The old "DS9 stole from B5" thing

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

  1. Jan

    Jan Commodore Commodore

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    ...is insane. --JMS
    Nope. That's a common assumption that's completely wrong.
    There was no mention of Valen in the original series treatment at all. Nor in the synopsis of the show & spinoff written between the pilot and first season.

    As for what JMS gave to Paramount, it would be the series Treatment, the Pilot script, some concept art by Peter Ledger and probably a dozen or so episode pitches.

    As for another poster's comment about a shapeshifter, the early drafts of 'The Gathering' did indeed feature a shape shifter which was changed to the assassin using the changeling net at WBs request. But it would pretty certainly have been in the script accompanying the series treatment.

    Jan
     
  2. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Here's where DS9 came from:

    Rick Berman and Michael Piller made it up.

    The problem there, of course, is that if you accuse two people by name and publicly of stealing like that it can get pretty sticky.

    "Asking questions" about unidentified, shadowy executives, OTOH, avoids those problems while being impossible to refute. Glenn Beck has built a career on it. :lol:
     
  3. Kestrel

    Kestrel Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Heh, good point
     
  4. sidious618

    sidious618 Admiral Admiral

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    While there are a lot of similarities between the two shows, I can't see what Paramount would gain from copying a script for a television show that had nothing to do with and, by all predictions, would end up going nowhere.
     
  5. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    There is one significant point of comparison between the two series - only one - and the entirety of "Paramount stole this" originally hung on that premise: they are both set on space stations. This was a departure for Star Trek; Berman and Piller reasoned their way to it in a fashion similar to the way that jms supposedly did.

    That only sounds suspicious if you've never been through the process of reading spec scripts, for example, or slush pile manuscripts for an sf magazine. There's a fairly good - if brutal - short essay by John August here that addresses an instance of how ideas parallel one another when working within the same envelope and toward a similar target.

    B5 was going to be a show that solved a lot of the budget and logistics problems of doing future-based "space opera" stuff like Star Trek, and key to the solution (at least as far as pitching it was concerned) was that the expense of building an elaborate "home base" would be amortized by making that the primary location - the action comes to us rather than us going to the action.

    Berman and Piller had exactly the same problem to solve based on their years of experience actually doing a Star Trek show. If you buy the notion that using a space station was a flash of unreproducable brilliance as opposed to what it actually is - a fairly easily deduced solution to production cost problems - then you might more easily swallow the notion that coincidence is less likely than unnecessary and illogical theft of a simple idea.

    But the truth of this situation doesn't hang on what you're willing to believe. Some things actually happened, and other things didn't. :cool:
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
  6. _C_

    _C_ Commander Red Shirt

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    Oh but what I would have given to see Odo and Kosh Naranek in the same room! LOL! Or better yet, Odo linking with a Vorlon ship! (They're both kinda liquid aren't they?!)
     
  7. EnsignRicky

    EnsignRicky Commodore Commodore

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    Stealing the idea of the moment is nothing new.

    Back To The Future - Bill And Ted

    Weird Science - My Science Project

    Titanic Movie - Made For TV Titanic Movie

    Deep Impact - Armageddon

    Gremlins - Ghoulies - Critters - Hobgoblins - Munchies

    Volcano - Dante's Peak

    Prequelmania - Enterprise

    Abraham Lincoln - Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter

    Hansel And Gretel Witch Hunters - Hansel And Gretel Get Baked

    I'm sure there are and will be many more.
     
  8. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    None of which has anything to do with the DS9/B5 non-thing.
     
  9. Nagisa Furukawa

    Nagisa Furukawa Commander Red Shirt

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    Nor did how well Lord of the Rings did financially vs. Babylon 5 though. Arguably way less, as at least Ensign Ricky is bringing up comparable, almost-around-the-same-time works of art. There seemed to be no reason for you to bring up that Babylon 5 wasn't as successful as LotR (and who would imagine it would be?! B5 was a cheap science-fiction show, Lord of the Rings was one of the best works of the 20th century by one of the best populist writers).
     
  10. Demiurge

    Demiurge Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Which come to think of it was also exactly what happened to Sisko in the fire caves at the end of DS9.
     
  11. Kestrel

    Kestrel Vice Admiral Admiral

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    One critical difference - with Sisko there would have been no "coming back" at all without Avery Brooks specifically saying so. And his reasoning was pretty much as far as possible from "Oh that's what Babylon 5 and Lord of the Rings did."
     
  12. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Nope. You following the conversation?
     
  13. JoeD80

    JoeD80 Captain Captain

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    Well let me bold this. There is an association of Babylon 5 with PTEN! PTEN was owned jointly by Chris-Craft and Warner Bros. Who started UPN? Chris-Craft and Paramount. That's where the connection is; at the station level, not the studio level.

    Yes, because UPN didn't have a full schedule at the time.

    There was not only one. The name Babylon was picked because it means "Gate of God." Why is that? Because there was a jump gate next to the station. What's next to DS9? Why it's a wormhole! Did you know that both Sinclair and Sisko were widowed? Why yes, Sinclair had a dead wife in the original treatment. Does any of this mean anything? I don't know, probably not, but there were more points of comparison than *just the station*.

    Also, not directed at you specifically, but I always find it interesting when people talk like Piller and Berman had no idea who jms was. Joe's wife worked for Piller at the time. Piller talked about that in an interview back then (not sure where that one was originally published but you can find it in Joe Nazzaro's writing for Science Fiction book.)
     
  14. FPAlpha

    FPAlpha Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Oh come on.. give it a rest.

    There were similarities, that's certain. But they are superficial and the main stories diverge extremely because they have a totally different focus and style to them. The characters are also very different.. yes, Sisko has lost his wife too, so what? It's an age old tool to give a character a chip on his shoulder, a background and some drama (especially if the wife died violently and the character meets the killer at some point). B5 didn't invent that, DS9 didn't and it has been used since boths shows started.. you don't see other people get up in arms when those shows aired crying "But my show's main character also has a dead wife/husband/relative!!!"

    I fear however that given the people in fandom that this topic will never be settled because some people can't let stuff go, much less the creator of B5 (for whatever reason.. he created a brilliant story and people talk about his show nearly 20 years after it concluded and that's not bad).

    I prefer B5 for its overal story which had me glued to the screen much more than DS9 but then again DS9 had the far more rounded characters and better played by the actors (with the exception of Mollari/G'Kar who are both the coolest duo ever in SF and were played to perfection by Jurasik/Katsulas).

    So why don't we enjoy both shows equally for what they were.. flawed at times but providing excellent SF entertainment.
     
  15. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    One reason, in fact, that folks at Trek were impatient with the pretense that the B5 people didn't know exactly where DS9 came from.

    But then, that bit of info would have screwed up a perfectly good conspiracy theory. :cool:

    It's hard to say whether the Trek producers were simply incredibly polite in tolerating this whole thing or they simply had better ways to spend their energies than to engage in a stupid pretend controversy on computer bulletin board services. Some of each, I suppose.
     
  16. EnsignRicky

    EnsignRicky Commodore Commodore

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    I wasn't following the conversation; I zoned out about nineteen years ago.
     
  17. JoeD80

    JoeD80 Captain Captain

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    The point was specifically addressing the claim that being set on a station was the *only* similarity between shows. It wasn't. Does it mean they were copied? No. But it's also false to say that there was one similiarity and one only.
     
  18. DeepSpaceWine

    DeepSpaceWine Commander Red Shirt

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    Trying to simply be argumentative? I said that much. I meant there was no association between B5 and UPN or WB when it came to what station it aired on. A bunch of people for years and years have mistakenly assumed when a syndicated or PTEN show aired on UPN or WB in their market, that meant it was a UPN or WB show or think when UPN or WB came about, they picked up B5.

    Ummmm.... My UPN affiliate was a PTEN affiliate. I was using that point to illustrate B5 didn't necessarily air on WB affiliates. They remained with the former PTEN affiliate, whoever they were. UPN & WB took a couple of seasons to fill Mon-Fri. Even if they did have a full schedule, it would have simply bumped Babylon 5 to a weekend timeslot as most syndicated series (e.g. DS9, Hercules, Xena, Earth: Final Conflict) usually aired in.
     
  19. lvsxy808

    lvsxy808 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Which just goes to show how much these are simply archetypal story concepts that recur over and over throughout literature, as the post quoted by Jan stated.

    The same things happen in Babylon 5, in Deep Space Nine, in Doctor Who, in Lord of the Rings, in Star Wars, in Greek/Roman mythology... hell, in the Bible. Where do you think the idea of dying, staying dead for a while, then coming back to life and going off to heaven comes from? It's all the same, and has been for millenia, which is why focusing this entire argument on two TV shows from the 1990s is just a little bit ridiculous.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  20. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I disagree. It's monumentally ridiculous.