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-   -   EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line (http://www.b5tv.com/showthread.php?t=6649)

vacantlook October 1st 04 21:28

EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
And here we have Midnight On The Firing Line. Thoughts and opinions?

Refresher Links:
Lurker's Guide Main Page for Midnight On The Firing Line
Lurker's Guide Extended Synopsis for Midnight On The Firing Line

Sindatur October 1st 04 21:37

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
Priorities first, Happy B-Day VL.

I think MotFL was excellent. It really built on the story from the Gathering, and setup, much more, how you viewed the characters (That gets turned topsy-turvy throughout the series, several times). I believe MotFL and AtSFoS... are the best episodes of the first half of Season 1 (Each episode of S1 has it's purpose and advancement, but these two are 5 star)

phoenixrising October 1st 04 21:44

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
I think was an excellent way to start off a series. I only gave it a 'Good' vote because what came later was mindblowing.

One part I liked was when Sinclair, the military officer, tries to get Londo and G'Kar to talk and work things out and, of course, fails miserably. Quite a difference from the normal military on a sci-fi show that is all in favor of blowing everything to shit first and trying diplomacy later.

vacantlook October 1st 04 22:16

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
Quote:

Priorities first, Happy B-Day VL.

Thank you. It's not technically for a couple hours yet (October 2 is the big day), but I guess the board's timing system is set up a bit differently than my personal time and that's why it already lists me thusly.

Moving on to thoughts on MOTFL, I gave it a C. I didn't think it sucked by any means, but I didn't bounce endlessly with a happy from it. It felt a lot like a first episode, and I think that detracted from it somewhat, in my personal opinion.

I loved the set up of several different plots in one episode. We got:
<ul type="square">[*]Narns attack Ragesh 3[*]Raiders attack a transport[*]Ivanova and Talia clash[*]Earth Alliance election day[/list]And while having several different running plots was great, that they often connected and overlapped, but still kept their own identity was amazing. It takes some tight ass writing to get a story done that well!

I thought it gave some considerable revelation and foundation for the Narn-Centauri conflict right there in the first episode, so with that being an issue that gets further developed like crazy as the show progresses, I think it's great that there's such a strong foundation established here right off the bat in the first episode. The Narn-Centauri conflict was more alluded to in "The Gathering," but here it's full-on brought to the surface.

The raiders attacking the transport, a problem that pops up every once in a while throughout the show, wasn't really all that, but being that it wasn't there to serve as a main plot but instead to just give us a display of what the starfuries are and to connect to the A-plot, it was decent. The starfuries remain, and most likely will always remain, one of my absolutely favorite space ships in any show or movie. Being as young as I was back then, I hadn't really conceptualized that ships in space would be so capable of making use of all three dimensions despite the occational exposure to it happening in other shows and movies. It wasn't until I saw the starfuries that that concept really clicked for me.

And while we had the big, more galactic plot going on regarding Ragesh 3 and the raiders, we got what is probably my favorite thing about the episode: the personal conflict between Ivanova and Talia. That scene near the end when Talia sits down at the bar and talks with Ivanova still gets to me. I think Claudia did a tremendous job with that scene. I truly feel expression of pain of having lost a loved one and anger at the outside forces that spurred that loss. And Talia's responses are great too: there is a bit of conflict within herself as she listens in that she believes in the Corps but wishes there was something she could say that would help Ivanova but knowing ultimately there isn't anything that would make it better.

And then that tiny little bit about the presidential election seems so insignificant, like it's just background coloring, but it's setting up major plot development to come. It is this sort of layering that is available to a story that has its major elements written long before any scripts are written that I really love about Babylon 5.

Shaal Mayan October 2nd 04 11:04

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
What an excellant way to start off the new series and a refreshing chaange of Delenn verus The Gathering's Delenn.

vacantlook October 2nd 04 19:47

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
There was one thing I liked more about "The Gathering"'s Delenn's appearance: the ears. The ears Minbari have in the show look like just an obvious plain flat prosthetic, while the ears of "The Gathering" looked more real in that they looked like there was an actual hole that went into the head, instead of just the flatness of the series Minbari ears.

FreeBaGeL October 3rd 04 02:34

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
I gave it a B.

It started the series well, but if we're restricting the highest score to 'A,' I can't say I would give this episode the same score as some of the truly amazing episodes later on.

Markas October 3rd 04 02:59

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
Excellent....one of the top 10 eps.

RW7427 October 3rd 04 20:51

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
I had to give the ep an A. Now, it's not up there with the likes of heavy hitters like Sleeping in Light, Z'ha'dum, and Into the Fire, but it goes a long way to give light to the Narn/Centauri conflict. The Narn/Centauri War is part of the reason why B5 exists in the first place.

KoshFan October 4th 04 13:56

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
B for me, a solid B -- a phenomental leadoff episode, setting up loads of plots and a brilliant mix of action and character. We're introduced to all the characters near-perfectly. But compared to, say, "Messages From Earth," is this Grade A? Nope. Vital to what comes after it, an excellent foundational ep, and spectacular on its own, but it suffers by comparison to the brilliance of the later episodes.

That'll be the consistent problem for rating B5 episodes. Too many mindblowers, so the rest just aren't as good.

fisheggs October 4th 04 20:07

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
If you compare it to other episodes in the series, it's was good. If you compare it with all the other dreck it was competing with during its original run, even Byron episodes get an A! :eek: :devil:

Cell May 10th 08 23:59

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
I have started doing reviews for every episode of B5 for a site that I write for, here's a link to my review of this episode. I figured this would be cool to post, but if it's not then just let me know and I won't post the links to any of the other eps in their respective pages here when I get around to posting them for that site. Any comments or feedback would be welcome, either here or at the actual site.

http://worldsoforos.com/secondviews/...-101/#more-235

Truth_Seeker May 11th 08 00:07

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
Well good job Cell.You've done quite an analysis.

Urban Roy March 2nd 09 22:14

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
I thought that this episode was much better than the pilot, there was a lot of plot going on and the acting was more uniform and generally better (the replacement characters were a great improvement). I also liked the way that the problems on Ragesh 3 were mirrored in microcosm by the relationship between Londo and G'Kar. However for me this episode really came to life during the final scene between Winters and Ivanova where we find out why Ivanova has been rude. That was genuinely, character driven tension,and beautifully acted.

The main plots were mostly good although the episode was somewhat ruined for me by the Deus Ex Machina moment linking two independent story lines when, coincidentally Sinclair found a Narn on the Raiders' command and control ship, which then allowed him to blackmail G'Kar into withdrawing the Narn Forces on Ragesh 3. Put it this way, if the Raiders had started a couple of months earlier or later then this tool wouldn't have been available and the Ragesh 3 situation would not have been sorted out.

I'm also not sure that the Narn would have backed down so easily...in fact I had quite a lot of sympathy for their position. If Ragesh 3 was originally a Narn planet then why shouldn't they have it back? 100 years is no time at all (just look at various former colonies around the world today). Re-invasion/war may not be the right route to take but it doesn't mean that the principle isn't correct.

Sindatur March 2nd 09 22:47

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
Very much agreed. The Gathering definitely has it's problems, and Midnight on the Firing Line is definitely superior to it. The next 4 or 5 episodes may be a little uneven (some are very good, some not so good), but, once you get beyond those, 95% or better of the episodes are are of really good quality.

vacantlook March 2nd 09 23:33

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Urban Roy (Post 337313)
The main plots were mostly good although the episode was somewhat ruined for me by the Deus Ex Machina moment linking two independent story lines when....

To me it says that the two storylines weren't independent. The raiders storyline was more about the Narn than the Raiders, as it reveals that the Narn are major blackmarket weapons dealers. The Raiders were just the means by which we learned of it in this episode. Who knows how Sinclair would've handled the Ragesh situation without the Narn/Raider weaponry incident, but that he used the Narn/Raider incident to solve the Ragesh problem reveals Sinclair's political resourcefulness.

KoshFan March 3rd 09 05:24

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
Yeah, I always felt folks ought to start with "Midnight." In fact, considering how complicated the B5 universe is, it's an amazing introduction to a whole lot of things. -- I almost started telling what those things were, but for Urban's sake I'll keep quiet. Suffice it to say, if you watch "Midnight" again after watching the whole series through, you'll be astonished at what gets hinted at. With the possible exception of the first episode of Firefly, this is the most perfect first episode of a series that I've ever seen.

darth_librarian March 3rd 09 17:10

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
It still stands up well today, and I have nostalgia about being 14 or so and loving the Starfuries. It was enough to get me watching. Signs and Portents got me hooked ...

Sindatur March 3rd 09 17:18

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by darth_librarian (Post 337382)
It still stands up well today, and I have nostalgia about being 14 or so and loving the Starfuries. It was enough to get me watching. Signs and Portents got me hooked ...

I actually became quickly attached with the Gathering, due to the CGI, it was awesome, and I would've watched more of the show just for that. But, Mind War and And the Sky Full of Stars got me hooked, and future great episodes just added something even more special for me.

Matthew March 3rd 09 19:09

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
Urban Roy...I think you are spot on.

I got into the show around 2005 and quickly gobbled it up. I started with The Gathering, and I must admit, that was enough to hook me in. And then I've always loved "Midnight on the Firing Line". I think the TG and MoTFL are probably the two episodes I've watched the most, believe it or not. There is just something about them that I love...and even I would probably not rank them as my top two favorites.

If you can, I would suggest downloading The Gathering from iTunes so that you can watch the original broadcast version...on DVD we get the TNT "Director's Cut", so to speak, of The Gathering. I think the original is fun to watch for comparison, as there is some interesting stuff in there (at least, IMHO).

I just know it'll be fun to relive the series with you...keep the thoughts coming!

Urban Roy March 3rd 09 23:08

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sindatur (Post 337314)
The next 4 or 5 episodes may be a little uneven (some are very good, some not so good), but, once you get beyond those, 95% or better of the episodes are are of really good quality.

Not planning to give up just yet(!) but thanks for the warning, won't worry too much about the next few episodes.

Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 337323)
Who knows how Sinclair would've handled the Ragesh situation without the Narn/Raider weaponry incident, but that he used the Narn/Raider incident to solve the Ragesh problem reveals Sinclair's political resourcefulness.

Fair point. It just felt like Sinclair had been given his orders from the Senator and was out of ideas before he went to sort out the Raiders. I guess I just would have preferred him to have worked out / engineered something himself, or for the Raiders and the Ragesh issue to have been explicitly linked. I don't know, maybe the reason for the Raiders being there could have been a deal that they struck with the Narn in exchange for their technology to provide a diversion for the Centauri fleet so that it would have split their forces when they should have been protecting Ragesh 3. I'm riffing so that's not the best idea, but at least something like that would have explained the coincidental timing.

Quote:

Originally Posted by KoshFan (Post 337364)
Suffice it to say, if you watch "Midnight" again after watching the whole series through, you'll be astonished at what gets hinted at.

Look forward to it, but it probably won't be for a while!

Quote:

Originally Posted by KoshFan (Post 337364)
With the possible exception of the first episode of Firefly, this is the most perfect first episode of a series that I've ever seen.

Now that's just a whole different kettle of fish. Shiny!

Quote:

Originally Posted by Matthew (Post 337386)

I just know it'll be fun to relive the series with you...keep the thoughts coming!

As long as I'm not boring anyone I plan to!

(I seem to have gone overboard with the exclamation marks in this post, sorry about that. I'm not really that excitable!!!)

Urban Roy March 3rd 09 23:21

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
Sorry, quick follow up, I may have missed it from a single viewing but does anyone know why the title of the episode is Midnight On The Firing Line? Apologies if this has been answered elsewhere.

vacantlook March 3rd 09 23:47

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
"Midnight On The Firing Line" implies a period of tension prior to a breakout of armed conflict.

Sindatur March 3rd 09 23:49

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by vacantlook (Post 337421)
"Midnight On The Firing Line" implies a period of tension prior to a breakout of armed conflict.


Thanks VL, you learn something new everyday. I always assumed it was just a fancy title for the breakout of the war itself

butlerd November 14th 09 18:59

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
It was definitely one of the better of the S1 episodes and there are a lot of good scenes, particularly the one between Ivanova and Talia at the end. There is nothing to really dislike about the episode, although it certainly can't compare to many episodes in the following seasons.

One question, however: Does anybody know what rock song was being played at the bar during the scene at the end between Ivanova and Talia? It sounds sort of 80's-ish and even somewhat familiar but I'm dying to get it- if it's available that is. Anybody know anything?

Jan November 14th 09 19:11

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
To the best of my knowledge, almost all of the music used on B5 (exceptions being the gospel song in the 3rd season and the excerpt of the 'dry bones' song) was composed for the show by Christopher Franke with occasional lyrics by JMS. Mainly because they couldn't afford to license outside music, probably.

Jan

butlerd November 14th 09 19:55

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
I think you might be right about that. I wonder who they got to sing the song? Christopher Franke? It's a cool song. It would be awesome if it were downloadable somewhere. I actually e-mailed Franke at his website (Sonic Records) about this so maybe he will be able to say for sure- if he happens gets back to me. I loved the music he composed for the series

GeoKuutio November 14th 09 19:56

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by butlerd (Post 352370)
I think you might be right about that. I wonder who they got to sing the song? Christopher Franke? It's a cool song. It would be awesome if it were downloadable somewhere. I actually e-mailed Franke at his website (Sonic Records) about this so maybe he will be able to say for sure- if he happens gets back to me. I loved the music he composed for the series

If he does reply, please do mention about it here. That piece of info has been bugging me now and then for years already.

butlerd November 14th 09 20:02

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by GeoKuutio (Post 352371)
If he does reply, please do mention about it here. That piece of info has been bugging me now and then for years already.

Sure thing! I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one seeking out obscure things like this.

Jade Jaguar November 15th 09 04:51

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
I'm starting to watch them all over again, and just watched Midnight On The Firing Line. I find it to be quite a respectable episode. It does have to do some earnest character development, being a first ep, but handles it well.

KoshN November 17th 09 07:16

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by butlerd (Post 352368)
It was definitely one of the better of the S1 episodes and there are a lot of good scenes, particularly the one between Ivanova and Talia at the end. There is nothing to really dislike about the episode, although it certainly can't compare to many episodes in the following seasons.

The only thing I dislike about this episode is Sinclair's flying/fighting in the dogfight at the transport. I realize his description of his maneuvering (like it was his first time in a Starfury, like the training wheels were still on it) is for the benefit of the viewers (connecting the dots for them, empathizing the flight controls of the Starfury), but if he'd reacted that slowly in combat, he'd have been dead. The raiders would have obliterated him.

Compare that with the dogfights in Crusade. The ones in Crusade (e.g. War Zone, Each Night I Dream of Home, etc.) were much faster and more realistic.

Estelyn May 14th 10 16:15

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
After my B5 marathon, I am now watching the series more slowly and allowing myself time to notice details - and to post about them. I agree with the previous posters who have written that the question of rating this episode depends on what one compares it with. Compared to normal TV fare (which I don't bother to watch) it's excellent, but knowing what comes in future B5 episodes, this one doesn't stand out particularly, except in its function as a beginning to regular broadcasting.

Changes from "The Gathering" are what were most noticeable for me. I suppose some network officials wanted Delenn looking more femininely attractive than she originally was shown, since she was planned as a love interest for the station commander - which is ambiguous for me. I could have accepted her more alien, androgynous appearance.

I do like the way news broadcasts are shown as being important to the characters, as well as the role of entertainment shown by Garibaldi's comic show watching.

Knowing the direction the Ivanova/Talia relationship will take, I can't help but wonder if the sleeping part of Winters is already directing the telepath. She certainly does not let herself get discouraged by Ivanova's setdowns!

Jan May 14th 10 17:41

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Estelyn (Post 361362)
I suppose some network officials wanted Delenn looking more femininely attractive than she originally was shown, since she was planned as a love interest for the station commander - which is ambiguous for me. I could have accepted her more alien, androgynous appearance.

In this case we can't blame the network. It was a combination of two things that caused the change. First, Delenn was originally supposed to be male but played by a female. The electronic changing of her voice from female to male just wasn't good enough, though, so it was dropped. Also, Mira Furlan was concerned that the amount of prosthetics covering her would stifle her performance. Given the two situations together, JMS bit the bullet and went ahead and made Delenn female from the start and had the prosthetics modified.

Jan

KoshFan May 14th 10 19:02

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
Interesting theory on Talia, Estelyn, although I think the feelings are genuine on both sides by the end.

JoeD80 May 14th 10 19:57

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Estelyn (Post 361362)
this one doesn't stand out particularly, except in its function as a beginning to regular broadcasting.

There is some interesting arc stuff here too I think: we learn about Londo's dream and that Londo and G'Kar will kill each other in 20 years; there's some foreshadowing for season five when G'Kar predicts that the Narns will have their teeth at the Centauri's throat one day; and there's symmetry between this episode and "The Coming of Shadows" with Londo heading to kill G'Kar here and G'Kar heading to kill Londo in the later episode (the opening scene in this episode appears in Londo's dream in that episode as well).

Estelyn May 14th 10 20:07

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
Thanks for the explanation, Jan!

I had the same perception of the relationship, KoshFan.

Good reminder of important arc information, JoeD80.

Sindatur May 16th 10 17:58

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by KoshFan (Post 361369)
Interesting theory on Talia, Estelyn, although I think the feelings are genuine on both sides by the end.

If I recall correstly, Ivanova (or "Control") precisely expresses the belief that Control directed Talia to seek out a relationship with Ivanova to use it for Control's information gathering. This isn't to say that Talia's real feelings weren't guenuine, but, I definitely believe the story was meant to make us believe that Control did deliberately seek out the relationship with Ivanova.

Republibot 3.0 September 17th 10 14:11

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
Just watched this one last night for the first time in several years. I give it a "C," because the acting is stiff, the writing is also frequently stiff ("I know Londo, more than you'll ever know. And I know that it burns" or Sinclair's whole "Ignore the propaganda" speech) and the editing was kinda' choppy. Some of the scenes are simply too obvious and pointed, and the Ragesh III plot is obviously a make-work thing to give the various subplots and exposition some structure, rather than a 'real' organic plot of the kinds B5 specializes in.

That said, I liked it quite a bit, I really did. Ideas-wise and worldbuilding-wise, it gets high marks from me. Basically they did more of that in 45 minutes than TNG did in an entire season in those days.

I've decided to re-watch the entire series in chronological order (Including the spinoffs) and review them in my "Retrospeculative TV" column, probably starting early next year.

Lennier's Tears July 27th 15 17:11

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
What an excellent first episode this is! It is interesting to both the first-time and the repeat viewer. There is SO much story information in there, so many seemingly little things that will turn out to be important later. Every detail matters, but all this information is presented in sort of a casual manner, so that itís not overwhelming or confusing for a first time viewer. Thereís also plenty of action to pull you right in, and I think it shows quite well what kind of show Babylon 5 is going to be. Itís not going to be a ďmonster of the weekĒ type show.

I started my B5 watching with Midnight on the Firing Line originally. I didnít see the pilot until much later, although someone had filled me in on what happened in there. I canít remember how I felt about it back then, but obviously I continued watching and came to really love the show.

I only just recently did a re-watch, but I only started posting here halfway through the second season, so I figured Iíd start over again, so I can post in all the episode threads :p

I have a few comments on details that stood out to me during this viewing, for one reason or another:
  • Those Centauri we see at the very beginning of the episode at Ragesh III are wearing interesting clothes. That is to say, they address each other with what sound like military titles, so they are either military or at least some kind of security. The clothes look civilian. It occurred to me for the first time ever that I donít know what Centauri military looks like. Other than those palace guards with the shiny helmets, everyone always seems to wear their sort of fancy dress. Are palace guard uniforms the same as military uniforms? Are they only for lower ranking individuals? These guys didnít seem too fancy, either. Their clothes were definitely less ornate than what we see on Londo and his peers, or even on Vir.
  • What on earth (or not on Earth, as the case may be :p ) is Garibaldi eating in that scene of him in the Zocalo? It looks like a kiwano sitting on some other fruit, maybe grapes, or possibly blackcurrants? And then some mysterious pyramid things (see screenshot below). I wonder if that fruit is grown in the hydroponic gardens. In later episodes, characters sometimes make a big deal out of foods that are hard to get on Babylon 5, but I have never been able to make sense of what is easy to get and what isnít, or what is locally grown and what isnít.
  • Londoís quarters. Do they look different later in the show? Or is it just that this early on he hasnít filled his space with as much Centauri stuff?
  • I really like that scene where Talia Winters finally catches up with Ivanova and they have their little chat at the bar. But, the weird thing about it is that it includes Ivanova telling Talia all about what the options are for telepaths who donít want to join Psi Corps. Clearly Talia would know this, and the information is for the viewerís benefit. It feels a little weird, but then I guess itís hard to stick that information in there so we, the audience can know whatís going on but still have it fit in the dialog and make sense.
  • The election stuff is interesting. It might just seem like background information or universe-building, but itís of course all important to the story. This is one of those examples of how the Earth Alliance is modeled after the late 20th century US. Two presidential candidates and a direct vote. I love all the detail in the news reports on the election, particularly the line about concern regarding ďnon-terran influencesĒ. This is really well done :D
  • Londoís vision of his death. He says this is common among Centauri. Is this a magical element in the Babylon 5 universe? There could be some other convoluted explanation for this , but most likely it is indeed a fantasy element. If so, I think itís the only one in the whole storyline. Everything else has some ďsciencyĒ explanation, does it not?


Screenshot of Garibaldi eating:
http://www.lotje.be/fanstuff/motfl_1.jpg

Lennier's Tears July 27th 15 18:03

Re: EpDis: Midnight On The Firing Line
 
So, I wrote that bit about how the Centauri seeing the future might be the only "magical" element in the B5 universe and then started watching the next episode, which is, of course, Soul Hunter. Kinda forgot about those guys for a second there :p I'll put my thoughts on that in the appropriate thread ...


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