From: email@example.com Subject: Further B5:TLT update from jms To:rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated Date: 10/26/2006 1:01:01 AM Well, tomorrow I head back to LA for meetings on other projects for two days, then it's back to Vancouver again on Sunday to continue prep. So far everything's laying out very cleanly. We have an EFX house on board now, which was the last big step to be undertaken. It wasn't until the last day or so that we could really get into the CGI issues, which are huge on these stories. And in regard to that...the initial goal was to try and do three big stories in one DVD. So I wrote three scripts, featuring Sheridan, Lochley, Galen and Garibaldi. (I wanted to focus on the human characters initially so we'd have more time for prosthetics R&D for the next one.) The stories, as noted previously, were huge...all over the map, from Minbar, to Earth, Mars, the future, the distant past, as well as B5 itself obviously. We're also going to be trying some new production technologies, again trying to stay ahead of the tech curve, the way B5 has always stayed ahead on these things. And over the last few days, as we began to bring on crew and lay out the production, looking at just how complicated these mini-movies were going to be, the idea of making three of these monsters began to become a bit much for us to pull off on out first time out the gate, especially since I'm still kind of new as a director. So we decided to postpone one of the three to the next DVD, and lengthen the other two to make up the difference. GIven that the Garibaldi story was the most complicated visually and technically, also the most difficult from a CGi perspective, that's the one that got pushed until, potentially, next time. And if the sales are anywhere near what WB expects, and I think they will be, there's no question that there will be more of these down the road. So we're gong to focus in on those two stories and knock them out of the park. Same length, same running time, and now even bigger than at first anticipated since the budget on number three will now be applied to the other two. Part of what we're doing is to re-think the look of B5 to some degree. The show was created using 1993 technology, video toasters and amigas, and was to some extent limited by the paradigms and production methods we used in that. But it's now 13 years later, and while I will keep the feel of the show the same, and the silhouettes and designs, there's no reason to limit the look of the feel to what we could do six years ago (from when we stopped). So we're going to invest a lot of time, effort and money into really re-imagining some of the visuals at the present level -- looking at shows like Battlestar and the like -- and bringing those tools into B5 while still maintaining the feel of the show. I also managed to work in a nice nod to Andreas and Richard in the two mini-movies. So with that...the team is now in place, the last personnel have been hired, and as soon as I get back to Vancouver, I get to take off the producer's hat and put on the director's hat. jms message content (c) 2006 synthetic worlds, ltd. permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX MagazineThat's interesting about SFX...I've had a bit of trouble with them, too. Probably not in the same way, though. Next up: here is the official press release announcing the START OF PRODUCTION...TODAY! Did BABYLON 5 fans ever find a collective name, by the way? I don't think they did. I mean, we have Trekkies, Trekkers, Browncoats, etc. -- but do B5 fans have a name? Rangers, maybe? if they don't, I think they need to come up with a name before these new installments roll around.
Coolness. I'm really looking forward to seeing how these projects progress. Not sure how I feel about setting these things within a continuity so closely tied to the series/CRUSADE; I was personally hoping they might into the series' back-story (the Shadow War/Babylon 4) or forestory (JMS has indicated that he's worked out a B5 universe timeline for like a hundred jillion years of past and future). I don't believe CRUSADE or LEGEND OF THE RANGERS were B5 storytelling at its finest; they struggled to find a certain "truth". However, I think there are plenty of interesting stories left to tell in the Babylonian Universe, so...I'm holding out hope.
WARNER HOME VIDEO TO RELEASE BRAND NEW “BABLYON 5” MADE FOR VIDEO IN 2007 BABLYON 5: THE LOST TALES TO BEGIN PRODUCTION NOVEMBER 13, 2006BURBANK, CA, November 13, 2006 – Warner Home Video (WHV) and Warner Bros. Television (WBTV) have announced the start of production of “Babylon 5: The Lost Tales,” a made-for-video movie that will be targeted towards the Babylon 5 loyal audience and science-fiction fans in general . The announcement was jointly made by Jeff Brown, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Non-theatrical Franchise, Warner Home Video and Gregg Maday, Senior Vice President, Movies and Miniseries, WBTV. WHV will be the home entertainment distributor for this made-for-DVD release which will include two new Babylon 5 stories collectively entitled “Voices of the Dark” in one film plus exclusive behind the scenes content. The stories will be written and directed by executive producer and original “Babylon 5” creator J. Michael Straczynski. Executive producer Doug Netter also returns in that role. Actors from the original series that have signed on to participate in the project include Bruce Boxleitner (“President John Sheridan”), Tracy Scoggins (“Captain Elizabeth Lochley”) and Peter Woodward (“Galen”). Babylon 5 is a top selling franchise on DVD to date with over $44 million in consumer sales. Launched in February 1993, the award winning series was a top rated show on television with more than 13.7 million viewers in its debut season. After its original planned five-year run – introducing the concept of a five year arc before other TV series began to use multi-season arcs -- the show went on to enjoy 9 successful years in syndication and Cable on the Sci-Fi Channel and TNT. It also spurred the creation of five feature length movies based on the series including The Gathering, In the Beginning, Thirdspace, River of Souls and A Call to Arms, as well as the limited series Crusade. Babylon 5 has received numerous awards including two Emmys, two consecutive Hugo Awards, the Ray Bradbury Award for Dramatic Screenwriting from the Science Fiction Writers of America, five English Media ‘Cult TV’ Awards, the E Pluribus Unum Award from the American Cinema Foundation, the Sci-Fi Universe Reader Choice Award for Best TV Series and was the winner of the TV Guide Poll for Best Sci-Fi Show. “We are very excited to be releasing this new made-for-video release filled with original content for ‘Babylon 5’, one of the most successful science fiction series of all time,” said Jeff Brown. “This popular TV show which has been off the air for a few years continues to have a strong loyal fan base that is hungry for more content. This is the first time we’re utilizing one of our popular TV franchises as a made-for-video title, and we have a strong commitment to the growth of this sector.” “It’s great to be reunited with Joe and Doug once again,” commented Maday. “I have always been very proud to be associated with their wonderful work on Babylon 5 and I’m confident the “Lost Tales” will add to the legacy of this very special franchise.” On an immense space station built by the Earth Alliance in the 2250s, the crew of Babylon 5 are charged with maintaining the peace among the various alien races by providing a sanctuary where grievances and negotiations can be worked out among duly appointed ambassadors. Aside from its diplomatic function, Babylon 5 also serves as a military post for Earth and a port of call for travelers, traders, businessmen, criminals, and Rangers. The story of The Lost Tales picks up several years after the events of its original story, and follows several of its major characters in new adventures set against the backdrop of the Babylon 5 universe.
Nov. 13, 2006, 11:56 a.m. CST
by Richard J. Kimble
Space Nazi Lizards beat President Tron.
Nov. 13, 2006, 11:58 a.m. CST
by Childe Roland
...but it was too difficult to catch up with all the story I'd missed and I ultimately wrote it off. Is it worth revisiting or does it all pretty much play like the basebound episodes of DS9?
Nov. 13, 2006, noon CST
by Dollar Bird
...called B5ers? Maybe not. It's been a long time. I liked the show's long story arcs, but cringed whenever there was a cute episode. They just felt lame, not funny. Here's to hoping that these DVDs are of the quality B5 stories, not the cutesy ones. (Like the one where during a huge space battle, the viewer was treated to the conversation of two schlubby custodians during the whole thing. Less janitors and more space fights!)
Nov. 13, 2006, 12:02 p.m. CST
by Billy Oblivion
Not sure if I care about new stuff now that Andreas is gone. Rick was terrific as well and will be sorely missed. But if the show had a soul, it was Andreas.
Nov. 13, 2006, 12:05 p.m. CST
by Randy Sims
He knows what has happened and what will happen. Zathras knows all!
Nov. 13, 2006, 12:13 p.m. CST
B5 is the best sci-fi tv show ever. Period. It so outclassed Star Trek in it's storytelling and characterization that it's not even funny. These were real people, (or aliens) with conflicting beliefs and motivations. It was just so much more realistic than Star Treks happy assortment of communists. Production value was where Trek beat B5. Hopefully these new movies will get the proper budget to do the stories justice. I can't wait.
Nov. 13, 2006, 12:16 p.m. CST
by Billy Oblivion
Don't get me wrong, DS9 was a good show -- as good as Trek gets, IMO. But B5 was a totally different thing. B5 had more to say about the light and dark sides of love, hate, sacrifice, redemption, faith, and ambition than any TV series I ever saw. Balanced against that you have sets that wouldn't have passed muster on Mystery Science Theater and dialog that completely misses viewers addicted to snappy one liners.
Nov. 13, 2006, 12:28 p.m. CST
the first time round, but I think you had to be there. Watching it ten years later it didn't stand up too well and new viewers just don't have the required nostalgia factor to enjoy it. The conclusion of the Shadow War seemed fluffed and some of the dialogue was buttock clenchingly awful (I AM INVANOVA! I AM DEATH!) but that this news might make me battle through the rest of Season 5 prior to watching the new stuff.
Nov. 13, 2006, 12:29 p.m. CST
by Nick Michalak
Man, I honestly don't know when the last time was that I actually watched an episode of B5, don't even start with the movies. I have lots of episodes on VHS, but again, been forever since I watched them. I wonder, in the Girabali story, will we get Bester back? I always loved Walter Koenig in that role, and Girabaldi was one of my favorites next to Londo and G'Kar (RIP). -NJM
Nov. 13, 2006, 12:43 p.m. CST
Is this really going to happen? After so many false starts on (post-series) B5 projects, how can anyone trust this is real? Still putting money on nothing ever coming of this. Won't believe it until I see it for sale at Best Buy.
Nov. 13, 2006, 12:51 p.m. CST
It's happening right now! Filming started today! Reading comprehension- try it, you might like it.
Nov. 13, 2006, 12:55 p.m. CST
Actually, TOO LATE!, but I had to say it.
Nov. 13, 2006, 12:55 p.m. CST
JMS has stated that he would never recast the roles of any of the actors who hve passed so we will never see G'Kar, Dr. Franklin or Zathrus again. :( This is also the reason that we're not seeing the B5 movie that Warners wanted right now, as the passing of his friends Rick and Andreas is still too soon for him to envision a big screen story without those two characters. This way with the new direct to DVD stuff, he gets to keep interest in the franchise alive and still tell some stories centered on the other individual characters.
Nov. 13, 2006, 1:06 p.m. CST
I watched B5 and DS9 when they were both first-run series, and I wish there was a comparison that showed how DS9 aped the hell out of B5. When B5 got The Shadows as a cool ancient all-powerful enemy, DS9 came up with "The Dominion." When B5 had a knockdown drag-out between the station and Earth, DS9 pulled a fight between its station and the Klingons out of its ass. One big difference in the shows was that B5 had a head writer, and an arc that it strictly followed, whereas DS9 followed the Trek formula of episodic TV where next to nothing changes, and let's make up crap as we go along. If you liked the last season of DS9, imagine if they'd bothered to plan out the previous seasons where things happened for a reason rather than because Berman and Braga liked a new writer. Plus, B5 ate Trek's lunch on several concepts that Trek has ruined over and over, especially time travel (watch B5's "War Without End" to see how time travel SHOULD be done), and there were never any episodes dedicated to the latest movies (Bashir's 007 holodeck fantasies to try and capture the James Bond hype) or ones where holodecks threatened to destroy the station.
Nov. 13, 2006, 1:11 p.m. CST
There's also a half completed B5 video game out there, an aborted major motion picture and numerous false-start spinoffs. With B5, I've just learned not to get excited until the finished product becomes available. Today's filming be damned.
Nov. 13, 2006, 2:24 p.m. CST
This is a peek into your future!
Nov. 13, 2006, 2:33 p.m. CST
I have to agree with a lot of what Nodwick is saying. I really liked DS9 and it is in fact the only series I have purchased on DVD, but DS9 was clearly influenced by what was happening in B5.
Nov. 13, 2006, 2:42 p.m. CST
Leave it where it is. I'm the biggest B5 dork out here. Everything that followed season 4 was crap. Crapcrapcrap. The story was finished. Write something else.
Nov. 13, 2006, 2:43 p.m. CST
While we're figuring out names for B5 fans (B5ers?), what about Star Wars fans? That one has eluded me as well. (Is it really "Warsies"? I hope not.)
Nov. 13, 2006, 2:46 p.m. CST
Speaking as an apologetic B5 fan, Straczynki's writhing usually only truly shines in long form, meaning the season-long arcs. The movies have all been rather weak. That said, I have high hopes and am ecstatic for more B5 goodness.
Nov. 13, 2006, 2:50 p.m. CST
I seem to remember reading that JMS once jokingly dubbed B5 fans the 'Incredibly Discerning In-Crowd' (IDIC), but it never caught on.. It's a reference to Vulcans I think..
Nov. 13, 2006, 3:34 p.m. CST
...which is, at the very least, a tad cooler than "Browncoats." Whovians still own Trekkers, Trekkies, Losties, Scapers, Gaters, Niners, Dwarves, Warsies, Leapers, X-Philes, Ringers and the two guys who liked THRESHOLD.
Nov. 13, 2006, 3:39 p.m. CST
by Ninja Nerd
Which I will enjoy whilst watching said DVD upon release. B5 was, until BSG, the best Sci Fi to hit TV, ever. The Shadow War arc was one of the best stories, any genre, to be on the small screen. 'Lost' and the current others, even 'Heroes'...to which I am hopelessly addicted....have a ways to go to match or exceed the utter coolness of B5.
Nov. 13, 2006, 4:07 p.m. CST
You're completely right. Babylon 5 always struck me as the most intelligent science fiction around at that particular time, BSG has taken that crown gladly and now continues the tradition of adult oriented scifi. I love my DS9 but there's something to be said for non-trek and non-sw scifi in a more 'realistic' setting. People angry at each other, the world isn't at harmony etc etc. Unfortunately, ANY fan of Babylon 5 will dearly miss the charisma and screen presence of the good Doctor and G'Kar. God knows Andreas Katsulas was my favorite actor on the show, god rest both their souls. They'll be sorely missed, lets hope these movies do their memories proud and kudos, much kudos, to Straczynski for insisting nobody ever replace them in their roles. I'd hate to see G'Kar played by anyone else. Stock footage is one option I'd rather see than that.
Nov. 13, 2006, 4:55 p.m. CST
BCO, as in "bisexual cat owner"
Nov. 13, 2006, 5:10 p.m. CST
oh you guys..you guys..you didn't think i'd catch it did you..you..you..</END ROBERT DENIRO IMPRESSION>
Nov. 13, 2006, 5:47 p.m. CST
I'm relieved Peter is returning as Galen- the rumor over recasting him with a bigger name star for the aborted theatrical film was seemingly one of the factors that lead to the film being abandoned (alongside the deaths and the falling-through of an investor). What Crusade was building up to quite obviously made the series feel more like "B5 Season 6", and I'm glad there's still hope for Crusade's story to be told in some manner ("There is always hope- only because it's the one thing that no one has figured out how to kill yet.") after the last attempt (Legend of the Rangers) fell through due to the one football game.
Nov. 13, 2006, 5:58 p.m. CST
BTW, for those who found Crusade slightly lacking, I highly reccomend the following episode order to view it in (it's a slightly modified version of the JMS Sci-Fi order), as it corrects the continuity errors of the TNT/DVD order, spaces out the Technomage-centered episodes and helps make the Lochley/Gideon stuff flow better, not to mention (IMO, most importantly) presents a really endearing character arc for Max, you just have to ignore the uniforms switching back and forth and ignore War Zone completely for the trash that it is: 1) Racing the Night (DVD disc three), 2) The Memory of War (DVD disc three), 3) The Needs of Earth (DVD disc three), 4) The Long Road (DVD disc one), 5) Vistitors From Down the Street (DVD disc three), 6) The Well of Forever (DVD disc one), 7) Ruling From the Tomb (DVD disc two), 8) Patterns of the Soul (DVD disc two), 9) Each Night I Dream of Home (DVD disc four), 10) The Path of Sorrows (DVD disc one), 11) The Rules of the Game (DVD disc two), 12) Appearances and Other Deceits (DVD disc two). After that, track down the scripts for three of the unfilmed episodes: To the Ends of the Earth (deals with the Shadow Hybrid ship), Value Judgements (involves Bester, post-Telepath War), & The End of the Line (season finale, involving Galen's purpose and Earthforce's involvement with Shadowtech).
Nov. 13, 2006, 9:07 p.m. CST
If you gave it the time to grow into it. If you just checked out a single episode or two or whatever then you had no chance, and it would look a little lame and clueless, especially during the first season. It was a show you had to get in synch with, but once you were in it's unique groove it was pretty great. <p>That said, it was also a show very much of it's time, and every trip back to the well since has been pretty damn horrible. The fifth season was pretty wonky and never met it's promises, Crusade was a bit of a lame duck (though it had potential), and Legend Of The Rangers, well, best not even talk about that one. Hell, even JMS and WB don't bother mentioning that one again. As such it feels like something that should just be let rest.<p> Still, I'll check these out, and if JMS actually starts tying off some of the loose ends left out there, while also bringing new stuff to the B5 universe, and doing so while bringing the quality, then hey, what the hell. We'll see.
Nov. 13, 2006, 10:06 p.m. CST
Just FYI: The reason season 5 wasn't as good as the others was that JMS didn't know if he'd HAVE a 5th season, and so he finished up the War of the Shadows arc in season 4. When given 5, he had to tread water and do the setup for Crusade (and other "empire building" stories that led to the future scenes we'd seen in the series). As for Crusade, it had great potential, but TNT kept screwing with it. Look for the memos on the 'net between JMS and the execs. They're the ones that killed the show, which is a shame, because I liked Gary Cole's character a lot. I have no idea why "Legend of the Rangers" was as awful as it was, though.
Nov. 13, 2006, 10:30 p.m. CST
Congrats, Joe. Can't wait! (Though I will, fullness-of-time and all.)
Nov. 13, 2006, 10:44 p.m. CST
by Tin Snoman
JMS wrote most episodes of the Real Ghostbusters cartoon.
Nov. 13, 2006, 11:05 p.m. CST
At least one ep of the 80's "Twilight Zone," "Captain Power," and a few eps of "She-Ra, Princess of Power."
Nov. 14, 2006, 12:07 a.m. CST
But then with Sheridan I found I couldn't wait for Sunday to roll around, something about his "Bill Clinton in space" that worked so well. Certain episodes moved me to tears, especially the Narn's beautiful sacrifice when the station was attacked. I agree, watching it a decade on it seems a little lacking, which is why it's important to keep the franchise going. In the Beginning remains the best movie by far, they should go for something similar, action and drama tied closely with the past. Bablers never die.
Nov. 14, 2006, 12:43 a.m. CST
PARAMOUNT VIDEO TO RELEASE BRAND NEW “DEEP SPACE 9” MADE FOR VIDEO IN 2007 DEEP SPACE 9: THE UNSEEN STORIES TO BEGIN PRODUCTION NOVEMBER 12, 2006 HOLLYWOOD, CA, November 12, 2006 – Paramount Home Video and Paramount Television have announced the start of production of “Deep Space 9: The Unseen Stories”, a made-for-video movie that will be targeted towards the Star Trek loyal audience and science-fiction fans in general . This made-for-DVD release will include two new Deep Space 9 stories collectively entitled “Listening in the Shadows” in one film plus exclusive behind the scenes content. “Deep Space 9” was the most unique and original contribution to the STAR TREK universe ever, and the producers plan to continue that tradition with this new release, which is in no way inspired by or connected to the creation or release of anything else, no matter how similar appearances may be, how suspicious the timing is, or how much physical or anecdotal evidence exists to the contrary. “We are very excited to be releasing this new made-for-video release filled with original content for ‘Deep Space 9’, one of the most successful science fiction series of all time,” said producer Rick Berman, re-hired by Paramount just for this project. “This popular TV show which has been off the air for a few years continues to have a strong loyal fan base that is hungry for more content. This is the first time we’re utilizing one of our popular TV franchises as a made-for-video title, and we have a strong commitment to the growth of this sector. I have always been very proud to be associated with “Deep Space 9” and I’m confident the “Unseen Stories” will add to the legacy of this very special franchise.” On an immense space station taken over by the Federation in the 24th Century, the crew of Deep Space 9 is charged with maintaining the peace among the various alien races by providing a sanctuary where grievances and negotiations can be worked out among duly appointed ambassadors. Aside from its diplomatic function, Deep Space 9 also serves as a military post for the Federation and a port of call for travelers, traders, businessmen, criminals, and those pesky anthropomorphized non-humans. The story of “The Unseen Stories” picks up several years after the events of its original story, and follows several of its major characters in new adventures set against the backdrop of the “Deep Space 9” universe. Release date is to be announced, but is promised to come before the release of any other similar release by another company.
Nov. 14, 2006, 1:14 a.m. CST
and any other similar releases of this nature are in fact complete ripoffs of the DS9 concept, which came first and is better.
Nov. 14, 2006, 1:32 a.m. CST
A lot of shows had slow (or repetitive) first seasons in that era ("Millennium" springs to mind). The studios wanted a "complete" season for syndication in case they canned the whole show. At least JMS was able to work in a few seeds that were followed up on in later shows.
Nov. 14, 2006, 1:57 a.m. CST
That's a classic. BTW, I think he even spent a short while on "Walker, Texas Ranger". Point being, nobody's perfect. There were bills to pay.
Nov. 14, 2006, 1:58 a.m. CST
But what it did good it did REALLY GOOD. I still maintain it has the best overall story arc of any TV show ever made. Plus a time-travel sub-plot the execution of which has to be seen to be believed. And at least two season cliffhangers worthy of Season One Galactica. If you can get past the cheap sets and visual effects and somewhat strange acting, you will be amazed. And now with this DVD movie, it seems there won't be any cheap sets and weak VFX - which sounds great. I'll wait and see.
Nov. 14, 2006, 2:20 a.m. CST
There were two things that made Legend of the Rangers so subpar for B5- one, JMS supposedly had to write it very quickly (I've heard a week given as a figure), which might explain the annoyingly repetitive use of the Ranger mantra, and, two, they ran out of budget for the weapons system console originally intended, so they came up with the zero-G cyber chamber thing at the last moment to take it's place (had the show gone to series, that weapons chamber would have been the first thing to go).--I think the show could have worked had it gone to series and they'd been given an opportunity to iron out those wrinkles, as there were quite a few fun characters (the Minbari friend of the captain, for example) that had potential. Not to mention we might have seen a Crusade revival had LOTR's first season been successful (as Season 2 or 3 of LOTR would have overlapped with the events of Crusade) and had two B5 shows running simultaneously. Damn football game ruined everything, though.
Nov. 14, 2006, 3:48 a.m. CST
I know I'm completely in my own world here, but the zero-G weapons chamber is one of the few things I actually enjoy about LOTR.. As bad as it may have been in concept, I thought it was as well executed as could be hoped, that the effects worked, and that watching Sarah Cantrell spinning round like that made great eye-candy.. Andreas Katsulas' OTT luvvie performance (his swansong) was for me the single most disappointing aspect of that movie, though a lot of that can be blamed on the writing. But then I'm one of the people that likes 'Infection' as well..
Nov. 14, 2006, 7:10 a.m. CST
B5 is indeed flawed, but no more so than any good series. Look at ST:TNG as a comparison for quality control. B5 as a shorter run series, probably has less issues overall that TNG, but the frequency is probably about the same. Some of the writing is spotty. Dialog could be a bit stilted, but for every "I am Ivanova. I am death!" line there is an equally eloqent speech or conversation, usually by G'Kar. The acting is spotty as well but the most frequent offenders were guests and not the regular cast, but overall, the quality of the show was top notch. If you liked the darker DS9, I'd say B5 is worth a review. 4 out of 5 *.
Nov. 14, 2006, 7:18 a.m. CST
Hightlights: Katsulas and Jurasik [sp?] as G'Kar and Lando. Kosh #1. Boxleitner as Cmdr. Sheridan. Koenig as Bester [a GREAT villain]. Lowlights: O'Hare as Cmdr. Sinclair [stuffed shirt]. The gal who played Talia Winters [her name escapes me but she always looked like she was acting to me]. Jeff Conway as Zack Allen [always looked like he was waiting for a fix].
Nov. 14, 2006, 8:32 a.m. CST
I love B5 and the Dominion Wars of DS9. We have to give credit to B5 for pushing DS9 to producing solid stories. I felt the first few years of DS9 to be really rocky and inconsistant. B5 on the other hand was solid every episode.
Nov. 14, 2006, 8:33 a.m. CST
The effects were phenonemal considering the meagre budget that JMS had compared to other shows. It is a shame that a B5 videogame never came out...
Nov. 14, 2006, 11:01 a.m. CST
by Spaceman Spliff
B5 fans are called "Lurkers," if memory serves, after the denizens of the stations underworld (think "steerage"). I was a big B5 fan when it came out, but it just doesn't stand up to repeat viewing. JMS has a puzzling habit of casting bland white guys as leader-types, and his dialogue is better suited to the page than the screen. (And don't get me started on the acting.) Having said that, though, he did things with the series that had never been done before, and that the genre desperately needed. What was most inspiring to me as a writer was that he made aliens individuals, and not merely agents of their race's political interests (something which Star Trek is supremely guilty of). Unfortunately, in most other respects I think to myself "What would Joe Straczynski do?" and then do the opposite. I hope he doesn't write this one. Just watch the B5 ep penned by Gaiman and you'll see what I mean. It's a breath of fresh air, and it makes you wonder "What if?" in the same way "City on the Edge of Forever" makes you wish Harlan Ellison had written every ST:TOS episode. (I DO hope he brings back the Pak'Ma'Ra. Those guys are hilarious!) Be seeing you...
Nov. 14, 2006, 11:06 a.m. CST
by Spaceman Spliff
Having trashed the acting on B5, I think it's only fair to point out that Andreas Katsulas and Peter Jurasik were AWESOME. I'm so glad JMS pitted them against each other. The way he flipped their roles around was masterful. (G'Kar started out as the heavy with Londo the comic relief. Then G'Kar found religion and Londo sold his soul for power.) Very cool.
Nov. 14, 2006, 11:40 a.m. CST
The "episode written by Gaiman" was a filler ep that provided nothing interesting except for the tidbit that Lochley was a drug-addicted party girl before joining Earthforce. Morden's appearance was wasted, Adiera and Dodger were nothing more than undead bootie calls (although it's nice that Londo had one more nice day), and most people wondered "Where the hell was Marcus?" Not a big fan of this one, or any of Season 5 in general. Even the second half of Season 5, that most people use as defense for the first half of Season 5, really wasn't up to par with Seasons 2-4. And by the way, there was NO Crusade set up in Season 5 - it was all done in the film "A Call to Arms"
Nov. 14, 2006, 11:46 a.m. CST
Most of the actors grew into their roles and got better as time passed. Claudia's performance after learning of the death of Marcus is fantastic. Jerry Doyle was excellent throughout Season 4's "face of the enemy" arc, Richard Biggs had some great dialogue when he wasn't shouting, and Boxleitner became a very solid and strong lead. All of the finale of "Sleeping in Light" is a keeper (except for Conaway).
Nov. 14, 2006, 1:35 p.m. CST
by Spaceman Spliff
Funny we should disagree so starkly, Zath_ras. In "Day of the Dead" I thought Gaiman made me finally appreciate Capt. Lochley in a way I never had before. (I always saw her as a cheap replacement character with no depth.) On the other hand, I thought Ivanova's reaction to Marcus' death was just as over-the-top as everyone else's performances. Totally unbelievable. "Sleeping in Light" had the elderly Delenn, right? Not crazy about her angry monologue, actually. I don't know if it was the Slovenian accent or what, but she always sounded like she was out of breath to me. Biggs I liked. (And I've been a fan of his sexy assistant Jennifer Balgobin (Dr. Hobbs) since "Weird Science" and "Roadside Prophets.")
Nov. 14, 2006, 1:55 p.m. CST
by Lezbo Milk
in the sets, I'm all over it. Maybe the set design will be better this time around? The stories were always pretty darn good.
Nov. 14, 2006, 1:56 p.m. CST
But B5 didn't have Garak, so DS9 wins.
Nov. 14, 2006, 3:32 p.m. CST
by Red Ned Lynch
No, actually, too late. Hey, I liked Babylon 5 a lot, but season 5 of the show (hey, I know there were events beyond the control of the creators) and the not very good (once again, already know) Crusades killed any enthusiasm I had for any more. The story was told, the best actor and most compelling character from the series is gone, and anything else is just profiteering. Seriously, if you really liked seasons 2-4 of this show, do you really want to see this walking corpse?
Nov. 14, 2006, 3:39 p.m. CST
Though it wasn't blatant, Season 5 set up the threat of left-over Shadowtech (a plotline which would have come to the forefront by the end of Crusade's first season), the need for "whitestar destroyers" (the Victory-class) and the looming threat of the Telepath War (whose aftermath or actual events factored into at least 3 episodes in the first season) and the Psi-Corps hidden fleet. Plus Season 5 built up a lot about Lochley that started to play out in her appearances in Crusade.
Nov. 14, 2006, 3:41 p.m. CST
by Red Ned Lynch
Right you are. Rhose two were the heart of the show, and the relationship between them is by miles and miles the best thing JMS has ever or likely will ever create. Although I'll always have a soft spot for Patricia Tallman, who did some work for George Romero (Knightriders and the Savini helmed NOTLD remake. And Doyle was workmanlike. As for that Day of the Dead episode, though...can't go with you there. Written all right, but the fact that Scoggins was such a horrible actress sank it pretty comprehensively, and because it was a character bit for a one season replacement clone it seemed like a waste of an ep.
Nov. 14, 2006, 3:43 p.m. CST
by Red Ned Lynch
Koenig was a great villain. Who'd have ever thought he had it in him?
Nov. 14, 2006, 3:44 p.m. CST
..was over the top, but on purpose- JMS said as much: "Yeah, it was a bit over the top, deliberately so. I put it in the category of a boxer who's going up against an opponent who may be well matched...and wants to psych the other person out. If you look at "Give me liberty or give me death!" or similar statements, made to rally support or make a point, they're generally bigger than life, a bit over the top. That's so we can know where the top is so we can climb up there ourselves."
Nov. 14, 2006, 7:16 p.m. CST
by Spaceman Spliff
Koenig was indeed a great villain. He wasn't evil, but he had his own agenda. (It's what I loved about Farscape's Scorpius.) Regarding JMS' reasons for the "I am death" line: He's always overexplaining like that. Most of me thinks it's just ex-post-facto rationalization (aka, bullshit).
Nov. 15, 2006, 12:20 a.m. CST
Eh, he usually comes clean when it comes down failure on his part as the writer (see: Grey 16 is Missing).