Babylon 5

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Nath
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Re: Babylon 5

Postby Nath » Sat Oct 04, 2008 9:56 am UTC

As of the end of season 4, I have mixed feelings about the show. The reasons for liking it are many and obvious; no point listing them out. Unfortunately, the list of complaints is almost as long:
- The acting. How did they get away with this? It's at least as bad as the old Star Trek. The guy who played Sheridan is probably the worst offender. Post-season-1 Delenn is pretty bad, too. It's like John Connor taught her how to smile. (If it were deliberate, this could have been used to the show's advantage. Delenn rarely looked sincere, even when she was supposed to.) On the other hand, some of the cast members were really good. It's weird.
- The scripts. The over-arching plot is great, but the actual writing in many of the episodes is pretty appalling. It reads like a first draft: it lacks subtlety; large sections of the plot are spelled out in dialogue; there are too many convenient coincidences.
- The moralizing. JMS is prone to Heinlein-style speechifying. I'm willing to forgive a certain amount of that if the ideas being presented are fresh and interesting, but a lot of Babylon 5's speeches consist of cereal-box wisdom and cliches. Even when nobody's actually giving a speech, many episodes have rather blunt messages.
- Too many homages. They're fine once in a while, but they need to be subtle and infrequent. They shouldn't draw attention away from the rest of the show.

Spoiler:
- The anticlimax of the Shadow war. Seriously: after several seasons of build-up, they just talked it out over a few minutes, like an episode of Star Trek?
- Many of the characters stagnated. In one of the early commentaries, JMS had claimed that nobody on Babylon 5 was who they appeared to be. Alas, apart from G'Kar (and Londo, for a while), everybody turned out to be exactly who they appeared, and stayed that way.

Wow, that looks harsh. On balance, I like the show; but there are far too many things that bug me. I think I'll take a break before going on to season 5.

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lorenith
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Re: Babylon 5

Postby lorenith » Sat Oct 04, 2008 7:49 pm UTC

I don't think there's as many homages as you think in B5, it seemed a lot of the time in the JMS Speaks thing, people think he's pointing at something, but really he isn't, it seemed to really annoy him that people assumed a lot of the stuff he ever did was really just a homage to something else. (A lot of times to stuff he may not have even heard of). I know I didn't personally notice any homages in it, but maybe I'm too young or dimwitted to notice them.

I didn't really expect any of the characters to change much except G'kar and Londo myself, I felt like they were the most important characters of the story because of how deeply twisted they were into it. Although I suppose the other character could have been involved into everything more closely.

I think the sudden ending of the shadow war isn't really JMS's fault, because at the time he wasn't sure if he would get another season (I think he was originally told they weren't doing a 5th), and he wanted to get certain things tied up by the end of season 4, then suddenly they came back and were all like SEASON FIVE GO! So the end of B5 is all wonked up, but not really the fault of JMS I don't think. Considering what he had to work with the whole time I think he was amazingly flexible.

Then again I didn't feel the acting was that bad compared to most other TV show's I've seen too, so maybe my taste is just bad, and I'm too forgiving of things when I think the idea is neat. :P

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Nath
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Re: Babylon 5

Postby Nath » Sat Oct 04, 2008 8:42 pm UTC

lorenith wrote:I don't think there's as many homages as you think in B5, it seemed a lot of the time in the JMS Speaks thing, people think he's pointing at something, but really he isn't, it seemed to really annoy him that people assumed a lot of the stuff he ever did was really just a homage to something else. (A lot of times to stuff he may not have even heard of). I know I didn't personally notice any homages in it, but maybe I'm too young or dimwitted to notice them.

From the few commentaries I've watched, there seem to be quite a few intentional homages as well. The bottom line is, intentional or not, there's a great deal in Babylon 5 that comes across as painfully unoriginal. Representative example: a certain scene in Gray 17 is Missing.

lorenith wrote:I think the sudden ending of the shadow war isn't really JMS's fault, because at the time he wasn't sure if he would get another season (I think he was originally told they weren't doing a 5th), and he wanted to get certain things tied up by the end of season 4, then suddenly they came back and were all like SEASON FIVE GO! So the end of B5 is all wonked up, but not really the fault of JMS I don't think. Considering what he had to work with the whole time I think he was amazingly flexible.

True, he did an admirable job getting things mostly wrapped up on schedule. But regardless of whom we should blame, the end result was that:
Spoiler:
The end of the Shadow war was an enormous anticlimax. I don't know if he had something bigger planned originally. If so, he should have trimmed a bit off the lead-up, or the follow-up, and spent an episode or two wrapping this thing up. The Shadow war is the backbone of the whole four year arc; it's incredible that they were willing to sort it out with a few minutes of exposition, and then move on almost like nothing had ever happened.

lorenith wrote:Then again I didn't feel the acting was that bad compared to most other TV show's I've seen too, so maybe my taste is just bad, and I'm too forgiving of things when I think the idea is neat. :P

Nah. Forgiving is good.

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Soupspoon
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Re: Babylon 5

Postby Soupspoon » Fri Jul 29, 2016 4:43 am UTC

Sorry to bring this thread back after eight years to say this, but goodbye Mister Garibaldi...

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Echo244
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Re: Babylon 5

Postby Echo244 » Fri Jul 29, 2016 9:39 am UTC

Awwww. I liked Garibaldi.
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