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-   -   EpDis: The Gathering (http://www.b5tv.com/showthread.php?t=6648)

vacantlook October 1st 04 21:25

EpDis: The Gathering
 
I thought it might be kinda fun, should anyone feel like participating, to have a bit of a poll/thread discussion for each episode of Babylon 5 every few days or once a week or whatever.

Of course this could totally flop and few to no one be interested, but I thought I'd see if anyone else would like to chime in either with comments or with simply casting their vote in the poll.

I'm gonna do both a The Gathering poll and a Midnight On The Firing Line poll thread at the same time since The Gathering isn't technically an episode of the show.

So, how about it? What is your opinion of The Gathering?

Refresher Links:
Lurker's Guide Main Page for The Gathering
Lurker's Guide Extended Synopsis for The Gathering

vacantlook October 1st 04 21:51

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
I gave "The Gathering" an A. It wasn't perfect, by any means, but I've always found it to be excellent, especially for a pilot-movie.

The first time I saw it, though I didn't quite get it the way I get it now (I was only 13 years old when it was first broadcast), but I was blown away. To that point, the major points of exposure to science fiction that I had had were the original Star Trek, Star Trek The Next Generation, and Star Wars. In part, I would even go so far as to say that I grew up on ST:TNG.

But then I watched "The Gathering," and my mind just kind of had a barrier taken away in terms of what I thought possible with scifi shows/movies. I liked the darkness of the sets, the loads of different types of characters, and the CGI space effects.

With TNG, the interior of the ship is endlessly bright and bouncy, but the station in "The Gathering" was dark. I think it helped set me up for a different tonality to the show as a whole: the universe wasn't pristine in Babylon 5.

In B5, only a few of the main characters were a part of the same organization. That certainly set up all the characters to have different perspectives and gave incredible potential for some sizeable and resounding conflicts. With ST, the conflicts all too often came from outside the group of main characters, be it from a guest character or from some situation the group as a whole suddenly found themselves in.

And then there's the CGI space effects. I think seeing Kosh's ship the first time was one of the highest points in watching "The Gathering" the first time. I never even conceived that a ship could look as interesting and different and complex as his did. It wasn't a model, and that gave it life to me. And the major camera zooms from far out to close in on C&C and vice versa were another CGI element of "The Gathering" that I really latched onto when I first saw it. It felt so significantly different than anything I had seen before, and it amazed me.

It was completely successful in grabbing ahold of me and keeping me as a fan of the show from that first viewing and onward.

Shaal Mayan October 2nd 04 11:08

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
Gave it an A great set up to even greater story of Babylon 5.Interresting and well thought out for a pilot.

Jade Jaguar October 3rd 04 01:06

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
I gave it a B. When I watched the original Gathering, I thought it showed potential, but wasn't truly great. That came later.

Markas October 3rd 04 03:06

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
I gave The Gathering a C. It was an adequate story. It's amazing what came after it. I'm glad I saw it when it first aired. It was just enough to get me to come back for more.

RW7427 October 3rd 04 20:48

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
I wouldn't say The Gathering is great, and it's not one of my favorite B5 movies, but I like it well enough to grade it a B.

darth_librarian October 4th 04 07:16

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
I gave it a B, Good. I enjoyed it a lot, one of the better sc-fi pilots i've seen.
Great idea by the way.

KoshFan October 4th 04 13:51

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
I've only seen the original version, and that was years ago... I'm not sure what to think of it now.

fisheggs October 4th 04 20:25

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
B. Lead to great things, but was "murky" I like dark ( anyone else like "Millenium"? :) but it didn't really "stand out". Sinclair also wasn't particularily "sympathetic". He did get better:). I was still better than what was out there then!

vacantlook October 4th 04 20:38

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
For a scene that I found really good for Sinclair in "The Gathering," I turn to the longer 2.0 version of the scene where he tells Carolyn about the Battle of the Line.

Chilli August 7th 07 19:55

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
B

Amazing amounts of bad acting (Laurel Takashima + Lyta + Carolyn = YIKES. And Michael O'Hare isn't at his best yet either), and not up to the level of the show all over, but ..

* the ambassadors are already awesome

* great groundwork laying

* beep beep!

GaribaldisHair August 9th 07 10:19

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
Looks like that master list of all the EpDis threads did its job ... :D

I seem to remember voting this one as a B. Very hard to give it an A when we in the UK didn't see it until almost the end of season 1. There had already been several episodes much better than it, it suffered from having a different feel to the soundtrack (not worse per se, just different from what I was used to), and I thought that all the replacement main characters (Franklin, Talia, Ivanova) were better than their counterparts in the pilot.

The re-edit is much better, but it still suffers from my not having seen it as the very first "episode". Now if I could just erase my memory of the show, go back and re-watch from the start ...

Chilli August 9th 07 10:39

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by GaribaldisHair (Post 305628)
and I thought that all the replacement main characters (Franklin, Talia, Ivanova) were better than their counterparts in the pilot.

Definitely true on Ivanova .. and also on Catherine. I think I could have grown to quite like Kyle, though, if he had stayed. Not that I'm objecting to the switch.

While Talia is infinitely better acted than Lyta, she's somehow also infinitely more annoying.

crazyhorse August 9th 07 20:51

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by GaribaldisHair (Post 305628)
Looks like that master list of all the EpDis threads did its job ... :D

I seem to remember voting this one as a B. Very hard to give it an A when we in the UK didn't see it until almost the end of season 1. There had already been several episodes much better than it, it suffered from having a different feel to the soundtrack (not worse per se, just different from what I was used to), and I thought that all the replacement main characters (Franklin, Talia, Ivanova) were better than their counterparts in the pilot.

The re-edit is much better, but it still suffers from my not having seen it as the very first "episode". Now if I could just erase my memory of the show, go back and re-watch from the start ...

I don't know how it worked for you but I saw it on a taped video I borrowed of a hippy chick months before the series started and always felt that it had promise.

My initial reaction to the series was a "Star Trek meets Star Wars".

Chilli August 22nd 07 14:01

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
When reading through the Lurker's guide - in particular through JMS' quotes on this one - I ran into this quote:

Quote:

Here's the one thing that amazes me, speaking of seeing the pilot for the gadzillionth time...there is one great big huge gaping visual anomaly/inconsistency in the pilot that so far no one has noticed. It's so massive that when I first saw it, I just about fell out of my chair. But the director said "No one's ever gonna see it, no one's ever gonna notice it, *trust* me on this." I was absolutely convinced that he was wrong. Apparently he was right. At some point in the future I'll tell you what it is...and when you see it, you're going to wonder how the hell you avoided seeing it before, it's *that* big. But not for a while yet. (And the few smaller things mentioned here ...ain't it.)
Does anyone have ANY clue what he is talking about?

KoshN August 22nd 07 14:43

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
And this Poll is titled "Keep Chapel" ???

Chilli August 22nd 07 14:48

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
All the old poll titles are messed up. See here.

GaribaldisHair August 22nd 07 17:08

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by KoshN (Post 306839)
And this Poll is titled "Keep Chapel" ???

Ah yes ... the lost episode.

:D

Skander August 22nd 07 20:39

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
I gave it a C. The Gathering never really grabbed a hold of me, initially. The story was a little convoluted and I've only ever understood the Del Varner plot thread upon repeated watchings.

I'm glad that they changed many aspects when they went to the show. The characters people have touched on were much better casted in the show--especially Talia. Though admittedly I thought Andrea was much more attractive than Pat Tallman. That woman still amazes me.;) I could have grown to really like Dr. Ben Kyle, though. The dark, alien atmosphere was nice, but they overdid it a little in the pilot, the show hit the sweetspot. The prothetic hairpiece for Londo was much better than the Bald/Crazy Crest he had in the pilot.

On first view of the Vorlon ship/fleet, and of course Kosh himself, I was very impressed and instantly fell in love with the Vorlons forever. I love it when aliens are imagined as truly alien, rather than the endless parade of forehead appliques you'd see in most sci-fi (also one of the reason's I'm one of the 6 people who think Starship Troopers is brilliant).

Over time and repeated viewings, I must say I've grown to really enjoy the movie, though. The Minbari guy's line, "You have a hole in your mind" is pretty far reaching actually. Obviously the humor/candor of Londo was in full swing and "The Gathering" placed him ahead in the running for my favorite character while "Midnight on the Firing Line" nailed it down for good.

Sindatur August 22nd 07 21:10

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Skander (Post 306865)
I gave it a C. The Gathering never really grabbed a hold of me, initially. The story was a little convoluted and I've only ever understood the Del Varner plot thread upon repeated watchings.

I'm glad that they changed many aspects when they went to the show. The characters people have touched on were much better casted in the show--especially Talia. Though admittedly I thought Andrea was much more attractive than Pat Tallman. That woman still amazes me.;) I could have grown to really like Dr. Ben Kyle, though. The dark, alien atmosphere was nice, but they overdid it a little in the pilot, the show hit the sweetspot. The prothetic hairpiece for Londo was much better than the Bald/Crazy Crest he had in the pilot.

On first view of the Vorlon ship/fleet, and of course Kosh himself, I was very impressed and instantly fell in love with the Vorlons forever. I love it when aliens are imagined as truly alien, rather than the endless parade of forehead appliques you'd see in most sci-fi (also one of the reason's I'm one of the 6 people who think Starship Troopers is brilliant).

Over time and repeated viewings, I must say I've grown to really enjoy the movie, though. The Minbari guy's line, "You have a hole in your mind" is pretty far reaching actually. Obviously the humor/candor of Londo was in full swing and "The Gathering" placed him ahead in the running for my favorite character while "Midnight on the Firing Line" nailed it down for good.

I actually disliked Talia myself, and was very happy to see pat Tallman return. I actually don't think Andrea is all that god looking, she's just your average bleached blonde with a pointy nose, IMHO. I like Susan alot and am glad she played Susan, but, I think Laurel could've grabbed me as well (although she wouldn't have been around for very long, as she was originally the traitor who betrayed Garibaldi.

I must be one of the other 6 who likes Starship Troopers, I love the movie, and think it's a great satire.

RMcD August 22nd 07 23:11

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Chilli (Post 306836)
Does anyone have ANY clue what he is talking about?

No, but a big visual anomaly that springs to my mind is the stuntman who doubles for Garibaldi when he gets thrown through the air by an explosion during the fight with the assassin near the end. For a few seconds he has a very full head of blond hair.

Jan August 22nd 07 23:37

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
I'm not certain of this but I think that in one of the shots looking down on the witness stand, one of the characters is wrong. Either Sinclair is shown instead of Kyle or vice-versa. I think.

Jan

Elipsis August 23rd 07 00:10

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
I gave this an A because in spite of its flaws it fulfilled its primary function masterfully: namely introducing characters and a story arc that holds your attention strongly enough to make you want to come back to the series.

Some call it too slow in other places whilst still throwing in too much at a new viewer for a pilot, but it was this pacing that made me trust JMS as a writer... I felt like he had all the details he needed in place and would only spend time on something if it turned out to be relevant later (future episodes would prove that many things which initially appear irrelevant or throw away come back around much later).

There is so much mystery in the pilot... how can you walk away from the series if you think the writer actually has a good story to tell.

Chilli August 23rd 07 01:44

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jan (Post 306886)
I'm not certain of this but I think that in one of the shots looking down on the witness stand, one of the characters is wrong. Either Sinclair is shown instead of Kyle or vice-versa. I think.

Jan

YES, that is it. Sinclair is being questioned by G'Kar. The wide shot shows Kyle in the stand. I have seen the Gathering a million times, and I did not notice this. Not once.

Amazing.

54 minutes in on the original version. As I don't yet own the TNT version on DVD, I cannot say where it is on it, or if it even is in it.

Some of the shots around 51 minutes in seem odd too. The backdrop behind Sinclair seems to alter, but that could just be angles fooling me.

KoshFan August 23rd 07 04:06

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Skander (Post 306865)
(also one of the reason's I'm one of the 6 people who think Starship Troopers is brilliant)

Hah! I loved Starship Troopers. Of course, I was drunk when I saw it, so a lot of it escapes my memory, but what I recall was great.

Skander August 23rd 07 20:37

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
Okay, two people have come out in open support of "Starship Troopers".

That tears it, this community is awesome!

.

.

.

.

.

As if building a community focused around discussing the finer points of Babylon 5 wasn't enough of a clue for me, I know. :p

Jade Jaguar August 25th 07 21:31

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Skander (Post 306941)
Okay, two people have come out in open support of "Starship Troopers".

I can sum that film up in six words: Cute young Nazis squash giant bugs. :D :p

Okay, I thought it was amusing. Once... :lol:

Truth_Seeker May 4th 08 02:15

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
I've just seen the special edition of "The Gathering" for the first time.I've noticed that JMS has changed the appearance of Kosh's "hand" in the scene when he is poisoned.That's a very good move and now it looks like a real part of a Vorlon body unlike the older version where it looked just like a human hand.

vacantlook May 4th 08 02:37

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
With it looking like a regular human hand, I always thought that that was part of what Lyta says prior to doing the mind pscan: that it's "subjective" in that she'd be seeing herself in Kosh's place. But yeah, then they made the hand glowing and everything for the The Gathering 2.0, so I guess Lyta's subjectivism isn't quite applicapble now.

Truth_Seeker May 4th 08 02:50

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
I still can't understand the whole poisoning thing.How can you poison someone who has passed beyond the physical body into a being of pure energy?Or maybe the poison is created to drain life energy from the person and that's why Vorlons are vulnerable.

vacantlook May 4th 08 03:17

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Truth_Seeker (Post 319808)
I still can't understand the whole poisoning thing.How can you poison someone who has passed beyond the physical body into a being of pure energy?Or maybe the poison is created to drain life energy from the person and that's why Vorlons are vulnerable.

Vorlons aren't beings of pure energy. jms confirms that Vorlons have some form of a physical body:

Quote:

Yes, that's a Vorlon...and there was a physicality to them,
shown by the fact that it could strike out and hit things. It's not a
ghost or anything of that nature, it can be hurt and killed.

Truth_Seeker May 4th 08 14:38

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 319813)
Vorlons aren't beings of pure energy. jms confirms that Vorlons have some form of a physical body:

I see.Thanks Vacantlook.That's a surprise but if the creator of the Vorlons confirms it then it's true.

Truth_Seeker July 11th 08 20:12

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
It's interesting that every time I rewatch "The Gathering" I notice something new.I've just seen it and what attracted my attention was that Sinclair and Garibaldi were standing up in the transport carriage in the core of the station and they had some devices similar to the bars of the roller coasters( I was a ride attendant in a park that had some of those during one summer in Wisconsin but I hate riding them:)) to keep them from floating in the low gravity area.Those devices were not used in the series, probably because of the final scene of "The Fall Of Night".

Another thing that I noticed was in the conversation between Sinclair and Delenn when he called her "old friend".This is strange considering that the station just got operational.Have they met before B5 was built?

maneth July 15th 08 05:28

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
I wonder what Sinclair himself thought of that. Of course they had met before, she made the hole in his mind...

Truth_Seeker July 15th 08 19:16

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by maneth (Post 325703)
I wonder what Sinclair himself thought of that. Of course they had met before, she made the hole in his mind...

Yes, Maneth, I mean except for the Battle Of The Line when they were not exactly introduced to one another;).I think prior to B5 Sinclair was assigned on the Mars Colony during the food riots(so were Sheridan and Laurel Takashima), but where did he meet Delenn before becoming a CO of B5?

A_M_Swallow July 15th 08 23:07

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
We do not know how long the two of them had been on Babylon 5.

Truth_Seeker July 15th 08 23:32

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by A_M_Swallow (Post 325732)
We do not know how long the two of them had been on Babylon 5.

I think that B5 was commissioned in 2256 and "The Gathering" took place in 2257.A lot of things may have happened in a year and knowing Delenn's mission, she did her best to become one of Sinclair's closest friends.

Urban Roy February 28th 09 22:06

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
So, I've started my voyage into Babylon 5 with The Gathering and as promised I'm sharing my thoughts as I go. After 16 years, and on forum such as this, it's possibly redundant but be aware that my post contains spoilers...

The Good

The set up going forward looks great, you have four races meeting at Babylon 5. Two were at war ten years earlier, one was a slave race to the other and there is one that we know almost nothing about. Plenty of room for tension.

Some of the characters are very well drawn, in particular I thought that the Londo the Centauri ambassador was fabulous, with huge flaws but immensely likable at the same time. In fact all of the "alien"ambassadors were good...it's the humans you had to worry about.

There are lots of plot hooks for the future that you genuinely want to find out more about (the Grey council, why the Minbari surrendered, the "hole in your mind" etc)

There also appear to be some clever character hooks for the future (Garibaldi and Laurel's loyalty to Sinclair, Londo's gambling problem, Delenn's short temper).

The not-so-good
For me some of the acting was SHOCKINGly bad! I think Lieutenant Laurel and Del Varner deserve a special mention for being wooden and cheesy respectively. As does the moment when Commander Sinclair finds the Vorlon ambassador, Kosh collapsed and reacts with a slightly bored "Dammit" (although I grant that this may just be the quality of the audio on my DVD).

There seems to be quite a lot of padding in there. For example the fight scene at the end that goes on much longer than it needs to. And the pointless scene where Garibaldi tells Sinclair that he reckons that Del Varner has something to do with the attack on the Vorlon ambassador could easily have been cut and absorbed elsewhere. There are other moments as well and I reckon this could have been cut by 10-15 minutes without losing too much and actually ending up with a much better show (although as Sindatur pointed out to me on a different thread "JMS didn't do random things often....most things are indeed set up and introduced before they play out" so there may well be things that happened that will become more relevant later).

Summary

If I'm honest if I'd come across this on a wet Sunday afternoon in 2009 then I probably would have found it mildly diverting but I wouldn't have thought it was great, or worried about spending too much effort trying to find out more.

But, I think that you have to put it in context of it being first broadcast in 1993, I think then the CGI would have been cutting edge and a huge surprise (even today, the moment that the Volon Fleet appears is great). More pertinently it was released into a world that had only just escaped from Dallas, Dynasty (although I believe that Knots Landing was still running). When the behemoths of the schedules looked like that...

Overall, knowing what I know, the interest in wanting to find out more outweighs any negative thoughts, so further up and further in. Anyway these are just my thoughts. Would be interested to see if any of that chimes with others. In any event, bring on Episode 1...

vacantlook February 28th 09 22:44

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Urban Roy (Post 337101)
But, I think that you have to put it in context of it being first broadcast in 1993, I think then the CGI would have been cutting edge and a huge surprise (even today, the moment that the Volon Fleet appears is great).

You pinged on exactly what my biggest thought was back when I originally watched "The Gathering" during its original broadcast. The CGI, especially the Vorlon ships, really caught my interest. Having gotten so used to the undynamic spaceship shots from The Next Generation, the movement of ships and the particularly organic-looking unique design of the Vorlon ships, I was particularly impressed. I don't really remember my reaction back then to the acting or anything, though I can't help but to admit how bad some of the guest characters tend to be, especially early on in the show.

I look forward to reading your thoughts as you watch the show. Thanks for posting them!

Galahad February 28th 09 23:55

Re: EpDis: The Gathering
 
Garlic space ships rock!


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