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Old August 12th 14, 08:37   #21
Springer
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Re: I Have A New WORST B5 Episode, and it is....

I don't think any guest stars have ruined an episode for me – if they're bad I tend to just ignore them and it still shouldn't detract from the script. I like Legacies, Eyes and Survivors regardless of their guest stars – never understood the hate for Survivors, I found it a fun Garibaldi episode, him interacting with Londo and G'Kar, Lou Welch, bit more of Down Below, bit of action, Jerry Doyle getting to go all Bruce Willis at the end, first time we see Earth Force One and the first really good look at the Cobra Bays.

Maybe TKO and Born to the Purple are close to the nadir - but you can kind of excuse them as it's season one and they're still experimenting and finding their feet – that's what I liked about B5, it wasn't afraid to try something even if it failed (where else would you find a TV episode that has bare-knuckle fighting one scene and the next a Jewish ceremony?). A View from the Gallery was season five! It doesn't have those excuses.

I think the difference is the poor episodes from season one are honest in trying to tell a good story, even if they fail. A View from the Gallery is too much nudge-nudge wink-wink. It's like the show had got too smug with itself. Of course, some might say Byron was on hand to bring it back down a peg...
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Old August 12th 14, 10:41   #22
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Re: I Have A New WORST B5 Episode, and it is....

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Maybe TKO and Born to the Purple are close to the nadir - but you can kind of excuse them as it's season one and they're still experimenting and finding their feet

Born To The Purple was quite good - Trakis was an interesting character and Londo's love for Adira would be important for later plot development.
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Old August 12th 14, 11:33   #23
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Re: I Have A New WORST B5 Episode, and it is....

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Maybe TKO and Born to the Purple are close to the nadir - but you can kind of excuse them as it's season one and they're still experimenting and finding their feet

Born To The Purple was quite good - Trakis was an interesting character and Londo's love for Adira would be important for later plot development.
Peter Jurasik was definitely having fun with his character in that. And it was good to see that side of Londo so early on. G'Kar never really had that aspect to him, other than his lust for human women. And that was another risk the show took: rather than Sinclair or Garibaldi being the first to get a love interest in the series proper, it was the guy with the funny hair instead.

Yeah, I'll take it back – it's not great but its not terrible either, though its one of my least favourite of the season.
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Old August 12th 14, 13:06   #24
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Re: I Have A New WORST B5 Episode, and it is....

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So I wrote a really long reply but got timed out and lost it all, so I'll try and summarise what I said.
I HATE THAT! It used to happen to me a lot, so I got into the habit of copying my entire reply, including the quoted parts, BEFORE hitting Submit Reply.
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Old August 12th 14, 13:50   #25
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Re: I Have A New WORST B5 Episode, and it is....

‘Infection’ was the one episode that stopped a close friend of mine from watching the show. It’s why I sometimes use a ‘abridged’ season one approach sometimes. After that episode he declared he ‘couldn’t take any more’ despite my reassurances that it was worth persevering with. I find it hard to disagree with him, it’s a stinker of an episode. I think my own tastes are generally in line with Kevin’s run down on Season one episodes. The only ones I usually skip are the aforementioned ‘Infection’ and ‘Eyes’. The rest I enjoy for one reason or another.

I think I’d have to re-watch ‘View from the Gallery’ to form any kind of opinion on it. I don’t remember particularly disliking it. I think it was one of the few episodes that Harlan Ellison got a writing credit for.
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Old August 12th 14, 22:59   #26
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Re: I Have A New WORST B5 Episode, and it is....

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I don't think any guest stars have ruined an episode for me – if they're bad I tend to just ignore them and it still shouldn't detract from the script. I like Legacies, Eyes and Survivors regardless of their guest stars – never understood the hate for Survivors, I found it a fun Garibaldi episode, him interacting with Londo and G'Kar, Lou Welch, bit more of Down Below, bit of action, Jerry Doyle getting to go all Bruce Willis at the end, first time we see Earth Force One and the first really good look at the Cobra Bays.

Maybe TKO and Born to the Purple are close to the nadir - but you can kind of excuse them as it's season one and they're still experimenting and finding their feet – that's what I liked about B5, it wasn't afraid to try something even if it failed (where else would you find a TV episode that has bare-knuckle fighting one scene and the next a Jewish ceremony?). A View from the Gallery was season five! It doesn't have those excuses.

I think the difference is the poor episodes from season one are honest in trying to tell a good story, even if they fail. A View from the Gallery is too much nudge-nudge wink-wink. It's like the show had got too smug with itself. Of course, some might say Byron was on hand to bring it back down a peg...
I would agree with all of that.

The comparison I like to use is this: A clunky episode in season 1 is still better than a clunky episode in season 5 because the show is like a new girlfriend. You're still learning about each other, it's still exciting, engaging. Even if the restraunt sucks, the company is nice, and you get a funny story out of it. In season 5, you've been dating, dating seriously, engaged, married, and now you're wondering if it was a mistake. Clearly they're just not trying.

Incidentally, I think the juxtaposition of the Mutai and Shiva was kind of brilliant in concept, I just think it was really poorly done in actual direction, mostly 'cuz the fight was too long.
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Old August 12th 14, 23:01   #27
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Re: I Have A New WORST B5 Episode, and it is....

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Maybe TKO and Born to the Purple are close to the nadir - but you can kind of excuse them as it's season one and they're still experimenting and finding their feet

Born To The Purple was quite good - Trakis was an interesting character and Londo's love for Adira would be important for later plot development.
Sadly, Sinclair's performance kills that episode. HIs tone is all off, and it asks us to assume too much that doesn't make sense. The idea that a bumbling oaf like Londo has secrets that could actually bring down the government is unbelievable at that point in the series. Yeah, if Trakis simply wanted to bribe people with the info, fine, but destroy the govt? Unlikely.

Basically dial that episode back about two notches and it works.
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Old August 12th 14, 23:16   #28
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Re: I Have A New WORST B5 Episode, and it is....

The quoting system's gone all wonky, so we'll do this the old fashioned way:

UBIK said: "‘Infection’ was the one episode that stopped a close friend of mine from watching the show. It’s why I sometimes use a ‘abridged’ season one approach sometimes. After that episode he declared he ‘couldn’t take any more’ despite my reassurances that it was worth persevering with. I find it hard to disagree with him, it’s a stinker of an episode. I think my own tastes are generally in line with Kevin’s run down on Season one episodes."

JMS once said (In SFU, IIRC) that if there was one episode of season 1 he could have fall off a dock into the ocean and be lost forever, it'd be "Infection." He said something like "We're six weeks into our series, and we're doing a rubber suit monster episode."

I didn't hate it at the time, mostly 'cuz no other show did Rubber Suit Monsters anymore, so it wa a nice change of pace. But beyond that, it was sub-par. The part that lost me, though, was the entirely-illogical conflict between Vance and Franklin, where Vance is discovering technologies that can help people, and Franklin is giving him guff about how he's "Not doing the work," that he's just slapping his name on stuff other people discovered ages ago. This makes NO logical sense, unless you're suggesting that every doctor who does eye surgery needs to figure out the entire process from scratch himself before he starts. It's a ludicrous argument, slows the ep to a halt, and it's just dumb. B5 was seldom dumb.

Even still, I liked the episode toelrably becasue it's got David McCallum in it, and because in retrospect, it felt like it migh have been foreshadowing for the Crusade Technomage Arc. Then JMS told me that, no, it had nothing to do with that, just a coincidence, and, ah, screw it, I don't like it anymore. <G>

UBIK also said: " I think I’d have to re-watch ‘View from the Gallery’ to form any kind of opinion on it. I don’t remember particularly disliking it. I think it was one of the few episodes that Harlan Ellison got a writing credit for."

Mr. E. Himself told me he didn't write it. He said he mentioned the idea of doing an episode that focused on nobodies in maintenence or whatever, as they crossed path with the bigwigs, a worm's eye view of a day in the life. (He was evidently unaware that TNG's "Lower Decks" had already done this. JMS seems to have been unaware of that as well). He said that was all he did, just an idea in passing. JMS wrote the whole thing in one day, and then gave Harlan co-writing credit because JMS is good like that. He said early on (Again, in SFU) that he's already getting paid as a producer and show runner and head writer and stuff, he didn't need another paycheck. Basically if some guest writer wrote something, and JMS made changes to it, then JMS was within his rights to take co-writer credit on it (A lot of producers do this. A LOT) but JMS had been a struggling writer himself for a long time, so his opinion was "I don't need the cash or prestiege, so they can take all the credit and the money."

This is evidently some variation on what happened w/ AVFTG, where JMS just wanted to give him credit, even though paper never touched pen.

Incidentally, JMS has said this ep was written in less than 24 hours. It shows. It's not even trying.
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Old August 13th 14, 09:47   #29
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Re: I Have A New WORST B5 Episode, and it is....

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Incidentally, JMS has said this ep was written in less than 24 hours. It shows. It's not even trying.
At the Blackpool convention in 97 just before the start of season five JMS had all his notes for season 5 thrown out by hotel cleaning staff – maybe that contributed to having to rush to put together the opening episodes.

The two Blackpool conventions were probably the best conventions I've ever been to, although the best way to describe the 97 event is probably 'organised chaos'. Credit to JMS you'd never have known at the convention what was going on behind the scenes with his lost notes and Claudia Christian leaving.
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Old August 13th 14, 12:09   #30
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Re: I Have A New WORST B5 Episode, and it is....

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Incidentally, JMS has said this ep was written in less than 24 hours. It shows. It's not even trying.
At the Blackpool convention in 97 just before the start of season five JMS had all his notes for season 5 thrown out by hotel cleaning staff – maybe that contributed to having to rush to put together the opening episodes.

The two Blackpool conventions were probably the best conventions I've ever been to, although the best way to describe the 97 event is probably 'organised chaos'. Credit to JMS you'd never have known at the convention what was going on behind the scenes with his lost notes and Claudia Christian leaving.
....and trying to get the entire cast to sign contract extensions so they'd be available for Season 5.
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