Zocalo: Spoiler-free Discussion of “And Now for a Word”

Here’s a poser for those of you who have never seen Babylon 5 before, and those of you who can put yourselves in that frame of mind: would you show “And Now for a Word” to someone who’d never seen B5 before? Could it stand on its own? Is it an effective introduction to the show?

And what else did you think of it? (No spoilers, thankyouverymuch.)

9 thoughts on “Zocalo: Spoiler-free Discussion of “And Now for a Word””

  1. Well, I’m almost an example. While I didn’t start watching with And Now for a Word (or at least I really don’t think so), I did start watching after S2 was well under way, and had to figure out what was going on from a mix of new and repeat episodes. So, for me, things were out of order. And I remember that ANfaW was very helpful to me in orienting me and filling me in on bits of the background.

  2. I always loved this ep – getting the Earth media perspective was another thing I’d not seen in Trek and how spot-on they were with things was amazing to me in my teens. It doesn’t age so well, but I still loved it.

    1. That’s an excellent point. Like many people I don’t care for 24 hour news in real life, but I like it here. It shows the point of view of Earth mainstream media and, to a certain extent, EarthGov, of which we only get small doses. I think it helps flesh out the B5 universe.

      A couple of other amusing notes as I rewatch the episode. Describing Susan Ivonova as “perky & energetic” makes me giggle. I like how she admits there’s more to her story and then goes back to work…heehee. Also, is it just me or does the reporter butcher the pronunciation of Ivonova? I was surprised Susan didn’t correct her.

      PsiCorp ad is a fun touch 🙂

      The idea of interviewing a Vorlon…ha! I like that Kosh doesn’t speak; he just shuts the door when the reporter tries to question him. (Although it’s not like Vorlons are known for answering questions from anyone.)

  3. From the Lurker’s Guide: Though the subliminal message was onscreen long enough to satisfy American television regulations, in France, the message was clipped out altogether due to tougher French rules.

    One thing which is lost on DVD viewing is one of act endings is better if there are actual TV commercials following it.

  4. I must look up the Lurker’s Guide entry as I’m sure I missed a lot of the subliminal gems and data-flashes in this viewing. I only recently discovered that the Season 2 box-set has trailers, godawful, terrible trailers. Could our hosts perhaps do the next podcast introduction in said style? ‘ToNITE, on BABberLON FIVE!’ Maybe a midweek trailer feature in said style from comment-contributors? Ah feck, I might have to have a go at this, if only to understand what I’m on about.
    Also, that title menu morphing thing, I’m still queasy…

    Anyhoo, my thoughts for this episode. Loved the reporter’s background filled with ‘Hi Mom’-ers, very funny. There were a lot of genuine laughs in this episode and so it was a little odd as my chortles spilled into scenes covering grim butcheries of war. I suppose if you’ve not laughed every ten minutes at the general inappropriateness of most news broadcasting, you’re probably not paying attention. Well, that was how I left it in the 90s.

    I agree that this episode is representative of Babylon 5: for one thing, Warren Keffer and that telepath lady are nowhere to be seen. ‘Now Word’ works very well as a character piece, each one’s reaction to being asked to share with the masses, being celebritised etc

    I like to think it was someone on Centauri Prime protecting their investments in arms and of Londo, that brought the warship to B5, Londo quite happy to go with the plan.

    On loving Austin:
    When I discovered Alex Jones’ work in 2004, and his 1990s films, the wide-eyed youth bore an uncanny resemblance to Sheridan. Seriously. Back then, he wasn’t talking about YourGov eugenocide and fof-flags, it was saving the trees, championing our beautiful outdoors. He’d be filmed roaming around nature parks, Attenborough style, all beautiful scenery, complaining AND breathing, about how they were going to close stuff down, with plastic. Then he’d ask people questions, politely.

    I defecate you not.

    1. Oh man I remember those terrible tv-intros from back in the day when we’d watch groups of episodes on tapes recorded in the US and shipped over to us in AU (I had friends with contacts!) – I always thought “I’d never have started watching the show if all I saw were those terrible trailers” – they were the worst!

  5. There was a comment during the show about how Steven Franklin went off on the topic of spacing, and how ugly it was as a form of death or punishment.

    At the time of the production and airing, there was a lot of fan backlash against the recasting of Na’Toth with Mary Kay Adams on the GEnie message boards. Some were suggesting that the character be ‘spaced’. The topic was being treated fairly lightly, and, understandably, JMS was motivated to be protective of his cast and crew. JMS placed this speech in the episode as a scold towards the fans who were calling for this fate for Na’Toth.

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