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    Babylon 5

    Into Season 5 of this brilliant series. I saw most of it at the time it was first shown, back in the 90s, but I finally picked up the DVD boxset a couple of months ago.
    Ground-breaking in a number of ways, with series-long story arcs, CGI rather than models and miniatures, and politics, economics and social issues as part of the narrative. Lots of grey areas. And a great cast, many of whom are sadly no longer with us.
    Sometimes the lights all shining on me, other times I can barely see.
    Lately it occurs to me what a long strange trip it’s been.

    #2
    One of my favorite shows
    "We all gotta climb mountains!" - Jon Anderson 2003

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      #3
      One of my favorite shows as well.

      A reboot is in development:

      https://variety.com/2021/tv/news/bab...ki-1235075236/

      "A lot of the heavier conversations I was having with Chris toward the end were about his desire for this thing to go forward. He kept reiterating that to me. [...] He kept telling me, 'No matter what happens, Yes needs to continue moving forward and make great music. So promise me that that's something you want to do.'. And I have to keep making music. It's just what I do. [...] I'm a fan of the band and I want to see it thrive and that means new music." -Billy Sherwood

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        #4
        That's great news, should be epic!
        "We all gotta climb mountains!" - Jon Anderson 2003

        Comment


          #5
          Great show! We caught most of the episodes during first run back in the 90's as well, and loved it. I think Babylon 5 was my first really serialised TV show, and some of the stories and themes they explored were well done. It probably helped that I'm a sci-fi nerd to begin with. The format was perfect for really digging into the political stuff, and the CGI was groundbreaking.

          How does the CGI hold up today, when viewed on DVD? I'm curious. In my head, it's all amazing and mind-blowing, but it's been a while since I've seen any Babylon 5. Maybe I'm watching the wrong channels, but I never seem to see B5 come around in syndicated reruns.

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            #6
            Originally posted by Orbert View Post
            Great show! We caught most of the episodes during first run back in the 90's as well, and loved it. I think Babylon 5 was my first really serialised TV show, and some of the stories and themes they explored were well done. It probably helped that I'm a sci-fi nerd to begin with. The format was perfect for really digging into the political stuff, and the CGI was groundbreaking.

            How does the CGI hold up today, when viewed on DVD? I'm curious. In my head, it's all amazing and mind-blowing, but it's been a while since I've seen any Babylon 5. Maybe I'm watching the wrong channels, but I never seem to see B5 come around in syndicated reruns.
            Well, it's not HD so some of the CGI looks a bit video-gamey, but that's to be expected. Over here it's available on Amazon Prime via IMDB at the moment though I think ads may be included. I'm glad I bought the boxset on DVD as it includes all the TV movies and spin-off mini-series, none of which I'd seen.
            Sometimes the lights all shining on me, other times I can barely see.
            Lately it occurs to me what a long strange trip it’s been.

            Comment


              #7
              B5 is the ONLY TV show for which I've bought the entire series on DVD, as well as the accompanying films.

              Brilliant concept, brilliant production.

              Too bad the first season was a bit ratty. Seasons 2-4 were extraordinary though.

              Another shame that they were cancelled early, and had to stuff the last 2 seasons into a single season. THEN they were renewed for their 5th season by another network, so there was a bit of padding for that last season.

              Still, with all the behind-the-scenes BS, they still managed to create a 5-year story arc that is the gold standard.

              Comment


                #8
                Did you guys enjoyed the short lived spin-off called Crusade?
                "We all gotta climb mountains!" - Jon Anderson 2003

                Comment


                  #9
                  Last I saw, HBO Max (A Netflix-like service) had the complete series available for streaming in the United States. It included "The Gathering" (A remastered for cable television cut from 20 years ago that adds a major spoiler about Sinclair from Kosh's mind, but if you haven't seen the show, you won't know what it means. Someone would have to be listening for it very closely in later episodes to get it before it's revealed.), which is sometimes excluded from DVD sets and the like as it is a pilot that aired like six months before the series and is not technically considered part of season one, but none of the made for TV movies.

                  I'd double check that it's still there before subscribing for that, though. Things come and go on a lot of these streaming services.

                  Some people struggle with the first season, but it's really exposition. When things really start happening in later seasons, they matter more because you've had this relative slow period of being introduced to the universe and the characters, and their status quo.

                  I love the political arc (I am not sure whether it would come through to someone watching today or not how much they did things that simply were not done on television at the time.). One of my favorite scenes in the whole series involves Zach Allen (Played by the late great Jeff Conaway, who was also Bobby Wheeler on Taxi) and Nightwatch (I don't want to spoil anything for people who haven't seen it, but those who have probably know the one). My favorites episodes were probably "Severed Dreams" and "Point of No Return" (Which don't include my favorite scene ) - do yourself a favor if you haven't seen them and don't try to view them out of order, though, they have way, way more impact if you've seen the rest of the series up to that point.

                  The first episode I saw was actually "The Face of the Enemy" late one Saturday night in first-run syndication and then went back and watched every episode when they aired weeknights on TNT that January. I was that impressed. I think I'd have been more impressed had I seen the rest first, but I knew enough to know this was a show that wasn't afraid to make stories that mattered and have it's characters evolve in unexpected ways.

                  I think the final thing filmed in the original Babylon 5 universe was this sort of direct to DVD thing with a very low budget and two episode-like stand-alone stories. One involved Locksley and a Roman Catholic priest. They had planned to do more, but JMS (the show's creator) felt he wasn't being given enough of a budget to do it well or something and decided against it.
                  "A lot of the heavier conversations I was having with Chris toward the end were about his desire for this thing to go forward. He kept reiterating that to me. [...] He kept telling me, 'No matter what happens, Yes needs to continue moving forward and make great music. So promise me that that's something you want to do.'. And I have to keep making music. It's just what I do. [...] I'm a fan of the band and I want to see it thrive and that means new music." -Billy Sherwood

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by John Vehadija View Post
                    Did you guys enjoyed the short lived spin-off called Crusade?
                    Not seen that yet. I'm on Season 5 at the moment.
                    Sometimes the lights all shining on me, other times I can barely see.
                    Lately it occurs to me what a long strange trip it’s been.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by John Vehadija View Post
                      Did you guys enjoyed the short lived spin-off called Crusade?
                      I haven't seen it since it originally aired like 20 years ago, but I remember thinking it had unrealized potential at the time. The key issue that kept it from being super memorable, aside from not even lasting a full season, was that because of back and forth between creative and the television network, it really wasn't able to establish it's footing.

                      IIRC, basically the show's creator, JMS, filmed 5 or 6 episodes, and then the network wanted to revamp the crew uniforms, sets, and other aspects of the show. Instead of doing this in a logical way, like introducing the new stuff in the episodes after the ones already filmed, the show wound up going back and filming prequel episodes that would air before the episodes already filmed, but have the new look, meaning suddenly they were having to introduce stories before the beginning of the story, and before regular viewers had seen anything air. Then, the episodes that had actually been filmed first aired, with the originally filmed look, and finally after that they went back to more new episodes with the new look (Which would be the same as the earliest airing episodes).

                      The other thing is that, and I have to believe the intent here was to pivot and tell a different story, but the start of show was about this starship attempting to find a cure for a plague that could wipe out all life on earth within five years. The problem is that we had already seen earth existing and inhabited by humans at various points in the future of the shared Babylon 5 universe Crusade inhabited. So, there was really no tension in the central plotline- it was like, "Well, I guess they either find a cure or the scientists develop one.". JMS is a smart creative guy and I can't imagine he was going to do that for five years, but the show went off the air before it could really show the viewers what it was supposed to be.

                      Actually, my concern for the Babylon 5 reboot is that several television series have ended with JMS walking out due to disputes with networks or production companies. I'm hoping that type of scenario isn't going to unfold again here. With Crusade, the network seemed to be going kind of beyond acceptable demands and making it impossible to do a show of the quality JMS desired, but there have been some other situations where it hasn't been clear cut.

                      Even with Crusade, one of the things JMS complained about was that the network wanted more sex and violence, basically- and it seemed to me that it would have been fairly easy for him to have a young Lieutenant character or something who the camera cut to in bed with a different woman every time there was a red alert and showed having to grab his jacket and pull on his boots and make a quick exit in the general direction of the bridge, 30 seconds an episode. More violence? He also keeps getting into fist fights and the technomage creatively and humorously ends them every time, 2 more minutes an episode (Maybe the crew member causing the trouble is kept on because he's an Admiral's son or something and he was forced on the Captain by "a network of higher ups in the Admiralty" as sort of an inside joke.) . You could still do a good show around demands for more sex and violence on the show, within reason, but JMS had a tendency just to be a stone wall and not take network notes, which was problematical, because they fund the production and air the show.

                      His next thing was a program on Showtime with the guy who played Theo Huxtable on The Cosby Show. Two seasons in, JMS walked out or got fired from that, too, and they ended up just canceling the show. I don't know the details there. It was set outside the Babylon 5 universe and I didn't have Showtime. Some kind of post-apocalyptic drama. But more beyond the scenes drama.

                      I think if I were the CW, I'd already have an agreement that in the event JMS leaves the upcoming B5 reboot, maybe there could be a 5 year non-disparagement agreement and the show continues with someone else at the helm, just in case. The guy wrote an unprecedent 90-something of 110 episodes in five years of the original Babylon 5- so he's a creative genius and an incredibly hard worker- I just hope he stay on good terms with the network for long enough to get us another full show.

                      I'm very excited about it. I think what I would do is have the same characters and starting conditions and have everything go in a very different direction from that point, with some of the background being different, but not the background we immediately know about. So, everything winds up being a surprise, but it's all familiar faces (character wise, not actor wise) who may not really be who we think they are at a deeper level, and may not stay the way they begin. I have a few ideas of exactly how to do things differently, but since we have some folks on the thread still watching the original show for the first time or who haven't seen it yet, I don't want to spoil anything by describing what I'd do differently the second time around (Which, to be clear, is not "fixing" anything with the original show- it's just that you can't do the exact same show twice. You've got to at some level tell an original story each time.).

                      One thing the press release makes me wonder is- Where's Sinclair?
                      Last edited by downbyariver; 11-29-2021, 09:04 AM.
                      "A lot of the heavier conversations I was having with Chris toward the end were about his desire for this thing to go forward. He kept reiterating that to me. [...] He kept telling me, 'No matter what happens, Yes needs to continue moving forward and make great music. So promise me that that's something you want to do.'. And I have to keep making music. It's just what I do. [...] I'm a fan of the band and I want to see it thrive and that means new music." -Billy Sherwood

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Wow, what an informative post, let's hope for the best for the new series
                        "We all gotta climb mountains!" - Jon Anderson 2003

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by John Vehadija View Post
                          Did you guys enjoyed the short lived spin-off called Crusade?
                          Crusade. What an unfortunate backstory.

                          Cancelled before a single episode aired.

                          It's like started a novel, and having someone steal your book after you've only read the first 60 pages.

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