The J. Michael Straczynski Message Archive


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    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: Re: IMage Laserdisks
      To: CIS  
    Date: 12/20/1998 3:45:00 PM  

Message 1 in thread 

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Ken Adams <> asks:
> Question: Is the cut of "The Gathering" the original version or
> your re-mastered and re-edited version shown on TNT this past
> year?

I think it's the original....

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: Re: IMage Laserdisks
      To: CIS  
    Date: 12/21/1998 1:46:00 PM  

Message 2 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

Sonuvagun...thanks for the info. I'd better go look at the
darned thing myself. I've watched "In the Beginning" on disk, and
thought it looked gorgeous...practically a luminous copy, struck from
fresh masters.

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: Re: IMage Laserdisks
      To: CIS  
    Date: 12/23/1998 10:04:00 AM  

Message 3 in thread 

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(blocked) asks:
> *sigh* Any word on a possible DVD release?

"Even more than the weekday strip, *this* is the way the series was
made to be watched. Without interruptions, without a 24 hour (still
less 7 day or several month) gap between episodes it becomes a whole
different experience. And the earliest episodes look different when
watched again after each season."

This is pretty much the reaction of everyone who's sat and
watched the show through in a concentrated form; it's a whole other
show. It's all contiguous, even when it looks like it ain't, and the
artificial breaks were pretty much ignored in the writing.

"This is a staggering achievement, especially within the confines of
American commercial television. I don't think anyone yet realizes what
you've done here. And when they get the first dim glimmers of the idea,
and try to copy it, they'll only see the surface mechanics of a
continuing story and never see the sheer *work* that went into crafting
almost every line and gesture of each of each show so that it could pay
off two or three years down the road."

I'm okay with that; I always said that B5 wouldn't really be
appreciated for what it is for several years down the line. This is a
part of the reason for that. It has to run through several times, and
become a part of the general consciousness, and be perceived for what
it is.

"This is the first series I've ever seen that *can't* be fully
appreciated the first time through. Reruns aren't a commercial
byproduct of this show, in a curious way they are the point. I'm
finally starting to see what you meant long ago when you mentioned a
"four dimensional hologram.""

(Actually the term was holographic storytelling, but the point
obtains.) Usually, reruns are considered an the show
was written with that in mind to some extent. It was written for the
long haul, so to speak.

I'll be very curious to see the perception of the show ten years

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: Re: IMage Laserdisks
      To: CIS  
    Date: 12/28/1998 1:17:00 PM  

Message 4 in thread 

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Ken Adams <> asks:
> Thanks, Joe. If you find it IS the TNT version, could you post a
> word here?

The Gathering is, apparently, the TNT version on disk.

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: Re: IMage Laserdisks
      To: CIS  
    Date: 12/28/1998 3:39:00 PM  

Message 5 in thread 

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{original post unavailable}

It might just be that particular disk; all the ones I've seen
are just gorgeous.

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: Re: IMage Laserdisks
      To: CIS  
    Date: 12/29/1998 7:17:00 AM  

Message 6 in thread 

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SysOp Deonaha M. Conlin <> asks:
> Okay, NEXT question - will Columbia ever have the TNT version of
> The gathering?

Dunno...nobody tell me nathink....

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: Re: IMage Laserdisks
      To: CIS  
    Date: 1/4/1999 5:36:00 AM  

Message 7 in thread 

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(blocked) asks:
> How much less likely are they to care about preserving something
> as ephemeral as a TV show?

This was a problem on the pilot; WB stored the film and
negatives, and rats got to a number of film cans, chewing through
prints and negatives alike. As we found when we went to re-edit, some
takes are gone forever.

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: Re: IMage Laserdisks
      To: CIS  
    Date: 1/4/1999 3:06:00 PM  

Message 8 in thread 

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(blocked) asks:
> Isn't it reassuring to know that some things *never* change?

I suppose we could've stayed with the safe choice, with Chris,
or done a nice, safe, droning Voyager style score that you don't even
notice, but we're looking to take chances, and that means some people
will like what you do, some won't. Some won't like it because it's
different. Neil Gaiman told me that a number of fans of any form,
including his own, say they want something new and challenging that
takes chances...but it they don't like the form of that chance, they
blame you for somehow doing it wrong...and they want the next new thing
to be just like the last thing you did.

I can't tell you the number of people who said "why can't you
just do the John Williams style music instead of this?" Because it's
been done, and it's cliche, and by god we're going to push what's
"expected" to try some new things. Otherwise what the hell's the

"Of course, you've been through this before. I seem to recall a lot
of people complaining when Christopher Franke replaced the composer for
the pilot. I don't doubt that a lot of the people screaming loudest
now are the very ones who complained about Franke when he started."

I don't know about the latter, but I can sure confirm the
former. And that's why I sometimes wish the viewer responses were
logged as much as my own have been. When we brought in Chris to
replace Stewart Copeland, you can't *believe* how much email I got from
people saying to trash him, fire him, it's that "euro-trash techno-
crap" most called it. "He uses sounds and banging instead of music,"
people complained (which he did mainly in the first two seasons), "it's
distracting and it's not appropriate, get rid of him."

But we didn't. I told people to give him time to settle into
the show, and on the other hand to let them get used to a different
kind of sound than what they expected. ("I guess you couldn't afford
to hire a real composer like TNG uses," was another popular line.)

Evan ain't Chris, nor should he be, nor should he *have* to be.
He is a brilliantly talented composer. This is his first shot at a
dramatic series, and as he settles in (as Chris settled in), I think
people are going to be as loyal to what he's doing in Crusade as they
were to Chris in B5. He's a classically trained composer, who threw it
all away to come study jazz under some of the best jazz men in
Chicago...washing dishes to support himself when he had been at the top
of his field in China...because he loves music, and loves to

In the course of Crusade, we're going to see some places we've
never seen before...and thanks to Evan, we're going to hear some things
we've never heard before. He's a find, and a genuine, fresh talent,
and I stand behind him 100%.

And the people who say they are fans of Chris Franke's should
think twice before doing to him what so many people did so rudely to
Chris when he first came aboard.

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: Re: IMage Laserdisks
      To: CIS  
    Date: 1/5/1999 6:11:00 AM  

Message 9 in thread 

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(blocked) asks:
> (Interesting note: One post asked "What $@%&# idiot hired this
> guy, anyway?"

It kind of goes to show you how thin the layer of trust'd think by now, after doing 5 years of B5, people would
think to cut a little slack and give a chance, assume that there's an
intent here, rather than saying suddenly I'm an idiot for not putting
in the kind of music they expected.

What's most interesting, and in some ways most galling, is the
number of posts I've seen in the last day or so from people who watched
CTA again, and said, "On second viewing, the music didn't bother me as
much, and I kind of like it in places." Maybe they should've been a
little less quick on the trigger and the condemnation.

As for some of the comments I've seen, basically saying he
should be killed (literally, someone suggested putting a gun to his
head and pulling the trigger) to some *very* xenophobic comments about
his being asian and that's the problem, with *that kind* of
music...they do not even merit a reply.

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: Re: IMage Laserdisks
      To: CIS  
    Date: 1/5/1999 1:56:00 PM  

Message 10 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

Re: Lyta in SiL...okay, if they mentioned Lyta, I'd get nailed
for not mentioning Na'Toth...or Sinclair...or Keffer...or somebody
else. You can't do five minutes of roll call in a TV show. That would
be deadly. They each picked one character to name, because they had a
close relationship in some way with that character. Who among them
really had a close relationship with Lyta? Name me that person. (Not
directed at you, just generally.)

Had Zack been there, then yeah, maybe he would've named Lyta (or
not, given what happens with her later). THAT would have been
appropriate. But it would NOT have been appropriate to have her named
just because somebody wants to hear her name called.

The persons named were ones to whom they had an emotional
attachment... Vir to Londo, Garibaldi to G'Kar, Ivanova to Marcus,
Sheridan to Londo, Delenn to Lennier. Lyta did not have that
connection to anyone at that table that would be on an equal footing.

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: Re: IMage Laserdisks
      To: CIS  
    Date: 1/8/1999 6:18:00 AM  

Message 11 in thread 

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{original post unavailable}

I couldn't agree more.

We (John Copeland and I) just finished designing and building
the main title for CRUSADE...and it may be the best one we've done to


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