Babylon Podcast #164: Feedbackapalooza

Welcome to Show #164!

No Jeffrey this week, he’s off being the big-time Hollywood producer. We miss the Vorlon, but he’s being wined and dined, so it’s all good.

Tim comments on his copy of “Asked and Answered: Volume 1”, and the slight differences between the finished version and the pre-production versions we’d already seen, and more.

Summer also regales the audience with select readings from her copy of the Fan Club provided “Crusade Writers Bible”, hopefully addressing some of the questions about Gideon’s Apocalypse Box, and Dureena’s proposed destiny.

And yes, the red Fan Club stamp means it’s official, so go ahead and buy that copy off of eBay, Gary.

Feedbackapalooza: Continuing the feedback from the previous show! Because of how much feedback we’ve been getting, we’re going to start including a few voicemails in each show, and hopefully keep them closer to the related shows.

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Babylon 5 Information Gathering: If you know of a dead or abandoned B5 related website that may be in need of a new home, let Summer know! Maybe we can mirror it here or house it on a sister site.

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Promo: Tuning Into SciFi TV: The “Torchwood: Children of Earth” Specials


  1. Neil Ottenstein says

    Haven’t listened to this yet, but I did find my Crusade Writers Bible and was about to call with a reading about the Apocalypse Box if Summer hadn’t already done it.

  2. Neil Ottenstein says

    My Asked and Answered Volume 2 just arrived yesterday. It also looks fascinating.

  3. Neil Ottenstein says

    The Crusade scripts that were online were with “the most inconvenient interface ever” so no one could download or spread them around. I think someone in the forums mentioned that some people did transcribe or did screen snaps anyway. They were great to see and if they are not in the script books I would be very much surprised and disappointed.

  4. GaryTheGreat says

    There has been no mention about an Other Voices Crusade book, but I think the scripts team will manage to pull it off.

  5. How can they not? Like dark matter, it is the only evidence we have in this universe of how great Crusade was in some other ‘verse.

  6. Neil Ottenstein says

    The three unfilmed Crusade scripts were
    Fiona Avery: “Value Judgements”
    J. Michael Straczynski: “To the Ends of the Earth”
    J. Michael Straczynski: “End of the Line”

    The non-JMS regular scripts were by
    Fiona Avery – The Well of Forever
    Fiona Avery – Patterns of the Soul
    Peter David – Ruling from the Tomb
    and then there were 10 JMS episodes.

    So, it looks like there were 12 JMS written scripts and 4 non-JMS scripts. How they divide up the 16 scripts is to be determined.

  7. Hopefully they’ll also put in the Crusade writer’s bible.

  8. Neil Ottenstein says

    To tell the truth, the Crusade Writer’s Bible did not have all that much to it. Pages 5 through 17 would be the only ones worth including and there are a few bits of new information, but not much.

  9. Sorry, Summer and Tim, but your theories about Season 5 are a bit off. Neil was accurately correct.

    I’ll have to find the reference in the endless online archives of JMS comments from the late Season 4/early Season 5 period, but he specifically has said on several occasions that the original plan was to end Season 4 with “Intersections in Real Time”.

    More than that, but he has also said that the Earth Civil War would not have extended much longer than the first few episodes of Season 5, and that both the telepath arc and the final Centauri arc had always been part of the plan.

    If nothing else, the JMS commentary in the script books proves the point, as he alludes to those plans and how they changed.

    • Tim and I did know that Intersections was the originally intended end for Season 4, but we (or at least just me) still have questions was on how much of both the Earth and Minbari Civil Wars we would have seen (or not seen).

      The Earth Civil War wasn’t the one that wrapped up too quickly… it was the Minbari one. Have we met even one single member or leader of the Worker Caste? Why didn’t we see even one meeting or message sent between Delenn and someone from the Worker Caste about her plans to move forward with rebuilding? Given the time frame, sacrificing that makes sense. Given more episode time to work with, I have to give the benefit of the doubt that some information surrounding that would have been on screen for us to enjoy, and debate about ๐Ÿ™‚

      I also personally believe that the telepath arc we saw was stretched a few episodes beyond the original plan (there’s mention in the Writer’s Bible that Susan would have been involved with Byron with Lyta pining away in the background)… some of it works, and some of it feels a little forced. But the Centauri arc had to be there to set up the course of events over the final 20 years of B5’s and Sheridan’s lives, and I think that pretty much survived intact, and for me, most of it works.

      Even so, with the changes, I still wish we could send someone back in a Tardis to recover those Season 5 notes he lost at Blackpool!!

  10. From the Lurker’s Guide page for “Intersections in Real Time”:

    “I don’t usually comment on this, but…if I had known *with absolute certainty* that there would be a season 5, then season 4 would have ended with 418, “Intersections in Real Time.” So you only pull 4 episodes forward, really. You’ll understand when you see it.”

    A JMS comment for “Moments of Transition”, which featured the end of the Minbari Civil War:

    “If you had been 100% sure there’d be a season 5, would this have been the season 4 finale?
    No, this could never have been the finale for 4.”

  11. Summer:

    What you’re proposing here fits the facts, definitely. My understanding is that the Minbari Civil War was supposed to be expanded, and that was indeed the part that was condensed. Everything else seemed paced out a lot more steadily, for all the reasons you mentioned.

    Elsewhere on the Lurker’s Guide, JMS says that the Earth Civil War played out exactly as planned, because the compression was earlier than that. Since the end of the Shadow War only felt a little rushed, I’d say that supports the notion that the Minbari Civil War was the victim.

    I also agree that the telepath arc was stretched out over 11 eps instead of the intended 6 or 7, and that the loss of Ivanova from the story threw off what would have been a nice payoff for her character arc. This is supported by comments in the scriptbooks and on the Lurker’s Guide as well.

    Besides, when you watch the fifth season, the pacing only seems to feel right once the Centauri arc kicks into the forefront. Before that, it doesn’t quite gel. (It doesn’t help that I was never happy with Lochley!)

  12. I think that the departure of Claudia Christian in this case is a happy accident that ultimately pays off for the better. I think the closure with Ivanova is spot on – a woman who in the past opened her heart to the wrong people, closed it down when the right man came along – I think it’s much more believeable that she would shut it all down, and dive headfirst into her career, and never risk that sort of pain again. Plus, her departure and return in “Sleeping In Light” gives the feeling of a friend long-absent yet still held in high regard.

    As for the overall telepath arc, I think it would have lasted just as long with Susan in the spotlight. Substitute Susan for Lyta – I don’t see where you’d trim any episodes.

  13. I have to agree with Tim Ivonova’s departure was well timed, and a better fit then Sinclair’s in my opinion. I would have hated to see Ivanova as a love sick fool with Byron of all people. Marcus would have been turning in his cryogenic tube.

  14. I can’t believe I can actually be helpful to people like you, guys, but such is life (apparently). About those Crusade scripts–I actually dug three of them and am happy to give them to you.

    Thanks for the podcasts! I enjoy them ver much.

    • Dina, thanks for the kind thoughts, but since having those scripts is illegal (at least until the Crusade Scriptbooks come out), posting that link here actually could have gotten us into big trouble.

      That’s why no more linkie.

  15. Tim:

    I’m not speaking in terms of Susan’s relationship arc, but rather, a payoff of her latent telepathy. I never felt like that was paid off satisfactorily.

  16. Summer:

    Um, yeah–sorry. I thought of that but then you and Tim were speaking about seeing it somewhere online, but being unable to download, so I didn’t think it’d be -that- much of a not so good idea. (I know, one of those “lack of common sense even after having a moment of clarity” sort of thing. Again, though, sorry!(

    • np, it’s the intent behind the thought that counts!

      Those scripts were available online through a special website to read, I’m going to say sometime before 2004 (I’m sure one of the Lurkers here can give a more accurate time frame). It was a limited time, read-only setup that some enterprising folks still managed to hack to get downloadable versions of the scripts to pass around. I had mentioned not knowing about that site while it was available, while Tim had actually been lucky enough to read what was there during their limited availability.

      Fortunately, I still cling to the hope that the Crusade books will be forthcoming from Synthetic Worlds and the B5 Scripts Team sometime before the end of 2010 ๐Ÿ™‚ It tests my eagerness and my patience, but there you have it!

  17. Neil Ottenstein says

    Looking at the JMSnews site I did a quick search and saw a post where someone said “I read the two Crusade scripts on Bookface last night”

    JMS’ reply was dated 6/6/2000

  18. John – I understand what you’re posting re: Susan’s latent teep talent. But for me, that wasn’t such a major character element that I felt something was missing from her story.

    Neil – that date jibes with the general time I read those scripts.

  19. Tim.
    I thought the “…Eden” reference was great too.

    You didn’t do Gilligan’s Starship (AKA ST Voyager)? “Oh Gilligan! You ruined our chance to get home once again!”
    I suppose you also didn’t like Capt. Steubbing’s Enterprise. “Honestly, you take your mutt with you on a diplomatic mission and let him -tinkle- on the planet’s holiest icon then wonder why they’re all -outraged-?”

    I always considered DS9 to be an ST “Me too” thing because of its inferior, rushed aspect; but I hadn’t realized until the JMS interview that it was a total plagiarism of the B5 concept.

    On the Apocalypse boxes: We know from the Technomage trilogy that the Tech. is of shadow origin. Could the same be true of the Apocalypse boxes? Perhaps that’s why Gideon’s box wanted to call Gideon’s trust of Galin into question. Galin already had his suspicions from the fact that the ship was visiting planets not among any of the leads the Rangers were coming up with. I can imagine a situation where Galin finally tells Gidean of his suspicion and warns about the shadow nature, then the box outs Galin — which would fit with what I remember reading in a summery gleaned from somewhere on the web, that stated that towards the end of season 1 Gidean uncovers Galin’s secret with disastrous result.

    Seeing the series as a documentary, Bo and Mac could be a compilation of several “regular guy” eyewitnesses. Easier for a documentary to follow a couple of compiled regular guys established early on than having to establish a new guy for each encounter.

    A pet peeve I have developed is Tim’s references to the Judges on B5. It’s not “OmbudsMAN” (someone who investigates a government agency), it’s “Ombuds”. My unabridged dictionary does not list Ombuds, so perhaps JMS is saying that in a couple hundred years that word will evolve out of ombudsman to become a synonym for (or replacement of) “Judge”.

    Corwin’s last depicted promotion was from Lieutenant JG (junior grade) to Full Lieutenant. In NAVY ranking, that puts him one step below Lt. Commander. ARMY ranking would put him at the Navel equivalent of Ensign. An Army Lieutenant would be promoted to Army Captain, which is what Summer was thinking of. Since the Army grades are First Lieutenant and Second Lieutenant, JMS’s use of Lieutenant JG and Full Lieutenant in the promotion celebration puts him in the Navy system. That could put him close enough to Lochley to be second in command, especially if she wanted someone with knowledge of the station that she would not have acquired yet. It may have even come with an undepicted promotion to Lt. Commander. That still does not explain why he seems to be doing so much Yeoman work, though. And a Navy Captain being promoted to General instead of Commodore or Admiral (ever notice there’s never any of those two in evidence?) — That’s a whole ‘nother kettle of worms.

    Gary was wrong that Sheradin had very little to choose from to take over B5. He’s forgetting about the crews of not only the Agamemnon, but all the ships that defected before and after his taking a stand against Clark. They were all included in the amnesty, and most would likely have been quite honored to have been picked.

    • Rick,

      My guess is that many of our outstanding questions about the Apocalypse Box will be answered with the upcoming Crusade scriptbooks.

      And I have to more clearly restate my fandoms: Tim’s the uber Trek geek. I couldn’t care less.

      I am one of those rare SF geeks who isn’t a Star Trek fan. I could never get into the original series, I watched Next Generation because there was a woeful lack of scifi on television during those years, I shunned DS9 as a pale and whiny copy of B5 and not worth my time, and damned if Voyager didn’t manage to piss me off before the 10th episode. I changed the channel with a vengeance after some stupid temporal conundrum plotonium and never watched the show again.

      I don’t hate Trek, I just don’t love it. There will occassionally be a TNG episode that I’ll watch a rerun of if I catch it, but I don’t go out of my way to see reruns, and I’ll never own any of the series on DVD, and while I own Wrath of Khan on laserdisc, I haven’t been compelled to rebuy it on DVD yet.

      And now you know why Tim’s insider Trek jokes whiz by me at light speed, unacknowledged.

  20. Great thoughts Rick.

    The point I was trying to make was that having to pick someone who could mend fences between Earth Alliance and B5 was the balancing act. He really needed to pick someone from the other camp to appease all the people who would like to try him for treason, but at the same time find someone that he can trust. Had he gone with someone from the Aggy or any other defected ship’s crew he would have not engendered any good will from the other side.
    Sheridan is nothing if not a great tactician. The loyalists feel they got somebody who was on their side, and he gets a person he can trust to run the station. Win / Win.

  21. Summer
    Ya, the Trek franchise went downhill at warp speed after Next Gen. That’s why my response to you was actually a dig at Voyager, DS9, and Enterprise. A Trek friend here whom neither I nor another friend can convince to even consider a look at B5 hates to hear me say it, but since experiencing B5, even the original Trek series has gone flat. But as you say; with the exception of DS Ripoff, there wasn’t anything else on at the time.

    On the temporal stuff you mentioned; by about the third time they resorted to their time travel / temporal smeg, I was ready to scream.

    Seen from that perspective, you have a good point.

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