ATTN JMS: Just a small question.

B5JMS Poster b5jms-owner at
Wed Aug 13 07:21:33 EDT 1997

From: raram at (Robert Aram)
Date: 10 Aug 1997 04:10:41 -0400
Lines: 38

Ok, first I would like to congratulate you on a fine job. With everything
including B5. 

On to the question. This actualy has more to do with Sci-Fi in general
than anything particular to Babylon 5 but the question I think is still

  Why don't we ever see, hear, mention, anybody from the middle east?
I've been reading and watching Sci-fi for years now, (Grew up on Dr WHO)
and to my memory I have never read nor seen any mention or portrayal of a
middle easterner. I was wondering why? I can understand maybe why not on
television or movies, the lack of any actors or actrisses. (SP) But why is
there never any mention in books or comics? Is seems like there is some
form of consensus that the entire area is whiped of the face of the map by
the time any story takes place. The closest representation of someone from
the area would be Dr Basir (SP?) on DS9. And he's supposedly Indian raised
in england. (Or so I gather.) Even in B5 the name of the show is a
refenence to the area and it's history. Ivanova is jewish but russian.
Even in the original Star Trek, where Rodenberry wanted to show how
humanity had overcome it's butal history, he included most of the other
major races but those from the middle east. I guess they never got their
act together huh? Oh well, I guess that haveing a recurring character like
that would be to subversive. 

	Ok, now that i've had my chance to vent my pet peeve. I would like
to thank you, JMS for makeing yourself accessable to us, your net 

PS. I don't get a chance to read newsgroups much, so could anybody who
responds to this also send me e-mail?


						Robert Aram
						raram at

From: jmsatb5 at (Jms at B5)
Date: 10 Aug 1997 07:08:14 -0400
Lines: 27

We've done some with middle eastern characters, but not as much as I'd
like.  Ari ben Zayn was in "Eyes," and we had another as a Muslim
representative in "And the Rock Cried Out," and a bit here and there...but
it's not been as substantial as might be, mainly because we shoot the show
in LA, and the pool of actors is not always as deep as I'd like.  We may
find many terrific middle eastern actors, for instance, but they may be
too old, or too young, or not quite right for the part.  (This applies to
any ethnic group, btw...acting, like most professions, still has a long
way to go to be more accessible.)

One of the first things I told our new casting director when she came on
about a year or so ago was that I wanted the show to be less white-bread,
to see more diversity in our guest stars, day players and others.  And I
think there's been a lot of movement in that area; still not as much as
could be, but forward movement is always a good thing.

Bottom line...the script breakdowns rarely go out specifying ethnic
background.  Our belief is that you cast the best person who walks in the
door.  There have been times when we figured one type of group --
MacDougan, from No Surrender -- to be Irish or Scottish, but an
african-american walked in the door and nailed the part, so he got it.  We
didn't change the name, on the theory that there will continue to be a
blurring of the lines over the next couple of hundred years, as we become
more of a global culture.

-*** B5JMS SUBSCRIBERS: Replies to messages go to the list maintainer,
-*** <b5jms-owner at>.  If you want to reply elsewhere, adjust
-*** the "To" field.  The best way to reach JMS is to post to rastb5m, which
-*** can be done by sending email to <b5mod at>.

More information about the B5JMS mailing list