JMS on GEnie 5/25/96

David Strauss dstrauss at
Sat May 25 21:20:50 EDT 1996

Sorry it's been a while since the last post...real life keeps
intruding, eh?  :)

This post contains spoilers for Season 3 episodes, up to and including
War Without End....

SFRT II RoundTable
Category 18,  Topic 38
Message 389       Wed Apr 24, 1996
STRACZYNSKI [Joe]            at 01:19 EDT
     The comic got jammed up in a jurisdictional hassle; more on this
things calm down.l

SFRT II RoundTable
Category 18,  Topic 1
Message 410       Fri Apr 26, 1996
STRACZYNSKI [Joe]            at 23:48 EDT
     Zrath: that's NOT a boom mike.  We don't mike from below, we mike
above.  I'm trying to's something on the counter in his
quarters, it's a handle.  You can see it better as the camera pulls
back, just
before the message comes through.  

SFRT II RoundTable
Category 18,  Topic 38
Message 394       Fri Apr 26, 1996
STRACZYNSKI [Joe]            at 01:47 EDT
     Invariably when a freelancer like Tim or someone else writes an
issue of
the comic, it finally comes through my hands for approval; I have
creative say over the contents of the book, artwork, script, all of
it.   So
far, so good.  

      I turned in my script for part 1 of the 4 issue arc.  It came
substantially rewritten, not always well, in my view.  It was
juvenlizied, let's say.  And the impact of what I wanted -- it was a
bit on
the wordier side, in that it was volume one of "The Book of the War,"
intended to read and sound like a prose book -- was jettisoned because
editor felt that there were too many words for what's usually put in a
panel.  (Yes, because it's supposed to feel like a novel, a la the
Sandman or
Cerebus, it's an intentional abberation that would not persist in
issues 2-4,
only the first one, to set the tone.)

      I indicated, rather distressed over this, that I could always
just put
it all back, as I have final say.  Then I was informed that writers
outside DC
do not have final say over books, only editors.  And that when I was
for the book, I was functioning as a *writer*, and not as  the person
who has
final say over the book from a corporate standpoint.

      Bottom line being...if a freelancer writes for the book, I have
say as per our contract over content.  If I write for the book, I'm no
the approval person, and don't have final say, and get rewritten.
It's all a
matter of internal DC politics and jurisdictional concerns.

      So the only way to maintain control is to *not* write for the
Rather than have the 4-issue arc rewritten, poorly in my view, I have
withdrawn it, and will not write for the book in future, though I will
with DC in terms of maintaining continuity and assigning premises to
writers, and approving all other aspects of the book.

      If this sounds a little like the Red Queen's Race to anybody
join the crowd.

SFRT II RoundTable
Category 18,  Topic 2
Message 561       Mon Apr 29, 1996
STRACZYNSKI [Joe]            at 02:01 EDT
     York did some of his own swordplay, a stunt double others.  And
no, this
would never have happened to Sinclair.  You wouldn't have your CO
around the station thinking he's King Arthur.  Also, half the fun is
in not
being sure for a while, is he or isn't he?  With Sinclair you'd know.

SFRT II RoundTable
Category 18,  Topic 2
Message 572       Mon Apr 29, 1996
STRACZYNSKI [Joe]            at 19:54 EDT
     No, actually, Bester is seen leaving.  He's of more use as a
double agent
than sitting around the station.  It's going to take a long time
Carolyn's any better...a very long time.

SFRT II RoundTable
Category 19,  Topic 38
Message 42        Mon Apr 29, 1996
STRACZYNSKI [Joe]            at 02:39 EDT
      Lis: I'd anticipated that reaction; in fact, I think it was
either here
or someplace else, I said that there was an upcoming episode which,
people *heard* about it, they'd groan and say "oh, jeez," until they
saw it.  

SFRT II RoundTable
Category 18,  Topic 1
Message 456       Tue Apr 30, 1996
STRACZYNSKI [Joe]            at 23:43 EDT
     They're black.  Trust me on this.  I'm the one who had to approve
colors, helped pick some of the fabrics, worked with Anne to design
They're black.  If they look blue-ish in Starburst, it's probably from
gallery shoot, where they used red lights to kick the images a bit,
and in
some color separations that can give stuff a blueish tint.

SFRT II RoundTable
Category 19,  Topic 40
Message 14        Tue Apr 30, 1996
STRACZYNSKI [Joe]            at 23:41 EDT
     Yes, they're more like biological extensions, brief lifespans (if
I can
use that term to describe them)...once hatched they don't come back,
and die
after a certain amount of time having separated from the main "organ,"
the way
a bee dies after stinging.

SFRT II RoundTable
Category 19,  Topic 41
Message 33        Fri May 10, 1996
STRACZYNSKI [Joe]            at 01:43 EDT
     Yes, Londo had to fall back again, and that was definitely

SFRT II RoundTable
Category 19,  Topic 41
Message 40        Sat May 11, 1996
STRACZYNSKI [Joe]            at 01:20 EDT
     I wouldn't say they were taking orders, as much as looking to him
knowing how some races might work...kind of a consultant, I suppose.

     Joseph: glad the show had the desired reaction....

SFRT II RoundTable
Category 18,  Topic 1
Message 621       Sun May 12, 1996
STRACZYNSKI [Joe]            at 22:44 EDT
     Digger: yes, in those markets where we're on at a good time, and
promote the show, we do *extremely* well.  In the last
analysis that came through, we beat the ST shows in San Francisco, LA
and New
York.  In markets where they don't promote the show, you can get a 2
or a 3
rating or less; adequate but not terrific.  Then you look at some of
places that *do* promote it....

     Ship of Tears, for instance, pulled some of the following: a 5.1
and a 6 share in San Francisco; 4.3 and a 6 in Los Angeles; 4.6 and a
9 shere
in Washington DC; 4.5 and a 10 share in Cleveland; 6.6 and an 11 share
Orlando; 6.4 and a 10 share in Portland...other places as high as a 7
and a 12 share.  Those are *terrific* numbers.

     In some cases, the problem is beyond the station's control.  If
they are
a Fox or UPN station, they have contracted commitments to allocate
their prime
time hours to their network shows, and they have to stick B5 wherever
can, and allocate the bulk of their promotional resources to their

SFRT II RoundTable
Category 18,  Topic 1
Message 627       Mon May 13, 1996
STRACZYNSKI [Joe]            at 03:33 EDT
     The actual working definition of the rating itself is something I
understand, and when I do understand it, can usually sustain it for
only a few
minutes at a time.  The share, however, is easier to explain and
it's the percentage of people whose TVs are on at that time who are
your show.  So an 11 share is 11% of the viewing audience out there
with their
TVs on at that moment.  And that ain't bad.

SFRT II RoundTable
Category 18,  Topic 1
Message 659       Wed May 15, 1996
STRACZYNSKI [Joe]            at 16:07 EDT
     No, no eep yet.  Still waiting.

SFRT II RoundTable
Category 18,  Topic 1
Message 449       Mon May 20, 1996
STRACZYNSKI [Joe]            at 04:01 EDT
     Ron: I'm asked that a lot, and the bottom line for me at this
is...this story was designed specifically for TV.  And right now, the
show is
daunting enough; the idea of doing it all again in novel form is
almost more
than I can consider just now.

SFRT II RoundTable
Category 18,  Topic 1
Message 470       Tue May 21, 1996
STRACZYNSKI [Joe]            at 00:43 EDT
     BTW, one note on fan or slash B5 all the years that
been online, going to conventions, interacting with all
time, I've made only one request of those who admire, like or respect
show: *please* no fanfic, as it could eventually cause us problems
that could
hurt the show that inspired them to commit fanfic.   It's the only
thing I've
ever asked in return, as part of the no story ideas situation.  Just
to hold
off until after the show has run its course.

     I would hope, if they were truly fans of the show, they would
honor that

SFRT II RoundTable
Category 19,  Topic 43
Message 10        Tue May 21, 1996
STRACZYNSKI [Joe]            at 03:02 EDT
     Actually, I noted a couple of these things early on in another
one of the
forums of the problems I had was cramming everything into
the two-
parter.  I knew in my head what had to happen, but then when I
actually wrote
it all out -- and there's no way of knowing how it's all going to lay
until you actually do the writing -- it ended up being too
too long.  I had the scene with Zathras being discovered in a
conference room
during a time-flash, which would match what was described...and the
whole set-
up, flash, payoff and capture took up almost 3 minutes.  Three minutes
didn't have.  (Actually, I just remembered, I think that's one of the
examples I cited earlier, while I was actually writing the two-parter.

Section 1 over in 18, I believe.)

     Basically, it came down to realizing that the only way to get ALL
of it
in would be as a three-parter...and that wasn't a possibility.  So I
had to
hedge a few things here and there.  As long as the basic story was
there, and
the progression of basic events was more or less correct, I felt
comfortable doing it.

SFRT II RoundTable
Category 18,  Topic 1
Message 513       Wed May 22, 1996
STRACZYNSKI [Joe]            at 20:54 EDT
     As it happens, I've seen both the pilot movie, and the press
release for
Dark Skies, and they are indeed talking about this arc as something
before done for TV...covering years of story...y'kinda wanna hold up
your hand
and say, very quietly, "...ahem...."

     The pilot ain't bad...a little raggedy but that's par for the
course for
a pilot.  It's sort of Body Snatchers meets Alien meets the Invaders
meets the
X-Files meets Roswell (and no, I'm not being fascetious).

SFRT II RoundTable
Category 19,  Topic 43
Message 12        Wed May 22, 1996
STRACZYNSKI [Joe]            at 00:28 EDT
     No, Catherine Sakai wouldn't have been the one to have discovered
awakened Z'ha'dum, since if you recall they were already on the move
early in season one.

     And they'd been at it for several years, at least.


(And please do watch the story ideas.) 
SFRT II RoundTable
Category 18,  Topic 12
Message 330       Fri May 24, 1996
STRACZYNSKI [Joe]            at 01:49 EDT
     It's sort of the main Industry publication covering how TV and
film are
made...but it's a bit more generally available than most trade

SFRT II RoundTable
Category 19,  Topic 43
Message 25        Fri May 24, 1996
STRACZYNSKI [Joe]            at 01:45 EDT
     Yes, at this point I still plan to attend Chicago Comic Con.  I
they're going to give us me one two-hour block on Saturday, and a
second one
on Sunday with me, Harlan and Walter, maybe Bill if he  shows up.

     Re: Zathras at the end...yes, he can be quite coherent when he
wishes to
be.  Sometimes though it's helpful to let people underestimate you.
He's one
of these completely freed individuals who doesn't care what anyone
thinks of
him, though he pretends otherwise, mainly to rag on them.  He *enjoys*


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