many theories have been bantied about on this one. I will tell you what will possibly happen, and realize that by changing any variable in this equation will change the outcome. . .
First let me state that Rangers as a series does not kill Crusade as a series. JMS has said this. Actually, SciFi Channel consider Babylon 5 and Crusade as 2 different shows in terms of production. Rangers was commissioned because of Babylon 5's ratings. Crusade will be commissioned on Crusades ratings and possible other factors (see below)
Legend of the Rangers is probably a "test" for the SciFi Channel, to see if a new B5 production will succeed. The more success Rangers gets, the better the chance of Crusades return, in one form or another. If Rangers blows the doors off of the SciFi Channel, say for instance beating Farscape and their other original programming consistently, or by a large margin, then Crusade could appear as well.
SciFi would say "we have a new space franchise on our hands, lets do this right." With that, they may commissions a continuation of the Crusade series, or more likely a series of movies, miniseries, or one movie to give a small amount of closure. Just remember, and do not be insulted but I know people that do not know this, JMS does not choose what project he does, he is told what project the network wants. I had a friend who was bothered that JMS was not finishing Crusade instead of making Rangers, and I said "because that is what SciFi wants, and they call the shots", which in essence is true.
Just be patient. Even if Crusade never returns, I am thrilled that Rangers is coming, and hoping for a series. I admit, I would love to see Gideon and Galen again, but if not I will have David and Firell.
I am thrilled that the greatest SciFi universe will live on, in whatever form.
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR>With that, they may commissions a continuation of the Crusade series, or more likely a series of movies, miniseries, or one movie to give a small amount of closure. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
I think if they ask for anything less than a series, JMS is apt to turn them down and say, "Why don't we do thisB5 universe story instead." JMS has made it very clear that he designed Crusade as a TV series, and that's how he wants to tell the story. While it is true that JMS can't do a TV show without a network to air it, and therefore can't just "do" whatever he feels like doing, it is also true that he can't be forced into doing something he doesn't want to do.
Both TNT and Warner Bros. (and heaven knows, the actors) were interested in bringing B5 back for a sixth season, but JMS dug in his heels and wouldn't be budged.
Warner Bros. owns the shows, so in theory they could do anything they like without him. (His contract stipulates that he be consulted on any sequels or spin-offs, but the studio doesn't have to listen to him. They own the copyrights and trademarks.)
But Warner Bros. understands how much B5 is "his baby" and the degree to which its success is due to his vision. The show has always been profitable for them, even if it hasn't been a spectacular success. So they have no reason to want to tick him off by trying to force him to do something he doesn't want to do, or bypassing him and doing a B5 project without him.
If Sci-Fi wants Crusade movies or mini-series and he says, "No" we won't get the movies or mini-series. I really don't see anyway that the actual story of Crusade can be finished off in a couple of movie or a mini-series anyway, since it would barely have started in the first season.
I suppose you could show how the plague was ultimately cured, but that would mean jumping years ahead (since the apparent cure found in S2 was going to turn out to be something other than what it appeared.) That is the least interesting aspect of the show to me in any event, since we knew going in that a) the plague was cured at some point and b) that wasn't what the story the show was created to tell. Why bother? It is only in the context of the larger story that the cure incident would be really interesting, anyway.
I think that if Rangers is a success SFC would be far more likely to want another series from the same producers to reliably fill up a prime time slot than a mini series or a couple of movies. Five years of fairly steady ratings at 8 or 9 pm are worth a heck of a lot more to a network than 6 or 14 hours of programming that can only be run once every year or so.
What I can see SciFi doing with regards to a Crusade movie is asking JMS to do a Crusade movie as a Pilot for the possible renewal.
"A Call To Arms" could be called a Pilot, but it was really more of a Bridge between the two series since it didn't introduce any of the new Characters, just the new Ship.
I think a "late pilot" would actually be a good thing. It would be a great way to draw attention to the revival. Plus, JMS likes to do stuff that's never been done before.
And, as far as I know, nothing like that ever Has been done.
Yes, I like cats too.
Shall we exchange Recipes?
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR>What I can see SciFi doing with regards to a Crusade movie is asking JMS to do a Crusade movie as a Pilot for the possible renewal.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Good point. This is the only likely scenario in which I'd expect to see a Crusade movie, especially if there are significant cast and/or character changes that would have to be explained. (Or they decided to hit the "reset" button and start the whole show over from scratch. See the thread about doing the show with a new cast, elsewhere in this section.)
If they did a movie, I agree that JMS would probably want a series "possibility" attached to it. What I would like is to see a roughly translated version of the events that transpired in End of the Line and To The Ends of the Earth, and then a second movie that resolve them, and make any cast changes. Of course, the second movie could also be replaced by a series to resolve the situation, which should draw quite a crowd.
All I know, is I want Rangers as a series, and I would be thrilled beyond understanding if Crusade returned, and was done right this time, as well.
It is amazing, however, that a show that was pissed on so heavily by certain TV execs, and has a "not as sterling" reputation as its predecessor, thanks to said interference, still garners this much passion from its fans.
I think if anything is ever done with Crusade, it will be after the Rangers thing is done. If Rangers becomes a series (I think it's safe to say we all want that to happen) then we can assume it will be on for 5 years. If production starts in 2002, then the series will end no earlier than late 2007. If my understanding of the story timeline is correct, the Drakh plague will be cured by the time the Rangers series is over. This will hurt the Crusade story. Also, a Crusade series running at the same time the Rangers series is running will not happen. Only Trek had the clout to try running two series in the same fictional universe concurrently, and decided it didn't work.
Basically, I've come to the conclusion that the development of the Rangers series pretty much killed Crusade. However, if they do Crusade, it won't happen for a long time. By that time, the chances of reassembling the cast and crew will be diminished. The original 13 eps would be scrapped and the show would start over. I actually would like that, I thought those eps were pretty lame.
Another possibility is to show the major events of Crusade in the Rangers series from the point of view of the Rangers, who were working closely with the Excalibur in Crusade. This might mean that the Rangers would be on for more than 5 years. However, no TV series ever manages to come up with more than 5 years of quality programming anyway. The first rule of entertainment is to leave the audience wanting more; JMS was smart not to make a 6th season of B5.
"You do not make history. You can only hope to survive it."
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR>Also, a Crusade series running at the same time the Rangers series is running will not happen.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
And you base this statement on - what?
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR>Only Trek had the clout to try running two series in the same fictional universe concurrently, and decided it didn't work.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Paramount didn't "decide" any such thing. All of the Trek series had 7-year runs and were cancelled at that point because they would have been too expensive to renew. (The original contracts were for 7 years and everybody would have wanted a raise.) Paramount therefore "fiscally repackaged" the Trek concept in a new series at intervals, letting them overlap to establish a continuity of viewership. They didn't do this with Voyager and Enterprise because Voyager was proving so unpopular that they wanted to put some distance between it and the next show.
JMS used the opposite strategy with B5. All of the original B5 contracts were for five years. This would have made it financially difficult for Warner Bros. to force a sixth season. Everyone in the cast would have been lining up for raises. They would have to deficit finance the show, since the cost per episode would exceed the network license fee, a situation that WB had avoided up until then. As JMS put it, "I designed the show to fiscally self-destruct at the end of five years."
As for "no one every doing this exceptTrek: Norman Lear had as many as four sitcoms (all spun off from All in the Family or one another) "in the same fictional universe" running concurrently. There are two Law & Order series now in production, and a third set for next year.
Batman & The Green Hornet did cross-over stories, as did a number of other shows produced by the same studios and airing on the same networks throughout the 1960s and '70s.
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR>Basically, I've come to the conclusion that the development of the Rangers series pretty much killed Crusade.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Again, based on what? JMS has explicitly denied this in public posts, and Bonnie Hammer has always left the door open for Crusade's return in her public comments.
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR>Another possibility is to show the major events of Crusade in the Rangers series from the point of view of the Rangers, who were working closely with the Excalibur in Crusade.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Not JMS's style. He is not going to tell one story in a show designed to tell another, still less extend the show beyond its project life. (See above re: "fiscally self-destruct")
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR>However, no TV series ever manages to come up with more than 5 years of quality programming anyway.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Right. The explains how awfulLaw & Order is
(I think it is in its 11th season), how horribleM*A*S*H became after year five (in many ways it was just hitting its stride) and why The Fugitive, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Bob Newheart Show were such dismal failures.
If anything I think JMS chose the time frame for Rangers precisely so that Crusadecould sync up with it if it returned to the air at the earliest point it could - both shows would be set in 2267 in the second or third season of Rangers (depending on whether the series starts in 2265 or 2266.)
It is hardly impossible for JMS to produce two series simultaneously see (see the examples of Dick Wolf and Norman Lear above.) It might be difficult to launch two shows in the same year. But once he's past the first season of Rangers (and "TWCBN") he won't be righting all the scripts and indications are that both shows will have "looser" arcs, meaning he won't have to micromanage as many details for each.
Once the two shows are past the "shake-down cruise" stage of season one, JMS could easily launch a third series, especially if the crew overlapped significantly between Rangers and Crusade (which is likely.) That would also reduce production costs, which I'm sure would appeal to both Warner Bros. and Sci-Fi.
Joe- My last post was my own silly ramblings. I'm not basing anything I said on anything. You obviously know more about how this whole thing works. I don't follow this stuff because I don't care about TV, I just like a couple of shows. I've never seen a single episode of any of the shows you mentioned (except Trek).
The reason I said that two series won't happen is my projection of the current situation mixed with my own pessimism. Look at all the trouble the B5 franchise went through so far, including the cancellation of a series. To think that they'll get two series simultaneously is a bit much to hope for. If it happens, I will certainly not be one to complain.
I also assumed that the stories of these two series, if they were to happen, would be so entwined that having them both might be confusing (again, this is just a guess). The sensibilities of newbies to a series must be accounted for.
The examples you gave of series overlapping their stories are very different situations than B5. Sitcoms can overlap because stories aren't important, it's just a bunch of jokes. Law & Order is an extremely popular network show (I think). In true Hollywood fashion, they're going suck out every penny from and beat to death an idea that once may have been decent by making sequels, prequels, 20 more seasons, specials, action figures, guest appearances on Hollywood Squares, etc. B5 doesn't have that kind of popularity. Sci-fi in general doesn't, except Trek, with its many series, and X-Files, which tried a Lone Gunmen show and failed miserably.
The best we can hope for is that JMS builds a strong relationship with the sci-fi channel, they give him complete creative control, and that the new series will be fantastic. Then, maybe, Crusade will have a shot at being revived.
To show you how pessimistic I am, I must confess I'm a bit nervous about the "looser arc" thing. I think back to "Grail," "TKO," "Grey 17." <shudder>
"You do not make history. You can only hope to survive it."
[This message has been edited by GKarsEye (edited July 10, 2001).]
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR>I also assumed that the stories of these two series, if they were to happen, would be so entwined that having them both might be confusing (again, this is just a guess).<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
No more so than TNG and DS9 were entwined. While it is true that the Rangers were scouting possible new worlds for Excalibur to explore, that doesn't mean that this band of Rangers is going to be assigned that mission. They'll have their own job and their own story.
While the odd cross over would almost certainly happen it shouldn't be any more confusing for a newbie than watching Melrose Place and 90210 - or only watching one of them. It isn't like you had to watch DS9 to follow what was happening on TNG or Voyager.
And Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is really quite good. It features a different regular cast investigating a different kind of crime. The new L&O series will do the same. Like most series, the L&O shows are mostly made up of stand-alone episodes. They are also feature some of the best writing on television. (And they do have a degree on continuity between episodes, and frequently bring back characters from earlier shows.)
Look, there are basically only two kinds of TV show: arc-shows and non-arc. Probably 98% percent of all TV shows ever made - the huge hits as well as the flops - have been non-arc. Including all the ones JMS successfully wrote for before he started B5. S1 was maybe 20% arc, the rest were stand alone episodes that just established and explored the B5 universe, putting the pieces in place for the arc shows to follow. I have no problem with that at all.
Nor do I have a problem with more outside writers working on any new shows. As long as JMS is overseeing things and keeping them on track, I think this can only help any future shows. ("Believers", already mentioned, and "Day of the Dead" are two of the best shows of the series, and neither was written by JMS.) I'd love to see David Gerrold, D.C. Fontana and Harlan Ellison contribute scripts for Rangers, not to mention Peter David and Fiona Avery.
Finally, on pessimism: JMS hasn't had "one show cancelled." Crusade was aborted before it ever aired by a network that didn't understand the show it had bought and wanted to change it into something else. (And which had zero experience in developing one hour dramatic TV series.) JMS is not going to run into that problem with the Sci-Fi Channel. And he's already done something that no other producer in TV history has been able to do: He created a non-Trek, space-based SF series that did not go over budget, and that made it past its third year. He's broken the Trek curse and proven that there is a market for "SF", not just a market for Trek, which has been the conventional TV wisdom for the better part of 30 years.
Given their core audience, their niche, even their name, the Sci-Fi Channel would be nuts not to want as many series from this guy as they think they can get on the air. Having lost their bid for the Trek reruns, B5 is their best shot at a "franchise" that can brand the channel.
As far as arc vs non-arc, I know that I, personally, love B5 because of its arc. Without it, I might consider it a decent show. With it, I consider it a great show.
The best fiction is the kind that is realistic. In real life, there are wars, politics, relationships, etc, all which have consequences. Real life is a giant arc story. This is why I like the arc, it's realistic and therefore hits me much stronger emotionally. It also seems to make the stuff that happens in those episodes "more important."
Most people I know share a similar sentiment. I stopped watching X-Files because they lost their arc.
As far as the two possible series' stories connecting, I figure that one of the Rangers' most important missions would be finding a cure for Earth, a mission shared by the Excalibur.
Crusade was aborted, canceled, whatever, so I used the wrong terminology. Whoop-dee-doo.
If there's anything to learn from Babylon 5's relationship with television, it's that shit can happen. I am glad, though, that they're on the sci-fi channel.
Anything that happens with Rangers or Crusade will not diminish my respect for JMS or B5. Though it is nice of Joe to try to pacify my fears. I feel all warm and fuzzy.
"You do not make history. You can only hope to survive it."
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR>Crusade was aborted, canceled, whatever, so I used the wrong terminology. Whoop-dee-doo.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
I wasn't picking on your terminology, I was tying to point out a real and important distinction between the two. There is a world of difference between a show that is put on the air, fails to attract an audience and gets cancelled for lousy ratings on the one hand, and one that falls victim to internal network politics and is shutdown sixth months before it is ever shown on the other. If you just consider both to be "network problems" than you misunderstand what happened and you're apt to take too pessimistic a view of the current situation. Which I thought you were.
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR> If Rangers becomes a series (I think it's safe to say we all want that to happen) then we can assume it will be on for 5 years.
That's the most likely scenario, but I wouldn't go so far as to say "we can assume it will be on for 5 years".
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR> To show you how pessimistic I am, I must confess I'm a bit nervous about the "looser arc" thing. I think back to "Grail," "TKO," "Grey 17." <shudder>
Before Crusade hit the air, I was highly skeptical that it would be able to hold a candle to B5 in terms of quality for the following reasons:
1) The arc wasn't going to be as intense, and (IMHO) all of the very best B5 episodes were arc stories.
2) JMS said that he'd only be writing about half of the episodes. Other than "The Day of the Dead", I don't think I'd put any non-JMS episodes among my top 50 favorite B5 eps.
3) Since the Shadow War and the Earth Civil War were over, anything that happened in this series would probably seem as anti-climactic as Season 5 of B5.
4) Without the budget of Star Trek, the alien landscapes that they visit every week probably wouldn't look too realistic.
After I saw Crusade's 13 episodes, every single one of these concerns was answered:
1) The arc wasn't as intense, but even little nods to the arc dropped into one scene of an episode (like Gideon consulting the Apocalypse Box) were enough to keep me very interested. There were even episodes that had nothing to do with the arc ("The Needs of Earth", "Visitors from down the Street", the bulk of "Racing the Night") that I thought were quite strong.
2) Fiona Avery turned out to be almost as good a writer as JMS.
3) This particular group of people hadn't been part of events like the Shadow War, so their story didn't seem underwhelming at all. In addition, while B5 had done a great job of exploring big epic stories, Crusade was doing an amazing job of tackling a story that was smaller in scope and more personal. To quote Cordwainer Hawk of Ain't It Cool News, "It's as if with B5 you were in a large concert hall, sitting somewhere toward the middle, and you listened to a grand symphony....Crusade....is more like jazz, in a small nightclub, and you're sitting right up there close to the stage and really being a part of the music."
4) "Warzone" didn't do anything to allay my fears about the CGI landscapes looking real enough, but things got much better after that.
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR>Yeah, but most people like the arc stories better.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Not necessarily. There are as many people who are turned-off by the arc, and the feeling that if they miss an episode they'll be totally lost, as are attracted to it. This has always been an objection I've run into when trying to get people to watch B5.
It's the reason why I didn't watch The X-Files when I caught a couple of interesting episodes from S3 and S4, because I felt lost in the mythology. (And since F/X doesn't air the reruns in order, and has a tendency to skip blocks of episodes, I really didn't get into the show until the DVDs came out and I could sit down and watch them at my own pace.) It is now one of my favorite shows, but I hardly ever watch it "live" on TV.
And even most of B5's non-arc episodes had arc elements in them - they just weren't obvious the first time you saw them. This applies to most of the first season.
The second time through S1 you catch all kinds of things that didn't stand out the first time you saw the shows, including the seeds of the Minbari Civil War, the evils of Psi-Corps, Earth's covert technology and the fate of Londo. "Gray 17" is "stand alone", and mostly considered pretty bad thanks to the Zarg and Jeremiah. But it also contains the Marcus-Delenn-Neroon plot which is not only excellent in and of itself, but also pure arc. You just don't realize how important it is until "Moments of Transition" almost a full season later.
So I trust JMS's track record on this, and I'm not at all concerned about a "looser" arc - especially if that will put less stress on him than B5 did, and free him up to work on multiple projects. B5 was too all-consuming for anyone to willingly do something like that twice. (As JMS said, "...about three quarters of the way through season three I began to realize that there was a reason no one had ever done this before [write an entire 22 episode season of a one-hour drama]. You'd have to be nuts to try it."
Chris, you're first two "fears" describe the ones that I had perfectly. I wasn't afraid of it being anit-climactic, though. I have faith that JMS would give us tragedy, death, destruction and all the other fun little things that make this stuff great.
Crusade was not on long enough to either confirm or deny those fears. I look at it the same way I do season 1 of B5: sometimes decent, sometimes awful, cool foreshadowing, but never nearly as great as what came next. I suspect the same would have happened w/ Crusade and the same will happen with Rangers. I'm looking forward to season 2 of the new series.
Basically, if I were to tell someone to watch B5, I would say, "watch it all, but be forgiving with the first season, 'cause it's more than worth it when you get past it."
"You do not make history. You can only hope to survive it."
I agree. I told all 15 converts I made in the original airing of the show to "watch each show carefully, but try to tough out the first season, it sucks. But, without the framework it lays there would be no house to hold our legend."