Senior HTF Member
- Feb 14, 2006
- Real Name
The Hollywood Reporter confirms that a Babylon 5-reboot is now in the works at The CW, with original series creator J. Michael Straczynski serving as head writer and showrunner:
Well folks, I know nothing…..zip…nada. Joe has kept us in the loop from day one on this, because he wants us involved with the show, but we have no idea at this time what's in the script or what the story is.
I did hear good things about the 4:3 iTunes remastered release. Maybe they will turn those into blu-rays?If JMS is involved, I’m more than willing to give it a chance. And look, with the awful number of real-life deaths from the original cast, a reboot was probably the only way to go.
I hope this spurs the release of the B5 blu-rays.
Follow Up: New Babylon 5
Posting this here before I put it on Twitter and elsewhere.
To answer all the questions, yes, it's true, Babylon 5 is now in active development as a series for the CW. We have some serious fans over at the network, and they're eager to see this show happen. I'm hip deep into writing the pilot now, and will be running the series upon pickup. The network understands the uniqueness of Babylon 5 and is giving me a great deal of latitude with the storytelling.
As noted in the announcement, this is a reboot from the ground up rather than a continuation, for several reasons. Heraclitus wrote, "You cannot step in the same river twice, for the river has changed, and you have changed." In the years since B5, I've done a ton of other TV shows and movies, adding an equal number of tools to my toolbox, all of which I can bring to bear on the question: if I were creating Babylon 5 today, for the first time, knowing what I now know as a writer, what would it look like? How would it use all the storytelling tools and technological resources available in 2021 that were not on hand then? How can it be used to reflect the world in which we live, and the even questions we are asking and confronting every day? Fans regularly point out how prescient the show was and is of our current world; it would be fun to take a shot at looking further down the road.
So we will not be retelling the same story in the same way because of what Heraclitus said about the river. There would be no fun and no surprises. Better to go the way of Westworld or Battlestar Galactica where you take the original elements that are evergreens and put them in a blender with a ton of new, challenging ideas, to create something both fresh and familiar.
To those who have asked why we're not just doing a continuation…for a network series like this, it can't be done because over half our cast are still stubbornly on the other side of the Rim. How do you telling continuing story of our original Londo without the original Vir? Or G'Kar? How do you tell Sheridan's story without Delenn? Or the story of B5 without Franklin? Garibaldi? Zack?
The original Babylon 5 was ridiculously innovative: the first to use CGI to create ships and characters, and among the very first to shoot widescreen with a vigorous 5.1 mix. Most of all, for the first time, Babylon 5 introduced viewers accustomed to episodic television to the concept of a five-year arc with a pre-planned beginning, middle and end…creating a brand new paradigm for television storytelling that has subsequently become the norm. That tradition for innovation will continue in this new iteration, and I hope to create additional new forms of storytelling that will further push the television medium to the edge of what's possible.
Let me conclude by just saying how supportive and enthusiastic everyone at the CW has been and is being with this project, they understand the unique position Babylon 5 occupies both in television and with its legions of fans, and are doing everything they can to ensure the maximum in creative freedom, a new story that will bring in new viewers while honoring all that has come before.
Not to mention that a continuation built around the surviving cast members would not be a good match for The CW's target demographics. They pretty much need three quarters of the cast or more to be under 30 with underwear model physiques.And look, with the awful number of real-life deaths from the original cast, a reboot was probably the only way to go.
The budget will be miniscule, but The CW actually has a pretty good track record of supporting offbeat genre shows that don't fit into the usual broadcast formula. "The 100" is a good recent example of this.The relevant questions for being on The CW are 1) how much interference will there be with what JMS wants to do? and 2) how much is the budget?
After working this hard to get a deal with the CW I am hoping that JMS has worked things so that there will be little if any interference and there will be sufficient budget. We know they are not going to throw as much money at it as we've seen being thrown at Disney+ and Paramount+ projects, but we also know that JMS has lots of ways of saving money.
It helps too that Mark Pedowitz is an extremely creator-friendly network chief. Yeah, JMS might not be getting a HBO Max-level budget, but (1) he has plenty of experience successfully stretching low budgets, and (2) CGI is way cheaper than it was back in the OG Davies Doctor Who-days, let alone the OG Babylon 5-days. And if it gets acclaim, then Pedowitz will keep it going for as long as it is financially viable despite a low budget (like Jane the Virgin, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and Legends of Tomorrow).The budget will be miniscule, but The CW actually has a pretty good track record of supporting offbeat genre shows that don't fit into the usual broadcast formula. "The 100" is a good recent example of this.