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Old 11-25-2017, 06:35 AM
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19 Years Ago Today - Sleeping In Light

19 years ago today, on Thanksgiving Eve, Sleeping In Light aired. JMS said:
----
Ultimately, for me, the end of B5 is neither a sad ending nor a happy ending; it's not an ending at all, since the universe carries on. But if I were to describe what kind of ending it was, I'd say it was a graceful ending, a dignified ending, an ending that said individuals can effect profound change, if they are willing to put their own lives and happiness on the line; not
happy, not sad, but a testament to the idea that you have used your time here well."
-----


For me, it's the best series ending ever.
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Old 11-25-2017, 10:42 AM
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19 Years Ago Today - Sleeping In Light

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan View Post
For me, it's the best series ending ever.
Jan, I agree.
SiL is the best closing ep. of a sf series ever.

But I must insist, that there out is yet so much to tell in the B5verse...

Stefan - can't resist


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Old 11-25-2017, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan View Post
19 years ago today, on Thanksgiving Eve, Sleeping In Light aired.

For me, it's the best series ending ever.
It is my favorite too; incredibly moving. Only the finale of "Person of Interest" (also highly emotional) even comes close.
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Old 11-26-2017, 08:02 PM
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I don't know if it is the best series ending ever, but it is the best I've ever seen - just as B5 is the most complete series I've ever seen. Other shows have told complete stories, but I don't feel any have been as interesting throughout. And certainly not many prior to B5. Other shows prior to B5 might have told one overall arc over a series that lasted many episodes, but how many did it as well before Babylon 5? (And now Looney waits to hear responses. My only criteria are that you can name any show from any country, but it has to be during or prior to the era of Babylon 5 and you should give some evidence that they did their arc better and with fewer holes.)
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Old 11-27-2017, 01:29 AM
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The only other finale that possibly tops this is The Leftovers. It has the same emotional impact, I imagine I'd be blubbing every time, just like SiL. It so neatly ties up the series and it's so very human. Can't recommend this series enough. Best thing I've watched in ages. So rewarding, and it asks a lot of big questions about the human condition.
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Old 11-27-2017, 08:43 AM
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In a previous career, I was a television historian, so I've seen an indefensible number of series and finales, and the only one I can think of that compares to "Sleeping in Light" is Six Feet Under's "Everyone's Waiting". Both are transcendent and achingly beautiful. It's interesting to me that I make this connection, though, because I wouldn't normally think to group these two shows together, and yet they share another distinction in my mind: I would argue that their respective third seasons are the two best full seasons of television ever produced, albeit for completely different reasons.
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Old 11-27-2017, 09:32 AM
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I can't wait to see season 3 of The Leftovers; given the emotional power of the first two seasons, it might just reach the level of Sleeping in Light, which I still consider to be one of the finest artistic achievements I know in any medium. The only other finale I know that comes close is that of Lost (which shares a showrunner with The Leftovers - one who has mentioned B5 as an inspiration).

What the endings of B5 and Lost have in common is that they place the events of the series in perspective as something that happened in the past: these are the things that happened in those years, and these are the people who made those choices. From that historical perspective comes an immense bittersweetness, of the inevitability of loss, of the power of hope, of human beings doing the best they can with what little time they have.
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Old 11-27-2017, 10:00 AM
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We didn't have TNT in our TV package at the time of Season 5. So a friend at work would record the episodes for me and I would watch them on those tapes. When it came time for the series finale, another friend hosted a small gathering to see it live. I can't remember how many people were there, but the room was packed and it was very emotional.

I've seen it a few more times. I think the most recent time when after my father died. I remember someone suggesting it then.

A magnificent episode of television in my all-time favorite TV series.
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Old 11-27-2017, 10:59 AM
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The only other finale I know that comes close is that of Lost
Now THAT made me cringe! Having said that I can see from an emotional stand point that the LOST finale was very good because the ONLY good thing that entire show did was make you care about the characters. I see LOST as an odd phenomena. A completely misguided waste of time that wasted heaps of potential, but still managed to deeply connect the audience to the characters. LOST is a big reason I always have to check my expectations for any Abrams project and a BIG reason why I am starting to slightly dread seeing The Last Jedi. After The Force Awakens (2015) I was left with a WHOLE bunch of questions that need answering and if LOST is any indication I will never get those answers; just more questions. Don't get me wrong, I like The Force Awakens (2015), but I feel it is an unfinished first act that The Last Jedi (2017) will hopefully bring closure to.
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Old 11-27-2017, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonas View Post
I can't wait to see season 3 of The Leftovers; given the emotional power of the first two seasons, it might just reach the level of Sleeping in Light, which I still consider to be one of the finest artistic achievements I know in any medium. The only other finale I know that comes close is that of Lost (which shares a showrunner with The Leftovers - one who has mentioned B5 as an inspiration).
Trust me it does. I cried.

I have often described The Leftovers to friends as "like Lost, but not shit'. Sorry, really disliked Lost, but have found I enjoyed many other projects involving the same showrunners and creators. Fringe, etc... But yeah, I consider The Leftovers to be in a different league to these shows. It really pushes the boundaries and remains very human and has massive resonance and emotional impact. Some of the symbolism they use is also very well researched. I really would like to watch the whole lot again when I get time. It's up there in my top 5 TV shows of all time along with The Wire and B5.
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Old 11-27-2017, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Looney View Post
Now THAT made me cringe! Having said that I can see from an emotional stand point that the LOST finale was very good because the ONLY good thing that entire show did was make you care about the characters. I see LOST as an odd phenomena. A completely misguided waste of time that wasted heaps of potential, but still managed to deeply connect the audience to the characters. LOST is a big reason I always have to check my expectations for any Abrams project and a BIG reason why I am starting to slightly dread seeing The Last Jedi.
LOST is one of the prime examples of distinguishing between the "creator" and the "show-runner". JJ Abrams "created" it, in the sense that he helped write the brilliant pilot, but the strengths and weaknesses of that show -- from its beautiful characterizations to its hackneyed mythology -- belong solely to Lindelof and Cuse. And their finale wouldn't crack my Top 50.

These days, it's a bit of a gimmick. Marvel gets Joss Whedon to co-write the pilot for Agents of SHIELD so they can con audiences in perpetuity into believing he's actively working on the show.

For B5, creator and show-runner and master-badass are all the same guy -- but that's not always the case.
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Old 11-27-2017, 05:08 PM
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I'm man enough to admit that I had a few tears when I saw Sleeping in Light for the first time. Of course I can't forget that I also laughed when I saw Vir in bed with two women.

I'll be honest in that I would likely shed even more tears now if I saw that episode again, with the passing of many of those actors.
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Old 11-28-2017, 12:21 AM
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Without wanting to derail the conversation from Sleeping in Light too much, I think the reaction to Lost has far more to do with wrong expectations. Lost and The Leftovers are extremely similar; the difference is that while The Leftovers makes it very clear from the beginning that it's about people in a strange situation, not about The Answers To The Mysteries, Lost packages its superb examination of the same themes in an adventure-serial format. The actual show is still focused on something quite different, but all the marketing and public discussion around it ended up making it be The Show About The Mysteries. Ironically, if Lost had been a less successful show, the focus might have stayed on the remarkable things it was actually doing, like its exploration of the power and the limits of faith.

A show that faced a similar problem when it came out, particularly regarding its ending, was The Prisoner, itself an inspiration for Babylon 5. At the time, its ending - which is brilliant and powerful - was widely reviled for not giving The Answers To The Mysteries. You see, people genuinely thought the point of the show was whether the Village the protagonist is trapped in belongs to the West or to the Soviets. That's not even remotely the point of the show, in fact it's a complete misreading, but it had become The Show About The Mystery. So people got angry and said the show was stupid, in an outpouring of hate not unlike that in response to the Lost finale. Nowadays the general consensus is that The Prisoner is an incredibly intelligent show and its ending a masterpiece.

I feel the same thing has happened to Lost, and I get it, because I had also become frustrated, and it was actually the power of the last few episodes that made me reconsider, and on a second rewatch I suddenly realized the entire emphasis of the show was not where I thought it was. Lost is extremely good from beginning to end, but it's not doing what I thought it was doing, and a lot of the stuff everyone was focused on is just flavour.

Actually, I know someone who was disappointed with the last few episodes of Babylon 5 because they saw it as an action show about ships blowing up, and found Sleeping in Light boring. No, we're not friends anymore.
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Last edited by Jonas; 11-28-2017 at 02:29 AM.
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Old 11-28-2017, 04:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonas View Post
A show that faced a similar problem when it came out, particularly regarding its ending, was The Prisoner, itself an inspiration for Babylon 5. At the time, its ending - which is brilliant and powerful - was widely reviled for not giving The Answers To The Mysteries. You see, people genuinely thought the point of the show was whether the Village the protagonist is trapped in belongs to the West or to the Soviets. That's not even remotely the point of the show, in fact it's a complete misreading, but it had become The Show About The Mystery. So people got angry and said the show was stupid, in an outpouring of hate not unlike that in response to the Lost finale. Nowadays the general consensus is that The Prisoner is an incredibly intelligent show and its ending a masterpiece.
I disagree about the ending of "The Prisoner" being a masterpiece.

The great thing about the early episodes was that you could interpret them literally or interpret them allegorically. An great example is Free for All, which works literally as an episode about No. 6 running for office, and also works as a commentary on democratic elections and the role of the media in them.

But by the time you get to "Fall Out", the story is so wacky it can only be interpreted allegorically. It makes no literal sense! So now we're supposed to think that every time No. 2 was talking to No. 1 on the phone, on the other end of the line was a clone of No. 6 in a white hooded robe and a gorilla mask?!? I'm surprised No. 2 never said, "I'm sorry sir, I can't understand you, would you please take off your gorilla mask?"
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Old 11-29-2017, 06:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alpha128 View Post
I disagree about the ending of "The Prisoner" being a masterpiece.

The great thing about the early episodes was that you could interpret them literally or interpret them allegorically. An great example is Free for All, which works literally as an episode about No. 6 running for office, and also works as a commentary on democratic elections and the role of the media in them.

But by the time you get to "Fall Out", the story is so wacky it can only be interpreted allegorically. It makes no literal sense! So now we're supposed to think that every time No. 2 was talking to No. 1 on the phone, on the other end of the line was a clone of No. 6 in a white hooded robe and a gorilla mask?!? I'm surprised No. 2 never said, "I'm sorry sir, I can't understand you, would you please take off your gorilla mask?"
I think what's brilliant about the ending of The Prisoner is precisely how it bursts out of its own reality into something much weirder and metaphorical. I don't think every show should do that, but I also think this is the only possible ending to The Prisoner.
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