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Starting Babylon 5...couple of questions:

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Starting Babylon 5...couple of questions:

Old 03-03-05, 12:00 PM
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Starting Babylon 5...couple of questions:

It seems like people with tastes similar to mine (Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Smallville, Farscape) really like B5, so I've decided to give it a shot. I just ordered the first season, and will move on slowly from there. I remember liking the few episodes of B5 that I caught in syndication, but it was hard to keep up with during it's TV run.

I may even update this thread with my thoughts from time to time, if anybody's interested, but nothing even close to the "Buffy marathon" thread.

Anyway, two questions about the movies:

1. Do I really need to watch "The Gathering" before starting the series? I think I might have seen it when it first aired, and it's in my queue on BB online...but it's status is "short wait". Should I sit on season one till I get it?

2. What about the prequel movie? When should I watch that? Is it suitable for watching before The Gathering, or do I need to get some context and go back to it later?

I'm also curious whether this is one of those shows that gets better after the first season. How would you rate the 5 seasons? I just don't want to give up too soon.

Thanks in advance.
Old 03-03-05, 12:18 PM
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Check this post for order.

Season 1 is pretty dull in a lot of parts, but S2-S4 are just about the best sci-fi on television.
Old 03-03-05, 12:26 PM
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1) "The Gathering" is not the best pilot ever made, but it does help in establishing where each race and character is coming from. There are a few things that relate to the rest of the series in it, and one character that disappers for a while but comes back (not telling which one). So, it's pretty important.

2) "In The Beginning" is really for those who have watched the first four seasons - it gives away a lot of the stuff that will shock and surprise you later. Wait until you end the fourth season.

3) The first season is the weakest, IMO - some of it because the story is being established and pacing can be slow, some of it due to the acting and dialogue. It gets much, much better. I got my wife hooked on the show, starting with "The Gathering" and now we're going through season five. Just remember - when it seems like you're slogging through mud, you have the promise of me and others here that you will really love this show, based on the other shows you've listed.

Granted, there are some great moments in the first season, and it's indispensable to watch if you're going to catch the others. Also, resist the temptation to skip episodes - there is always some nugget of info that is related to future events.
Old 03-03-05, 12:26 PM
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These have to be the most popular questions in all of TV Talk.

1) While you do not need to see The Gathering first, it really does help. It's not very good, but there is some important background that you'd like to have.

2) The only reason to watch In the Beginning first is if you're not willing to go the distance with the show. If you make a promise to yourself to watch this show at least until the second season, you will be much happier waiting on the prequel. If you can't bring yourself to make such a commitment, you can watch it first, but you'll invariably love it, then watch the whole series, and be pissed that you did. So, in short, save it for later.

I cannot say it more clearly than this: the 3rd Season of Babylon 5 is probably the best complete 20+ episode season of any television series ever. I do not make that statement lightly either. I'm fully aware of how bold that sounds, but it's true. With that in mind, yeah ... it gets better. The first season has a lot of stinkers, but it's not terrible, and there is a wealth of information in those early episodes that you will really want to have, so trudging through them is a must.

Do not give up. I've put my neck on the line with this show countless times, and not once has someone who made it to the second season regretted it. This is an amazing television series, and you'll probably curse our recommendation many times during the early episodes, but I assure you we know what we're talking about.

I envy the jouney on which you are about to embark. Keep us posted.

das
Old 03-03-05, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by das Monkey
Do not give up. I've put my neck on the line with this show countless times, and not once has someone who made it to the second season regretted it.
We haven't exactly heard from kvrdave lately.......
Old 03-03-05, 01:09 PM
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Chew

We haven't exactly heard from kvrdave lately.......
Oh yeah ... Where is that dog-shootin', slum-lordin', Enterprise-luvin' fool?

das
Old 03-03-05, 01:10 PM
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Might as well post and say i'm about to start the ride also. I joined netflix so i could catch up with stargate (i'm at the end of season 6) And after that i have babylon 5 queued up and ready to go. I have das's best-order post bookmarked. And i know to give the show a while before i see results.

I quit on Farscape after 6 or 7 episodes. I just couldn't stand it. Am i going to have the same urge to quit with B5?
Old 03-03-05, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by ClarkKentKY
I quit on Farscape after 6 or 7 episodes. I just couldn't stand it. Am i going to have the same urge to quit with B5?
If you quit that early on Farscape, I can only believe the "urge" is going to be even more intense with B5. I'd say you need to give both a season and a half at least.
Old 03-03-05, 01:15 PM
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ClarkKentKY

I quit on Farscape after 6 or 7 episodes. I just couldn't stand it. Am i going to have the same urge to uit with B5?
Probably. The shows are very different, though, so who knows. Still, as I've said before, I think Farscape has a much more narrow potential audience than Babylon 5. It's a great show, and I love it, but I can see how many, many people won't. Babylon 5, however -- once you get through the first season -- has a pretty Universal appeal that just about anyone should enjoy.

das
Old 03-03-05, 01:23 PM
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I am one of those converted to B5 by DVD Talk peeps, and I am very very VERY glad I listened. By far the best SciFi show I've ever seen (and I'm a HUGE Trekkie). Stick with it, you won't regret it.
Old 03-03-05, 01:41 PM
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Thanks fellas...and sorry if this is a repost. I did a search, but didn't dig much beyond the subject lines. I'm willing to take your words on this one. I've always wanted to catch up on the show, but the price/season was a bit prohibitive. But for $50, I'll try a season.

I'll be sure to watch the gathering, but will skip the beginning even though they come on the same disk. I may even just buy the disk if I find a cheap used copy...so as not to waste 2 rentals on it.

Thanks again, and I'll update as I go...which will probably take a while. I still have 3 seasons of X-files to finish, Smallville S3 (less vital since I've seen most of it), and Angel S5 (ditto).
Old 03-03-05, 01:55 PM
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If you're renting from Blockbuster, they have both the original "flipper" disc of "The Gathering"/"In the Beginning" and the movie collection with each on it's own disc.(Link)

That way you don't have to "waste" a rental.
Old 03-03-05, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by chess
I'll be sure to watch the gathering, but will skip the beginning even though they come on the same disk. I may even just buy the disk if I find a cheap used copy...so as not to waste 2 rentals on it.

Tell you what - I bought the movie box set long after I got the 2-sided disc with "The Gathering" and "In The Beginning", so I don't need the flipper anymore. I'll give it to you.
Old 03-03-05, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Bandoman
Tell you what - I bought the movie box set long after I got the 2-sided disc with "The Gathering" and "In The Beginning", so I don't need the flipper anymore. I'll give it to you.
You sir are a good man! Let me at least Paypal you a few bucks for shipping.

address removed. Thanks Bandoman.

You know, every time I begin to lose faith in the forum, somebody does something really cool and it feels like a community again. Kudos.

I went ahead and bought season 2 as well!

Last edited by chess; 03-03-05 at 06:07 PM.
Old 03-03-05, 02:50 PM
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I will take care of postage, the pure joy of helping to bring another person into the B5 fold is enough reward for me.

I'll try to get to it this weekend.
Old 03-03-05, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Bandoman
I will take care of postage, the pure joy of helping to bring another person into the B5 fold is enough reward for me.

I'll try to get to it this weekend.
And when I get the inevitable movie boxset at some point, I promise to "pass it on".

Thanks again. Sniff.
Old 03-03-05, 02:53 PM
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Oooh, this is like "Pay it Forward", except I don't get to sleep with Helen Hunt.
Old 03-03-05, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by ClarkKentKY
I quit on Farscape after 6 or 7 episodes. I just couldn't stand it. Am i going to have the same urge to quit with B5?
I just caught this. After the first 10 episodes or so, Farscape gets really really good. I like that it's less serious and more action oriented. The word is overused, but it's just a great "romp". And the characters that annoy you early on will grow on you as you learn more about them. They seem like two dimensional characatures early on, but they are surprisingly deep.

It stinks to rent the original releases with 2 episodes per disk, so I don't blame you for waiting, but you really should press on with the Starburst editions as they come out. They have 7-8 episodes per disk, so they are very rental friendly. I was renting season 3 and was about half way through when I found out about the Starburst sets, and I decided to just buy the sets as they come out. It's a show I like enough to own.
Old 03-03-05, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Bandoman
Oooh, this is like "Pay it Forward", except I don't get to sleep with Helen Hunt.
All things being equal, I'd rather have the good Kharma.
Old 03-03-05, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by ClarkKentKY
Might as well post and say i'm about to start the ride also. I joined netflix so i could catch up with stargate (i'm at the end of season 6) And after that i have babylon 5 queued up and ready to go. I have das's best-order post bookmarked. And i know to give the show a while before i see results.

I quit on Farscape after 6 or 7 episodes. I just couldn't stand it. Am i going to have the same urge to quit with B5?
Well, I think the big thing that you may feel is something along the lines of "this is what everybody's been raving about?". There's a few episodes in the first season that are a bit weak, and it does take a while for some of the characters to really settle in (Ivanova being the most prominent), but even the first batch of episodes has some good moments and some very great setup for future plotlines.

The first really big episode as far as the overall plot goes is a little after the halfway point in the first season, but even before then there's plenty of good stuff to be had. As a matter of fact, the first episode that falls a little towards the "Bad" side of things is around the 14th one or so.

Unlike the early Buffy episodes, which can be a bit clunky yet still give good character development, early B5 episodes can really be better appreciated after you've seen the whole show, and you can see how some of the storylines started out.

I'd love to hear the reactions you guys have as you go through the episodes, though. I always love vicariously watching B5 for the first time through others.
Old 03-03-05, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by xVladx
I'd love to hear the reactions you guys have as you go through the episodes, though. I always love vicariously watching B5 for the first time through others.
Will do...and I'm not nearly as critical as the Buffy guy. I hate bad tv shows (reality and most sitcoms/cop dramas) and will be the first to say so, but I'm pretty forgiving of "good" TV (sci-fi and action).

The only recent show that I can think of from the genre that I have despised was Dark Angel, which was based on a good premise but tried way to hard to be hip.

I'm really looking forward to this one!
Old 03-03-05, 04:46 PM
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BTW Chess - you can remove your address if you want, I copied it. You never know what freaks are looking at this forum.
Old 03-03-05, 05:23 PM
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I always tell people who are wavering to skip ahead a few episodes and watch Babylon Squared if they absolutely are ready to give up.

The ending of that episode is the first great Holy Crap of the show, and really sucks people in and makes them realize how big this show is about to get.
Old 03-03-05, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Bandoman
BTW Chess - you can remove your address if you want, I copied it. You never know what freaks are looking at this forum.
Done. Thanks again!
Old 03-03-05, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by ClarkKentKY
I quit on Farscape after 6 or 7 episodes. I just couldn't stand it. Am i going to have the same urge to quit with B5?
Wow, yes definitely... you won't make it past the pilot episode.

Farscape starts off somewhat mediocre, and then gets amazing near the end of the first season and doesn't let up. I think you made an error bailing so soon, and you may want to back up and give it another shot, at least into Season 2.

But, as mentioned with B5, most of the first season is bumpy... MUCH more so than Farscape, in my opinion.

I realize that I'm biased (since B5 and Farscape are probably my two favorite shows ever)... but I can also remember back to the first times I watched them. I struggled through that first season of Farscape, and almost bailed a couple of times. I *did* bail on B5, and had to wait years before I could start up again...until it was in syndication on the Sci-Fi (sic) Channel to watch them in the proper order.

Both shows require a bit of patience while they establish their characters, get some plot out of the way, and go through growing pains. But both shows pay off that patience with huge rewards -- by Season 2, they start throwing some VERY sophisticated, complex, and nuanced stories at you... and assume you've actually paid attention to the stuff that happend before. They're both rare TV shows that actually trust their audience to be intelligent people who don't require the writers to hit a RESET button every 45 minutes or so. I can't praise these shows enough.

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