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  • Joe's point was that the shows have to (a) be popular, and (b) make money. If a show can't find its audience or make a buck, the result is a failure. Galactica may have been popular in it's only season (not counting 1980), but it was also the most expensive series ever produced at the time.

    To my recollection, the only space-based shows that have passed the 79 episode mark set by TOS are Gene Robbenberrys Final Conflict, Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda, and Farscape.

    Now Farscape returns in miniseries form, Galactica returns in limited series form, and b5? Damn, I want to know!

    And yes, dear God, I do remember Quark.
    Only a fool fights in a burning house.

    Comment


    • They didn't succeed in the eyes of the networks
      And that's all that matters.

      S:A&B wasn't killed by Chris Carter, it was killed by its own bloated budget, same as Galaxative. The ratings may not have been a problem, but the fact that it cost the studio way more than the network would pay in licensing fees did it in. They couldn't afford to keep cranking out the shows at the rate they were losing money on them.

      All of which the entire industry was aware of, and was a major reason they shied away from space-based TV shows. Only Paramount, which couldn't lose money on a Trek show thanks to the bottomless wallets of the rabid Trekkers, managed to keep an space series going. And even they couldn't sell it to a major broadcast network, depending instead on syndication while they struggled to cobble together The WB.

      But Paramount was also losing money while the shows were in production. They depended on reruns, home video - Trek was one of the handful of shows that actually sold on VHS and laserdisc in the U.S. - to turn a profit, as they knew they could. They could afford to. Even though all of their shows costs much more than their budgets - the producer's worked on the theory that by the time the overages became obvious they'd be too deep into season one and the studio would be unable to pull the plug.

      A Fox or a Universal producing an SF show at a deficit would be taking a huge risk. If the show didn't last 4 or 5 years and produce enough episodes for syndication, they'd have to eat the loss.

      As for Paramount's treatment of B5:

      1) JMS had pitched B5 to Paramount several years before Warner Bros. made a deal for the show. At the time his draft of The Gathering featured a shape-shifting assassin from a race of shape-shifters, an idea he dropped in later versions when the technology of morphing became so common as to be a cliche.

      2) JMS is on record as saying that the people who created DS9 and put it on its feet are honorable people who would never knowingly steal ideas from another writer. But he's also said that he doesn't think the execs at Paramount were above "giving notes" during the development process that could steer the new Trek show so as to incorporate things they had liked from his B5 presentation.

      3) When WB announced production on The Gathering and set a date for the premiere Paramount rushed production on the DS9 pilot and had it rewritten to use as many of the standing TNG sets as possible to get it on the air first and leave fans with the impression that B5 was somehow a rip-off of their idea. In the event they beat the B5 piolt by about a week, but WB's decision to delay the series meant that DS9 was on the air almost a year earlier and they did manage to create that impression.

      4) As I mentioned above Paramount threatened to withhold DS9, TNG and other shows from independent TV stations that also intended to carry B5. As far as they were concerned, space belonged to Paramount and no one else was entitled to set a show there.

      I'm sure there are some other things I'm forgetting. Do a search on Paramount in the JMS post archive and I'm sure you'll turn up all sorts of interesting stuff.

      Regards,

      Joe
      Joseph DeMartino
      Sigh Corps
      Pat Tallman Division

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Joseph DeMartino


        [snippings]

        (In fact, the attitude at the networks was that Trek wasn't SF at all, but a genre unto itself. "That isn't science fiction, that's Star Trek."

        [more snippings]

        Regards,

        Joe
        And I agree!
        I mean, even though I rank ST as science fiction, my impression is that many Trekkers aren't interested in [other] science fiction - only ST.

        Too sad.

        /IamS
        Interstellar Alliance - Sweden's largest Babylon 5-club
        http://www.babcon.org/

        Comment


        • my impression is that many Trekkers aren't interested in [other] science fiction - only ST.
          That's absolutely true, and has been the case since The Original Series. David Gerrold was writing about this attitude in the mid-70s. The same is true of Star Wars (which is really a mish-mash of non-SF genres dressed up with spaceships and ray-guns) Stand in the lobby of a theatre showing a Star Wars film and mention names like Asimov, Clark, Bester or Dick to the people buying their popcorn and you're apt to get a lot of blank stares.

          Regards,

          Joe
          Joseph DeMartino
          Sigh Corps
          Pat Tallman Division

          Comment


          • Yup, as David Gerrold himself noted in his book The World of Star Trek:

            "The interest of the Trekkies in Star Trek was so all-consuming that it threatened to swamp everything in sight. They didn't want to hear about Asimov's laws of robotics or Heinlein's method of grokking. They only wanted to talk about Kirk and Spock and the Enterprise. And to them, that was the sum total of science fiction.

            "Naturally, some of the SF fans reacted negatively... What they held dear was being ignored in favor of what was to them merely a laudable effort. The science fiction fans still *watched*
            Star Trek. They simply didn't believe it was the most perfect creative effort any form of science fiction had ever seen."
            Enough said right there.

            Originally posted by WalkingEagle
            I don't read novels from TV shows or movies. I watch the shows and the movies and that is it. I read DUNE and DUNE MESSIAH when they were first published. Years later in 1984 when DUNE was made into a film by David Lynch and Rafaella DeLorentiis I went to see it during a sneak preview. The film was an atrocity. But I don't read novelization of movies. For me its pointless especially if the novelization isn't written by the creator of the film vis-a-vis PREDATOR; a story originated by Jim and John Thomas but the novelization being done by someone else. I would stay with the Thomas' film.
            That's an awfully Ăšlitist attitude to hold.

            The Thomases aren't the true "creators" or "authors" of that film any moreso than were the producers, Jan de Bont (who crafted the visual look), the gaffers and best boys who towed the lighting cable and ran the camera rigs that allowed McTiernan to set up his deep-jungle shots, the production designers who *created* our very perceptions of the flick's style all these years...you get the idea.

            You're forgetting here that films are the children of *many* people, with the claimancy pie of "authorship" getting sliced too many ways by the time a film hits theaters for any one or two people to be credited as its "creators." (Despite the long-standing "A Film By..." "Hitchcock clause.")

            The author of a novelization represents yet one more iteration along this foodchain further away from the supposed original "vision" of whomever first scenarized the thing.

            Would you ignore Orson Scott Card's novelization of The Abyss simply because Jim Cameron didn't wordcrunch every single last character on the page?

            A "Gharlane" posting that I think sums this whole thing up nicely:

            In <[email protected]>[email protected] (Franklin Hummel) writes:
            > This goes back to the writers themselves. The problem here is
            > money. Why write a real SF novel of your own when you can get paid
            > twice or three times as much for writing a media tie-in novel?
            > I know one SF writer who wrote a DS9 novel without ever even
            > having seen the series. And I was told by the same writer they
            > did it for the money -- it gave them the downpayment to buy a house.


            I don't see a danged thing wrong with this; if they're willing to pay you to write a script for "GILLIGAN'S ISLAND," *write* the bloody script, and find a way to make it the best work you can possibly do, so you can walk away proud. Remember, Ellison wrote for "THE FLYING NUN" and "MOD SQUAD." There is no shame in writing for bad shows, only in writing badly; there is no shame in working, only in doing less than your best. I'd jump at a chance to do a "VOYAGER" script, for example, but it would be a *good* "VOYAGER" script, count on it.

            In fact, I sent them a pretty good spec script for "VOYAGER," a couple of seasons back, and they bounced it, probably due to not being able to understand words of more than one syllable. The agent who represented me at the time just laughed as she handed me back the envelope, and said, "Those people have no idea what they're doing over there; take a rejection from THEM as a *compliment.*"


            > Look at some of the names on the media tie-ins. Didn't Orson Scott
            > Card to one (at least)? I know there are some other SF big names on
            > these books as well.


            Orson Card did the novel version of "THE ABYSS," concurrent with the actual movie production. As a result, a great deal of material floated back and forth between him and Cameron and Hurd and even the actors, and the book probably represents one of the most successful multiple collaborations in decades, a thoroughly professional job that added to the genre and was worth reading on its own.
            Ergo, even the best *filmed* shows and movies ain't necessarily "purer" and "more sophisticated" than certain novelizational work out there.
            Last edited by Leto II; 08-29-2004, 04:51 PM.
            "Listen up, boy, or pornography starring your mother will be the SECOND-worst thing to happen to you today."

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Joseph DeMartino


              I'm sure there are some other things I'm forgetting. Do a search on Paramount in the JMS post archive and I'm sure you'll turn up all sorts of interesting stuff.

              Regards,

              Joe

              Funniest things so far:

              From: [email protected] (Jms at B5)
              Subject: ATTN JMS: B5 baseball caps
              To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated
              Date: 9/9/1994 6:29:00 AM


              Well, see, here's the problem: yes, Creation licensed some stuff
              from us, including the creation (so to speak) of B5 baseball caps. So
              far, so good.

              One day, about a week or so ago, John Copeland comes into my
              office with one of these caps, purchased at a Creation store in
              Glendale. Shows it to me. The stitching ain't great (they're supposed
              to run these things past me, and I didn't see this item), but the cap is
              more or less okay, I don't see why he's smiling.

              Then the label attached to the cap swings out, and hangs in front
              of my eyes. OFFICIAL LICENSED PRODUCT PARAMOUNT TELEVISION.

              I went ballistic, Warners went ballistic, the caps were yanked out
              of the stores so fast they left a doppler trail behind them...so I don't
              know now if they'll be around for sale or not. If so, I doubt very much
              that you'll see a Paramount tag on them.

              jms
              I can't find any corroboration on the following, unfortunately.

              From: J. Michael Straczynski <[email protected]>
              Subject: <The last few eps?>
              To: CIS
              Date: 3/4/1996 3:26:00 AM

              Yeah, I also heard that Paramount sent the US Navy a letter
              claiming that they owned the copyright to the term USS Enterprise, and
              that the Navy should cease and desist from using that name in future.

              The Navy told 'em to stick it where the sun don't shine.

              jms
              Last edited by NotKosh; 08-30-2004, 05:19 PM.
              "I am not a number! I am a free man!"

              Comment


              • Originally posted by NotKosh


                Yeah, I also heard that Paramount sent the US Navy a letter
                claiming that they owned the copyright to the term USS Enterprise, and
                that the Navy should cease and desist from using that name in future.

                It would be even better if the US Navy had sent back Paramout a cease and desist letter on the name USS Enterprise. Redubbing all of Star Trek would be fun.
                Andrew Swallow

                Comment


                • Possible heresey...

                  Is there any way that I could get my hands on the original version of The Gathering?

                  The commentary about the restored scenes and original critical comments have intruiged me.

                  I'm interested in seeing the original.

                  Any help out there?

                  Comment


                  • An R2 version of "The Gathering" with subtitles may be an original version. Computers with DVD readers can play all regions.
                    Andrew Swallow

                    Comment


                    • Re: Possible heresey...

                      Originally posted by jcbatz
                      Is there any way that I could get my hands on the original version of The Gathering?

                      The commentary about the restored scenes and original critical comments have intruiged me.

                      I'm interested in seeing the original.

                      Any help out there?
                      You could try Columbia House, or eBay ... When Columbia House introduced their versions of the B5 episodes, it included the original version of The Gathering ... My understanding is that they have the new version now, but they might have some copies of the original ... It's also really easy to check ebay and see what they've got. A quick search for "Babylon Gathering" or "Babylon pilot" might get you exactly what you're looking for.
                      "Jan Schroeder is insane" - J. Michael Straczynski, March 2008

                      The Station: A Babylon 5 Podcast

                      Comment


                      • Here are 2 of the Columbia House auctions ...

                        First




                        Second
                        "Jan Schroeder is insane" - J. Michael Straczynski, March 2008

                        The Station: A Babylon 5 Podcast

                        Comment


                        • When Columbia House introduced their versions of the B5 episodes, it included the original version of The Gathering ... My understanding is that they have the new version now, but they might have some copies of the original ...
                          Unlikely. CH's initial run of TG tapes was based on a master of the original version, but they sold out almost immediately. Demand was so much higher than they expected that their B5 Collection went on back-order for several months. By the time they started filling orders again Warner Bros. had supplied them with a master tape for the 1998 re-edit. (Probably because JMS insisted.)

                          As Andrew indicated (or tried to) some of the R2 DVDs that are dubbed (not subtitled) in the local language may be the original cut. (Because the TNT re-edit never aired in most non-English-speaking countries and therefore was never translated into them. The first German DVD was the original cut, but I've heard that later editions are the re-edit with an Enligsh soundtrack and German subtitles.)

                          Regards,

                          Joe
                          Joseph DeMartino
                          Sigh Corps
                          Pat Tallman Division

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by OmahaStar
                            Here are 2 of the Columbia House auctions ...

                            First




                            Second
                            Just an FYI, I sent an email to both sellers, asking which version they are ... I've heard back from the top one, that it is the original version, not the TNT version. There's your chance, for 3.50 ...
                            "Jan Schroeder is insane" - J. Michael Straczynski, March 2008

                            The Station: A Babylon 5 Podcast

                            Comment


                            • Thank you!

                              Cool. Thanks for all your input!

                              Comment


                              • Re: Thank you!

                                Originally posted by jcbatz
                                Cool. Thanks for all your input!
                                You're welcome ... And what can I say? It's just how Fivers are.
                                "Jan Schroeder is insane" - J. Michael Straczynski, March 2008

                                The Station: A Babylon 5 Podcast

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