Originally Posted by erik myers
Clearly our views on this differ, but I know I wasn't the only one who was perfectly willing to forgive dropped threads when the story was hastily wrapped up at the end of Season 4 due to necessity; but felt less charitable after an interminable fifth season in which half the episodes were standalone, and the other half concerned with setting up new arcs rather than resolving the ones floating in limbo.
What "new arcs" were these? Everything introduced in Season 5 (apart from the new Lochley-material) was always intended to be there right from the very first moment the cameras rolled on the Season 4 premiere, whether as part of the fourth year or the fifth, depending upon the renewal-situation.
All of the Byron stuff, the Telepath colony, the escalating Drakh-situation, setting up Lennier's fall, and the shaky early days of the Interstellar Alliance, were all in JMS's series notes, and we got all of that. And of those, only Lennier's fall (and Lyta's final fate) were ever intended to be followed up on outside of the series, in a potential feature film. Yes, there were a few additional standalone episodes that were written as a necessity, but nothing in those episodes left anything "floating in limbo" when the series finally ended.
The main thing about B5 that makes it a different experience than most other series, is that it repays repeated viewings. Season One is a completely different experience when you watch it again after seeing the end of the series. The character of Sinclair is clearer, and you catch much of subtle foreshadowing that you couldn't have caught the first time around.
Similarly, Season 5 plays much better the second or third time through when watched on DVD (especially for people who only saw it when it first aired) because people aren't watching it through the lens of their expectations, and they aren't waiting an entire week between episodes.
Part of the problem during the original TNT run was that a lot of fans had, in a sense, already outlined the final season in their own heads. They especially wanted to get to the end of the Londo/G'Kar story, which they assumed would be near the very end of the series. (I remember people wondering if the show would start skipping three or four years in time between episodes as the last three or four approached, to cover all the events in between 2262 and the end.)
Because JMS didn't write what many fans were expecting, and because they were waiting a week or even longer between episodes (because of a couple of hiatuses TNT built into the schedule, due to the NBA playoffs) the legend of the "Interminable Telepath Arc" was born.
In fact, the Teep-thread only runs through the first eight episodes of the season, not "half the season," as many (mis-)remember it, and it is mostly the "B"-story in episodes about completely other things entirely.
But it "felt" longer, because at the time, people were just anxious to get to that other stuff. But watching the season again, without these expectations, and without the long wait, makes it clear that the season has an arc that makes sense and that builds well, although it is necessarily weakened by the last-minute loss of a major actor/character only weeks before the start of shooting, which especially weakened the Teep-arc.
Edited by Leto II - 7/16/15 at 8:34pm