JMS on CompuServe (Feb 13, 1998) *POSSIBLE SPOILERS*

bbarrett at bbarrett at
Fri Feb 13 21:26:50 EST 1998

 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WARNING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 The following posts may contain SPOILERS for
 upcoming Babylon 5 episodes.

 Continue at your own risk.

 Note that JMS has expressed his public permission 
 that all of his messages may be reproduced freely.

 I give permission for my summaries to be reposted in
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 [ Summary of subjects in this section: ]
    Sb: #19291-#Another circle completes
    Sb: #19400-#hello old friend(s)
    Sb: #19584-#hello old friend(s)
    Sb: #19557-<Gallery>
    Sb: #18386-#Provoking Discussion
    Sb: #19690-Provoking Discussion
    Sb: #19700-Lochley has just lost me
    Sb: #19704-Gallery Comments
    Sb: #19708-<tVftG> Prismatic View
    Sb: #19714-#<thanks for the gift>

 #: 19291 S4/Seas. 1-4 SPOILERS
    10-Feb-98  04:35:01
Sb: Another circle completes


I've been taping the daily run on TNT because I didn't catch on to B5 until 
the second season. So I'm sitting there finally watching 'Chrysalis' last 
night, and I hear a line that sounds awfully familiar.  Londo is in MedLab, 
talking to Ivanova about the recently shot Garibaldi, and he says something to 
the effect that "He's an annoying man, but I'll miss him if he were gone."

Wracked my brain all night to remember where I heard that line, and it struck 
me this morning -- I heard Delenn say virtually the same thing about Londo to 
Sheridan just two weeks ago in TVLNoLM!

Nice bit of closing the circle 4 years later there...

 #: 19444 S4/Seas. 1-4 SPOILERS
    11-Feb-98  02:00:00
Sb: #19291-#Another circle completes

"Nice bit of closing the circle 4 years later there..."

      What goes around, comes around.


 #: 19557 S5/Seas. 5 SPOILERS
    11-Feb-98  20:24:09
Sb: <Gallery>

Joe, this is way past my bedtime, but I was so enthused, tonight!!!  This 
Gallery episode is one of the BEST things I've seen in B5 history.  I loved 
Mac and Bo, it was so refreshing to see the station from their point of view.  
The visuals were absolutely stunning as well.  

Also, I swear these guys are at my workplace!  I know them!!!  


P.S. I'm also continually knocked out by that opening, I never can get enough 
of it. It may be weird but when I watch it, I feel "proud" of the show-- the 
station--- the piece of work, it is consistently high quality as well as 
ethical-- in a such a way that I cannot think of anything else which compares 
to it.  

 #: 19581 S5/Seas. 5 SPOILERS
    11-Feb-98  23:30:04
Sb: #19557-<Gallery>

      Thanks, it's one of my favorites as well.


 #: 18386 S5/Seas. 5 SPOILERS
    05-Feb-98  11:58:09
Sb: #Provoking Discussion

<< - unless you are pulling my leg.  >>
>>  In the best JMS tradition, I leave you to think about that.  <<

<<If your style of provoking discussion is to say outrageous things that you 
don't really believe yourself, please let me know so I can refrain from 
<<  What would be the point of provoking a discussion if noone responds?  >>

What would be the point of answering a question with a question?

What would be the point of disputing an outrageous opinion that not even the 
poster believes?

Actually, posting a reply to a comment is a compliment to the original poster 
even when there is total disagreement.  It indicates that I respect their 
opinion and honesty, even if I currently disagree with their conclusions.  
Ultimately, I would hope to either learn a new viewpoint toward B5, or change 
one of my own opinions, or at least understand why  someone  that I respect 
thinks something that I disagree with strongly.  

Replying to an outrageous comment which was thrown out only to stimulate 
contradiction doesn't interest me.  (I'm not saying that you did that, but 
neither have you said that you didn't.)   It's just a form of flamebaiting.  
These are just my two cents; your milage may vary.  

Saying that JMS is deliberately painting Bester as a "nice guy" would be 
outrageous in my opnion.  But you are apparantly being serious.  I could 
understand if you were saying "He's not the devil, he just wants XYZ."  

Bester as a "a nice guy"?  Mr. Goodnik?  No way!  I think you are pulling my 
leg, until you come out and explicitly stand by your stated opinion.  If 
you're leading me on a little, that's fine, I'm easy to get worked up and 
sometimes irony-deaf.  Just say so.

On the other hand, total and self-confessed silliness is a highly valued 
tradition here in the Looney Bin.  To answer your other question:

>>RMES Minister of Cathode Ray Inspection and Appreciation <<
What does it mean?

See the RMES FAQ in the library if you don't recall us from past threads over 
several years.  Or check any "RMES" thread in the Zocallo section.  I 
originally chose "Minister of the Cathode Ray" because I liked the sound.  Out 
of respect for the history and renaissance of a very silly thing (RMES), I've 
reverted to the long form because that was my "official" title once upon a 

It's a sig.  Don't mean nothin'.

RMES Minister of Cathode Ray Inspection and Appreciation

 #: 19681 S5/Seas. 5 SPOILERS
    12-Feb-98  13:00:00
Sb: #18386-#Provoking Discussion

      Bester is NOT a nice guy...but not everyone sees him in that light, 
which is why I did one episode from inside the Psi Corps this season, to show 
how others in the PC see him....

      Even Hitler painted roses.


 #: 19690 S5/Seas. 5 SPOILERS
    12-Feb-98  14:42:08
Sb: #19681-Provoking Discussion

>>        Bester is NOT a nice guy...but not everyone sees him in that light, 
which is why I did one episode from inside the Psi Corps this season, to show 
how others in the PC see him....

I'm not sure whether I'm relieved or disapointed.  From my perspective, almost  
*everything*  about Alfred paints him black, black, black.  I've been 
half-expecting you to turn that perception completely inside out.  It won't be 
as much of a stretch to see that his fellow teeps appreciate him - but knowing 
you, you'll still twist my frontal lobes halfway off.

Speculating - if you show that he really  *does*  care about and protect 
fellow teeps at some cost to himself, then I'll owe Vadim a partial 
retraction.  I'm really eager to see the resolution of the "teep problem" - 
can't guess which way you'll go.

Also: I loved "A View from the Gallery", in a warm and fuzzy sense of "loved".  
How do you make characters so real and so likeable so quickly?  They became 
instant regulars for me.  Are they Rebo and Zooty?  Mac looks and sounds like 
a "Zooty".  

RE: "how long d'ya think  _they've_  been married".  You'll get a bill for 
replacing all of my internal organs, because I *laughed my guts out*.  

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for the best SF I've seen or read.  To find 
real people, real thoughts, and real SF in the same show is a rare treat.  
Some day I hope to meet you at a con and shake your hand.  I'm working on a 
complete set of tapes for myself, then a set for loaning.

We are getting to another "your past, my future" spot.  I guess you're 
transitioning away from the B5 series to spinoffs and other projects while I'm 
still on the edge of my seat all week waiting for Wednesday.   In a few 
months, we'll be where you are now.   When that time comes, I suspect that 
I'll be all choked up and unable to express my appreciation.  I remember 
feeling abandoned when it looked as if season four might have been the end.  I 
feel as if you've introduced me to many dear friends and good stories and 
serious thoughts.  Thank you, sir.  

Rick Corey 
"RMES Minister of Cathode Ray Inspection and Appreciation"

 #: 19744 S5/Seas. 5 SPOILERS
    12-Feb-98  23:47:05
Sb: #19690-Provoking Discussion

      No, thank *you*...and yeah, it's gonna be odd when this ends....


 #: 19700 S5/Seas. 5 SPOILERS
    12-Feb-98  16:07:06
Sb: Lochley has just lost me

Okay... I liked Lochley.

I think she's got a good character. 

I like Tracy Scoggins.


She did somthing in this week's episod that I can not possibly rationalize or 
forgive in a military officer;


She got into an occupied elevator -- occupied by two people she barely knows, 
if at all -- and carries on a discussion of how horrible their security is, 
and THEN goes on to mention (did I say this was in front of two virtual 
strangers?) that Garibaldi is head of Covert Security for the Whole Dang 
Alliance. Does she not have any idea what Covert means? 

Joe, I assume you wrote that episode (I've stopped readin the "written by" 
credits -- I make the assumption now <G>), and I've got to call you on this 
one. That's a career-killer for someone in her position. Garibaldi should have 
called her on it, and unless you plan to do something with her lack of concept 
of security, it was a big boo-boo. You could have had her do anything else, 
say , "you were supposed to find out for me" or "I expected you to look into 
that"... anything that doesn't tell anyone nearby that Garibaldi holds a Very 
Sensitive Position.


 #: 19748 S5/Seas. 5 SPOILERS
    12-Feb-98  23:55:04
Sb: #19700-Lochley has just lost me

      No, there's nothing secret in Garibaldi being head of covert 
intelligence, any more than it's secret who the head of the CIA is.  There was 
no reason she couldn't say that in front of them, or anyone else; it's common 


 #: 19704 S5/Seas. 5 SPOILERS
    12-Feb-98  17:25:02
Sb: Gallery Comments

Hello again,

You just love that cavalry at the last minute thing dont you?    

Where were the League ships at?

There is something about Robin Atkins Downs that frightens me. His eyes.......
I know you selected Pat Tallman because of her eyes. Same for Robin?

Did Bruce and John like the airship photos?  Id really like to know.



 #: 19745 S5/Seas. 5 SPOILERS
    12-Feb-98  23:47:05
Sb: #19704-Gallery Comments

      They LOVED the photos; John in particular ooh'd and ahh'd over them. 
They were big hits.


 #: 19708 S5/Seas. 5 SPOILERS
    12-Feb-98  17:50:07
Sb: <tVftG> Prismatic View

jms -

The main thing you show us in "View" is a change in perspective, which is the 
inherent possibility of the holographic viewpoint, no?  But, true to form, it 
is not a simple shift -- we get additional perspectives on several characters 
and the status of the station as a whole.

You were tricky -- you led us both into a more personal perspective via Bo and 
Mack and into an epic perspective from a veritable CGI-orgy. You equally 
balanced day-to-day humor (Bo & Mack, G'Kar & Londo) with moments of poignant 
intensity (focussed primarily through Franklin, both in his history and the 
last "Welcome to Babylon 5" scene -- major kudos to both lighting and 
camera-work/editing for that scalpel-like bit of irony).

There seemed to be a theme of "Taking Care of Business" in this ep -- Lochley 
is shown taking care of station business with efficiency; Bo & Mack take care 
of all *sorts* of business (extermination, console-maintenance, 
floor-"whatever").  But the nameless enemy reminded me that, just because the 
Vorlon-Shadow war was declared a draw, and Clarke's regime has been ended, 
doesn't mean that the universe of Babylon 5 is a tidy one.

You maintained a nice balance between letting us get to know Bo & Mack (Bo -- 
more the dreamer, Mack more 
play-it-as-it-lays-and-look-for-the-advantageous-play) and letting Bo & Mack's 
actions let us get to know our supposedly well-known characters more deeply 
(Franklin's motivation for becoming a doctor, Londo & G'Kar's childhoods).  
And there was a third perspective revealed by Bo & Mack -- pragmatic problems 
of station-life (the bug [reference back to the one that plagued Mollari?}, 
the water-reclamation screwing up the console in Brown Sector [reminder of the 
Lurkers as a consideration for the station], and the consequences of those 
"almost pretty" space-battles [Bo's reference to what the HazMat team had to 
deal with]}.

But you weren't content to set up a simple us-vs-them, proletariat-vs-aristo 
scenario.  Even though Bo alluded to "hotshot" 'Fury pilots not being aware of 
maintenance crew, and Mack being more-or-less invisible to Lochley in C&C when 
he found the "bug," Lochley *did* appreciate Mack's endorsement at the end, 
and Franklin addressed Bo by name and was interested in debating ethics with 
him.  And, in that vein, I was gratified to see that Delenn did not limit her 
respect for the worker caste to Minbari Starfire-Wheel barbecue occasions -- 
not only did she remember their names, but she gave them a logical puzzle 
instead of an order to achieve her aim of remaining on the station.

Even though their scene was brief, the telepaths are eerily dominant in 
"View."  I think this stems partly from the fact that, seeing early eps and S5 
eps concurrently leads to the realization that the telepath line has "always 
been there."  It's like a musical composition -- the telepath story has been 
like some sort of continuous percussion, so that when the various temporary 
melodic lines of the Vorlon-Shadow war and the governance of Earth fade away, 
one becomes more aware of the continuo that remains.

Byron's Yorick-speech to the alien helmet set off some interesting 
"ding-ding-dings" for me.  One Shakepeare reference led to a side-slip of "A 
Midsummer Night's Dream" connections.  Bo & Mack are not-so-rude mechanicals. 
Sheridan and Delenn might be seen as Theseus and Hypolita.  Byron reminds me 
more and more of Oberon (particularly as played in the BBC version, decidedly 
un-Disney), dangerous, messing about with other people's realities (for good 
or for ill) -- which implies Lyta as an eventual Titania.  There were two 
unsettling "connections" that echoed in my mind after the ep was over:  Bo's 
respectful acknowledgment of a fighter's death (and his "red star" speech was 
a melancholic reworking of the Starstuff idea) vs. Byron's "appreciation" of 
the alien's death -- which led to the even more unsettling parallel between 
Byron's apprection of another's death as a gourmet experience and Lyta's 
previous statement about the effect on Bester from death-"tripping."

Unattached Random Reactions:

You built our sense of Byron's teep-ashram's strength by their ease at turning 
away the Alien Enemy (connected back to the flummoxing of Bester by Franklin's 
renegade teeps?).

Bo's comment about being willing to claw his way  out of hell and through 10 
miles of solid rock reminds us that B5 is a place where conversational 
hyperbole and reality intersect.

I love the Garibaldi/Lochley dynamics.  I get the feeling that Garibaldi needs 
the challenge of a Lochley to keep him in fighting trim.

Sheridan's co-opting the services of Bo & Mack (who, by rights, are strictly 
Lochley's concern) to escort Delenn might be another early-warning-siren about 
Sheridan/Lochley conflicts to come.

Given that "View" was written much earlier, would you ever have imagined that 
your "rumors" Bo & Mack conversation (although delightfully reflective of the 
whole casting/cash/Internet-response dynamic)would wind up to be so eerily 
concise a statement about the sate of our "ISN?"

And I particularly like the "grow bigger shoulders" response to challenging 
circumstances.  Who among us would not be a better person for expanding their 
range of acceptible possibilities?

Oh, by the way, I liked the overall humor, too (actively giggled many a time).

-rje- The best thing we can do is to make wherever we're lost in look as much 
like home as we can. -- Christopher Fry

 #: 19746 S5/Seas. 5 SPOILERS
    12-Feb-98  23:47:05
Sb: #19708-<tVftG> Prismatic View
Fm: J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI always, you catch all the nuances, and pick up on a few 
things that I wasn't consciously aware of doing (the subconscious is a sneaky, 
subversive thing that cannot be trusted).

      One of the things I always do is look for ways to turn the series format 
on its head, and show us our characters from other perspectives, since 
perspective is so much at the heart of the show.  Whether that's jumping 
forward in time, or an ISN documentary, or seeing everything through the eyes 
of a third party (or two), it's always a risk, because it's never what one 
expects to see, and a lot of people like to see what they expect to see.


 [ Summary: Loved "A View from the Gallery." ]

 #: 19747 S5/Seas. 5 SPOILERS
    12-Feb-98  23:47:05
Sb: #19714-#<thanks for the gift>



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