ATTN JMS: Can you go crazy with sequel?

B5JMS Poster b5jms-owner at
Thu Jan 16 06:06:51 EST 1997

Subject: ATTN JMS: Can you go crazy with sequel?
 No. | DATE        |  FROM
s  1: Jan 15, 1997: Brent Schmidt <TVsBrent at MCS.COM>
*  2: Jan 16, 1997: jmsatb5 at (Jms at B5)


From: Brent Schmidt <TVsBrent at MCS.COM>
Lines: 63

bbarrett at wrote:
>  [ Summary: Asks why the story arc has not been done in a television series
>    before. ]
>  #: 637535 S5/Babylon 5: General
>     13-Jan-97  18:41:26
> Sb: #637365-From jms re: yr 4/5
>        "Why hasn't this been done before?"
>        To which the only answer is...because nobody's done it before.  (At
> least, here in the the UK similar things have been done for some time,
> a la The Prisoner.)
>        I guess mostly it's because in TV, the question is always "are we going
> to last 9 weeks?" and nobody thinks that far ahead.  To set things up that you
> won't pay off for *years* takes someone a little insane, a) to believe you'll
> be on the air that long, and b) to count on the audience to be patient enough
> to wait for things to unfold.
>        And over time, I do think you're more likely to see more of this sort of
> thing as B5's impact grows over the coming years.
>        My general sense for what comes next for me...assuming the B5 sequel
> goes...I've done a hard-linked and extremely intense drama with an adventure
> component...and now, having done that, and proved that it *could* be done,
> despite many who said it couldn't, my feeling now is, "Okay, we've done that,
> how can we tweak it so that the sequel has a different feel to it?" So I'm
> looking at something that's a little more in the adventurous mode, with a
> serious underpinning, with an arc to it that's not quite as intense in tone,
> but is still good drama.  Characters that grow and change, a definite ending,
> several mysteries enclosed inside other mysteries, with a much larger canvas,
> and an even stronger sense of wonder.  B5 I did to prove a point, to some
> extent; now I'd like to try something where, having achieved that, I can sit
> back and, knowing the format now, have some fun with it.  Maybe turn it on its
> head in a few places.
>        As with everything else I do, I try to find what I'd enjoy as a viewer,
> and take it from there.  That was how B5 came about, and that's how the new
> show would come about, should it happen.

  Alrighty, now that you've proved your point, will you be able to go
even more "crazy" with the story than you did with B5's story arc?
  What I mean by "crazy" is elements that you originally planned in the
arc, Takashima's (sp) betrayal at the end of season 1, the departure of
Sinclair in WWE (with him being commander of B5 up until that point),
etc, elements that are totally different from anything else done on TV
and that for one reason or the other just didn't make it.
  With the success of B5, will that create a more stable environment for
you, so that you can take the characters (and the audience) and throw
them off a cliff?  Not that you haven't already, just some of the long
range shockers didn't make the cut.

 Docking Bay 13 -
Brent Schmidt                   TVsBrent at MCS.COM


From: jmsatb5 at (Jms at B5)
Lines: 32

In some ways, yeah, I think I will have some real opportunities that
didn't exist with B5, in that for the first 3 years we had to fight to get
ourselves taken seriously by everyone, including WB.  Now we have some
credibility, and that gives you a certain freedom.  

Also, the arc was, for me, a relatively new tool which took me about a
year or so to really figure out how to use...then I used it relentlessly
for a very long time.  Now it's just one more tool on my belt, and I can
use it with a bit more precision.  It's the difference between using a
rapier and a broadsword.  

It'll probably start out looking fairly conventional, as did B5 our first
year, just until the suits get comfortable and start ignoring us (they're
all OVER you in your first year), and then, again as with B5, we'll start
getting really subversive...ah loves being subversive....

And there'll be the folks who'll say, "Oh, it's just X," just like they
did with B5 in the beginning, saying "Oh, it's just like DS9," which is
*perfect* because it lets me sneak up behind them and just WHACK 'em
upside the head when they're not looking, as with B5.

Basically, without saying too much, it'll be a MUCH larger canvas, and the
kinds of stories I can tell will be CONSIDERABLY more varied and have more
opportunities to explore all kinds of interesting stuff, so I can go a bit
more nuts on production values, alien stuff, and other areas.


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