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 Message
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Observations on Season Two to
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 12/18/1994 9:12:00 AM  

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The only quibble I have with your message, and it's a small one, is
your statement, "The success of Trek made B5 possible."

Not true. In fact, Trek has made it infinitely *harder* to get
other SF on the air, including B5. The general concensus in Hollywood is
that the market isn't big enough to sustain more than one SF show at a
time (particularly if it's space-oriented), and that's ST. (That may only
NOW start to change with the growth of B5's ratings.)

At every network, every studio in town, we were told -- repeatedly --
that there is NO market for space SF other than Trek, that they had the
field to themselves, and there was no interest in trying to buck that
scenario. That's one of the reasons that PTEN was so cautious in putting
B5 on the air, among others. Even when we got the go for series, we were
told that this was a dubious endeavor, because "we just don't think the
market can sustain more than one show like this; we'll try it, but we'll
just have to see what happens."

So believe me, ST has not "made B5 possible." It has been an
obstacle (one of many) to overcome. Not just for us, but for other sF
projects that have tried to get off the ground. And over the last few
months, we've now heard of other new SF shows gearing up in this area,
because we've shown it can be done. And I think it's terrific; the more
shows, the more we have to compete with one another, the better the shows
will become, and the ultimate beneficiary of this is the viewer.

Look at it this way...in the 25+ years since ST (and for the moment
leaving out Buck Rogers, about which the less said the better), how many
American SF series have there been set in the future with us as space
faring people that have lasted more than just *one* season? Answer: zero.
If ST had proven a market, wouldn't there be some in there? ST has never
shown that there's a market for more SF, only that there's a market for
more ST. B5 is the first show in over a quarter-century to play in this
particular back yard and go more than one season.

So you'll undertstand why, when people sometimes suggest that ST made
B5 possible, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up....

jms

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