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2010/11/06 Babylon 5
π 2010-11-06 00:00 in Public
So, I saw B5 back when it was showing on TV now almost 15 years ago. I remember enjoying it back then and had fond memories of it. Recently one of my coworkers was selling is DVD boxed set and I figured it would be a good idea to just pick it up and watch it all over again. Note that I'm a good public, I forget stuff quickly, so I mostly rediscovered the show after having mostly forgotten everything that happened.

After just starting 2 months ago, Jennifer and I just finished watching Babylon V, all 5 seasons and movies: that's 110 episodes and 6 movies (not counting the Crusade ones that come after the timeline as shown in this episode list). In the process I also read all the comments and episode details on the midwinter site, which definitely takes a while, but add dimention to the episodes.

Sleeping in Light, the last episode of the Series was just gut wrenching. I had seen it before but it's been 10 years so I had forgotten by now. I don't typically get emotional when watching TV/movies, but this one really got to me again.

Those who know me will probably get tired of my saying it, but I haven't seen a SciFi show that has been as good since then, and I'm not sure I'll get to see one now, as JMS mentions TV studios just make it near impossible for good writers and producers to have their way (that's apparently also why he stopped his spinoff crusade half way through). Unfortunately that's what happened to the Spinoff Crusade: JMS cancelled it after the TV network started messing with it/him too much.

It's a damn shame if you ask me, because almost all SciFi TV nowadays has been crap compared to this (Caprica, I'm talking to you, but you're not the only one).

The highlights that still make B5 the best SciFi TV show today:

  • While the first 1.5 seasons were a bit slow, once the arcs got going, I really loved the suspense and developing story back in the days where most other shows just reset to zero after each episode
  • The CGI wasn't great at the beginning because the technology was just starting to be usable then, but it got spectacular in the 3rd and 4th seasons. I still really enjoyed the beautiful battlescenes with ships, and colors and in all directions, they're just spectacular.
  • Chris Franke's music was and still is awesome. There isn't anything else to say about that. I have his works that came out on CD, they make great listening.
  • JMS's writing and planning of the show 5 years ahead was just spectacular. I remember the first episode I happened to catch on TV being the war without end #2 (i.e. when they find B4 and a lot of stuff started 3 seasons earlier all ties in together). It was a big WTF at the time, it was only later that I got to appreciate how skillful it was when I saw it in sequence later.
  • Anyway, I both really enjoyed this, and I'm also saddened that it's over again and that nothing close to be comparable has been shown since then (Battlestar Galactica wasn't even close in my opinion, portions of Stargate came closer, but never as good with vision years ahead and impressive cross-references. Firefly could have been good had it been given the chance, but just like Crusade it was killed by stupid studio executives as part of a power play :( Heroes was better, but it was still written mostly one season at a time).

    I re-watched 'the lost tales' that came out in 2007 and according to wikipedia, even though the sales of the direct to DVD were not bad, it happened around the writers strike and then Warner Brothers just refused to put up more than a measly 2M for the next episode, and it therefore never happened (the first one had awesome CG, but you could totally tell there were no sets at all and it was all green screen due to lack of budget).

    Oh well, I should instead focus on what was done, and how enjoyable it is, even if it's hard to forget how networks and executives have done a lot of damage to B5 and other shows.


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