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And if you go there, you will die.  But that is totally not a shock to anyone by this point.  All comments taken from The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5.  Sound bytes are from the Down Below Sound Archive.


"It came out pretty well; it's exceeded by Shadow Dancing, Z'ha'dum and Rock, but it ain't bad."

Eh. It ain't one of my favorite episodes.  But he's right, it ain't bad.  It just...  is really over shadowed by certain episodes that follow.  XD

"Re: "Walkabout," thanks...of the final 5, it's not at the top, but it ain't bad. If you happen to be out of the house this coming Thursday, and miss "Grey 17 is Missing," you miss a little, but not a lot. It's okay. But the ones after that are just *killer*."

No, no.  Do not miss Grey 17.  Grey 17 is awesome.  And it's even better when tipsy.  ALL OF CREATION IN A HANGNAIL.

"Was this supposed to come before "War Without End?"
Correct. Initially we'd wanted to put Walkabout in first, but that would have meant airing only WWE1 in that sweeps period, and having to wait until the fall for part 2, which seemed not only excessive but remarkably stupid. So we reversed the shooting/airing order to accommodate that, and the fact that we knew we'd need a LOT of EFX in WWE1, and this would give us time to do it properly."

Actually, it makes a lot more sense to have this one before WWE.  Because it's no where near as stellar as the coming episodes and that shows.  Plus, it puts Franklin and his issues there getting started, leaving a bit more time between Walkabout and his withdrawals while reducing the time between his resignation and Walkabout.  It makes sense in my head, but I'm not sure I got it out on the keyboard...

"Will the order be corrected when TNT airs the series?
Not really, because it doesn't make *that* much difference to risk confusing them about it...."

>.<  Oh, TNT.  You may have saved B5, but don't think we don't resent you for everything else.  >.>

"Is the new ambassador the same as Kosh?
Actually, no, the replacement isn't Kosh, as you say, it's another Vorlon, with a very different personality...the "we are all Kosh" is more of a conceptual thing...."

Since when has JMS replaced anyone?  XD

"Will we ever find out what was written on the side of Kosh's ship?
What, do I look like someone who can speak Vorlon? Oh, sure, a few words, mainly "Where is the bathroom" and "What's that smell?" but to translate something like that...pfsh, please.

(Answer: probably not.)"

Lazy JMS is lazy.  Still, I'd worm out of that one too.  XD

"What did the ship say?
"Welcome to Hawaii."

There was apparently a hideous malfunction...they never talked about it thereafter....

Oh, JMS.  You do amuse me sometimes.

""When is walkabout a legitimate choice, and when is it a cop-out?"

When you're more afraid of what you're running *to* than what you're running *from*."

Oh, look!  It's a good question for once.  :o 

"It's not widely known -- I guess mainly because I haven't ever mentioned it much -- but from time to time I've written songs. Mainly the lyrics; I know how the music should sound, but I'm incapable of reading music...I think it's the same mental glitch that hits me when I try to do certain kinds of math. "X is a numerical value." "No, X is a letter, 7 is a numerical value." I can't ever seem to make the one equal the other in my head. Similarly, a black note on a piece of paper isn't the music...anyway, it's a glitch.)

So when I write songs, and I have a specific melody I'm hearing in my head, I'm invariably placed in the humiliating position (since I can't play a musical instrument) of humming it, or somehow trying to suggest it to the music-person. Suffice to say it looks really goofy and stupid.

Anyway...despite this, I do sometimes write songs, and like to keep my hand in, as they say. I did two songs for an ABC-TV prime-time Real Ghostbusters special, did a few songs that have been recorded by small groups (you've never heard of any of them, trust me), another song that, much to my chagrin, is apparently still being used in church songbooks (and that's all I will ever say about that)...and when I decided to do a show with a singer for B5, I wrote a couple of songs for that one, with Chris Franke providing the music.

They're bluesy, Billie Holliday kinds of songs, updated slightly. I'm actually very pleased with how they came out (Erica Gimpel, one of the cast members from Fame, plays the part and sings the songs). Several folks around here want either or both songs to come out on the next B5 album, but I"m loathe to do so, on the theory that the soundtracks work better in the style we've already used, all instrumental. (There've even been some inquiries from music people who've heard the songs about releasing them commercially, but that would mean adding about 30 seconds to each song to make them airplay compatible, and I'm not sure I want to take on the extra hassle just now.)

It amuses me terribly that he's bad at math.  And also apparently can't read music. 

"I figured it might be cool to continue the song over the credits. That happens one more time this season."

Yes, we know.  Oh, do we know.

"Here's what I think is a bit of cultural short-sightedness. Everybody keeps saying, "well, if they had that kind of music, shouldn't it have been shown to be an oldies bar or something?"

Look at classical music for a moment. Goes back to Beethoven, Brahms, Bach and lots of composers whose names don't even begin with B. And earlier. Now, I don't mean to alarm anyone or startle anyone with this revelation, but classical music is *still being written and performed* hundreds of years later. Not old stuff, new stuff, of that school and in that style. The orchestral suites in the Star Wars movies are strongly based on classical compositions...is that "oldies" stuff? You've got one of the longest running musical plays running now in London, in "Phantom of the Opera," a *new* composition (well, mostly, knowing how Webber works).

Jazz and blues kinda formally began in the 1920s and 1930s, but its roots run back to spirituals and african-american music in the 1800s. And it didn't just stop suddenly in the 1930s. There's still new material being written in that style now; so should Stevie Ray Vaughn's albums or performances have been labeled "oldies?" After all, it's sixty years later and more.

Certain musical styles will stay with us for a long, long time. Not performances based on old stuff, but new material in that vein, for those forms that have shown themselves to be enduring. 200 years from now, in addition to other forms, you're still going to have original blues songs, original classical compositions, original jazz, original compositions in the style of gregorian chants, on and on and on.

It's odd when people try to apply illogical rules to the future that don't apply now; no one said, as noted, that a Stevie Ray Vaughn concert should be billed as an "oldies" event, or an oldies bar...even though it's over half a century since serious blues started going...it's just silly."

I resent the oldies bar comment.  I like Jazz.  >.>  And it totally makes sense to me.  It just amuses me terribly that the songs sounded so very 90's.  XD

"Pat has interesting eyes...they're slightly larger than is the norm, and they take some getting used to. Those eyes are one of the things that beckoned to me to cast her...they're the eyes of a telepath, who sees more than should be seen. They're terrific eyes."

That is one way of putting it.  I dunno.  I still don't like the character that much, sadly.  I did try.

"Re: the new Kosh...yeah, the look is intentional. I worked with Optic Nerve to get the new lines right, messed with their sketches until I had what I wanted. It's very effective in some lights, less so in others, but the sense comes across."

JMS, you are such a control freak.  I can see you annoying the hell out of these poor people.  Still, it worked, so I'm not complaining.

"The UK cut Lyta's line from the Shadow battle, "Burn, you bastards!"
They cut that? How curious...I didn't know that. From what I'd seen of British TV, some shows use the word bastard like I use a comma, they're ubiquitous...."

UK censorship ceased making sense to me a long time ago.

"Why isn't Sheridan setting up propaganda to help turn the Shadows' allies, such as Earth, against them?
There's really no need for propgaganda. By about now, everybody out in this part of space knows the situation...and what's going on back home is secondary to winning the war. Also, you can be sure that if they set up a network -- and who has time in the middle of a war -- you can be sure Earth would find some way to jam it."

*Raises eyebrow at JMS*  I do not believe your answer.  Mostly because of season 4.  Granted, they did jam it, but hey. 

"You're the leader of an isolated space station with a quarter million inhabitants, who need air, food, supplies, space, support. You no longer have ties to Earth, no support from there, no money, so you have to rely on whatever docking fees you can get from other worlds. You're in the midst of a war in which you have few resources, little money, allies that have a tendency to turn on one another, nobody's giving you a break, your position is tenuous as hell, you're constantly undermanned, shorthanded....

Now you tell me where the heck you're going to get the time, resources, money and manpower to launch a propaganda operation, which if you're going to broadcast (and what's the point otherwise?) on an interstellar basis is going to require extensive and expensive facilities, broadcast repeaters, tacyhon carrier wave generators to get around the time-delay aspects, writers, directors, broadcast engineers, spokespersons, propaganda specialists, psychologists, technicians, camera equipment, space in which to PUT all of this stuff...on and on and on."

Besides, this is the Army of Light we're talking about.  They use the TRUTH instead of propaganda.  XD

"The Minbari could help with the propaganda.
For starters, having just had a MAJOR WAR with the Minbari, which nearly wiped out Earth, and many folks back home *hating* the Minbari...do you think for one second that they're going to believe a word of what the Minbari say to them? Do you think the government would allow this to go through unjammed? Hell, EarthGov would have a field day with this..."See? It's all alien propaganda, just like we told you, they're trying to destabalize Earth."

Second, I don't think the Minbari have the propagandists, writers, directors, and others needed to put together a propaganda network, and would find the whole idea immoral to begin with...and a couple of paragraphs of text are meaningless...Earthgov says "it's not true," and it's your word against theirs. That's why you must have absolute, unvarnished PROOF, otherwise it blows up in your face, which any journalist worth his or her salt knows."

Aaaaaand, now we're back to the idiot questioners.

Again, not one of my favorite episodes, but it ain't bad.  Also, Sweedish Meatballs happen.

Grey 17 Is Missing:

It amuses me that the makeshift gun that Garibaldi makes is completely impractical.  I think they've disproved something similar on Mythbusters, actually.  Still, fun times to be had by all.

"The Jeremiah thread was one of those things that looks great on paper, but when you get it into a camera...I dunno, it's one of those weirdnesses that happens in television. Sometimes you've got what you think is an average script and it just roars to life on-camera, and something that looks great on paper, but in real life...ehh...I'm happy with all the other stuff in the episode, but the Jeremiah thread didn't come off as it should've.

I think in part it's also my fault, in that my brain was gearing up for the stuff that begins ramping up starting with the next episode, and the Grey 17 thing was something I'd wanted to do for a long time, and there wasn't going to be a chance to do it down the road, if at all, after this season, so I went for it. As for the Zarg, that's also one of those things that didn't come off visually as I'd wanted. So overall, I'd agree...of all the season 3 eps, this one is probably the least effective of them all. But one in a season, that ain't too bad...."

Hush, you.  I liked this one a lot better than Walkabout.  Though I'd generally agree with the Zarg.  Jeremiah was totally rocking though.  CRAZIES!  Gotta love 'em.  Especially when tipsy. 

"Why did you write all the episodes this season?
"Was there some incident that we don't know about? It seems to me that there must have been. "

Nope. No incident. The situation with year 3 was that *so much* was being paid off, and set up, and foreshadowed, and required such intimate knowledge of where the show was going, and where it'd been, that it made it nearly impossible to bring in any outside writers.

There has never been any series in television history where every episode was utterly beyond criticism. Some are better, some are worse, some are average. There are many Twilight Zones by Rod Serling that are utterly brilliant. And some that just fall flat. That's the nature of the beast. Sometimes something will look great on the page, and fall flat on the stage. (And sometimes it happens in reverse; you think you've got something that won't work, and somehow the filmed version just takes off.) There's a lot about Walkabout I like; and there's some stuff that just didn't work out. You try something different here and there, and sometimes it works, and sometimes it don't. TV, or any form of writing, is the constant process of trial and error. It's not like one day you forget how to write, or you're writing bad...you very rarely fall below a certain facility once you reach it.

There's not a writer alive who has turned out nothing but terrific stuff. Now, one could turn out a lifetime of mediocre stuff, by not trying...but I think it's better to shoot high, and sometimes fall, knowing that you'll get something great one out of every five tries, than not try at all and just do okay.

"Grey 17" is the same thing, for me. There are bits in that I like a lot. And some parts of it just fell down dreadfully. That's simply the nature of the beast. I thought I'd try something different in the tone of "Grey" and while most of the writing works (mostly), the production fell down on a couple of aspects. It happens. It doesn't mean anything.

On the other hand, the following 3, "Rock," "Shadow" and "Z'ha'dum" are some of the best stuff we've done. The preliminary P5 survey has "Z'ha'dum" as the best episode of the entire series to date. Did I suddenly learn to write better? If there were a problem with being tired, then by all rights you should see a descending order in quality. But these last 3 are some of our best work.

The real key here is something I heard someone say a while back about TV: a flaw, or a flop, or a misstep happens by accident as often as by inability; but real quality is never an accident. So the latter is more indicative of the level of the show than the former, since accidents or missteps *always* happen.

"Walkabout," for me, is a good episode with a very few clunky parts; for me, it's a middle of the road episode. "Grey" falls a bit short of that, for me. But then, I'm very hard on my shows; a lot of folks have liked "Walkabout" a *lot*. I didn't much like "Infection," but many did; and some shows I love dearly, like "Geometry," don't catch on. It's subjective. And where you say the battle falls short, others like it...so on one level, I'd caution against applying your standard as an objective one that is somehow more true than another, and thus asking "what's wrong with *you* that I had this opinion?" If everyone on the planet shares that opinion, then you've got something. Otherwise....

And there are always some people who don't want the character stuff at all, they want battles...and some for whom the CGI is of secondary interest to the plot...and those who want arc stories *only*...and those who like the stand-alones. Some of it is a function of what you want.

Anyway...point being, and I went around the barn a few times to get there, no, there's no "incident" and I don't even know what this could refer to. Some episodes work better for some people than others. That will happen whether you've got 1 person or 50 people writing scripts. I caught a lot of *very* negative comments on Peter David's script, which you cite (as well as many positive ones). The Brits in particular seem to uniformly dislike that one. And in the P5 surveys, the freelance scripts are *all* in the bottom third of the rankings. So it's really not a question of freelancers or no, it's just that TV is variable, as is any kind of writing. Not every episode is going to work for you. Nor should you expect it to. I'm very much an X-Files fan...but there are some scripts that work better for me than others. Doesn't mean anything other than that show didn't quite jell for me. That's the nature of TV.

I'm sure somebody will cite this as being defensive about it, but honest and true, I'm not. I'm just trying to explain it from this end of things. My prior exec producer said, "You're doing *real* good if, in a season, you've got one-third that are pretty good, one-third that are okay, and one-third you never want to see again the rest of your natural life." I think we do a heck of a lot better than that, and that's a heck of an accomplishment."

Long comment is looooooooooooong.  But a good one.  I certainly see that happening in my own fics.  Sometimes I'm brilliant.  Sometimes I'm really just... not.  Other times, it's just sort of not bad, but not great.  Also, as much as I love arc stories, I do really adore the stand-alones.  They're easier to get into when you're just looking for a few episodes to watch.  Also, Brits... I am disappoint.  How can you hate the Peter David scripts?  How

"I think it's about 3/4ths of a good episode. Where it falls down, for me, is the Zarg...I just have this constant desire to go to everyone's house and personally apologize...."

Okay, I could see you taking issue with that.  The Zarg really wasn't the best part of the episode.  Still, the rest was awesome.

"Does Neroon's revelation at the end of the episode mean that the warrior caste is now more willing to fight beside the religious caste?
I think he's closer to an understanding, but we'll see if the others all feel the same way."

Nerooooooooooon.  How I love your character.  And the upcoming storm.  I actually don't watch episodes with Neroon near enough.  They're generally arc ones.

Marcus is pretty badass in this episode.  I think that's the first time we hear the Ranger's creed too.  At least in full.  I dunno, we may have gotten it earlier.  Also, have one of my favorite Garibaldi-isms. But yes, I am ridiculously fond of this episode for unexplained reasons.

And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place:

"Why's it called that? Because it's quite appropos. How do we fit it? Not a big deal. Longest title up to now was one I did for MURDER, SHE WROTE, a quote from Moby Dick, "To The Last Shall I Grapple With Thee.""

Because it's awesome, that's why it's called that.  Pure and unadulterated awesome.    I do like the quote from Moby Dick as a title though.  I might steal that.  Actually, I'm going to steal that.  Cause really, I was going to have to go scouring through Moby Dick for quotes anyway.  Which is a bit more difficult considering I've never actually read the book.  So, totally stealing.  Thanks, JMS!

"The song in "Rock" is an old gospel song. I've always had a soft spot for old gospel songs and spirituals because of their wonderful use of language and imagery, and you can dance to 'em. Not that I dance, but the theory is there, at least."

Which means you can totally use them for disturbing imagery!  I see how your twisted mind works...  And I like it.

"My own take on "And The Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place," which airs tomorrow in the UK...I like it. The Brother Theo stuff is a tad stilted in a couple of places, but it's only a couple of minutes, and the rest works real well. It's a very subversive episode in its way, and a part of it still creeps me out."

I take no small pleasure in the fact that it creeps you out as well.  Because, damn, that scene.

"Some of the Narn buildings looked like Hiroshima after the atomic bomb. Intentional?
Yes, there was some element of that. It's not a moral judgment thing, but a referential point. As for Narn architecture overall, I told them I wanted sort of an alien culture as the Soviet Union might've designed it.... everything tending toward the blocky, the functional, less aesthetic than you would find on Minbar. This is a culture that has crawled up from war, and functionality is more important."

In Soviet Narn, the buildings build you.  Oh, God.  This needs to be a meme now.  I really need this as a meme. 

"Re: the rabbi singing the gospel song...a couple of points. First, if you're visiting someone's church, it's only considered polite behavior to go along with what's there. I have a number of Catholic friends who would sometimes go to temple with Jewish friends...and when it came time to sing, would do so. Why should it not work the other way around?"

I... This was a problem?  I always sang when I visited other churches. 

"About the juxtaposition of Refa's fate with the song
It's comical...and it ain't comical...it's designed to elicit conflicting emotions, between what you *are* feeling, what you *should* be feeling, and so on. I like uneasy laughter...."

And it's vaguely creepy.  You win cookies for that one.

"That was one of those scenes which, when you do it, you know it's gonna stay around for a while...."

Oh, it does.  It's probably one of the most memorable scenes in the whole series.  Granted, there are actually a lot of those, but hey.

"When I thought of that one, I just sat there and grinned. It's so perverse, but yet so appropriate, all at the same time. Just to further add a bit of creepiness to it, in the sound mix I had the editors verb up the music toward the fade out, so it had a slightly distorted edge to it. The details are everything in a scene like that."

lol.  You do exactly what I do when I'm leaning to sadism.  Cackle and enjoy it.

"Why didn't Refa's allies help him?
Bear in mind that all of Refa's people were *back on Centauri Prime*. He didn't bring them with him; to send word to Centauri Prime to bring them all the way out here, then on to Narn, would double the time required to get there, and by then the "rescue" would've been over. That was part of Londo's scheme...he wouldn't have much time, he had to get in and get out. Refa only brought a few with him, and they were needed to watch Londo and guard Vir.

As for the Centauri back home...you proceed from the assumption that all Centauri act as one. I'm basing this somewhat on the early Roman civilization and government, where one side would sell out the other, arrange for deaths and murders, turn people over to their hated enemies as long as it advanced their position, or if they were allied with persons of power on a particular side. Why did the Roman guards escorting Tiberius (a much less worthy emperor) kill the heir to the throne in "I, Claudius" (a much better leader, and well liked among the military)? Because they were told to do so.

SF in TV has the tendency to portray aliens as monolithic...they put the good of their species as a whole above everything else. Some do that; some do not. Just as with humans."

For that last paragraph, we adore you.  <3

"Why wasn't Na'Toth replaced?
I briefly considered giving G'Kar a second, after the revolving door Na'Toths, but as I looked at it...as you say, the others all DO have one like that, and I figured it might be good to have someone *without* that...especially after the fall of Narn, when the staff would be canceled. And there's something I like about G'Kar being alone in all this. Anyway, it varies the mix a bit."

Should I wait for Nar, or should I just make the comment now?  I'll make the comment now.  Aaaaaaaaaaaaall by myseeeeeeeeelf.  XD

"These two characters, Londo and G'Kar, are linked at the hips. That is their beauty and their tragedy. And you will see some new colors to this in the first part of season 4. This story is as much about them as anyone else."

You can't have one without the other, really.  Oh, Season 4.  The feels

"Wayne Alexander was listed as playing G'Dan. Which one was he?
He was the Narn who first met G'Kar on their homeworld; the only one with any lines.

Wayne has a considerably larger role in year 4 as an alien named Lorien."

Wait, wait, wait.  That was Lorien?  :o  I never noticed.

The First Kiss.  At least, it's what I consider the First Kiss.  I mean, the other one was important, but this one is just... I dunno.  It felt more like a First to me.  And I really just love this little monologue.  Plus, Delenn.  Oh, Delenn.  You were on the top of your game this episode.  And so frickin' adorable.  This episode though, it's one that will stick with you.  I think we spent about ten minutes just discussing one scene alone.  We probably could have gone on for longer.  It's just a dense episode, especially when you consider that one scene packed more punch than normal tv shows hope to get in a full season.  Yeah, we watch this episode a lot...

Shadow Dancing:

"Which of the last five episodes is your favorite?
It would be an even tie I think between the final two, "Shadow Dancing" and "Z'ha'dum." The two episodes are also linked at the hip, so they're really more like one unit...not so much a two-parter, but siamese twins, story-wise. They're both very exciting, move the arc forward hugely, and though they rely on a lot of backstory, are also good points for folks new to the show to dive in, because they also *explain* a lot of backstory, so they can get into it.

They're both just lovely, knockout episodes. And, at times, scary as hell."

Oh, these two.  They are good.  Very good indeed.  Franklin shouldn't ever meet himself though.  :o

""You've mentioned a couple times that the upcoming "Shadow Dancing" will be quite violent. Should I be concerned about, say, my two-year old watching it? She's as hooked on the show as I am, and would probably feel quite left out..."

This is a tough one...I've given it a lot of thought since I saw this, and my sense is to advise the following:

If you possibly can, videotape the episode. Get the time code on the various pieces. We cut in and out of two stories, an A and a B story. One is violent, the other is not. You don't have to see the one, or see much of it, to follow the other. For someone as young as 2, I'd suggest fast-forwarding past the B story stuff. It's still within what's generally permitted on TV, but it is kinda harsh."

You're letting a two-year old watch this?  Part of me is asking if you're crazy.  The other part is wondering if you're brilliant.  I dunno.  I'd have to know the two-year old.  Though I think I was personally a bit too young to be watching this show when I did.  I wouldn't have traded it for the world, nor do I doubt my parent's skillz at raising me, but at the same time, I was probably a bit too young.  And I was nine.  So.

"Here's a funny thing.

Well, funny weird.

See, every so often, someone will ask, "How much of you goes into a script?" and I'll answer, "More than I know at the time," and they ask for an example. A few questions ago, someone asked about if I'd ever gone...on walkabout, and I thought of the San Diego thing...and it suddenly dawned on me that that was behind the Franklin thing. Long story short: I got attacked and mugged by a gang, and beaten nearly to death....and survived only by a sheer act of will. And I'd honestly never, ever put that together with Walkabout, until the question, and suddenly there it was, I was working out *exactly* what I'd gone though, denying it to myself...the whole time that it was going on. Well. Anyway. That just hit me like a ton of bricks, and thought I'd pass it along."

I've done that to myself before.  Not the whole nearly being beaten to death thing, but inputting life into fiction and not realizing it.  It sucks.  It sucks slightly more when you realize you're doing it, which tends to happen to me more often.  Because then you go through all the emotions all over again, and I hate nearly breaking down crying while writing.  There's a reason I usually don't write when moody.  I still don't like reading that bit with Ianto in the crack banana fic...  Either way, I'm awfully glad JMS survived that to give us Franklin's walkabout. 

"How did Marcus heal so quickly?
For starters, we're talking about more than two weeks of story time. Between Grey 17 and Rock was several weeks, then you've got about 2 weeks from Rock to Shadow Dancing. That's five weeks, and now you've got the issue of medicine 250 years from now...and you can be sure that these kinds of injuries will be fixed much more quickly. It isn't like he showed up the very next day like this, we *did* allow for proper amounts of time."

Ya know, I thought of that too, then came to JMS's conclusion.  So really, he must not be crazy.

"How did you think up the Shadows' strategy?
I dunno...I just thunk it up as efficient and ruthless. I guess it comes naturally when you're a producer."


"Why didn't the Shadows emerge right next to their targets?
So they could drive any other ships toward the center, into the killing zone. If they come in into the center, everybody splits in every possible direction, and that makes running 'em all down harder."

Yeah, so that's pretty ruthless alright...

""When I saw "A Late Arrival at Avalon," Marcus's line asking "Who is Morgana La Fey" got me to begin speculating that Anna Sheridan was alive and that she was working for the Shadows. My question is whether or not Marcus's line was intended that way--i.e. as foreshadowing that a significant female figure not presently on the scene (Anna?) would arrive at B5 to play Morgana to Delenn's Lady of the Lake?"


So succinct.  So true.

"Good point, when you do a battle like that...what do you do next that won't seem anticlimatic? Usually you save something like that for your last episode of the season, not your next-to-last, or you've blown your big EFX show 1 show early. It makes for a real challenge...what do you do to follow THAT up?

I think we figured it out...."

Oh, hush, you.  Yeah, we know you figured it out.  >.>  Have I ever mentioned how awful that summer was?

"Why were station personnel seemingly surprised to see Anna? And why did Melissa Gilbert come last in the list of guest stars?
The script said the extras shouldn't make a big deal about seeing her. The director did that on the set. That's not what I had in mind, but it isn't that big a deal...I figure she's a striking looking woman, maybe that's a good justification.

The ordering of credits was done to de-emphasize and hide (as much as possible) the appearance of Melissa."

I did wonder about the whole Anna coming in and everyone looking thing.  Directors should follow the script.

"Were the Vorlons absent from the battle because of the death of Kosh, or for some other reason?
There are other reasons, which yes, will be addressed soon...."


"Was the bit about true faces taken from an existing religion on Earth?
As far as I *know*, at least, that bit about seeing your true face revealed as you sleep is something I came up with on my own. There's just something I like about it, and if you've ever watched someone's face while they're sleeping, you understand.

Though one person did comment, "So a man's true face is all mushed up against the pillow and drooling?"

We don't talk anymore."

Now we know the truth: JMS is a creeper.  Still, so long as it's consensual.  XD

Over all, a very good arc episode.  Poor Franklin...


Momentous episode warning.  Like, seriously.  It's a cliff jumper.  XD

"By the last few episodes, pretty much all of my cards are on the table. But by the last episode of this season, we find that the game we've assumed we've been playing ain't necessarily the game at all. The show takes a fairly subversive direction, and of all the seasons so far, the one that follows, year four, represents the greatest writing challenge to make this actually work.

Which is another reason why it's important to get the B4 storyline and several other threads out in the open, and clear the decks, because this is gonna take every bit of whatever talent I've got to pull off.

Year four is the point in the novel when you're just past the halfway mark; you know the reader thinks he or she has got the story sussed out. The reader knows all your tricks by now, or thinks he/she does. You've been pulling doves out of your hat for 243 pages.

Now you'd damned well better be able to pull out an alligator."

JMS, now you've gotten alligator songs stuck in my head.  I just thought you should know that.  Also, you succeed.  I mean, Season 4.  Nar, if you thought Season 3 was good, wait for Season 4.  The awesome explodes.  BOOM.

"February 27, 1996
Well, it's done. I have today turned in the first draft of script #22 for year three, which I suppose could be called a cliffhanger episode. This marks the first time in the 50+ year history of American television that one person has singlehandedly written an entire season of a series. (The closest record is Terry Nation, who wrote the 13-episode first season of Blake's 7.)

(I have no plans to do this next season, btw; this was necessary because of the substantive changes in the B5 universe this season. Next season is a very different story...literally as well as figuratively.)

So far the film based on those 1,000+ pages represents some of our best work on Babylon 5. There's some nifty stuff coming.

We are currently filming episode #18. Four more after this, and we'll be finished shooting year three, as of April 9th. Not long after, we should get the word on year four, probably by late April/early May. But the writing is finished...and for the first time in 8 months, I will be able to go out, see a movie, play Wing Commander, find something that vaguely resembles a life. This is where I now also become a director's worst nightmare: a writer-producer who's finished writing and finally has time to hang out on the set and give lots and lots of helpful advice.

It was a hideous task; two-thirds through I began to understand that there was a *reason* nobody's ever done this before...you'd have to be outta your ever-loving mind to even try. But as with everything else on B5, if we don't know it's impossible, we just go ahead and do it.

The title, as stated elsewhere, is classified, though you may get a sense of what's coming in the two eps that precede it. Regardless, the writing on year three is now complete. Overall, I'm quite pleased, and I think by the time you hit this episode, you'll feel the same."

Liar, you lie.  Though I do believe you meant that at the time.  Sadly, you do not get a break.  At all.  Back to writing all the episodes of Season 4 nao.  XD  Also, I did a double take on the name Terry Nation.  It was all like, wait a sec!  THAT NAME.  He wrote Doctor Who, didn't he?  Then I proceeded to look it up, and sure enough, it's him. 

"Well, there's what one would *prefer*, and there's that which is *sensible*. And the sensible answer is that no, once the last S3 episode airs in the UK, there's no way on earth you're gonna keep that out of the public eye, and there ain't much sense to protecting it or hitting it with spoiler regs. I'd let it go at that point.

(And, frankly, it'll probably slip out some time before that; when it hits, it hits, I've decided to let it go at that point...you just ain't gonna hear it from ME, that's all.)"

lol.  I remember being very surprised, if that makes you feel better. 

"Why a cliffhanger, if WB is likely to delay the final episode until the start of season four?
Because the story calls for it. Whether they show the cliffhanger three months or two weeks before the fourth season (assuming renewal), this is where the story goes. It was constructed like a series of novels, a multi-volume saga, and like any good series of novels, you end on something big.

And this year, season three ends on something really honking big."

Yes, we know.  ...  Bastard.  Especially since they didn't hold it.  I remember that summer.  It was evil.

"I'm definitely looking forward to the reaction. Today, for instance, we did the final audio mix of "Z'ha'dum," our third season ending episode. All of the EFX were in place, the sound, the music...and after we did the piecemeal mix, layering in things in a stop-and-go fashion, we did our playback, watching it straight through. I don't think anyone was breathing for the fourth act. Everyone was just wog-boggled. The emotional impact of it all is quite strong.

When the lights came up, and I looked around to the stunned faces in the room, the only thing I could say was, "Welcome to history, gentlemen.""

Smug bastard.  Still, I'm not going to argue with him.

"An emotional rollercoaster is a good image for that episode; it takes you in every direction and then just drops you.

Re: the Revelations scene...we actually shot that entire sequence, with the notion of possibly re-editing "Revelations" and inserting the Melissa piece instead...sort of TV by way of soviet revisionism...and of course it was *always* that way...what other version was there?"

In Soviet Narn the roller coaster rides you. 

"Was using Melissa Gilbert instead of Beth Toussaint Bruce's idea?
No, since it was my idea re: Melissa. It was a scheduling situation involving availabilities. If it wasn't her, it would've had to be someone else...so I figured, why not?"

Because you're evil, but we like you that way.

"Were the wedding photos in the episode actually photos from Bruce and Melissa's wedding?
Yes, we used their actual wedding photos."

Aw... That's really sort of sweet. 

"Andreas did a terrific job on the end monologue. Very moving."

No arguments here.

"Andreas did two takes on it; I think we used the first of the two.

The writing of it...this is just an estimate, trying to remember, but I think it took me about 10-15 minutes. Which is actually a long time for me to stay parked on any part of the page. Obviously I already had kind of a sense of what was going to go into it before hitting the page, but the actual shape of it had to come in the moment."

That is a pretty long time to spend on a monologue.  Granted, I've taken an hour with just as many words before, so.  I suppose some things are just more difficult than others.  And that was a fairly important one.

""I hate you." Thank you. I try."


"What was behind the door Anna warned John away from?
In a way, I was going more for the visual, the image...the whole show is a matter of what door you choose to go through, and the door not taken. If you wanted to take the scene *absolutely* literally, then since that room adjoined Justin's, the shadows were inside. Or you can take it a little more metaphorically.

I like taking it metaphorically.  And literally.  They both work for me.  XD

"The Vorlons and Shadows don't seem to know who they are or what they want.
That's an extremely good and cogent analysis. And you hit the theme right on the head, one we'll explore in year four with the Vorlon/Shadow situation...and which was presaged in "Infection," right in the first season, the first episode shot. Sinclair says, in the ultimate moment in that conflict, "You forgot the first rule of the fanatic: When you become obsessed with the enemy, you *become* the enemy." That is what is happening here, with these two and other parties.

It all comes together...."

I really hate it when he does that sometimes.

"Did either side foresee Sheridan's leap?
I think the two sides have been too caught up in their own agendas to realize what was happening right under their noses until it was too late... except for Kosh, whose last traces did what they did...for a number of reasons."

Lots of reasons.  And they're very good, Vorlon-y reasons, I'm sure.

"The final fate of the first White Star is very moving, like some great silver bird plunging on fire out of the sky, bringing retribution and striking one last time. That kind of image is a very powerful one to me, and it works very well here.

As for what Morden and Justin told Sheridan...I'd say it was pretty much the truth."

The first White Star.  *sniffles*  As the notes say, it certainly makes Sheridan truer to his nickname.  He's destroyed both the Black and White Stars now.  Star Killer.  >.>  Which sounds terrible, given my former nick.

"Aren't the Shadows defeating themselves by giving everyone a common enemy?
Nope. First they attacked careful to not let anyone know who was doing it, so they'd accuse each other. Then they'd let another take the credit/blame for it, the Centauri in this case. That'd spin off new alliances and new...wars, and everyone's scurrying for cover. THEN they reveal themselves, and now you've got re-scurrying, some who try to make deals, and then attack others (as stated) thinking they have an unbeatable ally....most of the killing up until this point was done by the others, not the shadows. This current campaign would also lead to scattering the pins, and watching as they restructure, and they'd pull out again to let them scurry...and keep chewing at each other, only coming out when necessary to tip things over, then recede again into the....shadows."

ATTACK ALL THE THINGS.  It makes sense to me.

"Why build an easily penetrable dome over an underground city?
It's an efficient way of lighting an underground city several miles across; you can open or close it to allow the big vessels in for construction purposes, and so on. If you build something that big, you need some way of getting stuff IN there, then lighting it without consuming vast amounts of energy."

I love it when he goes all sensible...

"Yes, you're right, and the first one to pick up on that aspect, that with Anna, he never had the chance to say goodbye. Finally, here...he did, with Delenn. Also, the look on his face as he turns to her at the parapet...you feel every inch of his loss, being trapped, the end of the road. He did a great job."

*sniffles*  And then you give us the next episode. 

"Well, it was either jump or get vaporized....

In that sense, as someone else once pointed out, Sheridan is a hero in the Heinleinian tradition. He does the logical thing, whatever that is, to survive. "Okay, I'm about to get vaporized...but if that hole is several miles deep, it might shield me and keep me alive for another 10 seconds. Yes, there's the *splat* at the end problem, but I'll have 10 seconds in which to figure out that problem....""

The *splat* at the end is rather worrisome, but they.  Ten seconds is ten seconds.

"Sheridan murdered a city full of Shadows!
If someone pointed to an aggressor city (and for the shadows there's no distinction between civilian and military, it's all the same, the only thing that drives them on), which was unified by its desire to wreak havoc and commit massive warfare, and said, "By eliminating that city of 100,000 agressors you will save the lives of 8 billion innocent bystanders," I'd push that button in a hot second, and never regret it."

Hm.  Well, that was pretty much Truman's decision too. 

"What happened to Anna?
She's an ex-Sheridan."

I need to start saying that about my characters I kill off.  He's an ex-Ixkyr.  An ex-Phelan.  An ex-Unicorn.  XD  One day, I shall kill off a parrot just for kicks.

""Why has Z'ha'dum not been destroyed by the Vorlons et al in one of the previous wars to prevent the Shadows return?"

Funny, that...you'd think maybe there was something of interest there."

XD  Vorlons always have their reasons.  They're Vorlon-y like that.

"Oh, be assured, the interesting times for Londo haven't even *started* yet.

But they will, real soon."

That pretty much also describe starting every season except for season 5.  "Interesting things haven't even started yet.  But they will."  XD  But oh, Londo.  Things do get interesting for you in 4.  And then you break our hearts. 

Oh, boy.  This episode.  Have I mentioned how much I hated that summer?  I really did.  Probably means it was a good episode.  XD

On the plus side, Hour of the Wolf is next.  I love Ivanova's monologue in that one.  I want to see a fic with her and Natasha from Avengers discussing it.  Actually, I want a fic of them being badass Russians in general, but I've already posted this to Avengers Kink.  It is sadly still an orphaned plot.  But hey, Mem can dream someday.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 3rd, 2012 04:50 am (UTC)
no, the replacement isn't Kosh

NOTHING CAN REPLACE KOSH. **tribute icon!**

from time to time I've written songs. Mainly the lyrics; I know how the music should sound, but I'm incapable of reading music

OH MY GOSH, THE EXACT SAME THING HAPPENS TO ME ALL THE TIME!!! I constantly compose symphonies in my head, or I like rewriting lyrics to an existing song to suit a different purpose, but I just can't read music. T_T Maybe if my parents had exposed me to music at a young age, I would've been the next big composer or something.

sometimes it works, and sometimes it don't. TV, or any form of writing, is the constant process of trial and error. It's not like one day you forget how to write, or you're writing bad...you very rarely fall below a certain facility once you reach it. There's not a writer alive who has turned out nothing but terrific stuff. Now, one could turn out a lifetime of mediocre stuff, by not trying...but I think it's better to shoot high, and sometimes fall, knowing that you'll get something great one out of every five tries, than not try at all and just do okay.

**slow claps it out** That's something I think to myself everyday. Every. Day. Cause it's true.

I told them I wanted sort of an alien culture as the Soviet Union might've designed it.... everything tending toward the blocky, the functional, less aesthetic than you would find on Minbar. This is a culture that has crawled up from war, and functionality is more important.

That...is a really thoughtful way of using scenery to your advantage. Well done, sir.

In Soviet Narn, the buildings build you. Oh, God. This needs to be a meme now.


It's probably one of the most memorable scenes in the whole series.

It certainly is. I know it's going to haunt me for awhile. In a way, it kind of reminds me of this one short story I read...hang on, have to think a moment to remember it...well, actually, it reminds me of a number of short stories. "Children on Their Birthdays" by Truman Capote being one of them. Well, actually, overall it just reminds me a lot of Southern Gothic literature; it sort of has that subversive, half-laughing, half-horrifying, uncomfortably funny atmosphere to it.

SF in TV has the tendency to portray aliens as monolithic...they put the good of their species as a whole above everything else. Some do that; some do not. Just as with humans.

I second that <3 you had there.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaall by myseeeeeeeeelf.


Two years old?! How would they even follow along with this show?! (Also, I'm amused that you think you were too young to watch it when you did.)

That anecdote about JMS in San Diego is frightening, but yeah, often I tend to put more of myself in stuff I write than I necessarily intend, so I know what he's talking about. Usually I realize what's going on, though.

In Soviet Narn the roller coaster rides you.

XD This meme is good and it does good things.

Yes, we used their actual wedding photos.

Aww. That's cute.

Sheridan is a hero in the Heinleinian tradition.

The what tradition?

Well, that was pretty much Truman's decision too.

I was just about to say that!

ex-Unicorn...T_T Why must you hurt me like this.
Nov. 3rd, 2012 01:58 pm (UTC)
lol. *pats* Reading music isn't too hard, at least not for me. I'm probably waaaaaaaaaay out of practice by now though. I used to be pretty good at sight reading back in the day. But I'm terrible at poetry, so song lyrics aren't my strong point. XD

And I love the level of thought he puts into the series, right up to the scenery. Also, in Soviet Narn, the spoo eats you!

As for being too young... Well, I remember an episode in the fourth season that I literally cried myself to sleep over. So yeah, maybe a bit too young. Wouldn't have changed it for the world though.

In Soviet Narn, the meme writes you.

The what tradition?

In the tradition of Robert Heinlein. He's one of the big names in Scifi, probably right after Asimov and Arthur C. Clark.

ex-Unicorn...T_T Why must you hurt me like this.

Because I'm sadistic. I thought you knew that by now. XD
Nov. 3rd, 2012 05:42 pm (UTC)
I seem to remember being able to read it a little back when I was in chorus, but that knowledge has long since evaporated.

in Soviet Narn, the spoo eats you!

Oh god, that's terrifying!

**skimming through Heinlein article** Hm! I do recogize some of these titles--haven't read them, but I recognize them.

Memquis de Dragonsade.

Edited because: can never get that one emoticon to work properly

Edited at 2012-11-03 05:43 pm (UTC)
Nov. 3rd, 2012 06:13 pm (UTC)
It really is terrifying. But at the same time, sadistically hilarious.

Yeah, he's kind of one of those 'Must Know's in scifi. I've read a few of his juveniles when I was younger. Red Planet is the only one I have a clear recollection of to be honest. Someday, I need to read Stranger in a Strange Land.

C'est moi. XD

Which emoticon? :o
Nov. 3rd, 2012 06:51 pm (UTC)
Haha, I recognized Stranger in a Strange Land from "We Didn't Start the Fire." XD Also, I feel like I may have read a short story or something by this guy a long, long time ago (like, middle school ancient), but I can't remember what it's called.

The problem with trying to show you the faulty emoticon is that it is faulty and won't appear properly on LJ.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )