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  • Crusade: Good or Bad?

    All these talks of Arcs and stuff, it'd be nice (if the series of DVD's was going to continue) for a mini-arc to occur across the DVD's, obviously in conjunction with the existing B5 storyline and not to clusterfuck it all up, but I think that would sell DVD's as opposed to a whole bunch of Trek-esque standalone storys...

    I hope this DVD is good...I'm trying to wade through the episodes of Crusade I missed on it's inital run, and aside for the horriffic score to that stuff...it's really unwatchable rubbish....

  • #2
    Originally posted by Biggs View Post
    I'm trying to wade through the episodes of Crusade I missed on it's inital run, and aside for the horriffic score to that stuff...it's really unwatchable rubbish....
    You will find many people around here who will disagree strongly with that statement...

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Biggs View Post
      I'm trying to wade through the episodes of Crusade I missed on it's inital run, and aside for the horriffic score to that stuff...it's really unwatchable rubbish....
      Well, that statement doesn't make much sense. Usually, an aside (from)* is to make a distinction between two differing parts of a sentence, and you're calling the score horrific and all of Crusade rubbish, so there's no use for an aside (from) between those two like pieces of the sentence. e.g. Aside from one particular part of the score (the end credits of Ruling from the Tomb), I find the score to be A-OK. It's just not Christopher Franke. No big deal. As for Crusade, as a whole, being rubbish, I could not possibly disagree more. Perhaps you need to watch it a few more times to appreciate it. I know I was not very appreciative of Crusade when I first watched it as TNT aired it. However, as with B5, over time, I began to see more levels to it, and even though they didn't find much to help them with the Drakh (Shadow) plague, I now appreciate those episodes for what it revealed about the characters.

      No doubt though, you'll watch Crusade once, if you manage to wade through it completely, and then will form an unshakable opinion of it from that one viewing. So be it. Your loss.

      * http://www.bartleby.com/61/21/A0462100.html
      Last edited by KoshN; 07-04-2007, 09:40 AM. Reason: citation, typo
      Mac Breck (KoshN)
      ------------------
      Warner Brothers is Lucy.
      JMS and we fans are collectively Charlie Brown.
      Babylon 5 is the football.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Morden View Post
        You will find many people around here who will disagree strongly with that statement...
        No need to be embarrassed, Morden. There are many valid reasons for disagreeing with that ridiculous statement.
        Mac Breck (KoshN)
        ------------------
        Warner Brothers is Lucy.
        JMS and we fans are collectively Charlie Brown.
        Babylon 5 is the football.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Morden View Post
          You will find many people around here who will disagree strongly with that statement...
          Have to put my hand up, was not too impressed with Crusade, it had potential, but just too many mistakes and clumsiness in general about it to make it truly enjoyable.

          The music is, of course, down to taste, personally the ônoisesö being generated often didnÆt reflect the level of action or tone of a scene, and I found it more intrusive than complimentary, though it did tone down (pun intended) in the later episodes.

          The CGI however is not down to taste, the thing was FULL of clumsy errors and had a rushed, with one eye on the purse strings, look to it. Though it was intermixed with some very nice shots, so the talent was there, if not the budget or time.

          The story arc, we'll never know. But there was 13 episodes. Episode 13 of B5 was ôSigns & Portentsö, and that was a good episode. Along with others such as ôAnd the Sky Full Of Starsö and ôMind Warsö it peeked the viewers curiosity, hinted pretty well that something was simmering, and was both releasing story elements as well as increasing the ôthreat levelö. WhatÆs more you knew it at the time without having to rely on hindsight some years later.

          Crusade by comparison was disjointed and lumbering. There was no sense of urgency bearing in mind earths existence was at stake. Gideons character stated he would stop at nothing to find a cure and if it pissed a few races off so be it. YET in
          Appearances and Other Deceits, heÆs prepared to destroy the Excalibur rather than drop off a bunch of parasitic type life forms, who will then leave them alone.
          Racing the Night, he takes the moral high ground with a race with the same problem. Refuses to join forces to find a cure and then promptly destroys their only means of doing so. Thus potentially condemning 2 worlds to die.
          The Rules Of Game. He is essentially beached and rendered impotent until he can get permission to land on a planet owned by the LokanÆs. A minor race within Brakiri space which they have essentially wiped there hands of.
          Visitors From Down The Street. A race has found peace by blaming aliens (humans) for all their woeÆs. He doesnÆt like this so goes out his way to let them know the truth, which will no doubt start up all the wars they have managed to avoid over the previous few centauries.

          Basically in the 13 episodes they are only actually looking for a cure in 4 (arguably 6) of them. Add into that some of the painfully clumsy plot development within individual episodes, the music and the CGI it just looked rushed and run by producers with stories on the morality of strip mining, religious fanaticism and vivisection. A main character whoÆs cleavage could take your eye out and a square jawed pilot type character û something which jms himself said he hated in B5 û Keffer anyone.

          IÆm a fan of jms and his work on B5, and Crusade had truly great potential. But, when something is bad it should be stated as such, otherwise some folks might think itÆs OK to produce something like that. And Crusade was bad, Not, It wasnÆt B5 bad, just not good. Especially how many of those involved cut their teeth, as it were, on B5.
          Last edited by Triple F; 07-04-2007, 03:31 PM.

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          • #6
            #6, you've got guts to say the emperor has no clothes, but at least you've also taken the time to try and substantiate your opinions. I notice we're veering wildly from the original subject (as if that's the first time!) but I have to say I agree with some of your points.

            To play devil's advocate, I'm not sure Crusade really found a direction in season one, particularly since JMS basically had to re-tool the series at TNT's behest, which is a big ironic considering they wanted to drop the show anyway. I was never a big fan of the music either, which always felt harsh and discordant to these untrained ears, and I thought the alien landscapes didn't always work that well. Could the series have eventually found its way in season two and beyond? Quite possibly, but probably not under the aegis of TNT. And even if it did, season one would always been a bit of a mixed bag.

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            • #7
              Lol did I just cause a thread to be split, sorry.

              ItÆs of course ultimately down to taste. But I do also feel there was a general reduction in quality on a number of levels, SOME of which I listed above. But I do genuinely feel that sincere criticism is important if you want to keep ôstandardsö high, and that is as much a part of being a fan as praising someone when they get it right. Now as for why it happened and who contributed what behind the scenes is anyoneÆs guess.

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              • #8
                I believe most people who post here will respect a difference of opinion as long as it's supported in some way, as opposed to just saying, 'I think (insert name of show here) sucks!' without backing it up.

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                • #9
                  Welcome to the new, improved, by popular demand "Crusade: Good or Bad" thread where everyone is free to voice (well, okay-write) their opinions of Crusade. Politely, of course.

                  Originally posted by Biggs
                  I hope this DVD is good...I'm trying to wade through the episodes of Crusade I missed on it's inital run, and aside for the horriffic score to that stuff...it's really unwatchable rubbish....
                  I heartily and completely disagree.

                  Originally posted by Number6
                  The story arc, we'll never know. But there was 13 episodes. Episode 13 of B5 was “Signs & Portents”, and that was a good episode.
                  I'm not sure it's fair to base comparisons on B5, though. Crusade was never intended to have nearly the rigorous arc that B5 had.
                  Originally posted by Number6
                  Appearances and Other Deceits, he’s prepared to destroy the Excalibur rather than drop off a bunch of parasitic type life forms, who will then leave them alone.
                  Not quite the way I'd have put it. Let's try: Gideon authorized the self-destruct of the Excalibur as a last resort rather than allow a parasitic race that had no restraints on 'reproduction' to take over another whole planet just for the sake of getting them off of his ship, not to mention taking a number of his crew with them.

                  This was completely in character for Gideon who never abandoned anyone/anything.

                  The question you ignore is whether Eathr's survival was worth the price of another planet. Would they deserve to survive if they answered that question "Yes"?

                  Racing the Night, he takes the moral high ground with a race with the same problem. Refuses to join forces to find a cure and then promptly destroys their only means of doing so. Thus potentially condemning 2 worlds to die.
                  Key word being potential. In view of the fact that he had about 3.5 years before he'd have to return to help blockade Earth, I'd say that the moral high ground is the way to go. Also, you ignore that the world that had enterred stasis was only passively collecting data, hardly efficient.

                  The Rules Of Game. He is essentially beached and rendered impotent until he can get permission to land on a planet owned by the Lokan’s. A minor race within Brakiri space which they have essentially wiped there hands of.
                  But that minor race wasn't the source of information on a cure, they simply had posession of the planet that *might* have had data that would have been useful. At any rate, while he didn't want to have to leave and come back, there's no saying that he wouldn't have if he absolutely wasn't able to get permission thanks to Capt. Lochley's intervention.
                  Visitors From Down The Street. A race has found peace by blaming aliens (humans) for all their woe’s. He doesn’t like this so goes out his way to let them know the truth, which will no doubt start up all the wars they have managed to avoid over the previous few centauries.
                  This isn't my favorite episode either. Still, a government that maintains power and control through fear and paranoia has no right to exist. Anyway, it wasn't meant to be a particularly heavy episode. If I had been an X-Files fan I'd probably have liked this much better since I generally love the off-format episodes.

                  I liked Crusade. I liked the characters a lot and I liked the stories generally. That said, for me the grey uniform episodes were superior and the black uniform episodes sometimes felt kind of...watered down, for lack of a better term. Whether from TNT interference or due to JMS' general exhaustion, I don't know. Still, I very much would have liked to see it continue.

                  Jan
                  Last edited by Jan; 07-04-2007, 05:44 PM.
                  "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

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                  • #10
                    Wow, I had no idea my very simple and unrefined statement was going to cause such a ruckus.

                    Make no mistake, I am a MASSIVE Babylon 5 fan. I originally VHS'ed every single episode when broadcast on TV and up until the DVD released, had (bar 2) all episodes from seasons 2 - 5 on VHS. So again, I am approaching my comments on Crusade coming from a fanboy background of this stuff.

                    When Crusade was announced, I was genuinely excited...I saw the designs for the ships and characters and was interested, though I find the technomage stuff rather tedious and "trekky" in the "Q" sense, I was intrigued to see what JMS would do with that type of character on a regular basis.

                    I watched (and subsequentially VHS'd) the first 4 episodes...and I could not have been more heartbroken.

                    1. The Score. It's shit. I defy anyone to disagree...there is no thematic cue, no drama in the sparse music and the title sequence is the most uninspired piece of score music I've ever heard. I have composed music for Orchestra before, I have studied over 5 musical instruments, so again...my background in this stuff is quite in-depth...I own just about every music score created my Hans Zimmer, John Williams, Harry Gregson-Williams and many others. So if you need me to offer a qualified opinion on the score...I am. It is not "unique" to have this kinda sparse-type experimental music for a Sci-Fi show, in fact Bear McCreedys stuff for Galactica is just that, in many places...but he records with a live orchestra, samples what he needs and builds theme's and recognsable cues...along with creating tension, drama and so forth. The stuff that was done on an almost episode to episode basis by Christopher Franke for Babylon 5 was supior and created a "theme" for the universe, to totally throw that out the door on a sister series with a completely inexperienced composer was a severe lack of judgement. It didn't work.

                    2. The CG - wasn't yet ready to be used as extensively as it was. The stuff with the Well of forever was SOOOO BAD. Just watching it last night, I threw on a couple of episodes from B5 that featured Mars (which I considered to be the worst CG on B5) and it looked 1000 times better than the Crusade stuff. Babylon 5 built reuseable sets for various reasons, but one was to save $ and the other was to create a "universal" theme for all locations, to show a world where the differences were also, very similar in design and nature...they created a varied world, but re-used recognisable themes in the sets the built, it was a really subtle but rewarding "visual" theme...they again, threw that idea out the door and ran with the overuse of poor CG. I can't stand to watch the episodes I have already watched, and I've got 4 more disks to go. Granted, I havn't seen many of the final episodes which has returning characters (one Richard Biggs comes to mind) so I'm not completely bagging the series, but what I remember from the inital run, and what I'm watching now...it's not close to tolerable right now...

                    3. The Charaters. A Technomage, and a Theif. There is your B5 universe? Huh? We went from a show featuring "Hundreds of Humans and Aliens" to departing from the many recognisable Alien races, and ditching them for a whole slew of Human Characters, and 1 "Alien Lookng" recurring Character. So again, the world that WAS created, was ditched and the whole B5 Universe got a whole lot smaller for me. It came across as cheap...

                    The only good Character I'm "into" is Max Ellierson (sp?) who actually has some Gravitas and depth to him, he seems to have differing motives and he's actually interesting. Every other character, totally forgettable.

                    Like I've said, I havn't got the final few episodes as I gave up on it on it's inital run, but what I've got through now is painful...because it's not the Babylon 5 universe...it doesn't represent what B5 created for the first 5 years...it's taken theme's and characters...and seperated them from what we know, and loved...and cheaped out by giving us obviously expensive, but otherwise unrewarding CG effects and characters who are bland and seemed bored...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      A fair evaluation of Crusade is impossible without having the circumstances surrounding its production in mind. However lets put that aside for the moment and simply look at the first 5 (in production order) episodes that were created before the situation went south.

                      First I'd like to address the music. One of the objectives of Crusade was to take the viewer out into the Bablyon 5 Universe. We were going to strange places, dead worlds, unusual life forms. Evan Chen's music was supposed to evoke this alien landscape. It was NOT supposed to be pleasing to the ear (I did like the opening theme though) rather it was supposed to be Alien to the ear. Think about it this way. No one sits down and listens to the music of Forbidden Planet however one can not imagine that film without it's unique score (generated by the theramin). The unusual score was theer to help the viewer get to the unworldlyness of the place.

                      Second, JMS wanted the show to be very intimate so yes a mage, thief and captain made up a smaller ensemble. Indeed, the lighting on the bridge of The Excalibur is noticeably darker in the first 5 episodes (TNT had them change this as well) again this was designed to emulate a submarine and suggest the darkness and mystery of space.

                      I'll address several other issues in further posts. However it is quite a mistake to label most of Crusade unwatchable. Indeed, the first 13 episodes of Babylon 5 do not fair as well in my opinion (and that is without a hostile network). Certainly the first 5 episodes of Crusade beat the first 5 of Babylon 5 with respect to quality, story and characters.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Biggs View Post
                        Wow, I had no idea my very simple and unrefined statement was going to cause such a ruckus.
                        I don't see a ruckus. I just see people talking.

                        1. The Score. It's shit. I defy anyone to disagree...there is no thematic cue, no drama in the sparse music and the title sequence is the most uninspired piece of score music I've ever heard.
                        Regardless of your qualifications, I dare to disagree. I don't think the episode scores are as bad as all that and I think the title sequence is great.

                        2. The CG - wasn't yet ready to be used as extensively as it was.
                        Yes, in some cases that's true. In some cases it's quite breathtaking, though. I'm quite expecting the *exact* same thing to be said about the Lost Tales, too.

                        Babylon 5 built reuseable sets for various reasons, but one was to save $ and the other was to create a "universal" theme for all locations, to show a world where the differences were also, very similar in design and nature...they created a varied world, but re-used recognisable themes in the sets the built, it was a really subtle but rewarding "visual" theme...
                        Small quibble here. The main reason for the reuseable sets was to save money and if there's anybody who didn't recognize how often the Council Chamber set was redressed ad nauseum, they're simply not paying attention.

                        they again, threw that idea out the door and ran with the overuse of poor CG.
                        With respect, just exactly how would you propose they have tried to have an exploration show using re-usable sets?? It's one of those situations where Crusade is simply not comparable to B5. The whole premise of B5 in the beginning was that the stories come to the station. The premise of Crusade was that they went to other places. Apples and rutabagas.

                        3. The Charaters. A Technomage, and a Theif. There is your B5 universe? Huh? We went from a show featuring "Hundreds of Humans and Aliens" to departing from the many recognisable Alien races, and ditching them for a whole slew of Human Characters, and 1 "Alien Lookng" recurring Character. So again, the world that WAS created, was ditched and the whole B5 Universe got a whole lot smaller for me. It came across as cheap...
                        I'll almost grant this one except to point out that the Excalibur was an earth crewed ship under Earthforce jurisdiction looking for a cure for humans. It would have been pretty cheesy to have something as obviously Trek-like as a Minbari doctor just for the sake of diversification. We saw Minbari, Brakiri and Drazi in just the few episodes we got. Who knows what we'd have seen later? Early on I think it was good for the show to create its own identity.

                        The only good Character I'm "into" is Max Ellierson (sp?) who actually has some Gravitas and depth to him, he seems to have differing motives and he's actually interesting. Every other character, totally forgettable.
                        The only character I wasn't left wanting to know better was Dr. Chambers. I just don't think she had gotten interesting yet.

                        Jan
                        Last edited by Jan; 07-04-2007, 07:42 PM.
                        "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          @ Jan
                          A valiant attempt, but essentially your saying the same things I did. You just don’t view them as disapprovingly as I would

                          I never said I “disliked” just that I didn’t find it “truly enjoyable”. I think it was jms who said, B5 was drama with some action while Crusade was action with some drama – and it showed. All sci-fi has a “message”, subtly when done well, a bit in your face when not. Crusade was waaaayyyyy to in your face with it.

                          There were just too many “little things”, a silly example. In Season 4 Marcus looks out a window of a rotating Asimov transport, it was at his feet, which shows a nice attention to detail as that’s where it should be, based on how the gravity should/would be orientated. The same thing was seen in season two with the Dwight Sschultz character in “The long Dark”. Yet right at the start of Crusade we have Gideon and his first officer looking out a window in the rotating section of an explorer class ship at head height while standing and 90 degrees to it.

                          Is it a biggy – no. Is it a bit geeky to bring it up – yes. But it demonstrates that something was different. The attention to detail and, maybe, how the fans were being viewed/treated. Normally something like that would never register, like humans walking around on a SMALL earth ship - in space - with gravity, in the episode “patterns of the soul”.

                          For me, it was more an accumulative effect of small things rather than many individual big things. Another example is in a Call To Arms. Not only was Sheridan displayed as a dithering old fool (remember this was only 4 years after the end of B5) but right at the end he said there WAS still first ones out there. Ehhhhh. Two minutes before the captain of the Excaliburs sister ship carries out the desperate move to ram the Shadow death cloud he gets a call from home to talk to his little girl, and promises the monsters wont hurt her. Clumsy and obvious plot “set ups” that just didn’t sit right.

                          But yes, I would have liked it to have at least got the chance to run the first season so it would have time to develop.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            CAN art induce "alien feelings"? I always thought that the point of art was to invoke emotions, to use recurring patterns and themes for familarity and to be pleasing altogether? At the moment I am digging into Jazz, and when I began my journey I hated Hated HATED modern Jazz. The longer I am on my road the more "familiar" the modern music gets. So "alien" did turn me off, only after it gets "intimate" I like it. Maybe I am a bad example, maybe other people get turned on by "alien"... but then again I can program a random number generator and a music software to produce *ALIEN* music and make a big buck of it?

                            PeAcE
                            greetings from austria, best known for its history and fine wine... feels like a wine cellar on a graveyard 8-)

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Harrdy View Post
                              CAN art induce "alien feelings"? I always thought that the point of art was to invoke emotions, to use recurring patterns and themes for familarity and to be pleasing altogether?
                              Then explain the music of horror/suspense movies. Art can induce feelings of harmony. It can also induce feelings of strangeness, discord, foreignness, and the act of stepping into the unknown. The latter was what done in Crusade. It's supposed to give you a bit of an eerie feeling.



                              Originally posted by Harrdy View Post
                              At the moment I am digging into Jazz, and when I began my journey I hated Hated HATED modern Jazz. The longer I am on my road the more "familiar" the modern music gets. So "alien" did turn me off, only after it gets "intimate" I like it.
                              After I watched Crusade several times, I found myself liking most of the music, all except for the end noise (because it sure as hell wasn't music) from Ruling from the Tomb." Regarding Crusade's main titles music, I find it pretty generic but not objectionable.



                              Originally posted by Harrdy View Post
                              Maybe I am a bad example, maybe other people get turned on by "alien"... but then again I can program a random number generator and a music software...
                              Now you're exaggerating. That's not what Chen did.
                              Mac Breck (KoshN)
                              ------------------
                              Warner Brothers is Lucy.
                              JMS and we fans are collectively Charlie Brown.
                              Babylon 5 is the football.

                              Comment

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