I know, humans in general tend to focus on zero ending anniversaries such as 10, 20, 50, 100, etc. I probably would have posted something for last February, but I missed it. I’m also currently binge watching the entire “Babylon 5” series from the beginning. Yes, I’m a big fan of the series. Yes, you probably get tired of me dropping it into my posts, but, the bulk of the people reading this blog claim to be writers or people who wish to write and some of the best writing ever took place on that show.
Andreas Katsulas is an actor we humans saw a lot of yet never knew. Gospel truth, I saw much of his work yet never knew his name. He could disappear in a role. I guess it also helps that some of his longer running roles had him in disguise.
I know JMS (J. Michael Straczynski) always claimed “Babylon 5” was “Londo’s story,” but it just never seemed like it to me. Always seemed to be more about G’Kar and humans in general. There was just something very appealing about the G’Kar character. Perhaps it was simply the level of acting? I don’t know.
Writers who are considering creating some “spoken word” or audiobook version of their work really need to watch the opening scenes of the episodes when the Commander is lost on the Shadow’s home world. During the opening montage Andreas/G’Kar tells the story of what came before and the condition of people now. There is no human who can turn away from that voice, with or without the opening imagery. Even the worst story in the world (read that as something one of us wrote) can be sold to an eager audience when it is read with a true story teller’s voice.
This might surprise you, given how often I mention the writing quality of this show, but I did not know a reboot movie was in the works last year. According to some reports JMS is willing to fund the movie himself it Warner Brothers takes a pass. Visiting the first link in this paragraph actually saddened me when I got down to the list of all those who are no longer with us.
Here is an interesting experiment.
I am very much conducting this experiment myself or, more to the point, living through both halves of it. In fact, I just had some of this conversation with friends out in that Portland, OR area.
Place a few 20-somethings in a comfortable viewing room with plenty of snacks and beverages. Have them binge watch the first 2 seasons over a few days. For those who claim to like the show, ask them what it was they liked.
Place a few 50-somethings in a comfortable viewing room with plenty of snacks and beverages (can even be the same room at the same time as the 20-somethings.) Have them binge watch the first 2 seasons over a few days. For those who claim to like the show, ask them what it is they liked.
When I was 20-something I liked the intrigue, pace of the plot, things blowing up and some of the actors.
Now that I’m 50-something and watching the series again, I’m a bit freaked and impressed. The first two seasons in episode after episode deal with the scope of religion which should/should not exist in one’s life. As a younger person I did not notice how deftly this topic was examined without directly targeting any one group or faith. It explored the decision of parents to let their child die rather than have a surgery which would save his life because their religion forbid cutting into the body.
Towards the end of Season 2 there is the “Drafa Plague” which wiped out the Markab species. Why? Because it was a disease leaders had associated with “unclean living” which could never effect the morally pure. They even forbade their doctors from performing research on a cure and families were so ashamed by a member who died from it they hid the death.
Younger people will not remember that when this episode first aired the AIDS Epidemic was in full panic. Nearly everything uttered by the Markab was on both television and radio weekly if not daily when it came to AIDS. The “Drafa Plague” jumped species during the episode. Historically most of the really devastating diseases jump to humans. At the time of this writing nobody had tied AIDS to monkeys. Heck we only recently figured out Red Squirrels carry that which gives humans Leprosy.
As a writer you must write your stories on multiple levels simultaneously. Most of our works will only be in some form of print. A few will become “spoken word” books and maybe 1 in 10,000 will get turned into some kind of movie. This means we must do it right the first time as we won’t get script rewrites and actor’s ad-lib to save it.
Sadly, none of our “spoken word” works will get the voice of Andreas/G’Kar to carry the audience off into a world they willingly embrace just to be surrounded by the sound.