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B5 vs Star Trek

Kevin Trotter

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While reading the post about the new Ranger movie I began to think about Sci Fi on tv and just where the B5 franchise stood. I remember my sister in law a few years ago telling me about a new series that rivaled ST and was better than STTNG. I tuned in and watched B5(year one) and after I stopped laughing quickly began work on my sister in law's commitment papers. The lead actor was so stiff I thought he'd break everytime moved,

the guy with the crew cut was worse and the costumes belonged on a 50's saturday kiddie show.

I did'nt watch again and made quite a bit of sport of my sister in law. This show wouldn't last a season! It wasn't until the final year of the series that a took a second look and discovered my sister in law was right (ouch!)

I have since come to the following conclusions

B5 had far superior character development.

The growth and change in G'Kar and Londo was subtle and gradual but real. Garibaldi's struggle with the bottle , Stephen's addiction to "stims"

and the unrequited love between Ivanova and Marcus

ring a little more true than TNG's issue of the week approach.

B5 influenced Deep Space Nine

Is it me or did it seem that the grand space battles between the Federation and the Founders owe something to the Shadow wars? ST franchises

prevoius approaches to warfare on that level always seemed so small. Also it seemed that B5's characterization of political intrigue and the difficulty involved in diplomacy seemed to rub off

on DS9.

Kirk vs Sheridan

Okay I know I'm out on a limb but here me out.

Hands down Kirk is the most heroic figure in Sci Fi tv history but Sheridan's pretty cool too. We all think of Kirk as a rebel who flouts the rules and tramples on the Prime Directive , but truth be told he always toed the line and backed the federation. Sheridan basically attempted (sucessfuly) a coup of a corrupt government and was branded a traitor , he bullied , cojoled ,

browbeat other races to fall in line with what he knew was the greater good. His character seemed more human to me and when fell in love , died

and left Delenn as a widow (Sleeping in Light, as

good as any episode ST has produced) It felt like a friend had passed.

In closing ,in many ways B5 is every bit as good as anything ST ever produced. Maybe even better.

"We Live for the One, we die for the One"

Ranger proverb

(Sounds like us talking about the SC)

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....but is he the one who was, is, or will be?

B5 was great. I watched it every day the first time it aired on TNT. I was hooked. Character development I'd never seen before; amazing music; and of course, Ivanova.

I've seen the entire series about 4 times now...

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Kirk Vs Sheridan?

Lesse... Kirk would end up seducing all the female crew in B5, effectively removing half of Sheridan's brainpower...

Sheridan would have a magical insight and a perfect plan.. which kirk would break apart with his dramatic pause speeches & by punching the living lights outta sheridan. "Fascinating!"

Actually, you just cant compare the 2 series made decades apart. B5 had excellent storyline..but only the alien characters had any real character development..the humans were stuck where they were. Any kind of character issues they had (aka, alchohol, stims, etc) are just that: issues that were solved in ONE episode, and after that the character's point of view or decision making didnt change at all. Compare that to the amazing changes Mollari and G'Kar had, or Vir or Lennier during the series.

Original ST was just a tv show, static characters were the norm at that time.

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the humans were stuck where they were. Any kind of character issues they had (aka, alchohol, stims, etc) are just that: issues that were solved in ONE episode, and after that the character's point of view or decision making didnt change at all.

I have to disagree with this. The humans in the show changed drastically.

Example 1: Franklin & Stims. He was addicted to stims for several episodes, and finally came to terms with it right about when he went on walkabout. The walkabout lasted about 3 episodes, and he almost died as a result...

Example 2: Garibaldi & alcohol. Garibaldi struggled with his alcoholism the entire show! It got the better of him in 5th season, and he finally conquered it with some help from Lise.

Example 3: Zack. Initially Zack Allen was shy and uncertain of himself. Through massive work from his first appearance till his appointment as chief, he grew up, and became bolder. Especially during the Nightwatch era.

Example 4: Lyta Alexander. Though not technically human after the Vorlons got ahold of her. She changed DRAMATICALLY in 5th season when she found Byron. Not to mention her changes prior to that.

I heartily agree with the statements about B5 being better than ST. But you cannot compare ST:TOS to B5. Too many years between. TNG/DS9/Voy/Ent are pathetic in character developement, compared to B5. Mind you, I like Star Trek, especially TNG (Picard rules ). However, B5 just blew me away with depth of plot and character developement like never seen before (except in certain really good books).

Edit: Oh, and as far as Kirk seducing all the female crew...I think he'd more likely get slapped by most of them, as they were almost all strong independent women.

[ 01-14-2002: Message edited by: Gomez ]

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Ok, Kirk/ST: TOS and the movies stemming from the OTS. You can't beat the way Kirk wants to rip Khan's throat out, kills Klingons, and all around makes a good scifi movie with good action. Sheridan with B5 though is a character you really grow to care about. If Kirk gets shot, beat up, knocked out, you really don't care since you know he's going to be right back up and at it. Sheridan on the other hand is an ordinary human thrown into extraordinary circumstances and is elevated to save the universe. When *****PLOT SPOILER*****, Sheridan only has 20 years left to live, I know that someone out here wasn't happy to know that the main character was going to die. In the last episode, seeing B5 get blown to bits and Sheridan go *poof* was much more touching than Kirk being killed at the end of ST: Generations, or the various Enterprizes getting blown up. B5 was a genre of it's own, full of character development, romance, action, and in all was an epic tale. Star Trek was a sci-fi action movie fan's dream. You want a good, sorta developed, action movie or series with a good plot, you watch ST. If you want an epic, you watch B5.

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Speaking of things blowing up. When they blew up the original Enterprise in ST3, my mother (a devout trekkie) was brought nearly to tears. When they blew up B5 in Sleeping in Light, many of my friends were BROUGHT to tears. They were crying seriously, and quite upset that it all turned out that way.

That is the difference between the two series. People were marginally attached to the ship in ST. Whereas people were EXTREMELY attached to Babylon 5 itself.

I won't even bother to mention when 1701D was destroyed, or DS9...no one was really that upset about it.

"How will this all end?"

"In fire"

Emperor Turhan to Kosh Naranek

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I didnt see any change in the human characters in B5. They were the same people with same point of views, same actions, same everything. For me, true character development is like what G'Kar and Mollari went through. Talk about a flip! The ivanova, sheridan, rest of human crew talked, thought and reacted the same in the start of the show and the end of the show. That they had problems and obstacles which were solved doesnt mean its character development..its plot. Human characters had as much character dev. as the ones seen in cheap tv shows like baywatch : they are personality1 , get scared/addicted/romance/insert issue here, solve it, be back to being personality1.

Franklin was the same person on his first appearance right down to his last episode.

Garibaldi only changed when his brain got scrambled by the psicop..but he became the same paranoid guy he was at the start. He did get bald though.

Zak was nothing but a fill-in-the hole left by garibaldi, his character at the start was just a sideshow of a rookie and in the end he was still a rookie but with a higher command. Why you think zak never uncovered a secret assassination/smuggling/etc plot like garibaldi did? He just wasnt a main character.

Lyta had always seeked to escape psicore, her only change was in her powers and situation, but she was still the same person at the end. Character did not change.

Mollari and G'kar on the other hand.. every time they had an "issue" their way of thinking and acting evolved accordingly. Would you really have seen G'kar as a philosopher/saint/religious leader/guy of peace at the start of the show? He was a warlord, ruthless and vengeful... or Mollari as anything else but comic relief? At the end he was in the thick of the entire story, deadly seriously involved. On the first set of episodes he was a clown.

Thats my view of things

BTW, picard suxs hehe . Q, Bones and Ezri Dax were the best of the characters. Most "fascinating" ones

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Babylon 5 was one of the few scifi shows I actually enjoyed. The problem with it, though, was the writing. While the stories were very well thought out, the constant, incessent monologues were more than irritating. It almost seemed as though Strazynski took a know-it-all approach to philosophy and consequentially spent too much time trying to be philosophically insightful.

Way too many monologues were done in this style. One of my favorite laughing materials was one of the very worst: "What came first; the word or the thought? Thought cannot exist without the word, and the word cannot exist without thought."

If that isn't the craziest bunch of unenlightened, pretentious crap any writer has ever penned I don't know what is. I suppose he doesn't know what a dream is.

When the story was "humanized" it worked. When he tried to define the universe and its truths, he just came off and pretentious and the story, ridiculous.

Star Trek, on the other hand, was always humanized and has less of a pretense. Now don't get me wrong: I'm not a big Trek fan. I have, however, recently tried watching a few of the Voyager and DS9 shows. The writers constantly used the holodeck and the transporter as a convienient plot device. The ship has to shake for an episode to be an episode. They CONSTANTLY come up with uninventive techno-babble solutions for problems (can anyone say "deflector dish"?). And, there is never a problem where the solution isn't convieniently right under their noses.

The biggest problem is that the conflicts seem to mostly be technical rather than character-related.

As far as story plot was concerned, B5 was far more advanced. It gave the characters the struggles and real reason for them to consistantly be struggling. With Star Trek, for some reason the characters must be the unluckiest people ever to exist -- no one should so consistantly run into totally unrelated major conflicts.

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LOL so true!

"Captain, the the flux actuators on the main plasma grid are interefering with the protein nucleo synthesis resequencer in the ship!"

*blank stare*

"umm.. the food replicators dont work"


"no more coffee?"


And the borg finally manage to assimilate voyager 'cause the captain had no coffee to stay awake. End of story. NEXT!

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