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Babylon 5 Movie through Studio JMS

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  • JoeD80
    replied
    Originally posted by Triple F View Post
    That “lose the stiff” thing isn’t a guess on my part. It’s from someone who was in the room, so to speak, but that’s all water under the bridge and over the dam.
    I'm saying this was a complaint from the beginning, not something that came up later.

    Originally posted by Triple F View Post
    Don’t know if Bruce Boxleitner got the job without an audition – but he certainly wasn’t the first choice for a replacement. . . at least, not according to Bruce Boxleitner.
    Yes Bruce said it in an interview - they gave it to him without audition (that one's in the interview books). I'm pretty sure Michael York was Joe's first choice for a replacement.

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  • Ubik
    replied
    Originally posted by Looney View Post
    I can see all of those being valid points, but what do you mean by the above quote? Do you mean the quality of the work or level of success B5 reached?
    I meant the quality of the work, and the coming together of so many talented creatives to produce something as standout as B5. I know JMS really pushed himself on this one, and often to the detriment of his own health. I think he was really working at his peak and pushing what could be done in SFTV. As I said, nothing else he's produced has grabbed me half as much.

    Originally posted by Looney View Post
    Another reason I think the show could be huge today if people would just choose to watch it is because the core of the show is great and by today's standards people would find it retro-fabulous, for lack of a better term. I mean B5 is a GREAT story loaded with the stuff that makes it look so 90's. People try to create a retro feel now when all they have to do is go back and find a great 90's show with an awesome story instead.
    Yes. as Triple F said, the main thing holding B5 back is probably the production values. The cardboard sets, the 90s CGI, the occasionally bad acting. I mean, at the time a lot of it was groundbreaking, and it remains interesting for those reasons. Personally, I think the CGI work is still impressive. But you have to know the context to really appreciate it. It also doesn't help that modern TV shows now have budgets akin to Hollywood films. So, modern audiences are used to amazing location shooting, great sets, cutting edge VFX and pretty top notch acting. Whilst I love the cast, there's some prime HAM in B5, which I have also grown to love... It really did help if you saw it at the time, pitted against other SF shows that were more formulaic. So, for current viewers, i can see B5 being a far harder pill to swallow, especially S1 when it's finding its feet.

    This to me would be the primary reason for a re-boot, just to give it a makeover for modern audiences. It would also be a chance to tell new stories and take a different tact. If done right it could be superb, but I can't see it happening any time soon unless we get some kind of lucky break.

    Anyhow, these kind of debates are fun, it keeps it alive for us. We can always go back to the original and we can daydream a bit about possibilities if circumstances were to become more favourable for more B5.
    Last edited by Ubik; 03-06-2018, 05:56 AM.

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  • Triple F
    replied
    That “lose the stiff” thing isn’t a guess on my part. It’s from someone who was in the room, so to speak, but that’s all water under the bridge and over the dam. Don’t know if Bruce Boxleitner got the job without an audition – but he certainly wasn’t the first choice for a replacement. . . at least, not according to Bruce Boxleitner. Note the bit I underlined, as that’s also what I’ve heard from a number of folks who created the show whenever the topic came up.

    Question: At the beginning of season 2 you came to the show. Was this planned by JMS to take a new, a younger character for the show, was this part the 5-year plan or was it because the television network said we must have a younger character?

    Bruce: People want to be very polite about this but it's important that the audience reacts to a character. First season B5 came on and WB at that time felt so-so about it. They felt that it needed, or that it wasn't getting the exposure that they wanted and I'm not bragging about myself but they said they need to find someone in the lead that has somewhat of a name-value to the audience because many man, many actors were offered the role before it got to me. Stacy Keach to Michael York, Corbin Bernsen, people like that. There were a lot of fingerprints on the script before I got it.

    Michael O'Hare is a marvelous man, a marvelous actor, they just felt they needed a change to keep the show going. So I think the genius in JMS is that he adapted what he had to do, he adapted the storyline with another character. So here was Sinclair in another character, he had I don't mean to burst your bubble about the 5-year-arc, he had to do that or the show would not have continued.

    That's what I was told, I may not have all the facts but it takes somewhat of an audience to find a show, to get used to a show. Babylon 5 has a very different look to it than Star Trek and a very different feel to it. But it hasn't caught on yet, it hasn't got through to the organizations yet, they wanted to make a TV show, when it came to me the executive producer Doug Netter - I had done a western with him years earlier - and I read the script, I liked it, I actually saw the show several times and I liked it. I said yes, yes, I want to do it now. I was Doug Netter's choice. I'm just trying to clear up things, there's a lot of stories.
    The above is from a Q&A at the German Fedcon 7 (1998)

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  • JoeD80
    replied
    I do not agree with the premise that season one is different from the rest of the show. It's pretty consistent IMO.

    Originally posted by Triple F View Post
    Season one was so different most likely because – as I understand it - jms was basically following his original idea. Things changed after he was told by Warner (via Doug Netter) to “lose the stiff” . . . and that wasn’t aimed at Michael O’Hare, but the character of Sinclair. Warner wanted the action racked up and a more well known name in the lead. That might explain why jms was so defensive when folks thought Michael’s acting was the issue . . I dunno. Anyway.
    WB wanted Sinclair out after the *pilot*, and they (Doug and Joe) fought back and kept the character. Joe was defensive because when Michael did leave it was for medical issues and everyone and their brother had a pet conspiracy theory of why it really happened. Bruce is someone Doug knew from previous work and they gave him the job in season two without audition, which happened to fulfill WB's push for a more well-known lead but wasn't the reason for the Sinclair character moving in a different direction.

    As for the original outline, it still tracks pretty well. You can read it and season two happens about the same as it looks in the outline. The civil war story is the big part not in there (though Psi Corps pushing in on running the government is), and I think the season four/five question had more of an effect than Sinclair leaving, closing some stories earlier than would have been if season five had been a guarantee.
    Last edited by JoeD80; 03-04-2018, 12:29 PM.

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  • Triple F
    replied
    Originally posted by Jan View Post
    As for John Carter, they left of the 'of Mars' part deliberately and marketed it badly-also deliberately according to some reports. If the movie had been marketed to Burroughs fans it might well have done much better. As it was, I was so sick of the great white ape and that damned arena scene even I didn't want to see the movie by the time it came out.
    Years back, like a lot of folks, I closely followed the development of a couple of films I was looking forward to. Quickly got out that habit. It was horrible – between endless speculaton, pet theories, rumours and complaints on every subject imaginable from wannabe pundits, and of course real spoilers over a long period - it just sucked everything from the movie. No surprises, no sense of discovery while watching . . . . . Noooo, will never do that again. . . . .

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  • Jan
    replied
    Originally posted by Triple F View Post
    There is one question I do think needs to be considered in these kind of discussions. Why? Why does B5 have to be remade, re-imagined or rebooted so a new audience can find it. It’s a product of it’s time – an important one – if re-done now it would just be another show. Look at John Carter on Mars – a much under performing movie. Based on a highly important an influential book, many folks thought it was a piss poor SW rip-off . . . . . That’s almost funny. : )
    If it had been readily available for new fans to find maybe it wouldn't. It's not. And apparently it won't be. So unless we're okay with B5 fading into total obscurity, it needs to be brought up to modern standards.

    As for John Carter, they left of the 'of Mars' part deliberately and marketed it badly-also deliberately according to some reports. If the movie had been marketed to Burroughs fans it might well have done much better. As it was, I was so sick of the great white ape and that damned arena scene even I didn't want to see the movie by the time it came out.

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  • Looney
    replied
    Originally posted by Triple F View Post
    There is one question I do think needs to be considered in these kind of discussions. Why? Why does B5 have to be remade, re-imagined or rebooted so a new audience can find it.
    BECAUSE WE ALL HAVE A GIANT CHIP ON OUR SHOULDER!!!!!

    We know that Babylon 5 was good enough to have been much more successful and garnered a string of franchise related shows and movies that were done with real money behind them and a real commitment from a big studio to see them succeed. Productions with big money budgets and a machine that makes sure the show is available to see - IN THE CORRECT ORDER (Jab at TNT) - in a place where the maximum number of viewers can see it. As grateful as I am to Warner Brothers for Babylon 5 we all know that they held the show back in one regard or another. I know they crunched the numbers and made their commitments based on what the ratings showed, but they also blew opportunities.

    I think another key ingredient is that we all know that many of the things that held B5 back in the past might not be such an obstacle today. I think we realize that hypothetically if JMS made B5 by today's standards for a place like Netflix, Amazon, or HBO it would attain a level of success we all know it is capable of. Having said that I have to fall back on the caveat that it would all come down to being lucky enough to get people to watch and talk positively about the show on social media.

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  • Triple F
    replied
    Season one was so different most likely because – as I understand it - jms was basically following his original idea. Things changed after he was told by Warner (via Doug Netter) to “lose the stiff” . . . and that wasn’t aimed at Michael O’Hare, but the character of Sinclair. Warner wanted the action racked up and a more well known name in the lead. That might explain why jms was so defensive when folks thought Michael’s acting was the issue . . I dunno. Anyway.

    B5 was the right idea for the time - affordable video recorders came out in the late 80’s so folks could now record something with a deep long running story arc. The fandom is full of anecdotes about how folks would tape the thing. Then there’s the whole desktop revolution thing that promised to keep the infamously high cost of producing sci-fi under some kind of control – while raising the bar of what could be produced for television.

    So yeah, I agree that in the modern age – with all the tech and viewing habits that are now common – B5 is tailor made for some serious binge watching. But in its current form it’s pretty dated. Even with a DVD in a blue ray player you can see the wooden sets with staple and nail marks. Londo’s hair looks like something out of an amateur dramatics production, and the speeches can get a bit thick in places. So some of that really would have to be watered down a little to appeal to a larger audience, I suspect.


    As for lightening doesn’t strike twice. It rarely does. You just need to see what Roddenberry tried to do after TOS, or Serling after TZ – the two other seminal series which some folks like to put B5 beside..

    There is one question I do think needs to be considered in these kind of discussions. Why? Why does B5 have to be remade, re-imagined or rebooted so a new audience can find it. It’s a product of it’s time – an important one – if re-done now it would just be another show. Look at John Carter on Mars – a much under performing movie. Based on a highly important an influential book, many folks thought it was a piss poor SW rip-off . . . . . That’s almost funny. : )

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  • Looney
    replied
    Originally posted by Ubik View Post
    perhaps lightning doesn't strike twice? .
    I can see all of those being valid points, but what do you mean by the above quote? Do you mean the quality of the work or level of success B5 reached? The reason I ask is because I definitely think Babylon 5 could have and should have been a huge hit. B5 came around in a time when there weren't a million entertainment options at the reach of people's remote controls. I believe there is well documented evidence of external forces, include its own distributor, holding Babylon 5 back. I believe it wasn't all a matter of people choosing to watch the show.

    Honestly I think if you took the original series and released it today, by today's standards it would be GIGANTIC. (Maybe if you released it as is it could be huge if people would just choose to watch it.) I say this because now people like me who missed the first season could pick up with season two and go back and watch season one through various means. Back then there was a chance that after season one aired that was the last anyone saw of it. I will be honest and say that it would be helpful if JMS could go back into season one and add a little more to the continuity of the story. I mean more in every episode that tied the episodes together; people love that stuff now and season one could use a little more of it. Season five could use some work based on the assumption the show would continue as well as have spin-offs. [I was watching The Making of Crusade and it really upsets me when I hear JMS talk about it being a new show instead of a continuation with a new cast. What is wrong with that idea? I LOVED that idea. I would have loved to see the story continue with all the new pieces in place after season five. (Side Rant over.) lol ]

    Another reason I think the show could be huge today if people would just choose to watch it is because the core of the show is great and by today's standards people would find it retro-fabulous, for lack of a better term. I mean B5 is a GREAT story loaded with the stuff that makes it look so 90's. People try to create a retro feel now when all they have to do is go back and find a great 90's show with an awesome story instead.
    Last edited by Looney; 03-03-2018, 07:52 AM.

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  • Ubik
    replied
    Originally posted by Looney View Post
    You know I think JMS was more hopeful that Sense 8 would be the ticket to a B5 revival. It clearly hasn't been, but I don't think that is any reason to give up hope. I imagine he has something that he is keeping under his hat until he feels the time is right, or for as long as he thinks he can keep it under his hat.

    Unfortunately as good as I expect his future projects to be, in this day and age there are just too many things out there. It just seems like pure luck if a show or movie succeeds. Don't get me wrong, there has to be some kind of quality there, but there also has to be some luck in getting viewers to watch. We all know there are plenty of quality shows and movies that didn't achieve success because people didn't choose to see them. Most of us know how good the Rising Stars and Midnight Nation comics were, but the reality is they are not known in the mainstream. This fact could actually help them succeed with some positive word of mouth. Does anyone know if there is anything really negative out there about those comics? As far as I know they had some acclaim, but maybe not the biggest fan bases ever. I look at The Watchmen (2009). I know that graphic novel was VERY acclaimed, but does that mean people outside comic circles had ever heard of it? Someone convinced a studio to put major money into marketing and making a big movie. Positive word of mouth about the quality of the graphic novel spread and a successful ad campaign convinced all kinds of people to go see it.

    The point I am making is that we should hope that the end results are an excellent entertainment product. After that it becomes cross our fingers that we're all VERY lucky and millions of people decide to give these projects a chance. Then they fall in love with them. There is tremendous success and JMS is vaulted into the mainstream spotlight enough to give him cart-blanch over a massive Babylon 5 movie.

    Here is another project I look at, Stranger Things. I love Stranger Things, but before it premiered can you imagine anyone thinking it would be as big as it has become?! To me that show would have seemed like a huge risk for any network to take on, but Netflix got lucky. People decided to give it a shot - and KAAPLOWEE! - it is a huge hit. We all know JMS has been on the edge of that kind of success in the past and there is no reason he couldn't have the same luck a show like Stranger Things or any big show or movie franchise has had.
    Some have suggested that the timing of the B5 movie annoucement was to help promote Sense8 by raising JMS' profile on the net for that period. Could well have been the case, and he had little to lose by hoping to ride that wave of publicity if Sense8 had been a big hit. In retrospect it was a lot of big talk, with very little action thereafter. Even Studio JMS seems to have faded into obscurity with him winding up the comics end of things which were meant to generate material for possible development in other media (TV, Movies, etc).

    On Watchmen, it's a classic, it completely re-defined superhero comics and set a new high watermark for what could be done in serialised comics. I find that even non-comics readers know about it, even well before the film. I beleive it also made it into literature classes at more forward thinking schools. Sadly, nothing JMS had done in comics has reached that level or re-shaped things to that extent. I occasionally get a bit tired of his own hyperbole around his work, too much "never been done before", when a lot of the time it has been done before. I really enjoyed Midnight Nation and Rising Stars, but for me his comics work is never going to be up there with people like Alan Moore, or indeed Grant Morrison, or a whole host of other I could list. JMS comics are solid, but I could never call them groundbreaking or classic. He did some cool things on Spiderman, but it wasn't consistently great from start to finish.

    Stranger Things was indeed a surprise, but it very cleverly tapped into the retro fetishism and zeitgeist of the moment. And it was just a lot of fun. Must admit I thought the second seasons was a waste of time though, and probably a result of it's success as opposed to a genuine need to continue the story.

    I think B5 is JMS high water mark moment, it's his finest creation. Yes, I'd love to see that magic again, but on the basis of recent work I just don't know if it will happen again. Even Sense8, which I definitely did enjoy, didn't grab me that much and I felt a lot of the potential was squandered. If I am being totally candid and honest, nothing he's done since B5 had grabbed me half as much. Jeremiah, Crusade, Sense8, none of them have had that 'wow' factor (for me), or the 'kick over all the tables' moments that B5 had. Or indeed the characters! It's worth acknowledging that B5 was a coming together of many talented individuals across the whole production team that made it what it is.

    So, I just don't know. It's tough to get a break, he works hard but perhaps lightning doesn't strike twice? If we look at how long it took to sell B5, there's perhaps a lesson in that. It's still strange to me, because SF is really popular in the mainstream now... just look at all the SF/Fantasy shows that Neflix has produced recently. Altered Carbon, Mute, Stranger Things, Sense8, ST: Disco, ... I would think if pushed hard enough B5 COULD be a thing again.

    Perhaps I should stop moaning and be happy with the 5 seasons of wonderful SF we got.
    Last edited by Ubik; 03-03-2018, 03:49 AM.

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  • Looney
    replied
    You know I think JMS was more hopeful that Sense 8 would be the ticket to a B5 revival. It clearly hasn't been, but I don't think that is any reason to give up hope. I imagine he has something that he is keeping under his hat until he feels the time is right, or for as long as he thinks he can keep it under his hat.

    Unfortunately as good as I expect his future projects to be, in this day and age there are just too many things out there. It just seems like pure luck if a show or movie succeeds. Don't get me wrong, there has to be some kind of quality there, but there also has to be some luck in getting viewers to watch. We all know there are plenty of quality shows and movies that didn't achieve success because people didn't choose to see them. Most of us know how good the Rising Stars and Midnight Nation comics were, but the reality is they are not known in the mainstream. This fact could actually help them succeed with some positive word of mouth. Does anyone know if there is anything really negative out there about those comics? As far as I know they had some acclaim, but maybe not the biggest fan bases ever. I look at The Watchmen (2009). I know that graphic novel was VERY acclaimed, but does that mean people outside comic circles had ever heard of it? Someone convinced a studio to put major money into marketing and making a big movie. Positive word of mouth about the quality of the graphic novel spread and a successful ad campaign convinced all kinds of people to go see it.

    The point I am making is that we should hope that the end results are an excellent entertainment product. After that it becomes cross our fingers that we're all VERY lucky and millions of people decide to give these projects a chance. Then they fall in love with them. There is tremendous success and JMS is vaulted into the mainstream spotlight enough to give him cart-blanch over a massive Babylon 5 movie.

    Here is another project I look at, Stranger Things. I love Stranger Things, but before it premiered can you imagine anyone thinking it would be as big as it has become?! To me that show would have seemed like a huge risk for any network to take on, but Netflix got lucky. People decided to give it a shot - and KAAPLOWEE! - it is a huge hit. We all know JMS has been on the edge of that kind of success in the past and there is no reason he couldn't have the same luck a show like Stranger Things or any big show or movie franchise has had.

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  • Jan
    replied
    Interesting attitude but I'll answer as best I can anyway.

    It's been quite a while since JMS did info-dumps of info on his projects online. I'm pretty sure I mentioned in my SDCC update last year ETA: I did. You even responded to it) that he said (paraphrasing) that he's still working on building up street cred for his studio and he's quite aware that the property gets colder the more time goes by.

    So far there's one - and only one - credit for Studio JMS: Sense8. And as impressive as that is, it's not enough to attract the kinds of investors needed to do a B5 feature film.

    Does he have a script in the drawer? Very possibly. At one point he did mention that he'd planned to finish the script.

    I don't know about you but I'm under no illusion that I know all the things that JMS is working on at any given time but as I'm sure you're aware, there are usually several at any given moment. We know that he's told us that he's concentrating his energies on novels and plays as replacing comics.

    I'll be at SDCC again in July and I'll pass along any updates then.

    Jan
    Last edited by Jan; 03-02-2018, 12:51 PM.

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  • B5-Stefan
    replied
    Now we did reach the midst of the 1st quarter of the year 2018.
    Shouldn't it be high time for a jms-update about his ongoing and further planned projects?
    Where my very special interest focuses on a thinkable B5 movie.
    Jan?

    Originally posted by Ubik View Post
    Sooo, it's 2018. No news. This all seemed so certain. Hope to hear some news or a glimmer of hope this year. Still astounded that WB hasn't seen the promise in reviving B5. I kinda wish Netflix would just buy the rights and throw some cash at JMS to do ANYTHING B5 related. I can dream right!?
    Well, at least there are some JMS projects in the works. I was kinda gutted he stepped back somewhat on Sense8 and that it got cancelled. I would have loved to see the full arc on that done properly. I could totally go for a new original JMS' SF series, but I wonder if he has another B5 in him?
    Flynn2000 in another thread
    I guess this [the encyclopedia] is a fitting thing to close out the Babylon 5 era with since I don't see anything on the horizon and even JMS seems to be taking it easy recently, which I have never seen him do before.
    This statement and UBIK did lead me to this post.

    Warning at the start: sometimes I tend to be a bit rough and tough.
    You'll see.


    Looking back...

    SDCC 2014:

    "And due to that, he can now look to doing a feature film for B5.
    JMS recapped that WB owns everything about B5 except the movie rights and even though he holds the film rights, to take a B5 movie to another studio without holding the TV rights wouldn't work.
    There's one studio in LA that doesn't care about that - Studio JMS - and in 2015 JMS will write the script.
    He'll give WB the opportunity to step up, but if they don't, Studio JMS will make it in 2016 on thier own with a $1-200,000,000.00 budget.
    "

    At the time I was surprised and wondering about the directness of JMS.
    But well, if he said so...
    It seemed for me that at least there should already exist a written concept paper - most likely a finished movie script. And money and producers onboard (remember: "with or without WB").

    But time was passing on and lately we didn't hear nothing from JMS about relevant plans.

    Now: Is there a secret B5 script in a JMS' drawer?
    Did/Does JMS actively went/goes fund-raising in favor of a B5 movie?
    Where do we stand now?
    Last stand?
    "Blowing in the wind"?
    Gone forever?
    Dead and buried under the surface like shadow vessels?

    In my impression B5 25th jubilee and Sense8 finished and AutoBio finished and last draft "Rising Stars" finished (nov 2017) it would be best occasion for JMS to tell us s.th. about.

    Am I undergoing any illusion or was JMS more open minded to Q&A about his projects, plans, work back in the time at GENIE, Compuserve, rastb5m compared to nowadays (social media, twitter)?

    Hmph, Stefan

    --
    President Clark to Ivanova: "Your commanding officer,
    Commander Sinclair, will not returning to Babylon5.
    He is being reassigned. Permanently."
    [Points of Departure - filmed but not published]

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  • Ubik
    replied
    Sooo, it's 2018. No news. This all seemed so certain. Hope to hear some news or a glimmer of hope this year. Still astounded that WB hasn't seen the promise in reviving B5. I kinda wish Netflix would just buy the rights and throw some cash at JMS to do ANYTHING B5 related. I can dream right!?

    Well, at least there are some JMS projects in the works. I was kinda gutted he stepped back somewhat on Sense8 and that it got cancelled. I would have loved to see the full arc on that done properly. I could totally go for a new original JMS' SF series, but I wonder if he has another B5 in him?
    Last edited by Ubik; 03-01-2018, 02:18 AM.

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  • Jan
    replied
    Originally posted by Looney View Post
    Do you mean you expect he will announce something about the movie so you won't have to ask?
    Dunno if he will or not. It's just not a priority for me to ask about this year, that's all.

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