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 Message
    From: STRACZYNSKI [Joe]
 Subject: Thanks for the kind words, folks....
      To: GENIE  
    Date: 4/14/1992 8:20:00 PM  

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Thanks for the kind words, folks. Sometimes, writing for TeeVee, you
start to think you're writing into a vacuum...you rarely ever get any sort of
feedback (99.9% of all letters go to the stars, as, I suppose, is proper).
Anyway, thanks.

To the questions:

The suggestion above about names was a good one. Overall, I'd say don't
worry about it too much, we'll figure it out. Just send it as you would
normally, we'll figure it out.

(The preceding paragraph, lacking a noun, rather using the pronoun "it"
refers to money orders.)

Regarding the last scene/last episode note, and "is every single episode
mapped out," I should explain.

I know where each season will end, and where the next season will begin.
Those episodes are locks. Within each season, I have set aside
benchmarks...certain events that much happen at some point in that given
season. Assuming a 22 episode season, about half, or 11 out of each 22, will
be benchmark episodes. The other 11 will be up for grabs in terms of the
general arc of the show. I think you *have* to be open to what some
freelancer hits you with unexpectedly, be open to surprises and things you
never considered.

It's a very fine line. The goal is that if you didn't know about the
show, had no sense of history or any of the characters, you could tune in to
Episode 18, Season 3, and be able to enjoy the show *immediately*. The
problem with a show like, say, TWIN PEAKS (which I enjoyed enormously, by the
way), was that if you missed an episode or two, you were pretty much lost.
Each and every episode of B5 ***must*** be able to stand completely on its
own.

What happens is that you start laying down threads that, over time, as
you watch more and more episodes, tells a much larger story. The more you
watch, the more you'll get out of it. If you watch one, you'll be able to
enjoy that one strictly on its own terms.

It's a trick I learned while writing/story editing, of all things, The
Real Ghostbusters. Those were written on two levels; one for younger viewers,
one for older. If you didn't get the older stuff, it didn't get in the way of
enjoying the show. If you *did* get the more sophisticated stuff, it added
another *layer* to the experience.

Another comparison, out of my league as it might be, would be the
Hieronymous Bosch painting, Garden of Earthly Delights. You can go in to any
panel or section of that triptych, and that could almost be a painting on its
own terms, it's so detailed. When you pull back, though, you begin to see a
much larger story, a wider and more varied tapestry.

It's a challenge, from a writing point of view, but it's eminently do-
able. We started to do some of that in Power; that show changed dramatically
at the end of season one, and we were starting to develop threads that, in
toto, would tell a much different story. There were clues all over the place.
(Soaron saying, of his programming, "There is something in my program I do not
understand...there is something in the dark," referring, as we would later
discover, to a program that would force him to kill Dredd; the fate of Power's
mother; the *real* agenda behind what was going on; wheels inside wheels
inside wheels....)

Maybe it's my Eastern European heritage, but I *love* sagas, and B5 will
present a chance to tell that kind of saga. When I was assigned the V
miniseries job, I took a similar approach, trying to create a whole and
consistent world.

But this is hardly revelation; the world of SF print has been doing this
now ever since the Lensman books. The job now is translating that approach to
television, and bring it up to, oh, at least where SF was 20 years ago....

jms

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