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Author Topic: Babylon 5 Reboot in Development  (Read 1765 times)

Stephen Tannhauser

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Re: Babylon 5 Reboot in Development
« Reply #45 on: October 04, 2021, 09:35:08 AM »
It wasn't just the Vorlons; they were actually among the youngest of the Ancients. The Shadows appear in the religion of the Narn, atl least, and the other Ancients--like the Walkers and Krishiac (sp?)--were in the creation tales of peoples far older than humans.

Which is another one of those things that can be taken either way depending on the viewer: you can take it as reason to be skeptical of religious texts' claims for getting wrong what they witnessed, or you can take it as reason to be open to religious texts' claims when it turns out that what they recorded was actually real.

The idea that nonhuman entities can and will misrepresent themselves to humans (or other mortals) as having a spiritual status they don't in fact possess would not actually be a new concept for most religions, after all.
Better to keep silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt. -- Mark Twain

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HappyDaze

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Re: Babylon 5 Reboot in Development
« Reply #46 on: October 04, 2021, 09:39:54 AM »
It wasn't just the Vorlons; they were actually among the youngest of the Ancients. The Shadows appear in the religion of the Narn, atl least, and the other Ancients--like the Walkers and Krishiac (sp?)--were in the creation tales of peoples far older than humans.

Which is another one of those things that can be taken either way depending on the viewer: you can take it as reason to be skeptical of religious texts' claims for getting wrong what they witnessed, or you can take it as reason to be open to religious texts' claims when it turns out that what they recorded was actually real.

The idea that nonhuman entities can and will misrepresent themselves to humans (or other mortals) as having a spiritual status they don't in fact possess would not actually be a new concept for most religions, after all.
Of course, if the aliens have the powers of gods (and some additional materials expanded the other Ancients showing some were far beyond the Vorlons), is it really the place of lesser beings to say they are not gods?

Stephen Tannhauser

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Re: Babylon 5 Reboot in Development
« Reply #47 on: October 04, 2021, 10:07:02 AM »
Of course, if the aliens have the powers of gods (and some additional materials expanded the other Ancients showing some were far beyond the Vorlons), is it really the place of lesser beings to say they are not gods?

Depends on how you define a god. If it's just a matter of comparative individual or social power, that's one thing. If it's a question of superior moral status, or role in creating life and the universe, that's something else.

The entire theme of the Shadow War, if you look at it from that point of view, is the arc by which a child finally achieves enough moral understanding to see where his parents have failed to live up to the morals they taught, and what to do after that moment of realization -- does one take that moment as inspiration to do better oneself, or to give up and throw out those morals entirely? One thing I liked about B5 was its willingness to ask such questions.
Better to keep silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt. -- Mark Twain

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Pat

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Re: Babylon 5 Reboot in Development
« Reply #48 on: October 04, 2021, 10:18:42 AM »
JMS has said that he tried to deliberately leave it unclear whether the religious imagery of various races had been implanted by the Vorlons or merely exploited by them. He has also pointed out that there are many elements of the story where we are not told what the actual objective truth of a situation is, only what the characters think or believe is the truth.  It's possible that this didn't come across as clearly as he wished, but that was at least his intended approach.
It can be hard to sell an unreliable narrator in a serial show with a (fairly) consistent cast who are portrayed mostly sympathetically. Heroic narratives have developed certain conventions, and one of them is that the inevitable infodumps are typically thinly-veiled attempts by the author to explain the setting to the audience, rather than the biased perspective of a character inside the setting. It's hard enough as it is to incorporate background information seamlessly and naturalistically, much less having to fight against the current of expectations.

Stephen Tannhauser

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Re: Babylon 5 Reboot in Development
« Reply #49 on: October 04, 2021, 12:06:10 PM »
It can be hard to sell an unreliable narrator in a serial show with a (fairly) consistent cast who are portrayed mostly sympathetically. Heroic narratives have developed certain conventions, and one of them is that the inevitable infodumps are typically thinly-veiled attempts by the author to explain the setting to the audience, rather than the biased perspective of a character inside the setting. It's hard enough as it is to incorporate background information seamlessly and naturalistically, much less having to fight against the current of expectations.

True; but then, that's one of the reasons why G'Kar was given a very important line in an early S1 episode, when he said to Catherine Sakai, "No one here is exactly what he appears. Not Mollari, not Sinclair, not Delenn... and not me." JMS has since confirmed that that was meant to be a deliberate heads-up to the viewer not to take everything a character says of himself or his world at face value.

Which is one of the things that will hopefully make a B5 reboot interesting. Now that audiences are primed to be slightly more skeptical, how will narrative arcs be delivered differently?
Better to keep silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt. -- Mark Twain

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Banjo Destructo

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Re: Babylon 5 Reboot in Development
« Reply #50 on: October 04, 2021, 02:09:06 PM »
Well, I am kinda biased, I love B5.   Back when it was broadcast my dad and I purchased enough VHS blank tapes to record every episode in order when it was being rerun.  My wife and I purchased the DVD box sets. And when those went bad we purchased a new box set on DVD last year, along with a box set of the movies (almost all the movies.. dunno why they left out the one or two movies that they did leave out), and crusade (which I hadn't seen until I got the dvd set).  I even played a little bit of "babylon 5: a call to arms"... which led to my sad addiction to "A call to arms: star fleet" which is sad because I can't get anyone to play and I care more about the miniatures than I should.

I generally like JMS as a person even if I disagree with him on some things.  I've been meaning to read his biography.   As for a remake of B5, I'm kinda excited, and kinda dreadful.  I might give it a shot, but I'd just as rather keep what I have now and not deal with any stress about things being different.     I'd rather a brand new tv series that I might not have so much attachment to, in order to give it a better fair shake at a first impression.

HappyDaze

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Re: Babylon 5 Reboot in Development
« Reply #51 on: October 04, 2021, 02:54:50 PM »
Well, I am kinda biased, I love B5.   Back when it was broadcast my dad and I purchased enough VHS blank tapes to record every episode in order when it was being rerun.  My wife and I purchased the DVD box sets. And when those went bad we purchased a new box set on DVD last year, along with a box set of the movies (almost all the movies.. dunno why they left out the one or two movies that they did leave out), and crusade (which I hadn't seen until I got the dvd set).  I even played a little bit of "babylon 5: a call to arms"... which led to my sad addiction to "A call to arms: star fleet" which is sad because I can't get anyone to play and I care more about the miniatures than I should.

I generally like JMS as a person even if I disagree with him on some things.  I've been meaning to read his biography.   As for a remake of B5, I'm kinda excited, and kinda dreadful.  I might give it a shot, but I'd just as rather keep what I have now and not deal with any stress about things being different.     I'd rather a brand new tv series that I might not have so much attachment to, in order to give it a better fair shake at a first impression.
I generally preferred B5 Wars over B5 ACTA. You can still find the pdfs needed to play it (and there are a LOT of ships available). I moved to it after years of SFB, and only moved away from it around 2008 after getting back with my SFB buddies that had switched over entirely to FedCom (90% of the options of SFB at 50% of the effort). Still, I may have to dif my B5 Wars stuff out some day soon...

Lurkndog

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Re: Babylon 5 Reboot in Development
« Reply #52 on: October 05, 2021, 12:45:24 PM »
One of the things I wonder about the new B5 is the "five year plan."

The original show famously had a 5 year plot outline with a beginning, middle and end. This was great in some ways, but bad in others. It had a pretty good ending, but issues with actor availability and syndication meant that they had to change course at several points during its run. They had to force an ending onto Season 4, for instance, because they didn't think they were getting Season 5. Then they did get Season 5, and had to kind of stretch out the story they had left. Then by the end of season 5, when things were going really well for them, people were like "Why are we ending this?"

So far, the new show has not said "5 year plan" and I wonder if that's not an accident.

I think this time around they probably have a vague outline for roughly five seasons. But I would expect the show to be written more as a set of one-season arcs, with the last one being the finale arc, but with the ability to stretch to six or seven seasons if they are doing great by season 3.

And that's assuming we are getting 20+ episodes in a season. If they shoot it in seasons of 8-12 episodes like Westworld or Game of Thrones, all bets are off.

HappyDaze

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Re: Babylon 5 Reboot in Development
« Reply #53 on: October 05, 2021, 01:17:59 PM »
One of the things I wonder about the new B5 is the "five year plan."

The original show famously had a 5 year plot outline with a beginning, middle and end. This was great in some ways, but bad in others. It had a pretty good ending, but issues with actor availability and syndication meant that they had to change course at several points during its run. They had to force an ending onto Season 4, for instance, because they didn't think they were getting Season 5. Then they did get Season 5, and had to kind of stretch out the story they had left. Then by the end of season 5, when things were going really well for them, people were like "Why are we ending this?"

So far, the new show has not said "5 year plan" and I wonder if that's not an accident.

I think this time around they probably have a vague outline for roughly five seasons. But I would expect the show to be written more as a set of one-season arcs, with the last one being the finale arc, but with the ability to stretch to six or seven seasons if they are doing great by season 3.

And that's assuming we are getting 20+ episodes in a season. If they shoot it in seasons of 8-12 episodes like Westworld or Game of Thrones, all bets are off.
Do shows even do 20+ episode seasons anymore? The short season shows seem to be the only thing around.

Banjo Destructo

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Re: Babylon 5 Reboot in Development
« Reply #54 on: October 05, 2021, 01:33:15 PM »
If they do stick to shorter seasons of 10-12 episodes in this B5 reboot, it will be a lot easier for JMS, who basically wrote almost every episode of the original B5.

I do like when there are episodes that just let you breathe though, develop character relationships while handling smaller day-to-day crises instead of every episode having to be about the big plots.   I miss 20-30 episode seasons.   There's so much more TV these days, but much less at the same time.

Lurkndog

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Re: Babylon 5 Reboot in Development
« Reply #55 on: October 05, 2021, 01:35:37 PM »
Do shows even do 20+ episode seasons anymore? The short season shows seem to be the only thing around.

Most of JMS's shows have had long seasons, I think. The only one that didn't was Sense8, and it was a Netflix show run by other people.

The Berlantiverse shows on the CW usually have long seasons.

OTOH, if they go for top dollar maxi-series production values, it will probably have short seasons, just to accommodate the post-production. But it will look and sound gorgeous.

Ratman_tf

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Re: Babylon 5 Reboot in Development
« Reply #56 on: October 05, 2021, 01:43:45 PM »
So far, the new show has not said "5 year plan" and I wonder if that's not an accident.

Well, we don't know much of anything at this point. A few tweets from JMS and some articles commenting on those tweets.

It's hard for me to even have an opinion. I have concerns and trepidations, but nothing solid.
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Lurkndog

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Re: Babylon 5 Reboot in Development
« Reply #57 on: October 08, 2021, 12:56:19 PM »
So far, the new show has not said "5 year plan" and I wonder if that's not an accident.

Well, we don't know much of anything at this point. A few tweets from JMS and some articles commenting on those tweets.

It's hard for me to even have an opinion. I have concerns and trepidations, but nothing solid.

That's sensible. As far as I know, they're in early pre-production on a new pilot. I don't think the script is even finished yet.

The pilot could be a year out, and if the original series is any indication, things could change a lot between the pilot and the first few episodes.

I suspect we will hear from JMS a lot sooner than that, though. One of the things he did with the original B5 was to go online and promote the show before it premiered. He was on Usenet, and there were official B5 forums on GEnie and Compuserve. So by the time a completed pilot was ready, there was an online fanbase primed to seek it out. And he kept it up while the show was running, issuing hints and spoilers, and answering questions from fans about points of trivia and continuity.

EDIT:

Or not. This is from JMS' twitter account:

Quote
Not gonna blab much about what's in the pilot on any subject, much prefer to let folks see it in finished form.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2021, 01:06:23 PM by Lurkndog »

Stephen Tannhauser

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Re: Babylon 5 Reboot in Development
« Reply #58 on: October 08, 2021, 01:54:37 PM »
The pilot could be a year out, and if the original series is any indication, things could change a lot between the pilot and the first few episodes.

I suspect we will hear from JMS a lot sooner than that, though. EDIT: Or not.

That actually kind of makes sense. Babylon 5 and Buffy the Vampire Slayer were among the first shows to really take advantage of Internet-based interactive marketing, and the success of that means most shows do it now. So now the reboot will stand out by virtue of not doing what has been established as normal, thus fanning the flames of curiosity.
Better to keep silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt. -- Mark Twain

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Lurkndog

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Re: Babylon 5 Reboot in Development
« Reply #59 on: October 09, 2021, 10:43:29 AM »
That actually kind of makes sense. Babylon 5 and Buffy the Vampire Slayer were among the first shows to really take advantage of Internet-based interactive marketing, and the success of that means most shows do it now. So now the reboot will stand out by virtue of not doing what has been established as normal, thus fanning the flames of curiosity.

It may also be a simple matter that JMS and B5 aren't unknowns any more, so he doesn't need to self-promote.

The flurry of news coverage surrounding the announcement proves that.

I hope JMS is making phone calls and trying to get some of the band back together. People like Tim Earls, who designed the Starfury.