JMS on CompuServe (Nov 30)

b5jms-owner at b5jms-owner at
Thu Nov 30 16:37:06 EST 1995

Forwarded message to B5JMS list.
Originally From: brent.barrett at (Brent Barrett)


 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WARNING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 The following posts may contain SPOILERS for
 upcoming Babylon 5 episodes.

 Continue at your own risk.





#: 407338 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    29-Nov-95  23:30:57
Sb: #407274-#<Gethsemane>
Fm: Mark Pruett 74133,3406
To: J. Michael Straczynski 71016,1644 (X)

Can I shoehorn in a few comments on "Gethsemane"?  This has got to be one of
the most provocative episodes yet.  In particular, the absolution scene, which
could have easily come off as melodrama, was instead quite moving.  And
apparently quite accurate.  My wife, a catholic, had tears in her eyes at the
end of the scene, and said "Straczynski's Catholic".  I said, "no, actually I
believe he's an atheist."  She says you got the scene "right".

Then, tonight, we watched an episode of PBS's American Masters series on Rod
Serling, and I couldn't help noting some parallels to your work on B5.  His
works tended to have a strong moral sensibility, and provoked people to
consider issues they may not otherwise have considered.  He wrote most of the
Twilight Zone episodes himself (I think they said about 70% of seasons 1-3).
He never (or almost never) pandered to the masses, and his writing was always
(for lack of a more appropriate word) literate.  If you haven't seen this show
on PBS, I highly recommend it, and don't miss the pseudo-Twilight Zone opening

Another observation on "Gethsemane".  The use of Lyta to extract information
from the Centauri telepath is a method which, for me at least, begins to blur
the line between the "good guys" and the "bad guys", though I suspect this was
not unintentional.  It was... disturbing.  Sheridan's meeting of Edward's
murderer was a wonderfully written and subtly acted scene.  In particular, the
actor who played the new brother (Malcolm?) did an suberb job in the small
"dual" role, playing both characters exactly right, IMHO.  In fact, all the
guest actors in the episode were top notch, all the way down to the Centauri

Of course, then you have to leave us with the Lyta/Kosh scene.  What the heck
are you up to?  Gills?  You clearly get some sadistic pleasure from dropping
these cryptic little bombshells right before rerun time.

Gills? Lyta will mutate into Kevin Costner (can't find work after Waterworld)
and Kosh is really Casper the Friendly Ghost.  I'll go away now and try to fit
this into the arc.

Thanks for a great episode.


#: 407445 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    30-Nov-95  01:44:08
Sb: #407338-#<Gethsemane>
Fm: J. Michael Straczynski 71016,1644
To: Mark Pruett 74133,3406

      The absolution scene, based on what used to be called the rites of
extreme unction, or last rights, is now called the "celebration" of passing,
and I went to the Catholic church's information office, and got the actual
text.  I made a few adjustments here, condensing it a bit (on the logic that
Edward didn't have a lot of time), and modifying a few small points here and
there, on the second logical point that in 250 years, such might have taken
place (as the current ritual has been adjusted a bit here and there over the
years).  So if it felt right, it was.

     Yours is the second comparison here to Serling.  I think perhaps I can die
happy now.  To the "strong moral sensibilities" aspect...there has to be this.
The story must entertain, first and foremost, otherwise it's useless, because
no one will watch it.  But then there has to be something of substance at the
core of it, which elevates or ennobles or challenges.

     Re: the use of Lyta to extract the info...this is the main reason why
there's a Psi Corps, and there are exacting rules, otherwise it can easily
become deus ex machina.  We won't ever do this sort of thing trivially, and
here it was definitely meant to be a little was a sheer matter
of life or death, the guy was a creep, and somewhere Edward was bleeding to
death.  Even after so many viewings, and even having written the thing, I find
that one scene vaguely scary.

     It's the best of the first four, I think.  But better is coming....


#: 407364 S5/Babylon 5: General
    30-Nov-95  00:00:53
Sb: #407020-#Rage's Thots: rastb5
Fm: SysOp Dupa T. Parrot 70040,104
To: J. Michael Straczynski 71016,1644 (X)

 From JMS's Usenet post:
 > Because there are some people out there who are obsessed with
 > anyone who has even the smallest celebrity (and there ain't much
 > smaller celebrity than being a producer);


  I thought the _writer_ was beneath the producer in the food chain? <g>

  (Ref: Old Joke about the dumb starlet who slept with the writer to get a

  BTW, did you see tonight's American Masters program on Rod Serling?

        -Dupa T. Parrot [Tech Supp SysOp]
        <OS/2 WarpConnect & GCP>

#: 407446 S5/Babylon 5: General
    30-Nov-95  01:44:12
Sb: #407364-Rage's Thots: rastb5
Fm: J. Michael Straczynski 71016,1644
To: SysOp Dupa T. Parrot 70040,104

      Re: the joke about the dumb starlet who slept with the writer...sure, and
you know why?   'Cause she heard that in Hollywood, EVERYONE screws the writer.


#: 407395 S5/Babylon 5: General
    30-Nov-95  01:04:48
Sb: #Submitted for....
Fm: Ray Pelzer 70475,1263
To: J. Michael Straczynski 71016,1644 (X)

I just finished watching the PBS special on Rod Serling a few minutes ago, and
was impressed that they got Alan Brennert onto the show, and was quite
disappointed that YOU didn't come on to say a few words.

       Regardless, after watching the two hours, I feel safe in saying that
your career is starting to closely parallel all the good aspects of Mr.
Serling's career (and no, no jokes about doing Schlitz commercials after B5
ends).  I don't think I'll be contradicted - especially in light of tonights
show - in saying that, when the statues start going up, yours and his will be
standing beside one another.

#: 407447 S5/Babylon 5: General
    30-Nov-95  01:44:13
Sb: #407395-Submitted for....
Fm: J. Michael Straczynski 71016,1644
To: Ray Pelzer 70475,1263 (X)

      Wow, that's three...I'm about ready to fall down.  High praise indeed.

      Wasn't on the special because, basically, I wasn't asked.  Haven't yet
seen it, but have the thing on tape, and will look at it later tonight.


#: 407551 S5/Babylon 5: General
    30-Nov-95  04:44:35
Sb: #407321-In the Shadow of JMS
Fm: J. Michael Straczynski 71016,1644
To: David DeRubeis 75221,2351

      Thanks.  This is kinda what I always said...if folks will give us just a
fair chance, no more, no less, we'll back up the talk with action, and with

      You're to be commended for giving us a second chance, and posting this.
Thanks for giving us the opportunity.


#: 407474 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    30-Nov-95  02:17:34
Sb: #407268-#<PTG>
Fm: Michael Grabois 74737,2600
To: J. Michael Straczynski 71016,1644 (X)


Now that you've finally been able to use the story of a mind-wiped criminal
learning of his past, can you say something about how different the story would
have been had you been able to do it in the first (?) season as you had
originally planned? I suppose the Brother Theo angle wouldn't have been in it.
And out of curiosity, was there any nod to the person who originally suggested
the story in public, such as his name being Edward or something?

Now we gotta wait 8 weeks. Having that be my last view of Lyta... >shudder<

#: 407561 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    30-Nov-95  04:55:54
Sb: #407474-<PTG>
Fm: J. Michael Straczynski 71016,1644
To: Michael Grabois 74737,2600 (X)

      No, no nod to the person who suggested it, since this isn't a
competition, and the suggestion cost me a year where I couldn't do the story.
(So I wasn't in the cutest frame of mind about this for a long time, even
though it wasn't really his fault.)

     Basically, it would've been a one-shot, with two monks arriving to scope
out B5 for the arrival of the rest later on.  (You'll notice that none of the
other monks get into the story here; that's a hold-over from the original
outline, which I saw no need to change at this point.)  So this would've been
folded into an introduction to the order as they come to check out B5's


#: 407550 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    30-Nov-95  04:40:42
Sb: #407274-#<Gethsemane>
Fm: Burhaan  Ahmad 75754,3065
To: J. Michael Straczynski 71016,1644 (X)

 >> (*who is wondering, if he wrote an episode in which Morden was trapped on a
cliffside, if he could title it "Ridge Over Troubled Wasser"...) <<

 Don't you dare. <bg>

 You finally addressed an issue I wondered about ever since you first
introduced the concept of mind wiping criminals.  Sure, the criminal might be
transformed into a new person and have no memories of his deeds, but what about
the victims' loved ones?  They never forget, and it's a small universe when
information is a fingertip away.  I wondered how a well-known sociopath, who
has his image paraded on every newscast from Earth to wherever, could find
anonimity anywhere.  Thanks for addressing that question.
 PTG was a terrific ep.  I wonder--did Bro. Edward WANT to die, after realizing
the evil of his past deeds?  Is that why he basically went destiny? Hmmm....

  -Burhaan Ahmad

#: 407562 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    30-Nov-95  04:55:56
Sb: #407550-<Gethsemane>
Fm: J. Michael Straczynski 71016,1644
To: Burhaan  Ahmad 75754,3065

      Not sure he *wanted* to die, as much as he felt it was *necessary* in
order to atone for the sins of another...his own "other," in this case.


 * Brent Barrett    brent.barrett at *
 * Senior Software Engineer   Automedia, Inc *

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