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Babylon 5: Should I invest my money and time? ANSWER IN POST #500

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#21 of 788 OFFLINE   DanielKellmii


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Posted June 15 2004 - 11:32 PM

The Netflix idea is a good one. This may sound strange, but it was fun to wait for the next episode. The anticipation was great.

#22 of 788 OFFLINE   Sam Favate

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Posted June 15 2004 - 11:34 PM

I highly recommend the series as a whole. It is one of the richest and most satisfying science-fiction series to ever see the light of day - easily comparable to the best of the Star Treks. DVD is a great way to experience it too.

That said, a word or two of caution:
- Don't expect The Sopranos. Comparing anything at all to the Sopranos is bound to leave you disappointed.
- Avoid spoilers. There are some truly amazing plot twists and revealations in the course of the series. Don't ruin them.
- If some of season 1 (or The Gathering) doesn't seem to be going anywhere, just have faith that, indeed, it is. Your patience will be rewarded.
- In the Beginning has a framing sequence that actually makes it fit into the later parts of the series, although the bulk of the action is a prequel to the series.

#23 of 788 OFFLINE   Stephen Heath

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Posted June 16 2004 - 02:39 AM

I found the universe that was created so compelling that I went on to get some of the novels that tell the bits of story that they never wrapped up (What happened to the technomages, what happened to Bester & the Psi-Corps, and what happened to Centauri Prime & the Drakh). The books were fantastic and gave a lot of breadth to the main story as well.

I didn't mess around with the novelizations of certain episodes, just the books that continue the story.

#24 of 788 OFFLINE   NeilO



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Posted June 16 2004 - 03:00 AM

If some of season 1 (or The Gathering) doesn't seem to be going anywhere, just have faith that, indeed, it is. Your patience will be rewarded.

This is one of the big points with B5. Some people didn't like Season 1 when it first aired, but loved the following seasons. Others liked Season 1 a lot more when they saw it a second time after watching Season 2. I loved the series from the beginning and probably is one of the few who liked the original pilot movie a lot.

When it first came on, in between "seasons" I would watch it all again from the beginning. (I put "seasons" in quotes because it didn't really pause between actual seasons but actually somewhere just short of the end of a season.) The first seasons really got better on viewing them again as some subtle points meant more.

This is one of the reasons why you should own the series, so you can see it again and again. You probably should not watch any of the special features until you have watched all the episodes in a particular season.

It is my favorite TV series of all time.


#25 of 788 OFFLINE   Tony Whalen

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Posted June 16 2004 - 03:31 AM

Ron, I took a while to get into this series. I simply couldn't take some of the characters appearances *cough*Londo*cough* seriously.

What a mistake I made. "Nothing could compare to TNG/DS9" I thought.

Even as a huge Trek fan, I gotta agree with many posters here... BEST SCI-FI SHOW EVER.

Yes, the CGI looks bad (due to framing issues) and the production values weren't huge ... but the writing & character-development is amazing. Stick through season one, and you won't BELIEVE the middle three seasons. Some of the best TV I've watched.

And yeah... stay away from intros & commentaries.

I proudly own the whole series on DVD. I keep catching little details here and there that I didn't catch the first (or second) time around. Really brilliant show. Posted Image

I'll be curious to hear what you think! Posted Image

#26 of 788 OFFLINE   Steven Simon

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Posted June 16 2004 - 03:34 AM

The CGI is rough (especially season 1!), looks even worse on a big display because of the stretching (CGI sources not saved by Warner, long story).

You should see the Shadow ships on my 106 Inch Screen projected with my Marantz VP12-S3 HD2+ DLP Projector. This show shouldn't be seen any other way!!!

I was Ron's friend that got him into this show. I am now currently in season 4 and have been loving every show since the Gathering. This is by far the best SciFi I have ever seen. The story telling is simply unreal!!!

Posted Image Posted Image
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#27 of 788 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted June 16 2004 - 03:40 AM

I've been very fortunate to have heard many funny stories by the large cast of B5 at Dragon Con for the past 5-6 years, and each year I see cast members of this great show, it makes me want to re-visit the show again.

And to reiterate, don't let the pacing of the first season deter you from moving onto to season 2 because the show really picks up steam in season 2, and it's a fun, incredible journey that the whole cast takes in its 5 year run.
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#28 of 788 OFFLINE   Tony Whalen

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Posted June 16 2004 - 03:51 AM

I'm waiting to see Steven & Ron's reactions to "Sleeping In The Light". Posted Image

#29 of 788 OFFLINE   Bill Williams

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Posted June 16 2004 - 03:55 AM

I've gotta go with Cole on this one. I'm not a B5 fan, never have been. While it has some nice CGI effects, overall I could not get into it at all. Even had a buddy of mine try to hook me up with a B5 DVD set for free - couldn't go for it. DS9 had me in hook, line, and sinker from the start.
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#30 of 788 OFFLINE   Steven Simon

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Posted June 16 2004 - 04:02 AM


I heard the last show was very emotional!!! I can't wait!!
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#31 of 788 OFFLINE   DaveGTP



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Posted June 16 2004 - 04:41 AM

You should see the Shadow ships on my 106 Inch Screen projected with my Marantz VP12-S3 HD2+ DLP Projector. This show shouldn't be seen any other way!!!

Well, as of this year, I view it on my slightly inferior setup - 90" or so Infocus X1 DLP. The shimmery stretchy artifacts on the bigger image are sometimes noticeable. I feel it is worth it, but I was just warning, because it really bugs some people.

Quality show. Next best thing to a good series of books. Sometimes better Posted Image. And that's saying a lot from me (Avid sci-fi/fantasy book reader since 5th grade).

Much grittier and more realistic (as far as people). Has a very strong fantasy feel at times though, and pay attention for some really excellent foreshadowing. An occasional really good experimental ep (the Psi-corp ep and a couple of the ISN News eps come to mind) also helps out the mix.

But don't judge it on the pilot! Posted Image
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#32 of 788 OFFLINE   GrantM


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Posted June 16 2004 - 04:49 AM

I, too, was a total noob when it came to B5. So far I've bought the first 3 seasons and the pilot blind. No regrets. I just got done with season 2. While I'm not sure I'm ready to say "best sci-fi series ever", it is getting really good. About midway through season 2 is where it really picked up for me.
That CH deal is a definite no brainer. I just wish they offered seasons 4 and 5.

#33 of 788 OFFLINE   todd s

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Posted June 16 2004 - 04:57 AM

I can't believe our resident B5 expert hasn't chimed in..Joe DeMartino. He can give the best info.
Bring back John Doe! Or at least resolve the cliff-hanger with a 2hr movie or as an extra on a dvd release.

#34 of 788 OFFLINE   TheLongshot



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Posted June 16 2004 - 05:14 AM

To be fair, part of the problem here is that JMS is not a good dialogue writer.

Well, I disagree to a certain extent. I think he had more good dialog moments than bad ones, it is just the bad ones tend to stand out more.

I also think, considering the amount of episodes he wrote, you are going to have some clunkers, especially on the time schedule and his other responsibilities as creator.

He may not be Joss Whedon, but I liked most of his dialog.


#35 of 788 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted June 16 2004 - 06:54 AM

I think it was Rod Serling of Twilight Zone fame who wrote that in TV you're lucky if 1/3 of your shows are very good, a 1/3 pretty good and only 1/3 are lousy. The pressures of time and money and "I don't need it good, I need it Thursday" are such that it you're doing very well indeed if 2/3 of your output is OK or better, and only every third episode is a clunker.

Think about most TV shows that have ever aired, and you'll see the math works out pretty well. I loved the original Trek, which at its best was magnificent, but I think more than a third of its shows were mediocre or worse. (Including pretty much the whole third season.) And I don't exempt Serling himself. As Stephen King has pointed out, The Twilight Zone itself is a pretty good example of "the rule of thirds" and Serling himself wrote a lot of the dogs, as well as a lot of the gems.

One reason a series like The Sopranos can beat these odds is that they aren't locked into tell 22 stories year in and year out, whether or not they have 22 good ideas for stories at the beginning of each season. They can tell as many stories as the executive producer wants to tell in a given "season" and they can take a year off when they feel like it. So such shows simply cannot be compared to series produced under the pressure of broadcast network ratings-or-die, gotta fill those time-slots pressure. Even The Sheild has the advantages of a short, planned season and the lower expectations and greater flexibility of first-run cable.

B5 beats the "rule of thirds" by a mile. Even the harshest critics are hard-pressed to come up with even a half-dozen really "bad" episodes out of 110. And even those almost all have a "B" or "C" story that makes up for any deficiancies of the "A" plot. (One of the most-maligned episodes of the whole show, "Grey 17 is Missing", has a "B" story that is not only great in itself, but sets up a major event that takes place in the following season)



#36 of 788 OFFLINE   Randy Korstick

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Posted June 16 2004 - 07:05 AM

Definately go for it, I will add to those who say this is the best Sci-Fi TV series ever and I would put it in the top 5 SCI-FI TV or Movies ever. But as others have mentioned you do need to be patient. The 1st season is alot better after you've viewed the whole series once. You should be hooked just past the half way mark of season 2. You probably will not understand why all the "Best Sci-Fi Show ever" comments until you've finished Season 3. Then you may or may not agree. I find the special effects on par with DS9 or TNG after Season one so I always scratch my head at the low budget and poor effects comments. In fact a buddy of mine always thought B5 had a huge budget and bigger than any of the Star Trek shows until I told him it actually had a fairly low budget.

To be fair, part of the problem here is that JMS is not a good dialogue writer.

This always puzzles me as well. Sometimes the dialogue is good and sometimes its not but I find this true with just about any TV show. The acting, story, sets and FX all work together to make a great and unique SCI-FI epic. It at many times has a dark film noir feel to it.
So by all means give it a chance Ron and let us know what you think. Just be prepared to be a little patient, it really does get better and better until the end of season 4.
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#37 of 788 OFFLINE   Holadem


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Posted June 16 2004 - 09:39 AM

Nothing much to add really, except that I have a hard time getting into other TV shows because I have been spoilt by the storytelling of this amazing series.

I don't see a problem with watching "In The Beginning" before the main series either (I did that myself), but there is a huge Season 1 plot point that is spoiled.
Well then?! Posted Image


Just ignore the movies altogether for now.


#38 of 788 OFFLINE   MarkHarrison


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Posted June 16 2004 - 11:22 AM

I don't know what to add that hasn't been said already. I can tell you that I currently have about 7 TV box sets that are just sitting there because I'm watch Babylon 5: Season 5 at the moment. The other sets are things I've seen once or twice if at all. I've seen B5: S5 I'd guess at least 10 times since it aired. It's easily my favorite show.

I'd also recommend skipping In The Beginning. As for The Gathering, watch if you get the opportunity, but if you don't get around to it till later, you won't be missing much.

#39 of 788 OFFLINE   Aaron Gilbert

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Posted June 16 2004 - 12:50 PM

Throw in another vote for best sci-fi series ever. This is actually my favorite TV show of all time, and I have been a major Star Trek fan for as long as I can remember. No, I haven't seen The Sopranos, but I just don't get into that genre. I can vouch for the sometimes poor video quality when used on a big screen though. My screen is only 72" wide (works out to 82" diagonal at 16:9), and there are scenes which are quite blurry and/or grainy. I tried watching it zoomed way in at a smaller size for a while. While the picture was better, I just loved the impact of the larger size, and the storytelling is so good that in short order I quickly learned to ignore the less than stellar image quality.

Aaron Gilbert

#40 of 788 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted June 15 2004 - 08:43 AM

For years I have watched HTF members push
Warner to release Babylon 5 in season sets.

For years I have heard people talk about how
great this show is.

Today I had a long conversation with a friend
who just submersed himself into Babylon 5.

He tells me he is hooked on this show. In fact,
in just a few short months he has gone through the
first three seasons.

He says it is by far the best Sci-Fi show ever
made. He says it is equivalent to THE SOPRANOS
but in a different genre.

I'm ready to invest.....but I want to be sure.

I have very little time on my hands. I still have
many TV shows to catch up on. Is Babylon 5
the one I should invest my utmost priority in?

I have also been told I should first watch the
DVD, The Gathering before watching the very
first episode.

Any insight you can give on these sets would be
greatly appreciated.

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner


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