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How Would You Hook a Newbie?

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  • How Would You Hook a Newbie?

    I'm curious to know your answers to this.

    Let's say you had a friend who was only vaguely interested in sci-fi and wasn't terribly interested in Babylon 5. What one episode would you show them to get them hooked?

    I ask this because I'm trying to get my fiance' into it. She's not a sci-fi fan but I've had success in the past getting her addicted to good programming from "guy" genres (very succesful w/ Horatio Hornblower for example) and B5 is a show that can cross genre boundaries. I showed her "Midnight on the Firing Line" the other night and she was intruiged. But I almost showed her "Message from Earth" just to show how taut the show can be at its best.

    It's mainly a theoretical now -- Midnight intruiged her enough to watch some more. But I put it out there as discussion point: You have the DVD's, a captive audience and 45 minutes. What do you show them?

  • #2
    Well if you're sticking with season 1, I'd have to go with "believers" - the moral questions and family issues would, I feel, especially pull in the female non-scifi fans.

    Well, that's my response anyway.
    on the "friday - half day time" ID
    "There are no good wars. War is always the worst possible way to resolve differences. It degenerates and corrupts both sides to ever more sordid levels of existence, in their need to gain an advantage over the enemy. Those actively involved in combat are almost always damaged goods for the rest of their lives. If their bodies don't bear scars, their minds do, ofttimes both. Many have said it before, but it can't be said to enough, war is hell. "


    • #3
      Two possibilities, depending on their taste, resistance, etc. First choice for an episode would probably be 'By Any Means Necessary' because it highlights Sinclair's strength and you don't need much SF background to 'get' it. It also gives some great Londo/G'Kar moments and illustrates the scheming and machinations of the ambassadors. That episode would be my first choice for somebody who wants to see it but isn't sure and wants to check out the characters/stories.

      If I only had *one* chance with a major skeptic and it was important enough to me (and they'd allow 2 hours instead of 1, natch), I'd go with 'In the Beginning' and to heck with the spoilers because it's a great tutorial as well as showing off how smooth the show and effects would end up.

      Mostly I beguile my converts by letting them know that this is *smart* TV and that they're sharp enough to get it, so why not give it a try? Then I can prepare them to make a bit of an investment of time since I've paid them that compliment.

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


      • #4
        Every time I watch the episode where G'Kar tells Catherine Sakai about the wonders and mysteries of the universe in Season 1, I get hooked all over again. If the newbie enjoyed sci fi, they might get hooked on that as well.
        As usual, I can't remember the title
        Flying around the room under my own power.


        • #5
          I'm pretty sure that is in Signs and Portents...


          • #6
            Oddly enough, that was in 'Mind War'. I always have to go look at the Lurker's Guide, too, because what one really remembers is the story of Jason Ironheart.

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


            • #7
              Wow, I didn't even remember what the main story was about. Still, the G'Kar / Catherine part stands as a hook for me.
              Flying around the room under my own power.


              • #8
                I'd go with "Soul Mates" in season 2. It doesn't spoil the new viewer, as it's one of the last non-Arc episodes, it's just plain fun, and SO much is going on ... it should be enough to hook anybody.
                "Jan Schroeder is insane" - J. Michael Straczynski, March 2008

                The Station: A Babylon 5 Podcast


                • #9
                  Well, its a hard one but I would choose something not to arc related but something with G'kar would be nice as he always uplifts any episode.

                  You could also choose "And now for A Word" as this was made for new viewers in mind, I believe.

                  I would have to know the persons interests in sci-fi as thats where you could target their particular interest, remember we are the converted so something we like may not be apparent to a new viewer.

                  Maybe best just start in the beginning like we all had too.

                  "It is good to have friends, is it not, Mr. Garibaldi? Even if maybe .. only for a little while."
                  "Even if only for a little while."


                  • #10
                    My infallible hook is "Passing through Gethsemane." It is not very B5-ish in some regards (little to no action outside the station), but it has the best standalone story in the whole five years of the show, it has great dialogue without being too expository, it has the best guest star lineup, and it doesn't spoil any major stories. The Lyta sidestory makes it clear that there is something weird and mysterious happening with the Vorlons, and when she rips open the mind of the Centauri telepath you understand why people fear telepaths.

                    It is highly accessable, yet moving, intriguing, and satisfying to someone how knows nothing about the show. Give it a whirl.
                    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.


                    • #11
                      Grumbler got to mention "Passing" before me, because that is the one that I have used successfully with even non Sci-Fi watchers.

                      It is a deeply engaging story, and hooks everyone I have shown.

                      John Brittain
             for free blues downloads


                      • #12
                        If it's a man I would take "Convictions". It is easy to follow, quite intense and has enough to make one very curious about the Narn-Centauri question. Who can withstand G'Kar and Londo in this one?

                        A woman, definitely "Passing through Gethsemane."
                        Understanding is a three-edged sword: your side, their side and the truth.
                        John Sheridan


                        • #13
                          I agree with Jan about "In the Beginning". That was how I hooked my husband. Now, in some aspects, he is more a fan than I am. He has incorporated alot of B5 morality into the mission statement of his rock band.
                          Last edited by B5sweepsfan; 04-18-2006, 10:24 PM. Reason: corrected url
                          You can't win if you don't play!!


                          • #14
                            Mt technique in the past, when the whole collections were not available, was "any 5 in a row." Just give it any 5 consecutive episodes and they were hooked. I was 4 for 4. For people who enjoy good TV, five 42 minute episodes shouldn't be a big burden, and you get a mix of what B5 was about. In a sequence of 5 you'll usually have good action, character moments, arc information, etc. Today, I'd probably still ask for the commitment of 5 skipping the movie and the pilot and starting with season 1. I'd probably cheat and tell them to skip Infection, though.
                            "That was the law, as set down by Valen. Three castes: worker, religious, warrior."


                            • #15
                              I was hooked from the first episode, but my family has always been a bunch of sci-fi geeks. And I'm terrible with episode names, but I think the episode where they have the festival to show all the different alien religions is a good one to start with. It shows diversity along with a bit of humor.
                              "Sector 87 by 20 by 42. At least a dozen ships have reported seeing something rather godlike in the area, and since neither you nor I were there, it must be one of the first ones." -- Marcus to Ivanova (J. Michael Straczynski)