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  • B5 - What does it mean to you?

    Being relatively new here, I figured I’d throw out a bit of a general question. This has almost certainly been done before, but it’d be a nice way to get to know you all a bit better.

    So, if you’ll indulge me...

    What’s your earliest memory of B5?

    What was the tipping point? What got you into the series?

    What does it mean to you on a personal level?

    Myself, my earliest memory of B5 was seeing a trailer for ‘The Gathering’ when my friend and I rented Stargate (on VHS no less). We were both in our early teens, you know, back in the days when you still went to a video rental store to get your films. We were both big Star Trek TNG fans at the time, and were totally blown away by the effects and the look of the show. We’d always wanted more action and big space battles from Trek. However, in spite of the impression the trailer made, I don’t think either of us really picked up on the show till later on. It wasn’t readily available to us at the time.

    For me, the tipping point was seeing the episode Z'Ha'Dum and being totally blown away by the epic nature of it. I think I’d loosely followed the series up until that point. I remember randomly catching the occasional episode on Dutch TV, when I was maybe 14 or 15. I lived out in Holland during my teens as my parents moved out there for work. When I graduated from high school I headed back to the UK for University. Channel 4 were showing B5 in the graveyard slot (perhaps somewhere around midnight). I got all my housemates into the show and we’d always watch it together with a few beers. One of them went from ‘I don’t like Sci-fi’ to being a massive B5 fan. A few years later I ended up buying the whole lot on DVD and re-watched it with my (then) girlfriend. And that was that. The show had become a big part of my life.

    What the show means to me?

    B5 cemented many long and cherished friendships, just through the act of watching it in company. It also helped me through some hard times and gave me something to focus on when my family was coming apart at the seams. I ended up stuck somewhere I didn’t want to be, mostly out of a sense of duty to others, dealing with problems that in retrospect called for serious professional help. B5 helped keep me sane. Thankfully times have moved on and my life is on a far more even keel. Having re-watched the series just last month, it still seems as relevant as ever. I think it’s one of the few SF show that has actually grown with me as I get older.
    Last edited by Ubik; 10-24-2012, 04:43 AM.
    Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

    Kosh: Good!

  • #2
    Originally posted by Ubik View Post
    WhatÆs your earliest memory of B5?
    Through good luck or whatever, I saw The Gathering when it aired on the independent cable stations that carried PTN. It was on one on Wednesday and the 2 or 3 times on Saturday and I only caught some of the Wednesday evening but looked in the TV Guide to see it was on again and watched and taped it on Saturday.

    Wow, there's things I haven't thought about in a long time, cable, tv guide, taping.


    What was the tipping point? What got you into the series?
    I was hooked immediately and wondered why it wasn't on again the next week.

    What does it mean to you on a personal level?
    It's hard to say. Since I was about 7 I had a favorite show, Star Trek. I was watching TNG and Deep Snore 9 but when B5 came on I lost my taste for them. I actually still like TNG but rarely watch the reruns, but not any of the other spin offs. After about season 3 of B5, I couldn't believe it but I had a new favorite show. Star Trek (no bloody subtitles) is still a close second and I watch them both on DVD. Most of that getting through stuff you mentioned, Star Trek did for me, but it's mostly the age difference. That's why I was so suprised it was replaced, but B5 is just that good, I don't anticipate ever having a different favorite show than B5.
    "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."

    Comment


    • #3
      Earliest memory:
      Not having cable at the time, I didn't see the show till years after it ran.
      While flipping through channels I came upon a re-run episode and was put off by the frog man and the peacock guy.

      Tipping point:
      ST Enterprise went off the air, cut short in a time when space shows where falling out of favor on the networks.
      Babylon 5 fandom had been getting traction on the web and I thought OK I'll take another look.
      First time I saw a starfury I thought...Wow they're doing it right! After years of dogfights in space, this show is taking it seriously.
      (Londo and G'kar had me mesmerized at that point too)

      Personally:
      It's an affirmation that anything is possible.
      The stories are wonderful, the scripts are fresh, the production techniques were years ahead of their time all due to the vision of one man, and an amazing and inspired crew of artists and craftsmen who shared his dream.

      Comment


      • #4
        The links below have the story behind my discovery of B5. As for what it means to me...wow, I will have to contemplate that answer.


        http://jmsnews.com/forums/showthread...uide#post38073

        http://jmsnews.com/forums/showthread...uide#post20938

        http://jmsnews.com/forums/showthread...guide#post5408

        http://jmsnews.com/forums/showthread...=guide#post866
        Recently, there was a reckoning. It occurred on November 4, 2014 across the United States. Voters, recognizing the failures of the current leadership and fearing their unchecked abuses of power, elected another party as the new majority. This is a first step toward preventing more damage and undoing some of the damage already done. Hopefully, this is as much as will be required.

        Comment


        • #5
          I realized that B5 was going to be special when I saw the scene with Garibaldi and Delenn watch "Duck Dodgers in the 24th and a half Century".

          At that moment I had a feeling this show was going to be something special.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by beerguy101 View Post
            I realized that B5 was going to be special when I saw the scene with Garibaldi and Delenn watch "Duck Dodgers in the 24th and a half Century".

            At that moment I had a feeling this show was going to be something special.
            Yep, resfreshing to see an SF show with a sense of humour.
            Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

            Kosh: Good!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Ubik View Post
              WhatÆs your earliest memory of B5?
              Item in TV Guide about the time the series was supposed to start. There was a box with a quote from JMS about the show being planned as a 'novel for television' which intrigued me since I'm first and foremost a reader.

              What was the tipping point? What got you into the series?
              I'd been watching it from the beginning but it hadn't yet become 'appointment' viewing for me. Then one day, still in the first season, my (now ex-) husband mentioned that if I cared about the characters at all, I should be sure to catch that week's rebroadcast of the episode. To this day I have no memory of exactly which episode that was but he was right and I was hooked from then on.

              What does it mean to you on a personal level?
              To say it's changed my life isn't an exaggeration at all...but it wasn't *just* the show. Once I got a computer and modem there was no looking back and I jumped into B5/JMS fandom like a 3-year-old jumps into a mud puddle.

              Even without all that, though, there are so many quotable bits that it certainly effected me on a personal level.

              This is fun! Hope any lurkers might join in. If you're registered, please post! If you're not, hang on there's a glitch in the registration system that DougO will be looking into.

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

              Comment


              • #8
                I first heard about B5 when I was in high school. I was still into Star Trek, and heard about this other show. I never really paid attention to it so it slipped off my radar.

                The tipping point for me getting hooked on the series was a few years later when I was in college. At that point, I had grown tired of Star Trek as I felt they just kept playing it safe. A friend of mine mentioned I should try B5. I started watching his taped episodes from the pilot and the first season. When I got to the episode Believers, that was the hook. That episode was something that would never happen on a Star Trek show, and if something similar occurred, everyone would have been happy at the end.

                As for what the show means to me, I did like how there wasn't heavy handed preaching a particular view as correct, I liked how there were shades of grey for everyone even those who were typically viewed as good guys or bad guys, and I liked how the show knew it's audience had a brain, wanted it to stay on during the episodes, and encouraged discussions amongst the fans on the internet and also amongst your buddies who just watched an episode with you. I lost count how many hours I spent talking with my friend who hooked me on B5 before he graduated, and also with a co-worker that I hooked on B5 and who encouraged me to give the re-imagined BSG another chance. I place B5 along side the handful of comic books, video games, books, and the couple other series I go back to again because the story is so damn good. Even though I know what is going to happen next, the ride never lets down.
                Last edited by David Panzer; 10-25-2012, 10:19 PM.
                RIP Coach Larry Finch
                Thank you Memphis Grizzlies for a great season.
                Play like your fake girlfriend died today - new Notre Dame motivational sign

                Comment


                • #9
                  My earliest memory of B5 became a forgotten remembrance years later after I had gotten into the show, but it was a season five episode on TNT - the one where Londo is in the coma and is having to choose whether he really wants to live or die. I was awed by the emotional depth of the episode, and wanted to know what the show was called and when it would be on again. (I discovered through channel surfing during a period of my life where I had access to the internet but had no idea what one did with it). I failed to discover the name, though I think I may have caught part of "In the beginning" I'm not certain, but I do remember a scene with Delenn on Minbar, again I was channel surfing, and lost it somehow.

                  I was never able to find the show again, and without a name I moved on and forgot what I had seen until many years later when I saw the Londo episode again and the lost memory returned to me.

                  Many years later I had become addicted to V series, after the first four episodes had been shown, and then it went on hiatus for four months. I was in a difficult emotional period in my life and TV was my only anchor to this world, so my attachment was rather extreme. With V gone for four months I needed something new to watch, and so I went online to search for a completed tv series that had a lot of seasons.

                  I chose Babylon 5 because Bruce Boxleitner was in it and I remembered him from "Scarecrow and Mrs King". I spend a lot of money on the complete series, more than I had ever spent on tv before, so I told myself I would LIKE the show. I had to!

                  When I first started with season one I did like it, found it enjoyable to watch, but was not obsessed yet. It was likely in season two when I discovered I was in love with Delenn that I first became obsessed with Babylon 5, and it became for me "the number one tv show of all time".

                  I loved the show for it's realism - I feel as if I could live in the B5 universe, that one day soon the Centaurii will arrive, and that the building of the Babylon station is a future certainly. I was awed by the emotional depth of the characters and their characterization; the way they grew and changed. I was in love with Delenn and her journey was number one for me, but also the characters of Londo and G'kar, and their relationship to each other was also hugely important to me.

                  The reason why Babylon 5 was so important to me was that I believed it played an important role in the major spiritual and emotional transformation which I was going through at the time. And Delenn's transformation, and Londo's, and G'Kar's were like imaginary mirrors for me. It also, at the time, served as an anchor for my sanity, and gave me something literally to live for, as at the time I had nothing else.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Delenn_of_Mir View Post
                    The reason why Babylon 5 was so important to me was that I believed it played an important role in the major spiritual and emotional transformation which I was going through at the time. And Delenn's transformation, and Londo's, and G'Kar's were like imaginary mirrors for me. It also, at the time, served as an anchor for my sanity, and gave me something literally to live for, as at the time I had nothing else.
                    This thread has been great so far, exactly the kind of discussion I was looking to start.

                    It’s that emotional attachment to the show that I find so interesting, and how it intersects with people’s lives. Delenn of Mir - what a wonderful heartfelt response. Thank you for sharing that with us. I know that feeling well, when things aren’t quite right in your life, the temptation is to bury yourself in something to keep a grip on things. It goes without saying that total escapism can be deeply unhealthy, but it’s also important to recognise that these things can also offer support and ultimately, a way out.

                    Perhaps a bit off topic, but I have a similar relationship with gaming. In my teens I was big into CCGs (Collectable Card Games) like Magic: The Gathering, Star Wars, etc. All of my peers told me it was a waste of time and money, but there was a welcoming community of people who played the game. We all met at a local games store once a week, and that was a big part of my social life. To this day, I still have my decks and collection and play casually from time to time. Strangely enough, it turns out that almost all of my current close friends (far removed from that period of my life) had played in the past, so we still have gaming nights occasionally and break out some old decks.

                    In other words, these ‘nerdy’ things that mainstream society tends to frown on or dismiss outright have real value! (Don’t get me started on the shallow adoption of geek culture for fashion purposes!)
                    Last edited by Ubik; 10-26-2012, 01:37 AM.
                    Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

                    Kosh: Good!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I was there from the beginning.

                      Can't remember how I heard about it, but I watched the initial airing of the pilot and thought it was worth catching when it came to series. The first few episodes were good enough to keep me coming back, but hadn't made me a FAN.

                      It was actually "Infection" that started changing my perception. Specifically it was the last few minutes of "Infection". I saw the main part of the episode as nothing special -- a monster is loose on the station/ship/base. It had been done before. There were some good moments for development of Franklin, but other than that it was maybe a B-. Then there came Garibaldi's conversation with Sinclair. Actually suggesting that the lead had a death wish was really different. Then there was the confiscation of the organic artifacts and you had an intimation of conspiracy and foreshadowing of dark things. It was small, and just the last few minutes, but it was more intriguing.

                      "The Coming of Shadows" was the point where I became a FAN. Just blew me away.

                      As far as a lasting effect, it definitely raised the bar on what I expected from TV. In addition, my wife and I began viewing parties. The people involved became closer through these gatherings. We formed a community. Many of those friendships have continued to this day even though geography separates us now.
                      "That was the law, as set down by Valen. Three castes: worker, religious, warrior."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Earliest B5 Memory

                        I vaguely remember watching the pilot movie but not knowing what to think of it and it not really sticking with me. I also remember, during its first season, a friend talking about how good it was and me not totally believing him. At the time, I was so entrenched in my obsession of Star Trek: TNG that I didn't make much room for anything else.

                        I probably only watched it sporadically during the first two seasons, not enough to pick up on the continuing story arc, which is, of course, one of the show's greatest strengths.

                        But, I do remember watching 3.17 "War Without End, Part 2" at another friend's house and all of us being amazed by the ending. I think that's when I started taking the show more seriously if I hadn't already by then.

                        Tipping Point

                        By season 3 of B5, I was even more obsessed with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as I had been with ST:TNG. Babylon 5 was probably on at weird times, and I think it was on a local, low-budget affiliate that carried very little in addition to PTEN except infomercials and religious programming. I'm not sure I was taping it on the VCR yet...

                        So, regardless of whether I was watching regularly by then, I caught 3.20 "And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place." I remember being floored by the scene that intercut the gospel singer on B5 and the Narns taking revenge on Refa in the caves of their homeworld. That was the defining moment for me. I realized that Star Trek would never brave to do a scene like that.

                        For starters, B5 gave a fair shot to religion (despite JMS being an atheist). You had a Baptist preacher, a Catholic monk, a Jewish rabbi, and a Buddhist -- four things you'd never see in Star Trek -- all working together for the greater needs of Earth. And, they showed a church service.

                        Then, as an artistic choice, they cut between the gospel song and a brutal but well-deserved act of vengeance/justice against Refa. And, to top it off, G'Kar may have gladly arranged that moment for his fellow Narns, but he had become too enlightened and civilized to partake in the moment himself. He just silently watched, and as the music slightly distorted at the end of the scene, G'Kar simply walked away.

                        It was at that very moment that I realized that Babylon 5 was, in fact, better than the entire Star Trek franchise. I started watching regularly, taped it habitually, started reading the Lurker's Guide online, and years later caught up on everything I had missed on video, first via the cassettes and later the DVDs. And, while I've continued to enjoy TNG, DS9, and Enterprise (as well as other non-Trek & non-genre shows), I've considered Babylon 5 the best show in the history of TV ever since 3.20.

                        What It Means To Me

                        Van Allen Plexico, a writer who moderated/hosted one of the two guest panels with Bruce Boxleitner and Mira Furlan at Dragon*Con this year, was later on the Earth Station One podcast to talk about B5. If I remember correctly, he said that in season 1 B5 became his favorite sci-fi show ever; in season 2 B5 became his favorite overall TV show ever; and by season 3 B5 became his favorite *thing* ever. While my timeframe may be a little different, I feel the same as he does.

                        Babylon 5 has nearly ruined me on TV because as much as I continue to watch, *nothing* has ever surpassed it. Only Lost has ever come close, and they completely blew it in their final season. Babylon 5 contains my favorite stories and some of my favorite characters, including G'Kar who is my #1 all-time favorite character, any genre, any medium. As far as I'm concerned, Babylon 5 is the Lord of the Rings of TV and deserves far more attention and recognition than it gets.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          First Memory -

                          I watched a random episode that was on before Deep Space Nine around 1994/1995 (they aired them back-to-back in New Mexico where I was living at the time). I guess it must have been "A Race Through Dark Places" but I only have a vague memory of it. I do remember that Walter Koenig was on it, so it had to be a Bester one at the very least.

                          Tipping Point -

                          Many years later, I was searching for a science fiction show to watch. I started reading about Babylon 5 again. Then I found out that Harlan Ellison had worked on the show. Him being one of my favorite authors, and knowing he never attaches his name to a project that's crap, that's when I knew I had to watch the entire thing. I bought all the DVD sets without having watched anything except that one episode years ago, and got hooked.

                          What It Means -

                          I found the answers to a lot of questions within the stories. Things I had thought only I had thought about became clear that it was common human experience. I later ended up sharing this show with a significant other (after seeing she had Rising Stars in her comic book collection!) and it made us much closer when we could discuss the subjects that seemed hard to bring up to each other. Alas, that relationship was not to be, but we were bonded for four years and B5 was a major part of that connection. The show and jms himself also re-affirmed the teachings I had early in life that it's better to stand up for yourself if you are right, even when 90% of everyone tells you to sit down and be quiet and do nothing. Sometimes I end up making dumb decisions, and getting involved in situations that in retrospect one can say "why did you do that" - but I can feel OK about it because I took my stand for what I believe in.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ubik View Post
                            Delenn of Mir - what a wonderful heartfelt response. Thank you for sharing that with us. I know that feeling well, when things aren’t quite right in your life, the temptation is to bury yourself in something to keep a grip on things. It goes without saying that total escapism can be deeply unhealthy, but it’s also important to recognise that these things can also offer support and ultimately, a way out.

                            Perhaps a bit off topic, but I have a similar relationship with gaming. In my teens I was big into CCGs (Collectable Card Games) like Magic: The Gathering, Star Wars, etc. All of my peers told me it was a waste of time and money, but there was a welcoming community of people who played the game. We all met at a local games store once a week, and that was a big part of my social life. To this day, I still have my decks and collection and play casually from time to time. Strangely enough, it turns out that almost all of my current close friends (far removed from that period of my life) had played in the past, so we still have gaming nights occasionally and break out some old decks.

                            In other words, these ‘nerdy’ things that mainstream society tends to frown on or dismiss outright have real value! (Don’t get me started on the shallow adoption of geek culture for fashion purposes!)

                            This is a fun topic And I have a real life friend now, so life isn't quite so dire.

                            Have no experience with the card gaming, but if it gave you faith to help you manage then hurraaays!!!!!!!!

                            Geekdom is the best "dom", I think, because it allows people to find themselves and to find friends and like you said, communities when mainstream day-to-day life just doesn't feel right, or flies over our heads, or doesn't interest us, etc.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Delenn_of_Mir View Post
                              This is a fun topic And I have a real life friend now, so life isn't quite so dire.

                              Have no experience with the card gaming, but if it gave you faith to help you manage then hurraaays!!!!!!!!

                              Geekdom is the best "dom", I think, because it allows people to find themselves and to find friends and like you said, communities when mainstream day-to-day life just doesn't feel right, or flies over our heads, or doesn't interest us, etc.
                              Glad you're enjoying the thread. It was my intention to spark some discussion. There seem to be a few dedicated fans who still lurk here! Good to hear you've found kindred spirits in the 'real' world. The internet breaks down many barriers, but no amount of gizmos or social networking will ever replace real friends in your locale.
                              Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

                              Kosh: Good!

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