Babylon 5 Newbie's What's the Verdict?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Dave Scarpa, Nov 30, 2002.

  1. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    I'm wondering what people that bought Season one but never watched the series before think of the show So far? I've must've seen the entire series at least twice and I never tire of it discoving new things on each viewing. I remeber what it was like watching it for the very first time and are you infor a treat once season 2 kicks in. The amazing thing I've noticed so far is how much I'm enjoying series one. At first I found O'hare's performance wooden, but now that I've seen the entire series I find he was Perfectly cast as Sinclair. Yes some of the Dialog is cheesy at time and overwrought, and yes some of the acting by the guest stars will make you wince (See Grail for what I Mean) but the Principles all get better over time and Londo and G'kar, their Transformation is a thing of Beauty.

    If B5 is hooking you I'm wondering what ep grabbed you. For Me it was "By any Means Neccessary" a story like that was never told on any Sci fi series before and it served to legitimize the universe. And of Course "Signs and Portants" when I saw their was definately a groundwork being layed.

    Enjoy B5 all you Newbies out there, your in for one hell of a ride.
     
  2. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    I know what you mean. I'm also curious to hear from the newbies. (Although there have been one or two posts in other threads.) Actually I'm hoping Ron finds time to write a review, since I don't think he's watched the series before. Like him I never watched The X-Files when it was originally aired, and only discovered it on DVD. The couple of first season episodes I happened to catch didn't impress me, so I stopped watching the show. When I caught a third season episode at a friend's house and liked it, I was interested, but found the mythology a bit dense and confusing at that point. I wanted to watch the show from the beginning, which I never managed to do with the broadcast reruns. When the DVDs were released I took a chance, and bought the first season sight unseen. (Although I was also gambling my money with another motive. I was hoping that if Fox had a hit with The X-Files in a full-season boxed set, Warner Bros. might finally get off its encounter-suited butt and do something with B5. It's taken them a couple of years, but they finally have.)
    I, too, found myself enjoying S1 much more this time than on previous viewings, not only because of having the benefit of hindsight (I've probably watched the whole series 8 or 9 times by now) but because watching four episodes back-to-back with no commercials is a different experience. And I'm still spotting things that I never caught all the other times I've watched it. (The clarity of the DVD image and the crystal-clear freeze-frames help. Great for reading all those Universe Today headlines. In one shot Garibaldi is reading the paper and there is a story about blending Human and alien DNA. Then he folds the paper down to reveal a certain character entering his office. Nice touch. And being able to read the title of Harlan Ellison's never-written autobiography, Working Without a Net, which Ivanova is reading in one scene.)
    I'm also hearing things I've never heard before - like the station P.A. system announcing a Harlan Ellison book-signing in the background while two characters are doing a "walk'n'talk". I even think I caught a dialogue blooper by Claudia Christian that somehow slipped through, but I want to double-check it before I say more.
    So c'mon folks. What did you think of S1?
    Regards,
    Joe
     
  3. CaptDS9E

    CaptDS9E Cinematographer

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    I agree with Joe. I always said you must watch season 1 again after the series is over and you grow a better appreciation for it. Watching them all back to back without commercials and excellent sound you can pick up things you never noticed such as the P.A. announcements and newspapers Joe Mentioned. I actually am watching parts of the set again a second time as there are some good episodes in Season 1. Even a few others dont like , i love because there are things even in those episodes forshadowed which mattered big time.


    capt
     
  4. Blu

    Blu Screenwriter

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    I've never seen the series (nor Buffy, OZ, Sex and the City) but got B5 because it was a impulse buy and I had nothing to do over a weekend. I loved it and am looking forward to the rest of the series. I am hoping they accelerate the release schedule to something more like what Paramount does with the ST: TNG or DS9.
    I am happy with it!
    I did try to watch it when it was on TNT but just didn't get into it.
     
  5. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    Joseph interesting that you brought up the X files, because it too was a series I did'nt really dig and never watched until about the third season. Then I started to watch the Reruns and loved it. But the X Files is also a series that I was really dissapointed with. Like B5 it too wanted to tell a greater story. It had the framework layed down but the it all came too clear that Chris Carter was making it up as he went. That he, unlike JMS, did'nt have a story that had a definite Beginning, Middle and End. He had'nt thought it thru. And that was truly a Shame.

    I'll likely finish Season 1 monday and it'll be a ong wait until May to get to the next chapter. Ron if you liked X Files Give B5 a chance. If shows Like Felicity warrant a review B5 most certainly does
     
  6. Ric Easton

    Ric Easton Cinematographer

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    Felici-who?

    I watched B5 from the beginning. I loved the whole series. I always liked Sinclair and was a little disappointed when he was replaced. Then Heridan grew on me. I did like that they followed thru with Sinclair's story though.

    Seasons 2 thru 4 were fantastic. Granted the dialog was sometimes a little rough, but it was that big epic story that hooked me.

    The season one DVD has been sitting on my shelf since it was released. I'm getting a 53" widescreen set on Monday and I have been saving a few things to premier on it. I can't wait!

    Ric
     
  7. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Yeah, I've found even episodes I didn't like myself the first couple of times around (and which I therefore didn't go out of my way to watch in reruns) are better than I remembered them as being - even without the truly amazing foreshadowing. I find that Ivanova's "B" story in "TKO" more than makes up for the rather routine "Rocky" plot of the "A" story. (And I do like the fact that they used Sugar Ray Robinson's real name, Walker Smith, as the name of the boxer.) "Grail" was more fun than I remembered it as being. I'm very impressed by the job of reintroducing the show and the characters that "Midnight on the Firing Line" does. And it was only when watching it this time that I really understood Delenn's violent reaction to the alien in "Soul Hunter". Her story about a Minbari version of the boogey-man never sounded convincing to me. But think about it - which soul of all those on Babylon 5 would Delenn think most likely to attract a Soul Hunter? No wonder she tried to kill him. [​IMG]
    Regards,
    Joe
     
  8. Gregory Pauswinski

    Gregory Pauswinski Supporting Actor

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    I'm not exactly a B5 newbie, but I have not seen seasons 2 & 3 yet and want to avoid spoilers as much as possible. Do the special features on the Season 1 DVD give away anything from the other seasons?

    Thanks!

    Gregory
     
  9. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    Not really Warner did an excellent job not spoiling much. I've finished the set and cannot wait to get season 2 even thou I've seen it all before. B5 is the greatest Sci Fi series ever. DS9 would come in a close 2nd.
     
  10. Len Berkoski

    Len Berkoski Stunt Coordinator

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    Actually, there are a few spoilers in the data files (the Vorlon one, and the Delenn one). One of the commentaries gives away a few points as well.

    The documentaries are fine though.

    Len
     
  11. Julie K

    Julie K Screenwriter

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    I watched part of one episode during B5's original run. It was a couple of seasons into the show and the episode made little sense not having seen earlier shows. I then pretty much put B5 out of my mind.

    But what the heck, I'm a sucker for DVDs, and besides my rental queue at netflix was getting low. So I rented the first disc.

    I watched all four episodes on the disc in one sitting. The next day I went out and bought the S1 set. I enjoyed all the episodes, but "Signs and Portents" set the hook and reeled me in. I watched the whole season over one weekend.

    I can't wait for the rest.
     
  12. ChuckDeLa

    ChuckDeLa Cinematographer

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    I refuse to watch any show with a guy who looks like this:
    [​IMG]
    No way. Color me shallow and petty, but I could just never take it seriously.
    At any rate, it always seemed to be one of those shows that is only liked by people who like ANYTHING sci-fi. And I caught part of an episode once and it seemed excessively melodramatic.
    But, I am glad that it is being released for all the fans.
     
  13. Bill_Moore

    Bill_Moore Extra

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    /
    That couldn't be further from the truth. B5 is something of an acquired taste to many and I don't think you can even remotely say the show is loved only by people who love ANYTHING sci-fi. There are plenty of people like that who didn't get into the show. It's not the kind of show everybody gets into easily.

    Season one wasn't the greatest, but I enjoyed it. It's the next few seasons that will really crank things up. Too bad somebody's missing out on a great series because of one character's head piece. You're really missing out.
     
  14. Rob T

    Rob T Screenwriter

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  15. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Lead Actor
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    I refuse to watch any show with a guy who looks like this:
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    That's too bad because the Lando character is one of the more interesting characters in the show, along with G'Kar. The show does get melodramatic in spots, but that can be said for any show.
     
  16. Julie K

    Julie K Screenwriter

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  17. Randy Korstick

    Randy Korstick Producer

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    Quote:
    ---At any rate, it always seemed to be one of those shows that is only liked by people who like ANYTHING sci-fi. And I caught part of an episode once and it seemed excessively melodramatic.---


    Couldn't be further from the truth. I like Sci-Fi but am a little selective on the type of Sci-Fi I like. I have tried for years to like Star Trek. I have seen all the Original series, The Movies and have sampled all of the other shows and I cannot get into any of them. I did like DS9 a little and I am considering giving it another try but all the rest of Star Trek is definately not for me. I love Babylon 5. It is my favorite Sci-Fi show and one of my favorite shows of all time and I definately do not like anything Sci-Fi. I really like the character development in this show as well as the main Story arcs.
    As far as the look of a character goes, you could pull one character fom any sci-fi movie or T.V. show and make the same statement so that seems like a limp reason to not watch a Sci-Fi show.
     
  18. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    Julie you are in for a treat. The 2nd and 3rd Seasons of B5 are just terrific, the fourth is when it all starts to come together, the Fifth is a bit shaky untill round the 10th ep or so and then it get's back on track. You're in for a treat but unfortunately your pocket book will suffer.

    And Julie even thou Trek is missing from your list you might want to give DS9 a try, it's similar to B5 in that there is a definate arc that builds, characters grow and change, unlike other Trek Series. It also take a bit to get going as Season 1 is the weakest but really takes off in the 2nd year. Maybe you can Netflix a few to try.
     
  19. Peter Overduin

    Peter Overduin Supporting Actor

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  20. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Yes, as JMS (creator executive producer J. Michael Straczynski) notes, in many ways Babylon 5 is as much Londo's story as it is anyone else's.
    And yes, many people dismissed it as the show "with that guy with the silly hair". Their loss. Peter Jurassik acted his way out from under that hair to become one of the most memorable characters in television history for those who bothered to watch. Not SF television history, mind you. He's as vivid a character as any you can name in the 50+ year history of the medium.
    About the hair - it was a mistake. [​IMG] As JMS explains on one of the commentary tracks, they originally envisioned the a short hair crest running from side to side on the head. Those who have seen the entire series will remember there is a fad for a "short-haired look" among certain younger Centauri in a later season. That is pretty much what they were all supposed to look like. To create those hairdos the makeup people would take long strands of hair, build up a "fan" and then cut it back. When they were doing the first make-up tests for the pilot Peter J. walked out of make-up before they trimmed it back and found JMS. "What do you think?" he asked, kidding. "Do you like it?" JMS thought the actor really liked it. Not wanting to step on his creativity he said, "Fine. We can work with that." At this point Jurassik thought JMS really meant for this to be what he wore, so he didn't dare admit to the producer that he had been kidding.
    Thus the long-haired Centauri were born. They spent all of S1 trying to get the damned hair to work, adding more each week. They finally developed an almost solid-looking "fan" of hair (that looked like it could cut you) early in S2 and that became the standard look for Centauri males for the balance of the series. JMS actually apologizes for how bad the hair looks in S1 on the commentary, but they did their best. Considering that B5 was produced on less than half the budget of a TNG or DS9, I'm willing to cut them some slack. As with a lot of British SF, this is a series where you tune in for the characters and the story, not for glitzy FX that are there mostly to cover the fact that the characters and story aren't very interesting.
    And just to repeat one point, B5 is far from a show that "people who like anything SF" are drawn to. People who like written SF are drawn to it, and many of those avoid screen SF like the plague. Lots of people who aren't drawn to SF at all enjoy it, just as lots of people who could never stand watching standard cop shows became hooked on Hill Street Blues or NYPD Blue.
    Chuck:
    If you are so prejudiced against the show, why bother posting to a thread that you know in advance is going to be populated by fans, or at least those willing to give it a chance? I'm genuinely curious, becuase I've never understood this interest. I see threads all the time asking "when is X going to be released" where my immediate reaction is "why was X ever made?" But it would never cross my mind to read the thread, much less post a "gee, I always thought this movied sucked but I hope it gets released for the sake of its fans" note. (I was going to say, "If you so dislike a show...", but then remembered that you haven't even seen a whole episode, so you can't have any actual grounds for disliking it, just a bad reaction to a single image.)
    I'd like to offer you a challenge. Go rent a copy of disc 1, and then watch all four episodes on it. Post again to let us know what you thought of it. I'd be very interested in knowing.
    Regards,
    Joe
     

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