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Old May 20th 09, 04:16   #11
Jade Jaguar
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Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?

Yes, I realize Lynch didn't have things planned out nearly as clearly as JMS, but I think he had some of the gist of it, as you admit, Bob being an example. Understand, I'm not claiming TP rivals B5 in arc-iness, but apart from daytime soaps, it was about as close a forerunner as there was. Well, okay, there was Rocky and Bullwinkle, and they had some many episode stories, and of course, the serials of the 30s - 50s, so all these could be considered in some sense forerunners, but none are equals.
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Old May 20th 09, 05:12   #12
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Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?

I think probably the most coherent narrative ever was Tolkien, and that by accident -- he wrote LotR as one book. Even he had to retcon bits of the Hobbit (and then alter that work when he republished it -- yes, folks, he changed the book 20 years later!) to make it match.

The good TV series that do this go season by season now -- Whedon's shows and the aforementioned Wire -- because there's too much risk of getting canceled and aborting the whole plot. That said, the better ones are so good at continuity that it seems like it was all planned out from the start.
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Old May 20th 09, 17:48   #13
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Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?

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I think probably the most coherent narrative ever was Tolkien, and that by accident
Omg I always thought of Tolkein as the worst example, given what one of my college english professors told me about him... He said he just wrote bit by bit. He got up to the introduction of Aragorn and had absolutely no idea where the story was going--no plan whatsoever--and a friend writer had told him that when you have nowhere to go, you just throw in a dark brooding character and go from there, so that's what he did! Tolkein actually said of Lord of the Rings "It's only a story" or "It's just a story" or something, about the people who would write theses analyzing its involved structure and depth and themes, he was amused that people got that much out of it since he didn't put all that into it.
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Old May 20th 09, 18:21   #14
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Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?

Thank you SO MUCH for your replies guys... I'm gonna check out some of your examples, but then again, I'd kinda have to watch/read the entire things to get the feel of a story arc so mabye not... I'll definitely wikipedia them, though =)

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The very nature of the TV and movie business makes it near-impossible to craft such a novel-like story, that's why B5 is such an exception.
That's what I'm trying to do, I'm trying to do something exceptional. It's a lot easier with prose because I can just sit and home and plan things out so I have a better chance, except I'm also ADD and a webmaster, so I feel the instinct to just throw up whatever crap I have on the internet whenever I'm done with a chapter, so now it's becoming like an online novel I guess. My idea is not only to be structured, but to be nonlinear, Books that you can read in many multiple orders (even any order) or even chapters you can re-arrange, to make different alternate story lines and different approaches to the over all world. I'm trying for seven books that cover one cycle of the known universe (imagine a septagon where you can start with any book and go around the circle, or just follow a path randomly through the books, and it creates a full story any way you go), with enough of a structure even beyond that planned that if my series turns into 800 books like discworld, they'll be extremely structured (if not fully planned) given the over all template and fit together like puzzle pieces. I want to just write all seven before publishing anything but I'm the last person on Earth with that kind of patience. I think I have Douglas Adams ADHD brain... I've put it online at http://frangles.com if you want to see what I've done so far.

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DS9, I believe the Special Features on the DVD tell us the plotting was done 1-2 seasons in advance for the first half of the series and 2-3 seasons in advance towards the end, so, while changing gears, they did aim for a specific direction, but, still flying by the seat of their pants to a greater degree than B5.
Yah my dad was like "oh look, they're trying to squeeze a little smigen of structure into DS9's last dying hours as a tribute to B5 where they stole the idea from... isn't that cute!" Incidentally, did anyone think the final climax was the biggest let down in sci-fi history? (spoiler alert). The final act of the greatest starfleet bajoran prophet of the galaxy was to essentially push the bad guy off a cliff. Something no one else alive could have done... Oh, oops, sorry, didn't see that pit of convenient deus ex machina fire there, maybe you should have been minding the gap.

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Yes, Arc'd sseries cancelled before their story is done, is extremely frustrating
That's the benefit of prose=). It's also the benefit of my nonlinear idea, because if you read three books, you get a semi-conclusive story because any one is deisgned to be the ending book. I was even thinking having this arranged where you could click around in lots of complex ways online and read stuff you could never print in a book because the permutations would take up millions of pages...

Again thanks so much for your references I'll check them out...

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Old May 20th 09, 18:34   #15
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Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?

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Omg I always thought of Tolkein as the worst example, given what one of my college english professors told me about him... He said he just wrote bit by bit. He got up to the introduction of Aragorn and had absolutely no idea where the story was going--no plan whatsoever--and a friend writer had told him that when you have nowhere to go, you just throw in a dark brooding character and go from there, so that's what he did! Tolkein actually said of Lord of the Rings "It's only a story" or "It's just a story" or something, about the people who would write theses analyzing its involved structure and depth and themes, he was amused that people got that much out of it since he didn't put all that into it.
Read Tom Shippey's book "Tolkien, Author of the Century," and you'll find that you're both wrong and right about this...
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Old May 21st 09, 19:29   #16
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Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?

First off B5 wasn't stretched a full season so much as half of a season due to the possible cancellation after S4.

We would have had Intersections in Real Time as the cliffhanger with an early S5 resolution to the civil war.

This would have given us less telepath arc but still left "the good stuff" at the end of S5 involving Centari Prime - which was planned out all long to take place after the main arc IIRC.



As far as Twin Peaks, after watching this entire series I'm pretty sure David Lynch just put shit in his show just because... and I get the distinct impression that he was just building on past crap in an attempt to give the illusion of a coherent thought process.



Trying to think of plans for shows that truly had a master plan the way B5 did... I can't seem to find anything that planned more than a season or so in advance. I'm trying to find information about how The Shield was written and how much planning went into the overall arc of that show... but I can't seem to find much.
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Old May 21st 09, 19:34   #17
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Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?

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First off B5 wasn't stretched a full season so much as half of a season due to the possible cancellation after S4.

We would have had Intersections in Real Time as the cliffhanger with an early S5 resolution to the civil war.

This would have given us less telepath arc but still left "the good stuff" at the end of S5 involving Centari Prime - which was planned out all long to take place after the main arc IIRC.
I'm not so sure about a shorter telepath arc, from what I understand everything still would've been there (except the one episode that ended up as the S4 ender, Deconstruction of Falling Stars), but, as you say the Civil war would've spilled over into S5, but, in addition to that, I believe the Telepath arc, wouldn't have been shortened, it merely would've started early ( with arrivals starting at the end of S4), so there was a smoother transition between the seasons
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Old May 21st 09, 21:43   #18
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Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?

An anime series called Fullmetal Alchemist is one long story over 4 seasons. It's similar narrative structure to babylon 5 and the way it makes you feel for it's characters is what drew me to the show. It's the only anime and/or japanese show I have ever seen and I loved it.

The Dune books and Asimov's Robot, Empire and Foundation books are distantly similar as they are multi book stories but they deal with a large amount of time and cover many stories of a similar theme from many perspectives.
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Old May 22nd 09, 15:57   #19
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Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?

Plenty of books do - perhaps not in the same scope, but definitely in spirit. I don't really think any other TV series quite does it the same - I wouldn't count Star Trek DS9 because it's kind of a b5 rip off.

Movies are on a very different scale, so it's very difficult to create detailed and longer stories in said medium.
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Old May 22nd 09, 18:53   #20
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Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?

Would "Jericho" count as pre-planned? The writers sure seemed to know where they where going. Had it not been aborted I think Firefly would count as well, after seeing Serenity I do get the impression of long term planning.
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