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Thread: Magic and technology

  1. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by JustRob View Post
    the main TV series failed because it was incredibly ambitious.
    By what metric did B5 fail? By just about any sensible metric (viewers, revenue, cultural legacy) it was a great success. Not as successful as Star Wars or Star Trek, but then they are amongst the most well known stories known to humanity.

    I always thought B5 had that magical sense of awe and wonder blended extremely well with science. For me that was the appeal. But yeah, the spin-offs were truly awful.

  2. #32
    Member Guard Dog's Avatar
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    Another series that managed a fairly decent mix of hard science fiction and magic was Space:1999.

    You can find places to view it scattered across the internet without too much trouble.

    And it's demise was due to the deterioration and collapse of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's relationship and marriage, by all accounts, not for any lack of success with the show its self.


    G.D.
    Leave it be and it won't bother you.
    Screw with it, and it'll eat you alive.

    "The world is not what we wish it to be; it is what it is."
    "Freedom is the value, not protection."

  3. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by epimetheus View Post
    By what metric did B5 fail? By just about any sensible metric (viewers, revenue, cultural legacy) it was a great success. Not as successful as Star Wars or Star Trek, but then they are amongst the most well known stories known to humanity.

    I always thought B5 had that magical sense of awe and wonder blended extremely well with science. For me that was the appeal. But yeah, the spin-offs were truly awful.
    It failed to reach the end of the story. That was its original ambition, to be one story that would genuinely take five years to complete. In contrast Star Trek's "five year mission" was apparently just to keep going on about anything anywhere for five years or however long it could.

    Withdrawal of funding was the first problem to beset B5 and delay production and then the death of Andreas Katsulas, who played the key character G'Kar, made it unimaginable for the series to resume as the central entwined fates of G'Kar and Londo Mollari ran throughout almost the entire story. Although the Shadow War ended in the TV series the consequences of the shadows being expelled weren't entirely covered. In particular the final story of David, son of John Sheridan and Delenn, being saved from the vengeful Drakh was omitted. David's existence and survival was the final statement of union between the humans and Minbari, so a key aspect of the overall story arc. It was covered in Out of The Darkness, the third book in the Legions of Fire trilogy written later by Peter David, which is considered to be canonical as it was based on J. Michael Straczynski's own script notes.

    Had the B5 story run to completion as a TV series then it would have truly been a success, but this failure was through no fault of anyone directly involved, simply the fickle nature of business concerns and human frailty. I have the same problem of course. My solitary story is possibly brilliant in conception but nobody is going to risk publishing a whole trilogy of novels by a novice writer, so I'll never write all of it. Even the story outline is known by almost nobody to judge whether my own suspicions about it are true. Ah well. I have lots else to do anyway, so my story will forever remain fictional.

    P.S.
    I suppose the other shortcoming to sporadic viewers was that one lost a lot of the benefit of the show if one just watched odd episodes rather than following the entire story. One episode of Star Trek or one Star Wars film is reasonable entertainment in itself but B5 placed a lot of emphasis on the long story although there were side stories along the way. Therefore there tend to be outright B5 fans rather than a wider casual acquaintance as happens with those other entertainment stables. For my angel and I to watch it again we bought the Babylon Five; The Complete Universe DVD collection, which contains everything ever produced including the films. Even now I don't think we've watched all the spin-offs in it. I also acquired a second-hand copy of the book Out of The Darkness for completeness.
    Last edited by JustRob; January 12th, 2019 at 04:46 PM.
    'Sharing an experience creates a reality.' Create a new reality today.
    'There has to be some give and take.' If I can take my time I'm willing to give it.
    'The most difficult criticism that a writer has to comprehend is silence.' So speak up.

  4. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by JustRob View Post
    It failed to reach the end of the story.
    Where are you getting you're info from? It ran to the end: Michael Straczynski envisioned a 5 season story arch, and it went the 5 seasons. Andreas Katsulas didn't die until some time after that and G'Kar and Londo's story finished when Londo died. The biggest spanner in the works was actually that Michael O'Hare (Sinclair) withdrew after season one, but Straczynski had written plots for all the main characters should the actor leave. I can't imagine Star Wars surviving without Skywalker or Trek with Picard so kudos to Straczynski for keeping the contunuity, including one of the best time travel stories i've seen in sci fi.

    They also had to rush the end of the civil because they didn't know if season 5 would be funded. The final episode of season 4 was supposed to be the very last episode in the show and it does stick out a bit.

    Haven't read the books though. I'm sure there's lots more in them (I would love to follow G'Kar and Lyta on their voyage to the Rim), but the original series limped to it's conclusion as Straczynski envisioned.

  5. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by epimetheus View Post
    Where are you getting you're info from? It ran to the end: Michael Straczynski envisioned a 5 season story arch, and it went the 5 seasons. Andreas Katsulas didn't die until some time after that and G'Kar and Londo's story finished when Londo died. The biggest spanner in the works was actually that Michael O'Hare (Sinclair) withdrew after season one, but Straczynski had written plots for all the main characters should the actor leave. I can't imagine Star Wars surviving without Skywalker or Trek with Picard so kudos to Straczynski for keeping the contunuity, including one of the best time travel stories i've seen in sci fi.

    They also had to rush the end of the civil because they didn't know if season 5 would be funded. The final episode of season 4 was supposed to be the very last episode in the show and it does stick out a bit.

    Haven't read the books though. I'm sure there's lots more in them (I would love to follow G'Kar and Lyta on their voyage to the Rim), but the original series limped to it's conclusion as Straczynski envisioned.
    Yes, now that you mention it I remember the false ending in series four which messed up the original plan, but I think the problem is that the story had quite a few time shifts which meant that just because a particular scene was shown doesn't mean that everything leading up to it was. Certainly I recollect the urn containing the keeper being given to David, but that part of the story couldn't have been completed within the series because Peter David put it in one of his books and it must have been part of Straczynski's original story line as the book was based on his script notes even though he apparently never wrote the full script. Certainly I recollect that after watching the original broadcast of the series ages ago I wondered what happened to David and didn't find out until we bought the complete DVD set. Hence to my mind the story was never completed on screen even though an ending, more than one even, may have been shown. The books were intended to tie up the loose ends and I doubt that the writer ever intended to leave any. He was too good for that as you say.

    I didn't know that the changeover from Sinclair to Sheridan was a rehash, which proves just how well the writer integrated it into the story. In fact I wonder what the original story line could have been as Sinclair's disappearance from the series seemed to be essential to the plot from the very beginning. If he wasn't going to disappear the way that he did then why did the Minbari call off the war when they met him? It would be very interesting to know that.

    However complete B5 was we clearly both agree that it was brilliant and deserves more recognition than it gets. Maybe one day someone will reboot it as everything else far less deserving seems to have been.

    I was wondering whether any other long running series had actually been a serial spanning a single story arc and thought that perhaps GoT, which my angel and I have never watched, not even a single episode, might be a candidate, but B5 is possibly unique in that it wasn't based on a pre-existing series of books but originally scripted from the outset.

    Returning to the thread subject as we should, B5 certainly had its share of extremely advanced technology that to mere average races seemed like magic. In fact the Vorlons were regarded as supernatural beings for reasons explained in the series. Personally I don't require every aspect of a science fiction story to be explained and I didn't do that in my own solitary novel. In fact I allowed the idea that the central unexplained phenomenon was god-like in nature to prevail throughout the entire trilogy and beyond, it never being explained even though there were allusions to several explanations of it. It was even suggested at one point that praying to it might work and it did seem to, but prayer is itself possibly a predominantly psychological phenomenon, so that didn't prove anything. My story was about each of us having our own model of reality within our minds and terms like "magic", "supernatural" and "advanced technology" being very subjective, so I don't see any big issues here. As has already been said, the key thing is to be consistent. My god-like phenomenon followed rules that I defined behind the scenes; readers didn't need to know what they were though. Do that then; create rules to follow but don't reveal them, then your advanced technology may seem like magic to casual critics.

    On the subject of creating rules, I included a fairy in my later unfinished novel, but not until I had worked out the aerodynamics of fairy flight to my own satisfaction. That changed the anatomy of my fairy from the traditional Victorian style and also solved the problem of how a fairy can sit in a chair without crumpling her wings. She was in fact a very practical fairy, but then she was a woman, so that wasn't surprising. Men can have such impractical fantasies, according to women anyway, I have learned in life ... Ah, I must go now and prepare for Sunday lunch.
    'Sharing an experience creates a reality.' Create a new reality today.
    'There has to be some give and take.' If I can take my time I'm willing to give it.
    'The most difficult criticism that a writer has to comprehend is silence.' So speak up.

  6. #36
    are all faries female...
    The only one who can heal you is you.




  7. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by JustRob View Post
    I didn't know that the changeover from Sinclair to Sheridan was a rehash, which proves just how well the writer integrated it into the story. In fact I wonder what the original story line could have been as Sinclair's disappearance from the series seemed to be essential to the plot from the very beginning. If he wasn't going to disappear the way that he did then why did the Minbari call off the war when they met him? It would be very interesting to know that.
    Sinclair wasn't supposed to become Valen. No idea why the Minbari would stop the war then. Would love to see a reboot, so long as they stuck to Straczynski's vision. But given what they've done to Star Wars and Star Trek, maybe it's best they leave it alone: they are abject lessons in how to take the magic out of a story.



  8. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by escorial View Post
    are all faries female...
    Oberon wasn't. He was King of the fairies in a Shakespeare play (Midsummer Night's Dream, I think, but it might have been another).


  9. #39
    Member Guard Dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Istine View Post
    Oberon wasn't. He was King of the fairies in a Shakespeare play (Midsummer Night's Dream, I think, but it might have been another).
    Phil, you have no idea how much more "Politically Correct" your answer to that question is, than the one that immediately came to my mind.



    G.D.
    Leave it be and it won't bother you.
    Screw with it, and it'll eat you alive.

    "The world is not what we wish it to be; it is what it is."
    "Freedom is the value, not protection."

  10. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Guard Dog View Post
    Phil, you have no idea how much more "Politically Correct" your answer to that question is, than the one that immediately came to my mind.



    G.D.
    Yes I do, because my head is a strange place too


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