Permission isn't required for pictures currently out there from WB on the
nets (and there are lots of them).
THE BEST MAN? Good heavens, I've discovered a film I hadn't known
existed. I'll try and nail a copy at first opportunity if it's something one
would include in such other august company as FAILSAFE and THE MANCHURIAN
CANDIDATE, both of which are *excellent*.
Re: the Arisia panels...tell you what, Michael...there's bound to be a
moment when it will seem apt to include this...so at that moment, deliver to
the assembled folkses the following message straight from jms:
STAR TREK VS. B5. You who programmed this panel, you who determined
theme and direction, who put the Vs. in the title...have you learned nothing
from experience? Do any of you, who organize conventions and do so out of a
professed love and familiarity with science fiction, remember September 1966?
That was the year a little science fiction series called STAR TREK debuted on
network television, one year exactly after the premiere of LOST IN SPACE in
September 1965. STAR TREK, which was panned by reviewers and fans alike who,
out of a perceived loyalty to the previous show, described it as nothing more
than a cheap attempt to cash in on the success of LOST IN SPACE. LOST was the
established norm, TREK the impudent newcomer, a throwback some said from the
strong family drama of LOST. TREK fans said that this was unfair, that their
show shouldn't have to be compared to LOST IN SPACE, that it should be taken
on its own merit.
"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
There is no STAR TREK VS. B5 except in the minds of those who would
profit from continuing feuds on either side of the fictional picket fence.
Why not CAGNEY & LACEY VS. NYPD BLUE? They're both cop shows. Why is the one
predicated upon the other? What happened to IDIC, Infinite Diversity in
Infinte Combinations? Should it be celebrated only in concept, not execution?
The science fiction community is composed of brilliant dreamers, practical
visionaries, afficianados, costumers, craftspeople...and feuds, in equal
measure. And whichever "side" folks come down on at this panel, B5 or ST,
it's an exercise in factionalization that achieves nothing because there IS no
VS, no OR; it's B5 *and* Star Trek *and* Lost in Space *and* The Prisoner
*and* Space: Above and Beyond. Because the future of science fiction is in
the cross pollinization of ideas, the interbreeding -- after proper
introductions dinners and flowers -- of dreams and visions and extrapolations,
which in time results in the birth of new dreams, new ideas, and new visions.
Absent that, the species, and the genre, dies.
Yes, it is possible to explore, compare and contrast the methods of
storytelling, the effects, the structure and the acting of any two series;
that is the point of the And. In Ali vs. Frasier, the Axis vs. the Allies,
Truman vs. Dewey, OJ Simpson vs. an inconvenient truth, there can only be one
left standing at the end. But in science fiction, we all stand together,
protecting and sharing our diverse dreams, or we do not stand at all.
RE: "B5 is really X in disguise" You're all right, and you're all wrong.
Is it Lord of the Rings? Dune? The Kennedy story? The saga of Camelot? The
Foundation? A brief history of World War II? The Bible? All these and
others have been broached to me by people absolutely sure that this was the
model for the series. (And, as an aside, this kind of discussion generally
happens only to TV writers; nobody here is doing a panel called "Is Startide
Rising Really X in disguise?" This happens to TV writers because somehow it
gets assumed that we haven't got an idea in our heads that we didn't swipe
from somebody's book. But that's another topic for another time.)
Babylon 5...is a Rohrsharch test. An ink blot created by smashing
actors, archetypes, saga-structure, myth and language against a sheet of
paper, folding it, and bashing it a few times. When you open it up and look
inside, what you see is the saga closest to your heart and your experience.
Because like all the works mentioned a moment ago, B5 draws upon the same
wellspring of myth, archetype, symbology, and dime store sociology that feeds
all sagas, from the Illiad on through to the present.
Writers, science fiction writers in particular, are like the beggar in
Alladin, who offered new lamps for old...we seize myths that have fallen out
of currency and recast them in newer guise, dust them off and hope a genie
emerges. Our myths, the myths of Tolkien and Homer, of Heinlein and Mallory,
are eternal; they exchange one name for another, cast off one mask and assume
the next. If you perceive their presence in Babylon 5, it is because we have
courted the myth, not because we have echoed one of their names from another
place. King Lear vanishes into Londo, Cassandra peers out from behind the
eyes of G'Kar, Galahad answers to the name Ivanova, the Oracle at Delphi is
now wearing an encounter suit, and Sir Bedevere is...well, that would be
So you're all right. And you're all wrong. Because it's all ACTUALLY
based on the 1967 Young Juveniles novel "The Mad Scientists' Club." And I'm
actually channeling Eleanor Roosevelt. (Fortunately, I already have the
wardrobe.) Oh, yes...and I am the walrus, coo-coo ka choo....