Well, just to jump in here to this spirited (yeah, let's go with that) conversation...
I would say the only person who can really answer this question is Michael Piller, since he wrote the pilot script, and that unfortunately cannot happen now.
I understand JMS' frustration, though, even 20 years later. He made a series that a lot of people love, but it wasn't the revolutionary, game-changing show that he wanted it to be. ("Lost" was that show -- just look at all the imitators.) And it does look dated now (not helped by a horrible DVD transfer).
Meanwhile, here's DS9, a show with a similar premise that I genuinely believe JMS thinks was ripped off from him, and 20 years later, it's one of the more well-regarded sci-fi shows in history, Trek or not. I would argue that it does not look dated (it helps that it had twice the budget of B5), and if they can manage to somehow transfer the entire thing, even the CGI-intensive later seasons, to HD, DS9 is going to be around and well-thought-of long past the time JMS is gone.
That has to be annoying.
Did anybody else think, though, that JMS decided he would crib some things from DS9 (I guess what's good for the goose and all)? Remember, DS9's first season aired a year before B5's first season.
And what changes did we see JMS make from pilot to series? Calm, serene first officer changed to fiery female officer with a chip on her shoulder. Older, seasoned medical officer changed to young, brash, arrogant doctor full of confidence. No similarities to any characters on DS9 there...
I think the first episode of the third season is definitely the one where he was trying to tweak DS9 the hardest, though. DS9, first episode of the third season, they get a significant new set, conference room. They also feature a major change to the show, a new warship attached to the station (combining technologies of multiple races).
B5, first episode of the third season (airing one year after DS9), they get a significant new set, conference room. They also feature a major change to the show, a new warship attached to the station (combining technologies of multiple races).
I would argue that those two things are way too specific, occurring in the *exact* same episodes of both series, to be a coincidence.
Episode title? "Matters of Honor."