Strawmen, irritation with

B5JMS Poster b5jms-owner at
Tue Feb 24 06:21:50 EST 1998

From: rtaylor at (Russ Taylor)
Date: 22 Feb 1998 23:33:49 -0700
Lines: 46

I'm more than a bit annoyed at the stream of posts assuming that everyone
who has problems with season 5 has problems because A) they don't know
where the show is going or B) they are non-arc episodes

Point 1:
Most of my favorite episodes are non-arc episodes.  In fact, the _lack_ of
them is much of why I was disgruntled with Season 4

Point 2:
Whether or not I enjoying episode [X] is not dependent on what's coming in
episode [X+1].  A series may be dependent on what came before, but it
should NOT depend on what is coming in next week's, next month's, or next
year's episodes.  Yes, it should make you want to tune in again, but it's
ridiculous to think that no one should enjoy "No Compromises" until
episode #22 of the season.

Point 3:
Realize that when I and others say we did not like [Episode Z] it means
exactly that.  It does not mean we didn't get it.  It means we got it, and
in my case at least, sent it back "Return to Sender".

Point 4:
Why we keep watching the show:  Did it ever occur to those of you in the
peanut gallery that many of the critics have loved and evangelized B5? 
Season 3 was easily some of the most brilliant work on television.  It was
a moving, griping, exciting show, and yes, we expect it to reach those
standards in Season 5.  I've heard some peabrains ask why I watch a show
that I've hated for 5 seasons.  The answer is I haven't, since I don't
hate B5 now, and I loved it for 3.5 seasons

Keep in mind that we've been here many seasons ourselves, and we are quite
capable of recognizing when we don't like a show.  I do agree that that
does not guarantee that the rest of the season will be sub-par, _but_ when
the hit/miss ratio is something like 1/4 (by my own reckoning), we're
allowed to see a _trend_ in that.

So all of you apologists for quality out there, start addressing what
people are saying, and not floating out inaccurate labels and
poorly-considered strawmen.


Russ Taylor (rtaylor at
Chambers Multimedia Connection Help Desk

From: jmsatb5 at (Jms at B5)
Date: 23 Feb 1998 11:45:03 -0700
Lines: 49


You're setting up just as many strawmen as those you cite.

Basic and fundamental truism: if somebody doesn't like an episode, I'm
absolutely okay with that.  Some episodes, like the Mack and Bo show, the
coming Psi Corps show, Deconstruction, those are written with the full
knowledge that it's going to divide people's opinions.  I *expect* that it'll
be cleanly divided between those who hate it, and those who love it. 

Basic and fundamental truism #2: No show, no single episode, will appeal to
everyone.  It's a bell curve: some at one end will hate it, some at the other
will love it, most will be generally in the middle.  It's if that bell curve
starts to skew one way or the other that you have to watch.

All that I and others have been doing is pointing out realities to those who
have, in essence, said that something isn't there when it is.  How many times
lately have I read, here or on other nets, "Now that we're in reruns we see all
the threads that tied the show together that we didn't see before, all the
foreshadowings of what was to come."  

There's a lot of stuff seeded in these early episodes that will, as with the
first several seasons, be more apparent in retrospect.  That's ALWAYS been the
case with B5.  

I'm also trying to provide a historical perspective.  People jump on Lochley
saying she's wooden (meaning she doesn't overact and chew the scenery as with
so much of what passes for TV acting)...and preferring Ivanova...completely
forgetting that for most of the first season, and then some, people were
complaining that Ivanova was wooden, they didn't like her Russian accent (which
she didn't even have), they said "dump her."  They did the same thing with Vir.
 "Flounder in space!  Throw him out an airlock."

Then, later, as the characters continue on, the opinions change.  This has been
the pattern from the very first day of this show.  I see nothing wrong with
noting this.  If it's proper to critique the show, and it is, good or bad, why
is it bad to critique the criticisms and bring a historical perspective to the

Look...if somebody doesn't like an episode, I'm fine with that, always have
been.  It's when it enters into the sweeping generalizations category,
paralogia or downright silliness about the season as a whole, which nobody's
seen yet, that I finally have to say "c'mon..."


(jmsatb5 at
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