I think I've finally gotten one of my sons into Babylon 5.
Many times over the years I've put one of the more action packed episodes on without comment. Sometimes they'd look up from what they were doing a bit. But not too much, and never for a full episode. That makes sense: it's a deep and serious show; it was a stretch for me at 13.
The last few times seemed to have elicited some interest from William. A few weeks ago he sat playing a video game while sneaking peeks at "All Alone in the Night." Only after it finished did he get up.
Today, I put on "A Distant Star," and about halfway through, he came down stairs, stood watching a few minutes, then sat down. He stayed as I let it roll into "the one with Murdock," as they remember it.
I put on another. And another. And another! He'd started making comments and asking questions! He's laughing at the funny parts! And not just because I was; I'm too busy watching him to even realize something funny happened until he laughs! Four episodes in a row he watches intently, not just halfway while playing a game. (Although on the 5th episode he did allocate half an eye to a game of The Show with Owen)
We took a break where they shot hoops and I worked on the pool. While William was in the shower, I put on another, but—suspecting I had his interest—I paused it at the start and waited for him to come out.
He came out of the shower, plopped down on the couch, and stared at the paused screen. I was distracted by something else. After a few minutes, he got up and went upstairs. A few minutes later, I finally resume it, and here he comes down the stairs!
This one held his attention even through mature scenes where two adults just sit and talk about a dead wife.
This is the same son who plays Dragon Quest with me. And watches countless hours of Super Metroid randomizer races with me. And attempted The Lord of the Rings last year. (I was a few years older on my first attempt, and half way through high school when I made it through and fell in love on my second try.)
Some of William's comments today:
- "Ugh them again," when the Shadows make their appearance in "Chrysalis".
- During "Points of Departure," he finally realized he'd been watching two commanders and asked what was going on, and I have to explain we'd been watching out of order.
- "Who are the Vorlons?" when G'Kar says "except the Vorlons; I don't know what could possibly threaten them" in "Revelations."
He laughed at the diet scenes.
"I didn't authorize dessert."
"Well then you can't have any."
"Wait let's not be hasty!"
He laughed at Ivanova zingers.
And he laughed at Londo and G'Kar antics, particularly the argument while waiting for the elevator.
I've always stuck to the first two seasons as they offer plenty of exciting standalone material without spoiling things too much (mainly "why is the commander different?" and "why is the lady bald?"). Remember: I was always hoping to make a couple of fans here!
Years ago, after they'd been watching The A-Team for a while (one of this family's favorite shows), I showed them "the one with Murdock."
Other episodes I remember putting on when they were around: