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    From: (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: ATTN JMS B5 - still interesting?
    Date: 4/1/2002 8:22:00 PM  

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>I have been on this board for a little while now, and notice that you don't
>seem as enthusiastic about B5 as you once were.
>Has it become an albatross for you now?
>do you sigh when you see all the B5 related threads? or are you proud of
>the legacy you've created?
>and of the 5 years which bits make you cringe and which bits give you that
>all-round nice glow?
>Would love to know....

Have I grown tired of B5? Is it an albatross around my neck? No, not at all.

In 18 years of writing and, later, producing television, I have worked on a
dozen series and written well over 200 produced episodes of TV (not counting 8
TV movies). They include such high-visibility shows as the Twilight Zone,
Murder She Wrote, Walker Texas Ranger and others.

But for me, Babylon 5 always stands a head higher than the rest of them,
because of the sheer amount of work, commitment and time that went into it, and
the overall quality that resulted. Sometimes I look back at it all and I'm
just astonished that we were actually able to pull off something of that
Sure, it was uneven in places, often breathtakingly so, but no one in American
TV had ever even tried to pull off something on that scale, it had never been
done before, so we were inventing the form as we went along.

And the show has persevered. From the time it went on, it has been running
continuously, year after year, on one network or another, for about eight years
now. It's still running in over 120 countries around the world, including the
most recent addition, Japan, which started showing B5 about a month ago and
where it is rapidly becoming a hit with SF fans there all over again. Every
few days there's a new wave of email from people just discovering the show for
the first time.

I'm unspeakably proud of what we did with that series.

If you're detecting fatigue in my posts of late, it's because we're coming to
the tail end of production on Jeremiah, which though not as story-complex as
B5, has been a far more complicated and heinous production on a physical level,
beating anything I've worked on before by several orders of magnitude. Each
time I do a full season of a TV series, I start breaking down physically toward
the end of it, the extent of that determined by how difficult the show is. In
this case, for over two months recently I was down with the Martian Death Flu
(disguised as Panama A Influenza), which led to pharyngitis and a fairly awful
ear infection, and the *day* I finally got over that I fell and
fractured/dislocated's going to take long physical therapy to get
this hand back to where it needs to be (assuming that's possible, the
dislocation was pretty grotesque) I'm just plain tuckered.

I'm going on at length here about this only because it's important to me to
make the distinction above. When you think Rod Serling, who did a lot of
shows, you think "creator of The Twilight Zone"...when you think Roddenberry,
who did a lot of shows, you think "creator of Star Trek." Each was the
high-water mark of their career. I've done a lot of shows, but when the game
is finally called on account of darkness, the obit will read "...creator of
Babylon 5."

And I won't mind a bit.


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