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Mike's Super Late Review of Babylon 5!
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nagashi
Has anyone else heard of Babylon 5? It was the *other* space station sci-fi drama that aired at nearly the same time as Star Trek: Deep Space 9. I just finished watching it and feel the need to rant a bit. I watched it because my business partners and I got into this huge discussion over dinner a month or so ago about what the best sci-fi tv show was. The opinions were generally split between some star trek and the new battlestar. Mark Lebay mentioned though that he'd always heard that Bab5 gets totally sweet a season or two into it, and so I finally got back to watching it. Note, I saw eps 1-5 like.. 15 years ago or so.

So, the show. Overall? Not bad, but HOLY HELL. There's a fucking lot wrong with this. First off, characters/casting. We have captain Sinclair (aka, The One Who Was). He runs stuff and deals with everything that goes wrong. Explosions, people dying, drama and death. And during this, HE NEVER STOPS SMILING. It's mildly psychopathic, and somewhat distraction. Situations go something like:

Radio: Captain, 10 people just died!
Sinclair: ah, too bad :)
Radio: And half the station just exploded
Sinclair: that's quite interesting :)
Radio: Also, there's a war and we're about to get boarded
Sinclair: Bust out the guns and everyone prepare to die :)

It's almost like bitching to someone on aim and you realize that they're not actually listening to you because they end up with some TOTALLY inappropriate reply and end it with a ^_^. Apparently 'The One Who Was' is hearing 'The Joke That Always Is' or something. RAGE. Fortunately he gets demoted to cameo status fairly early on in the stupidity.

Next up, Ivanova The Russian. Who has no Russian accent, despite being Russian. Also, she's Russian. Did I mention she's Russian? That's pretty much the sum total of her character. It's like the worst parts of Full Metal Alchemist (Haha, Al is teh short. ... hehe, Al is short. Ah yes, the short joke. ...... I GET IT FUCK YOU).

And the head of security, Garibaldi(ng). It's like we invented space ships and alien-human hybrids, but Rogaine still doesn't work. 'Nuff said.

Londo Mollari, where to start. You know, Star Trek: TOS didn't have a huge budget for costumes and such. But Bab5 *could* have done better. When the ONLY definable difference between an alien species and humans is a really fucking bad hair day, then you know the character design team has failed hard core. To really emphasize the stupidity of this point, the bad hair is later revealed by the insane emperor to simply be a fashion statement rather than some aspect of their alien dna. Also, I love the reused costumes from some Napoleonic historical drama. BUDGET FAIL!!!

Dalenn, oh god. You know, I saw Ah My Goddess. I enjoyed it. The universe does not need another Belldandy. Stop it, you're too nice. Except that deep down, you're also a total user. Yes, you know Leneer likes you. That's why it's cool to give him totally awesome suicide missions knowing that he'll never say no to you. BIIIIIITCH.

Leneer: The complete tool that Dalenn uses. See above.

Lochley: Less eye shadow. You look like a drugged out hooker half the time. Your time on the show was fortunately brief. Whole eps went by without seeing you, even though you were in charge of the damn place. Maybe you were too busy applying afore-mentioned eye shadow?

G'kar and Kash: ..... I actually have not a single complaint about you two. You both looked... alien. You acted ok. G'kar, you were kind of whiny, but who the fuck in this show wasn't? Congrats!

Sheridan: It is high time that you got over yourself. Seriously dude. And your logic about going to Z'ha dum? That doesn't really work buddy.


Anyway, it was kind of lame. I did like the fact that it had a real plot over the entire series. Apparently that was the big innovation behind bab5. Unlike nearly every other sci-fi show ever, almost all the eps were written by one guy who had this huge plot all in his head including all sorts of twists he could take if some actor died/didn't renew their contract. If you can get past the Sinclair season, it's half worth watching. Just do it for free, not that I'd expect anything else for all of you :)


PS: Should I review more shows in any angry, angry way?

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YES PLEASE.

I have similar feelings about B5.
Leaving aside most of the visual aesthetics (Since when do "neon" "fake alien font" or "dirty boxes" constitute believable scenery??), B5 does have great over-arching plot threads. It's practically unheard of for a sci-fi show to have meaningful correlation between seasons. But, that said, I'd rather watch "meh" plot delivered by superb actors than suffer through a sub-par performance. (Otherwise I'd rather read a book and imagine all the characters myself!)

What I love about B5: FINALLY, a intergalactic council as it should be, COMPLETELY FUCKING USELESS. Seriously, if a multinational committee can't work on Earth, why do scifi writers assume that a multiPLANET one will?

Completely agree on the intergalactic council. As to why writers do that, I guess it just comes down to sci-fi writers innately being idealists or something I suppose. One could argue that in order for any far term sci-fi plot to exist, then humanity has to survive for the next hundred years or so, which might indeed require an idealist :)

Or an Adama in charge. :P

Some Spoilers in my comment

Maaaaaaaaaaan.

You just knocked Ivanova and Garibaldi! Seriously? They're two of the best people on the show not counting poor Markus. You lose favoritism points for having knocked them.


Everyone else.... well, I kinda have to agree with that. I think someone just really hated Leneer in writing though. He started getting cool for like half a second... and then they turned him into a psychotic stalker. That just seemed unfair.


I think you left out the important part of "the reason Deleen was the chosen one was... she was BFF with the prophesier". I think it made for interesting plot involvement when you realize she was also a big reason for the war. "Okay, so do we declare war- or just hug it out with the humans?"
"WARRRRRRR!"
"Okay Delenn, you're the tie breaker- sounds good to me."

Re: Some Spoilers in my comment

Well, in all fairness I did like the characters of Ivanova and Garibaldi, but at least in Ivanova's case her acting was pretty poor. I just really dislike running jokes and characters that seem to be completely defined by a single one, which both of them were somewhat guilty of. I would say though, that her speech at the end of season 4 was actually by FAR her best acting and really redeemed her.

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