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B5 battle sequences


Yesterday was one of those rare opportunities I have of catching Babylon 5, and fortunately it was one of my faves: the one where they finally break from Earth and become an independant state. "He is behind me. You are in front. If you value your lives, be somewhere else." (Is it wrong to be in love with a fictional woman?)

Anyways, as I was watching the scene where Clark's troops bust in the station and fight Garibaldi's men and the Narn security squad, I was thinking of the way B5 handles battle sequences. The one yesterday had little or no battle sounds, just music and slow motion, focusing on the pain of the soldiers as they're being shot or punched. The obvious intent was to de-glorify the violence and make us think, "Oh, how terrible all the killing is."

Contrast this to action flicks and most entertainment, where we exclaim, "Cool! Kick-ass!" and cheer with glee (well, at least I do).

In this, for better and for worse, B5 is certainly unique. Even Trek and other genre shows (what little I've seen) relish in violence whenever they portray it. B5 is hardcore drama, where even "action" scenes are more drama than eye candy popcorn fare.

On the one hand, drains the fun out of space battles and fights. But it compensates by adding to the flavor of the shows, and contributes to the bigger picture: the story. Last night's episode was intense, and high-flying action stunts with Kid Rock in the background would have taken away from that. It also made Delenn's dramatic ending of the battle more important emotionally. It also made the scene where Sheridan kisses Delenn's hand, a scene which would normally make me fall asleep, more, I dunno, nice, I guess. It actually meant something.

The battle sequences often fail as much as they work with all the slow motion stuff and overly dramatic music. But the intent is interesting, and all too rare (gasp, action that is actually part of a story, rather than a vehicle for fake stunts and explosions!). Kudos, I say, kudos!

"You do not make history. You can only hope to survive it."
That was actually the episode that caused my wife to get into the series. Delenn's little "subtle hint" is one of my favorite moments of the series.

I agree with you completely about the battle sequences. But there will always be something else which stands out in my mind about this episode which showcases just how great this show is.

We have Sheridan standing in front of C&C, giving his speech, and rallying people to his side. He then gives the obligatory, "If anyone wants to leave now..."


I have not seen another drama where that happens. Usually it's the great speech, and at the end, everyone is behind the speaker 110%. But in this case, you actually see people hand over their things and leave the bridge. And this pained look crosses Sheridan's face... he knows that it was likely that it would happen, but he can't hide how much it hurts me.

Definately one of the best episodes.

Season 3, episode 10 if I remember correctly. Severed Dreams.. One of best battle sequences I have ever saw on TV.. "This orders have forced us to declare independence"... I sure like this episode as much as 'Between the darkness and light, Engame'. JMS and Franke really know what they are doing.

Logical thinking - Perfect weapon
I love this episode! The battle scenes are just awesome, and when Delenn comes in with those Minbari warships and saves the day, I say "Go Delenn!".

Another thing about this ep and the show over all is how Franke's music fits it. I have never seen one spot in the show where his music seems inapropiate for what is happening in the scene at that moment. The music always seems to match the show and waht happens in it, like it was meant to. Like, Franke watched the scenes, then came up with the perfect music for each one. It's like hand and glove. That is why I love his B5 music and one of the reasons why I love B5.

Lorien: Who are you?
RW: The salad man.
Lorien: Why are you here?
RW: To be the salad ambassador.
Lorien: What do you want?
RW: Everyone to know the joys of salad.
Lorien: Do you have anything worth living for?
RW: Yes, my salad bars.
I absolutely love this episode as well. There is a reason why it won the HUGO award. Your observations about the difference in handling battle scenes is dead on. I personally think it handles them great all the time, and have yet to be disappointed with a B5 battle sequence. For their time they were very realistic as well, and those found in Severed Dreams, No Surrender No Retreat and End Game are just stunning even now.

Wyvern, dude, I was totally thinking the same thing. It's reasonable to think that there would be some officers who would not take arms against their own government or fellow soldiers. They don't all have the preponderance of evidence that Sheridan and the inner circle have, and even if they did, not everyone would act upon it.

It's these kinds of details that add up.

"You do not make history. You can only hope to survive it."
Agree to all points that are mentioned especially the music as it wait for the marines to bust their way in.You hear the explosion a couple ppg blast then it all camera work and music....beautiful.....

"When it is time, come to this place, call our name, we will be here" -Walkers of Sigma957
I can only say that the episode "Severed Dreams" greatly impressed me. It conveys a thrilling story and depicts the events in a balanced and thoughtful manner. Extraordinary, to say the least.

"We are the universe, trying to figure itself out.
Unfortunately we as software lack any coherent documentation."
-- Delenn
This has to be my favorite episode out of them all. Right behind that, is Babylon Squared, and the War Without End episodes.

The battle sequences were the best I've seen of the whole show. The theatrics leading up to it were superb. The drama of breaking away from all they were brought up with were also very enlightening.

I can see why this won the HUGO award. It will be treasured forever in my collection.


Keeper of Rommie's Quarters
Commanding Officer of Zeta Squadron
Sworn to Protect the GODDESS
Recipient of the Golden Rommie
"You've just started a war. One you're going to lose." Rommie - All Too Human
If I want a frigging awesome shoot-'em-up laser fight or wire fu action sequence I tune to a Farscape or Buffy ep. B5's here for a different reason. Even when it got action heavy toward the end of S3 and all through S4, I still didn't really think of it as an action/adventure war series. Because, well, it's not.

Tick: That's just it, Doc -- my mind has always been my Achilles' heel!

Tick: (after being transformed into broccoli) I hate broccoli, and yet, in a certain sense, I am broccoli.

Arthur: Good *gosh*, man! Didn't you know it was against the laws of nature? Clowns were never meant to be that -- big!
Bud Frontier: I know that... now.
While I agree Severed Dreams was one of the best, I always get irritated when I watch Shadow Dancing as they cut back and forth from the battle scenes to Franklin talking to himself down below.

I always seem to be diagonally parked in a parallel universe.
Severed Dreams is an incredibly powerful ep, and one of my favorites. G's Eye, I agree with your observation on how JMS portrays violence. He shows the pain and the terrible price that comes with it, and the glory is way in the background. This is one of the first things that attracted me to B5, early in the first season. If this were the norm on tv, instead of showing violence as about the most fun you can have, I bet the violent crime rate in this country would drop to be in line with the rest of the civilized world.

You're speaking treason! Olivia De Havilland as Maid Marian
Fluently! Errol Flynn as Robin Hood
You're talking treason! Olivia De Havilland as Arabella Bishop
I trust I'm not obscure. Errol Flynn as Dr. Peter Blood

Pallindromes of the month: Snug was I, ere I saw guns.
Doom an evil deed, liven a mood.

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