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Seriously under rated sci fi

  1. May 10, 2013 #1
    I tried a search and was quite shocked that no one has posted anything on babylon 5. Now that is one seriously under rated sci fi. Lots of interesting physical concepts in it like centrifugal force on the earth ships to generate gravity because earth hasn't achieved artificial gravity yet. The growing of organisms for space flight etc.

    Personally I think if we don't become extinct and the innovation doesn't diminish we're pretty much on track to becoming a in-between of the Shadows and Vorlons I say this not due to technology but due to their philosophies which are extreme we don't lean on either end. But technology wise yea its on like donkey kong.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 10, 2013 #2
    Good thread! I always liked the Alien/Predator book series.
  4. May 10, 2013 #3
    I must read them myself. Probably got good backstory on the space jockey guys from promethius?
  5. May 10, 2013 #4
    Not that I remember I'm afraid. I think he just made that up for the new movies. Anyone remember otherwise?
  6. May 10, 2013 #5


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    I was always a fan of B5. I am a person who rarely watches TV apart from the evening news, but I never wanted to miss an episode (apart from the first year, when the wooden captain was replaced by Boxlietner).
  7. May 10, 2013 #6


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    Never got into Babylon 5, well here's why

    Meant for TV pop sci nonsense


    I prefer substance. But if you like made for short run tv pop sci, then enjoy.
  8. May 10, 2013 #7


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    Firefly was really good for all of its 13 episodes before it got cancelled and brought back via the Serenity movie.

    Another one I liked was Journeyman also a 13 episode show that just started getting really good and got cancelled with no resolution to anything like why he time traveled... very disappointing.

    And now there's Defiance on Syfy, waiting to see how it will fare.

    But my alltime favorite next to Startrek 1st generation is Stargate SG-1 because of the team chemistry especially in seasons 3 and 4 with the Asgard as the most interesting of the races shown.
  9. May 11, 2013 #8


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    Was that really only 13 episodes?! I love that show, and thought that it went for at least 2 seasons. Regardless, I have "Serenity" firmly ensconced upon my hard drive. As with all other Josh Whedon projects, the dialogue was the driving force. Their way with words was nothing less than inspiring. It didn't hurt, either, that Nathan Fillion is a fellow Albertan (even if he does come from Edmonchuck instead of the good part :tongue:).
    If you want a great bit of scene-stealing improve, check out the YouTube bloopers from "Serenity". Nathan does an improve of the whole shot where they're looking to camouflage the Firefly to infiltrate Reaver space. It's only a few seconds, but ingenious. He's just as good in "Castle", and makes frequent references to "Firefly" in that show. (Even appearing in Mac's costume once.)
    "Starhunter" was along the same line, and very enjoyable.
  10. May 12, 2013 #9


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    I think I'll use that at the next staff meeting. I can see heads nodding in agreement with no one daring to to appear so uncool as to ask what the h... are you talking about.

    Babylon and the anticipation of what the Shadows looked like - spider people.

    They miscast the role of the silent kick_a.. girl, River, ( Summer Glau ) on the John Conner series as the teminator robot. She should have had a more active part instead of the series dwelling on the mother and son. That series went nowhere, I feel, because of that.

    My all time favourite is LEXX.
    A spaceship insect, talking head robot, mismatched crew, out_of_this_world asventure.
    Last edited: May 12, 2013
  11. May 12, 2013 #10
    What I mean is that humanity is destined for the stars if we survive long enough. And once in space given enough time and territorial expansion our technology will continue to develop and we will be the giants in the playground unless someone else is out there more advanced than us which is entirely possible.
  12. May 12, 2013 #11


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    I much more like the condensed version.:biggrin:
  13. May 12, 2013 #12


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    I understand that B5 is not for everyone, but I'm puzzled by your reasons why it's not for you. My first complaint would be that the acting is sometimes really bad. Sometimes I felt like I was watching a school play. There were some really bad filler episodes as well. And the show suffered a lot from the fact that they thought that they were getting cancelled, and therefore rushed the story to completion.

    But the text you're quoting just says that the creator had a five-year story planned out from the beginning. That's as far as you can get both from a "short run" and no substance. "Made for TV" is both a good thing and a bad thing. The bad thing is that the special effects are ugly. The good thing is that's there's a lot more room to put substance into the story on TV than in a movie. When the special effects problem isn't too great, TV shows are just a vastly superior way to tell a story.

    Also the basic premise of the show was really good: Humans are one of five species that use this space station as neutral territory. Humans have had the technology for interstellar space travel for a hundred years or so. Three of the others (Minbari, Centauri and Narn) have had it for thousands of years. The fifth one (Vorlon) has had it for millions of years. No one knows anything about them, because all ships that have gone into their territory have vanished. They have an ambassdor on B5, but he wears an "encounter suit", so no one even knows what a Vorlon looks like. The big bads of the show are the Shadows, another species that's had the technology for millions of years. They can even challenge the Vorlons. The show starts ten(?) years after the Earth-Minbari war, which Earth lost. There have been four other Babylon stations before B5. The first three were destroyed, and the fourth just vanished without a trace. Some time into the show, Centauri begins a very aggressive war against Narn.

    I liked watching it at the time, but I have no desire to watch it again. I don't know if I should recommend it or not. It certainly has some awesome moments, and perhaps the best premise of any sci-fi story I've seen, but it also sucks in some ways.
  14. May 12, 2013 #13


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    I pretty much agree, Fredrik. B5 was not such a piece of crap. BTW, the special effects (at least initially) were produced on the coast of Maine using a large array of Ataris called a video toaster. Not too bad for a low-budget enterprise. It seems silly to knock a TV show just because they didn't have the money to pony up for movie-grade effects.
  15. May 12, 2013 #14

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    In the interest of full disclosure, I know Joe Straczynski, and during the series we were in regular email contact, triggered by a request to use some scenes in class: Babylon 5 was one of the few series that got the physics of space travel right. To change direction, the fighters had to turn first, and then fire.

    I would disagree that "space opera" is the right category for this - indeed, I think this is the antithesis of space opera. Joe's background was from Murder She Wrote and one of the things he believes is that first and foremost, good science fiction has to be good fiction. I believe he succeeded here - in particular, he has excellent characterization, he had more character growth and development than you usually see on television (anywhere, not just SF) and he avoided many of the traps of bad science fiction: there are no "evil races", although there were times when individuals and governments would perform evil acts. He gets bonus points in my book for "no cute kids/no cute robots".

    Did this show have flaws? Yes. Some external, some bad decisions at the front end that caused problems far down the line. Was it good television? I think so. Was it great television? I'd say no, although there were certainly great moments. Is it underrated? I'd have to say yes to that.
  16. May 12, 2013 #15


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    G'Kar had all the best lines, IMO. Sometimes pithy, sometimes arcane, but they seemed to come together well in time.

    Nobody here is exactly what they seem.
  17. May 12, 2013 #16

    I think it would be great if the show was remade. Besides sfx it did have another another big weak spot with dialogue. Sometimes it was exceptional, like the G'Kar quotes, but sadly more often than not it was subpar. Both of these issues can easily be resolved if it was redone.
  18. May 13, 2013 #17
    I disagree alongside G'kar you had Londo Mollari who had some cracking lines if you ask me. "We Centauri have a manifest destiny" Others where excellent too and had their moments.

    I meant our technology will someday be on par with the Shadows and Vorlons. Consider that Vorlon weaponry on their capital ships makes use of electromagnetic principles basically they have harnessed lightening that is what they are firing only its on a greater level. Shadow death cutting beams I dunno about, I've got no idea what they are utilizing. Likely a higher form of laser they have the power requirements.

    As for the actual organic ships our biology is coming along nicely and we study many things including bacteria and stuff that have been shown to inhabit really hostile environments and we'll probably find something that can inhabit the vacuum of space. This will all come together later or be harnessed in fact I am scared of our genetic advancements I feel we are further along than science let's on.

    Power generation is on par with SG 1 stuff though. We're are years upon years of ever doing anything on that level or maybe never some of it might be theoretical though. However the earth power systems is just fusion and our own ion propulsion is coming along nicely well so I heard.

    All in all I found the technology in JMS science fiction space opera to be pretty damn good and seem somewhat feasible. There are a few things we could chase after anyway I feel great inspiration to be honest from this type of sci fi.

    PS> I forgot the armor tech is pretty much awesome too because the ships are organism they grow skin that disperses the energy along the whole body mitigating damage. I think we could build stuff that could either absorb, refract or achieve a similar goal to JMS B5. Minbari armor tech is pretty much crystalline structures which I imagine refract some of the energy.
    Last edited: May 13, 2013
  19. May 13, 2013 #18
    Not that I would want to make weapons but eventually humanity will enter the energy phase where our tanks will make use of energy weapons. Sure the US are already rumoured to have sonic weapons and microwave emitters whatever the latter do.

    In the event of such weaponry we would obviously invent armour tech which would be ridiculously expensive I know my knowledge is sparse to be commenting on this but I envision something incorporating diamonds or a crystalline structure for refraction a bit like that game earth 2160.
  20. May 13, 2013 #19
    Bab5 was good - not perfect, but certainly it was better than the usual, "let's pump out more mindless drivel to keep our advertisers happy."
    G'Kar and Londo were an excellent duo, with a lot of good lines. Londo did a good job portraying a race that had peaked and was falling, akin to the decline of Rome - pomp and decadence in place of actual growth. G'Kar showed the differences in perspective, after he gained enlightenment and went from revolutionary/terrorist to an actual leader... with a message that nobody wanted to hear, as they were satisfied with the simple, black-and-white views of the self-righteous revolutionaries.
  21. May 17, 2013 #20
    I thought the book Spin was pretty interesting, but it didn't get a whole lot of traction.
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