JMS CIS Digest: 14-Feb-96 00:01:21 through 14-Feb-96 17:16:23 (19 msgs)

b5jms-owner at b5jms-owner at
Fri Feb 16 06:37:05 EST 1996


From: jhardin at (John Hardin)
Lines: 539

RFC 1153 Digest of messages from
J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644 at>
14-Feb-96 00:01:21 through 14-Feb-96 17:16:23 (19 messages)

WARNING: This digest may contain information about episodes
         you haven't seen yet. Proceed with caution.

Subjects in digest:
        <Dust to Dust>
        8 NEW B5 EPS!
        Minipax through history
        Vorlon Theology
        B5 cover story
        Beyond five years
        Sheridan/Sinclair JPG
        White Star
        Writing B5

  Contact me (John Hardin) at <jhardin at> with comments
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Date: 14-Feb-96 00:01:21
From: Chris Carrier <72157.3334 at>
To: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644 at>
Subject: #<Dust to Dust>
Message-ID: <forum.sfmediaone.451652 at>

I loved Dust to Dust!  Favorite parts was the line about the Bund
meeting, and seeing the Drazi again.

I love the Drazi.  Speaking with the experience of a 4 Hogu Award
winner, the Drazi remind me of feudy fans at a con, especially a

Any ideas when Season Two, especially the episodes Drazi Do
Worldcon "Geometry of Shadows" and Ivanova Meets The Libertarian
Party of 2259 "Acts of Sacrifice" will be on videotape?

Chris Carrier Anti-Lumati League Winner of 4 Hogu Awards


Date: 14-Feb-96 14:37:30
From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644 at>
To: Chris Carrier <72157.3334 at>
Subject: <Dust to Dust>
Message-ID: <forum.sfmediaone.451959 at>
References: <forum.sfmediaone.451652 at>

       We're still working on the tapes.  We'll have info when it's

       And yeah, I love the Drazi.  They're just nuts.



Date: 14-Feb-96 07:31:12
From: Alan Hedge <72017.3232 at>
To: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644 at>
Subject: #451484-#8 NEW B5 EPS!
Message-ID: <forum.sfmediaone.451766 at>
References: <forum.sfmediaone.451484 at>


Great news on the new schedule, but a question.  You couldn't
convince them to run B^2 or even AVitW?  Those would have been
great lead-ins.  Especially since I only saw them once. I think it
was "View" that really got me interested in the show and I am now
completely hooked.

Again, great news.
(Yes, I know they think people will be confused with the change
of Commanders, but sheesh!)


Date: 14-Feb-96 15:26:33
From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644 at>
To: Alan Hedge <72017.3232 at>
Subject: 8 NEW B5 EPS!
Message-ID: <forum.sfmediaone.451996 at>
References: <forum.sfmediaone.451766 at>

       What, it's not enough I walked on the water here...?

       No, I wish I could say otherwise, but thus far I haven't been
able to convince them to run those eps.  Ah, well....



Date: 14-Feb-96 09:36:57
From: Philip Hornsey <74053.2101 at>
To: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644 at>
Subject: #451694-#Minipax through history
Message-ID: <forum.sfmediaone.451821 at>
References: <forum.sfmediaone.451694 at>

> Someone once remarked, "Of course everything has already been
> said. But since no one was paying attention, we must begin again."

There are *some* differences between Nightwatch propaganda and
the examples you give (except *possibly* McCarthy). For the most
part the Nazi's and Communists didn't have to justify the
abridgment of right *to their own populations*. Sure they paid lip
service to placate western sensibilities, but at home, they didn't
talk about temporary infringements on some of the traditional

Incidently, I just love the way the Nightwatch uses the word
"traditional" when something is a tradition you can suspend it
when it become inconvienient.



Date: 14-Feb-96 15:26:35
From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644 at>
To: Philip Hornsey <74053.2101 at>
Subject: Minipax through history
Message-ID: <forum.sfmediaone.451997 at>
References: <forum.sfmediaone.451821 at>

       Actually, they did use that kind of technique on some of their
own population.  The medical population, for instance.  Recently
uncovered (and shown on A&E, which I sometimes think is the All Nazi
Network, All Nazis, All the Time) were a series of "informational
films" produced during the war and shown to doctors charged with the
notion of eliminating the insane, the genetically flawed, and others
not classified as jews or gypsies or poles or other non-desirable

       They went through, each film gradually stating their theory
more clearly, and explained that these poor souls weren't *really*
alive, weren't *really* aware.  It systematically showed how it was
better, really, in the lokng run, to put them out of their own, and
society's, misery.

       If it ever comes around again, watch it; it'll chill your soul.



Date: 14-Feb-96 09:49:46
From: Philip Hornsey <74053.2101 at>
To: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644 at>
Subject: #451479-#Vorlon Theology
Message-ID: <forum.sfmediaone.451834 at>
References: <forum.sfmediaone.451479 at>

> Marcus was making that part up.

That's cheating.



> pout



Date: 14-Feb-96 15:26:38
From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644 at>
To: Philip Hornsey <74053.2101 at>
Subject: Vorlon Theology
Message-ID: <forum.sfmediaone.451998 at>
References: <forum.sfmediaone.451834 at>

       Weren't me.  It was Marcus.  Blame him.



Date: 14-Feb-96 10:16:18
From: Robt Martin <75663.2701 at>
To: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644 at>
Subject: #448539-#B5 cover story
Message-ID: <forum.sfmediaone.451853 at>
References: <forum.sfmediaone.448539 at>

Found out a few things, and I'm posting as a reply to you, Joe,
so it gets the widest possible distribution.

The reasons for the error have come to light, and it turns out to
be almost reasonable, in that beaureacratic kind of way.

It came up late in our last cycle that our distribution in the UK
was raised to 20,000 copies -- very good news, actually. The
Sci-Fi Channel sent a memo to my employers that they would
appreciate an effort to "internationalize" the magazine,
particularly in regard to broadcast information.

All of this happened late in our cycle, as we were about to ship
to the printer; a number of corrections were made prior to
shipment of the magazine in an effort to please the Channel. A
well-meaning staffer at the home office in Virginia made the

I've told the Channel folk that I will henceforth research UK
broadcast and distribution of the shows and films we cover and
include that info. I'm also making efforts to see that the Channel
bring their requests to me as well as to my employers.

The Channel has been great in regard to non-interference with my
work, considering the sort of demands they *could* make, so --
while I realize how grievous this error is -- I have to regard it
as trivial compared to what could be.

I have to say, it's nice to hear that I'm editing an
international magazine, however belated the news is.


Date: 14-Feb-96 15:26:41
From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644 at>
To: Robt Martin <75663.2701 at>
Subject: B5 cover story
Message-ID: <forum.sfmediaone.451999 at>
References: <forum.sfmediaone.451853 at>

       Next time you're in a bind, btw, you may want to point out to
someone out there that the *head* of the British Sci-Fi Channel, in an
interview, stated that he felt that B5 was the best SF show currently
around.  So if they want to move toward serving the UK population,
where B5 is #6 on the sell-through video charts, they definitely should
do more B5 coverage.



Date: 14-Feb-96 13:09:22
From: Robt Martin <75663.2701 at>
To: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644 at>
Subject: #450786-#Beyond five years
Message-ID: <forum.sfmediaone.451917 at>
References: <forum.sfmediaone.450786 at>

Joe, my mind still boggles that WB didn't insist on the right to
make that determination unilaterally when all this started up.
Does Warner retain any authority to use B5 characters or premises
in other endeavors (films, novels, action figures, teddy bears)
without your prior approval after the five-year span?

You may have made this all very clear before, I seem to recall
that you did, but I'm sure you can understand my difficulty in
grasping this. You know how proprietary these studio people are
about such rights, we both know that WB must have at least for a
moment thought "franchise." And someone trying to get a series off
the ground usually isn't in a very strong position to say the word
"no." What factors would you say put you in a strong position for 
negotiating such a deal?


Date: 14-Feb-96 15:26:49
From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644 at>
To: Robt Martin <75663.2701 at>
Subject: Beyond five years
Message-ID: <forum.sfmediaone.452002 at>
References: <forum.sfmediaone.451917 at>

       Warners owns the copyright to B5, just as Paramount owns the
copyright to ST.  By contract, if there should be a spin off or sequel
of any kind, I would have to be involved in it.  The contract doesn't
say that there cannot be any of these; you're correct, that can't be

       But there are a number of common-sense things at work here, as
much as anything involving a studio can be described as common sense. 
Given that all our actors/service contracts are deliberately for 5
years not the more traditional 7, continuing B5 per se past year 5
becomes impossible, due to the hideous level of re-negotiation of
contracts that would have to take place. The cost would skyrocket.

       I've always said, from the start, that there's a side story
that could go off after B5 is finished, but I just don't think it's
likely for the time being.  The numbers have been good enough to
continue the show, but it's not a blockbuster, not a
franchise...primarily due to the fact that we don't have a national,
regular timeslot.  (Where we *do* have that, in the overseas markets,
the show is extremely successful.)  There've been some small talks here
and there touching on various feature film possibilities, from 
direct-to-video to something theatrical -- but, again, due to the
corporate structure at the studio, which is straight out of the pre-
Cambrian period, I doubt anything much will happen on that front for
the time begin.  It's nice that they've broached the subject, but to
become a reality takes a bit more.

       If I were to engage in predicting the future, here's what I
think is most probable.  The show will continue to go on, doing well
enough in the ratings to continue for two more seasons.  A comfortable
level.  In 1998, after we've finished our first run, we are
contractually already sold to the TNT cable network, which is
*extremely* excited about the show, plans to promote it, and sees it as
a way of breaking into the SF genre.  There, for the first time, we
will have a regular, *daily* timeslot on a national network.

       Then, I think, suddenly we're going to be "discovered," much
the same way ST was discovered in syndication after it left the
network.  Give it about a year or two for WB to notice this (see
pre-Cambrian comment above), then suddenly they're going to start
running around seeing what they can do to capitalize on this.

       At that point, I'm not sure which way the runes point. 
Certainly they'll start cranking out more merchandise stuff, which by
contract I have to approve, to make sure it's quality stuff.  If they
want to do a feature, I'll have to be involved, and they'll have to
negotiate with all the cast members, who by then will have moved on to
other projects and may or may not be available.  Ditto for any

       So by the time they get their brains wrapped around the
question, it'll already be the year 2000.  By then, much of TV as we
know it now will have changed considerably, as it has already changed
considerably in just the last 10 years.  A spinoff or sequel may no
longer be financially viable in the new marketplace.  Ditto for any
features.  Certainly nothing much could be done until 2002 or 2003 in
terms of development, pre-production, production and post production.

       So as you can see, one doesn't need a contract saying you can't
do TV, entropy tends to take care of the problem very



Date: 14-Feb-96 17:11:03
From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644 at>
To: All
Subject: Sheridan/Sinclair JPG
Message-ID: <forum.sfmediaone.452132 at>

I've just uploaded to library 5 the first JPG of Sheridan and Sinclair
together from the 2-parter "War Without End."  The file name is
twob5.jpg, and will be available as soon as it's cleared.  It's a
little dark, so it may take some work to get a real strong image.



Date: 14-Feb-96 15:52:14
From: Paul Owen <100331.2357 at>
To: JMS <71016.1644 at>
Subject: #White Star
Message-ID: <forum.sfmediaone.452028 at>

Joe !

Am I wrong or is there an Earth passenger liner called White Star
in S1. I think its on the tannoy system in the background in TKO.



Date: 14-Feb-96 17:16:19
From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644 at>
To: Paul Owen <100331.2357 at>
Subject: White Star
Message-ID: <forum.sfmediaone.452135 at>
References: <forum.sfmediaone.452028 at>

Don't remember.  It's possible.  There was a White Star line in
reality, once upon a time.



Date: 14-Feb-96 16:24:12
From: Tom Knudsen <72347.1626 at>
To: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644 at>
Subject: #451484-#8 NEW B5 EPS!
Message-ID: <forum.sfmediaone.452059 at>
References: <forum.sfmediaone.451484 at>


        <Good news.  We've finally convinced Warner Bros./PTEN to
go with eight new episodes in a row, starting the first week of

        Great!!!!!!   Good job convincing WB.  At least we'll see
the whole two parter before the break.  I hope you CAN get them to
show two in July.  Do you have any idea when the "Final Three"
will be shown in England??


    Guardian of The Republic
    General Pain in the Butt


Date: 14-Feb-96 17:16:20
From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644 at>
To: Tom Knudsen <72347.1626 at>
Subject: 8 NEW B5 EPS!
Message-ID: <forum.sfmediaone.452136 at>
References: <forum.sfmediaone.452059 at>

       See my note here on the UK.



Date: 14-Feb-96 17:03:46
From: John M. Kahane <102664.773 at>
To: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644 at>
Subject: #Writing B5
Message-ID: <forum.sfmediaone.452119 at>

     Hullo, Joe,

> No, insofar as I have been able to determine, in the history of
> TV no one has ever written every episode of a season of a
> dramatic series single handedly.  The closest would be Terry
> Nation, who wrote the first season of Blake's 7, but that was
> only 13 episodes, not 22. 

     I was very fond of the first season of BLAKE'S 7, and
remember being impressed at the fact that Terry Nation was writing
so many stories for that series.  (I don't know whether I'll ever
forgive Nation for nearly scaring me with his Daleks when I was
nine or so, but that's another matter...)  The only other series
that I have seen to that extent as being the work of one writer 
was the Brit series STAR COPS (which I adored), but that wasn't
totally written by one author.   In that sense, I've been amazed
at the fact that you've written all of the stories for Season
Three of B5.  I can't say that I've enjoyed every single moment of
the third season to this point (saw "Exogenesis" last night, and
still deciding what I thought of it), but you've done a terrific
job on the third season stories to this point.

> As for what folks say about me...probably it's all of those you
> cite, and then some.  Good and bad.  You can't work at getting a
> single, personal vision on film without convincing some people
> you're great, and convincing other people you're the Antichrist. 

      That's for sure.  I remember some of the comments and words
said by people during the first season of the series, and I
remember thinking that they might be feeling differently when the
fourth season comes around.   We're only in the third season, of
course, but the folks are definitely talking about what you're
doing in the series right now.  Personally, I think you're doing a
fantastically difficult job, you're keeping ahead of it at all
times (or at least it seems that way to me), and you're turning
out stories that have these many levels and facets to them.  B5 is
like a series of gems, each season being multi-faceted and having
different appeals to different people. To me, that's the greatest
accomplishment of them all - and the fact that you've brought it
all together in the third season the way it seems to be coming
together is very commendable, imo.

     I just gotta wonder what you're going to do with yourself
when the series is finished.  You're going to be mighty bored! 

     Keep up the good work, Joe. :)



Date: 14-Feb-96 17:16:23
From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644 at>
To: John M. Kahane <102664.773 at>
Subject: Writing B5
Message-ID: <forum.sfmediaone.452137 at>
References: <forum.sfmediaone.452119 at>

       Thanks.  And from where I sit -- which is mainly behind my
keyboard these days -- the idea of being bored is VERY appealing.



End of JMS CIS Digest 14-Feb-96 00:01:21 through 14-Feb-96 17:16:23

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