From: STRACZYNSKI [Joe]
Subject: nic, you persist in this notion...
Date: 2/4/1992 6:13:00 AM
: List :
nic, you persist in this notion that what's been said here is
unsubstantiated. Which parts? That B5 has been in development for years is a
matter of public record. (In fact, being the kinda hairpin I am, I've slipped
references to it all over the place...Soaron, if you're reading this, check
the episode of CAPTAIN POWER where Tank faces off with a guy from the same
genetic engineering facility as himself and note the name of the
center...check my novel OTHERSYDE where I slipped in a quick reference to B5
being on the air that night...plus the copies on file at the Guild and at
Warners and everywhere else.)
When was B5 announced? Check the trades. November 21st, several
articles appeared with the info. When was DS9 developed? That, too, is a
matter of both record and other information. Was B5 brought to Paramount?
Yes, it was, and I have the correspondence to prove it. Were some of the
development people at Paramount who read the B5 screenplay and saw the series
treatment and bible also involved in the DS9 development? It seems that this
is indeed the case. That's not unsubstantiated "bs" as you say, and I really
don't care what you think on that subject. All of that is a matter of record.
Were Pillar and Berman aware of B5 at any time? No. Of that I am also
confident. The only question in my mind is to what degree did the development
people steer them? One scenario is that they did not steer them at ALL...but
knowing of B5, and knowing how swell it would be if they could co-opt B5, if
Pillar and Berman came up with a space station on their own, they would likely
say nothing, even though they might be viewed as being under a moral
obligation to say something. Another scenario is that they gave direction to
the creative folks without telling them the origin of that direction.
There are several ways of dealing with this. One is to launch a major
suit with full powers of discovery. The result is that DS9 gets tied up for
months, maybe even years in litigation, and maybe the show doesn't go forward.
It also means hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by Warners and me and
others pursuing this...not to mention the sense of ill will that will fly back
And while all options are still open, the general concensus for now seems
to be to live and let live. (I assume you want to see DS9, do you not? If
you'd like me to take this out of the realm of discussion and into the courts,
there's a better than even chance that we could kill it -- is that what you
want?) We are content to try and let the market decide which is the better
program...or allow both to continue on and on indefinitely, in the hope that
they will be sufficiently different that both can succeed. There is nothing
new in this information, I have posted EXACTLY the same in a public message to
Mike Okuda in 21/21.
That we have decided -- for the best interests of all -- for the time
being to take a mature, "let's move forward" approach does not mean that I
have to pretend nothing happened. Or shut my mouth about it. If there is any
(to use your term) winking and nudging going on, it's on the level of "Okay,
YOU (Paramount) know what happened, and *I* know what happened, but let's try
to be grownup about it for now," though I must say that the shapechanging
thing nearly tipped me back over the edge again. If there are no more major
similarities that crop up in the next few weeks or months, with luck we can
continue that way.
I've always believed that the best solution to any problem is being
forthright. I felt it proper for people to see the development process here,
and be aware of what the actual events were, and let them reach their own
conclusions. And, in part, this is to insure a complete record. Because one
probable result of silence is that B5 gets broadcast to an audience which
might be unaware of it, as movies tend to slip past more readily than series.
Then DS9 airs as a series. Then B5 airs as a series...and everybody thinks we
ripped off DS9.
Maybe you don't think it's important to establish which was here first.
I do. In the forty-plus years that television has been around, no one has
done a series on a space station/port of call. Now suddenly we have two
within two months of each other being announced.
So what do you want, nic? Do you want me to launch every legal missile
I've got in an effort to kill DS9? Because that's the only other alternative
that I've got to just talking about it...and on the question of
unsubstantiated bs, frankly, you're off base and I still find that insulting.
B5 has a paper trail four years long. And unless you have access to that --
as I do -- please refrain from spouting off about things you don't know.
Despite very strong feelings about this situation, I'm trying to be mature
about all this. Comments like yours just tempt me to say, "Okay, screw it,
you want substantiation? Let's party, let's get in the lawyers."
This is the topic for discussion of B5. In all its aspects. If you find
the conversation uncomfortable...there are other topics for you to explore.
Meanwhile, please try and refrain from characterizing my post as "bs". You
can't get any closer to the inside scoop on something like this than from the
I have adopted a live and let live attitude re: DS9. I will try and
adopt one toward you. Please don't cause me to regret either decision.
End of sermon.
Finally, to Ellen's request re: prior credits...I've worked in TV for
about ten years now...first in animation, on such programs as THE REAL
GHOSTBUSTERS, to live-action SF such as CAPTAIN POWER, and I was primary
writer and story editor on the syndicated TWILIGHT ZONE. I was writer and
story editor on JAKE AND THE FATMAN (or as we called it, THE LAME AND THE
HALT), and am currently on M,SW as writer/producer. I adapted THE STRANGE
CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE for Showtime (which received both Ace and
Writers Guild Award nominations for writing), wrote a new "V" miniseries which
will not be filmed for budgetary considerations, recently finished a
SF/adventure/comedy screenplay for Ivan Reitman, and have published two novels
and one anthology and numerous short stories. There's more beyond that, but
those are some of the highlights.
Sorry to have gone on so long with this. We now return you to your
regularly scheduled programming.