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    Farscape or Babylon 5?

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    Nathan James Norman
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    Farscape or Babylon 5?

    Post  Nathan James Norman on April 21st 2014, 10:01 am

    Paeter's Farscape Schwarma segment is awesome! I don't think I'll have time to watch the series again, but I'll probably be listening to the segments at the end!

    It really is a great series.

    But a point of clarification.

    Farscape did not pioneer science fiction story-arcing. It was certainly on the edge of the frontier. But it wasn't the first that had an intentional overarching story-line. It was Babylon 5.

    The pilot for B5 aired in 1993. The series ran from 1994-1999.

    Now, season one was a bit episodic at times. But at least 1/3 of the episodes (including the pilot) set-up events that played out, and came to bear in later seasons. From season 2 on the story arc unfurled in full force... and by season 3 almost every single episode ran into the next one (while still giving the viewer some satisfaction that at least a part of the story was completed).

    Now... don't get me wrong. Farscape is a great show. But I think it was able to accomplish much of what it did because the television fields had been plowed by B5.
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    Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

    Post  Paeter on April 21st 2014, 12:49 pm

    You're absolutely right. I think I've even said that before elsewhen. Not sure why I totally forgot that while recording for Shawarma. Big knock to my geek-cred, everybody, and apologies to Babylon 5 fans.

    Babylon 5 is still pretty Star Trekky when it comes to the drama/emotions/relationships I think, but a huge debt is owed to it for its long-form storytelling, which outside of soaps may have been the first TV show to do it on that level.

    Thanks, Nathan!


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    Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

    Post  Nathan James Norman on April 21st 2014, 5:01 pm

    Paeter wrote:You're absolutely right. I think I've even said that before elsewhen. Not sure why I totally forgot that while recording for Shawarma. Big knock to my geek-cred, everybody, and apologies to Babylon 5 fans.

    Naah. I don't think anyone would knock your geek cred for loving your show like a... um... fanatical geek!

    Paeter wrote:Babylon 5 is still pretty Star Trekky when it comes to the drama/emotions/relationships I think, but a huge debt is owed to it for its long-form storytelling, which outside of soaps may have been the first TV show to do it on that level.

    What?! No. No. No-no-no-no noooo. How much of B5 have you watched?
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    Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

    Post  Nathan James Norman on April 21st 2014, 5:03 pm

    Oh... and I have to clarify... B5 was the first sci-fi to storyarc on American television.

    Our friends the Brits had been doing it for decades. I'm sure UKSteve can give us some prime (and awesome) examples.
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    Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

    Post  mindspike on April 22nd 2014, 11:27 am

    Hmm, I was going to mention Dr. Who as a benchmark of both long-form storytelling and focused character development... but as you say, it's British.


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    Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

    Post  Paeter on April 22nd 2014, 3:25 pm

    Nathan James Norman wrote:
    Paeter wrote:Babylon 5 is still pretty Star Trekky when it comes to the drama/emotions/relationships I think, but a huge debt is owed to it for its long-form storytelling, which outside of soaps may have been the first TV show to do it on that level.

    What?! No. No. No-no-no-no noooo. How much of B5 have you watched?

    Muscled through the pilot and then saw portions of a handful of episodes over the years. To both clarify and correct myself, I should say that while I saw some evidence of complicated relationships, the acting and directing never fully embraced the emotion and drama.  For example, you'd have a scene where someone is sad or crying, and you know that character is sad or crying, but for whatever reason (the direction, a shortcoming in the acting, etc.), it didn't feel emotionally real. (Similar to the way Deanna Troy got emotional a lot but it still somehow felt superficial.) It's not a knock on the show. Some of that is just the acting style of the day.

    By contrast, people on Farscape are an emotional mess. They're weeping profusely, raging out and trying to kill each other and/or going insane on a nearly weekly basis. And that's just the regular core characters.

    On my "emotio-meter", with Trek on one end and Farscape on the other, B5 does land between them, but it's somewhere on the Star Trek half. On the same meter, Battlestar Galactica is also between the two, but on the Farscape half.


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    WhiteBoy
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    Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

    Post  WhiteBoy on April 22nd 2014, 5:03 pm

    I had a friend loan me B5 years ago. He did warn me that you had to "get through" the first season which is pretty cheesy, but necessary for the story. I enjoyed the series a lot. Paeter's passion for Farscape has led me to adding it to my Netflix queue. Maybe I should start watching it now with the swarmi starting up. Smile


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    Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

    Post  tmorrill on April 23rd 2014, 1:56 am

    Paeter wrote:
    Muscled through the pilot and then saw portions of a handful of episodes over the years. To both clarify and correct myself, I should say that while I saw some evidence of complicated relationships, the acting and directing never fully embraced the emotion and drama.  For example, you'd have a scene where someone is sad or crying, and you know that character is sad or crying, but for whatever reason (the direction, a shortcoming in the acting, etc.), it didn't feel emotionally real. (Similar to the way Deanna Troy got emotional a lot but it still somehow felt superficial.) It's not a knock on the show. Some of that is just the acting style of the day.

    You're dead to me. If you are interested though, I'd have no problem letting you borrow my DVDs so you can see the errors of your ways.


    Part of the reason I see the emotional acting in Farscape as an emotional mess (as you put it) is because they are less professional and wear their emotions on their sleeves. Compare that to B5 where the main characters are typically either ambassadors or higher ranking officers.

    The emotion is there, it's just more hidden and when you watch the show in series instead of a few episodes at a time it is a more obvious, and just as moving.

    The character development is just as strong, if not stronger in B5 than it is in Farscape. Compare pilot -Aeryn Sun to the finale, and then compare pilot-G'Kar to his character in the finale.

    That's not a slam on Farscape, it's just me singing the praises of B5.
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    Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

    Post  mindspike on April 23rd 2014, 1:02 pm

    tmorrill wrote:Part of the reason I see the emotional acting in Farscape as an emotional mess (as you put it) is because they are less professional and wear their emotions on their sleeves. Compare that to B5 where the main characters are typically either ambassadors or higher ranking officers.

    The emotion is there, it's just more hidden and when you watch the show in series instead of a few episodes at a time it is a more obvious, and just as moving.

    That was always one my favorite parts of B5, the fact that it was crewed by professionals who took a professional approach to the job. Star Trek started out much the same way, but it became progressively less disciplined with every incarnation of the franchise.

    On the other hand, the Farscape approach works well enough in its own situation. Farscape is not a military series, and the "crew" are little more than pirates and castaways. It owes more to Lost in Space than it does to Star Trek. The SyFy version of Battlestar Galactica tried to do the same thing and it was a hot mess, an immediate and irreversible disconnect for me.

    I think both Farscape and Babylon 5 are good television, but they are intended for radically different audiences.


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    Nathan James Norman
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    Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

    Post  Nathan James Norman on April 23rd 2014, 2:59 pm

    mindspike wrote:

    I think both Farscape and Babylon 5 are good television, but they are intended for radically different audiences.

    Great observation Winston!
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    Re: FarScape vs B5

    Post  orvette1 on April 27th 2014, 2:36 am

    I didn't like the first season of B5. After they changed to Bruce Boxlightner I though things were much better. I watched 2 1/2 seasons of FarScape. I got tired of it. The crew didn't have a leader, it has been proven that you must have someone in charge. Look at the Occupy Movement. They were forever fighting each other, and you can't have that. When you don't trust the people you are with you will all die, I learned that in the Marines. With B5 they had a story line kept building on itself. You also had personal problems with the crew, such as when the doctor was hooked on stim's. FarScape just didn't hold my interest because many of the things they did would not allow them to survive in the real world, and to me that is what scifi should do, sort of mirror the real world.
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    Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

    Post  Paeter on April 28th 2014, 10:17 am

    orvette1 wrote:I didn't like the first season of B5.  After they changed to Bruce Boxlightner I though things were much better.  I watched 2 1/2 seasons of FarScape.  I got tired of it.  The crew didn't have a leader, it has been proven that you must have someone in charge. Look at the Occupy Movement.  They were forever fighting each other, and you can't have that.  When you don't trust the people you are with you will all die, I learned that in the Marines. With B5 they had a story line kept building on itself.  You also had personal problems with the crew, such as when the doctor was hooked on stim's.  FarScape just didn't hold my interest because many of the things they did would not allow them to survive in the real world, and to me that is what scifi should do, sort of mirror the real world.

    Yeah, Farscape probably isn't for you. I like sci-fi that emotionally reflects some reality, but otherwise goes way outside the box. And as for people fighting and dying when no one is in charge, you're right! And on Farscape, people fight and die! Isn't it great! ;-)


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    Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

    Post  UKSteve on May 2nd 2014, 10:40 am

    Nathan James Norman wrote:Oh... and I have to clarify... B5 was the first sci-fi to storyarc on American television.

    Our friends the Brits had been doing it for decades. I'm sure UKSteve can give us some prime (and awesome) examples.

    *Enters the discussion rather late*

    Obviously the good Doctor came up already, but.... Blake's 7 was in a similar vein to Doctor Who (and similar production values in the late 70s/early 80s), and in the 70s we had the original versions of things like The Tomorrow People and Survivors that have been remade recently. And, of course, the awesomest example of all from times gone, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

    For what it's worth, I never got into Farscape for whatever reason. Babylon 5, on the other hand, I always loved (admittedly that was partly because back in the early 90s I used an Amiga, which I could happily claim was related to those responsible for B5's visual effects).
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    Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

    Post  AdamCollings on January 28th 2018, 11:14 pm

    Ok. I'm bringing a very old thread back to life, but, Babylon 5 definitely belongs up at the Battlstar Galactica end of the scale. Some incredible emotional human drama along the way. No show has ever choked me up like B5 did. Nothing.

    If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend you watch it through all the way. Seasons 3 and 4 are still, to me, kind of the pinnacle of TV.

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    Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

    Post  Paeter on January 29th 2018, 10:38 am

    AdamCollings wrote:Ok. I'm bringing a very old thread back to life, but, Babylon 5 definitely belongs up at the Battlstar Galactica end of the scale. Some incredible emotional human drama along the way. No show has ever choked me up like B5 did. Nothing.

    If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend you watch it through all the way. Seasons 3 and 4 are still, to me, kind of the pinnacle of TV.


    Is there a good place to start that will let me skip the pilot? I tried the pilot and just couldn't get into it.


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    Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

    Post  AdamCollings on January 29th 2018, 4:16 pm

    There is actually. Half way through season 1, there was something of a "second pilot". A movie-length episode that was much more engaging than the original pilot, and does a better job of setting up the next 4.5 years.

    Let me see if I can hand-pick some season 1 stuff that is important.
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    Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

    Post  AdamCollings on January 29th 2018, 4:40 pm

    I don't blame you. The pilot wasn't very good.
    The main drive of season 1 is foreshadowing and setup. We see the seeds of things to come.
    Here is a list of what I would consider the essentials of season 1. After this, if you're convinced, I'd probably just continue from season 2, watching every episode.

    Season 1
    Episode 8: "And the Sky Full of Stars"
    Delves into the great mystery of what happened to Commander Sinclair at the battle of the line.

    Episode 13: "Signs and Portents"
    Some important foreshadowing of things to come, on several different fronts. Keep an eye on the character Morden.

    Episodes 18 & 19 "A Voice in the Wilderness"
    This is the 'second pilot'. The introduction of a significant alien mystery on the planet below. Plus the introduction of some important character stuff that will be fleshed out as the show matures.

    Episode 20 "Babylon Squared"
    Oh boy. Babylon 5 dealt with time travel just once in it's 5-year run. This is a very clever episode that will be revisited in a later season. (after the revisit episode, I walking around my house for ten minutes with my mouth hanging open)

    Episode 21 "The Quality of Mercy"
    Again, we're setting up strands that will be important in the future, as well as dealing with n emotional story about terminal illness and the ethics of the 23rd century's equivilent of the death penalty.

    Episode 22 "Chrsalis"
    Things go into over-drive here. We kick off the two most important arcs of the show. This one is pretty thrilling for a season 1 story. Several events happen that will change the B5 universe forever.


    (Look out for "Passing through Gethsemane" in early season 2. The writer of B5, J. Michael Straczynski is an atheist, but he puts some really thought-provoking material of moral, spiritual and philosophical nature in his writing. This episode explores the heart of Christianity in a way that'll give you goosebumps.)
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    Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

    Post  Archsaint on January 29th 2018, 8:37 pm

    If I had to choose, I’d go with Farscape.
    I’ve watched Farscape in its entirety and really enjoyed it.
    It was difficult for me to get into at first because I found the main character very annoying at the beginning, seems like all he did was make pop culture reference jokes to aliens that had no idea what he was talking about (which may be why I don’t really like Star Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy, kind of a one note character). But Crichton eventually became so much more than that, really glad I gave the show a chance. I also really like the actor that plays him… now that I think about it, Ben Browder made a brief appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as one of those golden people, heh. Not sure how many people noticed.

    Babylon 5 has a much slower pace if I remember and didn’t hook me. But I wouldn’t mind giving it another shot sometime.
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    Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

    Post  Reed Benson on January 30th 2018, 7:58 pm

    With all the talk of these shows on here, I really wish they would show up on Netflix. I'm very interested, but I can't afford to buy them or sign up for another streaming service (unless it's a Chinese one. Those are more affordable).
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    Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

    Post  Paeter on January 31st 2018, 10:11 am

    Archsaint wrote: now that I think about it, Ben Browder made a brief appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as one of those golden people, heh. Not sure how many people noticed.

    I NOTICED!!!! I even wonder if that was subtle fan service. There are some striking conceptual similarities between Guardians of The Galaxy and Farscape (though I find the tone and use of humor to be very different). So it might have been a nod to that.


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    Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

    Post  Archsaint on February 1st 2018, 10:10 pm

    Reed Benson wrote:With all the talk of these shows on here, I really wish they would show up on Netflix. I'm very interested, but I can't afford to buy them or sign up for another streaming service (unless it's a Chinese one. Those are more affordable).

    You can watch entire Farscape episodes on YouTube. Smile

    Paeter wrote:I NOTICED!!!! I even wonder if that was subtle fan service. There are some striking conceptual similarities between Guardians of The Galaxy and Farscape (though I find the tone and use of humor to be very different). So it might have been a nod to that.

    lol, I didn’t know you saw it. I read that the director/writer is a huge fan of Farscape. There are definitely similarities between the two.

    I looked up your uncut review of Guardians Vol. 2. Don’t think I ever heard you bomb a movie like that before, heh. Likewise I didn’t like the first one that much, but thought the second one improved a bit.

    Anyone have a favorite episode or season from either Farscape or Babylon 5?
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    Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

    Post  Paeter on February 2nd 2018, 10:08 am

    Archsaint wrote:

    I looked up your uncut review of Guardians Vol. 2. Don’t think I ever heard you bomb a movie like that before, heh. Likewise I didn’t like the first one that much, but thought the second one improved a bit.

    Anyone have a favorite episode or season from either Farscape or Babylon 5?

    Sorry, it wasn't my intent to "bomb" the movie. Didn't "hate" it, I was just completely uninterested.

    I think Farscape hits its peak at the end of Season 3. No spoilers, I'll keep it vague, but if you HAVE seen it, it's the moment where a certain character closes his eyes and says "Starburst" in a certain place. An amazing end to that character's arc.


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    Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

    Post  Rickster on February 2nd 2018, 1:45 pm

    Paeter wrote:
    Archsaint wrote:

    I looked up your uncut review of Guardians Vol. 2. Don’t think I ever heard you bomb a movie like that before, heh. Likewise I didn’t like the first one that much, but thought the second one improved a bit.

    Anyone have a favorite episode or season from either Farscape or Babylon 5?

    Sorry, it wasn't my intent to "bomb" the movie. Didn't "hate" it, I was just completely uninterested.


    I actually assumed that were uninterested in the movie was more because at the time you were in the process of moving.


    Last edited by Rickster on February 2nd 2018, 8:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

    Post  Archsaint on February 2nd 2018, 7:52 pm

    Paeter wrote:it's the moment where a certain character closes his eyes and says "Starburst" in a certain place. An amazing end to that character's arc.

    For sure! That part was awesome. Smile
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    Re: Farscape or Babylon 5?

    Post  AdamCollings on February 4th 2018, 5:54 pm

    Archsaint wrote:
    You can watch entire Farscape episodes on YouTube. Smile

    It's not cheap, though. Twice the price of buying those episodes on DVD. Which is stupid. Digital content should be cheaper than physical media, because it eliminates manufacturing costs.

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