Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

19 Jun 2008, 16:00 p.m.

Summy-Come-Lately Nitpicks B5

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2008 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Babylon 5 has enraptured the Harihareswara-Richardson household; we're up to 4 or 5 episodes a week. Quick review, halfway through the first season: I love the political intrigue and much of the dialogue, but Sinclair can be incredibly wooden, almost as wooden as the cheesy set for the B5 equivalent of the Promenade.

I've been reading the Lurker's Guide to B5 after each episode to grok them better. The creator, J. Michael Straczynski, communicated with fans on the net as the episodes first aired in the 1990s, and the lurker's guide collects and displays these notes as well. Some episodes, and some of JMS's posts, have aged better than others. For example, the guide for "Believers" has JMS chortling that the ending is completely unexpected. Leonard and I called it twenty minutes in, but we're watching it 14 years later. JMS also notes in that message that "TV-SF is generally 20-30 years behind print SF," and Leonard agrees. Maybe Leonard and I are used to the plot twists of print.

We just saw "Signs and Portents," which I keep calling "Shadows and Portents" because freaking every other episode has "shadows," "dark," "twilight," or "night" in the title.

And now the question for Riana, John, and other B5 fans who are 14 years ahead of me:

As Sinclair and Garibaldi left the lavatory, another person entered. From the person's appearance, it seemed to be a woman, even though they were leaving the men's room (the "Male" symbol was clearly visible on the wall outside.)
Is this a hint to some huge arc later? Or a nod to the existence of trans people on B5? Or just a continuity error? Leonard and I have seriously spent twenty minutes trying to figure this out. Please leave insights in the comments so Leonard and I can start talking about Shadows.


19 Jun 2008, 22:13 p.m.

I think it was Birdo.