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Whelp, here's the last lurker's guide commentary.  It only took my twenty-four entries.  I don't remember there actually being a lot about the movies or Crusade, so I probably won't bother doing a post for them, though if I see anything interesting I'll pass it on.  That stated, on to the last three.  All comments taken from The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5.  Sound bytes are from the Down Below Sound Archive.



Objects in Motion:

"Who wrote the scenes concerning G'Kar's admirer? JMS or Harlan?
The general notion of the thread came up between us. The actual scenes were written by me."

LOOK AT ALL THE CREEPY STATUES.  Though, I think action figure G'kar would be quite dashing.  XD

"Before Lyta left, she looked behind her. Did she know Zach was there, or was she just hoping someone would be there?
She was hoping somebody would be there."

Zack was there for you!  He was always there for you!  Even when you shot him down without being aware of it.  Poor Zack.  He really was trying so hard in Thirdspace.  You really just wanted to snuggle him.

And that's it for this episode.  :o  HAVE THE WARM FUZZY GARIBALDI HUG MOMENT.  Hugs.  Lots of hugs.  Needed hugs.  Yes, Mem melted.  And have my email quote, just because.





Objects at Rest:

"Did you make any special notes in the script of "Objects At Rest"?
Yeah, my instructions to Chris were the same there as for another scene next week, "break our hearts." And the two themes are actually pretty much the same, since they proceed from similar contexts. That section of "Rest" just puts me away every time."

And that's why we love to hate you.

"Will we ever find out what happened to Lyta and G'Kar?
I'm writing 3 B5 short stories for Amazing Stories magazine; the first is a Londo (shortly after he became emperor) story; also doing a G'Kar/Lyta story, and a B5-setting story, all following these characters after the events of "Objects at Rest.""

Londoooooooooo.  T_T  Though, there you go, Cy.  You just have to find that story.

Again... not a lot on this one.  Sadness.  Still, at least there is Ta'lon and Tessa awesomeness.  I like Tessa.  Tessa should have had way more plot.  I could see her in Crusade, if it'd have kept going.  T_T  Also, Lennier has betrayed the Anla'shok, and has run away to prove himself.  Again.  Poor dear does try.  I do really love this scene though.  And Londo angst too, trying to find alcohol to warn everyone, and having none.  So many snuggles needed...





Sleeping in Light:

"On GEnie, 11 April 1992:
A few days ago, I sat down with our line producer, John Copeland, and production designer John Iacovelli, and we were talking about the need to move quickly on some stuff, and how painful the process is to have the whole story in your head, already told, really, and then have to make it all over again so we can put it on film. "You think you've got it bad," I noted, "I've already worked out the last scene in the last episode of the last season (#5)...and I've still got to make Movie #1." They called me on it and asked what that scene was. Just to see their reaction, I told them. They looked at me as if I'd suddenly sprouted three heads and feathers. It was worth it. (Happily, they're sworn to secrecy.) It was also good because I think that, even without filling in the beats in between, it gave them a good sense of where the series was going to go."

JMS does not bluff.  Having the ending usually is the best way to go about things, though it is quite tedious sometimes.  It's like that with long fic, which was all plotted out before hand too.  The potential sequel to History Lessons is pretty much word for word as well... it's just a matter of actually getting it on paper.  Getting it there and/or typing it is always much more time consuming...

"What will be revealed over the course of the series? All of it.

By the time the series has run its five-year course (Neilsen willing), there will only be ONE unanswered question left: "NOW what?""

Now Crusade!  Except that was cancelled.  T_T  Evil TNT. 

"My titles are often in a state of flux; "Signs and Portents" was originally titled "Raiding Party" in my notes, as the B5 FAQ notes somewhere. So it may change, but for the time being, in my notes for the series, the last episode of year five has this note: Title? -- "Farewell" or "Sleeping in Light.""

I like Sleeping in Light better.  Glad they went with that one instead.

"And there will never be a Babylon 6."

Sadness.

"If I didn't have a good, solid, consistent ending, I wouldn't have started the story. I always have the ending before I begin writing the beginning."

Eh...  I'll admit it's generally a good thing to have.  Sometimes though I like going without a plan, just to see where it takes me.  It definitely paid off here though.

""What this boils down to is... is the ending you envisioned at the start of Babylon 5 the same today as it was then?"

For the most part, yeah...it's gotten a bit refined over time, the way it always does the closer you get to it...it's like seeing a mountain from a great distance, then closing in until you can make out the details. But basically, yeah."

Things do sometimes pop up.  It's good to know it worked out in the end though.

""Are you at all concerned that, when it's all said and done, that some fans will scratch their heads and wonder: "You mean thats it?""

No, I don't think so. The story for "Sleeping in Light," the last B5 episode, is such that it is completely moveable, and self-contained, and buttons down the arc in what I think is a very moving fashin. I think that when it's all said and done, the average reaction will be to sit back and say, "That was a good story." Obviously you can't please everyone, and you can't expect to. But basically, yeah, I think it's going to end well."

It was a very good story.  It's one of my favorite endings too.  And let's face it... my mother and I pretty much always end up watching it eventually when we pull out B5, regardless of what else we were watching.  And we always cry.  That really hasn't changed in fifteen years, so I don't think it ever will.  Especially not when we were both sitting there watching it from my computer during the watchalong.  XD

"I've always said that there's a side story that could follow the 5 year B5 storyline, which takes place in the B5 universe, and follows on the heels of the events in B5...but who knows if that would happen?

The one thing I would hate is for B5 to become any kind of so-called "franchise." Because as soon as that happens, you're prevented from making any changes, from doing anything that might startle people, cutting into the piggy-bank. Once that happens, you're dead.

I've also made no secret of my sense that, should B5 run its full five year course (and assuming the side-story doesn't go, which I would not exactly count on)...I plan to get out of TV. By that point, I would have said pretty much everything I want to say in TV, and it's time to get out, buy a small house somewhere outside London, and spend the rest of my years writing novels, which is kinda where this all began. (I've had 2 novels, 1 anthology, and a bunch of short stories published, as well as 500 or so articles.)

I never got into this to make a ***FRANCHISE***, and never really intended to become an executive producer. I just don't like being rewritten...so I climbed higher, until finally there was nobody over me messing with my scripts. Outside of the B5 reality, if someone came to e and offered me *staff writer* on a show -- the lowest position in the TV totem pole -- but with the guarantee that I wouldn't be rewritten, they wouldn't change the words...I'd take it in a hot second. I'm here, now, strictly out of self-defense.

Two valuable social skills are knowing when to enter a room, and when to leave a room. At some point, you have to get out or become something you don't want to become. I've never really been part of the Hollywood SYSTEM, and have no desire to do so.

In "The Velvet Alley," Rod Serling wrote of a young advertising writer who becomes a success at writing television. At one point, the character says (paraphrased from memory): "Here's the trap...in TV they pay you lots of money for what you do...then, slowly, your standard of living rises until you *need* that constant flow to stay at that level. Then...they threaten to take it away from you if you don't behave. And THAT'S when they've got you.""

Crusade.  T_T  WHY DIDN'T YOU CONTINUE?  TNT, I still haven't forgiven you for that one.  It certainly didn't feel like a franchise though.  I mean, Crusade was it's own thing, much more so than like Next Gen was.  It had a completely different style to it as well.  I just wish they'd continued it.  Still, I can understand him wanting to get out.  Though if he does get a house in London, it would totally be the perfect place for him to get into DW writing.  Just saying. 

"What happens at the end of the five year arc? The "Babylon 5" series ends...if I have anything to say about it (and I do). If something else follows, we'll see what that is, but it won't be the same series, or the same title, or really the same characters.

Barring that very distant possibility, at the end of the five year arc, I take a very, very, VERY long nap...."

Long naps are happiness.

"If B5 goes its full five years, I think I'd probably prefer to get out of TV and go back to writing novels and plays."

Instead, you start writing comic books.  Though you did give us Darcy in Thor, so I'm really not complaining.

""You have spent the last 4 years keeping your actors in the dark as to their final fates (for the most part). Will their knowledge of the ending have adverse effects on the acting from this point forward? I expect the answer is they are good at their jobs and will continue to be outstanding in their performances, but many of them have mentioned that the lack of knowledge of their future had played a part in their performances."

Not really, no more so than seeing G'Kar and Londo strangling each other as early as year one...but we didn't know what that *meant* until later. And there's still a long, long way between that episode and where we leave off at 421. A lot happens there that nobody else knows, inclusive of the cast."

Oh, JMS.  Not even the actors can know.  That still amuses me.

"With great trepidation, and at the urging of Warner Bros., I've decided to direct one episode this season...not because I have any particular ambition to be a director, but because I think it will help me become a better writer by more fully understanding that side of the camera. Given how massively busy I am already, this decision will almost certainly be called as evidence in any sanity trial that might take place in future."

Sanity is so over rated.  Besides, I thought you did good with the episode.

""I'm sincerely curious about how you found the experience of directing your baby -- of being responsible for creating, writing, producing *and* directing it."

My main goal was not to embarrass myself overmuch. I think I came out okay. I've now seen an editor's assembly of the material, and it plays real nice. Now I get to go in and make the director's cut, which will to all intents and purposes also stand as the producer's cut.

The main thing is...this one is *exactly* the way I saw it in my head. It has a somewhat different feel than prior episodes, though hard to quantify. But I think it came out nicely."

It's nice when things come together like that.  <3 

"Did you do anything special on the last day of shooting?
Around lunchtime, I began to notice people filtering out -- crew and others -- wearing white t-shirts with blue lettering that read, on front, "Shhh...the Great Maker is Directing." And on the back, "...and on the seventh day we wrapped." JMS 4:22 May 5, 1997. It was a nice thing, and we're considering making the shirts available via the fan club.

Since it's customary for directors to bring in food on the last day of an episode shoot, I brought in food at the end of the day, and folks stayed around until late in the evening, just hanging around, chatting, eating, and the like. (I headed home around 7 mainly because I was just bushed.) We also took a big family picture that will go into the end credits of the episode, whenever it will finally air. A lot of our past directors, crew, actors and others showed up for the thing, and stayed for the party, knowing that either way, this was going to be the last episode of the series, whether it's 4 or 5 years.

Then everybody went away for a few days, and now we're back shooting movie #1, "Thirdspace.""

Aw, that's sweet.  the Great Maker is directing.  XD

""But seriously, what kind of responses do you expect to see in this newsgroup the week following the last episode?"

In a way you're kind of asking the wrong person, as I'm inside the fishbowl and can't see the show the way anyone outside can see it. The only gauge I have is the reaction the script got around the stage when people on the crew and cast read it. (With a note attached explaining the possibility of airing it as 522 or 422, but that either way this would end up the story.)

Pretty much everybody cried. I came home to a message on my machine from Mira, who was almost unable to speak, and another from Claudia who said she was honored and proud to be a part of this, and the script had made her cry. Bruce, Richard, big beefy guys on the crew...all said the same thing. And there I have to concur; I lost is several times as I was writing it, due to the content; there's one scene in particular...you'll know it when you see it...that put me away for an hour when I finished writing it.

But here's the thing...*every single person* who cried at the script, ended it feeling that it was not a sad script in the end, or a down ending...that it left them feeling proud, and tall, and *positive*...that life goes on...that it was a reaffirmation of life itself, on its most primal level. They felt good about the ending. And that was a great relief for me, because I was trying something *very* difficult from a writing perspective, and at first blush it looks as if I've pulled it off. (Now I get to go in as director and *totally* screw it up.)

Only one fan has read the script...someone whose opinion I trust. Because I was curious about the reaction from that side of the screen. And the reaction was *exactly* the same.

So how do I think people will react?

I think a lot of people will cry.

But by the end of it, I think it will come around, and be all right...and mainly, that people will then look back at the whole story, through all these long years, and say, "It was a good story." And close the cover, and put it on the shelf with the other books that will be reread again down the years, and turn off the lights, and go to bed feeling that the time was well spent.

Which is the most any writer can ever ask for. To tell a tale worth telling To make people cry. To make people laugh. And even, once in a while, make them think about things, and see the world just a little differently than when they began.

And then they can centerpunch me on the freeway, or throw a plane at me, and I won't even mind. Because everything I set out to prove, I proved. Everything I set out to say, I said.

I've carried this story like a hermit crab carries its shell for five long years, counting the pilot. It's been an *awfully* long and difficult road, and no one will ever really know just how hard this show was to make. Nor should they, because it isn't the difficulty that makes the story, the *story* makes the story. But one way or another, aired as 522 or 422, when it airs the burden is off at last. Then it no longer belongs to me. It belongs to you. As should be.

And, in the end, I think you'll be pleased."

SEE, NAR?  You have no soul.  There is proof.  Everyone cries for Sleeping in Light.  XD  But we were all very pleased.  <3

"Last night I pulled out the tapes for the last two episodes, "Objects at Rest" and "Sleeping in Light," and watched them back to back, and I was an absolute wreck afterward. There are a couple of scenes in both of them that just put me away. That's *good*, they should, they have to, but man...I was just gone.

But strangest of all, the final credits sequence and what we did with them for SiL is also very deeply affecting...and I'm not entirely sure why, I think it's something operating at an almost subconscious level, about seeing certain images juxtaposed. Darndest thing...."

Oh, JMS.  At least we knew it effects you as much as it affects those of us with souls.

""...as I am a visual artist, I tend to notice lighting and structure,etc., especially on the second (or 3rd) viewing, and the thorny crown was striking to my eyes, as was the sad, dark-circles-under-the-eyes, immensely tired look on his face, which lent to the illusion."

It's interesting when that happens. There's a halo around Sheridan's head at one point when he's yelling at Delenn in the big room in "Z'ha'dum," and, just as a pointer to something you won't see for another year....

When I was directing "Sleeping in Light," there's a scene with Sheridan and a mirror. (That's all I'll say about it, so there's no spoiler info there.) As John Flinn lit the shot, and angled the mirror...I froze at what I was seeing on the monitor. I called John over, and pointed to it. "Do you see what I see?" It took him a moment, but then his eyes went wide, and by his own reckoning, "the skin on my arms crawled." He turned to the guys dressing the set and said, in a very loud, clear voice, "NOBODY TOUCHES THAT MIRROR! YOU HEAR ME!? NOBODY!"

It's not a big...but it's a pretty cool unintended illusion (though once we saw it, we kept it)."

*snickers*  You and you Jesus metaphors...  Even when they're completely unintentional.

"It airs the day before Thanksgiving. Won't most viewers be travelling home to their families?
On the other hand, not everybody has family to travel to, or the means to travel. So perhaps a family gathering of another type, particularly among folks new to each other in local fan areas, might be even more appropros."

It was totally a family affair for us.  But hey, that's just me...

"I was watching "Sleeping in Light" again today (I have a tendency to run the last ten minutes plus the credits over and over...to see if it'll stop getting to me, and so far it hasn't), and had some thoughts on it for folks out there.

People often ask if there's anything they can do in return for B5, something I'd like and I do have some ideas, here at the end, regarding SiL.

I think it would be a wonderful thing if more folks than usual got together for viewing parties on this one. Not newcomers, not folks who haven't seen the show, just the "family," if you will. If B5 has helped to create communities, then I think this last episode should be for that community.

I also think you'll find some interesting tie-offs in this show...something about Minbari beliefs about souls born in the hearts of suns, and a pay-off to why the narrations of this series have always been in the past tense, and a gift to the crew of this show...to which end I *strongly* suggest that even if you don't normally tape this series, that you do tape *this* episode so you can go back and check some stuff at the end.

"Sleeping in Light" airs in just a little over two months, and every time I look at it, it has the sense of something very special coming to its conclusion. It's so damned hard watching it...and yet there's something about it that is massively uplifting at the same time.

Anyway, I was just thinking that often viewing parties are used to bring in new folks to B5, but this one, I think, should be for the family. Maybe local fan groups want to get together, find someone with a good-sized TV, and watch. It's one of those Moments, I think, that will be remembered a long time thereafter.

And I've got TNT's promise not to run a voice-over or squish the credits at the end."

I do that sometimes, just go back and re-read stuffs.  I think Self-Preservation and Without You get the most.  I'm definitely not one of those people who can't stand to go back and re-read what they wrote though.  I like that, because often times I write what I do because I really want to see something like it and no one else in fandom has bothered.  But Sleeping in Light never fails to get us, so don't expect it to stop getting to you, JMS.  And it's always been a family affair for us.  XD

"Why weren't Lochley or Sinclair included in the credits?
We are bound by contract to use the credits as they were applied in S4, when SiL was shot. You can't just put people's credits in a show for sentimental reasons...they trigger residuals, royalties, fees, and other contractual areas."

Very sadness...  Still, understandable.

"We chose the shots that showed them the first time and the last time we saw the characters."

I liked that bit.  But I also liked all the bits, so.

"Was anything changed as a result of the episode airing at the end of season 5 rather than season 4?
I had the option to change stuff if I'd been so inclined...but felt it was right as it was."

It was definitely right the way it was.  <3

"What about all the plot threads left dangling?

The Drak and Centari Prime?

Vir is Emperor now. Londo asked Sheridan to free his people; we can assume he did this...but we will also be showing this in the Centauri Prime trilogy of books in more detail.

Londo?

We saw Londo's fate in War Without End Part 2.

Lyta?

The telepath crisis and events surrounding it will provide a lot of the background to Crusade.

Bester and the Psi Corps?

Ditto.

G'Kar?

We saw his fate in WWE2 also.

Garibaldi and Bester?

This will be covered in the Psi Corps trilogy, of which volume 1 is out now, and volume 2 is in my hands for editing.

B5's seemingly needless and useless destruction?

Neither needless nor useless. It was built cheapest of all the stations, and it takes a lot of money to maintain it. With trade routes now going around it, there isn't enough income to support it. So do you leave it intact, for others to occupy or raid for weapons systems and other systems too difficult to yank out? Or take it out, the same way we implode buildings now?

Sheridan's son - we guess he survived the Drak and their intended keeper?

This will also be covered in the Centauri Prime trilogy...but if you sit back you can do some of the work to figure out a large part of this. As Londo states, his situation in WWE2 (Sheridan and Delenn captured on Centauri Prime) takes place 18 years after the events in 2260, which would put it at 2278. The urn, given to Sheridan in 2262, is supposed to be given to the heir at the occasion of his/her 16th birthday, by Centauri tradition.

That would put the urn presentation at...ding!...2278.

In 2278, Sheridan and Delenn have been drawn to Centauri Prime. We know their son is involved, because Delenn says "David is safe." So they were somehow able to save him, because we know that in 2281, David is alive and well and serving in the Rangers (SiL).

You can see the shape of the events there...once again the clues are more or less in plain sight...but again, this will be drawn out in the books in more detail."

Oh, Centauri Prime books.  I really did like those one, even with the terrible pun.  Garibaldi and Bester were also satisfying, even if the first two books were kind of eh.  The third book with the return of Bester snark and awesome Garibaldi characterization was worth it all. 

"I think it's safe to say that we'll be hearing more about the telepath crisis and its consequences in Crusade...."

WHICH YOU NEVER FINISHED.  T_T  Actually, while Matheson was my favorite character, really, all I care about is that bloody Apocalypse Box.  I just want to knoooooooooooooow.

"Dear Mr. Tolkien:

I just wanted to say that I think the way you ended THE LORD OF THE RINGS was crap. You didn't provide any closure. Instead of spending time with the hobbits clearing out the shire (come on, urban renwal in LoTR? give me a break) and lots of goodbyes, you SHOULD have shown me what happened to Tom Bombadil, he was an important part of the story, and you just left his story thread there unresolved.

You made a big deal out of the elves going to the west, but we never SAW it! We never found out what was there, or what Bilbo found when he got there, or what happened to the dwarves, or what happened to Merry and Pippin....

You betrayed your audience by not resolving every single plot thread you introduced in your book, and as a result, it is never going to be of value to anyone, ever, and will never go past its first printing."

JMS, your snark will forever be amusing.  XD

"Re: Lyta in SiL...okay, if they mentioned Lyta, I'd get nailed for not mentioning Na'Toth...or Sinclair...or Keffer...or somebody else. You can't do five minutes of roll call in a TV show. That would be deadly. They each picked one character to name, because they had a close relationship in some way with that character. Who among them really had a close relationship with Lyta? Name me that person.

Had Zack been there, then yeah, maybe he would've named Lyta (or not, given what happens with her later). THAT would have been appropriate. But it would NOT have been appropriate to have her named just because somebody wants to hear her name called.

The persons named were ones to whom they had an emotional attachment... Vir to Londo, Garibaldi to G'Kar, Ivanova to Marcus, Sheridan to Londo, Delenn to Lennier. Lyta did not have that connection to anyone at that table that would be on an equal footing."

It made sense to me, but hey.  I think most of these sorts of commenters lacked any sort of sense.

"Everybody figured the pak'ma'ra were just a waste...which is why this seemed so right."

I did like that bit.  It was very Londo.  XD

"John and Delenn's goodbye seemed a bit formal.
Yes, there was some element of ritual in their goodbyes; it's a Minbari farewell, hence the "good night," not goodbye."

NO.  You do not get come down on that bit.  Ever.  It makes me cry.  Every time.  And I liked their good-byes.  I don't tend to like romantic things, but I liked that one.

"Why scuttle the station?
There are weapons systems on board that station, computer systems, other stuff that would be too much of a hassle to dig out, and you don't want squatters setting up residence there, or raiding the place for what they can get, and maintaining a military presence there to prevent it would be expensive. With trade no longer coming through, the money to keep the station operating was gone.

Why not send it into Epsilon 3's atmosphere?
I don't see how sending a 5 mile long station plummeting into the atmosphere of Epsilon 3 is any more or less real than blowing it up in space, where salvage crews can come in and take the metal. We already *saw* bits of the debris burning up in the atmospher in the second shot... and as for sending the whole thing hurtling down, well, I think Draal might have a thing or two to say about that....
"

Poor Draal.  Everyone always wants to annoy him.  XD  Still, destroying the station made dramatic sense.  Just accept it people.  It was pretty.

"Why not tow it somewhere else?
You couldn't tow something as massive as a 5 mile long station like this through hyperspace; it'd tear apart."

Oh, just let them blow up the station.  It was dramatic.  And it worked.  XP

"Was that you turning out the lights?
Yes, that was me...I couldn't do it before the very last ep for the reasons I'd always stated, and because I was holding it out for this moment. Of course I couldn't *say* that since it would give stuff away...."

lol.  It was a very nice cameo.  Very appropriate. 

"For S5 I did commentaries on The Fall of Centauri Prime and Sleeping in Light. The latter was the hardest, since it was the first time I'd seen the episode since it aired. (I just couldn't, it was too hard.)

I should have done so, though, because when we got to B5's destruction, I'm ashamed to admit that my voice broke, it just hit me so hard. After we were done, i wanted to go back and do it again, to fix that, which I thought was unprofessional, but the WB boys prevailed upon me to leave it alone. I just hope it doesn't come across as dumb or something."

That's just a little precious. 

This episode.  It's just... guah.  Really.  It's a beautiful ending.  And yes, it does make me cry every single time.  My mother as well.  And Cy.  It's only Nar now, who doesn't have a soul.  XD





So that is the end.  And on Friday, I move to China.  So we'll see if I can even get on lj there (so far, everything I've seen says that it isn't blocked, but I'm not counting my chickens).  I do plan on continuing fic and I should be creating a new blog once I get there, but we'll see what I have to work with.  If I don't post tomorrow, we'll definitely meet again in a place where no shadows fall.  XD  l8r, everyone!

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
omphaloskepsist
Feb. 7th, 2013 03:13 am (UTC)
OMG, China! Is it a permanent move?
dragonofmemory
Feb. 7th, 2013 03:34 am (UTC)
It's for at least five months, maybe longer. It depends if I get another contract after that, or if I decide South Korea might be interesting. XD
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )