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  • #46
    Originally posted by JoeD80 View Post
    In the plans for season five, she was supposed to do both.
    Interesting. I don't remember that. Any info on who was supposed to follow her as commander of B5?

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    • #47
      The outline says something like (don't have the book in front of me):

      "Ivanova divides her time between commanding Babylon 5 and commanding one of the new Warlock class ships"

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      • #48
        I was reading an interview with Chris Wren over at B5 Scrolls this morning. He worked on concept art and CGi for Legend of the Rangers. One thing that comes up time and time again about that TV Movie is the ‘gun pod’ scene, which was clearly a great concept executed badly because of budget constraints.

        I wish this scene could have more closely reflected the original script, or have been executed in a more tasteful manner. Whilst the battle scene is only a small part of the whole, it would have been a marked improvement. Hell, the pod scene could have been left on the cutting room floor... or they could have even simply intimated that the gun pod was being manned, relying instead on external battle shots to get the job done. As I’ve said before, I struggled a bit with Rangers, but that’s a whole other thread. So, here’s the relevant excerpt from the interview with Chris Wren that sheds some light on it. I personally found it very interesting as I've seen this aspect discussed a lot!

        I have to ask, the Liandra’s gun pod, what the hell was going on there? : )

        The gun pod went through a lot of conceptual changes, some creative and some forced by budget (sometimes right on set). Originally the script called for a complex chair attached to an armature, suspended in the middle of the spherical holographic room which Myriam’s character would sit in. It would move in all directions, track eye movement and respond to gestures as well as vocal commands. The room itself would be something similar to those seen in the Minbari cruisers during B5, but as it was a small self contained unit housing a single gunner the holograph would completely surround her for optimal viewing.

        You mentioned budget and creative pressures to change the concept!?

        It soon became clear this single prop/set would be more difficult and time consuming to design and implement than many of the full standing sets in the show. But the concept was also an extremely difficult sell at the time, not only to the network but some of the artists and crew as well. Today of course, the idea of someone sitting in a chair and manipulating complex weapons systems is commonplace (Atlantis) but way back in the year 2000 it was thought the audience would find the scenario boring and confusing!

        So who came up with the alternative idea?

        As I recall, Joe's initial script did involve the articulated chair. As the production company basically put the kibosh on that idea he also came up with the tractor/gravitational field in an overnight re-write. The solution seemed for Myriam to ‘float’ suspended in a tractor field that kept her suspended in the room, but gave her enough physical resistance so that she could spin, roll, and move in any direction with just a little bit of physical effort. Like the use of holograms this made sense (in the context of the B5 universe) as Minbari technology seems to include a more or less total mastery of manipulated gravity fields. Basically the tractor field would "feel" a bit denser than water.

        When this conceptual change happened, it affected the whole idea of how Myriam would behave when inside the gun pod. The idea was that not just anyone could use the pod effectively. It required special training, but also a natural instinct, a "relationship" of sorts with the ship itself, and a natural visual acuity and coordination. Unfortunately, here some confusion set in and there were some conflicting ideas about how the pod would be used.

        How did she end up looking like she was having a bit of a fit in the thing?

        With the chair gone, one camp saw Myriam using the pod as a very Zen sort of situation. She would have an almost cold, unnatural calm as she fired and engaged the ships belonging to ‘The Hand’. Not quite like "using the force" but the idea was that her movements would be graceful, elegant, almost ballet like. The other vision wanted her to be more dynamic, aggressive, her movements more like martial arts. That's the idea that won out in the end, and that's part of the reason the Minbari beams got replaced with the energy bullets. Personally I would have preferred if the production had stuck with the traditional Minbari weapons, but it was thought the image of beams shooting from her hands during these more violent movements would be confusing to viewers.

        For those who are interested, the whole interview can be found here.
        Last edited by Ubik; 07-15-2013, 08:59 AM.
        Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

        Kosh: Good!

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        • #49
          I've figured out the problem with Byron, I think: he doesn't have a sense of humour. That's what makes him radically different from almost every other character on the show, even bastards like Morden or Bester - he almost never jokes, which is a big part of what often makes him dislikable.

          (I once met a person with no sense of humour. Her political values were actually quite close to mine in many ways, and yet I think she was the single worst person I've ever met, the most unpleasant and infuriating individual I've ever talked to... because she never joked.)

          So, from a writing standpoint, what would make Byron a far more palatable character is giving him a sense of humour. However... the truth is that there really are people like him, especially in the realm of identity politics (which is basically what he believes in, much like Bester). So, in a way, the writing is quite realistic.

          So if I could change one thing, I guess I wouldn't give Byron a sense of humour, but I'd give JMS his Season 5 notes back, along with Claudia Christian's contract.

          Or maybe I'd undo Crusade, because I think that the possibility of a spin-off affected Season 5 too.
          Jonas Kyratzes | Lands of Dream

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          • #50
            Originally posted by Jonas View Post
            I've figured out the problem with Byron, I think: he doesn't have a sense of humour.
            Good point - as Bester would say 'you got it in one'

            Like Byron, a former teacher of mine from school showed no signs of humor, I thought he might have made a better undertaker than instructor.

            A perfect Byron parody song can be found on 'Aliens Ate My Homework' album.
            After hearing it, I bought the whole album... great stuff!

            http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bohnhoff3
            Last edited by DaveNarn; 07-17-2013, 11:49 AM.

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            • #51
              Story-wise I wouldn't want to change something as one little variation ends up creating a very different story.

              If I could change something I would like B5 to have the same budget in season 4-5 as in 1-3. My main concern here is the CGI. The camera movements became too frantic but most irritating was the way too fast movement of objects: good examples are the scenes in "Epiphanies" with the Thunderbolt fighters.

              What I found unusual, how the opening scenes in "Into the Fire" have way too fast Whitestars whizzing around like they were lightnings in the sky (together with frantic camera movements) while the main battle has a very different vibe to it. I often wondered whether this happened because Foundation Imaging already started to work on it (considering how much render power it needed, and how little CGI was to be found in the preceding episodes) so they could focus on making it a real climax of CGI seen until then. I never saw a hint about it so maybe this is a question Triple F could answer from his many interviews with key CGI people.
              Babylon 5 Animations

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              • #52
                Originally posted by Zoltan View Post
                Story-wise I wouldn't want to change something as one little variation ends up creating a very different story.

                If I could change something I would like B5 to have the same budget in season 4-5 as in 1-3. My main concern here is the CGI. The camera movements became too frantic but most irritating was the way too fast movement of objects: good examples are the scenes in "Epiphanies" with the Thunderbolt fighters.

                What I found unusual, how the opening scenes in "Into the Fire" have way too fast Whitestars whizzing around like they were lightnings in the sky (together with frantic camera movements) while the main battle has a very different vibe to it. I often wondered whether this happened because Foundation Imaging already started to work on it (considering how much render power it needed, and how little CGI was to be found in the preceding episodes) so they could focus on making it a real climax of CGI seen until then. I never saw a hint about it so maybe this is a question Triple F could answer from his many interviews with key CGI people.
                IÆm unsure if this issue is directly related to budget constraints. I think itÆs more to do with Foundation Imaging being dropped at the end of Season 3 in favour of the new æin houseÆ Netter Digital. Of course, this in itself was a æcost savingÆ move, but I know Netter Digital had to hit the ground running. They didnÆt have quite the same in house experience and expertise as Foundation Imaging to begin with. I think this is covered in quite some detail over on Triple FÆs site B5 Scrolls. (As an aside, IÆd love to see an Echoes style book that covers these interviews).

                Personally, I think Foundation did better work, and really contributed a great deal to the show in terms of design. They achieved what no one else thought was possible in terms of CGI for television. A large chunk of the realistic space physics that won the show so many fans at NASA can be directly attributed to Ron Thornton, who set up Foundation Imaging.
                Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

                Kosh: Good!

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                • #53
                  I have too many changes to specify one . . . at this time. I will say that this is one of the most interesting threads to sit down and read in one sitting. Kudos everyone!
                  Susan Ivanova, "I'll be in the car."

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                  • #54
                    Yeah. Your spot on Ubik.

                    In the first few years there was a good balance going on when it came to the FX. Strong personalities on both sides of the suit v artist battle that always exists – so they were able to curb the more excessive demands of each other. The result was massive output of innovative stuff being produced almost on a weekly basis.

                    Add to that the likes of Ron, Mojo and John Teska (who incidentally was a very skilled animator who doesn’t get enough credit even on B5Scrolls for his influence on the show) were from a film background, and that’s why something like the big battle in Severed Dreams is such a well paced and choreographed thing, rather than a chaotic jumbled mess that’s difficult to follow – as is often the case in filmed space battle scenes.

                    Two things happened when Netter Digital took over. Firstly, two junior animators brought into FI to work on Hypernauts during season 3 of B5 were promoted to senior animators for the part they played in setting up Netter Digital months before screwing over FI (they had already set everything up and carried out tests) – the problem was they just didn’t have the relevant experience or skills set to fit that role. Here’s an example why.

                    Look at the tail segment of a White Star from season 4 onwards. The texture is an absolute mess when compared to that on the rest of the ship (or what appeared in season 3). The reason for that was they lost the original because they didn’t keep backup copies of the master assets and didn’t have the skill to replicate the original texture Ron created!

                    The second thing that happened was that the all important balance was lost. An artistic department was now being run by money men who’s first instincts, training, focus and experience was cutting corners and costs – and less to do with art and quality. As Josh (who worked for Netter) mentioned.

                    I'll paraphrase what John Copeland said once, when there were some complaints about the increasing shot load. "It's a challenge we face to be proud of every single shot we do for television, and still deliver on- time. We have to try and be perfectionists, yes, but at the end of the day, we still have a show to deliver." (insert grumbles from animators)
                    Among other things, that resulted in a LOT more cutting and pasting in many scenes especially the big fleet shots, and some truly outrageous, and unnecessary errors reaching the screen. The irony of that is that the shot count/cost ratio is one of the things Netter used to drive a wedge between FI and jms. Netter was telling porkies to both of them and made it look like FI was being greedy and jms was being inflexible and overly demanding. The unfortunate thing was Netter and Copeland had done such a good job, and continued to do so after the event, that jms went on to make some online comments and judgements he now regrets.

                    The whole things was not good for the show (and nearly put FI out of business), because the other thing that was lost when they got the boot was the sheer above and beyond dedication that the team brought to the show, nevermind the incredible range of ideas they came up with. The Shadows, for one thing, would have appeared as Shadowmen. ; )
                    Last edited by Triple F; 07-30-2013, 11:55 AM.

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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by Looney View Post
                      I have too many changes to specify one . . . at this time. I will say that this is one of the most interesting threads to sit down and read in one sitting. Kudos everyone!
                      Yes, this has been a great thread! I aim to please. Looney, definitely chime in when you have your 'one' thing you might like to see done differently. It's all fun speculation / discussion.

                      Triple F, you should chime in more round these parts! I love the material your've collected over at the B5 Scrolls site. I have yet to digest it all, but it's fascinating stuff.
                      Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

                      Kosh: Good!

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                      • #56
                        I think that - if we're really only allowed to change one single thing about B5 - I have to recant my previous answer. As much as it would have improved Season 5, I at least can think about how it would/could have been, and play it out in my head.

                        What really disappointed me immensely, however, is that there never were any more "Lost Tales". I know that many people were disappointed by the first DVD. And yes, there certainly were issues, especially related to the budget. However, apart from it finally being the B5-return that I had longer for for so long (and back then, it really seemed like a new beginning, and not another end, of B5), what I loved about it was the concept, and the almost infinite possibilities. JMS could have told stories with Londo and Vir on Centauri Prime. With Sheridan and Delenn on Minbar. Garibaldi on Mars. Lochley and Zack on B5. And he didn't even have to stay in the same time frame all the time. Why not go back and tell a story or two from the telepath war? Continue Crusade and at least tell us how they found a cure for the plague? Tell a tale from Ivanovas adventures as commander of a starship? He even could have gone back 1.000 years and tell the story of Valen. The possibilities were endless. And I think that's why it's my biggest regret about B5. With the Ivanova-Season 5-thing, I at least can make it up in my mind, because there's enough information around to play with it in your head and make up your own story of what could have been. But we will never ever even remotely know what JMS might have had in store for us if he would have continued telling these "Lost Tales" of Babylon 5.

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by cornholio1980 View Post

                          What really disappointed me immensely, however, is that there never were any more "Lost Tales". I know that many people were disappointed by the first DVD. And yes, there certainly were issues, especially related to the budget. However, apart from it finally being the B5-return that I had longer for for so long (and back then, it really seemed like a new beginning, and not another end, of B5), what I loved about it was the concept, and the almost infinite possibilities. JMS could have told stories with Londo and Vir on Centauri Prime. With Sheridan and Delenn on Minbar. Garibaldi on Mars. Lochley and Zack on B5. And he didn't even have to stay in the same time frame all the time. Why not go back and tell a story or two from the telepath war? Continue Crusade and at least tell us how they found a cure for the plague? Tell a tale from Ivanovas adventures as commander of a starship? He even could have gone back 1.000 years and tell the story of Valen. The possibilities were endless. And I think that's why it's my biggest regret about B5. With the Ivanova-Season 5-thing, I at least can make it up in my mind, because there's enough information around to play with it in your head and make up your own story of what could have been. But we will never ever even remotely know what JMS might have had in store for us if he would have continued telling these "Lost Tales" of Babylon 5.
                          At this point, I remain very sceptical about any addition to B5 continuity, and by that I am referring only to B5, the series proper, not any of the spin off shows. Crusade, is another matter entirely, as I see it as its own show.

                          I always think the reason B5 endures is because of the series long story arcs. It's those gradual shifts in characters, the rise and fall of empires and the small details that come to fruition further on down the line. The problem I have with Lost Tales is that it's an anthology show. It's fun little one off stories, but by the very nature of the format I think we instantly lose what made B5 so good, namely the tightly plotted series long arc. I know JMS loves the The Twilight Zone, and the anthology format in general, but I honestly don't think B5 was the best fit to explore it.

                          Another that always bugs me about The Lost Tales is the absence of an ensemble cast of characters, and the lack of hustle and bustle on the station. In the Lost Tales all that is gone, and B5 feels like it's been deserted. The station just doesn't feel 'alive' like it does in the series. Obviously, this is down to budget constraints, and I do think JMS was right to tell WB he didn't want to make any more when they refused to up the budget.

                          I remain of the opinion think that B5 should be left alone. Some untold stories are best left untold, and we can always speculate to our hearts' content, as we are doing here. JMS did his five years, and what a wonderful five years it was.
                          Last edited by Ubik; 08-01-2013, 08:26 AM.
                          Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

                          Kosh: Good!

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                          • #58
                            Could not agree more.

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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Ubik View Post
                              I always think the reason B5 endures is because of the series long story arcs. It's those gradual shifts in characters, the rise and fall of empires and the small details that come to fruition further on down the line.
                              No argument there. No single outing, not even a big movie, could ever have the same (emotional) impact of the show. I was always very much aware of this, and actually think that it may be one of the main reasons why I liked "The Lost Tales" more than others did, because I never expected it to live up to the show itself in that specific regard.

                              Still, I do believe that this doesn't mean that there are no interesting stories left to tell. Take the short stories for example. And from my point of view, The Lost Tales would have been an intruiging way to tell them, because of all the possibilities coming with such an anthology show. I for one am really sad that the "Lost Tales" lived up to their name in a way I hadn't anticipated when they first were announced .
                              Last edited by cornholio1980; 08-01-2013, 08:47 AM.

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                              • #60
                                Given enough time and money, I think JMS would have made a very interesting anthology show out of The Lost Tales. Even without direct continuity between the stories, I think there would be many ways of exploring thematic continuity.

                                I'm certainly very fond of the little bit that we got, even if it has flaws. There's a lot more depth to those two stories than people give them credit for.
                                Jonas Kyratzes | Lands of Dream

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