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  • B5 / Crusade re-watch

    Hi all,

    Long time lurker, first time posting here. I have no idea how active the forums here still are, but figured I'd sign up to share my occasional B5/JMS related thoughts.

    I began re-watching B5 with a friend a few weeks ago whilst on leave from work. He'd never seen it and appreciates good Sci-Fi, so it seemed like a no brainer. I used the tried and tested technique of compressing season one by cutting it down to only story arc relevant episodes only, thus leaving out some of the more clunky episodes that tend to put new viewers off. Needless to say, he loved it and he's now well into Season 4 and enjoying every minute.

    Mid way through our re-watch, I had a rather unfortunate mountain biking accident and broke my collar bone. Since I am pretty much immobilised for a number of weeks I decided to continue re-watch myself. One thing that that occurred to me when viewing B5 again is that I've grown to love the flaws as much as the show's outright successes. I've always loved B-movies and outsider art, and for me B5 exists, at least partially in that sphere. It's honest, passionate art achieved with what limited resources were available at the time. All the things that used to make me cringe; the bad one liners, some of the sillier plot elements, the occasional hammy acting, now all seem like a total joy. It's part and parcel of the fun, backed up by a wonderfully ambitious story arc that I've never seen equaled by a SF TV series.

    Out of curiosity, (and boredom), I also decided to give Crusade another look too. My memories of the series were somewhat hazy, and I remember not being overly impressed the first time around. I am roughly half way through, following the revised broadcast order. Not all of it has been good, but I just watched 'The Path of Sorrows' and it made me think... 'Ah, there's the JMS I know and love'... All in all, a very well constructed episode that set up many of the key puzzle pieces that would have no doubt played out in intriguing fashion had the series continued.

    Having read about all the strife with TNT, I think the series was doomed to failure from the outset, but having seen the potential of the thing, it's very sad it wasn't given time to grow on a network that cared.

    I was wondering, are the Crusade books available from the fan club worth the money, cause I'm curious to know more about the show. Would also love to read the un-filmed scripts, but they are hard to find online these days. Do they appear in these books?
    Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

    Kosh: Good!

  • #2
    Hi Ubik, and welcome! This isn't a terribly busy place, but we have a good time and it's a great place (if I do say so myself) for info on all of JMS' projects.

    Sorry to hear about your accident but the silver lining was getting to do a concentrated re-watch.

    Originally posted by Ubik View Post
    I was wondering, are the Crusade books available from the fan club worth the money, cause I'm curious to know more about the show. Would also love to read the un-filmed scripts, but they are hard to find online these days. Do they appear in these books?
    As full disclosure, I'm a member of the Scripts Team that puts out the B5 and Crusade books as is Jason Davis who posts here mainly in the 'Scripts' forum. But since I'm a fan and I have no financial interest at all (except as archivist and Ombuds), I have to say that in my opinion they're well worth the money.

    Here's a page that gives an overview of the series so far: http://www.cafepress.com/b5books/7818222

    Keeping in mind that there are three books still to be published with JMS' scripts, there are already FOUR unproduced scripts published. We didn't even know about some of them until Jason braved the spiders and dust of JMS' storage unit to go through boxes of treasures.

    It's been a long time since JMS' first volume came out and we don't have any idea when he'll have the time to continue but the books already available are pretty doggone interesting if you're interested in scripts, TV-making or the TNT debacle.

    Welcome again.

    Jan
    "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Ubik View Post
      ....Out of curiosity, (and boredom), I also decided to give Crusade another look too. My memories of the series were somewhat hazy, and I remember not being overly impressed the first time around. I am roughly half way through, following the revised broadcast order. Not all of it has been good, but I just watched 'The Path of Sorrows' and it made me think... 'Ah, there's the JMS I know and love'... All in all, a very well constructed episode that set up many of the key puzzle pieces that would have no doubt played out in intriguing fashion had the series continued.
      FWIW, JMS said that TNT absolutely HATED "The Path of Sorrows." It's one of my favorites. The one I like the least is "Ruling from the Tomb." However, I like it enough not to skip it on a rewatch, and that's something I'm not sure I could say for my least favorite B5 episode, "Believers."


      Originally posted by Ubik View Post
      ....Having read about all the strife with TNT, I think the series was doomed to failure from the outset, but having seen the potential of the thing, it's very sad it wasn't given time to grow on a network that cared.
      It's a crime. The B5 universe has never recovered from that wound. Everything since has been an undermined false start (Oops, all that stuff's gone, and your budget is a nickel.) with little or no resources or budget to recreate the lost resources. To me, Crusade was the last good thing produced in the B5 universe. If Warners had any good qualities, they'd back some way of continuing and finishing the Crusade story right, and I don't mean some half-assed 5 minute wrap-up. Hell, it'd be in Warner's best interests, because it'd revive the B5 universe.


      Originally posted by Ubik View Post
      I was wondering, are the Crusade books available from the fan club worth the money, cause I'm curious to know more about the show. Would also love to read the un-filmed scripts, but they are hard to find online these days. Do they appear in these books?
      See Jan's comments re. the scriptbooks. Have you read "The Passing of the Techno-Mages" ? It touches upon Crusade at a couple of points, and helps you understand the Technomages and is essentially the story of Galen.
      Last edited by KoshN; 09-12-2012, 06:04 AM.
      Mac Breck (KoshN)
      ------------------
      Warner Brothers is Lucy.
      JMS and we fans are collectively Charlie Brown.
      Babylon 5 is the football.

      Comment


      • #4
        Jan, thank you for the warm welcome. I will try to contribute as and when I can. I've been coming here for all my JMS related news for years, so it would be good to help keep the forum ares ticking over. I'll have to investigate the Crusade books, might be good to have some additional reading to keep me occupied. Currently, I've got Delany's 'Dhalgren' to keep me occupied on the literature front!

        KoshN, I can imagine that TNT hated "The Path of Sorrows", I mean hell, it's well paced intelligent TV. They execs probably wanted more fist fights and lasers. I think Crusade could easily be rebooted but there would likely be rights issues and no end of political wrangling. I suppose it's something WB could green light if they wanted to, but I can imagine JMS probably wouldn't have an awful lot of interest in revisiting old ground.

        Ideally, I'd be deliriously happy just to see JMS do another SF show. I think he did what he set out to do with B5, and I'd love to see him sculpt a fresh universe with new characters. It's good to see he's going back to TV with the Studio JMS productions. Personally, I have high hopes for Vlad Dracula. The scope is epic enough to support some great character arcs.

        And is it just me, or would Peter Jurasik make an amazing vampire?
        Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

        Kosh: Good!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Ubik View Post
          Jan, thank you for the warm welcome. I will try to contribute as and when I can. I've been coming here for all my JMS related news for years, so it would be good to help keep the forum ares ticking over. I'll have to investigate the Crusade books, might be good to have some additional reading to keep me occupied. Currently, I've got Delany's 'Dhalgren' to keep me occupied on the literature front!
          Because of what's not there in my previous post, I feel that I should say that I'm not big on or comfortable with making "welcomey" kinds of posts. (shrug) I'm a guy, and I so stick mainly to the B5 subject matter.


          Originally posted by Ubik View Post
          KoshN, I can imagine that TNT hated "The Path of Sorrows", I mean hell, it's well paced intelligent TV. They execs probably wanted more fist fights and lasers. I think Crusade could easily be rebooted but there would likely be rights issues and no end of political wrangling.
          Somebody would just have to approach Warners with a lot of money for their licensing fees and the will to continue Crusade, before everybody's too old to play their parts.


          Originally posted by Ubik View Post
          I suppose it's something WB could green light if they wanted to,
          They certainly could, and they could put it on The CW network.



          Originally posted by Ubik View Post
          ....but I can imagine JMS probably wouldn't have an awful lot of interest in revisiting old ground.
          I think JMS would definitely be interested, and think (hope) he'd jump at the chance if Warners was SERIOUS in their support. JMS knows that there is interest out there on the part of the fans. Nature abhors a vacuum, and Crusade left one HUGE vacuum.

          Hmm, how much new, space science fiction is on TV right now? I can't think of a single show. Doesn't seem like there would be much competition, although Paramount would probably throw something together at the last minute just so the Trek franchise had something there to take attention away from the B5 universe show, just to be the spoiler.

          I'd be happy if Crusade was continued from where it left off and finished in a well thought out way, not rushed, not abridged, be it in a TV show or novels. Hell, I'd be 110% deliriously happy with Crusade novels.


          Originally posted by Ubik View Post
          Ideally, I'd be deliriously happy just to see JMS do another SF show. I think he did what he set out to do with B5, and I'd love to see him sculpt a fresh universe with new characters. It's good to see he's going back to TV with the Studio JMS productions. Personally, I have high hopes for Vlad Dracula. The scope is epic enough to support some great character arcs.
          I'd like to see JMS able to finish what he started in Crusade. Far too many projects get started and then get chopped off with no ending. I'd like to see some follow through. We know what JMS can do, and so does Warners. If only they had enough faith to really get behind Crusade and were not completely driven by short-sighted, imaginationless suits, and accountants.


          Originally posted by Ubik View Post
          And is it just me, or would Peter Jurasik make an amazing vampire?
          Well, he already had the teeth and the accent for it.
          Mac Breck (KoshN)
          ------------------
          Warner Brothers is Lucy.
          JMS and we fans are collectively Charlie Brown.
          Babylon 5 is the football.

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi, Ubik!

            I like your posts but I was wondering if you could give me some specific examples of, "some of the more clunky episodes that tend to put new viewers off. All the things that used to make me cringe; the bad one liners, some of the sillier plot elements, the occasional hammy acting,'.

            Please don't misunderstand, I know your comment was on the whole very positive and I stripped out the only part that might be considered not so, I just was wondering about specific examples. The reason is, I never seem to notice them. I love the damn show so much, I wonder if I'm not "critical" enough and therefore miss the flubs. I mean, even I didn't like the whole "Zarg" storyline in Grey 17, but I didn't see anything I would call clunky or off putting. But, I also have never been able to get someone else interested in the show, probably because I don't have any friends, but if I did, I might show them the wrong things.

            For example, the only episode I would really leave out, maybe would be Exogenesis, and only because the monster inside the person thing has been done so many times, but these monsters turn out to be not evil and that's a little different, also I thought the whole thing was well scripted and I enjoy Marcus getting more time and it lays the foundation for his partnership with Dr Franklin, so I really wouldn't get rid of it.

            I know there are several 1st season episodes that are not very arc important, but you really only need about 3 (Midnight on the Firing Line, Coming of Shadows, Chrysalis) of them, plus skip about half of the 2nd season and about 5 or 6 of the 3rd, and so on. That would concentrate on the great overall "arc" but it makes for a choppy presentation that really skips a lot of the good stuff that makes it so good.

            Sorry this post is so long, I actually cut it down some.

            Jan tolerates me, so I'm lucky.

            BTW, Technomages trilogy, strongly recomended, I got a 3 books in one hardcover cheaper than for the 3 paperbacks. It isn't required, but it wouldn't hurt to get "The Shadow Within" as it sets up some of the background to the trilogy and is good in of itself. And I completely agree about "Path of Sorrows", it's one of my favorite Crusade episodes. I felt like Ruling from the Tomb was kind of like pointless, except that it allowed the characters more time to be them, like Exogenesis. Poor story with good charactarization of the main characters.
            Last edited by Marsden; 09-13-2012, 06:37 AM.
            "And what kind of head of Security would I be if I let people like me know things that I'm not supposed to know? I mean, I know what I know because I have to know it. And if I don't have to know it, I don't tell me, and I don't let anyone else tell me either. " And I can give you reasonable assurances that the head of Security will not report you for doing so."
            "Because you won't tell yourself about it?"

            "I try never to get involved in my own life, too much trouble."

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Marsden View Post
              Jan tolerates me, so I'm lucky.
              Given that these forums only attract the highest quality of posters, you are indeed!

              Jan
              "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Jan View Post
                Given that these forums only attract the highest quality of posters, you are indeed!

                Jan
                Then explain me. :P
                "Jan Schroeder is insane" - J. Michael Straczynski, March 2008

                The Station: A Babylon 5 Podcast

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Marsden View Post
                  Hi, Ubik!

                  I like your posts but I was wondering if you could give me some specific examples of, "some of the more clunky episodes that tend to put new viewers off. All the things that used to make me cringe; the bad one liners, some of the sillier plot elements, the occasional hammy acting,'.

                  Please don't misunderstand, I know your comment was on the whole very positive and I stripped out the only part that might be considered not so, I just was wondering about specific examples. The reason is, I never seem to notice them. I love the damn show so much, I wonder if I'm not "critical" enough and therefore miss the flubs. I mean, even I didn't like the whole "Zarg" storyline in Grey 17, but I didn't see anything I would call clunky or off putting. But, I also have never been able to get someone else interested in the show, probably because I don't have any friends, but if I did, I might show them the wrong things.
                  Hey Marsden, I could happily watch the whole season too, but there are definitely weaker episodes in there. To give you an idea, here's what we did, episode wise for the first season. We had limited time and my aim was to get my friend hooked on the mythos and arc-style story telling of B5, because once you realize the scope of it, that's it... you're hooked.

                  1. Midnight on the Firing Line – Watch.
                  2. Soul Hunter – Skip. Admittedly, some important information on Delen, but it doesn't detract too much.
                  3. Born to the Purple - Watch, it's important later on, and helps build Lando's character.
                  4. Infection – Skip. This, to me, is one of those 'clunky episodes' and from repeated experience, this episode had sent many friends running for the hills, never to return to B5!
                  5. The Parliament of Dreams – Skip, not essential, we were short on time! Does have some good moments.
                  6. Mind War – Watch.
                  7. The War Prayer – Skip, not essential.
                  8. And the Sky Full of Stars - Watch.
                  10. Believers – Skip. Reminds me of many, many overly sentimental TNG episodes. (I like TNG, but it had it's crass moments).
                  11. Survivors – Skip.
                  12. By Any Means Necessary – Skip.
                  13. Signs and Portents – Watch.
                  14. TKO – Skip.
                  15. Grail – Skip.
                  16. Eyes – Skip, even though it has a fun Garibaldi/Lennier B-plot.
                  17. Legacies – Watch
                  18. A Voice in the Wilderness: Part 1 – Watch
                  19. A Voice in the Wilderness: Part 2 – Watch
                  20. Babylon Squared – Watch
                  21. The Quality of Mercy – Skip, is re-capped anyway.
                  22. “Chrysalis” – Watch.

                  Cheers for the tip on the technomage novels. Are they still readily available to buy?
                  Last edited by Ubik; 09-13-2012, 01:12 PM. Reason: Typo
                  Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

                  Kosh: Good!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ubik View Post
                    Cheers for the tip on the technomage novels. Are they still readily available to buy?
                    I'd check amazon, that's where I got mine. Sometimes you can luck out and get it fairly cheap.

                    Thank you for your response, I understand a lot better. You'd be good to get the Centauri Trilogy, too. The Psi corp trilogy is readable, but I wouldn't worry too much to miss it. To Dream in the City of Sorrows it good if you like Cmdr Sinclair, but if he isn't one of your favorites you may as well skip it. I don't think I got any other of the B5 books. KoshN knows, he has and suffered through them all. I highly regard his opinion.
                    Last edited by Marsden; 09-14-2012, 05:24 AM. Reason: I spelled Psi Corp with a y
                    "And what kind of head of Security would I be if I let people like me know things that I'm not supposed to know? I mean, I know what I know because I have to know it. And if I don't have to know it, I don't tell me, and I don't let anyone else tell me either. " And I can give you reasonable assurances that the head of Security will not report you for doing so."
                    "Because you won't tell yourself about it?"

                    "I try never to get involved in my own life, too much trouble."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ubik View Post
                      Hey Marsden, I could happily watch the whole season too, but there are definitely weaker episodes in there. To give you an idea, here's what we did, episode wise for the first season. We had limited time and my aim was to get my friend hooked on the mythos and arc-style story telling of B5, because once you realize the scope of it, that's it... you're hooked.
                      Heh, all I needed to be hooked was S3E21 Shadow Dancing, the first episode I ever saw. Saw it and I was HOOKED.

                      Originally posted by Ubik View Post
                      1. Midnight on the Firing Line û Watch.
                      2. Soul Hunter û Skip. Admittedly, some important information on Delen, but it doesn't detract too much.
                      Agreed.

                      Originally posted by Ubik View Post
                      3. Born to the Purple - Watch, it's important later on, and helps build Lando's character.
                      Lando? Who is this Lando character of which you write? This isn't Star Wars, ya know. Agreed about watching it.

                      Originally posted by Ubik View Post
                      4. Infection û Skip. This, to me, is one of those 'clunky episodes' and from repeated experience, this episode had sent many friends running for the hills, never to return to B5!
                      Yeah, but it introduces IPX.

                      Originally posted by Ubik View Post
                      5. The Parliament of Dreams û Skip, not essential, we were short on time! Does have some good moments.
                      Agreed.


                      Originally posted by Ubik View Post
                      6. Mind War û Watch.
                      Agreed, a MUST SEE. Introduces Bester.

                      Originally posted by Ubik View Post
                      7. The War Prayer û Skip, not essential.
                      Yeah, but it has some excellent Londo lines. His three wives, pestilence, famine and death. The shoes too tight quote. etc.


                      Originally posted by Ubik View Post
                      8. And the Sky Full of Stars - Watch.
                      Agreed, but you forgot 9. Deathwalker. Watch.
                      Kosh: "You are not ready for immortality."

                      Originally posted by Ubik View Post
                      10. Believers û Skip. Reminds me of many, many overly sentimental TNG episodes. (I like TNG, but it had it's crass moments).
                      AGREED!!! If I was only allowed to skip one, this'd be my pick.



                      Originally posted by Ubik View Post
                      11. Survivors û Skip.
                      12. By Any Means Necessary û Skip.
                      13. Signs and Portents û Watch.
                      14. TKO û Skip.
                      Agreed.




                      Originally posted by Ubik View Post
                      15. Grail û Skip.
                      16. Eyes û Skip, even though it has a fun Garibaldi/Lennier B-plot.
                      Watch.

                      Originally posted by Ubik View Post
                      17. Legacies û Watch
                      18. A Voice in the Wilderness: Part 1 û Watch
                      19. A Voice in the Wilderness: Part 2 û Watch
                      20. Babylon Squared û Watch
                      21. The Quality of Mercy û Skip, is re-capped anyway.
                      22. ôChrysalisö û Watch.
                      I'd watch all of these.

                      Originally posted by Ubik View Post
                      Cheers for the tip on the technomage novels. Are they still readily available to buy?
                      Hard to find. Haven't been readily available for years. I was in Narns & Noble a couple days ago and they had absolutely no B5 novels. Sometimes you can get lucky in used book shops or on eBay. Technomage book 2 of 3 "Summoning Light" and Legions of Fire book 3 of 3 "Out of the Darkness" were only easy to find when they first came out. There were also hardcover, omnibus editions of the DelRey trilogies. Check out my FAQ on b5tv.com "B5 Novels, Novelizations and Short Stories" for details. http://www.b5tv.com/showthread.php?t=11723
                      Mac Breck (KoshN)
                      ------------------
                      Warner Brothers is Lucy.
                      JMS and we fans are collectively Charlie Brown.
                      Babylon 5 is the football.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by KoshN View Post

                        Lando? Who is this Lando character of which you write? This isn't Star Wars, ya know. Agreed about watching it.

                        http://www.b5tv.com/showthread.php?t=11723
                        Great Maker! That's an unfortunate typo on my part.

                        I could see Lando fitting right in on B5, perhaps he could smuggle in some weapons for them following their secession from Earth.
                        Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

                        Kosh: Good!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by OmahaStar
                          Then explain me. :P
                          Would you throw something through the monitor if I mentioned that you've mellowed over the years?

                          Originally posted by Marsden View Post
                          The Psycorp trilogy is readable, but I wouldn't worry too much to miss it.
                          Er-hrm...Psi Corps. I like this one much better than the TechnoMage trilogy. Lots of insight into the way things got the way they were by the time we tune in as well as a wonderful study on Bester and how he got that way.

                          To Dream in the City of Sorrows it good if you like Cmdr Sinclair, but if he isn't one of your favorites you may as well skip it.
                          And Marcus! I liked Marcus' background as well as he and Sinclair meeting and becoming friends on Minbar.

                          Not gonna get into the discussion of episodes to skip since it's not something I do or recommend. When I'm exposing somebody to B5, I explain that it's only for intelligent people who don't mind making an investment of time that will be well repaid. So far nobody's complained.

                          Jan
                          "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Marsden View Post
                            I'd check amazon, that's where I got mine. Sometimes you can luck out and get it fairly cheap.

                            Thank you for your response, I understand a lot better. You'd be good to get the Centauri Trilogy, too. The Psycorp trilogy is readable, but I wouldn't worry too much to miss it. To Dream in the City of Sorrows it good if you like Cmdr Sinclair, but if he isn't one of your favorites you may as well skip it. I don't think I got any other of the B5 books. KoshN knows, he has and suffered through them all. I highly regard his opinion.
                            Thanks.

                            The Centauri trilogy is excellent, and technomages appear there, too. Peter David really seems to "get" the Centauri. I enjoyed both Dell #7 "The Shadow Within" and #9 "To Dream in the City of Sorrows." #7 can be considered a prequel to the Technomage trilogy. #9 has some good stuff about Kosh, Ulkesh, Catherine Sakai, and Marcus. The first book of the Psi Corps. trilogy was a bit of a slog, but necessary. With all the aliases and family tree issues, it pays to take notes during the Psi Corps. trilogy.

                            Regarding #1 thru #6 and #8 of the original Dell nine, 4 and 5 were the absolute worst, IMHO. #5 was a long buildup to....nothing. The best thing about #5 was the cover art. None of these are canon.
                            Mac Breck (KoshN)
                            ------------------
                            Warner Brothers is Lucy.
                            JMS and we fans are collectively Charlie Brown.
                            Babylon 5 is the football.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Ubik View Post
                              Great Maker! That's an unfortunate typo on my part.

                              I could see Lando fitting right in on B5, perhaps he could smuggle in some weapons for them following their secession from Earth.
                              Don't forget that you completely forgot Deathwalker.

                              Yeah, Lando Calrissian could be a weapons smuggler on B5. He might have gotten some weapons to the Narn after the Centauri occupation. Yeah, that could've worked.
                              Mac Breck (KoshN)
                              ------------------
                              Warner Brothers is Lucy.
                              JMS and we fans are collectively Charlie Brown.
                              Babylon 5 is the football.

                              Comment

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