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Season 5 - Was It Needed?

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  • #16
    Actions and their consequences: on the characters and for the story. That has always been the basics of a good story i.e. B5. How could we have lived without them? See how many suggestions there were for The Lost Tales:.. a lot of threads we want answered, we are curious about. So to suggest Season 5 was superfluous... Besides, there are some stunners I would not have missed for the world in there.

    Unfinished stories are very unsatifying, remember Crusade. We're still mourning the untimely demise of a story that barely started and we're still wondering what could have been... Give me a well rounded story any time: start, middle AND finish.
    Understanding is a three-edged sword: your side, their side and the truth.
    John Sheridan

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    • #17
      Originally posted by B5_Obsessed View Post
      I'm halfway through Season 4 and I'm pondering that question myself. In my opinion, even the oft-touted better episodes from the second half of Season 5 still pale in comparison to those of the previous seasons, both in terms of plot and pacing. From Rising Star it was easy to project forward 20 years to Sleeping in Light, with Delenn's voiceover highlighting most of the major historical points in the timeline. At the time of its completion, it was fully expected that it would be the second to last episode since Season 5 was negotiated at the 11th and 3/4 hour.

      I'll probably sit my ass down in good faith with the intent to watch the entire season, only to find myself skipping entire disks in a mad rush to see Sleeping in Light
      I'd guess nothing from season 5 would make my top 10 episodes other than SiL but I'd say thats opartly because it doesnt have the same drive the first four seasons did.

      Actions and their consequences: on the characters and for the story. That has always been the basics of a good story i.e. B5. How could we have lived without them? See how many suggestions there were for The Lost Tales:.. a lot of threads we want answered, we are curious about. So to suggest Season 5 was superfluous... Besides, there are some stunners I would not have missed for the world in there.
      I'd say most of the consequences were delt with by the end of season 4 or in Sil, Londo's fate, the civil was caused by Delenn's breaking of the council, Sheridans limated lifespan, Ivanova/Marcus etc.

      Even before the the potential for canciliation cropped up wouldnt the Sheridan/Sinclair swap have had quite a big effect on season 5? If the plan was originally to finish with War Without End then Londo's story would have been much more of a buildup to the flash forward.
      Who are you?
      What do you want?
      What is the average inflight speed of an unladened swallow?

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      • #18
        Originally posted by moreorless View Post
        I'd say most of the consequences were delt with by the end of season 4 or in Sil, Londo's fate, the civil was caused by Delenn's breaking of the council, Sheridans limated lifespan, Ivanova/Marcus etc.
        That's not all that surprising given what happened.. What we see at least up to the final 4 episodes of season 5 are new actions being set up for potential future spinoffs for which we didn't or haven't yet seen all the consequences - mistakes made in the first year of the Alliance, the sparking of the telepath war, the Drakh infiltration of Centauri Prime, Lyta's deal with Garibaldi, Lennier's betrayal, Londo's 'gift' to David, leftover shadowtech in all the wrong hands. Hopefully some of these things might crop up in TLT if it goes to more installments.

        As to the character stories, I felt there was definitely a problem with Sheridan and Delenn, who spent most of that season in a holding pattern and didn't participate much in events, with Lochley, who simply didn't get enough screen time or personality at that stage to win over the audience, with Franklin, who was stuck in a rut, and with G'Kar, who had mostly finished undergoing his big revelation. Losing Ivanova was a big problem, as she would have had a major plotline in S5 (and Marcus disappeared without trace as a result). And Bester was the only surviving recurring villain (Morden, Refa and Neroon were all dead). On the other hand, Garibaldi, Lyta, Lennier, Londo and Vir all do very well out of season 5 in terms of development - which I think definitely makes it worth watching, as these are some of my favourite characters.
        Last edited by RMcD; 01-22-2007, 03:32 AM.

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        • #19
          I think S5 was necessary. It wasn't as effective as it could have been had real world events not intruded, but I still think it had some necessary elements. The end of Londo's arc was, for me, probably the most compelling. I am always a fan of finding out what happened after. Even though you can never find it all out, I look forward to the wind down. One of my complaints with Jackson's LOTR was the absence of the scouring of the Shire. I would have missed S5.
          "That was the law, as set down by Valen. Three castes: worker, religious, warrior."

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          • #20
            I know the topic is "Was Season 5 necessary"? Of Course! Anytime we spend time with these characters and universe is wonderful. Reference the excitment of B5:TLT - nobody is asking if it is necessary.

            The question I ask about season 5 - was it any good? Quality minutes spent with our charcters and stories are necessary, required, wonderful and worth paying for! My problem was that S5 was often not very good. I do not cast aspertions on all of it. Much of it was very good, most of those episodes have been named above. Of the 22 episodes 6-8 were teriffic, 6-8 were fine and 6-8 were weak. I recognize that I had been spoiled by the previous seasons and that the above ratio is a good one for many other shows, but this was B5 and I could not help and cannot help now being disappointed. I know all the *reasons* and *challenges*, but low quality shows are low quality shows and I skip over them and remain disappointed.

            Things like this (as quoted from the Luker's Guide for And All My Dreams Torn Asunder) make me crazy and make me avoid this episode even though there are some otherwise powerful scenes.
            ************************************************** *****
            "Why didn't the White Stars have a secondary contact other than Garibaldi? Garibaldi wouldn't have been in his office on alert 24 hours a day even if he weren't drinking; given the gravity of the situation, it's odd that the White Star captain didn't try to get in contact with someone else (Delenn or Lennier, for example, would presumably have been sufficiently trustworthy) to make sure the report was heard in time."
            ************************************************** *****
            B5 established *realism* - gravity, a believable military structure, not techno realignment of this or that to solve problems, religion and human nature persisting, actions with consequences etc. Clunkers like this stand out and season 5 has more than its' share.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Macbeth View Post
              The question I ask about season 5 - was it any good? Quality minutes spent with our charcters and stories are necessary, required, wonderful and worth paying for! My problem was that S5 was often not very good. I do not cast aspertions on all of it. Much of it was very good, most of those episodes have been named above. Of the 22 episodes 6-8 were teriffic, 6-8 were fine and 6-8 were weak. I recognize that I had been spoiled by the previous seasons and that the above ratio is a good one for many other shows, but this was B5 and I could not help and cannot help now being disappointed. I know all the *reasons* and *challenges*, but low quality shows are low quality shows and I skip over them and remain disappointed.
              Yeah that ratio sounds about right for me aswell. What season 5 did bring home to me was some of the ways JMS had kept the quality of the previous seasons so high..

              The way even seemingly stand alone stories were linked into the plot and character arcs giving upping the quality, something that wasnt as easy to do with those arcs disrupted.

              The amount the humour contributed to the show, G'Kar and Londo were as good as ever in that reguard but with no Ivanova or Marcus plus a more serious Garibali alot of that was lost IMHO.
              Who are you?
              What do you want?
              What is the average inflight speed of an unladened swallow?

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              • #22
                Of the 22 episodes 6-8 were teriffic, 6-8 were fine and 6-8 were weak.
                Rod Serling famously said that in series television, with the time pressure, the lack of money and the relentless pace, you're luck if a third of your episodes are OK, a third are really good and only a third are disappointing. That ratio applies across the entire run of most shows, and within each season of most. One of the things that makes B5 so extraordinary is that fewer than a dozen out of 110 episodes can really be called bad, and even those mostly have some redeeming elements in them in terms of the over-all arc. (Even "Infection" established the ideas of biotechnology, EarthForce's interest in ancient alien technology and a catastrophic war 1,000 years in the past.) Not suprsingly, most of the weak episodes came early, when the show was finding its feet, and at the end, when the the show had to effectively restart after closing out many threads early, and despite losing the actor/character who was supposed to anchor the first 1/3 of the seaon. (And losing her too close to the start of preproducion to adequately reshuffle the season to deal with the loss.)

                Season 5 only looks "bad" because we forget how much JMS had to build up from S1, and because S2, S3 and S4 were so incredible. We were spoiled.

                Regards,

                Joe
                Joseph DeMartino
                Sigh Corps
                Pat Tallman Division

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                • #23
                  I must admit. I actually liked "Infection". I think it was a solid, Trek-style moral message episode with a pretty good looking rubber suit guy played by Marshall Teague (Ta'lon). Upon first viewing, my expectations were not sky high and I was sufficiently entertained by the episode.

                  In many ways, Season 1 is barely recognizeable as the same show, which makes it fascinating to return to on repeat viewings. But what Season 1 lacked in finesse it made up in energy and freshness as opposed to Season 5, throughout which I felt a nagging sense of fatigue. When Crusade started, I was optimistic about a fresh start, but it seemed as if that sense of fatigue had carried over to the new show (an observation jms himself made a few years later).
                  Only a fool fights in a burning house.

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                  • #24
                    Only reason I don't like Infection is that the "moral message" seems so hastily tacked on. Takes most of the episode to work up to the killing machine bit and then "Oh, Commander, this is why this thing is evil!". Pleh. Only redeeming bit is the commander's speech, and that's kinda hokey talking a machine into killing itself.
                    Radhil Trebors
                    Persona Under Construction

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Radhil View Post
                      Only reason I don't like Infection is that the "moral message" seems so hastily tacked on. Takes most of the episode to work up to the killing machine bit and then "Oh, Commander, this is why this thing is evil!". Pleh. Only redeeming bit is the commander's speech, and that's kinda hokey talking a machine into killing itself.
                      That's what makes it Trek-style. Kirk was able to talk both Nomad and the M5 computer into killing themselves. And Sinclair was so over the top.
                      Only a fool fights in a burning house.

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                      • #26
                        I think it was a solid, Trek-style moral message episode
                        And that's my objection to it.

                        Far from being "hastily tacked on at the end", I think the heavy-handed moral message was telegraphed from the beginning of the episode. My criticism of "Infection" has always been that it is the only B5 episode the could have been shot for Trek (and I mean any of the Trek shows, interchangably) with only a few changes to character names and terminology. Compare another often-derided episode, written by a former Trek writer from a concept by JMS: "Believers". There is no way in Hell that ending would have been allowed on Trek. (And it neatly foreshadows "Confessions and Lamentations", when Franklin will face defeat on a far greater scale.)

                        Regards,

                        Joe
                        Joseph DeMartino
                        Sigh Corps
                        Pat Tallman Division

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                        • #27
                          I think there's plenty of negative things to say when it comes to talking about Infection, but it's one I can never bring myself to skip, just because...

                          a) I like that it introduces the fundamental B5 concept that "when you become obsessed with the enemy you become the enemy" so early into the series

                          b) I really enjoy Garibaldi's talk with Sinclair at the end of the episode. That alone kinda makes it worth it for me, even though it's way too Trek-esque and is essentially... the big guy in a rubber suit episode.

                          But back to the subject at hand, I still don't get why there's so much dislike of the Season 5 running around. It certainly doesn't have nearly as many WHAM episodes as Season 3 and 4, but... that's okay at that period in the story :P Being able to take time and see the effects of the things that have occured and where all the characters go is utterly fundamental to the story, and the tone for Season 5 was always how it was gonna be... the off-screen drama just meant we got off to a much slower start and got to have some one-shot episodes like Day of the Dead, A View from the Gallery, and The Corps is Mother, The Corps is Father, which are great episodes, and ones I'm really glad to have. Yes, it also meant the telepath story line was more compacted and in our face, and it certainly didn't work as well without Ivanova, but oh well. Ain't the first time in the series things didn't go exactly as perfectly planned and it certainly didn't make that era of the show unwatchable or terrible, or even at the very least, unnessecary.

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                          • #28
                            While you may have been able to guess a lot, I still absolutely love the Fall of Centauri Prime arc. And part of it probably is its inevitability that makes it so wonderfully tragic, so I can't really fault it for that. Sleeping in Light is great, and if you won't let me count that as S5 because it was shot as 422, then I get to count Deconstruction, which I really liked too. And I personally think SiL plays better with the 3 episodes leading up to it in S5, Wheel of Fire, Object in Motion, and Objects at Rest. There are little hooks that make them part of a larger ending arc of 4 episodes, and they emotionally lead into the greatness that is SiL nicely, IMO. I agree that the teep arc didn't really quite work, but towards the end it was still pretty solid. And most of the standalones interspersed in early S5 are pretty good, with The Long Night of Londo Molarri, and View from the Gallery, and Day of the Dead, and the Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father.

                            On a related note, one of the things I really liked about B5 initially is that it has a slightly odd act structure each episode, that has one extra act set after the climax of the story each episode in the earlier seasons. I really like denouements, characters pondering the consequences of what just happened, think about what to do next, and what it will mean for the future. Since that is exactly what a lot of S5 is, the fact that it comes after the climax is not what bothers me, and in fact I really like that they made that choice for the final season. Most of the problems in S5 for me are because of other things, but in general I really like the idea of denouements in general, and it is something that can really add to what makes a good story for me.

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                            • #29
                              I agree about the denouements. Somehow jms managed to pack two hours of story into a 40 plus minute episode and still have 10 minutes left for wrap up and even lay threads for upcoming episodes. Amazing.

                              I should note that Trek did alter their format in later years and began lengthening the denouement periods in their episodes, although I cannot state specifics (aside from "post B5" ), I only recall noticing it at the time.

                              Also, regarding Believers, Star Trek TOS did not always resolve its stories with tidy happy endings. Roddenberry didn't tell Ellison to re-write an ending of City of the Edge of Forever where Kirk saves Edith Keeler.

                              The solution to A Private Little War was for the Federation to supply arms to a developing society equal to those supplied by the Klingons, thus restoring the status quo through escalating war and bloodshed.

                              In Requiem for Methuselah, Kirk and Flint both plead for the love of the fledgeling sentient android Rayna. The decision is too much for her to handle, and she dies.

                              I'm sure there are more, even in the newer incarnations of Trek. But I wouldn't be absolutely sure that if Gerrold had turned the script for Believers in to Roddenberry, it would not have aired as is. Picard, pushing Roddenberry's beliefs, once referred to religion as ridiculous superstition, so Believers might have been right up his alley.
                              Only a fool fights in a burning house.

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                              • #30
                                I actually thought that the "happy ending" came more to prominace within Star Trek during the early years of The Next Generation.

                                While the character itself was well written/acted I personally felt that Lochey was a bit of a mistep. I wouldnt be supprized if JMS was under pressure to come up with another character the execs would consider to "have an appeal to the male demographic" but I'd love to have seen someone with a darker civil war past replace Ivanova.
                                Who are you?
                                What do you want?
                                What is the average inflight speed of an unladened swallow?

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