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A quote:

"I am sure Robin Atkin Downes is a nice guy off camera, but Byron is written as a simpering Harlequin cover model. He whines and throws tantrums like a spoiled third grader—and this is the assessment of my wife, an elementary school counselor. He always seems surrounded by candles and echoes of the Mystic Moods orchestra (check out the end of "Strange Relations" for the most egregious example). On the plus side, his love affair with Lyta Alexander (Patricia Tallman) gives strength to her previously underutilized character. On the negative side—one of many negative sides to the Byron storyline—you know exactly where he is headed in his rebellion against Psi Corps. You can smell him wearing a cologne called "Martyr" a light year away.

Byron is the petulant albatross around the neck of Season Five. He is pouty when pleased, smug even in the throes of tragic passion. He is a walking Morrissey song, without the black humor. And his collection of telepaths seems snatched from central casting's idea of Goth wannabes. Any tension the show tries to generate from the conflict between these "freedom fighters" and the domineering Psi Corps is mitigated by the fact that Byron is so utterly annoying that you want Bester to just hurry up and kill him already. So much for pathos. JMS does not help much by placing Bester's solo episode "The Corps Is Mother, The Corps Is Father" after Byron's story is wrapped up. Moving it earlier would have allowed us to understand more clearly why Byron's gang does not fit into the anal-retentive ranks of Psi Corps."

The rest can be found at: Babylon 5 Season 5 review. With spoilers

And I want to add: How could you nearly destroy my love for Londo and G'Kar in 'In the Kingdom of the Blind' with the horror that is Bryon's telepathic revolution? I've just started ffing through all of the Byron scenes - it was the only thing that got me through the horror of the Byron/Lyta love scene. And even then I want to send the writers a bill for the therapy I will no doubt need one day.

ETA: You bastards! You know what a tragedy of telepaths is? It's Bryon and crew being passed off as an adequate storyline and me being forced to watch them and their strangely well-styled long hair looming large on my screen.

ETA 2: I feel like the stuff set on Centauri homeworld with G'Kar and Londo have to be written by a different person that the rest of these episodes. They're so much better than anything else you see.

ETA: You know what I hate about telepaths on telly? That they're such an obviously cheap way to be all SciFi without spending any money. Babylon 5 loves that: this season is in love with the close up shots of wide-eyed telepaths and then something happening to a character while you are supposed to go 'Oh my! That was exciting!' Or just having telepaths waving their hands and doing spooky mind manipulation which is not at all spooky because looking at a bunch of people waving their hands is not terrifying at all. It's like all of those alien possession episodes that Star Trek specialized in.

Iosa Chriost was what I screamed at Byron's ending. WTF? The self-sacrifice and the singing of 'we will all come together in a better place' as he artfully pushed his long locks out of his face combined with the telapath singalong, Bryon sex scenes, the whole willow speech being given a second go round, and many other cruelties done to me by the writers WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN OR FORGIVEN. NEVER. Damn you for making me care enough about Londo and G'Kar and John and Delenn (who get about 5 minutes per episode) so that I will sit through any old crap.

Date: 2007-10-14 02:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nolivingman.livejournal.com
That's a great insight about timing "The Corps is Mother..." - it would have put Byron in context better, cause he is pretty much alone in all of B5 as the one character whose viewpoint I can never have any sympathy for.

Date: 2007-10-14 04:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
I want to have sympathy for Byron because I think the whole telepath war thing is an interesting idea in theory. In reality, however, he's just dreadful. And as the review points out a lot of that is how they presented him. If they'd cut back on the candles, the muzak, and the hair-tossing he might not have come off as such an almighty pratt.

Date: 2007-10-14 04:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nolivingman.livejournal.com
JMS said that he deliberately chose characteristics of Marcus when creating Byron, but he chose the parts of Marcus that bugged me the most, not the part where he had a sense of humor.

I've been reading JMS's script books where he talks about writing the show, and S5 was a clusterfuck from the word go and he knows it, and apparently he was just completely burnt out. It probably would have been better had he brought in some other writers to help him out - they could work from his outlines, even. But he wanted complete control.

Date: 2007-10-14 04:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jenavira.livejournal.com
But now you've got through the worst of it! The rest of the season is awesome, I swear. NO MORE TELEPATHS. Except Crazy!Lyta, which is okay.

Date: 2007-10-14 04:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
I wish I'd know about the horror of Byron before I'd started this season. I think I would have skipped the first disc and been a much happier person.

Crazy!Lyta is fine by me. In fact, I just don't know why they thought Byron was necessary. They could have done this story with a bunch of telepaths on the run with Lyta taking them under her wing and possibly compromising Zach. I want more of the regular cast! I want not to have to dread that a great scene with G'Kar and Londo will be followed by the horror of Byron! :)

I sometimes feel the way about this show that I do about Farscape (a show I eventually got too frustrated with to continue): great ideas, a core of great characters but with terribly inconsistent writing and no idea of when to stop adding new characters to the mix. At least Babylon 5 killed Byron though, even if they chose a terribly annoying way to do it.

Date: 2007-10-14 05:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jenavira.livejournal.com
I think Byron suffers from the Season 5 crisis -- that is, as season 4 was ending, they weren't sure they were going to *get* a season 5 (which means they filmed the finale at the end of season 4, which is great because it means Ivanova gets to be in it and there is no Lochley at all). So most of the plot that was meant to be for season 5 got squished into season 4 and things that were meant to be one or two eps in season 5 got whole plot arcs. I expect Byron would be, well, still annoying but much more tolerable as a one or two ep storyline.

*shrug* Season 5 is definitely the weakest season qua season, but it also has some of the best episodes. Unfortunately, they're all in the end.

Date: 2007-10-14 11:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ide-cyan.livejournal.com
Fun fact: Robin Atkin Downes played the fraternity snake demon Machida in the S2 Buffy episode "Reptile Boy".

Date: 2007-10-15 01:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
It's so hard to imagine him without that long hair to flick and not surrounded by the candles of mystic loving.

Date: 2007-10-15 10:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] misscam.livejournal.com
Oh, Byron. He really is... Yeah. On the other hand, Patricia Tallman is made of win and it really feels like a waste to have her acting against that.

Date: 2007-10-15 05:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
I do give both actors props for getting through the willow speech without having hysterics. Can you imagine being confronted with that? And then it gets repeated!

As for Lyta I think that's it's a real pity that this was the only way they felt they could use her character more, especially when I think it's more interesting to see her issues with PsyCorps because we know her backstory and how she's been used by the Vorlons, PsyCorps, and every one else.


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