ATTN JMS: Another "Paving The Way" Question

B5JMS Poster b5jms-owner at
Sat Nov 11 06:39:20 EST 1995

Subject: ATTN JMS: Another "Paving The Way" Question
+  1: Nov  8, 1995: fjp at (Frank Perricone)
*  2: Nov 11, 1995: straczynski at


From: fjp at (Frank Perricone)
Lines: 20

I am familiar with your views on the subject of whether or not (not!) Star
Trek "paved the way" for shows like B5, and I agree with them.  With that
in mind, however, I wonder what you think about this: Has B5, by breaking
ST's effective monopoly on TV SF, paved the way for other shows like
"Space: Above And Beyond" to succeed?

Obviously, the success of the X-Files has also helped.  While B5 and
X-Files are very different, they're still more alike than either is to most
other shows that were on the air two years ago.  And TV network executives,
with little or no understanding or appreciation of [science|speculative]
fiction, would lump them together.  Still, even a fairly dim exec would be
able to realize that X-Files wasn't really taking on the Trek Monopoly
head-on, where B5, to a certain extent, was.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

*  Frank J. Perricone  *  fjp at  *  fidonet#1:325/611.0  *


From: straczynski at
Lines: 43

     The effect of B5 is something that we'll only be able to really
gauge over time; for me to say it's had an effect in paving the way for
other shows in an unequivocal tone of voice would be indulgent and
self-congratulatory, and maybe *partly* true, but to what extent, who

     I do know that we've shown for the first time that there's room for
other space SF series than Star Trek.  We haven't yet broken through in a
huge way (nor do I really expect us to), but after this long the ratings
are still solid enough, and the demographics solid enough, that we're
still here, wheras Pointman and Time Trax and Space Rangers have all gone

     Would Fox have gone with Space A&B had there not been a B5?  I don't
know.  The network is very happy (rightly so) with what Morgan and Wong
did for them on X-Files, and was looking for a new berth for them, so it
is entirely possible they would have made something with them regardless.
Would it have been a space show?  As likely as not.

     Did we make it a bit easier?  I hope so.  Don't know it for certain,
except that by using CGI as consistently as we have, as well as we have,
THAT element was, I'm sure, partly the reason they went ahead, because
it'd be a hideously costly show to do with models, and we were the first
show to use CGI (beating Space Rangers there), and the first to show it
could be used consistently in this fashion.

     I also know that we've had many producers come to us and ask to be
shown how we do things on this show to produce the quality we have at the
price we have.  The Babylon 5 Model, they call it, and that will certainly
help create an atmosphere where more shows can be done.

     And, finally, for the first time, we negotiated a syndicated series
deal with the local IATSE union, which will almost certainly attract more
shows back to LA for syndication and cable.  (Many shows have gone to
Canada or Australia because they were afraid of trying to make a deal with
local unions, that it would cost too much to make it here.  So there had
never been a syndicated TV contract until we sat down and worked one out.)

     So overall, it's my *hope* that we will have made it easier for other
SF shows to get on the air; do I *know* this to be true?  Not with
absolute certainty.


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