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  • Guide for those who dislike Season 1...

    I had a few friends who stopped watching B5 as they couldn't make it though the first season. So I kinda was thinking of doing a guide on what episodes are Must sees depending on how many episodes they are willing to watch from season 1. Of course, the best is watch them all, but I have some who are unwilling to work though season 1. (Which I enjoyed, but I enjoy almost any space station/starship show unless it REALLY stupid.)

    These where my episode listings. Does anyone else have ideas or change ups in the ones i picked?

    The "Distorted Humor guide to make it though Season 1 of Babylon 5 if you hate it."

    Option 1 - (7 episode plan) watch "Midnight on the Firing Line","Deathwalker", "Signs and Portents", "A Voice in the Wilderness (Part 1)", "A Voice in the Wilderness (Part 2)", "Babylon Squared", and "Chrysalis"

    Option 2 - (5 episode plan) watch "Midnight on the Firing Line", "Signs and Portents", "A Voice in the Wilderness (Part 1)", "A Voice in the Wilderness (Part 2)", and "Chrysalis".

    Option 3 - (4 episode plan) Watch "Signs and Portents", "A Voice in the Wilderness (Part 1)", "A Voice in the Wilderness (Part 2)", and "Chrysalis".

    Option 4 - (2 episode plan) Watch "Signs and Portents", and "Chrysalis", (at this point you will be confused at parts in season 2.)

    Option 5 - (Zero episode plan) - Start with season 2

    Option 6: (Sub-zero Episode plan) use TrekBBS Redshirts idea of watching watch Season 2's The Coming of Shadows and The Long, Twilight Struggle..

  • #2
    I really don't think there is a right answer to this question, as so many season 1 episodes look like "problem of the week" stories, but include things that come back later, and won't make sense without having seen them.

    For instance, The Quality of Mercy is an OK episode just before the finale that could easily be skipped over in terms of the arc. However, the alien healing device becomes an important plot point just a few episodes later and then again later still.

    The one thing I would have to take issue with you on, though, is putting together any cutdown season 1 without And The Sky Full Of Stars. That was the one that really cemented B5 as a must-see show for me when it was first broadcast.

    My five absolute musts from season one would be

    Midnight On The Firing Line
    And The Sky Full Of Stars
    Signs And Portents
    Babylon Squared
    Chrysalis


    Assuming they get through those and want to see more of the show, they need to watch at least half a dozen more season 1 episodes to even start to get a feel for what is going on and how everything/one relates to each other.

    If they get through those five and aren't interested in seeing any more than there is probably no hope for them.
    The Optimist: The glass is half full
    The Pessimist: The glass is half empty
    The Engineer: The glass is twice as big as it needs to be

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Garibaldi's Hair View Post
      I really don't think there is a right answer to this question, as so many season 1 episodes look like "problem of the week" stories, but include things that come back later, and won't make sense without having seen them.

      For instance, The Quality of Mercy is an OK episode just before the finale that could easily be skipped over in terms of the arc. However, the alien healing device becomes an important plot point just a few episodes later and then again later still.

      The one thing I would have to take issue with you on, though, is putting together any cutdown season 1 without And The Sky Full Of Stars. That was the one that really cemented B5 as a must-see show for me when it was first broadcast.

      My five absolute musts from season one would be

      Midnight On The Firing Line
      And The Sky Full Of Stars
      Signs And Portents
      Babylon Squared
      Chrysalis


      Assuming they get through those and want to see more of the show, they need to watch at least half a dozen more season 1 episodes to even start to get a feel for what is going on and how everything/one relates to each other.

      If they get through those five and aren't interested in seeing any more than there is probably no hope for them.
      GH is absolutely correct. And that's something unique about Babylon 5. Even the so-called "stand alone" episodes are Arc-episodes. Take TKO (please, take it) ... The A plot is throwaway, but the B plot ties in with Ivanova's ongoing arc. She's so straight-laced and by-the-book at the beginning, it's almost painful. It's when she finally sits Shiva for her father that she begins "letting her hair down" (as in, changing her hair from episode to episode) and starts to let loose a bit.

      In Infection, one of the worst ones of the lot, we're introduced to Shadow Tech. Legacies gives us Neroon. Quality of Mercy gives us the Alien Healing Device which ... well, not to spoil things for the OP, but he hasn't seen the last of it.

      It may seem, during the first viewing, that there's a lot of stand-alone, throwaway episodes, but in hindsight, there are none.

      Though, I still wish we could somehow edit TKO and Grey 17 to keep the good half of each episode, while getting rid of the crap half. Then again, "crap" Babylon 5 is better than anything being shown on any network right now.
      "Jan Schroeder is insane" - J. Michael Straczynski, March 2008

      The Station: A Babylon 5 Podcast

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      • #4
        Well, the problem is that a pair of friends who I hope to share the series with will stop watching at Infection due to there pre-conceived notions that SF is a bunch of junk that has no merit in storytelling and is nothing more then bad fantasy, and I know if they get to season 2, they will most likely find out they are wrong, but I have to get them TO season 2 to make this work. Or to put it simply, I don't mind TKO, even if its not great, as I like almost anything with spaceships and a decent budget. But if they watch TKO, it will TKO them out of watching it.

        I can most likely get them to watch 10 episodes to see if they like it, but that ends in believers, and they won't be watching onwards, but if they get to say, "The Geometry of Shadows" I am sure they will be hooked...And I was thinking on this issue when the issues of someone making it though season 1 came up and I already had a list ready...

        But I guess what your recommending is....

        Midnight On The Firing Line
        And The Sky Full Of Stars
        Signs And Portents
        Babylon Squared
        Chrysalis

        Then at least six more episodes like

        "The Parliament of Dreams"
        "Mind War"
        "Deathwalker"
        "Legacies"
        "The Quality of Mercy"

        I know by skipping some of the first season, that there will be gaps, but I can't get them to commit to say, 25 episodes which is how long it takes for the series to set things up and start the ball rolling.
        Last edited by Distorted Humor; 05-27-2011, 10:54 AM.

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        • #5
          I've always warned people that since B5 was creating a universe that wasn't part of the collective conscience the way Trek is, that it would take an investment in time to set up. Most understand that. If not, I tell them that the show probably isn't their cup of tea.

          If I really cared all that much, I'd have them watch 'The Gathering' and 'In the Beginning' to illustrate how it improves and if they still didn't want to watch it all, I'd take my DVDs and go home.

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

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          • #6
            If they already dismiss science fiction so easily, they've got bigger problems than what episodes they might enjoy of Babylon 5. The first six episodes of season one were arranged to alternate between different tones/styles and have worked well enough with the people I have introduced the show to, "Infection" included. B5 was structured so that all of season one would be the introduction (22 episodes), and then season two would get into the rising action.

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            • #7
              That is a big dilemma. The biggest problem is changing the perception of your friends about science-fiction. I love Babylon 5, it's my all-time favourite show. However I'm not sure you're going to be able to succeed if they are not willing to put the effort in. I think you might have more success starting them off with something like Firefly. It's light, its fun, it's well written and could be a good opening step too convincing them about science fiction. It might well open their minds?

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              • #8
                If they don't like Star Wars, Aliens, ID4 or even one of the good Trek movies, you are pretty much done. Those are some of the easiest to like sci-fi movies out there if they can't get into that then forget it. Granted, sci-fi is considered niche genre, but its also a genre that gets a ton of cash at the box office. I'd ask them what they like in their films, if they say chicks crying a lot or art house films, you need better friends.

                Although, I like your list for season one. If there is any season, you can get away without watching all of its season one. Though I agree the stand alone stuff does have important things in them, there is really nothing that huge. To be fair, I forgot about the alien artificat when it was used in season 4, I thought it was something they made up. Some of the stuff in the stand alone episodes is eventually told better or used better in those episodes listed for season one or in future episodes.

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                • #9
                  It's a really tricky proposition, and as much as I think And the Sky Full of Stars is brilliant, I can see why someone who is new to sci-fi might find it difficult to enjoy. I've tried to get my friends into B5 and they just laugh at me because it's sci-fi, they won't even give it a chance no matter how good it is (I've stopped short of locking them in a room and refusing to feed them until they watch at least Severed Dreams, which I know is jumping ahead but you've all seen it so you know what I mean!)

                  On the plus side DH, if they get to season two then they can go back and watch season 1 all over again and will be able to enjoy episodes they've never seen. They'll then watch it a third time, in order, to make sure they pick up on every little detail which has been woven into the plot. Hopefully they'll go from 'Meh' to joining this board
                  I'm a pessimist: that way you're never disappointed but frequently, pleasantly surprised

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                  • #10
                    The main issue for two of them is that

                    "Science fiction does not have good characters" in the sense of "Starting at point A, and ending up at point B"

                    needless to say, B5 would be a ideal one to break the mold. (the two in question thinks SF = star trek, and they enjoy a lot of good stuff, but the closest they get to SF is LOST or LoTR. )

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Distorted Humor View Post
                      The main issue for two of them is that

                      "Science fiction does not have good characters" in the sense of "Starting at point A, and ending up at point B"
                      Meaning what, character development? Babylon 5 has that in spades!

                      I'm tempted to say to them "Man up. Trust me. Watch Babylon 5 Seasons 1 thru 5 and the movies in chronological order. You'll thank me later."


                      Originally posted by Distorted Humor View Post
                      needless to say, B5 would be a ideal one to break the mold. (the two in question thinks SF = star trek,
                      Well, that's clearly FALSE. Hell, it's literally ignorant.



                      Originally posted by Distorted Humor View Post
                      and they enjoy a lot of good stuff, but the closest they get to SF is LOST or LoTR. )
                      <shrug> I never watched LOST, but heard it's a rambling mess. Wasn't it written by Abrams, Orci or Goldsman? (I'll have to look it up.)

                      Lord of the Rings movies? That's not science fiction, or did you mean speculative fiction?
                      Last edited by KoshN; 05-27-2011, 06:57 PM.
                      Mac Breck (KoshN)
                      ------------------
                      Warner Brothers is Lucy.
                      JMS and we fans are collectively Charlie Brown.
                      Babylon 5 is the football.

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                      • #12
                        I think a good selling point should be, Yes, there is a full story here and if you skip episodes it's like skipping chapters in a book. Do they read? Maybe this would help as at this point it's not as if the series will be cancelled before the end.

                        Here's a little story. Believe it or not, even though I absolutely love the show, the first time through I got a little, not sure how to put it, uncertain that I wanted to watch it. Not because I didn't like it but because I really did like it and I was sure it was going to be cancelled any time now. Even when I didn't watch it I taped it because I knew there weren't going to be any other shows I wanted to see too often. The best other thing I used to watch at this time was Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, so I think you see what I mean. When it came back for season 2 I really never missed another episode until season 5, but that's another story.
                        "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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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Marsden View Post
                          Here's a little story. Believe it or not, even though I absolutely love the show, the first time through I got a little, not sure how to put it, uncertain that I wanted to watch it. Not because I didn't like it but because I really did like it and I was sure it was going to be cancelled any time now.
                          My story is similar. So many shows I'd liked had disappeared that I almost didn't even turn on B5 the first time. Still, the idea of the 'novel for television' intrigued me but I was determined not to fall in love with the show. To this day, I don't remember what first season episode it was but I missed one and my then-husband told me that if I cared for the characters at all, I should catch the encore showing. I did. And the rest, as they say, is history.

                          Here's a thought. There's a sequence that you haven't seen yet, DH, where the characters are shown as you first saw them and as you last will see them. You'll know it when you see it. Show them that and only that and they'll see that the characters have *definitely* changed over the course of the show. If that doesn't convince them, the show's probably not for them. And that's okay. But why create a master recipe and only use part of the ingredients?

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

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Distorted Humor View Post
                            The main issue for two of them is that

                            "Science fiction does not have good characters" in the sense of "Starting at point A, and ending up at point B"

                            needless to say, B5 would be a ideal one to break the mold. (the two in question thinks SF = star trek, and they enjoy a lot of good stuff, but the closest they get to SF is LOST or LoTR. )
                            Without spoilers G'kar & Londo are perfect examples. As someone else said tell them to trust you.

                            I've met people who think Trek is sci-fi, loaned them Firefly which they loved. Still I don't loan B5 for fear it's mis-treated.

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