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Old August 10th 04, 17:43   #11
PillowRock
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Re: Stand Alone Episodes

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I look at that one this way... The Quality of Mercy was the story of Dr. Laura Rosen (I think that was her name) and the killer Carl Mueller. Their story ended with that episode. The alien healing device was introduced in that episode and used twice later on. However, it was just a device.
Aaahh, but TQoM introduces more than the device.

It also introduces some stuff about what telepaths can and can't do (both in terms of *can* and *are allowed*), the fact that there are consequences to the teep for doing some of them, and (probably most directly relating to the larger arc) the fact that reprogramming entire personalities *is* a doable thing.

The death of personality is most directly brought back in Gethsemane, which is tangental to the arc. However, the concept that a personality can be reprogrammed counter to the original personalities inclinations and wishes also comes up with respect to both Talia and Garibaldi. Both of those are more directly related to the arc.

In this respect TQoM is a bit like Infection. Infection introduces the idea that "organic tech" with a human stuck in the middle of it as a living component of the machine is an achievable technology. That turns out to be a major bit of foundation laying for later arc elements. TQoM introducing personality reprogramming as being achievable is similar foundation work for later.
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Old August 10th 04, 18:48   #12
Almir
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Re: Stand Alone Episodes

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Season 5
========
Day of the Dead
The Corps is Mother, The Corps is Father


Don't forget "A View From The Gallery"
What a "pain in the ass" episode.



Almir
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Old August 10th 04, 18:50   #13
Ninja_Squirrel
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Re: Stand Alone Episodes

I think the challenge of this debate is that everyone is going to have a different concept of what arc is, since arc material is what could disqualify an episode from stand-alone status.

To me, something like death-of-personality as a punishment is not arc. It's a piece of the Babylon 5 universe, and it can be used more than once, but it doesn't progress, it doesn't grow, it just *is*.

Same with organic tech, aspects of telepathy, and the alien healing device. They *serve* the stories, but they are not *the* story.

I keep trying to think how I would define "arc", but it's tough to do and very subjective. Think of Babylon 5 as a tapestry. Telepathy, death of personality, organic tech, the alien healing device, etc. are the way in which the threads are weaved to make the tapestry. They're the foundation; they define the bounds and the extent of what can come about in the Babylon 5 universe. They're the "stuff".

The Shadow War, the Narn/Centauri rivalries, the Earth & Minbari civil wars, the Sheridan/Delenn/Sinclair trinity, the fall of Londo, the ascension of G'Kar, the rough lives of Ivanova & Garibaldi, the latter fifth season "goodbye" episodes, and yes, even Byron and his ratty band of psycho-hippies are the dye in the threads of the tapestry. They define the color and the pattern of the tapestry. They're the reason you want or don't want to buy the "stuff". The color and pattern are the arc.

More material, less color & pattern... That's a stand-alone episode.

Eh, sucky analogy. My apologies. And I'll admit, the alien healing device is still borderline. For a cheap prop with huge potential to be a one-hit wonder, it does have pivotal importance in the lives/death of three main characters.
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Old August 10th 04, 19:07   #14
PillowRock
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Re: Stand Alone Episodes

I guess the reason that the introduction of things such as organic tech and personality reprogramming count as "arc" in my mind is that they *must* be introduced for the arc story to work. If you don't do those introductions well ahead of the time when the elements are used in the big arc actions then the arc falls apart because the whole thing feels like a half-assed "cheat" by the writer.


To rephrase the two-way question that I asked before:

When you say "stand alone ep" do you mean:

1) An ep that can watched apart from the arc without confusion.

Or

2) An ep without which the arc suffers noticably.


I tend to think of it in terms of choice 2). Going according to choice 1) leads to a *much* longer list of episodes being called "stand alone".
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Old August 11th 04, 10:57   #15
Sindatur
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Re: Stand Alone Episodes

You've included Byron's Telepaths in the Arc elements, but you've eliminated the PsiCorps elements. the struggle of The Teeps against the Mundanes and the struggles within the Teep comunity at large. In my mind the growth of the knowledge of the workings and politics of the PsiCorp (And the death of personality, etc) is a thread of the arc. Telepaths and all the struggles, politics, personalities is just as important a thread in the arc as anything else, and Byron's merry band is the culmination (at least in the B5 Series, proper) of that thread.
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Old August 11th 04, 11:51   #16
GaribaldisHair
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Re: Stand Alone Episodes

The problem with defining a "stand-alone" episode is that B5 does not have A story arc, it has a number of arcs that interweave and overlap to form the whole.

IMO it is almost impossible to nail down a single episode that does not contain some material directly related to one or more of the interweaving story arc.

I prefer to think of a stand-alone ep as one which can be watched and enjoyed on its own merits without reference to previous episodes. Many of those episodes do, however, contain hints at the wider story arcs, or just good, old-fashioned seed-sowing.

A good example might be The Long Dark (always want to add tea-time of the soul after that ), which can be watched and understood without reference to any earlier stuff ... but includes some solid hints that something bigger is happening beneath the surface.

[/waffle]

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Old August 14th 04, 02:48   #17
Granite
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Re: Stand Alone Episodes

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I guess a lot of this depends on what exactly you mean by a "stand alone" episode.

Do you really mean an ep without connection to the larger arc?

Or ...

Do you mean an ep that can watched by someone who knows nothing of the larger arc and have them enjoy and understand (at least in their own minds, even if they are missing some wider implications) it?


The latter yields a much longer list than the former.
I used the example of convictions because I've actually heard it called a stand-alone during the b5 run. A stand-alone has little if any connection to the series arcs, and can be watched freely with little confusion from newbies.

Let's see if I can come up with a few more... (remember my definition - note: elements may pop up which introduce character elements or universe elements)

Season 1:

Infection
Believers
By Any Means Necessary
TKO

Season 2:

GROPOS

Season 3:

Convictions
Passing through Gethsemane
Exogenesis

Season 4: All episodes require story-arcs

Season 5:

A View from the Gallery


---There may be others, but these episodes stand as example of the definition of stand-alone (
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Old February 4th 05, 07:28   #18
BYEVJZTS
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Re: Stand Alone Episodes

I was thinking that deathwalker does have an arc, but wasnt used, the talia situation with her alter ego and kosh knowing about it. Possibly anyway. Also on the day of the dead S5, there is a message from Kosh to return to the beginning of the end, which obviously is why sheridan went where he went on teh final episode. These are small but i thought i would mention they had an impact.
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Old November 14th 05, 22:29   #19
TJGuitar85
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Re: Stand Alone Episodes

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Don't forget "A View From The Gallery"
What a "pain in the ass" episode.
Seriously? One of my favorite episodes of the season! Great to see what goes on the station from the point of view of maintenance guys like Bo and Mack. Great CGI battle too even though the enemy came out of nowhere and never returned.
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Old November 15th 05, 01:20   #20
Joseph DeMartino
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Re: Stand Alone Episodes

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Also on the day of the dead S5, there is a message from Kosh to return to the beginning of the end
There is also Morden's prediction to Lennier, which pays off much sooner and more obviously.

Regards,

Joe
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