Babylon 5 and Farscape

After 3 days at Dragoncon I was inspired to watch the pilots of Babylon 5 and Farscape.
I had watched an episode or two of B5 many years ago and thought… meh. Same with the pilot. It actually reminded me a little of ST: TNG’s “Encounter at Farpoint.” The actors didn’t really seem to know what they were doing and there were lots of flashy lights for no particular reason. I’m going to give B5 a few more episodes to hook me. I understand the creator of the show mapped out all 5 years before hand, so maybe I just need to stick it out.
Farscape, however, had me hooked form the start. Watched four episodes in a row. Maybe because it had more action, probably because of Claudia Black :slight_smile: Actually, I felt the actors took to their roles and made it seem more believable… and Claudia Black :slight_smile: And the muppetty goodness was a plus. …and Claudia Black in tight shorts, a tank top, and sweat (episode 3) :wink:

Babylon 5 had some great episodes and in some ways seem more realistic than ST for a number of reasons. For example, some semblance of an economy, the humans weren’t always the good guys, and lots of different style ships. I have watched it again recently and I found it terribly dated but it holds up in the best episodes.

Babylon 5 definitely shows its age these days, but the story (esp. seasons two, three and four) can’t be beat.

Farscape bored the piss out of me from the get-go; I’ve tried multiple times to sit through an entire episode, and am simply unable to do so.

As much as I love the Lando/J’kar relationship in season 1 of B5, the plot doess’t really take off until season 2. That’s one thing that makes it much different from ST for me–there’s an overarching story. I’ve heard the fifth season is a let down (I haven’t seen it–Owls refuses to get it), but the forth ends quite nicely.

The 80’s was alive and well in the first season.

The CGI and production values are crappy, the fashion even worse. But it still survives as one of the two* best stories on tv ever.
Also - there are a lot of 80’s movies and tv shows that are cringeworthy when it comes to fashion/hair. I was in my 20’s then. It’s terrible to revisit one’s own bad fashion choices.

*The Wire

If the search function is up and running, you should be able to find a number of threads with advice about Babylon 5 – mostly about how the first season is spotty, but gets awesome at the end. It’s definitely worth sticking around for Season 2.

I first saw Farscape a little over a year ago, and it instantly became one of my all-time favorite shows. Season 1 is sort of Farscape Lite; it’s pretty good throughout but gets a significantly more awesome towards the end of the season.

Nitpick: Babylon 5 was produced in the mid 90’s.

B5 had a great story and I’d like to see the visual effects updated. Imagine those starfuries pulling the kind of maneuvers you see used on Battlestar Galactica. I picture it as something akin to the Homeworld games.

I think he means the impact of the 1980’s Sci-fi and culture were evident in the show, which began in 1992.

Anyway, Farscape is probably the better show, in my opinion. I know Babylon 5 was genius and it’s even more genius since JMS wrote every episode of seasons 2-4(and all but one in 5), but Farscape is more enjoyable for me.

My wife and I are watching Farscape again now, actually . I think the show peaked in season 2(Crackers Don’t Matter should be on any list of great TV episodes).

I’ll never forget the day it was announced Farscape was cancelled. It was so sudden and unexpected. It marked the beginning of the end for the Sci-Fi channel, which Bonnie Hammer has destroyed.


The pilot aired Feb 22 '93, so likely shot mid to late 92.

80’s fashion was still very much around at the time.


The pilot aired Feb 22 '93, so likely shot mid to late 92.

80’s fashion was still very much around at the time.


The pilot aired Feb 22 '93, so likely shot mid to late 92.

80’s fashion was still very much around at the time.



It’s probably not a good idea to judge any TV show too harshly by its pilot. Any sets will have been just dashed together, the actors haven’t had a chance yet to really get into their characters, the writers don’t know yet exactly what they can aim for with the story, etc. The Babylon 5 pilot is, indeed, fairly cringeworthy, but the series gets much, much better than that. If you like other science fiction TV shows, you’re very likely to like B5, too, once you give it a chance.

I tried really hard to get into Farscape and just never could figure out what was so special about it. It bored me, to be honest.

I’ve never seen B5 but I like a lot of the comics JMS has written so I still intend to watch it . . . eventually.

It’s hard to make time for this stuff anymore since my wife doesn’t much care for sci-fi.

Hey, look! I can post again! That’ll have to be another thread.

I hated hated HATED Babylon 5. Watched it all the way through waiting for it to be good. It never did. All the scenes that people quote as being especially moving or amazing tended to make me roll my eyes at the cheesiness. YMM, of course, V.

It’s certainly worth enduring until you get towards the end of the first season - I agree that the second, third and fourth seasons have some great stories.

I haven’t seen Farscape yet, so I can’t compare.

Overall, though, Deep Space Nine is my favorite - better actors, good story (skip the Nagus episodes, though), and a bit of darkness missing in the rest of Trek.

Never could get into Babylon 5. Occassionally I’d catch an episode on a Sat afternoon if there was a CGI space battle but for the most part it was too much of a Star Trek knockoff and too much with “aliens” that are really humans except they have an ass or something on their head.

The Earth fighters and capital ships with the rotating sections were kind of cool looking though.

I generally liked Farscape, but there were a lot of really boring episodes. Also, the show was a little trippy at times. That’s ok though as I imagine being a smartass human in an alien ship surrounded by aliens halfway across the galaxy would be a bit surreal and bizarre.

Of course, like all “stranger in a strange land” Sci Fi stories, John Crighton goes from not being able to use the space toilets on Moya to being the badess ass in the galaxy.

My earlier reply was eaten, so in brief: B5 was great, Farscape sucked. :smiley:

(Woo hoo, I’m posting!)


Farscape is one my favorite sci-fi shows of all time. I think it has the best group of female characters of any television series ever. (Really, can anyone think of a show that has better?) I also found it funny when I was re-watching season 1 how accurately the show portrayed the “in a foreign land” feeling. It reminded me so eerily of living in Spain and feeling like a strange, funny, idiot who didn’t know the most basic things about life.

All I know about Babylon 5 is that it always seemed terminally uncool. My junior high English teacher forced us to watch a ham-handed episode in which a ethnic-cleansing robot was a metaphor for the Holocaust.

I went into Babylon 5 with eyes open, having asked some questions about it here first. The first one and a half seasons really sucked, but they are essential viewing for the setup of the characters, conflicts, and backstory. If I hadn’t been promised that it gets good in season 3, I totally would have walked away from it. I’m just about to start season 3, and if it isn’t good, I’m going to be seriously pissed. It does look like it’s coming together though.