Babylon Podcast #3: Bear Burge / Midnight on the Firing Line (Season 1)

This week, we talk with Bear Burge, master prop fabricator.

image courtesy Hi-Impact Props and Costumes

Bear tells us all about creating the small details that that go far in creating the illusions that are essential for a good scifi show, and relates some tales about making some of his favorite props.

Tim and Summer also discuss “Midnight on the Firing Line” (Season 1, Episode 1).

Bear’s photo courtesy of Hi-Impact Props and Costumes

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  1. Ben Hall (UK) says

    Another interesting and stimulating episode.

    I found the interview with Bear particular interesting due to the fact that people like that very rarely have an opportunity to get there stories told.

    The discussion of 101 (Midnight on the Firing Line) was interesting and got me discussing some things with my fiance, for the most part though ive got to side with Summer on this one. Especially the introduction of Ivanova’s character, Garibaldi’s reply summed up the fact that while she is abrupt she has a depth and a heart in the right place.

    On a separate note and from someone who doesn’t listen to a lot of podcasts I was a little dismayed by the adverts/pro-mos that popped up twice within the show. While both were amusing (to a degree though that might be stretching it) and relevant to sci-fi/geekdom I fail to see the reason for them. Or was it just a case of mutual back scratching (I scratch yours, you scratch mine)?

    Anyway I look forward to the next episode and any more interesting interviews that may be coming up in the future. I’m assuming it will include a suitable tribute to Andreas Katsulas. Until then, see you around.

  2. Glad you enjoyed the show, Ben! If our show prompts you and other fans to keep discussing B5, then we’ve done our job.

    As for the promos, that is pretty typical for podcasts. Back-scratching though, sounds so heartless. πŸ™‚ The idea is that if you like our ‘cast, you just might want to check out the Dragon Page shows, or the Kick-Ass Mystic Ninjas podcast.

  3. Promos are the best way to let listeners know about other shows they might find interesting, ones they might not normally know about or go looking for.

    And yes, promos are commonly used in the talk show and music show podcasts, unless you’re primarily listening to audiobooks and audio dramas, which are very different in format and style.

  4. Ben Hall (UK) says

    Thanks for the replys guys, that clears up the promo thing, until you came along I really didnÒ€ℒt bother with pod casts that much. My only gripe being that the adverts break up the flow of the show and im really only here for the B5 goodness. I will however get over that as I have with TV and commercial radio.

    In connection with your discussion over B5 V Trek ive found something recently that has brought this to my attention.

    The death of Andreas Katsulas.

    Now this seams cold and indeed it is, but in the world of online forums, anything seams sayable and doable. Due to his appearance as a semi recurring Romulan in Trek and of course his amazing role in B5 (yes im very biased) the debate over which is better has come up yet again. In a forum I frequent based at a tribute to him has been turned into a slanging match over the quality of the respective shows. This really disappoints me and I have done my best to put it back on track, though the results of my efforts are not evident yet.

    Just thought I would mention that.

  5. Wow, I just read the email from Sandy about Andreas’ passing. I don’t know quite what to say to voice the loss that I feel and that all of the B5 Universe. So many images of him and his portrayal of G’Kar come to mind and one seems to me to epitomize all that he did. The image of G’Kar coming back to Sheridan with the constitution saying for him to read it, that it was ‘better’. This is what I feel about Andreas, every time I saw him, he was even better than the last time.
    God Bless…


  6. A few words about Richard Biggs wouldn’t go astray either!

    Thanks for the show πŸ˜€

  7. Loved this week’s discussion and interview with Bear Burge. When I visited the set of BABYLON 5, Bear’s cage was my favorite spot. Bear was always creating some wonderful gadget from little things like the rings you get in a gum machine ring. I have a picture somewhere of the rifles Bear talks about in the interview. I’ll have to hunt around for it and send a copy so you can see what he is talking about.

    Can’t wait for the next edition to air.

  8. After listening to the episode I have to agree with Summer regarding “Midnight on the Firing Line”. I like that we just jump in to these people’s lives. I do not need to be spoon fed everything from the get go. Infact that was the beauty of JMS’s plan/style from the start. We didn’t know everything that happened before or what was going on. We learned some thing by being told, and other things we had to use our ‘intellect’ . This is why the show continues to gather new fans I think.. If you want spoon fed go watch CSI or Law and Order..

  9. The interview with Bear was interesting. Growing up running around a TV station I had great moemnts playing with props so I have a soft spot for them. Keep up the good work I am enjoying the podcasts a lot.

  10. Transit: NWB5 linked this. Phenomenal tribute to a great voice silenced. Video tribute. Superb production.
    [Yahoo! Groups] | thezocalo Main Page

    Our friend, John Hudgens, has created a touching tribute to Andreas Katsulas. I hope that you will all have a chance to view it — and enjoy the memories of Andreas as G’Kar.

    Quicktime 7 versions:

    Quicktime 6 and older Sorenson3 version:

    DVD image:

    This’ll be the page on my website for people to link to:

    {May want to append this to the comment page.}

  11. I’m afraid I have to disagree with Tim’s impression of the end of Talia Winter’s arc. Yes, it seemed to me that events were leading her towards something, perhaps a break of some sort with PsiCorps. When her final episode lead into her relationship with Ivanova, that felt right, too. “Aha!” I thought, “She’s helped Ivanova reconcile her past, and this new bond will help lead to Talia’s going rogue.” The actual outcome floored me, I totally didn’t see it coming. Apart from feeling horrified for poor Ivanova, I was unhappy about the whole inherent abruptness and unfairness of it–and then I realized how realistic it was. I considered it a stroke of brilliant (sorry, Joe) storytelling. How often in real life do things take an unexpected–even nasty–turn? Joss Whedon reminds us of that by killing off beloved characters, and we praise him for his exaltedness. How would I see JMS doing the same sort of thing any differently? At the time I knew nothing of the strife behind the scenes and, when I found out about it, I admit I was a little disappointed that was the driving force; still, my first impression, shock, surprise and then admiration, is the one I choose to retain when I think about how Talia’s end affected me. Cheers!

  12. Thanks for the comment, Mark, and I understand your thinking. However, i knew little of the behind-the-scenes strife at the time, and my first thought at the end of the episode was “Ms. Thompson wanted off the show.” Rewatching Season 2, I can see some points in prior episodes which could be interpreted differently in light of the “sleeper” personality element. But it sort of strains believability.

    To me one major theme in the five year epic is this: the choices we make bring us to points in our lives where we must make decisions that forever alter the course of our destinies. Unexpected – and nasty – turns happened throughout B5 stories: Keffer’s death, Anna’s return, Marcus’ sacrifice, Lennier’s fateful decision. But all of these had roots going back across the episodes, the years, the centuries. IMHO, the Talia arc was definitely headed in one direction, and then suddenly – illogically – snapped a completely different way and in the course of only one 45 minute episode.

    To the point about Whedon’s decision in “Serenity”, the loss of Wash was sudden and unexpected – but wholly believable in terms of the story. The Firefly gang were constantly courting lethal danger – hell, they had smacked the Reaver hive with a baseball bat, and someone was going to get stung. The timing and tension in that scene really was powerful.

    Anyway, thanks again Mark – it’s great to be able to continue to debate and discuss B5! πŸ™‚

  13. I, in turn, totally get where you’re coming from, Tim. This seems to me to be a classic Eye of the Beholder (what’s your saving throw?) moment, eh? All the best!

  14. Don’t need a saving throw – I’ve summoned Bigby’s Fist of Obscene Gesture!

  15. Podcast#3 was the first show I listened to. Great show! I think I will listen every week. I

  16. Oops! I wanted to say more & hit the submit button accidentally. I am sure that an Andreas tribute show will be coming soon. G’Kar was my favorite character on B5 & I am so saddened by Andreas’ passing. I did get to meet him once, at AgamemCon. He was such a nice person, & I even got to “re-enact” the scene where Londo & G’Kar strangle each other with him. I was laughing so hard afterwards, & so did he. He was such an amazing actor & person. I will miss him.

  17. Well done on show #3! Cool to hear the tales from backstage on B5–really nice to have this “in” via Jeffery; I look forward to more celebs, on- and off-screen from the B5 Universe.

    A nice discussion of “Midnight…”. I have to admit, I haven’t sat down and watched it for a time. I t does serve as a fine opener for those who, like me, did not see “The Gathering” for a long while–when it showed on TNT, as a matter of fact, so i did not see the original version of this movie/ep–will you guys do a comparison/contrast in the next ‘cast?

    The show is shaping up to be a fun ride–as Londo said; “Whatever you’re doing–keep it up!”

  18. Fear not, Todd, we jump back to “The Gathering” for a very very long discussion.

    I even have two pages of notes on differences between the original cut and the TNT re-edited version.

  19. Ben Hall (UK) says

    Just a quick question in relation to The Gathering. Is the cut on the DVD the original cut?

  20. No, Ben, the cut on both DVD sets (the single disc set with “The Gathering” and “In The Beginning”, and the Movies Collection) is the TNT revised cut.

    I also think the TNT revised cut is the version that’s on the WB released laserdisc, meaning there isn’t an American release of the original cut… that I know of. I can’t say about the VHS releases, but I thought the VHS release was the same as the laserdisc release.

  21. which begs the question πŸ™‚ where can we find a copy of the ORIGINAL cut!!!

  22. My best suggestion would be to go trolling online for shops or dealers that may still handle laserdiscs, and see if any of them have the Japanese import of “The Gathering”.

    To my knowledge, that’s the only existing version of the original cut, so I hope you have a friend that still has a laserdisc player! πŸ™‚

  23. Ben Hall (UK) says

    Yikes, i had no idea. That would be one hell of quest. Now i really want to see it.

  24. Awww heck then i’d have to go buy a laser disc player!! πŸ™‚
    hmmm wonder what version will show on AOHell?

  25. My guess would be that the TNT edit will be broadcast over AOL, mostly because I have no idea what the rights status is with the Stewart Copeland soundtrack.

    And good luck finding a laserdisc player… they stopped making them in 1999. I’ve seen them pop up now and again on eBay, folks selling packages of players with a handful of movies.

    I haven’t seen a copy of the Japanese import B5 pilot show up on eBay in about 2 years, however.

  26. I think “The Gathering” is JMS’s version of “Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope”. You’ll never see a fresh release where Solo shoots first; the original releases will be like finding the Holy Grail; you’ll need ancient technologies in order to view such releases; and generations hence will never believe that Greedo didn’t shoot first. Or that Delenn looked like a man, Kosh had hands, or Tim knew what he was talking about.

  27. πŸ™‚ yeah does make me glad that I have a vhs copy of the original release of Ep IV πŸ™‚
    oh well, life is too short to be getting caught up in such minutae
    yeah RIGHT!

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