JMS on CompuServe (Sep 08, 1997) *POSSIBLE SPOILERS* (1/2)

bbarrett at bbarrett at
Mon Sep 8 03:44:10 EDT 1997

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 [ Summary of subjects in this section: ]
    Sb: #698219-#Lochley=Tracy Scoggins!
    Sb: #698253-# B5 on CNN Headline News
    Sb: #698250-#Voyager: Hugo Stumping
    Sb: #698145-#SPOILER
    Sb: #698589-#Lochley=Tracy Scoggins!
    Sb: #698599-Lochley=Tracy Scoggins!
    Sb: #698734-#Ghostbusters goes PC
    Sb: #698569-# B5 on CNN Headline News
    Sb: #698734-#Ghostbusters goes PC
    Sb: #698836-Lochley=Tracy Scoggins!

 [ Summary: Discusses his belief in how actors act and why this may mean
   that Tracy Scoggins might not be the best possible actor for the role
   of Lochley. ]

 #: 698330 S5/Babylon 5: General
    05-Sep-97  15:23:12
Sb: #698219-#Lochley=Tracy Scoggins!

       No, you don't seem to understand the point.  Of course the actors you
cast have technique.  Where did you get this from?  Especially the "some actors
are just being themselves" part in this context.  Wortham wasn't "just being
himself" as Cartagia, nobody is.  Neither is Andreas, and neither is Scoggins.
She didn't just walk into the room and do herself, she created a character.
Lochley is nothing like Scoggins.  Scoggins made a number of actor's choices,
and when she entered the room, she *was* Lochley.

       I don't mean to be rude, but it's hard to have this conversation when
it's clear you don't really know what's involved in casting or acting or
creating a character, and are using your misunderstandings to justify ragging
on Scoggins.  Andreas was neck-and-neck with Morgan Shepard for the role of
G'Kar...fundamentally, Andreas' approach was more in line with what I
envisioned.  Tracy was the same way.  We cast the person who was right for the
role.  If the person's not right, we don't cast them.  The only time it hasn't
worked out as well as I'd've liked was when we cast Mary Kay Adams, who was
very strong in the auditions, and then made an actor's choice to play the
character very quiet, to not push against Andreas...but you fade into the
woodwork if you do that.  So it's not a question of technique there, but of
choice.  She was right in the audition, but her choice later wasn't what we'd
initially hoped for.

       And Tracy is *great* as Lochley in all the dailies.

       But basically, this is a stupid conversation.  You're obviously hoping
to get me to be defensive about her, and there's no need.  Every sesaon the
same thing happens, a cast member comes in or goes out, or there is another
change, and some people cry that the sky is falling...and in the end, the
choices have been right.  There is nothing to defend.  Either the work
succeeds, or it does not.  And that will be borne out in the episode, not the
talking.  I had to deal with this with Bruce, Stephen, even Claudia, I would
point out, from the Takashima fans out there, which a lot of folks have
conveniently forgotten.  Lots of folks online were saying that Tamlyn was a
strong female character and that in casting Claudia we were just putting in a
"babe," and pilloried me for it, and at the end of the day, when they actually
*saw* what she was doing, they were fine with it.

       So I'm kinda tired of playing that game.

       See what she does first, *then* we'll talk.


 #: 698253 S5/Babylon 5: General
    05-Sep-97  12:35:28
Sb: # B5 on CNN Headline News

I was surprised and very pleased to catch mention of B5's Hugo award on CNN
Headline News.  I am glad that B5 is getting some national recognition.  They
mentioned something that I did not know; that B5 is one of the very few (or
perhaps only?  I didn't catch all of it) to win the award two years in a row.
Congratulations, Joe!


 #: 698331 S5/Babylon 5: General
    05-Sep-97  15:23:14
Sb: #698253-# B5 on CNN Headline News

       The original ST won two years running, and just before that, TZ won
three years running.  In the 30 years or so since the original ST, no other
show has gotten 2 in a row, correct.


 #: 698250 S5/Babylon 5: General
    05-Sep-97  12:30:30
Sb: #Voyager: Hugo Stumping

If you had tuned in before the replay of the Voyager cliffhanger (followed by
the resolution) this week, as I did, you would have been 'treated' (medically)
to the most overexagerated promo yet for that show.  It proclamed Voyager as
science fiction taken to the level of art.    Now I'm used to UPN's previews
making B5's seem restrained, but this was a whole new order of magnitude beyond
anything done previously.

Watching it, the promo seemed hastily constructed, one special effects flash
after another, not really following the narration.  And it hit me: this was
probably a first step in a campaign to try to get a Hugo for Voyager, or at
least for Paramount.  The probable continuation of these tactics will give me
one more reason not to watch the series.  (I only watched this one since its
likely to be the only episode with significant special effects until the

Here's hoping joe ties Twilight Zone's record of three Hugos in a row.  May he
continue to be an ever-growing thorn lodged in Paramount's hindquarters.


 #: 698335 S5/Babylon 5: General
    05-Sep-97  15:57:47
Sb: #698250-#Voyager: Hugo Stumping

       No, frankly, I don't think Paramount cares about the Hugo, or even knows
what it represents.  I don't believe (though I could be wrong) that they even
*had* anyone at the Hugos in case they'd won.  No, Paramount's concern is that
the franchise shows are losing ratings, and they're doing everything they can
to bolster them and make them more exciting.


 #: 698145 S6/Babylon 5: Spoilers
    05-Sep-97  06:08:44

Re: Latest interview with a spoiler.

Will Sheridan really become a president??? I can't think of someone less
qualified. He has no respect for law if it conflicts with his convictions, he
has no knoledge of how the gov't should work. If I was an Earther I would have
start filing an application for emigration.


 #: 698336 S6/Babylon 5: Spoilers
    05-Sep-97  15:57:48
Sb: #698145-#SPOILER

       The spoiler is not correct.


 #: 698589 S5/Babylon 5: General
    06-Sep-97  09:21:16
Sb: #698330-#Lochley=Tracy Scoggins!

I'm missing something- who is Tracy Scoggins and what role is she cast in?
As you can guess I'm not a big TV watcher-too busy it took a year and a lot of
comments from friends to find out what you are doing in Babylon5 (I haven't
enjoyed anything on TV as much since TV12 reran Blake7)-Bruce Boxletter's role
as captain isn't (my view) ideal in terms of voice or appearance but you do
pull it off the rest is brillant- I'm not certain what percentage is acting
skill and what percentage is cast chemistry however it works

 #: 698738 S5/Babylon 5: General
    06-Sep-97  17:01:46
Sb: #698589-#Lochley=Tracy Scoggins!

      Scoggins is on board for season 5 as Captain Elizabeth Lochley, who is
going to full the void in the command structure left by Ivanova.


 [ Summary: The poster who wrote about acting methods replies.  (See
   below.) ]

 #: 698739 S5/Babylon 5: General
    06-Sep-97  17:01:49
Sb: #698599-Lochley=Tracy Scoggins!

"Maybe I am naive to say that I don't think that you are 100% in charge of your
destiny on the show, naive to say that there are outside presures that effect
some of the decisions you have to make, and naive to say that budget and time
contraints effect who you cast or when you cast them."

      Okay, you're naive.

"Maybe I just don't understand."

      A distinct possibility.

"If I am naive, then when it comes down to it,everything that is less than
brilliant on the show is your responsibility:  everything."

      I'll accept that only if by the same token I am responsible for
everything that is *more* than brilliant on the show.  Otherwise it's lopsided.
And both statements are inaccurate.  If an actor blows a line on the set, if a
director doesn't get his coverage, if a prop breaks seconds before it was
supposed to be used, if a lens doesn't show up from Panavision in time for a
particular, I'm not responsible for those things.

      For those things that are done deliberately, by choice, by me, on the
show, I will take full responsibility, whether they work or not, except insofar
as that may result in stealing thunder from any of our actors or crew, in which
case the good stuff was their responsibility.

"But then maybe you do think the show is perfect, that when you say that there
is still room for improvement you don't really mean it..."

      Nope.  That I think your statement is flawed does not mean that I think
my show is not flawed.  Two vastly different issues.  If it were perfect, I
would not be struggling every year to make the show better than the previous
year.  We learn by doing.

      As you just did.


 #: 698734 S5/Babylon 5: General
    06-Sep-97  16:23:44
Sb: #698103-#Ghostbusters goes PC

YOU wrote for The Real Ghostbusters?

TRGB was a cartoon far above most cartoons.  I could sit at the ambulance
station and watch that without embarrassment.  The rest of the guys (and gals)
got into it, too.

My admiration for your skills has gone up another notch.


 #: 698740 S5/Babylon 5: General
    06-Sep-97  17:01:52
Sb: #698734-#Ghostbusters goes PC

      Wrote for it, heck, I story edited the first network season and the
syndicated season *simultaneously*, for a total of 78 episodes, and wrote 22
episodes (5 of which came after that first season) including the Halloween ABC
special for which I wrote a couple of songs.  It was a great deal of fun to
work on, until they messed up Janine, which is why I left.  Later, when they
realized that had been an error, they asked me to write some more with her
pretty much as she had been, and then to fix the continuity error in an episode
called "Janine, You've Changed."

      Some of the ones I wrote were Xmas Marks the Spot, Mr. Sandman Dream Me a
Dream, Citizen Ghost, Ragnarok and Roll, The Thing in Mrs. Faversham's Attic,
No One Comes to Lupusville, Chicken He Clucked, Doctor Doctor, and a bunch of

      TRGBs is now playing on syndication again, in the Amazing Adventures
package...uncut, as far as I can tell.  (I think it airs Sundays at 2:30 here
in LA.)  It was a hoot, and it's one of the things I'm still very proud of.


 [ Summary: Thinks the reason CNN reported on the Hugo win is because CNN
   and TNT are owned by the same company. ]

 #: 698741 S5/Babylon 5: General
    06-Sep-97  17:01:55
Sb: #698569-# B5 on CNN Headline News

      Actually, CNN aired the Hugo news last year as well, before TNT got into
the picture.  That's because a lot of the folks over at CNN are big B5 fans.


 #: 698734 S5/Babylon 5: General
    06-Sep-97  16:23:44
Sb: #698103-#Ghostbusters goes PC

YOU wrote for The Real Ghostbusters?

TRGB was a cartoon far above most cartoons.  I could sit at the ambulance
station and watch that without embarrassment.  The rest of the guys (and gals)
got into it, too.

My admiration for your skills has gone up another notch.


 #: 698742 S5/Babylon 5: General
    06-Sep-97  17:08:11
Sb: #698734-#Ghostbusters goes PC

      BTW, when they did the second season without me, they introduced the
odious "Junior Ghostbusters," and at one point asked me if I'd be willing to
write a script using them.

      "Only if I get to drive a truck over them," I replied.

      They never asked me again.


 #: 698836 S5/Babylon 5: General
    07-Sep-97  06:02:31
Sb: #698738-#Lochley=Tracy Scoggins!

>       Scoggins is on board for season 5 as Captain Elizabeth Lochley, who is
going to full the void in the command structure left by Ivanova. <

Forgive me if this is now irrelevant, but a while back, I asked about Ivanova's
"talent" and you said it would be covered. At that time Claudia *seemed* to be
in for S5, now that's not the case, do you intend to shift the ability as
another part of a different character, or will it be one of life's little
mysteries? (You know - like why is there always 1 spoon left in the bowl after
washing up? <g>).

On another issue, (sorry if you've been over this before), but I just read in
SFX that you won't be attending anymore Wolf conventions due to "queueing?" and
"treatment of the fans" ? - Could I ask if that was for sure, or could we all
persuade you that you are worth lining up for? :-)   I would hate to think you
have been put off completely, your presence in one of the main reasons for
going to a con.

Anyways, in parting, can I just say, season 4 is "doing my head in" as we say
hereabouts, you don't believe in static characterization do you? <bg>.

P.S. - Anyone asked about yur reaction to Diana's death yet?

 #: 698983 S5/Babylon 5: General
    07-Sep-97  17:45:36
Sb: #698836-Lochley=Tracy Scoggins!

      The stuff Ivanova would've done this season will be shifted in part to
another, but not Lochley.

      Re:, I won't be doing any further Wolfs due to my ongoing
concerns with the way they are being run, the way that the fans are being
treated, the unreasonable lines, and other genuine concerns I have with Brian
and the organization.  They promised that all illegal good would be kept out;
the dealer's room was *chockablock* with unlicensed, pirated stuff, forcing me
to have to go and police the thing, which was not what I was there for, and put
me in some difficult situations...they promised that the lines would be dealt
with fairly, and they were not...I had yelled before at Brian for showing 4th
season material, as yet unaired in the UK, at conventions, he said he would not
do so, and yet the music videos were full of this footage (he says he only
promised not to show full episodes, so that isn't the same thing, which is
nonsense...he says that he got the videos from others so they're not his fault,
which is also nonsense)...I have asked him, repeatedly, to follow through on
his offer to let us inspect the records of the charitable donations made by the
convention, because I have heard that a goodly amount the money never reached
its proper destination, and I would like to know the facts one way or the
other, but thus far he has consistently refused to do so, even after having
said at first that they were available for inspection...I've heard enough times
that he has been muscling other conventions by telling people he has a lock on
our cast that I'm concerned... and so on.

      I have an obligation to associate myself and this program only where I
feel things are being done properly.  My concern here is that they are not, and
thus I cannot and will not involve myself or Babylonian Productions with any
further Wolf conventions.  My cast are free agents, and can do what they wish,
but there will be no further cooperation with Babylonian Productions until
these areas are addressed and fixed.


 [ Continued in next section -- BB ]

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