Thursday, June 14, 2007


Londo and G'Kar

I've been watching all the old Babylon 5 episodes via Netflix. When the series was originally airing, I stopped watching some time during the third season.

I didn't care much for the Delenn-and-Sheridan romance. The Vorlon-vs.-Shadows subplot got old. I didn't like Garibaldi's and Franklin's problems. These all annoyed me.

But, every time Londo Molari (Centauri) or G'Kar (Narn) were on screen, it was wonderful.

J. Michael Straczynski was a genius. The story started with G'Kar being the "bad guy" and Londo being a buffoon. But as the story progressed, G'Kar became more of a stately and sympathetic character, while Londo became a tragic figure. It really was brilliant. I don't know how much credit goes to the writer, and how much goes to the actors, but the developments were extraordinary for television.

"Wonderful" is the only term I can use to describe the Londo-and-G'Kar story. Babylon 5 had a lot of problems, but this is something that was done right.

One of the bits of brilliance in that pairing is that 99.99% of sci fi shows that have a repitian character, he's the bad guy. G'Kar started out as a ambiguously bad, but then you realized he was actually a good guy.
I've been watching all the old Firefly episodes via Netflix. By the time I learned about the show, it was already cancelled (same thing happened to me and Arrested Development -- damn you Fox Network).
The SciFi Channel shows Firefly once in a while. It's on my TiVo "always record this whenever it's on" list.

I caught up on Arrested Development via Netflix, and watched the last half dozen episodes "live" before it got cancelled.

Fox has this habit of not promoting their quality shows, and overhyping the bad ones. It's unfortunate, because Fox is also the only broadcast network where stuff like this can get on the air at all.

Back to Londo and G'Kar: I think one of the things that made it so powerful is that the writer/producer gave the story so much time to play out. The whole first season was spent establishing their characters, and only then did they start to change. It also helped to have some Shakespearean actors who could really sink their teeth into their roles without looking silly in all that makeup.
It's worth noting that Straczynski plotted the show to last 5 years. When you have that amount of time to develop things, you can really stretch out and plan.

It's also worth noting that Straczynski has written one of the better books on Scriptwriting. The cat knows his stuff.
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