Babylon Podcast #229: The Palooza of Wine and Candy

Welcome to Show #229!

Summer has Stone Levitation, Bret has Jack Daniels and Diet Coke, and Tim is drinking red wine and eating M&Ms. That explains a lot about Tim, doesn’t it?

Tim also relays some space shuttle Discovery news (yes, this was recorded a while ago).

Feedbackapalooza: Jake in Indiana agrees on the impact of Walter Koenig’s portrayal of Bester; George from Glendale CA comments on whether re-rendering Babylon 5 for Blu-Ray would even be worth the effort; Father Beast chastises Bret for not watching the episode up for discussion prior to our discussions; Gary asks about the character “trap doors” that JMS has said were available to him if they needed to be written out somehow; Father Beast wonders what the Cigarette Smoking alien was actually smoking; Gary calls in because seeing Keith David in NBC’s The Cape triggered a memory loop about the promos he did for B5 on TNT;

Does anyone have all of the B5 promos that TNT produced? I believe there were 3 or 4 of them, and I really REALLY want copies for myself…

Neil wonders if there was a connection between JMS’ stray cat and the comment about Galen comparing Gideon to a stray cat; Gary is really obsessed with the “fabulous hair” gene present in rogue telepaths; Neil thinks Tim should take a pilgrimage to Skywalker Ranch and ask George Lucas to pick up the Lensman series to do an animated series in the style of “Clone Wars”; Neil wonders if we know how much Paramount spent on the enhanced version of Star Trek; Patrick from the Functional Nerds Podcast weighs in on the absence of B5 on the air these days, and how much a B5 reboot frightens him; Father Beast has been debating on the type of man Captain Matthew Gideon really is; Arkle congratulated Tim on holding his own during their Casting Game podcast, and invites Summer and Bret to join in the fun;

Jake has issues on the debate about Deep Space Nine “lifting” certain story elements and plot points from Babylon 5, and doesn’t really think that an argument can be made; Neil questions the wisdom of naming a ship “Medusa”; a tangent into the DS9-B5 comparisons again

Lurker’s Guide 2.0: Summer is expanding the documentation to be covered at Lurker’s Guide 2.0, the major change being converting the episode guide into a full Wiki with cross-referenced topics, tidbits and everything you’d want in a Wiki. She’s also still searching for pictures of rare collectibles, photos of magazine covers and toys, and all sorts of other B5 goodies that didn’t get included in the original guide during the years after Crusade. Let her know if you want to lend a hand.

More Parody/Filk Songs Wanted: If you know of any more B5-related fan songs out there, definitely let us know, so we can let other B5 fans know where to buy them! And if those CDs are out of print, let’s brainstorm on ways to get those songs back out there for fans!

Babylon Podcast Social Communities:
Twitter: @babylonpodcast

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: Romy Nelson’s Ingredients for Life!
Promo: The Most Interesting Geek in the World Listens to Technorama


  1. Tim, Bret, I’ve nothing against Scarlett Johanson. I just still think Diane Neal would’ve been a better choice for Lyta. Did you guys ever watch Law & Order Special Victims Unit?

  2. The Kurgan says

    Brett could not be more wrong in his explanation of how movies/TV shows are released on Blu-ray in HD. His example of the Blade Runner Blu-ray is just plain wrong. It’s not “four versions on one disc” but a five disc set, with all the versions of the film each on their own BD disc (and a disc of extras). All versions of the film are also in full 1080p HD. Up until the recent advent of shooting films digitally movies weren’t “shot in HD” they were shot on film which is BETTER than HD. 35mm film captures more than enough “resolution” to make a 1080p HD video version from it (even things shot on 16mm film work well for HD transfers). That means any movie ever presented in theaters as a film print could easily be transferred to full HD 1080p from one of those prints, which is exactly what they do with older films such as Blade Runner when they release it on Blu-ray. It’s actually incredibly rare for a Blu-ray to be released that doesn’t have a full 1080p HD transfer on it, and of the few that I know of they are all TV shows where there are other issues to deal with. I can’t imagine any film ever getting the “up-scaled” treatment on Blu-ray unless it was totally unavoidable because there were no longer any film prints available, and all they had to work with is an older SD video master. Older TV shows that were shot and edited on film can also be just as easily transferred to Blu-ray with full HD resolution as any movies. That is what they did with the recent Star Trek original series Blu-ray sets. For the untouched original versions of the episodes (without the new CG effects) they scanned all the original film prints for each episode in full HD quality. They’ve also been doing it with some other shows from the 60’s and 70’s that were completely shot and edited on film such as Space 1999 and The Prisoner. These aren’t just digitally upscaled to 1080p or anything like that, they are full resolution new transfers from the original 35mm film prints. Sadly the 1980’s and 1990’s were kind of a weird transitional period where videotape became a key tool in creating most shows, even those that were shot on film. Instead of being edited on film as would have been in the past they were instead scanned onto video tape at SD television resolution (480i) and edited on video. It was relatively easy for them to convert Star Trek to HD because they already had complete 35mm prints of every episode, including all the edits, transitions and effects, but it would be incredibly costly to convert something like Star Trek The Next Generation to HD because it was edited and had all it’s effects composited on video, so the only final version of each episode that they ever had was an SD 480i video tape. ST:TNG was shot on film, including most of the model effects shots, so converting it to HD wouldn’t be impossible, but it would mean transferring all the raw 35mm footage from original film negatives to HD video, and then completely rebuilding every episode edit for edit, including completely recreating all the effects shots composited in the video edit, which was most of them.

    Babylon 5 is in this same position as Star Trek The Next Generation, only even more so since all of it’s effects were done in CG and rendered at 480i resolution rather than done with models shot on film, so they would have to be totally redone from the ground up. This would be quite costly, and I personally can’t imagine Warner Brothers putting up the money anytime soon.

  3. Paul Hahn says

    Ahem. CEREBUS is an aardvark. CERBERUS is the three-headed dog from Greek mythology after whom a ship was named.

  4. Paul Hahn says

    Oh, and Bret, quit talking about old shows and movies not having been shot in HiDef! Except for a very few exceptions like ST-TNG which was shot in standard definition video, shows and movies created before modern high res digital cameras were shot on film, which has plenty of resolution to spare. That’s why ST-TOS was able to be released on HiDef BluRay.

  5. OK, so now that poor Bret has been laid into for his “shot in HD” goof, I’m going to question whether Blu Ray matters (but there’s no technical error to pick up on here – so don’t worry everyone, this is a safe discussion).

    Steve Jobs and friends would very much like Blu Ray to die anyway. They want streaming media. And it seems, for some reason, that it’s OK to have crappy quality streaming media. At least that’s the impression I get when I stream films via LoveFilm.

    So, given that B5 is on the likes of Hulu, and that I’m not sure Blu Ray will ever be as “de-facto” a means of video consumption compared to DVD and VHS, perhaps it doesn’t matter if B5 isn’t reingested from film and new effects made up.

    Then again, I would LOVE for a Blu Ray release to be the motivation for such a thing to happen, so long as it injected new life into the franchise at the same time. So I guess I’d like to see myself proven wrong!

    Oh, and as I’ve said before, watching the PAL version of the B5 DVDs is great fun. You can tell when you’re going to get composite CG in a cut because the resolution hits the floor.

  6. Steve Kez said: Oh, and as I’ve said before, watching the PAL version of the B5 DVDs is great fun. You can tell when you’re going to get composite CG in a cut because the resolution hits the floor.

    The NTSC DVDs are no better. Don’t forget that–in addition to the resolution dropping–the framing goes to hell as well. I wish they’d stuck with the 4×3 masters for DVD rather than half-assing the 16×9 versions. It’s all well and good to future proof you show by shooting in 16×9, but it’s a pointless exercise when no one bothers to render the CGI material at a sufficient resolution to make proper high definition masters down the road.

  7. Bill from Philly says

    Viva La Dog!

  8. Katie from Sydney says

    We already know what Centauri smoke, G’Qan Eth

  9. Blu Ray = Laser Disc. Netflix download is going to end up killing all disc forms. They just have to get to the special features in it.

    • I don’t want Netflix download to kill any home disc versions. Data is transient. Yeah, physical discs can break or be damaged, but at least I know that I likely won’t lose a movie because a cat decided the computer power cords looked tasty that evening.

      I still have my B5 laserdiscs… complete set (meaning everything WB ever released on laser, not the complete series).

  10. Eventually, you will be able to download it into your DVR then you will be able to save it to a memory stick. The entire Babylon 5 story will be the size of a piece of gamen. Now, how legal that will be is something for the future.

  11. David from Memphis says

    Although a shelf full of DVDs is more pleasing to the eye than a shelf full of memory sticks.

  12. David from Memphis says

    Exactly. Which is why I have to smoke on the balcony. One loose spark and all that.

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