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Old June 23rd 14, 14:30   #1
KoshN
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I Have A New WORST B5 Episode, and it is....

...A View from the Gallery. Yes, it's worse than Believers and Survivors.

I'm into Season 5 of my first full rewatch in about 10 years, and I could barely finish watching A View from the Gallery. The whole thing felt contrived, like it was designed to hit all the marks to prove Lochley/Scoggins was a good choice, had lines obviously directed at the fans re. Ivanova's departure, and it had Byron holding a invader's helmet and quoting Shakespeare.

So, worst of B5:

Episodes
1. A View from the Gallery
2. Believers
3. Survivors

Movies:
1. The Legend of the Rangers - To Live and Die in Starlight
2. Voices in the Dark - Over Here
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Max Eilerson: "The story of my life. I finally find a city like this, intact, deserted for ten thousand years. Probably contains hundreds of patents that I could exploit and I'm going to die. I can appreciate dramatic irony as much as the next person, but this is pushing it a bit."
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Old June 23rd 14, 15:31   #2
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Re: I Have A New WORST B5 Episode, and it is....

Certainly 'Survivors' has the worst acting performance by the stiff and wooden Major Kemmer. Also the Zarg ruined "Grey 17 Is Missing' despite some interesting arc points. 'A View From The Gallery' is a season filler episode for sure, while 'The Geometry of Shadows' has the silly sub-plot of Drazi fighting over coloured sashes despite an excellent main story re the Technomages and Londo. Exogenesis wasted an opportunity to put Lt Corwin in the spotlight (why wouldn't he be suitable anyway?). Dare I say that my personal worst is 'Sleeping In Light'. So many plot points to wrap up in the final episode and everything was left hanging for some vanity piece for Sheridan.

My worst list:

1. Sleeping In Light
2. Survivors
3. Grey 17 Is Missing
4. Legend Of The Rangers (Movie)
5. Exogenesis
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Old June 23rd 14, 16:44   #3
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Re: I Have A New WORST B5 Episode, and it is....

Wow. I don't think I've *ever* seen SiL as a worst episode.

Jan
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Old June 23rd 14, 19:29   #4
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Re: I Have A New WORST B5 Episode, and it is....

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Dare I say that my personal worst is 'Sleeping In Light'. So many plot points to wrap up in the final episode and everything was left hanging for some vanity piece for Sheridan.
The hanging plot threads at the end of season five are certainly a debating point, but that is a talking point about Season Five overall isn't it? If you take Sleeping in Light on its own merits as 43 minutes of TV would you still say it is one of the worst?

I rather liked Believers and Survivors....

I have to say, there isn't an episode of B5 I don't like on some level. Even Grey 17 - the Zarg was silly but up until then it was a fun episode and the Neroon/Marcus confrontation was great. I guess if I had to pick I'd say Acts of Sacrifice but only because of Ivanova's dance (which I know was a love it/hate it scene) and Learning Curve for the way it depicts the Rangers (I just cannot see Sinclair/Valen or Delenn teaching the Rangers to act as judge and jury like that, like vigilantes). The plot of River of Souls was absolutely terrible, but the acting talent on display in that movie saved it.

There's probably some Crusade episodes that might contest worst episode – The Well of Forever is one that stands out to me as not being all that great, especially the scene with the hyperspace lifeforms (we'd been waiting since B5 season 1 to see the hyperspace lifeforms, and *that's* what we get?) but even then it's watchable. To me that shows how good the stuff out of the B5 stable was that there's not an episode that I cannot watch.
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Old June 23rd 14, 20:45   #5
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Re: I Have A New WORST B5 Episode, and it is....

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Wow. I don't think I've *ever* seen SiL as a worst episode.

Jan
Yeah, I find that completely 180degrees out of phase.
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Max Eilerson: "The story of my life. I finally find a city like this, intact, deserted for ten thousand years. Probably contains hundreds of patents that I could exploit and I'm going to die. I can appreciate dramatic irony as much as the next person, but this is pushing it a bit."
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Old June 24th 14, 12:49   #6
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Re: I Have A New WORST B5 Episode, and it is....

I liked SiL a lot, primarily for the reason that it’s not rushed, nor does it try to cram in plot to tie up loose ends. It’s a slow and stately goodbye to the series, and it’s something a lot of shows could learn from. I think it might have had EVEN MORE impact had it aired at the end of S4 as planned; serving as a contemplative rest to all the action that had taken place previously. It’s still a massive emotional sucker punch every time I see it.

I’d have to re-watch ‘A view from the Gallery’ to properly asses it. S5 has it’s fair share of problems.

If we’re talking worst episodes, off the top of my head, I can only think of a handful that I truly dislike :

Worst Episodes:

1. Infection
2. Eyes
3. Anything with singing telepaths

TV movies (I only really like In the Beginning and A Call to Arms):

1. LOTR – To live and die on TV
2. River of Souls – It’s awful, but it has so much unintended comedy value that I do enjoy it. Especially Martin Sheen’s ham-tastic performance. I was in stitches the first time I saw the opening scene. Plus, Lovejoy in space!).
3. Thirdspace

I only really liked one or two episodes of Crusade, so I won’t even start listing episodes that didn’t do it for me. The Path of Sorrows was great though. Wish there’d been more of that kind of thing.

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Old June 25th 14, 17:27   #7
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Re: I Have A New WORST B5 Episode, and it is....

Quote:
Originally Posted by KoshN View Post
...A View from the Gallery. Yes, it's worse than Believers and Survivors.

I'm into Season 5 of my first full rewatch in about 10 years, and I could barely finish watching A View from the Gallery. The whole thing felt contrived, like it was designed to hit all the marks to prove Lochley/Scoggins was a good choice, had lines obviously directed at the fans re. Ivanova's departure, and it had Byron holding a invader's helmet and quoting Shakespeare.

So, worst of B5:
God bless you, sir! I have long maintained that "View" was the shittiest shit ever shat through a shitter. People really argue the hell out of it, though. People really seem to like it, and I have *never* figured out why. It's rare when you can compare something from B5 to something from TNG and have TNG come out better, but I'd choose "Lower Decks" over "View" any day. Both provide basically worms-eye views of the show.

The dialog is unbelievably clunky, the performances are really forced (Both Mack and Bo are TERRIBLE actors) and putting them in posiitons so they can interact withour real cast is unrealistic and awkward. Also: what the hell is wrong with Lochley's hair in this one? As my wife said when we watched it first-broadcast: "Is...uhm...is the actress going bald?"

And, yeah, the breaking-the-fourth-wall crap was so belabored and wink-wink. Terrible. It contains possibly the worst line in all of B5, when one of the doofuses says "I know one thing: I want her watching my back" like he's soooooo impressed with Lochley because she's every bit the badass Ivonova was....and he's met her exactly ONE time for less than three minutes. Yeah, that's not forced at all. Honestly, it turned Lochley from being a casting necessity that nevertheless had some potential into a total Mary Sue that the station just couldn't live without. This ep made it harder for me to take her seriously for longer than it might have otherwise.

Also: sloppy continuity: B5 takes more damage in this episode than it did in Severed Dreams. It takes more damage than it has since the Centauri blew off the cargo stabilizer, and yet next week, it's all fine and no one ever mentions it again.

As for me, I was disappointed with Sleeping in Light when I first saw it, but I didn't think it was bad. I just took it as a case of them filming their 20th anniversiary reunion special 19 years early. But later on I grew to really like it.
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Old June 25th 14, 17:58   #8
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Re: I Have A New WORST B5 Episode, and it is....

It became evident to me that "A View from the Gallery" was the worst B5 episode during a marathon viewing where I started with "The Gathering" and "Midnight on the Firing Ling" on May 21st and ended with "Sleeping in Light" yesterday June 24th.

When Mack says that about Lochley, I think that is Joe telling us that we should like Lochley. It's thinly veiled, but it's soooo thin that anybody should be able to see it for what it is. Granted, I ended up liking Lochley more this time around (hard not to like her less.), but we don't need to be told to like her. Ditto for Mack's line about everybody having a different idea of why Ivanova left, and he says that they should just chalk it up to the military life. It's like Joe's defending his casting choices in dialogue.

Quote:
Mack (re. Lochley): “Hey, one things for sure, if I needed somebody to watch my back in a fight, I’d pick her.”

Mack: “You shouldn’t listen to rumors, Bo. Like when Ivanova left, everywhere I turned, somebody had an opinion on that one. One guy said that the was heartbroken over that guy (Marcus). Then, somebody else said she wanted a promotion. Quit because she wasn’t getting paid enough money.

Bo: So, which is it?

Mack: “What difference does it make? That’s the military life. People come, people go. It’s nobody else’s business.”


Mack (to Lochley): “Ma’am? Captain? Captain Lochley! I know you’re new here and all, and I just wanted to say ….you’re OK in my book, ma’am.
The dialogue wherever Mack (especially) and Bo was saying it, was clunky and/or "aw shucks" style. Mack appears to be either an elementary school grad. or somebody who barely made it through high school. Bo is more well spoken and appears to be a bit brighter.

Re. Lochley’s hair, they were going after after Ivanova’s pulled-back hairstyle look, and while it looks GREAT on Ivanova/Claudia Christian, it doesn’t look good on Lochley/Scoggins. On Lochley, it looks painfully tight.


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Also: sloppy continuity: B5 takes more damage in this episode than it did in Severed Dreams. It takes more damage than it has since the Centauri blew off the cargo stabilizer, and yet next week, it's all fine and no one ever mentions it again.
Well, they were repairing it at the end of the episode,but for so much damage, it would've been good to see that it wasn't all done when the next episode (Learning Curve) started, ....like they did when they showed the cargo stabilizer getting repaired and the core shuttle getting repaired.
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Max Eilerson: "The story of my life. I finally find a city like this, intact, deserted for ten thousand years. Probably contains hundreds of patents that I could exploit and I'm going to die. I can appreciate dramatic irony as much as the next person, but this is pushing it a bit."

Last edited by KoshN; June 25th 14 at 20:07.
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Old June 26th 14, 19:54   #9
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Re: I Have A New WORST B5 Episode, and it is....

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It became evident to me that "A View from the Gallery" was the worst B5 episode during a marathon viewing where I started with "The Gathering" and "Midnight on the Firing Ling" on May 21st and ended with "Sleeping in Light" yesterday June 24th.
Did you notice how it doesn't really "Become" Babylon 5 until the last 4 episodes of Season 2? I mean, there's elements there, but they're disorganized and rambly, and their early successes almost feel more like accidental collisions between cool stuff than "I know what I want and I know how to get it" as we saw in the main sequence. And then it kind of stops being B5 in Season 4, ep 22, and doesn't start being B5 again until about episode 14 or 15 of season 5.

Much as I love the show, and while it really was the best genre program on at the time, in retrospect its "Main sequence" was fairly short. Basically 2 years and change.

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Originally Posted by KoshN View Post
When Mack says that about Lochley, I think that is Joe telling us that we should like Lochley. It's thinly veiled, but it's soooo thin that anybody should be able to see it for what it is. Granted, I ended up liking Lochley more this time around (hard not to like her less.), but we don't need to be told to like her. Ditto for Mack's line about everybody having a different idea of why Ivanova left, and he says that they should just chalk it up to the military life. It's like Joe's defending his casting choices in dialogue.
I know people who love that and swear that it's brilliant to this day, but it's just shameful and embarasingly bad writing. It reads like something that shouldn't have made it through a 2nd draft. Which is the kind of thing that makes me think there may NOT have been a 2nd draft.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KoshN View Post
The dialogue wherever Mack (especially) and Bo was saying it, was clunky and/or "aw shucks" style. Mack appears to be either an elementary school grad. or somebody who barely made it through high school. Bo is more well spoken and appears to be a bit brighter.
To my surprise, Bo has managed to work steadily (About one role a year) since then. Mack has also worked pretty steadily, and somewhat more prolifically. I would have lost that bet, as both of 'em were terrible.

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Re. Lochley’s hair, they were going after after Ivanova’s pulled-back hairstyle look, and while it looks GREAT on Ivanova/Claudia Christian, it doesn’t look good on Lochley/Scoggins. On Lochley, it looks painfully tight.
Worse than that, it made her look like she had thinning hair, like there was a lot of individual space between the folicles.

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Well, they were repairing it at the end of the episode,but for so much damage, it would've been good to see that it wasn't all done when the next episode (Learning Curve) started, ....like they did when they showed the cargo stabilizer getting repaired and the core shuttle getting repaired.
Yeah, they do, but it's yet another violation of the JMS prohibition against returnign the seat backs and tray tables to their fully upright, locked positions at the end of the flight: This episode has *NO* consequences whatsoever.

I note a lot of people have said they don't like "Believers." I actually like that one. It could have used a little more dogfighting, and a little less "Mamya, Papya," but I thought it was a good exploration of people's rights and responsibilities and how they affect each other. I like that Franklin did the right thing, but lost. I like that the parents were wrong, and kind of knew it ("It is not allowed that I forgive you, but if I could, I would") but were constrained by their custom and culture. I love the "Who gave you the right to play God"/"Every damn patient that walks into my medlab!" argument.

What I really love, however, is that it was a difficult question with no easy answers, and they don't give a Star Trek Cheat ending where everything is ok. "Sometimes you lose" was a HUGE innovation in US SF in those days. It's like in "Chrysalis," I just naturally believed up until the last five minutes that they'd manage to stop Santiago's assassination, because that's how TV works. When they didn't, I was literally dropjawed!
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Old June 29th 14, 12:01   #10
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Re: I Have A New WORST B5 Episode, and it is....

Out of curiosity I watched A View from the Gallery again (hadn't seen it in many a year) and yeah, unfortunately I have to agree with pretty much all the sentiments in this thread. B5 always had a certain degree of intelligence to it, even the poorer episodes, but in View from the Gallery it feels like JMS has forgotten who the audience is he's writing for and that we're all dummies that need to be reminded how great Sheridan and Delenn are. Even the Londo/G'Kar scene feels oddly forced. The only two scenes I really like in the episode are Garibaldi and Lochley in the elevator ("I'm not seeing much intelligence from you, covert, overt or otherwise!" - great line) and Franklin telling Bo why he became a doctor – a bit trite but it felt right for Franklin's character.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Republibot 3.0 View Post
Did you notice how it doesn't really "Become" Babylon 5 until the last 4 episodes of Season 2? I mean, there's elements there, but they're disorganized and rambly, and their early successes almost feel more like accidental collisions between cool stuff than "I know what I want and I know how to get it" as we saw in the main sequence. And then it kind of stops being B5 in Season 4, ep 22, and doesn't start being B5 again until about episode 14 or 15 of season 5.

Much as I love the show, and while it really was the best genre program on at the time, in retrospect its "Main sequence" was fairly short. Basically 2 years and change.
I'm not sure I can agree with all this. Accepting season one as being a bit different since in many ways it was going to end up a different show with Sinclair, season two hit the ground running and maintained that consistency right through. I remember those final four episodes were heavily hyped, as in the US there was a long delay before they were shown, while here in the UK we got them first and boy did they deliver, but in terms of quality the 18 episodes prior to that were generally just as consistent in my view. They felt as much 'B5' as seasons three and four did.
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