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  • New to B5

    Hi, guys
    I'm new to these boards. I'd like to find out more about B5.

    I know the entire series is one big arc but what are some of your fave episodes/storylines/seasons?

    Also, just how good are the telemovies?

    What about Crusade? The Legend of Rangers?

    Also, did any of you enjoy the comics?

    Where does B5 stand compared to other sci-fi shows like Star Trek (TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager, Enterprise), Battlestar Galactica, Stargate (SG-1, Atlantis), Farscape, etc?

    Thank you.

  • #2
    Hi, Ben, welcome!

    Have you watched any of the seasons at all yet?

    It's hard to separate out favorite stories for me because it's all so interwoven. Probably the whole Londo/G'Kar relationship is my favorite of all.

    How does it stack up? As groundbreaking as TOS, easily but not really comparable to any of them, IMO. It's my favorite of all, though the new Battlestar Galactica may pull up equal with it-only time will tell.

    Jan
    "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi, Jan. I've only watched a few episodes here and there so no, I don't know the whole picture. But I'm thinking of starting with the four movies. Is it a good idea? Otherwise, I'll check out In The Beginning and the prequel and then start with Season One, though I understand that most fans enjoyed S3 & S4 because JMS wrote the two seasons, right?

      Otherwise, what does someone who's new to B5 need to know before watching the series?

      Thanks,

      Comment


      • #4
        Best to start with The Gathering and Season 1 and so on I think (i.e. chronologically). Don't know exactly where I'd recommend watching The Beginning but I think I would leave it until at least the end of season 2 (once Bruce Boxleitner is firmly established as the captain and you have some idea of the overall arc already). The programme basically gets better the further into it you are but if you watch it chronologically I think you'll get the most satisfaction combined with the best understanding (although repeat viewing definitely helps).

        Sao
        "Not many fishes left in the sea. Not many fishes, just Londo and me."

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        • #5
          Originally posted by BabylonBen
          Hi, guys
          I'm new to these boards. I'd like to find out more about B5.

          I know the entire series is one big arc but what are some of your fave episodes/storylines/seasons?

          Also, just how good are the telemovies?

          What about Crusade? The Legend of Rangers?

          Also, did any of you enjoy the comics?

          Where does B5 stand compared to other sci-fi shows like Star Trek (TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager, Enterprise), Battlestar Galactica, Stargate (SG-1, Atlantis), Farscape, etc?

          Thank you.
          ... OH MY!!! I AM SEETHING HERE, WITH ENVY!! I'd give a month's salary to go back in time and see it all, for the first time.. (well, maybe 2 weeks' salary - I've got expenses).

          ... Prepare yourself, BabylonBen, for one of the greatest Sci-Fi series.. No, strike that. Prepare yourself for one of the greatest television series that has ever seen its way to the screen.

          ... Start at the beginning if you can, with the Pilot Movie, The Gathering, then to Season 1. To watch the episodes out of order can lead to a bit of, "What are they talking about?".... Because JMS (the creator and primary writer for B5) didn't hit you constantly on the head with 'useful reminders about past events', like you see in a lot of shows. (This is a good thing - a very good thing).

          ... The pilot, actually, might not leave you with a 'Wow! That was great!' impression.... But get into season 1, then especially get into 2 and then 3 ... And you will be saying, 'Wow! That was great!' more often than not.

          ... Keep in mind, B5 isn't so much about spaceships and alien invasions as it is about politics and about people. And it was a very low-budget show. You'll no doubt notice the occasional 'set discrepency', but that doesn't take anything away from the show at all, believe me.
          ... And the SFX were, at the time the series aired, cutting edge. It had never really been done before. I remember watching for the first time... all those years ago and thinking, "Those are COOL effects!" These days it's all the norm, but for its time...

          .. My personal favorite (seems a favorite of many), is the character of Ambassador G'Kar, and how he develops through the series . . . Nothing less than moving.

          ... That's my two cents. Enjoy!!

          .... BTW, The Lurkers' Guide to Babylon 5 is another great site - not a board site like this, just mountains of information on B5. Very cool.


          ...
          Last edited by The Puzzled Pak'Ma'Ra; 12-05-2005, 12:36 AM.
          "I think I'll pass on the tuna, thanks."

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          • #6
            Welcome, Babylon Ben, and I echo the other posters' sentiments, with some added comments.

            B5 was a unique thing in television, in that it was the brainchild of a writer who not only had a story to tell, but very clear ideas on how the parts needed to fit into the whole. He ended up writing the vast majority of the episodes because he discovered that he needed to do that to get the story in his head onto the screen.

            Other shows with story arcs have been written, but not one in which the end of the series, and the way that end would be reached, were known in advance. No one has ever been willing to sacrifice the built-up momentum of previous seasons, and probably no one will in the future. taht is one of the reasons why the show had such difficulties - no studios wanted to invest a lot in a property whose creator was going to suicide the show on a known date.

            No writer will ever get the same control over a show, either (IMO) because the cost JMS paid was just too high.

            the result is a fascinating and great show, but it is one that clearly had to feel its way into its standard. The show becomes infinately better when JMS takes over all the writing, but no one can be brilliant every day, and there are some clunkerish moments even late in the series.

            Nothing else compares to the show. BSG is interesting in a Stargate-style way, with every measure clearly taken to keep costs down across the board (thus everyone is a human, even the robots, and every set is 1990s US Navy surplus), but it is not really the kind of show B5 was.

            The most striking element of B5 is the forshadowing it can employ because the story is all known in advance. Once you have seen it, you will immediately want to watch it all again just so you can see the forshadowing from a completely new viewpoint.

            I also envy you, being able to see all of this from the beginning. The start IS kind of rocky, because it was something completely new and had to spend its money very carefully.

            But I guarantee you this: by season 3, the show will move you as no show has ever done before, and Sleeping in Light will have you bawling like a baby (there is still a scene in that final episode that I have never really seen - the first time I saw it, the screen went all blurry and in subsequent viewings I have to skip past it).

            It is a show that rewards the careful viewer and punishes the casual viewer more than any other, and that explains both its fan base and its detractors.
            I believe that when we leave a place, part of it goes with us and part of us remains. Go anywhere in the station, when it is quiet, and just listen. After a while, you will hear the echoes of all our conversations, every thought and word we've exchanged. Long after we are gone .. our voices will linger in these walls for as long as this place remains. But I will admit .. that the part of me that is going .. will very much miss the part of you that is staying.

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            • #7
              That was downright eloquent, Grumbler. Well said indeed.

              Jan
              "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

              Comment


              • #8
                As others have said, start with The Gathering and then watch the episodes. The other movies you'll want to leave for other times as they contain a lot of info on what will be happening later on in the show.

                Thirdspace takes place sometime in Season four. I can't remember exactly where it is in the chronology, but it's sometime after Epiphanies. The River of Souls is set some months after the second-to-last B5 episode. In the Beginning is set both before the show and well after the second-to-last episode. I think this would be a chronological ordering for the ones set later:

                Objects at Rest (Episode 5.21, second-to-last of the show)
                The River of Souls
                A Call to Arms (unless you know you're watching Crusade later and want to watch this right before Crusade)
                In the Beginning
                Sleeping in Light (Last B5 episode)

                Of course, you could always watch the movies at other times. My main recommendation is to not watch them before certain times where they would reveal stuff to come. The big one is to save In the Beginning at least till after "War Without End" in Season Three, and preferably till after "Atonement" in Season Four if you want to avoid all the early revelations it might bring.
                Schlock Mercenary: comic space opera

                Comment


                • #9
                  My favorite moments/episodes in the series are the ones you don't really expect, because they're not some big battle or thing getting blown up real good. Though, hell, I like those too. There is an episode (less spoilers said, the better) that just has one character, captured in a cell, and all it shows is the back and forth between him and his interrogator, each trying to get an advantage, prove a point, get under each other's skin. It's hard to watch, torture being involved, mental as anything, but damn if I don't love it.

                  And naturally there's another episode a little bit like that one, that I love even more.

                  To compare it to other series is hard, especially as ever series has its weak bits that we'd just as soon forget. (Farscape: Scratch'n'Sniff. Oy.) B5 included (Infection: *sigh*). It ranks up with Farscape, Buffy, and the new Battlestar Galactica in my book, my favorite sci-fi shows of all time. Stargate is likeable enough, but I don't go out of my way to watch it. The best comparison I can draw is to Farscape, which is bizarre, because Farscape took the book of plot and burned it, recycled it, burned it again, and then fed it to the dog. Nothing was consistent in Farscape, except the characters. And they had beautiful stories, compelling arcs, and evolving relationships, that moved me like none other. What Farscape did for its characters, B5 does for its plot and its universe and its characters, pretty much everything it could touch.

                  And I'm gonna second Jan and compliment grumbler, and I'm gonna requote him because I wish I'd said this:
                  Originally posted by grumbler
                  I also envy you, being able to see all of this from the beginning. The start IS kind of rocky, because it was something completely new and had to spend its money very carefully.

                  But I guarantee you this: by season 3, the show will move you as no show has ever done before, and Sleeping in Light will have you bawling like a baby (there is still a scene in that final episode that I have never really seen - the first time I saw it, the screen went all blurry and in subsequent viewings I have to skip past it).

                  It is a show that rewards the careful viewer and punishes the casual viewer more than any other, and that explains both its fan base and its detractors.
                  There ya go. We'll talk movies and comics later.
                  Radhil Trebors
                  Persona Under Construction

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You should definitely check The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5 ( www.midwinter.com/lurk ). Know that such site was originally with the domain name hyperion.com (and you'll know where a name in the series came from).

                    I mention that because it has a chronology of where the telemovies fit in the series timeline ("master list").
                    But I will say that watching the telemovies in that order, interrupting your watching of the series, would detract from your experience. I would actually hold them until the end... because I think that you'll be hungry for more B5. The only exception I'll make would be for "In the Beginning" that can be watched where its title suggests, even if it reveals some info, so better go with the recommendations of watching it later on. Maybe after season 2 or three.

                    Back to the Lurker's Guide: the guide pages for each episode have some good stuff, the JMS Speaks section in particular. The "analysis" and "unanswered questions" parts were superseded as the series aired (many questions were answered, many of the points of the analysis went wrong) but still hold some historical interest for those of us that were there when the series aired. The "notes" section still calls attention to some interesting tidbits.
                    When the series aired I would go to the page for the episode just aired (Saturdays for me) next Monday, it always made for a nice read, quite filled with comments since Tuesdays as the show aired on Mondays in many areas. Once I was so anxious to know what would happen next that I read a guide page before I saw the episode, it made it less exciting (there's a reason why knowing stuff in advance is called a spoiler!).
                    But since you can watch the series continuously and make the connections yourself it is not necessary to check the lurker's guide pages. But once you watch it all, and if you have some time to spare, do check them.
                    The other nice thing about the lurker's guide is that it lists the "wham" episodes (Reference:Episodes section), those that are essential to the arc.

                    Favorite stories? Too many, and most of those are "wham" episodes. A highlight for me is Messages from Earth / Point of No Return / Severed Dreams.
                    I won't spoil them for you. Just be warned that these three go back to back and change the direction of the show.

                    I never read the comics, the only ones usually considered worthy are the "In Valen's Name" series. After watching the series (at least hold off until "war without end"!) read the synopsis of those in the Lurker's Guide.

                    Where does B5 stand compared to other sci-fi shows like Star Trek (TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager, Enterprise), Battlestar Galactica, Stargate (SG-1, Atlantis), Farscape, etc?
                    It stands on its own, above some of them most will say, above all of them if you ask me.
                    Like ST:tos it was a trailblazer, making something for SF on TV that no one had done before. What it did has been said quite well by Grumbler. A novel for television, as JMS described it, and like a novel it has a slow start, a climax and a denouement, and an epilogue.

                    According to some (I've never read it myself) the makers of Farscape have recognized B5 as an inspiration.
                    The new BSG borrows (even if indirectly) the arc and character development from the trailblazing path that B5 made. Many mention that DS9 actually only started to be more of an arc show after B5 (others say that DS9 is a copycat made after the B5 idea was pitched to Paramount, and upon knowing that WB had picked up B5).

                    What B5 did was to show that such arcs were possible for a sci-fi series, that SF fans would appreciate and enjoy them (despite the misgivings of studio execs).

                    Crusade could have been great... do watch "A Call to Arms", do watch Crusade, but be warned that this baby was killed in the craddle, cancelled before it even aired, and somewhat messed up by studio executives interference. If you know this and can look beyond what's there to what could have followed you could be more forgiving of its flaws.

                    And then there are some novels, which is a topic on other threads, but do keep an eye out for them after watching the series.

                    I echo the feelings that you're lucky in being able to experience B5 for the first time.
                    And I hope that our gushing about it won't raise your expectations so high that the show disappoints you...
                    But I doubt that can happen.
                    Such... is the respect paid to science that the most absurd opinions may become current, provided they are expressed in language, the sound of which recalls some well-known scientific phrase
                    James Clerk Maxwell (1831-79)

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                    • #11
                      well im not good a writing so i am not gonna write a balad like evryone els therefor im just gonna say leave the movies to the side what the season 1 through to 5 then start on the movies thats what i did anyway and considering i rewhach b5 over and over and over agein seeing movies last didnt effect me loving the show. and as were the show compairs to them other sci-fi's then no were them other shows are made to make mony this one is made to tell a story and thats that
                      What Do You Want?

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