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Old July 28 2010, 01:06 AM   #2236
Kegg
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5 (NO spoilers, please)

I know JMS likes talking about religion a lot in a sci-fi context, but this story about Joan of Arc doesn't really add to anything he's already said, I felt. I generally felt that way about Crusade's handling of religion; it's what Babylon 5 did, only less so. There's a lot of respect and interest in the notion of reverence and ritual; add to this some criticism of institutions and people and you sort of have the whole thing in a nutshell; if you combine it with the assumption he's particularly sympathetic to the outlooks espoused by Delenn and late series G'Kar.

Reverend wrote: View Post
Unless you know for a fact that he's factually incorrect in his assertion (I certainly don't, one way or the other), I'm not sure what your point is.
It sounded like a tall tale. You don't make or break records for an entire genre of show on whims, most times. Was that number of shots 'something of a record' for a space opera TV show? Or what did he mean by shows of this kind? Hm. But anyway.

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
Also, I've never seen a female technomage,
That's a good point, really. Had never considered that.
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Old July 28 2010, 01:38 AM   #2237
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5 (NO spoilers, please)

Lindley wrote: View Post
TheGodBen wrote: View Post
He's a technomage and I inherently dislike the concept of the technomages, so he starts out with a disadvantage to me. They're show-offs that pretend they have magic when all they are is nerds with delusions of majesty.
Well, not exactly. The Passing of the Techno-Mages trilogy goes into a lot of detail, but in summary, the technology they use is not something they fully understand or even fully control. It's implanted at a young age, and controlled by a mental component which is unique to each user. In Galen's case, he casts his "spells" by visualizing equations on a blackboard.

They know perfectly well it's technology, but in many ways it is indistinguishable from magic....even to the Mages themselves.

They're basically the Jedi of the B5 universe.
I think they are more appealing when seen as a group that are direct and opposite to the telepaths.
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Old July 28 2010, 01:42 AM   #2238
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5 (NO spoilers, please)

I tried to rewatch Crusade (and catch any missed episodes) but War Zone was as far as I got. I can't stand the TechnoMages. I'm a science fiction heretic who doesn't believe in Clarke's Law. The one that says any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic? I think that's only true if you wanted to believe in magic in the first place. I can't suspend disbelief for TechnoMages.
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Old July 28 2010, 01:59 AM   #2239
Jan
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5 (NO spoilers, please)

Kegg wrote: View Post
I know JMS likes talking about religion a lot in a sci-fi context, but this story about Joan of Arc doesn't really add to anything he's already said, I felt.
JMS didn't say anything. This was Peter David's episode.

It sounded like a tall tale. You don't make or break records for an entire genre of show on whims, most times. Was that number of shots 'something of a record' for a space opera TV show? Or what did he mean by shows of this kind?
No, the number of shots alone isn't a record. As I posted earlier, "Severed Dreams" has 132 scenes. But it doesn't come close to "War Zone" in the complexity of the number of interior and exterior shots.

In the script books, JMS explained several times how it was that he managed to stay under budget and it was by balancing complex and simple, whether by having a heavy effects episode followed by a lighter effects episode or sometimes by limiting sets or stunts. I'm certain that that balancing was one of the reasons why he ended up writing so many episodes himself - because he writes to the budget. So if anybody knows whether WZ was among the most complex ever done in the B5 universe, I'd say it's JMS.

Tell you what--you folks pick any 5 of the busiest, most complex B5 or Crusade episodes and I'll check the scenes/shots and list them here for comparison (With one exception: "War Without End" parts I and II because those two scripts traded scenes between each other endlessly and I could only give you counts as the scripts were written, not as the episodes ended up).

There might have been a touch of hyperbole in the (paraphrasing) 'or any other show' bit but probably not a whole lot.

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
Also, I've never seen a female technomage,
That's a good point, really. Had never considered that.[/QUOTE]

Well, TheGodBen hasn't.

Jan
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Old July 28 2010, 02:11 AM   #2240
Kegg
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5 (NO spoilers, please)

Jan wrote: View Post
JMS didn't say anything. This was Peter David's episode.
Really. I dunno; the religuous stuff sounded a lot like JMS. I know he credits himself wth some rewrites of David's Babylon 5 episodes (a Londo line, the teddy bear scene, I think) so I wonder if his hand is in there anywhere.

So if anybody knows whether WZ was among the most complex ever done in the B5 universe, I'd say it's JMS.
That's shifting the goalposts a little. He said 'for a script on this or just about any other show.', which suggests he'd consider this notable in some way even outside a Bab 5 context.
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Old July 28 2010, 02:32 AM   #2241
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5 (NO spoilers, please)

Kegg wrote: View Post
Jan wrote: View Post
JMS didn't say anything. This was Peter David's episode.
Really. I dunno; the religuous stuff sounded a lot like JMS. I know he credits himself wth some rewrites of David's Babylon 5 episodes (a Londo line, the teddy bear scene, I think) so I wonder if his hand is in there anywhere.

So if anybody knows whether WZ was among the most complex ever done in the B5 universe, I'd say it's JMS.
That's shifting the goalposts a little. He said 'for a script on this or just about any other show.', which suggests he'd consider this notable in some way even outside a Bab 5 context.
Did JMS wrong you in another life or something? You seem determined to take every single opportunity to make little jabs and cheep shots. It's getting tedious and increasingly transparent.

stj wrote: View Post
I tried to rewatch Crusade (and catch any missed episodes) but War Zone was as far as I got. I can't stand the TechnoMages. I'm a science fiction heretic who doesn't believe in Clarke's Law. The one that says any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic? I think that's only true if you wanted to believe in magic in the first place. I can't suspend disbelief for TechnoMages.
The "magic" part of techno-mage abilities are clearly an affectation. Clark's Law was just the germ of the idea and not meant to be applied directly.

Jan wrote: View Post
TheGodBen wrote: View Post
Also, I've never seen a female technomage,
That's a good point, really. Had never considered that.
Well, TheGodBen hasn't.

Jan
Actually he may have already. I think there was a female techno-mage among Elric's group back in season two, if memory serves.
I suppose I should point out that, while all the ones we see look human, techno-mages aren't any specific race; they're adopted or recruited at a young age and trained as apprentices. Gender or indeed species makes no difference.
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Old July 28 2010, 03:15 AM   #2242
Jan
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5 (NO spoilers, please)

Reverend wrote: View Post
Kegg wrote: View Post
Jan wrote: View Post
JMS didn't say anything. This was Peter David's episode.
Really. I dunno; the religuous stuff sounded a lot like JMS. I know he credits himself wth some rewrites of David's Babylon 5 episodes (a Londo line, the teddy bear scene, I think) so I wonder if his hand is in there anywhere.
Yep. A line. A scene. In case you hadn't noticed, the Joan of Arc bit runs through the entire episode. I guess you'll find out for sure when the Crusade: Other Voices script book comes out, won't you?

That's shifting the goalposts a little. He said 'for a script on this or just about any other show.', which suggests he'd consider this notable in some way even outside a Bab 5 context.
Did JMS wrong you in another life or something? You seem determined to take every single opportunity to make little jabs and cheep shots. It's getting tedious and increasingly transparent.
I've been wondering the same thing. You're dissecting a freaking memo, not judging his entry for the Guinness Book of World Records for Most Complex Episode of Science Fiction.

I don't have scripts for other series but the offer's still open if you want me to 'prove' what he's said using B5 and Crusade. You choose the episodes.

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Old July 28 2010, 04:14 AM   #2243
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5 (NO spoilers, please)

I believe what Joe is referring to is "3 scenes per page." I'll throw in a count from a non-B5 script in here: "Yesterday's Enterprise", from TNG had 93 scenes with ~39 interior shots and ~18 exterior shots. Also this was in 59 pages, as opposed to Crusade's 43.
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Old July 28 2010, 02:37 PM   #2244
Admiral Shran
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5 (NO spoilers, please)

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
It's not helped by Captain Bingo Bob's characterisation in this episode as he is obstinate in the middle of a murder investigation because he secretly wants to play with Lochley's boobies.
I wouldn't mind playing with Lochley's boobies.
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Old July 28 2010, 07:02 PM   #2245
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5 (NO spoilers, please)

Reverend wrote: View Post
I think what Jan is getting at is that the term 'pilot' is often misused. Pilots are single episodes commissioned to try and sell a show and if successful, often end up being the first episode which is why some people (including Joss Whedon apparently) have come to assume the concepts are one and the same.

Kegg wrote: View Post
David cgc wrote: View Post
Honestly, I don't care how many shots there were, I thought "Warzone" was incredibly dull.
Indeed. It's weird I remember JMS not defending this, because the quotes posted are his usual trenchant self. I wouldn't call "War Zone" slow per se but it's nothing more then one long torturous info-dump.
What would you have expected him to say? "Yes I know it's crap. I never wanted to write the damn thing in the first place."
Though, I always got a sense that "War Zone" was something of a shot across the bow from JMS to the TNT Execs. Like he was going, "OK, you have these notes? Fine, I'll write an episode that uses your notes, and I'll SHOW YOU how much it sucks." Like he wrote the episode poorly to prove a point to them or something.

I admit, that's just my read, but... War Zone is really substandard work for him.
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Old July 28 2010, 07:31 PM   #2246
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5 (NO spoilers, please)

Appearances and Other Deceits (*½)

Neroon shows up on the ship with one of the Crab People in order to bitch about minor, unimportant things. Captain Bingo Bob puts up with them because it's his job and he doesn't have a choice. I wonder was JMS drawing inspiration from real life?

This episode is based on an original sci-fi concept: aliens invade the ship by snatching people's bodies. JMS really is the king of original science fiction, I don't know where he gets some of these ideas from! The aliens are malevolent and threaten to kill the bodies they have taken control of unless Bingo Bob brings them to a planet so that the evil aliens can take over. I love the nuance here; are these aliens really up to no good, or do we just misunderstand them? Should Bingo Bob accede to their demands? No! Because the aliens are evil and just want to take control. Like I said, I love the nuance here, I'm not sure which side I'd be on.

On a serious note, this episode reminds me a lot of Enterprise's The Crossing, an episode where Enterprise comes across a giant ship and the aliens from that ship start taking control the crew. Enterprise was a show with a lot of potential, it could have been the most epic Star Trek series of them all, the one that showed the foundation of the Federation. Even the Temporal Cold War could have been interesting if done right. But Enterprise squandered its chance, particularly in season 2, in order to do standalone stories that had already been done better on other shows. I know that Crusade could become something great just as B5 did, but episodes like this aren't living up to that potential. Perhaps there was a TNT order to do a lot of standalone episodes, but even still, surely someone had a better idea for an episode than this.

On the plus side, no Galen again. If he stays off screen like this then he could become my favourite character. Max is becoming likeable, I enjoyed his egotism, it reminds me of someone I know. There's also some stuff about a greyshirt (who wore green) being sacrificed for the sake of the crew, that was fun.

Captain Greyshirt: 19
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Old July 28 2010, 08:03 PM   #2247
Jan
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5 (NO spoilers, please)

The main purpose of this episode was to explain the uniform change so there wasn't much room for a mor complex alien story. If they hadn't pulled the plug, more time would have had to be wasted on there being a 'horrible accident' in the ship's laundry destroying the grey uniforms. The one and only thing I liked was the new uniforms, though.

JMS put some zingers aimed at TNT into this episode. The most blatant was Welles' comment about having to make some compromises. This was the last episode filmed. Stephen Furst (aka Vir) was the director.

Crusade was always going to be less arc-heavy than B5 was but the last two episodes JMS wrote were going to kick the *real* arc of the story into high gear.

Jan
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Old July 28 2010, 08:27 PM   #2248
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5 (NO spoilers, please)

If memory serves the line about the grey uniforms going bye-bye was going to be in 'To The Ends of the Earth', which as Jan said, would have kicked the real story into touch and was slated to be filmed after the next one (the next one being 'Value Judgements' the equally unfilmed "Bester on the lam" episode.)
IIRC it would have been a brief exchange between Gideon and Matherson to the effect of: -
"I hate these things. You think anyone on Earth fells any better about the mission because of how we dress?"
"Nope."
"Didn't think so. Tell the crew to switch back and I'll inform EarthGov of the accident in the laundry"

"Yes sir...what accident?"

Trivia time: The alien in the cryotube at the top of the episode was none other than Doug Jones, extra-skinny creature performer extraordinaire in an uncredited role.
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Old July 28 2010, 10:46 PM   #2249
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5 (NO spoilers, please)

Wait, which uniforms are the "good" ones, and which the "bad"?
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Old July 28 2010, 10:52 PM   #2250
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Re: A Niner Watches Babylon 5 (NO spoilers, please)

The Star Trek looking ones are the bad ones.
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