JMS's AOL postings 11/18/95 - 11/24/95

b5jms-owner at b5jms-owner at
Sat Nov 25 03:06:10 EST 1995

Forwarded message to B5JMS list.
Originally From: lefreeman at (Lisa Freeman)


Subj:  Re:It's All Coming Together
Date:  95-11-18 18:51:53 EST
From:  Jms at B5       



Subj:  B5 at LosCon
Date:  95-11-18 18:50:34 EST
From:  Jms at B5       

      For those in the LA area, I'll be giving a B5 presentation at LosCon on
Thanksgiving Sunday at 1:00 p.m. at the Burbank Airport Hilton.  No
confirmation yet on anyone else from the show being there.


Subj:  Re:The Human Condition
Date:  95-11-18 18:48:24 EST
From:  Jms at B5       

"Why is it that it takes an avowed atheist to pose some of the most
thought-provoking questions?" 

Leaving aside the self-congratulatory aspect that is inherent in even
*trying* to answer this question, let me offer the following thoughts.

As an atheist, I don't have an agenda.  I don't have any answers.  I don't
have any particular dogmatic perspective I'm trying to communicate, other
than the importance of the individual, and that we have *choices* in life,
and must accept the responsibility for our choices.  That's kind of the
heartmeat core of the thing.  But beyond that...because I don't have any
answers, I'm not in a position to suggest them to others.

What I *do* have in abundence is questions...lots of 'em.  We spend a great
deal of our time being distracted from our own lives, from questions we need
to sometimes consider.  TV is a large part of that process of distraction,
leading to the peril of the unexamined life.  We need to talk to each other
about what we're doing, and think more directly about *why* we're doing what
it is we're doing.  

So I use the show, insofar as I can without compromising the dramatic
integrity that has to be at the center of it, it has to be entertainment or
you've missed the ask questions.  To pose situations that lead to
debate and discussion and bar fights.  I can't give you answers because I
don't have any.  But if I can make you consider the harder questions, perhaps
to challenge, perhaps to reinforce, perhaps just to consider briefly...then
I've done my job.


Subj:  Re:Christian Sci-Fi
Date:  95-11-20 03:50:32 EST
From:  Jms at B5       

      Just as a would be foolish of me to spend 5 years of my time
just *selling* B5 just to do LoTR with the serial numbers filed off.  That
there are similarities to Tolkein comes mainly from the fact that we both
draw on the same mythic themes...the journey of the hero, the
transformational aspects of the megastory or saga, the use of archetypes, the
use of the teacher and the student...these basic devices go back thousands of
years.  People tend to see in the series the primary mythic or saga-like
story they are closest to.  I've nodded to LoTR on occasion in the show out
of respect, but we're not doing that story, or those characters.  (The
biggest flaw in the comparison is that LoTR was a quest story; this isn't.)


Subj:  Re:Christianity in B5?
Date:  95-11-23 02:41:35 EST
From:  Jms at B5       

"We Christians have been slammed so much that it's a relief to see any
positive potrayals."

Let me offer you a different perspective here for a moment.  This is the
okeydoke, the accepted line about how christians are treated in the media and
elsewhere.  The only thing wrong with it is that it ain't true.  

Father Murphy.  Helltown.  Little House on the Prairie.  Father Dowling
Mysteries.  Highway to Heaven.  Picket Fences.  The Flying Nun.  Dr. Quinn
Medicine Woman.  That's just off the top of my head; there are even more
shows, lots of them, that have had religious characters, sympathetically and
positively portrayed, as lead characters, supporting or guest characters.
Heck, I've written them myself on network shows.  

The stereotype you always hear is, "Well, network TV only treats religious
people as killers or psychos."  To which I usually respond, "Which shows?
Which TV movies?"  And there is either no answer, or something that was years
ago, or a motion picture playing on broadcast TV.

I've been *in* meetings with network suits, and they go out of their way to
do nothing that would badly characterize christians.  They're terrified about
the hassles they'd get.

There have been positive christian/religious types portrayed as regulars, and
leading characters in TV series, movies, miniseries, and sitcoms.  Christian
organizations own literally dozens of radio stations, TV stations, cable and
broadcast networks, newspapers and book publishing companies (most of which
operate tax free, btw).  That's not a complaint, that's their choice.  I'm
just pointing it out.

Now...from my me *one* dramatic series that has had an
avowed atheist as the starring character.  Go ahead.  Take your time.  I'll

So from my point of view, as an atheist, I look around TV and I see *nobody*
whose views match my own, and lots and lots of religious characters in
various television programs.  So you'll understand why I can only shake my
head when I see somebody echoing the "oh, we're never portrayed positively"
line, which has zero basis in reality. It's become one of those things
everyone says, and everyone assumes is true...when it ain't.


Subj:  Re:Convictions
Date:  95-11-18 18:37:50 EST
From:  Jms at B5       

      Londo had not been on the Minbari ship.  There are always ships coming
and going; they were there on very different missions.


Subj:  Re:Black Plague
Date:  95-11-18 18:36:44 EST
From:  Jms at B5       

     Of course, Delenn and Sheridan are not technically co-workers; they're
not employed by the same organization, they're not in Earthforce, so there's
some room to maneuver there.


Subj:  Re:to JMS ... WHAT ABOUT GAY
Date:  95-11-23 02:20:23 EST
From:  Jms at B5       

       You mean like the episode where Talia and Ivanova developed a
relationship and shared a bed?  You mean like the extras we often have in the
backs of scenes, sometimes male/female, sometimes same-sex couples, holding
hands or being close?  That kind of thing?

       What I *won't* do is a "let's understand gay people and show that
they're people too," because I think it's condescending, and by 2260, nobody
will really care about this stuff.


Subj:  Re:Monks in space
Date:  95-11-18 03:16:37 EST
From:  Jms at B5       

      Yes, I definitely want to do more with Theo and his brothers; there's
another big one for them in 2 weeks, in fact.


Subj:  Re:Cole's history *spoilers*
Date:  95-11-18 03:17:22 EST
From:  Jms at B5       

      Yes, expect to see more on Marcus' background, filled out here and
there along the way.


Subj:  Re:Psi Corps Mind Scans
Date:  95-11-20 03:30:27 EST
From:  Jms at B5       

     Up until recently, there's been no reason for anyone to suspect Sheridan
was up to anything; now that the events of Divided Loyalties have taken
place, they DO have a reason...and now our characters are going to have to
deal with the threat of an unauthorized scan for the very reasons you
citel...which is, in part, a premise behind an episode soon to come along.
Not a plot hole; we're dealing with this very issue in the show.


Subj:  Re:"Down Below"
Date:  95-11-20 03:31:35 EST
From:  Jms at B5       

      It's the area near the outer hull, where the gravity is hardest, and
where you're around the industrial equipment that keeps the station running.


Subj:  Re:Not just the Brothers
Date:  95-11-20 03:32:13 EST
From:  Jms at B5       

     Mike Vejar is one of our regular directors; we're very happy with his


Subj:  Re:Telepathic monks?
Date:  95-11-20 03:34:51 EST
From:  Jms at B5       

      No, they're not telepaths.


Subj:  Re:Parallels and things like
Date:  95-11-20 03:35:59 EST
From:  Jms at B5       

      Yeah, that comparison isn't bad for the Mars colony situation; and
we're going to have to explore why the shadows are doing what they're
doing...they do have reasons, but not the ones we might expect.


Subj:  Re:JMS are you tired yet??
Date:  95-11-20 03:38:34 EST
From:  Jms at B5       

      No, not tired yet; sometimes a little wonky, but it's the show I worked
for 5 years to bring to the screen, so I'm not going to complain.

      I guess I'm still trying to come to terms with the notion that there
*is* any kind of (to use your term) B5 subculture emerging; I don't think
it's sufficiently substantial yet, numerically, to really constitute same.
It's vastly rewarding to know that the hard work we put into the show is
being recognized, and that it resonates with viewers, however.


Subj:  Re:Guest Role Casting
Date:  95-11-20 03:40:30 EST
From:  Jms at B5       

      I think the other actors are starting to understand that their
performances are valued among the viewers...and that's terrific, given the
effort they put into every take.

     The way we find guest actors is this: we put out the casting breakdowns
on guest cast, which go out to agents.  Agents submit actors.  Actors come
and audition for a very small group: me, Doug Netter, John Copeland, and the
director of that episode.  We then hire the best actor to walk in the door.


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