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Old 05-29-2017, 07:25 PM
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Watching B5 with C&T - Season 1 (condensed)

Previously on this forum (http://jmsnews.com/forums/showthread.php?t=43699), I discussed the possibility of showing B5 to some non-science fiction fans (henceforth referred to as "C" and "T"). I presented the forum with a condensed list of twelve episodes and asked for comments.

My pitch to these mystery fans of "From the producer/writer of 'Murder She Wrote'", combined with, "We watched 12 episodes of 'Sherlock' give me twelve episodes of 'Babylon 5'" worked. And on May 28, 2017 we sat down to view the first episode.

In this thread I'll be sharing observations as we watch the twelve episodes on my "revised list", starting with...

Midnight on the Firing Line

During the opening credits C said, "I don't know who any of these people are." That is, until she got to Bill Mumy's credit and said, "I know him! 'Danger! Danger!'"

Although they seemed to have no difficulty grasping the science fiction concepts of Jump Gates/Hyperspace and Telepaths, it quickly became apparent that they're not used to watching space-based science fiction. During the scene where Garibaldi surveys the damaged supply ship T said, "I don't know how that can stay in the air." To which I replied, "It's space, there's no gravity."

Along the same lines, C recognized that Londo was assembling a gun from the various pieces in his quarters, but T did not.

Some of the humor clicked. T chuckled at some of Londo's lines and the "Duck Dodgers" coda.

I had told them going in that the series finished its run nearly twenty years ago. And at the end of the episode, C said, "I can tell it's old. The graphics are so much better these days." That lead into me explaining about the DVD rendering, i.e., how the live action is in 16:9 but the special effects are blown up 4:3. The CGI sequences did look somewhat blocky and pixilated on their big screen TV.

Overall, they seemed to think it was OK. There were no real complaints, but they didn't seem that engaged either. I explained that the first few episodes were introductory, and that they wouldn't get a sense of the overall story until later. And, on the next day we watched...


The Parliament of Dreams

I set up this episode by saying it introduces more characters and that it has a bit of a "Person of Interest" type plot. There wasn't a lot of commentary from them during the episode, but they both seemed to be more engaged by this one than "Midnight on the Firing Line". C happened to say, "I still haven't seen Bill Mumy yet" right before Lennier came on the station, and I said, "That's him right there."

C also mentioned that she didn't think that Michael O'Hare was as good looking as either Jim Caviezel ("Person of Interest") or Benedict Cumberbatch ("Sherlock"), the leads in the previous two series we had all watched. I mentioned that there will be some cast changes in the future, without saying what they were.

T noticed the red eyes of the Narns in this episode and asked if they were achieved with contact lenses, which I confirmed.

At the end, T said that the episode was "pretty good", while C said without elaboration that it was "a little over the top".

Last edited by alpha128; 05-29-2017 at 09:03 PM.
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Old 05-30-2017, 07:44 AM
Truth66 Truth66 is offline
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I'm interested in knowing how C & T react to the show as they see more episodes.

I did something similar when I showed different episodes to different people which got them hooked onto the show. The key episode that seemed to get them hooked was "Severed Dreams". This got them to wanting to view the series from the beginning as each was asking what lead up to that point.
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Old 05-30-2017, 01:59 PM
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WOW! I have to be honest it sounds like you are facing a VERY difficult road with these two.
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Old 05-30-2017, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Truth66 View Post
I'm interested in knowing how C & T react to the show as they see more episodes.

I did something similar when I showed different episodes to different people which got them hooked onto the show. The key episode that seemed to get them hooked was "Severed Dreams". This got them to wanting to view the series from the beginning as each was asking what lead up to that point.
"Severed Dreams" is my favorite B5 episode, but I wouldn't recommend it as an introduction to the series. It's literally the climax of the entire B5 story, and I don't think it would have the impact it has without seeing what came before. Also, I think C & T would be confused by starting in the middle.

I don't think you were around for my earlier thread, so here is the list I'm using:

Season One ("Signs and Portents") - REVISED LIST

# Title Grade
1 Midnight on the Firing Line B
5 The Parliament of Dreams B+
6 Mind War B+
8 And The Sky Full Of Stars B+
12 By Any Means Necessary A-
13 Signs and Portents B
17 Legacies B-
18 A Voice in the Wilderness part 1 B+
19 A Voice in the Wilderness part 2 A-
20 Babylon Squared A
21 The Quality of Mercy B
22 Chrysalis A
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Old 05-30-2017, 04:36 PM
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WOW! I have to be honest it sounds like you are facing a VERY difficult road with these two.
I don't know about that. I've always thought the earliest episode that has a chance to hook them is "And The Sky Full Of Stars". It's the one "WHAM" episode from the first season that I didn't see until much later and I always regretted not seeing earlier.

This is why I was keen to skip episodes so as to get to "Sky" as early as possible.
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Old 05-31-2017, 06:57 AM
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I don't know about that. I've always thought the earliest episode that has a chance to hook them is "And The Sky Full Of Stars". It's the one "WHAM" episode from the first season that I didn't see until much later and I always regretted not seeing earlier.

This is why I was keen to skip episodes so as to get to "Sky" as early as possible.
Yeah, gotta agree with that one. It's a great episode and starts the intrigue running.

I think their comments thus far are all totally fair, and they are clearly not SF veterans! I think 'And the Sky..." also has it's fair share of 'a bit over the top'. Christopher Neame as Knight 2, he over eggs it a bit in that thespian British actor style!

Patrick McGoohan was who they wanted for the role, he liked the script but had other commitments. A real shame.
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Last edited by Ubik; 05-31-2017 at 07:00 AM.
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Old 05-31-2017, 07:05 PM
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Christopher Neame as Knight 2, he over eggs it a bit in that thespian British actor style!
C loves Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock, so I don't imagine that will be a problem for her.
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Old 05-31-2017, 09:01 PM
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I think 'And the Sky..." also has it's fair share of 'a bit over the top'. Christopher Neame as Knight 2, he over eggs it a bit in that thespian British actor style!
I think you viewed that incorrectly. Neame was just trying to "Blur the lines!"
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Old 06-01-2017, 01:52 AM
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I think you viewed that incorrectly. Neame was just trying to "Blur the lines!"
There's one line that always has me in stitches, I am paraphrasing here, but it's the Kirk like timing of the delivery.

"HERE... inside YOUR MIND..."
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Old 06-01-2017, 07:30 AM
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There's one line that always has me in stitches, I am paraphrasing here, but it's the Kirk like timing of the delivery.

"HERE... inside YOUR MIND..."
YES, HAHAHAHAHA We joke, but it is still great.
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Old 06-01-2017, 07:49 AM
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YES, HAHAHAHAHA We joke, but it is still great.
Oh yeah, fully! It's half the charm of the show for me.
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Old 06-18-2017, 07:33 PM
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"Mind War" / "And The Sky Full Of Stars"

Not much to report regarding C & T's reaction to "Mind War". There was very little commentary from them either pro or con.

They both seemed more engaged by "And The Sky Full Of Stars", and there was more commentary for that episode. C mentioned again that "Cumberbatch is cuter" than O'Hare. T had an amusing comment that the chair being assembled by the Knights at the beginning "looked like a dentist's chair." T also said later that he found the virtual reality aspect of the plot confusing.

C did ask me a lot of questions about the show this time, e.g., what year it first aired, what TV station it originally aired on, how many seasons it had, etc. She expressed surprise that a science fiction show was a big enough hit to have a five season run.

So "Sky" didn't hook them like I hoped, but they both seemed to find it more exciting than "Mind War".


"By Any Means Necessary"

C was very quiet during this one, and T didn't have much more to say. T did get a good laugh from Ms. Connally's line, "I don't care if they've agreed to wear bunny suits!", and at the end he said it seemed that labor relations hadn't advanced much from the twenty-first century.

The experiment continues...
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Old 06-18-2017, 10:31 PM
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Ah labors of love. They rarely make it easy on you.
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Old 06-19-2017, 12:00 AM
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C did ask me a lot of questions about the show this time, e.g., what year it first aired, what TV station it originally aired on, how many seasons it had, etc. She expressed surprise that a science fiction show was a big enough hit to have a five season run.
There was a lot of sci-fi on American TV in the 90s! JMS really managed to keep his show a step above the rest.
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Old 06-19-2017, 12:54 AM
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It is hard work to get people interested in a show if they get hung up on lack of cuteness and non state of the art CGI. But hang in there, it will be interesting to hear what you have to report in the future when the show gets going.
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