Tag Archives: Babylon 5

Whatever it is, it can’t be that bad…

Long-time readers of the blog will know that I and the esteemed Brian Buckley are pretty big fans of Babylon 5. Babylon 5 is full of great characters and great character actors, and sadly over the years we’ve lost a number of them all far too soon. This week another member of the cast has “passed beyond the veil,” Jerry Doyle, who portrayed Security Chief Michael Garibaldi.

Garibaldi, like all the characters, could be funny, noble, and a pain in the ass, sometimes in the same scene. He makes mistakes, deals with real addictions and loss, and comes out on the other side a better person. In small tribute I thought I’d compile some of the best clips of Garibaldi over the years, most of which I’ve been seeing on Facebook over the last two days.

Jerry Doyle was actually briefly married to the woman who portrayed Talia Winters, though only after she’d left the show (something I didn’t know till my Wikipedia research today).

Probably one of the best known scenes in the first season, and still one of my favorites.

You wanna talk socks?

More Londo’s moment, but still a great scene.

Alright, my second favorite thing…

Funny the Doctor could never prescribe anything for Garibaldi’s hair loss.

Garibaldi kicking some corporate butt.

And taking down evil regimes even as a hologram.

This was how I imagine installing Windows 10 must have gone for some people.

Do not thump the book of G’Kwan!

And this one was being posted around yesterday. Never seen it before.

And lastly, our favorite God of Frustration…

So long Jerry. We will see you again in the place where no shadows fall.

PS. Couldn’t find the clip, but Scott Adams (of Dilbert) plays opposite Doyle in the Season 4 episode “Moments of Transition” (starting around 23:39).

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May 4th is for all of us

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Well, another Star Wars Day is upon us. I’ve already done my celebrating in traditional fashion, by buying a discount Star Wars comic volume (this year to get the Infinities stories which include the comic adaptation of the original screenplay).

But I thought that since most other great Sci-Fi franchises don’t have a day, that Star Wars might be willing to share. Below is a list in no particular order of shows and comic books you should check out instead of re-watching Empire Strikes Back for the 20th time (or maybe afterwards at least).

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Babylon 5 – A show that delivers on its concept of a five season novel arc. There are imperfections: Boxleitner’s acting is overdone, the CGI has NOT aged well, and of course, Byron. But if you can look past these you’ve got a great show that was equal parts epic, funny and moving. Also, at least 3-4 strong female leads (passes the Bechdel test all over the place) Ivanova is my personal favorite. Season 4 is the high point, but I think you need to at least watch Season 3 prior to get the full effect. And if you like the epic space-battles of Star Wars, wait till you meet the Shadows, the Vorlons and the White Star.

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Red Dwarf – A man stranded millions of light years from earth, all of humanity long dead, with his only companions a holographic recreation of his snotty roommate and a creature evolved from his cat. The show is a little long in the tooth now, but the first 5-6 series are great. My favorites are the early episodes when it is much more isolated, just a couple of people playing off each other to great comedic effect. We could lose the cat from the show, and Kryton doesn’t always grab me, but Rimmer and Lister are worth the price of admission. Also bonus, really early Craig Ferguson in the first series.

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The Fuse – Comic book previously reviewed on the blog. Procedural murder in space with six issue arcs for each case. Set in a large power generation station in space with a community of drifters, technicians and society elites. Has some of the same beats as Babylon 5, but better explores the homeless situation with the “cablers.” Three volumes currently available with more coming soon. The dynamic between the two lead detectives is great and not always what you’d expect. And again features a grumpy older female lead.

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – If you’re like me, you grew up thinking The Next Generation was the best Star Trek. But you need to give DS9 a look (as I’ve argued earlier). Characters grow and change from season to season. I’m doing a rewatch of early seasons and can’t believe they never shoved Bashir out an airlock. At least (to coin an old Simpsons joke), his name comes with instructions (“bash-here”). DS9 has all the things NextGen doesn’t, continuing story lines, epic battles, and a mix of comedic and dramatic plots. The Bajorans are a weak point, but there’s so much this show has to offer it’s worth another look.

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Saga – Not for the faint of heart. Just completed 36 issues of its planned 60 issue run. Bold, imaginative, epic, and deliberately unfilmable. NSFW in so many ways. My favorite post and rundown of the first 12 issues gives you an idea of what’s coming. But for all that shock value, it delivers on the space opera epic story centered around family. What more could a Star Wars fan want?

This is just a ridiculously small sampling of what’s good out there. So enjoy your Star Wars viewing if you must, but you can also feel free to swim out into the deep end. The water’s fine.

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The Future of Newspapers in 1995

My wife wanted to take a nap on Sunday, and since she said she didn’t care what was on the TV as long as it wasn’t Anime, I took the opportunity to watch some Season 2 episodes of Babylon 5. Estimations of future technology have always been kind of a tricky subject in science fiction. Some things it gets right, like the tablets, cell phones and laptop computers in Star Trek, and some things it gets hilariously wrong.

This one I’m not too sure about.

In episode 19 of Season 2, “Divided Loyalties” Ambassador Delenn and Captain Sheridan are standing in front of an unusual dispenser:

Instead of USA Today, Babylon 5 dispenses “Universe Today”. Subscribers deposit their previous day’s issue into the slot which is recycled with a flash, select their preferences, and are issued a new paper edition customized to their needs.

Now the logic of this is a little questionable. In the same episode Sheridan and Garibaldi have an extensive discussion about the lack of trees on the station (except for those in the orchard), and yet there is an ample supply of paper being shipped to the station for a newspaper. Presumably recycling the issues cuts down on the amount of stuff that would need to be shipped in, but paper can only be recycled so many times, and relies on everyone depositing their previous issue to get the new one.

Leaving this aside there are some things about the concept that are brilliant. I think a lot of us have a cycle of 5-10 sites we check every morning for news, media and whatever strikes our fancy. There are RSS feeds and news aggregators and even apps that deliver magazine like content from different to our tablets. The Universe Today concept takes news from what must be hundreds of sources and condenses it down to a particular user’s interests, like Delenn’s “Eye on Minbari” section. And it delivers it cleanly, in an easy to digest format.

Today, a lot of local papers are using news writing software to deliver personalized content about sports and financial stories. Technical journals with a very narrow audience are being automatically created using software as well, producing analysis and reports for very specialized needs.

The idea of the paper newspaper surviving until the 23rd century, let alone the end of the 21st century, may seem far-fetched. But personalized, customized, and even echo-chambered news is already here.

Now if only someone can make a White Star I’ll be all set.

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