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Werthead

Babylon 5

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Ah, well, I'm known to spent ridiculous amounts of money for things I don't really need but 1,278,- $ for 22 paperbacks is stretching things somewhat.

Has anybody ever handled those books? The bare scripts wouldn't be very interesting to me, the interesting part would be the various versions and outlines. Sure, the scripts should also include cut scenes but the interesting things here is to check how much of the original plan is in the final show, and how much things changed on the way.

Yeah, I've got the first 15, because those are the actual scripts.  The rest I don't remember what they are but didn't catch my interest.  The 15th wasn't available for purchase either, you had to buy all the previous 14 volumes to get that one as a reward (which was announce before volume 1 was released).

The 15th is where the original notes for the story arcs of B5 and Babylon Prime were first published.

No, they're never going to be released as ebooks.  It was a limited run and meant to be rare.  They were published through Cafepress's print on demand service, so once they shut down the production run, you can only get them from buying from another fan.

I think you are imagining much many more story notes than were released.  Check out the wiki for a contents listing.

The original story arc was much less interesting than what we got, stretched out over 10 seasons instead of 5, and left a lot of room for invention along the way. 

With some minor edits, here's what I wrote back in 2009 about the original arc.  Much SPOILERS!!:

Spoiler
On 2009-04-08 at 5:46 AM, red snow said:

Watching it having seen the rest of the show is an education though as it is clear right from the start that the show knew exactly where it was going. All the references to the shadows, Londo and G'Kar's futures and the minbari connection to mankind was all laid down in the first season. The only glitch is the removal of Sinclair, which I suspect was then grafted onto Sheridan (Can anyone confirm this?). The reason I think this is because Sheridan's wife sounded exactly the same as Sinclair's girlfriend. I also think Delenn married Sinclair in the ceremony at the start of the show as well.



This is actually a more difficult question than it seems. The question is: which version of the story are you talking about? In some ways the question is very simple. In none of the versions was Sheridan simply dropped into Sinclair's story arc.

From the bonus volume of the cafepress scriptbooks we have the story alluded to in the treatment that JMS took from studio to studio trying to sell it, dated September 1988; we also have the 5-year arc as told in the 8 pages that JMS wrote prior to season 1 and only showed to Michael O'Hare and maybe a few others, probably written summer 1993. We also have the writer's bible that JMS gives to any writers he wants to let try sell him a story for the show in season 1. There are big differences between all three, but very little of the major stuff we saw from the beginning of season 3 to the end of season 5 was in the pre-season 1 Sinclair-centered arc.

Yes, JMS had a tight control on the story, but when he saw the need to redevelop the themes of the story in certain way he immediately rewrote the arc, without losing control of the story.

Very little of Sinclair's arc was transferred to Sheridan. About the only thing specific I can pinpoint is the season 2 finale as being identical. Those scenes with Kosh revealed in angel form to save Sinclair from falling were specifically described in the arc. After that, much of the broad story elements were radically different. The arc with the Narn-Centauri war is about the same with the Shadow helping Londo in secret. Londo's development post-3rd season is not as nuanced. Narn is not liberated, nor is the Cartagia story line present. G'kar disappears for a season and half as a rebel leader on the homeworld. The Shadows were supposed to "mind-rape" Catherine Sakai, leaving her an empty shell, and Sinclair turning to Delenn in his hour of despair, and them hooking up, as she intended. Both the Shadow war and the Earth Civil war NEVER happens during the original B5 arc. Instead what we get in year 5 is Londo (as Emperor) and the Shadows framing Sinclair for the mass-murder of most of the Vorlons (who lived in a hundred-mile long spaceship), a Minbari coup resulting with the warrior caste on top and destroying Babylon 5 in the finale, while Sinclair and Delenn escape with their infant child and Garibaldi. And then that's it. Series over. Earth is hated by Minbari, Vorlons, Centauri, Shadows, all the other races (perhaps even the Narn, that wasn't specified), and everyone including Earthgov wants to hunt down Sinclair.

The arc goes on for another page and half describing BABYLON PRIME, a follow-on series where we see the Sinclair and Delenn stealing B4 to use as a base to fight the Shadow war, pulling it forward in time (unspecified number of years). Garibaldi and some Narn sent by G'kar (a relative of his) would be there to help.

Notice so far no mention of Rangers or Valen; nor anything about the Vorlons and Shadows representing order and chaos and warring through proxies for millions of years, and no telepath arc. Those were never part of the original arc, not even for B-Prime. The only thing described is the flipside of the Babylon Squared story, explaining how the time jumping effects were causing Sinclair, Delenn and son to prematurely age. The son grows rapidly, but innocently, so becomes a religious figure to the galaxy.

Londo's keeper is described, and gets his redemption in B-Prime by freeing Sinclair and Delenn after their capture, resulting in Londo's death (I presume the idea that G'kar kills him is intact, but that is not specified) . The Shadows are defeated, then the Minbari warrior caste, and Sinclair's name is cleared for the mass-murder of the Vorlons. Sinclair's son leads the new interstellar alliance, and Sinclair retires to some green world to go fishing (I'm not kidding).

So what I think happened was JMS realized he would not get 10 years and two series to tell this story. So he brought the Shadow war forward to the B5 story, and in order to do that he was forced to split B5 from Earthgov. He probably also realized it would be insane to get rid of G'Kar for a season and a half since the actor was so good, thus the Citizen G'kar story was born. In the original treatment he specifically says no war would ever be shown in the B5 series, just that it would lead up to war in a possibly follow-on series. This was simply to sell the show, and I think he had every intention of keeping that promise, but once the first season starting airing and fans started speculating about the plot, he had to rethink his arc. I'm guessing he also realized even with only 800k per episode in the budget he could stretch the dollars to tell the larger story of the Shadow war and the Earth civil war, and didn't have to pray for a bigger budget in a second series.

So, could he have done this new arc with Sinclair? Sinclair did not have the connections in Earthforce to pull off the civil war arc. Sinclair had been written as an outsider, and an insider was needed. Babylon 4 was not anymore needed for a future war that would result in the interstellar alliance, so why not send it to the past? He could have kept that (War Without End) for the series finale, but I think he was also concerned he wouldn't get a 5th season to tell it, so pushed it to the 3rd season. Sinclair wasn't really needed from much between Babylon Squared and War Without End, so why not bring in a character who could have more at stake in the Shadow War and the Earth civil war storylines? From what I understand, and maybe I am wrong or misremember, JMS had considered having both Sinclair and Sheridan as characters on the show, Sheridan as military governor of B5, and Sinclair as ambassador on the council. That would have left each of them only half a story to do, so probably that was unsatisfactory, and he couldn't afford to pay for both of them anyway. Ultimately, it might have just been a gamble on JMS's part, knowing O'Hare didn't really want to stick around for five seasons let alone ten, the decision to go with Sheridan was probably the least risky.

Edited by SpaceChampion

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Yup. The original arc was bonkers, and not as good as what we got.

A major change was in Legacies. The "You talk like a Minbari, Commander" line from Neroon really got Straczynski's mind whirling and he realised he could take the story in a completely different direction. O'Hare leaving actually reinforced the need to take the story in that direction.

Edited by Werthead

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Babylon 5 Rewatch: Season 1, Episodes 15-16

Grail has a superb cast - William Sanderson, David Warner and Jim Norton - but doesn't do much with them. The Na'ka'leen Feeder is pretty cool but the CG looks pretty awful these days on DVD and a HD TV (on a smaller CRT back in the day, it looked pretty cool). I'm not quite sure why JMS hates this episode so much though. It's not the best, but it's nowhere near the worst and there's probably five or six weaker episodes (at least).

Eyes is similar in that it has a fantastic guest actor - DS9's Jeffrey Combs (Weyoun/Brunt) - but doesn't give him much to do. I like the fact that they effectively did a flashback episode without any lazy flashbacks, but it doesn't really go anywhere.

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On 7/22/2017 at 3:53 AM, Derfel Cadarn said:

Rangers? 

Zahadum sounding like khazadum?

elder races?

lorien?!?

Going 'beyond the rim'/sailing west?

yeah a lot of nods to LOTR.

Just watched The Coming of Shadows in season 2, where the first of Sinclair's rangers was introduced. So, yup, plenty of nods.

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Babylon 5: Season 1, Episodes 21-22.

Quality of Mercy is a fun and underrated episode. Chrsyalis is a really good season finale. It changes the style and feel of the show in a compelling way and really changes things, at a time when TV simply didn't change and everything remained static. It's the moment Babylon 5 came of age and is still pretty good twenty-three years later (!).

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31 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Babylon 5: Season 1, Episodes 21-22.

Quality of Mercy is a fun and underrated episode. Chrsyalis is a really good season finale. It changes the style and feel of the show in a compelling way and really changes things, at a time when TV simply didn't change and everything remained static. It's the moment Babylon 5 came of age and is still pretty good twenty-three years later (!).

When I first watched "Quality of Mercy" in 1994 I couldn't believe they got away with what they did. 

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Season 2, Episodes 1-2

Plus the first comic, which Straczynski used to help paper over the cracks of Sinclair leaving and Sheridan taking over. That's a really huge change and it's quite impressive how they ran with that and made it work.

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Season 2, Episodes 3-4

Geometry of Shadows has a lot of fun elements to it, like Straczynski referencing both Moorcock and Tolkien at the same time, and Michael Ansara is brilliant. A Distant Star is a little undercooked (there isn't enough time to do a really tense disaster story, and we don't know or care enough about the crew of the Cortez) but has some cracking scenes and lines. They're both great and maybe a bit underrated as episodes.

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Comics 5-8

I could be wrong, but I believe this is the first time ever that a live-action TV show establishes storylines in a comic-book spin-off that later become critically important on the show and even had flashbacks to the same events. Multimedia storytelling long before it was cool, and actually done properly (unlike Star Wars' very one-sided approach at the moment).

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I`d never read the comics, nor did I know any of their stories or information.  Very interesting indeed, it`s odd that being such a huge B5 fan, rewatching the series yearly, that I`ve never known this...

 

Great work Werthead, I hope you continue this thread and work.

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Season 2, Episodes 7-8

A Race Through Dark Places is a weird episode that sets up a lot of stuff, only for Divided Loyalties to completely render it all moot. Soul Mates is one half of a very good, very funny episode but the tedious Matt Stoner/Talia stuff lets it down. 

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I'm nearly done with season 4. Since go90 doesn't seem to have anything other than the episodes themselves, I doubt I'll venture into the extra stuff, like Werthead is doing. 

I hesitate to watch the final episode of this season, as it seems to be more of an epilogue to the entire series. Not sure if I should skip it, watch season 5, and then come back.

The proper ending of season 4 with the two episodes that conclude the Earth Civil War, were really good, and even gut wrenching.

Spoiler

Susan & Marcus :crying:

I also have to say that Garibaldi's brain washing is one of the most impressive long game arcs I've seen in a TV series. Most shows these days would probably close that kind of an arc within a few episodes, but this lasted a whole season, and it was fairly subtle.

Spoiler

I expected the Psy Corps to be behind it, but wasn't sure if Bester was directly involved. He is one of the best characters on the show, my favorite among the secondary ones.

 

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3 hours ago, Corvinus said:

I'm nearly done with season 4. Since go90 doesn't seem to have anything other than the episodes themselves, I doubt I'll venture into the extra stuff, like Werthead is doing. 

I hesitate to watch the final episode of this season, as it seems to be more of an epilogue to the entire series. Not sure if I should skip it, watch season 5, and then come back.

The proper ending of season 4 with the two episodes that conclude the Earth Civil War, were really good, and even gut wrenching.

  Hide contents

 

I'd say go ahead and watch the last episode of season 4. Last episode of season 5 (which they produced in season 4 when they thought that was going to be the last season) is a real epilogue.

Season 4 last episode is more of an exploration of what will be but doesn't really spoil anything for season 5, just slightly and briefly teases a tiny bit of it. I always thought it was a fun episode and enjoy it greatly.

Going into season 5 it's important to keep repeating this mantra "It's going to get better" and it really will. There's a couple golden episodes in the first 13 episodes of S5, but for the most part it's a bit tedius to get through. First half of S5 is worse than season 1 as a whole, but second half seems really get back on track.

Edited by drawkcabi

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3 hours ago, drawkcabi said:

First half of S5 is worse than season 1 as a whole, but second half seems really get back on track.

Personally I don't find the first half to be that bad, but on the other hand, I don't find the second half to be that great. The finale is superb, though.

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5 hours ago, felice said:

Personally I don't find the first half to be that bad, but on the other hand, I don't find the second half to be that great. The finale is superb, though.

Has been a couple of years since I last watched the series, but if I recall correctly, the finale of season 5 was shot at the end of season 4 when Straczynski expected that season to be the final one. Isn't Ivanova in it?  

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