ATTN JMS - Re: Deconstruction of Falling Stars- Spoilers**

B5JMS Poster b5jms-owner at
Thu Oct 30 06:29:59 EST 1997

From: shabby at (Chris Shabsin)
Date: 30 Oct 1997 00:28:31 -0500
Lines: 155

Jms at B5 (jmsatb5 at wrote:
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: Just a few quick reactions:

: >(although I did comment on the fact that they
: > were still using English in a million years)

: That's what you heard, that doesn't mean that's what it was; same as when you
:  go to Minbar, they're not speaking English, that's just our hearing of it.

: >  BTW when was the last time anyone heard a news anchor talk
: > about the old testament? 

: Ted Koppel.

: > the portrait of him as a kid done in Black and White.  What they
: > ran out of color film?

: Even now portraits are often done in black and white just for artistic merit.

: > (although I have a problem with the idea that NYU will be
: > around 100 years from NOW!)

: Trinity College is a working college in Ireland that dates back to the Ameri
:  Revolution.  

I'm just curious, JMS, why do you only respond to nitpicks, but not
questions about the content of the story, complaints about major plot
points that I haven't seen you respond to in any form anywhere?  I
mean, you're picking your fights to be the easy ones, so you can win
them all.  

Or perhaps you're just reading a random sampling of what's out there.
In which case my accusations are unwarranted.  But I'm really
beginning to wonder.  About the only things I ever see you respond to
are things that seem patently obvious, or things that are simply
production nitpicks.

If you're interested in answering some more meaty questions (in my
opinion, anyway), just say so and I'll try asking them again...  if my
questions are puerile and I'm just not realizing it, feel free to
flame me and rip them to shreds.  But I think I have some good points,
and I'd like to not be ignored.  

Here follows the post with the questions I'd like answered.


I have to say, I was rather disappointed with these three episodes.
[Between the Darkness and the Light, Endgame, Rising Star] Please
don't knee-jerk ignore this or respond to this with a dismissing "you
just don't understand" type message, please read it all the way
through and try to understand where I'm coming from.

There were several plot threads that were superbly set up through
seasons 3 and 4 that seemed to be promising a highly complex and
detailed resolution... that simply were declared "fixed" in these

1) [FIRST AND FOREMOST] Garibaldi.  Face of the Enemy had 2/3 of its
impact in the fact that he suddenly knew what he had done, and had to
see himself in the mirror from then on.  His actions, while not
exactly by his choice, were his responsibility.  The other 1/3 was the
chilling thought of what the B5 crew would do to him when they got his
hands on him.

By ending the thread the way you did, having Lyta convince the leader
of Mars Resistance by psi-powers, you compromised a number of plot
points.  For one, resistance has a _serious_ distrust of telepaths.
If I were one of the resistance, I would have shot Lyta, Garibaldi,
Franklin, AND #1, after she started saying "It's all true..."  You
once promised that telepaths wouldn't be a magical solution to
problems, but in this case, that's exactly what Lyta became.

Garibaldi should have had to have his actions prove his loyalty, IMHO.
Perhaps some help from Zack would have been needed to get in a
position to help out, but anything that would let him _prove_ to the
others, and more importantly, to himself, that he was back, would have
been just great.  Having a telepath vouch for him felt like a short
cut.  And if it was not due to season compression, if it was in the
original plan for the season, the original plan was also

2) Londo & G'Kar.  As near as I can tell, they went from "I'll sign
it, but on a different page than you." to "Buddy!  How's it hanging?"
almost instantly.  Now, if this happened off camera over the
past... what, one month?...  it probably happened at the same time the
League started thinking alike.  But G'Kar is simply starting to
believe this man, this demon that plagued him, who "no longer exists
in [his] world", could be a friend, with nothing more than a few
conversations.  This was another plot thread I was looking forward to
seeing progress - seeing Londo gradually earn G'Kar's trust...

3) Clark & Earth - Was Clark's position largely held by sheer force of
his position in the military's chain of command?  If so, then this
quick turnaround is warranted, but only if so.  Every indication was
that Clark had much more nefarious tentacles into Earth's government
power structure, and that it was going to be a long, hard struggle to
regain control, even once the fleets were defeated.  Here it was a
simple "oh, he's dead.  yay, we can go back to normal" on all sides of
the battle.  Very unclimactic, if you aren't in the mindframe of "once
the fleet's defeated, Clark's defeated"...  

Clark's "scorched earth" order was only discovered after friendly
troops were in his office, by the way, so I don't really think that
the realization that Clark had done this was likely the cause for
things to turn so friendly instantly.  At least, on the ground, people
were still relying on something for their information.  What was their
source?  If their source was ISN, then how can anyone believe any
reports of this action of Clark's, after having seen the reporting
immediately following the last ISN coup?  If they had some other
source, then what?  Is there any reliable source of info at this
point?  Would the people who were following Clark's orders to censor
the stations allow this news to go out?  

I thought we were really going to see more detail of how Clark kept
his hold, along with more detail of what Earth is actually like.
We've only seen Government offices, both inside and out, on Earth.
Oh, and David Sheridan's house as a backdrop in a phone conversation.
Where's the rest?  We never saw how the average Earther was impacted
by Clark's reign.

Was Sheridan the only thing working towards Clark's end on Earth?
Obviously not, given the fact there were a bunch of troops heading to
Clark's office even as Clark was committing suicide.  Would they have
been successful even without Sheridan's help?  

Who was aboard the Shadow/EA ships?  What kind of people were they?
These you kept faceless for some reason...  Why?


B5's strengths has always been in the details.  They have been sorely
lacking recently.  These three episodes had elements in them that
could have easily spanned a half season, whether or not you planned it
that way.  And these episodes have suffered from what I consider to be
too many easy answers to tough questions.

-Chris Shabsin                   -shabby at

echo Prpv a\'rfg cnf har cvcr | tr A-Za-z N-ZA-Mn-za-m

From: jmsatb5 at (Jms at B5)
Date: 30 Oct 1997 01:12:41 -0500
Lines: 17

RE: what I do and don't respond to...often the criticisms you note as "meaty"
 (including some of those you raise) are in large measure subjective...why did
 I do *this* instead of *that* because the correspondent in question thinks X
 should be done instead of or in addition to Y.  There is no way to actually
 debate that, or answer it, because it's subjective...what you want in a story
 may not be what I want, but too often because it isn't what someone else would
 do, or like, it's "bad."  Or a plot hole.

So it isn't so much as responding to the nitpicky notes as those that can be
 objectively answered.  


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