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Old September 13th 08, 17:03   #1
dreamer
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Crusade: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I haven't been watching the B5 communities or fan sites before this and so I'm not entirely sure what people think about the series. Me myself, I plain hate it. Why does it suck so much? Is it the lack of good actors? Does the script stink? The production? What what whaaat? What happened to JMS? B5 season 5 displayed some symptoms but I never really would've believed how horrible this show was before fighting through it.

Three things that come to mind. I'll go first.

Good

I like Gary Cole. He's an authoritative figure but like Boxleitner, you either like or hate him. I think I first saw this guy in American Gothic which was fairly alright, even if it did balance between being a sunday eve's family show and something for the more mature viewers. Way back when I first discovered Crusader I thought that he'd be great, if perhaps a bit too much like Sinclair and Sheridan.

Bad

Galen. His act is so ridiculous in and out that I can't take him seriously. Technomages could've been great but even Elric in the main series was cheesy as hell - even if I did like the actor.

Ugly

The music! Aargh! What the hell is that supposed to be!?
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Old September 13th 08, 17:35   #2
Jan
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Re: Crusader: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

What's Crusader? Crusade is the name of the Babylon 5 sequel.

The Good:
The actors and characters. Compared to other series, they all hit the ground running with great chemistry. Well...perhaps not Dr. Chambers but that might have been remedied if there'd been more than 13 episodes. I loved the chemistry between Dureena and Galen, and Max Eilerson was a treat. Gideon was a subtle and interesting Captain.

The Bad
I'm not sure that the CGI was quite up to the demands being made on it at the time.

The Ugly
TNT. 'Nuff said.

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Old September 13th 08, 17:39   #3
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Re: Crusader: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I actually quite enjoyed Crusade, and when watched in the correct order I'd put it at the same level as B5 seasons 2 and three, above 1 and 5, but below 4. I thought the cast was terrific, and I liked the more introspective thinking feel that the show seemed to have and I felt that the music really fit the different show that Crusade was perfectly. I liked the storylines that they were developing and felt that all in all the show really flowed together nicely.

That being said the effects were a problem at points, most notably with the Drakh. But that's a rather minor complaint, and that's the only types of complaints I had about Crusade, very minor ones.
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Old September 13th 08, 21:55   #4
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Re: Crusader: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamer View Post
I haven't been watching the B5 communities or fan sites before this and so I'm not entirely sure what people think about the series. Me myself, I plain hate it.
As Jan said, the title of the show is Crusade.

As for me, when I first saw it in first run on TNT, I didn't care for it much. It seemed like the show had no clear sense of direction or sustained impetus. Then, I found out the reason WHY, the TNT scrambled airing order and TNT meddling, and as it turned out, deliberate sabotage (See http://www.jmsnews.com/msg.aspx?id=1-17127 ).
Quote:
JMS: Well... the comics. The books (shared universe-Distant Worlds and the Quote Book) um...(Jan: DVDs.)

Oh! Yes, DVDs. Well, we've finished up the commentaries for the set of movies that are coming out. And we're working currently on the Crusade DVDs. The hiccup we have hit on the Crusade DVDs...And by the way, they're selling great. I've heard that they've netted - netted, mind you, over 70 million dollars just from the first three and a half seasons. (applause) When they said, do you want to do the Crusade commentaries, assuming of course that we get the rest of them (something), I said "Absolutely." (they said) What do you want to talk about?" JMS: "I want to say what happened." (they stutter) "What do you mean?" JMS: "The TRUTH!" I want to put the truth out there. We are now on our fourth (something) of Legal Affairs. "He wants to do what??" "The TRUTH!" I have another conference call scheduled on Thursday with Legal Affairs. We're running out of time for the DVDs. I said, "Look if I can't get the truth out, then I don't want to support the DVDs."

Audience: I can see some big-ass disclaimers over that one.

JMS: I want the real truth to come out. Including the fact...I ran into some guys who worked for TNT about two years after Crusade went down. And they said, "Did you ever hear the rest of the story?" JMS: "What rest of the story?" TNT guys: "We found out, we did a research survey, a five year long study of our ratings. This was just after Crusade got going. And, we found out that the audience for B5 came for B5, then left afterward. And the TNT regular viewers didn't stick around for B5 and went away and came back. B5 wasn't adding to our viewer base." So...they decided to pull the plug on Crusade for that reason and use the money to buy another show. But they couldn't say that because they'd be in breach of contract with Warner Bros. So their job was to make it impossible for us so they could then say, "We aren't getting the show we want, our notes aren't being dealt with, therefore we aren't responsible, we're canceling the show, this is your nut Warner Bros., you take care of it." That is why all the notes became so egregious. If I had given them everything they wanted, they still would have pulled the plug. They just wanted out. Yeah, I want that information out there. (Audience: We'll take care of that) On the DVDs. You all heard the tenor of the notes? (agreement, requests for JMS to tell some anyway) That's all right. Other questions... Yes, sir.
See also:

http://www.jmsnews.com/msg.aspx?id=1-160

http://www.jmsnews.com/msg.aspx?id=1-781

http://www.jmsnews.com/msg.aspx?id=1-803

http://www.jmsnews.com/msg.aspx?id=1-1139

http://www.jmsnews.com/msg.aspx?id=1-1255

http://www.jmsnews.com/msg.aspx?id=1-10830

http://www.jmsnews.com/msg.aspx?id=1-16212

http://www.jmsnews.com/msg.aspx?id=1-16584

http://www.jmsnews.com/msg.aspx?id=1-17090



Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamer View Post
Why does it suck so much?
IMHO, overall, it doesn't. Sure there are some things here and there that bother me, things that seem out of place, a few bad lines ("The air is human." and "Sure, he's a pain in the butt, but he'll be our pain in the butt."*), or CGI that's clearly not as good as the rest of the CGI, but overall, I very much like Crusade, and for my money, it's one of the two stories that I WISH they'd find some way to complete. The other story I'd like to see told is The Telepath Crisis.



Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamer View Post
Is it the lack of good actors?
IMHO, two actors were miscast. Tracy Scoggins (a carryover from Babylon 5 Season 5) and Marjean Holden (Dr. Chambers). The majority of the time that either of them is onscreen, I have a tough time suspending disbelief. However, all of that's water under the bridge, and nothing can be done about that now.



Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamer View Post
Does the script stink?
For the most part, HELL NO.



Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamer View Post
The production?
In keeping the CGI up to a consistently good look, yes. Sometimes, the CGI was absolutely beautiful (most Excalibur and nebula beauty shots, Galen's initial holographic display (from the rock) of the hyperspace area of "The Well of Forever", Galen opening the door in "The Path of Sorrows", the shuttle entering the thick atmosphere in "The Needs of Earth", and many, many other examples.), and in others cases, it looked coarse and grainy (e.g. "Patterns of the Soul" flashback to the Shadow fighters using slicer beams.), or they used Earth as a background to represent another planet (I could recognize the northeast area of the USA and Canada, in several episodes.), or they were too ambitious and tried for something that was a little beyond their capabilities (holo-Galen in "Racing the Night", or missed a graphics error (e.g. the instance of jaggies due to some flipped polygons in the chase scene in "Racing the Night".).

However, IMHO, the good outweighed the bad by about 100 to 1.



Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamer View Post
What what whaaat? What happened to JMS? B5 season 5 displayed some symptoms but I never really would've believed how horrible this show was before fighting through it.
Gimme a break! You want to see horrible? Try "To Live and Die in Starlight" (The Legend of the Rangers pilot movie). Compared to that, Crusade should have been nominated for Golden Globes and Emmys, and should have WON..

I could not possibly more strenuously disagree with your overall assessment of Crusade.



Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamer View Post
Three things that come to mind. I'll go first.

Good

I like Gary Cole. He's an authoritative figure but like Boxleitner, you either like or hate him. I think I first saw this guy in American Gothic which was fairly alright, even if it did balance between being a sunday eve's family show and something for the more mature viewers. Way back when I first discovered Crusader I thought that he'd be great, if perhaps a bit too much like Sinclair and Sheridan.
I never liked Gary Cole much before seeing him in Crusade (no "r"). Prior to seeing Crusade, I had never seen him in The Brady Bunch movies, or American Gothic. I liked him in "Midnight Caller" but only saw a few episodes of that show. Hopefully, "Midnight Caller" will come out on DVD some day. I'll be sure to get it. I also saw him in "Office Space".

Since seeing Crusade, I've seen Gary Cole in "American Gothic" (via Netflix DVDs), an excellent episode of "Hack" ("Brothers in Arms", which I recorded and kept.), an episode of "Monk", an episode of Law & Order SVU, but for me he'll always be Capt. Gideon of Crusade. <thumbs way up>



Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamer View Post
Bad

Galen. His act is so ridiculous in and out that I can't take him seriously. Technomages could've been great but even Elric in the main series was cheesy as hell - even if I did like the actor.
You're absofreakinlutly NUTS. Galen was initially, and still is, my favorite character on Crusade. Since then, I've come to really like Gideon, Eilerson, Dureena and Matheson. Hell, I even like Trace in most of "Ruling from the Tomb".



Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamer View Post
Ugly

The music! Aargh! What the hell is that supposed to be!?
There was one instance where the music was ugly, the end credits music from "Ruling from the Tomb". That wasn't music; it was noise. Also, there were several instances where the music was too loud and stepped on the actors' lines. However, in most of "A Call to Arms" and Crusade, the music contributed just the right alien/foreign feel to the show.



* Meaning he'll be a pain in the butt to other people, but he'll be on our side.
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Last edited by KoshN; September 14th 08 at 00:11. Reason: fixed typos and spacing. Added URLs.
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Old September 14th 08, 00:19   #5
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Re: Crusader: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Have to say i agree with KoshN's post 100%. Nothing to add to that.
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Old September 14th 08, 03:02   #6
Jade Jaguar
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Re: Crusader: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I'll admit I wasn't much of a Crusade fan. IMO, it was a pale shadow of B5. But, I think it might have grown to be as good as B5, had it been given a chance.

That said, I have to disagree with Dreamer. Galen was great, and the music was great.
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Old September 14th 08, 05:27   #7
dreamer
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Re: Crusader: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Interesting reading.

I just finished watching B5 season 5 and wondered if I should watch the Crusade again but as I picked up the box I was filled with all the things I didn't like in it and put it back. Perhaps I should try to watch it in correct order and take things into moderation, but I shouldn't try to force myself to like it and I don't think it's the viewers fault if he is unable to like something entirely. I didn't exactly compare it to B5 but I think that afterwards I noticed missing JMS.

I guess I have to check the series and perhaps try to make a few notes here, or something.

This would be the correct order?

And yeah, I can't edit the topic so there's no point in pointing out the typo in every message

Last edited by dreamer; September 14th 08 at 05:32.
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Old September 14th 08, 10:45   #8
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Re: Crusader: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I'm just starting to watch this again. I watched A Call To Arms on Friday and then War Zone yesterday. I know the history of the network meddling, so I am willing to forgive Crusade a lot of its faults, but there are many. The B5 movie was the perfect pilot, with the exception that there was no hand over to the new cast. As an introduction, War Zone was very poor (I realise it was written at the last minute). What really grates with me is the very poor CGI. I take it TNT gave this show a massive budget cut compared to what B5 was used to. The planetary landscapes were really poorly rendered, and the Drakh seemed seemed like cartoon characters. The only shot of them I liked was when they were viewed approaching through the binoculars. And as for the Drakh costumes... the glowing eyes were horrid. It made them look cheap and unbelievable.

As for the other criticisms of the cast and plot mentioned above, I am willing to forgive such things at the start of a series. Many shows start off with weak episodes and elements, and these take time to iron out. I'm sure if Crusade was given more time to find its feet it would only have gotten stronger. Oh, and anyone else notice the change in Carrie Dobro's make-up? I liked her with the scales on her forehead!

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Old September 14th 08, 10:55   #9
Jan
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Re: Crusader: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The changes in Dureena's forehead and eyes is directly attributable to TNT who requested:
Quote:
"Can we lose the makeup on Dureena (our resident alien character) and make her
an alien by her attitude?"
That was one JMS tried to go along with. Other lovely TNT ideas/suggestions were:
Quote:
"We'd like to have one of the characters include a sexual explorer, so when
they make contact with a new race, his or her job is to go and have sex with
them."

"We want to see more fist-fights on the bridge."

"We'd like to see an episode worked around a wrestler, since wrestling is hot
right now."

"We think you should give the captain a dog for a pet."

"Rather than have the characters work their way out of the problem as depicted,
we think it would be better if Captain Gideon arranges to have Dureena
compromised so the antagonist will rape her, and Gideon will catch him in the
act, and use this as blackmail to get the character to back off his demands."
Jan
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Old September 14th 08, 11:33   #10
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Re: Crusader: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I'd read the other comments before, but I just don't know what the say about that rape one...

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