The old "DS9 stole from B5" thing

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Forbin, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. Nagisa Furukawa

    Nagisa Furukawa Commander Red Shirt

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    The idea of
    the elder races leaving to go to the Grey Havens-err, beyond the rim and the protagonist joining them there at the end
    is clearly LotR-inspired.
     
  2. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    A superficial similarity does not an inspiration make. Hell, that example doesn't make much sense. The elves in LotR were going to a specific place, a paradise, like coming home. The First Ones went *away* from their homes with no destination in mind. Just "out there" into the void between galaxies.

    Even so, that's *one* story element among hundreds. JMS has made no bones about what his influences were and while LotR is in there, it's nowhere near as significant as some people try to make out. Ironic considering how for years people insisted that LotR was an allegory for WWII, even after Tolkien said otherwise.
     
  3. dub

    dub Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Location? What is this?
    Someone claiming to be from the production staff of DS9 posted this on facebook:


    Ah-HA!! :lol:
     
  4. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm a Tolkien purist through and through. Babylon 5 shows huge influence from Tolkien's legendarium and is undoubtedly its biggest influence. JMS' online comments consistently reference LOTR as a comparison and influence. Nagisa is right in that having the elder races leave the younger ones for the Grey Havens is a huge riff but there are countless others that are vital to the DNA of the show.

    Some are obvious like the Rangers and Sinclair's Za'ha'dum fall and resurrection. Others are to do with the general structure of the novel-like story. And Sheridan/Delenn's romance is a clear homage to Beren and Luthien (My favourite chapter of Tolkien's!).
     
  5. Nagisa Furukawa

    Nagisa Furukawa Commander Red Shirt

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    Indeed. The Foundation series and Lensman and the like are definitely influences (as is the work of Alfred Bester on the way he uses telepaths and I'm not even counting the reuse of Bester's name), but the Lord of the Rings is clearly one of the biggest and most important influences on the series. The only influence? No. Is it a 1-to-1 comparison? No. But to similarly dismiss it as a couple name lifts and Elric quoting Gandalf is heavily understating its influence too.
     
  6. Demiurge

    Demiurge Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I agree with most of this, but the Beren/Luthien thing is a bit of a stretch. The star crossed lovers from different backgrounds goes back a bit farther than Tolkein. :D Other than them being different races, there isn't too much similarity.
     
  7. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    If not Beren and Luthien then he based them on Aragorn and Arwen I'd wager.
     
  8. Jan

    Jan Commodore Commodore

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    ...is insane. --JMS
    This seems apt:

     
  9. Demiurge

    Demiurge Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, there's more than a fair comparison between the houses of Montague and Capulet too
     
  10. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    :lol:
     
  11. EnsignRicky

    EnsignRicky Commodore Commodore

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    So which one was Khazad-dum and which one was Z'ha'dum again?
     
  12. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Z'ha'dum is the place where the hero falls to his death and is resurrected, only to leave for the distant land with the elder races at the end of his journey.

    Oh, wait.
     
  13. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Khazad-dum was a location in a world-famous series of novels that have sold millions of copies, reliably, for decades and served as the basis for three of the most successful movies in history.

    The other one was a place in a low-budget '90s TV show that almost no one watched. ;)
     
  14. Jan

    Jan Commodore Commodore

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    ...is insane. --JMS
    No 'dum today. 'dum tomorrrow. There's always 'dum tomorrow....
     
  15. TheMasterOfOrion

    TheMasterOfOrion Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    'DS9 stole a lot from B5', I would not say 'stole' exactly, because that word is very loaded but certain developers and writers borrowed heavily from the original JMS script. As the seasons moved on Babylon may have lifted ds9 ideas or borrowed back, taking DS9 arcs and concepts and making it their own.

    I wrote on this a long time ago

     
  16. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    DS9 and B5 are both right at the pinnacle of sci-fi storytelling in television. True, DS9 didn't plot its arcs as well as B5 did but the story threads didn't completely fall to shit like in the ending to NuBSG, and were generally superbly executed.

    DS9 had a good, satisfying ending. B5 probably has the best series finale I've ever seen.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
  17. Kestrel

    Kestrel Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I can't believe somebody's trying to use "the doctors have hidden secrets!!!!" as a point of connection between these two shows.
     
  18. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think the shapeshifters comment was a worse comparison. It's one instance JMS memorably lost his shit over but it doesn't hold up at all.

    DS9 has a shape-shifter as one of the main characters. He physically changes his form (Rarely!) throughout the series and his mysterious past is the key to the threat to the Alpha Quadrant.

    B5 has a forgettable henchman use a shape-shifting device in one episode.
     
  19. DeepSpaceWine

    DeepSpaceWine Commander Red Shirt

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    How much was in JMS's pitch/package to Paramount? Did he include every single trap door and branching storyline? The series was originally about Sinclair,
    who was supposed to end up turning into Valen at the end of the series
    . Instead, they just moved that up and crafted a totally new ending for Sheridan IIRC. Did he have backup characters for everyone mapped out, or just for the commander? The only time Paramount got B5 material would've been 1992 on back. They would not have secretly been getting material at later times. The Sheridan ending was a stretch for Paramount to have and plan all that time. Then again, maybe DS9's writers were inspired by having watched the B5 series finale in Nov 1998.


    Yes. PTEN was formed from an alliance of 2 of the partners that went on to make UPN & WB (Warner-Bros teamed up with Tribune to help form WB, Chris-Craft with Paramount to form UPN). After PTEN formed, they both decided to form a full-fledged network of their own. IIRC, the repeal of some law in 1993 made it much more favorable for Paramount & WB to get involved directly in making a network as opposed to this special quasi-syndication format that was PTEN. PTEN was hobbled by a few issues, not the least of which was both partners having their eyes elsewhere. They were committed to PETN thru the 94-95 season, but once each of the networks came along in Jan 1995, PTEN was abandoned, being a glorified syndication package schedulable for any time and no new shows were developed. We can tell this because when Time Trax ended, to keep a 3rd show, Pointman was created. After 1995, each show lasted as long as their ratings would take them, which was thru the ends of 1995, 1996, and late 1997 respectively.


    It seems like a lot of people have a cloudy view of syndication.


    PTEN: Most PTEN stations were independent, but some were Fox. They fell below the national clearance threshold so had to sell the shows to Fox stations for airing anytime (since Fox had a full schedule by 1993) to bring the percentage up or else they'd be a half-national network like Pax/Ion.

    From there, some PTEN stations became WB affiliates, some because UPN affiliates.

    JMS himself considered B5 to be functionally in syndication and the ratings publications regarded PTEN (Babylon 5, Time Trax, Kung Fu: TLC) as syndicated, not grouping its shows in looking at the networks duking it out (i.e. Big Three + Fox).


    Syndication: DS9 (and TNG, among many other shows) were in first-run syndication. The majority of stations that bought TNG & DS9 (early on) were independent stations. Independent stations sought out first-run content because it gave them something potentially hot to get viewers regularly tuning into. Syndication was good for them. First-run sitcoms did well in the '80s, first-run cartoons did well in the '80s & '90s.

    Except for an affiliate switch that was going on that claimed some CBS, NBC stations, WB & UPN were built from independent stations, Fox followed by WB & UPN leaving very few independent stations left in the country when once there were many.

    Let me bold this:
    There's no association with DS9 or Babylon 5 with UPN or WB!
    For many, DS9 aired on a UPN affiliate. In my area, DS9 aired on a WB affiliate and a different station from the one that had TNG. And B5, despite being produced by Warner Bros, aired on a UPN affiliate in my area.

    As noted by others, it took years for WB & UPN to fill up the schedule for 5 nights a week. UPN only launched with Mondays and Tuesdays, expanding to Wednesdays in 1996. WB started with Wednesdays, then claimed Sunday, and eventually took on more of the week. Until the late '90s, Thursday and Friday were still free on UPN & WB affiliates for syndicated series like DS9, Hercules, Xena, Earth: Final Conflict, and PTEN remnants like B5 and Kung Fu: TLC.



    I was a Star Trek fan at the time. Regularly watched TNG & Voyager, watched DS9 in Season 1, but its boringness drove me away, only tuning in intermittantly for Season 3, getting back into it regularly for Season 4. B5 was mildly interesting and I do remember seeing some episodes, but I didn't get into it til 1996. I regularly watched DS9, B5, and Voyager eagerly over 1996-98 and watched the remaining series to their ends. I went straight from Voyager to B5 many nights (they aired back to back when B5 was on TNT and Voyager returned to its 8PM CT/9PM ET timeslot). Yeah yeah, I must be a sci-fi heretic or something, but I saw no problem with being fans of each of these series. I agree with the earlier sentiments it's great we got 2 excellent sci-fi series out of it and what, 286 episodes and some tv movies? What's to complain about?
     
  20. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    No, they did not.

    The suggestion that the studio "steered" the guys who made DS9 up, BTW, is a nice bit of sleight-of-hand to avoid stepping into real trouble but has no basis in fact. :cool:
     

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