- Oct 6, 2001
I can't find any B5S2 reviews yet. Does anyone know any place out there that have one posted yet?
Paramount rules in this department!Paramount had no doubt that the various Trek series would sell well on DVD and that they'd make a profit on them. The various Treks were one of the handful of TV series that succeeded on VHS and LD when 90% of TV shows failed. So they were willing and able to invest millions of dollars up front to prep the shows for DVD release. The reason they were able to release TNG on such an ambitious schedule is that virutally all of the work was finished before the first set was released. Paramount had started preparing it for DVD release the year before it appeared on store shelves - and they went right into working on DS9 as soon as they finished with TNG.
Warner Bros. had seen B5 flop on VHS and LD and was hightly skeptical of the show's appeal to DVD buyers. They certainly weren't going to master 110 episodes in advance before the first season even went on sale - which is exactly what they would have had to do to match Paramount's Trek release schedule. Even Fox, which pioneered TV on DVD, is approving X-Files on a season-by-season basis as sales figures come in. That's another series they could never make a go of on VHS, the best they could do were some "best of" sets.
So Paramount and Trek are hardly the standard against which others should be judged. As has so often been the case, they are an exception, not the rule.
I already know for a fact that S3 is in the post-production phaseRight, JMS recently mentioned finishing his commentary tracks just before the deadline for S3, so things seem to be moving along. I suspect that based on the strong S1 sales and brisk S2 pre-orders that Warner Bros. is now at least willing to overlap work on the sets, starting preliminary work on the next season as the previous one nears completion. This could cut the gap between seasons from six to four or even three months, but that is the best they will probably be able to do, realistically. There is still the Warner Bros. UK production list that shows S3 in September though...
I'll only hate them now for making it so I'll never know the full story behind the virus thing in Crusade.Sorry, you can't hate them for that one, either. Crusade's premature end was TNT's fault, not Warner Bros. The studio would have been delighted to continue producing the show. (And they made every effort to sell it elsewhere in the interval between the cessation of shooting and the broadcast of the first episode.) TNT made it impossible for the producers to continue with the show, and also made it impossible for The Sci-Fi Channel or anyone else to pick the series up in 1999 by holding on to its exclusive Babylon 5 contract. Nobody wanted an untested sequel without the already-successful original, and TNT kept B5 in order to ensure that Crusade stayed dead.
The virus thing was not the main story in Crusade. A whole other plot element would have been introduced by the S1 cliff-hanger, and a cure to the Drakh plague would have been found in S2. The plague story was a way into the main story, much as the Minbari War and Sinclair's missing 24 hours were a way into the main B5 story. How much of the over-all B5 arc could you have predicted from watching only the first 13 episodes of B5?
And SOME B5 fans think that Crusade just was not that good anyway, TNT or not.But those fans would be wrong. Of the 13 completed episodes, 8 had substantial changes made to them at TNT's behest. And because the season was pre-planned and scheduled for maximum economy, several episodes that were planned for shooting later in the production year, but which would have aired earlier in the season, were never made. The result is that the 13 episodes produced are not the 13 that were meant to be see first - several episodes that would have come in between some of the existing shows were never filmed. There is actually no sensible order in which the existing 13 can even be presented because of this.
If you want to get a sense of the series JMS set out to make, watch only the 5 episodes featuring the red and grey uniforms, starting with "Racing the Night" and ending with "Each Night I Dream of Home". Those are the shows that were shot first, while the series was in the hands of TNT productions in Los Angeles, before TNT corporate in Atlanta decided to involve themselves in day-to-day production issues. You might also want to watch "Appearances and Other Deceipts", which is a thinly-veiled pardoy of TNT's interference with the show - one which went right over the heads of the TNT executives involved.
Why was TNT so intent on killing Crusade?They decided they didn't want the show when JMS, after compromising on a number of points, finally dug his heels in and refused to dumb the show down to the degree they wanted it. Technically it was less a matter of TNT cancelling the project than of Babylonian Productions (with the support of Warner Bros.) refusing to produce the show to TNT's specs and TNT refusing to buy the show Babylonian wanted to produce.
At that point the last thing TNT wanted was for WB and Babylonian to take the show to Sci-Fi and turn it into a hit. That would make the execs who killed it at TNT look stupid. So they used their exclusive contract for the B5 reruns as a way to keep Sci-Fi from buying Crusade. Someone familiar with the discussions described TNT's proposal for relinquishing its B5 rights as "a ransom note." The price they set was far higher than any program director in his/her right mind would pay for the series - and they knew it.
TNT ultimately let Sci-Fi buy them out of their B5 contract when it had about six months to run - for next to nothing. Crusade was safely dead by then, and they didn't have much of a bargaining position. Sci-Fi wanted to air B5 starting in the fall, but if TNT played hard-ball Sci-Fi was prepared to wait six months and debut the series the following spring, when TNT's contract would have lapsed without their paying a dime. But TNT did manage to air all 110 episodes one more time before "handing over the keys" by running it seven days a week (and twice on a couple of Saturdays) in an effort to hurt the show's ratings on Sci-Fi. It really did become an ego thing with them, especially after JMS started talking about what had happened on the internet and at conventions.