Monday, November 19, 2012

Before B-5

The AV Club has an occasional series that gives the ten most representative episodes of a series.  It's just done Babylon 5. The theory is that this is an important if forgotten show since it helped bring on the age of serialization of drama we're still living in.  Earlier sf shows had general arcs but each episode was meant to be taken on its own.

I haven't watched the show in years (I watched it all at once the first time through) but I think it does deserve attention.  I agree with the AV Club--for all its weaknesses (effects, acting, dialogue, even some seasons) when it was good, it was great.

Unfortunately, not having watched in so long, it's hard for me to judge if their ten episodes represent the show well. I do wonder why four of them are from season two. I suppose it might be highly represented in that so many important revelations occured, but I seem to recall season three was the height of the show.

PS One of the quirks of Sheldon Cooper--of The Big Bang Theory--is he hates Babylon 5.  I've always wonder how the producers decided to give him that trait.  Is it personal?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, he could hardly hate Star Trek, could he?

4:04 AM, November 19, 2012  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

I find his choice of episodes to be a bit strange. He chooses several stand-alone episodes. Some of them ("The Long Dark" with a strange almost supernatural scary thing, "Passing Through Gethsemane" with fascinating speculation about the morality of mind-wiping condemned criminals) were indeed excellent stand-alone episodes. But since he begins his page by arguing that B5 is most important for its arc, then shouldn't he be picking more episodes that were key in developing the arc? He includes more of this in his short list of "here's ten more" at the end.

With regard to Sheldon: I totally agree that it's bizarre. I also find it strange that the comic books that these four sophisticated (in a nerd sense) geniuses read are almost always mainstream DC superhero comics... but that's obviously because Warner Brothers owns DC Comics. (I like mainstream DC superheroes myself -- as does Stracsynzki, by the way! But the cool kids prefer Marvel or the more obscure publishers or indie comics.)

8:32 AM, November 21, 2012  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

Someday, if I win the lottery, I will pay Straczynski and the WB to release Babylon 5 on DVD in the original TV 4:3 ratio. All of the live filming was done in widescreen, but it was shown on TV in 4:3. So the computer-generated shots were done in 4:3, with the idea that someday they could re-generate them in widescreen. But the original CGI programs were all lost. So when the DVDs were created, the live-action shots were enlarged to widescreen, revealing extra footage of the sets at the left and right edge of the screen with nothing interesting happening in them. But all the space scenes -- and any indoor scene that had any special effects added -- were cropped to widescreen ratio and then expanded in size. The cropping deleted parts of the shot (on rare occasion, important parts), and for those with very high resolution TVs the interference effects from the expansion are also visible.

8:32 AM, November 21, 2012  

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