About me

I'm a geek working as a distance learning specialist for a large corporation.

My Pandora "radio station" profile
This is my favorite way to listen to music now.

My Yahoo "radio station"
(Unfortunately, only works in IE.)

Shopping

Looking to purchase something online? Support Caddickisms by going through one of these links:

Caddickisms Store

Amazon.com

Calendar

August 2012
S M T W T F S
« Jul   Sep »
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  

Topics

Posts by month

Around the site

[UPDATE: as you can see below, I'm having some problems with CoolPlayer - like it doesn't work anymore. I've switched to the Anarchy player.] As you can see from the previousCoolPlayer - WordPress media plugin

So our water company had a break in at one of their tanks recently and while they're checking to make sure the water hasn't been contaminated, they've issued a "DoFact checking the easy stuff

It looks like we're headed into another year of big movies. I'm getting all fan-boy giddy just thinking about what's coming. On the heels of Avatar, though, it seems like everyMovies 2010 - must see or must miss?

One of the things that surprised me most about Dr. Horrible was the quality of the music. I knew Joss Whedon had written a musical episode of Buffy The VampireHorrible music is really pretty good

That's not a euphemism. I actually felt the earth move last night. We had an 3.4 earthquake at midnight last night, with an epicenter about 5 miles from my house.I feel the earth move under my feet...

I'm a bit behind in putting up my movie list for this year. Last year's list was full of promise, but I only got to see 4 of the 21 listed2011 Movies to Drool Over

To continue in the vein of dissatisfaction with training, let's take a look at the experience this high school student in Singapore is having with e-Learning (found via Corporate eLearningWhere are the humans?

Slice of Scifi - Science Fiction TV & Movie News, Interviews & more » Failed Aquaman Tries On Green Arrow and The CW Network Announces Fall Premiere Schedule Smallville now hasSmallville: Green is in this year

The time is shortly upon us. The wait is nearly over. Let the glorious holiday IMAX season BEGIN!!! Wait... let me get my oxygen... Okay. I feel better now. Got a little giddy thereHoliday trailers - Tron: Legacy, Narnia 3, and HP:TDH

How do we create? What takes us from the point where a story, or a song, or a painting doesn't exist to a point where it does exist? How doTuesday TubeWatch: Creativity - Inspiration

[caption id="attachment_562" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Kirk and Spock over the Enterprise"][/caption] First off, if you haven't yet, go see the trailer. This one is worth the HD download. It's pretty. Okay, back already?Star Trek (2009) full trailer released

Top five shows that shouldn’t have been cancelled - Quit Your Day Job: Lee came up with a good Friday Top Five this week. What are the 5 best shows thatThe best cancelled shows

[article no longer available]Thomson Announces Strategic Realignment of Operations; Company to Sell Education Businesses - MarketWatch [tag]Thomson NETg[/tag] and [tag]SkillSoft[/tag] have been trading 1st and 2nd place in the [tag]enterprise e-learning[/tag]SkillSoft buys NETg

In the 7 day challenge, today’s topic is: Create a blog post on a subject I’ve never blogged about here before. Maybe this one is cheating. I don't know. It depends onPlastic People - 7 day challenge

NBC.com > Heroes "They thought they were like everyone else... until they woke with incredible abilities." When I first heard of this show, I figured it would be an X-Men rip-off,Heroes preview

Who do you serve, and who do you trust?

This is one of a series of articles I wrote for The Coalition of Awesomeness blog some time ago. The blog has since gone to an unfortunate (but very awesome) grave so I thought I’d share it here.

Those were the focal questions of Crusade, the Babylon 5 spin-off/sequel series that was cancelled before it even aired. I don’t know what the answers to those questions would have been, but I’m pretty confident that the show’s creator, J. Michael Straczynski (JMS), would not have answered “TNT” to either question.

TNT was the network that aired what little there was of Crusade. They had bought into the franchise by airing the final, fifth season of Babylon 5, saving that show from premature cancellation, and backing a few TV movies in that universe. From what I understand, the relationship between JMS’ Babylonian Productions and TNT was great – that is, TNT was pretty hands off with the established B5 universe. When they started production on Crusade, however, they suddenly wanted to get in and mess around – presumably trying to make the show better. In doing so, though, they killed it. Dead. Destroyed. They asked for costume changes (forced them, really) after a bunch of episodes had already been produced (and, since they weren’t produced in order, forced the writers to come up with reasons why the costumes were changing back and forth). They asked for more action and more skimpy female outfits. They asked for a womanizing captain… basically they asked for a lowest-common-denominator testosterone-fest, when they had bought a slow-burn, intelligent, epic.

On the other side of the fence, JMS and team were fighting against the studio to keep what they could of the awesomeness of the show – they gave in on the costumes, for example, to keep the captain’s-sex-conquest-of-the-week out of the show. In the end, the battle between the two sides showed in what was aired… a disjointed mess that struggled, and failed, to achieve continuity.

Like Firefly, Crusade was saddled with episodes aired out-of-order, which made it impossible for fans to follow the thread. But, again like Firefly, when you put those episodes back in order, things improve. Unfortunately, unlike Firefly, re-ordering the episodes isn’t straight-forward. TNT had messed around with things so much that the proper order to watch Crusade episodes is still debated among fans. There really is no way to avoid all of the continuity problems. If you fix the costume continuity, for example, you may get a personal shield that is used before it’s invented. So even on DVD, you can’t get a true feel for how the action and character development was supposed to build.

You can get a sense of it, though, and if you have the background of Babylon 5′s successful story-telling behind you, you can see how it would have taken off.

Babylon 5 was a ground-breaking show in that it was the first American sci-fi show to have a continuous, pre-planned, 5-year story arc. It had a beginning, a middle, and an end from before the first script was even written. Changes were made along the way to deal with issues that cropped up during production, but it was essentially the story that it was meant to be. And it was awesome.

If you had watched just the first 17 episodes, though, you’d see some intriguing stuff, but could be excused for thinking it was just another sci-fi show. Those episodes are primarily stand-alone, with a bit of a connective mystery B-story behind them on first viewing. It’s only in the final 5 episodes of the first season that the entire plot turns upside-down and you begin to realize that those 17 episodes are the setup for something different. If you go back and watch the series again, many of those 17 episodes are shown to have rich clues and integral story points that you wouldn’t know you were catching the first time around. Heck, even by the third season you’re seeing references to things that happened in the first season and realizing that the individual scene you’re watching was really set up 2 years prior in what seemed like a stand-alone episode. At the end of the first season finale the lead character, Commander Sinclair, sums up the situation perfectly in four words: “Nothing’s the same anymore.”

With Crusade, we saw 13 produced episodes. Even with all the interference, there were moments of brilliance, and the opening threads of multiple mysteries. Picking up 5 years after Babylon 5 ended, the Earth has been attacked with an alien bio-weapon for which there is no known cure. Quarantining the entire planet, the Earth works with the Interstellar Alliance to send a crew in search of a cure before Earth is lost.

The Excalibur

The Excalibur – a new ship combining Earth-tech with advanced alien technology – is led by Captain Matthew Gideon to search the galaxy for a possible cure left behind when the most advanced races left the galaxy. Gideon is a bit of a rogue who is willing to break the rules to accomplish his mission. Galen, a mysterious technomage who has a history with Gideon, is not an official crew member, but participates in missions to help Gideon and further his own agenda. Dureena is the last of her race and the crew’s “thief,” who is frustrated by her inability to discover Galen’s secrets. The Executive Officer is a telepath – the only one in the military – who’s not allowed to use his ability, the doctor is extremely talented (but blandly acted, unfortunately), and the archeologist is incredibly self-centered and just as incredibly good at his job (and would probably have come out as one of the most complex and satisfying characters had the show continued, I think).

So you watch these 13 episodes and you think, “oh, it’s a quest show. Some of these characters are pretty interesting. I could catch it every once in a while and not miss much, because it’ll all just keep resetting as they continue to fail finding the cure.” And based on those 13 episodes, you’d be right.

But that’s wrong. Oh, so wrong.

A few scripts were written and not produced. For a while they were available online. I’ve read them. One was the first season finale. By the end of that, nothing’s the same anymore.

There were also some books based on the Babylon 5 universe. One set was the “Technomage trilogy” in which Galen is the main character and you find out a lot of things you’d probably have gotten in Crusade. By the end of that, nothing’s the same anymore.

On the earliest printings of the Crusade DVD set, JMS did a commentary (removed at his request subsequently for breach of contract because the part where he criticized TNT were removed) that provided some hints as to where the show would have gone. That made it clear – you weren’t watching the show you thought you were watching.

We still don’t know everything about where the show would have gone – they’re saving that for the script books that will someday be for sale – but we do know some things.

  • The cure would have been found in the second season of five planned seasons.
  • Earth would have been discovered to be running its own secret program, continuing to use Shadow technology (on which the plague was based, and which they weren’t supposed to have in the first place) for its gain.
  • Gideon and the crew would be fugitives.
  • Gideon would have been killed by a sniper in the first season finale.
  • Gideon’s consciousness would have been saved and he’d have been resurrected, after a fashion.
  • Dureena would have become a sort of revenge-bent technomage-ish character and would have come into conflict with Galen.

(Some of these revelations parallel Babylon 5′s story to a degree, but I think each instance would have had substantial differences.)

JMS also said that the arc of the show would be in broad strokes similar to the Biblical book of Job. In fact, and I don’t know why I didn’t notice this until just now, the central questions of the show (who do you serve, and who do you trust?) completely reflect that book. The show would have been epic – and totally different from its mild quest-like beginnings.

Of all the shows I’ve watched that have been cancelled, I’m most upset about Crusade and Firefly. They are the only show cancellations that have caused me to have long-seated ill-will toward the host network – not because of the cancellation itself, but because of the way the network “handled” the property – by which I mean interfered with it to the point that it was never going to succeed. For Firefly we had the solace of the movie Serenity. For Crusade, our only solace will be the script books.

I must echo Dan’s son: TNT, you smell of cheesy feet.

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge