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And that's an unsatisfactory conclusion to a philosophical conflict with depth on par to a YA novel.

The entire concept of "helping the younger races" reeks of colonialism. It sounds like a line plucked from The White Man's Burden. Maybe JMS intended for the audience to pick up on that but I vaguely remember Sheridan and Delenn discussing how they were stepping into the Shadow/Vorlon role immediately following the conflict.

The very idea of needing a guide implies that the the one being guided is lacking in some capacity. On a micro scale, such as a tour guide, teachers, things of that nature, it's not an issue, but when applied to whole races...well it's not great.

That's not to say that the show is bad. I've watched it through at least a half dozen times. I wouldn't do that if I disliked the show. The depiction of EarthForce is the best depiction of a military I've seen in a SciFi setting (along with S:AAB and BSG). The Psi Corps and most things concerning telepaths are interesting and led me to read The Demolish Man (which has some good concepts and a very creepy romance). The political aspects are largely well done. The religious elements of the show are handled fairly well, especially with G'Kar. Even the Kosh-Sheridan relationship is well-written IMO. Hell, as hammy as it is, the Valen reveal is still one my favorite moments across all media, on screen or in print. It's a good show.

If JMS can fix the Shadow-Vorlon conflict it will be even better, but I don't think he can. B5 is his magnum opus. Nothing else that he has done, so far as I am aware, is even close to the same quality.

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tneva82 wrote:
trexmeyer wrote:
I don't think this a reboot is a good idea from a storytelling perspective. The main plotline of B5 is fundamentally flawed. There is no possible satisfactory resolution to the Shadow War. The primary issue is that the entire show is built upon The Shadow-Vorlon conflict. It is a conflict that would work fine in a fantasy setting, but it does not translate well over into a scifi one for many reasons. The most frustrating of these is that The First Ones are supposed to be millions of years old, gods that walk the stars, and yet they still get killed by nukes and eventually give up when Sheridan calls them out on their bs. Maybe it can be handled better, but I don't think anyone alive has the imagination to depict such races without pissing all over the very concept of verisimilitude.




They left because they had 2 options. Leave knowing they archieved their mission or don't leave, go nuts, wipe everybody, fail on their mission and lose ltheir purpose.

They remembered what they had forgotten. Why they had remained for in the first place. Help younger races to evolve to level they can be trusted to go on their own way. Not wipe them out. Had they not left option was basically extermination and...then they fail their job.


Well actually kill just the fleet that was with Sheriden and reset the board.....was a possibility - no one would know what happened The rest of the races would just carry on without them. Earth and the Centauri would have - well if the Vorlons did not destroy the latter. The other races would fight amongst themselves - Shadows would be happy.

It was a suprisingly non violent ending which is a interesting and unusual resolution.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/10/08 16:27:09


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The entire concept of "helping the younger races" reeks of colonialism. It sounds like a line plucked from The White Man's Burden. Maybe JMS intended for the audience to pick up on that but I vaguely remember Sheridan and Delenn discussing how they were stepping into the Shadow/Vorlon role immediately following the conflict.

The very idea of needing a guide implies that the the one being guided is lacking in some capacity. On a micro scale, such as a tour guide, teachers, things of that nature, it's not an issue, but when applied to whole races...well it's not great.



Yes, that was more or less literally the entire point of the show.

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trexmeyer wrote:
And that's an unsatisfactory conclusion to a philosophical conflict with depth on par to a YA novel.

The entire concept of "helping the younger races" reeks of colonialism. It sounds like a line plucked from The White Man's Burden. Maybe JMS intended for the audience to pick up on that but I vaguely remember Sheridan and Delenn discussing how they were stepping into the Shadow/Vorlon role immediately following the conflict.

The very idea of needing a guide implies that the the one being guided is lacking in some capacity. On a micro scale, such as a tour guide, teachers, things of that nature, it's not an issue, but when applied to whole races...well it's not great.



The way the Vorlons and Shadows handled it, for sure, it was all about pushing their own agendas and beliefs onto the other races. That's why they were the "bad guys".

Yes, Sherridan and Delen did say that, but the implication was that they weren't going to do it like the Vorlons and Shadows did, but left the details up to the imagination of the audience which I really liked. I got the implication that it would be somewhere between Star Trek's non-interference and the Vorlon / Shadows direct meddling.

Well, up and coming civilizations can be. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that it should be done colonial style by any means, but if you saw a pre-space flight civilization about to nuke themselves into oblivion, wouldn't you want to try and prevent it, or should nature just take its course? Or if a newer space fairing race was developing one of those crazy Vorlon gates from Thirdspace, that seems like something they should be guided away from.

To me, it was about education and sharing of knowledge and understanding without trying to convert/assimilate, essentially the entire purpose of Babylon 5 itself, but on a much larger scale.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Mr Morden wrote:


Well actually kill just the fleet that was with Sheriden and reset the board.....was a possibility - no one would know what happened The rest of the races would just carry on without them. Earth and the Centauri would have - well if the Vorlons did not destroy the latter. The other races would fight amongst themselves - Shadows would be happy.

It was a suprisingly non violent ending which is a interesting and unusual resolution.


It's possible that it could have worked out that way, but it was a gamble. Sheridan was working with the government leaders of most of the races in the galaxy. They all knew what was going on, and if they chose to follow the cause after Sheridan was martyred, the Vorlons and Shadows were screwed. They may not have, but it was a big risk. Yeah the Centari and Earth wouldn't have been involved, but since they were both direct puppets for the Shadows, the Vorlons would have taken them out anyway. Centari Prime was seconds away from destruction before the Vorlons were called off.

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2021/10/08 17:04:11


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trexmeyer wrote:
And that's an unsatisfactory conclusion to a philosophical conflict with depth on par to a YA novel.

The entire concept of "helping the younger races" reeks of colonialism. It sounds like a line plucked from The White Man's Burden. Maybe JMS intended for the audience to pick up on that but I vaguely remember Sheridan and Delenn discussing how they were stepping into the Shadow/Vorlon role immediately following the conflict.


The point was that the shadows&vorlon's aren't some infalliable good guys...

So what would be better ending for the war? Don't even dare to say military win. That would be laughably bad solution. Flat out silly, stupid, idiotic noob solution. Winning war by guns was never option. It's just not possible when you are so much inferior. Millions of years of evolution has it's advantages. Younger races were outclassed AND outnumbered. It's not even matter of "well they have better tech, we have more ships". They had better tech AND more ships.

Gap in military power was so laughably big it wasn't even funny. As is shadows could have always won war and wiped out but since that wasn't the goal...

The whole frigging point was that shadows and vorlons had lost their way and were the "bad guys". They were the colonialists. They were the "shiny light bringing civilization to the savages". That was the whole god damn POINT.

It reeks of colonialism BECAUSE IT WAS MEANT TO BE! That was the whole damn point of it. They were not guys you should have sympathy for. They had lost the plot and had stayed involved in affairs of younger races far far far FAR longer than they should have been.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/10/08 17:54:12


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I would agree that the only possible military solution would be via the other First Ones but once they dealt with the Vorlon Planet Killer they seemed happy to see how it played out?


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Without pulling some retcon other first ones weren't answer either. While strong they were still younger(shadows were oldest) and...well most of first ones had already left. Shadows and vorlons were exception in that stayed in numbers.

Couple younger first ones stayed but hardly enough to win war.

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They had lost the plot and had stayed involved in affairs of younger races far far far FAR longer than they should have been.

I imagine the point is, they shouldn't have meddled into the affairs of the younger races at all. No one asked them, and no one gave them the moral right to do so. It would be really interesting to see if this is picked up in the new version or plays out the same.
   
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tneva82 wrote:
Without pulling some retcon other first ones weren't answer either. While strong they were still younger(shadows were oldest) and...well most of first ones had already left. Shadows and vorlons were exception in that stayed in numbers.

Couple younger first ones stayed but hardly enough to win war.


Ah... I recall this differently.

The Vorlons and Shadows were the youngest of the First Ones, That's why they stayed behind when the rest left, because they hadn't quite made it to the level of enlightenment the older First Ones had.

And given the way the few remaining First Ones scythed through the Vorlon fleet, I would argue that they could indeed have taken both the Shadows and Vorlons ALL the way out had they chosen to do so. That the First Ones chose mercy and forgiveness for their younger sibling's failure just emphasizes their enlightened state.

But it's possible I misremember this, so take that with the appropriate dose of salt.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/10/09 02:27:53


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Yeah, I recall what Vulcan did - Vorlons/Shadows amongst the youngest of the First Ones and not nearly as advanced as the other few who remained in the galaxy.

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Vorlons are the youngest, Shadows are the oldest and never really part of the First Ones...
"being old when even the Ancients were young"


They attacked them all in ancient times and were only defeated by the entire community but were allowed to continue existance via Lorien - hence their reverence for him.

Both of them are disliked by the others for different reasons - the Vorlons for their arrogance and rigid beliefs and of course for nearly killing everything via Thirdspace.

The Shadows because they are considered borderline or in fact insane.

Delenn tells Sheridan a "Vorlon edited version" of this in the show

I quite like this quote from the rpg:

The Vorlons are the priggish, anal-retentive, overly nervous ones who hide behind the letter of the rules and run to teacher whenever there is any trouble. The Shadows are the freaky hillbilly cousins who no one really likes and who have picked up some wierd religious beliefs.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/10/09 08:53:04


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Huge trepidation about this. B5 is possibly the best sci-fi show ever. Given how badly reboots / sequels of every thing else have gone over the last ten years I have fear.

But the original was a flawed masterpiece. It was written as a five season show, but they were told season 4 would be the last. So they rushed the ending abandoning several story threads. It then got renewed for the 5 at the last minute and they had to take those loose threads and spin them out to the fifth season.
And as others have said season 1 is poor watching it again now, so skipping the story to nearer the start of season 2 to begin with wouldn’t be the worst thing.

Londo and G’kar are arguably the most important characters, so their recasting will be everything.

While the originals CGI is a bit lacking there are some wonderful 4K redos on you tube. I hope they keep the same aesthetics for the new show.

And the fact JMS is at the helm is the best news so far about this.

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The original plan that I've seen floating around is very different from what B5 became. Sheridan replacing Sinclair changed everything.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/10/12 02:32:25


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trexmeyer wrote:
The original plan that I've seen floating around is very different from what B5 became. Sheridan replacing Sinclair changed everything.


Yeah, that is one thing I am worried about. Having the characters merged back together feels like a disappointing alternative.

What was the plan for Valen if you remember?

I remember reading something that said that Sinclairs and Delenns son would be Valen, and he would have adventures in the past using B4 as his space ship. Probably just made up though.
   
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for the Original script:
Spoiler:
Delenn was male and still is for most of the season 1 scripts
the Minbari war stopped because a prophet saw an important role for humans in the war to come and that there is a prophecy about chosen one to re-new the Minbari race
with the prophecy written in old language it could be read in different ways and some believe the chosen one will destroy the Minbari (Delenn believes in Sinclair being the savior and decide to change race and gender to fulfill the prophecy and have a child with him)

Vorlons were Lizards with a violent society (it was normal to kill the superior to advance in rank)

the armour/weapon that takes over people was supposed to be the intro to Shadow technology

Narn - Centaury war going from Season 2-3 with the Shadows starting more proxy wars in Season 3

Shadows manage to destroy the Vorlon ship with their civilization on it and blame B5, Minbari Warrior Caste re-starts war against Earth and attack B5 which is destroyed end (prophecy scene that was in the show)

Survivors flee to Draal and go back in time to get B4 from the past and move it to the future/present (while they all age 10 years because of the failed stabalizer including their Son)
with B4 is renamed Babylon Prime and used to travel around to find allies against the Shadows to create the Interstellar Alliance
first ones to join are the Narn resistance and Londo helps them after he discovers that he is free if he gets the Keeper drunk

Delenn and Sinclair are captured on Centaurie Prime but Londo frees them and ask Gkar to kill him before the Keeper wakes up and the Shadows find out

Vir becomes Emperor, with the help of the Alliance Earth and Centauri Prime are freed and the Shadows defeated

Sinclair’s son become the president of the Alliance, Delenn becomes leader of Minbar and Sinclair retire.
Last shot of the show is Sinclair fishing.

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Interesting. I remember reading that the original arc for Sinclair was to make it to the end of the series, but instead of just being 'taken to the Rim' as Sheriden did, that's when he makes the trip back to the previous Shadow War and become Valen.
   
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MarkNorfolk wrote:
Interesting. I remember reading that the original arc for Sinclair was to make it to the end of the series, but instead of just being 'taken to the Rim' as Sheriden did, that's when he makes the trip back to the previous Shadow War and become Valen.


That seems likely. There is certainly set up for that in the first season, during the 'religious cultural exchange' episode, where someone (I forget who) tells Sinclair that depending on how seriously folks choose to view the Minbari berry-eating (Rebirth?) ceremony, he just got married (to Delenn being implied).

Nothing about what took Sheridan to Zha'ha'doom was particularly rooted in his character. 'Anna Sheridan' could have been Sinclair's sister, wife, first cousin or whatever.
Having the savior be the human 'religious caste' character rather than the 'warrior caste' captain would have probably fit the tone a bit better, though it would've come off even more preachy and messianic, which the show didn't really need.

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I think this is a promising sign for the reboot; that synopsis is clearly Babylon 5, but very different to the version we got. That gives me confidence that JMS can do a new show that is new and different, but keep the same essence. Whether it succeeds is to be seen, but there is hope!

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A lot of what you're all saying about the original story makes a lot of sense, and does jive with the facts we know about the re-writes that had to happen to the original series. So, this makes me curious, does anyone in the know ... know how that original deal with "The One" went?

I really liked the take on it actually being three based around the rule of three in Mimbari culture, with Sinclair being past, Delen being present, and Sheridan future. So if Sinclair and Sheridan had been the same character, who would have been the third "The One"?

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 Tawnis wrote:
So if Sinclair and Sheridan had been the same character, who would have been the third "The One"?

Their son, presumably?

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 Tawnis wrote:
I really liked the take on it actually being three based around the rule of three in Mimbari culture, with Sinclair being past, Delen being present, and Sheridan future. So if Sinclair and Sheridan had been the same character, who would have been the third "The One"?

There was none. That there are 3 "The One" instead of just 1 was simply to give Sinclairs Arc a conclusion that fit into the story that was already done in first season.

The "plan" was that there ist jut the one, who is Sinclair that made it possible to win the war, without having anything to do with Valen or any wars in the past

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What I will say is that reading this thread makes me want to watch the original series again!

So something good will come out of this irregardless

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I tried watching some episodes recently because of this thread...and great googly moogly the acting and script can really be painful at times. I can look past the bad CGI and cheap sets, but awkwardly-delivered lines of cheesy dialogue are another thing. I still appreciate the overall story, the ship designs, certain actors, etc., but it feels like very dated television in ways that BSG just ten years later doesn't and likely still won't ten years from now.

I can see why JMS is thinking "I'd like to give that another shot".

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I think some of the early guest stars and supporting cast were pretty poor. It probably wasn't helped by the network insisting on season 1 including more traditional episodic content rather than the grand arc storytelling JMS wanted to do. You can really see JMS develop as a writer through the run of the show as the dialogue does get better later on.

I'm not sure why but TV of that era does seem to have dated much worse then shows even a few years later.
   
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I think the big benefit this might have over the original is filler episodes.

With tv not needing to stick to 22 episodes per season anymore and streaking series often 6-10 episodes long, the story could be told without the filler.

I rewatched B5 a couple of years ago and there are just so so many episodes with no bearing on the overarching plot, or maybe only a single scene or a couple of lines of dialogue.

It was ahead if it’s time with regard to ongoing storytelling in TV, but by modern standards it is very much very much self-contained episodes.
   
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Aash wrote:
I think the big benefit this might have over the original is filler episodes.

With tv not needing to stick to 22 episodes per season anymore and streaking series often 6-10 episodes long, the story could be told without the filler.

I rewatched B5 a couple of years ago and there are just so so many episodes with no bearing on the overarching plot, or maybe only a single scene or a couple of lines of dialogue.

It was ahead if it’s time with regard to ongoing storytelling in TV, but by modern standards it is very much very much self-contained episodes.


I both agree and disagree with this.

For season 1 especially, and some in 2, there were episodes that just didn't need to be there, ones like TKO that both didn't fit into the overall plot and were just pretty meh in general. However, I think by season 3, he'd figured out the best way to use "filler" to actually make the story and universe richer.

Just because an episode doesn't directly connect to the overarching plot, doesn't mean that it doesn't build on the characters and their relationships or build up the world they live in. Some good examples of this come in early season three. The episode with the bomber was very stand alone and it was fine, but the scenes with Londo and G'Kar trapped in the elevator were fantastic, subverting the standard tropes of that situation and showing both just how far G'Kar was willing to go for revenge, and very clearly establishing the part of his character that would grow in the Dust episode later. Another good example (and probably my favorite standalone) was Passing Through Gethsemane. It kinda felt like B5 met the Twilight Zone and just did a great job of both building up interesting bits about this version of humanity in the future. Though some of the best of this comes when you think something is filler, but it's actually not. In Grey 17 is Missing Garabaldi meets this crazy cult that believes the universe is sentient and preaches to him about the nature of the cosmos. It's played off in the episode like they're all crazy, but you find out much later through some subtle dialogue that the Mimbari essentially believe the same thing, and it's later pretty much confirmed by Lorien in season 4 to be correct.

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Yeah, I've never really bought in to the idea of 'filler episodes' as some negative thing. There's nothing wrong with one-off stories and they can still contribute to the overall show. I remember how some X-Files diehards used to complain about the one-offs, but frankly they represent most of the best-written episodes of the show. The problem with a lot of the B5 episodes is that they weren't well-written or acted. Seems like it did improve as the seasons went on. But egad, there are some clunkers.

To be fair, I think B5 is just built on the 'chassis' of its time. Weekly episodes, largely series instead of serial format, goal of 5 years of 20-odd episodes of 40-something minutes each for max value in syndication, etc. They had to bang them out quickly and cheaply, and that affects quality. It's the law of cheap, fast and good...you only get to pick two of those.

Today's streaming televisions shows get large budgets (meaning more appeal to better actors and writers), all the time they need to create, a format that allows as many or few episodes as you need, no rigid time constraints, no need for commercial breaks, etc.

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I think the degree to which filler does or doesn't work (and our perception of it) varies greatly on the overall series in question.

At one extreme you've something like Star Trek the Original series where almost no two episodes link together, even at the series starts and finishes. You've a set of characters that show some, but not much, development or evolution and the core is seeing basically mature characters encountering different (yet similar) events each week.

Then there is something like the BBC Merlin series or NCIS. Where there is some character evolution through a series, but in general within each series most episodes are filler and can appear in any order. The bulk of character change and development happens within the first and last few episodes of each season. With the middle being some slow growth and change, but ultimately the order not being too important. Series ot series has a bit more variation ,but often as not if the same characters (actors) are around they can swap around fairly easily for the most part.

Of course NCIS shows that actor changes can take place, but often as not they retain the same "role" within the series.



Then at the other extreme you've got things like Game of Thrones, where filler isn't really happening at all. Where the order is essential and characters might make significant developments episode to episode. Where each episode is more like a long film broken into parts.





All of the above work.
There isn't really one that is outright superior or inferior to the other, although in general TV has often shied toward the former more so than the latter as it creates a much easier "drop in and out" situation where a new viewer can easily settle into a series even if they miss episodes. Meanwhile heavy story focus and development series can fall apart if people haven't seen most of the episodes. Interestingly I think streaming and catchup and other such things tht have come around have helped this type of series get more studio support because now you can avoid missing out and can, on your own terms, check out from the beginning.



For B5 its more story driven and even many stand alone episodes form part of many characters steady presentation, development and evolution as characters. The story itself in some episodes might not tie into the main overarching plots, but the "side quest" type nature of them at certain points helps us see characters in a new light. This builds into our overall picture of them and means when we get back to a "main story arc" episode it carries all the more weight because we've seen a bit more of those characters outside of it.

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I rewatched all of it recently to show it to my daughter, and we both loved it, start to finish...

Until we tried watching the TV movies and Crusade.

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 Ian Sturrock wrote:
I rewatched all of it recently to show it to my daughter, and we both loved it, start to finish...

Until we tried watching the TV movies and Crusade.


Yeah thats fair - although I enjoyed Thirdspace

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