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Old June 14th 16, 13:51   #11
Jan
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Re: Is it time to give season 5 another chance?

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The problem with the telepath storyline in Season 5 is that I can think of no reason why the telepaths cannot have a homeworld. The universe is a big place there must be a planet/habitable moon somewhere...
Because actual habitable planets belong to somebody. And they're valuable real estate. One doesn't simply give them away to a small splinter group.

As for our characters making 'grey' decisions - they've been doing that since season one but it seemed okay because there were supposedly good reasons for it. Lyta's illegal scan of the Centauri telepath in 'Passing through Gethsemane' comes to mind.

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Old June 14th 16, 14:33   #12
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Re: Is it time to give season 5 another chance?

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The problem with the telepath storyline in Season 5 is that I can think of no reason why the telepaths cannot have a homeworld. The universe is a big place there must be a planet/habitable moon somewhere...
Because actual habitable planets belong to somebody. And they're valuable real estate. One doesn't simply give them away to a small splinter group.

As for our characters making 'grey' decisions - they've been doing that since season one but it seemed okay because there were supposedly good reasons for it. Lyta's illegal scan of the Centauri telepath in 'Passing through Gethsemane' comes to mind.

Jan
I agree, and I like the characters making grey decisions, they are far more interesting that way. I do think there is a difference between grey decisions that might affect individuals, and grey decisions from people in a position of power that could affect billions. But my main criticism is that there is no acknowledgement that they are grey decisions. We don't see the characters weighing up these decisions, and indeed I feel they're making decisions that feel out of character.
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Old June 14th 16, 15:23   #13
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Re: Is it time to give season 5 another chance?

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I agree, and I like the characters making grey decisions, they are far more interesting that way. I do think there is a difference between grey decisions that might affect individuals, and grey decisions from people in a position of power that could affect billions. But my main criticism is that there is no acknowledgement that they are grey decisions. We don't see the characters weighing up these decisions, and indeed I feel they're making decisions that feel out of character.
Given how early it was in the season, JMS may have still been trending toward the idea of having the Alliance becoming - or verging on - tyranical. It's clear throughout the season that this is on the job training for Sheridan.

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Old June 15th 16, 10:52   #14
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Re: Is it time to give season 5 another chance?

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I agree, and I like the characters making grey decisions, they are far more interesting that way. I do think there is a difference between grey decisions that might affect individuals, and grey decisions from people in a position of power that could affect billions. But my main criticism is that there is no acknowledgement that they are grey decisions. We don't see the characters weighing up these decisions, and indeed I feel they're making decisions that feel out of character.
Given how early it was in the season, JMS may have still been trending toward the idea of having the Alliance becoming - or verging on - tyranical. It's clear throughout the season that this is on the job training for Sheridan.

Jan
there was a moment in a later episode, when Sheridan arrives on minbar, walks over to the balcony to look out at the vista, and there is a musical nudge that he's been there before... almost a z'ha'dum moment. He's lookng out at something that may appear beautiful but might become something terrible.

The alliance started out with good intentions, but as we see in S4 when the White star fleet do a fly over of earthgov (with the same musical cue i believe) not everything is black and white. You do get the sense that what is being created is not necesserily a good thing.
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Old June 16th 16, 22:28   #15
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Re: Is it time to give season 5 another chance?

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You do get the sense that what is being created is not necesserily a good thing.
Except that the story told in The Deconstruction of Falling Stars implies that the Alliance became a good thing. But yeah, the birth of the Alliance has some peculiarly dark overtones. Given that Sheridan was devoted to getting rid of corruption and President Clark, it just seems odd.

Anyway, onto A View From the Gallery.

Now I know that this episode polarises opinion. It does seem a bit marmite, some love it, some don't. I used to like it, then went to hating it, having just watched it again I can see things to like and things not to like.

For me though, where it sits in season five, it doesn't advance the larger story in any way. In the DVD intro to the season, JMS talks about the importance of getting momentum back into the story after having wrapped up the civil war early. Yet these first four episodes have had very little momentum in them; this episode and The Very Long Night of Londo Mollari are standalones, while No Compromises and Paragon of Animals move fairly slowly and with no large stakes at risk. I know season 5 improves as we get to later episodes, and that a lot of fans blame Byron for not liking the first half of the season, but I think momentum is a problem too.

I do like the concept of the episode, which is in the same vein as the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode 'Lower Decks' (actually one of the few TNG episodes that I've not seen, so, alas, I cannot make a direct comparison with A View From the Gallery). I think the main problem is that there's no inter-personal conflict. We get the opportunity for a different point of view on the main characters' decisions and actions, and it's wasted. Instead we're just told how great Lochley and Sheridan and Delenn are. We know how great Sheridan and Delenn are already and for Lochley's character to win over fans, she has to be seen to do great things, not just be told that she's great (and I think No Compromises introduced her to be a strong character, I didn't need any more convincing). As such, parts of the episode felt a little fanboy-ish, and not for the first time this season either. It's an unfortunate trait that's creeping in as it takes the edge of the characterisation in the show and makes everything feel too safe.

I think I've also figured out part of the problem with the music this season too - it's the sound mixing more than the music that is composed. It's too loud in parts and could do with being mixed lower, though Franke's music is unsubtle at times in this episode too. The scene where Sheridan and Lochley are talking in the corridor is an example - the music playing over it is too intrusive. That scene didn't even need music, in my opinion.

I do love Lochley's put-down to Garibaldi though: "Right now I'm not seeing a whole lot of intelligence, covert, overt or otherwise!"

And yikes - the special effects really have taken a huge downturn since season 4. The lighting, composition of shots, the movement of spacecraft, the camera angles, the textures, the explosions - they all just look wrong somehow. I know the reason why junior animators were put on the show while the more experienced animators at Netter Digital worked on other things but it's really a backward step in that the effects now are far worse than they were in the first season and it makes the show look cheap, or like a bad computer game. The scene where Bo and Mack watch the battle from the Sanctuary is nice though.

A few minor nitpicking details. Where have the Narn members of security gone? And does the station really have enough shelters for a quarter of a million people?

It's interesting that Byron's observations on death are completely at odds with Lyta's. I'd like to say this is highlighting how different he is to other telepaths, but instead I think it's just him talking codswallop again.

So, do I like this episode? Yes and no. The concept is nice but at the end of the day the characters of Mack and Bo weren't interesting enough (or acted well enough) to really hold my attention. If they had been presented as being a little smarter (which would have made them more relatable to the B5 audience, who are a pretty smart bunch in my experience), and if they'd been put into conflict with some of the main characters, it would have been better. I can't help but think that an episode centred around a day in the life of Lt Corwin instead would have been much more interesting and entertaining.

Season Five is stuttering along at the moment, struggling to find that momentum and failing to reignite the things that made previous seasons great. There have been moments, but nothing cohesive except for the second episode. Unfortunately I think it's about to get worse with Learning Curve before it gets better, but I'm getting ahead of myself - maybe my opinion of episode five will have changed since I last watched it!
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Old June 17th 16, 08:50   #16
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Re: Is it time to give season 5 another chance?

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Despite that, I said its not a bad opener and there are good things worth highlighting. Tracy Scoggins puts in a strong performance as Lochley. Right from the beginning we see shes not Ivanova; her arrival on the station reminds me a little of when Franklin arrives and is greeted by Ivanova in Soul Hunter. Franklin asks whether it is always this hectic and Ivanova replies that she likes it that way, whereas Lochley just sees disorder and a badly run station. Shes her own character and distinct from Ivanova right from the start. Its also kind of neat that the first character we see this season is Corwin, promising a larger role for him in season 5. But why hasnt he got a B5 uniform yet like Zack and Franklin?
That was always a bit of a problem I had with Lochley, the nature of the character seems to have to be to detract from the competence of those around her. Obviously the main cast were always fallible but there seemed to be more of a balance were as a lot of her character seemed to be that she was simply better than those around her.
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Old June 17th 16, 10:08   #17
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Re: Is it time to give season 5 another chance?

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That was always a bit of a problem I had with Lochley, the nature of the character seems to have to be to detract from the competence of those around her. Obviously the main cast were always fallible but there seemed to be more of a balance were as a lot of her character seemed to be that she was simply better than those around her.
So far the only person I've felt she's detracted from is Garibaldi, but frankly she's right about him - Garibaldi should never have been given that job in the first place.

Regarding her arrival on the station, she can say all those things but she has to learn she's not on a ship anymore, just like Sheridan had to learn. Corwin knows she's underestimating the place, and we know she is.
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Old June 17th 16, 12:48   #18
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Re: Is it time to give season 5 another chance?

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That was always a bit of a problem I had with Lochley, the nature of the character seems to have to be to detract from the competence of those around her. Obviously the main cast were always fallible but there seemed to be more of a balance were as a lot of her character seemed to be that she was simply better than those around her.
So far the only person I've felt she's detracted from is Garibaldi, but frankly she's right about him - Garibaldi should never have been given that job in the first place.

Regarding her arrival on the station, she can say all those things but she has to learn she's not on a ship anymore, just like Sheridan had to learn. Corwin knows she's underestimating the place, and we know she is.
The difference between her and Sheridan for me makes the problem all the more obvious. The show sold the idea that he was a bit nave and had to learn to be much flexible vastly more than they did for her.

The problem I spose is really that JMS had to drop her in quickly as an Ivanova replacement so we couldn't get as much of that kind of thing or as much depth added to her character generally compared to the rest of the cast. In the relative absence of that I think the character has to fall back onto mere competence.

I do wonder whether it might have been a better idea to have someone a bit more openly antagonistic to B5 as a replacement. They hint at it a little with Lochley but ultimately beyond not turning in the war she tends to be very much on side even if she has a different view of how things should be carried out. Perhaps take that further and have her as someone more forced on Sheridan by earthgov to try and look after there interests who gradually comes more onside.
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Old June 18th 16, 05:30   #19
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Re: Is it time to give season 5 another chance?

I really like the idea of rewatching the season almost 20 years later, particularly in this post 9/11 world.

I think a lot more things, and probably even more in seasons 1-4, would look VERY different under the new 21st century prism.
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Old June 19th 16, 21:08   #20
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Re: Is it time to give season 5 another chance?

As far as the alliance goes I doubt JMS had the intension of making in tyrannical. A lot of the point of it seems to be that its forged by people who have very direct experience of failed forms of leadership so are better able to avoid them. The issue really is I would say more confronting the reality of accountable politics where games have to be played and not all solutions are ideal because those at the top do not have supreme power that can easily be abused.
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