first, second, umm I don’t know how many times I watched it.

  2. Bob Says:

    Best plotting by far.I also liked how the actor’s roles changed so dramatically from their earlier ones: ‘I’m Larry- this is Daryle and my other brother Daryle’ morphing to a vicious gangster that even Garibaldi couldn’t stop, Lovable Ensign Checkov becoming scary mind-reading Besser, Bill Mummy, the scary kid from Twilight Zone now a Mimbari warrior who’s still pretty scary- and taller. And Vir, the innocent aide to Lando who would grow to become Emperor.
    Sheriden’s leap from an exploding capsule, Lando’s poker game, the Shadow wars…the Mimbari-Terran war- and now I’ve a link to this series?? …Ohhh, this is gonna be GREAT…

  3. mike b Says:

    I have the whole series on tape. It is still one of my favorite sci-fi shows.

  4. Jim Van Pelt Says:

    It must either grow on you or gotten a lot better. I bought season one, and I could only watch a couple of them. Nothing caught my interest. What did I miss?

  5. LupLun Says:

    Fuck yeah, dude! It was the best show EVAR when I was in high school, and it’s still got the best myth arc in the history of science fiction TV.

    Funny thing, though… I can’t really watch it today. I start, but then I realize that there’s 110 hours in it all, and… meh, I don’t have that kind of devotion. Even if you cut out the fifth season, it’s still a huge investment of time. Spread out over four years, that was fine, but these days… eh, I’ve got better things to do with my time.

    Still awesome, though. Learned a lot about storytelling from it. My habit of having my characters monologue revealingly to each other or the reader is probably a direct descendant.

  6. Mike H Says:

    Personally, I thought the first two seasons of Alias were better but then they broke the series with a “you’ve been missing for a year” season finale that it never recovered from.

  7. David Bowles Says:

    Babylon 5 was great because the story was planning out ahead of time and none of this by-the-seat-of-the-pants crap. I’m looking at you, Battlestar.

    To me, the quality of most stories are actually dependent upon the antagonist, not the protagonist. If the antagonist is boring or trite, the story usually fizzles. Referencing Battlestar again, the Cylons started off interesting, but it eventually became clear the writers really had to no plan for them despite the title sequence’s claims.

    Actually, I think a lot of Star Trek suffers from this as well now that I think about it. And I think a lot of the outrage over the Star Wars prequels was the fact that it took a badass like Vader and made him a whiny bitch like Hayden Christensen. I’m sure Carrie could rattle off far more stories with lame/boring/trite antagonists that drag the story down.

    The beauty of the Shadows is actually how much the Minbari were built up. The Minbari almost made Homo Sapiens extinct, but the Shadows are too much for even them on their own. In fact, to me, one of the most “oh shit” moments in TV was in one of the early battles how trivially how Shadow vessel could destroy a Minbari one.

    My .02.

  8. Anju Says:

    I loved that show when it was on. I really hope it holds up over time.

  9. DebbieW Says:

    LOVED that show!!! Still do & always will. Yup, we’re geeks & can prove it by the boxes of Babylon 5 “action” figurines we still have in our garage!!! Why we kept them but not the DVD’s I’ll never know, other than it is pretty daunting to consider sitting down & watching them all since it covers sooo many hours. Anyone looking for some not-so-active action figures? We might even have a Vir!!

  10. Nicholas Says:

    I really, really liked B5 when it was originally on – I came in about halfway through the second series and was intrigued by the ongoing story arc so I borrowed the tapes from various people and caught up. I remember being pretty blown away by the end of the second series, where a whole load of things have just shifted up a gear, all at the same time. (In fact, when I got my first job after graduating from university, they put a clause in my contract that said “You will not be required to work during Babylon 5”.)

    I rewatched the first three series recently and found that it still held up pretty well. There were occasional shaky episodes, and isolated bits that I felt didn’t quite work as well as they could have done, but apart from that I still enjoyed it all. The fourth series felt a bit rushed at the time, and the fifth seemed to have run out of steam a little (although nowhere near as much as the last few episodes of Twin Peaks) but that was obviously due to external network-related issues to do with the show’s renewal, and JMS did the best he could have done under the circumstances.

  11. Jakk Says:

    My all time favorite TV Series, ever. Loved Star Trek, but by the time we got to DS9, i was bored with the formula storytelling involved. B5 was a story, with beginning, middle and end, and despite not always being great, overall no other show has remotely touched the feel of this epic storytelling with a ending that was true to the fans of the show. And, a fact for most Dr Who Fans, Neil Gaiman was the only guest writer of the last season, which was written entirely by the series creator J. Michael Straczynski, who worked George R. R. Martin on the 80’s version of the Twilight Zone, who worked with Carrie on a few Wild Card books.

    Now we need to fit Kevin Bacon in there.

  12. Jakk Says:

    Oh? Carrie! I would loan you my B5 dvd’s if you would promise to mail them back to me, no rush take your time. Hope to see you at SDCC next week.


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