ATTN: JMS: Sleeping in the Light

B5JMS Poster b5jms-owner at
Thu Apr 24 06:14:30 EDT 1997

From: Cheryl.Thompson at
Date: 19 Apr 1997 13:36:16 -0400
Lines: 22

Whether 'Sleeping in the Light' / 'Goodbye' ends up being 422 or (the heavens
permit) 522, there's one thing I think we're all curious about ....the content
and how it will leave the viewers all feeling.

Once upon a time, you gave a broad prediction about how people would react
when they finally heard the Shadows' motivation.  Would you care to do this
again?  For example, 90% of the viewers will be pleased and satisfied,  9%
will be incensed by the revelation and promptly change their lifestyles, their
professions and even their names in order to better begin changing the world
so that this possible future might never happen, and 1% will yawn, snap off
the tv and say, Good Voyager episode!     (Just kidding, Great Maker!!!!  I
cannot begin to envision the kinds of reactions to the end of the series which
you might be expecting, so I'm .....OUCH! ...just -joking-! Ok, the Bat Squad
can leave any time, thanks.)
But seriously, what kind of responses do you expect to see in this newsgroup
the week following the last episode?  ...Besides, tales of mass-suicide
planet-wide (nothing left to live for, you know  ;)  )


From: jmsatb5 at (Jms at B5)
Date: 23 Apr 1997 17:47:55 -0400
Lines: 72

"But seriously, what kind of responses do you expect to see in this
the week following the last episode?"

In a way you're kind of asking the wrong person, as I'm inside the
fishbowl and can't see the show the way anyone outside can see it.  The
only gauge I have is the reaction the script got around the stage when
people on the crew and cast read it.  (With a note attached explaining the
possibility of airing it as 522 or 422, but that either way thsi would end
up the story.)

Pretty much everybody cried.  I came home to a message on my machine from
Mira, who was almost unable to speak, and another from Claudia who said
she was honored and proud to be a part of this, and the script had made
her cry.  Bruce, Richard, big beefy guys on the crew...all said the same
thing.  And there I have to concur; I lost is several times as I was
writing it, due to the content; there's one scene in'll
know it when you see it...that put me away for an hour when I finished
writing it.

But here's the thing...*every single person* who cried at the script,
ended it feeling that it was not a sad script in the end, or a down
ending...that it left them feeling proud, and tall, and *positive*...that
life goes on...that it was a reaffirmation of life itself, on its most
primal level.  They felt good about the ending.  And that was a great
relief for me, because I was trying something *very* difficult from a
writing perspective, and at first blush it looks as if I've pulled it off.
 (Now I get to go in as director and *totally* screw it up.)

Only one fan has read the script...someone whose opinion I trust.  Because
I was curious about the reaction from that side of the screen.  And the
reaction was *exactly* the same.

So how do I think people will react?

I think a lot of people will cry.

But by the end of it, I think it will come around, and be all right...and
mainly, that people will then look back at the whole story, through all
these long years, and say, "It was a good story."  And close the cover,
and put it on the shelf with the other books that will be reread again
down the years, and turn off the lights, and go to bed feeling that the
time was well spent.

Which is the most any writer can ever ask for.  To tell a tale worth
telling  To make people cry.  To make people laugh.  And even, once in a
while, make them think about things, and see the world just a little
differently than when they began.

And then they can centerpunch me on the freeway, or throw a plane at me,
and I won't even mind.  Because everything I set out to prove, I proved. 
Everything I set out to say, I said.  

I've carried this story like a hermit crab carries its shell for five long
years, counting the pilot.  It's been an *awfully* long and difficult
road, and no one will ever really know just how hard this show was to
make.  Nor should they, because it isn't the difficulty that makes the
story, the *story* makes the story.  But one way or another, aired as 522
or 422, when it airs the burden is off at last.  Then it no longer belongs
to me.  It belongs to you.  As should be.

And, in the end, I think you'll be pleased.


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