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  #1  
Old 09-04-2017, 09:31 PM
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Watching B5 with C&T - Season 2

Previously on this forum (http://jmsnews.com/forums/showthread.php?t=46037), I posted a B5 first watch thread documenting the reactions of non-science fiction fans "C" and "T" to a condensed version of Season 1.

In this thread I'll be sharing observations as we watch Season 2.

"Points of Departure" / "Revelations"

Not much to report regarding C & T's reactions to "Points of Departure". There was very little commentary from them.

There was more commentary for "Revelations". T caught on right away that there was something going on President Clark, noting that the conversation between him and Sheridan "sounded suspicious".

I took great care not to spoil Delenn's new appearance. I cued up both of these episodes while they were out of the room, and skipped the opening title sequence both times. And it paid off as both C and T were fooled by the red herrings prior to Delenn's final reveal. When Delenn's empty cocoon was shown C said, "I hope she looks better now." But Delenn's early post-cocoon look caused C to ask "She's reptilian now?" Likewise, T did not realize that the tale of Delenn's butterfly wings was just a ruse to get Jack out of the security office. Near the end of episode C did remark that Delenn, "looks much better now."


"The Geometry of Shadows"

With this episode, I allowed C & T to watch the Season 2 opening titles for the first time. I explained how the first two episodes originally had non-spoiler title sequences, but this was dispensed with for the DVD release to save money. At this point C was feeling pretty good about correctly predicting Delenn's new look, and remarked that, "No woman in her right mind would want to look like that (bald with a bone) every week." C also asked me about Michael O'Hare's departure from the show, and I told them the true story as told by JMS about O'Hare's battle with mental illness. I also mentioned that he would be returning as a guest star later on.

Speaking of guest stars, when we got to Michael Ansara's credit and entrance, C recognized both his name and his face, but couldn't place where she had seen him before.

I told them going in that this was going to be a humorous episode, and T liked the humor quite a bit. And during the scene where Refa wanted to know how Londo handled Quadrant 37, T said, "Londo doesn't even know how it was done. I replied, "Yeah, that's right." I've seen the entire series so many times that sometimes I have to stop and think where we are and who knows what at that point.

C's take on the Green vs. Purple Drazi conflict was that it was an allegory on race.

Last edited by alpha128; 09-05-2017 at 08:39 PM.
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Old 09-07-2017, 04:34 AM
Morden Morden is offline
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Well done on concealing the metamorphosis of Delenn.

Would have expected more reactions to Sinclairs departure and the shift in tone that comes with Sheridan though.

Some very nice observations on "Geometry". Thanks for the updates and your project!
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Old 09-07-2017, 05:28 AM
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Cool. All seems positive. You are beginning to get into the really good stuff, S2 is where the real build up beings and that 'epic' quality begins to come to the fore.
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Old 09-07-2017, 06:01 AM
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Cool. All seems positive. You are beginning to get into the really good stuff, S2 is where the real build up beings and that 'epic' quality begins to come to the fore.
Yeah, the next episode that I'm really looking forward to watching with them is "The Coming of Shadows", which Katie appropriately describes in her video as, "forty-two minutes of intensity and heartbreak". But we've got a few other episodes to get through first.

Last edited by alpha128; 09-07-2017 at 06:05 AM.
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Old 09-07-2017, 10:57 PM
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For some reason I really wonder what they are going to think of GROPOS. I love a lot of that episode and dislike one part of it. I really like how it is a big reminder that B5 is an Earth Military Outpost and not just a gathering place.
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Old 09-08-2017, 07:14 AM
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For some reason I really wonder what they are going to think of GROPOS. I love a lot of that episode and dislike one part of it. I really like how it is a big reminder that B5 is an Earth Military Outpost and not just a gathering place.
Compared to C, T seems to be more into the show in general and more into the action stuff in particular. So I imagine he'll at least like the bar fight.

However, "GROPOS" features a lot of Lt. Keffer, in Katie's words, "trying to be a character." So far neither of them have had anything to say, positive or negative, about Keffer. Maybe that will change after "A Distant Star" where he has a larger role. Personally, I think Keffer is OK.

As for "GROPOS", I think it's a decent episode, but I'm more interested in seeing their reactions to big arc episodes like "The Coming of Shadows" and "In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum".
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Old 09-07-2017, 05:48 AM
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Well done on concealing the metamorphosis of Delenn.
Thanks. It wasn't easy, but I think it was worth it.

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Would have expected more reactions to Sinclairs departure and the shift in tone that comes with Sheridan though.
They had some reactions, but they weren't very "newsworthy".

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Some very nice observations on "Geometry". Thanks for the updates and your project!
You're welcome. Thanks for reading and posting.
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Old 09-11-2017, 05:03 AM
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Here's a quick update to contribute to the fighter pilot discussion. I did watch "A Distant Star" with C&T and there was still no mention of Keffer. Not even a "Who's that guy?" from them.

I typically post about two episodes simultaneously. So the next full update will be after we watch "The Long Dark", and will be posted in about a week.
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Old 09-11-2017, 08:33 AM
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WOW! Thanks for all of the info!!!!!!

After Kraig mentioned it I did remember hearing Keffer was forced on JMS and that is why he didn't last. I think he does have a decent little arc, but I think it is a bit obvious that JMS didn't care for the character and maybe that tarnishes the performance. Or Robert Rusler isn't a great actor. I don't know much of his work so I can't really judge based on this performance, especially knowing the writer didn't like having to work with the character.

I never remember hearing the "IDORI (Dory) SHIMA" story, so I GREATLY appreciate that Jan. (She even keeps us updated when she is in a hurricane. )
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Old 09-11-2017, 09:38 AM
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Or Robert Rusler isn't a great actor. I don't know much of his work so I can't really judge based on this performance, especially knowing the writer didn't like having to work with the character.
I never realized that RR was guest at Star Trek: Enterprise, S3 Ep.2 "Anomaly".
He did the osaarian space pirate Orgoth - tortured by Capt. Archer.

IMDB quote:
Capt. Jonathan Archer: "We're taking you back to the sphere."
Orgoth: "So you have let your morality get in the way after all."
[he chuckles]
Orgoth: "Mercy is not a quality that will serve you well in the Expanse, Captain."

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I never remember hearing the "IDORI (Dory) SHIMA" story, so I GREATLY appreciate that Jan. (She even keeps us updated when she is in a hurricane. )
I was unaware of IDORI too.
Happy to see Jan in good condition despite IRMA.

B5-Stefan

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Old 09-13-2017, 01:19 AM
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The Keff is a minor character, but I kinda like how he was handled. His horrible death adds to the sense of menace going into season 3. He probably would've been dull if he'd stuck around longer, but as it is he does serve a purpose.
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Old 09-17-2017, 06:33 PM
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"A Distant Star"

This was C & T's second viewing of the Season 2 opening titles, and this time C asked me about Bruce Boxleitner. She said she recognized his name and asked me what else he had been on. I said that his previous TV series was "Scarecrow and Mrs. King". It turns out that C had watched that series during its original run and had liked it.

It just so happens that when the Cortez entered the jumpgate, C asked what the jumpgate was. I paused the playback and explained that it was a jumpgate, an entry into hyperspace. I said hyperspace functions as a kind of shortcut, enabling a space traveler to cross vast distances in a relatively short period of time. I noted that she had asked her question at the perfect time, because hyperspace figured prominently in this episode's plot.

T found the diet, er, food plan subplot highly amusing. He noted, "Even in the future no one wants to go on a diet."

Although we pretty much watch the show at one week intervals, like the original air dates, C is having a bit of trouble remembering continuity. For example, she asked why Ivanova was using a cane. I reminded her that Ivanova broke her foot when dealing with Green and Purple Drazi in the previous episode. Likewise, when the Shadow ship appeared in hyperspace, C asked what that was, and I first said, "Those are the people that are helping Londo." Then I added, "Those are Mr. Morden's associates." I was somewhat vague so as not to spoil the upcoming reveal of the Shadows.

When it was over T said it was pretty good. I told him that IMO the second season is better than the first season, the third season is even better than the second season, and the fourth season is just as good, if not better, than the third. I also told him that there were some really good episodes coming up later this season. But even though "A Distant Star" isn't an acclaimed episode, both C & T seemed pretty engaged by it.


"The Long Dark"

As I had mentioned before on this forum, this is an episode I had considered skipping, because it was repeated so many times that I got sick of it. However, I did show it to C & T. Even though I still consider "The Long Dark" a lesser Season 2 episode, I thought it held up pretty well and both C & T seemed engaged by it.

There was not too much commentary from them. However, we all got a good laugh when Amis said of the soldier of darkness, "I think it's calling me" and then the phone rang.

At the end C noted the picture in the book of G'Quon and said, "That looks like what they just shot." I replied that this was foreshadowing, but I resisted the impulse to add, "No pun intended."
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Old 09-20-2017, 02:05 PM
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"A Distant Star"

This was C & T's second viewing of the Season 2 opening titles, and this time C asked me about Bruce Boxleitner. She said she recognized his name and asked me what else he had been on. I said that his previous TV series was "Scarecrow and Mrs. King". It turns out that C had watched that series during its original run and had liked it.

It just so happens that when the Cortez entered the jumpgate, C asked what the jumpgate was. I paused the playback and explained that it was a jumpgate, an entry into hyperspace. I said hyperspace functions as a kind of shortcut, enabling a space traveler to cross vast distances in a relatively short period of time. I noted that she had asked her question at the perfect time, because hyperspace figured prominently in this episode's plot.

T found the diet, er, food plan subplot highly amusing. He noted, "Even in the future no one wants to go on a diet."

Although we pretty much watch the show at one week intervals, like the original air dates, C is having a bit of trouble remembering continuity. For example, she asked why Ivanova was using a cane. I reminded her that Ivanova broke her foot when dealing with Green and Purple Drazi in the previous episode. Likewise, when the Shadow ship appeared in hyperspace, C asked what that was, and I first said, "Those are the people that are helping Londo." Then I added, "Those are Mr. Morden's associates." I was somewhat vague so as not to spoil the upcoming reveal of the Shadows.

When it was over T said it was pretty good. I told him that IMO the second season is better than the first season, the third season is even better than the second season, and the fourth season is just as good, if not better, than the third. I also told him that there were some really good episodes coming up later this season. But even though "A Distant Star" isn't an acclaimed episode, both C & T seemed pretty engaged by it.


"The Long Dark"

As I had mentioned before on this forum, this is an episode I had considered skipping, because it was repeated so many times that I got sick of it. However, I did show it to C & T. Even though I still consider "The Long Dark" a lesser Season 2 episode, I thought it held up pretty well and both C & T seemed engaged by it.

There was not too much commentary from them. However, we all got a good laugh when Amis said of the soldier of darkness, "I think it's calling me" and then the phone rang.

At the end C noted the picture in the book of G'Quon and said, "That looks like what they just shot." I replied that this was foreshadowing, but I resisted the impulse to add, "No pun intended."
See if people weren't having a "Silly B5 Quoted Conversation" I wouldn't have missed this post for three days.

Glad things are moving along in a positive manner. I love A Distant Star and I wish we'd gotten another episode of the explorer ship just doing what they do. I would have also liked to see The Cortez in action during the civil war. We should have at least heard which side Maynard joined.

I admit that The Long Dark is not one of my favorites, but that is because I don't really care for the concept of the monster. I think the story behind the episode is GREAT, but the creature concept is a bit ridiculous to me; invisible, large, and able to somehow sneak onto the Copernicus. I mean I get that it is somehow a being of energy or whatever, I have just never cared for the execution of the creature concept much. I've always felt that dealing with energy beings or invisible beings is just a matter of cheap production values when it comes to TV shows, other than the Vorlons.

I love Dwight Schultz and what they do with his character. I think it is brilliant when they get into the stuff with him and Garibaldi. I also like the idea of the explorer ship left adrift for all of those years. Can't say I like it when it goes all Soap Opera with Franklin, but I definitely would have liked to see more follow up to how Mariah Cirrus adjusted to her new life.

The hook just keeps going deeper and deeper, like I think we all knew it would. Oh they have so much in store. Are you thinking about upping the frequency of viewing as we get deeper in?
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  #14  
Old 09-20-2017, 07:14 PM
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Glad things are moving along in a positive manner. I love A Distant Star and I wish we'd gotten another episode of the explorer ship just doing what they do. I would have also liked to see The Cortez in action during the civil war. We should have at least heard which side Maynard joined.
Apparently the explorer ships go along the rim of known space for years at a time. The Earth civil war might have been over by the time Maynard got back to populated areas.

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The hook just keeps going deeper and deeper, like I think we all knew it would. Oh they have so much in store. Are you thinking about upping the frequency of viewing as we get deeper in?
I don't think it's likely we will get together to watch the show more than once a week.

However, I suppose it's possible we could start watching two episodes in one sitting. We did watch all of "Sherlock" together, and one episode of "Sherlock" is the length of two B5 episodes. But if that were to happen, I don't think it'll be until we get to Season 3 or Season 4.

Speaking of 90 minute B5 sessions, I haven't mentioned this before, but I do plan to show them "In the Beginning" later on. Specifically, I plan to show it to C&T after "Atonement". I want to test the hypothesis that "Endgame" will be even more effective if they first see General Robert Lefcourt in "In the Beginning".
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Old 09-21-2017, 08:09 PM
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Apparently the explorer ships go along the rim of known space for years at a time. The Earth civil war might have been over by the time Maynard got back to populated areas.
Yes I imagined they could have missed everything, but I want to know the actual story. Did they get back into known space and learn of the Shadow War, The Civil War, and the founding of The Interstellar Alliance? Those are some pretty big headlines. Those are the kinds of things that happen and make a Captain and crew question whether or not they should listen to their new superiors; if they have new superiors. That is a whole other Babylon 5 Expanded Universe Fan Fiction tale waiting to happen.

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I do plan to show them "In the Beginning" later on. Specifically, I plan to show it to C&T after "Atonement". I want to test the hypothesis that "Endgame" will be even more effective if they first see General Robert Lefcourt in "In the Beginning".
I kind of see your reasoning, but I really like "In The Beginning" being toward the end. I admit that when I re-watched with people I did have to explain who young Lefcourt was, but I'm not so sure he is important enough to put "In The Beginning" before "Endgame". But I guess we'll find out.
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