Tag Archives: Babylon5

Cynicism in DS9 vs. B5

We recently watched an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Accession, in which an ancient Bajoran ship comes out of the wormhole carrying a single passenger, who claims he is the Emissary of the Prophets. Kira recognizes his name as a revered poet from hundreds of years ago, one whom every Bajoran studies in school.

There will be spoilers for this 15-year-old episode, so stop reading if that sort of thing bothers you.

Sisko is all too happy to hand over the Emissary job until Akorem gives a speech insisting that the Prophets want Bajor to return to a rigid caste system from their past…something with implications both political (the Federation is less likely to approve their petition for membership, and the First Minister belongs to the farmer caste, not the political caste) and personal (Bajorans start deferring to “higher” castes, and Kira is faced with resigning her position to become an artist).

About halfway through the episode, I came to the following conclusion: Akorem was a fraud, put in place by an organization that wanted to keep Bajor out of the Federation, depose the current leadership, and specifically re-establish that caste system. They’d specifically chosen a figure who would be instantly recognized and revered, but who (as was mentioned early on) had no descendants, and therefore no one to do a DNA comparison against.

That’s not how it turned out, though. In the end, he turns out to be exactly who he claimed to be, just misguided about what the Prophets wanted…which was basically to remind Sisko to do his job as Emissary.

Katie had an interesting thought, though: If it had been an episode of Babylon 5, there’s a good chance I would have been right (or at least close). I was just trying to figure out the story in terms of the wrong show.

Maybe I was thrown off by the mysterious figure from the past who repeatedly asked the Captain, “Who are you?” in a dark part of the station, trying to get him to give the right answer. :-D

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What the Hell Happened To Crusade: What the Hell Happened?

I stumbled on “Crusade: What the Hell Happened? vol.1″ (released last August) while packing, and wondered what happened to book 2. Apparently I’m not the only one wondering that, because it turns out that the website just posted an update last week, saying:

Volume 2 is still a work-in-progress. We will send out a news alert the moment it is released.

Now there’s timing!

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Whatever Happened to B5: Crusade?

Ever since J. Michael Straczynski started selling his Babylon 5 script book series, I’ve been hoping we’d get a book with the scripts from the spinoff Crusade. Especially the scripts that were finished, but never produced, and would have set up the real story. That whole thing about finding a cure for the Drakh plague before it wiped out Earth? JMS strongly hinted at the time that it wasn’t going to be the main arc, but rather the mission that got the Excalibur out there and exploring, at which point they’d get caught up in the main story.

Two of the scripts were made available briefly on an e-reader site, using a Java applet that was specifically designed to make it as hard as possible to copy and paste anything (and incidentally made it a serious pain to, y’know, read it, which may be why the site is long gone). As I recall, they included a project to reverse-engineer Shadow technology, and the first hints that the Technomages used Shadow tech (before Jeanne Cavelos’ novels fleshed out that connection in detail.)

Anyway, we’re still waiting for the Crusade scripts, but here’s the next best thing: Crusade: Behind the Scenes.

Characters, story, world-building, production issues and design, executive meddling, interviews with the cast and crew, photos, etc.

There’s a note at the end of the write-up:

CRUSADE: Behind the Scenes does NOT contain any of the show’s scripts. It is a compilation of interviews and images. The Crusade scripts, including those that were never filmed, will appear in J. Michael Straczynski’s forthcoming 3-volume series, “CRUSADE: What the Hell Happened”

Sadly, given the title, I suspect the script books are a joke. But who knows? Stranger things have happened with B5.

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Drazi Peeps

Purple and Green Peeps

Green! Purple!

(For an explanation, read up on the Drazi effect.)

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B5 Movie Scripts

Aha! JMS has released the Babylon 5 TV movie script book! All we need now is Crusade… #

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More B5 Books: Babylon 5 Chronology

Wow.  The Babylon 5 Scripts team keeps finding more ways to get my money.  The latest: The Chronologies of Babylon 5.  And it includes every single piece of B5 canon, down to the six short stories JMS wrote after the series ended and even the unproduced Crusade scripts.

The script books have mostly been interesting for the commentary and supplemental material. Though I was disappointed that they couldn’t get Neil Gaiman to write an intro for his Day of the Dead script in the latest volume. It just reprinted the contents of the solo script book you can get from the CBLDF, which has a brief intro by JMS and a handful of footnotes by Neil Gaiman.

So, here’s what we’ve got so far (including what’s been announced):

  • 15 volumes of Babylon 5 scripts by J. Michael Straczynski.
  • 3 volumes of “Other Voices,” the B5 scripts by other writers.
  • 1 volume of the B5 TV movie scripts (announced).
  • 1 volume of chronology (with a Q&A and presumably commentary).

In theory, that covers everything except Crusade, which is what I’m really looking forward to. Probably two or three volumes, and I’d hope they’d include the unproduced scripts. IIRC there are two by JMS and one by Fiona Avery, and the Chronology list mentions one that was assigned but not written. The two JMS scripts used to be available online through some PITA Java-based reader that theoretically prevented people from copying the text (though that can’t stop screenshots or manual transcription), but also made it really difficult to do things like scroll. The site folded years ago, probably in the dot-com crunch, and they haven’t seen the light of day since. I remember one of them contained the first indication of a link between Techno-Mages and the Shadows.

Back to the chronology: on one hand, it feels like they’re starting to milk the audience for all it’s worth now that they’ve seen the success of the script book series.  On the other hand, it’s only one additional volume.  And it looks really cool…

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B5 Script Series Shutting Down

I just got an email with the reminder that J. Michael Straczynski’s Babylon 5 Script Book Series is going out of print at the end of the month. Monday, June 30 is the last day.

It’s hardly a surprise, since the series was always advertised as a limited edition.

The weird thing is that they’re also shutting down the related store, with all the quote merchandise, until August. Presumably that includes the Londo/G’Kar campaign signs as well.

Meanwhile, the companion series, Other Voices, with scripts and commentary by the other writers who worked on the show, just released the second book. (To give you an idea of just how much of B5 JMS wrote, his scripts take up 14 volumes. The others add up to just 3.) It’s been interesting to compare the different styles of commentary. Some wrote epics, some did Q&A or interview-style introductions, and David Gerrold simply wrote half a page about why he resisted writing “Believers,” and what he did when he realized exactly why they wanted him to write it.

I hate to admit it, but I’ve only just started reading the bonus volume of the original set last weekend (in between bouts of re-reading The Ringworld Throne and writing). After so many years wondering “what would have happened if Sinclair had stayed?” you’d think I’d be in a bigger hurry to find out. Okay, I was busy with the whole moving thing, and then unpacking, and then trying to catch up on a fan site, and then trying to launch a blog, and I keep getting sucked into comic forums…

I think I need to sleep more.

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TV of the Future

TV Guide has a list of when TV shows are coming back now that the writers’ strike is over. (via ***Dave)

So, what’s happening to the shows we watch?

Battlestar Galactica

Returns April 4 with first half of 20-episode final season. Production on second half could start as early as March. Airdate for those TBD.

Seeing as how we don’t currently get the Sci-Fi Channel (we discovered BSG through DVDs), this means it’s time to figure out whether to mess with cable/satellite, watch it at someone else’s place, or hope that they’ll continue offering episodes online through iTunes or something.

Heroes

No new episodes expected until fall.

Pretty much expected that, given the way they were talking at the end of the “fall season.”

Journeyman

No new episodes expected. Ever.

And I continue my history of discovering interesting TV shows after they’ve already been canceled. (Actually, I have an even longer history of this with comic books. The first comic I ever bought, back in 1984, was issue #19 of Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew, which lasted 20 issues.)

Lost

Six pre-strike episodes remain. Expected to shoot five additional episodes to air in April/May.

TV Guide interviewed Carlton Cuse on this recently (via aeryncrichton). They’d already shot 8 episodes of the 16-episode season, and plan to condense the second half of the season into 5—presumably because that’s how many they can actually finish during this production season.

This could actually work out well for them. One of the reasons season 4 of Babylon 5 was so good (aside from paying off on 4 years of setup) was that JMS shifted up his timetable so that he could wrap up the foreground plotlines by the end of the season he knew he had, instead of ending with a cliffhanger and hoping he could wrap them up in the first third of a season 5 that looked increasingly unlikely. The result was an extremely intense season that is widely regarded as the best year of the show.

And let’s be honest, Lost hasn’t exactly been known for compressed storytelling.

On the other hand, there’s the last few episodes of Angel to consider as a counter-example.

Pushing Daisies

No new episodes until fall.

On the plus side, this means it’s actually been renewed! This had “Too good to last” written all over it!

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Four pre-strike episodes remain. Future beyond that TBD.

I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this one. I enjoy it while I’m watching it, and it’s much, much better than Terminator 3, but I don’t find myself looking forward to it between episodes. Even if it does have Summer Glau beating people up.

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Babylon 5 Scripts: The Bonus Volume

Babylon 5: The Scripts of J. Michael Straczynski
Hard to believe, but J. Michael Straczynski’s Babylon 5 Script Books are almost done. Volume 13 of 14 just shipped (my copy arrived today by UPS), and it’s time to talk about the bonus volume 15, only available to people who’ve bought a complete set.

This is the book that has alternate versions of several episodes, the series writer’s bible…and a complete outline of the original arc with Sinclair all the way through. The site has a description of the contents, but how to get it is a bit out of date. Vol.13 shipped with a notice that they’ve changed the procedure.

Instead of waiting until you receive all 14 volumes, then filling out a proof of purchase form, you need to fill out a form before ordering #14, and they’ll ship #14 and #15 together. The form is at babylon5scripts.com/proof and collects your name, address, and the order numbers for the other 14 books. If you ordered them all through the same CafePress account, it’s easy: Log onto CafePress, look at your order history, and then copy and paste the numbers into the form.

Admittedly, “easy” depends entirely on how much other stuff you’ve made through CafePress. Unfortunately they only list order numbers on the history page, so you have to click through each number to see what was actually ordered. This makes it a perfect job for middle-clicking the links on Firefox (open in background tab): I just went down the list, clicking away, and then I had each order in a tab. Click, copy, click, paste. Repeat.

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Londo/G’Kar in 2008!

This just showed up in my email from babylon5scripts.com:

J. Michael Straczynski with campaign sign: Londo/ G’Kar ’08: How much worse could it be?

From JMS’s Cafe Press store (the same site through which he’s selling his script books with commentary):

With the coming 2008 elections, there aren’t a lot of candidates we can agree upon. So as a public service, we are now providing a slate of candidates that will bring the country together in common cause and preserve many of this nations’ finest electoral traditions.

Slates available include Londo/G’Kar, G’Kar/Londo, and Zathras/Zathras (trained in crisis management!)

I remember having an unofficial Sheridan/Ivanova ’96 (or possibly Sheridan/Delenn) bumper sticker, but I’m fairly certain it was a homemade “Elect The Brain” (as in Pinky and the…) sticker that I actually put on my car that year.

Now if only they’d used the correct punctuation on the ’08 instead of trusting smart quotes. (That should be an apostrophe, not a left single quote.)

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