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  • B5 and the mainstream

    I saw an interview with Shannen Doherty in a magazine a year ago. They were asking her questions about a series she was doing and the subject of B5 and its fans came up. She
    replied (paraphrasing a bit) "Babylon 5. . .I don't know that show. Does it have a big following and the fans are all nuts about it?"
    It kind of bugged me that she had never heard of it. And it got me thinking. . .why can't B5 be one of those shows everyone is familiar with? What is preventing this from happening? Why do so many people react like Shannen did? (like Garibaldi said,
    I think about these things!)
    Is it the complexity of the story?
    The complexity of the characters?
    The depth of the writing?
    Is it prejudice against SF?
    Are people reacting badly to the CGI?
    Might it even be (please don't flame me for saying this) the title? I don't mean to bash my precious but are there people out there for whom the title doesn't roll off the tongue like 'Star Trek' or 'South Park' does?
    I would like to hear your theories. . .especially in regard to
    what this might mean for the success level of TMoS.

  • #2
    Shannen Doherty
    Oh, Miss Former Host of Scare Tactics should talk.

    Comment


    • #3
      Well, its been over six years since any new episodes were made, so its not as high profile as current SF, and becomes less so with each passing day. It's rarely on tv nowadays. Also, its probably a distant memory to those who seldom/rarely watched the show while it was on, peripherally. That's not to say it hasn't made its mark, but only in certain circles, not the mainstream (I think).

      Also, B5 is less known in foreign countries than it is in the US (the extent varies from country to country i believe, in many countries B5 has never even seen the light of day), and as old generations die out and newer generations come into being, its memory will fade from what one might percieve today as common knowledge.

      Or something like that : _ /

      Comment


      • #4
        Babylon 5 is now off the air and when it was on the air I think it was considered a cult show with a small following of fans .That number is getting even smaller the more the years pass by and nothing new in the b5 universe peaks the publics interest in the show.we will see more famous people like Shannon making comments like that.Sad really .

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Satai Delenn
          That number is getting even smaller the more the years pass by and nothing new in the b5 universe peaks the publics interest in the show
          I just think the opposite,all of us who saw B5 when it was aired still love it,or at least remember it,with these new B5 dvd's a lot of people are first opening up to this wonderful universe called Babylon 5.
          I know few personally who didnt saw the show when it was aired,now that they had the chance to get it on dvd they are like "hey you know that show isn't bad".
          Sleeping in Light-----Darnit! Shut the Window.

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          • #6
            for me it is all summed up in one line from the series.

            ''In Memory still bright''

            Those of us who love it 'REALLY' love it.

            Myself I look back with fond memories about the series and the feeling it gave me at the time of a sense of wonder.

            Now when I put on the dvds my son asks me things about the stories and about the show - so in a sense someone else is Discovering B5 , and here I am re-living the experience all over again.

            With a potential B5 movie on the horizon I am sure even more people will discover B5.

            Faith Manages....
            Duracell Bunny is arrested and charged with BATTERY!!

            Comment


            • #7
              There is also the strange but true fact that many TV Actors don't actually Watch very much TV.

              At least half of the B5 actors I've seen at conventions have stated that, for various reasons, They didn't watch Babylon 5.

              IOW, in Hollywierd, people are mostly familiar with the shows their own particular group of Friends are working on.
              Or shows that their agent is trying to get Them on.

              Comment


              • #8
                <<Is it the complexity of the story?
                The complexity of the characters?
                The depth of the writing?
                Is it prejudice against SF?
                Are people reacting badly to the CGI?>>

                Well, you can't even make it to any of these without first getting past the fourth option. To the average person, B5 is just another Star Trek show.

                Some people think it's the same show! Here is just one example from a simple google search:

                "The Trek factor

                If you're not up on your Star Trek, you can forget about getting or keeping a geek dude. And I'm not just talking vintage-era Captain Kirk and Spock either. You've got to be up on your The Next Generation, your Deep Space Nine, your Babylon 5. Armed with your own knowledge of Federation policies, you can better gauge when and how to act."

                http://www.completeevil.com/geek.html
                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


                • #9
                  Originally posted by circularREASON
                  for me it is all summed up in one line from the series.

                  ''In Memory still bright'' Now when I put on the dvds my son asks me things about the stories and about the show - so in a sense someone else is Discovering B5 , and here I am re-living the experience all over again.

                  Faith Manages....
                  This is happening with us too. FIREBIRD and I have a 7yr old boy, Luke, and he enjoys B5. At this stage it is more along the lines of "I like that man with big hair" (Londo) or "That is a very pretty lady" (just about ANY female member of the cast). He has already met Julie Caitlin Brown in Milton Keynes earlier this month (along with Richard Kiel, Margot Kidder, Dirk Benedict, Paul Darrow and many others) and is looking forward to meeting Jason Carter in Feb next year. He can even hum the theme tune to Blake's 7! I am certain that these childhood images will stay with and influence him in later life - just as they did with me. Some of my earliest recreational memories are of watching things like WAR OF THE WORLDS, THIS ISLAND EARTH and FORBIDDEN PLANET on TV as a child. I have since grown up enjoying SF and fantasy/space fantasy films/tv/books into my adult life. As happened with my mother and me, so (I hope) it is happening with Luke and FIREBIRD and I.
                  http://www.lddb.com/collection.php?a...er=dgtwoodward
                  Yes, I still collect Laserdiscs!!
                  47" Phillips 1080p 46" Samsung 1080p Toshiba HD-30E (2 both Multi Region) PS3-80G 120G BR Multi-Region Maidstone MD-BR-2102 Sky-HD Freesat-HD Pioneer DVL-909 CLD-D925 CLD-2950 (AC3) CLD-D515 CLD S315 Yamaha ADP-1 Meridian 519 Pioneer 609 (DD/DTS) x 2 Speakers & subs Jammo M/S Pioneer Technics Sony Eltax Akai Aiwa

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I was just looking around here and then saw this unusual title "B5 and the mainstream". I was thinking about that...do you really think B5 is comparable to ANY other SciFi show? I defenitly don't. Although I was a star trek fan for some 15 years, but since B5 came across everything changed. of course not in an instant but in the very first moments of that show I was already fascinated why the opening voice-over (by londo in "the gathering") called it "the last of the babylon stations". Know what I mean. There is already something in the air, just by saying that. the getting of answers was half of getting new questions. that was really the best aspect of a 5 year-story arc. Who ever would start a star trek series with "it was the last of the starships called enterprise". smile.

                    what do you think? so B5 is a standart of its own. right?
                    "It is our last best hope for peace, for victory, for freedom, it is Babylon 5"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I think that B5 is currently in the situation in which Star Trek was around the time of the first ST movie...
                      The series was over, but the movie revitalized the franchise.

                      But I see some differences.
                      Star Trek became a cultural phenomenon in syndication reruns, through several years, in many countries.

                      B5 was originally run in syndication, thus the schedules were different in each city, it was scheduled at odd hours, etc.

                      Babylon 5 was re-run on cable, not on open TV syndication. This does limit exposure, even if you could argue that most people have cable, I'll say that among those with cable the competition with other tens and even hundreds of channels might be a problem.
                      The reruns and S5 on TNT didn't appeal the "mainstream" public of that cable network. B5's most "succesful" re-run was in the SciFi channel, so that already put it out of the radar for the mainstream public.

                      Maybe if after TMoS B5 is put back into open TV syndication, or re-run on a less specialized cable channel, it will enter the mainstream consciousness more effectively.

                      But it still has to contend with the mainstream impression that SF is not serious drama and it's juvenile stuff (and most sci-fi series and movies don't help dispel that notion)... written SF still has to battle that stigma, to me is no wonder that the most intelligent and complex SF TV series can have that problem.
                      Such... is the respect paid to science that the most absurd opinions may become current, provided they are expressed in language, the sound of which recalls some well-known scientific phrase
                      James Clerk Maxwell (1831-79)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Lost in Sci-Fi-Space

                        I remember reading some of the stuff in David Gerrold's "Making of Star Trek". It was supposed to be intelligent science fiction. It was supposed to be drama, so that it would appeal to the masses in a way Sci-Fi never had. There were no robots yelling "Danger", and no annoying children solving all of the problems week in and out. Well, that changed by the second installment (Data may never have yelled out "Danger Will Robinson", but he had his annoying catch phrases, and EVERYBODY hated Wesley Crusher).

                        The original Star Trek series was campy, easily as campy in it's own way as Lost in Space. (Who can't imagine Kirk and his staccato delivery of lines?). It even fell into a formula by the third season.

                        It also had, in the opinion of many people, a big problem. It was much more Fiction than Science Fiction. The science was, to put it mildly, pathetic. Add to that the fact that episodes were written by different writers, with no knowledge of the rest of the episodes, so continuity errors abounded. It became so much of a phenomenon that the series of books called the Nitpicker's Guides cover that area.

                        Babylon 5 was different. The guidelines for the entire series were laid out from the beginning by jms, and he maintained creative control throughout. There WERE no annoying children solving all the problems, there WERE no robots waving their arms about. Babylon 5 was everything the Star Trek saga promised but failed to deliver on.

                        The biggest problem with people inside the industry accepting B5 is envy! The biggest problem with people outside is that they have been promised intelligent sci-fi/drama before and have been consistently disappointed (need I remind us all of "V the Series" and "Space:1999"). If they are my age, they may be disillusioned, if younger, they may believe Sci-Fi isn't cool and is only watched by nerds, geeks and other glasses-wearing and pocket protector sporting kids with good grades.

                        Plus, a lot of people don't want to think when watching TV. That is obvious by the kind of television that DOES well in the ratings (I'm sorry folks, but I NEVER liked Roseanne, Friends or Seinfeld). IMNSHO, the only shows ranking in the top of the ratings that are worth much are the CSI shows (at least they have good story lines, and drama produced right out of real life).

                        So, why doesn't B5 appeal to more in the mainstream? Frankly, I believe it was near a miracle that it did appeal to as many as it did, with the average attention span of the American consumer.
                        "Ivanova is God!"

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                        • #13
                          "No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public."
                          H.L. Mencken

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Lost in Sci-Fi-Space

                            Originally posted by SpooRancher
                            The original Star Trek series was campy, easily as campy in it's own way as Lost in Space. (Who can't imagine Kirk and his staccato delivery of lines?). It even fell into a formula by the third season.

                            It also had, in the opinion of many people, a big problem. It was much more Fiction than Science Fiction. The science was, to put it mildly, pathetic. Add to that the fact that episodes were written by different writers, with no knowledge of the rest of the episodes, so continuity errors abounded. It became so much of a phenomenon that the series of books called the Nitpicker's Guides cover that area.
                            Don't forget to place Star Trek in the context of its time, though. Dramatic TV was still young, and actors were still learning how to play to the small screen. On stage, every gesture needs to be overdone in order to be seen and appreciated from the balcony. TV, even the smaller screens that predominated then, is a much more intimate medium. Shatner and others were trained stage actors, so what you interpret as camp was, I believe, an ernest attempt at drama. Also, they did better with the science than what had gone before. But even if they had the best science advisors possible, they would still have had to entertained an audience that was as scientifically informed, in general, as in B5's time.

                            B5 was different, yes, but at the time of it's first run, Star Trek was very different from everything else on, too.
                            "That was the law, as set down by Valen. Three castes: worker, religious, warrior."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Here's a question for all
                              Why does someone enjoy reading a (good) book? So I think the concept of B5, beeing a really large book not to read but to see on the sceen, is not the only answer to the question of why it reached not as many people as Star Trek did.

                              I also disagree to the quote, that most viewers dont wont to think about what they see, because this is something Star Trek did accomplish. Especially TNG. After Roddenberry's death everything called Star Trek was much more action-orientated and much less a good story. Especially Voyager and Enterprise.

                              Time seems to be the key here. The time in wich Star Trek & TNG was concepted were totally different to the time in which B5 got on the sketchboard. The Aspects of Society and globalisation changed a lot. B5 does reflect on it. ST doesn't.

                              But as I mentioned yesterday, for me personally, I can not see a glimpse of B5's magic in any other SciFi. And if there is no magic so there is no curiosity. Don't you think?
                              "It is our last best hope for peace, for victory, for freedom, it is Babylon 5"

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