The year is 2258. The name of this thread... is BABYLON 5. (theme music plays)

 So... I'm in a DVD shop buying a birthday present for my sister, when I notice a huge box set on a shelf in the TV section. "Hmm", I say to myself, "it's that series that people are always namedropping in the HitFilm forums". Now this particular box set is kinda expensive (it looked to be a complete series-type thing), but just next to it is a much smaller box set, of only the first season. I figure "why not?" and I buy it.

Some weeks later I actually get round watching it... and I'm hooked. Even though I still can't take the pre-credits monologue seriously.

The thing which really surprised me, is how relevant it feels. Some of the stories seem tailor-made to reference things happening in the world right now, and yet this was made nearly a quarter-century ago...

Also, those little Earth-force fighter-craft-with-the-four-engines (I don't know what they're called) are awesome.

I guess what I'm trying to say is... thank you. I probably wouldn't have discovered this series if I hadn't heard it discussed on this forum


  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Babylon 5 is a good show, abd, yes, many of the themes are still sadly relevant. 

    The Earth Force Starfury (the fighter) is my favorite fighter in sci-fi. That pre-title sequence in Soul Hunter (s1 ep2) really shows of how an approximation of actual physics makes for a really neat ship that moves unlike anything else in sci-fi. 

    Embrace the title sequence. It will change every season and it always says a relevant thing or two about the season. 

  • Babylon 5 is TV gold, one of the few TV shows that I have yet to aquire the box set, probably because I am worried about the amount of time I will spend re-watching it all. I am sure I saw somewhere that someone tried to upscale it to HD but sadly while the normal scenes worked the CGI was all produced at the lower resolution and didn't convert well. oh know see what you have done I'm starting to rabbit on about Babylon 5, next Ill be talking about the Amiga Video Toaster used fir the CGI with Amiga 4000's and the CGI render team.


  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator
    edited March 2017

    JMcAllister oddly enough the best way to watch the show is alongside this website--it's not a blog, the word hadn't been invented yet. 

    Lurker's Guide was written in real time along with the series. It's the closest thing you get to water cooler conversation. Written spoiler free, too. Questions posed are still from perspective of first time viewer. And... Compiled jms comments from online forums for the week of the episode! Producer/writer commentary on every episode. A real education in 90's production.

  • @Triem23 the website link not working.

  • edited March 2017

    Well it's working now...

    interesting resource. If I'm honest I'm one of these people who prefers to interpret art in their own way, so I don't know if I'll actually read that page very much... but still, thanks. Reading the page associated with "Midnight on the Firing Line" having already watched 12 episodes, I feel like I can appreciate some of the things that JMS says about some hints and clues, I've already noticed a couple of little things come back in big ways... or maybe I still don't know shit about what's really going on. Only time will tell

    Also it seems like the so-called "Complete First Season" box set that I bought is a little less complete than advertised... I appear to be missing the pilot episode.

    About the title sequence... tbh I'm not a fan of expository monologues in general, but this one always cracks me up.

    The way it starts off with a super-serious future-historian-telling-tales-of-the-past type thing ("It was the dawn of the third age...") and then suddenly changes tense and becomes some sort of travel advert ("...It's a port of call, home away from home...") ... gets me every time...

  • Only 12 episodes in. They have not really cranked it up yet. The first season can be a little slow to start, IMO. In the second season they really give it some gas and by the third season the pedal has been floored for a while and you are hanging on.

    Since B5 was a planned 5 year/season story, beginning, middle and end, there are a lot of things that will come up again, or be fully fleshed out, in seasons 2, 3 and 4. This is real life. We just don't know now what we will know in the future even if there are clues right now. Season 1 is after all titled Signs and Portents. Some B plots of an episode are not what they might seem, "filler". For sure one episode in season 1 shows up in the middle of season 3 and you then find out what was "really" going on in the season 1 episode. You don't need to keep notes. They do a good job of keeping you current as things become known.

    Heck the pilot 2hr movie for the series flat out says something but since it is in an alien language we know nothing about yet, and not subtitled, it just goes in one ear and right out the other. Until the middle of season 3.

    The pilot movie is always sold separately. The telepath from the pilot movie will show up again and become a regular. In the pilot movie, Kosh arrives at B5, has an apparent assassination attempt by the captain, the Vorlons are pissed and are going to destroy B5 and all ends up getting cleared up and resolved.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    The pilot was aired over a year before the first season. It's never sold with the first season because it's absolutely not part of the first season (in fact, the pilot is set in 2257). 

    That can be found as a single unit DVD or as part of the TV Movie box-set. 

    Incidentally the TV movie box set has the Earth-Minbari War  prequel movie "In the Beginning," which should be watched at the end of season 1, not before season 1...

    What @NormanPCN refers to as the pilot giving something away--they added that cheeky line of dialog in the 1997 re-edit! Really pricked up my ears when I heard it, but the line isn't in my off-the-air tape of the original airing (with the Stewart Copland music). But the re-edit is a far superior cut. 

    The Lurker's Guide is always optional. What's nice for me, re-reading it, it that it has been mostly left alone. While edited to add links to later episodes for relevant threads, much of the analysis and questions are, to be blunt, wrong! It's still speculation from first-airing, not corrected to reflect true developments, which is why I say it's the closest thing to water cooler conversation. 

    If nothing else you might just skip to the JMS speaks sections. 

    As Norman says, by ep12 of season 1, you've not hit the "inciting incident" for the core story arc. With luck, the universe building is such that one particular moment in the next couple of episodes will make you sit upright and think "What in the HELL was THAT!?" 

    Season 1 is largely universe exposition. Things continue to ramp up through the end of season 4. The first half of season 5,unfortunately, is problematic*, then back on track for the big finale. 

    *B5 may be unique in surviving the death if its distribution network, but, when the network was failing JMS was told to wrap it up in season 4. So about 5 episodes of material got condensed into season 4. Combined with other BTS issues, this means the front half of season 5 gets padded... A 4 episode mini arc gets stretched to 10.

  • I bought the pilot episode on iTunes and watched it just now...

    But something tells me I will end up going back to the DVD shop and buying that large expensive box-set in a few weeks 

  • Aladdin4dAladdin4d Moderator

    Sooner or later everyone comes to Babylon 5

    "Let me pass on to you the one thing I've learned about this place: No one here is exactly what he appears. Not Mollari, not Delenn, not Sinclair .. and not me."

  • @Aladdin4d I know that quote! I've seen that episode!

  • I saved up a bunch of Babylon 5 episodes to watch while recovering from knee surgery (ACL reconstruction.) Great series :)



  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    I'm due for a rewatch...

  • +1 for that Triem23

  • @Triem23 When TNT picked up B5 and we were therefore going to get a 5th season, TNT started a daily rerun from the beginning so I started watching that. I heard that line and my reaction was, Son of a B.

    Very interesting to hear it was added later. 

  • @NormanPCN that was when I had my knee surgery... I saved up a bunch of Babylon 5 episodes so that I could watch them while on painkillers because I couldn't focus close enough to read with them. A friend also came by with a copy of Excalibur, which was a great watch as well. After I ran out of stuff to watch though, I switched to only using the painkillers at night... :)


  • @SimonKJones would love this thread..

  • @DanielGWood yes he would, I seem to recall chatting about B5 before.

  • edited March 2017

    Thanks to your comments about things to come, I now feel like this after every episode:

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Teaser: Ivanova's ultimate speech is in season 4.

    Delenn's best line is in season 3.

    You'll know 'em when you hear' 'em. 

    Yeah, no boom today. Boom tomorrow. 

  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator
    edited March 2017

    And so, it begins.

    Great  choice. And if you're enjoying it only halfway through season 1, you're going to be astounded by what comes next. Season 1 is a tricky thing to get through in some ways on first viewing, especially now that it's dated in various ways, so if you're already hooked you're almost certainly in it for the long haul.

    Due to the tightness of the overall 5-year storytelling, season 1 actually becomes far more satisfying on repeat viewings, because you realise that pretty much EVERYTHING is relevant, and will be significant down the line.

    I, also, am about to begin a rewatch.

    Incidentally, I'd suggest not watching the TV movie 'In The Beginning' until you've finished season 4. Chronologically it takes place before everything, but dramatically I think it works best once you know all the details.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @SimonKJones I usually recommend "In the Beginning" between "Chrysalis" and "Points of Departure." At that point you see an important plot point and a character background  that are discussed in PoD... 

    I definitely don't recommend "In the Beginning" first. Season One is more fun as a mystery. 

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    For the first time, B5 is streaming.

    Probably cheaper than buying the discs. 

  • @Triem23 without sounding like a grump Englishman, 'SORRY US ONLY' Grrrrr.

    On the cost thing, I did see a full DVD set (man it was massive) in one of my local pawn broker shops (2nd hand) and they wanted £50 for the lot.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @Andy001z boo. Stupid restrictions. 

    Too bad. You can tell most of the YouTube clips online were taken from UK DVDs... The 24/25 fps transfer lends noticeable chipmunking. 

  • edited April 2017

    @Triem23 VPN to the rescue!!! - Update NordVPN got me covered works fine, arrhh sweet sweet B5. Mike what have you done, you know I am going to get sucked back into the b5 airlock and my producitivity is going to plumet Centri ship with no crew. Sigh!

  • @Triem23 Thanks for sharing that

    personally though I probably won't make use of that because:

    a) I'm outside the US, so would have to use a VPN like Andy001z

    b) despite the cost, I actually like owning DVDs

  • @Triem23 dam you Mike it's nice weather here, I should of been strolling around the park, soaking up the rays, but no, what was I doing, taking lunch at my desk watching B5.

  • @Triem23 Thanks for this find. My DVDs got the rot and I had to toss them.

  • Nothing is the same anymore

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @JMcAllister ah, that's a strong season finale, that is. Love the acting on Michael O' Hare and the C&C crew as well as Maggie Egan's newsreader during the Earthforce One sequence. 

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