Sadly, this needed serious editing at the script level.
This was an opportunity to spend one last occasion with the characters and (half the) actors we loved. That time was often wasted.
The elevation in stakes from "John won't find his way home" to "all possible realities will be destroyed" was completely unnecessary technobabble that wasted the time we should have spent with the characters we loved. John then meeting God (!?) was also an absurd elevation of his already-rarefied company. And if I hear that nonsense about quantum physics and the observer defining reality one more time I'm going to scream. It comes across as meta-commentary about how the observers of this movie determine whether there's any Babylon 5 universe to keep watching, rather than having any sort of compelling in-story meaning.
You know what would have been a much simpler way to do the same thing? John passes beyond the Rim with Lorien, to parts unknown, only to find that he's experiencing all these alternate lives and his sense of self is at risk. The stakes are whether he will remain John Sheridan in whatever lies beyond the Rim. Or hell, just give us a series of alternate-universe vignettes, don't try to tie them to our John Sheridan. Basically anything but the technobabble nonsense we got.
And the pacing! Oh my the pacing. "Some terrible thing is about to happen any moment! Let's stop and tell a joke!" Over and over and over. Dude, TICK TOCK. And why exactly where the Shadows trying to capture B5 rather than just shoot it until it explodes? And how does John Sheridan see the Icarus on Z'ha'dum and not immediately realize his wife is down there? It's only been two years since he nuked her (and himself) in that same spot!
I suspect JMS does much better with large arcs than he does with one-off stories about existing characters. Very disappointing.
Registered: Mar 1999
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It did feel like a bit of a rush job. Lots of inconsistencies in the way he travelled between times and realities (all of a sudden he’s flying down this wormhole thing?). The reality where B5 gets attacked by the Shadows was obviously inspired by the reality seen in the flash forwards in “Babylon Squared” and “War Without End” - but the differences felt grating (Sinclair & Garibaldi weren’t in the security battledress; Garibaldi didn’t have his BFG; Ivanova’s fate was different…).
The way it ended was obviously set up to be a pilot for a reboot - but is that the CW reboot, or further animated content? JMS isn’t saying. Fans have picked up on the implications of the Icarus expedition not happening - beyond Z’ha’dum not being visited and the Shadows not being awakened, like Sheridan not being married to Anna; one fool openly speculated to JMS on Twitter that she would be the new Morden, completely ignoring his strictures against story ideas. I wonder what Sinclair’s story was in the new reality? Was there a Earth-Minbari war? Is he still the One That Was? Did he ever command B5? He seemed to be commander of a visiting ship…
Of the replacement voice actors, the ones doing Franklin and Garibaldi are closest to the originals. Delenn was just someone with a generic Eastern European accent. G’kar’s dudnt have enough… gravity?
Also, the character dynamics during the Vorlons-destroying-Earth sequence were weird. It was like they realised that neither Claudia Christian nor Peter Jurasik had had much to do this far.
Plus, I felt a bit weird seeing Ivanova chugging back red wine, given CC’s past as an alcoholic - specifically, she used her salary from B5 to stock a wine cellar (something she was interested in, and had been advised would be a good investment); then, when her personal life spiralled out of control (in large part due to an abusive and coercive-controlling relationship ship with a (non-B5) actor) she drunk the lot…
Oh, and another thing that's been bugging me for a while: the Great Machine is old, but it's not as old as the First Ones, right? I mean, anything it can do, they should be able to do better. Which includes time travel, which implies that there are reasons the Shadows and Vorlons aren't fighting a temporal war. (Maybe the Thirdspace aliens came to eat everyone that one time they tried?) But now we get that the Great Machine can communicate between realities. Which means the Shadows and Vorlons also have to be able to communicate with their alternate selves. Which means there's really no keeping secrets from them at all, right? That's a huge can of worms right there.
Registered: Mar 1999
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I think we’ll just have to chalk it up to, it was testing the waters. It appears to have been a success, high in assorted Amazon charts. If it sets in train the chance for JMS to do something decent with B5 going forward, and - crucially - if what he does IS actually decent, then it’ll have been worth it.
Whether things go forward or not, B5: TRH will likely remain one of the lesser entries in the canon, but it needn’t sully the parts that are still good. There’s a whole Star Wars sequel trilogy that didn’t need to exist and we’d all be happier if it hadn’t happened; if we can live with knowing that B5 season 5 happened (and trying our damnedest to forget that B5: TLotR: TLaDiS also happened)…
Yeah. JMS remains coy (to put it mildly) about his plans for the show’s full arc. We know there was to be a big conspiracy involving Earth and Shadow tech (the ship that destroyed Gideon’s former posting, the Cerberus, was one such vessel). The Excalibur would end up going on the run from Earthforce and/or the IA as a result. Which TBH all feels like a bit of a retread of the B5 arc…
Also, it would be revealed that Bester survived the attack on the Teeps’ Mars base (so Lyta & Lennier died in vain, thanks for that) but remained on the run from a vengeful Garibaldi.
Starship database: completed; History of Starfleet: done; website: probably never
Member # 343
Yeah, & we were gonna learn a lot more about the Apocalypse Box, too, especially why it said Galen wasn't to be trusted.
I have the B5 Encyclopedia (which pales in comparison to the Trek one; absolutely no crossreferencing at all), but it's both interesting & annoying to read about stuff from all these JMS-canonized novels & comics & posts. The fact that there seems to be like "telepath royalty" where all these lineages are mixed together (both Lyta & Bester come from them) is kinda shitty.
Also, BTS tangent: I only just learned that JMS & Pat Tallman had a decade-long affair that was why her marriage crumbled. Yikes.
Also also, to tie into other posts elsewhere, with Master Relicas & their ilk snuffling for licenses like truffles, this would be a great opportunity to get some nice B5 toys (sorry, "models").
-------------------- "The French have a saying: 'mise en place'—keep everything in its fucking place!"
Registered: Jun 2000
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Maybe they are. I get the impression that the decades-long vendetta these mysterious WB execs had against B5 included licensing deals. Maybe those are back on the table, though it’d make sense if they’re waiting to see the numbers for TRH before pitching.
Not sure what I’d want… an Omega destroyer, for sure!
I’d heard about JMS & LT being an item but not that it was at the cost of her marriage. From Wiki:
quote: Tallman later met Jeffrey Willerth when she was acting on Babylon 5, where he was as an associate producer. They were married in 1999, separated several years later and divorced in 2008.
Tallman also met J. Michael Straczynski (JMS) when she was acting on Babylon 5, a series which he created. The two entered into a relationship some time after Straczynski separated from his wife, Kathryn M. Drennan, in 2002. They separated in 2013.
Funnily enough, I thought she was married to Ardwright Chamberlain, who did the VOICE of Kosh - Willerth was the guy IN the suit…
The Apocalypse Box, that was something I’d like to find out more about. What do we think - IF it was written better than TRH was, would an animated round-up for Crusade be something we’d welcome (given it’d be the only resolution we’d ever get)? I hope they can still afford Daniel Dae Kim…
Reading the Wiki, Gideon’s backstory is a bit weird. He was an ensign in 2259 when the Cerberus was destroyed - but aged 33, which is old for an ensign. I’m fine with the idea that maybe the Box guided his career to the point he went from that to not just captain, but of an Explorer, in eight years. But maybe it’d have been better if he’d been a lieutenant at the start of that period…