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Essential Season One


Having just purchased the Season Two set, I've tried to distill the first season down to ten episodes that provide the background important to the development of the following season and beyond.

1 - "Midnight on the Firing Line" (For original exposition)
2 - "The Parliament of Dreams" (The nature of the other key races)
3 - "Mind War" (Psi Corps/Bester introduction)
4 - "And the Sky Full of Stars" (Sinclair's backstory, insight on the Earth/Minbari War)
5 - "Signs and Portents" (The illustrious Mr Morden)
6 - "Legacies" (Minbari mythos)
7 & 8 - "A Voice in the Wilderness" (The discovery of the Great Machine and insight into Earth politics)
9 - "Babylon Squared" (Prequel to War Without End)
10 - "Chrysalis" (For pretty much the whole plot)

Many would agree that Season One has its share of filler material ("Believers", "Grail", "TKO"), but a few episodes ("Soul Hunter", "Born to the Purple" and "Eyes") were outstanding, but were sadly whittled out.
Well done. One of my favorite S1 episodes didnt make your list (although you did a good job of narrowing down to KEY episodes), which is "By Any Means Necessary" It was totally non-arc and a character story, but it was one of the better S1 episodes to me.
Problem with season one is that there are tiny little things -- like Garibaldi's mention of how he and Sinclair met in "Infection," and the "watch your back line" in "TKO" -- that tie even the non-arc stories into the whole.

Also, if you ditch "Born to the Purple" and then "TKO," you miss out on almost all of Ivanova's character development.
Its a darn good list, but I would swamp out "Legacies" for "Soul Hunter". Soul Hunter becomes quite important down the line with "In the Beginning" and "Atonement".

I gave this some thought too. Keep in mind he said ESSENTIAL Season 1. Sure, there is lots of suttle little things dropped in EVERY episode. But frankly, my first time through, I didnt notice those little things and Id wager most people here didnt. In fact my first time through I didnt really LIKE season 1 all that much except for many of the episodes he listed. It wasnt until I saw the series all the way through once, then REWATCHED Season 1 that I caught up on all those little details. I think for getting someone started, and narrowing down S1 to its most important parts is fine with the list he put up there. I may expand that list to 12 or so, and swap out Legacies for By Any Means Necessary, Survivors, and Quality of Mercy.

Some people have a hard time getting into the series in Season 1. Many fully appreciate it, others think its rather rough. I was one of the latter until after seeing Season 2 and getting totally hooked.
Right. Having the benefit of having seen the whole series, it's easier to see which episodes were more pivotal than others. For one, I was a bit reluctant at the onset of season two, when Sinclair was unceremoniously dumped. But it's clear now that if he'd stayed, it would have been a whole different show.

And yes, I was tying to keep the list short, as a sort of "brushing up" for season two. I myself tend to skip a few episodes in the first two seasons, more in the first - on the basis of how they relate to the whole story. I think it would be nearly impossible to cut out any episodes in the third or fourth seasons when making an "essential" list. And the fifth would be subjective as to which plot thread you consider to be the main one.
I'm not too good with episode names, but I think Born To the Purple was the one with Londo's stripper girlfriend. That might be a bit important for season 3 when he gets Refa killed.

It is a good list, though.

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