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(io9)   Today marks the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the greatest science fiction program ever to grace the American airwaves   (io9.com) divider line 369
    More: Spiffy, J. Michael Straczynski, police drama, Bruce Boxleitner, Melissa Gilbert, story lines, NYPD Blue, Hill Street Blues, sci-fi  
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12532 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 22 Feb 2013 at 9:28 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-02-22 11:20:41 AM
OtherLittleGuy:

Typical methodology to watch Babylon 5:

- Slog through Season 1. Duration: Months.
- Watch Season 2. Duration: A few weeks.
- Watch Season 3. Duration: 18 hours.
Note -- may be longer if you borrowed the set and the person doesn't answer the door at 3 AM in the morning.
- Watch Season 4. Duration: 18 hours.Take a day to recoup.
- Watch the original TNT movies. Duration: a day.
- Watch Season 5. Duration: a few days. May skip over the Telepath Arc. Be sure to buy Kleenex in bulk.
- Rewatch Season 1 to pick out the foreshadowing.


Well put and pretty accurate. I was pretty misty when the finale aired. It made up for the unfortunate mess of Season 5, but I think JMS did as well as he could with what he had to work with story-and-actor-wise when S5 started. I forgive him.

/Still upset we never got any stories about the actual Telepath War - TV, movies, or novels.
//Still want to know more about David Corwin. Untapped character development pisses me off.
 
2013-02-22 11:20:45 AM
Pretty certain it hasn't been 20 years since Firefly was on.

Keep meaning to watch B5, never gotten around to it. Was a Trek/Xfiles fan back then.
 
2013-02-22 11:21:11 AM

FirstNationalBastard: Key To Time... one 26 episode season based on finding and assembling the Key To Time.


That's a very loose story arc. That's like saying  Heavy Metal is a single unified story because that green orb thing was in every vignette. By that logic, pretty much everything from the Key to Time through all of Turlough's stories were a single arc, since it all tied together with the randomized TARDIS controls and the Black Guardian.

FirstNationalBastard: You could go back to Jon Pertwee's tenure and say that the whole "Doctor stranded on Earth" thing was a three season long story-arc.


That's a stretch. It was a conceit the show used to change its premise for a variety of production reasons.
 
2013-02-22 11:25:42 AM

soopey: Farscape is 20 years old? Who knew...


Cannot be repeated enough.
 
2013-02-22 11:27:06 AM

Satan's Bunny Slippers: soopey: Farscape is 20 years old? Who knew...

Cannot be repeated enough.


I think "Farscape" is notable for having an even broader variation in quality than B5. When it was good, which was much of the time, it was a great show. When it got bad, it got  baaaaaadddd.
 
2013-02-22 11:27:06 AM
earthprime.com

Wasn't so bad. There. I said it. At least for the first 2 seasons. Everything after Arturo being killed sucks.
 
2013-02-22 11:27:34 AM

Sybarite: The avalanche has already started; it is too late for the pebbles to vote.


My favourite Kosh quote.  And applicable in so many real life situations, with a little tinkering.
 
2013-02-22 11:29:51 AM

soopey: Wasn't so bad. There. I said it. At least for the first 2 seasons. Everything after Arturo being killed sucks.


It actually sucked pretty quickly, as the writers made it into a weekly "fascist dictator ruling alternative America with stalwart freedom fighters" wank-fest.
 
2013-02-22 11:30:05 AM

macadamnut: Teufelaffe: Alphax: Harbinger of the Doomed Rat: Sorry, but The Incredible Hulk used the "simple concepts of story arcs and character development" and pre-dates B5 by 15+ years.

Uh, I watched that show as a kid.. I remember no story arcs, nothing carrying over from one episode to another.

Disagrees:
[tvmedia.ign.com image 460x345]


That wasn't a story arc. Bruce comes to town, Hulk appears, Mr. McGee appears, Bruce moves on. It was the same thing every week.


David, there was no Bruce.  The network thought Bruce sounded gay.
 
2013-02-22 11:30:25 AM

Lexx: B5 was far, far better than *any* Star Trek, and to this day I refuse to trust anyone but JMS for writing multi-season plot arcs.


With your handle I'd have thought you'd talk about some other show...
 
2013-02-22 11:32:24 AM

soporific: I defy anyone to name a sci-fi series finale that can top the finale of Babylon 5. "Sleeping in Light" is still one of the greatest final episodes of all time. Say what you will about the series, it knew how to end with a bang. Lost? Battlestar Galactica? They don't even come close, and I suppose B5 ruined me on final episodes because after that one, every one since has been found lacking.


I though "All Good Things"(ST:TNG) was awesome and should have been a movie.
 
2013-02-22 11:34:31 AM

t3knomanser: Satan's Bunny Slippers: soopey: Farscape is 20 years old? Who knew...

Cannot be repeated enough.

I think "Farscape" is notable for having an even broader variation in quality than B5. When it was good, which was much of the time, it was a great show. When it got bad, it got  baaaaaadddd.


OK, I can live with that.  I tried to watch B5/DS9/SG-1 and some others.  They ALL disappointed me, even my beloved Farscape in the end.  Either I couldn't get through enough episodes to care (B5/DS9) or by second or third season they went straight to shiat (SG-1/X Files).  But I'll also admit to being harder to entertain the older I get.  The trend to go straight to stupid is getting faster and faster with all shows now.

But I have the fondest memories of Farscape.
 
2013-02-22 11:34:39 AM

PIP_the_TROLL: I'll back  you a long way on B5 - it was a really good show. I think DS9 just edges it out though.

Besides, everybody knows what the best scifi show of all time is:

[i192.photobucket.com image 640x480]


I agree that DS9 is killer. I need to watch B5 now to confirm DS9's superiority.

I tried rrrrrreally hard to like Farscape but it was so hit/miss. Never established consistently quality episodes.
 
2013-02-22 11:35:05 AM

Callous: macadamnut: Teufelaffe: Alphax: Harbinger of the Doomed Rat: Sorry, but The Incredible Hulk used the "simple concepts of story arcs and character development" and pre-dates B5 by 15+ years.

Uh, I watched that show as a kid.. I remember no story arcs, nothing carrying over from one episode to another.

Disagrees:
[tvmedia.ign.com image 460x345]


That wasn't a story arc. Bruce comes to town, Hulk appears, Mr. McGee appears, Bruce moves on. It was the same thing every week.

David, there was no Bruce.  The network thought Bruce sounded gay.


And their other suggestions, "Lance" and "Julian" were also quickly shot down.

/Still don't see why they had to go with David. Banner's full name in the comics is "Robert Bruce Banner". Was Bob or Rob or even Robert not to their liking?
 
2013-02-22 11:35:15 AM

Tanukis_Parachute: Since Quark has been mentioned... I present to you this...

[www.vampirerave.com image 308x400]


Yet another so-bad-it's-good one.

Going back even further, I present you with this:

api.ning.com
 
2013-02-22 11:35:25 AM

KatjaMouse: I honestly hated Babylon 5. I watched the entire first season last year and could not bring myself to watch the rest. I kept hoping "Maybe it'll get better with the next episode..." and it never did. So I didn't get the appeal for the show, unfortunately.


My struggles with B5 are known on various threads over the past few weeks, but I've had the same experience.  I will continue saying the same thing: SF fans are so used to getting shiat on that they now expect it and then ask for more.  Even the most diehard B5 fans will say stuff like: "It was the greatest show ever.  I mean, season 1 and 5 sucked, but 2, 3, and 4 totally rocked!"  In other words, about 40% of the episodes are acknowledged by fans are being pretty crappy.  This somehow makes it a great show.

\heard the same argument for pretty much every other SF show
\\SFX reviewed the Blu-Ray for season 2 of Star Trek: TNG, and said that you should get it because it had three or four high quality episodes on there
\\\that's a hundred bucks or more for about three hours of quality SF
 
2013-02-22 11:35:55 AM

Callous: soporific: I defy anyone to name a sci-fi series finale that can top the finale of Babylon 5. "Sleeping in Light" is still one of the greatest final episodes of all time. Say what you will about the series, it knew how to end with a bang. Lost? Battlestar Galactica? They don't even come close, and I suppose B5 ruined me on final episodes because after that one, every one since has been found lacking.

I though "All Good Things"(ST:TNG) was awesome and should have been a movie.


I can not say much because I never really watched Babylon 5 but I am a Trekie and I have to admit. All Good Things was a great season finally. The last line by Picard "Should of done this a long time ago" was a great way to end TNG series.
 
2013-02-22 11:36:40 AM

soporific: I defy anyone to name a sci-fi series finale that can top the finale of Babylon 5. "Sleeping in Light" is still one of the greatest final episodes of all time. Say what you will about the series, it knew how to end with a bang. Lost? Battlestar Galactica? They don't even come close, and I suppose B5 ruined me on final episodes because after that one, every one since has been found lacking.


Not in the finale, but still my favorite scene.

"Actually, now that you mention it..."
 
2013-02-22 11:37:08 AM
Alphax: Teufelaffe: Alphax: supposedly one story got pushed back 2 seasons because someone mentioned something just like it.

People in the entertainment industry who do shiat like that need a nice hard punch in the baby-maker.  Leaked story info is supposedly why Mass Effect 3 ended up getting a terrible, shiatty ending instead of their originally planned ending that did not involve a glowy space kid and some Monty Hall pick-a-door-for-your-ending crap.

I think this was a case of 'oh crap, he mentioned a story idea that we were already working on.. now we have to track down this stranger on the Internet and get him to sign legal documents that he's NOT the one that gave us this idea!'

This story doesn't pass the stink test.  If they had a script that they were working on when someone on the internet posted an idea then they have 0 worries.  It is very VERY hard to prove that someone stole your idea.


It is true - the episode is called "Passing through Gethsemane". JMS talks about it here (scroll to the bottom): http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/countries/us/guide/048.html

The episode in question dealt with a murderer who'd been caught, tried, convicted and mindwiped so he had no idea of the crimes he committed and consigned to a life of service. One of the victim's family members tracks him down since he thought the murderer got off easy.

What JMS wrote in the above link was: "On another service, someone without considering what he was saying (not his fault, it just happened) said, in essence, "What if somebody on B5 found out that he had been mind-wiped, and used to be something awful previously?" Well, I'd had "Passing Through Gethsemane" on the wire at that time, but when I saw this, I had to scuttle the story. It lay there, untouched, for over a year, until I could finally meet the fellow and get a signed release indicating what'd happened. If that fan had not been fair and reasonable, that episode -- which many consider one of our best -- would never have been made.".
 
2013-02-22 11:37:12 AM
Power Rangers didn't start until August 28, 1993.  You're a few months early.
 
2013-02-22 11:37:34 AM

yves0010: Callous: soporific: I defy anyone to name a sci-fi series finale that can top the finale of Babylon 5. "Sleeping in Light" is still one of the greatest final episodes of all time. Say what you will about the series, it knew how to end with a bang. Lost? Battlestar Galactica? They don't even come close, and I suppose B5 ruined me on final episodes because after that one, every one since has been found lacking.

I though "All Good Things"(ST:TNG) was awesome and should have been a movie.

I can not say much because I never really watched Babylon 5 but I am a Trekie and I have to admit. All Good Things was a great season finally. The last line by Picard "Should of done this a long time ago" was a great way to end TNG series.


Picard's last line would have been even better if he had been shooting Wesley while nailing Beverly.
 
2013-02-22 11:37:58 AM

soopey: Everything after Arturo being killed sucks.


You know what else sucked after Arturo got killed?

application.denofgeek.com
 
2013-02-22 11:40:55 AM
clkeagle:B5 is what brought the simple concepts of story arcs and character development to genre television.

1982 would like a word with you:

galacticwatercooler.com
 
2013-02-22 11:41:42 AM

FirstNationalBastard: yves0010: Callous: soporific: I defy anyone to name a sci-fi series finale that can top the finale of Babylon 5. "Sleeping in Light" is still one of the greatest final episodes of all time. Say what you will about the series, it knew how to end with a bang. Lost? Battlestar Galactica? They don't even come close, and I suppose B5 ruined me on final episodes because after that one, every one since has been found lacking.

I though "All Good Things"(ST:TNG) was awesome and should have been a movie.

I can not say much because I never really watched Babylon 5 but I am a Trekie and I have to admit. All Good Things was a great season finally. The last line by Picard "Should of done this a long time ago" was a great way to end TNG series.

Picard's last line would have been even better if he had been shooting Wesley while nailing Beverly.


I like how that relationship was still in the "are they / could they " playing field even through the movies. And I also like the idea that Wesley might of been Picard's child. I heard one of those fan theories and it actually makes up for the whole "Shut Up Welsey" lines that happen every episode. But yes, it could of been better if Wesley was done in some how. Or made his character a lot more bad ass as he grew up.
 
2013-02-22 11:42:28 AM

Click Click D'oh: clkeagle:B5 is what brought the simple concepts of story arcs and character development to genre television.

1982 would like a word with you:

[galacticwatercooler.com image 450x369]


Good old Robotech.. I mean Macross.
 
2013-02-22 11:42:54 AM

whizbangthedirtfarmer: "It was the greatest show ever.  I mean, season 1 and 5 sucked, but 2, 3, and 4 totally rocked!"


Neither season 1 nor 5 sucked, but neither was up to the standards of the rest of the series. The biggest challenge that B5 has is its production values. The sets were awful, the special effects were rough, and the acting- yeesh, some of those bit parts they'd bring in. Oh, and then there's that Penn and Teller themed episode written by Neil Gaiman. ACK, that was awful.
 
2013-02-22 11:45:14 AM
I enjoyed B5, and I loved how the physics for space flight didn't mimic atmospheric flight, but looked more as I imagined flight in space would look and that there were continuous beam lasers.
I was a bit burned out on Star Trek after TNG, so I never watched much DS9. If it's as good as everyone says, I guess I should go back and check it out.
Glad some others mentioned SG1.
 
2013-02-22 11:47:08 AM

flaminio: Lexx: B5 was far, far better than *any* Star Trek, and to this day I refuse to trust anyone but JMS for writing multi-season plot arcs.

With your handle I'd have thought you'd talk about some other show...


Ahaha that's more a personal nickname than a reference to the show.  I did love the 3rd season though, Prince was a great character.
 
2013-02-22 11:47:38 AM

dittybopper: Tanukis_Parachute: Since Quark has been mentioned... I present to you this...

[www.vampirerave.com image 308x400]

Yet another so-bad-it's-good one.

Going back even further, I present you with this:

[api.ning.com image 424x260]


Let me also point out that I'd climb all over Fuji:

images1.wikia.nocookie.net

She's held up well.
 
2013-02-22 11:49:25 AM
magnus.vanosten.se
 
2013-02-22 11:49:42 AM
20 years? You kids get off my lawn! The greatest sci-fi program ever was...

thewickedwriters.files.wordpress.com

Salvage 1, featuring Matlock... I mean, Andy Griffith!
 
2013-02-22 11:50:59 AM

Satan's Bunny Slippers: soopey: Farscape is 20 years old? Who knew...

Cannot be repeated enough.

B5, Farscape, SG1, Firefly, BSG were all great because of the story arcs.
 
2013-02-22 11:51:57 AM

Richard Sauce: PIP_the_TROLL: I'll back  you a long way on B5 - it was a really good show. I think DS9 just edges it out though.

Besides, everybody knows what the best scifi show of all time is:

[i192.photobucket.com image 640x480]

I agree that DS9 is killer. I need to watch B5 now to confirm DS9's superiority.

I tried rrrrrreally hard to like Farscape but it was so hit/miss. Never established consistently quality episodes.


The first season is pretty rough, but once they introduce Scorpius and Harvey its all pretty great with a handful of exceptions.
 
2013-02-22 11:53:56 AM

theorellior: I love the idea of people arguing that "The Incredible Hulk" was groundbreaking television just so they don't have to say anything nice about B5.

As someone who was watching it as it aired, it was a refreshing break from "Boring Moving Hilton in Space" that ST:TNG was becoming and DS9 started off as.


If you look really carefully, no one has called The Incredible Hulk "groundbreaking television."  We've simply stated that B5 doing something that has been done before is obviously not groundbreaking on B5's part.  I've never seen the show, and have no particularly negative view of it, but for someone to pop in here and suggest that it was the first "genre television" program to have story arcs and character development is just stupid.
 
2013-02-22 12:01:44 PM

vudukungfu: Firefly isn't that old

 
2013-02-22 12:03:53 PM

Gleeman: Firefly


COMBO BREAKER!!

/ Surprised the thread made it that long
// Best.spaceshow.ever
/// Well, after Thunderbirds
 
2013-02-22 12:05:43 PM

Harbinger of the Doomed Rat: And that's just American TV. I'd be willing to bet that the Brits have something even older that uses story arcs and character development.


Anyone recall a little series called Blake's 7?  Beat all of 'em to the punch by a couple decades.
 
2013-02-22 12:09:08 PM

Cyno01: Richard Sauce: PIP_the_TROLL: I'll back  you a long way on B5 - it was a really good show. I think DS9 just edges it out though.

Besides, everybody knows what the best scifi show of all time is:

[i192.photobucket.com image 640x480]

I agree that DS9 is killer. I need to watch B5 now to confirm DS9's superiority.

I tried rrrrrreally hard to like Farscape but it was so hit/miss. Never established consistently quality episodes.

The first season is pretty rough, but once they introduce Scorpius and Harvey its all pretty great with a handful of exceptions.


I have to say that, and I just started watching Farscape for the first time, that the first dozen episodes were pretty brutal.  And then they somehow just took off a few episodes before Chianna arrived.  The quality has been pretty consistent after that.

\still not really liking Chianna at all
 
2013-02-22 12:10:06 PM
static.btvguide.com
encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com
encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com

There - have three. No - no - make it four:

encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com
 
2013-02-22 12:10:20 PM
1-media-cdn.foolz.us
"We don't watch Babylon 5."
 
2013-02-22 12:11:00 PM

Son of Thunder: Lord Reefa had that accent.


"It's a small p'dice to pay, for immor-TAL-ity..."
 
2013-02-22 12:12:40 PM
What article says: "Show X was first Y show to do A, B, C and D"
What farkers read: "Your favorite Y show sucks"
 
2013-02-22 12:14:14 PM
Futurama premiered in 1993?
 
2013-02-22 12:16:17 PM

whizbangthedirtfarmer: Cyno01: Richard Sauce: PIP_the_TROLL: I'll back  you a long way on B5 - it was a really good show. I think DS9 just edges it out though.

Besides, everybody knows what the best scifi show of all time is:

[i192.photobucket.com image 640x480]

I agree that DS9 is killer. I need to watch B5 now to confirm DS9's superiority.

I tried rrrrrreally hard to like Farscape but it was so hit/miss. Never established consistently quality episodes.

The first season is pretty rough, but once they introduce Scorpius and Harvey its all pretty great with a handful of exceptions.

I have to say that, and I just started watching Farscape for the first time, that the first dozen episodes were pretty brutal.  And then they somehow just took off a few episodes before Chianna arrived.  The quality has been pretty consistent after that.

\still not really liking Chianna at all


She gets better - just wait for the redhead.
 
2013-02-22 12:17:23 PM
Was hoping this would be B% when I saw the link, leaving satisfied, except tp amplify this line from TFA:
"and Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski also changed the rules for TV creators by actively engaging his fanbase online during the show's production. "

CSB:
I was On a FIDONET B-5 discussion forum (wasn't even linked to the USenet at the time IIRC) and bunch of us DC area fans decided to do an episode watching party at this one guy's houe who had a 100in projection screen and surround sound in his basement (remember the Dot-Com era was just dawning and geeks were suddenly finding themselves RICH)  al totalled there ware about 50 or so attendees.  Somehow JMS got wind of the gathering and offered to call us after the show to discuss it with us (IIRC it was the episode where the white star fought the shadow ship in earth's solar system).  I think we were all expecting a five min call where he said a few words and got back to his busy life.  what we got was more than an hour of in-depth Q&A where he engaged us in serious philosphical discussion about the nature of good and evil , told anecdotes about the day's filming (which had just wrapped) and funny stories about the cast.

As a geek I was blown away (it was just below the time I ended up chatting with Issac Asimov at a con for 20 minutes) and I think it was that direct fan engagement by JMS that helped make B5 some of the most fanatically loyal in all of SF-we really felt the show was an ongoing dialogue with us and for the first time it was a two-way conversation
 
2013-02-22 12:17:37 PM
wow 20 years already . damn i feel old.

/hopes subby feels old too.
 
2013-02-22 12:19:20 PM

Sybarite: The avalanche has already started; it is too late for the pebbles to vote.


My favorite quote from the series.
 
2013-02-22 12:20:46 PM

whizbangthedirtfarmer: Cyno01: Richard Sauce: PIP_the_TROLL: I'll back  you a long way on B5 - it was a really good show. I think DS9 just edges it out though.

Besides, everybody knows what the best scifi show of all time is:

[i192.photobucket.com image 640x480]

I agree that DS9 is killer. I need to watch B5 now to confirm DS9's superiority.

I tried rrrrrreally hard to like Farscape but it was so hit/miss. Never established consistently quality episodes.

The first season is pretty rough, but once they introduce Scorpius and Harvey its all pretty great with a handful of exceptions.

I have to say that, and I just started watching Farscape for the first time, that the first dozen episodes were pretty brutal.  And then they somehow just took off a few episodes before Chianna arrived.  The quality has been pretty consistent after that.

\still not really liking Chianna at all


Shes not really there to be liked, but shes still better than Jool who was just there to be actively disliked.
 
2013-02-22 12:20:46 PM

Magorn: Was hoping this would be B% when I saw the link, leaving satisfied, except tp amplify this line from TFA:
"and Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski also changed the rules for TV creators by actively engaging his fanbase online during the show's production. "

CSB:
I was On a FIDONET B-5 discussion forum (wasn't even linked to the USenet at the time IIRC) and bunch of us DC area fans decided to do an episode watching party at this one guy's houe who had a 100in projection screen and surround sound in his basement (remember the Dot-Com era was just dawning and geeks were suddenly finding themselves RICH)  al totalled there ware about 50 or so attendees.  Somehow JMS got wind of the gathering and offered to call us after the show to discuss it with us (IIRC it was the episode where the white star fought the shadow ship in earth's solar system).  I think we were all expecting a five min call where he said a few words and got back to his busy life.  what we got was more than an hour of in-depth Q&A where he engaged us in serious philosphical discussion about the nature of good and evil , told anecdotes about the day's filming (which had just wrapped) and funny stories about the cast.

As a geek I was blown away (it was just below the time I ended up chatting with Issac Asimov at a con for 20 minutes) and I think it was that direct fan engagement by JMS that helped make B5 some of the most fanatically loyal in all of SF-we really felt the show was an ongoing dialogue with us and for the first time it was a two-way conversation


That is one of the best CSB's I ever read
 
2013-02-22 12:24:51 PM

jrg1199: /Still upset we never got any stories about the actual Telepath War - TV, movies, or novels.
//Still want to know more about David Corwin. Untapped character development pisses me off.


I was certain there were novels about the Telepath War. Particularly that trillogy about Bester.
 
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