33 thoughts on “Earhart’s: “Severed Dreams” Spoiler Space”

  1. Just wanted to say that one of my favorite little moments of Severed Dreams is Ivanova getting so caught up in the enormity of what’s going on around her that she nearly gets taken out by a collision with another fighter. It’s a really small moment, but I can totally identify with that.

    1. My fave detail about this ep is the ISN anchor, and how we meet her again 30(!) episodes later and get just tiny hints that she had her own story happen over that year or so. Not to mention how much more likeable she is than her smarmy replacement. It really sells it as a coherent, continuous universe.

      Come to think of it, she’s not the only character to go away here and come back in S4E21…

      1. Oh yeah. The clear emotion on her face when she comes back on the air. My heart aches for what she must have been put through. The continuity with the ISN anchor is just one more beautiful little detail that could have been meaningless but B5 got oh-so right and made her memorable.

      2. When I think of stories like in Turkey, where they raid opponent news papers and TV stations, or in Russia or elsewhere, I always have this scene in my head. It’s so wham on it’s own, I guess I could even use it in communication science classes as a perfect example of oppressing the press.

  2. Spoilers, but actually for Deep Space Nine.

    I can only speak for myself, but I think the alleged hostility between DS9 fans and B5 fans was sometimes a little overblown at the time, and maybe is now also a little overblown in memory? I suspect that many, maybe even the large majority, of aficionados of this sort of thing were watching and enjoying both shows.

    I certainly was – it’s a large part of my personal memory of my media consumption in the mid-90s was observing how the two shows handled similar themes in similar settings in different ways. Probably the most striking, if not the most compelling (it’s good-but-not-great DS9 at best) is Homefront, the episode of DS9 that Foxworth did instead of this, where he plays an inverted General Hague: a Starfleet admiral who conspires to overthrow a benevolent liberal democracy.

    1. I think the hostility might be overblown, but I know in certain circles it was kind of one or the other. Fo rmy part, I was unimpressed with the first couple seasons of DS9, but was completely hooked by B5 from word “go.” So I ended up kinda dropping DS9 by the wayside instead of continuing to watch both. I had friends though who never gave B5 a chance and continued to watch DS9 (the Trombone line of my High School band was clearly divided between B5 and DS9, and we had lively debates while the director worke withother sections), and they would repeatedly tell me how good the show had gotten, but I failed to listen, having missed so much already by that point.

      I have since watched all of DS9 on DVD, and while I consider it the best Trek ever made, I also feel like it only became that after taking “B5 Lessons.”

      1. I think the hostility came from that fact that JMS pitched B5 to Paramount before WB picked it up – and the rumours of IP theft were rampant. Interesting article on it here http://www.tor.com/2013/02/26/is-this-the-smoking-gun-proving-deep-space-nine-ripped-off-babylon-5/

        But I was the same, as Akrovah, I was a huge TOS and TNG fan, had watched The Gathering but was too young to get it. I found DS9 uninspiring, and then Voyager down-right terrible – then rediscovered B5 (by way of this Trilogy!) and immediately stopped watching any Trek because the writing of B5 showed me how good scifi tv *could* be.

        1. “Interesting” indeed, Bed. The analogy between TDoFS and Trek is a good one.

          I imagined hygienically moral Trek touted as as ‘how things are on B5’ by the SE2 Clark administration, believing they’d a yes-man in Sheridan

          a retcon

          1. When TNG was on, I (slightly) annoyed a friend who was more into Star Trek than I was with my theory that the show was best viewed as propaganda produced by a totalitarian and militaristic future about how wonderful everything was. I remain pretty committed to the idea.

      2. I had very few friends who would flatly refuse to watch one or the other. For context: the real glut of syndicated SF didn’t really kick in until 1995 or so with Hercules and Xena; in ’93, you had TNG, DS9, and B5, and It Was Good. Maybe you watched Highlander: The Series too. There wasn’t exactly a vast field of shows competing for eyeballs. Hercules and Xena widened the field around ’95, and then in ’97 you had Earth: Final Conflict, Team Knight Rider, Honey I Shrunk The Kids, Psi Factor, and shows like Stargate SG-1 and Poltergeist The Legacy went into syndication, having been on cable for a couple of years. X-Files and Voyager were on Fox and UPN at the time; most other network SF was very short-lived. Sci-Fi Channel was just starting to venture into “original” (i.e. imported from Canada) programming. Long story short: in B5’s early years, there wasn’t so much SF on TV out there that you could only track 2-3 shows. I think the hostility in fandom is overblown in retrospect. I do know a handful of “franchise fanboys” who are dead set against one or the other…but not very many. For my part, I was happy to watch both Trek shows and B5 in the same week.

      3. Back in the day we were watching both B5 and DS9 in the university’s science fiction club. Someone got VHS tapes in the mail as soon as the episodes aired in the US (it was years until any of them aired on Finnish TV). There was never hostility between the fans of different shows, but it was definitely B5 that was driving the club’s popularity, many showed up only to see B5, not because they hated other shows (mainly DS9 and Voyager), they just weren’t interested. As soon as B5 ended the club quickly lost more than a half of its members. It’s obvious that B5 was seen as something new and refreshing, and once the word got out people wanted to see it.

        I saw most of DS9 episodes, but never really got into it, possibly because I was watching B5 at the same time. There were just too many similarities and DS9 paled in comparison, B5 was doing everything so much better. First two or three seasons of DS9 were downright bad, but it did improve significantly once they started taking lessons from B5. I remember DS9 as the most dull of all the Star Trek shows (haven’t seen a single episode of Enterprise, though), and being entertained more by even Voyager after B5 ended. Voyager was often stupid or bad or both, but at least it didn’t take itself too seriously after a couple of seasons.

        I’ve always loved TOS and liked a lot of TNG. Perhaps if I watched DS9 now I could see more than just a show trying to copy B5 formula without vision or consistency, and it might finally get a real chance.

        1. I was one who watched both! Well, sort of. I was a DS9 fan from the very beginning (it was my intro to Trek as a whole), but due to limited time to watch TV growing up, I didn’t discover B5 until the 4th season, by which point I had no idea what was going on, so didn’t stick with it. It sure looked cool, though! So when they started airing the entire series on TNT in early 1998, my family watched it religiously.

          1. I’m fascinated by the thought of someone who’s intro to Trek was DS9, which I think of as the “anti-Trek Trek.” Would you be willing to expand on how you’ve come to view Trek as a whole?

            Maybe I shouldn’t say this here, but: DS9 is not so much my favorite Trek as the only Trek that I really care about at all, and I liked it a *lot* in the ’90s. So much so that there are ways in which I like it more than B5. Akrovah will probably withdraw my true fan membership at this point 🙂

          2. It’s probation for you.

            You’re not wrong though that DS9 is kind of an “anti” Trek. It does a lot of things Roddenberry was adamantly against, like conflicts, relationships, and moral ambiguity among the primary cast. Not to mention a later focus on conflict and war over exploration.

            However given that to this day B5 remains my favorite television series ever made obviously those things appeal to me, despite my formative childhood years spent watching the moral righteousness of Picard on TNG. So after I finally did watch all of DS9 it became easily my favorite Trek.

            As far as better than B5 in some ways, I will concede that in some respects DS9 takes things further. The morality of the commander is of particular note. While in B5 sacrifices must be made for victory, Sheriden always continues to remain a moral character, always doing the right thing, even if it is not the easy thing. Sisko on the other hand steps over the line a couple times where you get a creepy sense that our hero might not be much better than our villains. B5 lacks a “In the Pale Moonlight” or a “For the Uniform” for example.

          3. I enjoyed all the Trek series; DS9 was just my introduction to the universe, and remains my favorite. But I appreciate that DS9 couldn’t tell some of its stories (especially its moral uncertainty) without the rest of the Star Trek back story to contrast against.

            I also like to paraphrase a quote from late DS9 to sum up my sci-fi preferences: “I love Star Trek, I just like some other shows more.”

  3. Both shows had their good points. Thing was, I actually loved DS9 before it started trying to do the “war arc” thing; I adored the Bajoran politics-intermingled-with-religion stuff *before* it became mixed up with full-on spiritual possession stories (i.e. the pah-wraiths, etc.). Apparently I was the only one, as they devised the Dominion War to replace it as the running concern of the show. 😀 I think both DS9 and B5 have gained huge amounts of relevance with time, in different ways. Both are, naturally, underappreciated.

  4. Where I live it took time to get all the new shows. We saw TNG only years later we did see DS9 early but not the full seasons.. In luck we got Babylon 5 close to the US time it took us time to love it but when we do it was full love that couldn’t be broken.i remember seeing the episode I couldn’t sleep later lol
    . We did get to see DS9 later on and it did improve when they did the arch but IMHO even tho it wasn’t bad Babylon 5 had more depth and it was more character driven show .

    1. DS9 from the outset for me. I could tell it would get good from the pilot, quickly being apparent I would have to wait around. I wasn’t disappointed much; I drifted away sometime in SE6. One other disappointment with DS9 was I would have liked to see the return of the Borg there, but fairly, it would have presented challenges, not least doing away with the reset button following any encounter.
      B5 I only came to at end S3/start S4. Certainly by the time I saw Cartagia on screen I was laying down my B5 VHS floor snake, which sounds problematic, and indeed it was.

      My favourite moment of this episode is Delenn’s “Only one Human captain has survived battle..” That’s the finest “I’ll mess you up” in B5, possibly in any fiction, anywhere, or something.

  5. I love this episode but I made the mistake when I watched b5 for the first time of going onto the net and searching for b5, I ran across Delenn’s ‘get away with you’ speech and spoiled myself so horribly…

  6. One thing I forgot to mention is that What I love about this episod is the dialogue, there are so many strong lines that stayed w/me as a fan I think many of B5 fans knows this episode by heart..my fave is of course Delenn be somewhere else and I love Sheridan dad lesson don’t start a fight but always finish it.. He taught his son so well and I love that Sheridan stayed w/it and told it to his son..who knows maybe it became one of the Rangers teaching lol

  7. Well, they really tried hard in getting the Hugo this time, as they lost really thin to Star Trek DS9 the year before, because they had four horses in the race and the votes got splitted (which tells much about the average quality of B5 episodes). This time the whole episode says: “you have to vote for me” 😀

    1. If I recall Year prior to this episode the show that won the HUGO award was Babylon 5 for the episode “the coming of Shadows”.. I maybe wrong tho

      1. No, you’re right. “The Coming of Shadows” won the 1996 Hugo and “Severed Dreams won the 1997 Hugo. I *think* I remember correctly that after “The Gathering” was nominated in 1994, B5 failed to get a nomination for any Season 1 episodes because multiple ones were nominated and split the vote. So the following years they made sure to only have one episode nominated. Hence the two wins in 1996 and 1997. They were nominated for “Sleeping in Light” in 1999 but didn’t win.

        1. Thank you I knew I was right about something lol I wish they did win for “sleeping in light” but two awards is fine too ..

  8. Mira Furlan as Delenn is seriously scary in this episode. Her character achieves more with just words than any of the Earthers do with combat 🙂

    IIRC, she never again is this intimidating. Maybe JMS thought he’d better tone her down a bit, otherwise the Clark dictatorship of Earth would have ended two episodes later under the guns of a Minbari fleet?

    1. I think part of this is that, with the exception of the Minbari civil war arc in S4 (where Delenn has some great moments), the heroization of Sheridan tends to exclude such moments for Delenn.

      One reason why this is such a great moment is because it’s both about the overall crisis and about the Sheridan-Delenn relationship. But it’s only able to combine those two elements because Sheridan is actually utterly defeated here and on the point of surrender: JMS will never again have Sheridan be this helpless again – even when captured and tortured for an entire episode…

      Some of this is not JMS’s fault. Sinclair/Sheridan is the central character of the story. The show gives a disproportionate amount of attention to humans for obvious reasons. The compression of the story in S4 means that the Minbari civil war has to be disposed of early and quickly in comparison to its Earth equivalent. There are points where you can see JMS push against this problem and try to give Delenn more to do than the story really has for her.

      Most notably, her conversation with the Shadow representative in Into the Fire is rendered a little less than elegant by the fact that Delenn hasn’t really had much to do with the Shadows. It should really be Sheridan having that conversation, calling back to Z’ha’dum.

      But JMS is committed, I think, to having that be an equal moment for Delenn and Sheridan. This is important, as their equality and co-operation here represents the humans and Minbari coming together, overcoming the past, etc. (what the Delenn-Sheridan marriage is all about), counterpointing the failure of the Narn and Centauri to do the same.

      At the same time, because Sheridan is Sheridan, Delenn can’t really be equal. Because Delenn could have that conversation with the Vorlon representative. Delenn/the Minbari defying their mentors and a thousand years of everything that she/her people have been taught to believe – that has a lot of possibilities, and underpins the “order vs. chaos” stuff a lot better than having Sheridan do it. But the Vorlons have been reserved for Sheridan since S2 as a mark of how special he is, so that’s off the table.

      1. Coming into this very, very late. Just discovered this podcast.

        I think the mistake JMS made with Delenn was not either keeping her as Sheridan’s co-equal, or killing her some time around Sheridan’s trip to Z’ha’dum as Sheridan’s rise to godhood made a co-equal into unwanted baggage.

        As JMS did neither, Delenn withered into a zombie character who ineffectually shambled on without purpose because JMS couldn’t give her anything important to do without compromising Sheridan’s godhood.

        Being forced to sideline one of the series’ strongest characters (and one of its strongest actors) to make the narrative work as intended speaks to a serious error in story planning.

        Frankly I think the series would have been served if Delenn had stayed as Sheridan’s complementary co-equal instead of being turned into his Mary Magdalene. The Delenn of Severed Dreams is an interesting character; the Delenn of Deconstruction of Falling Stars, or even (heresy warning) Sleeping in Light is not.

  9. So, there’s an iconic Babylon 5 Earthforce space fighter that’s been buzzing around defending the station since the pilot. Sinclair, Sheridan, and Ivanova have all flown in one.

    A “gunship” according to Stephen.

    And he was doing so well this season 🙂

    1. Not to be to nit-picky, but not only were Starfuries not in the pilot, but neither were thier launch bays. In the original, airing version of The Gathering you can clearly see in several shots that the arms containing the Cobra Bays are just blank grey slabs.

      Any shots with the proper red border paint scheme in the TNT edit of The Gathering are new shots from the series added in.

  10. (MOVED from spoiler-free space due to proximity to too many other spoilers.)

    Debated putting this into the Spoiler Space Zone, but people deserve to see the line in its full splendid awesomeness asap.

    There is an infamous outtake in the Season 3 gag reel featuring Bruce “McGyver’s Friend” McGill telling the crew where General Hague went at the 5:44 – 6:02 time-marks in the video below. I wish I had the mad editing skillz to tweak out that one bit, but the best I can do is try to post the link at the correct timestamp. The gag reel contains out-takes, goofs, gaffes, and gags from across season 3, and I believe can be found as an Easter egg on the DVD set. ( Find it via http://www.eeggs.com/items/44580.html )

    WARNING: Contains gag reel “SPOILERS” from ALL OF SEASON THREE!!! (as seen on B5 Season 3 DVD set)

    For the Severed Dreams gag, watch 5:44-6:02 only!!

    Video copied at time-mark set to SD gag:

    Final SPOILER warning. Watch 5:45-6:02 only!


    PS. Admins: Please edit/remove this post as you see fit. I debated posting this in the spoiler thread (as I had it for PoNR), but thought that the unspoiled fans deserved to see /that/ gag. I hope I had sufficient warning (and that the timestamp link works properly).

  11. Surprised this doesn’t entirely come up: what if the General Hague actor HAD been available? How would that affect things, having a leader of the independent outposts and later the coup that isn’t Sheridan?

    Would Hague have died in Severed Dreams or some other episode? Would Hague have had a leadership battle with Sheridan, with Sheridan winning because – perhaps – the League of Non-Aligned Worlds side with him after his sacrifice Z’ha’dum?

    I have to wonder what JMS had planned for Hague originally.

  12. That is one of the best Delenn scenes to date, and arguably in the entire show. Babylon 5 was beaten down, allied ships were destroyed, and a new batch of Earthforce ships come through the jump gate. Then Lt. Corwin announces that four more jump points were opening on top of them. The expression on Sheridan’s face was complete and total brokenness. When 3 Minbari battlecruisers and the White Star come through and face off with the Earthforce cruisers, and seeing Delenn staring daggers out of the viewscreen was priceless…And JMS gave her some awesome lines:

    This is Ambassador Delenn of the Minbari. Babylon 5 is under our protection. Withdraw or be destroyed!
    Earth Force Officer: Negative! We have authority here. Do not force us to engage your ship.
    Delenn: Why not? Only one human captain has ever survived battle with a Minbari Fleet. He is behind me. You are in front of me. If you value your lives, be somewhere else!


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