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If BABYLON 5 were to come back to the TV airwaves today, what environment would you want to see? Would it extend from the last episode of Babylon 5 or Crusade? Would you prefer a prequel -- to find out the history behind the story we all love so much? Would you want an entirely new story -- one based on some event we saw in Babylon 5 but knew little about?

Date: January 11, 2010
From: PrimusComics

I hope its okay that I email you my ideas on the future of B5.
I think I would like to see some new and old if they came back with B5. Most of the cast that is still alive are only 10 years older than they were when B5 ended. Its not like the ST:OS from the 60s trying to do it in the 90s.
Some ideas I would like to see:
- What happened to Ivanova?
- Drakh plague/ Crusade resolution
- Any remaining First Ones?
- Rangers relation to existing military... Earth Force vs. Rangers
- Earth Alliance vs. ISA?

A new cast would be a little refreshing, but that might be because I wasn't a Lockley fan. I did like Gideon.

One thing I also thought of, could B5 exist without JMS in total control? He seems to be done with B5 unless big-time big-money movie is going to happen. Will it? Can B5 go on without JMS?

Date: January 9, 2010
From: ccbflamekeeper

Hi Sandy,
Hope you are keeping warm in this deep freeze. Happy New Year to you.
What would I like to see in the B5 Universe if I could? Wow, what a question!

I guess the first thing I would like to see is the Telepath War, to see what happened to Lyta and Lennier. That would be so wonderful if that was brought to the big screen. That seems like a huge event in the timeline.
After that I would have loved to see Dr. Franklin find the cure for the Drakh plague, of course we cannot, so sadly, but at least, maybe on the Excalibur some reference to it made.
B5 is just a motherlode of ideas. So many directions it could go. To see Valen fight the Shadows,, to see the Station again and see what is happening there, to see the birth of Sheridans and Delenn's child and the complications that might take place. To also see David freed of the Keeper.... that would be great. Those are just a few ideas off the top of my head. Also, to see what kind of Emperor that Vir would be.
*SIGH* would that it would be so. There is nothing that I am at all interested in these days,, I wish there was something but Alas, nothing.
Anyway, just a few ideas, I only wish Warners was listening.

All the best,
Faith manages,
Ranger Connie,, B5er forever.

October 15, 2009

OK, everyone has had a chance to watch some of the new shows out this season. Do you have any favorities -- any stinkers?

Date: Nov. 4, 2009

Hi Sandy,

Well, I watched the big premiere of the remake of :"V" last night, and at least it was good for a few laughs...
So it seems this time around, the leader of the aliens is some chick in short skirts who has the whole Sharon Stone leg trick down pat...
And this time it seems the slimy, no-good reptiles have been here all along -- disguised as... terrorists!
And what are they promising us this time around...? "Universal health care"...! Gak! Anything but that! LOL



Who watched? What did you think? Will you continue to watch? For someone else's opinion, go to The Hollywood Reporter Review and see if you agree.

From: ambkosh8465
Date: Tue, Oct 6, 2009 11:12 am

Hi Sandy,

Yes, I watched the pilot for SGU... well, sort of. To be honest, I couldn't even sit through the whole thing. After the first hour or so, I simply had to turn it off. It was just so bad I couldn't even watch any more.

First of all, I couldn't stand the arrogant, obnoxious scientist who got them all into so much trouble. If this was launching a new series, why did they bring along Rodney McKay? Were those two separated at birth? Rodney's the whole reason I've never watched Atlantis. Whatever happened to the nice, charming scientists like Sam Carter?

Secondly, it looked like someone had dropped the movie's script in the blender. The whole thing was just so disjointed with so many flashbacks *and* flash-forwards, it was almost impossible to follow the storyline in any coherent matter. When I took a creative writing class in college, one of the main things they stressed was following a gradual increase in drama up until the story's climax and then having a brief resolution before the end. This sort of jump-back-and-forth storytelling doesn't entice you along on a fun journey; it's like listening to someone with A.D.D. tell you about something that happened but they can't concentrate long enough to keep it all straight. Oh well, I suppose you need to jump right into all the action when half your target audience is on Ritalin.

And finally, when it appeared that the real obstacle they had to overcome was fixing the oxygen leak on the ship before they all suffocated, I just had to turn it off. I mean, you just know that they *are* going to fix it; otherwise there wouldn't be a series! So predictable and boring. Where's the real threat to the characters?

Overall, it just seemed like a remake of Gilligan's Island (in space), just like Star Trek: Voyager was. I think one of my friends described SGU best. He said he thought it was insulting that they even called it Stargate because it was so far below the quality of SG-1. 'Nuff said?!

September 6, 2009
I don't know about you, but the summer drives me a little nuts. There is so little to watch on TV in general, but in the summer all you have to select from is reruns -- with a few exceptions on networks that have new programs out from the regular cycle. (WAREHOUSE 13 has been one of these and I love this show.) I find myself going to A&E, TNT, USA to watch some good reruns like Criminal Minds, NCIS, CSI: New York and CSI- Miami. This week ION and SYFY joins the group adding GHOST WHISPERER to their schedule. ION also has a new show starting tonight, DUNHAM COUNTY. Haven't heard much about this one, but looks like another procedural drama. How about you? Are you feeling the same longing for some quality TV? For some of my favorites, FRINGE and NCIS, the wait is nearly over. For others like SANCTUARY, I will have to be patient a little longer. How have you spent the summer? Found any good movies, books or places for good viewing?

August 15, 2009
It has been a while since we talked BABYLON 5 favorites. Let's see what we can come up with! How about favorite line? I know, this is not easy, but is there one or two lines that just scream BABYLON 5 for you? I think one of mine would be "Alone in the night." When you hear that line, don't you hear Sinclair saying it? What is your favorite?

From: randy
Date: Sat, Sep 5, 2009 7:56 pm

A few for me:
1. the avalanche has started, it's too late for the pebbles to vote
2. You want to know what's going on down there? Boom... boom boom boom... boom boom.

From: Andres
Date: Fri, Aug 28, 2009 10:54 am

Hi Sandy:
About you last discussion topic released on The Zocalo Today, my favorite line, or, at least, I remember so much, is a line in off said by Comm. Ivanova in the last episode, "Sleeping in Light": " Babylon 5 changed us, nothing will be the same thing anymore" (I think was the line...).

I must to say this line means exactly this for me in a lot of things, not only for the series, personals matters, etc....I think is for this I remember this line so much.

June 12, 2009

I don't know about you, but I'm at movie overload! Every week there's another BIG picture that you are expected to go out and see. Who has that kind of money #1, and how do you know you are going to like it? How do you feel about the movie industry these days? Are they doing too many movies -- and making more bad ones than good ones?

From: Jules
Date: Sun, Jun 28, 2009 5:00 pm

Good afternoon,

I always wait to see a new movie in order to get the "street word." It seems that noise and special effects have taken the place of plot and character development. The new "Transformers" movie fits that to a "T." Even the more recent "Star Wars" movies just had to overwhelm with effects. However, that may be because George Lucas wanted to have been able to use those types of special effects earlier, and just went overboard.

It is far worse now. And, we have become very used to this shift. Try watching a classic - "Forbidden Planet" is a good example. "2001 - A Space Odyssey" is another. The lack of intense action and noise is distracting. I hope JMS used discretion and avoids noise and distraction in his newest endeavors, and does what he does best... write and produce wonderful space yarns.


From: alan
Date: Sat, Jun 27, 2009 6:20 pm

There are a lot of movies being made, all which have to vie for attention with each other. That is really nothing new. What is new is the sheer cost and scale of these movies (or blockbusters in particular) While the technology developed to make these films is amazing and complicated on the downward side is the problem of them being so dumbed down as to negate the inclination to watch them more than once. There is so little depth and analysable sub text in these things you could probably sum them up in a paragraph.

The big budget film has to make big bucks to get its money back and to pay the investors. That is the bottom line. Therefore they have to appeal to a mass audience. This on the whole means you get mostly dumb films with lots of ridiculous action sequences.

I tend to watch lower budget affairs now. I get more out of a single Coen Bros movie than i do out of any of the top 20 blockbusters of the last ten years. Ok you end up watching the big films, but to be honest they are mostly "safe" and terribly boring affairs. Chewing gum for the mind. There are a lot of good thoughtful films being made out there (i'm talking "pans labyrinthe" Clooney/Soderbergh movies like "syriana" "scanner darkly" "solaris") and the Coen Bros - films which you can watch several times and at several levels.

It is unlikely films like "the third man" "2001 a space odyssey" and others of their ilk would get made nowadays. They would be considered pretentious and low audience attractions. Often great things rise by themselves - by word of mouth, by the makers daring to believe that the potential audience has a brain and is willing to use it. Thankfully in the states HBO have this view. and the real interesting stuff is coming out on TV. ie the sopranos, the wire, generation kill, out there, deadwood, band of bros etc. There is a lot of lowest common denominator out there, there always has been, so i suppose that the dross makes the truly great programmes and films look even greater as they are in a very small minority.

No i'm not a pretentious pseudo intelligentsia, i occassionally enjoy a bit of led Zeppelin instead of Mozart or Larry Niven instead of Arthur Miller. The point is that often there are the seeds of good ideas in the most surprising places which can inspire you to check a bit deeper into things. Films and tv should do that. babylon 5 did that. Why can't hollywood do a bit more of it, rather than have plots and action just to boost xbox or playstation sales? I have maybe said this before but i have a formula for the corellation between the budget of a movie and the intelligence of the audience. It is somewhat similar to newtons inverse square law of gravity. The higher the budget of a movie (and its takings) the dumber the audience is perceived to be (by the makers) so we just get more and moreof these void filled movies coming out. OK i like to be entertained, but how many of these things do they have to make before we turn into passive consumers of bland action and manipulated ersatz love scenes? Oh and you have to have a cynical hero a standard nowadays.

Alan, I agree with you 100%. The dumbed-down factor is considerable these days. It is quite frustrating that shows don't rise to a different level and make their viewers think, yes think, about issues confronting them today. Perhaps they watch the news for that, but shouldn't more shows address major issues of the day. There is drama in everyday life-- perhaps more than some would want to admit.

One of the things I enjoyed so much about Babylon 5 is the fact that it made you think -- and not just while you were watching the show -- you thought about the message days later as you waited for the next episode to air. I can't remember one show I've watched that has affected me in the same way. Goes to show, budget doesn't make a project successful. It's the writing and acting that truly make the diffrence.

Thanks Alan for your thoughtful response. Sandy May 8, 2009

OK, who has seen the movie! What do you think? Will it re-start the franchise? Does the younger cast members fit into the mold of the characters they portray?

Date: May 30, 2009
From: CCB5Flamekipper

Hi Sandy:
I finally saw Star Trek and I was somewhat skeptical going in, but by the end of the film, it had touched my old feeling about Star Trek, hearing the theme and seeing and hearing Leonard Nimoy, it was powerful. I thought it was good, and I just look at it as an Alternate universe Star Trek,, there were 2 glaring differences in the usual "canon" of Trek that don't fit, but, this is not that one, it is anther producers take on it, and he viewed it differently. That is the way I look at it. I really enjoyed it,, I enjoyed the music very much and thought most of the supporting cast was good.
You just cannot beat the iconography of Star Trek,, seeing the Enterprise, hearing the theme, and even a young Kirk and Spock give some hints of what would be to come. I really got to like Zachary Quinto as Spock and Chris Pine as Kirk did fine. I thought the background of Spock was more well done, with his non-acceptance from his peers. I am not sure if Kirk would have been that reckless as a young person. But, I can sort of give some dramatic license.
I did basically enjoy the film, and would like to see it again. In thinking it over, I think if you were to do those characters, it would have to be younger, and bring it up to date in a way. It is just like doing a play, with different characters, and a different spin on it. It seems to me that so many Trekkies are so wedded to a certain mindset, and that is it. I take B5's timelines much more seriously, as it is one man's vision, not a committee. I feel for poor Enterprise, it was a victim of the Trekkie mentality. I loved that show, and it's greater naturalism and roughter edges.
And speaking of B5, I would just LOVE to see a Babylon 5 film, with Joe given $150 million.. can you imagine!!! Joe would blow the theater down,, it would be nirvana to see Babylon 5, on a big screen,, I wish that would happen someday,, it would be great!!!
So, there are some thoughts I had and we shall see if they make any others with this cast, I think it would be really interesting, or should I say fascinating;-) I can think of something they could correct from this film,,
Thanks for this space to tell my feelings,,,, take care and all the best.

In Valen's name,
Connie a B5er forever,,
PS: Should I add live long and prosper,, I will this time;-)

April 3, 2009

We have about one month before the new STAR TREK bursts upon the big screen. There have been a lot of trailers and pictures about the upcoming movie. Personally, I can't wait to see it. I loved the original STAR TREK, but it got a bit threadbare at the end. With the various spin-offs, it will be good to get back to the basics and learn more about the origins of the characters we all loved. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto seem perfect in their new roles. How do you feel about having a new STAR TREK soon? Are you looking forward to it? Do you intend going to see it?

From: Connie
Date: April 28, 20009

Hi Sandy,
On to the topic. I have mixed feelings about it. I have seen only a couple of clips, and I am just not sure...the fellow who is supposed to be Spock was just on with David Letterman, and the one he showed, well, I am not sold that it is a young Spock I saw in that clip from the film. I did read a good notice about it in Variety, but that reviewer might not have any real idea of what the Classic series was about.
On one hand, I am glad it isn't Berman Trek, he never respected the Original Characters at all, and I hated Next Generation, DS9 and Voyager. Strangely enough, I loved Enterprise,, I think because it was different, more real to me. So, it is good it isn't Berman/Braga.
But, I wonder if J.J.Abrams has the true respect that these Iconic characters should be given. You cannot monkey around with Kirk and Spock and McCoy. They should be treated, if not with reverence, then respect. Many people have a lot invested in what they represented.
I would say it is 55-45 that I will see it, just out of curiousity,, but, I will be a tough sell. I have had my own ideas about what these characters were like at that point in their development, so we shall see.
I so wish that Warners would give Babylon 5 that kind of money to make the Telepath wars, can you imagine it!!! Joe would blow our minds out of our heads, I am certain of it. It is just a source of continuing frustration that B5 isn't given the respect that it deserves. I miss the universe of Babylon 5, and wish there was something around that I felt passionate about. I miss that.
If I see it, I will try and write a review, and I will be most interested to see what you, Sandy, will say about it as well.
All the best to all, Babylon 5 forever.

Faith manages,
Connie, a B5er and Ranger at heart

From: Judy
Date: April 24, 2009

You notice how although the story has long since ended, Babylon 5 has made an impact on other stories/series, as Star Trek has a "planet killer" and lost having characters "getting unstuck in time"?

Where it will all end I can't say, but in deed Babylon5 has made a lasting impression.

From: Frank
Date: April 23, 2009

If you want some spoilers, then a good review is over here: Otherwise, I'll just keep it general with my totally biased opinions.

So just got back from the screening. Here is my devalued 1/50 th fractional dollar's worth:

OK, just so I can say I was first.
An exclusive look at Captain Kirk- The Early Years:
Drunk and stoned out of your mind is no way to go through Starfleet son!

I must say I'm not a fan of the "Shake the camera for no good reason" style of cinematography. Two ladies I know who went to the screening, one said "It is not epileptic friendly." The other said 15 minutes after the end of the movie she still had problem focusing her eyes.

At the beginning of the movie there is a bar scene where Bo Barrett, I mean Capt Kirk, is chatting with Capt Chris Pike. The "Shake for no good reason ™" has to be 25% of the screen. I really don't remember, I just closed my eyes and asked the person next to me to let me know when it was safe to look again. Normally at this point I'd just get up and ask the manager for my money back. But since this was a free screening, I just sat in my seat and hoped for better. Maybe they had an earthquake during filming.

Hey, maybe the camera operator had a 750 or two of Chateau Montelena himself for lunch and couldn't hold the freakin' camera steady. Personally, I'm thinking about what I'll be doing my when I get home... Oh right, I'm at a movie. The mind wanders when you get bored.

Eventually the shake died down to a watchable point. But there were about half a dozen points where I just couldn't take it and closed my eyes again. Seriously folks, when it comes to that point I have to shut my eyes, there is a serious problem with the technical proficiency of the film crew. Either that or the Director is on speed.... or the camera guy.. or both. Seriously, if you like the retina jarring "Behind Enemy Lines" this movie is for you.

In the first part of the movie you have a part where one actor walks through a curtain in a doorway. IT'S FREAKIN' BUBBLE WRAP! This is Paramount. JMS would kill for the dollars they throw at ST productions. Imagine B5 with DS9's budget.. That would have been something. But come on... Bubble wrap? See previous point on Director being on speed.

Then they cut to a model of some city on Vulcan. Yea, it's obviously a model. I notice these points in between times when I'm closing my eyes. I'm beginning to have a bad feeling about this movie. Fortunately that was the end of the cheap F/X. The remainder of the movie was actually quite well done and very believable.

Anyway the plot is basically the prequel (all the rage in H-wood now) to ST TOS. It shows how Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Sulu and Chekov become a team. Do ya think, Kirk suspects he's really a PsiCorp operative? The film has only one quite well done cameo. That by Leonard Nimoy who to this day can't make up his mind if he isn't Spock or is Spock. Personally, I think he's only in it for the money.

The movie has some pretty good one liners. And the delivery is very well done. Not tacky or over the top. And the plot is also very good and involved. Hey wait a minute... This is not the typical ST "everything's perfect universe" Who wrote this? Did they take queues from some certain other SF show? One criticized for it's dark, and humans do sometimes fail look at reality? Naw it couldn't be.

But DS9 was created after a certain writer entered Paramount's offices with an idea for a series. He was shown the door in short order, but his idea was kept around a bit longer. That left me wondering: Did Paramount steal again? Did they realize the ST universe had gotten a bit stale?

In the movie the ST universe has changed a bit. Some of the characteristic ST plot lines are gone. Stuff we thought we knew isn't there anymore. The Universe has morphed. Kind of like a parallel dimension. HEY WAIT A MINUTE!!! I read this somewhere before:

Reboot the Universe

"What we propose today is “Universe B”, the unshackling of all the pent-up talent and ideas that are precluded from expression by virtue of what has gone on before. This universe begins again, in 2004, as simply:

Star Trek
If other series come after this, they will, in all likelihood, exist in this new “Universe B.” That we reserve the right to make bold new interpretations does not mean that we will shun all the good work and characters that exist before and after in the Star Trek time line. We may accept the vast majority of these decisions but simply change the way they happened. A re-boot means a fresh start. That means not just new stories, but looking at our continuity in new ways."

I'm thinking Paramount owes JMS some bucks here for pulling the franchise out of a ditch. Seriously, This isn't your father's ST. The opening title sequence makes that clear. This is a break from the mire and a heading off in a new direction.

Despite the shaky cinematography, initial obvious F/X, the plot is good, character development and interaction is well scripted. I sat in the front half of the theater. The section WITHOUT stadium seating. The screen encompassed 90° of my vision. That's a pretty big chunk. So when large things start moving fast for no good reason it kinda creeps me out.

Then again, I'm told folks that do speed actually prefer this technique. It's cheaper than drugs with similar symptoms. My only serious caveat: if you want to go see this movie my advice is to sit in the back.

From: Michelle
Date: April 7, 2009

Have seen the clips for the new trek movie. maybe i'm mistaken but do we have Kirk hiding in uhura's bedroom and watching her get undressed?

Does this bode well for the film?

Ok so the effects look cool, Quinto actually looks like spock. Simon Pegg as scotty is great. Simon is better known over here as a kind of alternative comedian writer and performer. he has done some great work.

But i can't get over the uneasy feeling that its going to be aimed specifically at the 16 to 25 year old audience. from the clips it reminds me of the stargate anniversary episode where the show self parodies itself - especially one sequence where the crew are recast as teenagers with superficial sub soap opera subplots al a "dawsons creek" or "beverly hills 90120" or whatever it is. and the current lingo teenage speak "yer no whot a meen?"

A bunch of teenagers in charge of a starship? what?

I'll wait for the reviews and feedback before i maybe waste my money. Probably catch it on sky in a year or so.

March 1, 2009
I bet you are like me -- having a love/hate relationship with cliffhangers. I love the excitement leading up to the edge when you can't wait to see what will happen next. I hate when this is done as the series comes to an end. Will you ever know how it all comes together -- does it come together? One of my favorite shows, Kyle XY ended in a cliffhanger last night. Great show -- but with the series having been cancelled by ABC Family, we may never know what happens to Kyle or Jessi or Latnock. There were always so many stories twirling around this very well-made series, there was something to bring you back each week. I will truly miss Kyle XY and hope that the final curtain hasn't been drawn on this one. How about you? Do you like cliffhangers?

From: Alan
Date: April 7, 2009


i suppose cliffhangers are a necessary evil. A trick to get viewers to tune in the following week. I personally do not like cliffhangers as they usually signify melodrama or are usually just a last minute plot device which can often spoil an episode or show if not handled properly.

A good case in point would be the Battlestar galactica (re imagined ) cliffhangers. At the end of the 2nd season the Cylons agree to leave the humans alone as the cylons have all turned into atheists. let bygones be bygones. There is then a huge turn about face and the cylons occupy New Caprica. It is either a very obvious trap or just a dramatic device to inject a cliffhanger scenario. They did the same at the end of series 3. Starbuck dies in the maelstrom, then is miraculously resurrected. After seeing the whole 4 seasons there was no good reason to have this plot device used. Starbuck already had a destiny so why bother with this abysmal cliffhanger?

Loved BSG by the way, just didnt like it after the 3rd series, it fell apart for me, but that's just my opinion. It was best when at its most pragmatic ie "33" the black market story, the rise of tom zarek, the new caprica storylines of suicide bombers and witchunt of collaborators, the insurrection, the pegasus storyline. A show like "the wire" (the best tv series ever) does it far more subtly and naturally. B5 did it well too.


From: Gary
Date: Mon, 23 Mar 2009 12:48 am

Hello Sandra,
It has been a while since I sent you an email… Regarding Kyle XY, I have mixed feelings about this show .. sometimes it reminded me of what I liked about “Roswell”, “Smallville” and “Buffy” (excellent high school scifi shows with smart dialogue and a good casting of u nknowns), and other times I was hoping that Jessi or Kyle would set off a Terminator-like nuclear holocaust with their minds so that the show would end. I truly feel your pain!!--- for when a show that you love ends without resolution you feel cheated. Crusade, Firefly, & Earth2 among many others come to mind as shows that I loved and still am bitter over their cancellations (although Firefly did get a sort of reprieve/resolution via the “Serenity” feature).

From: John
Date: Thu, 19 Mar 2009 9:17 am

Howdy from Idaho!

I always think of a little known show that unfortunately didn't get much attention the one year it was on. It was called "Now and Again". It starred Eric Close as a Superman-type-Next Gen 6 Million Dollar Man that had John Goodman's brain in him. It was produced by the guy who did moonlighting and Medium. Great show! Well written and my wife and I were just stunned when it didn't get renewed on CBS. The premise was if Eric Close's Character accepted the new life and body he could never see his family again or everyone would be terminated. So the cliffhanger? He, of course, spills his guts to his former-life wife, escapes the Gov and runs off with his family just as the Government brakes down the doors. How can that be the end!?!?! Even TV Guide said later "It deserved another chance"


February 15, 2009
There are a number of new programs coming our way all the time. Do any of them interest you? DOLLHOUSE made it's debut on Friday to rather dismal ratings. Fridays have always been a hard rating day, but did anyone watch? I just watched it on I think the story premise is an interesting one ? don't know if I can watch it every week though. How about you?

January 18, 2009
I started thinking about conventions this morning and thought this might a a good discussion topic -- one that everyone who has gone to a convention could share with readers here at THE ZOCALO TODAY. What is your best, worst convention experience?

Date: Mar 8, 2009

Hello Sandy,

Hope you are well as you get this.

Your topic of best and worst Con experiences is really interesting, brings back so many memories. I wish that there was a show I loved today, but things are different these days, sadly, no show and not as much money. But, anyway.

Of course, to me, the best one was when I met the late and our dearly beloved Andreas Katsulas. I had sent to him, through Stephen Furst, a copy of some fan fiction I wrote with myself on B5 and G'Kar in a romantic relationship, and it was so neat when, on approaching Andreas table, he knew who I was, and I got a great greeting and hug,, and he actually worked me into his stage appearence that day, it was so amazing,, he was just so great. I loved him dearly, And miss him so much. He was such a sharp guy, and myself, being half Greek, I felt such a kinship to him. Now that he is gone, that is really the most poingnant memory I have.

And I met the Great Maker J. Michael Straczynski too, very memorably as well, a few times.

I was able to see Bruce Boxleitner, and Jerry Doyle at another Con, and that was really great, the stage experiences were memorable, well, you know how outrageous Jerry is,, he is so funny and handsome, and I loved Mr. Garibaldi so much,, , but politically, well, we do Not agree, very much so.

At that Con, which is a Star Trek based Con, Bruce and Jerry were on stage, and there was so much Trek stuff all that weekend and I was feeling oppressed so I shouted out something to the affect that B5 was better then Trek and I am lucky I got out of there with my life! It just bugs me that Star Trek gets so much respect and adoration and B5 doesn't get the recognition it deserves, it just gets to me and it boiled over, Bruce and Jerry didn't want to go along with me, but that was ok.

Don't get me wrong, I loved Classic Trek, who didn't, and I have grown to love Enterprise,, ( but not the others AT ALL). But I mean, B5 is above all of them,, anyway,, I digress.

I had some really nice meetings with our late and loved Richard Biggs,, met him 5 times, really nice, easy going guy. And Jason Carter was great to meet too, it was so sad for him when we lost Richard.

I had some positive experiences with Eric Pierpoint of Alien Nation, loved him, great guy,, Virginia Hey of Farscape,, and also our other B5'ers, such as Peter Jurasick, who was funny and when I stood up in the audience at I-Con and asked him a question he noticed my Londo shirt on my chest, and said, " Ah, that is just a great place for him!!" That was so funny!. Bill Mumy taught me how to hold my hands in the Minbari way to bow,, he was nice. I was lucky to know someone who took me to a lot of the Cons at a point in my life, and I met mostly everyone from B5, and quite a lot of other stars too, some very important to me, such as the aforementioned Mr. Pierpoint.

I also was able to meet Ben Browder and many of the Farscapers, Anthony Simcoe was great, and there is a great story there too.

I would love to meet Connor Trinneer and Scott Bakula, also Dominic Keating from Enterprise, someday,, *sigh*. Time will tell.

I sat with the late wonderful George Harrisons really nice sister at a Beatle Convention,, that was special as well

The last Con I went to, a Chiller, was probably the worst, too crowded, too many lines. I wanted to meet Linda Hamilton of Beauty and the Beast but her line was too long and my time was limited. I didn't like that at all, just too hectic.

Anyway, I could go on. Maybe I will add something later,, but anyway, those are some Con memories from Connie, don't know how many more I will have, and I am sure I am missing some great ones. Thanks for asking, take care Sandy.

B5 forever,
Faith manages,
Connie, the B5 Flamekeeper forever.

Date: Feb. 15, 2009

Hi Sandy,

My best convention experience is really easy to recall -- it was Shore Leave 27, when I got to meet *you* at Jeffrey Willerth and Pat Tallman's autograph table! That whole weekend was undoubtedly the best time I've had in my whole life. Pat and Jeffrey were simply the nicest, most genuine stars I've ever encountered at a convention (while wearing an *encounter* suit no less!) They actually invited me to participate in their photo ops session with my homemade Kosh costume, and they also presented some of the awards I won with it during the Masquerade contest. (You can see videos of that on my costuming website --

My worst convention experience though would be a more difficult choice... First, Walter Koenig once kept us standing in line for an autograph for over two whole hours (much of which was spent standing outside in the blazing hot summer sun). Just as I was finally rounding the corner to where his autograph table was located though, a security guard physically slapped me on the chest and yelled out, "The line stops here!", simply because he had gotten tired of signing. I never really had much use for "Mr. Bester" after that...

Especially when other stars like Marina Sirtis always graciously signs up to *three* autographs for each person and always ends her talks by thanking her fans for providing her with her home, her car, her husband, her jewelry, her wardrobe, etc. She's always been one of my favorite convention guests.

I'm afraid I was thoroughly shocked though by Jason Carter's behavior at a convention where he and Richard Biggs started performing an impromptu stand-up comedy routine together on stage. I was appalled by the foul obscenities and lewd sexual innuendo issuing from Mr. Carter's mouth, especially when you considered all the young children who were seated on the floor directly in front of the stage...

By the way, I believe that was also the same convention where a large group of drunken Klingons were staying in the hotel room right next to ours, and they literally kept us up all night with all their shouting and body-slams against the wall during their "battle drills", no matter how many times we called the front desk to complain...

I think my worst convention experience though was when I saw Gates McFadden during the very height of ST:TNG's popularity. The ballroom was so crowded with people for her talk, those of us who couldn't get a seat were literally forced to *kneel* for the whole hour she was speaking so we wouldn't be blocking anyone else's view. We were really packed in like sweaty, smelly sardines, and I got disgusted and left after the first fifteen minutes. Out in the hallway, people were staring at blank closed-circuit TV screens, listening to her talk. She had insisted that the video portion be blanked out so no one could film it and make a buck by selling a copy of her precious convention appearance...

That was actually the very first convention I ever attended, so looking back now in hindsight, it's amazing that I ever even attended another one after that! Over the years though, I'd have to say that the good has definitely outweighed the bad. Otherwise, I guess I wouldn't want to keep going back!


January 3, 2009
It will soon be Oscar time and I started thinking about the best movies I have enjoyed from the science fiction genre. What are your favorites? Would it start with STAR WARS, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, BLADERUNNER and go on? Or would it be different?

Date: Sat, 10 Jan 2009 4:28 pm

Dear Sandy,
Science fiction movies,, well, the champ of all time, to me, is 2001: a space odyssey,, that is one of the masterpieces of the genre,, and very influential,, a titan. You cannot get better then Kubrick and Clarke. It was the questions that made it so good,, it challenged you and made you think. After that,, Close Encounters of the Third Kind of course, was excellent,, ET, the Extraterrestrial, Speilberg is an amazing director,, I loved Galaxy Quest,, it is so fun, and very creative,, I can watch that over and over again.

The Classic Cast Star Trek films were good, especially Numbers 4, 6 and 3, and 2 as well, although watching Spock die was so hard to watch. I even like 5 in a way too. The first wasn't as good as it might have been.

Babylon 5's In the Beginning was pretty good too:-) Wish there was more of them,, many more. TONS more.

I thought the Star Wars films were entertaining,, but I never understood how big they got. I actually liked the 3rd prequel quite a bit, The Revenge of the Sith,, thought it was the best of the lot, and also Empire Strikes Back was good,, but I never got the whole thing,, Babylon 5 is better then they all are in my opinion.

I adore all the Harry Potter films, very much, but they are in the fantasy realm more then SF.

The original " The Day the Earth Stood Still", is a classic of course.. don't know why they felt they had to remake it,,

Jurassic Park was good, the first one, the others I haven't seen. I think the first Planet of the Apes was brilliant,, truly stunning, especially the last incredible ending shot,, and it had a lot to say about science and humanity.. the others,, not so hot.

I would like to say I enjoyed Serenity, but I cannot take the loss of two characters, one I might be able to absorb, but 2, too much. It is a shame the stupid SFC idiots haven't brought that back. I am still annoyed at the treatment the Dresden Files got.

The original Alien Nation film was pretty good, but the series was incredible, loved it passionately.

That is all I can think of right now,, I might add some later,if it is allowed.

Anyway, it is hard to believe that Babylon 5 ended 10 years ago,, I wish we will someday get the Telepath wars, that would be awesome,, as B5 was,, it was just the best.

Not watching anything these days, nothing interests me, sad time,, B5 set the bar very high,, but I did get to love Enterprise a lot and its fate was cruel as well.

So,, anyway, if I can think of more films, I will write again,, perhaps you can add my addition.

Hope all is going well for you, and best to all B5'ers always.

Faith manages,,
Connie, the Ranger from NY

August 2, 2008
How do you feel about JMS' posting about the future of Babylon 5? Do you agree with him that if Warners isn't ready to fully fund a big-budget project, he should not do it? Do you feel he is just ready to move on?

B5 deserves better than WB's intent--and I commend JMS for standing up for his principles. B5 was a wonderful addition to the genre, and I am glad to have watched from the start. WB has already shortchanged the fans by their massacre of the episodes in DVD format and for not putting out a complete set in VHS (working both ends to the middle and stopping short of a complete set). So, as a fan, I have come to expect the mediocre from WB. Sad commentary for such a worthy Sci-Fi story.

Can we have a B5 funeral???


From: Bill
Date: Sat, 2 Aug 2008 12:37 pm


I have to say I agree with Joe's decision. I'd rather have no B5, than bad B5, which is what we'd be getting if WB's bean counters have their way. I understand the need to cut costs, especially in today's economy, but Joe was right when he said WB doesn't understand what it has in the B5 franchise.

I'm hoping WB will take a page from Paramount's book, who also tried to produce the original Star Trek with a second TV series on the cheap, which thankfully was never realized (see Garfield and Judith Reeves-Stevens' excellent book Star Trek Phase II: The Lost Series). It wasn't until they fully committed to a major motion picture with major $$$ that the Star Trek franchise was truly re-born.

So, maybe after watching Paramount's big budget film relaunch of Star Trek next spring, WB will finally realize what we have known for over a decade (wow, still seems hard to believe so much time has passed!): Babylon 5 is simply, the finest Science Fiction ever produced for television.

Until then, we'll be waiting.....


From: Pogomil
Date: Sat, 2 Aug 2008 11:08 am

JMS gave us B5, we enjoyed it, it's time to move on. Perhaps very soon there will be another 'upswing' in Sci-Fi movies, ala Star Wars, CE3K, ET, etc., which brought forth the Star Trek resergence in movies/tv, to do the same with B5 and Warner Brothers. One can only hope.

In the meantime, JMS goes forth with his life, as should we. That's not to say we should 'abandon' B5 completely, just place it on he 'second tier' of importance ::ducking::

Charles W.
Summerville, SC

From: Charles
Date:Sat, 2 Aug 2008 9:43 am

Hi Sandy,
While we, the loyal fans of the show may or may not agree with Joe's decision to stop making Babylon 5 if the suits running WB don't stop tying his hands, we have to realize that it is his show and his decision to make. For the record, I back him in whatever decision he makes.


July 19, 2008
Topic #1:
Over the last several years, comic book themes have been BIG box office hits. Why do you think that is? Is it because comics, or graphic novels, make it easier to relate to a character? With the major success of THE DARK KNIGHT and SPIDER-MAN, what comic would you like to see next as a major film project?

Topic #2:
This one comes from Ranger Garybaldy:
If Warner Bros. would back a big budget BABYLON 5 film, but wanted other actors to play the major roles, would you be in favor of the project? This would be similar to the transition currently going on with STAR TREK as Christopher Pine takes on the role of James T. Kirk -- the story is set in the earlier days of the STAR TREK universe. What do you think?

From: Margaret
Date: Sat, 2 Aug 2008 3:25 pm

I would love to see a new B5 movie but the original actors are 10 yers older and I am not sure it would appeal to a young audience. I know Battlestar Galactica was remade with new actors and it was very successful, but I could never watch it. I simply couldnt imagine a new and younger actor as Sheridan. If JMS can figure a way to keep the original actors in and bring in some others to take key parts without making it out of step with the past then I would be really excited. Otherwise, no!I would love to see a new B5 movie but the original actors are 10 yers older and I am not sure it would appeal to a young audience. I know Battlestar Galactica was remade with new actors and it was very successful, but I could never watch it. I simply couldnt imagine a new and younger actor as Sheridan. If JMS can figure a way to keep the original actors in and bring in some others to take key parts without making it out of step with the past then I would be really excited. Otherwise, no!

Date: Sun, 20 Jul 2008 7:14 pm

I don't know about this, it would be just great to actually SEE babylon 5 on TV. It seems to have disappeared totally off the radar.

I live in the UK and B5 was big over here. We have hundreds of channels available through satellite and freeview TV but not one of them shows any syndicated episodes of B5. Its like it never existed.

Over here you can catch several episodes from any of the star trek series every day, no wonder people have gotten tired of trek! Afeter the first 2 seasons of the original trek the rot had really set in, season 3 was appalling, TNG was an improvement but became dull and predictable, DS9 was a rip off of B5 at best, voyager was a non event and enterprise put the last nail in the coffin.

Empire movie/tv magazine recently ran a poll of their readers of the best 50 tv series ever shown on british tv, Babylon 5 came in about number 25 which is pretty amazing as it as been off our screens for so long.

back to the original question- no i wouldn't be happy with new actors taking over the roles from the original cast. I'm with JMS on this- i think its over really. The 5 year arc stands alone, Ok there are some unanswered questions but that's life and metaphysics and all that. Life is uncertainty.

B5 is my favourite show of all time, if a big budget film WAS made it would have to be pretty stupendous and extremely well done which is unlikely in big budget movies nowadays.

It seems there is an inverse square law relationship between the budget of a film and the perceived IQ of the potential audience ie bigger the budget the lower the IQ of the audience= big bucks, lots of action and a rubbish movie with a dumb subtext. You have to appeal to a lot of people to get your money back and make a killing so you dumb down your original franchise for the movies (as trek did)to try and gain mass appeal from people who don't normally watch the show anyway.

Sorry i'm just an old cynic. Alan

August 13, 2005
What do you really miss about BABYLON 5 the most? Is it the characters? The special effects? The quality of the show overall?

From: tazamaran
I miss the story. All to often in Sci-Fi, you'll just have a bunch of strung-along episodes which have little or no bearing on each other, and could be watched in almost any sequence, and everything will make sense. But with B5, it just isn't so, you have to watch it in sequence, or you miss out on what's really going on. G'Kar & Londo are a perfect example. If you'd watch the last season alone, not having seen the first 4, you'd thing they'd always been chummy, and not bitter enemies. That's what I like most about B5, it tells a story, it's not just mindless entertainment.

From: A.E. Hidalgo
Hi Sandy:
My answer is something of all the options.
All the show have that special "I don`t know what" . The answer may be , in each case, different, but always will exist that something "special" of the show.

From: CCB5Flamekeeper
Hi Sandy,,
This is a great question, what do I miss most about Babyon 5....what Don't I miss is more like.

I miss the quality, and being blown away at yet another show greater then the last, and JMS's insight,, and writing, and G'Kar, and his sexyness and spirituality, the the G'Kar and Londo show,, and Sheridan and his dignity and grace, and B5 itself, and Mr. Garibladi's humor, and Marcus Cole's sweet, and fierce Ranger, and Dr. Franklin's humanity ( Rick biggs. we will always love and miss you) ,, need I say more..

And Lenniers loyalty, and Delenn's wisdom, and beauty,, Vir's honesty and the heady challenge it gave me week to week,,

Babylon 5 is still my passion and my refuge in my Alternate Reality,, and I mark 10 years next month since it found me,, or I found it. So, very, much, and nothing comes even close to it in my heart. Actually, the world of Harry Potter was the next thing I loved, my next enthusiasm after B5,, I call my room, the Potter Room. That captured me pretty well.

Although I really loved Farscape and am now enjoying Firefly,, and sorry Sandy, but Stargate just doesn't do it for me, and I am trying to watch it for Ben's sake, but, for me it isn't easy going, he is great, and so is Claudia,, though. I actually got into ER the non scifi show and am a big fan of it now, But, ah, B5, my heart forever, and my passion always, I miss it all. And have to take heart from it now, as my life is very tough,,

So take care, and thanks for asking,, all the best to you and your Zocalo forever,,

Peace and love,

From: Brubo
All of the above! I've recently started rewatching the series, and even though I've seen it numerous times and know what will happen, it still manages to amaze me and make me laugh and cry. And there's still always some nuance you haven't noticed before, which is totally delightful.

From: Rflect22
Something that very few series could convey is a sense of real foreboding. A long time ago, big things were moving around out there, and they still are.

From: Joanne
Hi Sandy
What I miss most about Babylon 5 is questions left unanswered. Thought that Crusade would fill in the gaps but with the shorter run instead it left an even big canyon of questions. Like reading an exciting first chapter of a book and finding out there is no more. It has been ripped up. Aaaaaaargggggh! A big question for me is Sheridan and Delenn's son and how he escaped or did he escape his fate of Londo's gift?

In Babylon 5 itself I miss seeing the badgering between GKar and Londo. Some how I got a sick pleasure in seeing someone else being tormented. Quick witted cheeky remarks. I'm thinking mainly of the time they were stuck in the lift. "Confictions" in Season Three. Another way of looking at twisted souls. I much miss the character Kosh with his weird remarks that would stop any logical thinking person in their tracks. They are alone. They are a dying people. We should let them pass. (Who - the Narn or the Centauri? - Sinclair) Yes.

So much time has passed and memory of Babylon 5 is fading slightly. Think I'll have another look at the programmes.

Babylon 5 fan forever
Joanne aka G_Eagle5

From: Holly
It's the characters I miss: Londo, G'Kar, Sheridan, Delenn, Ivanova. Watching episodes on DVD is like rereading old letters--nice, but it's all old information. What I'd like: new stories. I also miss the station itself--the way it functioned almost as a character, with tales to tell.

I also miss the feeling of anticipation, of being hardly able to wait--from one week to the next--to find out what was going to happen. Real life provides little opportunity for true distraction--something that supplants whatever worries are most pressing. Babylon 5 offered just that sort of distraction--for an hour each week I was immersed in the life of the station, my own concerns put aside, my focus on a story so gripping it occupied my thoughts even after the episode ended.

So maybe it's way the story was written that I miss most--the humor, the depth, the continual glimpses into the minds and hearts of my favorite characters.

From: Donita
What I miss most about not having B5 is the depth of themes, the reminder of true values, of what life is truly about, of our oneness and of course, I miss Mom and Dad, Delenn and Sheridan. If I could chose my parents, they would be my pick!!!

July 24, 2005:

This could turn into a summer project!
With the start of a new SciFi Friday schedule, the SciFi Channel has included FIREFLY into the mix. It has 13 episodes to show -- and then they will probably re-run them, as they do the other SciFi Friday episodes of STARGATE, ATLANTIS and BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. Wouldn't it be wonderful if they included BABYLON 5 into the SciFi Friday mix? It would help with the repeats and bring back an old favorite -- and introduce some new sci-fi fans to a drama that we all know and love. What do you think?

From: Michael
Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2005 09:31:47 -0400

Hello Sandy!
I am in the unusual position of no longer receiving cable TV, but I still have opinions. J
I own all of the Babylon 5 DVD’s so far released and I watch them all in order from time to time. I think ANYTHING that gets more public exposure and attention paid to Babylon 5, including CRUSADE, is good. There still could be people who would benefit from exposure to Babylon 5 and Crusade but haven’t yet fallen in love with the storylines and characters.

Another reason for resurrecting re-runs of Babylon 5 and Crusade on TV could possibly be positive attention from anyone in a position to make a sincere offer to JMS to write additional material in any format. I would prefer TV of movie, but even good books would be wonderful!

I’ve said it before and I will continue to say Crusade was murdered by short sighted executives (suits) at TNT who should forever hang their heads in shame!

Please encourage SciFi to include the entire Babylon 5, Crusade, and all related TV movies in the Friday night schedule.

Michael (Mike)

From: A.E. Hidalgo
Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2005 17:43:11 +0200 (CEST)

Hi Sandy:
About your question if Sci-Fi Channel can reruns of B5, I'd say that it would be wonderful. Although I don't see Sci-Fi Channel in my country, is and will be my opinion that B5 still today, (after all this years and new series), one of the series with most realism. I mean is one of the most possible and close future than I've seen.


From: Kosh Naranek
Date: Sun, 24 Jul 2005 07:46:21 -0700 (PDT)

I would LOVE to see the Sci-Fi Channel include reruns of Babylon 5 on their Friday night lineup! At least then, there'd be something to keep me awake...

Believe me, I've tried really hard to get interested in the new shows that have started airing recently, but none of them seem to do much for me anymore. A friend of mine is a big fan of Firefly and really urged me to watch it when they started showing it again last week. I only made it about twenty minutes before I had fallen asleep! (Westerns have never done a thing for me.) The main reason I don't enjoy either Stargate series anymore is because they both have characters that really rub me the wrong way. I suppose Rodney and Vala are supposed to be "charming" with their abrasive personalities, but they just make me want to turn the TV off... And I have *never* understood the appeal of the new Battlestar Galactica either. Just look at the actors' faces on those little promos between commercials. That says it all for me...

Let's start a letter-writing campaign to get B5 shown again! Since it last aired on Sci-Fi, I guess they still own the rights to it. Just think how it would blow all these other shows out of the water! Long live B5, the best show ever on TV! ;-)


July 17, 2005:
OK, you've seen the premiere episodes for STARGATE SG-1, STARGATE ATLANTIS and BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. What did you think? Was it worth the wait?

From: Gary
Date: Tue, 19 Jul 2005 02:50:48 -0700

Overall, I was disappointed in all of the episodes that premiered last Friday. I had very high expectations and unfortunately there wasn't one show at the end where I said to myself, "yeah, this was worth the wait and this episode kicked ass!!". I think that Battlestar Gallactica (BG) tried to do too much and accomplished little. In other words, they were trying to introduce or tie up plots on two separate planets, 3 plots on BG, and 1 in Gaius' mind. I am not adverse to complex plots but this episode was razor thin on payoffs and left you wanting something better instead of wanting more period... This episode was more like a series finale than a Season 2 premiere. No doubt, I will still watch every episode this season unless there are too many like this one. Please give us at least one payoff!! On a scale of 1-10 where 10 is best this was a 5.

Regarding SG Atlantis, I was a little happier with this although this plotline was also thin for a three episode arc. They should have done it in 2 eps. Also, without spoiling this for those who have not seen this yet, the ending trick (very cute) to get rid of the Wraith was a bit of a stretch. Although, I thought that having an Asgard on the Dedalus as a stodgy weapons officer was a good touch and I could see that character being used like a secret weapon similar to Galen from Crusade and Lyta in B5. A future The Zocolo Today discussion topic could be the puzzler: "What do you get when a Wraith feeds on an Asgard?". Or even better, why not use a Wraith to feed on Anubus (SG-1) so that we can bury that plotline for good. I rate this episode a 7.

Last but not best is my favorite show of all three, SG-1. The Stargate SG-1 premiere was really bad and I just don't have the heart to write what I really think. This show was a 2. The only reason I can see to continue with SG-1 is to help with Atlantis until they can survive on their own without plot assistance from the parent show. I will commit to watching at least 3 more episodes and if it doesn't improve I will not record or watch this show so as not to sully the memory of the first 7 excellent (not all perfect) seasons.

In summary, now that my expectations have been lowered, I should get more satisfaction out of the upcoming episodes which I hope will be as good as some of last season's especially in BG and Atlantis. Thank the gods they are going to play the Firefly series on Friday nights to shore up the lineup!

Ranger Gary

From: Ssharonx5
Date: Sun, 17 Jul 2005 11:41:06 PM Eastern Daylight Time

Hi Sandy,
I was a big fan of Stargate SG1. I will have to wait for a few more of the new episodes with the new cast before I decide if I still am a fan. To me, Richard Dean Anderson was the heart and soul of the show. It was his relationship with each of the other cast members, that made the show so good. I just don't know how it will be without him. Still, I will give the new show a chance.

Stargate Atlantis, I think, will benefit from the addition of the new cast members there. Battlestar Galactica is a great show and looks to be getting better all the time. It was certainly worth the wait. The jury is still out on the other two. Time will tell.


July 8, 2005:

I think the SciFi Channel has a good thing going with SciFi Friday -- a strong line-up of programs along a single theme. Do you think this would work with other networks? Should NBC or ABC move shows around so that they are more closely grouped by genre?

June 18, 2005:

Question #1:
Remakes of old movies seem to be the thing these days. If you had a choice of which old movie you could have remade or re-imagined, which one would you choose? Would it be something like CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, THE INVISIBLE MAN, FORBIDDEN PLANET? While you are daydreaming, who would you choose to star in the production?

From: Reader Michael
Date: Thu, 7 Jul 2005 05:31:19 -0700 (PDT)

Hello Sandra,
Enterprise can be summed up in two words in my opinion:

"Rick Berman." I thought the show had potential, but he simply doesn't have the same creative spark that others have. I think the opening title music was horrible. I watched the show, with the sound OFF at the opening credits. The show was also poorly distributed. In Columbus, Ohio (not quite the "cowtown" it used to be) no local carrier broadcast the show. The nearest station to carry it was in a town out of TV reception range.

I think "The Day the Earth Stood Still" would be a great film to re-make...on condition that somebody really great pulls it off.

And I still regret TNT's arrogance in the murder of Crusade. If by any chance Crusade gets a new life, I sincerely hope as many of the original cast as possible would be used. Peter Woodward as Galen is not a negotiable issue for me. He IS Galen. If he doesn't want the part the name and character should be changed completely.

From: Tim
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2005 08:42:08 -0600

Hi Sandra,
Well, here's my two cents. The old movie I want to see remade is "When Worlds Collide." With today's special effects capability, they could present a very realistic sequence (i.e. accurate as far as meteorology, geology, etc.) of the Earth being ripped apart by the gravitational forces of the approaching rogue planet, and then finally coming into collision with it. As a person with a background in astronomy and geology, I've always wanted to see this in a film -- not just a big explosion that's over in a couple of seconds. A planet breakup would take "hours" to occur -- OK, they could condense that into "minutes" for the sake of the film. But something the size and mass of the Earth jusn't just disappear in a big sparklling explosion -- there would be enormous chunks of crustal rock, splashes of liquid magma cooling in the freezing cold of space, whole pieces of continents spinning and crashing into each other -- and not only from the Earth but from the invading planetary body as well. It would be glorious -- the ultimate "end-of-the-world" scenario.

Also, apart from the penultimate special effects, the benefit to doing a remake of "When Worlds Collide" is to realistically examine just what it would take with today's technology to try and save a remnant of humanity as well as our culture and civilization by transporting them to another world on short notice (only a year or two) and the interpersonal stories of those involved in making the decisions. In short, I would want to see it done as a serious science fiction treatment and not some pyrotechnic-laden macho-action disaster flick -- I would wish for Steven Spielberg material, not Michael Bay schlock....


Date: 06/18/2005 10:07:58 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time

The old movie that I've always wanted to see remade is "Fantastic Voyage" -- the 1966 sci-fi thriller about a medical team who board a submarine and are then miniaturized and injected into a man's bloodstream to perform micro-surgery to save his life. With all the tremendous advances that have been made in medicine in the past 40 years, I'm sure it could be made much more realistic now than it was back then. (I have to shudder when I think about that plastic toy submarine dangling on "invisible" strings in front of those obviously fabric curtains hanging in the background!) Just think what they could do nowadays with CGI to simulate the inside of the human brain or heart, and a tiny submarine being swept along with billions of red blood cells rushing through an artery at breakneck speeds...

I saw a show on public TV recently about these amazing breakthroughs they've been making in computerized medical imagery, and it reminded me how no one has ever remade that movie, other than a recent TV commercial where a surgeon is daydreaming he's part of the miniaturized team. The original movie was pretty cheesy like all the 60's sci-fi stuff (remember the lightweight foam boulders in the original Star Trek?!), but the movie's basic premise and storyline were very thoughtful and dramatic. I wouldn't really care who starred in it as long as they were good actors, and in my opinion, they could omit all the blatantly sexist scenes they had in the 60's version, like where Raquel Welch was being attacked by antibodies clinging all over her skintight jumpsuit and several men's hands were groping her all over trying to remove them before she suffocated!

Why do you think STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE was cancelled? Was it poor writing, series fatigue? What is your opinion?

Date: Fri, 1 Jul 2005 07:56:21 -0700


In response to your question as to why Enterprise was cancelled I offer the following theory: Star Trek "fans" -- people who consider themselves to be the authorities on all things Trek -- criticized the first two years of Enterprise. An unpopular theme song, darker than usual visuals, and poor writing were indeed hallmarks of the new show. Sadly, rather than realize that each of the franchise shows (other than the Original Series) took a couple of years to settle in and begin making at-times terrific television, the self-appointed fans/guardians of "Gene's Vision" roundly blasted the show and refused to watch. And understandably so.

However, when Enterprise finally found its true voice -- with the Xindi storyline -- these self-same viewers steadfastly refused to come back.

We must understand that Star Trek has been a niche show for some time. We have to remember that the later episodes of DS9 as well as the entire runs of Voyager and Enterprise played to considerably smaller audiences than TNG's epic run or DS9's first few seasons. And, in point of fact, not a single Star Trek franchise tv series has EVER been lovingly embraced in its first two seasons. TNG's quality for the first year was questionable, and DS9 wasn't true Trek 'cause they station never went anywhere. But the niche fans stood by them both and the rest is tv history.

These fans, the desired target audience in the new world of demographics, stayed away from Enterprise's thrid and fourth seasons in droves.

I have been a fan of Star Trek since the first episode in 1966, over which this (at the time) five year old boy discovered the universe on the bridge of the USS Enterprise. I attended conventions in the early 1970's when we were all still considered odd little cultists who needed to "get a life". I was there the first time Kirk encountered the Doomsday Machine, and was saddened as he watched Edith Keeler die. I bought pieces of film, cut from a reel of TOS, from a company called Lincoln Enterprises -- and if you recognize the name you can smile knowing you're a true fan. I was among those thrilled and disappointed in the first theatrical film. Wasn't sure if I liked TNG for the first two years, and never really got swept into DS9 but watched it anyway. The same with Voyager, and the first two seasons of Enterprise.

And I saw, especially in the last year of Enterprise, sparks of life that took me back all those many years to my first encounters with Kirk, Spock and Dr. McCoy. The actors were having fun. The stories were well-written, challenging and controversial. The program was achieving status as the equal of TOS's first season, and the best of TNG or DS9. Manny Coto had it, he had found the key. From a spark of life he was beginning to breathe some fire into the show.

Sadly, the very fans who consider themselves all things Trek, ignored him. Criticized the show. "I don't watch it anymore, it's terrible", without even looking in to see if it was still true. They abandoned the show in the second season and never looked back except to lob mud and stones at Berman and Company -- who had -- the "fans" said -- destroyed their child, their show. They ignored the critics and the others who stilled watched, matter-of-factly dismissing the show.

Rather than rally to the fire and rejoice, they turned their backs and put it out.

From: A.E. Hidalgo
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 18:37:39 +0200 (CEST)

Hi Sandy:
Answering your last question, I think the answer, at least for me, is some of both possibilities, poor writing and fatigue. A rest (not too much) will be good, and something more original for the next time.


From: Gary
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 01:09:17 -0700

Your posed question basically answered the question but there is plenty still to say about Enterprise (by the way I like these kind of discussion topics). The worst thing besides the writing, producing and theme song was the casting. A good cast can help make a mediocre written & produced TV show somewhat entertaining. Several examples could be Robin Williams in Mork & Mindy and the cast of SG1 which has shined through average scripts the last 2-4 seasons (Seasons 1-5 had very good scripts for the most part). So, back to enterprise. The main culprit was lame Captain Archer/Scott Bakula who should stick to Broadway Musicals and stop polluting sci-fi. He was neither compelling nor believable as Capt and I found myself frequently begging for his demise only to be disappointed on his survival. How Rick Berman & Co came to this casting decision based on Bakula's past Quantum Leap lameness is a puzzle to me. Dean Stockwell and the voice of "Ziggy" (the computer time machine thing) overshadowed Bakula in every "Leap" episode.

On to T'Pol/Jo Blalock. Her casting was almost as much as an insult to male sci-fiers as 7 of 9 was from Voyager. Her boring delivery and demeanor "coupled" with out-of-place plastic surgery was supposed to suck in the male viewers without a care for quality or acting. Obviously, it didn't work. How can a beautiful model with about 15 minutes of prior TV acting experience help carry a lame show? I am sorry, this distraction from the show itself did not fool the real Trek fans. Just because a vulcan is supposed to lack emotion does not mean some personality should not be present! Spock at least had believable sarcasm and conviction. Rick Berman and co. should shame himself! I did not care enough about Trip/Connor Trineer in Enterprise them or now to expand on his merits or lack of.

In summary, Rick Berman got it all wrong in Enterprise especially in the casting. At the end he added fuel to the pyre flame by introducing past Trek legends such as Data, Riker, Q, Troi etc. to spice up the cast and save the show from cancellation. The producers of SG1 are going down an opposite rocky road by adding Ben Browder to an already excellent cast. Browder's pretty face and lack of acting ability will no doubt bury "the" Stargate. Berman's casting tricks couldn't work because the ship was already broken. And, as Einstein used to say "the mind who broke something is not capable of fixing it" (paraphrased). Let JM Stracsinski (B5/Crusade) have a shot at the next Trek or don't Trek again in my lifetime!! I guarantee that JMS won't let a network/studio force him to cast losers again as he had to do with Showtime's "Jeremiah" (zero dimensional Luke Perry).

Ranger Gary
PS. Please please don't waste $ on Enterprise DVDs! Good DVD sales will only validate Rick Berman and keep the Trek franchise in the "down below" of TV Land.

From: Mike Luoma
Date: Mon, 13 Jun 2005 10:57:23 -0400

Sandra, here are my thought on this topic:
Man, there are so many fingers pointing on this one, poor writing and series fatigue included. There are many in the "fan community" who blame executive producers Brannon Braga and Rick Berman. I think they're right. Where else would you lay the blame for the series failure but at the feet of those charged with maintaining the franchise's vitality?

For many fans, the animosity for Braga and Berman began to develop among fans when B & B bounced Ronald D. Moore from Deep Space Nine and Voyager. Many fans viewed Moore as the imaginative one, the more forward looking of the trio. Both those series suffered in quality (a subjective judgment, sure, but shared by many) after Moore's departure. Moore has shown his quality in his revival of Battlestar Galactica, certainly, but also, more quietly, in his abandonment of the Dragonriders of Pern TV Series when faced by creative bankruptcy on the part of the network.

B & B have, quite simply, shown no creativity or imagination in their shepherding of the Star Trek Franchise since Moore's departure. Some have noted a lack of creativity even earlier, suggesting B & B adapted JMS's B5 pitch into Deep Space Nine (unproven).

The Star Trek franchise was a great starship cruising along under its own massive momentum. Under the direction of B & B that momentum dissipated and the franchise slowly ground to a halt, as they drove it into the ground through their arrogance and lack of creativity. And their arrogance drove truly creative people like Moore away from the franchise. Other strong personalities seemed to threaten B & B. It's the big dog syndrome, where you don't dare to bring in new strong talent because you're afraid of being eclipsed yourself.

And so we got rehash, and not done well. B & B thought the Xindi arc was a breakthrough. It was poorly imagined trek rehash. So were Insurrection and Nemesis. Interestingly, in Enterprise's last year, Manny Coto and the new writers managed to find freshness for the series by delving into the actual "past" of the Trek universe...

Clearly, it's not the Trek continuity or the Trek universe that people are tired of. It's bad writing, poorly told stories, and boring plot conventions used time and time again by B & B that killed the franchise.

Thanks for the opportunity to spout, Sandra.

From: Mailb5lk
Date: Sun, 12 Jun 2005 10:56:09 -0400

The audience lost interest in Enterprise for many reasons. First, I think people knew what was to come. The Xindi threat was toothless because we knew Kirk and Picard were in the future. A corollary to this is that Enterprise trashed the TOS books that kept the franchise alive. In particular, when whey throw away/ignore/invalidate excellent novels like Spock's World they offend the hardcore base for no good reason.

Second, Star Trek has what seems to be a hardened rule that nothing changes during a series. In TOS, Klingons were enemies. In TNG, Klingons were friends. When they weren't, there was a rush to make them friends again. Nowhere in ST have we seen a major character undergo a conversion like G'Kar or a major change of philosophy and motivation like Lyta.

Third, because of the above the writers were handcuffed with what stories they could tell. All episodes had to leave the 'STUniverse' in the same position that it found it. And the writers/creators wouldn't allow the characters to grow in any significant ways. Hoshi becoming accustomed to space flight hardly qualifies as a major (or interesting) character development.

So all in all, the ST franchise has become stale and as it has been the standard-bearer for SF TV has diminished SF along the way. New shows like Farscape, Firefly, and Battlestar Galactica make ST look one dimensional. The shame of this is that Farscape and Firefly didn't last longer.

In the ST universe the better stories came from the 'A Time to...' series than Enterprise. That's a sad commentary.

George Moore
Ashburn, VA

From: Bill Curtis
Date: Sun, 12 Jun 2005 11:26:24 -0700 (PDT)

Thanks for the great topic! There are many reasons why "Enterprise" failed, but the main reasons were:
Berman and Braga's refusal to use outside writers until it was too late. As Captain Average stated, Berman and Braga's egos virtually destroyed this show early on. I believe this was the first Trek not to solicit scripts from outside writers, and boy, did it show from the pathetic scripts!

Talking down to the audience. I believe one of the cardinal rules in writing is not to insult your audience. You don't "dumb down" a script. Your audience is knowledgeable, and will seek out the level you're writing at. How many times did we have appalling writing that made us wince?!

I won't even get into the pathetic German/Alien business here, I just cringed every time Berman/Braga had to sledgehammer home a point. Archer: "Maybe someday we'll have a Prime Directive to guide us." Duh! This kind of cutesy, nudge, nudge writing just made the show even more despised.

Refusing to acknowledge there was a problem. Kind of like the captain of the Titanic, refusing to acknowledge the problem until it was way too late. By bringing on the new runner for season 4, the powers that be did acknowledge the problem, but the damage was already done, and the good ship Enterprise was already lost. Too bad, really, because the final season's scripts were among the best. Is it a surprise that several quality Trek writers (ie: Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens among them) were brought in after Berman/Braga's departure? Again, too little, too late, as most fans had long since fled for the lifeboats.

Total disregard/contempt for what had gone before. I must admit: when the show first started, (including the pilot), I was intrigued by the premise that this Trek would not be beholden to what had gone before (or chronologically; after). The pilot did have a certain unfinished, primitive, crunchy feel to it, and the fact that the crew constantly would meet advanced races, not all of them friendly, and the Enterprise was constantly getting the crap knocked out it on a weekly basis. This I could buy. We're not going to be the biggest kid in the playground, we don't have the biggest and best toys, and there's no Federation to get our backs. This slowly eroded though into the above mentioned "cutesy" scripts, and to total disregard for known Trek canon. Having this crew have a run-in with the Romulans when it was already known Kirk was the first Enterprise captain to encounter them. So somebody here is a liar, and my guess is it wasn't Gene Roddenberry!

The final straw as mentioned, was that Berman/Braga's egos had to have the last laugh, the last "flip 'em the bird" to the fans in the series finale. By killing off Trip, and cheapening the story as a Next Generation holodeck simulation?! That is the absolute worst show of contempt for a fan base I have ever witnessed!

If the Star Trek franchise is to have life, it needs new blood. JMS, Bryan Singer, any quality writer/director/producer would be a step in the right direction. If Berman and Braga are allowed anywhere near the Trek franchise it will continue to decay from the top down.

From: Donna
Date: Sun, 12 Jun 2005 06:34:47 -0700

In my area (No. Calif) more than half the time the series was pre-empted by sports, plus sometimes it was on at 8pm sometimes at 9, sometimes not at all. And didn't they switch the night it was on at some point?

It was very difficult to follow episodes in sequence unless one was glued to the station 24-7. I don't think the network ever gave the series the support and structure that it needed.


Date: 06/11/2005 1:33:15 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
From: CCB5Flamekeeper

As for the Discussion topics, don't have much to say about the last two,, as I was not a watcher of " Enterprise",, I never liked any of the other Treks except the first and Classic and also, am not presently following any SF TV shows. I am watching the program, " E.'R." and have become a big fan of that in the last several months, and am catching up on the show in daytime reruns. And it is in "E.R." that I have seen my life several times, and it is speaking to me more then most shows these days. I was sad that Noah Wyle left, and he is wonderful. But 11 years is a lot, they work really hard on that show. I also watch " Queer as Folk" and "Six Feet Under", they are in their last seasons too.

I will start watching " Stargate" next season out of loyalty to Ben Browder, who I loved in Farscape,, he is great,, so I will see if I can get into it then.

You did ask about what scenes from B5 stood out to me,, I would say first the scene in the Council Chamber, when Londo is demanding that G' Kar leave after the fall of Narn, and the dignity and courage that G'Kar showed when he answered him defiantly and said that " Though it take a thousand years, we will be free". That is what made me fall in love with him right there. Then,, when Kosh left his encounter suit and saved Sheridan,, that was so outstanding,, just blew me away..The whole of " Severed Dreams" that episode showed me how much I loved the station and this show. There are so very many incredible scenes, of glory and pain, that were contained in B5, such as in Sleeping in Light, when Sheridan and Delenn said their goodbyes for the last time, just broke me open and then when B5 was well, you know, it just shattered me as I have always felt that B5 was my home in the alternate universe of my soul.

You also asked about possessions,, and my most precious was the " SIL" special shirt, that I sent to JMS after the only two times I wore it, at my last meeting of the informal B5 group I had for 2 years, and at the first airing of " Sleeping in Light" and I asked him to write what he wished, and when I got it back, Christmas eve of 1998, he wrote, " To Connie,, True Keeper of the Flame, With Thanks, J. Michael Straczynski", and when I saw it I cried. That is my online title. I would also say that I so appreciate my crew jacket with Bruce Boxleitners signature within it, and also most anything that Andreas Katsulas ever autographed. As well, my G'Kar bust, which I finally got for a price I could afford. I have some great memories too, and the whole of the Babylon 5 experience was a great one and will never be repeated for me.

So, those are some observations of mine. I hope you can get a hold of the book and all as well, and I will always love B5 and it is still my passion after almost 10 years. It was a totally unique experience, and thanks for keeping the faith, and your site. Best wishes too all.

Faith manages
Connie -- The Flamekeeper

Date: 06/11/2005 1:29:03 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time

Enterprise" died because, after an exceptionally good first season, creators Rick Berman and Brannon Braga [hereinafter referred to as "Bermaga"] systematically deconstructed every single thing they had done right in season one [see: Jason Katims/'Roswell'].

Faced with huge ratings losses, they regroupd and made a wee bit of a comeback with the season long Xindi arc - but by extending the Temporal Cold War two years longer than it really should have run, they continued to lose fans [both admitted in interviews that they loved the Temporal Cold War because it offered an "instant reset button" - which was precisely the reasons fans hated it, showing that Bermaga had completely lost touch with the Trekkers and Trekkies out there].

Finally, Bermaga ended season three with "ALIEN FRELLING NAZIS!!!!" Even I planned on skipping Season 4. C'mon, guys! "ALIEN FRELLING NAZIS????" That is such a tired, overworked, pitiful cliche´ of an idea that it essentially killed the series.

Even stepping back and making Manny Coto ['Odyssey 5'] the showrunner for season 4 wasn't enough to entice fans back to the series - which was really too bad. Coto took the sow's ear with which Bermaga had saddled him and turned it, if not into a silk purse, at least a darned nice leather one [Coto, as it happens, was the *only* reason I came back for season 4].

He took the "ALIEN FRELLING NAZIS!!!" cliffhanger and managed to escape embarrassing the show further by making it actually work out in a way that led into a season that was more pure Trek than anything since season 1.

His work on season 4 showed that the franchise wasn't fatigued at all Season 4 was the single most creative and entertaining season of Trek since the middle seasons of 'NextGen' - it was the total loss of anything resembling a connection to reality on the part of Bermaga that did the show in.

As further proof, Bermaga wouldn't even let 'Enterprise's' showrunner write the finale - even after he'd overseen the show's best season. Instead, they stepped in, wrote a second- season-Next-Generation episode, killed off one of the show's most loved characters, Trip [after making sure they destroyed the fans' hopes that his relationship with T'Pol - that was clearly rebuilt by Coto, culminating in a dandy penultimate episode, would never happen], and then, by writing the finale from the POV of Riker and Troi [and set six years after the previous episode], ensured that the events of the ep were so distanced from the fans that they could hardly react properly to the allegedly emotional "Valentine for the fans" that Bermaga had crafted! [Not that I'm bitter, you understand...]

If there is a future Trek TV series, Manny Coto should be offered the opportunity to pitch ideas for it. Bermaga should be refused entry onto the Paramount lot.

And that's the name of *that* tune!

Captain Average
The Superhero, Not Looking to Lynch Bermaga - That Would Be Wrong...

Date: 06/11/2005 10:28:39 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time

I think there are several reasons why Enterprise got cancelled. The most obvious of course were the oversaturation factor and its poor writing. Not everyone in the world is a hardcore Star Trek addict, so it takes a really good series to keep drawing in on a weekly basis all the people who only watch casually. To be honest, I was never too crazy about the idea of a "prequel" series set before the original series, but Rick Berman seemed hell-bent on that idea for several years and finally got his wish after plans for that type of movie fell through. It just didn't make much sense to me since Star Trek has always been about the future and looking forward, rather than backwards. I was intrigued though when they promised us lots of crossover with the original series to show us how things had gotten to the point that we'd seen with Kirk and Spock...

Instead, we got everything *else* under the sun, including a whole entire season wasted on that ridiculous Xindi plotline, which frankly was pretty boring since you *knew* in the end they *would* be saving Earth simply because it had always existed all through "future history" ... Like most people, I stopped watching the series until they finally *did* start bridging the gap with TOS (four years too late...) By then,so many fans had already jumped ship, it was too late to keep the ship from sinking and the whole franchise crashed and burned just like whenever they'd let Deanna Troi drive...! Even Rick Berman himself openly admits that they simply went to the well too often and strangled the goose that laid the golden egg. From what I've read here on the news page, it sounds like some people *still* don't know when to quit though since he's planning on beating that dead horse even more with a new movie featuring all new characters we've never even *heard* of before... Huh?!?!

{*sigh*} I really miss Gene Roddenberry... :-(

Date: 06/11/2005 6:30:37 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time

I feel it is simply the case of ‘doing Star Trek Enterprise for the sake of having a Star Trek show on the air. Simply because it is Star Trek.’ Not because there are any imaginative ideas. If anything, in my opinion they painted themselves into a corner by backdating it the way they did. It could have been done well…But I feel it was more of a challenge than those involved could handle properly.

I always thought the idea of an anthology show would have been interesting. Episodes that could have believable resolutions in 40 minutes (and not just a default resolution in the final 5 minutes as in most Next Gen episodes (i.e. the crew not having a clue and then it gets resolved for them in many cases). But I digress…Perhaps my idea for a Star Trek anthology series might not have anything more than a novel appeal. But I think it opens up the genre to a wide-range of story ideas. You can have it in any known, and some new, time lines (and even the Mirror universe (without seeming gratuitous). It all has a base in story, first and foremost. And just like the Sci Fi anthology shows such as The Twilight Zone and Outer Limits, guest stars would pull viewers as well as the universe they are now in. The Federation has many resources. Star Fleet is just a part. Endless story ideas…. I see it as a way to break from formula by returning to a type of formula. The way we handle it today could be so much fun. And I certainly get a charge at the thought of those classic ships and such with modern technology (and not just the teasers we got from the other shows).

I’m sorry, what was the question Sue..?


From: Cripe, Helen L.
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 2005 12:46:55 -0400

I believe series fatigue had more to do with the cancellation of Star Trek:Enterprise than anything else. The franchise started going downhill with Voyager and after Voyager just needed a rest rather than another series. altho it's possible that a very strong series, well written and cast, might have brought new life. Instead, we got Enterprise. The writing was not particularly good in either Voyager or Enterprise, and Enterprise suffered from the additional pains of distorted Star Trek history and poor acting. Enterprise often seemed to be written and acted by people who didn't know anything about Star Trek. Across the board, too many plot lines were being repeated not only in Enterprise but also in feature films. Star Trek: Nemesis, for example, was a combination ripoff of The Wrath of Khan and Generations -- kill off and resurrect a major character, and trash the ship.

This is not to say that Star Trek is dead -- we all know that nobody and nothing ever dies in Star Trek. Let it alone for a few years and the best parts of it may well be rediscovered and enjoyed by a whole new generation of viewers. Meanwhile, those of us who have always been addicted to the best of Star Trek can enjoy it on our DVDs.

Ranger Roja Grande de los Gatos

With most of the shows having ended for this season (there are still a few to go), what did you think? Did you like the ending for SMALLVILLE, CSI, ENTERPRISE – any show that you watch regularly?

Date: Thu, 26 May 2005 12:38:04 -0700 (PDT)
From: Anne M. Zecca

For your discussion of season/series finales, I'd like to comment on watching the final episode of "Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda" which, unlike "Enterprise," was on a 5-year plan (like B5?).

The producers of Andromeda were smart enough to make "The Heart of the Journey" a two-part episode & not show it in one 2-hour block. It made for a better cliffhanger. Seeing the destruction of Earth (Seamus Harper's homeworld) was a bit shocking but made me realize that the Abyss had no feelings save that of destruction and killing Dylan Hunt, the last of the Paradine.

The scene in which Harper confides in Dylan, while sitting in one of Andromeda's corridors, about his loss was very moving and showed (to me) how differently both men handled the subject, as well as how much they were both alike.

Of course, the battle scenes as Andromeda faced the Nietzschean fleet were well played out; punctuated by Matthew McCauley's score. And the final showdown between Andromeda & the Abyss at the Route of Ages were, to me, the most exciting. And I did cheer as Tarn Vedra, Dylan's homeworld, was reunited with the Known Worlds as High Guard ships entered the area.

The most memorable scenes of all were of Dylan alone on Command, contemplating everything that had happened and that, after 308 years (as he says), he was finally home.

As someone who just started watching Andromeda last year, this episode was worth the effort to watch. Thanks to everyone involved.


From: A.E. Hidalgo
Date: Mon, 23 May 2005 19:19:44 +0200 (CEST)

Hi Sandy:
About the question of this week. just I'm watching Enterprise, and sometimes Galactica B.A.

I'm still watching the re-aired episodes of the season 3 of ST. I wan´t to see the downloaded (from internet) episodes of season 4 and finale. When I watch this I'll make comments.

Really no too much for comments. Like you say, almost all the seasons finished...

Previous D.T.
Like you know, the best momentos for me in conventions was in FedCon 8 at Germany in 2000, when I met J.D. and our very remembered R. Biggs, and one year later in New Jersey, when I met Mira Furlan in The Chiller Theatre Con. I keep very good remembrances (and photos) from each of that events. I hope to can repeat it in the near future.


Date: 05/21/2005 4:53:34 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time

Hi Sandra,

Longtime reader, first time writer. Thanks a LOT for all of the effort you put in keeping us B5 and sci-fi fans informed of what's happening out in the world. Your efforts are very much appreciated!

Anyway, as to the enders. I DVR'ed CSI and just watched it last night. I must say, that was one of, if not the most emotional episodes I've seen of the series. I was in tears in empathy, sympathy, sadness, and relief during several portions of the show. Being claustrophobic myself, as well as HATING being bitten by red ants, Nick's experience really hit home and George Eads did a fantastic job of playing the part. That being said, the whole episode felt different, not like a typical show. The main characters seemed to stand around a lot and not be their normal selves. I think that all came from the Quentin Tarantino effect. The script he wrote could have been used as a standalone vehicle and it just so happened that the CSI crew was playing the roles; however, those roles could have been played almost to the same effect by other good actors in a two hour movie. The emotional connection between them all did add considerably to the experience though, as well as the way certain circumstances (Katherine with the money, Grissom with the spider) fit to recurring themes within the show. All in all, it was a very different CSI, and made a great season ender, but I don't think I could handle such emotional roller coasters on a weekly basis.

As for Enterprise, I was emotional for that too, but for a different reason... this show ended too soon! I'll agree with most folks that years 1 - 3 were pretty disappointing, mainly because the show wasn't doing what it could have and should have done: explore the beginnings of the Federation and the reason the things in TOS were the way they were. But this year was a huge exception. They brought in the good writers, the folks who are able to write the ST books that made you hear the voices of Kirk, Spock, Picard, et al, and see the ST universe when you read them, and it paid off. IMHO, this year had the best episodes of the series by far, from the exploration of Vulcan, to the Augments (and the explanation of the lack of Klingon ridges... LOL), to Babel... exploring and touching on elements of the existing ST universe and canon, somes brilliantly. So when I heard the series was being cancelled after four seasons (what should have happened to Voyager), I was very disappointed, as this season was almost like a different show. But the episode itself did not disappoint. I felt the inclusion of Riker and Troi using that particular time period as guidance was a good premise and the show itself was pretty good as well, but I was disappointed in Trip dying. Frankly, I didn't care for the character in the early seasons, but came to like him more and more, especially this season as they explored the relationship between he and T'Pol (who was also better this year). While he went out in an heroic way, it felt kind of forced. And now, any future movies or other vehicles have a limited timeframe to use if that character is to be included. All in all, pretty good series ender for a series that ended too early. Berman and Braga should have used writers like Manny Coto and Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens far earlier in the series and maybe we could have watched the show explore the last six years of it's mission, instead of just reading books about it. Since the intro of ST:TNG, I've always looked forward to a new ST episode every week and I know I will miss it.

Thanks for the opportunity,

Date: 05/21/2005 8:45:26 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time

'Charmsville'... erm... 'Smarmsville... make that 'Smallville' was hokey, poorly written and the perfect capper to a dismally lacklustre season. The events of the season require a Big Red Reset Button if it's ever going to dovetail with canon, but that's not the biggest problem - a complete and total lack of quality [though the last scene of Clark, throwing the collected artifact thingy was cool if only because it echoed the beginning of the construction of the Fortress of Solitude in 'superman: The Motion Picture.'

'Enterprise' aired the real finale immediately preceding the colossal blunder that was Bermaga's 'These Are the Voyages...' 'Terra Prime' may not have been as tightly plotted, but it was true to the spirit of Trek; treated the characters and their relationships with the respect they were due; and referenced The Original Series in a way that fit.

'These Are The Voyages...' was a second-season TNG ep that masqueraded as an 'enterprise' ep. It was totally disrespectful of the 'Enterprise' characters and their relationships - reducing them to mere reference points along the path through Cmdr Riker's moral dilemma. Everything that happened on the NX-01 was too far removed from any kind of immediacy since they were events that happened both two hundred years ago [in terms of Riker and Troi], or six years in the future [in terms of the 'Enterprise' series and its fans.

This was a Valentine to Bermaga - *not* the show's fans - it was an ill-thought-out ego trip that robbed fourth season showrunner, Manny Coto, of the right to finish what he started - a revamping of the series that brought the joy of the original series back to us.

Unfortunately, one of machines ate the 'CSI' finale, so I guess I'll have 'til the DVD release of the season set to find out if it worked or not...

Captain Average
The Superhero, Hoping 'Desperate Housewives,' 'Lost' & 'Alias' Wash The Bad Taste Out Of His Mouth...

May 8, 2005:
While a few of you sent along comments about momentos you treasure from Babylon 5, I thought it might be a wonderful time to think about those moments we remember most -- the scene/s that you feel are "the" most significant or emotional or treasured -- to you. I know it is hard to single out one or two, but now that we've had some time to reflect on the series and the change is has had on science fiction in general, see what you can come up with.

Date: May 16, 2005

For me, there are just *so* many memorable scenes from Babylon 5... The look on Londo's face as the Centauri obliterate the Narn homeworld with mass drivers from orbit... The thrill of seeing Delenn come charging to the defense of B5 when her White Star unexpectedly comes zooming out of a jump point near the station... The moment when Sheridan declares the station's independence... The scene where Delenn and Kosh explain to Sheridan what the Shadows and the Vorlons really are... The personal confessions made to Delenn just before her gift of the new Army of Light uniforms are revealed... The look on Londo's face as a fleet of Shadow vessels go zooming across the sky above Centauri Prime... The whole entire episode 'Sleeping in Light' which can still reduce me to a mass of blubbering, quivering jello, even after all these years... But by far, *the* most memorable scene of all was when Kosh emerged from his encounter suit to save Sheridan. That unexpected moment was what actually got me so totally hooked on the show, and Kosh in particular.

My most cherished piece of B5 memorabilia would definitely have to be my own homemade Vorlon encounter suit. (Photos available through my Yahoo profile.) It took me about four years, off and on, to finally finish making it, and it won me lots of awards in a Masquerade contest at a convention a few years ago. I'm planning on reprising it at another convention this summer where Jeffrey Willerth and Pat Tallman will be in attendance, but I'll be taking it one step further this time by actually *emerging* from it on stage during the show this time...

"As so it begins...!" ;-)


Date: 5/8/05

While there are many, many impactful scenes in the series (Kosh's unveiling, Delenn's agony at the hands of the inquisitor, the first good look at a Shadow ship), the one that never fails to move me is from SiL (which had more than its share of moments...).

after John is "gone", Delenn rolls over to wrap her arms around him - and he's not there, so she clutches his pillow. Ranks right up there with her watching the sun rise...

April 23, 2005:
JMS' yard sale makes me think of all the Babylon 5 momentos I have squirreled away. Among the pictures and cards and DVDs, is there a favorite -- something that is special -- the one thing you would hate to part with? What is that and why is it special to you?

Date: 5/1/05
"Treasured Possessions?"

hmmm... got me thinking that one...

Treasured Memory... Watching Andreas Katsulas and Peter Jurasik perform their famous 'love scene' at the biggest B5 convention ever in Blackpool, England. Andreas bringing out, and climbing, a 15ft ladder so that he would avoid being kissed by Peter for the 2nd time that weekend :)

Treasured Object... while I have many signed photos and cards, it's perhaps the card that I designed for the B5 CCG - my own little bit of B5 'history' :) Defuse the Situation

Date: 5/1/05

My most precious Babylon 5 momentoes are actually my memories of the special times I've had with friends and fellow fans at various conventions over the years, with VORcon and Dragoncon 2000 being my favorite memories. At both of these conventions I got to spend time with the guest actors as regular people - in our hotel room at VOR, Wayne Alexander and Wortham Krimmer stopped by our room to use our bathroom (believe it or not). The room was decorated with a life-size stand-up of Sheridan sporting an Aggememnon hat, two mannequin heads complete with Centauri hairdo, and a bowlful of Snix that I made from the Babylon 5 Cookbook. It was fun to offer "Snix?" to Cartagia's actor - he didn't get the joke, but everyone in the room burst out laughing. The Snix were very yummy, by the way. :-)

At Dragoncon, I had gotten separated from my roommates and was feeling a bit lonely when I ran into Stephen Austin, the actor who played the Pakmara ambassador. He remembered me from a couple of other conventions, mainly because my son was a big Pakmara enthusiast and had a website about them and Steve; he invited me to come and sit with him and Michael Forest ,the actor who played the God Apollo in one of the ST:TOS episodes. We didn't talk much, but it was nice to feel like someone wanted me to be with them. :-) Then, on the patio below the bar, some dancing was going on with bongo players and I decided to wander down to join in. Who else should show up but Rick Biggs and Jason Carter? Rick and Jason both commandeered a bongo and played for the crowd - it was great!

Bruce & Jerry Oh, and how could I forget Shore Leave 23 (in 2001), with Bruce Boxleitner and Jerry Doyle having their own 2-man show? They also spent a lot of time in the hotel's bar where fans could join them, up close and personal, sharing drinks, swapping stories, and inhaling Jerry's cigar smoke (yuck) - but it was worth it!

Now, as for momentoes - I guess there are 3 things I wouldn't part with above all else - the model of an Omega Starfury that a friend lovingly assembled and painted for me as a birthday gift, my B5 comic with autographs from almost everyone on the crew, and a photo I have of a prototype collector's plate with Sheridan on it. It was selling for over $1000 at VORcon, which I couldn't afford, but the dealer let me take a photo of it.


Date: 4/27/2005 1:03 PM

I haven't collected many Babylon 5 mementos because due to distance and finances, I never got to many conventions. But I do have the entire series on VHS tapes, which I plan to convert to DVDs as soon as my new system is in place. I also have a couple of T-shirts and some autographed pictures. My most enduring memento, however, is my 18-pound black part-Persian cat, Neroon, who will be 6 years old this summer. Although he is impressive in size and appearance, he is about as far from being a warrior as one can get. He is not very bright, but he has perfected the art of gazing adoringly and purring thunderously. He still bangs his head on the window whenever he jumps up onto the cat tree.

Ranger Roja Grande

Date: 4/25/2005 4:00 PM

Other than the DVDs, I really wouldn't part with the tiny Bear-Ba-Lon bear I made for my christmas tree!

Date: April 23, 2005

I figured I'd try to answer my own question. What item is most special! That is very hard. I look around my office walls and see pictures of me with Jason and Bruce and sketches from Tim Earls and cartoons from Tye Bourdony, a puppet made by a fan for Michael O'Hare from an Atlanta convention; a Valen doll made by a fan in Australia. There is the picture of friends gathered at a convention in New Orleans -- we are all wearing frontier costumes. There is the picture of me on the set of "Objects at Rest" with Jeffrey Willerth and a lot of folks that worked behind-the-scenes at Babylon 5. I have a ton of things at home -- but I guess the most special item -- would be the friendships I've made over the years with the wonderful people associated with Babylon 5. Joe Straczynski brought together a very talented, dedicated group of people for Babylon 5. I was lucky enough to meet most of them -- and share some special moments. That is my most special Babylon 5 item.

April 2, 2005
Who has had the most influence on the world of science fiction in the last 50 years and why? This could be a writer, filmmaker, artist -- anyone you feel that has changed the way we look at science fiction.

Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2005
From: Patricia R. Sabir

There are so many: Asimov, Herbert, Niven, Lucas, Kevin J. Anderson, Dan Simmons, JMS…. The list goes on and on. But I think the very most influential was Gene Roddenberry. With Star Trek, Roddenberry opened an entirely new era of science fiction to a much wider audience than books and magazines ever reached, enriching the level of interest in a groundswell that continues to this day. Credit should also go to his wife, Majel Barrett, who has kept his universe alive for over 40 years. All current science fiction owes a HUGE debt to him!

Date: April 4, 2005

Hey Sandy! I think the best director of SCI FI movies and television are the shows made by Gene Roddenberry! In his day, women, blacks, people with accents and especially a lad with a Russian accent were not seen so much on television. Women were the girlfriends of the hero of the Westerns that dominated the TV screeen. When Roddenberry was directing, Amazon women ruled the planets that men landed on, and the men from Earth worked equally with the Amazons, and both sexes learned something from the other.

African-American's weren't allowed on television.. Then on Star Trek, he wrote and directed a strong racial parody about men from the planet Sharon. The men were of 2 different races, yet they looked the same. The two rivals led the Enterprise to Sharon.. The races on Sharon hated each other so much, they destroyed the planet. The two men hated each other so mucch, they didn't care that their planet was destroyed. Only their hatred survived. Very sad.

The Chinese were too closely associated with Vietnamese, so they did not have any more roles other than "Hop Sing" on the Ponderosa.. Now, Lieutenant Sulu graced the stage with his pointy eyes navagating the ship, thanks to Roddenberry. This is much like Spock's pointy ears being science officer! The pointed ears wer a paarody of Asians.

Russians were the enemy of America until Pavel Chechov entered the stage with his Beatles hair-style and his boyish charm...

People were not very accepting before Roddenberry came to the directors chair. Now we have a much more homogenous society, thanks to Old Gene.

Roddenberry did a lot to change the face of TV. I think Roddenberry was a fan of the Illiad andthe Odyssey, because most ofhis stories were based on the stories of Homer.

February 26, 2005:
Science fiction is complex and can be defined in a number of ways. What defines science fiction to you? What do you watch or read and why?

Date: 2/28/2005 1:45 AM

For me, the basic definition of SF is Man dealing with an extrapolated environment [technologically, sociologically, ecologically] - the ethical/moral challenges, the changes required for survival.

In one way or another, most genres have produced great works that fit within that definition [Richard McKenna, the author of the SF/fantasy classic, 'Casey Agonistes', also wrote 'The Sand Pebbles' - which he said was science fiction, though the science was social anthropology].

What do I read? Fabulists like Harlan Ellison, hard SF writers like Peter F. Hamilton, space operas by Doc Smith, Eric Frank Russell, and the like, cyberpunkers like William Gibson and Bruce Stirling, I'm pretty much all over the map.

What do I watch? TV: Lost, Alias, Starhunter [guilty pleasure], Delta State, Dark Oracle, ReGenesis, Stargate [both SG-1 and Atlantis - it's a miracle of open-ended premise that matches 'Dr. Who' as a starting point for infinite adventures], Alienated, Battlestar Galactica.

DVD: Currently working my way through 'Sapphire and Steel' - fabulous series that should have gone longer than six serials over three years.

Captain Average
Superhero SF Aficionado...

Date: 2/28/05

Hi Sandy:
Really, Sci-Fi can be defined in a number of ways.

I think it can be defined as a probable and/ or reasonable point of viwe of the future. It can be 50,100 or 200 years ahead.

Just we must see what was the Sci-Fi when Star Trek Original was released (example: Cellphones now versus the communicators in that series and many others examples).

Now I'm not seeing Sci-Fi too much. (I'm waiting the premiere of "Lost" in LatAm and to can see Mira Furlan, our dear Deleen of B-5).

Greetings for you,

Date: 02/26/2005 7:40:57 A.M. Eastern Standard Time

Dear Ms. Bruckner,

I have always loved science fiction but I have always been drawn to stories that involve time travel and travel through space. I am an avid Trekker (at least 20-25 years!) have watched Quantum Leap, Time Trax, SG-1, etc. I have also watched "Invisible Man" and other stories that have involved people taking risks for science. I throughly enjoy the genre. It takes me out of the mundane and into a completely different place.

I enjoy your newsletter as well because it keeps me up to date about any and all sci-fi happenings and I like to stay on top of things. Thank you for having this newsletter as well as the question and forum. Keep up the good work!!!!


Date: 02/24/2005 3:42:15 P.M. Eastern Standard Time

I'm loving SciFi Friday! The new Battlestar Galactica is terrific! Great story lines: great effects!

StarGate is great as well. My son likes O'Neill and complains there is less of him now. He thinks the show should end when he leaves. In spite of the story lines, it is the chemistry between the SG1 members that makes the series. Introducing new characters will degrade the series unless done carefully. The new characters i see comiong on board in season nine kinda leaves me cold. I'm willing to give them some time, but...

February 7, 2005:
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA is getting some good press -- and reviews. What do you think? Is it as good as they say? What do you like -- dislike about the show?

Date: 2/7/05


I find the new Battlestar Galactica to a word: Fantastic! Not since the third and fourth seasons of Babylon 5 have I been this excited about sci-fi television.

From the first episodes of "33" and "Water" I knew that we fans had a hit show on our hands! I find the writing to be top notch, the flow of the episodes to date has been wonderful, the actors make their characters seem so real, and the special effects and the camera work are stunning!

As I said before, BSG has given me the same butterflies I had watching seasons three and four of B5. This show is a hit and may it have a long run.


January 29, 2005:
New episodes of STARGATE SG-1, STARGATE ATLANTIS and BATTLESTAR GALACTICA began airing on Friday. What did you think of Sci Fi Friday? Are the new episodes up to par? Do you like the new BATTLESTAR GALACTICA?

Date: 2/1/05

Hey Sandy

You bet I love the new BSG. I wish SciFi Friday could be on at different times in the week. Like, BSG on Friday at 8:00. SG-1 on Monday at 8:00 and Atlantic on Wednesday at 8:00.

On Fridays, I like to let loose and go out on the town.

My girlfriend doesn't like to sit in on Friday night and watch sci-fi.

I love the new shows on sci-fi, but my girlfriend comes first.

Bonnie Hammer: Please make it so the shows are not all bunched in at once.

Matt Sweet

Date: 10/29/05

Because I live in Canada, I'm not getting season eight of 'SG-1', but both 'Atlantis' and 'BSG' are airing here, so I'll weigh in on them.

'Stargate: Atlantis' has been very good in its rookie season. With the exception of the mid-season cliffhanger [which required people to be stupid to make the plot work], it has been thoroughly enjoyable. The cast is strong and has terrific chemistry and the writing [with the exception of the noted two eps] has been better than the 'SG-1' of seasons 5 & 7 [that show was rejuvenated by the addition of Corin Nemec's Jonas Quinn, but lost that creative surge when Daniel Jackson reappeared].

'BSG' has become appointment TV for me. The writing really captures the feel of the fleet's dilemma, and the Cylon/humans are a nifty idea, and are well thought out. Again, the show has a strong cast and the writing plays to their strengths.

I was not one of those fanboy/girl fanatics that got all pissy over casting Starbuck and Boomer as women, though I loved the original series for what it was - a campy, melodaramatic series that used elements of Mormonism to establish a quasi-spiritual, quasi-philosophical action series in space.

The new series, from the pilot mini-series on, is superior in virtually every respect: writing, direction, acting and most logically, effects. The series deals with post-disaster trauma, spirtuality [the Cylons have religion - how cool is that?], political/military dichotomy, freedom fighting vs. terrorism, and many other cool elements.

One of my favourites is the Cylon agent, Boomer - both in her unwitting sleeper agent guise on the Galactica, and her fully aware version on Caprica. As Galactica Boomer begins to suspect she might be a Cylon sleeper, she is faced with a moral and ethical dilemma - Caprica Boomer's attachement to Helo could lead to a similar ethical/moral crisis. This is genuinely fascinating stuff.

So, I don't like BSG, I love it!

Captain Average
Vociferous Superhero...

Date: 10/29/05

Ron Moore's re-imagining of Battlestar Galactica sits right up there with JMS's Babylon 5. First-rate story telling, characters who have flaw (which make them three-dimensional rather than two-dimensional) and episodes that build a long story arc (rather than starting at point "A" and ending at point "A"). These are all of the qualities that will make BSG equal to Babylon 5. Bring it on!


January 13, 2005:

"Out of all of the Sci-fi TV shows in the last 20 years, which 5 female characters are the most heroic and well-played by their actors and why?"

Date: 2/12/05

Mira Furlan as Delenn
Claudia Christian as Susan Ivanova
Pat Tallman as Lyta Alexander

Tracey Scoggins as whatever her nme was in Babylon 5
"Beca" on Andromeda

Date: 01/25/2005 3:27:53 P.M. Eastern Standard Time

Dear Sandra,

Here are my top females.
Alexandra Bastido from "The Champions" I know its more than 20 years but she was one of the first to spring to mind (did you recieve this show in America?) She was one af 3 agents working for a European intelligence agency called Nemisis. Although the token female she was not the female in trouble she could kick but with the best of them, which was different for show from this time. I do not know if she pre dates Emma Peel from the Avengers but she was among the first strong female leads.

Being a Brit I have to nominate a Dr Who girl.Loise Jameson who played the savage in an animal skin bikini, Leela. Although most of the Doctors assistants were strong characters in their own right they would get into trouble and the Dr would have to get them out. Leela was very different when trouble appeared out would come her hunting knife and she would get the Dr out of trouble. She also had some great one liners "Can I kill him now Dr.? "This changing of the doctors assistants helpt to keep the show fresh and interesting.

Claudia Black "officer Sun from Farscape. It was wonderfull to watch her change from dogmatic soldier. To realising a truth cannot be called a truth unless it is questioned. Her growing love for Crighton and then her dilema when there are two Crightons. Then the fierceness of her fighting to protect her new friends. Her despair when she is pregnant and all alone in the hands of the Scarrens. It takes a great deal to convey all this realistically to an audience and she does it in spades.

Now the hard part. how do you choose between Delenn, Lyta Alexander, and commander Ivanova.

Delen is graceful, warm with an underlying strength that will bow to no one or thing. She had some very long scenes but you were held in rapt attention all the way to the end Althougth Lyta only came in part way through she made a big impression. You could feel her anger when she dicovered what the shadows had done to Kosh. Commander Ivanova what words can you use for this lady. Loyal, humorous,in a Russian kind of way,in a fight I would definately want her on my side.Stunningly attractive.JMS certainly knows how to write stong female roles and these ladies have the ability to make their lines shine like the diamonds that they are.

Worst has to be Councilor Troi from STNG whats bad about her EVERYTHING!!! I think producers only chose her hoping the fans were to busy looking at her cleavage to be bothered about her poor lines and lousy acting.

Dr Helena Russel (Barbera Bain) Space 1999 I think she only got this part because the makers wanted her husband Martin Landau for the lead. The only thing she could do well was pout.

Yours Faithfully

Date: 01/26/2005 3:04:49 A.M. Eastern Standard Time

My "Top 5" would have to include both Ivanova and Delenn.

Another would be Sam Carter from "Stargate SG-1"... but thanks to that show's writers pushing a totally brain-dead "romance" subplot between Carter and her superior and team leader, Col. O'Neill, she's also been high on my list of "most annoying". When they write her as a competent officer who happens to be female, she's fine. When they push this image of Sam as a love-struck idiot, exemplifying the worst male-chauvinist stereotypes about "why women shouldn't be in the military", and running around a military base in tight black tank-tops like a Lara Croft wanna-be... I just want to slap her. And then there's her "SuperSam" side: like the infamous "Mary Sue" of bad fan-fiction, in some episodes there's no field she doesn't know, no expertise she doesn't have. All this and she's The Hero's "love interest" too? Yep, Mary Sue has joined the SGC, and it's the *pro* writers who're doing the MarySue-ing. Gaah.


Date: January 28, 2005

Top 5:

1. Buffy Summers [Sarah Michelle Geller] - She took a kid saddled with a *Destiny* and made her growth believable.
2. Susan Ivanova [Claudia Christian] - She took B5's second-in-command and turned her into one of the most complex and intriguing characters ever seen on TV [in any genre].
3. Major Samantha Carter [Amanda Tapping] - She plays her scientist/warrior with charm, wit, vulnerability and toughness. She also makes us believe that Major Carter is as smart as the show says she is.
4. Joan Girardi [Amber Tamblyn] - Tamblyn's Joan is a real teenager, with all the contradictions and complexity that entails. One gets the feeling that Joan would've been the same person even if God hadn't decided to ask her to do Him occasional favor.
5. Lt. Kara 'Starbuck' Thrace [Katee Sackhoff] - Too much swagger and she'll be accused of ripping off Dirk Benedict; to little and she'll be accused of not being Starbuck. So far, she's managed to walk that line beautifully.

Worst? Too many to choose from...

Captain Average
The Superhero, Exercising A Modicum Of Compassion...

Date: 01/15/2005 12:37:54 P.M. Eastern Standard Time

For my money, the 5 best written and acted female sci-fi characters in recent history are from the 2 best sci-fi shows of the last 20 years: Babylon 5 and Firefly.

From B5: Susan Ivanova, Delenn, and Elizabeth Lochley. JMS gave these characters tremendous depth and power, and Claudia, Mira, and Tracy each did a fabulous job in expressing that depth and power in their performance.

From Firefly, Kaylee and River are my current favorites, but depending on where Joss Whedon goes with the forthcoming Serenity movie, Inara might surprise me and outshine them both. Firefly was such an incredible blending of a group of wildly different but interesting characters...they are all notable and so interesting that it's difficult to pick favorites.

On the topic of annoying characters, well, just pick pretty much any character from the Star Trek franchise in the last three series. Starting with DS9: Kira was annoying, period. I mean, compare her to Odo. Odo was a character that was written to be annoying, but Rene played him so *well* that I liked him even though his character was annoying, but Kira...ugh, Kira was supposed to be a strong female character that came off as annoying left and right. Moving on to Voyager, we might as well start with the captain. The character of Janeway was so bad that I hardly know where to begin. That captain not only suffered from a lack of depth, but she seemed to me to be a failed attempt to combine the thoughtfulness of Picard with the fortitude of Kirk. The result in my opinion was a character who was annoyingly inconsistent and thereby uninteresting. Then comes seven of nine...dude, if I wanted to watch Baywatch, I'd just go and watch it, you know? It's as if the networks either think that sci-fi fans don't know about Baywatch (yeah, right) or the only way to get new viewers from among the mundanes is to add that Baywatch element to a show. Well, I guess either it worked or they just won't let go of the idea, but what do we have now but an equally beautiful lady in a skintight suit except now she's not an ex-Borg she a Vulcan...variations on a theme...and starting from the first episode they add gratuitous titillating scenes like her and the engineer rubbing suntan lotion on each other...*sigh* Hey, let's just drop the pretense and for the next Trek series put David Hasselhoff as the Captain of the Enterprise B, and Pamela Anderson as the lifeguard on the rec deck, and run around the galaxy saving aliens from drowning. ;)

Conclusion: annoying, ill-conceived shows breed annoying characters, whether male or female, and great shows give great characters a chance to flourish. There's exceptions to this rule somewhere I'm sure, but at the moment I really can't think of any.

Date: 1/13/05 10:15am

Hello Sandy,
Anyway, here are my responses to your discussion topics of late.

I didn't respond to the question about the worst B5 episode,, so I would say that " Grey 17 is Missing" is certainly one of the weakest ones, even though one of the last lines is a doozy, which is the one said by Marcus to Neroon: " The next time you want to have a revelation, please don't make it quite so uncomfortable." Or words to that effect. Other less then stellar eps probably would be "TKO" and maybe the one mentioned " Grail." Those were some of the less then what JMS usually gave us episodes, and maybe if you include " Exogenesis." also. But,, for the most part, they were really excellent.

As for the best women in Sci-fi,, well, it is very hard to rank them, but I will start with our people first,, of course Mira Furlan as Delenn was superb, she brought strength, sensitivity, sweetness and at times a quiet fire to the role. Claudia Christian's Ivanova was excellent, she was hard on the outside, and you would go into battle with her anyday,, but underneath she was vulnerable and afraid to love, perhaps because of her family sadness. Pat Tallman's Lyta was a part that grew, and I think it was suprising how tough that character would turn out to be. She too brought a lot to the role,, her eyes were more then a window to her soul. These were great parts for women and showed a lot of passion, and strength,,, yet tender too.

Now we come to someone who is, to my mind, well, you can't go wrong,, she is incredible,, and of course I am speaking of Officer Aeryn Sun,, Claudia Black of Farscape,, she was so amazing in that role,, it was made for her. She could kick ass and be tough and strong,, and scare you, and John Crichton,, half to death, and yet, underneath and as we saw, she learned to love Crichton and go to the line for him and the crew of Moya. I am in awe of her talent and she was perfect for the role. And may I also mention filling out the 5 I must name,, Zhann,, the wonderful, most interesting character that Virginia Hey so skillfully played. She is very spiritual and brought that to the part, and also knows her own mind and brought that as well. Too bad she couldn't take the makeup anymore, because that was a wonderful, character,, And I give an honorable mention to Chiana,, a very sexy, gray nymphet, who could battle with the best of them. Gigi Edgely brought a gamin like quality to that role, and was also great.

I know I am only to name 5, but I do want to also recognize what Linda Hamilton brought to Beauty and the Beast, even though I don't think she understood the show, she and Ron Perlman as Vincent really touched your heart with the magic and pathos, and heartbreak that show represented. So sad, poignant and yet beautifully romantic, and without her, well the show wasn't the show.

As for women I didn't like,, well, I can't stand the T'Pol character on Enterprise,, she just leaves me cold, and any of the woman in the Star Drek universe,, ( save Classic Trek). Also,, for the most part the shows I don't watch, are the ones where the characters don't appeal to me. So it is hard to name them all.

So, those are some thoughts off the top of my head, and if I think of more I shall write again,, all the best to all.
Faith manages,
Ranger Connie - the Flamekeeper

Date: January 13, 10:34a

Here is my two-cents worth on your discussion topics:

Topic 1: Most Heroic SF female characters: Susan Ivanova (B5), Scully (X-Files)

Topic 2: Most Annoying SF female character: Hands-down it is CAPT "What's her name?" from Voyager Star Trek series; I obviously did not watch it very much due a lot to her annoying voice; that voice can drive a person to suicide.

Date: 1/12/2005 1:49 AM

My personal top 5:
1. Ivanova from B5- Could be fierce as well as jovial, went out with a bang when she almost died in the battle to retake earth. Claudia Christian is both beautiful and an excellent actress who handled the physical demands of the role with grace.
2. Carter from SG-1- Brains, compassion, braun & beauty is a can't beat combo. Amand Tapping's portrayal of a dual Scientist/military officer is difficult enough without having to compete with a male-dominated cast. An absolute pleasure to watch as she helps save the Universe week after week.
3. Buffy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer- Kicked more but than a dozen Hong Kong Kung Fu movies. Michelle Gellar's portrayal of Buffy was both fearless and self-depreciating as she tried to deny her calling. Her comedic talents as she bantered with her sidekicks were a major reason for the longevity of the show.
4. Lyta from B5- Although she didn't become a regular until season 3, Patricia Tallman's Lyta "stole" the spotlight of many of season's 3-5 critical episodes. Her addition as a regular cast member was a stroke of genius and by the end of B5's run she in effect was the most powerful weapon in the galaxy. Her character transformation was played brilliantly as seen in her ability to play her with compassion as well as a ruthless telepath.
5. Max from Dark Angel- Max was beautiful, smart, strong and eventually became a leader. Newcomer Jessica Alba did a great job in making us believe that this genetically engineered soldier could be a killer as well as a lover. Her street portrayal of a superhero was a first for a lead female in a scifi show.

Optional add-on to this: Who are the 2 most annoying female leads in Sc-fi TV in the last 20 years?

1. Nicole de Boer (DAX & Sarah bannerman) for both DS-9 and the Dead Zone. Single-handedly ruined 10 episodes from DS-9 Season 7 and should be killed off ASAP from the Dead Zone.
2. Shiri Appleby - Liz Parker from Roswell. Was killed several times but unfortunately did not stay dead during the run of the series.

January 1, 2005:

With the new year now upon us, let's talk BABYLON 5. What is your least favorite episode-- and why?

Date: 1/12/2005 1:49 AM

Regarding the current discussion topic, which is my least favorite B5 Episode, it has to be "Intersections in Real Time" from season 4. I know that I don't like this episode because I usually skip watching it when I am in need of a B5 fix and start watching the series from start to finish. I don't like it because the entire episode is about the interrogation and torture of Sheridan. It is painful to watch and you don't know if he is hallucinating or if what he is seeing is real. I suppose that this episode was a necessary bridge or transition episode for the coming overthrow of Clark but I just do not enjoy it. There are probably 3-5 fluff episodes which could be runners up to my top choice (TKO, Soul Mates, Exogenesis etc.).

Date: 1/4/2005 11:40 AM

I think my least favorite episode has to be "Grail" from Season 1. The story isn't actually bad, but the actor who played Jinxo did so poorly that the story didn't come across very well, despite David Warner's excellent portrayal of the seeker, Aldous. I think the actor who portrayed Deuce gave a somewhat wanting performance as well...either that or I just couldn't get his Bob Newhart Show persona out of my head long enough to take him seriously...

Anybody else finding it really difficult to think of bad episodes of B5? I mean sure, the Season 5 episodes about Byron's telepaths had their problems, but other than that: man, what a show -- in every respect.

December 11, 2004:

With the news that THE MEMORY OF SHADOWS will go into production in April, what would be your reaction if Peter Woodward was NOT Galen -- and other B5 cast members were replaced by "name" actors?

Date: 12/20/2004 2:48 PM
Hey Sandy,

During my reading of Jeanne Cavellos' Technomage Trilogy some years ago, wishfully thinking I imagined how great a series of movies they would've made. When reading Galen's dialogue, it was Peter Woodward's voice I heard in my head. Peter Woodward defined the role of Galen as written by JMS and others in "Crusade". In his performances, with the wit, charm, vocal delivery and gravitas he gave his character he reminded me of the great Brit character actor, Nicol Williamson. WB is going to have to go to great lengths to find someone who actually has the acting chops to pull off the role, (if they proceed with their recasting of the known B5/Crusade characters) so why not go with the original and save themselves the trouble. Woodward already has enough movie roles in his resume, making him a recognizeable presence to the general public, so Warner Bros premise about about using movie actors to replace TV actors is at best specious and at worst ludicrous. Finally, unless they find an unknown wild card in this process, I seriously doubt they'll attract an 'A' or even a 'B' list actor to do the role, so the choices narrow considerably.

Best, ---= Dennis =--- <*>

Date: 12/14/2004 10:01 AM

Hi Sandy:
How are you?
My opinion is that, each character of B5 and Crusade, after all this time, already be "melted" with the real person, well, I don't believe one or another character be accepted with another face now, Bruce Boxleitner is Captain Sheridan, Mira Furlan is Deleen, Claudia Christian is Ivanova, Jerry Doyle is Garibaldi, Peter Woorward is Galen, etc. Definitely each face is a character.

Your friend,

Date: 12/12/2004 7:42 AM

If a part were recast because an actor wasn't available, I could accept the role being recast if it were vital to the story. But to cast a "name" actor just because TV actors don't have the "Star" recognition would be unthinkable! Any such movie would be *sure* to have a major fan backlash and insure the failure of the movie rather than it's success.

Date: 12/11/2004 11:05:15 AM Eastern Standard Time

To me there is no good reason to recast our favorite characters with "big name" actors. If "big name" actors are needed, just create new characters for them! Bring back our old favorites in their familiar roles! Please! Peter Woodward IS Galen, as far as I'm concerned. If he can't come back to reprise his role, give the character another name. I'll go see the movie no matter who plays which role; still, my preference is to see my favorite actors on the big screen.

Date: 12/12/2004 3:24:48 AM Eastern Standard Time

That's always a difficult topic. The movie, "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me" featured a different actress in the role of Donna when Lara Flynn Boyle, the actress who portrayed Donna in the TV series, refused to reprise her role. The recasting was a disservice to both actresses as well as the character & the fans of the show, but was, unfortunately, unavoidable.

Peter Woodward made such an indelible impression as Galen that it would be very difficult to imagine anyone else in the role, as well as very disappointing should he not return / be allowed to return in favour of a "name" actor. The same can be said about every other B5 / Crusade character.

It's understandable that actors don't always have the time (or desire) to reprise roles, but if it's a situation of Hollywood "playing it safe", then it's an insult to the actors & the film.

I'm not saying I wouldn't go see "B5:TMoS" if roles were recast ('cos, hey... c'mon -- it's JOE!), but it wouldn't really bode well for the movie in terms of fan reception.

Just my 2p.

November 21, 2004:
There is so little on these days to watch, I wonder how people are filling their spare time. What do you enjoy watching – and why? Do you like the range of CSI series? They are very well written – or do you go more for SMALLVILLE or LOST?

Date: 12/8/2004 6:25 PM

This show got off to a great start. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend catching it. If you can, watch the pilot first and then as many episodes as you can back-to-back (TIVO is really helpful here.)

That said, I am really starting to think that someone at the LOST production office (J.J. Abrams, the creator of Alias, and/or Damon Lindelof ) is a big Babylon 5 fan as evidenced by the following:

1. Casting Daniel Dae Kim as one of the lead actors.
2. A "Who are you?" theme that has spilled over more than one episode.
3. Casting Mira Furlan as the first "main" guest star. If you watch the show already, you know that her character may have a HUGE impact on the overall story arc.
4. The attention to detail. This is something missing from TV since Babylon 5. There is nothing wasted here. In fact, watch the pilot again, and you'll be able pick out things which come up throughout the later episodes. For example, the first time we see Kate she's holding her wrist... it's only for a second or two, but it has a special meaning as we find out in a later episode.

I'm know there are more B5 ties, I just can't think of them off the top of my head.

Date: 11/22/2004 8:01 PM

In terms of what's been filling my time on TV, I started watching Andromeda back in March (when SciFi added it to their schedule). I also started seeing it in syndication (most recently on Superstation WGN).

Needless to say, I was hooked... and not just because Kevin Sorbo is still a good looking man. I could identify with his character, Dylan Hunt, as someone who had lost everything that was dear to him and was willing to make the best of the situation given to him. I also loved his sense of humor, conviction, hope & optimism. I also liked the show's action, humor and occasional intrigue... plus composer Matthew McCarthy's score.

As for Enterprise, we don't get to see it in prime time as our local area (Gainesville, FL) doesn't have a true UPN affiliate; usually at 1:30 am ET on Saturday or Monday mornings. Starting December 1, we will have a full-time UPN affiliate so I'm hoping the situation will change.

Date: 11/21/2004 10:01 PM

Actually I prefer Enterprise to any of the others. I also watch Andromeda and occasionally Star Gate.

Date: 11/21/2004 11:44 AM

I find myself watching far less TV these days (well, some football on weekends). There isn't a whole lot worth watching.

But CSI, so far, is still VERY good. ihmo. It seems like Bruckheimer is either trying to compete with Dick Wolfe (He of the "Law and Order" franchise-to-death), or kill the golden goose. The original is still the best; I enjoy the character interactions (hey - isn't that what a lot of us liked about B5?), and the plot twists. And we can see the characters change and grow (or not...)

However, lest anyone think I've become mundane in my dotage, "Lost" has kind of caught me. And now that Mira has put in an appearance (and sounds like she'll be a semi-regular) I watch it to see what weirdness will pop up next. Tell you the truth, I'm not even sure they're alive. I've noticed that the characters are not nearly as stereotypical as when the show started. Some of them even seem to be fleshing out a bit. As long as it doesn't go TOO off-the-wall, I think this one could be quite good.

That said, I did watch (and record) "Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars". Though it was really hurried in spots, on the whole I really liked it. And the ending still leaves open the possibility of continuing in some future time, whether it might be more miniseries, some TV movies, that sort of thing.

Other than that, I find myself watching far less TV these days...

Date: 11/21/2004 11:25 AM

I can't believe it! I hated Enterprise for the first 3 seasons. It was a poor, lame imitation of Star Trek. Then enter: Manny Coto. First, he cleverly winds his way out of the incredibly stupid season three ender. Not only that, but he uses this episode to get rid of the oft' maligned "Temperal Cold War" thread. It's gone, folks... yeah! Then he tops himself by making a tripartate story arc starting Brent Spiner as an ancestor of Dr. Noonian Soong, Data's creator. And this wasn't just some stupid excuse to bring in a big name Star Trek actor. It deeped the story about the "augments," those genetically altered "relatives" of Khan, whilst deepening the understanding of where Dr. N. Soong got his brains and drive to create Data.

Next enter the Vulcan trilogy, written by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens the authors that have written some mighty awesome Star Trek novels in nearly every genre. This trilogy is going to clear up the mess that Brandon and Braga made of the Vulcans by making them so devious and emotional that we couldn't recognize them. This trilogy just started last week and it looks to be a marvelous story.

Not only has Manny Coto (no relation to Vir *grin*) begun taking fan's advise and started working within the known Star Trek universe, with known Star Trek history, but he is also making sure that the characters are three- demensional, the plots have continuity within themselves and within the Star Trek universe, the writing is geared towards the known intelligence of Star Trek fans, and, while every episode is tied to known Trek mythology, the story ideas are crisp and original.

Hooray for Star Trek! It's gotten so good now that I am actually anxiously awaiting each new episode. I would recommend every Star Trek fan, new or old, tune in again and start watching. It'll be worth your time, I promise.

October 23, 2004:
Here's a discussion topic from Ranger Gary. Let us know what you think.
Spanning the last 20 years of Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV, which three TV shows were most underrated/underappreciated and had the plug pulled too soon (2 seasons or less)? Why did they deserve a longer life?

Alternatively, in your opinion which three shows during the same period lasted way too long and never should have made it past their 1st season? Why should these 3 overrated TV shows should have expired ASAP?

Date: 11/7/2004 3:33 PM

Earth 2
Space Above and Beyond

ST Voyager!!!
(If it can be counted three times, all the better!

Date: 11/06/2004 12:38:54 PM Eastern Standard Time

Hi Sandy,

In Underrated and Died Too Soon:
"Space: Above And Beyond", a gritty and realistic Military SF show that aired during the 1995-6 season on Fox. Created by Glen Morgan and James Wong who worked on Season 1 of "The X-Files", Fox killed it by scheduling it at &:00 p.m. Sunday nights, meaning it often began late due to the 4:00 p.m. NFL games running late. At that time Chris Cartwer was Fox's Golden Boy and rumor has it that he wanted Morgan and Wong back, so Fox killed the show, likely at his request. Not confirmed.

In Overrated and Died Putrid:
"Star Trek: Voyager". Neelix, Kes, Janeway, Harry Kim at times. Need I say more.

Dragged On Too Long:
"The X-Files" *after* David Duchovny left. Robert Patrick as FBI Agent Doggett was so stiff he made his character in "Terminator 2" seem flexible. He showed his total lack of depth as an actor as Major Expendible in "Stargate: Atlantis".

Date: 11/06/2004 6:38:11 AM Eastern Standard Time

most under-rated:
1.) crusade
2.) space: above and beyond

most over-rated:
1.) enterprise (only because of star trek name)
2.) Lexx - awful show, how did ti ever get past one series!?

Sorry i couldnt think of 3 for each but crusade and space above and beyond both showed glipses of greatness ahead and the networks pulled the plugs too soon, other shows listed used their name or sex to keep going despite being awful shows.

Date: 11/3/2004 3:33 PM

Here's my two cents worth:
I was going to list Babylon 5 as the most underrated because it never got the ratings that it deserved (it never got Star Trek: Next Generation-ratings or as many awards as that show), but you said that we should pick shows that only lasted 2 seasons or less, so here's my list:

Top 3 Most UNDERrated/UNDERappreciated Sci-Fi/Fantasy Shows:
1) Crusade (the B5 spin-off)
2) The Adventures of Sinbad
3) Time Trax

Crusade was robbed of a long life because of creative differences between JMS and TNT. While Sinbad may have had bad acting, bad writing, and bad special effects, it was still FUN to watch! It was supposed to have had a third season but was killed by an executive head change at its company; they didn't like the guy who left and axed all of "his" shows. As for Time Trax, the show improved in its second season and was entertaining. (I still think the T.T. pilot was one of the best pilots I've ever seen.) All three shows were fun to watch and probably would have improved in quality and ratings if given more time.

(I'm going to tick off a lot of people on this next one, but keep in mind, these are MY opinions.)

3 Most OVERrated/OVER-hyped Sci-Fi/Fantasy Shows:

1) Stargate SG-1
2) Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
3) Xena: Warrior Princess

Stargate has always been watchable, but I've never warmed up to it as much as seemingly everyone else. I've never thought there was enough action in the show and the low-tech approach to alien worlds leaves me unimpressed. 8 seasons? Come on. It should have only lasted three. Star Trek: DS9 was one of the highest-rated syndicated shows, but I only watched the first 5 or 6 episodes before I gave up on it. The characters just didn't appeal to me. And Xena was high-rated too. But what's so appealing about two women beating up men every week? I can't think of anything. Maybe it's because I'm a man. As for looks: sure, Xena and Gabrielle were pretty, but I've seen much sexier women on TV than them.

Well, I guess I've made enemies now. There were more shows that I thought were highly overrated, but those were the top three.


Date: 10/29/2004 10:03 PM

Hi Sandy,
The 3 sci-fi shows that weren't given a chance were: (in no particular order)

1. Wolf Lake
That show rocked! Werewolves with day jobs! The acting was great, it had involved story lines. It just wasn't given enough time to develop them. We never did find out who killed Bruce McGill's character.

2. The Flash
It had good characters, heroes & villians (Mark Hamill was excellent) Some of it was special effects, but it was a fun show.

3.The New UPN Twilight Zone
Excellent new stories & updates (it's still a good life & The monsters are due on maple street) made this series a keeper.UPN had a good thing going, then pulled the plug. Anthology series aren't always bad.

Three Sci-Fi Shows that went on too long are:(In no particular order)

1. Earth 2
This show's premise was cliche, used 1,000 times before. Tim Curry's acting was way over the top, with passable special effects. I lost interest after a few episodes.

2. The Beast Master
The movie was pretty good, but to make a tv series 20 years later with such bad acting & production valeus? It's pointless.

3.Quantum Leap
It started out as a brilliant sci-fi show, dealing with issues taht are as common 40 or 50 years ago as they are today. The last season, where they broke their own rule and lept into real people ( LeeHarvey Oswald, Elvis Presley) was almost unwatchable. Being both a Scott Bakula & Dean Stockwell fan, I watched almost every week. But the situations were getting ridiculous. The final episode, were Sam doesn't return home, was a total rip off! Both leads were good actors, and you could sense that they were friends onn-screen & off. It began with good material, but then ran out of steam.

Date: 12:34 PM

Hi, Sandy.
In no particular order:
This show was grossly underappreciated. I LOVED this series, and it only lasted 2 seasons, I believe. If anyone remembers it, it followed the lives of 5 Marines (Lieutenants West, Vansen, Wong, Damphousse, Cooper,) and their Colonel, T.C. McQueen. Both Cooper and McQueen were "Tanks," In-Vitro human beings who gestated until the age of 18, and then "used" for the war agains the A.I.'s.) The series was set in the not-too-distant future. What I liked about the show is that there was character development. Each one had a story to tell, and they evolved, just like in B5. The plots were sound and interesting.

This movie was entirely devoted to the Rangers in the Babylon 5 universe. It had so much potential, and I was very disappointed that the series was not developed. I loved the fact that there was a side story to the Babylon 5 series. The special effects were as awesome as those used on Babylon 5. The group of Rangers in this movie included a variet of races, not just Humans and Minbari. Among them were a Narn and a Drazi Ranger I had a really good feeling about this series, but apparently, those at the Sci-Fi Channel didn't.

When I watched B5: LOTR, it reminded me of the book written by Kathryn M. Drennan (JMS's wife) called "To Dream in the City of Sorrows," which follows Jeffrey Sinclair's life after he left Babylon 5 and was assigned to Minbar to eventually become Entil'zha. Marcus Cole and Catherine Sakai take a large part in this book as well. If you haven't read this book yet, it's a MUST! It's book #9 in the series, and the best one, in my opinion.

Sci-Fi Channel showed 13 episodes of this series. I'm still waitng for the other million episodes to be produced. But I guess we can't have everything we want This series depicts the journey taken by Captain Matthew Gideon and his crew in search of a cure to the Drakh Plague. The crew includes a telepath as Gideon's First Officer, and Galen, a Technomage who had a soft spot for Humans. The ambiance of the series is very similar to that of Babylon 5. Gideon's character is a mixture of Sheridan and Garibaldi, and it's a great combination. Good think the series will be on DVD!

This was an awesome concept! Dr. Sam Beckett devises a way to 'leap' backward and forward in time, and into people's bodies, while the original owners of those bodies wait in a waiting room in Sam's timeline. Thank goodness they're out on DVD! Woo Hoo!

"Alternatively, in your opinion which three shows during the same period lasted way too long and never should have made it past their 1st season? Why should these 3 overrated TV shows should have expired ASAP?"

There's isn't much I can say about this series except that it didn't grab me at all. I didn't care for the plots, and I found the characters boring. As much as I like Gene Roddenberry, this was not one of his masterpieces.

2. EARTH 2
I tried to give this series a chance, but I found it too boring. The premise of the series just didn't grab me, and neither did the characters.

I watched the first 2 seasons of this show, and, as much as I love Scott Bakula, I couldn't get into it. I found the storylines boring, and in the end, the writers lost a fan. With Scott Bakula (Quantum Leap) playing Captain John Archer, it wouldn't surprise me if, at the end of the last episode of the series, Al shows up and says, "Time to go, Sam," while Captain Archer turns blue, says "Oh boy," and then vanishes.

- GU -

Date: 10/24/2004 12:26 PM From:
No apologies for being out of the 'time-frame'
The Prisoner - It always amazes me that this has never been picked up as and resurrected. One of the best concepts for a Sci-Fi drama ever conceived. "I am not a number, I am a free man!"

Forever Knight - The whole vampire detective thing was cool and some of the story lines really well put together. Sure the special effects look hokey from today's standards, but it was still an uber-cool series. Another one long overdue a revamp (no pun intended, although its a really good one!!).

Roughnecks: Starship Trooper Chronicles - An animated series that was actually better than the big screen movie.... weird but true! Roughnecks, despite being animated, had a real, grab you and hold you engrossed, ability. Possibly one of the best animated series ever produced.

Firefly - Unadulterated drivel. The Magnificent 7 in space.... yuk! Best thing was when this rubbish got canned.

Enterprise - With lacklustre and uninventive writing this should have been killed before it started. Worse, they trample over ST mythology with no respect. Enterprise continues to stumble along like a lame, 3-legged mule. Someone pass the shotgun.

Farscape - I really don't understand how this b'stard sibling of Blake's 7 has staggered along for so long. Everything is so weak and the show has practically no redeeming features.

Date: 10/24/2004 3:32 PM

The shows I think were pulled way before their time:
1. Alien Nation,, I did a lot of work for this show, trying to get it back on the air. It was a great show for it's time, and had a lot to say about prejudice, xenophobia, and had two great actors, Eric Pierpoint ( one of the nicest stars of a show I ever met) and Gary Graham. They had a unique chemistry and the rest of the cast was great too,, this show had so much it could have done. It was a true shame the numbskulls at Fox pulled it after only one season.

2. Forever Knight,, Excellent show about a Vampire cop with a heart. This Geraint Wyn Davies show had definitely more stories to tell and it was a shame it was cancelled too early.

3. A show that had so little time to get its feet on the ground,, Mercy Point, which had an excellent cast and was about an interstellar hospital. With actors like Joe Morton and Joe Spano, they did only a few shows but there were a lot of interesting questions asked and it was very well done.

Others were Beauty and the Beast,, and Classic Trek. And of course, our Crusade.

Shows that stayed too long at the fair:
All the Trek shows save Classic, they were self important, pretentious bores, and I couldn't stand any of them.

Also, the X-Files,, I mean really who cares what truth was out there if it never was revealed.

And I MUST take exception to Ranger Gary,, as Farscape, as was shown in the excellent Peacekeeper Wars, had a lot more to say and accomplish and it was the only show, after B5, that attracted my interest at all, with wonderful characters like John Crichton and Aeryn Sun,,,,brilliantly portrayed by Ben Browder and Claudia Black, there was a lot more to explore, and still is. They had a great cast all the way around and a wonderful creative team.

Which brings me to why I watched Babylon 5. What drew me in? The wonderful complex stories, the excellent cast, the way the characters grew and changed,, the fact that with each new episode JMS blew me away. It's gritty reality,, and the way it tried to inspire and gave one reason to hope, its subtexts, and warnings of the future,, and believe me, people should wake up. Everything about it was just the best and I still feel very lucky to have had the experiences it gave me.I could go on, but that is the gist of it all.

Peace and love,
Connie -- The Flamekeeper

Date: 10/23/2004 2:41:07 PM Eastern Daylight Time


Andromeda: Started out with all kinds of promise - kind of like an ambitious, B-version of B5. After two seasons, it degererated into bad Trek, and has never ecovered.

Beastmaster: ripped off its style, and even its logo typeface, from the infinitely more fun 'Hercules - The Incredible Journeys'. Badly written, and even cheesier than most, this series should have been strangled at birth.

Charmed: Interesting in the first season, but after the introduction of the Evil Three [brothers to oppose the Haliwell sisters, of course] the show became hideously bad - too camp to even have camp value.

Underrated [Too many to choose from]:

Haunted: genuinely spooky, smartly written. If it had been on any other net than UPN, it might have had a chance.

Wonderfalls: in four eps, it became my favourite series of last season. The character of Jaye, a slacker who gets dragged into experiencing life [kicking and screaming every inch of the way], was a refreshing change. The supporting cast was fabulous and the direction, lovely. It's too bad that FOX lost interest even before the series aired.

Firefly: another quality series that FOX asked for and then lost interest before it even aired. If it becomes a huge box office smash for Universal, FOX is going to look pretty stupid on this one.

The thing that made 'Firefly' work for me, was that it was probably the best-written series of the year, two years ago. It was funny, horrfying, thrilling, poignant - you name it. The idea of taking the post-Civil War period and transferring it to the far future was cool, and the characters [from Mal, to River] were interesting in ways that were not expected.

Honorable mentions: Adventures of Brisco County Jr.; Legend; VR5; Strange Luck; Harsh Realm; Quark; and so on, and so forth...

Captain Average
The Superhero, Expecting Lost & Desperate Housewives To Be Around
For Awhile [And Crossing His fingers for Veronica Mars...]

Date: 10/23/2004 2:54:28 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Pogomil

Here's my thoughts on two sci-fi shows that were(IMHO)gone before their time:
A) Space Rangers. This show lasted only 6 episodes , co-starred Marjorie Monahan, and had a great musical opening..

B) War of the Worlds. It lasted only two seasons, and in season 2 killed half the 1st season cast off in the first episode and changed directions. Oh and btw, the person that played Col. Ben Ironhorse in the first season, would have been perfect for the 'talked about ut never seen' brothe of Cmdr. Sinclair..

Ranger Gary's answer:
Pulled too soon answer/opinion: B5 Crusade. Never had a chance with only 13 episodes. The show was just getting interesting and the characters were developing nicely. Unlimited opportunities to develop Gideon, Galen, Durena mysteries, and barely scratched the Drakh surface. TNT screwed JMS on Crusade but saved B5. Can't win them all. Would love to see a Crusade Miniseries to tie up at least some loose ends.

Earth2. Many under 40 are unfamiliar with this Steven Spielberg/NBC Network show from the early 90's especially because there is no VHS or DVD sets (excluding bootlegs) available. This show ended after the first season and left a gapping open question of what will happen the planet. The cast was wonderful and some went on to greater success (Kelli Williams, Terry O'Quinn, Rebecca Gayheart, Antonio Sabata Jr, Clancy Brown etc.). Tim Curry was a great repeat guest star and the writing crisp and aliens/terrains were very unique. This was a studio (Universal) screw up where NBC was open to future episodes.

American Gothic. Exec-Producer Shaun Cassidy's shows seems to have bad luck with CBS where his shows only last 1 or 2 years. This show was scary, mysterious and unique. The show was also well-cast with Gary Cole (Crusade's Gideon), Nick Searcy, Paige Turco etc. There was so much that we still did not know about the malevolent Sheriff Buck (the devil?). This show was spooky and quirky before Buffy/Angel were quirky. Should have went to syndication (Sci-Fi channel was just an idea at the time).

Lasted way too long:
Farscape. Had some good Muppets like Rygel, and Scorpious was very cool. Other than that this show lacked all other elements that make a quality TV show. The characters & acting were horrible. That bumbling cowardly lion, D'argo (supposed to be a great warrior) got himself captured in almost every episode during the first 2 years. D'argo missed every punch he threw and missed every shot he fired. D'argo was the epitome of emasculation. Where to start with Ben Browder, better not. The writing was horrible with 1/10 episodes with payoffs. Rockne S. O'banion is no genius. This should have died after no more than 5 episodes. Their DVDs biggest scam on public since/before Enron.

Earth Final Conflict. I loved this show during the first year! This was my favorite show until about halfway through the 2nd season when the show lost its way with new writers/producers etc. Year 3 was OK but 4 & 5 were absolute trash and should never have been put out on DVD before the early seasons. The same people who screwed this up are also behind the topsy-turvy Andromeda story arcs. They should have cancelled this midway through season 2 so that we did not have to watch sub-par SciFi for 3 more years. The first year cast was excellent but gave way later to big breasts and small-minded stories.

Enterprise. Even die-hard Trekkers wanted this train-wreck to go away so not to pollute the honored Star Trek franchise. This show is still in resurrection-mode and being tweaked each week. The producers are entirely to blame for the writing and lousy casting. From the theme song to the rip-off of previous Trek stories/aliens (Borg, Data, Kirk, German WW2 Aliens, Silicone Crew member, etc.) this show should have died three years ago and we should be watching a different Star Trek series by now! Shame on Rick berman/Brannon Braga!!

Ranger Gary

September 18, 2004:

I know a lot of Zocalo readers are avid science fiction readers as well. What novel would you like to see become a movie – either big screen or TV – and why?

September 4, 2004:

What do you/did you find the most fascinating about BABYLON 5? Story? Characters? Visuals? What brought you back week after week to see the show?

Date: 9/20/2004 3:25 PM

Initially, the most fascinating thing that drew me back to watch B5 was the story and in particular the mystery and foreshadowing of things to come. Because there were constantly unresolved plots (although the episodes were still extremely satisfying)and hints of things to come, I could not wait for the next episode or when this plot would resolve itself. Initially, I was not aware that there was a 5 year arc would have not had the patient to wait years for things to play out.

One thing in particular enhanced my B5 viewing/understanding experience. If Sandy doesn't mind me mentioning another B5 site, I used to visit "The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5". I would print the following prior to watching and epsiode and would only read it after I fininshed watching the episode:

Plot Summary
Unanswered Questions
JMS Speaks

The above info from the B5 website gave me insight as well as more unanswered questions that I would never have thought of.

Ranger Gary

Date: 9/9/2004 12:07:39 PM Eastern Standard Time

The main thing that got me about B5 was the sheer scope of this epic tale. The characters were all fleshed out, the stories for about 98% of the arc were excellent (there're bound to be a few that don't really resonate with all viewers), the SPFX improved from season to season (sometimes show to show), but what kept me coming back was the fact that I could easily see this "thing" was going somewhere.

There were character deaths that pissed me off, but as in real life, people you care about die, there were betrayals, there were revelations, there were weaknesses exploited & overcome... truly heady stuff that doesn't come along everyday, unfortunately.

Joe's one of the greatest writers of our time, in my opinion, & I feel fortunate to have seen just one of his visions come to fruition.

Date: 9/7/2004 12:42:52 PM Eastern Standard Time

Hi Sandy:
A little of each.
The story, was and is, very original, a space station alone in the middle of the outer space, with a lot of races living together inside.

The characters, almost all of them with your own "environment" and, at the same time, doing a an "everything" in the story. Of course, there are the favorites. For me, Delenn, Ivanova, Lochley, Garibaldi, etc. I don't forget Dr. Franklin, of course.

The visuals, best in each season.

Be careful,

Date: 9/7/2004 11:07:59 AM Eastern Standard Time

What I enjoyed most about Babylon 5, and what brought me back week after week, were three key factors:

1) The writing was top notch!
2) The plotline was unpredictable and real. Characters were both heroic and fallible, prone to temptation and weakness while capable of sacrifice and heroism. No character was immune from deceipt, disaster or death. Real life decisions had to be made involving duty, loyalty, ethics, tactics and honor. In many cases, the characters struggled with these challenges in a very realistic and believable fashion.

3) The writing was top notch!

Date: 9/5/2004 3:44:44 AM Eastern Standard Time

The thing that kept me comming back, episode after episode, was...(I sat there in my chair trying to figure out what made me come back and watch all the episodes. Then I figured it out. Everything. characters, actors, music, CGI, and most of all the plot that you just had to find out what happened next.) It's not one thing, its the whole show.

August 16, 2004:

What do you think of the new STARGATE ATLANTIS series? Do you like the story, cast, premise for the series?

Date: 8/17/2004 10:23:11 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: DPBarker
In your recent newsletter, you asked about or feelings regarding Stargate: Atlantis. Overall, I like it, but I have some reservations. I do see similarities esp. with the male lead character (Joe Flanigan) acting very Jack O'Neil-like in his mannerisms. I find it distracting sometimes. I want to see two different individuals in leadership roles. I was also surprised that they changed the actress last season's SG1 season finale from Jessica Steen to the current Torri Higginson. Personally, I preferred Jessica Steen. The Dr. Rodney McKay character reminds me a lot of Daniel Jackson with touches of Sam Carter; and the resident alien - Teyla - is happily very un-Teal'c like. Its still early for them yet, and they have to work out the similarities problems, and forge their own destiny away from Stargate Command. Hopefully, they will do so. I've read that this might (will) be the last season for SG1. I know that Richard Dean Anderson has already cut back his schedule, and he is the driving force behind SG1. Too bad as I've always like SG1. In fact, in some ways its better than the Movie. I really preferred Richard Dean Anderson's portrayal over Kurt Russell.

Keep up the terrific job that you are doing for those of us who always have been and will be forever fans of Babylon 5.

Take care.

Date: 8/16/2004 11:43:43 PM Eastern Standard Time

The show is good. One major problem, they changed Dr Weird. Why? The new girl sucks.

July 31, 2004:

I have been a comic book lover for years -- not as deep into it as my nephew, but I like to read them just the same. With TV series like STARGATE, CSI, CSI: MIAMI, SMALLVILLE and other spinning off into comic book issues, so you enjoy reading your TV series? Do you feel that this medium can continue the story? Would you like to see more BABYLON 5 comic books (hint, hint)?

Date: 8/6/2004 11:43:58 PM Eastern Standard Time
I too am a lifelong admirer & sometime collector of comic books. I am especially fond of the superhero comics like Superman, Green Lantern and Spiderman (late 60's/early 70's). To answer the first question about whether the comic book medium can continue the story: I think the answer is yes, and if there is some creative input from the originator of the idea then it works even better. I have not read or seen any of the comics that you mentioned (CSI, Stargate etc) but the concept seems to work very well in other mediums such as cartoons (Stargate: Infinity), B5 Comics and as well as the B5 Novels (some of which are fantastic). I like the B5 comics but personally would prefer more B5 novels and B5 feature films (keeping my fingers crossed about TMOS). If JMS is going to spend more time on B5/Crusade let it be on film. By the way, if Crusade comics exist please let me know about them!!

I believe there is one truth that holds true in SF/Fantasy: A Great story is still a great story no matter what medium. One example is Spiderman. When I was very young I read the comic books, then I watched the TV Cartoon, then I read it in my daily newspaper for years, and now it is a blockbuster movie 2x over. If for example, CSI, Miami is a mediocre TV show then I won't care to read the comics or care about the continuation of "the story" unless someone that I respected said "these comics are great and nothing like the show". Only then would I read them.

Ranger Gary

Date: August 1, 2004

Personally, I love comic books -- I always have. Comic books were one of the first "books" I learned to read, and that was mainly to learn more about Superman, The Lone Ranger and other heroes who were the subject of monthly issues. I had a wonderful friend who gave me issues for 5cents -- with covers torn off -- so that they could be returned to publishers. It was a great way to keep up with Green Lantern and Wonder Woman -- and it still is. Comic books are currently playing a large role at the movies as well. The success of SPIDERMAN is leading to new productions based on comic book heroes.

The latest batch of series related comics are pretty good. I have all the STARGATE comics that have been issued -- even the old ones. The new ones read much like an episode -- in three parts. The CSI franchise also has comics for the original and CSI: MIAMI. I'm sure CSI: New York won't be far behind. The BABYLON 5 books were wonderful -- and in some cases -- canon. So why not continue the story on the printed page? I'd buy them -- and I think others would as well.

July 18, 2004:

Here's a suggestion from Ranger Gary:
1) How would today's technologies including CGI, digital, computers etc. enhance, devalue, and or change the way producers such as Irwin Allen (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, Time Tunnel, Land of the Giants) or Gerry Anderson (Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet And The Mysterions, UFO, Space:1999 etc.) made these TV Shows?

2) The SCI FI Channel has been presenting us a number of LowDown specials -- the latest being STARGATE SG-1 and ATLANTIS. HBO has done specials on upcoming movies. Do you enjoy the behind-the-scenes material presented? Do you wish there was more?

Date: 7/23/2004 4:09:01 PM Eastern Standard Time

As a fan of of all the Gerry & Sylvia Anderson "Supermarionation" series, I suspect that current CGI standards would have probably rendered them charmless.

Part of the fun was in seeing how the effects could be controlled for the scaled down sets - it's one thing to rig an explosion for live-action, and quite another to get thesame effect on a set that's 1/250th of scale.

If these series were completely remade, the use of CGI might be a good thing - but only as long as the scripts/stories were the most important thing. Another plus, CGI characters could be as stylized but still have something approaching realistic movement.

Personally, I'd love to see "Captain Scarlet" remade, from the original scripts, but all CGI. Thunderbirds might be fun, too.

On a series like "UFO" CGI would've been a definite asset. Even so, "UFO" made fine use of Derek Meddings' inspired F/X in miniature, and they were beautifully integrated into the full-scale, live-action scenes.

With the Irwin Allen shows, CGI would have made a big difference because they were, essentially [aside from season one of "Voyage" and the first few eps of "Lost in Space"] F/X driven. Which is to say, the main thrust of these shows was based around some kind of effects: giants, aliens, the actual time tunnel, etc. Character was not developed beyond the archetypal.

With today's F/X, these shows would be much more believable, but the writing would have to be seriously upgraded.

Captain Average
The Superhero Who Could Use A Few CGI Effects Himself...

Date: 7/21/2004 11:23:05 AM Eastern Standard Time

I'll answer you the first question.
I think that, with updated techonology, old Sci-Fi shows, such as Space 1999, Lost in Space (some of my favorites) would be terrific see that shows again, keeping the original storylines. We must remember the remakes are commons in this days. Really, would be good see this and other old shows again.

Date: 07/17/2004 8:52:27 PM Eastern Daylight Time

Topic 1:
1) The two Producer/directors mentioned needed more than bell and whistles. These third and fourth tier programs were victims of poor writing teams, first and foremost. The two P/Ds gave us some of the lamest programming of their time. Only Time tunnel and Space 1999 even came close to entertaining me. So, I am not sure if today's effects could help.

2) I cannot answer this topic because I have yet to see one of these specials. But, if they are done as well as the programs they represent, then I say "go fot it!". I enjoy the special additions on Babylon 5, Buffy and Star Trek. I will look for these programs in the future and make a point out of reviewing them.

Hope all is well with you. Signing off.


June 12, 2004:
If you came into a LOT of money and could hold the BEST convention money could buy, who would you invite -- and where would you hold the event?

Date: 6/25/2004 6:56:38 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: CCB5Flamekeeper

Dear Sandy,
My Dream Convention if I had all the money in the world, would be held here in New York, since I live here, in The Sheraton, since that is a play on the name Sheridan. Who would I invite?
The entire cast of Babylon 5, everyone who could make it. Especially Andreas Katsulas, and Peter Jurasik, and JMS and he could even bring Buddy along ;-) and Michael O'Hare too.
I would love to have William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, and George Takei also, since I had never met him. I would have the entire cast of Forever Knight,, Geriant Wyn Davies, and John Kapelos especially. Since I did a lot of work for Alien Nation in my past, I would love to have Eric Pierpoint, and Gary Graham. Also Ron Perlman from Beauty and the Beast. Also Ben Browder, Claudia Black, and others from Farscape. And. with proper security, at his first Convention,,,Daniel Radcliffe, from Harry Potter. ( I can dream can't I ? ) Also Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson. Why not?

I guess this would go on for 4 days if not a week!
I would host panels, dream panels about what it feels like to act through makeup, and have all the people who have had to do it, speak on that. Panels on Harry Potter, and have special panels devoted to Richard Biggs, DeForest Kelley, and others who have passed on.
I would have the best dealers rooms, lots of freebies for attendees, and it would be the Con of a lifetime.
I am sure I could think of more, and I hope I could have an addition if I think of anything else. But, just off the top of my head, that is who I would have. And best of all, admission would be FREE.

And that would be my ideal Con.....what a dream that would be.
Love and peace,
Connie -- The Flamekeeper

Date: 6/20/2004 1:16:25 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: "TOM herrman"

As I have written in the past, I would like to assemble as much of the casts, as possible, from some of the older SciFi series. The Invaders, Alien Nation, DarkSkies, et cetera. These shows never received the acknowledgement they deserve. It would be very entertaining to listen to some of their stories on production and personal trials and tribulation during the shows production. After this pipe dream, I would like to see a combined convention of the Babylon 5 and Deep Space 9 casts. It has been awhile since I attended or hosted a convention (TrekFest; in Sioux Falls,SD).

I am not sure whether I have mentioned it before, but I cannot relay in words the enjoyment I get from your newletters. From one who has edited, written and distributed newsletters in the past, I am in awe at your diligence and responsibility and timely content of your newsletters. Thanks for keeping all of us informed and entertained.


June 3, 2004:
With the passing of Richard Biggs, I started to think of all the conventions I've attended -- Chicago, Los Angeles, Sydney, Brisbane, Berlin, New Orleans and more. Richard is part of those memories and I thought now might be a wonderful time to pull those memories together. What are some of your convention memories. Share those memories with us here at The Zocalo Today.

Date: 6/3/2004 5:39:27 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Mike Ferguson

Richard was a very nice man who joined the UFP while in OK City for a convention. He enjoyed my grandson, who was just a tiny infant then, and even danced with my daughter, Crystal, my grandson's mother. He was a very nice man and I will miss him greatly because of the gentleness and kindness he showed my daughter and grandson. He was so much more than an actor, he was a real person.
Mike Ferguson, President
United Federated Planets

Reply To: To:
I had the pleasure of meeting Rick when he and Jason were guests at Con*Cept 2002 here in Montreal. When I walked into the room, they were wearing each other's badges and it only got better from there. They were great guests, taking the time to chat with anyone who approached them. My last memory is of the two of them leaving for the airport the next day.
As long as someone remembers you with love and affection, a bit of you lives on in the hearts of family, friends, and acquaintances.


Reply To: To:
Hi Sandy:
I'm still in shock for the terrible news of the last weekend. I'm trying to leave a message in the GG, but I realize I have not a password for the Z forum. Later I'll do it. Anyway, I'd like to write a message through you.

Few words:
You know a person for the number of friends he/she have. And he have a lot. Just for that he will be in the memory of all (close and not close friends) forever. In the memory of who just knew him for a moment,too (like me).

It's all.

March 27, 2004:
Ranger Gary suggested this topic.
"I thought that because B5 Season 5 DVD set will be released on 4/13 it would be a good time to dicsuss this season. This is definitely the least watched (many have never seen it) as well as the least discussed of the 5 year arc. So, my thoughts are why not ask B5 ers what their favorite new character and story arc that were introduced during this season.

Ranger Gary suggested this topic.
"I thought that because B5 Season 5 DVD set will be released on 4/13 it would be a good time to dicsuss this season. This is definitely the least watched (many have never seen it) as well as the least discussed of the 5 year arc. So, my thoughts are why not ask B5 ers what their favorite new character and story arc that were introduced during this season.

Reply To: To:

The question was something along the lines of, if someone got insanely wealthy (like winning the Powerball lottery to the tune of $100M + ) then what favorite project would you bankroll, and how.

Let's say that the subject was near and dear to our hearts (like "B5"...). From the way I understand the game works, there are two large money phases involved in doing a TV show: the upfront $$$ for production of the show, and then the $$$ for distribution and marketing. If I had gobs of cash to work with I would become the executive producer of said show (now, since I don't know squat about executive producing a TV show, I'd get a partner who did, like , say, JMS....). The executive producer, particularly the one with all the $$$ has the say over what goes on and what does not. In this case it would be simple. I'd say: "Joe, do whatever you want!" As for the second part, actually getting the show on the air -- I don't think it would be a problem, as any network would love to be handed a show that was already paid for, and all they had to do was market it and reap their share of the profits.

As to the question of whether it's right to do this, I say: "Why not!" Most people involved in getting a show on the air are doing it for the $$$. I'm not saying I would not be interested in earning a profit (especially for everyone involved) but I am saying that wouldn't it be great to see something like this done, just once, just for the love of the idea and for making a statement that the entertainment value of telling a good story is an end unto itself? I know, there would be people out there who would say I was deluded, living in a fantasy world, or just not being very practical. Well, my answer is this: I'm almost 50 years old. I've seen a lot of crap thrown around in the name of art and entertainment over the years, and I've read and heard about a lot of people who've got the shaft -- big time -- 'cause, well, there just wasn't enough profit involved. How many good sollid TV shows have been lost because "...the ratings are good, there's a good solid audience out there, but the numbers aren't climbing, the audience is not growing, so we'll just have to cancel this puppy. After all, there's a new reality-based show we can produce for less than half the $$$...." Just once, it would be nice to have control of the purse-strings and say: "Ya know, I don't give a flying fig about the ratings -- I'm paying for it and the show stays on!"

And before anyone starts telling me about how fast you could burn through $100M in producing a TV show -- I know that. Any money I had would be properly invested and generating enough profit to offset the costs. In short, most of the cost of production would be derived from the interest generated on the principal, rather than burining through the principal itself. This way, the show could be funded for a good long time. What's more, if I was insane enough to try something like this, I would go and search out other fans who had money to also contribute to this project, start a trust fund or foundation or some other legal specialty arts-based entity, and dump the cash in there for safekeeping and proper management.

Anyway, this was a nice daydream, and since I don't know any techno-mages personally who could help me pull it off, I guess we'll just have to wait and see what JMS has up his sleeve.


Date: 4/5/2004 4:11:04 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: "knight1024"

First of all, I had no idea that Babylon 5's fifth season was the least watched. I was under the impression that the fifth season on TNT got higher ratings than it's syndicated run. (If my memory is correct, didn't it get a 3 or 4 (point something) in the ratings on TNT?) I do have to say that it was a disappointing season (the worst one; with the third and fourth being the best).

As for the questions: I think the most interesting development of season five was G'Kar and Londo becoming friends (sort of). That was totally unexpected, especially after the hatred they had for one another! Some would say it was totally unbelievable, but whatever you make of it, it WAS unpredictable and kind of funny. Honorable mention would go to Lyta's and Lennier's change of character. Looking back, both of their changes seemed like a logical progression (although I didn't see it coming there either).

And, I think that Lyta's and G'Kar's seperate storylines were sufficiently tied up (although I would liked to have seen some of the adventures that they went on in the spaceship together). But, I don't think Garabaldi's revenge against Bester was tied up on the show at all. It WAS concluded in one of the novels that followed the series end, but even there I don't think it ended satisfactorily, for me. (I really wanted Garabaldi to shoot Bester dead in self-defense. That way he could get revenge but it wouldn't be considered "murder". Needless to say, it didn't end that way. Also, in that novel, I didn't like the way they portrayed Bester as a sympathetic character and Garibaldi as the "bad guy". That was SO wrong.)

Date: 3/29/2004 5:45:53 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: CCB5Flamekeeper

Dear Sandy. To what I would like to see done in the B5 universe,, I want to see the Telepath War and see what happens to both Lennier and Lyta,, and how that would play itself out. As others have noted before, the B5 universe is rife with many posibilities, from the war Valen waged against the Shadows, to the whole Centauri arc, to what happened to all the characters after "Objects at Rest", never mind the Crusade arc that was sadly truncated. But, I think the first order of business is the Telepath War.

As for the 5th season,, I thought it was better then many have said, and there were some powerful arcs, I am not one who was against the Byron arc,, I thought Robin Atkin Downes did a great job with the character and his suicide scene can still bring tears to my eyes. The Fall of Centuri Prime was painful and yet remarkable for the fact that Londo saves G'Kar's life,, and when Londo surrendered himself to the Keeper, oh my,, somehow, one never hates Londo totally, for all the bad things he does,, he sure pays the price though. Of course, G'Kars rising to an icon amongst his people was wonderful and fascinating, and his response modest and bittersweet.I would say I loved Mac and Bo, who we meet in " A View from the Gallery" wish we could have seen more of them and their Everyman approaches to the goings on of the station. The episode, " The Long Night of Londo Mollari" was so incredible, a tour de force for Peter and Andreas, quite amazing,, something out of Fellini almost. I loved seeing Sheridan wrestling with being the President of the Interstellar Alliance,, Bruce was wonderful in that role. The last shows, my God,, were so powerful and poignant, and when we finally see "Sleeping in Light" Well, I just cried like a baby all the way though, and if I hear that music it can bring me to tears..

I hear many complaints about that the 5th season should have been this way or that, and quibbles about it, but I am just grateful there was one, and we had more of what I still believe is the greatest show I ever saw. It is easy for people to sit back and say this and that, but just imagine doing it yourself, writing a season's worth of shows on your own,, that is hard, tough work. In his articles in the magazine "TV Zone" JMS said that his heart actually started to have problems, he passed out from exhaustion twice, and got a warning from the Doctor about his health, but he forged on,, and I think people ought to give him a break,, after all, who among us could do as well? Not me. I am just glad I had what I had, and miss it ,,and I wonder what news may be laying in wait for us, as Joe has hinted, hope something good. Preferably with the characters I have gotten to know and love. B5: TMOS,, hmmmmmmm? We shall see.

So, all the best to B5'ers everywhere, and take care.
Faith manages,
Love and peace,
Ranger Connie
" We live for the One, We die for the One"

Date: 3/28/2004 4:54:26 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: "Cripe, Helen L."

In general, I liked Season 5. Although there were a lot of loose ends, and loose ends can be frustrating, the possibility was always and still is there for future shows, novels, stories, what-have-you to take them either to more and fascinating looser ends or to tie them up neatly or otherwise. I still think those briefly-seen scripts for the end of Season One of Crusade were classic example of how loose ends can be "flipped" into new realms of imagination and new directions. By the way, nobody ever responded to my query as to whether there is any site where one can read these two gems, and also the unfilmed episode script featuring Bester.

My favorite new character was Lochley. I liked the way she was written and played. It was surely no easy task to create a new character, either by writing or acting, who could establish herself instantly as a strong component of an already strong group. She proved her mettle in several ways: her handling of the battle with the unknown raiders, her relationship with Sheridan, and above all, her relationship with Garibaldi. She could also be slyly, quietly, very funny.

My least favorite character was Byron. I think he would have been much better with a lot less screen time. He started out mysterious and intriguing, but quickly became pompous and boring. You don't get very far if all you have is soulful looks and platitudes.

I enjoyed the fact that Season 5 had some interesting stand-alone episodes as well as its arcs. The Drakh presence and involvement with the Centauri was as gripping as the Shadow War. But when I want to unwind and get mellow, I eat a pint of chocolate ice cream while watching the last four episodes, with some time for speculating on what might have happened to everybody between "Objects at Rest" and "Sleeping in Light."

On a personal note, my beautiful fat black cat Neroon is now 5 years old. Just doesn't seem that long since Babylon 5 was on the tube and a certain black-clad warrior inspired his name. Kitty Neroon is the least warrior-like cat in the galaxy, and not very bright, either. Mostly he eats, plays with his toys, looks a little goofy, and purrs thunderously.

Ranger Roja Grande de los Gatos

Date: 3/28/2004 11:26:41 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: Swick

Hey Sandy,
I wante to respond to the 'q' that was posed in your email, so here go's:

Anyhow, I do believe that Season 5 of B5 wasn't nearly as AWESOME as Season 1 - 4! There are MANY reasons why I feel this way, but the biggest reasons are the following:
First off, I believe that season 5 was the type of season that, unfortunatly, was a thrown together season! It seemed that JMS' creativity and enthusiasm just wasn't in it as much! Nor did it seem to "FLOW" with the previous seasons! Don't get me wrong, I LOVED B5 (Season 1 - 4) and I still watch it to this day! (I know, that is sad)! But, it was an incredible piece of Sci-Fi! I've been impressed with ALMOST every B5 Spin-Off that has been created! It's such wonderful, creative, and AWESOME writing! BUT... I do feel that B5 Season 5 was the type of season that was un-expected, and had NO continuity (from the previous seasons). Although, to be TOTALLY fair, the last 6 or 8 eps, were fantastic. It seemed like JMS hit some kind of a writing block, untill the last 6 / 8 eps. I believe that if he started out season 5 with the entire Centuari Prime problem, it would have made an INCREDIBLE season! Plus, he would have had the continuity from the previous season (Season 4)!

Anyhow, I just want you all to know that I have to be one of the BIGGEST fans of B5 and feel that, "all in all" the Series was INCREDIBLE and AWESOME! So please understand that I am NOT trying to put JMS, B5, or any of his creations down! I just felt that more could of been done with Season 5!


Date: 03/28/2004 12:58:50 AM Eastern Standard Time

Remember that JMS was determined to finish what he originally envisioned for his story w/in the first 4 years when renewal was uncertain. I don't know if any of the subplots self-contained w/in Season 5 were part of his original storyline or something he developed to fill Season 5. Yes, the fifth season seemed too separated from the first four and had a different flavor to it, but JMS can't be blamed for it, considering the changes inherent to going into production for TNT and his desire to finish the core story in case of cancellation. No, many storylines weren't sufficiently tied up, but I can attribute that to leaving himself plots still open upon which to write more stories (like Lyta-G'kar in Amazing Stories, the three series of novels, Crusade, etc.), which was a pretty good idea. --Armen

Date: 03/27/2004 9:31:23 PM Eastern Standard Time

Frankly, I can't really think of a story arc that I preferred in Season 5 - I pretty much enjoyed everything about the season [I actually enjoyed it more than Season 4 - if only because it didn't have to be abridged because of the threat of cancellation].

I didn't think that all the various arcs were tied up satisfactorily, but enough were to make me happy - and enough weren't to continue the series' feeling of being real.

My favourite aspect of the season was the way that, with the Shadow War and retaking of Earth being resolved, JMS and Co, were able to play around with nifty ideas and storytelling techniques. Thus were spawned episodes like "A View From The Gallery" and "Day of the Dead" - two of my absolute favorite eps in the entire run [right up there with "Born to the Purple" - the ep that convinced me that Joe was onto something very different and very cool], "Believers", "Soul Mates", "And Now For A Word", "War Without End", "And The Rock Cried Out "No Hiding Place"", "Intersections In Real Time", "The Deconstruction Of Falling Stars", and "Sleeping In Light"].

Captain Average
The Superhero With More Loose Ends Than Not...

Date: 03/27/2004 4:05:15 PM Eastern Standard Time

Yes... if I recall correctly, JMS wasn't sure if funding would be available for a 5th season by the time S4 had started, so he pretty much tied up as many loose ends as possible in S4.

Date: 03/27/2004 12:04:37 PM Eastern Standard Time

My thought were this. I didn't see an end to Lyta's Psicorp problem. I also have read the "Bester" novels and was quite dissapointed in that whole thing with that he stated that she died, no comments on the War, or how it progressed..Just that Bester was on the run...

I wished that they finished out what happened when they started Crusade and touched very little on the Psiwar..

R. Plum

Date: 03/27/2004 11:21:17 AM Eastern Standard Time

Hi Sandy:
A very good suggestion about the season 5. Definitely, Captain Lochley is the star of the season 5. She showed not only a new face, but a new way to see the story. Of course, number one is a great girl, too, but my vote is for Lochley (I know Tracy Scoggins since your work, long time ago, in The Colbys), and then and now, I like this girl, beautiful, and strong.

About the alternative question, may be some stories would can be more enlarged, but, in general lines, I'm satisfied with the story.


Date: 03/27/2004 9:54:46 AM Eastern Standard Time

I think one of the qualities of any work of art is its openness to interpretation. If everything is defined to the last detail, there is no room for interpretation or our imagination to "fill in the blanks" I found my own reaction to these characters was: "No! Don't end there!! I want to know what happens" I then imagined some of the adventures of Lyta and G'Kar.

I imagined Lyta coming back to Mars and asking Garabaldi how he's doing against Psi-Corps... and he better have the right answer! So I actually like the fact that JMS left a lot of loose ends, hoping he may tie up a few at a future date with novels, TV or big screen productions.

Thanks for keeping the Zocalo alive an well.
Ralph Fiegelist

Date: 03/27/2004 8:29:45 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: ACBCassidy

Season 5 ended leaving us to make up our own endings, which was the perfect way to leave the stage without leaving it. However what surprised me was not so much your question in Zocalo, but the fact that after so many years of not even having seen another B5 episode since it finished, I could clearly remember and understand the question! That is the sign of a good show!

angela cassidy

March 13, 2004
With all the speculation about what JMS is currently working on, I thought it might be fun to get a look at what everyone here would like to see -- on the Babylon 5 front. (This is pure speculation and has nothing to do with what JMS might have in the works.) I find it fascinating to see which Babylon 5 universe people enjoy the most. Is it the early Babylon 5? Crusade? Technomages? G'Kar and Lyta's trip into the galaxy? I think Galen's journal would make fascinating reading. With a story as rich as Babylon 5, there are tons of story lines that could be possible jumping off points.

Date: 03/18/2004 7:20:53 PM Eastern Standard Time

Hello Sandy:
(please excuse spelling mistakes)
Great question, so many answers so I will stick with one this time. I would love to see how Valen and Zathras convinced the Minbari to accept B4, besides two Vorlons hanging around I'm sure it wasn't that easy with the Shadows on the doorstep. Since the Minbari way of life changed after that, a three caste system was created, Rangers, so many exciting things. Watching a time line played out, the Minbari politics unfold and who did Valen marry and have children with?

I'll state again that JMS characters are very believable and leave me wanting more. There is a quote, I don't remember it exactly, "Compared to the Vorlons, Gods a Con-man" Gotta love it!


Date: 03/13/2004 10:18:40 AM Eastern Standard Time

Hi Sandy:
I think that a good storyline would be the initial story of the star alliance, since Sheridan was named its president, until his death, in the same time that Babylon 5 was destroyed, too. Would be a parallel story very interesting, for to read and, why not? to watch some day...

Be careful,


February 21, 2004:

I know this isn't Babylon 5, but there are so few good science fiction shows on these days that it is hard NOT to talk about Stargate SG-1. For those that watched "Heroes Part 2" last night, what did you think? I have spent some time on forums this morning looking at opinions and there is a mix -- everything to the best episode ever to good to so-so. What do you think? Did you enjoy it?

Date: 2/28/2004 1:28:13 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: Matthew Sweet

Hey sandy! To answer your question, I feel the same way about you do about the last Stargate episode. Actually, u stole all my anwers. Now that Anderson is not in the picture anymore, Amanda Tapping seems to be blossoming in front of the camera! I enjoy RDA's quick wit and ability to make light of a tense situation, but Tappings grace in front of the camera is perfection, at best!

Heroes Part II was sensational! I think it supported the message that men and women are always going to be put into harms way. It is their job to protect the values they feel are right. Sometimes, even if we love these characters, they are going to be hit by a stray bullet or staff rifle blast. Or, perhaps, they could be wounded and is rendered out of action for a while. But the soldiers who cross the stargate, or get into harms way in any situation are fighting for what's right.

I am a supporter of the SG project, and I support the soldiers fighting overseas.. Because they are all fighting for what is right in the world: Freedom, democracy and to make right what was once made wrong!

Cheers! '
Matt Sweet

Date: Saturday, February 21, 2004:
From: Sandra Bruckner (

I confess, I love STARGATE SG-1. I can't seem to get enough of it. I watch as soon as I get home from work in the evening at 6:00pm and all night on Monday -- from 6-11:00pm. Friday is special because it has newer episodes. While I am a bit disappointed with this year and the declining role of Richard Dean Anderson in the series, I think his diminished involvement has brought out the best in other characters. Major Carter (Amanda Tapping) has really begun to shine -- and this last episode was just A#1. She was marvelous. Michael Shanks and Christopher Judge have begun contributing more as well -- not only on the acting side, but with story ideas and all three are directing episodes. What a fantastic experience for all of them. While I would love to see more RDA, he makes the most of the time he does spend on the series. The way they dangled the outcome of this last episode was just perfect. I had people who were fans, but not really into the series as much as others, write me and ask what is happening tonight! I just can't wait. The people writing the episodes of STARGATE SG-1, along with the actors, have created characters we CARE about. This is what we found in BABYLON 5. We loved these characters and cared what happened to them. This last episode was indeed a tribute to all military personnel put in harm's way.

February 14, 2004:

There are a number of science fiction shows on TV. Many of them are so-so; others are pretty good; few are outstanding. Which ones do you watch -- and why?

Date: 2/18/2004 8:25:11 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: Captain Average

Between SF, fantasy, horror, and comics-related programming there are a lot of shows I watch regularly.

"Angel" - One of the smartest shows on the tube. Joss whedon and the Mutant enemy gang had the good sense to realise that redemption as a theme is good, but that redemption in the face of temptation is better. And you've gotta love a show that airs an homage to Mexican luchadores movies of the forties and fifties.

"Smallville" - Despite a shaky beginning, Season 3 has been more action-packed than previous seasons, and Clark is looking very much like the hero again, after his red kryptonite excursion to the dark side. The writing has gotten sharper as the season progresses, and the cast is in synch. Plus, it's fun again.

"Enterprise" - A bit of vision is all that was needed to get "Enterprise" back on track. Now that the series has focus, it's much better than it was last yezar, when every good thing from Season One was ignored. It's still not as good as Season One, but has rebounded quite a ways.

"Zixx Level One" - A kids' show with a lot of imagination. "Zixx" is an operative for an interstellar law enforcement group who crashes on Earth while in pursuit of Deeth, a nasty fellow who is trying to obtain artifacts that will enable his ruler to re-ascend to power. She is assisted by two boys who stumble into things because of one's mother - who found the artifact that Zixx and Deeth are after. Half live-action/half CGI, their adventures take place on Earth, and inside what looks to be a giant computer game. So far, "Zix Level One" is only airing in Canada, but it would be a great fit for any of the US's family cable channels.

"Alias" - still the best action/suspense/SF hour out there. Smart, twisted writing and a truly inspired ensemble cast make the show more fun than the proverbial barrel of primates.

"Carnivale" - Armageddon in the American Dust Bowl of the 30s. Deliberately paced, smartly written, with layers and layers of depth, "Carnivale" has hero who's a convicted murderer and a villain who is a man of the cloth. Characters die in surprising numbers, making it apparent that this really is about a war: the war between good and evil. "Carnivale" is the best show on TV, at present.

"Joan of Arcadia" - I don't think anyone expected this show to be so edgy. When God asks Joan to "do some errands for Him," things get freaky. In the pilot, she crosses paths with a serial killer. She becomes a cheerleader, builds a boat, holds a yard sale, throws a party and generally makes things happen in the lives of all around her. At same time, she's not *precious*, and the show does not stoop to pat answers and platitudes.

"Jeremiah" - J. Michael Straczynski's loose adaptation of a French series of post-apocalypse graphic novels is smart, funny, dark and full of hope. The second season, with Sean Astin playing "Mr. Smith" is even better than the first one.

"Dead Like Me" - Another show about an average girl who winds up being the catalyst that affects all around her. DLM is about the ultimate irony: George has to die to find out how life offers. Ellen Muth is superb as George, and any show with Mandy Patinkin has to be worth a look.

"Alienated" - a Canadian sitcom about a family whose members are repeatedly abducted by aliens. This one is hard to explain, but damn! It's funny! Pester SciFi to pick it up, Stateside...

"Battlestar Galactica" - One of the best mini-series of the year. BSG retained enough of the premise of the original that the producers had to give Glen Larson a pseudonymous writing credit, but it's more original and thoroughly well done than the [admit it] kitschy 80s series. The changing of Starbuck from male to female is a non-starter in terms of controversy because all the characters are better drawn in the new mini-series. In fact, the writing [except for a gratuitous opening sequence] is vastly superior to the original, as are the direction, acting and F/X. When the series debuts, I am *so* there.

Captain Average
The Opinionated Superhero

Date: 2/21/2004 1:19:31 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: Matthew Sweet

Science Fiction on tv is occasioonally fun, but most of the time (lately) its gone to the dogs. Stargate SG-1 is awesome! Great characterisation, great drama, and Amanda Tapping is absolutely "to die for". The last episode was a great tribute to the soldiers fighting in Iraq. I really appreciated it. Star Trek Enterprise is another great scifi series. It is very much unlike any of the previous series. The plots are often cryptic but tells the story more profoundly than the other treks. Plus, every episode is interconnected with the previous episode, much like B-5 was.

So-so scifi rings in with Tremors and Joan of Arcadia. All have imaginative plots, but I cannot keep myself interested when I watch them.

Bad Scifi is not worth mentioning, but... Andrameda. The characters are so one-dimentional. The crew SHOULD BE an international cast! The acrobaatics used on the ship are outstanding, but when does the crew ever work out to pefect teir gymnastic technique? At least on "Rangers" the crew constantly trained on their Minbari judo technique. You never know here u are in the galaxy, if it is OUR galaxy. You rarely hear the name of a planet or a sun. And when they are fighting a battle, would u mind keeping the screen still, instead of treating the battle as if it were a video game? And when u don't know where u are, and they take a wormhole to another unknown place in the galaxy, the final answer is, SO WHAT!! Andrameda is a loser! I gave up on it in Series 2.

Date: 2/17/2004 9:51:54 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: "A. E. Hidalgo"

Hi Sandy:
It's good to be "around here" again.

Well, let me to say you I didn't watch too much sci-fi series in the last months. However, I did watch somethings old episodes of the second season of Enterprise, and I'm agree in some comments about this series. I think (this has been "discussion topic" in my local ST group this days) this series needs something else for go up definitely, may be either a change of weekday or network too (UPN is not the most popular channel).

I'm watching some episodes of "Alias". Not enough for an appropiate opinion, but I think is a an interesting series, and an interesting storyline.


Date: 02/14/2004 3:31:10 PM Eastern Standard Time

I watch Stargate SG-1, which I consider outstanding!! ...all the way around, stories, cast, it all Also, I watch Andromeda, which I watch because of Kevin Sorbo.

I enjoyed watching Enterprise until we moved and don't have UPN available (WV -- go figure!!)

I have also seen both Alias and Joan of Arcadia placed in this genre which both my husband and I really like and he isn't the sci-fi-fan that I am. Anyway...interesting topic! Look forward to learning what others are enjoying.

take care!

January 31, 2004:

Let's talk favorites -- favorite music, books, movies, and of course, TV series. Why is it your favorite? Does it take you away from it all and transport you to a safer, friendlier place? Does it awaken your imagination and stretch your mind?

Date: 01/31/2004 5:02:22 PM Eastern Standard Time

Music: Varies by mood, but includes: National Dust, Wilco, The Gorgonzolas, Alan Stivell, and The Stranglers. Each of these artists is unique, and each evokes specific emotions at specific times [and calls forth good memories].

Books: LOTR [the first and most exquisitely developed epic], the Doc Sidhe books [C'mon! Doc Savage as a creature of faery - you've gotta love *that*!], The Laughing Sutra [a modern re-telling of the Scholar and the Monkey-King - and as wise as it is fun], Glen Cook's first Dread Empire Trilogy - "A Shadow of All Night Falling"/"October's Baby"/"All Darkness Met" [an epic fantasy that's so convoluted that, after you've finished, you still can't say, for certain, who were the *good guys* and who were *the bad guys* - much like real life!], Garth Nix's "The Seventh Tower" [a juvenile epic fantasy that exults in the possibility that younger readers have fully functioning brains - it works for adults, too].

Movies: again, different ones for different moods: "The Indiana Jones Trilogy" and "Star Wars IV-VI" can pull me out of the worst moods; "Donnie Darko" and ""Dark City" when I'm feeling darkly meditative; "Truly, Madly, Deeply" and "Cold Comfort Farm" when, for some reason. I feel romantically inclined; "Jake Speed" and "Killer Klowns From Outer Space" when I'm feeling more skewed than usual.

TV Series: the original "Twilight Zone," still one of the most entertaining and thought provoking series ever; "Quark," the first [and best] SF satire series - all 7 episodes of it [and when is it going to come out on DVD?]; "Alias," one terrific action/espionage series; "Joan of Arcadia," involves God but not religion - no pat answers and saccarine stories here; "Carnivale," Armageddon in the dust bowl of the 30s - and yet, very entertaining [unless you think music videos are high art]. And, of course, "Babylon 5," TV's first epic novel.

Captain Average
The Well-Rounded Superhero...

January 17, 2004:

What are some of your favorite DVD special features? With more and more films and TV series coming out on DVD, what do you think are the best add-ons? Do you like the behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast? How about learning how some of the special effects were created?

Date: 1/17/2004 10:52:37 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: Captain Average

My favourite DVD special feature is the director's commentary. I like learning about how and why actors are cast; why scenes were shot certain ways; how to direct effects; how the director relates to his cast and how that relates to the way he shoots a film; et cetera.

Interviews and making of features [especially when dealing with effects} are also high on my list.

I hate, Hate, HATE commentaries where the cast just goof around and don't say anything informative about the project because they're too busy showing off how well they get along [the gag reel is usually all we need to see that].

Captain Average
The Superhero Who Might Like To Direct...

January 4, 2004:

Over the holidays, I was talking with a friend about old TV programs. My husband bought me a couple of my favorites from way back and we talked about what our favorites were and why. I thought this might be a good discussion topic for us here. While many would say BABYLON 5 was their favorite TV program, what were some of your earliest favorites? If you are as old as I am, they might include Rocky Jones, Sargent Preston of the Yukon, Frontier Doctor and others. If you are not quite that old, you'll have a totally different list. Drop me a line and let me (and other readers) know what shows you grew up with. Include why these shows were your favorites.

Date: 1/14/2004 11:17:53 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: "Cripe, Helen L."

A very interesting discussion topic, and I hope you get some more responses. Here is one from ancient times, i.e., when I was growing up. Before television.

Back in the 1930s and 1940s we had Saturday movie matinees and radio. A kid could stay all afternoon at the movie theater for 12 cents and see a lineup of news, short subjects, cartoons, 2 movies, and -- the highlight of the afternoon -- a serial! As Sandy said about much early TV, these shows were character driven and had moral lessons. They also had lots of action. The bad guys always got clobbered and you always knew why. My personal favorites were King of the Royal Mounted, Red Ryder, The Jungle Girl, and Captain Marvel. Several years ago, feeling nostalgic, I bought a video set of the complete episodes of Captain Marvel. Altho I was somewhat disappointed by how corny and hammy the serial was when viewing it as an adult, it was nevertheless fun to watch and brought back many happy memories of carefree Saturdays spent at the old Pantheon, New Moon, and Fort Sackville theaters. It was also a treat to see again that gorgeous hunk of 1930s and 1940s serials and B movies, Tom Tyler, who played Captain Marvel, did a very good job of it, and even looked the part.

As to the movies of that era, I was a sucker for westerns and adventure epics -- Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Tex Ritter, Hopalong Cassidy, the Cisco Kid and others. After school we could listen to adventurous radio serials -- Superman and other superheros, Captain Midnight, the Lone Ranger, and more westerns. Every time I hear the overture to "Dona Diana" played on a classical music radio station I think of Sergeant Preston of the Yukon and hear him saying, "On, King, on you huskies" or "This case is closed" in his famous wooden delivery. Again, all of these were character driven and promoted good values. Altho many of them moved over to television, I almost never saw them because I didn't have a TV set until the 1960s. I was also TV-less from about 1970-1985. Just wasn't interested. Did a lot of reading and playing the piano. Still do.

Since I grew up without TV I never really got addicted to it, and I have no interest in the present trend toward nothing but sex and violence and dirty language. I have had and do have my few favorites, again, character and story-driven with basic values -- Gunsmoke and several other westerns, Babylon 5, Deep Space 9, Star Trek: Next Generation, and for pure silliness, several of the British comedies on PBS.

Ranger Roja Grande de los Gatos

Date: 1/14/2004 1:17:36 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: Matthew Sweet

Hey Sandy! Hmmm! I think I started really enjoying TV when the critics were blasting the shows for having too much sex on them to intice more viewers. And, as a teen-ager, sex was precisely the reason I watched shows like Fantasy Island, Love Boat, Starsky and Hutch and Buck Rogers in the 25th century! Now, I watch Buck Rogers and laugh at how corny the show was!

But, I also liked the Six Million Dollar Man, which is a very popular show on Irish TV, right now, Another show in the 70's that I liked was Real People, but ever since that show, they have copied the format a million times in syndication. I just can't believe shows like that are STILL popular!

C'est la vie!

January 4, 2004
From: Sandra Bruckner (

My list of old favorites would probably cover a number of years, but my first memories are of shows from the 50s and would have to include Rocky Jones, Roy Rogers, The Lone Ranger, Sargent Preston of the Yukon, and Frontier Doctor. Why are these favorites? I guess it's because there wasn't much else to watch on TV, but I think it is really because these were character-driven shows and they all had a moral lesson attached to them. Roy and Dale would always catch the bad-guy, but they would explain why this person had turned bad and look for ways to prevent this in others. Sargent Preston would go off into the Alaskan frontier with his dog much like the Lone Ranger -- fighting injustice and bringing law and order to the frozen frontier. Heros -- you bet. I can't get those early images out of my head and I can't wait to see the Frontier Doctor episodes my husband got for me this Christmas. I wonder how we have both changed over the years.


December 20, 2003:

What did you think of the latest LORD OF THE RINGS movie? How does it compare to the original Tolkien novels?

Date: 12/20/2003 4:16:41 PM Eastern Standard Time

I thoroughly enjoyed "Return of the King" - which I found to most closely hew to the book, of the three [though "Fellowship of the Ring" was also very good that way].

I thought the only week point was the actor who played Denethor - he was just bad.

Otherwise, the performances were precisely what was needed, the direction excellent and the F/X magnificent.

I thought the script gave everyone moments of poignance and joy, and kept a nice balance between intimacy and spectacle.

I couldn't believe that Sean Astin didn't get a Golden Globe nom for Best Supporting Actor - he was robbed!

Now I find that I can't wait to see the expanded version - and the theatrical release as 3:21! Yikes! It seemed like 90 minutes.

Captain Average
The Thrilled-To-Bits Superhero...

November 22, 2003:
Have you read any good books lately? There seem to be a ton of science fiction books in stores these days. Do any of them stand out? You can post a review -- or just let us know what you have found interesting, exciting, intriguing.

Date: 11/22/2003 1:42:51 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: Captain Average

They''ve been out for awhile, but I only recently discovered the Garth Nix series, "The Seventh Tower".

It's published by the Lucas books imprint through Scholastic Books.

I can't even begin to adequately describe the premise, but can say that this is a series that ranks up there with the best of Lloyd Alexander, Alan Garner and Jane Yolen.

This is one of those series that is aimed at readers in junior high school, or older, and, like the best of such works, talks directly to its audience - and assumes said audience has the intelligence, wit and imagination to savour it.

The six books in the series are: The Fall, Castle, Aenir, Above The Veil, Into Battle, and The Violet Keystone.

"The Seventh Tower" is suitable reading for lovers of quality fantasy from 13 to 113.

Nix also has a trilogy that is aimed at young adults and older.

"The Ahborsen Trilogy" [Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen] is every bit as good as such works as Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials", and J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" books. Again, we are tzaalking epic fantasy that requires its audience to be intelligence and perceptive. "The ahborsen Trilogy" is published by HarperCollins.

For space opera, the "Evergence Trilogy", by Sean Williams and Shane Dix, is filled with space battles, derring-do and even a lot of really intriguing ideas. The trilogy [The Prodigal Sun, The Dying Light, and The Dark Imbalance] may not be easy to find, but is worth the effort. The trilogy is published by Ace in North america, and HarperCollins in Australia.

Captain Average
The Well-Read Superhero

Date: 11/22/2003 12:31:35 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: "Don Kinney"

I haven't even finished it yet -- and there's a second book coming to complete the story -- but Dan Simmons' ILLIUM is an