- Janet [Greek] was not available to us for most of this season due to
illness (flu turning into pneumonia), but she's better now, and will be
directing our season-ender, "[The Fall of Night]." We hope to have her
do five or six next year, and will of course try to get her for our
first and last as with this year and the last of year one; she's kind
of our good luck charm.
- On Monday we begin our last week of filming. We're going for an
eight-day shoot this one time, rather than our usual seven-day shoot,
because of the extraordinary EFX requirements to pull off the finale.
It should be a doozy.
- How does the finale compare? Hmmm...depends on what you're looking
for. "Inquisitor" is primarily a character piece, virtually no EFX,
but very intense. The story is kind of straightforward, with a few
kickers along the way. "Twilight" is a heavy story episode, that
zips all over the B5 landscape, between the Narns, the Centauri, and
elsewhere (he said vaguely). The finale, "The Fall of Night," is
actually kind of deceptive; it starts out fairly calmly and tightens
fairly fast. The story is not as back-and-forth or layered as Twilight
or Coming, it's really about one thing. Visually, it's the most
ambitious thing we've done to date, and probably the most ambitious
EFX stuff done for a TV series *ever*. I don't think you'll feel left
wanting after the episode is done.
- No, the last ep of this season wasn't per se a cliffhanger, though it
does tip over a few things, so it flows from 222 to 301 fairly smoothly.
- Yeah, this is the other structure that's kind of a favorite of mine.
I used it also in "Coming of Shadows." It starts out kind of slow, it
lulls you into a sense that this is going to be a fairly ordinary story,
nothing major...allowing me to sneak up behind you in the story and just
*whack* you real hard when you're not expecting it.
- We've been consistently giving Jeff Conaway more and more
to do in the show because he's a very gifted actor; there are some
moments in the coming month's episodes, particularly "The Fall of
Night," that should knock the word "mediocre" out of anyone's mouth.
- This episode had enough votes for a Hugo nomination,
but JMS didn't accept the nomination.
Yes, since the last time we were in Hugo contention,
the splitting of votes cost us the award (combined votes would've been
enough going in to win), the folks gave us the option of withdrawing
one of the two, and since "The Coming of Shadows" seems the overall
favorite, that one was the one kept.
One other good thing about the withdrawl of one episode was that
it allowed Terry Gilliam's "12 Monkeys" onto the ballot, which
otherwise would've been frozen out, and it deserves the recognition of
We're all *very* pleased and excited by the nomination.
- They gave me the option of
having the two nominations or withdrawing one of the two, and we
decided to go ahead and withdraw "Fall," to avoid splitting the vote,
and to allow another entry into the field, which was apparently "12
Monkeys," which definitely deserves the recognition of the nomination.
- Apparently this option is often given.
- In a few days we will begin shooting the final episode of
season two: "The Fall of Night." In terms of action, this is the
biggest thing we've ever attempted. Where normally our scripts have
50-80 scenes/shots (as noted in numerical sluglines), this one has 134;
of which 64 are EFX shots, some in combinations. To understand the
weight of that, there were 60 EFX shots in the entire two-hour pilot.
In addition, this has more and more *complex* CGI than the first 13
episodes of our first season put TOGETHER. Nothing on quite this scale
has ever been attempted in series TV before, and the irony is that the
major part of this covers only a few minutes in the fourth act.
This stuff is going to involve every one of our EFX divisions,
compositing, makeup, prosthetics, costuming, practical effects, mattes,
CGI; the visual EFX meeting was the biggest we've ever had, and
everyone's both sober and excited. Because there are only two options
when you go for something this substantial: either you're going to do
something truly amazing, or you're going to massively fall on your
face. For our EFX people, this is kinda like boarding the wildest ride
at Magic Mountain and leaving off your seatbelt on a dare...it's one
hell of a ride, but boy is it dangerous.
But as Ron Thornton pointed out: no guts, no glory.
This is also going to be a Janet Greek-directed episode, who for
various reasons was only available to do our first episode prior to
this, but she's kind of our good luck charm, and we wanted someone
who's done as much for us as she has to come in here and helm
this...because it could probably break a less experienced (on B5)
- Thanks. That last sequence is the single biggest effects sequence
done for TV, insofar as I know. There are 34 composite shots in a
matter of just a few minutes. Our guys nearly went blind doing it,
but it's cool. The whole feel, I think, is quite nice.
- Definite agreement on the shuttle sequence, works nicely.
- A wire harness was used; and the effect you ask about
[Kosh] was a mix of CGI, live action, and rotoscope.
- I think the Kosh stuff is *very* cool...but I don't want to over-sell
it; best to see it cold.
- Kosh's wings looked like those of the aliens in "The Abyss."
There was no deliberate homage, but the individual who helped design
that, working with me, was Steve Burg, who has worked on Abyss and T2.
- How long did the Kosh scene take to get right?
It took, literally, months of trial and error, design and
redesign, which is why we did it as the last episode of that
- Since "The Fall of Night"
has now aired in the UK, and word is getting
out, herewith a post I left on GEnie about Kosh's now-revealed
identity. I thought it came out fairly well, so I'm repeating it here.
Okay. Here it is. I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna reveal Kosh.
I'm not kidding. Bail now if you're looking in and don't want to know.
I mean it.
Okay, this is it.
"If he leaves his encounter suit, he will be recognized."
"The First Ones taught the younger races, explored beyond the rim,
Kosh is what you're pointing at when you say "That's Kosh."
"Yes, the Vorlons have been to Earth, the Vorlons have been everywhere.
The Vorlons *are*."
"For centuries, the Vorlons have helped the younger races, guiding us,
and --" "And manipulating us?" "It is, as you say, a matter...
They *are*...a matter of perspective.
Each race who sees them, sees something out of their own past, their
own legends, religions, faiths. A being of light, if you will, but a
Drazi sees the Drazi version of that, Droshalla; the Minbari see the
Minbari version of that, Valeria; humans see a human version of that.
It is the mirror in which we see our beliefs reflected, but is it the
progenitor of those beliefs...or an implanted image that overlays that
vision on top of the true form of the Vorlon? Is it revelation, or is
The Vorlons are a cypher. The Vorlons are a matter of perspective.
The Vorlons are guides...or users, emissaries or puppeteers, who wish
to be seen a certain way, so that we will react properly.
Is this good, or is this bad?
And the truth is, even though you have seen a Vorlon, have you seen
THE Vorlon, the one behind the image that dances somewhere between your
optic nerve and your brain?
Or to quote a message I left long ago, paraphrased from memory, "The
hand Sinclair sees is not the hand Sinclair sees, and the hand Sinclair
sees is not the same hand someone else in the room sees, and is not
even the hand that that person sees."
The Vorlons Are.
- Kosh is weak. He allowed himself to be poisoned by a Minbari and
attacked by Morden. He needed a Vicar to probe Talia and needed
Sebastian to test Delenn. He rarely does anything directly, preferring
to use others. I find Kosh slightly righteous.
Thanks. And finding Kosh slightly righteous is pretty much the desired
intent. So you're clicking on all the right cylinders.
- Was he really poisoned, or just pretending?
No, he wasn't faking it. Understand that their appearance as a
being of light is only how they want to appear; they are life forms
much the same as many others, and can be poisoned if one knows the
right combination of substances.
- Kosh is an angel! But which one?
Actually, no, not really; Kosh is what you see when you look at him.
And if a Drazi looks at him, the Drazi sees something different
than a Minbari; yes, a being of light, BUT....
Is that what they actually ARE, or how they have programmed us to
react when we see them? As Sheridan said, have we been *manipulated*
to seeing them a certain way, seeing a certain image? We may not be
seeing what they ARE, but what they WANT us to see.
It goes a heck of a lot deeper than what it seems.
- "Joe identified the figure Sheridan saw as the angel
No I didn't.
- Kosh *appears* to us
as a being of light...doesn't mean that's entirely what he is, that's
how we've been programmed to see him.
- That's the irony, in a sense...what's inside Kosh's biomechanical
encounter suit...is a *perceptual* encounter suit....
- Would a Hindu, or a Buddhist, see Kosh differently?
Yes, there would be some amount of variation among humans, though not
in terms of beliefs that may have come along post-Vorlon influence.
This sort of thing has been implanted almost at a genetic level, and
they do have a hand, or a mind, in activating it when seen. The more
people who see them in different ways, the longer they must maintain
that, the greater the strain on them.
- The more people who have to *see* Kosh as one of their own, the
greater the strain on Kosh, as you'll note in the first ep of year
- Being seen by one person is automatic, no strain
involved, it's almost an autonomic reflex...it's extending the
influence to more than one person that's difficult.
- The Vorlons aren't prepared to fight? They'll refuse?
As for the Vorlons line..."prepared"
should be taken in the same sense as "ready"...so they may not yet be
- Yes, the Shadows know that the Vorlons are still around, and that Kosh
is there. That's never been any kind of secret. They're just hoping
that the Vorlons and anyone who might believe them won't find out that
they're out and about again until too [late.]
- The vorlons were never intending to hide themselves
from the shadows; they both know where the other can be found. The
concern was in the vorlons potentially revealing themselves to others,
and standing openly as what they were.
- The Vorlons aren't yet ready; they can't take on the shadows by
themselves, and must bring together other forces.
And in each case, re: Kosh, what they saw was not the *head* of
their belief, but in essence a supporting being of light; it wasn't
G'Quon, but G'Lan that G'Kar saw, which was a being that story tells us
served G'Quon. So you wouldn't see the head of the religion,
since there can only be one of those, and lots of Vorlons, but each
tends to have a supporting cast, for lack of a better term. Those are
what we perceive the vorlons to be.
And remember, we didn't see any other human's POV of Kosh but
- No, she wouldn't. Again, you don't see the *top* of the echelon of any
belief, because there can be only one of those; it's the servants of
light you see (and even the Old Testament makes reference to such
- Yes, those are pretty much the two interpretations...
that the Vorlons *created* the myth of angels, or that they
came in and *exploited* it for their own purposes. In my
view, the latter seems more logical in some ways.
- It has not been stated anywhere that the Vorlons created
the angel element; they could easily just have come in and tried to
- I'm sorry, but anyone who thinks the use of an angelic (or
seemingly angelic character), whose likes have been written about for,
oh, about 4,000 years, is ripping off Star Trek, has his head so
thoroughly up his ass as to have blipped into an entirely new
intestinally-based reality and desperately needs to get a wider frame
- When one Vorlon looks at another, he sees a proper Vorlon.
- Will WE see a proper Vorlon?
We will see them. Eventually.
- What, I should begin catering to prurient interests?
Broadcasting picture postcards (likely French) of Vorlons
in provocative poses, in lingerie? A terrible thing, that
a nice young man such as yourself should be asking about.
Does your mother know you're out here doing this? Good heavens.
And who said they reproduce anymore?
- Where did Kosh go afterwards?
First he returned to his encounter suit, then he went to his ship,
and stayed there for quite a while.
- Yes, he had the momentum from his jump, plus that of the
core shuttle itself (which is considerable), plus the wind
currents toward the center of the station area/garden, which
area also considerable. Together that would be enough to
keep him moving toward the outer edge of the garden area.
- What keeps people on their seats in the core
There are mag-strips, also hand-holds, seat belts and
foot-straps. As you enter you hear the voice warning that this is a
reduced gravity area, and to exercise proper precautions.
- Nnnnnnoo, not really;
the Centauri don't actually have an equivalent to G'Quan or Valen.
Believe it or not, this one answer may add another layer to a scene
in one of the last episodes of this season. You can infer it backwards
once you see it, but now you'll have it going in.
- They [Centauri]
believe in a variety of afterlives; the god you worship, of the
centauri pantheon, holds dominion over a given "heaven" or afterworld.
If you appease the god sufficiently during life, it will accept you
into that afterworld, in preparation for the day when all heavens are
united; if not, you will have to be reborn and choose another until
one accepts you.
- Londo saw what he said he saw.
- Basically, all that was indicated in the script was that he for a beat
isn't sure what's up...then lets it go. I generally don't drop specific
points explaining foreshadowing in the scripts, in case they leak out.
If a line like that isn't sufficiently clear for the actor's intent,
they then come to me and I explain it verbally. This was done in
particular when we had to shoot "Chrysalis" before "Signs and Portents,"
even though the latter aired before the former.
- "It doesn't matter. This place has been blessed." Nobody was
trying to claim it was only THEIR deity.
Thanks. I think that, with so many races around, you couldn't go into
holy wars or jihads at every occasion. In a
way, what was seen was a validation for many...a moment they all came
together, instead of coming apart.
- Why didn't Clark reprimand Sheridan personally?
From a strictly logical standpoint, a president would not lower
himself to deal with this personally. When MacArthur and Patton earned
the disfavor of the president, it was intermediaries who pulled them
aside and registered this. Also, gradually more authority is being
vested in Nightwatch and the Ministry of Peace, as that's his arm, and
so he'd be inclined to use that since he's in most direct control.
(Just to explain why what was done was done.)
- About Zack trusting the Nightwatch
And bear in mind that it's never just a common sense "oh, these guys
are lying to me from Nightwatch, they're the bad guys." It's always
couched in such a way that it sounds like it *might* be a real concern.
That was how McCarthy and others terrorized this country during the
1950s. There were plenty of people who really *believed* that the Reds
had infiltrated every aspect of society, as well as those who might've
had doubts, but figured that maybe where there's smoke there IS fire.
- There's also a certain amount of McCarthyism inherent in the
Nightwatch, the emphasis on revealing spies in our midst, enemies of the
The problem with pointing to the Nazis or the Gestapo exclusively is
that it allows us the safety of saying, "Well, it happened just there,
and only once, *we* could never fall for that."
- Bear in mind that Sheridan specifically states that the treaty had
*not* been finalized yet between Earth and the Centauri, so the attack
was not a violation of a treaty that hadn't been signed yet. (And very
likely the Centauri captain was unaware of it *anyway*, just as Sheridan
was taken by surprise by it all.)
- I hope Sheridan verified those orders.
And the really great thing is...you're quite right about verifying
orders from one arm of the government with another...as we'll see in the
first third of the coming season. Good call.
- After the Centauri tried to kill him, the need for an apology was
somewhat obviated. Had he still been forced to do so, the one he
rehearsed was the one he intended to give.
- The "peace in our time" reference
Yes, it was a definite nod to Chamberlain, and a bit of foreshadowing
for ominous things to come.
- There are a number of metaphors in the show that operate on many
different levels; it can't be a one-to-one corrolary to WW II,
because that limits and makes predictable your story.
In musical terms, it's almost a tonal piece, taking elements to
which we respond, almost subconsciously, and then rearranging them
into something that is, one hopes, a new construct. You can find
here echoes of Vietnam, of Kennedy, of Chamberlain, of WW II, of
Korea, of the Mideast; in a way, it's a thematic piece that touches
how we have come to think of war, and conflict, across the
development of the 20th century, and the role of the individual in
We have learned to think of war as something now on a huge scale,
an entity in itself. Once upon a time, before the gatling gun and
the automatic rifle, combat was something individual, even in larger
wars, one person against the enemy...and that person was honored, one
person could turn the tide against the enemy. In a world in which
weapons of mass destruction exist, where then is the individual?
Where then the bravery, the struggle, the triumph...and the failure?
Where, fundamentally, is the responsibility?
All of that is intertwined with the storyline, and to communicate that
I'm not averse to taking elements of history that resonate with that
theme and reworking them, knowing that on a cellular level, we
*recognize* that aspect, we've seen it...but now in a new context, we
can see it differently, discuss its implications, *learn* from it.
This is one of the things I rarely talk about, because it's the kind
of thing that is best left simply implied, or implicit, in the work,
and because if you have to draw attention to something in the work,
somehow I think it lessens it, because it works best unspoken. And
because I guess it sounds kinda presumptuous, and high-falutin' and
self-indulgent. But it's one the things that matters to me in the
context of the story.
- Symbolism in Ivanova's
Moshe: an excellent analysis of the theme behind that scene, which
as you state ties directly into the theme of the whole episode, and
moreover, somewhat sets up the theme for the coming season...who will
determine your identity, the rules you follow, who will lead you, and
who you are...the question of, as you say, those who wish to accommodate
and give in to pressures from within and from without.
Didn't want to be heavy-handed about it, so I figured those who got
it, got it; those who didn't, would see a nice candle scene which sets
the mood, even if they don't get the full thematic/symbolic aspects that
others would get.
(not a Talmudic scholar, but I play one on TeeVee....)
- The narrative [at the end] was a tonal setup for next season.
- Imagery in Season Two episode titles?
Yes; work it out as you have, but take it further...we start with a
point of departure...then after some revelations, examine the geometry
of shadows, then begin to more forward, a race through dark places. We
come toward the long dark, our past a distant star. We carry the motif
of a world getting dark. The coming of shadows that darkens into the
long twilight struggle, the last period between day and night...and we
end the season on...the fall of night.
- Actually, the "snitch" was the C&C tech, NOT the pilot, they just
have a somewhat similar appearance.
We've established that klaxons go off elsewhere in the station
during an attack to warn civilians, but they aren't going off in C&C
because they make it impossible to concentrate, as per military
"And Now For a Word" to confirm this).
There wasn't time to call Draal, and they can't begin relying on him
for every problem; they have to be able to hold their own. You would
only bring in Draal on something really major.
- Is Keffer dead?
He is an Ex-Keffer.
- Does that mean he's dead?
Dead as the proverbial doorknob.
- Keffer jettisoned his recording as soon as the Shadow ship started
scanning him. But the ISN broadcast showed the Shadow ship turning and
Yeah, I kinda figured that recorders like this would be outfitted with
a receiver for the ship's gun camera. This would be vital to locate
ships that got lost, and track as long as possible what happened after
the log was ejected, and before the recorder moved out of range.
- Yes, the camera was still mounted on the Starfury, but cameras even
today are constantly transmitting to other locations; TV cameras don't
just transmit on a cable to the box they're attached to, they are
uplinked to other places. Similarly, the recording device continued
to receive transmission from the Starfury until such time as it either
went out of range or, in this case, the transmitter was destroyed.
- What was the part of the station that was shot off?
It's an area for helping secure ships while being offloaded
into the zero-G cargo bay right behind it.
- We'll see both the tines being repaired, and the core
shuttle being fixed, in ep 1 of year 3. The tines are mainly to
stabilize incoming cargo ships so they can be offloaded (something we've
shown there from time to time) into the zero-g cargo bay.
- What does "time on target" mean?
It's an actual military term for launching a lot of stuff, so that
even though it's launched at different times, it all arrives at once.
- The interceptors line refers to the fact that there are so many
incoming bursts that the interceptors are only knocking down 90% of them
at this point, meaning that some of them (the incoming bursts) are
- Visually, yeah, I'd have to say TFoN is one of our biggest from year
two, and I'm quite fond of it; the only reason that it isn't in my
top three is because while the last half is very intense, it takes a
little bit to get there; I like 'em intense from the first frame on.
For the growing use of montage/intercutting...it's really just a
process of continuing to learn my craft. So I try out and experiment
with different techniques. While I love dialogue, and lots of it, I'm
also coming more and more to appreciate moments where you *only* play
the visuals, and the music, and get out of the way of the Moment.
- It's fair to say that you will be seeing that Narn cruiser again; it's
still out there.
- Keffer wears a blue scarf with white stars; Mitch
wears a white scarf with red stars. Is scarf color indicative of
I do believe they relate to squadrons, yes.
Originally compiled by Jason Snell.