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Should there be a Condensed version B5 series?

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  • #16
    Thanks again for all your repliesà It was fun playing devils advocate for a while.

    Unfortunately, topics such as this one are not discussed online for fear of flame wars or worst, like attacking the messenger. Thank you for having the knowledge and appreciation to thoughtfully explain how you feel about the show and itÆs characters.

    In this time of remakes and re-imaging, it hurts when writers canÆt create anything newà Movie making has become a huge industry and because of it, it ôcaters to the lowest common denominatorö as user Capt. Montoya stated. I sometimes wonder, why remake any of the shows or movies already made? That seems to be the trend moviemakers are going forà Last I heard ôWarriorsö is being remade (Why???), and ôThe Outsidersö.

    So it is no wonder JMS opted to cancel "The Memory of Shadows".

    Delenn Claims B5 Movie Dead?
    Source: Dark Horizons
    Author: Garth Franklin

    Actress Mira Furlan, who last appeared as the mysterious French woman behind the transmission on "Lost" a few months back, shot to fame with genre audiences for her work as Ambassador Delenn of the Minbari in the acclaimed sci-fi series "Babylon 5" (an excellent show, at least during most of Seasons 2-4). Recently talk has been circling that the film version "The Memory of Shadows" was being made and all sorts of contention was coming up about the potential casting changes. Series creator J. Michael Straczynski has been the only one though to speak about it as of late with none of the actors weighing in. Now 'The Mutiny' was at VisionCon in Missouri this past weekend, where Furlan put in an appearance and spoke about the film during a Q&A session. "I don't know if you know that there was a movie that was going to happen, a Babylon 5 movie and that there were all kinds of things that were happening around that.... And finally, no movie! No movie. Maybe it will resurface again. I'm sure it will... it's floating around, that idea and I think it's going to happen in some other reincarnation, that particular one it won't". This coincides with rumours that JMS and Warner Bros. were reaching an impasse over a number of issues on the film and as a result it's been put on the backburner where it will probably stay for a long time.Thanks to 'Gustavo'.

    http://www.darkhorizons.com/news05/050225b.php
    Last edited by rallytbk; 07-12-2005, 06:17 AM.
    "The world is a dangerous place---not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it" --Albert Einstein

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    • #17
      I listen to audio books a lot, and there are some parallels here. By and large, I only listen to unabridged works. I have occasionally listened to an abridged version of something in order to get a "flavor" of it, but mostly I find it a frustrating experience. It is very rare that an abridgement flows well. You can find yourself scratching your head wondering how you got from point A to point B or wondering if you missed something when the plot doesn't quite seem to work. I think this works as an illustration of the problems that would be faced in editing B5 down to a shorter length since both involve editing an existing body of work -- not rewriting/remaking. Since you can't create new transition material, you're left with bumps in the road. To take the comparison even further -- a typical book is about 12 to 15 hours of material. When abridged, 6 to 8 is more common, or about 50% of the original on average. With B5, you're talking about editing approximately 80 hours (110 eps @ 40 mins + 5 movies @ 90 mins) down to 9 hours. Yikes! There's nowhere near that much non-arc material to cut. IMO there's more than 12% of B5 that's essential arc material. Given that a 50% abridgment almost always causes bumps in typical material, imagine a 88% abridgment of very dense material!
      "That was the law, as set down by Valen. Three castes: worker, religious, warrior."

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      • #18
        Originally posted by rallytbk
        Thanks again for all your repliesà It was fun playing devils advocate for a while.

        Unfortunately, topics such as this one are not discussed online for fear of flame wars or worst, like attacking the messenger. Thank you for having the knowledge and appreciation to thoughtfully explain how you feel about the show and itÆs characters.
        <snobby voice>Oh, we only attract the best class of posters here don't'ch'know! </snobby voice> Seriously, I think we're up to discussing pretty much anything as long as the topic/question isn't obvious flame-bait.

        In this time of remakes and re-imaging, it hurts when writers canÆt create anything newà Movie making has become a huge industry and because of it, it ôcaters to the lowest common denominatorö as user Capt. Montoya stated. I sometimes wonder, why remake any of the shows or movies already made? That seems to be the trend moviemakers are going forà Last I heard ôWarriorsö is being remade (Why???), and ôThe Outsidersö.
        I dunno. Most of the time whatever the original had is lost. But every once in a great while you get a gem. The new Battlestar Galactica is one such, I think. The original had suffered so much interference it was a miracle that any drama or character development survived.

        So it is no wonder JMS opted to cancel "The Memory of Shadows".
        While it may seem like a quibble, JMS didn't actually cancel TMoS, he didn't extend the option after the first time (which he had done without charge). His post regarding the end of the road for the movie is http://www.jmsnews.com/msg.aspx?id=1-17289 The bottom line was that WB would have backed the movie only if it had been cast with 'name' 'movie' actors and without WB's backing, the financial deal couldn't be brought together by the people who'd optioned the rights and commissioned the script. Sadly, unless somebody in the future buys that script back, there's no chance of it ever being made.

        Quite a number of us here were involved in the movement to try to convince WB to keep the original actors. Whether we had any effect or not, we'll never know but I thought it was a fine moment for fans who took to heart the B5 message that "We have to create the world or others will do it for us."

        Oh dear...looks like the soapbox is back, sorry. Anyway, the point I wanted to make is that you should feel free to broach whatever subjects you like. Any invitation to discussion about B5 or any of JMS's other projects is a good thing in my view.

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

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        • #19
          Back to the original question:

          There IS a suggested list of particular arc episodes. By viewing these, you can get the gist of one of the many arcs over a viewing of about 10-20 episodes rather than 5 seasons.

          Do you want to see everything psi corps? How about concentrate on Londo's rise to power with the Centauri? Maybe you just want to deal with the Rangers.

          You can. The list is in the second of two unauthorized books by Andy Lane, called "The Babylon Files". In the second volume, he has short lists of all episodes dealing with particular arc topics.

          If you want an enjoyable condensed experience, much like the new X-Files collections being released, the information is there.
          "Ivanova is God!"

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          • #20
            As far as I'm concerned B5 WAS the condensed version... ;-)
            "En wat als tijd de helft van echtheid was, was alles dan dubbelsnel verbaal?"

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            • #21
              I am watching the DVDs again and my friend stops over on occasion and watches and I end up filling her in on everything and to explain further I end up going back 2-however many seasons . . . I wouldnt want to even try to condense it! lol! even the little things need to be explained:

              My other friend watched up till the end of the shadow war and then came over when I was watching season 5 and she saw sheridan and said "hes got a gote'?" to which I had to explain when he was captured by earth forces he ended up with a beard and just trimmed it . . . lol
              "It is said that the future is always born in pain. The history of war is the history of pain. If we are wise, what is born of that pain matures into the promise of a better world, because we learn that we can no longer afford the mistakes of the past." -- G'Kar in Babylon 5:"In the Beginning"

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Jan
                While it may seem like a quibble, JMS didn't actually cancel TMoS, he didn't extend the option after the first time (which he had done without charge). His post regarding the end of the road for the movie is http://www.jmsnews.com/msg.aspx?id=1-17289 The bottom line was that WB would have backed the movie only if it had been cast with 'name' 'movie' actors and without WB's backing, the financial deal couldn't be brought together by the people who'd optioned the rights and commissioned the script. Sadly, unless somebody in the future buys that script back, there's no chance of it ever being made.
                Counter-quibble!

                My reading is that WB never said they WOULD back the film with new "name" actors - the whole recasting thing seems to have been a desperation move by the production company (whose name escapes me) to try to attract WB's backing, and WB never said "boo" about this movie specifically - just that they were not interested in B5 films generally unless they were a big-cast productions.
                I believe that when we leave a place, part of it goes with us and part of us remains. Go anywhere in the station, when it is quiet, and just listen. After a while, you will hear the echoes of all our conversations, every thought and word we've exchanged. Long after we are gone .. our voices will linger in these walls for as long as this place remains. But I will admit .. that the part of me that is going .. will very much miss the part of you that is staying.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by grumbler
                  Counter-quibble!

                  My reading is that WB never said they WOULD back the film with new "name" actors - the whole recasting thing seems to have been a desperation move by the production company (whose name escapes me) to try to attract WB's backing, and WB never said "boo" about this movie specifically - just that they were not interested in B5 films generally unless they were a big-cast productions.
                  Well, it probably goes under the heading of 'we'll never know' until and unless JMS tells us the fairy tale. But in answer to your counter-quibble, I offer this mini-quisling :

                  Originally posted by JMS
                  Warner's position was esssentially, "We only do big-budget movies with big names, so you're on your own. If there were big-name movie actors in the film, they'd get behind it;(emphasis mine)
                  I do tend to agree that there was a desperation move on the part of the option holder (whose name I don't care about <g>) because of how late the recasting issue came up. After all, if the option expired on December 27 and the rumors only got heated in mid-to-late November, that's pretty close to the wire.

                  Oh well, we'll have to wait for next time and hope for somebody who knows what they're doing.

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

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                  • #24
                    I'm surprised that there aren't more books in the future. Those don't require much in the way of casting...

                    I think the general consensus is: No to a condensed version.

                    There are so many stories left untold (Telepath War, G'Kar and Lyta's travels, Ivanova post season 4, Lennier post season 5), why would we want a new way of looking at the story we can already see?

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Jan
                      But in answer to your counter-quibble, I offer this mini-quisling :
                      That is why I said it was "the way i read it." Look at the sequence JMS discusses: "the process began of trying to make the deal work with all the various forces involved. It is, to say the least, a very difficult process on any movie where the studio does not directly take the financial reins" upon which he addressed what seemed to be a general WB position, FOLLOWED BY "every attempt was made by the people involved to get this deal in place. This was not being done by Doug or myself, but rather by the company/individuals who approached us and optioned the rights. At times, it seemed we were inches away from a deal...stages were reserved at Elstree, actors were contacted, a director was in place, the script went through many revisions, a few key staff were hired, again not by me...it was really a year-long roller coaster ride. During that time, the people involved, with every good intention, tried very hard to pull the necessary pieces together on the deal."

                      Thus, it seems to me that the hiring of studios, etc was after WB had made their position clear, which makes the efforts subsequent to the hiring of the studios (like the recasting) due not to WB statements but to the belated realization that the movie would not happen without WB backing.

                      We cannot know without more proof, of course, but it seems to me that casting WB as the bad guy is premature at best.
                      I believe that when we leave a place, part of it goes with us and part of us remains. Go anywhere in the station, when it is quiet, and just listen. After a while, you will hear the echoes of all our conversations, every thought and word we've exchanged. Long after we are gone .. our voices will linger in these walls for as long as this place remains. But I will admit .. that the part of me that is going .. will very much miss the part of you that is staying.

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                      • #26
                        Oh, and on the original topic: the more I think about it, the more I am attarcted by the idea of a series of B5 "mini-series" taken from crosswise slices of the show, each illustrating a different theme from the show and drawing from the series as a whole.

                        If you were given the task of assembling such a series of multihour shows, what themse would you select, and what would be the primary scenes you would select from the show to illustrate them?

                        An example (an easy one because I am too lazy right now to do as I request of you ):

                        Theme: Some must be sacrificed if the rest are to be saved

                        Examples:
                        1. The Battle of the Line. The self-sacrifice of the thousands of Earthforce personnel clearly causes the Gray Council to rethink their concept of humans as "animals... brutal animals."
                        2. Sinclair's seeming "death wish" throughout season one (multiple examples).
                        3. The Battle of Babylon 5: The Narn "Picket's Charge"
                        4. The Battle of Babylon 5: The "Death Ride of the Churchill"
                        5. Sinclair goes back in time
                        6. Kosh sacrifices himself to aid the Army of Light - and sacrifices Sheridan as well.
                        7. Sheridan's motives for going to Z'Ha'Dum
                        8. The entire arc of "Into the Fire"
                        9. Delenn entering the Wheel of Fire
                        10. Ivanova engaging the Special Destroyer Squadron
                        11. Mercus dying for Ivanova? (I don't think so, but debatable)
                        12. The use of the teeps in "Endgame"
                        13. Byron's suicide
                        14. Londo's taking on the Keeper
                        15. Londo and G'Kar at the end

                        That would make fr some compelling hours of TV and while they would not be explicable to someone not familiar with B5, why would this be a concern to us?
                        I believe that when we leave a place, part of it goes with us and part of us remains. Go anywhere in the station, when it is quiet, and just listen. After a while, you will hear the echoes of all our conversations, every thought and word we've exchanged. Long after we are gone .. our voices will linger in these walls for as long as this place remains. But I will admit .. that the part of me that is going .. will very much miss the part of you that is staying.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by grumbler
                          We cannot know without more proof, of course, but it seems to me that casting WB as the bad guy is premature at best.
                          In a lot of ways, the disappointment of TMoS not happening might be easier if there *were* somebody/thing to cast as a 'bad guy'...but there isn't. I have a general feeling that the optioner may have counted too heavily on WB's coming through with backing but I don't have any real information about that. And in the long run, does it really matter? I think the main thing for us to remember is that JMS has promised:

                          The only thing I can say without equivocation is that when that day
                          comes, as the rights-holder, I will make darned sure that it's done
                          right, because I'd rather have no B5 movie than one that doesn't live
                          up to what fans and I myself would want to see.
                          As is said in another universe....waiting is.

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

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Examples:
                            1. The Battle of the Line. The self-sacrifice of the thousands of Earthforce personnel clearly causes the Gray Council to rethink their concept of humans as "animals... brutal animals."
                            2. Sinclair's seeming "death wish" throughout season one (multiple examples).
                            3. The Battle of Babylon 5: The Narn "Picket's Charge"
                            4. The Battle of Babylon 5: The "Death Ride of the Churchill"
                            5. Sinclair goes back in time
                            6. Kosh sacrifices himself to aid the Army of Light - and sacrifices Sheridan as well.
                            7. Sheridan's motives for going to Z'Ha'Dum
                            8. The entire arc of "Into the Fire"
                            9. Delenn entering the Wheel of Fire
                            10. Ivanova engaging the Special Destroyer Squadron
                            11. Mercus dying for Ivanova? (I don't think so, but debatable)
                            12. The use of the teeps in "Endgame"
                            13. Byron's suicide
                            14. Londo's taking on the Keeper
                            15. Londo and G'Kar at the end
                            Wonderful Idea, I never thought of it as bits and pieces to speed up the story arcs. I wanted to cut scenes to get to the end faster, but now I could concentrate on either LondoÆs rise to the top (Londo and G'Kar), and/or the religious overtones associated with John Sheridan or Jeffery Sinclair (Vorlon = good/shadows = bad). Thanks for the idea.
                            "The world is a dangerous place---not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it" --Albert Einstein

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                            • #29
                              A couple of years ago on Canada's Space channel, they did a run of X-Files shows for the alien conspiracy aspect. Doing something that way helps to knit the one story together without clutter from other stories. (edit - I didn't watch it - on too late - so I don't know how well it worked)

                              But X-Files was kind of a different thing because it had a lot of stand alone episodes. Babylon 5 is intertwined so much. But if you could isolate one storyline with all its references to other storylines, you could peak a newbie's interest to watch other parts as well.
                              Last edited by Spoo Junky; 07-29-2005, 05:50 AM.
                              Flying around the room under my own power.

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                              • #30
                                Anybody else want to suggest a "theme" and the scenes that illustrate it?

                                I have a coupla others but want to see if there is interest before I can be arsed to track down episodes!
                                I believe that when we leave a place, part of it goes with us and part of us remains. Go anywhere in the station, when it is quiet, and just listen. After a while, you will hear the echoes of all our conversations, every thought and word we've exchanged. Long after we are gone .. our voices will linger in these walls for as long as this place remains. But I will admit .. that the part of me that is going .. will very much miss the part of you that is staying.

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