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"B5" DVD (and other) news from JMS


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#1 of 120 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted November 30 2003 - 06:17 AM

[quote] On the B5 front, there has been something of rather substantial proportion that's finally gone from talk to money, such that I'm now working frantically to meet some deadlines, but there's nothing I can say about this until after January 15th, probably closer to the end of that month.

The only thing I can say is that phase one of the new project is a go, hence the furious writing schedule at this end of things, which is why I've been silent until deciding to kick up some dust on the political discusion. I've been writing my little brains out.

I know the immediate result of this will be speculation, but if we could keep that to a low roar on the nets to avoid precluding anything, that would be a wonderfulness. But trust me: I wouldn't go on about something in this way if it wasn't a significant development. Just trust me on this one for a bit and hold fire until further word.

(Longtime followers of the various news groups know that an eep means that something significant has happened, but that I can't talk about it...the eep is just a way of saying, on the QT, that something has, indeed, happened and it's real, not just speculation or maybe-gonna-happens. So on that basis, you may consider this an eep.)

And on the topic of fans for a moment...I'm happy to mention that we've included a thanks to Steve Grimm (Lurker's Guide) and our resident moderator Jay Denebeim on the Season 5 DVD. Just a way of saying thanks for years of help and support.

Oh, yeah...and next year you can expect two new DVD sets that a) include all of the TV movies in one package (with commentaries from me on "The Gathering" and "In the Beginning") and b) package all 13 of the Crusade episodes into one box. -- jms, on the moderated newsgroup 30 Nov 03 [quote]
I am pleased, but not surprised, by these developments, having predicted most of them, including the eventual re-release of The Gathering and In the Beginning as true DVD special editions. Wonder if the other films in the sets will have any extras. Posted Image

Regards,

Joe

#2 of 120 OFFLINE   Craig S

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Posted November 30 2003 - 06:28 AM

Hmmm, time to put my current "The Gathering"/"In The Beginning" disc up on EBay. Posted Image

I don't have cable and therefore never saw an episode of the ill-fated "Crusade". I heard some less than kind things about it. Will this be worth picking up?
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#3 of 120 OFFLINE   Joel C

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Posted November 30 2003 - 06:30 AM

Did Jerimiah get canceled, since he's working on something else?
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#4 of 120 OFFLINE   oscar_merkx

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Posted November 30 2003 - 06:37 AM

that is a good thing since I never bought the telemovies.

As a newbie, how do they fit in the overall story ?

cheers

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#5 of 120 OFFLINE   Andrew Bunk

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Posted November 30 2003 - 06:50 AM

Is there a proposed release date for Season 5? Seems like we'r e on a 4 month schedule, so I'm assuming May. Just got sucked into the first 3 seasons and can't wait to finish the series!
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#6 of 120 OFFLINE   Steve Tack

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Posted November 30 2003 - 07:15 AM

[quote] that is a good thing since I never bought the telemovies.

As a newbie, how do they fit in the overall story ? [quote]
The Gathering is really the pilot, so it naturally fits into the story line.

In the Beginning is essentially a prequel and mainly covers the Earth/Minbari war and what role the various B5 characters had in it. (it's by far my favorite of the TV movies) I wouldn't watch it until you've watched seasons 1-4, as it's more fun to learn about that stuff gradually the first time through the episodes.

Thirdspace and The River of Souls as I remember are pretty much stand-alone stories that aren't as tied in to the main storyline. Neither were all that compelling as I recall...

A Call to Arms seemed mostly to be a lead-in to the Crusade spin-off series and was OK.

The Legend of the Rangers takes place three years after season 5, so it's well past the main storyline. It was not particularly memorable, unfortunately.

#7 of 120 OFFLINE   nolesrule

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Posted November 30 2003 - 07:15 AM

Yeah, Joe D...we know you predicted it. You always seem to know what's going on. Posted Image

I'd say you were really JMS, but having lurked on rastb5m forever, if you really were, you'd be in serious mental duress considering all the conversations you'd be having with yourself. Posted Image

Nice to see Steve and Jay getting a nod on the DVDs. They really are an important part of the B5 online community.

#8 of 120 OFFLINE   oscar_merkx

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Posted November 30 2003 - 07:18 AM

thanks Steve

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#9 of 120 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted November 30 2003 - 07:18 AM

[quote] I don't have cable and therefore never saw an episode of the ill-fated "Crusade". [quote]
I think it can be. The thing you have to remember about Crusade is that there was a tug-of-war between JMS and the network during production, and the show was shut down after only 13 episodes were shot - and before any of them aired. (Shooting was ended in February 1999 and the episodes didn't air - as a "limited series" - until June of that year.) So it wasn't a matter of the show's being rejected by the audience.

What you have to understand is that the 13 surviving episodes were never meant to be seen as a block. Other episodes would have come in between them. (Because JMS's shows started out with a plan for each full seasons, shows were shot out of order to maximize efficiency. The final episode of B5 S1, for instance, was shot half-way through the production schedule to allow extra time for the post-production people to work on the greater-than-usual number of FX shots.) Also TNT made changes to the show that created continuity issues with the episodes already shot. The plan was to go back and reshoot some footage late in the season to fix all this up, but production was halted before that ever happened.

Even with all of these problems, however, I think Crusade was a worthwhile show - different than B5 and with its own character, but still very much in the B5 tradition. Warner Bros. will no doubt follow the same episode order that Sci-Fi did for the broadcast - leaving two episodes that were only produced due to network interefernce for the end, and to hell with continuity, and running the other 11 in the order that makes most sense for character and story development. JMS will no doubt explain all of this in his commentaries and interview, assuming that the set includes such extras (and I am assuming that. Posted Image)

As with B5 S1, there is more here than meets the eye. If all you ever saw of that season was 13 random episodes, you might conclude that the series was going to be "about" Sinclair's missing 24 hours and the Minbari surrender at the Battle of the Line. Similarly Crusade was never "about" what it seems to be doing in the 13 episodes that we have. The final episode of the season would have kicked over all the tables as thoroughly as "Chrysalis" did in B5. ("Nothing is the same anymore")

Finally there is the chance, small though it may be, that really good sales for the Crusade set might get Warner Bros. thinking about some other project related to the series. A TV movie to tie up at least the only major plot line left dangling perhaps. There seems to be some hope for other cancelled shows getting some kind of "closure" or even a new lease on life thanks to DVD, so who knows. I've read some of the unfilmed Crusade scripts (one of them involving Alfred Bester) and I have a very good idea of where the series was going, and I'd love to see more of it. So I encourage anyone who is even curious to check it out. Besides, a 13 epsiode set probably won't cost all that much. Posted Image)

Regards,

Joe

#10 of 120 OFFLINE   Brian E

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Posted November 30 2003 - 07:20 AM

[quote] Is there a proposed release date for Season 5? Seems like we'r e on a 4 month schedule, so I'm assuming May. [quote] No official date I've seen. I'd say April or May 2004 is a good guess. Wish they were faster with these.
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#11 of 120 OFFLINE   oscar_merkx

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Posted November 30 2003 - 07:28 AM

[quote] While working on Jeremiah for the past two years he was writing several comic book series [quote]

one of them being Spider-Man and is doing a fantastic job as well

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#12 of 120 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted November 30 2003 - 08:00 AM

Steve pretty much summed it up.

The main Bayblon 5 story takes place between January 2258 and December 2262 (with the final episode wrapping the story up in 2281.) Each season corresponds to one calendar year, beginning in January and ending in December. Here's where the movies fall:

In the Beginning - 2240s, the period of the Earth-Minbar War. However the story is told in flashback from the point of view of characters in 2278, so it does contain some spoilers. Many fans recommend not watching this film until after you've seen all of season 4.

The Gathering - There are some internal inconsistancies in the date references given in the film, but the generally accepted date is spring or summer 2257.

Thirdspace. - Summer 2261. Mid season 4, between the episodes "Atonement" and "The Illusion of Truth". The movie wasn't filmed until after production was finished on S4, so there are no direct references to it in the season, and it really does function more as a "stand-alone" movie. JMS has called it his attempt at a Lovecraft story in space.

The River of Souls - Summer 2263, about six months after the events of "Objects at Rest" (521).

The Legend of the Rangers - 2265, probably around mid-year.

A Call to Arms - December 2266. (Internal evidence: they are preparing to celebrate the 5th anniversary of something that happened early in 2262, and the Crusade episode "War Zone", which is set in January 2267, takes place at most weeks, probably days, after the events of this TV movie.)

There's no official release date for S5 - which isn't exactly suprising. Warner Bros. has never announced a date for a B5 set until after the previous set was in stores - usually severla months after. S4 won't be released until January, so expect an announcement about S5 in February or March.

Regards,

Joe

#13 of 120 OFFLINE   Ric Easton

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Posted November 30 2003 - 10:22 AM

Uh, so any ideas on what the big January announcement will be? I'm glad to hear that there's more DVD on the way! Ric

#14 of 120 OFFLINE   Joshua_W

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Posted November 30 2003 - 11:53 AM

"Crusade" had a lot of potential, and I think they were setting some interesting things up, but the series was most unfortunately scuttled by TNT before it even aired. As such, the existing episodes don't really do a whole let but set up a few plot points that would've likely been expanded upon later. The premise of the series was that after the events of the Babylon 5 series, (I'll spoil this just in case, but won't give away a lot from either Crusade or B5)
An alien race, called the Drakh (who you will be familiar with in the later seasons of B5) have attacked earth with a biological weapon, a plague. This plague will kill every single living creature on Earth in five years unless a cure is found. The man appointed to find that cure is Captain Matthew Gideon. Gideon is a different kind of commander, a roguish gambler, and someone who doesn't fit into the proper military order. He is joined with a cast of humans and aliens aboard a ship called The Excalibur. Expect to see some familiar faces, and learn more about the Technomages (from S2). As I said, the series was scuttled after only thirteen episodes were shot -- out of a proposed five-year run. Considering rumors that a cure for the plague would've been discovered early in the second season, I think we could've expected the series to take off in a radically different direction in the second season, much like B5.
Also worth mentioning that three unproduced scripts were published on the (late) Bookface site. Two were written by JMS -- one of which was the season finale -- and another was written by frequent JMS collaborator Fiona Avery and featured the return of Bester. And it's probably best to not ask about the availability of these scripts -- a few years ago, JMS was pretty emphatic that he did not want people passing them around.

#15 of 120 OFFLINE   Michael Sliger

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Posted November 30 2003 - 11:58 AM

JMS has clarified the TV-Movie boxset situation a bit.

[quote]What a weekend! Does all movies include B5LR by the way?

Not in the big set, no...that will be a separate DVD since it's really not a
part of what comprised the original B5 movies. [quote]

http://www.jmsnews.c....ls=0&qs=0&qt=0

Since Sci-Fi probably needs to be compensated for a Legend of the Rangers DVD release, I can understand why it is being left out for now.

#16 of 120 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted November 30 2003 - 02:16 PM

I doubt that Sci-Fi needs to be compensated for Legend of the Rangers. They didn't own a piece of the project - which is one of the main reasons that it never went to series, and why the actors' contracts only covered the movie itself, not a potential series. (If Sci-Fi owned a piece of the action they probably would have gone to series despite the decent but unspectacular ratings the movie got for its initial broadcast. If the ratings had been huge they probably would have approved it even without owning a piece of it. But the actual situation - good, but not great ratings, no co-ownership - didn't leave them with reason enough to go on.)

More likely is that their original contract for the broadcast rights has either more time or more airings to run before Warner Bros. can release the movie on home video. (Something like the Buffy syndication situation.) Also, as JMS said, it really isn't thought of as being part of the original series, so there is less pressure to put it out with the rest of the movies right around the time the 5th season set comes out.

Finally there is the possibility that he's being a bit coy and that the new project he's writing (or the other one that is still in the talking stage) somehow involves the Rangers concept and that Warner Bros. wants to hold the earlier pilot film back from next year's set to wait on further developments.

I rather doubt that myself, having my own ideas about what JMS is writing at the moment, but I'll respect his wishes and not speculate publicly.

I can say, because JMS said this when he first mentioned that there were two possible B5-universe projects "in the talking stage", that neither of them is a TV series, nor is either of them a book or other publication. Let us all remember that at various times there have been discussions about further TV movies, a possible mini-series or even a feature film, and that at one point Sierra was working on a B5 computer game for which the original cast shot live action footage. Posted Image

Regards,

Joe

#17 of 120 OFFLINE   Dave Scarpa

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Posted November 30 2003 - 02:19 PM

I think there would have been alot going on around a particular
Box the Captain won in a Poker Game.. a certain "Apocylypse Box" that was a very intriguing setup that would've gone somewhere...

My DVD Collection

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#18 of 120 OFFLINE   Brian Kidd

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Posted December 01 2003 - 12:58 AM

I was lucky enough to catch the whole series during its run on TNT. My wife and I were sucked in like dog hair in a vacuum cleaner. I would love to own these, but WB has priced them far out of my reach. I wonder why they are so expensive compared to other series? They seem to have sold well, so why haven't subsequent seasons come down in price?
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#19 of 120 OFFLINE   NeilO

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Posted December 01 2003 - 01:26 AM

In comparison to the Star Trek and X-Files collections, the B5 season collections are quite reasonably priced. In comparison to Alias, Smallville and 24 they are less so. Season set prices are all over the map. Neil

#20 of 120 OFFLINE   Gregory Pauswinski

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Posted December 01 2003 - 03:43 AM

Thanks for the news Joe! I look forward to owning all of these DVDs. Posted Image




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