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Alluveal October 31st 09 15:03

S1: Overwrought?
 
I have a friend in my program at school who LOVES B5. She's the only other person I've met at school (any school for that matter) who digs on B5. We have a mutual friend who is into all things sci-fi. She heard us talking about B5 and wanted to try it, so I happily gave her my Season 1 and said, "here ya go." We also told her that it's all about introduction in season 1, that some of the eps feel Trekkish in that a lot of the episodes seems to wrap up at the end w/o much of an ongoing storyline involved. Told her, "just get through season 1." There are some great episodes, but there is also some not so fun filler (cough: TKO).

So, said friend comes back a few days later and says, "I started to watch episode 1 and it was too overwrought for me. Can I just have season 2?"

Naturally, this ruffled my feathers a bit. I had told her to give it a shot, that she had to get through season 1. She is someone who just gave me Buffy to watch, telling me firmly, "just get through season 1." And yet she's unable to follow her own instructions. That, in and of itself, is frustrating.

So, I gave her a list of MUST WATCH episodes in season 1. Then told her to go on to season 2. I just didn't know what else to do.

But, seriously? Did you guys find the first episode "overwrought?" Melodramatic?

I'm trying not to let this bother me, but it IS! I am not getting my hopes up that she's going to like the eps I told her to watch (that include: Deathwalker, Sky Full of Stars, Signs and Portents among a few others).

Have any of you had friends interested in the show and they just "couldn't get into it?" Eeesh, how do you deal with that disappointment? :)

I just keep telling myself, "their loss." I think it takes a certain frame of mind to really get into B5--a certain intelligence and openness (as well as just plain awesomeness, right)?

I haven't heard back from her yet. I'll see what she says on Monday. I'm not hopeful. But, we'll see.

Anyway, sorry for the rambly post. Would love some replies.

Jan October 31st 09 15:14

Re: S1: Overwrought?
 
Thankfully, the people I've introduced it to have caught on pretty much immediately. I can see how some people might not care for the style, though, particularly if they're used to the more 'realistic' approach that's common today. B5 deliberately took a different way with more formalized speach patterns that are more often seen on stage than on TV. And that whole stringing together more than one sentence at a time thing sometimes confuses today's audiences.

I don't mind if B5 just isn't to somebody's taste but if they try and say it's *bad* I take their face off. ;)

Jan

KoshN November 3rd 09 01:00

Re: S1: Overwrought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Alluveal (Post 351887)
I have a friend in my program at school who LOVES B5. She's the only other person I've met at school (any school for that matter) who digs on B5. We have a mutual friend who is into all things sci-fi. She heard us talking about B5 and wanted to try it, so I happily gave her my Season 1 and said, "here ya go." We also told her that it's all about introduction in season 1, that some of the eps feel Trekkish in that a lot of the episodes seems to wrap up at the end w/o much of an ongoing storyline involved. Told her, "just get through season 1."

That's good advice.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Alluveal (Post 351887)
There are some great episodes, but there is also some not so fun filler (cough: TKO).

There isn't much filler, or not so good episodes.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alluveal (Post 351887)
So, said friend comes back a few days later and says, "I started to watch episode 1 and it was too overwrought for me. Can I just have season 2?"

Naturally, this ruffled my feathers a bit. I had told her to give it a shot, that she had to get through season 1. She is someone who just gave me Buffy to watch, telling me firmly, "just get through season 1." And yet she's unable to follow her own instructions. That, in and of itself, is frustrating.

She should buck up and follow her own instructions.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alluveal (Post 351887)
So, I gave her a list of MUST WATCH episodes in season 1. Then told her to go on to season 2. I just didn't know what else to do.

But, seriously? Did you guys find the first episode "overwrought?" Melodramatic?

:wtf: No.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alluveal (Post 351887)
I'm trying not to let this bother me, but it IS! I am not getting my hopes up that she's going to like the eps I told her to watch (that include: Deathwalker, Sky Full of Stars, Signs and Portents among a few others).

She should just watch Season 1 straight through. By the time she got done watching "Chrysalis" B5 would have taken hold, unless she's being resistant on purpose.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alluveal (Post 351887)
Have any of you had friends interested in the show and they just "couldn't get into it?" Eeesh, how do you deal with that disappointment? :)

I just keep telling myself, "their loss." I think it takes a certain frame of mind to really get into B5--a certain intelligence and openness (as well as just plain awesomeness, right)?

I haven't heard back from her yet. I'll see what she says on Monday. I'm not hopeful. But, we'll see.

Anyway, sorry for the rambly post. Would love some replies.

I started with "Shadow Dancing" (Season 3 Episode 21) and was instantly hooked. Then I watched a smattering of Season 1 episodes (a friend's VHS EP off-the-air recordings that were pretty bad in quality, the tape and the recordings, not the episodes.), and then watched Season 3 Episode 22 through Season 4 Episode 22 in syndication (Fox-53, Pittsburgh, in Mono, not even stereo), and Season 5 on TNT (better, more saturated picture and in STEREO! Yay!). Compared to that, this girl has it easy!


Quote:

Originally Posted by Jan (Post 351888)
Thankfully, the people I've introduced it to have caught on pretty much immediately. I can see how some people might not care for the style, though, particularly if they're used to the more 'realistic' approach that's common today.

Realistic approach that's more common today? For example? (Which TV shows?)


Quote:

Originally Posted by Jan (Post 351888)
B5 deliberately took a different way with more formalized speach patterns that are more often seen on stage than on TV. And that whole stringing together more than one sentence at a time thing sometimes confuses today's audiences.

What's confusing about that? These people, A.D.D. sufferers I guess, should try reading a book (e.g. The Dresden Files books, like "White Night"). Compared to that, TV is like riding a bike with training wheels. :rolleyes:


Quote:

Originally Posted by Jan (Post 351888)
I don't mind if B5 just isn't to somebody's taste but if they try and say it's *bad* I take their face off. ;)

Jan

That's the way I am with B5 and Crusade!

Alluveal November 3rd 09 02:49

Re: S1: Overwrought?
 
http://talk.wwwomen.com/images/smilies/bowdown.gif

KoshFan November 3rd 09 05:16

Re: S1: Overwrought?
 
If anyone thinks Season 1 is overly dramatic, I can't wait until they see Season 3.

Jade Jaguar November 3rd 09 06:17

Re: S1: Overwrought?
 
No Shit! I was thinking the same thing. I'd call B5 well-tempered, not over-wrought. :D

Infested Londo November 3rd 09 07:48

Re: S1: Overwrought?
 
Well when I think of B5 in terms of overdramatic I often find myself thinking of Sinclair :)
I mean, the man really was drawn out of a play - But that's what was so special about the show. Someone once said B5 is an opera in the stars. Everything is big and dramatic, and still very small and human.

Look, S1 was produced under a lot of pressure (as all S1's are) and if you go through the lurker's guide you can see JMS has his own regrets about it. It is not perfect, and yes, sometimes it is ridiculously over dramatic. But that was the way the show was back then, and hell, we're talking 17 years ago! Hell yeah some parts look a little weird today, but the story passed the test of time and that's what matters.

@KoshN: By realistic approach I think he meant the "let's let the actors talk like regular people talk" approach you have today. The first very bad example that pops to my mind is Gilmore Girls (yeah yeah), in which those 2 girls keep talking and talking as if the text itself is meaningless and the only things that matters is what stands behind what they're saying. I don't like that approach to writing (nor do I find it to be ANYTHING like real life), and I definitely don't think it fits in quality TV such as B5.

Infested Londo November 3rd 09 07:54

Re: S1: Overwrought?
 
Oh, I left you without advice as to your friend... If she can't follow through her own advice, to hell with it. But repost here after you ask her about the episodes, and we'll see. I hope you let her watch "Believers", I think it's B5's best stand-alone episode ever.

KoshN November 3rd 09 21:56

Re: S1: Overwrought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Infested Londo (Post 351998)
Well when I think of B5 in terms of overdramatic I often find myself thinking of Sinclair :)
I mean, the man really was drawn out of a play - But that's what was so special about the show. Someone once said B5 is an opera in the stars. Everything is big and dramatic, and still very small and human.

Sinclair (Michael O'Hare) who was accused of being wooden, ....is overdramatic?

:confused:

Wooden: 2 stiff, ungainly or awkward. 3 without spirit, animation or awareness.

Hmm, perhaps he was clumsily overdramatic at times (when his temper got the better of him.), but that was the part of the character, and not a fault of the actor in the role, IMHO. It was due to Sinclair's frustration in not being able to act as he normally would as a soldier, and him being uncomfortable in the role of a diplomat. Perhaps that's why I never got that criticism of O'Hare, ...or was it really a criticism of Sinclair (the character) and O'Hare played that character very well?

I do get your linking "overdramatic" to "the man really was drawn out of a play." Peter Woodward is sometimes accused of that in Babylon 5 ("A Call to Arms" and Lost Tales) and "Crusade," but I think that's also part of the character (Galen) and Technomages in general, as they're larger than life, and are actually taught to have a commanding voice and an imposing presence. Frankly, I never had a problem (and I'm not suggesting that you did.) with Sinclair/O'Hare or Galen/Woodward.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Infested Londo (Post 351998)
Look, S1 was produced under a lot of pressure (as all S1's are) and if you go through the lurker's guide you can see JMS has his own regrets about it. It is not perfect, and yes, sometimes it is ridiculously over dramatic.

Trying to come up with where B5 was "ridiculously overdramatic"..... I've got nothin'.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Infested Londo (Post 351998)
But that was the way the show was back then, and hell, we're talking 17 years ago! Hell yeah some parts look a little weird today, but the story passed the test of time and that's what matters.

Maybe I'm too close to it, but nothing really stuck out as being false or out of character. Maybe I'm just accepting that that was how the characters really were. <shrug>

Quote:

Originally Posted by Infested Londo (Post 351998)
@KoshN: By realistic approach I think he meant the "let's let the actors talk like regular people talk" approach you have today.

The trouble with "let's let the actors talk like regular people talk" is that it's relative to the time period in which the episodes were made, and when viewed long after that time, it can look silly or cringeworthy (e.g. Star Trek "The Way to Eden" :wtf: :eek: ). I have that problem when I try to read books that were written an an obviously earlier period than the one in which I'm reading them, e.g. "The Demolished Man" and "Triplanetary." I prefer to think of people in the B5 universe talking like they did, as being the way they spoke circa 2257~2281, but have a harder time convincing myself of that w.r.t. "The Demolished Man" and "Triplanetary."


Quote:

Originally Posted by Infested Londo (Post 351998)
The first very bad example that pops to my mind is Gilmore Girls (yeah yeah), in which those 2 girls keep talking and talking as if the text itself is meaningless and the only things that matters is what stands behind what they're saying.

That actually sounds clever, but requires someone to be familiar with the show and may not stand up to the test of time. FWIW, I've never watched even five minutes of "The Gilmore Girls." <shrug> The most I've seen of it is a few seconds in passing, while channel surfing.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Infested Londo (Post 351998)
I don't like that approach to writing (nor do I find it to be ANYTHING like real life), and I definitely don't think it fits in quality TV such as B5.

It could be like real life, just not the one you've experienced.

Alluveal November 4th 09 01:42

Re: S1: Overwrought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Infested Londo (Post 351998)
By realistic approach I think he meant the "let's let the actors talk like regular people talk" approach you have today. The first very bad example that pops to my mind is Gilmore Girls (yeah yeah), in which those 2 girls keep talking and talking as if the text itself is meaningless and the only things that matters is what stands behind what they're saying. I don't like that approach to writing (nor do I find it to be ANYTHING like real life), and I definitely don't think it fits in quality TV such as B5.

It's one of the golden rules of fiction writing: what is "great" in real life (read: purely authentic) often translates like shit to the page or to the screen.

Example: When was the last time you watched a good show that included this kind of dialogue:

"So, uh, like, hi."
"Hey, uhh umm, what's up?"
"Uhh, not much, er, at least, er, uh, I dunno."
"Yeah, like, I was, you know, like at school."
"Yeah! School. Yeah!"
"And, uh, fuck that teacher. Bitch."

This could be a real conversation. Does it translate onto the page (unless it's written to illustrate a humorous point on what NOT to do)? No. It doesn't.

I love me some Gilmore Girls and I find some portions life-like, but for the most part it's kind of rambly between them sometimes and it's far too lucid and practiced. Nobody would be "that on the ball" in a conversation like that, nobody.

KoshFan November 4th 09 05:08

Re: S1: Overwrought?
 
The big criticism of O'Hare that my buddies and I had was that he's almost always smiling faintly...

Jade Jaguar November 4th 09 05:13

Re: S1: Overwrought?
 
That was part of his character. Sinclair was Zen, and Sheridan was a jock.

KoshN November 4th 09 13:43

Re: S1: Overwrought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Alluveal (Post 352039)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Infested Londo (Post 351998)
By realistic approach I think he meant the "let's let the actors talk like regular people talk" approach you have today. The first very bad example that pops to my mind is Gilmore Girls (yeah yeah), in which those 2 girls keep talking and talking as if the text itself is meaningless and the only things that matters is what stands behind what they're saying. I don't like that approach to writing (nor do I find it to be ANYTHING like real life), and I definitely don't think it fits in quality TV such as B5.

It's one of the golden rules of fiction writing: what is "great" in real life (read: purely authentic) often translates like shit to the page or to the screen.

Example: When was the last time you watched a good show that included this kind of dialogue:

"So, uh, like, hi."
"Hey, uhh umm, what's up?"
"Uhh, not much, er, at least, er, uh, I dunno."
"Yeah, like, I was, you know, like at school."
"Yeah! School. Yeah!"
"And, uh, fuck that teacher. Bitch."

This could be a real conversation.

....between teenagers, but not between most of the characters on "Babylon 5." Heh, I was just envisioning Sinclair and Londo having that conversation. :lol: Seriously, a lot of the people on "Babylon 5" are ambassadors, professional diplomats, soldiers and other business professionals who are certainly not teenagers. They're polished, used to debating and are more likely to come out with thoughts that make their point rather than rambling through idle conversation. I think they usually spoke realistically as their adult characters.

Infested Londo November 4th 09 14:10

Re: S1: Overwrought?
 
Ugh, when "threading", there comes a time when responding to each and every thing written at you requires you to practically write a goddamn article in return... Since I don't have the time, I'm just gonna generally say I agree with some things written above and don't agree with others.

In regards to what KoshN Said: Well, "real" ambassadors usually don't try to kill each other on a crazed rampage while on drugs, nor do they turn into cocoons or sword-fight an old friend of theirs to the death, so... I don't agree about their language being another part of "the way real ambassadors are". Londo, Gkar, Delenn... They're not real-life ambassadors.

Having said that, I do agree with what someone here said, about life in 2258 possibly being SO different than ours, that those kind of things could make sense for their time; Then again, you could question that by pointing out the fact their behavior doesn't look "futuristic", but the other way around: They sometimes seem out of the dark ages - very traditional, ceremonial, almost tribal and primal. To me, those two do not contradict each other, but represent how JMS views the future: A return to origins and a rekindling of innocence.

Also, I used to hate O'Hare's acting, until I realized: It's not his acting that's weird, it's SINCLAIR that's weird. Sinclair is a weird person. He IS zen, but he's zen in a weird way because he doesn't even understand why he's Zen. He's a person inside of a person, and that messes him up in a not-so-determine way. The brilliance about his character is that it is a WEIRD character. Not "mysterious-weird" like Galen, not "crazy-funny-weird" like Zathras, but just... Real life "can't-put-my-finger-on-what's-weird-about-him-weird".

KoshFan November 4th 09 19:02

Re: S1: Overwrought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by KoshN (Post 352058)
Seriously, a lot of the people on "Babylon 5" are ambassadors, professional diplomats, soldiers and other business professionals who are certainly not teenagers. They're polished, used to debating and are more likely to come out with thoughts that make their point rather than rambling through idle conversation.

"Fasten/zip" notwithstanding?

*grin*

dreamer November 4th 09 20:38

Re: S1: Overwrought?
 
I find that there are a fair amount of moments where it feels that the actors are talking to you, not to the ones they're supposedly having a dialogue with - like when Garibaldi gives Ivanova the "right, you're new here" speech.

It felt so awkward that it just jumps at you. The feeling of it being a clumsy info-bit for the audience is enhanced greatly by how Garibaldi is positioned - I'm not exactly sure if it was that he almost watched at the camera at some point of the conversation, but there certainly was a great deal of that typical monologueism that usually kicks in when the actors are painstakingly aware of the camera and they're giving a more theatric performance - ever seen Walter Koenig in Moontrap?

I have hard time encouraging people to see B5, even when I quite clearly say that nothing comes even close.

KoshN November 4th 09 21:09

Re: S1: Overwrought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by KoshFan (Post 352085)
Quote:

Originally Posted by KoshN (Post 352058)
Seriously, a lot of the people on "Babylon 5" are ambassadors, professional diplomats, soldiers and other business professionals who are certainly not teenagers. They're polished, used to debating and are more likely to come out with thoughts that make their point rather than rambling through idle conversation.

"Fasten/zip" notwithstanding?

*grin*

Garibaldi brings that out in people. ;)

ps. "I'm not having this conversation."

KoshFan November 4th 09 21:10

Re: S1: Overwrought?
 
Hmm, personally I felt that little "you're new here" speech was actually rather deftly done. Exposition is always really, really tricky, and "Midnight on the Firing Line" had to do it by the bucketful, and on the whole it came out pretty well.

But then, I'm easily pleased.

dreamer November 5th 09 13:11

Re: S1: Overwrought?
 
Yeah, considering how much stuff they throw at you, they came out good. At least I liked every single character right off the bat.

That happens... never?

Well, I instantly liked X-Files' characters too... and Alias seemed to hit it straight on with its cast.

And of course Smallville!

Anyways and regardless, the first season is my favourite in the sense that "it's just starting" and the episodes are more or less one-shot material.

GKarsEye November 11th 09 19:29

Re: S1: Overwrought?
 
What the hell does overwrought even mean?

Sure not all of my friends, even the sci-fi types, got into B5, so what? Folks, it's just TV, it's not important. We all have different ways of killing time and brain cells with audio/visual entertainment.

And as much as I adore B5, if I were to care about how others don't appreciate cool entertainment things as much as I do, a TV show would be low on the list. Things like that record where Louis Armstrong plays songs by W.C. Handy and Bill Hicks would be way ahead.

My guess is there are two stylistic elements that might make B5 jarring to current, especially younger, audiences:

1. Most popular entertainment now is done in the visual and pacing style of movies. Close-ups, dynamic camera work, "natural" dialogue. B5, however, is more theatrical. It uses stage dynamics, so you get a lot of speechifying, flat and static placement of people and objects. On Lost or Battlestar Galactica, the camera moves to the person. On B5, the person walks into the camera's view, for example.

2. Older cast of characters. Everything is youth-oriented. Teenage space aliens, high-school vampires and their slayers, etc. B5 has people regretting things from decades ago and worrying about their legacy, and forgetting how to dance, etc.

Of course, I actually like that stuff.

KoshFan November 11th 09 20:45

Re: S1: Overwrought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by GKarsEye (Post 352300)
2. Older cast of characters. Everything is youth-oriented. Teenage space aliens, high-school vampires and their slayers, etc.

Hey! I resemble that remark!

(Although ironically... all the vampire franchises I can think of also hinge on the love-interest vampire being an older, more experience male with a troubled past. I will grant you, however, that despite all their age and experience they still somehow come across as 22.)

My biggest problem with B5 is that it does occasionally run to preaching. But having now seen some TNG, I think it's safe to say that B5 did it with far more nuance than some.

Jade Jaguar November 15th 09 04:47

Re: S1: Overwrought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by KoshFan (Post 352303)
(Although ironically... all the vampire franchises I can think of also hinge on the love-interest vampire being an older, more experience male with a troubled past. .

Well, most vampires tend to be very old, but in looks at least, you are forgetting that hot book franchise about teenage vampires.

Boredom September 28th 10 21:49

Re: S1: Overwrought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by KoshFan (Post 352043)
The big criticism of O'Hare that my buddies and I had was that he's almost always smiling faintly...

Hmm yeah, my first impression was most of the actors were wooden during the season 1. But it gets better with time. But hey, try to watch any season 1, they are wooden too. Star Trek comes to mind.

And by the way, the outside station scenery looks cartoonish. Even by the standard of the production time. Budget maybe the reason for that.

Quote:

Originally Posted by KoshFan (Post 352303)
My biggest problem with B5 is that it does occasionally run to preaching. But having now seen some TNG, I think it's safe to say that B5 did it with far more nuance than some.

Yeah, TNG was notorious for it's outright hostility toward religion and capitalism.

Jan September 29th 10 01:00

Re: S1: Overwrought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Boredom (Post 365212)
And by the way, the outside station scenery looks cartoonish. Even by the standard of the production time. Budget maybe the reason for that.

The production standards of the time were models. B5 was the first TV to use CGI on a major scale and basically paved the road they were using.

Jan

GaribaldisHair October 6th 10 15:39

Re: S1: Overwrought?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Boredom (Post 365212)
And by the way, the outside station scenery looks cartoonish. Even by the standard of the production time. Budget maybe the reason for that.

Not to mention that JMS/Foundation Imaging were deliberately going for something more colourful and organic than viewers were used to seeing in their SFTV. Note, for example, that the earth ships tended to be grey and metallic and functional whereas the longer standing space-faring races had moved on from there to sleeker, better looking and more colourful vessels.

I have never considered the FX "cartoony" even by today's standards. Different, certainly. Limited by the technology available, of course. Viewing CGI from Tron to date, through B5, shows how the results have become more realistic and less "cartoony" (except where deliberate) as the tech has improved, and in comparison with Tron, B5 is not cartoony at all.

Making the behaviour of the ships more in keeping with the actual science of manouevring through space was also a big step up from other shows of its time.


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