Londo and G'Kar from "Midnight on the Firing Line"

Episode 2: “Midnight on the Firing Line”

Now we’re cookin’ with phased plasma! The first season of B5 opens with “Midnight on the Firing Line,” which moves like a Ferrari compared to “The Gathering.” (Totally a Volvo: dependable and robust, yet slightly lacking in the zero-to-60s.) What do we think of the new faces? Are Ivanova and Winters a step forward or backward? Meanwhile, in spoiler territory, someone puts on his grumpy face over his co-hosts’ assessment of Commander Sinclair.

16 thoughts on “Episode 2: “Midnight on the Firing Line””

  1. Not sure how your site works, but there are all these links with spoilers and whatnot, and I couldn’t really work out what I should be going for.
    I know Bab5, and I do think you are being a wee bit patronizing to those people who haven’t seen it. Your audience is 30+. I am not entirely sure they like being given homework and other patronizing put-downs by Chip. Hey Chip, I can go you toe to toe on doctor who, Blake’s 7 AND bab5 and walk away a winner, but that would not make me feel happy. You are an ambassador for our geekdom, don’t talk down to people.

    1. Hi Sam. Erika here.

      We have separate conversation spaces on the site for folks who have and haven’t seen the B5 eps, that way new folks don’t have to wade through spoiler-minefields. We put up those threads before the related episodes drop so that we can incorporate some responses to questions/ideas/theories into the podcast (or that’s the plan once we get fully rolling anyway). You say you’ve already seen B5, so I don’t think there’s anything you need to avoid on the site. (We just ask that you not spoil anything for the new folks in the spoiler-free areas.)

      As for being patronizing, I’m sorry if it comes off that way to you, but it’s most certainly not the spirit in which it’s intended. All the feedback from new folks has been positive thus far, so I think the target audience recognizes we’re just having fun and being goofy–in other words, we’re being ourselves, which is desirable in the world of podcast hosting. And heck, the “homework” you mention is for everyone listening–at least those who are actually watching along with us. I’m pretty sure nobody expects to get graded on anything.

      As for walking away a “winner”, your confrontational attitude really kinda stinks. There’s a nice way to give constructive criticism, and if that’s what you were aiming for, you missed it by a parsec. Thus, I’d be perfectly happy if you walked away–winner or not.

      Very sincerely,


      1. Chip was very nice, you were not. Chip is always very nice, which is why I listen to him a lot. I know he got what I was trying to say. Do you often flame everyone who offers criticism? Do you have any idea what it takes for me to write anything online? I have a lot of mental issues and have just come out of the hospital because of a … Let’s just say it’s good I am still here. Your hostility is very hard for me to take.

  2. I was one of the early supporters of this podcast right when I heard it was going to be launched, having both loved “Babylon 5” and also the podcasters’ always enjoyable treatment of “Doctor Who” elsewhere.

    However, due to timing of the way the last couple of months have been for me, I am behind in listening. I will rectify that tomorrow during my long commute.

    Glad that the podcast is up and running, and well underway. I appreciate the effort to carve out a spoiler-free environment on the site to protect the enjoyment of those discovering this show for the first time, also. This on top of the great amount of effort that goes into creating a good podcast.

    1. Please don’t feel bad. I’d never want that. It’s clear you do love B5. But that was the only positive thing that was clear initially. No, I don’t know what it takes for you to write online. I don’t know anything about you–except for the words I read on the page, and honestly, yours weren’t very nice, and they made me (at least, I can’t speak for the others) feel bad. When communication is boiled down to a bunch of pixels, word choice and phrasing are crucial. When I responded, I wasn’t referring to the criticism–that’s not the part that made me feel bad. I may not agree that Chip (or Shannon or I) talk down to the audience (except in a jocular fashion), but it’s a valid opinion, and I don’t begrudge you it.

      I just figured if you didn’t like the podcast (as I thought you meant), then I wouldn’t be fussed if you quit listening. There are lots of poor souls out there who consume things they hate just so they can rage at them on the internet. I’ve been the recipient of that kind of bile in the past. (I’m pleased to find out that’s not where you were coming from at all!)

      As for criticism, I’m all for it! As long as it’s polite and constructive, I’m glad to listen to what anyone thinks. I’m sure your original comment sounded more like this from the inside: “Hey guys! I’m a huge B5 fan (also Blake’s 7 & Doctor Who!) I’m loving the podcast, but I’m worried you might alienate some of the newer viewers–some of your comments sound like you’re talking down to the new folk (who are probably mostly 30+). You’re ambassadors for the show, and I want everyone else to love it as much as I do, so I hope you’ll keep that in mind for future episodes.” Unfortunately, from the outside it read like “I’m better than you guys (at multiple shows), and you’re not doing a very good job.” That’s why my heart sank when I read it. We all work really hard on this, and it’s hard to hear someone thinks you suck.

      Now that you’ve taken the time to explain further, I’m glad to know you’ve enjoyed the show, and I’m also glad to know you care so much about B5 (something I care a LOT about too) that you want to bring new folks into the fold and make sure they feel welcome. Believe me, we want that too!

      But the thing I’m most glad about is that you, a fellow human being and Babylon 5 fan, *are* still here, as you said. I can’t know precisely what you’ve gone through, but I’m not exactly a stranger to mental health issues myself, so I want to do three things: 1) Accept your apology–because I appreciate that you offered it, and I now understand a bit more where you’re coming from. 2) Reach out a hand of friendship and hope that we can avoid future misunderstandings. And 3) Say “Good for you for pushing through and kicking ass when life makes the mere act of putting one foot in front of the other a struggle. It ain’t easy, and I salute you.”

      Take care,


  3. Thank you so much, I am crying. I thought you had to be all staunch and stuff when you wrote to podcasts. I appreciate your advice so much. Please keep going with the podcast, I love how other people love bab5 as much as I do. It is more than a tv show for me, it has got me through dark places. I love hearing Bruce say “the name of the place is babylon 5.” Goosebumps.

    1. In the old Babylon 5 Fan Club Chat Room (HTML-based, lovingly referred to by all of us at the time as “The Green Room” due to its green text on a black screen), we always referred to that as a “Goupy Hug” due to one chatters misspelling the first time it came up.

      So “Goupy Hug” to all?

  4. So I just discovered this podcast yesterday, and have listened to the first 2 episodes. I’ve been a fan of B5 since it first aired when I was i n highschool. People would sometimes ask me the typical “Star Wars or Star Trek?” question, and I’d answer with “Babylon 5.”

    Just a wee little story here… When I first saw the show, it was from season 2 (didn’t know it was season 2 at the time), through to the end of season 4, so the whole Shadow War and Earth civil war story line… Then, I lost track of the show for a bit, and missed season 5.

    When it aired again, I caught it starting with season 1, not knowing that it was actually the first season. So my reaction was pretty much, “What happened to Sheridan, who’s this Sinclair guy, and why did Delenn lose all her hair?”

    It all eventually came together, and certain story arcs started to make more sense… But I’ve always found that initial disconnect rather amusing.

  5. Just discovered this podcast. Shame I didn’t find it earlier, but I’m doing my own re-watch at the moment, analysing each episode for my own project. I’ll be sure to come here and listen to your thoughts on each episode, after I’ve recorded my own.

    I agree that Midnight on the Firing Line is a great place to start for a new viewer. I recommend people skip The Gathering and start here (and go back to The Gathering once they’re a fan)

    In my most recent re-watch, I was suprised just how much was foreshadowed right here in the first episode. Awesome stuff.

  6. I’m rewatching B5 episode by episode listening to the podcast in between having recently discovered this podcast’s existence!
    Just a note for Region 2 viewers of the DVDs who might be as confused as I was, this episode is labeled ‘Sabre Rattling’ on the DVD box, but is in fact ‘Midnight on the Firing Line’

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