The Babylon File Volume 2

B5JMS Poster b5jms-owner at
Thu May 6 04:32:02 EDT 1999

From: Adnan Virk <adnanvirk at>
Date: 5 May 1999 15:10:53 -0600
Lines: 35

So basically you dont' want people in the future reading anything
negative about your favorite (or wherever B5 figures into your TV
preferences) show?

Well anyways, I do agree that the first is far superior. I just love Vol
1. It's so torn up I may have to go find a brand new copy.

Andy Ydna wrote:
> My problem is that, it is HIS opinion, fine (obviously missed that bit).
> But his opinion is on paper for generations to come, I think it is
> disappointing that years from now people will pick up his book and read
> his introduction in thinking whether or not to try and watch the show
> and will find such negative comments about show that should be one for
> generations to come.
> I just wish he had some other fans comments in their, after all
> "Sleeping in Light" in particular was a very popular episode and has
> even been nominated for the Hugo award.
> Maybe it's just the fact that I prefer a non-biased account that doesn't
> spend it's time trying to prove a point. Personally, I didn't feel like
> he was doing that in the first volume, negatively or positively. But
> personally I felt the general quality of the entire writing was very
> poor and shallow because he was trying to make a point in the book.
> I still stick by most of my original comments, I do NOT recommend this
> book and hope Andy Lane makes a lot less money out of this one than his
> far superior first one.
> Thanks, Andy-Ydna

From: jmsatb5 at (Jms at B5)
Date: 5 May 1999 16:47:52 -0600
Lines: 76

There is a point, however, where bias and being opinionated leads to error and
untruth, because one is so adamant to advance one's own viewpoint that all the
other facts get skewed to support that.

All through Lane's book, he skews the facts to bolster his point of view, much
as a creationist skews the facts of science to bolster his point of view.

For instance, he makes much of the fact that we shot 6 days instead of 7 for
S5, and that this therefore led to a 1/7th decrease in quality.  Well, it
didn't affect the writing, the stories were still the stories.  I wrote just
what I would have written for a 7 day shoot.

Further, a fact he omits because it would get in the way of his argument is
that we *did* have the liberty to shoot 7 days when we thought it was
appropriate *and did so*.  (I think it was either A Tragey of Telepaths or
Phoenix Rising.)  

He omits the fact, documented through shooting schedules, that on virtually
ever episode from S1-S4, we wrapped early almost every day, sometimes by an
hour, sometimes by a couple of hours.  In 110 episodes, we had only about 20
days of serious overtime, over 5 years of shooting, and in each case the
overtime amounted to only a couple of hours here and there.  Never once had a
forced call on an actor.

Why is this important?  Because if you take an average of wrapping early 1 and
a half hours per day, over six days, you *have* a seventh day right there.

When we went to a 6 day schedule, we added about a page to each day's shoot,
and we generally didn't go home early, we wrapped on time.  (Though in fact we
were able to go home early on some days, depending on the scenes.)  That's it. 
The main burden was on the art department to turn around sets quickly enough. 
But there was no other qualitative impact otherwise.  Not one.  Zilch.

To be sure that it could be done effectively, I was the first one to do a 6 day
shoot, on Sleeping in Light, figuring that if I as a first time director could
do it, anybody could.  And we did just fine.

Anyway, that kind of bias infects the whole book, because it wasn't done the
way he would have done it, and therefore it has to be bad.  And he looks for
anything to bolster that point of view, no matter how insupportable.  It's not
just that this is his POV, it has to be the truth, and he insists that no one
can have any other point of view, or that person is an uncritical fanboy.

But it's possible to be an uncritical fanboy in a positive *and* a negative
direction.  And that is the case with the Lane book.  He does not take the
facts in a critical way, examining them on their own terms, he lines them up to
try and reflect his thesis going in.  

A person can have a bias that leads them to be blindly praising toward
something; and a person can have a bias that leads them to be blindly negative
toward something.  This is a case of the latter.

I've never had a problem with critical reviews.  Diane mentioned the B5
magazine, but if you actually look at the reviews in that magazine, many of
them do say negative things about various episodes.  Mind you this is in a
publication that's licensed, and which I could have deleted that material if
I'd chosen to.  But I let it go through, because I think we can all learn from
criticism, and if our own publication was exempt from that, then it was no
longer a proper magazine.  I gritted my teeth a lot, but it went through.

There seems to be this perception that if something says positive things, then
it isn't being critical; if it's negative, then somehow it's more objective or
critical.  This is fallacious reasoning.  Criticism should be fair and
evenhanded and constructive and, where possible, based in factual reporting.

This book is none of those things.


(jmsatb5 at
B5 Official Fan Club at:

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