- It takes 7 days to film an episode. My favorite is
probably "Shadow Dancing," which you haven't seen yet, mainly because
I haven't been able to poke any holes in it yet. It's a good ep.
- Which of the last five episodes is your
It would be an even tie I think between the final two, "Shadow Dancing"
and "Z'ha'dum." The two episodes are also linked at the hip, so they're
really more like one unit...not so much a two-parter, but siamese twins,
story-wise. They're both very exciting, move the arc forward hugely,
and though they rely on a lot of backstory, are also good points for
folks new to the show to dive in, because they also *explain* a lot of
backstory, so they can get into it.
They're both just lovely, knockout episodes. And, at times, scary as
- About the UK possibly not showing the episode due to
Yeah, when you get "Shadow Dancing," I'd love to see
how much they slice outta this one....
It is, not to put too fine a point on it...EXTREMELY important
to see "Shadow Dancing." If they choose to cut the nasty bits that's
one thing, it won't affect what You Need To See, but to not run it at
all would be a disaster of substantial dimensions. Still, I imagine
they'll run it; the nasty bits can be excised pretty well, if
necessary, I should think.
- If they cut 7 seconds, it's likely the 7 seconds of the actual stabbing
itself, which is implicit in what happens afterward, so it shouldn't
have a major effect on being able to follow the story. It's a
reasonable edit, and about what I'd expect given the general attitudes
on TV violence among the UK TV networks.
- "You've mentioned a couple times that the upcoming
"Shadow Dancing" will be quite violent. Should I be concerned about,
say, my two-year old watching it? She's as hooked on the show as I
am, and would probably feel quite left out..."
This is a tough one...I've given it a lot of thought since I saw
this, and my sense is to advise the following:
If you possibly can, videotape the episode. Get the time code on the
various pieces. We cut in and out of two stories, an A and a B
story. One is violent, the other is not. You don't have to see the
one, or see much of it, to follow the other. For someone as young as
2, I'd suggest fast-forwarding past the B story stuff. It's still
within what's generally permitted on TV, but it is kinda harsh.
- I've seen and received some email recently that seems
to have taken a message of mine and misconstrued it. Someone asked
me if it were possible that "Shadow Dancing" might be snipped or
dropped for some of the violence therein. I offered an *opinion*
that it might be edited, and have no idea what their plans are for
airing the episode itself. Let me repeat: this was only my opinion,
offered in response to a hypothetical question. I have *no*
information on anything C4 might -- or might NOT -- do with "Shadow
Dancing," so my inclination would be to wait and see what happens
rather than acting prematurely on something that might not happen.
- Have you ever gone walkabout?
Well....yeah, kinda. Back when I was living in San Diego (before it got
nuked...well, that hasn't happened yet, but soon)...I got into a kind of
similar mode of thought, and would go for walks through....downtown San
Diego at 2-4 in the morning. Hours, hours, hours, just walking through
parts of the area where I could've gotten killed. When folks asked me
why, I couldn't answer, all I could come up with...was that I was
looking for something. And I found it, kinda, and in a somewhat similar
situation... but that gets into some other personal areas, and this may
not be the right forum for that. Suffice to say I was....almost killed
myself, and leave it at that.
- Here's a funny thing.
Well, funny weird.
See, every so often, someone will ask, "How much of you goes into a
script?" and I'll answer, "More than I know at the time," and they
ask for an example. A few questions ago, someone asked about if I'd
ever gone...on walkabout, and I thought of the San Diego thing...and
it suddenly dawned on me that that was behind the Franklin thing.
Long story short: I got attacked and mugged by a gang, and beaten
nearly to death....and survived only by a sheer act of will. And
I'd honestly never, ever put that together with Walkabout, until the
question, and suddenly there it was, I was working out *exactly*
what I'd gone though, denying it to myself...the whole time that it
was going on. Well. Anyway. That just hit me like a ton of
bricks, and thought I'd pass it along.
- In retrospect, that was something I probably should
not have mentioned,
and would not have, had the thing not just utterly blindsided me in the
middle of the conference. What got me through the attack, and its
aftermath, those years ago, was sheer unadulterated rage...that I would
not allow them to take my life because I had stories left in me to tell.
And no matter what, I'd tell those stories. At first, I'd made my peace
with myself...I'd never gone out of my way to hurt anyone, had helped
where I could, had done some good work...I had a few things on the
shelf, not a lot, but a start...but then I just started to get mad about
it, and pulled myself back from the edge.
So yeah, in a sense, I've faced that black, implacable wall...and it
does drive you, after a while. And I do think, to a large degree, I'm
still trying to define myself, to find what it is that's at the center
for me, beyond the work. But then, I don't think that's terribly
special...it seems to be the standard dilemma in an industrial society.
- In response to a review
Slight correction to the preview of the final 5 scenes at Worldcon; in
the Delenn/Sheridan scene, she never said female Minbari can cut off the
partner's sexual organs if they're pressed...what she said was, "If he
forces the issue, she can complain to the elders, leave once he is
asleep, even cut of his --" she searches for the right word "--
*access* to her family." The humor is in his horror at what she
might've been searching for in that word. A small correction in an
otherwise great review, but as someone once said, god is in the
[That quote is from the architect Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe.]
- The Minbari greeting is a hoot...there's a lot in that episode I
just like a lot.
- Earth is still letting people come to Babylon
5 as tourists?
It's difficult and limited, but yes, there's still some travel,
just as one may travel to countries that the US does not recognize
officially or have diplomatic relations with. How long they continue
to allow this...we'll see.
- How did Marcus heal so quickly?
For starters, we're talking about more than two
weeks of story time. Between Grey 17 and Rock was several weeks, then
you've got about 2 weeks from Rock to Shadow Dancing. That's five
weeks, and now you've got the issue of medicine 250 years from now...and
you can be sure that these kinds of injuries will be fixed much more
quickly. It isn't like he showed up the very next day like this, we
*did* allow for proper amounts of time.
- How did you think up the Shadows' strategy?
I dunno...I just thunk it up as efficient and ruthless. I
guess it comes naturally when you're a producer.
- "Seems to me the strategy is: wait in hyperspace "near"
the flock of refugee ships, and when they signal for help (as they will
when the Shadow fleet appears), pop out of hyperspace and engage the
Shadow fleet. The point is, the Shadow fleet is going after a known
target (or so Sheridan guesses), if you hang around near the target,
they will tell you when the attackers appear. No need to for your
ships, even a scout, to sit in normal space, the refugee ships are all
"scout ships" in a sense."
Massive logic problem. If you wait until they're right on top
of the refugee ships, or very near, they'll just dive into the midst of
the refugee ships and there's no way you can have a clean battle
without resulting in *MASSIVE* amounts of civilian casualties. What
you suggest would all but insure that the refugee ships would be
destroyed (defeating the purpose of the mission) and the piles of
civilian ships running for cover in every direction would hinder our
side, but not the other side, and we'd lose even MORE of our own ships.
"2) Delenn and Sheridan spend the night together and we get to
watch... comercials. Talk about giving "short shrift" to a rather
interesting event. Couldn't this have been pushed into a different
episode? I mean, here they are, alone together, in a "ostensibly"
romantic situation, lots for them to talk about I should think. Well,
I'd like to know what was said... And what do we see? Sheridan is
It's not a matter of being pressed for time. The whole point of
the ritual was to watch him sleeping. We had that nice moment right
before they took off with the fleet, and bunches of others, including
the big kiss, right in the previous episode and throughout the whole
"3) I think the battle could have been done with a bit more of
an "umph" to it. Perhaps the use of intercutting between the two plots
was distracting in this case. It was a good battle, just not quite as
effective as "Severed Dreams" or "Long Twilight Struggle" (which did
have effective intercutting)."
That's because there was more emotional content to the other two
battles you mention; the bombing of the Narn homeworld, and EA fighting
EA in SD. Not all battles are created equal, it's a matter of context.
You can't expect to get exactly the same reaction to all of them.
- Why didn't the Shadows emerge right next to their
So they could drive any other ships toward the center, into the
killing zone. If they come in into the center, everybody splits in
every possible direction, and that makes running 'em all down harder.
- If the shadows were to materialize in the midst of the
refugee ships, they'd just scatter in every direction. The purpose is
to wipe out all those ships quickly and efficiently...so you start at
the outer fringe, drive everyone inward, and then wipe them all out.
To jump into the middle of them makes it very hard to do this...it's
like herding kittens.
- Most refugee ships are NOT jump capable.
Remember, it takes a LOT of power...you've got the heavy cruisers, and
long range exploratory vessels, and not much else. That's what makes
the White Star so special, that it can be as small as it is and still
generate a jump point. The Asimov class passenger liners, for instance,
can't jump, and have to rely on gates. The smaller ships the refugees
would've been using would have had to get to their local gate, and then
line up to go through it in small groups. Which means 85% of them
would've been trapped there, ducks in a shooting gallery.
- Did the Minbari telepaths need line of sight to
affect the Shadow ships?
Actually, we never showed what the Minbari telepaths were
looking at; for all you could tell, there could've been viewers or
other ports above their beds.
- We couldn't hear the characters speak at the end of
the battle. Audio problem?
No, we just figured we'd let the music take it.
- "When I saw "A Late Arrival at Avalon," Marcus's line
asking "Who is Morgana La Fey" got me to begin speculating that Anna
Sheridan was alive and that she was working for the Shadows. My
question is whether or not Marcus's line was intended that way--i.e. as
foreshadowing that a significant female figure not presently on the
scene (Anna?) would arrive at B5 to play Morgana to Delenn's Lady of
- No, Sheridan isn't the man in the middle...the man in the middle is the
one out there who sent Anna. As Ivanova says, his opposite number.
- Why did Kosh send those dream images?
Well, certainly Kosh was accessing that which he could, in part
to prove he knew what he knew, in part to set things up. Although who
knows, there may be more to it...that that's what they came up with
doesn't necessarily mean that is the full extent of it.
- The snow globe was shown as a flash-forward in "WWE-2," and we
did see that image of Sheridan in Psi Cop uniform in "All Alone."
- With "Shadow" my hope is really to erase most (though obviously
not all) suspicions or predictions on how the last one will go. If we
already had our big EFX battle, it won't be that...Anna's here, so it
can't be that...it can't ever be a return to tabula rasa, an empty
slate, but by doing what's normally done in the season closer one
episode prior to that, it may help ease the way for a different
tonality to come in.
And thanks again...you definitely won't be disappointed.
- Was "Commander Ivanova is on channel 4" a reference to the UK
network? And what could possibly come next?
Yeah, the channel 4 reference was a nod to the UK. Wondered if
it'd get noticed....
Good point, when you do a battle like that...what do you do next that
won't seem anticlimatic? Usually you save something like that for your
last episode of the season, not your next-to-last, or you've blown your
big EFX show 1 show early. It makes for a real challenge...what do you
do to follow THAT up?
I think we figured it out....
- Why not show more of Sheridan getting ready to sleep, with Delenn
watching over him?
Basically...we've got 44 or so minutes...we could've shown the whole
battle as shown, or shown Sheridan trying to sleep. One would have to
go to make room to include the other.
- Why did the White Star make its own jump point when there was
a jumpgate nearby?
And then, there are just times you do it 'cause it feels more dramatic
- Do people on Earth hear about events like this battle?
They've heard rumors, usually the ones furthest away from Clark's
- Why the change in actresses playing Anna?
There was a combination of reasons, including production schedules,
for the decision.
- Why were station personnel seemingly surprised to see Anna? And
why did Melissa Gilbert come last in the list of guest stars?
The script said the extras shouldn't make a big deal about seeing her.
The director did that on the set. That's not what I had in mind, but it
isn't that big a deal...I figure she's a striking looking woman, maybe
that's a good justification.
The ordering of credits was done to de-emphasize and hide (as much as
possible) the appearance of Melissa.
- Under SAG rules, you must put guest stars of a certain calibre in the
opening credits; also, for Melissa to take back-billing would have been
a break in her work to date elsewhere. We had no choice in this, it's
all stuff regulated by the guilds.
- Were the Vorlons absent from the battle because of the death of
Kosh, or for some other reason?
There are other reasons, which yes, will be addressed soon....
- Why didn't they call in the Walkers from Sigma 957
("Voices of Authority?")
Simple....you don't bring in the big guns like that until you're ready
for the final assault. You don't whistle 'em up when convenient. You
can probably go to the well just once with these guys, and you want to
do so only when you're ready for D-Day.
- Was the bit about true faces taken from an existing
religion on Earth?
As far as I *know*, at least, that bit about seeing your true
face revealed as you sleep is something I came up with on my own.
There's just something I like about it, and if you've ever watched
someone's face while they're sleeping, you understand.
Though one person did comment, "So a man's true face is all
mushed up against the pillow and drooling?"
We don't talk anymore.
- "I gritted my teeth tighter when the dialogue launched
into some anti-male paranoia about "What if the male demands the
female stay a second night?", and the various "vengeances" she could
take for a custom that is, after all, steeply in her favor. I could
accept all that in an anthropological sense: "Look what anti-male
customs the Minbari have. Isn't that fascinating, if you put the moral
judgements aside?". But then... Yeesh!"
The "vengeances" she cites, should the male insist she stay another
night, are "she can leave once he falls asleep, complain to the
elders, even cut off his access to her family." These hardly sound
like anti-male rhetoric, but rather precautions taken to deal
reasonably *should* someone get out of line. It doesn't state that
all men do this, but sets in place what to do should *some* men do
This is not a problem of context. It is a problem of perception. It
has nothing to do with the scene, and everything to do with how you
perceive the role of males in society.