(re)watch Babylon 5

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(re)watch Babylon 5

Post by waxingjaney on Thu Feb 09, 2017 7:45 pm

I finally picked up the DVDs for all 5 seasons, plus the two primary movies. Haven't seen any of it in 20 years. Anyone want to watch it with me? I was thinking watch 1-3 episodes a week, then post up comments and discussion.
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Re: (re)watch Babylon 5

Post by Werel on Thu Feb 09, 2017 8:37 pm

I might be down for an episode or two per week. Never managed to make myself watch past the pilot, but it's been described as close to Deep Space 9 (space opera political intrigue character drama, right?) so I bet I'd enjoy it.
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Re: (re)watch Babylon 5

Post by bomaye on Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:48 pm

I might have the bandwidth to spare for 1-2 per week. I've also never seen it Grin
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Re: (re)watch Babylon 5

Post by waxingjaney on Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:24 pm

Yaaaaaay!  Leaving aside the plagiarism accusations, DS9 and B5 did start off in thematically similar ways.

I had some free time, so I decided to kick things off with Episode 0: The Gathering.

Spoiler:

Babylon 5 awaits the arrival of the ambassador from the fifth major race: the mysterious and secretive Vorlon Kosh. But Kosh is poisoned immediately upon arrival. Who is the assassin, and can they be uncovered?

*Soooooo much exposition. Gets a bit better in the second half, but jeeeez.

*This was definitely made in the early '90s. Puffy shirts and high-waisted pants galore.

*G'Kar is a belligerent jerk and a cheeky pervert. Londo is a shabby drunk, who seems resigned to genteel decay.

*Delenn was supposed to be a man, but they couldn't get the voice modulation right. The makeup and bulky robes are suitably androgynous.

*Each of the major alien races have spots on their heads.

*I don't think a single door closed correctly without bouncing or clunking.

*Kosh had to open his suit to greet who he thought was Sinclair. Fake Sinclair wasn't wearing a breather, but Vorlons supposedly need a super-noxious atmosphere to survive. Absolutely no one picked up on that.

*Andreas Katsulas and Peter Jurasik can chew some scenery, but everyone else attended the Dull Surprise School of Acting.

*G'Kar can just burst onto the control deck to yell at Takashima, and no one cares at all.

*Sinclair's narrative of the Battle of the Line was okay, but the duplicate voiceovers of his exposition didn't work. One or the other, but not both.

*The Vorlon Empire actually picks up when G'Kar calls? Um, okay.

*Delenn is waaaaay up to something. Feeding information to Sinclair, watching him, and conveniently popping up in the alien sector at the end.


Last edited by waxingjaney on Fri Feb 10, 2017 10:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: (re)watch Babylon 5

Post by Enail on Thu Feb 09, 2017 11:01 pm

Never seen it, always thought I should, so I'll give it a go, but I don't think I'll be able to manage more than one episode a week. Are we going to do a schedule like a book club, or just people get to it when they get to it like usually happens with the series threads?
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Re: (re)watch Babylon 5

Post by waxingjaney on Thu Feb 09, 2017 11:44 pm

Whenever we get to it. I'd be watching mostly towards the end of a given week.
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Re: (re)watch Babylon 5

Post by eselle28 on Thu Feb 09, 2017 11:48 pm

Oooh, I deeply enjoyed Babylon 5. Let me poke around my media resources and see if I have access to it.
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Re: (re)watch Babylon 5

Post by Hirundo Bos on Fri Feb 10, 2017 8:58 am

The avalanche has already started. It is too late for the pebbles to vote.
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Re: (re)watch Babylon 5

Post by bomaye on Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:30 am

S1-E0 - Gathering (oshiii I didn't realize it was more like a movie than an episode)

Spoiler:

- Yeah, you can see the similar origin points with DS9 almost right away.
- Those early '90s sci-fi aesthetics. We're still not cool enough to shed dorky '80s stuff, but still not advanced enough to make everything CG Shiny/thrilled
- Captain Haircut with the deep voice
- This Sinclair guy is such a '90s masculine main character Laughing
- Oh boy, things didn't go so well for the other Babylon stations, things will totally go well for this one
- The black doctor guy has an amazing accent
- Oh, they have Apple Watches w/ Siri in the future
- We're like 12 minutes in and they're already playing politics (that alien Ambassador woman giving Sinclair Vorlon info).
- Ohhhhh, they have Mass Effect drives too
- Quark/Odo types too
- I did know a bit about B5 from all the nerdshit at the time, Narns were my favourite alien look from what I remember
- The Narn Ambassador offering to mate with Lyta, especially that part about her "pleasure threshold" holy shit rofl
- Welp, someone already tried to kill the freaky alien sucker thing
- Dr Kyle opening up the Vorlon suit was so fucking cool
- Calling it now, Captain Haircut's girlfriend aka Bedsheets did it
- BABCOM DOHOHOHOHOOHO The station uses Baby Communicators
- So if I followed some of it so far, the Centauri used to enslave the Narn, who are sex maniacs with tons of manpower and the youngest power, and the Mimbari are the oldest power that are run but religious people who surrendered just before they beat Earth, and they use lollipop rings to destroy fools with magic. And no one's ever seen a Vorlon until Dr Kyle
- So is Londo supposed to be a reference to Lando Calrissian as a swaggering gambler?
- "We've become a tourist attraction." This Londo guy is easily the most interesting character so far
- I thought Takashima was playing a mouth-flute wrong and was like "IS SHE PLAYING THAT WITH HER CHIN, WHAT ALIEN WIZARDRY IS THIS?"
- I'm kind of wondering "what if Lyta's brain melts from scanning the Vorlon" too <.<
- Awwww shiiii, someone's trying to frame Sinclair
- That evil laugh of fake Sinclair Laughing
- HE DID *POINTS*
- Oops, we got us a shapeshifter
- The Narn Ambassador politicking to get Sinclair kicked off to the Vorlon homeworld, colddddd
- That dramatic medal throw rofl
- Hrmmm, Lyta's a bad guy?
- Oops, shapeshifter got caught
- Ohhh, changeling net
- Look at the size of those nerd-guns
- Mannnn, snaps his wrists and fucking EXPLODES
- I question the design of a station that, when it loses one tiny section, will tear itself apart Uh-oh
- Jakar being tricksy about how the assassination went down, and then swallows a nano-transmitter that makes him useless as a schemer, except it's not real so they'll never find it and he'll never know, nicceeeeee
- I'm totally imaging that the Vorlon Ambassador is blushing after the introduction
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Re: (re)watch Babylon 5

Post by waxingjaney on Sat Feb 11, 2017 10:05 am

Spoiler:

- Those early '90s sci-fi aesthetics. We're still not cool enough to shed dorky '80s stuff, but still not advanced enough to make everything CG Shiny/thrilled
**Fun fact: Babylon 5 fx were all CG. No models at all.

- I question the design of a station that, when it loses one tiny section, will tear itself apart Uh-oh
**Most of the budget was spent on the first 4 stations, so...
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Re: (re)watch Babylon 5

Post by Hirundo Bos on Sat Feb 11, 2017 11:40 am

Spoiler:

- Ohhhhh, they have Mass Effect drives too

Mass Effect is pretty openly inspired by B5. I once had to leave a B5 meeting in my local science fiction fan club because the conversation turned into spoilers for Mass Effect.
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Re: (re)watch Babylon 5

Post by bomaye on Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:18 am

S1E1

Spoiler:

- The Centauri told the Humans that they ran the galaxy when they first met them rofl
- And told them they were a lost tribe of Centauri, a "clerical error" rofl
- Pew pew pew
- Was the actress for the Mimbari Ambassador part recast, or is she just playing it a little differently?
- Awriiight, X-Wings
- "It was a mistake. I won't repeat it. I will kill him, though."
- Centauri have dreams about the day they die? Damnnnnn
- Ivanova don't like psychics
- "They are a dying people. We should let them pass." "Who, the Narn or the Centauri?" "Yes." Vorlons don't fuck around, apparently
- Londo's gonna try to force everyone's hand, gad damn
- Garabaldi with the worst pick-up line in the known universe, should probably just toss him into a jump-point so he can never be seen again
- FIGHT FIGHT FIG- awww, Sinclair and G'Kar totally should've thrown down
- Delay the military intervention because of the election :nono:
- Dohohohoho, Sinclair playing the "oops, you didn't see me before the thing" game
- Damnnn, was that a written confession at gunpoint, or did the Centauri Colony actually get more help from the Narn than their own homeworld?
- Pew Pew Pew
- I like how cleanly the enemy raiders are exploding, no debris or anything
- Space tea-kettle
- Turns into a Space revolver
- Well, that was an unfortunate person to bump into
- Space paperwork
- Well, that was a clean and neat way to wrap the problems up, a small group of raiders leads to a political reverasl
- Space music, still sounds like '80s
- How do these people get tans in space? Either 1) All of these super-serious Earth Alliance Officers spend time in tanning beds or 2) Space tanning technology has gotten more impressive. I vote #1
- Ya know, I'm not sure "let's let the Space CIA raise the psychic people" is such a good idea...
- Oh god, the pick'up line is even worse because he likes watching space cartoons
- The Mimbari ambassadors face while eating popcorn x)
- Santiago's a Conservative who doesn't advocate going to war? Space is a weird place.
- "Preserving Earth Cultures in the face of growing non-Terran influences." wuh oh
- "Commander there's a problem" x)

I liked this episode quite a bit more than I did the movie. Probably because of the better pacing, 40 mins to tell an episodic story is a nice number
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Re: (re)watch Babylon 5

Post by waxingjaney on Fri Feb 17, 2017 8:34 am

Babylon 5 S1E1: Midnight on the Firing Line

Spoiler:

The Narn and Centauri are at each other's throats. Can Sinclair keep the peace? Also, space pirates!

*Some of the actors from the pilot did not return for the series, so expies!

Laurel Takashima -> Susan Ivanova
Dr. Kyle -> Dr. Franklin
Lyta Alexander -> Talia Winters
Carolyn Sykes -> Catherine Sakai

*The one trait Centauri have in common with humans is bad hair days.

*The ambassadors (will) all have flunkies, except for Kosh.

*The breathers have face guards now. I suppose someone figured out that sulfurous fumes are bad for your eyes, too.

*Sinclair caught Kosh taking a bath.

*And thus begins the unceasing vagueness and obscurity Vorlons are infamous for.

*The League of Non-Aligned Worlds, direct from Mos Eisley.

*Delenn is a woman now.

*G'Kar must have a pretty good spy network.

*Early '90s CGI, oh yeah.

*No weapons allowed on Babylon 5, so Londo has to build his out of a lamp and a teapot.

*G'Kar was a real turd in this episode. Sinclair should have let Londo shoot him in the ass.

*Hmmm. I'm an unimportant technical advisor in deep space, so I'll keep records of covert communications between my government and our invasion force. Good job, dumbass.

*Garibaldi is an antiquarian dork, and should explain to Delenn exactly what popcorn is.

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Re: (re)watch Babylon 5

Post by waxingjaney on Fri Feb 17, 2017 8:40 am

[quote="bomaye"]S1E1

Spoiler:

- Was the actress for the Mimbari Ambassador part recast, or is she just playing it a little differently?

They changed the makeup after they abandoned the transgender thing. Same actress.

- I like how cleanly the enemy raiders are exploding, no debris or anything

Debris takes too much time to render.

- Ya know, I'm not sure "let's let the Space CIA raise the psychic people" is such a good idea...

Yeah, that might be a problem...
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Re: (re)watch Babylon 5

Post by Werel on Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:04 pm

Didn’t watch episode 0/the movie. Is it required, or can I just keep going with the show?

s1e1:
-Oh boy I’m gonna have to forcibly overlook the effects budget/costumes/hair on this thing, aren’t I Laughing  
waxingjaney wrote:*The one trait Centauri have in common with humans is bad hair days.
rofl I’m not sure if I want them to change that ASAP or never change it at all.
-So, we’re on Deep Space 9?
-And there’s Quark’s and there’s Quark lyin bout his race’s status in the universe rofl
-…Even the command center has the exact same layout as DS9’s Uh-oh
-This Narn ambassador is like a Neelix/Jem'Hadar crossbreed
-Oh no the Narns got Carn
-Oh cool I like the other-atmosphere quarters with the gas masks, nice and science fiction-y
-OH THERE’S CARN, safe from the Narn
bomaye wrote:- "They are a dying people. We should let them pass." "Who, the Narn or the Centauri?" "Yes." Vorlons don't fuck around, apparently
Yeah I hope the writing goes in this direction, more ice-cold extinction burns pls
-The music DOES sound 80s as heck. I’ll take it over Vic Fontaine rat pack music
-Oh good Ladies’ Bonding Time at the bar. Super Bechdel, talkin bout MOMS
-I’m astonished this show could afford the rights to Looney Tunes Laughing But that's a pretty charming gag, that and the Minbari with the popcorn.
-Oh good the xenophobic conservative president won! Uh-oh
-So far: still keep thinking “I wish I were watching DS9,” but I see potential for this to hold my interest.
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Re: (re)watch Babylon 5

Post by bomaye on Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:58 pm

Werel wrote:
-So far: still keep thinking “I wish I were watching DS9,”

Careful. A lot of people forget that the first season of DS9 was terrible, and a good chunk of the second too Uh-oh
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Re: (re)watch Babylon 5

Post by Werel on Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:03 pm

That's true. Sooooo waxingjaney, can you vouch that this thing reaches greater heights later on? Razz

Edit: wait, let's not forget that the pilot of Deep Space 9 is absolutely one of the greatest sci fi episodes ever. "You exist here" is tough to top. Wink
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Re: (re)watch Babylon 5

Post by waxingjaney on Sat Feb 18, 2017 11:24 pm

The pilot movie isn't absolutely essential, but it will be referenced in later episodes.

Babylon 5 fell under the Warner Brothers umbrella, so apparently they were able to secure a brief clip.

It did take few episodes for the show to find its voice, but there is some good stuff on the way. The earlier episodes in season 1 are largely character development.

Spoiler:

-Oh good the xenophobic conservative president won! Uh-oh

Santiago's the one who's *not* a xenophobic conservative, btw. Remember this.
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Re: (re)watch Babylon 5

Post by KMR on Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:11 am

My boyfriend and I were watching Babylon 5 a little while back and got partway into season 4. But we were watching it at a rate of about 1-2 episodes per week (via Netflix DVDs) and while it was fine at first, I eventually found it harder to stay engaged with it at that rate. If I could binge-watch the show instead, I'd happily give it a re-watch and finish, but so far all the subscription services I have access to don't have it available for streaming (without buying it).
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Re: (re)watch Babylon 5

Post by waxingjaney on Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:34 pm

I think binge watching has spoiled people. Everything had to be watched 1-2 episodes at a time, with months-long breaks between stints. Babylon 5 is plot-heavy, but we did have the Lurker's Guide. Enjoy this flashback to the mid-90s internet (but watch out for plot spoilers):
http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/
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Re: (re)watch Babylon 5

Post by bomaye on Sun Feb 19, 2017 3:53 pm

I can do either, and it's easier to do B5 this way because of my bandwidth and there's a bunch of people doing it. But if I'm just watching a show myself, or the person I'm watching something with starts dragging a bit, I do start getting a bit antsy because my natural inclination is go like 100 MPH until I'm either fried or just short of fried and then stop for a bit
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Re: (re)watch Babylon 5

Post by KMR on Sun Feb 19, 2017 7:25 pm

waxingjaney wrote:I think binge watching has spoiled people.

I don't disagree, but I have found that the ability to binge-watch some shows has greatly increased my appreciation of them. For instance, I used to be more of a TNG fan than a DS9 fan back when the series were still airing, because TNG is pretty episodic, so it was easy to watch that way. It wasn't until I had a chance to watch DS9 again in college, from beginning to end and at a much faster rate, that it became hands-down my favorite Trek series and remains so to this day. I just remember watching it and thinking, "Holy crap, this is even better than I remember it!" There may have been other factors involved there too, but I think being able to watch it over a short time period and really see all the connections behind the overarching plot had a big impact.
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Re: (re)watch Babylon 5

Post by Enail on Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:37 pm

S1E1:

Didn't get the E0 for some reason, so I just went ahead and watched E1. Not much to say that other people haven't said, it was pretty full of painful early 90s-ness and new show awkwardness, but I could see it getting good once they're more in the swing of things. Most notable parts were the Centauri style (Guys, what if they dress like Napoleon, but instead of the hat, we have hair shaped like a Napoleon hat? Genius! Cool), the Vorlon, and the expression on the Minbari ambassador's face watching Looney Tunes.
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Re: (re)watch Babylon 5

Post by Hirundo Bos on Mon Feb 20, 2017 8:21 am

Werel wrote:That's true. Sooooo waxingjaney, can you vouch that this thing reaches greater heights later on? Razz

I can only speak for myself, but while I enjoyed the show from the beginning, the epsiodes that really got 16-year-old-Hirundo hooked occured mid S1. On later viewings, and with more critical eyes, I'd say that seasons 1 and 2 are uneven, with some great stuff and some pretty bad. Towards the end of season 2 the bad ones become better, the good ones more frequent, and it remains that way throughout season 4. I would definitely recommend people to give it a chance, and I'm looking forward to rewatching myself. (I haven't quite got started yet, but I know the episodes more or less by heart, so I'll be alle to follow this thread in any case.)
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Re: (re)watch Babylon 5

Post by Enail on Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:29 am

S1E2:

-Cool ship design!
-Why are all the alien ambassadors so...unambassadorial? They're all so dramatic and gung-ho about everything!
-Starting to get some hints of interesting political stuff
-It still feels pretty rough and cheesy at points, and there were a few bits where little technicalities didn't seem to make sense, but there's definitely starting to feel a sense of alien worlds and ideas out there, that sci fi spark of curiousity.
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