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Old October 31st 09, 15:03   #1
Alluveal
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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.
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Old October 31st 09, 15:14   #2
Jan
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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
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Old November 3rd 09, 01:00   #3
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Re: S1: Overwrought?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alluveal View Post
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.


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Originally Posted by Alluveal View Post
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.

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Originally Posted by Alluveal View Post
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.

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Originally Posted by Alluveal View Post
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?
No.

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Originally Posted by Alluveal View Post
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 View Post
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!


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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?)


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Originally Posted by Jan View Post
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.


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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!
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Old November 3rd 09, 02:49   #4
Alluveal
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Re: S1: Overwrought?

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Old November 3rd 09, 05:16   #5
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Re: S1: Overwrought?

If anyone thinks Season 1 is overly dramatic, I can't wait until they see Season 3.
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Old November 3rd 09, 06:17   #6
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Re: S1: Overwrought?

No Shit! I was thinking the same thing. I'd call B5 well-tempered, not over-wrought.
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Old November 3rd 09, 07:48   #7
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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.
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Old November 3rd 09, 07:54   #8
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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.
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Old November 3rd 09, 21:56   #9
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Re: S1: Overwrought?

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Originally Posted by Infested Londo View Post
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?



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.

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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'.


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Originally Posted by Infested Londo View Post
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>

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@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" ). 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."


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Originally Posted by Infested Londo View Post
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.


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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.
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Old November 4th 09, 01:42   #10
Alluveal
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Re: S1: Overwrought?

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Originally Posted by Infested Londo View Post
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.
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