Specualtion and Worries on New B5 project

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Jeffrey Gustafson

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Feb 8, 2004, 10:49:22 AM2/8/04
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The ardent JMS fan I am, I was overjoyed, like all here, at the news
of a new B5 project. However, it was mixed trepidation because as we
are also all aware, we have been here before. Twice. And both times
it didn't turn out well. Of course those were unique situations.

Crusade, aside from being killed in the cradle, was written by an
admittedly burned out JMS. While the show had great potential, it
just wasn't the right time for Joe, or the powers-that-be.

Legend of the Rangers is something that I often try to forget... From
a success stand-point, it had bad luck being placed opposite the NFL
playoffs. In addition, it was just plain awful -- honestly truly
abmismal, maybe because JMS was given so little time by Sci-Fi to
throw together a new B5 show. In any event, I personally do not
lament its loss the same way many of us do Crusdade. Like I said, I
just try to forget about it.

As a result of the last two failures (is that too strong a word?), it
might seem like the law of diminishing returns applies even to B5.
JMS is one of the best, and most underrated visual (film, comics)
writers in America, but he's not perfect. What if B5 turns into Trek,
each incarnation nauseatingly worse than the one before? I honestly
doubt this would happen - JMS wouldn't let it.

Now as for the new project, we know its not a show/book/comic (<cough>
still waiting on the DC graphic novel, patiently), so its either a TV
Movie or Feature Film. Or not. But maybe.

If it's a TV movie, how impressive could it be? If past results are
any indication, it'll be OK. Could it top In The Beginning? Could it
be worse than Legend of the Rangers (can anything be worse than
that?)? It's not a pilot, so its a stand-alone, but of what? Watch
me be wrong and it turns out to be the greatest telefilm ever made.
With JMS at the helm, all is possible..

But if its a feature film (which we are all hoping for, I reckon), I
have worries. Not that one is being made, per se, but that if one
does get made, it will go over alot of folks' heads - not bad for us,
but bad for the franchise. A commercial failure could kill B5 for
good. Most, including I, assume a feature will be about the telepath
war. If thats so, you would need a rediculous amount of exposition
(if you really want to delve into the story) for the majority of movie
goers who have never heard of Babylon 5. If you want it to be
successful, anyway, which I reckon WB and JMS do. After all, it
always comes down to dead presidents, for the studios, and for Joe too
- yes for a writer the art takes precedence, but what's art if no-one
sees it? What's a career in art if you make no money? That view is
too cynical in light of what we know of JMS; I have the utmost
confidence that he can craft the story and make it accessible to
new-comers as well as gratifying to die-hards, or if he wants, make it
just for us - studios be damned, and that he'll do it *his way* no
matter what.

However, something has occured to me. If it is a feature film, maybe
it won't have anything to do at all with the Telepaths at all. Maybe
it'll be a stand alone adventure, which would need less exposition,
bring more folks to B5, and would serve to maybe get the ball rolling
on another project where we finally do see the Telepath War.

Then again, does WB have incentive to make a B5 feature? To do it
right and really invest tens of million of dollars? Sure the DVDs
sell marginally well, but as much as we love it, the show was never
main-stream like Trek. Though Joe is almost a god of sci-fi teevee
and big name comic books, aside from it's difficult pronunciation for
some and spelling for most (heh), Straczynski is not yet a house-hold
name. B5 was ignored by critics and has been off the air since '98,
with the exception of sporadic ratings bursts in staggered reruns. An
argument might say that old tv shows are regurgitated into movies all
the time, but this is different, because Babylon 5 is utterly unlike
any television show, ever.

Now, looking at what JMS said in September, it's clear this project is
not a TV series (his own words). However, what if it's a mini-series?
I know I'm treading a fine line there, but it's a possibility. But a
mini-series based on what? A new story is a possibility, but what
if... You see, it all comes back to the Telepath War. Something we
all assume would be a feature film would suit itself just dandy to a
mini-series. Sure it's not exciting as THE MOVIES!, but it would get
the job done.

If we're laying bets, I will say that the new project is a mini and
that it takes place during the Telepath War. It has enough scope to
expand over 4 or 6 hours, its the only untold one we know of from the
established chronology that I feel *can*, without loosing everyone in
a fog (8 hours of the Mars food riots! A two-parter about the Drakh
plague from the P.O.V. of a ferret! WHO CARES?). And I, personally,
would rather see the Telepath War (if not in a feature film) in a
mini-series rather than a telefilm. A mini-series would cost less
than a feature, consists of less risk for Warners, and can tell the
story better than a stand-alone.

Or all of this is total claptrap, and it really will be about the
Meaning of Spoo. Which, you know what, I really wouldn't mind at all.

-The Jeff

Sheridan:"So how did you find out all of this?"
Bester:"I'm a telepath. Work it out." <*>


Joseph DeMartino

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Feb 8, 2004, 11:38:14 AM2/8/04
to
> Most, including I, assume a feature will be about the telepath war. If
thats so, you would need a rediculous amount of exposition (if you really
want to delve into the story) for the majority of movie goers who have never
heard of Babylon 5. <

Why would a Teep War film require any more exposition to explain the
telepath situation for folks who have never seen "B5" than the first "X-Men"
film did to explain mutants, the "X-Files" film to tell *its* story or "The
Fellowship of the Ring" to tell the *essentials* of the Ring's origin? And
which "story" are you delving into? As long as you're concentrating on
telling the story *of the current project* you can simply leave out *tons*
of irrelevant details. Those who know the sereis will get more out of it,
as was the case with those who knew the comics for "X-Men", the series for
"X-Files" and the book for "FotR". But those who don't will still be able
to follow and enjoy the movie, which is the point?

Did you have to be a "TNG" and "TOS" fan and have seen every appearance of
the Borg to watch "First Contact"? The backstory that *mattered* for the
film was laid out early on, much of it in snippets of dialogue during
fast-paced scenes that were *mostly* about other things.

I frankly don't see the problem.

Regards,

Joe

Recoil

unread,
Feb 8, 2004, 6:31:21 PM2/8/04
to
> But if its a feature film (which we are all hoping for, I reckon), I
> have worries. Not that one is being made, per se, but that if one
> does get made, it will go over alot of folks' heads - not bad for us,
> but bad for the franchise. A commercial failure could kill B5 for
> good.

I share your opinion about a lot of things you said, and your
disappointment with Crusade being derailed (for various reasons) and
Rangers not being what we had hoped. However I guess where I disagree
with you, is in the above quote. To quote JMS via Susan Ivanova "This
isn't some deep space franchise, this station is ABOUT something."

I have never viewed B5 as a franchise. Not to put words in his mouth,
but I am pretty sure JMS has commented that it isn't a franchise
either. While we would all like some story to continue to be told in
that universe (crusade and rangers for one) we have already been given
the very core story of the B5 universe. All else is icing on the
cake. I have no reservations on if this project is a Feature Film.
We will find out once and for all of the rest of the people out there
really have "gotten it" like us B5 fans have. I don't see "killing
the franchise" as a good reason though, just because I have never
thought of this show as a franchise.

And that is a good thing.

Rob Perkins

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Feb 8, 2004, 6:58:14 PM2/8/04
to
Psico...@hotmail.com (Jeffrey Gustafson) wrote:

>Could it
>be worse than Legend of the Rangers (can anything be worse than
>that?)?

The most recent Star Trek movie?

Rob


Brian Hulett

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Feb 8, 2004, 6:59:38 PM2/8/04
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Whoa. You're stating a number of opinions as if they were fact. My
comments are inserted below.

--
---Brian Hulett
2003 FanEx champ and dime store philosopher: http://fanexfootball.com

"God is dead." - Nietzsche
"Nietzsche is dead." - God

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(featuring Max Headroom)," John Prine "Souvenirs," Jason Mraz "Curbside
Prophet (Radio Version)," Tobymac "Irene (The Lord's Gonna Answer Your
Prayer)," Talk Talk "It's My Life."

"Jeffrey Gustafson" <Psico...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:4ddedcc5.04020...@posting.google.com...


> The ardent JMS fan I am, I was overjoyed, like all here, at the news
> of a new B5 project. However, it was mixed trepidation because as we
> are also all aware, we have been here before. Twice. And both times
> it didn't turn out well. Of course those were unique situations.
>
> Crusade, aside from being killed in the cradle, was written by an
> admittedly burned out JMS. While the show had great potential, it
> just wasn't the right time for Joe, or the powers-that-be.
>
> Legend of the Rangers is something that I often try to forget... From
> a success stand-point, it had bad luck being placed opposite the NFL
> playoffs. In addition, it was just plain awful -- honestly truly
> abmismal, maybe because JMS was given so little time by Sci-Fi to
> throw together a new B5 show. In any event, I personally do not
> lament its loss the same way many of us do Crusdade. Like I said, I
> just try to forget about it.

I will never understand this. Can someone tell me why "Legend of the
Rangers" is viewed by some as an ugly stepchild? I thought it was an
exciting, well-paced film that told an interesting story. The only
semi-reasonable knock I could see against it is that its overarching story
was too similar to a Star Trek series, a ship full of different characters
going through space on a mission with broad parameters. How is that enough
to tear it apart as you did above?


>
> As a result of the last two failures (is that too strong a word?), it
> might seem like the law of diminishing returns applies even to B5.
> JMS is one of the best, and most underrated visual (film, comics)
> writers in America, but he's not perfect. What if B5 turns into Trek,
> each incarnation nauseatingly worse than the one before? I honestly
> doubt this would happen - JMS wouldn't let it.

I disagree again here about Trek. I'm far more of a B5 fan than any Trek
series, but I thought TNG was abysmally boring. DS9, however, and even
Voyager, appealed more to me. Again, opinion. (No, I can't stomach the
Enterprise series either.)


>
> Now as for the new project, we know its not a show/book/comic (<cough>
> still waiting on the DC graphic novel, patiently), so its either a TV
> Movie or Feature Film. Or not. But maybe.

I'm going to open the door for some real indigant remarks here, but I have
never understood a grown person having any interest in a comic book, or
so-called "graphic novel." Sure, this is opinion too, but I find it
impossible to completely take anyone seriously when their remarks include
anything of any substance in reference to something that I outgrew before I
hit puberty. All due respect to JMS, who showed his chops beyond question
with B5, but comic books are to literacy what pro wrestling is to sports,
IMO. (And I fully understand that many other 44-year-olds would say the
same about SF in general, and my own fanboy attitude toward B5 in specific,
so again, take it with a grain of salt. Probably just splitting hairs, in
the eyes of many.)

Hm. Sounds like you're hoping for another "Legend of the Rangers" after
all.

Kathryn Huxtable

unread,
Feb 8, 2004, 7:35:42 PM2/8/04
to
Psico...@hotmail.com (Jeffrey Gustafson) writes:
> Legend of the Rangers is something that I often try to forget...
> From a success stand-point, it had bad luck being placed opposite
> the NFL playoffs. In addition, it was just plain awful -- honestly
> truly abmismal, maybe because JMS was given so little time by Sci-Fi
> to throw together a new B5 show. In any event, I personally do not
> lament its loss the same way many of us do Crusdade. Like I said, I
> just try to forget about it.

As much as I didn't care for "Legend of the Rangers", I didn't like
"The Gathering", either. Remember that pilots are where they work out
bugs in the concepts and implementation of a show. The actual show
might have been pretty good.

'Nuff said.

-K


Wendy of NJ

unread,
Feb 9, 2004, 1:18:53 AM2/9/04
to
On Sun, 8 Feb 2004 23:59:38 +0000 (UTC), "Brian Hulett"
<edi...@thewinningdrive.com> wrote:

>I'm going to open the door for some real indigant remarks here, but I have
>never understood a grown person having any interest in a comic book, or
>so-called "graphic novel." Sure, this is opinion too, but I find it
>impossible to completely take anyone seriously when their remarks include
>anything of any substance in reference to something that I outgrew before I
>hit puberty. All due respect to JMS, who showed his chops beyond question
>with B5, but comic books are to literacy what pro wrestling is to sports,
>IMO. (And I fully understand that many other 44-year-olds would say the
>same about SF in general, and my own fanboy attitude toward B5 in specific,
>so again, take it with a grain of salt. Probably just splitting hairs, in
>the eyes of many.)

I'm not a big fan of graphic novels, either, but it's for other
reasons than what you stated...

The graphic novel is like a storyboard, IMHO, and I see the appeal for
it for screenwriters, because it's a visual medium and a way to tell a
visual story with a budget of hundreds or thousands of dollars vs.
hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. That's why so many
graphic novels and comics are adapted to the screen.

You probably don't like to read plays or screenplays, either, I'll
bet.

The reason I don't like graphic novels is that I like to create my own
visuals based on the writer's descriptions, and I find that more
enjoyable. (And I also don't enjoy the feel of pulp paper, and most of
the time, the printing isn't that great, and the art doesn't come off
in the best light). And I seem to use up a graphic novel in about
1/10th the time it takes me to read a regular novel.

It's too bad that you've rejected an entire art form because you've
grown up to be a literary snob.

-Wendy


MJB

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Feb 9, 2004, 1:19:18 AM2/9/04
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"Brian Hulett" <edi...@thewinningdrive.com> wrote in
news:lcwVb.1692$fV5....@bgtnsc04-news.ops.worldnet.att.net:

>> Now as for the new project, we know its not a show/book/comic (<cough>
>> still waiting on the DC graphic novel, patiently), so its either a TV
>> Movie or Feature Film. Or not. But maybe.
>
> I'm going to open the door for some real indigant remarks here, but I have
> never understood a grown person having any interest in a comic book, or
> so-called "graphic novel." Sure, this is opinion too, but I find it
> impossible to completely take anyone seriously when their remarks include
> anything of any substance in reference to something that I outgrew before I
> hit puberty. All due respect to JMS, who showed his chops beyond question
> with B5, but comic books are to literacy what pro wrestling is to sports,
> IMO. (And I fully understand that many other 44-year-olds would say the
> same about SF in general, and my own fanboy attitude toward B5 in specific,
> so again, take it with a grain of salt. Probably just splitting hairs, in
> the eyes of many.)


OK -- here's your indignant remark. I used to think the same as you
about comic books. Then, as I was collecting the B5 comics to get
some background story that was only available there, I got a few issues
of a book for free thrown in with some B5 comic I'd mail-ordered.

Well, the story in it was better than most of what I'd been finding in
many of the SF and fiction novels I'd been reading. Bendis, Priest and
a few others are actually very good writers that happen to have some
artists drawing pictures of the scenes they're writing. Sometimes the
art is actually quite good.
The Jinx books were quite good. The "Sam & Twitch" books were very good.
The "Quantum & Woody" stories were great. Hey, damn, I'm reading comic
books instead of serious "novels". Why ? Because the stories are better.

Of course, your mileage may vary, we all like different things, but there
are "comic" books that are written for adults with adult dialog and
word choices. Only a few are written at the college level, but hell,
the newspaper is written at a 4th grade level so the others aren't
doing to badly. And for funny adult humor, it's hard to beat Frank Cho,
and his artwork is amazing too. Oh, yeah, and there's also this
JMS guy who puts words together in an interesting way in his comics
and tackles interesting subject matter :) (see Midnight Nation ).


Mark Alexander Bertenshaw

unread,
Feb 9, 2004, 1:20:30 AM2/9/04
to
Brian Hulett wrote:
> Whoa. You're stating a number of opinions as if they were fact. My
> comments are inserted below.
>
>
> "Jeffrey Gustafson" <Psico...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:4ddedcc5.04020...@posting.google.com...

> I'm going to open the door for some real indigant remarks here, but I


> have never understood a grown person having any interest in a comic
> book, or so-called "graphic novel." Sure, this is opinion too, but I
> find it impossible to completely take anyone seriously when their
> remarks include anything of any substance in reference to something
> that I outgrew before I hit puberty. All due respect to JMS, who
> showed his chops beyond question with B5, but comic books are to
> literacy what pro wrestling is to sports, IMO. (And I fully
> understand that many other 44-year-olds would say the same about SF
> in general, and my own fanboy attitude toward B5 in specific, so
> again, take it with a grain of salt. Probably just splitting hairs,
> in the eyes of many.)

I think you are mixing up the medium with the message here. You can write
about anything in a comic book that you want. It just happens that the
majority of them are published by Marvel or DC, and therefore happen to be
mainly about superheroes. Unfortunately, you seem to share the general
condescending attitude about "funny books" with many other people; an
attitude that is rooted in ignorance. You obviously, like everyone else
here, watch television, and that requires no literacy at all; yet you won't
find me criticising you for your viewing habits. I find your insinuations
that comic books are the province of children most amusing: I never read
comic books until I was 27 - I actually got into it by accident after
reading about Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, and it just escalated.

--
Mark Bertenshaw
Kingston upon Thames
UK

Iain Clark

unread,
Feb 9, 2004, 1:22:56 AM2/9/04
to
On Sun, 8 Feb 2004 15:49:22 +0000 (UTC), Psico...@hotmail.com
(Jeffrey Gustafson) wrote:

>The ardent JMS fan I am, I was overjoyed, like all here, at the news
>of a new B5 project. However, it was mixed trepidation because as we
>are also all aware, we have been here before. Twice. And both times
>it didn't turn out well. Of course those were unique situations.
>
>Crusade, aside from being killed in the cradle, was written by an
>admittedly burned out JMS. While the show had great potential, it
>just wasn't the right time for Joe, or the powers-that-be.

I agree with you on this, although there are some superb episodes.

>Legend of the Rangers is something that I often try to forget... From
>a success stand-point, it had bad luck being placed opposite the NFL
>playoffs. In addition, it was just plain awful -- honestly truly
>abmismal, maybe because JMS was given so little time by Sci-Fi to
>throw together a new B5 show. In any event, I personally do not
>lament its loss the same way many of us do Crusdade. Like I said, I
>just try to forget about it.
>

I disagree here. Although, like Crusade, Rangers has some clunky
moments (like the Holographic weapons interface) and the odd dodgy
actor it's *far* from abysmal.

What it suffers from, for me, is trying to present all of the style
and feel of a Season 3 Rangers v Shadows story, without any of the
context or build-up required to give it weight, complexity and
maturity. It feels too much like a retread, and one stripped of the
arc elements which made S3 so appealing.

However, there is much to enjoy. The Captain and First Officer are
both very good, and it's good action-oriented fun. The premise of the
show lends itself to a lot of possibilities. Also it had much more of
a B5 "feel" than Crusade did.

Plus I've now seen (and read) more than enough of jms' work to know
that if the show had been picked up there would have been story arc
and rug-pulling aplenty, and that nothing would have turned out the
way it first appeared. B5, Jeremiah, Midnight Nation, Rising Stars,
Supreme Power... all of these show Straczynski's immense skill as a
long-term plotter with an amazing knack for misdirection and emotional
sucker punches.

The weakness of this approach is that before you get the WHAM episode
you need something strong enough to stand on its own terms. Rangers,
though entertaining, was just not special enough to make an impact.
IMO.

>As a result of the last two failures (is that too strong a word?), it
>might seem like the law of diminishing returns applies even to B5.
>JMS is one of the best, and most underrated visual (film, comics)
>writers in America, but he's not perfect. What if B5 turns into Trek,
>each incarnation nauseatingly worse than the one before? I honestly
>doubt this would happen - JMS wouldn't let it.
>

There's a risk of this, I agree. The story of B5 is done and can
never be undone, but there's the danger that several B5-lite spin-offs
will dilute the reputation of the show.

On the other hand, it's not like we have a glut of high-quality
space-bound SF at the moment. Enterprise is mediocre at best, Firefly
cancelled, Farscape cancelled (although it now has another short
mini-series to run). Only Battlestar Galactica shows some potential
for quality and longevity (and I can't believe I'm saying that!).
There's room on TV for more B5.

>If we're laying bets, I will say that the new project is a mini and
>that it takes place during the Telepath War. It has enough scope to
>expand over 4 or 6 hours, its the only untold one we know of from the
>established chronology that I feel *can*, without loosing everyone in
>a fog (8 hours of the Mars food riots! A two-parter about the Drakh
>plague from the P.O.V. of a ferret! WHO CARES?). And I, personally,
>would rather see the Telepath War (if not in a feature film) in a
>mini-series rather than a telefilm. A mini-series would cost less
>than a feature, consists of less risk for Warners, and can tell the
>story better than a stand-alone.

I think it's another TV Movie / pilot. I'd love it to be a
mini-series. I doubt it's a theatrical movie (although I may be being
overly pessimistic.)

Iain
--
"She had something breakable
Just under her skin"

Brian Hulett

unread,
Feb 9, 2004, 8:24:41 AM2/9/04
to
> I think you are mixing up the medium with the message here. You can write
> about anything in a comic book that you want. It just happens that the
> majority of them are published by Marvel or DC, and therefore happen to be
> mainly about superheroes. Unfortunately, you seem to share the general
> condescending attitude about "funny books" with many other people; an
> attitude that is rooted in ignorance. You obviously, like everyone else
> here, watch television, and that requires no literacy at all; yet you
won't
> find me criticising you for your viewing habits. I find your insinuations
> that comic books are the province of children most amusing: I never read
> comic books until I was 27 - I actually got into it by accident after
> reading about Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, and it just escalated.
>
As with anything posted by any thinking person, naturally opinions will
diverge widely. Most who populate this NG seem to be almost exclusively
into science fact and science fiction; personally I'm not scientifically
literate and don't necessarily gravitate to a lot of SF. For instance, the
topic that's recently caught my attention has been that of the Zodiac
Killer, the serial killer of '60s California, a modern Jack the Ripper story
as the killer still hasn't been definitively identified. Picked up a thick
used paperback about the case and devoured it in two days, then visited the
websites on the topic for updates until I had read them all.

Mostly on TV these days I find myself gravitating toward similar types of
topics, like "Cold Case Files" on A&E and "Law and Order" reruns, a series I
just discovered last year because I don't watch much TV unless football is
on. ;-} Something fascinating to me about aberrant psychology, and
something satisfying about seeing the bad guys get their due (part of why
Zodiac is so fascinating, as he apparently hasn't yet). Generally,
otherwise, I just like a good story, and B5 was certainly that. I look
forward with great anticipation to another story from that universe.

Comics have simply never done it for me. The only one I ever truly enjoyed
was the Silver Surfer, because due to childhood issues I identified with the
feeling of being a banished loner. Truly no one was to blame for those
issues, sometimes stuff happens, but that only took me another 25 years or
so to grapple with before it was no longer a problem within myself.....

John W. Kennedy

unread,
Feb 9, 2004, 7:23:07 PM2/9/04
to
Wendy of NJ wrote:

> (And I also don't enjoy the feel of pulp paper, and most of
> the time, the printing isn't that great, and the art doesn't come off
> in the best light).

Pulp paper, forsooth? How many floppy drives does your TRS-80 have?

--
John W. Kennedy
"But now is a new thing which is very old--
that the rich make themselves richer and not poorer,
which is the true Gospel, for the poor's sake."
-- Charles Williams. "Judgement at Chelmsford"


John W. Kennedy

unread,
Feb 9, 2004, 7:23:28 PM2/9/04
to
Brian Hulett wrote:
> I'm going to open the door for some real indigant remarks here, but I have
> never understood a grown person having any interest in a comic book, or
> so-called "graphic novel." Sure, this is opinion too, but I find it
> impossible to completely take anyone seriously when their remarks include
> anything of any substance in reference to something that I outgrew before I
> hit puberty. All due respect to JMS, who showed his chops beyond question
> with B5, but comic books are to literacy what pro wrestling is to sports,
> IMO. (And I fully understand that many other 44-year-olds would say the
> same about SF in general, and my own fanboy attitude toward B5 in specific,
> so again, take it with a grain of salt. Probably just splitting hairs, in
> the eyes of many.)

Actually, you are making a more fundamental error than those who reject
SF. They object to a certain kind of story, a complaint that, however
wrong, is at least relevant to the question of whether the story is any
good. You object to a certain medium for telling the story, which is not.

You will find Moore and Gibbons' "Watchmen" in any respectable
bookstore. Read it. At least twice -- you will /not/ get all the
subtleties the first time.

After that, go to a comic-book store and read "The Gateless Barrier",
the title story in volume 2 (of 28) of the collected "Lone Wolf and Cub"
("Kozure Okami") by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima.

Mark Alexander Bertenshaw

unread,
Feb 9, 2004, 7:23:49 PM2/9/04
to
Brian Hulett wrote:
>> I think you are mixing up the medium with the message here. You can
>> write about anything in a comic book that you want. It just happens
>> that the majority of them are published by Marvel or DC, and
>> therefore happen to be mainly about superheroes. Unfortunately, you
>> seem to share the general condescending attitude about "funny books"
>> with many other people; an attitude that is rooted in ignorance.
>> You obviously, like everyone else here, watch television, and that
>> requires no literacy at all; yet you won't find me criticising you
>> for your viewing habits. I find your insinuations that comic books
>> are the province of children most amusing: I never read comic books
>> until I was 27 - I actually got into it by accident after reading
>> about Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, and it just escalated.
>>
> As with anything posted by any thinking person, naturally opinions
> will diverge widely. Most who populate this NG seem to be almost
> exclusively into science fact and science fiction; personally I'm not
> scientifically literate and don't necessarily gravitate to a lot of
> SF.

Ha! I wish that were the case. So many times I have heard people defend
nonsense science in SF shows by saying "It's only science fiction!". You
don't have to necessarily understand the science, but generally a good (and
correct) science speculation tends to make better stories than just
confabulating, if only because most stories require a framework of rules to
support the story, and science definitely has a pretty good foundation!

> Mostly on TV these days I find myself gravitating toward similar
> types of topics, like "Cold Case Files" on A&E and "Law and Order"
> reruns, a series I just discovered last year because I don't watch
> much TV unless football is on. ;-} Something fascinating to me
> about aberrant psychology, and something satisfying about seeing the
> bad guys get their due (part of why Zodiac is so fascinating, as he
> apparently hasn't yet).

They have been showing Law & Order seasons 8 to 11 over here, and they are
quite addictive, I agree. However, I really don't see the point of the
spin-offs. Special Victims Unit is just depressing, and Serious Crimes
seems to be like any other cop show. CSI: Crime Scene Investigations is my
favourite, though. Probably due to the real cool science bits. :-)

> Comics have simply never done it for me. The only one I ever truly
> enjoyed was the Silver Surfer, because due to childhood issues I
> identified with the feeling of being a banished loner. Truly no one
> was to blame for those issues, sometimes stuff happens, but that only
> took me another 25 years or so to grapple with before it was no
> longer a problem within myself.....

Like all mediums, comics have their own niche. Comics have the visual
impact of film, but also have all the advantages of the internal monologue
of literature. Good practitioners of the art of comics writing know how to
use the medium to its advantage. For instance, having an unreliable
narrator is much easier in comics than in literature. Your narrator might be
telling a story via the internal monologue, but the pictures would be
telling a different story. In a book, you might have to continuously drop
hints which the character would be unlikely to reveal in real life. The
arrangement of panels is also a great device. Instead of the 1D flow of
words, you can have the 2D flow of artwork. In books such as "The
Invisibles", Grant Morrison shows concepts which would be very difficult to
communicate in words. I think it really depends on the story you want to
tell.

Iain Clark

unread,
Feb 9, 2004, 7:26:29 PM2/9/04
to
On Mon, 9 Feb 2004 13:24:41 +0000 (UTC), "Brian Hulett"
<edi...@thewinningdrive.com> wrote:

>> I think you are mixing up the medium with the message here. You can write
>> about anything in a comic book that you want. It just happens that the
>> majority of them are published by Marvel or DC, and therefore happen to be
>> mainly about superheroes. Unfortunately, you seem to share the general
>> condescending attitude about "funny books" with many other people; an
>> attitude that is rooted in ignorance. You obviously, like everyone else
>> here, watch television, and that requires no literacy at all; yet you
>won't
>> find me criticising you for your viewing habits. I find your insinuations
>> that comic books are the province of children most amusing: I never read
>> comic books until I was 27 - I actually got into it by accident after
>> reading about Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, and it just escalated.

>Comics have simply never done it for me. The only one I ever truly enjoyed


>was the Silver Surfer, because due to childhood issues I identified with the
>feeling of being a banished loner. Truly no one was to blame for those
>issues, sometimes stuff happens, but that only took me another 25 years or
>so to grapple with before it was no longer a problem within myself.....

You should pick up the collection of jms' Midnight Nation. Seriously.
It's a realistically drawn, modern day story about real people (and
horror, hope and purpose), and it's a million miles away from stupid
juvenile superhero comics.

It really is one of the smartest, most deeply felt and, well, literate
things jms has ever done. Nothing could demonstrate more clearly the
difference between the medium (sequential art) and the content.

After all, both the novel and TV in their time were considered debased
media. Unfit for the attention of serious folk committing art.

Iain
--
BARTLET: "hooked on a bad soap opera
that's passing itself off as important."

Alex Thorpe

unread,
Feb 10, 2004, 8:41:40 PM2/10/04
to
[ The following text is in the "ISO-8859-1" character set. ]

[ Your display is set for the "US-ASCII" character set. ]

[ Some characters may be displayed incorrectly. ]

On 2004-02-08 17:58:14 -0600, Rob Perkins <rob_p...@hotmail.com>
said:

> > Could it
> > be worse than Legend of the Rangers (can anything be worse than
> > that?)?
>
> The most recent Star Trek movie?

Actually, I thought that Nemesis was slightly above average for a Star
Trek movie, which isn't saying much. But about the only things about
LorR that looked right were the Minbari makeup and Andreas Katsulas.
And the latter's dialogue was pretty silly.

--
-Alex


Vorlonagent

unread,
Feb 10, 2004, 8:44:53 PM2/10/04
to

> Actually, you are making a more fundamental error than those who reject
> SF. They object to a certain kind of story, a complaint that, however
> wrong, is at least relevant to the question of whether the story is any
> good. You object to a certain medium for telling the story, which is not.

With my mom, it's just so strange to her than she can't suspend disbelief.
She's otherwise quite imaginative too.


> You will find Moore and Gibbons' "Watchmen" in any respectable
> bookstore. Read it. At least twice -- you will /not/ get all the
> subtleties the first time.

Agreed on that score. Moore writes so much good stuff...


--
Vorlonagent

"Methane martini.
Shaken, not sitrred."


Jeffrey Gustafson

unread,
Feb 10, 2004, 8:45:44 PM2/10/04
to
Iain Clark (iain...@dragonhaven.plus.com) wrote:

> >Legend of the Rangers is something that I often try to forget... From
> >a success stand-point, it had bad luck being placed opposite the NFL
> >playoffs. In addition, it was just plain awful -- honestly truly
> >abmismal, maybe because JMS was given so little time by Sci-Fi to
> >throw together a new B5 show. In any event, I personally do not
> >lament its loss the same way many of us do Crusdade. Like I said, I
> >just try to forget about it.
> >
> I disagree here. Although, like Crusade, Rangers has some clunky
> moments (like the Holographic weapons interface) and the odd dodgy
> actor it's *far* from abysmal.
>
> What it suffers from, for me, is trying to present all of the style
> and feel of a Season 3 Rangers v Shadows story, without any of the
> context or build-up required to give it weight, complexity and
> maturity. It feels too much like a retread, and one stripped of the
> arc elements which made S3 so appealing.
>

That, in a nutshell, is pretty close to why I dislike that movie so.

> However, there is much to enjoy. The Captain and First Officer are
> both very good, and it's good action-oriented fun. The premise of the
> show lends itself to a lot of possibilities. Also it had much more of
> a B5 "feel" than Crusade did.

Strangely, I posted the exact opposite reaction here when the movie
first aired. There was substance in Crusade, as in B5. Nothing but
hollow re-treading in B5LR.


>
> Plus I've now seen (and read) more than enough of jms' work to know
> that if the show had been picked up there would have been story arc
> and rug-pulling aplenty, and that nothing would have turned out the
> way it first appeared. B5, Jeremiah, Midnight Nation, Rising Stars,
> Supreme Power... all of these show Straczynski's immense skill as a
> long-term plotter with an amazing knack for misdirection and emotional
> sucker punches.
>

I agree (it's hard not to). However, the fundemental difference
between B5LR and the other B5 incarnations is that of feeling. When
first watching B5 or Crusade, even just the pilots, there was an
intangible sense of something more. B5LR didn't have that for me.

> The weakness of this approach is that before you get the WHAM episode
> you need something strong enough to stand on its own terms. Rangers,
> though entertaining, was just not special enough to make an impact.
> IMO.
>
> >As a result of the last two failures (is that too strong a word?), it
> >might seem like the law of diminishing returns applies even to B5.
> >JMS is one of the best, and most underrated visual (film, comics)
> >writers in America, but he's not perfect. What if B5 turns into Trek,
> >each incarnation nauseatingly worse than the one before? I honestly
> >doubt this would happen - JMS wouldn't let it.
> >
> There's a risk of this, I agree. The story of B5 is done and can
> never be undone, but there's the danger that several B5-lite spin-offs
> will dilute the reputation of the show.

Exactly. It happened with Trek - too many movies, too many series.
TNG was a fine show, and aside from the obvious co-opting of JMS's
work, so was DS9. Then it went downhill. We've seen a similar
pattern in B5 already, though that is unfair to Crusade because its
cancellation was outside its control. But there are pretty good
reasons B5LR didn't become a series, (and ratings had little to do
with it, I believe. I could be wading through choppy water here, but
don't forget that "To Live And Die In Starlight" was originally slated
to air in September. It was done by then, so why shelve it? Entirely
baseless speculation here, but if Sci-Fi thought it was any good
(which I wouldn't if I were them), they would've aired it as
originally scheduled or two months later during sweeps. Not in the
nether-zone of January opposite the NFL Playoffs.)

> I think it's another TV Movie / pilot. I'd love it to be a
> mini-series. I doubt it's a theatrical movie (although I may be being
> overly pessimistic.)

Percieved pessimism is in actually the realism people are loathe to
accept.

Jeffrey Gustafson

unread,
Feb 10, 2004, 8:45:54 PM2/10/04
to
rec...@rezgeek.com (Recoil) wrote:

> > But if its a feature film (which we are all hoping for, I reckon), I
> > have worries. Not that one is being made, per se, but that if one
> > does get made, it will go over alot of folks' heads - not bad for us,
> > but bad for the franchise. A commercial failure could kill B5 for
> > good.
>
> I share your opinion about a lot of things you said, and your
> disappointment with Crusade being derailed (for various reasons) and
> Rangers not being what we had hoped. However I guess where I disagree
> with you, is in the above quote. To quote JMS via Susan Ivanova "This
> isn't some deep space franchise, this station is ABOUT something."

Okay, it's a deep space franchise ABOUT something, then.

> I have never viewed B5 as a franchise. Not to put words in his mouth,
> but I am pretty sure JMS has commented that it isn't a franchise
> either.

He has commented that he never wanted it to become a franchise.
However, that exact thing *has* happened, whether or not he intended
it to. 110 episodes, 4 telefilms, two (failed/killed) spinoffs (one
of which saw 13 episodes), dozens of tie-in books, stories & comics,
dozens of cds, Videos, DVDs, and some scant merchandising (games,
toys, shirts) later, plus yet another project on the front burner, all
making money for WB and JMS (to an extent)... tell me B5 isn't a
franchise!

> I don't see "killing
> the franchise" as a good reason though,

I didn't say the risk of killing the franchise is reason enough to not
make the film - if they will make it, then by all means make it! I
was only raising the possibility of what failure could cause.
However, not trying at all is the worst possible outcome, and no
matter the project, I will be there, first in line.

> just because I have never
> thought of this show as a franchise.

See above.

Jeffrey Gustafson

unread,
Feb 10, 2004, 8:46:24 PM2/10/04
to
"Brian Hulett" <edi...@thewinningdrive.com> wrote:

> I will never understand this. Can someone tell me why "Legend of the
> Rangers" is viewed by some as an ugly stepchild? I thought it was an
> exciting, well-paced film that told an interesting story. The only
> semi-reasonable knock I could see against it is that its overarching story
> was too similar to a Star Trek series, a ship full of different characters
> going through space on a mission with broad parameters. How is that enough
> to tear it apart as you did above?

My words on B5LR didn't come close to what I and others have hitherto
said, and what I really feel. For the sake of keeping redundancy
polution to a minimum, look at posts from myself and others here from
January and February 2002. Boy howdy, you'll see what I mean.

> I'm going to open the door for some real indigant remarks here, <snip>

Deserved remarks, too. However, I shall steer clear and simply say,
your loss.

> Hm. Sounds like you're hoping for another "Legend of the Rangers" after
> all.

That comment is patently offensive to me. I wish no failure for B5.
I was just stating my worries on what could cause such a failure while
examining past mis-steps, as well as my own speculation on the
project.

Mickey

unread,
Feb 10, 2004, 8:47:45 PM2/10/04
to
"Brian Hulett" <edi...@thewinningdrive.com> wrote in message
news:lcwVb.1692$fV5....@bgtnsc04-news.ops.worldnet.att.net...

>
> I'm going to open the door for some real indigant remarks here, but I have
> never understood a grown person having any interest in a comic book, or
> so-called "graphic novel." Sure, this is opinion too, but I find it
> impossible to completely take anyone seriously when their remarks include
> anything of any substance in reference to something that I outgrew before
I
> hit puberty. All due respect to JMS, who showed his chops beyond question
> with B5, but comic books are to literacy what pro wrestling is to sports,
> IMO. (And I fully understand that many other 44-year-olds would say the
> same about SF in general, and my own fanboy attitude toward B5 in
specific,
> so again, take it with a grain of salt. Probably just splitting hairs, in
> the eyes of many.)

So, let us review.

Movies (pictures without words) are OK
Books (words without pictures) are OK
Comics (pictures with words or words with pictures) not OK

Odd logic.

Mickey

John W. Kennedy

unread,
Feb 10, 2004, 8:48:15 PM2/10/04
to
Iain Clark wrote:
> After all, both the novel and TV in their time were considered debased
> media. Unfit for the attention of serious folk committing art.

Not to mention the "Universitie Wittes" at Oxbridge who poked fun at
that lowbrow Shakespeare guy who thought he could write tragedies
without knowing a word of Greek.

Brian Hulett

unread,
Feb 10, 2004, 8:48:25 PM2/10/04
to
> You should pick up the collection of jms' Midnight Nation. Seriously.
> It's a realistically drawn, modern day story about real people (and
> horror, hope and purpose), and it's a million miles away from stupid
> juvenile superhero comics.
>
Thanks, you make a good case for giving it a try, but I guess basically my
real problem with getting into "graphic novels" or "comics" or whatever, now
that this thread has made me really examine why I feel this way about them,
is that I have a tremendous love of words. When reading I prefer to let my
imagination draw the images. That may seem a dichotomy, since I've been a
TV and movie viewer (to varying degrees) for decades, and I've always
enjoyed that, but the reading process, to me, is quite different. I can't
grasp the concept of drawings being a major part of my reading. I could
compare it to my love for playing a round of golf while I have never even
tried a computer golf game because it's *so* not golf. To me, in the same
way, a "graphic novel" or "comic" is *so* not reading.

David Williams

unread,
Feb 10, 2004, 8:48:56 PM2/10/04
to

"Iain Clark" <iain...@dragonhaven.plus.com> wrote in message

> You should pick up the collection of jms' Midnight Nation. Seriously.
> It's a realistically drawn, modern day story about real people (and
> horror, hope and purpose), and it's a million miles away from stupid
> juvenile superhero comics.

Agreed. It is a truly compelling story. And it has some very important
messages in it, couched in very rich allegory. And, oddly enough, I think
it's a story that (IMO) could ONLY be told in this medium. Unless maybe
they made a (LONG) feature-length film out of it. But I find the odds of
that pretty slim.

You just have to read it.
Trust us.
Oh, and if it makes you feel better, you don't have to search out all the
back issues of the comic. You can buy the whole story contained in one
graphic novel. Just got mine out and noticed that (strangely) it says
"Volume 1" on the spine. There is ONLY one volume.

Regards,
-David W.

Graeme Kingston

unread,
Feb 10, 2004, 8:49:00 PM2/10/04
to
"Jeffrey Gustafson" <Psico...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:4ddedcc5.04020...@posting.google.com...

>Snip<


> Legend of the Rangers is something that I often try to forget... From
> a success stand-point, it had bad luck being placed opposite the NFL
> playoffs. In addition, it was just plain awful -- honestly truly
> abmismal, maybe because JMS was given so little time by Sci-Fi to
> throw together a new B5 show. In any event, I personally do not
> lament its loss the same way many of us do Crusdade. Like I said, I
> just try to forget about it.

> Snip<

I still reckon some here are way too hard on Legend of the Rangers and give
JMS way too little credit. There was much to enjoy about that pilot. How
many times has he suckered us in the past about where a plot was going only
to reveal something far greater? It would've developed as B5 did from the
its original pilot. And how many of us really liked The Gathering,
especially in its first incarnation?

I wanna know where that story goes too. Less than I do Crusade, admittedly,
but then Crusade was developed further.

Graeme

Aisling Willow Grey

unread,
Feb 10, 2004, 8:49:01 PM2/10/04
to
>>On Sun, 8 Feb 2004 10:49:22 -0500, Jeffrey Gustafson wrote
(in message <4ddedcc5.04020...@posting.google.com>):

>
> Or all of this is total claptrap, and it really will be about the
> Meaning of Spoo. Which, you know what, I really wouldn't mind at all.<<

Ha, you'll all be eating your words when I turn out to be right, and have
that quickly-spaced red-shirt character named after me!

:-)

Aisling

Jan

unread,
Feb 10, 2004, 8:49:01 PM2/10/04
to
-The Jeff wrote:

>Or all of this is total claptrap, and it really will be about the
>Meaning of Spoo. Which, you know what, I really wouldn't mind at all.

Why not just wait and see what it is with an open mind? As much as I love the
B5 universe, it's still not worth worrying about. Gives you wrinkles, yaknow.
<g>

I've seen enough of Joe's work to trust where he leads. Most of what I've
seen, I've liked a lot. Some I've loved. A very few I didn't care for. No
matter what, everything we get after the main series is 'lagniappe' - a little
something extra for free.

So speculating is fun but worrying is pretty useless.

Jan

Jan

unread,
Feb 10, 2004, 8:49:01 PM2/10/04
to
Brian Hulett wrote:

>I will never understand this. Can someone tell me why "Legend of the
>Rangers" is viewed by some as an ugly stepchild?

That's been asked many times but few real details have come forth. I think
it's the 'if I don't like one thing, then the *whole thing* stinks' phenomenon.

> Sure, this is opinion too, but I find it
>impossible to completely take anyone seriously when their remarks include
>anything of any substance in reference to something that I outgrew before I
>hit puberty.

With all due respect, unless you've actually *read* some of the comic form
recently, you shouldn't judge. Just to stick with JMS's work, check out the
Midnight Nation series. Trust me, they ain't just 'Archie' comics these days;
they're real stories with real characters that you can relate to.

Jan

DodoBrd16

unread,
Feb 10, 2004, 8:49:01 PM2/10/04
to
>>But if its a feature film (which we are all hoping for, I reckon), I
have worries. Not that one is being made, per se, but that if one
does get made, it will go over alot of folks' heads - not bad for us,
but bad for the franchise.<<

Which is why I have said again and again, I hope any major motion picture is a
remake of ITB.

Cant shoot over a larger audiences head if you start... ITB.

Aisling Willow Grey

unread,
Feb 10, 2004, 8:49:01 PM2/10/04
to
>>On Sun, 8 Feb 2004 18:58:14 -0500, Rob Perkins wrote
(in message <fn3d209nq1iufj2ds...@4ax.com>):

> Psico...@hotmail.com (Jeffrey Gustafson) wrote:
>
>> Could it
>> be worse than Legend of the Rangers (can anything be worse than
>> that?)?
>
> The most recent Star Trek movie?<<

Right, you mean the one that was about the Romulans, yet they didn't have the
sense to use the one recurring Romulan from TNG...who happened to have been
played by Andreas.

Sheesh.

Aisling

Mac Breck

unread,
Feb 10, 2004, 8:49:02 PM2/10/04
to
"Rob Perkins" <rob_p...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:fn3d209nq1iufj2ds...@4ax.com...

> Psico...@hotmail.com (Jeffrey Gustafson) wrote:
>
> >Could it
> >be worse than Legend of the Rangers (can anything be
worse than
> >that?)?
>
> The most recent Star Trek movie?

No. I enjoyed the most recent Star Trek movie more than "To
Live and Die in Starlight" (TLaDiS), but that's probably
because I don't expect much from Trek. With TLaDiS, I
expected B5/Crusade level stuff and got Trek level stuff.
Come to think of it, JMS was supposedly at a low ebb (tired,
burned out[1]) when he was doing Crusade, yet TLaDiS doesn't
seem *nearly* as strong as Crusade to me. I can re-watch
any Crusade episode, even "War Zone," "Visitors from Down
the Street" and "Ruling from the Tomb," but I have this
aversion to re-watching TLaDiS. I mean, right now, this has
caused me to think of some Crusade episodes, and now I want
to go pop them in the DVD player (I transferred my SVHS
recordings to DVD.). This desire of mine to re-watch,
doesn't happen with TLaDiS.

[1] Can't find the right quote on JMSNews, or else I'd use
those words.


--
Mac Breck (KoshN) - from the desktop PC
-------------------------------
http://www.scifi.com/babylon5/
http://www.scifi.com/crusade/
http://www.scifi.com/bboard/browse.cgi/1/5/1521 (Brimstone)

Mac Breck

unread,
Feb 10, 2004, 8:49:02 PM2/10/04
to
"Jeffrey Gustafson" <Psico...@hotmail.com> wrote in
message
news:4ddedcc5.04020...@posting.google.com...
> The ardent JMS fan I am, I was overjoyed, like all here,
at the news
> of a new B5 project. However, it was mixed trepidation
because as we
> are also all aware, we have been here before. Twice. And
both times
> it didn't turn out well. Of course those were unique
situations.
>
> Crusade, aside from being killed in the cradle, was
written by an
> admittedly burned out JMS. While the show had great
potential, it
> just wasn't the right time for Joe, or the powers-that-be.
>
> Legend of the Rangers is something that I often try to
forget...

Ditto.

> From
> a success stand-point, it had bad luck being placed
opposite the NFL
> playoffs. In addition, it was just plain awful --
honestly truly
> abmismal,

Agreed.


> maybe because JMS was given so little time by Sci-Fi to
> throw together a new B5 show.

That's what I thought, too, but no. See:

http://www.jmsnews.com/scripts/MsgStore.dll?MfcISAPICommand=GetMsg&List=1&Topic=24&Flags=1&Query=Crusade&QFlags=1&ls=21&qs=1&qt=0


> In any event, I personally do not

> lament its loss the same way many of us do Crusade. Like


I said, I
> just try to forget about it.

Agreed.

> As a result of the last two failures (is that too strong a
word?), it
> might seem like the law of diminishing returns applies
even to B5.
> JMS is one of the best, and most underrated visual (film,
comics)
> writers in America, but he's not perfect. What if B5
turns into Trek,
> each incarnation nauseatingly worse than the one before?
I honestly
> doubt this would happen - JMS wouldn't let it.

Plus, JMS wouldn't get as many chances (incarnations) as the
Trek people do.

> Now as for the new project, we know its not a
show/book/comic (<cough>
> still waiting on the DC graphic novel, patiently), so its
either a TV
> Movie or Feature Film. Or not. But maybe.
>

> If it's a TV movie, how impressive could it be? If past
results are
> any indication, it'll be OK. Could it top In The
Beginning?

..or "A Call to Arms." That'd be tough to do.


> Could it
> be worse than Legend of the Rangers (can anything be worse
than
> that?)?

I never thought it could get worse than "The River of
Souls," but the Rangers pilot proved that wrong.


> It's not a pilot, so its a stand-alone, but of what?
Watch
> me be wrong and it turns out to be the greatest telefilm
ever made.
> With JMS at the helm, all is possible..


>
> But if its a feature film (which we are all hoping for, I
reckon), I
> have worries. Not that one is being made, per se, but
that if one
> does get made, it will go over alot of folks' heads - not
bad for us,

> but bad for the franchise. A commercial failure could
kill B5 for

> good. Most, including I, assume a feature will be about
the telepath
> war. If thats so, you would need a rediculous amount of
exposition
> (if you really want to delve into the story) for the
majority of movie
> goers who have never heard of Babylon 5.

I don't think this will be a problem with a Telepath War
feature film. Gotta agree with JoeD on this one.

Laura Appelbaum

unread,
Feb 11, 2004, 12:37:23 AM2/11/04
to
"Jan" <janmsc...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:20040208165349...@mb-m01.aol.com...

> Brian Hulett wrote:
> Sure, this is opinion too, but I find it
> >impossible to completely take anyone seriously when their remarks include
> >anything of any substance in reference to something that I outgrew before
I
> >hit puberty.
>
> With all due respect, unless you've actually *read* some of the comic form
> recently, you shouldn't judge. Just to stick with JMS's work, check out
the
> Midnight Nation series. Trust me, they ain't just 'Archie' comics these
days;
> they're real stories with real characters that you can relate to.
>

Yeah, yeah, yeah. <G> But surely you've noticed that outside of the science
fiction/fantasy community (and in Japan, where the culture and the whole
relationship to literacy and images is entirely different from here in the
west), you're not likely to come upon too many adults who disagree with
Brian -- or for that matter, with me, on this one. And has it never
occurred to you that there might be a *reason* for that, which isn't just a
knee-jerk prejudice against "kid stuff" but an appreciation of truly
great -- and in-depth -- *writing* that is only possible in an essay or a
novel or a book? Every time this argument comes up around here, I wonder
when the last time it was that the ardent, defensive and often
self-righteous defenders of the Great Graphic Novel (not necessary or
specifically you; any of the folks who've weighed in over the years on this
one) -- read an actual work of literature or a masterful piece of prose with
say, three hundred or more pages of words.

Can you tell a story in a graphic novel? Sure. Can you raise some
interesting issues, I'm quite certain it can and has been done. But can you
compare that to what someone truly talented can do in an actual *book*? No.
It's like comparing a five-course meal with fast food. They'll both fill
you up, but the depth and complexity of one cannot be honestly compared to
the efficiency and convenience of the other.

LMA


Kathryn Huxtable

unread,
Feb 11, 2004, 9:28:53 PM2/11/04
to
"Laura Appelbaum" <l-app...@mindspring.com> writes:

What she said. And I have read graphic novels. They're fun and they
can say interesting things. But they don't compare to a real
book. Actually, most SF is pretty fluffy compared to real books,
though there are plenty of exceptions.

-K, who sometimes likes fluff.


Joseph DeMartino

unread,
Feb 11, 2004, 9:29:14 PM2/11/04
to
> And has it never occurred to you that there might be a *reason* for that,
which isn't just a knee-jerk prejudice against "kid stuff" but an
appreciation of truly great -- and in-depth -- *writing* that is only
possible in an essay or a novel or a book? <

*Gasp*! You're *right*! And that explains why there has never been any
great writing for television or the movies or the stage. Because *great*
writing can only can only come in the form of text between covers. Quick,
somebody tell JMS to stop wasting his time with this drama nonsense and get
back to work writing books.

Thanks for clearing that up for me. Imagine some of us being foolish enough
to think that different forms of story-telling can be equally valid, or that
it is even more foolish to reject a story-telling *medium* out of hand than
to reject an entire literary genre.

Regards,

Joe

Opie301

unread,
Feb 11, 2004, 9:30:25 PM2/11/04
to
"Laura Appelbaum" <l-app...@mindspring.com> wrote in message news:<102j7ji...@corp.supernews.com>...

Spin that around, now. When was the last time that an individual
whose experience in literature is that of the masterful piece of prose
has been exposed to some of the great and meaningful story-telling
that is available in the 'Graphic Novel' form. That argument swings
both ways. It may true that it's hard to argue the merit of a graphic
novel, if you've never sat down with Hemmingway, Elliot, Faulkner, or
Shakespeare. But can you really argue the Graphic Novel's depth if
you never picked up Moore, Gaiman, or Itto?

Before reading 'The Watchmen', i think i would have agreed with you,
Laura. Now, i don't think i can.

> Can you tell a story in a graphic novel? Sure. Can you raise some
> interesting issues, I'm quite certain it can and has been done. But can you
> compare that to what someone truly talented can do in an actual *book*? No.
> It's like comparing a five-course meal with fast food. They'll both fill
> you up, but the depth and complexity of one cannot be honestly compared to
> the efficiency and convenience of the other.

This seems to be a close-minded, and rather elitist, point of view.
Would you lump movies and television into the fast food category of
your analogy? TV, Film, and Comics all use the same basic format of
images and dialogue to tell their stories. Depth and complexity are
all based on the ability of the writer and artist... not the method by
which they bring you their message.

I can't believe that you would see something like JMS's 'Midnight
Nation' as inferior to some harlequinn romance simply because you view
the format as inherrently less.

I'm not asking you to go out and pick up every book we've talked about
here, simply not to discount the format until you've experienced what
it has to offer.


Wendy of NJ

unread,
Feb 11, 2004, 9:30:45 PM2/11/04
to
On Wed, 11 Feb 2004 01:49:02 +0000 (UTC), "Mac Breck"
<macthe...@yahoo.com> wrote:

>"Rob Perkins" <rob_p...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
>news:fn3d209nq1iufj2ds...@4ax.com...
>> Psico...@hotmail.com (Jeffrey Gustafson) wrote:
>>
>> >Could it
>> >be worse than Legend of the Rangers (can anything be
>worse than
>> >that?)?
>>
>> The most recent Star Trek movie?
>
>No. I enjoyed the most recent Star Trek movie more than "To
>Live and Die in Starlight" (TLaDiS), but that's probably
>because I don't expect much from Trek. With TLaDiS, I
>expected B5/Crusade level stuff and got Trek level stuff.
>Come to think of it, JMS was supposedly at a low ebb (tired,
>burned out[1]) when he was doing Crusade, yet TLaDiS doesn't
>seem *nearly* as strong as Crusade to me. I can re-watch
>any Crusade episode, even "War Zone," "Visitors from Down
>the Street" and "Ruling from the Tomb," but I have this
>aversion to re-watching TLaDiS. I mean, right now, this has
>caused me to think of some Crusade episodes, and now I want
>to go pop them in the DVD player (I transferred my SVHS
>recordings to DVD.). This desire of mine to re-watch,
>doesn't happen with TLaDiS.

That may have to do with the casting. The only reason I'd watch TLaDiS
again is to see Andreas. Everyone else is completely forgettable.
Not so with Crusade. Crusade made me go watch more Gary Cole stuff
(although I haven't got enough intestinal fortitude to watch the Brady
Bunch Movie). Crusade had great characters that interacted well with
each other, from the first episode. TLaDiS just - didn't.

Iain Clark

unread,
Feb 11, 2004, 9:30:55 PM2/11/04
to
On Wed, 11 Feb 2004 01:48:25 +0000 (UTC), "Brian Hulett"
<edi...@thewinningdrive.com> wrote:

>> You should pick up the collection of jms' Midnight Nation. Seriously.
>> It's a realistically drawn, modern day story about real people (and
>> horror, hope and purpose), and it's a million miles away from stupid
>> juvenile superhero comics.
>>
>Thanks, you make a good case for giving it a try, but I guess basically my
>real problem with getting into "graphic novels" or "comics" or whatever, now
>that this thread has made me really examine why I feel this way about them,
>is that I have a tremendous love of words. When reading I prefer to let my
>imagination draw the images.

I agree, although it's worth remembering that a good comic is not just
a film on paper. The brain puts in a lot more imagination into
reading a comic than watching a film.

For example, the panels in a comic have no inherent speed. The reader
controls how quickly or slowly they flow. Movement is inferred from
still images. As with a book, the reader provides the acting
performances, the sounds, the movement, the pacing. Many of the most
important moments happen in the imagination of the reader, between the
panels rather than in them.

Comics are strange in that they're somewhere between a book and film,
but they also have unique properties.

Hey, I've gone all evangelical. :-)

> That may seem a dichotomy, since I've been a
>TV and movie viewer (to varying degrees) for decades, and I've always
>enjoyed that, but the reading process, to me, is quite different. I can't
>grasp the concept of drawings being a major part of my reading. I could
>compare it to my love for playing a round of golf while I have never even
>tried a computer golf game because it's *so* not golf. To me, in the same
>way, a "graphic novel" or "comic" is *so* not reading.

I can understand that. I do agree that the worst comics are hardly
"reading" at all. More like the level of attention you need to browse
a cheap magazine! However, there's nothing about the medium that
inherently excludes language. jms' style of narration for example,
is good language, and comics depend on the written word.

At the same time, a comic by definition has to be more than words.
The good writers know when to let loose with the verbiage, and when to
sit back and let the pictures speak a thousand words. The best comics
have a kind of alchemy in the way they combine eloquent language with
telling images.

(It's something jms didn't do very well when he first started to write
comics IMO, but has picked up very well.)

Iain
--
"Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion,
by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense."

Jay E. Morris

unread,
Feb 11, 2004, 9:31:25 PM2/11/04
to
In message <T20Wb.5010$PY....@newssvr26.news.prodigy.com>, "David Williams"
<kos...@sbcglobal.net> wrote:
>
>
....

> You just have to read it.
> Trust us.
> Oh, and if it makes you feel better, you don't have to search out all the
> back issues of the comic. You can buy the whole story contained in one
> graphic novel. Just got mine out and noticed that (strangely) it says
> "Volume 1" on the spine. There is ONLY one volume.
>
...

It was done by the same guy that creates the "first annual" events.

--
Jay E. Morris - morrisj at epsilon3 com
Posted with Ink Spot (for Windows CE) from DejaVu Software, Inc.
Usenet wherever you are - http://www.dejavusoftware.com/


Laura Appelbaum

unread,
Feb 12, 2004, 7:41:23 AM2/12/04
to
"Graeme Kingston" <g.kin...@btinternet.com> wrote in message
news:c06avn$3jb$1...@sparta.btinternet.com...

> "Jeffrey Gustafson" <Psico...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:4ddedcc5.04020...@posting.google.com...
>
> >Snip<
> > Legend of the Rangers is something that I often try to forget... From
> > a success stand-point, it had bad luck being placed opposite the NFL
> > playoffs. In addition, it was just plain awful -- honestly truly
> > abmismal, maybe because JMS was given so little time by Sci-Fi to
> > throw together a new B5 show. In any event, I personally do not
> > lament its loss the same way many of us do Crusdade. Like I said, I
> > just try to forget about it.
> > Snip<
>
> I still reckon some here are way too hard on Legend of the Rangers and
give
> JMS way too little credit. There was much to enjoy about that pilot.

I'm glad that you felt that way; because at my house, we were torn between
dismay and embarrasment. And whatever you call it when you can't stop
laughing at something because it's so bad it hurts.

How
> many times has he suckered us in the past about where a plot was going
only
> to reveal something far greater? It would've developed as B5 did from the
> its original pilot. And how many of us really liked The Gathering,
> especially in its first incarnation?
>

I did. It was slow -- in that first incarnation -- but it never made me
cringe -- in fact, it sent me online (for the first time in my life) to find
out when the series was going to begin.

LMA


Andrew Swallow

unread,
Feb 12, 2004, 8:19:30 AM2/12/04
to
"Joseph DeMartino" <jdem...@bellsouth.net> wrote in message
news:XKrWb.17076$Ch.1...@bignews6.bellsouth.net...
[snip]

> *Gasp*! You're *right*! And that explains why there has never been any
> great writing for television or the movies or the stage. Because *great*
> writing can only can only come in the form of text between covers. Quick,
> somebody tell JMS to stop wasting his time with this drama nonsense and
get
> back to work writing books.
>

WRITING! It will not last. *Real* Druids and Minstrels learn the
ballads off by heart and every line rhymes. <g>

Andrew Swallow


Eliyahu Rooff

unread,
Feb 12, 2004, 8:19:29 AM2/12/04
to

"Laura Appelbaum" <l-app...@mindspring.com> wrote in message
news:102j7ji...@corp.supernews.com...
>
>
> Can you tell a story in a graphic novel? Sure. Can you raise some
> interesting issues, I'm quite certain it can and has been done. But
can you
> compare that to what someone truly talented can do in an actual
*book*? No.
> It's like comparing a five-course meal with fast food. They'll both
fill
> you up, but the depth and complexity of one cannot be honestly
compared to
> the efficiency and convenience of the other.
>
This brings to mind the episode of Red Dwarf where Kryton finds Lister
reading the "Classics Illustrated Comics" version of The Iliad. IIRC,
Kryton's comments on perusing the comic were along the line of, "Hmmm.
Let me see... [reading from the comic] 'Slash! Chop! Die, Greek scum!'
... Yep. Pretty close to the original text." :-)

Eliyahu

Pelzo63

unread,
Feb 12, 2004, 8:19:30 AM2/12/04
to
gtopie wrote:

<< . But can you really argue the Graphic Novel's depth if
you never picked up Moore, Gaiman, or Itto?
>>

well, i have to be honest, i haven't found them yet, but i do read joe. so i'm
not sure what other things gaiman et al have found to do in graphic novels, but
i can tell you one of the things that GN's do much better than prose or film
have ever done, and this is usually evident in any GN penned by anyone with a
high skill level.

that "one thing"(that i can think of) is the ability to portray large groups of
people in varying and moving ways, in a very short time. invariably, when
prose attempts to depict the reactions of a large # of people(above say....15)
to a single event, it either becomes tedious if they try to describe everyone's
actions/reactions, as in "and joe had x look, while jen had y expression, while
steve reacted with z" etc etc, or it becomes too general, when they simply say
"somee people were shocked, some amazed, some horrified" etc. when film
attempts to show similar reactions, it either ends up looking too general, with
wide camera shots of many people all reacting the same way(how many extras are
given any direction individually in crowd scenes? having been one, i can say
i've never seen any it occur, everyone is told "you're
frightened/scared/excited/happy/etc"), or it ends up looking stilted and
trite(see the end of the movie "volcano" for the mot obvious example). though
some films have gotten it right here and there, it's truly hit and miss, and
takes a good directorial eye to make it look right.

on the other hand, a simple look at the 9/11 issue of spiderman shows this
strength of GN's in a strong way, the issue is filled with drawings of dozens
of people, and each face has a different expression, and a different sense of
fear, or resolve, or anger. each face tellls it's own story, and the reader
can choose to look at that story, or just continue on. you get out of it, what
you invest, and those "thousand words" must be searched out of each picture,
instead of being given to you on a silver platter. it's a lot like poetry,
where much of the message isn't in the words that are spoken, but in the subtle
meaning between those words, and the choice to place those words exactly where
they are.

...Chris, a poet.
People like you make me want to access your brain, and type rm -r -f /

Jan

unread,
Feb 12, 2004, 8:19:30 AM2/12/04
to
Laura Appelbaum wrote:

>But surely you've noticed that outside of the science
>fiction/fantasy community (and in Japan, where the culture and the whole
>relationship to literacy and images is entirely different from here in the
>west), you're not likely to come upon too many adults who disagree with
>Brian -- or for that matter, with me, on this one.

Yeah...true. But this *is* a science fiction community. ;-)

>And has it never
>occurred to you that there might be a *reason* for that, which isn't just a
>knee-jerk prejudice against "kid stuff" but an appreciation of truly
>great -- and in-depth -- *writing* that is only possible in an essay or a
>novel or a book? Every time this argument comes up around here, I wonder
>when the last time it was that the ardent, defensive and often
>self-righteous defenders of the Great Graphic Novel (not necessary or
>specifically you; any of the folks who've weighed in over the years on this
>one) -- read an actual work of literature or a masterful piece of prose with
>say, three hundred or more pages of words.

Well, in my case, I read 'real' books of 300-1000 pages regularly (aside from
the fact that my initial response was to Brians's comment about having
'outgrown comics before he hit puberty). I don't, however insist that
everything I read be Masterful or Literature. I just like a good story with
characters I can care what happens to. What other reason is there for reading
fiction? By your logic, the short story is to be avoided, too.

<<But can you compare that to what someone truly talented can do in an actual
*book*? No.>>

Why would you want to? Perhaps *you* should wonder if that verbose author who
wrote the Great Novel you're reading could get the essence of the story
distilled enough to go into a comic series? <g>

>It's like comparing a five-course meal with fast food. They'll both fill
>you up, but the depth and complexity of one cannot be honestly compared to
>the efficiency and convenience of the other.

You seem to be thinking that one would read comics/graphic novels because it's
easier, takes less effort or thought and the form belongs to prepubescent kids
who *need* pictures for when they don't understand the words and that's not it
at all.

Most of the time I try to avoid a "you shouldn't have an opinion unless you've
tried it" attitude, but I'm making an exception in this case because of the
disdain often expressed by the non-comics posters. You have no right to an
opinion about a form that you've refused to even sample. *After* you've read a
reasonable sampling of an adult title (the oft suggested Midnight Nation, for
instance) and come back and say that it's not to your taste, then there might
be a discussion. Till then, all you're expressing are snobbish attitudes and
uninformed prejudice.

Jan

Aisling Willow Grey

unread,
Feb 12, 2004, 9:57:29 AM2/12/04
to
>>On Tue, 10 Feb 2004 20:45:44 -0500, Jeffrey Gustafson wrote
(in message <4ddedcc5.04021...@posting.google.com>):
>
> Exactly. It happened with Trek - too many movies, too many series.
> TNG was a fine show, and aside from the obvious co-opting of JMS's
> work, so was DS9. Then it went downhill. We've seen a similar
> pattern in B5 already, though that is unfair to Crusade because its
> cancellation was outside its control. But there are pretty good
> reasons B5LR didn't become a series, (and ratings had little to do
> with it, I believe. I could be wading through choppy water here, but
> don't forget that "To Live And Die In Starlight" was originally slated
> to air in September. It was done by then, so why shelve it? Entirely
> baseless speculation here, but if Sci-Fi thought it was any good
> (which I wouldn't if I were them), they would've aired it as
> originally scheduled or two months later during sweeps. Not in the
> nether-zone of January opposite the NFL Playoffs.) <<

Whether or not something is "good" (a subjective assessment at best) has very
little impact on whether or not a cable network will air something. Business
decisions aren't generally made like that, and the entertainment industry is
a _business_.

Aisling

Aisling Willow Grey

unread,
Feb 12, 2004, 9:57:29 AM2/12/04
to
>>On Wed, 11 Feb 2004 0:37:23 -0500, Laura Appelbaum wrote
(in message <102j7ji...@corp.supernews.com>):

I wouldn't compare a graphic novel to a book. Instead, I would compare it to
a film or a television program. In many cases, I find graphic novels to be
richer than either of those, because, as with the case of
books-compared-to-movies/tv, graphic novels allow for more use of your
imagination.

And, unlike a book but _like_ a movie, or a tv show, or even a _painting_,
graphic novels can use the visual medium to express something _instead_ of
words in certain passages. And if you don't think the visual medium can be a
powerful way of conveying ideas, I give you the scene in G'Kar's cell on
Centauri Prime in which he has just cut the deal with Mollari to help dispose
of Cartagia, and the light shines in on him. Among many other such scenes in
_many_ films/tv programs.

And, for the record, I read plenty of books, all the time. I'm in the middle
of an 800-page one right now.

Aisling

Aisling Willow Grey

unread,
Feb 12, 2004, 9:57:29 AM2/12/04
to
>>On Tue, 10 Feb 2004 20:49:01 -0500, Jan wrote
(in message <20040208165349...@mb-m01.aol.com>):

> Brian Hulett wrote:
>
>> I will never understand this. Can someone tell me why "Legend of the
>> Rangers" is viewed by some as an ugly stepchild?
>
> That's been asked many times but few real details have come forth. I think
> it's the 'if I don't like one thing, then the *whole thing* stinks'
> phenomenon.<<

Just putting in my oar here in the "I didn't hate LotR:TLaDiS" camp.

Sure, there were some things about it I wish weren't there, or could be
changed, but it was a _pilot_, ferchrissakes. There are some strong
complaints about The Gathering, too, but do you even want to imagine a world
in which we didn't get the next five years of _that_ story??

We'll never know what we lost with the failure of Rangers, and I'm pretty sad
about that. Same with Crusade. Fingers crossed that the third time's the
charm (i.e. that whatever comes out next has a chance of becoming, or
spawning, another B5 series). And, that G'Kar is in whatever it is!!! :-)

Aisling

Mac Breck

unread,
Feb 13, 2004, 7:43:10 AM2/13/04
to
"Wendy of NJ" <voxw...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:5nuk20lv2d1kqcqe8...@4ax.com...

Pretty much, except for Na'Feel (who seemed to have some of
Na'Toth's ol' spark<G>) and Dulann. David seemed a bit too
"Leave It To Beaver"-ish to me. He looked too young, fresh
faced and inexperienced to pull off what he was doing.
Maybe if they would have weathered him a bit, it might have
worked. I dunno.


> (although I haven't got enough intestinal fortitude to
watch the Brady
> Bunch Movie).

Me either!


> Crusade had great characters that interacted well with
> each other, from the first episode. TLaDiS just - didn't.

That's certainly one of the major attractions of Crusade. It
had a bunch of strong, seasoned professional,
multidimensional characters (Eilerson, Gideon, Galen,
Dureena, Matheson). In the case of Legend of the Rangers,
the age and experience level of most of the characters, and
the length of time we got to see the characters, worked
against it.

Man, do I ever want to see more of Crusade!

Mac Breck

unread,
Feb 13, 2004, 7:43:30 AM2/13/04
to
"Laura Appelbaum" <l-app...@mindspring.com> wrote in
message news:102j7qb...@corp.supernews.com...

The only parts of "The Gathering" that brought me close to
cringing were:

The "pong" sounds of the weaponry.

The "Zoo" scene.

and

Sinclair wildly (over the top) looking back at the camera,
1/2 second before he'd get jumped, every time.


The Rangers pilot had many more cringe worthy moments that
were much longer in duration.

Laura Appelbaum

unread,
Feb 13, 2004, 7:44:51 AM2/13/04
to
"Opie301" <gtop...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:b2aa14e1.04021...@posting.google.com...

>
> > Can you tell a story in a graphic novel? Sure. Can you raise some
> > interesting issues, I'm quite certain it can and has been done. But can
you
> > compare that to what someone truly talented can do in an actual *book*?
No.
> > It's like comparing a five-course meal with fast food. They'll both
fill
> > you up, but the depth and complexity of one cannot be honestly compared
to
> > the efficiency and convenience of the other.
>
> This seems to be a close-minded, and rather elitist, point of view.

If it's "elitist" to love an in-depth exploration of a topic in words, to
love just the pure beauty of a well-crafted sentence or paragraph, then
guilty as charged. :Shrug:

> Would you lump movies and television into the fast food category of
> your analogy?

No, most of what's on tv and in the movies these days is more like the
scrapings out of the bottom of a Dumpster. Occasionally there's a good
snack on, and you might even find a rare meal in the theatre, but this
happens less and less all the time. I am *far* from alone in that
conclusion about the sad state of visual media today.

TV, Film, and Comics all use the same basic format of
> images and dialogue to tell their stories. Depth and complexity are
> all based on the ability of the writer and artist... not the method by
> which they bring you their message.

To some degree, yes. But any artist can tell you that if you're going to
choose a media in which to try to create a work of art that might someday
hang in the halls of the world's great museums and be recognized by millions
as a truly outstanding piece that speaks across the ages, you'll want to
work on the best canvas, with the best paints you can possibly afford. When
you use lesser or inferior materials, no matter how fantastic a visionary
you are, you are inherently limiting the final nature of the final product.
If you chose to try to relate let's say, your understanding of some of the
great philosophical questions of life to what, 100 pages of squares and
rectangles filled with ink drawings that will be reproduced using the simple
screen-printing method and the few sparce words you can fit into those
spaces, you can't possibly do justice to the topic the way you might with
the almost unlimited number of words and the unlimited number of images you
can conjure up in your reader's minds in a book.


>
> I can't believe that you would see something like JMS's 'Midnight
> Nation' as inferior to some harlequinn romance simply because you view
> the format as inherrently less.
>

Harlequinn romance? Is that what you think I'm talking about when I talk
about great literature and great prose? If so, you clearly need to get out
more -- and *read.* As for "Midnight Nation" specifically, I have nothing
to say; haven't read it.

> I'm not asking you to go out and pick up every book we've talked about
> here, simply not to discount the format until you've experienced what
> it has to offer.
>

What makes you think I'm so unfamiliar with the medium of which you speak?
As I said in my initial post, this is *precisely* the inevitable argument
that gets hauled out everytime this topic comes up -- "clearly" anyone who
thinks graphic novels are not worth their time hasn't read any. For your
information, I recently read read all of Miyazaki's "Naussica" (which
actually bears almost no resemblance to the movie of the same name). It was
huge. It took him 12 years to complete. It was a herculean effort, no
question. But ultimately, as a "novel," even as a coherent story, it was
unimpressive and disjointed at best. Was it a good way to waste a weekend
when I was "between books"? Sure; it was no worse than staring at junk on
TV all day; and sometimes all you *want* to do is stare at the TV all day.
But is it something I personally would recommend other grown adults do on a
regular basis? Not when there are literally a thousand books I could
suggest they read instead.

LMA


Graeme Kingston

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Feb 13, 2004, 7:46:32 AM2/13/04
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"Laura Appelbaum" <l-app...@mindspring.com> wrote in message
news:102j7qb...@corp.supernews.com...
> "Graeme Kingston" <g.kin...@btinternet.com> wrote in message
> news:c06avn$3jb$1...@sparta.btinternet.com...
> > "Jeffrey Gustafson" <Psico...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
> > news:4ddedcc5.04020...@posting.google.com...
> >
> > >Snip<
> > > Legend of the Rangers is something that I often try to forget... From
> > > a success stand-point, it had bad luck being placed opposite the NFL
> > > playoffs. In addition, it was just plain awful -- honestly truly
> > > abmismal, maybe because JMS was given so little time by Sci-Fi to
> > > throw together a new B5 show. In any event, I personally do not
> > > lament its loss the same way many of us do Crusdade. Like I said, I
> > > just try to forget about it.
> > > Snip<
> >
> > I still reckon some here are way too hard on Legend of the Rangers and
> give
> > JMS way too little credit. There was much to enjoy about that pilot.
>
> I'm glad that you felt that way; because at my house, we were torn between
> dismay and embarrasment. And whatever you call it when you can't stop
> laughing at something because it's so bad it hurts.
>

OK, passion indeed! :-)

What I liked about TLaDiS (it's been a while since a saw it, so please
forgive any memory lapses):

1) Dulann and David's relationship - a *real* gem, IMO.
2) G'Kar (as always)
3) Each and every crew character, including the ship itself. All deftly
drawn in a short time.
4) Much of the dialogue was clever and witty

What people seemed to hate about it (all things explainable or fixable if it
had gone to series, IMO):

1) Weapons control system? (some were able to justify it anyway - it could
have been dropped, decomissioned, was it a prototype?)
2) The apparent over-acting and aggression of the weapons woman (I think she
has a history that would've explained that - a rough background was hinted
at - she has a lot of anger, and the history would've been revealed if a
series had followed)
3) Bad, inconsistent CGI (fixable)
4) Insistence on the Ranger creed. Hmm. I see the point, but still
tweakable, since they'd learn from David's experience. And this was
action/adventure rather than drama.

Technicalities or explainable. A series would have been good in my
estimation.

Graeme


Vorlonagent

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Feb 13, 2004, 7:47:12 AM2/13/04
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> >> I will never understand this. Can someone tell me why "Legend of the
> >> Rangers" is viewed by some as an ugly stepchild?
> >
> > That's been asked many times but few real details have come forth. I
think
> > it's the 'if I don't like one thing, then the *whole thing* stinks'
> > phenomenon.<<
>
> We'll never know what we lost with the failure of Rangers, and I'm pretty
sad
> about that. Same with Crusade. Fingers crossed that the third time's the
> charm (i.e. that whatever comes out next has a chance of becoming, or
> spawning, another B5 series). And, that G'Kar is in whatever it is!!!
:-)

I think most of us will agree that Legend of the Rangers was not JMS' finest
hour (2 hours?).

I won't go into my personal reasons why because they aren't strictly
relevant.

That's the thing for me. I know JMS can do better--lots better--than what
I'm seeing, and I am disappointed by this. If the episode or movie is
sufficiciently bad--and "Legend" was--I get frustrated.

Anyway, that's why *I* have little good to say about Legend of the Rangers.
Or the first-run of Crusade's season 1.

--
Vorlonagent

"Methane martini.
Shaken, not sitrred."


Mac Breck

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Feb 13, 2004, 8:02:25 AM2/13/04
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"Vorlonagent" <jNOt...@otfresno.com> wrote in message
news:Caudna3vWMU...@sti.net...

> That's the thing for me. I know JMS can do better--lots
better--than what
> I'm seeing, and I am disappointed by this. If the episode
or movie is
> sufficiciently bad--and "Legend" was--I get frustrated.
>
> Anyway, that's why *I* have little good to say about
Legend of the Rangers.
> Or the first-run of Crusade's season 1.

"or the first run of" ? Referring to TNT's botched order?

David Williams

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Feb 13, 2004, 8:01:08 PM2/13/04
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"Laura Appelbaum" <l-app...@mindspring.com> wrote in message
news:102m454...@corp.supernews.com...

> more -- and *read.* As for "Midnight Nation" specifically, I have nothing
> to say; haven't read it.

If you remember, jms himself has remarked in this very group that it is one
of the best things he's ever written, and one of the things he's most proud
of. I've note read EVERYTHING he's ever done, but as far as I can see,
he's right. So, again, I highly suggest you do get MN and read it. It
opened my eyes to the possibilities of a medium that I myself used to
relegate to geeks and adolescent mind-sets.

Let me try to put it another way...
There are story-telling, mood-conveying, and meaning-imparting techniques
that a graphic depiction of a story can employ, which plain written text can
not (and vice-versa, but noone is arguing that).
E.g. many of the great film-makers will tell you that learning to use
Silence in a film is very important. (It is *similar*, but definitely not
the *same* as "negative space" in a painting.)
Well, it's nearly impossible to create Silence in the written text, because
the text on the page just goes on and on. So, unless you make a point of
STOPPING every sentence or two in your reading to ponder what you've read,
some important moments can slip by you. (I've had personally had the
experience of reading truly great novels over and over again, catching
things I missed the first read through.) Graphic novels OTOH can offer
panels, or whole pages where the characters say and do nothing. But a great
deal is conveyed through the artwork.

That's just one example.
An example of a benefit that the graphic novel has over, say film is it's
static nature. In film, the story moves along at a certain pace. But, in a
really good film, no matter how well-edited it is, there are always moments
you wish could linger just a little bit longer. In the static format of the
graphic novel, you can pace your viewing of the images however you like.

Of course, having said all that, the graphic novel is no different than any
other medium - Who was it? - Someone was once quoted here as saying that 90%
of it may be crap, but then 90% of EVERYTHING is crap. You gotta' look for
the good stuff.

Midnight Nation is not just some of the good stuff, it is GREAT stuff.

Regards,
-David W.

Vorlonagent

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Feb 13, 2004, 8:01:39 PM2/13/04
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> If it's "elitist" to love an in-depth exploration of a topic in words, to
> love just the pure beauty of a well-crafted sentence or paragraph, then
> guilty as charged. :Shrug:

No. That's not elitism.

Elitism is loving "just the pure beauty of a well-crafted sentence or
paragraph" to the point that you look down on other related forms (such as
comics) as inferior.

Vorlonagent

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Feb 13, 2004, 8:01:59 PM2/13/04
to
> > That's the thing for me. I know JMS can do better--lots
> better--than what
> > I'm seeing, and I am disappointed by this. If the episode
> or movie is
> > sufficiciently bad--and "Legend" was--I get frustrated.
> >
> > Anyway, that's why *I* have little good to say about
> Legend of the Rangers.
> > Or the first-run of Crusade's season 1.
>
> "or the first run of" ? Referring to TNT's botched order?

Yup. The ones that TNT showed second weren't the best. The ones shown first
were better.

I thought I had heard that the second set of episodes were actually taped
first (JMS reportedly wanted to "hit the ground running") but people here
(Joe in particular) took issue with this view. I won't dredge up the
discussion.

Joseph DeMartino

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Feb 13, 2004, 8:02:50 PM2/13/04
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> If it's "elitist" to love an in-depth exploration of a topic in words, to
> love just the pure beauty of a well-crafted sentence or paragraph, then
> guilty as charged. :Shrug:

LOL! My goodness you *do* think *well* of yourself, don't you?

Newsflash, O Elite One. People who like graphic novels are *also* capable
of loving "an in-depth exploration of a topic in words, to love just the
pure beauty of a well-crafted sentence or paragraph." *Many* of them do.
*Some* of them are even better read and educated than yourself. Such
elevated emotions are *not* the exclusive possessions of intellectual snobs
such as yourself. In fact, the people who can love novels and essays as
much as you *and* love plays, movies, television and graphic story-telling
are arguably much less intellectually narrow than you, who can only
appreciate stories told in certain physical forms.


> To some degree, yes. But any artist can tell you ...

<snippage of much artistic blather that totally misses the point >

You're thinking of the "artwork" in a graphic novel as pictures that are
added to the words, and whose primary purpose is to *be* single pictures -
in effect you view them as "failed paintings"