Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Best And Worst Episodes Of Babylon 5

SciFiNow strikes again. It wasn't all that long ago I offered up a Ten Of The Best list according to SciFiNow's website. The lists, both provided by SciFiNow, don't match. This once again proves the point that these lists are entirely subjective and provided by more than one writer or at the very least a writer that has had a change of heart.
One salient point was fairly suggested by Author John Kenneth Muir over at the outstanding Reflections On Film/TV. At a bare minimum, SciFiNow covers the classics and will spend time on a classic every issue. That's saying alot when most science fiction magazines wouldn't touch subject matter pre-Transformers. While we may not always agree with their choices, at least it generates discussion, maybe debate and at the very least may give a new generation pause to check out something that was on the air when they weren't even a sparkle in their mother's eye or their mother was barely a sparkle in their mother's eye.
This Best And Worst Episodes Of Babylon 5 list comes by way of SciFiNow Issue #3 and a segment dubbed Modern Classic. The best 5 portion of the list does not even mirror their own Ten Of The Best list. That's fine. It's just worth noting. This list further does not compute with my own well-considered Babylon 5 BIG 10 list.
Without further adieu here are the two lists for your dissecting pleasure.
The Worst:
1. Grail [Season One, Episode 15]
2. Gropos [Season Two, Episode 10]
3. Racing Mars [Season Four, Episode 10]
4. Atonement [Season Four, Episode 9]
5. The Very Long Night Of Londo Mollari [Season Five, Episode 2]
Interesting enough, not a single one of these episodes made my BIG 10 list or my Close Calls. I may not agree with SciFiNow often, but I do believe these selections were fair. If I recall, Atonement was the best of these five Worst entries. Further, I completely understand the problems with The Very Long Night Of Londo Mollari. That episode felt forced and awkward as much as I understood what J. Michael Straczynski was trying to do in that Season Five episode. I just felt taken out of the drama a bit by that point, but then I felt that way about much of the forced Season Five. Having said that, the aforementioned episode should probably NOT rank among the Worst, nor should Atonement or Racing Mars.
The Best:
1. Babylon Squared [Season One, Episode 20]
2. Divided Loyalties [Season Two, Episode 19]
3. Z'Ha'Dum [Season Three, Episode 22]
4. The Deconstruction Of Falling Stars [Season Four, Episode 22]
5. Sleeping In Light [Season Five, Episode 22]
One thing is certain, while ambitious, there isn't a chance in hell The Deconstruction Of Falling Stars would make my Top 5 list. Further, Divided Loyalties is also not one I would place in a Top 10. Interesting to note, neither The Deconstruction Of Falling Stars nor Sleeping In Light [arguably deserving of a spot] landed in the earlier Babylon 5: Ten Of The Best entry. In fact, apart from the amazing Z'Ha'Dum, these select choices would not be in my Top 5. The little things in life do leave us scratching the old melons. As a fun aside, it's fascinating to see that which appeals to one person is entirely unappealing to another- life, politics, the opposite sex and even science fiction I suppose.


Will said...

Dude. . .I hate this damn magazine. Nary a list that I don't want to find the editors and punch them in the face (or the fans).

I can't much argue with Grail OR most of the first season but Gropos was GREAT! It had Ken Foree and Dodger and. . .it was a cool ep.

Racing Mars was near the height of the Garibaldi betraying Sheridan arc and the Franklin undercover arc. Good stuff.

There are far worse episodes then Atonement. . .which is a mediocre but not terrible episode. Same with The Very Long. . .that is a fan episode deep in the show's run that fleshes out Londo. Not GREAT but not terrible.

Where the hell are god awful episodes like 'Deathwalker', 'TKO', 'The Long Dark', 'Walkabout', 'Grey 17 IS FUCKING MISSING, for god sakes'. . .the list could go on of god awful episodes.

And don't get me started on the best of. Babylon Squared #1????? A godawful episode that doesn't make sense until three years later. 'Z'ha'dum' third (should be #1)????, 'Sleeping in Light'?, the most melodramatic hour of television ever. Ugh.

I'm getting angry. . .not just because of this list but because of JMS' hubris. Never mind. . .I'm outta here. . .

haha. . .

Will said...

Oh, before I huff and puff and blow JMS' house down. . .I got to give props to the episode 'Day of the Dead', probably my #1 or #2 episode. Marvelous, especially Lennier/Morden.

It was written by Neil Gaiman. Groovy.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Dude! : ) You do have passion my friend. Either you are suffering from too much hellraiser viewing or you need anger management from Bruce Banner. That's a joke my friend.

You are stoked! Anyway, I agree completely with your assesment on the magazine's choices getting you fired up. I find there are selections from different overviews that get me steamed too. I'll point to those examples when I get there.

But regarding these choices for WORST- I agree with you. There were some that deserve these spots they don't mention. These are not the worst except as you mentioned- Grail.

I did enjoy Babylon Squared and Sleeping In Light and I feel a case can be made there, but there are episodes sorely missing here as you so vociferously make the point.

I get the sense you just don't much care for JMS' attitude, which I must admit I know very little.

Anyway, couldn't agree with you more on those selections for worst entry.

Thanks so much for the impassioned response my friend. These are why the lists are good. They do get the juices flowing eh?

Oh and really wasn't a fan of the Gaiman story personally. Bored me to tears. But again, cheers my friend.

Anonymous said...

grail had some awful dialogue and a hell of a predicable ending.
gropos had a brilliant ending and was yet again tied to the earth arc,so not any where near the worst.
atonement aint even in the top 20 of bad eps it was okay kinda run over by in the beginning but i always like it.
Racing Mars as i recall was one of those "in-between setting up our pieces for the next great arc drama" eps,but it was watchable even had some high comedy from franklin and marcus.
the very long night would have been better before londo had redeemed himself at the end of the shadow war instead its quite pointless.
Amazed there are so few fifth season episodes in this list id have thought any list would be rife with all the stinkers from the last season.
where are all the great episodes?shadow of z'ha'dum ,long twilight struggle,?severed dreams,shadow dancing.endgame? into the fire? fall of night? did this magazine writer even watch the show?

Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

I've wondered the same thing many times Anonymous.

Generally speaking I love your choices for discussion.

This short list from SciFiNow really doesn't do the show justice and well, quite frankly, may be misleading.

Your comment makes me want to revisit some of the very best.