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  • #46
    First Time Poster (here)...

    You'll bear a brief indulgence for me of an excerpt from a relevant bit of Monty Python here:
    PERSON: Can I just say this is my first time on television?
    ANNOUNCER: No, sorry, there isn't time...
    Anyhow, on a more serious note...

    JMS's anouncement that he is, more-or-less, going to shelve any further development of Babylon 5 unless he can do something which will significantly and positively contribute to the saga is perhaps the best news I've had all day. Now, before I'm quickly tarred with the epithet of troll or B5 hater or some other such title, let me explain how and why I've come to this conclusion, and why I think it is for the best.

    I'd heard of Babylon 5 and watched the pilot for it back when it first came out, but hadn't followed it afterwards. At the time, I was still "too big a fan of Star Trek" to watch something where the guns were primitive, there was no Starfleet, ships didn't have warp drive, and there was no artifical gravity. Time passed, the first four seasons were in the can, and a friend of mine (also a Star Trek fan) kept telling me what a fantastic series this was, and that I really needed to give it another chance.

    So one day, I was over at his place and he sat me down, stuck in a couple video tapes (hey, anyone here remember those?) and made me watch the mid-way portion of Season 3. I became a B5 fan then, basically stopped watching Star Trek, and never looked back.

    I finally got a chance to watch the whole series when TNT did their marathon of Seasons 1-4, airing a new Season 5 episode every Wednesday night. And what a treat that was! Here you had this unfolding drama involving very three dimensional characters, with actions taken and decisions made by people generally trying to do what they felt were right, but without all those decisions always being the default correct ones (thank you, Star Trek). I've turned a number of other people onto this series over the years, and all those I've spoken to (in person or via the Internet) have always said the same things I've felt: the series had heart, it was written by someone who, frankly, knows how to think in big terms and tell stories both big and small, and "gets" true science fiction.

    Perhaps one of the single highest praises I can give to jms is that, being an atheist, he still treated all matters philosophical, theological, and scientific with equal temprament and equal respect, and never made me (a Christian) feel like I was being looked down on just because I believe in God (for a perfect example of the reverse, see Ron Moore and David Eick's new Battlestar Galactica series).

    And yet, when I watched the various spin-offs of B5, and even TLT, I really felt like the stories were weak and simply didn't add anything to the series I've come to know and love and hold out as both my favorite and an example of the sort of ideal of sci-fi writing ethic. I was really left thinking, "If this is all jms has left in him, vis a vis Babylon 5, then he really should just stop now before he does any real damage."

    Perhaps jms will read this and agree, and perhaps he won't, but I think such a talent, so spent on this series, is wasted not applying himself to new projects and other existing works (even though the idiots over at Paramount decided not to let jms have a crack at Star Trek).

    That's where I'm coming from. Now, if anyone wants to pick apart what I've said or take issue with it or me, then feel free to do so. But I wanted to establish where I stand.

    Valen bless you, Joe, and bear you to better fortune in the future!


    Mike

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    • #47
      Originally posted by MikeTheC View Post
      You'll bear a brief indulgence for me of an excerpt from a relevant bit of Monty Python here:


      Anyhow, on a more serious note...

      JMS's anouncement that he is, more-or-less, going to shelve any further development of Babylon 5 unless he can do something which will significantly and positively contribute to the saga is perhaps the best news I've had all day. Now, before I'm quickly tarred with the epithet of troll or B5 hater or some other such title, let me explain how and why I've come to this conclusion, and why I think it is for the best.

      I'd heard of Babylon 5 and watched the pilot for it back when it first came out, but hadn't followed it afterwards. At the time, I was still "too big a fan of Star Trek" to watch something where the guns were primitive, there was no Starfleet, ships didn't have warp drive, and there was no artifical gravity. Time passed, the first four seasons were in the can, and a friend of mine (also a Star Trek fan) kept telling me what a fantastic series this was, and that I really needed to give it another chance.

      So one day, I was over at his place and he sat me down, stuck in a couple video tapes (hey, anyone here remember those?) and made me watch the mid-way portion of Season 3. I became a B5 fan then, basically stopped watching Star Trek, and never looked back.

      I finally got a chance to watch the whole series when TNT did their marathon of Seasons 1-4, airing a new Season 5 episode every Wednesday night. And what a treat that was! Here you had this unfolding drama involving very three dimensional characters, with actions taken and decisions made by people generally trying to do what they felt were right, but without all those decisions always being the default correct ones (thank you, Star Trek). I've turned a number of other people onto this series over the years, and all those I've spoken to (in person or via the Internet) have always said the same things I've felt: the series had heart, it was written by someone who, frankly, knows how to think in big terms and tell stories both big and small, and "gets" true science fiction.

      Perhaps one of the single highest praises I can give to jms is that, being an atheist, he still treated all matters philosophical, theological, and scientific with equal temprament and equal respect, and never made me (a Christian) feel like I was being looked down on just because I believe in God (for a perfect example of the reverse, see Ron Moore and David Eick's new Battlestar Galactica series).

      And yet, when I watched the various spin-offs of B5, and even TLT, I really felt like the stories were weak and simply didn't add anything to the series I've come to know and love and hold out as both my favorite and an example of the sort of ideal of sci-fi writing ethic. I was really left thinking, "If this is all jms has left in him, vis a vis Babylon 5, then he really should just stop now before he does any real damage."

      Perhaps jms will read this and agree, and perhaps he won't, but I think such a talent, so spent on this series, is wasted not applying himself to new projects and other existing works (even though the idiots over at Paramount decided not to let jms have a crack at Star Trek).

      That's where I'm coming from. Now, if anyone wants to pick apart what I've said or take issue with it or me, then feel free to do so. But I wanted to establish where I stand.

      Valen bless you, Joe, and bear you to better fortune in the future!


      Mike

      Can't disagree with a word you said....
      Duracell Bunny is arrested and charged with BATTERY!!

      Comment


      • #48
        Originally posted by glindros View Post
        If Hollywood can put out movies like Get Smart, and Meet Dave there is room for Babylon 5 in the Multiplex.
        Exactly! TRhose films cost a quite a lot more and have A list actors headlining them. A B5 movie would no doubt have some or as many as could be gathered, original cast members who would not demand insane salaries to play their roles.


        Originally posted by glindros View Post
        I just don't get WB. I don't want to rant, but what does this franchise have to do to get a little respect?
        Well I think a got a good insight into WB's mindset thru the TV show, "Entourage".
        In one particular episode, the main character Vince who has just done a huge role as Aquaman for them is now told that WB wants to immediately cash in by launching a sequel without the original director [James Cameron] to which Vince basically says to them, "bugger off".
        WB isn't all that keen on creative talent it seems, rather they're strictly about making average films which turn a profit. Also the head of the studio comes across as being of the "old mogul" school and if you cross him, you're out of the WB family. Now of course Entourage is just all fiction but I think any good fiction has a grain of truth in it bvecause that's what makes it believable. So therefore I think Entourage is not far off the mark in its portrayel of WB studios and its attitudes and therefore this is why I doubt we'll see them back down from their current position, whch is low budget DVD releases like TotR and TLT. Good on Joe for sticking the middle digit back at them and saying what he wants. I fully support his move.
        Last edited by Talwyn; 07-16-2008, 02:17 AM.

        Comment


        • #49
          Originally posted by *Starstuff* View Post
          Thankfully. I shudder to imagine what a studio would come up with just to squeeze a few bucks out of the franchise.
          Considering how "meh" LotR and the first story on the Lost Tales DVD were, I'd respectfully disagree. JMS created a very rich universe to play in and were WB to hire a good director and a writer who cared about B5 I'd suspect it could be really nice indeed.

          Matt

          Comment


          • #50
            I mostly agree with you, MikeTheC; on the contrary, I have no desire to tar an intelligent poster with epithets. (Well actually, I did like Crusade, I think it was just abused and then finally killed before it could ever truly take off. But that's based mainly on my liking characters, the show as a whole definitely had problems, so I'm not about to argue with anyone who didn't like it.)

            I'm glad to see this announcement, too. I think JMS is totally on the right track here. More B5 for the sake of more B5 is not a very good principle; more B5 for the sake of any other stories that need to be told, with the accompanying budget that those stories need to succeed, is how you successfully add to a franchise.
            Schlock Mercenary: comic space opera

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            • #51
              Originally posted by ninjrk View Post
              ...and were WB to hire a good director and a writer who cared about B5 I'd suspect it could be really nice indeed.
              I can't argue that point, Matt, but if they (the studio) are willing to do that, I'd rather have them have their mind-change during JMS' lifetime and get him to do the project.

              I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
              It's easy to find something worth dying for. Do you have something worth living for?
              Rule TwentyNine (Blog about B5, politics, environment and much more)

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              • #52
                Originally posted by ninjrk View Post
                Considering how "meh" LotR and the first story on the Lost Tales DVD were, I'd respectfully disagree. JMS created a very rich universe to play in and were WB to hire a good director and a writer who cared about B5 I'd suspect it could be really nice indeed.

                Matt
                If they're going to hire a good writer and director who cares about B5, why not JMS himself? The point here is not the lack of someone with the passion and ability to make good B5, it's the lack of interest from Warner Brothers to ever put up the money to make good B5.

                Comment


                • #53
                  Originally posted by AmyG View Post
                  Not without JMS's permission to do it without his involvement. He owns the movie rights to B5.

                  Amy
                  Amy,

                  I did not preclude JMS giving his permission and remaining as one of the Executive Producers. I was also trying to make the point that it need not be some hack writer/director making a crap movie to wring a few more bucks from the franchise like many assume it must be. It could be a completely fresh new perspective on the B5 "stories" we love. My examples of Chris Nolan et al were trying to make that point.

                  What if James Cameron (or substitute your favourite director here) wanted to make a B5 movie? Would there be universal condemnation here?

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Joe Nazzaro View Post
                    Personally, I think the most reasonable scenario is that when the next Star Trek film comes out and makes a s**t-load of money, the bean-counters at Warner Bros will say, 'Gosh, it's too bad we don't have our own sci-fi franchise that we could exploit!' Somebody digs out a copy of a B5 DVD, and suddenly they realize that not only do they own it, it's also created by the A-list screenwriter who just did The Changeling, as well as whatever big feature projects are in the works at that point. THAT'S when something will finally happen.
                    I really hope it happens that way, Joe, but of course that would mean we live in a world that makes sense...

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Originally posted by Macbeth View Post
                      What if James Cameron (or substitute your favourite director here) wanted to make a B5 movie? Would there be universal condemnation here?
                      I don't think it's an issue of the director of the movie, since jms likely wouldn't direct a big-budget movie anyway. If jms signed up to approve the movie, I'm sure that would mean that he believed in that director, like when Eastwood directed Changeling and jms seemed very happy about that. However, it seems very unlikely that he would let someone else write it, considering how much he writes, and Amy's point was that jms and not WB owns the rights for the feature film, so it's up to him who writes it if he chooses not to write the script himself, and he would likely rewrite the script in that case. I'm not saying whether that's good or bad, but that seems to be the way it would go.

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Joe Nazzaro View Post
                        I hate to play devil's advocate, but if there was a feature film, it's entirely possible that a couple of those storylines could be explored, or at least addressed. Personally, I think the most reasonable scenario is that when the next Star Trek film comes out and makes a s**t-load of money, the bean-counters at Warner Bros will say, 'Gosh, it's too bad we don't have our own sci-fi franchise that we could exploit!' Somebody digs out a copy of a B5 DVD, and suddenly they realize that not only do they own it, it's also created by the A-list screenwriter who just did The Changeling, as well as whatever big feature projects are in the works at that point. THAT'S when something will finally happen.
                        Wow, I was nearly in tears when I read the latest news from JMS. No new Lost Tales. However, as with many others in this thread, I agree with his reasons. I too have mentioned in previous threads about the hopes for a B5 movie.
                        Joe mentioned about the Bean Counters realizing what they have if the new Star Trek film makes alot of money. I only know of one other time that happened. Back when Paramount was looking at revitalizing Star Trek, it wasn't until the success of Star Wars when they looked at what they were sitting on and went for a big budget motion picture, which as we all know sparked a whole new movie franchise and several spin off series.
                        There are so many untold stories in the Babylon 5 Universe that could spark not only several motion pictures, but also a new series.
                        I do disagree with JMS on one aspect though, when he mentioned that the fans shouldn't be lobbying. If the fans don't lobby then it's a sure thing that nothing will be produced. Warner Bros. Execs could easily then say, "Well we haven't hear anything, so there's probably no more interest there."
                        After all, why do you think there's been a new X-Files movie made?
                        I'm not giving up hope for a B5 Motion Picture, though it has somewhat deminished.

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          It looks like Ain't it Cool News finally picked up on this story, after somebody picked it up from here of course and passed it on. While they sensibly linked to JMS's entire post, their writer Merrick made the mistake of adding two plus two and coming up with five. After devoting an entire paragraph to the fact that previous B5 spin-offs were basically done on the cheap, he goes on to say:

                          'More importantly: while I think the breadth of JMS' vision remained healthy, his ability to weave stories in the universe began to feel increasingly challenged. There was a sense that he'd become less and less comfortable on his own playground, and never plugged into the effortless storytelling which permeated much of the earlier series. Maybe the posse of storytellers should've been broadened a bit? Maybe JMS should've done what many creators do & remain a guiding force for the franchise, while sending others out to do the writing & other dirty work he ultimately chose to do himself?'

                          having just pointed out that these projects were done on a restricted budget, is it not fair to suggest that Joe's ability to tell stories might be limited by money not creativity. And if he had become 'less and less comfortable on his own playground,' might that not be for the very same reason? If money is indeed the problem, the notion of 'sending others out to do the writing' really makes no sense at all. Hey, instead of letting JMS, who has written B5 stories under budgetary restrictions for the better part of a decade write new stories, maybe he should pass them on to somebody else, who knows the universe even less and therefore should be able to write for it more successfully! Yeah, there's a real piece of intelligent reasoning. Following that flawed logic, JMS should find writers that know NOTHING about B5 and get them to write a script, because they don't know the universe and therefore won't have any financially-related preconceptions! Sometimes the naivetÚ of ill-informed online commentators is truly staggering.

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                          • #58
                            I think maybe JMS saw the recent Indiana Jones and realised that some things are best left alone. I have in the past tried to figure out a way to write a story in the B5 universe that is as good or in equal measure to the original 5 year arc. Unfortunately once you have fought gods and kicked them out of the galaxy every thing else feels like back ground noise. Admittely JMS tried, I would have loved to see where crusade was going, I heard that the virus was going to be solved only a year or two into it's 5 year story arc, but beyond the season finale script that was released (Galen going all black and some such) and the techno-mage books it seemed to have legs. Ah well hopefully JMS will put the crusade scripts together and maybe he'll tell us them. Fingers crossed!

                            Any way quick poll, who here remembers the excitement when the trailer to SW: The Phantom Menace came out? Rember those few weeks between the trailer and the movie release, the anticipation, in your heart of hearts did the movie match up? Just remember that feeling and now ask yourself do you want to see the Babylon 5 movie? (Apologies to non-Star Wars fans)

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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by AmyG View Post
                              Jesus Christ, he's only in his 50s. Let's not bury him yet.

                              Also, just because someone dies doesn't mean the ownership evaporates into thin air. One presumes he has plans for a successor or successors.

                              Amy
                              True but I'm sure his final requests would not include barring anyone from ever doing something with B5. Most artists look forward to their work out living them and if he took it to his grave, I suppose that would be fine we did get the story he wanted to tell but I'm sure he would have some more untold stories locked away that would be available for the right price and a strict detail to follow his side notes for any revival. Those conditions met and his heirs receiving royalties and there it would be for a new generation of B5 fans. As he himself has said "faith manages". If not then all we've got is something on the order of a Jules Vern classic tale that will live forever making him somewhat immortal in that sense.

                              BTW, The true mortality rate is not in the seventies, it's more like in the sixties. It's the infant mortality rate that has push up the curve. Cancer is rampant in the 50's and 60's and God knows I'm not hoping that anything will happen to our beloved writer but death is a reality we all have to face someday. However he is overweight and has had problems with his teeth and the most likely causes of heart failure are related to dental infections and obesity. That being said I stand by original assessment "he is not a young man". The old timers will tell you "everyday above ground is a good day", so I hope he will have many more good days ahead for everyones sake!

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                              • #60
                                Originally posted by SciFiRanger View Post
                                I'm sure he would have some more untold stories locked away that would be available for the right price and a strict detail to follow his side notes for any revival.
                                Unlikely, considering that he is vehemently against releasing any of his notes ever, including posthumously.
                                Last edited by JoeD80; 07-16-2008, 09:37 PM.

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