[B5JMS] Attn: JMS - Any word on DVD sales?

b5jms-admin at cs.columbia.edu b5jms-admin at cs.columbia.edu
Tue Nov 12 04:21:27 EST 2002

From: "Joseph DeMartino" <jdemarti at bellsouth.net>
Date: Mon, 11 Nov 2002 01:27:18 -0500
Lines: 88

> All I'll say is that Warners is, apparently, stunned. <

I had a feeling they might be. <g>  You must be very pleased and proud
at yet another vindication of the basic *rightness* of your approach to
this series and this story.  You probably have too much class to march
over to WHV and loudly say, "I *told* you so!", but I'm not sure I could
resist the temptation.  In fact, I'll probably send them a letter
tomorrow both thanking them for the DVDs and reminding them of the dozen
or so *previous* letters that I've sent them - beginning in 1997 -
urging them to release the show in very much the form they finally did.
It is absurd, but I think I feel nearly as happy about this as you do.
I can't be sure, but I hope that the letter-writing campaigns, the
original on-line petition and the general fan agitation played some
small part in causing WHV not only to release the DVDs but to do them
*right*.   My only small complaint is that either the packing or QC at
the plant(s) needs a little tweaking.  Two of the discs in my set were
rattling around loose, and one of them was scratched badly enough to be
unplayable.  (Naturally it was disc 4, with a couple of my favorite
episodes, and one of the two commentary tracks. <g>)   I'm in the
process of arranging to exchange the set for a new one.

I hope the extremely strong sales for "B5" S1 on DVD will encourage them
to put even more planning and resources into the remaining sets (and
that someone at WHV takes a look at Henrik Herranen's superb analysis of
the CGI transfer at
http://www.cs.tut.fi/~leopold/Babylon5/DVD/DVDTransfer.html)  I also
hope that the obvious success of the DVDs causes them to accelerate the
release schedule for the remaining seasons - because I'm already eager
to watch S2 in this great new form.  Finally I hope that The Powers That
Be at Warner Bros. studio realize the potential that "B5" *still* has,
and dust off those old plans for a theatrical movie.  It seems to me
that if they get off the stick now, and assemble a good production team
that could carry most of the non-script labor for you, we could see a
big screen "B5" adventure in time for the release of S5 in November of
2005 - a good cross-marketing opportunity, and a time when neither a
"Star Wars" nor a "Star Trek" film would be in theaters.

Just a suggestion. <g>

The flaws in the set, such as they are, are minor.  The scratches and
dirt on the film aren't terribly surprising.  I expect some of them
reflect damage to the original negatives, which were handled repeatedly
in creating the new widescreen masters.   It would be nice if such
things could be cleaned-up - perhaps digitally, although I know that can
be very expensive - on subsequent sets.

The CGI, in particular, looks very good to my eye on a 56" widescreen
set.  I'd love to see it look *better*, as Henrik's paper suggests it
might, but I frankly don't see the massive problems some people are
reporting.  The CGI, on a television schedule and budget, and given the
state of the art in 1994, was never at "Jurassic Park" levels to begin
with, so there is a limit to how good it *can* look on the DVDs.
Besides, unlike some more recent SF fare, "Babylon 5" isn't *about*
special effects, and therefore doesn't live or die by how good they
look.  (The FX on series like "Dr. Who", "Blake's 7" and "Star Trek"
look pretty crude by today's standards.  They're still watchable, and
watched, because they had stories to tell, and told them well.)

The 5.1 Dolby Digital remix is excellent - not pounding you over the
head 100% of the time, but the dialogue is crystal clear, the ambience
provided by the surround channels is subtle, but welcome, and Chris
Franke's music has never sounded better.  The bass levels are *fine*.  I
don't know what discs certain critics were actually listening to.  When
the surrounds are actually important to the *action* - as in the battle
scenes - they are *there*.  All-in-all a very good and measured use of a
5.1 sound format.

I *did* wince at seeing Asimov spelled as "Azimov" throughout the
subtitles.  Did someone think this was an alien name?  <g>

Congratulations again.  This is probably the 10th time I've watched S1
straight through (or nearly so) and I'm still finding things in it that
I never noticed before.  (The clarity of the DVDs is startling, much
more so that the first "test disc".)  I'm even  enjoying episodes that I
didn't like so much the first time around, and which I haven't gone out
of my way to watch since like "TKO" and "Grail". <g>  The level of
detail (it is a kick to freeze-frame "Universe Today" and actually be
able to read all the headlines) and foreshadowing in this inaugural
season is astonishing.  I'm more impressed than ever at your skills as a
storyteller, and frankly, I didn't think that was possible.



From: jmsatb5 at aol.com (Jms at B5)
Date: 11 Nov 2002 22:22:59 GMT
Lines: 15

>You probably have too much class to march
>over to WHV and loudly say, "I *told* you so!"

We've never actually *met*, have we?


(jmsatb5 at aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2002 by synthetic worlds, ltd., 
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine 
and don't send me story ideas)

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