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Happy 28th Anniversary, B5!! 2-22-93

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  • Satai with Punsch
    replied
    I know the exact moment I realized I had to watch the show. It was ... ZOG!
    It had been on for some time right after TNG on Swedish TV in the late 90ies but I did not pay it much attention until the ZOG-moment. After that I soon realized that I was in the middle of a story. So I started to look for VHS-tapes like crazy. The first season turned out to be the hardest to find. So it was not until years after I had seen the last season I found the entire first season on VHS second hand. Watching that season last gave me a very different appreciation for JMS storytelling abilities

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  • Looney
    replied
    Well everyone knows my story. It has changed through the years, but the basics are the same - love, betrayal, revenge, lust, explosions, reflections, intrigue, and pizza....lots of pizza. ........

    I guess I checked too early yesterday and missed the start of this. So I started really watching at the start of Season Two. I remember seeing bits and pieces of Season One and maybe even some of THE GATHERING, but I didn't really get onboard until Season Two. I remember being a fan of Claudia Christian, which is why I saw bits of Season One. That was during my Freshman year of college, so I was pretty distracted with other things. By Season Two I was more settled and I heard Boxleitner was coming onboard, so I knew in advance I was going to try to watch Season Two as I was also a fan of his work - example See TRON (1982).

    Starting to watch Babylon 5 changed my life. I had enjoyed TNG, but I had very limited access to TV growing up. We got four channels through our antenna and none of them came in very well, so TV shows were more random and not something I really setup to follow because on any given night we might not have a good enough signal to watch them. Plus TV shows weren't too serialized, so you just watched what was on. TNG was a show I caught sporadically because of this. (I did finish a full series TNG viewing a couple of years ago.). But even TNG never really hooked me. I think this was due to the fact that the stories were loosely connected and the fact that the Federation seemed too Utopian to me, even during my teen years. LOL But then give me B5 at a critical time in my youth and what a revelation. It just seemed to have everything I felt was missing from TNG and other SciFi I had seen and it was all stuff I craved. It really hooked me into the world I wanted to be a part of - not just the B5 Universe, but one of SciFi Fandom.

    I had wanted to be a SciFi Fanboy, 😂 but nothing inspired the commitment it would take with the VERY limited resources available to me growing up. I had heard of conventions and all kinds of cool sounding things I wanted to be a part of, but there just wasn't access or a knowledge base for me to learn. Early on V (1983) really captured my imagination, but it was a short lived series and I was only 9. Later in the 80s, and then early 90s, we started getting things like ALIEN NATION (1989), but almost everything was short lived. And because we had sketchy antenna signals it was difficult to commit to a TV series - five episodes in you might have a night where that station doesn't tune in and you'd never be able to make up the missed episode or episodes if that signal didn't come back for weeks. These are more reasons why I only sporadically saw TNG.

    Babylon 5 inspired and it took a major commitment. I not only loved the show, but it was a quest. I've mentioned many times in the past that it was very difficult for me to see the show. It was on at different times on different days on different channels. Every time I wanted to see an episode I had to find out if it was on and where I could see it at what time, but by this time I had one major difference in my life - CABLE TELEVISION!!!!!! LOL With cable television, however, watching the show fell into my hands. I wasn't likely to miss an episode through any fault, but my own. If I put in the effort to find when and where it was on I should have been able to see every episode, unless the cable went out.

    Viewing the show wasn't the only quest. I also became obsessed with finding collectibles, which was no easy task where I was located. I usually had to travel and settle for what I could find at a Barnes and Noble. There weren't really even comic shops around. So magazines were mostly what I could track down and even that was a super rare occurrence. Unfortunately for me I did not have a lot of access to the internet at the time. I didn't find out about stuff like the Fan Club until VERY late in the game - I think 4 to 6 months before there was no more fan club. So my foray into collecting B5 stuff was very rough and didn't amount to much until later in the 90s when more became available and I lived in places with more availability .... and oh yeah that whole internet thing got better.

    Now that I have shared WAY more than anyone wanted to read you know that my introduction to Babylon 5 wasn't just about watching a TV show. It was about enabling a way of life.
    Last edited by Looney; 02-23-2021, 01:14 PM.

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  • Jan
    replied
    Originally posted by Woofdog2 View Post
    it is hard to describe to anyone who didn't experience it. I feel lucky that i was there, (almost) at the start of it.
    Welcome, Woofdog2! Sorry for the kerfuffel in getting you approved. Thanks for the extra effort. I agree with you on the feeling back then. I really enjoyed the excitement of discussing the episodes and seeing what JMS had to say almost as much as the story itself.


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  • Woofdog2
    replied
    I know I saw Infection original airing and maybe some others but didn't start watching regularly until s2 GROPOS iirc. the show changed tv science fiction, opened the door to farscape and other subsequent arc-heavy shows (not even mentioning DS9 here), but the most remarkable part, to me, was JMS's huge online presence in b5 forums.

    it is hard to describe to anyone who didn't experience it. I feel lucky that i was there, (almost) at the start of it.

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  • Jan
    replied
    Originally posted by LateArrival View Post
    Although I missed the first season, later Arc episodes always supplied necessary info to follow along, and the online presence was such that it was easy to jump in at any time and get up to speed.
    Good point! While sometimes it made for awkward dialog, I did appreciate that JMS provided enough info in each episode (at least up to season 4, I guess) to be able to follow along.

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  • Jan
    replied
    Originally posted by DougO View Post
    I
    It was definitely fun watching the show with 10-20 other people who were really into the show.
    Ah, I envy you that! Only time I ever saw any B5 with a group was when JMS showed a preview of the Lost Tales opening sequence at a New York con. On a big screen. Yum!!

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  • LateArrival
    replied
    Started the series proper by tuning in at the closing moments of S02E01 "Points of Departure". Was flipping channels and came across someone giving a speech to what turned out to be an empty room. Wondered who this person was, what the speech was about, and why the room was empty. Started setting Ye Olde VCR to tape shows as they aired, and followed the series through the movies and Crusade. Was amazed that the show's creator interacted online with fans in real time, which in the pre social media dial-up days was something I'd never heard of before. Gave the impression this was more than just a cookie cutter episode-of-the-week franchise.

    Although I missed the first season, later Arc episodes always supplied necessary info to follow along, and the online presence was such that it was easy to jump in at any time and get up to speed. Compared to (cough) other contemporary shows, after viewing a few episodes found there was an ongoing narrative present, and that events taking place in the series carried forward rather than being forgotten at the end of each episode. Started piling up the VHS tapes after noticing it was possible to watch a just-released episode then re-watch ones from previous seasons with a new understanding of the series as a whole.

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  • DougO
    replied
    I actually discovered B5 during season one through some friends at work.

    There was a guy who had a satellite dish and could record each week's episode as it was transmitted down to the local TV stations. Apparently that's how TV stations got copies of TV episode back then. I think people who knew what they were doing could tune in to those broadcasts. That person would then show the episode in a conference room at work the next evening. So, we got to see new episodes a day or two early.

    It was definitely fun watching the show with 10-20 other people who were really into the show.

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  • Ubik
    replied
    Happy to chip in! It HAS been too quiet round here!

    I was living in the Netherlands at the time, and I caught a few random episodes of Season 3. I had zero context, but I was drawn in by the big space battles and CGI. I think I watched until the end of S3, and only later, when at Uni in the UK did I get to experience the show from start to finish by watching on Channel 4. It fast because a favourite. I think it's been one of those shows I have loads of good memories attached to, and I go to it for comfort.

    There's still nothing quite like it, but I am glad to see The Expanse is doing a damn fine job of putting the space opera back into TV.

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  • Jan
    started a topic Happy 28th Anniversary, B5!! 2-22-93

    Happy 28th Anniversary, B5!! 2-22-93

    Alas, I *wasn't* there at the dawn of the B5 Age. I missed the pilot. One of the few every bootlegs of any sort I bought was an Asian dubbed VCR tape of it - which may well have forever colored my opinion of the pilot, I'm afraid.

    It's been too quiet around here! How about people tell or re-tell how they discovered the show and when?

    I read an interview with JMS where he mentioned the 'novel for TV' concept in TV Guide shortly before the premier of 'Midnight on the Firing Line'. At that point I'd gotten really disgusted with shows I'd started to like disappearing after a few episodes so I almost didn't even tune in. But the 'novel' idea intrigued me so I did. And thus, a TV show made a major difference in my life.

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