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Deja Vu?

One of the problems that B5 had when it first came out, was that many people insisted on comparing it negatively with Deep Space Nine, which actually aired first.

Thus I found it chilling that the reviewer of the rough cut of Rangers said that it "had something of the feel of the original 'Star Trek.'"

Given that Enterprise, also seems to be heading back to Star Trek's roots and since that will air first, is Rangers going to be unfavourably compared to Enterprise when it is finally shown?
Oh, undoubtably!

Yeah, it's a bad timing thing. Most definitely JMS is playing in Trek's backyard now, right down to the racially (and inter-species?) balanced cast.

What's going to separate these two shows (if Rangers goes forward) will be the details. Clearly "Enterprise" is embracing the arc concept to a small degree with the introduction of "Future Guy", although I find this plot point very similar to "Energy Guy" from "Andromeda" who appears to have been involved with the fall of the Commonwealth (I've seen about 4 eps, but that's what I got out of it).

Even starting with concepts assimilar as these two shows: SHIP, SMALL CREW, ACTION ORIENTED, LEANER AND MEANER - there's still a Universe of opportunity out there to differentiation.

In fact, you could say there's TWO Universes out there.

As I mentioned in another post, I just finished reading the entire "Broken Bow" script, and it's good. It should make a very good series premier. Foundation Imaging should have no problem delivering on the special effects, I just pray to God that we have some new musical composers in there. That's integral to giving this show a new feel from it's three immediate precursors.

"Draal gave Zathras list of things not to say. This was one. No, not good. Not supposed to mention 'one'... or 'THE one'... Mmmm. You never heard that."
I have to wonder, though, if the official unveiling of "Enterprise" a few months back has anything to do with SciFi's sudden caution in committing to a "Rangers" series.

They may feel that they'll be getting into a big comparison situation. They might not only be waiting to see how critical and audience response is to Rangers but also how it is to the first 3 or 4 months of "Enterprise" - judging the market, seeing if it can sustain the two, and seeing if Rangers can fill a niche that "Enterprise" doesn't.

For what it's worth, TNT got ballsy and placed Babylon5: Season 5 in the slot opposite Voyager. Voyager moved a few weeks later.

But no, I don't see SciFi trying a similar tactic.

"Draal gave Zathras list of things not to say. This was one. No, not good. Not supposed to mention 'one'... or 'THE one'... Mmmm. You never heard that."
For what it's worth, I don't recall Warner's having any ownership of PTEN. I seem to recall it was more of a banker/borrower situation with Warner financing production costs and PTEN trying to line up Affiliate stations. I know there were a LOT of legal problems that had to be worked out when PTEN declared bankruptcy. It almost killed Babylon 5 because PTEN owned a lot of the rights and the lawyers tied things up.

If Warners had owned a large piece of the network, they had the deep pockets to keep it going.

Instead, we got The Frog.

Yes, I like cats too.
Shall we exchange Recipes?
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by bakana:
For what it's worth, I don't recall Warner's having any ownership of PTEN.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>They owned it together with the stations that aired the PTEN package. <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR>If Warners had owned a large piece of the network, they had the deep pockets to keep it going.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Not when they could have WB Network instead, which was all theirs.
Warner Bros. was an investor in the PTEN consortium, which it saw as a way of launching a network on cheap. All of the PTEN shows had low budgets designed to make sure they either broke even or made a small profit the first time they aired based on ad revenues. In addition to the PTEN partners a number of other stations carried some of all of the PTEN shows. So PTEN wasn't exactly a huge cash drain for Warner Bros. It was made up of independent stations that were going concerns even without the network, and the shows were produced at essentially no cost to the studio.

A couple of things killed PTEN, including some fairly poor shows (Kung Fu: The Legend Continues anyone?) the changing syndication market and the fact that a completely different group within the Warner Bros. empire was bent on launching The WB as a wholly-owned network. As PTEN shows started falling by the wayside and B5 emerged as the sole survivor, The WB flatly refused to consider picking the show up for a fifth season, if I recall correctly, and similarly gave the cold shoulder to Crusade when TNT pulled out. They didn't want to take "leftovers" from PTEN.

It is true that some time was required to untangle the PTEN situation when the network folded, since it shared ownership with Warner Bros. Domestic Television, while parent company Warner Bros. was a partner in PTEN. A lot of it came down to figuring out how much Warner Bros. owed itself and how to make the inter-divisional books balance.

This oddly prefigured the post-Crusade situation when TNT breached its contract (it had ordered 22 episodes) and Warner Bros. briefly considered suing. Then someone further up in the Time-Warner Food Chain realized that the parent company would ultimately be paying the lawyers on both sides of the case, and Warner Bros. quietly dropped the idea (which TNT doubtless counted on.)



Joseph DeMartino
Sigh Corps
Pat Tallman Division

There will probably be a bit of this, but the situations aren't really similar.

When B5 and DS9 were both starting up they were often directly competing for timeslots on local TV stations around the country. Even where there were stations the could take both shows, Paramount tried to make sure that they took only one - DS9.

Don't forget, PTEN was Warner Bros. first attempt at putting together a television network. Paramount had similar ambitions: the first Trek feature film started life as the pilot for a new Trek series that would be the flagship show of the new Paramount network. (The project fell through and wasn't finally realized until nearly 20 years later with the launch of Voyager and UPN.)

Paramount didn't want Warner Bros. getting into the network business before they did. Paramount didn't want any other space-based SF shows on the air, since they believed that this "dilluted" the value of their franchise. (Yeah, like all those outer space novels have ruined the market for Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov, and all the fantasy fiction has killed sales for The Lord of the Rings. Right.) There is also the fact that there is serious personal animosity between the upper levels of management at the two studios.

So Paramount had every reason in the world to co-opt as much of the B5 concept as would work in the Trek universe, to emphasize the resemblances between the shows to station executives so that they looked like two essentially similar shows - except that one was a dependable "brand name" and the other a "cheap generic." They tried to make it look like an "either/or" proposition. And, of course, they rushed the DS9 pilot through production and post production (making sure that the script used as many of the standing TNG sets as possible) in order to get it on the air a couple of weeks ahead of Babylon 5 so as to create the perception that B5 was the "copy."

None of these dynamics still exists, except for the personal dislike among the executives and Paramount's belief that it own outer space. Enterprise is running on Paramount's own network. Rangers will be on Sci-Fi. Unless the two are scheduled directly opposite one another (and I don't believe Sci-Fi is stupid enough to do that, given the likely overlap between the audience for both shows) they won't in any real way be "competing."

So Paramount can afford to ignore the B5 project this time around, instead of attacking it (and thereby possibly giving it more publicity.)

The SF press will doubtless compare the two, pointless comparisons being one of its stocks-in-trade. But I don't think we'll anything like the legendary B5/DS9 wars of yore.



Joseph DeMartino
Sigh Corps
Pat Tallman Division

Thanks, Joe. I like reading about executives. Clowns in suits.

I am ashamed to say that Trek's strategy of putting DS9 out before B5 worked on me indirectly. When I first saw ads for B5, I did see it as a Trek wannabe. It was only after I lost interest in DS9 and actually watched a few eps of B5 on TNT when I changed my mind.

"You do not make history. You can only hope to survive it."
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR>When I first saw ads for B5, I did see it as a Trek wannabe. It was only after I lost interest in DS9 and actually watched a few eps of B5 on TNT when I changed my mind.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

That was a very common experience. Except that millions of viewers never bothered to watch B5 and therefore never learned any better.

I also thought B5 was a poor man's Trek, and since I didn't like DS9 to begin with, I was hardly going to waste my time on a DS9 knock-off. It wasn't until S1 was in reruns, that a friend finally convinced me to watch B5 and I got hooked.



Joseph DeMartino
Sigh Corps
Pat Tallman Division

As a long time Trek fan I was a bit disappointed in DS9 because the Station was so grungy after the cleanliness of all the Enterprizes. However, I kept watching and in the end liked it best of all the Trek series except TOS.

On the other hand I never saw the slightest resemblance between DS9 and B5. They were so totally different that I could only be very grateful to have two scifi shows that I enjoyed and could watch.

With regard to the new Trek which we already know will be starting Sept. 26th, it is going to be well established long before any Rangers series gets going. I think its biggest competition may be Andromeda which already has an audience and has been assured of at least two more years. Of course the ships aren't even remotely alike but they both have small crews and are on quests around the galaxy. If Battlestar Galactica gets going too there could be overkill and Rangers may end up being delayed for a while

Another thing that really killed B5 in the first run was the fact that it was never on at a decent hour and it kept on moving all over the place. I didn't know B5 existed - at a time when all I did was eat, breathe, and sleep science fiction. When I finally was told about it, my family didn't have a VCR and it was playing at 2 in the morning.

And then I thought it was a Star Trek knockoff.

B5 is known today as a GOOD science-fiction show. It has that connotation. I don't think it will be as hard this time to get people to watch; it's got brand recognition. The only problem I think would be having it air on the Sci-Fi channel where it is less accessable to many people whose cable companies don't or won't carry it.

Channe, Freelance Writer Extraordinaire and The Next JMS
B5 Synchroninity of the Day: I just found out that the new dorm I'm living in next year has been named Breen Hall.
I will never stop to be amazed at how ignorant poeple can truly be.
B5 has nothing to do with start trek

Knowledge can be gained from everything,even standing objects themselves.To convert this to wisdom well....That is the tricky part.
I must admit, that I, too, compared B5 With TTrek when it first aired here. Eventually I realised that comparing B5 and Trek, is like comparing apples and oranges - they're both science-fiction fantasy shows, but that's about all.
That said, B5 had no promotion here whatsoever. Nada! None! Zip!
And, it was almost three years before they aired it. When it was aired, it was regulated to Saturday afternoons - when most people here are either playing sport, watching, sport, or at the malls. You mention Babylon 5 to most people here, and they say "what's that?".

Mention Star Trek, and they have heard of it - even if they've never seen it.
The final season of DS9 is airing now - at 8.30 pm on a Saturday night, along with other sci-fi shows. [Right now, they're repeating Farscape and Quantum Leap right from the start]. When DS9 finishes,
Voyager will probably be back - they tend to alternate the two shows here. Okay, it's a given that sci-fi shows tend to get the rough end of the stick when it comes to airng on TV - although Stargate SG1 had always had a prime-time slot, and rates very well.
Ah well. There was an upside to getting B5 almost three years late - we got to see all five series in less than three years - seasons one, two and three ran almost back to back here. And Sleeping In Light aired here, only weeks after it had aired in the States. And despite the weird timeslot, if the letters in our local TV Guide
were anything to go by, it gathered a small, but very loyal following. So, I had better keep an eye on the Saturday afternoon timeslots - that's whereRangers will probably turn up!

Well, I myself am going to be doing the opposite. Comparing Babylon 5 to Enterprise.

something witty and clever.. so laugh dammit!
Why not let each thing be it's own?

If both are well told tales, there's plenty of room in fandom.

Black and white are not the only choices on your teevee screen...


I have no surviving
enemies. At all.

Jomar, like you too, I am an immense 'Star Trek' fan.

'Deep Space Nine' came to be one of my all time favourite sci-fi series despite its many rabid detractors.

Like you and Bab5Nutz, I don't see the similarities beyond the obvious - they are on space stations, and both have ships they can dart off to save the Universe with.

As Bab5Nutz so well put it... "apples and oranges"

I understand from reading GENIE's JMS transcripts that there was extensive posturing and antipathy around 1992/93 when both series were going into the thick of production, and that JMS himself seemed to allude to the fact that Paramount was ripping off B5 as he had shopped his idea to them and left them a copy of the concept... (waiting for Joe D to correct any error I may have made
) but to me they are and continue to be intensley different shows with very different styles. As Rick Berman and Michael Pillar said "We wanted to do something different, we'd done the starship, the next logical step was to go to a space station and have our characters forced to deal with the actions they take, instead of warping off at the end of an episode." When they both aired in Australia I didn't concieve of B5 as a poor mans Trek, I was just over the moon someone else with talent was out there giving me more science fiction!

In regards to 'Enterprise' and 'Rangers' being compared... sadly, I think they will be. What else do reporters report on other than trumped up nonsense and strangely drawn conclussions?

'Star Trek' and 'Babylon 5' will forever be compared as long as they last on our screens. Whether you like both or only one, the simple fact is they are two imaginative, creative, remarkable shows developed by talented and far-seeing individuals. 'Star Trek' is much lighter in tone (usually) than 'Babylon 5', but both are intense, incredible productions that give us much to think about, and even more to appreciate.

We are Grey... We stand between the Candle, and the Star...
Between Darkness, and the Light...
You know, I never even thought the two would be compared! But now that it has been mentioned, I can see how it could be done, and the papers and mags that will be sold from doing it.

Before I went to University, my first job out of College (in Aus College is yrs 11 to 12, whereas I think Americans refer to College as Uni...?) was working for a year in print journalism.

I could tell you some stories about the print media that would have you boycott them for the rest of your life. Story tampering is a real thing, to the point of completely rewriting a reporters article so it will 'sell'. Let's just say I have never read a newspaper since - and that was 12 years ago. My twin (you guys know as Dah'een) worked for a year in televised Media running a current affairs program... it's different, but as you all know - the sensational and exagerated gets more viewers.

So sad, I guess all that is left is for us to make our own minds up, screw the media
, sweetly, of course
and just enjoy both shows for the unique creations they are!

"Officially, I'm a P5. Unofficially, my range is more... much more."

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