Babylon 5

Suggested by Brad Nelson • Ten years after the Earth-Minbari War, Commander Sinclair takes command of a giant five-mile-long cylindrical space station, orbiting a planet in neutral space. He must try to establish peace and prosperity between various interstellar empire.
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4 Responses to Babylon 5

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I finished the first season of Babylon 5. This is a mediocre series. Of the 22 episodes in the first season, I would rate about five as good, 6 as medium, 9 as so-so, and 2 as bad.

    That said, most of the episodes have a story that is entertaining enough. And I grew to like Commander Sinclair. And now that I’m on season two with Bruce Boxleitner as the new commander, I miss the guy. Boxleitner I *think* will get better. But there’s been two major shifts between season one and two and is certainly consistent with the times we live in:

    + The set designs and special effects have gotten better. The acting and characters are laughably thin and have gotten worse, especially any guest characters (I hesitate to call them “stars”).

    I’m five episodes into season two. None, I repeat, none of these first five episodes is worth the time. It’s mediocre writing. And whoever cast these shows should have been fired. But the past is the past (unless we can warp back in time and fix that).

    I’ll stick with it. But it’s so consistent with the times that as the special effects get better the stories get worse. I should have seen that coming. But, of course, only now have I seen where season two is going.

    Let’s just say that Boxleitner has yet to come into his own. He’s not horrible. And perhaps its just the weak stories he’s been involved in so far. I guess he has nowhere to go but up. And although Michael O’Hare as Commander Sinclair (for season one) is a little stiff, he is believable as a commander.

    The rest of the cast — season one or two — is mostly amateur hour, although the Narn, G’Kar, remains an interesting character (and fairly well acted). And Andrea Thompson’s portrayal of psychic Talia Winters is so far above the usual in this motley crew that she seems out of place but is welcome anytime she has some screen time.

    I generally enjoyed watching season one, the good, the bad, and the mediocre. There was a charm to Captain Sinclair’s command and performance that could help an episode through the rough spots. But season two has just laid a big stinkin’ egg so far. But I’ll continue watching. It has got to get better.

  2. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    If you ever get a chance to watch the beginning of season 2 (or even season 1), one of the oddest things you’ll see in regards to the bad acting is the bad body language. No one other than the commander, the Narn, and perhaps the psychic chick seem to act in-character. The others just seem to be standing around spouting rehearsed lines. The body language is that of someone who is an extra.

    Perhaps they were individually no set of great actors, but think of the principals of the original Star Trek, particularly McCoy and Spock. They fleshed out those characters. They showed by their demeanor and all the small things they did that they believed (for purposes of acting) that they were who they were.

    I imagine in Babylon 5 that this is a function of not only mediocre talent but directors who had very little good sense or taste. I guess we were all supposed to be wowed by the big ship and the aliens wearing various facial prosthetics. And half the dialog is sort of an embarrassing chummy-chummy thing as if being pals in space were the whole point.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Well, I’m not much of a judge of body language, other than the most obvious facial expressions. (Elizabeth thinks I’m mildly autistic, which would explain that.) In any case, I tend to multi-task anyway, so I’m not always paying enough attention to notice such things anyway.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        One of the funniest instances was in the episode “A Distant Star,” the fourth episode of season 2. A large (the largest?) class of Earth exploration ship gets lost in hyperspace and Babylon 5 must save it. The actor playing the exploration commander has zero command presence and seems out of place. It’s actually funny. He looked more like he belonged behind the counter of Ben & Jerry’s. It’s as if no one really was looking with even the most basic critical eye to see that there was some plausibility to the characters.

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