Gwnewch y pethau bychain

Our last best hope to finally see the darn thing…

It’s been a quiet weekend, so far.

Friday, we spent the evening after work with wheezinggirl and her husband M. After meeting up at their house, we went into downtown Roswell for dinner at Sugo, a remarkably good Greek/Italian restaurant. I had the Loose Lasagna (“I prefer my lasagna to be a bit of a hussy, quite honestly.”), and kitanzi had one of the specials, a delightful halibut and scallops dish with a perfect sauce. After dinner, we retired to their house for a game of Munchkin. The final score was 10-9-8-7, won by me on a wonderfully munchkined play (Looking for trouble, played Kali, then played Typographical Error to make her level 1. There was an exchange of cards in an attempt to stop me, but I had enough cards in hand to counter them.) A good close game like that is much more fun than a blowout, so I was glad it was so close. 🙂

The rest of the weekend has been spent largely undertaking the project of finally watching Babylon 5. It may come as a shock to many folks who haven’t heard the story of my long and troubled history with this show, but I’ve not actually seen the large majority of it. That’s not to say I haven’t tried.

See, when B5 first came out, I sat down to watch it, because it was SF on television, and there wasn’t that much SF on television in those days, aside from Star Trek. Generally, anything that had a science fiction theme was going to get watched by us, regardless. And, I have to admit, I didn’t care for it. I hated it. And after four or five episodes, I stopped watching it.

Two years later, all anyone can talk about is Babylon 5! “Oh, you’re not watching it?” people would say in amazed horror. “Nah,” I said. I tried to watch it when it first came on, but I really didn’t care for it.” “But, it got better! Really!” After enough of these conversations, often with people whose taste I trusted, I agreed to give it another try. And they were right, it *had* gotten much better. The new commander was much more interesting, the characters felt much more deep and interesting, and the plot was engaging. Unfortunately, it being the middle of season 3, I had no idea what was going on.

But, I figured that sooner or later, they’d show it again, and when they did, I’d watch it and see what all the fuss was about. in 1998, TNT announced they were going start showing the series from the beginning. And I settled in to watch it. Two weeks later, my apartment building burned to the ground.

Ever since then, I always managed to miss when it would restart. filker0 tried to alert me of one rotation starting up a few years ago, but it was right at the time that my relationship with deidrecorwin was disintegrating, and it wasn’t on at a convenient time for me to see it unless I missed all the traffic on my evening commute, so I didn’t get to see more than a handful of episodes at that time.

So, recently, I have borrowed Season 1 DVD from a friend of mine, and this weekend kitanzi and I have settled into watch it, in order. We’ve gotten through the first two disk (eight episodes), and I’m pleased to say that I’m genuinely enjoying it. I still think Sinclair is made of wood, and the scenes which are supposed to be emotional often seem to ring a little false, but I know that it gets better, and honestly, I’m having much more fun enjoying the good bits than snarking at the bad bits. I do honestly think that I’ve changed a bit as a consumer since I saw these before — I’m much less picky about my entertainment, and am much more willing to overlook absurdities in order to enjoy the shows.

I don’t intend to keep an episode-by-episode reaction to the thing, because I really don’t want to put that much work into it. But I do intend to keep watching it until I’m done with it, and then I’ll finally understand all the in-jokes and the songs, and stop feeling like I’ve missed out on something exceptional that everyone else knows about but me.


Dearly beloved…


Remembering 9/11


  1. Don’t feel bad -- I didn’t watch it for the same reason you didn’t. And I have lots of good friends with excellent taste in SciFi who think I’m on crack for not having seen it all -- sooooooo… someday I’ll have to do what you’re doing 🙂

    • I don’t know if I can recommend it as a whole yet, but I’m ejoying the bits I’ve seen so far. Which is odd, because at least 3 or 4 of these I know I’ve seen before, and I like them better now than I did then. *shrug* Go fig.

  2. (“I prefer my lasagna to be a bit of a hussy, quite honestly.”)

    *giggle* Good one.

  3. Having just gone through this…

    We had the same initial reaction. I’ll admit the “experience” of seeing JMS at Marcon didn’t help at all: every second word was F* to a clearly family audience. I can’t say that B5 really engaged me, but I tolerated it right through to the end of Season 4, and really got involved in that final season. 5 is simply a waste of time.

    • Fortunately, I’ve never met him so I have no impression of him. I really do think I’m liking it better this time largely because of a combination of being an easier person to entertain than when I was younger and being predisposed to want to enjoy it.

    • It’s really weird -- I mean -- I respect all those great things people say about the original star trek when it came out and how meaningful the plots were and how they dealt with racism and war and… well deep meaningful stuff ™ -- but I felt just that way about B5 when I started really watching it. Shrug. Oh well.

      And what’s worse? I actually liked season 5 “ok”.

      Course -- part of my attraction may have to do with my growing disgust with the U.S. political situation and my fear of parallels between the story arc of B5. ahem…

      • For the record, despite dire warnings even from B5 fans, I liked season 5, too. Some of the plot arcs were dire and annoying, but there were other plot threads and character story lines that were given some satisfying closure. They moved me and I was glad to see them.

  4. It was a lovely Friday evening indeed. Good Food, Good Conversation and Good Game.

  5. Well, it’s a good thing you are enjoying B5 now. I could never really respect a man who didn’t like B5. (grin)

    (fwiw -- I liked it from the beginning pretty well but did NOT like Sinclair- I always found his acting to be incredibly wooden also. I did like Sheridan quite a lot though and once he was in the show I thought the overall acting was extremely satisfying. Londo is brilliant, Vir is delightful, G’Kar is amazing, Ivanova probably isn’t that brilliant an actress (dunno) but seems really really well cast… ditto with Franklin, and wossname the security guy um… oh hell it’s been a while…

    Anyway -- we really enjoyed it for many reasons and found the flaws quite tolerable. I loved the story arch (and yes, I even liked season 5 ok).

    Oh god -- and yes -- I should say that whenever Marcus appeared my breathing got all funny. Hee.
    Have fun.

    And btw: “I prefer my lasagna to be a bit of a hussy, quite honestly.”

    Quoth Ed and I: “You really are our sort aren’t you!?”
    Smooch!! 🙂

    • Just to be really fair -- I don’t think Marcus was the best example of acting in the show -- but I found his character to be very appealing and oh my he is pretty!


      • Yes, I seem to recall at least a song or two on that subject. 🙂

        • BTW -- have you seen the Technomages episode yet!?? It’s possibly my favorite overall. I adore the technomages. And, as is often the case, there is some gorgeous writing in that episode. (that’s another thing I really like about B5 -- Mike Kube-McDowell got me into it and one reason *he* liked it was that the writing -- particularly the speeches -- are so often so damned good.)

    • I think that looking back on it, Sinclar was my biggest problem. He strikes me as a stuffed shirt…at one point, I forget the moment, I turned to Kit and said “Hey, did you see that…I could swear he just flashed a bit of personality!”

      Quoth Ed and I: “You really are our sort aren’t you!?”
      Gosh, i sure hope so!

      • Sinclair didn’t grab me either particularly, and I’ll take on almost anyone in the Slavering B5 Junkie stakes. I don’t know if another actor might have done better with the character, who as envisaged was a bit of a courageous choice for first-season lead anyway (moody, haunted, enigmatic--okay in something like The Crow or The X-Files, but not in the series B5 was coming across as being). There’s only one I can think of who could possibly have done that and the heroic-lead stuff at the same time, and he’d done that character for six years already (and I’m not saying whom I’m thinking of because you’ll all look at me funny).

        But don’t give up on Sinclair yet…

        • I’ve not. I was struck tonight at the interesting friendship between him and Garibaldi. Sinclair appears to be the ultimate idealist, and Garibaldi the ultimate pragmatist, and yet they’re close friends. (Of course these impressions may later turn out to be wrong. We’ll see.

  6. I watched the pilot, didn’t like it, and ignored it until sometime in season 2 when a friend with taste I trust said “you have to watch this”. I started watching then and back-filled with borrowed tapes; eventually I caught it from the beginning. I’ve now seen it three or four times and enjoyed the overall story, but some individual episodes and significant chunks of the first season still grate. As an overall story with some good characters I quite enjoy it, but I definitely watch it more for the forest than for the trees.

    • Err, all that said, there are also some damn fine trees, including (IMO) “Coming of Shadows” and the under-valued “Confessions and Lamentations”.

  7. The main thing to remember is to watch the episodes in order; it’s a novel and to do otherwise is like reading chapters out of order.

    And, of course, the ensemble gets better as the story goes on just as any production tends to improve in the weeks after opening night.

  8. I’ve never gotten around to seeing B5 either. I was still in law school when it started, and didn’t have a TV at the time. Then when it started on TNT, it was an inconvenient time locally, so I’ve only seen the first ep.

    Which is too bad, as I’m going to have to leave the following filk idea to someone else:

    o/~ Saturday with G’Kar/I think it was on Babylon Five

  9. *Who* Is God?

    i) Let’s get this out of the way quickly --
    Babylon’s returning, ‘turning, ‘turning.
    Babylon’s returning, so Watch It Now!

    b) At Contata 2002, at the Mike Rubin memorial concert maybe, a next song was announced as “Babylon Is Falling”. I asked a nearby filker, “Which Babylon?”, thinking the space station or the historical Babylon? Her answer was “Babylon, Long Island”. 🙁

    3) Yes, I liked the show, all the seasons. But, I much preferred the first commander to the character played by Bruce Boxershorts, and the first chief medical officer (who mysteriously got transferred after he saw the true form of Kosh) to the second doctor. OTOH, when we tried to get a sister-in-law interested in the show, she scoffed at it as a space soap opera. Eh.

    IV) At least it spawned a few good filks (“Meet At Babylon 5” (a round), the “Babylon (5) Is Falling” filk, and the Ivanova song referenced in this Comment’s Subject).

    5) There is no 5)

    Ann O.

    • Re: *Who* Is God?

      Um, yes, there is a

      5) The first name of the nearby filker in b) is the same as the first name of Commander Ivanova. 🙂

  10. And I settled in to watch it. Two weeks later, my apartment building burned to the ground.
    LOL… maybe you really SHOULDN’T… you are tempting fate… :oD

    It’s so funny -- I never wanted to watch B5 because from what I saw on TV I was appalled by the costumes, the masks and the bright colours and the overall feeling of watching a stage with props. This IS different to what DS9 more and more did, or what BSG does now, creating a darker and more “real” environment for the stories. And THIS was something I had to learn to live with when I started to watch it then. (Same reasons -- so many people loved it, I got it that I had missed something out…)

    I really hatet the pilot, but because I had the whole season on DVD there in front of me I watched on -- and loved it… and now a bit of controversial moaning:

    Sinclair was The Man. He was the manly man. He had sex appeal. Through all the following seasons I merely tolerated Sheridan and his toothy grin and two more facial expressions, by concentrating on the story arcs and the other characters… :o)

    But I think this makes a show really good: to have many DIFFERENT characters so basically everybody finds something in it to like… :o) For me it was the humour and the willingness to discuss what’s right and what’s wrong and where the shades of grey start to be black…

    • LOL… maybe you really SHOULDN’T… you are tempting fate… :oD

      This thought *has* occured to me. 🙂

      Sinclair was The Man. He was the manly man. He had sex appeal. Through all the following seasons I merely tolerated Sheridan and his toothy grin and two more facial expressions, by concentrating on the story arcs and the other characters… :o)

      I have no opinion on Sheridan yet, but I really am not warm to Sinclair. Luckily, the other characters are terribly interesting and are making up for it.

  11. This sounds very familiar!

    I caught one episode soon after it started and thought I’d give it a try. Sadly, the episode I caught was ‘Infection’, quite possibly the worst episode in the entire first 2 seasons! So I didn’t try it again until about a year and a bit later when favourable word-of-mouth convinced me to give it another go. And the rest is history -- borrowed or bought videos or catch up on past episodes and settled down happily for the rest of the run.

    • And then you infected us!

      “It’s really quite good, Annie”
      “Give it a try, Tim”

      Argh -- it got to be like SF Crack!

      Mind you, I’ve avoided “Firefly” like the plague because everyone told me I *ought* to watch it.

      Then Whitaker forcibly loaned me the DVDs and there was a dull evening on TV and… and…

      I hate him. I was happy before. Now I’m incredibly depressed that there’s no more!

      • You’ll get no sympathy from me, I’m afraid. I’ve been pushing Firefly since it was actually on the air. 🙂

        There is the tiniest of silver linings — by being so short lived, Firefly never had the chance to go downhill or have any truly awful episodes. I still would trade that pristine amber state for another 5 seasons or so in a hearbeat.

    • I have the feeling that we may be the typical case of hitting the tipping point of the series where the series really takes off and then devouring everything in as big a gulp as we can. We just watched the first 2 DVDs in season 1 in 2 days, and those aren’t supposedly as good as what will follow with Season 3 and 4. 🙂

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