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Babylon 5 Direct-To-DVD Project In Production 194

ajs writes "As previously announced, 'Babylon 5: The Lost Tales' is a direct-to-DVD project based on the popular series from the mid-1990s. Lost Tales first DVD, titled 'Voices of the Dark' has now begun production. As usual, J. Michael Straczynski and Doug Netter will be running the show with Straczynski directing. The characters, President John Sheridan (Boxleitner), Captain Elizabeth Lochley (Scoggins) and the technomage Galen (Woodward) are returning. The Lost Tales is an anthology series of sorts with two movies (previously three) per DVD starting in 2007. Straczynski has commented on Usenet that a more CG-intensive installment is coming in the next batch, featuring the character of Michael Garibaldi (Doyle)."
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Babylon 5 Direct-To-DVD Project In Production

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  • Firefly? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Fezmid ( 774255 )
    If it's good enough for Bab5, it's good enough for Firefly!

    You can't take the sky from me!
    • I think that many shows could make pretty good money with Direct to DVD. I think it's much better than having a show come out on TV, and then getting cancelled because it got low ratings. Low ratings don't mean the show wasn't good or that people didn't like it. Often, they put it in a bad timeslot, or moved it to a different timeslot every week, or don't show it for 3 weeks after showing the first 2 episodes, and people forget about it. If I could get DVDs at the same point that the shows came out on T
  • Success! (Score:3, Funny)

    by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @01:45PM (#16840232) Homepage
    Lets hope this will be as big of a success as one of Mr Straczynski's earlier projects, Captain Power and the soldiers of the Future. []
    • Only if I can get a toy that I can use to shoot at the screen during episodes. Those things were awesome.
    • I had no idea he was responsible for that! That show rocked!!

      I had that gun too. Never worked right, but was fun.
    • Talking of B5-related shows...

      Jerry Doyle, who, as all B5 fans will know is the other cast member who could act, was one of the voices in a short-lived and very tongue-in-cheek cartoon series called Captain Simian And The Space Monkeys [] along with Michael Dorn, Malcolm McDowell, Maurice LaMarche (t.a.w.p. Brain) and others. I saw this on TV and loved it --- it had intelligent and very silly scripts, which is a rare combination. (The chief villain, for example, is a Power From Beyond Space And Time who want

  • by tenchiken ( 22661 )
    Babylon 5's time has come and gone. That's not to take anything away from it. It represented a age where only Star Trek existed. All of the Sci-Fi series that have started to get traction sense, in particular Firefly, Stargate and Firefly have benefited from it leading the way. Even some of the more mainstream series like LOST, which has the actress Mira Furlan who played Delenn on B5, are in it's footsteps to some degree.

    But we have also moved past that story into new and interesting stories with much high
    • by Jardine ( 398197 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @01:58PM (#16840438) Homepage
      All of the Sci-Fi series that have started to get traction sense, in particular Firefly, Stargate and Firefly have benefited from it leading the way.

      But what about Firefly? You forgot about that series.
    • by Jerf ( 17166 )
      Why would you assume that a movie made today would use the same production values and look of the Babylon 5 of ~ten years ago?

      I've never seen B5. It just seems weird to see you leap to the conclusion that they somehow aren't going to take advantage of the advances in technology since then.
      • by nuzak ( 959558 )
        Why would you assume that a movie made today would use the same production values and look of the Babylon 5 of ~ten years ago?

        I don't know, but if the quality of acting is the same, it would be tightly hugging the very bottom of the ratings charts. Bruce Boxleitner and Claudia Christiansen could stink up anything. Mira Furlan is an otherwise good actress forced to hiss every one of her clumsy lines, and it's only the talents of Peter Jurasik and Andreas Katsulas that ever managed to make that show watcha
    • Yeah, but a lot of the stories have gone left untold. *sigh* I would like to have seen more of the Minbari and such.. and Gkar was always my favorite character. I would like to see what we missed. Again... for probably the 10th time through the series again. I'm a sucker.
      • by Tripster ( 23407 )
        Unfortunately, G'Kar is now gone and will never get to tell us those stories, I too would have loved to have him in the new offerings but I am also glad JMS is not recasting the character since the original actor passed away.
        • I know... and it breaks my heart. *sigh* Sometimes I think I've just been around too long. But well, I've just been a grown-up for far too long. Happens to most military brats, I suspect.
    • by sterno ( 16320 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @02:13PM (#16840680) Homepage
      Traditionally television has been more about taking excerpts from people's lives and showing them as they happen. Today in court, the lawyers did X, Y, and Z, the doctor saved 3 people, and the family down the street had this most comedic run-in with the mail man. These shows are safer for networks to produce because you don't need background to get into them. If I watch an episode of Law and Order, I can get 95% of it without any need for background.

      Babylon 5 helped to establish that a TV show with a defined story arc could be successful. If you walked into Babylon 5 during season 3, you'd be completely lost. Yet because of the defined arc, those who did follow it followed it very loyally. The real struggle though was if you didn't start from the beginning it was hard to catch up.

      Well since they broke that ground we've seen the advent of two things that make such shows possible:

      1) Season by season DVD releases of TV shows
      2) ITunes

      With Lost, for example, I heard good things about it all during the first season but never got around to watching it. AS the second season approached I decided to give it a try. After watching two episodes I was totally hooked. A friend of mine just finished the season one DVD's in a marathon and is now eagerly awaiting netflix to deliver season 2. Then for season 3, they can catch up via Itunes.

      But ultimately Babylon 5 is what broke this ground and whatever may be said about it's production values, it did make for some great televison that even now is relevant. Go back and watch Intersections in Real Time as a prime example. This is the episode where Sheridan is tortured to get him to turn against his friends in favor of the government. Now go and read about waterboarding and some of the crap that's legal for our government to do to people right now and it's just chilling.
      • I agree with this--B5 was a ground-breaking series that made the Battlestar Galacticas of our time possible.

        One thing I'd add that made the series great was that it showed that space was messy, and that there's almost no such thing as total victory because the group or person that lost this time will be back with a vengeance next time, or that the person who's your deadly enemy can turn into your chum tomorrow or vice versa. In a word, it was political, and that made it feel real and interesting.

        Just like
        • by sterno ( 16320 )
          Definitely. All the characters had their imperfections and that all played into what happened. When the big war was over it set the seeds for the next big war. Truly ony of my favorite bits was how the Vorlons and Shadows were in a way almost more childish than the other species that came after them even though they were heald up as a kind of god-like creature initially. Good stuff :)
      • by Penguuu ( 263703 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @03:36PM (#16842264)
        There was one interesting post [] in by JMS about Karl Rove and President G.W Bush watching Babylon5.

        I suppose Karl Rove is avid fan for character Mr. Morden :-)

      • Actually I did walk into it on season three. The transition was made easier with two things. A good mentor and Lurker's Guide. I think Lurker's Guide still sets the benchmark for what an episode guide should be.
    • by ajs ( 35943 )
      Yes, Babylon 5's time has come and gone. That's why it's one of the highest grossing DVD series of all time.... oh wait ;-)

      Seriously, Babylon 5 is in part horribly dated and in part timeless. The horribly dated parts are certainly related to the changes in the industry since the mid-90s. The first season of B5 was rendered on Amigas. That's right Commodore Amiga home computers. They were all the rage among the 3D rendering crowd at the time, and B5 looked flawless to the untrained eye of the average viewer
    • When another series builds up through many episodes into powerful and emotional events such as the torture of G'Kar, then I'll accept your point. Until then, all I see are Soapies In Space or Comic Book Characters in Space. That's not to say B5 was completely above that sort of thing, just that when it soared it was light years above most Sci Fi, and it soared a lot.
    • Wow, you have one heck of a reverse nostalgia filter going on. I mean how long has it been since you watched the series? I think it's still very enjoyable and it has som of the best monologues of any series. I mean firefly was a great premise, but it looks like that idea will never be allowed to flower. B5 on the other hand got to deliver it's creator's complete vision. It's rare to find that these days.
  • B5 was one of the pivotal sci-fi series of my teenage life, because it was real drama and didn't treat me like a child (star trek, tut tut).

    'the very long night of lono mollari' has to rate as one of the greatest and most evocative sci-fi episodes ever made.

    I'm not sure if it's such a great idea to revive the series though, in any way. other opinions?
  • So I gather JMS has an issue with SFX magazine. What's that about?

    This is the best I've found via google: .babylon5.moderated/msg/88b1ea53e7879c63 []
    • So I gather JMS has an issue with SFX magazine. What's that about?

      Yes, he and they had a falling out a few years back...

      Hell if I can remember why, anymore, but he vowed never to do another interview with them nor to ever allow them to publish any article relating to his work.

      Oh yes.. now that I read the article I remember. To summarize.. people were illegally showing copies of B5 in various places and when JMS and Warner attempted to put a stop to it, SFX got in the middle of it and acted like the peopl

  • Best of breed. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Trevelyan ( 535381 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @01:56PM (#16840400)
    Some people don't like B5 because you can't drop into it. Unlike star trek with it's closed episodes, the B5 story spans 4 seasons (with some expansion in a fifth season).

    I consider B5 to be one of the best sci-fi series ever made, and its long term story is one of the reasons for that.

    I think that some other sci-fi series may have had a chance to come close to B5 (eg firefly) but never got the chance to last long enough.

    Its a shame that it came to such a conclusion it was (would be) difficult to continue it. The creators do keep coming back to it, but never something quite so epic, and I had hoped that one of the spins offs (eg crusade) would have lived longer.

    Anyway B5 will always remain as a definitive series for me.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by l3v1 ( 787564 )
      ts a shame that it came to such a conclusion it was (would be) difficult to continue it

      I think quite the opposite. It was one story, to be told, and told well. JMS managed to do just that. It was never intended to be an endless many year long series. And just because it had a good storyline, a beginning, an end, and a very well done in-between, it will remain my all-time sci-fi favourite, despite my friendly :) relation to all ST (and DS9 above all) and Firefly.
    • by Tony ( 765 )
      The creators do keep coming back to it, but never something quite so epic, and I had hoped that one of the spins offs (eg crusade) would have lived longer.

      That would've taken better writing. B5 had some of the *best* writing in SF TV, consistently. There were a few lame episodes, but for the most part, the entire series was excellent.

      Crusade, however.

      Crusade shat. It started off OK, and the premise wasn't terrible (though not great). I would've very much liked to see it expanded into a real show. But the wr
      • by morcego ( 260031 ) *
        Oh my, that XFiles episode was a pain.
        But the real thing missing on Crusade was not better writing. The writing was comparable to many other series that lasted a long time.
        Crusade was to be a B5 spinoff, so the target audience should be B5 fans. But it lacked the main point that made B5 so unique: politics.
        That is why most B5 fans didn't enjoy it.
  • "Bargain buckets on standby"
    "Aye aye, captain!"
  • by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @02:01PM (#16840490)

    They could give him some CGI hair. Maybe a mullet.

    I guess they can't bring back Ivonova.
    From her statements on the DVD set commentary, she plumped up like Jabba the Hut.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      She didn't plump up. I can personally vouch for that. What's never been released to the public, as far as I know, is a rather sickening contract dispute that took place. JMS is not the benevolent wizard some people might paint him as.
      • Care to elaborate on what you do know about the contract dispute?
        • Re:CGI and Garibaldi (Score:4, Informative)

          by Drakino ( 10965 ) <d_slashdot.miniinfo@net> on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @05:11PM (#16844028) Journal
          It's been a while since I heard about it at a convention in 98, but by what I remember, the dispute is why Claudia wasn't in the 5th season (except the final episode that was actually shot during the 4th season). She was saying the reason was due to some mis communication and JMS really didn't add much to the conversation. The impression most people got was that she or her agent had said she was busy, so they moved on to find a replacement for her role in the 5th season. She did want to be in it, but by the time she tried to talk to JMS, they had already brought in the new actor. JMS and Claudia were clearly not happy with each other at this convention as they stayed away from each other.

          She was involved in some of the TV movies though made after this, and on the commentary tracks of the DVDs, so I doubt that old issue would cause her to be skipped in these direct to DVD shows. The only two characters that I know of that won't be shown are Dr. Franklin (Richard Biggs) and G'kar (Andreas Katsulas), as sadly both actors have passed away.
          • The way I heard it, around the end of season 4, they had no idea if there would be a season 5 or not. Scifi was interested, but since it was so late, their budget was already spent. They weren't picked up until very late in the game by TNT. The actors had to either commit to the 5th season before knowing if it would ever happen, and risk passing on other opportunities, or they could take the other opportunities. Claudia and her agent didn't want to commit with the show in limbo, so she moved on. They a
      • She didn't plump up.

        I stand corrected. In the B5 commentaries she said something
        about 'being too big to fit through a door' or similar statement.
        Recent photos show that is not true.

        I guess that statement was probably self-deprecating humor
        about gaining a pound or two. Silly.

    • They could give [Garibaldi] some CGI hair. Maybe a mullet

      Wouldn't they have to change is name to Garihairi, though?
  • This explains... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by doit3d ( 936293 )

    ...why Mira Furlan got very pissy with me when I asked her at DragonCon this year if she was looking forward to the possibility of her returning in the upcoming productions of B5. I was very nice to her, but she turned into a rather hateful person in less than .2 seconds after I asked the question. I felt like she would kill me on the spot if she could have gotten away with it, judging by her expression & body language as well. It was a very disappointing experience meeting her, for I admired her work

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Sponge Bath ( 413667 )

      ...her almost insignificant parts on other shows since B5

      Woah now.
      Are you calling her role in Rade Serbedzija's Ulysses Theatre Company's production of Euripides' Medea insignificant?
      Croatian theater rocks the Casbah!

    • by mblase ( 200735 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @04:27PM (#16843136)
      I can only assume that either she asked for too much money to return, or she ticked somebody off during her time on the show. After seeing a glimpse of her temper, and her almost insignificant parts on other shows since B5, I think I know the answer.

      I can imagine her response in words:

      "Only one human has ever survived asking me that question. He is behind me. You are in front of me. If you value your life... be somewhere else."
  • Crap. The one character I just HATED as painfully boring, stupid, empty, annoying, useless, etc. Is he maybe coming back so he can be killed in the first 5 minutes like a Police Squad Cameo?
  • It would look *stunning* in purple.

    I hope they further explore that mystery that every civilized species has a form of 'Swedish Meatballs'. That can't be a coincidence!
  • "and the technomage Galen (Woodward) are returning"

    Oh, nevermind then.

    I liked the series Babylon 5. I really liked it. But the franchise took a nosedive since the end of the series, and between Crusade and the post-series TV movies, the only change is that the fall has accelerated.

    I'm about ready to put B5 in the same category as Star Wars, the one labelled "Should have known when to stop writing."

    Drop the D&D/Kung Fu in space, drop the "technomage" and give me back my Garibaldi, Bester and Vir.
  • and the technomage Galen (Woodward) are returning.

    That's Peter Woodward [] who played Galen, as opposed to the more famous Edward Woodward [] (of Wicker Man fame), who also played a technomage (Alwyn, of the Golden Dragons) in the episode The Long Road []

  • by Faizdog ( 243703 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @08:06PM (#16846426)
    You know, just recently, within the last year, I finally watched Citizen Kane. When I saw it, I thought, meh, it's an ok movie, but I'm not sure why it's so highly regarded. Then I investigated and learned and how groundbreaking that movie was. In terms of camera angles, sets (first to show a room's ceiling for example) and plot. It didn't seem special because all the movies since have copied it.

    It's the same with B5 and scifi on TV. Ignore firefly, stargate, lost, the new BSG, farscape, and any of the recent stuff. B5 was a defining sci fi TV series in soo many ways, technical, plot, scope, etc. It really set the stage. Besides that, it was just a damn good show.
  • ... the thing that hooked me was the illustrations of how media fools the population. Those fake news shows were spot on perfect - maybe even a bit better, more professional, than any of our current newscasts.

    It was prophetic. If our government were to ever go evil, this is how we should expect our broadcasters to cover for it. Just as they have these recent years.

What this country needs is a good five cent ANYTHING!