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    From: (Jms at B5)
 Subject: JMS:Do you enjoy talking to us
    Date: 2/14/1995 1:51:00 PM  

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I don't know enough about how these informal RPG groups function, so
really can't comment.

Do I enjoy it? For the most part, yes. The other frustrations are
pretty much the same ones faced by anyone else on the net; the occasional
offhand insults or dismissals, the trolls and flames, the person who says
"If this had been a ST episode, I would've given it a 10, but since I
expect more from B5 I'm only giving it a 2" rather than judging it simply
on its own merits, the person who feels he has to find SOMETHING negative
to say or he feels he's not participating properly....

I've been riding the nets for over 10 years. So after a while, you
come to know what to expect. And the majority of it is nothing less than
swell. Whether the analysis is positive or negative, often it comes with
thought and consideration and cogent, perceptive commentaries, and one
can't help but learn and be impressed.

Most of the other folks I know who work in SF TV think I'm insane to
be here, to this extent, every single day. Because there's often a kind
of love/hate relationship between SF TV people and viewers.

Here's an example (and please, this is NOT a case of "the author
speaking through an imaginary third person"). This is a writer/producer
who's worked on a number of SF series (or in one case, a contemporary
fantasy series), who no longer works in the genre, instead seeing out work
in non-SF/fantasy venues. I ran into him at a local newsstand here in
Sherman Oaks a while back, and I asked him about his decision. This,
though a paraphrase from memory, is what he said:

"The viewers drove me out of it. I just got tired of it. While
some of them are okay, the majority of them are just damned ungrateful.
You bust your ass making a show, 12-16 hours a day. You put it out there,
and all they ever want to do is nitpick. They crab, they bitch, they
moan, they pick things apart until there's nothing left. Then when you're
finally canceled, they scream at you asking why you're not on the air.
Well, if you'd *supported* the show when it was on the air instead of
bitching about it all the time, maybe it *would* be on the air. In two
years on [insert name of a high-visibilty police-type series] I haven't
had any of that. Same with the other non-SF shows I've done. They turn
on the show, and either they like it, or they don't like it, they don't
tear it to shreds in front of your eyes, call you names, insult you or
bitch at you. [Name and Name] feel the same way about it that I do, and
they're looking to get off [series name] for the same reason. They're
just going crazy with it. It's got nothing to do with not wanting to
hear negative opinions, just the way they do it."

Now, obviously, I have some very real disagreements with some of the
sentiments expressed here. Part of it, I think, is that I do come out of
the world of being a fan, and I think I better understand the situation,
that it comes out of being invovled with a show and the ideas behind it
in a very visceral fashion. Also, I think that if you're not on the nets
or out among the fans regularly, all you'll here ARE the negative things,
because those are the ones who tend to write...those who're pissed off.
People who like a show don't often write in to say so. But on the nets,
or at conventions, you're more apt to encounter them. Absent that, it's
easy to see how someone might come away with the notion that it's all
just negative.

Are there, from time to time, unfair or ill-considered criticisms of
this or any other show? Of course there are. That goes with the
territory. Are they disproportionately outweighed by the thoughtful and
insightful criticisms? Definitely. As for how you're treated...I feel
that if you treat fans with respect, they will treat you with respect, and
as a consequence, while there have been some occasional hiccups here and
there, I'd have to say that yes, I do enjoy the exchange, it is both
entertaining and rewarding, and I'm happy to continue it.

Even if some of my associates *do* think I'm nuts.


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