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Author Topic: Babylon 5 - Rewatching the series now  (Read 153 times)

Michael Knight

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Babylon 5 - Rewatching the series now
« on: 16 April, 2017, 07:09:34 pm »
What's the verdict now on this show. Anyone done a recent rewatch?

Greg M.

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Re: Babylon 5 - Rewatching the series now
« Reply #1 on: 16 April, 2017, 07:51:42 pm »
I rewatched the whole thing fairly recently, to mark the passing of Jerry Doyle. Some random observations:

Season 1: Doyle / Garibaldi is by far and away the best thing in the first season - other actors and characters haven't quite come into their own yet, but he's got it nailed from the start. Series 1 is probably most interesting as a 'what if?' when you know what the original plan for the series was. (B5 destroyed at end of season 5, Babylon 4 to be setting for sequel series, Babylon Prime.)

Season 2 - 3: From the first moment Bruce Boxleitner appears on-screen, the series gets a massive boost of charisma and energy. The best bits of season 2 are the best bits of the whole series ('In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum', 'The Long Twilight Struggle'), but season 3 is probably the crowning glory in terms of consistency and having a clear direction. Series 2 has some weird diversions that are never followed up.

Season 4: Brilliant season opener ('The Hour of the Wolf') but oddly disappointing as a season. It has some great moments, but something feels flat - probably the need to compress everything. JMS's dialogue was previously hammy but memorable - here it sometimes feels clumsy or repetitive.

Season 5: Very underrated. A slow burner, but some brilliant episodes from the middle onwards. ('In the Kingdom of the Blind' was a surprising standout this time around.) Ivanova badly missed though - frustrating to imagine how it would have played out with her as captain (the stuff with Byron would have been so much better.)

It's still a great series, but the lack of standalone episodes means it's not one you can just dip into, like, say, Star Trek. (The only episode I tend to come back to in its own right is 'Passing Through Gethsemane'.)

The Legendary Shark

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Re: Babylon 5 - Rewatching the series now
« Reply #2 on: 17 April, 2017, 12:34:08 am »
There's so much to love about B5 - I'm getting ready for a re-watch myself. I always start with the "In the Beginning" tv movie - the bit where Londo describes the tail end of the Earth-Minbari war always moves me to tears.

Also, everything Greg said.

Tjm86

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Re: Babylon 5 - Rewatching the series now
« Reply #3 on: 17 April, 2017, 07:37:42 am »
I'm currently mid season 2 on my rewatch.  It still feels a little like it is trying to find its direction at times but is definitely more confident than season 1.  We see the early strands of the Minbari conflict, the full throttle Narn - Centauri war and the slow emergence of the shadows.  The Earth isolationist / conspiracy storyline seems remarkably appropriate for our current times.  It feels very much like the second act where things are being moved into place.  Not completely surprising considering the intent.

What is interesting is rewatching at times in light of what we later see.  Delenn's comment about being present at the death of Dukhat and 'hearing the screaming'.  Considering what we later see in 'In the Beginning' its an interesting take.  It feels like a change was made in terms of how much influence Delenn had.  And on the subject of ITB, not sure when to fit that in.  I tend to watch it about the tail end of season 3 when it was first released, more of a sort of 'fill in the blanks' exercise.

The only thing that niggles for me is that the DVD release of the Gathering has what is for me the wrong soundtrack.  Much as I like the Framke work, the original VHS (!) release had music that worked far better for me.  Never fully understood why they felt they needed to change it and why they never released it in that format. 

Greg M.

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Re: Babylon 5 - Rewatching the series now
« Reply #4 on: 17 April, 2017, 09:19:49 am »
The Earth isolationist / conspiracy storyline seems remarkably appropriate for our current times.

Nightwatch certainly had a greater resonance for me now than they did when I first watched in the 90s. Back then, they were the distant baddies of a dystopian future - nowadays, they're all too plausible (and maybe inevitable.)