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Inspiration of Babylon 5

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Arun Vajpey, Apr 18, 2005.

  1. Arun Vajpey

    Arun Vajpey Stunt Coordinator

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    Having missed Babylon 5 during its airing in the 1990s, I am now watching the entire series on DVD. Even in the early stages it was rather obvious to me that Michael Straczynski was inspired by Allen Drury's series of "Promise of Joy" books published between 1957 & 1972 in 6 seasons. The UN setting of the book was similar to Babylon 5 station and the main character Orrin Knox was obviously the inspiration for John Sheridan. I cannot find any acknowledgement to the books though.
     
  2. Phil L

    Phil L Supporting Actor

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    I could respond to this but DeMartino will do a better job[​IMG]
     
  3. Carl_G

    Carl_G Stunt Coordinator

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    The stated inspiration is The Lord of the Rings...

    "Straczynski has openly admitted more than once that his main inspiration of Babylon 5 was Tolkein's seminal fantasy classic "The Lord of the Rings", and it becomes increasingly apparent to the viewers as the events of the five-year story arc unfold."

    From http://www.televisionheaven.co.uk/babylon.htm

    But, who knows, all geeks say TLotR is their inspiration. And MJS is king great geek master!

    BTW - where the heck did you pull Druy's books from? You shall be known from here on as 'Sir Obscurist Referencitus'
     
  4. Rob T

    Rob T Screenwriter

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    European history also inspired some of B5.
     
  5. DanielKellmii

    DanielKellmii Supporting Actor

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    List of Inspirations:
    LOTR
    The Bible
    I swear I saw some Zen Philosophy in there.
    The Iliad and The Odyssey
    and lots of other stuff

    This doesn't diminish the writers accomplishment at all. JMS managed to write a compelling story that one finds hard to let go. Tolkien admitted to his own influences.
     
  6. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    No Drury. And JMS is clearly not shy about mentioning who his influences are.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  7. Ric Easton

    Ric Easton Cinematographer

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    Has anybody ever wondered if Joe D = JMS?

    Ric
     
  8. PaulHeroy

    PaulHeroy Stunt Coordinator

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    Nah, Joe is way smarter than jms, which probably just means he found the Gharlane emulator. (RIP... man I miss GoE.)
     
  9. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Ah, yes. So do I. An uncompromising man, and not always an easy one to deal with, but one of the best. It was an honor even to be slapped down by him. [​IMG] And to have your name mentioned in the same post with his.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  10. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Another thing that people mistakenly link to LOTR is the Rangers. Maybe if one of the Rangers turned out to be some major figure I could buy that, but in real life we have Texas Rangers who are more similar.

    The one connection to LOTR I give credit to is the similarity in place names using the "Dum" element. Kazadum, Z'hadum, etc.
    Oh and the one direct quote by Elric the technomage about wizards.
     
  11. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    Probably part of the reason my wife gets a kick out of B5. She isn't an Athiest, but she is a student of many religions. That, and her interest in Anthropology lends quite well in the world JMS has created.

    Out of curiousity, who is GoE?

    Jason
     
  12. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Well, the character Gharlane of Eddore is one of the Eddorians (the ancient alien race that plays a role in "Doc" Smith's Lensman books that is somewhat similar to the role the Shadows play in B5.) A real nasty piece of work, althought brilliant.

    Gharlane of Eddore was also the nom de web of professional writer (whose real name I am drawing a total blank on, at the moment - Paul, help me out here) who was one of the real lights of the on-line B5 community, especially of the moderated newsgroup during the show's production. He did not suffer fools gladly, which meant at least half the membership hated him at at least half the time, and cut JMS no slack whatsoever when he thought JMS was being scientifically sloppy or careless in his story-telling. But Gharlane had very clear standards that he adhered to and if he thought you were right he was just as emphatic. The was no cant about the man, and very little artifice or pretense. I may not always have agreed with him, but I certainly always respected him. And read his posts first. [​IMG]

    He passed away a couple of years ago and the old place hasn't been the same since.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  13. Bill Catherall

    Bill Catherall Screenwriter

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    I did the same thing just recently. JMS is brilliant. I loved it.

    A friend of mine pointed me to the Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5 where you can read about each episode in detail. Also, be sure not to skip past the "jms speaks" section of each episode. That is where you can read all about JMS's inspiration.

    I recommend you don't read about the episode until after you have viewed the episode, just to avoid spoilers. They do a good job of avoiding spoilers in future episodes so you don't have to wait until the very end. You can read as you go.
     
  14. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    I always caution people against reading The Lurker's Guide during two- or three-parters such as Messages From Earth/Point of No Return/Severed Dreams or War Without End.

    The folks at the Lurker's Guide are very sharp and extremely imaginative - some of their guesses are dead on, and therefore become spoilers, as evidenced by the analysis of War Without End Part I.

    --
    H
     
  15. Brent Hutto

    Brent Hutto Supporting Actor

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    David Potter was the name of the jar in which the disembodied brain of Gharlane of Eddore resided for (too brief) a while.
     
  16. PaulHeroy

    PaulHeroy Stunt Coordinator

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    Joe hit most of the high points. Gharlane's "true name" was never something that mattered to me (Brent posted it and AFAIK that's correct), but a couple of cretinous individuals did make a big stink about it. Anyway, Gharlane was a virtual (in both senses) encyclopedia of SF and, to some extent, general science and engineering. He was what you might call a throwback to the John Campbell days of real science fiction. He could be the consummate curmudgeon publically in the B5 newsgroup, yet if you asked him a question he would frequently respond in the most helpful and polite manner privately. I used to frequent the B5 forums before even the pilot was made, and it was quite a fascinating journey to see it all unfold -- both to see jms's vision become reality, and the development of an online community which included a lot of fascinating and wonderful people (plus a few dysfunctional dust motes), and Gharlane was one of the most prominent.

    (Replies set to alt.dev.null in GoE's honor...)
     
  17. Eric C D

    Eric C D Second Unit

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    I was a huge fan (well, without being the typical fanatic) of B5 when it first ran, but definitely not in the know as were those of you who also followed it in online discussions. But having such contemplative knowledgeable types around prompts me to ask:

    Was there ever a discussion of how the story would have played out if Sheridan had never had to be invented?

    Spoilered for those who may not have watched it yet:

    Would Sinclair have gone back 1000 years nearer to the end of the series, after the Shadow War and

    As I heard that the final scene was described when JMS first pitched the series - what was that scene? Would it just have been Delenn sleeping in the light?

    Any other thoughts I'm not thinking enough to ask about?



    Thanks so much for any considered responses, or perhaps as suggestions on books or other sources to read to follow them up.
     
  18. RickGr

    RickGr Second Unit

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    Its been many years since I read Doc Smith's Lensman epic but I always thought Kosh and the Vorlons were more akin to the Arisians and the Eddorians relate to the shadows.

    An take my word Smith did not end his epic by telling the Eddorians to "get the hell out of our galaxy".

    I am of firm belief that the Lensman saga was an influence on JMS, whom used to hang out on the old GEnie BBS before the internet became what it is today. I remember him pitching his idea of a SF series back in the days when ST-TNG was in its first and second season.
     
  19. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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  20. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    I stopped reading rastb5m regularly after Crusade ended. I didn't realize GoE had passed away. Sad to hear. It's funny, because I had just thought of the name in passing last week (in relation to the poster, not the Lensmen stories which are still on my "to read" list.
     

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