Babylon 5: The Scripts of J. Michael Straczynski
Hard to believe, but J. Michael Straczynski’s Babylon 5 Script Books are almost done. Volume 13 of 14 just shipped (my copy arrived today by UPS), and it’s time to talk about the bonus volume 15, only available to people who’ve bought a complete set.

This is the book that has alternate versions of several episodes, the series writer’s bible…and a complete outline of the original arc with Sinclair all the way through. The site has a description of the contents [], but how to get it is a bit out of date. Vol.13 shipped with a notice that they’ve changed the procedure.

Instead of waiting until you receive all 14 volumes, then filling out a proof of purchase form, you need to fill out a form before ordering #14, and they’ll ship #14 and #15 together. The form collects your name, address, and the order numbers for the other 14 books. If you ordered them all through the same CafePress account, it’s easy: Log onto CafePress, look at your order history, and then copy and paste the numbers into the form.

Admittedly, “easy” depends entirely on how much other stuff you’ve made through CafePress. Unfortunately they only list order numbers on the history page, so you have to click through each number to see what was actually ordered. This makes it a perfect job for middle-clicking the links on Firefox (open in background tab): I just went down the list, clicking away, and then I had each order in a tab. Click, copy, click, paste. Repeat.

This just showed up in my email from Babylon 5 Scripts:

J. Michael Straczynski with campaign sign: Londo/ G’Kar ’08: How much worse could it be?

From JMS’s Cafe Press store (the same site through which he’s selling his script books with commentary):

With the coming 2008 elections, there aren’t a lot of candidates we can agree upon. So as a public service, we are now providing a slate of candidates that will bring the country together in common cause and preserve many of this nations’ finest electoral traditions.

Slates available include Londo/G’Kar, G’Kar/Londo, and Zathras/Zathras (trained in crisis management!)

I remember having an unofficial Sheridan/Ivanova ’96 (or possibly Sheridan/Delenn) bumper sticker, but I’m fairly certain it was a homemade “Elect The Brain” (as in Pinky and the…) sticker that I actually put on my car that year.

Now if only they’d used the correct punctuation on the ’08 instead of trusting smart quotes. (That should be an apostrophe, not a left single quote.)

Babylon 5: The Lost Tales Cover ArtLast night we watched Babylon 5: The Lost Tales volume 1, Voices in the Dark. The direct-to-DVD movie is the first new Babylon 5 since the Legend of the Rangers TV movie/pilot 5 years ago, and the first to focus on characters from the original series since A Call to Arms set up Crusade back in 1999.

The movie has two distinct segments, the first focusing on Lochley, now a Colonel and still in charge of the space station, and the second focusing on Sheridan and the techno-mage Galen. Both segments take place during 2271, placing it 9 years after the main story, during what would have been the 5th season of Crusade if the series had lasted.

The result is mixed. Continue reading

Babylon 5: The Lost Tales Cover ArtThe Babylon 5 Scripts mailing list just announced a July 31 release date for Babylon 5: The Lost Tales. JMS announced the project at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con: to revisit the universe for a series of direct-to-DVD movies. The first, Voices in the Dark, focuses on Sheridan, Lochley, and Galen, set during the 10th anniversary of the Interstellar Alliance.

One part of the story follows Sheridan as he picks up an unexpected visitor on the edge of Centauri space, Prince Regent Dius Vintari, and a warning about what will come afterward delivered by the techno-mage, Galen. The other part of the story is set aboard Babylon 5, as Colonel Lochley summons a priest from Earth space to deal with a problem that may have dark supernatural overtones. The two parts of the greater story intersect at certain key plot and thematic points, so that they overlap and complement each other while telling separate, but simultaneous, stories.

JMS has been posting photos and notes from the set from time to time, and (via ***Dave), TV Shows On DVD has posted a press release with more background and information about the DVD.

Interestingly, the press release and cover art make no mention of it being the first in a projected series. This is hardly a surprise, though, as Warner Bros. has always been reluctant to commit fully to Babylon 5 without testing the waters. Then they see the dollar signs and go all-out. It happened when they decided to release the pilot as a TV movie, instead of committing immediately to a series. It happened when they licensed the VHS rights to Columbia House, until they realized how much money Columbia House was making and launched their own series. It happened when they released just the pilot and one prequel as a DVD, before they were willing to release full season sets.

Hmm, perhaps the pre-order on Amazon shooting up to #10 in DVD sales before the end of the first day might help convince them? Edit: On day two, it’s up to #5. His people are coming.

Here’s hoping it’ll be worth the wait.