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Alright, time to soldier on.  And yup, it all starts going to hell in this post.  As always, all comments taken from The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5.  Sound bytes are from the Down Below Sound Archive.


""Exogenesis," which we just started filming this week, is probably our most "ordinary" story of the batch, though it puts a new spin on several traditional story elements."

It really is the most ordinary of season 3.  I think it's probably the least interesting of the season, which is saying something.  Cause this episode?  It'd be a good one on any other show.  XD

"Sometimes I do like to take stories that have always been done one way, and turn them on their heads to see what new possibilities tumble out. It's fun...."

It really, really is.  Oh, God, how much I agree with that statement.  I do so love reversals. 

""Exogenesis" - The last non-arc episode for some time. Puts Dr. Franklin and Marcus together investigating some odd happenings in DownBelow that may indicate some kind of alien influence. Does, however, introduce a thread that will play out over time."

And so begins the epic partnership that is Franklin and Marcus.  How much do I love those two?  LOTS.  But not as a couple.  I just... can't.  I know some slashers see canon characterization as no barrier to love, but has always drawn the line for me.  The characterization is just too... deep.  It's feels wrong to go against it when it's so well done.

"How is your mental image of the arc holding up?
The overview still holds up pretty well, I think. Toward the end of season two, I think things got just a *tad* too convoluted in places, so that's being cleared up a bit, the dry brush trimmed back, the red herrings cleared away, because we've got to start focusing on the real story, not the misdirections. That's probably the one thing I'd go back and revise, because in general, you can't just bring something up and walk away form (from) it later; it's got to either fit, or be reasonably, logically explained away. So some time has to be spent on that now. But that's been done pretty effectively in this first batch of episodes, and now we're down to really cranking on the shadow war.

In four more episodes (writing-wise), I'll be at the exact midpoint in the story, which on one level is a little hard to believe; it's gont (gone) by so fast. Seems like yesterday that we just got started. Which is why the overview is very helpful; by constantly reminding me where we should be, it doesn't let me get lost in the neverwhere of TV production.

All things considered...we've had some bumps on the ride, a detour here and there, the occasional flat tire, but doggone it if the old thing seems to have a mind of its own; I started writing #7 the other day, and I'm well past halfway finished writing it, it's coming out almost as though it already existed, and I've just managed to "tune into" it, like the sculpter who knows that inside a block of wood is a horse, he just has to start chopping and cutting until he finds and relases it.

So long answer to a short question...we're still on course, and I'm still quite pleased with where we're going, and how we're getting there."

Hm.  I find it interesting that he felt season 2 got too convoluted.  Misdirections and red herrings going away are nice though.  I won't complain about that.  And they're definitely still on course.

"Thanks. Yeah, Exo is the last non-arc episode for a long time, and the last chance to catch one's breath before the big fall.

My personal evaluation of the episode is that it's okay. The second half, I think, isn't as strong as the first half. Halfway through writing the episode, we had a problem come up in production that unexpectedly took me away from the script for about a week. (Nothing major, but it had to be dealt with and it took time.) Usually, I write copious notes on a script before I begin writing it. In this case, the story was so crystalline clear in my head that I just dived in, and was blasting away terrific when the hit came midway through. By the time I got back, I'd lost some of the fingerprints of the story, and had to kind of re-find them again. Mainly, I think the expository sequence at the end could've been done better.

Needless to say, that's the last time I trusted myself without notes, no matter how well I "see" the episode in my head. It'd be a great script for second or first season, but we have to keep raising the bar, every aspect has to be better than the last thing we did, so for my money it's not quite up to that standard. Happily, it's the *only* episode this season that I feel that way about...the rest are all just nifty.

That said, I think it has some great moments for Marcus, Franklin and others...and yes, there's a lot more planned with Franklin coming up this season, particularly toward the latter third of the season."

Hm.  He uses notes way more than I do.  I know that feeling though, of the interruption and just not being able to get back into it.  Still, one episode out of 22 getting a little weak on the end?  Not bad.

"Thanks (I think). Yeah, I've said from the git-go that in my view the second half of Exo isn't up to the first half. It is, in my view, the weakest of this season's 22. On the flip side, that means the other 21 are pretty nifty.

Agree with you on Marcus. I'm finding I have the same problem with him I have with Londo...getting him to shut up once I wire him up and let him go. He's a lot of fun to write, in that he can do the physical action stuff very well, he can do comedy, more dramatic emotional stuff...the whole range. I can take him places and do things with him that I can't in some ways for the other characters, in that he has only one responsibility, whereas the others have larger responsibilities to more people."

My point earlier.

Also, it amuses the hell out of me that Marcus just does not shut up.  I know characters like that.  I really do.  I love that Londo is another one of them. 

"About the avoidance of the name "Macbeth"
Just figured I'd use that description of it rather than Macbeth, to make it a bit more obscure, but also some actors do have a problem saying the name Macbeth or being around it when it's said (note: Jason isn't one of them). so it was also a courtesy. (Later on, while shooting "A Late Delivery From Avalon," one of the hair dressers made the error of referring to Macbeth out loud in front of Michael York, and had to go through the whole undo-the-curse routine, walking around the stages three times, etc.)

ROFL.  That amuses me.  Plus, it reminds me of my days in theatrical combat. Being the lone english major in the midst of theater majors, I may have done that just to torment them a few times.  Though, note to self... Never mention it to Michael York, apparently.  XD

"I like Marcus quoting literature, Shakespeare included. So it's something I've peppered through his character, though trying to avoid too much of it."

YES.  We like it too.  Especially when he's sarcastic and snarky. 

"Why doesn't Marcus wear a link?
I just summoned up Marcus in my head. Here's what he said: "Because I won't wear the bloody thing, that's why. Bad enough you've got those pagers you wear in 1996, no privacy, no chance to get away, always at somebody's beck and call. Why not just put a leash around your neck and get it over with? It'd be faster and a good deal more honest. I'm down in the bar trying to be inconspicuous, dangerous characters on all sides, trying not to be noticed...and the link goes off, and I'm dead. Or at minimum seriously thumped. No, absolutely not. You'll never get me to wear one of those."

(This is btw the reason why I absolutely *refuse* to wear a pager myself.)"

XD  I love Marcus.  I also love JMS's headcanon.  Because that's totally what that is.

Over all, not a bad episode.  Not a great one, but not a bad one either.  It's fun for Marcus, if nothing else.  You have to love Marcus.  <3

Messages from Earth:

This is from the notes:
""Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom" is a variation on a quote from Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States (1801-1809.) The original meaning was that people should closely watch their governments to avoid excessive encroachment on personal liberty; its use by a Nightwatch member is especially ironic."

That man and his history obsession.  I'll never get enough.  Especially not when he uses it so well.

"A bit of a bland title?
Whether it's "bland" or not depends on what the messsages might be, yes? The only thing I'll say for the episode is that it may be one of the biggest whams of the first half of year three, and one of our most ambitious episodes of the series. Generally, my feeling is that titles should augment the episode, or add something, or collapse something into a thematic whole. When you see what convictions are at hand, the episode "Convictions" as a title works better; ditto for "Messages."

Besides, a nice, quiet, inoffensive little title gives me a better chance to sneak up behind you and whack the heck out of you...."

You do like your sneakiness, don't you, JMS?  Not that I blame you.  I'm the same, every so often.  But still.  You take the same unholy glee in that that I did in killing a unicorn.

""Messages," for my money, is so far the best we've ever done, though I'll be more able to lock that down once I've seen the final CGI. It and "Dreams" are real CGI blowouts; in the latter, there are literally 100 shots -- CGI, live action, and compositing -- in *four pages* of action. This is an all time record for us (and that doesn't count the stuff earlier in the episode).

I don't usually go this far, but folks, let me give you my personal guarantee: you're in for one hell of a ride come mid-season, with these three episodes."

And we still weren't ready for them, even with that sort of warning.  XD

""Messages From Earth" - This begins the three-episode mini-arc within the larger arc that, by its conclusion, totally changes the structure of the B5 universe. A mega-wham episode. Because so much comes to a head so quickly, little can be said about it without spoiling stuff. Our characters begin making the final and irrevocable steps that will put them on a collision course with everything they have believed in until now. There are four or five episodes this season that push the limits of our effects and CGI to the absolute wall; this is one of the biggest."

I did mention it all coming down?  Yup, this is where the shit starts to hit the fan.  By the end of it, the fan will no longer be hanging from the ceiling, it's been hit that hard.

"About the alien city
The executive producer thinks, "He's mistaken, has to be; it must be a series of patterns in the image that look like a city." Being a thorough person, however, the executive producer fires up his copy of the tape, and fast forwards to the shot in question. Pauses, then advances, frame by frame.

Then stops. The executive producer stares at the screen for a very, very long time. Eventually, words form. The executive producer knows that if he posts those words here, not only will they throw him off the system, they will come to his house, burn it down, and sow the ground with salt.

The executive producer knows what that single frame is, knows that it has nothing to do with his show, knows that it's a frame from Hypernauts that somehow crossed into the EFX shot in double-exposure via a computer glitch while rendering. No one saw it. No one noticed it. Until now.

Tomorrow morning, the executive producer is going to make phone calls, and say all the words he can't say here. When he is finished, twenty seven miles of telephone coaxial cable are going to hang melted from the telephone poles. Shortly thereafter, the executive producer is going to put a gun to his head and blow his brains out, in the sure knowledge that if he does not do so, he will most assuredly do it to someone else.

The executive producer thanks you for bringing this to his attention, and would write further, but is currently modeming from a laptop computer on top of his roof, from which he is considering jumping, and the wind up here is causing line noise.

*snickers*  Oh, the little things that happen.  This amuses me.

"Why aren't eggs and bacon available?
Mainly it's the expense involved per volume. It still costs big bucks, and you generally need refrigeration.

Basically, it's the cost involved in transporting something as basically trivial as eggs. Yes, it can be done, but the cost per egg would be quite substantial, given limited space in ships. Space flight is still very expensive.

Hm.  That makes sense to me.  Though couldn't one just bring a chicken into space?  I shall have to ponder this.

"Any relation to the moment of perfect beauty in "There All the Honor Lies?"
Yes, the way Sheridan removes his EA pin here is an echo, or a shadow, so to speak, of his moment in "Honor." The latter is meant to sort of indicate what might be ahead for him, what he may have to do at some point along the line. He has to give up things that mean something to him. (We'll get more of this philosophy in a few more eps, I don't want to get too specific here.) Visual foreshadowing.

From here on in, things get very interesting...."

Sometimes I hate it when you do that.  Except I don't.  Can't, really.  Just the unfairness of all that awesome.

"Could someone on Sheridan's side "pilot" a Shadow ship, or are the ships intrinsically evil?
It's certainly a *very* good question."

Questioner, I am disappoint.  Intrinsically evil?  JMS?  Probably not.  The first half of the question is very much good though.

"Yes, the first batch of eps from season 3, up through 9 or so, give a lot more background on the shadow ships, what they are and how they work. And as you say, virtually everything in this show is here for a reason; there's an offhand remark from Garibaldi in "Infection" about his long struggle out of the Martian desert that pays off in both the comic, and in a third-season episode. So some of the year three stuff was being set up as early as episode 2 of year 1, in what was designed to look like just plain old throwaway dialogue."

Yes, we see what you are doing.  Still, nothing quite beats the pilot.  XD

"Also, bear in mind that Sheridan went into Earth-space knowing the risks. For him to fire on the Aggy would be selfish, and wrong; he knew full well that this could be a one-way ride.

If you're going to have a situation where Sheridan fires on EA ships, it has to be the ONLY way of dealing with the situation, and it has to be SUPREMELY motivated, so that it's not just him or one of our guys who's at stake. It has to be a big situation to merit taking the lives of fellow officers, in the same service."

Besides, you can't ask Sheridan to fire on the Aggy.  It's his old ship.  It's only been around a year and a half since he got off it for B5, so a lot of people he worked with are still probably on there.

"Nobody seemed to be translating Sheridan's orders to the White Star's crew.
Lennier was muttering his translations off-screen.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it."

Well, that works for me.  It wouldn't have had quite the same feel to it if the actions were instantaneous, I suppose. 

"What happened to Ivanova's discovery in "Voices of Authority?"
That information was sent to Earth, where it's led directly to the series of current investigations that were launched...and which forced Clark's hand into declaring martial law to distract from all that."

Don't you hate it when the bad guy uses your evidence against you?  It sucks.

"We already knew everything this episode revealed.
If I can, let me address one aspect of this, for your consideration.

Back when I was working on MURDER, SHE WROTE, we'd sometimes get letters saying, "This wasn't a good episode because I figured out the ending. It wasn't a surprise." (Which is, to some extent, your point here.)

The problem we had with that particular letter was this: of COURSE you figured it out. Because you were paying attention to all the clues we had put out there in the episode.

There seems to be this notion that nobody should be able to jump ahead, or else something's wrong or bad about the episode. Absolutely not true. If you're going to play fair with the audience, whether it's B5 or M,SW, you've got to put enough bits of information out on the table so that the person who's really following it can figure it out...so that at the end, those who *didn't* figure it out can back up the tape, watch for the clues or leads, and see where it all came from. That's playing fair.

If NObody gets it, you haven't done your job right.

If EVERYbody gets it, you haven't done your job right.

The best case scenario is a bell-shaped curve. Some don't have a clue what's coming, some manage to figure it out, and the majority have a kind of vague sense where it's going, but there are still surprises along the way. If the bell-curve shifts one direction or the other, then you're in trouble.

So far, B5 seems to be hewing right to the bell-curve. For every person who says "okay, this was expected," there's been another saying, "I had no *idea* this was going to happen here, or so fast." (Many of these have been right on this forum, in fact.)

Finally, do bear in mind that you have an advantage here that 99% of all the viewers don't: the discussion here on CIS, and direct comments from me. For instance, I just noted elsewhere that we've got major turns at the end of this season, and one 2/3rds into year 4. Now, if at those points, somebody says, "Well, I knew this was coming, that's bad," I intend to whap them, because the reason they likely knew it was coming was because I *said so* right here.

But that same 99% doesn't have this advantage.

This is the main difference I've noted in the mail that's come in: the net-folks are constantly trying to figure out what's coming up next, treating it like a mystery story (which, really, it's not, any more than ANY novel is a mystery in that you don't necessarily know its turns and twists as you're reading it), whereas the non-netted folks tend to just take it as it comes.

See, that's the other part of this. People on the nets tend to treat it as though it's a mystery novel, and when it doesn't hit that aspect, say it's flawed as a result...when it was never INTENDED to function as a mystery novel. It's a novel period. A mystery novel depends absolutely on the riddle at the center of it. This is a saga, which uses a different structure. It isn't a mystery any more than Lord of the Rings is a mystery, even though when I first read it I was wondering what was going to happen next.

Also, a mystery novel is done when the mystery is finally unraveled. Not so the B5 story. By the end of this season, most of the mysteries will be unraveled, and the pieces laid on the table for all to see. It then becomes a matter of what the characters *do* about it thereafter.

If I'm doing my job right, and setting up things to come properly, and giving all the clues to it, then by definition a certain number of people HAVE to figure out what's coming. As long as it's the smaller portion, that's as it *should* be. So you'll understand why I tend to get in here for a moment when that's held up as something bad or poorly done. (And, again, even you note that the only reason you knew about the shadows on Mars was via reading it here, or others read it via the comics. Again, that's a very small portion of the audience; most I've heard from had NO idea about that aspect of it. If you hadn't read it here, you likely would have been surprised by it.)

Anyway, just something to consider in all of this...."

Long comment is long.  Also, extremely valid.  Seriously, when  you learn to pay attention to the details of a story, figuring out what happens is easy.  It's the ride that gets you there that is important.  Now when it's too predictable, yeah, there's trouble.  A friend of mine and I spent the entire Tomb Raider movie not bothering to predict the plot.  There was no point.  No, we were predicting the bloody lines, and getting them right 90% of the time.  We were that bloody bored, which was very much not a good thing.  But to a certain extent, a good story should be predictable.  Not because it's following the same formula that millions of others are, but because you've left enough clues to what is going on.  With the occasional thing you can whack people over the head with, naturally.

"Yes, Kosh should've been there. Kosh wasn't. Kosh hasn't been carrying his weight, if you ask me. I hope this doesn't cause a problem somewhere...."

Yes, but why be there when he can make the lesser races do all the dirty work for him? XD

Let's face it.  Fights with Shadow ships are cool.  Nothing's gonna change that.  Also, there is so much Marcus snark in this episode.  Gotta love it.  And just a bit of Lennier back talk.  And finally, some discussion on G'kar's singing.

Point of No Return:

There is a spoiler warning on this episode.  It's a doozy, so keep that in mind.

"Posted to the CompuServe Star Trek forum
Before you hit the *kill* button...a thought or two in your general direction. First, if you're eager for the actual news part of this message -- and it is kinda important -- it appears at the end of this message. If you've got a second, stick around.

In every interview he's given on the subject, Walter Koenig has spoken glowingly of BABYLON 5, as a show he feels is fighting for genuine quality SF in television, with serious, mature stories for fans who grew up on STAR TREK and are looking for more of that quality...none other than Majel Barrett Roddenberry has gone on record at conventions, including Toronto Trek and the recent Wolf 359 convention, as saying that BABYLON 5 was "the only other intelligent science fiction series out there" besides the ST shows, and urged ST fans to support it.

If you've tried the show, and it wasn't to your tastes...fair enough. No one should be expected to like everything. If you'd like to give it another shot, that's fine, but there is no need to defend your opinion; we respect it. Not every show works for every viewer.

If you *haven't* tried the show...if you liked the original ST and the work of Majel and Walter and Harlan and others involved in it...if you like the work of Peter David, who has written for B5 and supports it...you may want to give it a shot in October/November.

The final four episodes from year two will be broadcast starting the week of October 11th, with the new year three episodes beginning the second week of November. These nine episodes in a row contain some of the best work we have ever done. Acting, writing, directing, effects...we stand behind all of them. (The year two Final Four were held back from earlier broadcast to lead into the debut, so these are new to the US, although they have already aired to substantial praise in the UK.)

If perhaps you have been turned off by some of the more vigorous messages from B5 viewers, I'd only ask that you consider those comments in light of the fact that Paramount (NOT the people doing ST, but the studio itself) has done everything possible to hinder the progress of B5, which engenders certain reactions from everyone; and that to a man or woman, virtually all of the more vigorous posts have come from those who have long considered themselves fans of STAR TREK, voicing many of the concerns which are stated right here in this forum by current viewers...which they had long before there was a B5... as well as some of the praises found here.

The ironic thing is that there is no problem between those who make B5, and those who make ST..Jeri Taylor is a friend, Majel supports the show, when ST does an episode with great EFX we call them, when we do a good one they call us...it's almost entirely a matter of perception.

So for what it's worth, direct from those of us who make BABYLON 5, if you haven't checked out the show before, or if you're curious to see where we stand now...I would like to personally invite you to check out the new batch of episodes starting around October 11th. If you want to give us all nine episodes, that's great; if less, that's fine too. If not at all, that's also fine.

Over a late dinner with Majel, I observed that after the original STAR TREK, which for the first time presented truly *human* characters, with all their flaws and frailties and bravery and nobility, in a science fiction series, the ball was dropped, and no one picked it up again for years. She agreed with this...and it is my hope that you will find this coming season of BABYLON 5 to be that show.

Because it isn't an either/or, sum/zero game...one can watch, and enjoy, BABYLON 5 and STAR TREK equally, for different reasons, since their approaches are very different. And this is the perfect time to come into B5, since these episodes encapsulize a lot of background, and will take you quickly into the background, the universe and the characters.

Which is why, I'm pleased to announce, Majel Barrett will be appearing as a guest star on BABYLON 5 this coming season...a gesture of support from her, and a gesture of respect from all of us at B5. The deal has been signed, it's a done deal...she'll be appearing in episode #9, "Point of No Return," as Emperor Turhan's third wife, Lady Morella. We're very much looking forward to her appearance in the B5 universe.

For all these and other reasons, I hope you'll give BABYLON 5 a try."

Oh, look.  He really does like Trek.  XD

"When we first announced casting Walter Koenig on B5, lots of people moaned, "Oh, no, not Chekov on B5." What you got was Bester, who has become one of our most noted and discussed characters. It's unfortunate, but some people confuse the role with the person. "...the worst character ever in the entire ST universe" has nothing to do with the person, or the role she will be portraying: the Lady Morella, Emperor Turhan's third wife, a prophetess and seer. It's a *very* serious, significant role, absolutely unlike anything she's done before.

This, btw, is called "typecasting," which is one of the primary reasons why so many talented actors who helped to create Star Trek and other series couldn't get work for so many years...they did so good a job that they forever *became* that character. Let's not be guilty of that crime here. Majel's character will no more be Troi than Bester is Chekov."

And really, let's face it.  As much as I love Chekov, Walter Koenig was wasted on Star Trek as a good guy.  Mr. Bester is a brilliant villain.  I seriously cry when I think of the Crusade episode that never was, which Koenig said was the best Bester script he'd seen.  Majel Barrett as Emperor Turhan's wife?  Yeah, she rocked that role.  And I'm not saying that just because she sat and talked with me for an hour when I was five.  XD

"Ellen: thanks. As for the episode in question, it's entitled "Point of No Return," and the role of Lady Morella was written specifically for Majel. I hustled to get it finished prior to the Wolf 359 convention, where I gave her a copy of the script. She read it overnight, and fell in love with the story, the character, and what it was going to do with and to the BABYLON 5 universe (to wit: start turning it upside down). Next morning, she said "I'm in." And she is.

Yes, it's a jms script, and is one of the most pivotal of this season, episode #9, which with the one before it, "Messages from Earth," builds to a major turning point in #10, so it should be a very popular, intense and memorable episode in every respect."

Yeah, I don't blame her on that.  It's a huge role for a one-episode character.  I'd be in too.  Especially with a script like that which is... well, it's a pretty damn momentous episode for B5.  Everything starts happening at once.  The Nightwatch, Londo's plot line...  It's all there.

"About Morella's prophecy
There's another way to look at this, which occured to me as I was writing it, so I structured it accordingly.

Morella: "You must save the eye that does not see."

Londo: "I...do not understand."



We never actually saw how she spelled or meant this.

Given Londo's background, one could almost make the case that the discussion was about him. Not saying that's it, but it's a possibility and a subtext.

You are trying to give us another red herring on that.  >.>

"Aren't those Nightwatch posters a bit too much? Wouldn't people object?
It's not always as simple as that. You also take a uniquely Western perspective. Look around at Russia, Cuba, 1930s Germany and the beer hall putsch, Iraq, Iran...a leader can survive all kinds of opposition if he has sufficient control of the armed forces. After the Gulf War, it was generally assumed that Saddam would be gone within a few months; now his position is stronger than ever.

Also, Clark didn't (ostensibly) declare martial law to protect himself, he did it because of an imminent alien threat which was detected long before these allegations came out, we just had Ganymede attacked and that's spitting distance from the primary Earth jump gate at Io...there is indication of collaboration and conspiracy among some in the Joint Chiefs (and in fact that's correct, from his point of view, given Hague's activities)...there's enough ammo there to justify martial law. Dissolve the Senate? Just happened a couple years ago in Russia, when we had tanks firing on the Senate building. Some might say that Yeltsin was in the same position as Clark in that his motives might be saving himself.

(The majority of our posters, btw, are taken from genuine WW II propaganda and war-support posters that were actually in use. We make some slight modifications, but the gist is there. Yes, we do fall for these things, we do go for these things. We always have.)

As for the USA-western perspective...during WW II we saw Japanese civilians interned in camps along the West Coast...afterward we saw people prosecuted for being Reds, saw careers and lives destroyed by even the hint of "commie" influence. If you look at newsreels and documentary footage from the time, you see a populace, fresh out of a war, who survived by focusing on the Enemy, given a new enemy. Might they have gone along with some kind fo martial law if they thought that if they *didn't* cooperate, the nation might be vulnerable to Russian nukes or invasion? I think the climate was perfect for it.

Could it happen right here, right now? No, because the surrounding climate isn't right. Could it happen if the conditions *were* right? Of course it could. We're not genetically or evolutionarily different from the Germans or the Russians or the Cubans or the Iraquis. If we think we'd never fall for that, we place ourselves in *exactly* the position of guaranteeing that we *will* fall for it. Because we won't recognize it when it happens. We can justify and rationalize it as something else.

Yeah, people back on Earth still have guns. What of it? Right now, with martial law, the streets are quiet, the news is more positive than usual for a change, the quarrelsome jerks in the senate have been given a good kick in the butt, the president's getting things *done*, we've all still got our jobs, the muggers are hiding out, life goes on except for the lawbreakers. You gonna go out on your own and start shooting at Earthforce troops armed to the teeth with *vastly* more advanced weaponry? On whose behalf? The aliens? The troublemakers? What're we rallying for? Or against? This'll blow over soon, it always does. It never lasts. Right now, just ride it out, wait and see what happens. Who knows...maybe Clark's right? Who wants to be perceived as a traitor?

Those are the thoughts of any populace in this situation. Just as when Yeltsin declared martial law in Moscow, as when Mayor Daly sent in the shock troops in Chicago, on and on.

Here's the number one rule: a population will always stay passive for as long as they perceive that they stand to lose more by opposing the government than by staying quiet. It's when they have little or nothing left to lose that they rise up; the politicos first, then, more reluctantly, the general population."

I really do love it when he talks history like that.  And not only history, but his psychology major is showing through here too.  XD  Never doubt that a crowd will just go along with the current.  On the opposite side, why do you think mobs/riots are so terrifying?  People have a heard mentality.  I mean, have you ever been with a large group of people and just started walking... only to find the people in front have no idea where they're going?  It happens.  So often.  XD

"Here's something to consider in this.

It's easy -- safe and reassuring -- to dismiss Nightwatch and the whole political climate on Earth at this time as referring to Nazi germany...SS, Stormtroopers, informers...but if we know our history, it shows that this is not so isolated as we might think. If we say it was just the Nazis, then it's a non-repeatable phenomenon, we needn't worry about it again.

But, of course, it does happen again...it did, and it will, to varying degrees. Go back to the Inquisition, and forward to Joe McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) which destroyed lives and reputations based on association, past history, social contacts and party affiliations (the items specified by Musante to the EA folks in Nightwatch). Stalin and to a lesser extent Lenin would have been right at home in Nightwatch. Several of the leaders speaking for parties in the ruins of what was once Yugoslavia would also fit.

It's easy, and safe, for us to say, "Oh, we would never do that, only THEY did that." But the "they" in this ARE the we on the other side...and "we" have done it, are doing it now, and will continue to do it. Only when we *know* the history of such things, when we recognize the rhetoric of control, when we oppose blacklisting and scapegoating and dead-catting do we help to assure that they *won't* arise again. Remember the quote: "Those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it."

There's a great deal of generalized historical and political metaphor in the show, never one-to-one because that's too easy, but disguised in one form or another, transumted. The Centauri Republic isn't a real republic by any stretch of the imagination...any more than the Roman Republic from which it draws some of its political structure, particularly the Centarum, the ruling body. There's a great deal of Japanese political and social structure to the Minbari, in their culture and art and some of their philosophy. You can find parallels to the story in World War II, and the bible, among a few dozen others.

Too little of TV these days is *about* anything...it's all context, no subtext. This show is about a lot of things...but never in the mode of telling you what to think. We'll ask *that* you think, that you consider the world around you, and your place in it...but defining that is your business, not ours.

Subtext.  It's that brilliant thing that you still see far too little of on TV these days.  So easily abused too.  That's why I'm really looking forward to the new JMS shows.  I've gone far too long without something good.

"The House Un-American Activities Committee wasn't that powerful.
I disagree. When even Truman was loathe to take on HUAC and McCarthy, you've got a real problem. You make the impact sound minimal; but people committed suicide when their careers were ruined by HUAC and Tailgunner Joe. I personally know writers who were at the top of their form and their careers who never worked again because they were blacklisted or greylisted.

It was also the climate created by HUAC that threatened much more widely than the actions of the committee itself. Take Red Channels, a sleazy little rag published by the owner of a *SUPERMARKET CHAIN* in which he listed those he considered -- based on whim or divine revelation -- reds or sympathetic to reds. Even a publication like that had tremendous destructive power. I know one of the writers listed in Red Channels; the networks grey-listed him instantly. It was *years* before he could work again.

The whole red-baiting hysteria of the 50s came as close to destroying the American dream as any threatened invasion. If it had been led by someone a little less self-destructive than McCarthy, I hate to think what would've happened."

Dude...  Have you not heard how terrifying McCarthism was?  Not that powerful... My mind is boggled by whatever white-washed version of history you learned. 

""Zack is the key figure here. He's the one questioning if he's on the right side and just what his allies are up to. I've heard some good analogies to present days situations kicked around on these boards, but It seems mostly Republicans want to accuse democrats and vice versa. What we need is more Republicans willing to criticise fellow republicans and democrats willing to criticise fellow democrats."

A very good point. Zack is, to all intents and purposes, the Everyman character in this; he wants, desperately, to do what's right. But he doesn't exactly *know* what's right, because he's getting conflicting information...or rather, a lack of *real* information and a plethora of agendas. Who is he to believe? Which way does he jump when he's not sure which pit holds the lion?

When a culture become factionalized, when it becomes us vs. them, everyone starts setting up consistently smaller camps...first it's democrats vs. republicans...then it's mainstream republicans vs. conservative republicans...then it's conservative republicans vs. religious right republicans (with the democrats having equal problems on their side). As soon as we forget that we're *all* US, it begins to fall apart."

Oh, look.  A wild intelligent commenter.  Actually, I really like that statement.  Poor Zack.  He was so confused, and the uniform never quite fits right.

""...I wanted Sheridan &Co. to cut themselves free of Earthgov, and they didn't."

'Course, if you were to do anything that monumental, you'd spike right smack in the middle of your three-part story.

One of the things about these three episodes that's again worth stressing is that they're really one story, linked carefully. Each of the three begins *one frame* after the other. After they've aired, if you sit down with a VCR and edit them together, you'll find that they flow absolutely SEAMLESSLY from one to the other. So PoNR is at the dead center of the piece that propels you toward the last third, like the second act in a three-act play (which was my structure for this).

That may help."

That comment is for Cy.  Because she's complained that before.  XD

"I liked Londo's line about politics.
Thanks, and I agree with those scenes. (For me, the Vir/Londo scene in the tag is just hysterical.) Re: "politics has nothing to do with intelligence," yeah, I kinda liked that one. I have fun...."

Yup, that just about sums it up.

"Is the fact that Hague was on the Alexander a reference to Alexander Haig?
Y'know, I think this was one of those subconscious things the brain does sometimes...I hadn't put it together when I put him on that ship. It's a sad thing when you can't even trust your own brain anymore."

That... happens to me a lot more than it really should.  Honestly, I wish I could claim half the things my brain comes up with.  I miss a good portion of my own puns just because I really don't think about it. -_-;;;;

Oh, these three episodes.  And this was just the middle of the story.  I'm actually really looking forward to Nar's reactions to the next major arc episodes. 

Well, damn.  It's apparently too big for one post.  I guess I'll post the last two later.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 9th, 2012 12:55 am (UTC)
**cracks knuckles** Now that I have time to read these...
in general, you can't just bring something up and walk away form (from) it later; it's got to either fit, or be reasonably, logically explained away.


I'm finding I have the same problem with him I have with Londo...getting him to shut up once I wire him up and let him go.

Gee, I WONDER WHY you relate to him so well, Mem. XD (Though I've occasionally had that problem with characters of mine in the past, too. Just not in fanfiction.)

"Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom" is a variation on a quote from Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States (1801-1809.) The original meaning was that people should closely watch their governments to avoid excessive encroachment on personal liberty; its use by a Nightwatch member is especially ironic."

That really is ironic. Ol' Jeffy hated the idea of governments that restricted people.

Generally, my feeling is that titles should augment the episode, or add something, or collapse something into a thematic whole.

Yessss I revel in artfully crafted titles. Such a hard thing to do, and something so many people overlook as a potential "blow the readers out of their freaking minds" tactic.

Though couldn't one just bring a chicken into space?

I distinctly remembering arguing something like this in an earlier season. Chickens don't take up that much space, yo.

I really liked his long comment on the difference between a mystery and A novel, period. It was interesting.

Over a late dinner with Majel, I observed that after the original STAR TREK, which for the first time presented truly *human* characters, with all their flaws and frailties and bravery and nobility, in a science fiction series, the ball was dropped, and no one picked it up again for years.

<3 And that's why I like the Original Series Star Trek so much. Because it did actually try to make human characters (and because it was one of the few shows at the time that was trying to encourage multi-ethnic casting). Sure, it could be extremely campy at times, but there were times where it did present thoughtful and interesting questions, too. **Suddenly has to go have feelings about "The City on The Edge of Forever" again**

it isn't an either/or, sum/zero game...one can watch, and enjoy, BABYLON 5 and STAR TREK equally, for different reasons, since their approaches are very different.

Yay! **waves flag** Now I can be a fan of ALL THE SCIFI. **waves Star Trek, Doctor Who, and Babylon 5 flags**

Walter Koenig was wasted on Star Trek as a good guy.

Except for the two times when he was evil on Star Trek. Then he was downright terrifying. But I also loved good!Chekov, too, though.

"You must save the eye that does not see."

Maybe she's talking about needles.

The majority of our posters, btw, are taken from genuine WW II propaganda and war-support posters that were actually in use. We make some slight modifications, but the gist is there. Yes, we do fall for these things, we do go for these things. We always have.

Yesssss. I freaking love propaganda posters. They're hysterical. May or may not have a picture folder full of propaganda posters

Here's the number one rule: a population will always stay passive for as long as they perceive that they stand to lose more by opposing the government than by staying quiet. It's when they have little or nothing left to lose that they rise up; the politicos first, then, more reluctantly, the general population.

That's remarkably profound, accurate, and insightful, right there.

I personally know writers who were at the top of their form and their careers who never worked again because they were blacklisted or greylisted.


I keep forgetting that that guy's named Zack. I just have to think of this every time I see him, and then maybe I'll finally remember this name: http://youtu.be/pDH3AoOQzE0 (New headcanon: that guy whose name I can't remember plays with lego. Oh yeah, Zack.)
Sep. 9th, 2012 04:06 am (UTC)
Re: **cracks knuckles** Now that I have time to read these...
Moffat needs to take so many notes.

Gee, I WONDER WHY you relate to him so well, Mem. XD

It happens. Some characters are just pushy.

JMS has such nice titles. I envy his title making ability. I wish I could come up with awesome titles like him.

I really liked his long comment on the difference between a mystery and A novel, period. It was interesting.

Yeah, he has a lot of just interesting comments. That's have the fun of reading through them.

(and because it was one of the few shows at the time that was trying to encourage multi-ethnic casting)

It's still one of the few shows to encourage multi-ethnic casting. B5 is another. But yeah, still not that great out there.

That's remarkably profound, accurate, and insightful, right there.

It really is. Psychologists are good at that.

Awwww. Poor Zack. XD
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )