Babylon Podcast #248: Appearances and Other Deceits (Crusade)

Welcome to Show #248!

JMS teases the B5 world yet again. WB made a reboot offer, and wanted to make a reboot of the series, but the distribution channel negotiations broke down, thus spiking the remaining shred of hope for anything B5 coming out any time soon.

Here’s the JMS interview: The Babble On Project #12 – Chrysalis/JMS Interview , with hosts Matt Dillon and Gillian Coyle. There’s 3.5 hours of B5 geeking… if that’s not enough to keep Gary busy, I don’t know what else possibly could!

As always, keep your eye on his Twitter feed and for the latest news on anything JMS is working on.

Deep Geeking: Tim and Summer delve into discussion on “Appearances and Other Deceits”, the final produced episode of Crusade.

This makes Summer cry inside a little bit.

Framing the story around the image consultants sent to design “morale-boosting” uniforms for the crew so their photo ops make everyone else back home feel better, functionality be damned was an interesting angle, and Summer likes this episode because she feels it got right just about everything that “Exogenesis” got wrong.

Tim liked how the episode handled an old Star Trek trope differently than following the typical cliched storyline, but felt the music wasn’t quite up to the dramatic task.

Listener Feedback: August 10 was the 19th anniversary of the start of filming of the pilot episode “The Gathering”. Thank you Jason, for making us all appreciate how long we’ve had the show as part of our lives, and for making some of us feel really old.

Is it possible that something special would appear on the horizon for a 20th or 25th Anniversary of Babylon 5? Would Warner Bros have that kind of foresight at this point?

Phil thanks us for doing the show and the Tucker Smallwood interview, and suggests Christopher Franke as an interview guest. It’s been 6 years and counting of asking, Phil, 6 years of zero response to my emails. Sigh.

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: Tuning Into Scifi Television
Promo: Dragon Page “Cover to Cover”


  1. Just a note to say that Tim’s comment that my reaction to a rebooted B5 was similar to Summers was off base. Summer said that if a reboot was the only chance for new B5 she’d take it (but didn’t seem thrilled by the prospect). That’s not something I’ve said or felt.

    What I had posted was that, somewhat to my surprise, I’d definitely watch a rebooted B5 because I’ve long wanted to see what JMS would do (with any show) with no restrictions and that this might have been that opportunity.

    The confusion may have arisen because I was a little surprised at my own reaction. I’d expected to be dead set against any kind of reboot but it turned out that I wasn’t. The reason isn’t that I’m hungering for more B5 no matter what; the reason is that I’ve seen enough of JMS’ work that I’m willing to give whatever he turns his hand to a fair trial, whether that’s B5 or anything else.

    But if there never turns out to be more B5, I’m okay with that, too.

  2. I am definitely one who is against any reboot of the events from 2258 to 2263 on the Babylon 5 space station. Something else in the B5 Universe I would be very happy to see.

    I hate the trend of TV and movies of re-booting or re-imaginating older stories. DO SOMETHING NEW HOLLYWOOD!!!! Have some balls and stop having no backbone to try something fresh and different!

    I really liked this episode of Crusade and the way it made Max open up to Dr. Chambers to show there is more than the arrogant exterior to his character.

  3. The rebbot thing. Im not so sure that a JMS written reboot would be what any one thinks it would be.

    We know JMS is good a running circles round both fans and execs, in the best possible way. So Warners ask for what they think is a normal reboot, and JMS would deliver something totally different. My guess is that a reboot would look like a traditional reboot and then tangent its way to something totally new and worth while. I can completely see, for example how JMS could start in the same place B5 started and end up elegantly covering all those other plots we all wanted to see, with out trashing the original series. I wont say more than that out of respect for JMS’s views on plot ideas.

    More to the point, I cannot see what is in it for JMS is that is not the case. Why on B5 would he want to do the same thing over again? No “creative” wants to do that, unless they consider the original work to be awful.

  4. Are you guys going to cover JMS going off on facebook due to a fan’s questions on the reboo?. I don’t know if they caught him on the wrong day or what, but it was a bit over the top for JMS. The JMSNEWS forum had a good discussion about in I think their “Great Debate.” I ask, because JMS let some details out over how G’Kar would be represented as well as a few other details. As someone who has called in against the reboot, I am glad its not going to be done. I’d rather have no B5 then a reboot.

    • Neil Ottenstein says

      When I read your comment, I thought you were saying that JMS left Facebook as opposed to overreacted a bit. I think the JMSNEWS forum covers what happened well enough that it really is “old news” now.

      My call about it is in the next podcast and I agree with what Jan says. Despite my initial feelings about a reboot (which can be seen in the Farpoint B5 forum thread on the topic), I am intrigued by how JMS describes it in the interview. I’d look forward to it as described there and would definitely watch it.

    • I would disagree that he over-reacted, but that’s not the point. I would also point out that some people in that discussion had some of their basic facts about a number of things wrong, but that’s not the point. It’s the question of reboot.

      As with all things, I think it comes down to context: who, what, where, when, why, and how. I think all stories have the opportunity to be retold, even the really good ones like B5. No story is absolutely sacred. Thanks to JMS, the interwebs, and so many available sources of information, we know how many permutations the story went through to arrive at the final, familiar series we know and love.

      And so we also know that JMS had many different ways he could have told B5 the first time. We’ve all played the “what might have been” game. For my time and money, I would have liked to have seen where this could have gone, with JMS taking an older, wiser approach. I could see the possibilities for a lot of interesting paths not taken. And I am confident enough to know that it wouldn’t prevent me from enjoying the original for what it was and is.

      I guess the real question is: taking into account that our opinion over its creation is neither needed not wanted by the ones making that call (WB), and given that JMS was more than willing to run with the ball…would you have watched it?

      The Narn Regime votes YES.

    • Does jmsnews have the discussion/rant/whatever? I don’t do Facebook…

  5. I’m gonna be contrary here and not talk about the reboot. Instead I wanted to touch on something Summer mentioned at the end, namely the crappy original DVD packaging. Summer, I dunno if you’re aware, but they already made better DVD boxes. I lost my original set in a divorce awhile back and had to re-buy, and when they came I was delighted to find they were in nice hard plastic cases with much better disc trays that are NOT glued in. So that issue has already been rectified.

  6. Darn, I can’t believe the Deep Geeking for Crusade is now over. I had such a hard time finding the episodes. I finally did, and now you guys are done! Story of my life – always a day late and a dollar short.

    I do hope the podcast will continue a while longer. I’m not ready to lose you guys just yet!

    • I think there are some more to do aren’t there? This was the last produced episode, but I don’t think it’s the last in the chosen ordering of shows for discussion. I can’t quite enumerate 13 Crusade deep geekings in my head. If we have, then…

    • Not dead yet 🙂

      Show #249 will be coming soon, and Show #250 is also in the can. I’m just staggering them out so that there isn’t a scary long gap while we work out the logistics of having a new home base for recording and streaming.

      • Groovyawesome!

      • So was there a 251 yet? I was in and out last week when you guys tried and failed to stream, and I wasn’t here at all this week so I don’t know what happened.

        • Neil Ottenstein says

          There was a live feed this week – the Value Judgments script. Last week was apparently a trial run with their new engineer. After the live feed they also were going to do a trial run of voice mail in preparation for another show later. It could be that the schedule will go back to one live feed per week, but we will see what happens.

  7. Wow, did the Vorlons get ya?

  8. Hi Summer, Tim, occasionally Bret……

    Just wanted to add my encouragement for you to continue the Babcast and to send a huge thank you for the sterling work and contribution you have already made to enhance our understanding of the Bab5 Universe. I’ve been listening for a year or two now. I’ve been back and worked my way through all of your episodes. Sometimes laughing so much that I cried, sometimes missing Bab5 so much it hurts, sometimes so angry about its untimely and short-sighted demise in another form (Crusade, LoftheR, etc) but so grateful for the rich, deeply meaningful and positive message it leaves us….just a shame that most of the rest of humanity cannot see what a masterpiece it actually is. Whilst many rely on a religious doctrine…..It could be stated that the overall experience and message of B5 is as relevant or more so than any theological statement so far conjured by the collective mind of humanity.

    Ok, so there were bad episodes…but you’ve got to do the bad ones as well, gives it all a balance…if it was all good….would we just find it ‘normal’? Main thing is… so many things in sci-fi…’s an awful lot bigger than the sum of its parts

    As for a reboot………………….no no no no no!! Well, not unless you have full funding for the whole shooting match…remake everything already made….without interruption from the bean counters….. and with support for an equally complete rework of Crusade. Never gonna happen is it?!!! Doesn’t mean we don’t want it…but lets just be realistic……not in our lifetime……but this is a most relevant point…..when we, the fans who watched and absorbed B5 when it was made and broadcast….have all moved on….what will be left? Answer….a rich legacy that will be much more relevant to the evolution of future generations than it is to our own.

    I was considering the legacy JMS has created. The written word is one of the only permanent things that we can leave behind us when we ourselves move on to beyond the Rim. I’ve been writing for my own pleasure for many years. I consider my work to be no better than exceptionally average and cannot claim or aspire to the huge success enjoyed by others. However, whilst I will never be a wealthy man, I am very happy that I have created written work that will always be available for future generations. I think maybe, JMS might view things the same way. He is well aware the B5 is as good as it is. I would not be keen on anyone rewriting the work I have done over the years….it is a very personal thing…..I would only be happy for any reboot/reproduction if I could be assured that my own standards would be adhered to. If this is not the case….best not to do it at all….he (JMS) already has a legacy……why spoil or dilute it? He has made his contribution to our culture and society….now all we have to do…as you are doing… get the big picture to the world……Its a big responsible task……but we, the fans, are still here and just a keen as ever….In my opinion JMS doesn’t owe anything…..and will almost certainly leave sleeping Vorlons to lie for as long as it takes!

    I know that we are now out of episodes to review. However, the TV movies remain, there are still cast interviews to ferret for, (Especially Michael O’Hare…if he can be found) the published books and the huge amount of fanfic that is readily available do give you plenty to be going on with……..I wish you all the luck and hope that you are able to continue for as long as it is feasible or possible!! If I can contribute in any useful way, please let me know.

    When the Avalanche has passed….the pebbles can still vote…and they will

    Malcolm T

  9. Centauri_Ranger says

    Since the great debate is so many pages long could someone link the pertinent part where he discusses G’Kar etc? Pretty please?

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