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  • Share your first experience of Babylon 5

    Most people here know my own experience (watched it as a movie on video - wished for a series - got it - followed from the start - loved every moment), but what about you? Did YOU get in on the ground floor? Or did you come to the party late? Did you see a season 2/3/4 episode and realise you had to go get the dvds/videos? And did you know instinctively it was going to be a television event, something you'd look back on with fond, even awed memories?

    How did it make you feel? Did it change your view of anything (TV, religion, the world)? Who struck you as a great character? What storylines impressed you?

    Enquiring (read: nosy) minds want to know! As they say in certain meetings, "Share, Brother (or Sister)!"

    Or, as a certain rough-around-the-edges security chief might ask gruffly: "So what's YOUR story?"

  • #2
    From an item I posted back in 2007, looking back on the first aired episode - Midnight on the Firing Line

    **************************************************

    MotFL was what got me hooked on Babylon 5. I did not see The Gathering and quite by happenstance I came across MotFL one Saturday afternoon as it premiered in Canada.

    Holy Crap!!

    Here was serious science fiction with massive alien races, real physics, no cute kids or robots, interstellar war (or tensions at least) some cool cgi effects, interesting charcters that seemed like people. Gambling, drinking and dishonesty. And a promise of much more. Wow.

    After the show I remember talking to my wife and babbling on to her about this great show and how it was

    serioussciencefictionwithmassivealienraces,realphy sics,nocutekidsorrobots,interstellarwar(ortensions atleast)somecoolcgieffects,interestingcharcterstha tseemedlikepeople.Gambling,drinkinganddishonesty.

    whew then I took a breath and we talked about the possibilities for hours.

    We both became hooked because of MotFL. For this reason alone MotFL stands as one of my favourite episodes because it begain my love affair with B5.

    I think that sometimes we tend to forget how groundbreaking B5 really was - even in minor ways like in Gropos when in the bar fight Susan fights a guy. Not another woman, which had always been the case in the rare times a woman threw a punch, but a guy. I had never seen that happen before. Holy crap. It is this whole series of firsts and continual astonishment of what JMS wrought throughout the entire run of the show that are inexorably connected to the same feelings I have towards MotFL and my first wow moments.

    Mac.

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    • #3
      I can say I saw it from the beginning. Saw the Gathering when it first was broadcast and thought it had real possibilities.

      What really hooked me into the show? Garibaldi and Delenn watching "Duck Dodgers in the 25th and a half Century" for some reason I realized this was going to be something very special.

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      • #4
        In Sept. 1996, an engineering buddy of mine knew I was getting fed-up with DS9 and Voyager, and recommended “Babylon 5” to me, and I watched the very next episode that aired ("Shadow Dancing" - S3E21), and I was hooked. Then, I watched a few episodes of B5 Season 1 that my buddy had on tape (pretty bad VHS EP off-the-air tapes), and I watched the rest of the way out to the end of Season 5 (Season 3 Episode 22 and Season 4 on FOX-53 Pittsburgh in washed out color and Mono, and Season 5 on TNT with more saturated color and in Stereo.), the B5 movies, and "Crusade." This was NOT Trek. It was not the same old recycled stories, the same polished ships and sets, did not use the patented Trek reset button all the damned time, it had more varied and interesting characters, no annoying characters that I couldn't stand to watch, and the threads were more interconnected and complex (something I like.). Of course, that was coming off of "Deep Space Nine" and "Voyager," and I was a combination of annoyed, bored and disgusted with both of those (especially some of those characters.). Long before that time of course, I'd watched both TOS (initial airing, and many times in reruns) and TNG all the way through, 3 years and 7 years respectively, but when it came to DS9 and then Voyager, I couldn't make it past 4 years of watching them regularly. When “Enterprise” came along, I watched it, hoping it would be better than DS9 and Voyager, and slogged my way through the first two seasons before it got any good at all. Then, I dropped "Enterprise" at 3 years (due to the awful last few minutes of the S3 finale, the space Nazis. ), and then went back 4 years after the show's completion to watch the last season via Netflix. It turned out that Season 4 of Enterprise was pretty good, except for that awful Season 4 Beavis & Butthead penned Series finale.

        Never had those problems with B5 or Crusade. To this day, I have no interest in going back to watch DS9 or Voyager, or to ever finish those shows. In fact, the thought, after seeing B5 and Crusade, kind of turns my stomach a little bit. In contrast, it takes very little to get me to rewatch B5 or Crusade. In fact, I rewatched B1 Season 1 DVD #1 last night.
        Last edited by KoshN; 03-25-2010, 10:30 AM.
        Mac Breck (KoshN)
        ------------------
        Warner Brothers is Lucy.
        JMS and we fans are collectively Charlie Brown.
        Babylon 5 is the football.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Macbeth View Post
          From an item I posted back in 2007, looking back on the first aired episode - Midnight on the Firing Line

          **************************************************

          MotFL was what got me hooked on Babylon 5. I did not see The Gathering and quite by happenstance I came across MotFL one Saturday afternoon as it premiered in Canada.

          Holy Crap!!

          Here was serious science fiction with massive alien races, real physics, no cute kids or robots, interstellar war (or tensions at least) some cool cgi effects, interesting charcters that seemed like people. Gambling, drinking and dishonesty.
          ...and yet not as depraved, not wallowing in gambling, drinking and dishonesty all the time like BG 2003+ did.
          Mac Breck (KoshN)
          ------------------
          Warner Brothers is Lucy.
          JMS and we fans are collectively Charlie Brown.
          Babylon 5 is the football.

          Comment


          • #6
            I saw it from the begining. I remember catching The Gathering about 4 times because PTEN was carried by atleast 4 cable stations I had back then and they had it on all different days and times. I was all ready for more and then, nothing. Then a year later it was back and I was ready for it, I'm happy it took them a year to get it running as most things were improved for the actual series, especially Delenn. But I've been there ever since.
            "And what kind of head of Security would I be if I let people like me know things that I'm not supposed to know? I mean, I know what I know because I have to know it. And if I don't have to know it, I don't tell me, and I don't let anyone else tell me either. " And I can give you reasonable assurances that the head of Security will not report you for doing so."
            "Because you won't tell yourself about it?"

            "I try never to get involved in my own life, too much trouble."

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            • #7
              As for me, I was following posts JMS was posting on the Internet about his proposed series through an early Internet service called GEnie (run by General Electric). JMS early on had the plan to tell a multi-year story and often invited feedback from fans regarding some of the ideas he was considering for the B5 storyline. He didn't know in those days if anyone would give the show a chance with a pilot episode much less whether he would get the chance to tell the entire story.

              When the show was eventually picked up for a pilot movie, many of us were excited and watched (...and taped) the first showing. I remember thinking it was "ok" in my opinion, but it could be better. I was pleased that it was so different from shows like Star Trek.

              My friends and I were really happy when it was announced the show would go into production as a weekly series and would get that chance to grow and improve.

              I watched regularly and was happy to see the show getting more and more interesting as it progressed up to an exciting season one finale. Once season two started, I never intentionally missed an episode.

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              • #8
                That's pretty amazing, jonodan. I guess you win the prize for "oldest fan", as it were. I thought I was in on the ground floor (and I was) but you were helping build the house! What an honour!

                I love the anecdote JMS relates about when he was starting out, and at some sci-fi convention he mentioned B5 and how he hoped that in the end it might give even Star Trek a run for its money.

                "Yeah" sneered someone in the audience, "and CLINTON will be in the White House!"

                Hah! LOVE that one!

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                • #9
                  ... Another pleasing issue "back in the day" was the incredible result they achieved with special effects using CGI - I remember we were pretty pleased with the results we saw when the show aired.

                  CGI was really pretty new at the time and I was concerned it might come off looking like cartoon animations... Up until around the time B5 came out, shows like Star Trek filmed effects using minature ships and moving cameras and was apparently pretty expensive.

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                  • #10
                    I didn't watch the show when it first aired, I caught bits and pieces. My husband was the one who watched it. I was too busy with the kids and working second shift. I started watching it about 2 yrs ago when we bought the series. With no distractions, I was immediately hooked. I have watched the whole thing plus the movies about 6 times now.

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                    • #11
                      Jonodan is a 'Grid Epsilon Irregular', one of those following JMS's posts back when Babylon 5 was 'That Which Cannot Be Named'.

                      I missed the pilot and if it hadn't been for an interview with JMS in TV Guide sortly before the show went on, I might well have missed it altogether.

                      I was in a period where I was determined not to watch any new SF/Fantasy shows because too many had gotten my attention and then disappeared. Then I read that short interview where JMS talked about his plans for a 5 year arc and a novel for television and I decided to give it a try. But I was still determined not to care about it. I managed to catch it on one or the other of its showings each week but it hadn't made it to 'appointment TV' yet. Then one day my then-husband asked me if I'd seen that Wednesday's episode. I hadn't and he told me that if I cared at all about any of those characters, I should catch it on the Saturday showing. I don't know which episode it was, but he was right and I'd try to tape it or watch both showings each week after that.

                      Then when I got a computer in 1995 and discovered JMS' online interaction, I became a (capital f) Fan of the show and JMS. I'd caught many of the intricacies of the writing on my own but the Lurker's Guide and the Zocalo Newsletter were wonderful resources.

                      Ah...memories.

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

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jan View Post
                        Then when I got a computer in 1995 and discovered JMS' online interaction, I became a (capital f) Fan of the show and JMS. I'd caught many of the intricacies of the writing on my own but the Lurker's Guide and the Zocalo Newsletter were wonderful resources.

                        Ah...memories.

                        Jan
                        I cannot tell how many hours I spent on the Lurker's Guide, wasting away hours at work or at home with my 14,400 modem hissing and beeping. That was (and is) an incredibly valuable resource and definately helped shape my show watching experince. Like you Jan I was new to them interwebs back in 1994 and did not know how to access GEnie etc so the Lurker's Guide was my interface to the show and JMS. I never did show enough (any) appreciation to Steven Grimm and the other contributors.

                        I was a poster boy Lurker

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                        • #13
                          I first heard of B5 from a couple of short mentions in Starlog- and since there was precious little SF on TV, it certainly seemed worth checking out. After watching the first airing of "The Gathering" that ebbed a little, it felt too sloooooooooow and stilted (and Londo's hair was attrocious). I did catch an occasional glimpse, but not regularly. And then one day I turned on the TV, B5 was on, I figured "why not give it another shot"...and it was the finale of Parliament of Dreams. POW. That was it, I was hooked and saw it all the way to the end. Funny thing, for some reason I missed the last couple of eps of S1 and the first few of S2- so when Garibaldi wakes up from the coma and goes "New CO? The President's dead? Delenn's a what?" I knew exactly how he felt :-).
                          Aris

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                          • #14
                            Forgot about the Lurkers Guide.....

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                            • #15
                              I posted this elsewhere, but sionce it includes my first experience, I'll re-post it:

                              When I first heard about B5, it was from another Trekkie, and all he said was "It's a rip-off of DS9 with other aliens and more clunky tech." I refused to watch it on those grounds, and the fact that most Non-Trek TV SF I'd seen had bored the hell out of me.

                              (Of course, as it turns out he'd never seen it - kind of like those people who want to ban books they've never read. Also, I later discovered his thoughts and the things he said frequently diverged with reality, and his actions were generally to be suspected. That's a nice way of saying he was a pathological liar and a jerk.)

                              I didn't watch an episode of B5 until grad school, when a very wise woman I was trying (and failing) to convince of my value as a potential mate got me to watch "Mind War."

                              Well, that was it. After G'Kar and the ants, I was hooked. And since then I've hooked another half-dozen people or so, including my wife, another staunch Trekkie, who, when we were just starting out dating, reluctantly agreed to watch a VHS-taped hour of B5 with me. SIX hours later she said "This isn't like Star Trek. It's..." and she furtively looked around as if committing treason "it's BETTER."

                              Now we own all the DVD's. Great Maker help us if we ever split up - that's going to be a hell of a fight for custody!
                              "It's hard being an evil genius when everybody else is so stupid." -- Quantum Crook, Casey and Andy Webcomic

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