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Old November 30th 09, 17:11   #48
Republibot 3.0
Psi Cop
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 1,540
Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?

My beef with Byron is just this:

He's an uterly useless character from a narrative point of view.

I don't think he was *conceived* of as one. Obviously, JMS had some important purpose in mind for him with the whole Ivonova is a Latent Teep thing, but by the time the Claudia Christian stuff all came down and she was out of the show, that part was lost, and all Byron was left with was the Martyr/Messiah/Mentor thing, which, as we've all noted, is agonizing and slow, and in the end it accomplishes nothing. It's superfluous.

Think about it: We spent seven episodes with Byron training Lyta, Byron dying, Lyta taking command of the rogues, and going off, without resolving the arc, so seven episodes with Byron himself, and one or two specifically dealing with the fallout from it, but no actual *resolution.* that's both frustrating and time consuming, made worse by the fact that Oz never did give nothin' to the Tin Man that he didn't already have.

By which I mean: This is Lyta Alexander! She doesn't *need* Byron to convince her of her powers, strength, and responsibilities - we've spent three seasons by this point watching her learn all that. She's not a wallflower, she's a chick who can blow up a planet with her brain, a chick who holds back out of defference to others, and gets taken advantage of for it, but she's braver than hell and plenty smart. She is no man's woman, and doesn't need to be.

How much cooler would it have been if Lyta went to Sheridan at the start of Season 5 and simply said "Here's what I want in exchange for my services in the war: I want to start a colony of Teeps on the station." Sheridan would have gone along with it - probably reluctantly, but he's an honorable man, he recognizes his debts. And from the start of S5 forward, Lyta would have been the leader of the telepaths, organizing them, training them, caring for them. She doesn't need a mentor, she already knows how to do this stuff. Certainly she doesn't need a preachy, longwinded black-and-tragic-like Hamlet figure. Wouldn't you much rather spend seven episodes with a character you already know and like, rather than some new guy that no one gives a damn about? If having Lyta leave the station was crucially important to JMS' larger plan, then fine, have her leave the station with her minions when it's no longer safe for them there, swell, I don't care, but having her casting googoo eyes and doing nothing else for a third of the season was useless. If JMS lost Ivonova, he should have lost Byron too.

Which brings me to my second problem with the Telepath arc. I get that JMS had some big, involved plans in mind for the Telepath War. I'm cool with that. It seems like he hoped to have it be backstory in Crusade, just as the Minbari War was backstory for B5. That's swell, no problem. There was talk of doing a Telepath War theatrical movie at one point - just talk, but still - and I know that a large part of the "Lost Tales" project was to involve the Telepath Wars. I totally get that things were going off the rails, and things didn't end up working the way JMS had hoped/intended.

However, there's an *Awful* lot of dead air in Season 5, an awful lot of standalones, not to mention seven episodes of Byron. Given that JMS was able to work the whole "War to Retake Earth" thing in to five or six episodes of Season 4 - and it was the high water mark of the series - it seems to me he could have probably worked the entire telepath war in to Season 5 if he'd wanted to.

I know, I know, I'm totally secondguessing the great maker. Sorry. He was banking on some hail mary passes that ultimately didn't get completed. Still and all, that's my beef. What do you guys think?
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