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Crisis on Babylon 5: CRUSADE (now resolved)

Glen here…

Boy, did *this* pick the wrong day to come in. You ever had a day that was just plain *stupid*. A day in which everything around you seemed so hopelessly misaligned with good judgment and common sense that you began to wonder if maybe *you* were the irregular element in the scheme of things, and the rest of the world was just fine? Well, that’s the kind of day this has been. Case and point, the following message, sent in by THE SHADOW OF TECHWOOD.

SHADOW indicates that TNT is toying with the idea of making some rather substantial - and horrifying - changes to BABYLON 5’s forthcoming spinoff series CRUSADE.

BELOW: the message. Please read my comments beneath SHADOW’s message.

"My brother was at (name of mammoth broadcasting entity deleted by Glen) and bagged a memo saying the network is trying to force Crusade to be a mindless sex-and-violence program.

Among the stuff they're demanding: to lose all references to the B5 universe because they think it'll confuse viewers…that episodes should often have aliens beaming into the ship and getting in "wild west" kinds of fist-fights, taking any excuse at all to have these fights, whether they make sense or not...that there should be "horny aliens" getting onto the ship and screwing the human characters...that there should be more technobabble that will make the ship sound more advanced.

He says they also want to have at least one regular series character be a "sexual explorer," whose job is to have sex with every alien race they meet to better understand them...they want a virtual brothel / holodeck...they want to set up the universe so that the entire human race off Earth when the Drakh plague is released start copulating like mad (religiously, kind of like a cult) to repopulate the human race, so they can constantly have people having sex round the clock.

He also told me they want to change to the Star Trek style close-fitting uniforms rather than real military uniforms to show off everyone's body.

Nothing has been set yet though, so if you run this and folks have an opinion on this, they may want to let it be known on the TNT site (follow the BabCom links) before it gets locked down."


Glen here again.

Okay, folks.

For a while now, BABYLON 5 fans have worshiped TNT. After all, it saved BABYLON 5, enabling series creator J. Michael Straczynski to produce a much coveted fifth season, and a series of television movies based on the Babylon 5 concept. For the first time, the series was put into re-runs on a national network and was broadly advertised. For the first time, BABYLON 5 was being treated as a "real" show.

But even the best relationships can have problems. Maybe it *was* too good to be true. Do I believe the above information re: TNT’s plans is correct?

Yep - sure do. A few months back, TNT was taking some hits in Variety because a Eurpoean producer had come to TNT to pitch an ambitious miniseries based on the life of Jesus. He fled in horror, after learning of the network’s desire to turn Jesus into a dude who would fly around, and *supposedly* hurl lightening bolts out of his hands. So, yeah - it sounds like the same mentality is at work in this case.

In CRUSADE, TNT purchased a show that is very much the product of a man with a vision. And now that vision isn’t good enough? To understand the dynamics of such a circumstance, all one has to do is go to a Barnes and Noble and scoop some books off the shelf about the history of the original STAR TREK series. Sit down and read about all the trouble Gene Roddenberry had getting that show going…keeping that show going…in the face of ideas such as those allegedly being hurled towards CRUSADE by TNT. Ideas advanced by people who have no understanding of the genre with which they are dealing.

And after you’ve read all those lousy ideas, look at the original TREK series as a final product…and find the lousy and disruptive ideas suggested by those NBC executives back in the 60s. You won’t find them easily, because most of them aren’t there. Because Roddenberry and his associates did all they could to stay close to concept as it was originally conceived…the original vision NBC cared enough to back and support at one at one point in time. And thirty something years later, the series is a classic. A perfect example that sometimes, the over-all payoff and future rewards FAR outweigh the value of an immediate…but short lived…cash cow.

I’m not saying Roddenberry was a perfect visionary - not by any means. Not saying Straczynski is either. But these circumstances seem eerily similar, and those who don’t learn from history…

CRUSADE *can* work. But it will not work if forced to become something it was never meant to be. So, good fans, if any of this makes any sense to you - or moves you in any way - go to the message boards at TNT THROUGH THIS LINK (THEN FOLLOW THE BABCOM LINKS), and let them know what you feel. Be direct, be pointed, but *always* be polite. This is important.

A hint from Glen: voicing your opinions to TNT on this matter is *strongly* advised. And remember, *never* start a fight, but always finish it.

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