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"Who Are You?" and "What Do You Want?": The BABYLON 5 / STAR TREK Comparison T

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Rex Bachmann, Sep 6, 2002.

  1. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Well-Known Member

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    Babylon 5 and Star Trek: Comparison and Contrast Thread
    I had originally planned this for last spring, but there was just no time to prepare it then and, as you will see, this a bit demanding of time and thought. Although I was going to wait till sometime closer to the Babylon 5 DVD release date, the recent flair-up of interest in the software threads over the prospects of the DVD availability of DS9 and Babylon 5 and the clash over them has prompted me to go ahead and start this thread now, as I think there is presently enough interest and enough (hopefully thoughtful) respondents to make it work.
    Anyway, . . .
    I've read about antagonism between fans of the Babylon 5 and Star Trek "franchises"---gee, I hate that word---at these sf fan conventions in the 90s and have always found it hard to believe that real sf fans would waste their time arguing with each other over which is "better". Better to be thankful that finally we can have both on television.
    In thinking about and analyzing ST and B5, it occurred to me that it would be interesting (and fun) to hear other fans' thoughts on the comparison of these two outerspace science-fiction action/adventure shows. So I engage and invite members of the audience to feed back their thoughts, informed by reasoned arguments, on various aspects of these shows: what differentiates them, what they have in common. Any aspect whatsoever, large or small---no need to be "generic" here---, of the two "franchises" that are comparable may be compared and contrasted here, whether it be storyline, or story background (otherwise known as "mythology"), production aspects (FX, acting, directing) vel sim.
    In addition to any general comments you might make in comparing these two shows ("franchises"), you might wish to give a more detailled explication of some specific aspects that the two share in common.
    I have taken the trouble to prepare a sample list of suggested topics for exposition and discussion (sometimes with a comment from me that may (or may not) be used as a point of departure):
    • Mission statement: B5: "Who are you?" "What do you want?" "Whom do you serve?" (franchise framed in terms of mystery) :: ST: "To go boldly where no man---no one---has ever gone before." (franchise framed in terms of bold discovery/adventure)
    • mysticism (e.g., in Babylon 5, Minbari preoccupation with their "souls"; the "Universe" as pervading ambient conscious : in Star Trek, e.g., Vulcans and their katras)
    • the role of telepaths
    • John Sheridan : Benjamin Sisko (uncanny parallel, or something rotten in Denmark?)
    • aliens vs. humans
    • Minbari : Klingon comparison (ritualistic, honor-bound warrior races)
    • group identity in future Earth society (race and ethnicity)
    • philosophy/sensibilities/world (cosmic) view: Is B5 really as lugubrious as some have charged? (Think "Third Age of mankind" here.)
    • Earth Force : Star Fleet (officer/crew relations; organizational aspects, etc.)
    • uniforms: extra-tight and "stylish" or "real military"? (The message(s) conveyed to audiences?)
    • time-travel blues (e.g., as depicted in "Babylon Squared" vs. most of ST)
    • music (Christoph Franke / Evan Chen : TOS original theme (by Alexander Courage) & score, Ron Jones/Dennis McCarthy/Jay Chattaway et al.; "canned-heroic" music from TNG on)
    • alien cities in B5 and in Trek
    • comparative human sociology:
      status: economic class, poverty and its concomitants such as crime (acknowledged in B5, ignored or outright denied in ST)
      ---crime and punishment (e.g., the death penalty)
    • acting: e.g., Claudia Christian ----> Ivanova after the death of Marcus : Nana Visitor ----> Kira after the death of Vedik Bareil
    • humor
    • Centauri : Romulans (power-hungry schemers working behind the scenes)
    • "A plague upon both your houses!": recurrent mischief-makers Alfred Bester : "Q"
    • anachronistic references/anachronistic dialog: ("As the humans say, . . .")
    • Earth Alliance (----> Interstellar Alliance) : Federation
    • warrior women: Susan Ivanova : Kira Nerys
    • special effects (e.g., CGI vs. model work)
    • comparative technology (e.g., weapons ("Phasers on 'stun'!"); comparative ship design, vel sim.
    • Shadow War : Dominion War
    Please join in on any of the topics above or suggest and explicate your own topic. Let's just try to avoid comparing apples to oranges.
    Guidelines:
    Participation in presenting a detailled comparison presupposes decent familiarity with each "franchise" and should be limited to those with such knowledge. If you aren't familiar with Babylon 5 (Babylon 5 itself, and perhaps its tv movies, or its spin-offs Crusade, Legend of the Rangers), please limit yourself to ancillary comments, that is, to commenting on or augmenting the detailled comparisons made here by others, which, of course, any poster is free and welcome to do.
    [Test: If you quit watching Babylon 5 midway during its first season or weren't able to view this program or a large number of ST episodes, especially those of DS9 (which is the most likely parallel to it), because of odd scheduling by indifferent or hostile local stations---something many of us have faced at given times for each of these programs---then you probably shouldn't be doing an analysis here.]
    Note: You may certainly take one side or the other that you prefer of a contrastive presentation and give a reasoned argument for it. But you are not being asked to choose sides between these two "franchises".
    Ground rule:
    Let's not make this a Star Trek- or (more likely, given the disparity in the size of their respective fandoms) a Babylon 5-bashing thread. No gratuitous Voyager- (or Enterprise-)bashing is allowed either. We've had (many) separate threads for that. All such statements here should be backed by specifics and set in a comparative context with the corresponding aspect of programming, philosophy, presentation, etc. on Babylon 5. Comparison! Comparison is the name of the game here.
    All analyses should be specific enough to compare some similar aspect of the two "franchises".
    Unuseful are generic statements such as:
     
  2. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Well-Known Member

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    Shadow War : Dominion War

    The adventure centerpiece of both Babylon 5 and Star Trek: Deep Space 9, the two series most likely to be compared, was war.

    I don't think one can talk about this aspect of the shows without first prefacing with a word on how so-called sentient "aliens" are depicted in each.

    One of the things that absolutely fascinated me about B5 was the depiction of not a simple, flat "equality/equivalence" of intelligent life forms, which is what we're all too used to in popular filmed "science fiction", but a hierarchy of sentience and intelligence. As G'Kar, the Narn ambassador to the station Babylon 5, tells Captain Sinclair's soon to be fiancee, Catherine Sakai, in "Parliament of Dreams" or "Mind War", there exist life forms that roam the galaxy that are so advanced that, next to them, human(oid)s are like ants on an evolutionary scale or continuum. Best not to get in their way.



    Quote:



    There are things in the universe billions of years older than either of our races. They are vast, timeless . . . They are a mystery, and I am both terrified and reassured to know that there are still wonders in the universe---that we have not yet explained everything. Whatever they are, Ms. Sakai, they walk near Sigma-957. They must walk there alone.






    The only equivalent attempts at depicting vastly superior beings in ST usually come off as wisps of light in early Trek (e.g., in "Gamesters of Triskelion", "Return to Tomorrow", "Squire of Gothos", "Errand of Mercy") or "advanced humanoid" ("Arena", "Squire of Gothos" (again), "Who Mourns for Adonais?").

    Also up for mention from later Trek are the mysterious Nagilum of "Where Silence Has Lease", who experiments with humans in an attempt to understand the phenomenon of death, the Douwd of "The Survivors", who has destroyed an entire race of billions of Husnak (but has loved and married a human woman), Gomtuu, the organic sentient, intelligent ship that exists to "host" lesser life forms ("Tin Man"), the ethereal Cytherians of "The Nth Degree" (akin to the Thasians of "Charlie X"?), and, of course, the "Q-Continuum" of countless Trek episodes.

    An observation here whereby the two franchises are somewhat, though not totally, distinguishable. Despite their vaunted "superiority", almost all of ST's superevolved beings acknowledge and interact with human(oid)s. (V'ger and Tanru of "The Changeling" even seek to meet and/or "join with" their human creators.)

    I prefer, though, B5's hierarchic view and presentation of higher life forms, which seems to me a more natural "fit" to an evolutionary model of life-form development. Some life forms precede others by billions of years, and, if they survive so long and attain "sentience" (self-awareness and the ability to consciously manipulate their environment), we suppose, based on models seen here on Earth, that such beings would attain also abilities far beyond those of the younger species, especially in the cognitive domains.

    Ultimately, Babylon 5's super-sentients tend to both be remote and remain nameless ("The Shadows' own name for themselves is 10,000 letters[!!!] long, and unpronounceable." Is there a linguist in the house?!?) Likewise with the other "First Ones", the unnamed Lovecraftian aliens of Babylon 5: Third Space, and "The Hand (of God)" of Legend of the Rangers.


    In the universe of ST, these superbeings seem to exist primarily to interact with humanoids, particularly humans, just like their less highly evolved sentient counterparts, and they are most often "benign and benevolent" (I suppose in accord with the Roddenberry ST philosophy that "advancement" in evolution = some kind of "socio-moral" advancement to a humanistic (i.e., Roddenberry) ideal).

    The super-sentients of B5, on the other hand, are ideally (as the quote from G'Kar avers) uninterested and/or disinterested in the "lowlier" intelligent species, being, of course, so far in advance of them on the evolutionary continuum. Their interaction with humanoids is "far-and-few-between", as they say, and incidental, to boot. They are inaccessible or nigh unapproachable. The Shadows "speak" directly (that is, in a humanoid language---English, of course) only once in the whole series (to Lorien and to Delenn in "Into the Fire"). Otherwise, their communication is achieved only through their high-pitched chirping, usually to their minions who, like Mr. Morden, Anna Sheridan, and Justin ("Z'ha'dum"), serve as intermediaries to the protagonists of the series. The Vorlons, likewise, keep a mysterious distance from man and other humanoids, giving only cryptic verbal clues to the meaning of what they say or communicating through dreams or waking visions.


    The "Q"-Continuum is Star Trek's closest equivalent to Babylon 5's "First Ones". Voyager episodes, like "Deathwish" (a "Q" with ennui wants "out"), "The Q and the Grey" (Continuum civil war and "Q" wooing "Kathy"), and "Q2" (teenaged "Q" with adolescent rebellion problems), however, destroy any pretense of the "superior" nature of this group of aliens, as they continually foist their "personal" problems onto the "puny humans". But, what's an all-powerful entity to do? Now just imagine one of the Shadows bringing in its offspring for "counseling" from Mr. Garibaldi. ([high-pitched EM buzz]"That'll learn ya some reeeal discipline, young whippersnapper!"[/high-pitched EM buzz])

    Both groups, "First Ones" and "Q"-Continuum, on closer examination, however, turn out to be more pre-occupied with beings that they pretend are "beneath" them (despite the G'Kar quote above) than is initially signalled, and this pre-occupation betrays the anthropocentrism of each "franchise". For reasons that are known to fans of Babylon 5 and will become known to those who futurely catch the episodes they might've so far missed, this will be seen as so. Those super-sentients have their own (parallel) axes to grind with regard to humanoids. Ultimately, blame it on the fact that humans wrote each story. ("Man is the measure of all things.")


    A (superficial) comparison of the war threads themselves:

    When: The events of the Dominion War take place in Earth's 24th century C.E. The Shadow War takes place in Earth's 23rd century C.E. (at the tail end of the so-called "Second Age of Mankind").

    Who:

    alliance: Klingons, Federation, (belatedly and reluctantly) Romulans
    vs. "Axis of Evil" allies: Dominion ( = the Founders (rulers), the Vorta (administrators), and the
    Jem'Hadar (the kamikaze military)), Cardassians, and (belatedly) the mysterious Breen

    Where:

    The two space stations Babylon 5 and Deep Space 9 are the two groups of protagonists' respective home bases and the showplaces of each series.

    Babylon 5 has been built by the Earth Alliance, but with the funding from other major space-faring powers (the Minbari, the Narnites, the Centauri, and the so-called League of Non-Aligned Worlds). It is a place of commerce which is governed over by Earth in consultation with the other governments through their resident ambassadors. It has been set up to foster peace between the erstwhile warring major powers (Earth Alliance vs. Minbar; Narn vs. Centauri "Republic" (actually a decadent empire)). It is "neutral" territory.

    Deep Space 9 is a Bajoran station built, then later abandoned, by the Cardassians after their rule of Bajor has come to an end. The Federation has stepped in to help the Bajorans rebuild their world and as protector. The two co-govern the station, which is also a place of commerce and residence, as well as space port and military station strategically placed near the only known stable "wormhole", an entrance to the so-called Gamma Quadrant of the Milky Way.

    Neither station is destroyed by enemy forces in wartime during the courses of the respective stories because of their respective military values for all concerned parties. In the case of Babylon 5, there are other reasons as well, best left unelaborated here.


    The Dominion War is fought mostly in the so-called Alpha Quadrant. Although the Founders of the Dominion do intend to "avenge" the Romulan/Cardassian rogue military
    destruction of their original homeworld that is depicted in the two-parter "Improbable Cause"/"The Die is Cast",
    some skirmishing does go on in the home quadrant of the Dominion.

    In the Shadow War of Babylon 5 the E(arth) A(lliance) (Earth and its human colonies), and the Centauri Republic are neutralized as combatants, due to the machinations of the Shadows. More interesting, and more dramatically realistic, in my opinion, would have been to have the two "allies" actually be manipulated into entering the war (the actual fighting) actively on the side of the Shadows.


    This leaves the war itself to be fought between a coalition of humans based on Babylon 5, Minbari, Narnites, and "lesser (humanoid) races" (Brakiri, Drazi, Hyach, Pak'mara, etc.), with the nominal backing of the Vorlons (super-sentient non-humanoids) against the ancient, super-sentient arachnid-like so-called Shadows, who seem at first to have nearly invincible military technology, and their "dark servants" (who remain mostly unseen. Later the Drakh step forward as a major Shadow servant race). The enemy, in proper accord with its nature, remains much more remote in B5 than in DS9. We are never taken aboard a Shadow or a Vorlon vessel, for instance, whereas we do get to see the interiors of Dominion, Cardassian, and Breen ships. (On the other hand, we are treated to a visit to the capital city of the Shadows in "Z'ha'dum".)

    Though the action isn't technically restricted to any one area of the galaxy, Babylon 5's Milky Way is always oriented toward the Outer Rim. What lies near or beyond the Rim is a constant theme and reference in the show. Much of the war-action takes place there.
    The Shadows' home world, Z'ha'dum, is located there (while the Vorlon Empire, as it's called several times, is situated in space toward the interior of the galaxy (from which no exploratory (or military?) ships have ever returned). The Rim is the place where the "First Ones" go to transcend the galaxy, and of course, Sheridan himself joins them finally "beyond the Rim" at the story's end.



    For reasons of drama, each group of protagonists has overwhelming odds set against it (natch), and, as always, the "good guys" (at first) fight a defensive war.

    Why: What was it all about?

    Simply put, (as far as I understand it, at least)

    In the Shadow War
    superbeings manipulate less evolved sentients into eternal, recurring cycles of antagonism, supposedly to help them evolve, but actually more as a sort of cosmic chess game to impress each other,


    whereas the Dominion War is occasioned by the usual geopolitical ("cosmopolitical"?) power struggles.


    The shortcomings of the Dominion War thread in DS9:

    The major shortcoming of this thread, in my opinion, was (and is) the lack of a tie-in to the struggle between the wormhole aliens, known to and worshipped by the Bajorans as the "Prophets", and their arch-enemies, the P'ah Wraiths. This story is left as almost totally separate from the Dominion War thread---a missed opportunity.

    If J. Michael Straczynski (JMS) had been plotting events for DS9, somehow the Dominion would have ended up being aided by the P'ah Wraiths, while the Federation Alliance would have been backed or assisted by the "Prophets" of the so-called Celestial Temple (the wormhole). (And, in fact, they do intervene to (temporarily) save the day at one point at Benjamin Sisko's behest and entreaty.)

    Keeping these two stories almost totally separate seems both unrealistic in terms of the logistics of the politics of the struggle and, for me personally, dramatically unsatisfying. As a previewer of the episode said at an Internet site at the time, if the two stories had been tied together, Sisko's eventual fate would have had a lot more meaning to it for the audience than it does.


    The shortcomings of the Shadow War thread in B5:

    For me, similar: not enough exploitation of the "First Ones". Marcus and Ivanova's quest for other "First Ones" allies to aid in the fight against the Shadows should have lasted longer and the contact should have been somewhat deeper ("Voices of Authority", "The Summoning", "The Long Night"). As it is, it seemed a little too easy for them to find these beings and convince them to intervene on the side of human(oid)s (whom they usually ignore completely). Of course, JMS had more of an excuse than his DS9 counterparts: he was working under the prospect of a premature cancellation of B5 at the end of only its fourth season.

    Because the Dominion War gets dragged out longer and the audience gets to go to more places in the story with the protagonists, it has more the feel of a "real" war, advances, retreats, stalemates, and all. Much of B5's staging was obviously limited by budget, so much of what we learn about the happenings in the war is told to us second-hand (much as with a stage drama). I still find it amazing how well the events come off, despite the budget limitations the producers were working under from their niggling and diffident corporate parent. (Warner Bros. didn't seem to have the guts (?) to take the risk alone, so it financed the show through the PTen partnership, whatever that was.)

    The Shadow War, as presented, has a rushed feel to it, by comparison. Its conclusion that
    the Vorlons and Shadows just say "Oh, never mind." and go away when the humanoids say "I don' wanna play!"
    rings more than a bit false to me after the enormous investment of resources and time each lead adversary has put into bringing this event (the war) about (not to mention the build-up to this climax that has progressed over the previous three and a half years on the show).

    Because of this, the Dominion War thread, for me, gains the edge in terms of satisfactory conclusion. This despite the fact that I still find the motivation for the war in Babylon 5 to be far more interesting---far less "run-of-the-mill"---as science fiction.
     
  3. JJR512

    JJR512 Well-Known Member

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  4. BrianW

    BrianW Well-Known Member

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    Wow, Rex, that was great reading.

    I'll add only that I believe ST is a vehicle for conveying an idea, while B5 is a vehicle for telling a story. Both are great, but I must confess that I love a good story, and I found B5 much more compelling.

    When I get more time, I'll stop by and compare the physics of both franchises.
     
  5. CaptDS9E

    CaptDS9E Well-Known Member

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    Its not Really usuallY B5 vs Trek . Its more like B5 vs DS9. I was a fan of DS9 first as i didnt watch B5. But i did a few years ago on Sci-Fi and i love it. Excellent series. People can compare it all they want. There are some similarities but thats about it. Both shows go off on there own ways and i love them both

    capt
     
  6. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Well-Known Member

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    JustinR wrote:

     
  7. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Well-Known Member

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    Joey Nazzari wrote:
     
  8. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Well-Known Member

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    I'm unsure if I'm prepared to go to the lengths that Rex has ( nice posts! ) but here are some initial thoughts.

    First, I'm not really prepared to discuss DS9 as I only intermittently watched the show. During the initial seasons, the exploration theme of Trek ( coming from TOS and TNG, and being a big fan of both series ) wasn't served well by having the crew confined to a space station. Thematically, the space station concept didn't fit into what had come before in Trek; at least for me. I realize that this was addressed, but I only sporadically watched the show; so I'm uncertain of the plot threads on this series. ( I'm not knocking it, I simply never got into that series. Perhaps it will be worth revisiting when the DVDs start streeting? )

    From the larger standpoint of the The Trek universe compared to the the B5 universe; the Trek universe ( at least on TOS and TNG ) felt much more idealistic ( reflecting Roddenberry's philosophy, I suppose. ) For me, the B5 universe has always felt more realistic, comparatively speaking, due to its emphasis on political power, deceit, manipulation, and focus on character motivation. No doubt the series reflects my own cynical view that human nature changes very, very slowly and that while society will be radically different due to technological changes in 400 years, the basic human motivations and instincts will be quite similar to contemporary practices.

    - Walter.
     
  9. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Well-Known Member

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    Walter Kittel wrote:
     
  10. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Well-Known Member

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    One other ( perhaps off tangent ) thought that I weighed after my first post was how FX technology and the design decisions of the respective productions impacted the shows and their depictions of alien races.

    DS9 was still very much into the use of physical models, whereas B5 used CGI from it's inception ( with some exceptions ) to depict the ships and physical environments of the respective show's universes.

    DS9 perhaps due to its reliance on physical models stuck to the humanoid alien approach, whereas B5 used a variety of physical, animatronic, and CG based aliens. B5 did use humanoid aliens for almost all of the alien species that required much interaction, no doubt for production reasons. But where it did deviate was in its use of CG to depict supplementary characters that helped drive the story arc, particularly with the Shadows, and to a lesser degree with other aliens such as the Old Ones. I can't help but feel that this contributed to a more 'alien' feel for some of the alien species, although the show's philosophy towards aliens and their relation to mankind was a larger contributing factor.

    - Walter.
     
  11. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Well-Known Member

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    While Babylon 5 is my unabashed favorite TV show ever of all time, I'm also a hardcore Trekkie, so I like to chat about both. [​IMG]
    One quick thing: since Babylon 5 was only one show, I don't think it's accurate to refer to it as a "franchise." Crusade was only 13 episodes and Rangers was only one movie. Star Trek, on the other hand, is 5 series and 10 theatrical releases.
     
  12. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Well-Known Member

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    "SPOILER" warning!
    Mike Broadman wrote:
    I don't think Warner Bros. would---or does---agree with you.
     
  13. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Well-Known Member

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    Star Trek:
    Telepathy in the Trek universe is generally looked at as something wondrous and beautiful, often as an advanced step in evolution. One telepathic race we encounter in Trek often is the Betazeds (sp?). Note that the major Betazed character, Troi, is not telepathic but merely empathic.
    The issue of privacy regarding reading people's thoughts is dealt with in Trek but as a minor side issue. A couple of minor characters had expressed dismay at Troi being "in their heads." However, the crew she works with and most people she encounters don't seem to mind. More importantly, her fully telepathic mother cavorts about the galaxy and even serves as a diplomat- and no one cares. In fact, they present it as something... cute.
    In one episode, there is a master negotiator who is revealed to be partially empathic but keeps it secret. This is the heaviest that Trek went into the ethics of telepathy (and it wasn't even really telepathy). The accepted ethical position taken up by the good guys is that mind-reading abilities is OK if the other person knows about it. Troi's issue with the negotiator was that his opponents were not aware of his power. Of course, this then begs the question of ethics when Troi uses it when they encounter strange new life forms.
    I felt the episode did an admirable job with it given the flimsy treatment it got before it. That is, it did well when it had little to work with.
    Babylon 5:
    Telepathy plays a much bigger role here. One major difference with Trek is that telepaths featured on B5 are mostly human, wereas on Trek they are mostly alien. This allows B5 to explore the question: what would happen if telepaths were suddenly discovered to live among us? Their answer is not a happy one. Riots, lynchings, and the instant creation of an oppressed but dangerous underclass. The solution of the Psi Corps would create problems of its own.
    The general human acceptance in B5 to telepaths is much harsher than on Trek: we don't want no one in our brains, period. This is even expressed by a major and well-liked character, Garibaldi, who flat out said that he doesn't trust them- and this was before a few of them screwed with his brain.
    Issues resembling racism and prejudice are involved- people of different inherint characteristics doesn't make them "better," etc. However, it is even more complicated then something like race since a telepath literally can do things that others can't (as opposed to, say, being black). An objective non-prejudiced person would have no reason to distrust black people simply because they are black, but it would be reasonable to distrust a telepath. In B5, telepaths are not allowed to gamble. To us, that seems perfectly reasonable. If we say a woman should not be allowed to gamble, that is oppression. The issue becomes- how do we protect the privacy of non-telepaths while still maintaining human rights for telepaths.
    The truly fascinating thing about it is that, for humans, no solution is provided. By the time the show ends, Lyta has become more and more militant in her pro-telepath cause, Psi-Corps is still powerful, and there are plenty of rogue telepaths running around. Supposedly, JMS wants to make a feature film that would involve a major conflict between the two groups. This is why it isn't covered in any of the other canon works in the B5 universe. Also of note is the fact the Minbari don't seem to have a problem with telepaths.
     
  14. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Well-Known Member

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    Mike Broadman wrote:
    Nothing makes me even less miss having a B5 theatrical than this news. I still haven't gotten over the "singing telepaths".
    Thank you for your earnest participation here.
     
  15. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Well-Known Member

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    Rex, I'm almost positive that the Shadows had nothing to do with the death of Dukhat or the ensuing war. It was purely a result of arrogance and carelessness by both parties. Of course, one of the results of this war had a lot to do with the Shadows later on (or before... er, stupid time loops).
     
  16. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Well-Known Member

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    Mike Broadman wrote:
    John Vickery in "Appearances and Other Deceits" (the one with the fey uniform-designer), who also played the hostile Cardassian Gul Rusot in episodes "The Changing Face of Evil", "When It Rains ...", and "Tacking Into the Wind" in DS9's final season.
    I totally agree with you on the more realistic social-dynamic approach taken in Babylon 5. I think one reason so many fans are rabid to get the DS9 videos is that it is the one Trek program that has striven for dramatic realism (in its later, Piller-less years, that is) and has, for the most part, attained it. The other new-era Trek programs are too wrapped up in showcasing and upholding ideology.
     
  17. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Well-Known Member

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  18. Paul P

    Paul P Well-Known Member

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    Wow, interesting discussion.

    As for the Borg, and I say this having only really watched the original and next generation, so no voyager, DS9 -- was that they didn't seem able to reproduce. As for their origins, I thought up a great circular storyline for a new movie, which would explore their origins through a holodeck virtual representation of the borg collective consciousness, which the crew would fight to get through, and eventually find that the borg originally began as part human part machine, as the new organism formed at the end of star trek:TMP. Remember kirk saying "did we just see the beginning of a new race?" Now I thought it could be worked into a great sequel to First Contact, with an ongoing war with the borg, and the klingon race intervening to fight along the way. bygones.

    As for B5:

    I loved Marcus, for many reasons including his humility. On the other hand, Byron annoyed the hell out of me. Something neglected in this discussion is B5 as a socio-political commentary, on everything from racism to political structures(night watch/Ministry of Peace ~ SS/Nazis). I found it compelling because it was a human story, the story of sentient struggles of real beings, with grandly planned out character arcs and story arcs. Given they had to do some tweaking to keep it going, but it still came out as an impressive product. Another layer is the representation of the religions, which I believe is formed in the different alien races : Humans--christians(mainly), Narns--muslims, Centauri--Romans, Minbari--Zen Buddhist/ Hindu. A friend of mine and I once categorized each of the sci fi series into reasonable disciplines. Next Generation--psychology, DS9-politics, Voyager-philosophy, B5-religion. Fitting, but since I've only watched half of those, I can't speak to its definite accuracy.
     
  19. Michael TLV

    Michael TLV THX Video Instructor/Calibrator

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    Greetings

    Excellent discussion here on the subject. For the record, I enjoyed both DS9 and B5, but my DS9 enjoyment increased once the series started down the path of the Dominion conflict after season two. The maquis stuff just bored me for the longest time.

    Both series are highly regarded in my mind, with the slight edge going to the B5 side and mainly for the use of gray characters. There were very few characters that we could categorically call good or evil. All the things that occurred were presented with enough information to legitimately support either side.

    The duality of all the characters ... and add to that, how all the characters had certain personality flaws/weaknesses. (Everyone was messed up in the head in one way or another.) I just found them more human than what I saw in DS9. Trek characters were a little too perfect and I could never associate with that.

    G'kar ... bad to good
    Londo ... good to bad to good
    Vorlons ... good to bad
    Shadows ... bad to middle of the road
    Minbari ... bad to good to ?
    Bester ... was he really bad? or was he good?
    Edgars ... good to bad to?? Depends how you look at it ...

    Lyta ... good to bad to ?
    Talia ... good to bad ...

    etc ...

    There was always a sense of surprise where the characters were concerned. Because JMS had established a universe where anything was possible ... one could never be quite sure where each character stood in each crisis ... and as a result, you could never be completely sure how certain events would turn out.

    Regards
     
  20. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Well-Known Member

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