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    From: (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: Thirdspace--------Why?
    Date: 7/24/1998 2:51:00 PM  

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Okay, you want an answer to this, I got an answer for you.

Because I felt like it.

Because I've done five years worth of angst and dark storytelling, and I wanted
to do one story that was just for fun.

Because I'm a huge fan of the type of Cthulhu mythos stories done by H. P.
Lovecraft and August Derleth and Clark Ashton Smith and Lord Dunsany, and all
my life I wanted to just cut loose and do something like that.

Because I hadn't done a story like that for B5, and I want to try new things,
experiment, do a funny story, a spooky story, a high-tech story.

And because a show needs to be shaken up once in a while.

A while back, Neil Gaiman pointed out to me that the problem with a certain
percentage of fandom is that they like your work for what it is, because it's
different, but then they won't tolerate any variation from what you're doing,
and what you've done in the past. They condemn it because it isn't exactly
what they figured they would be getting.

No, this wasn't a huge part of the arc, which is one of the main complaints (as
is the case here). So what? Look, not everything that happens to me in my
life, or you in yours, is part of a specific thematic arc. I came up with the
idea of a five year arc as a tool to give me MORE flexibility in storytelling,
to add a new tool to the form...not to find myself being told that if I do
something outside that very rigid arc that it's meaningless and shouldn't have
been made.

It was meant to be a light entertainment set in the B5 universe, nothing more,
nothing less. That should be the purpose of the movies, to do some hard-arc
stuff, some lightly related stuff, and some stuff that is totally
self-contained...heavy stories and light stories, to provide the freedom to
*play* in the B5 universe.

And *that's* why I wrote the thing.

And the ratings were terrific, with each quarter hour improving over the one
before, and I've gotten more positive email from people who have never watched
the show before than I have on anything else. Because you don't have to know
the show to just sit back and enjoy this one.

Not everything should require that you do a massive amount of homework in order
to watch it; not everything has to be of the arc; not everything has to be
about angst.

I wrote this one just for fun.

If you don't like it, fine; but to say it should not have been written, that
somehow it doesn't belong in the arc and therefore in your opinion shouldn't
exist, ain't your call to make, frankly, and just slaps on more limitations.

This is why there is so little divergence in the Star Trek shows; the studio
has learned that it has to more and more narrowly define what constitutes a
Star Trek story...and in time it becomes so narrow that you can't do much of
anything new in it.

What the hell is the point of HAVING your own show if you can't from time to
time go out and just do a story that's completely off-base, just for fun, just
for yourself? If nobody watches it, then you've got a problem...but in fact
this came out to be the 5th highest rated cable movie of the week, so by gosh a
lot of other people liked it as well.

I'm not defending the movie because there is nothing to defend. It succeeded
for me, creatively, and it succeeded for TNT in the ratings, we got to test out
some new tech and CGI, and I got to fulfill a years-long desire to play with a
kind of Old Ones/Lovecraftian story.

Deal with it.

Maybe *you* want to so narrowly define the B5 universe that something like this
could not be done...but *I* have no interest in doing that.

The moment you lose the ability to change the format and play and tip-over the
whole thing, and do totally arbitrary things because they please may
as well find yourself a comely shroud, because creatively you're dead.


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