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    From: (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: JMS: Patrick Stewart/B5/Tr
    Date: 1/2/1995 5:20:00 PM  

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You may want to convey to these individuals that Stewart also invited
Doug to tea, something he wouldn't have done if he were just fibbing about
his opinion to avoid a faux pas.

In point of fact, we have had generally good relations with MANY
of the actors involved with ST in one form or another. Rene Auberjenois
(I know I just misspelled that, but it's late, nearly 1 a.m., and I'm
too tired to go into the other room to get the right spelling) told both
Mira Furlan, myself, her husband, and just about anyone else in sight
that he's seen B5 and enjoys it immensely. We have had several actors
involved with ST come by the B5 stages to look at the facilities and say
hello. The actor who plays Quark (my apologies to the actor, but his name
has just fallen out of my head) invited Peter Jurasik to a party at his
place to comment on how much he enjoys the show.

There is a small, vocal minority of Star Trek fans who hate B5 because
it commits the ultimate crime for a show in Earth's future in space: it's
not Star Trek. In some ways, I find it kind of amusing, along the lines
of those in the 60s who said you could be a Beatles fan, or a Monkees fan,
but not both. These are people who talk about Infinite Diversity in
Infinite Combinations, but choose not to practice it. They are the same
sorts of people who were Lost in Space fans, and derided and insulted Star
Trek because they considered it a cheap knock-off of LiS. (And yes, there
were loads of critics and viewers who said this, and wrote reviews that
said this, and wrote to fan publications saying it.) They are people who
applaud ST because it was the work of one man with a vision, in its
beginnings...and deride B5 which is a different vision.

What the actors, and the writers involved with Star Trek understand,
that this small, vocal minority of ST fans do not, is that COMPETITION
LEADS TO IMPROVEMENT. These are people who want to see their characters
stretched to new areas, given more to do...writers who want to take
chances in their scripts and be bold...who have for much of the run of ST
been held back by the corporate types who don't *want* changes, who don't
want to take chances...and that's why you have a situation where Riker
stays first officer for *seven years*, which fans complain about, and which
would be the end of ANY officer's career in the real military.

Where I come from, science fiction is the literature of open
mindedness. It *welcomes* new ideas, and new approaches, and different
views of our past, present and future. Are they so insecure with Star
Trek that they must attack Babylon 5?

If they are truly Star Trek fans, then they must know and appreciate
the work done by people like Harlan Ellison and David Gerrold and Dorothy
Fontana and Walter Koenig and, lately, Peter David...people who have not
been well treated by Star Trek of late. We have given them the respect
that is due them, allowing the writers the chance they often did not have,
to experiment and to grow. When Walter Koenig did his first Babylon 5
episode, whenever he came to the table at lunch, those in the cast at the
table would stand until he sat...common when junior officers are being
joined by a senior officer.

Dorothy, and David, and Walter, and Harlan, and others who were
involved with the original Star Trek who have visited the set have said
that they have only seen the atmosphere and warmth of this set on one
other set in nearly thirty years...on the original Star Trek.

Mark Hammil has come by the studio to pay his regards for the show;
Leslie Stevens, co-creator/producer for The Outer Limits made a similar
pilgrimage to say how much he enjoys the show, and how he feels that this
is the future of where SF should be going in television.

When we won the Emmy for Best Visual Effects for the first year in
which we were eligible, it was the *first time* in six years that Star
Trek had lost out. Now with a second Emmy, a Hugo nomination, an award
from the Space Frontier Foundation for Best Vision of the Future, another
award from the Cult TV convention in England (beating out NYPD Blue and
DS9 for best new series)...we are being noticed. Even some reviewers who
at first had the same disdain because we weren't Star Trek have begun to
come around, and see us for what we ARE, not complain about what we are
NOT. (Some complained in the beinning that we were just a rip-off of Star
Trek: DS9, which since we were around in development for 5 years prior to
DS9 is nonsense...and then when they tuned in, and saw that we weren't a
ripoff, turned their noses up because we weren't doing things like they
were done in Star Trek. I received mail and email from people complaining
that we used hand-links when everyone KNEW that the REALITY of it was that
in 200 years we'd be using the chest-pin communicators in Star Trek, "and
every time I see you use this other thing, it breaks the illusion for me."

Long story made short...we're *not* going away. We are telling a
story, and we're going to tell that story until it's finished. If a few
wish to be like the Lost in Space fans who refused to watch Star Trek
when it came on, that's their right. Anyone who finds specific fault in
an episode, and it IS a fault, not "Star Trek wouldn't have done it this
way," that's also terrific. To not like a show simply because it isn't
Star Trek is simple bigotry...and to them I can only say that Roddenberry
would be *disgraced* by that attitude in people claiming to be fans of
hsi work.


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