Further to my ponderings on the wisdom of producing new Babylon 5 material, Mr. jms has somewhat unexpectedly decided to ignore my concerns and plough on with the project; and more, it seems to have fallen into the fifty percent of jms projects that actually make it through production hell into the real world. He’s posted a couple of updates here and here. It’s been a long while since I frequented rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated but it looks like business as usual to me: Six projects on the go at once? Check. Tireless self-promotion? Check. Doing everyone else’s jobs for them? Check. 🙂 He’s even directing this one, his first since the B5 finale Sleeping in Light, I believe.
As I’ve said, I do doubt the potential of B5 to thrive in the form of isolated standalone stories direct to DVD since the format doesn’t play to the series’ strengths. If I’m honest the series was rarely innovative or compelling on an episodic level, and most of its big ideas are essentially a grab bag of cliches from fifty plus years of written SF and Fantasy, often blended with cliches from fifty plus years of TV. What lent it freshness and power was its sheer ambition: the simple fact that most of the staples of written SF and Fantasy had never been attempted with any depth or narrative length on television previously; certainly not with the sweeping scope of the over-arching storyline. In fact I’d argue that in terms of epic scope genre TV has seldom matched it since, although in its freewheeling way Farscape just about stumbled into bona fide epic territory, and Deep Space Nine did its best. But the fact that B5 was unique in its epic nature doesn’t mean that it was always successful in other ways, and its strengths have not shone through in the succession of increasingly dilute spin-offs we’ve had to date.
Regardless, I’ll certainly give B5:TLT a look when it arrives.