Babylon Podcast #234: Feedback From Down the Street

Welcome to Show #234!

We have more voicemail from you guys to go through! Tim and Summer also lament the fact that they completely forgot to ask David Allen Brooks about the pak’ma’ra porn gag.

Kudos to Gary’s April Fool’s Joke that he posted here… but be wary of payback in kind, sweetheart!

Feedbackapalooza: Gary relates his theory on where the abundance of Hawaiian shirts may have come from; Adam from Bureau 13 reveals some of their secrets, and continues to mainline back episodes; Adam talks about how “Each Night I Dream of Home” has a deeper meaning for him and others who have had cancer; Gary thinks the SFX team did a better job with the core shuttle backgrounds in Crusade than we saw in Babylon 5; Adam wants to know if other people had a problem liking Gideon as he had; Gary talks about the near-ban of alcohol endorsement of B5 in response to Mike wondering about Ulkesh’s encounter suit resembling a whiskey decanter; John from Jersey weighs in on the “Each Night I Dream of Home” argument about stunt casting; do you remember the fake COPS opening to an episode of The X-Files? Colin reminds us

Gary thinks “Each Night I Dream of Home” is one of the better episodes, and that the crossover characters was fine; Colin wonders if there’s a deeper connection between the Soul Hunters and Lorien; Gary apparently HATES the X-Files homage; Gary again hammers Tim on his viewpoint that Crusade was using “stunt casting”; Adam shares the story of how he came to the Babylon 5 universe; Neil comments on how Lyta was originally intended to be the captive telepath in “The Path of Sorrows”, and Neil really really wants to hear more Bret; Neil is surprised that Tim wasn’t a fan of The X-Files

POLL: Pat Tallman asks us to run a poll on what the fans say their favorite Lyta episodes are, so go vote, already! Poll will close on May 8th, and Pat may even join us later to talk about the results!

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.

If you can, Please Donate to the show!

Promo: The Babylon Podcast


  1. I don’t think this is interesting enough for a voicemail, but listening to Adam from the Bureau has spurred me to recount my very gradual and sporadic introduction to B5.

    Let it be known that I’m 24 now. So when B5 first aired, I was about 6.

    My first foray into sci-fi was ST:TNG, which aired here in the UK on BBC 2 back then. Y’know the intro roll where the Enterprise zooms across the screen in various directions – I used to do the same thing around the living room, somehow without breaking anything. Safe to say I must have had some kind of pre-disposition towards sci-fi from an early age.

    I don’t remember exactly when I started watching B5, but back then it was aired on Channel 4 – and we only had four channels in total. There was probably some waste of time like golf or snooker being aired on BBC Two in place of Star Trek (damn you BBC!), so it’s very likely I just stumbled across it.

    I remember thinking that the guy with the standy-up hair was fun and that Kosh was pretty cool tool. My attention to the plot was… well, that of of a sub-ten-year-old.

    Fast forward a handful of years and I remember watching episodes on my dad’s satellite receiver (probably on the scifi channel, back when it had a proper name and didn’t air that wonderful piece of science fiction that is wrestling). Alas, my viewing of the show was still very disjoint by virtue of my visits to my dad’s and the ordering of airing. Still, I came to appreciate that there was an arc to the story – it was just a shame I never had any idea where in the arc I would join on the next viewing.

    When I got to 16 years of age I started working in a cyber cafe, and befriended a chap a couple of years my senior who was a NEEERRRRRDDDD. Of course he’d watched B5. Somehow we got talking about it, which spurred me to grab it and watch it. And for the first time I saw all of it (more or less), in order (more or less) and finally I saw it in all its glory.

    My appreciation for the show has only grown over time, so I’m delighted that there is still a group of people discussing it, and always pleased to see new people discovering it.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I hear the opening theme to TNG; I have to go break some ornaments downstairs.

  2. Remember James Burke’s “Connections”? Here are mine regarding Sci-Fi, and I’ve heard no one else list these particular ones before.

    Watched ST TOS and wrote in for both campaigns to save it.
    Was frustrated when the second one failed.
    Loved Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Time Tunnel, etc.

    By sheer chance, caught a glimpse of Londo while trying to get to a program on another channel. Stayed because I wanted to find the reason for such an outlandish character, hairstyle, and costume.
    Frustrated because I kept losing the program over different times and channels, so I signed on to buy the laserdiscs.
    Frustrated because the laserdiscs were not issued in sequence.
    Frustrated because the laserdiscs were not 16:9.
    Frustrated because the laserdiscs of the remaining episodes were cancelled.

    Wanted to learn how to make podcasts and begun listening to Mike’s “Podholes.”
    Heard the promo for Babylon Podcast and begun listening.
    Heard Summer mention “Firefly.” Never heard of it (not a Fox watcher) but her mention of it was enough for me to give it a try, even though it was at the time gone from the network.
    Heard there was more discussion of Firefly on Slice of Sci-Fi, so began that. Told Mike that promos are definitely worthwhile.
    Jumped on the Lost Tales DVD and told others about it.
    Frustrated because it was not a success and JMS said there would be no more.

    If I could ask JMS one question, it would be for him to talk about his story development in the light of the historical timeline technique used by James Burke in Connections. “Deconstruction” is a textbook application, I think. I wonder if JMS knew about any of Burke’s writing or reporting.


  3. There is a special place in hell for Garry. But not for posting the April Fools post. I didn’t fall for that one and it actually was not a very good April Fools joke because it was too obvious.

    No, the special place in hell for Garry is for using his cell phone while driving.

    Put the phone down and pay attention to the road!

    • Neil Ottenstein says

      I presume that Gary has a hands-free device that probably doesn’t distract him any more than listening to music would.

  4. Gary The Great says

    I appreciate your concern for my well being Denis and I’ll keep it in mind, and I apologize for the quality of the joke. I’ll do better next time.

  5. The sad thing about Gary’s joke is that on April fool’s day I read it and didn’t fall for it. Three days later I read it again, forgot it had been April fool’s, got all excited, then got to the end…

    *Fist shake*

  6. Steve Kez wrote:
    > Let it be known that I’m 24 now. So when B5 first aired, I was about 6.

    I hadn’t thought about a difference in age producing a different attitude. This might be a fun topic. Show an otherwise 6-8 year old a few episodes of B5 and then a week or so later, a few episodes of ST TOS. Pick reasonably parallel style episodes for a reasonable comparison. Would the young viewer have a radically different perspective on these?

    I was 10 when I first saw ST TOS and then 38 when B5 came on. I suggest it would be interesting for you to call in your impressions (obviously only the ones you can remember from that tender age) of seeing B5 at age 6.


  7. Thanks Michael.

    Hmmm, most of what I remember I’ve already written. At time time I didn’t find it particularly funny (the jokes were way over my head) and I guess there was a bit of action every now and then to keep me interested, but the main things that I remember liking were the costumes (particularly Londo’s hair) and the computer graphics.

    I used to watch re-runs of TOS at around the same time in my life (maybe a year or two later). I remember them being incredibly boring. Perhaps that prejudiced me, as I’ve never really warmed to TOS and haven’t even seen all of the films completely – big fan of Picard though.

    Interestingly, I never had a lot of time for DS9, although I vaguely remember it getting better in later series. I wasn’t a weekly viewer, though.

  8. Let us not have another Gary lovefest ever again. This was one of the worst podcasts ever. Gary annoyed me to the point I am almost turned around on the stunt casting. I still don’t have a problem with Franklin being in that episode and if you are going to have fanfare over a character why not him? They also needed to keep the mission secret due to his importance in B5 and the fact he was still infected. Franklin needed to be there just in case something went wrong which shockingly it did.

    • Wow, Joe. Thanks for the punch in the mouth.

      We play the voicemails that come in. Period.

      If blocks of voicemails by the same person offend you that much, then maybe you should call in and add your comments in your own voice. And if you’re really that easily offended, I’m afraid you’re going to be sorely disappointed in the next few feedback episodes, which contain HUGE blocks of messages from Adam and Neil.

      I’d say try switching to decaf for a while, or maybe start taking your frustrations with life out by kicking something else besides us, and if that doesn’t work, maybe you just need to stop listening to us until you feel better. We’ll still be here if you change your mind.

  9. I did throw in a voicemail in from last month. I just think it got a bit mean spirted towards Gary and it showed a lack of good programming. Not every episode is going to appeal to everyone if you can’t take criticism then don’t have a message board about the show.

    • There’s a difference between criticism and attack, and the way that comment was worded did not come across as criticism. It was berating towards Tim and myself, especially with the “Let us not have” opening.

      Your use of the word “us” makes it seem like you feel entitled to dictate show content, as if you have part ownership of the work we do here. That makes what you said the equivalent of an attack on us, as if you are blaming us for intentionally not being enough to satisfy you personally.

      Your opinion of the Franklin “stunt casting” discussion was worded more objectively, as well as your feedback on the latest Crusade scriptbook… that’s what I consider proper critique and analysis.

      Hopefully you can see the differences in tone that I’m pointing out, as well as the irony of accusing me of not being able to take criticism when I criticized how you criticized us.

      ps: the Gary thing was a *joke*, in case folks missed it. The funny part was that each time Bret mentioned how used he felt by Gary’s prank, another voicemail from Gary would pop up. It just so happened that Gary called in 12 times. We can’t control who calls in and when, and if you call once every six months when others call in once or twice a day, you can’t complain about whose voicemails get played.

  10. So, what you are saying is its an attack if I say an episode was bad and gave reasons for it as well as offer advice on how not to repeat that mistake in the future. What I should done was is what you did by going off on a hysterical tangent about using violence to solve problems since that seems to be ok. Also, don’t give me the “You don’t work here, don’t tell us what to do” speech. It just shows a total lack of respect to your audience. If you don’t want to listen to your audience again, I say take down the message board.

    I am not saying you have to please me and I maybe in the minority, but this was a bad show. Not everyone B5 episode was Hugo Gold, at least JMS learned from his mistakes. I actually like some of the feedback episodes, but this was just not spaced out that well. It also got down to being as almost an attack on Gary at times. Granted, I find him to be annoying at times and the April Fools Joke was a bit mean on his part. Yet, there was no need to play the one call where it dropped. It came off as you played it just to get some more digs in on him. Also, who didn’t see an April Fools Joke coming when JMS said April. It just shows he was smart enough to get it out first.

    • We have a lot of voicemail coming up, and a lot of non-episode discussion content coming up. If you do not enjoy having feedback episodes every other week, you should take a break.

      And you still missed my point. Critique is not something you engaged in with those first three sentences. I respect our listeners who keep it civil and not personal. With that comment, you failed at both. If I were as truly disrespectful as you say, I would have just deleted your comments, and prevented you from posting any more (this isn’t a message board, btw).

      Plus, that’s what the star rating system is for… you could have just given the episode a 1-star rating, without delving into the personal commentary. Opinion registered.

      And since now it seems like you’re just trying to one up the conversation and draw me into more troll-baiting, I’m done. If it helps any, you win. There. Can we all go back to B5 discussion now?

  11. Gary The Great says

    Jeez, between Bret and Joe C. I’m just not feeling the love this episode.

    P..S. – I am an official contributor and been around a here for some time. They try different stuff, sometimes these things do start off as funny, and other times the joke runs too long as I agree Bret’s joke did. I don’t hold it against him though, until I visit Phoenix.

  12. Revenge is a dish best served cold. Like a having a nice, cold, extra bottle of his favorite brew and not sharing it! 😉

  13. Kurt quoted, “Revenge is a dish best served cold.”

    We learned over the years a great deal about Klingon culture, even to the point where we quote things without attribution, as in the ever-popular, “Today is a good day to die” and your quote. (The argument of which source was first for this one and others is always fun. Shakespeare? Anonymous Klingon? G’Kar had it right when he noted that every culture has its own version of Swedish Meatballs; ditto pithy sayings.)

    I’ve not read any of the B5 novels, so I’ll ask: Did we ever learn more about the similarly bumpy-faced Drazi in this reqard? It seems that they are in contact with their violent sides like the Klingons. Do they have opera? What do they eat, besides Swedish Meatballs? Like Klingons, they clearly use violence in common activities: “Green. Purple.” There are other parallels, but we got little in the area of culture in the five seasons and movies. How about the novels?

    I think the cultural and historical back story for some of the B5 races would be an interesting discussion.


  14. The Drazi remain something of an enigma. I wonder if we would have learned more about the Drazi through Tirk, had LotR become a series. The novels never delve into any other race/species/creatures unless primarily related to the story telling.

  15. The roleplaying games delve into the Drazi, yet I don’t know how much of that is cannon or which one of the B5 RPGs would be considered cannon at this point.

  16. Joe, I personally don’t know how to approach the RPG. On one hand, it was (for awhile) officially licensed by WB; on the other, the material in there was created with little or no input from JMS. And in the wake of the Mongoose debacle, Straczynski has all but said he considers that stuff to be basically fanfic.

    This might be a good discussion topic…

  17. Moongoose made a lot of books for that game probably well over 20, I believe. It might be quanity over quality. I got done listening to your interview the lead designer of the game and boy, he was really optimistic. Not printing the cast novels was probably the stupidest move they made.

    • I have to disagree about how smart now printing the novels was. While Claudia and at least one other cast member were slated to write novels, several others were planned – even written – by others on the Mongoose staff. I read part of Claudia’s and it was mildly interesting and probably could have been moderately good with a decent editor. But while she did act in it, Claudia admits to never having watched the show. I tried to read another of the finished novels and if it had been a paper book, I might have done it an injury it was so execrable.

      I’m glad that JMS distanced himself from them and declared them licensed fan fiction.

      • Mongoose included Claudia’s and two other books in a digital download of their last B5 sourcebook, just before they lost the license, and they were rough reads.

  18. I am saying the books written by the stars would have sold better then the RPG. It was stupid not to release, because those would have sold well. Claudia probably needed a good editor, but people did want to read about her during that year as well as find more info on the Warlock class cruisers. I don’t think as many people would be that amped up for say something like a Drazi or Pakmara book.

    • They probably would have sold pretty well, yes. But from what Matthew Sprange has said, the license fee to WB would have made making a profit difficult, especially since the RPG sales had been sliding.

      Anyway, not meaning to slam Mongoose, who I hear is competent when it comes to RPGs, I don’t think they had a decent editor around. If they did and they didn’t employ his/her services before sending stuff to JMS, then they deserved the drubbing they got.

  19. I have run the Moongoose B5 game and I don’t know if I would use the word competent for their game. Its not terrible, but its not great either. They seemed more focused on the role playing then the action which is refreshing. Yet, when you get to season 3 and beyond where there is a ton of action, the game falters. There is a ton of information though in the books and if anything it looks like they put long hours into those books.

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