All posts by Chip

Stephen Furst, 1954-2017

The cohosts of B5AG are mightily tired of saying good-bye to the stars of Babylon 5. If Babylon 5 has a moral center, it’s Stephen Furst’s Vir Cotto.

By Lois Benton – Stephen Furst, July, 2014, Moorpark, CA, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

We have only to look at other intended-recurring characters in B5’s early years to see how important it was for the actors to bring JMS’s characters to life. Mary Woronov as Ko’Dath only lasted for one episode (largely due to an inability to work with the prosthetics), leading to the character’s replacement by Julie Caitlin Brown as Na’Toth. When Brown chose not to re-sign for Season 2, Mary Kay Adams attempted but failed to essay the role, leading to the character’s disappearance.

Is there any question that had Stephen Furst not been up to the task, Vir would have possibly met with an “airlock accident” as well? And yet the “comic relief” soldiered on as the first character to challenge Morden to his face, the first Centauri to display shame before G’Kar, the assassin of Emperor Cartagia, and always–always–Londo’s conscience.

Furst went on to direct episodes of Babylon 5 and Crusade. His DNA is quietly intertwined with the whole of the series–a constant reminder of the show’s theme that it is our individual choices that define us and that humans build communities.

Episode 79: “Moments of Transition”

Stuffed to the gills with plot, “Moments of Transition” puts a pin in the Minbari Civil War, puts the screws to Lyta Alexander’s career, puts Michael Garibaldi at odds with both his new employer and his (former?) friends, and puts one Alfred Bester in the catbird seat.

James Thomson

Speaking of Bester, that character’s appearance brings independent Mac and iPhone developer James Thomson to the show as our fourth chair, ’cause he really likes Bester. We’re not sure what that says about him and will eye him with suspicion henceforth.

Episode 78: “Rumors, Bargains and Lies”

John “Machiavelli” Sheridan manipulates the alien governments into a fiendish conspiracy against Earth! (Or that’s how ISN might broadcast it these days.) Meanwhile, the Religious Caste is not too thrilled with Delenn making overtures toward Neroon, and bless poor Londo’s heart but now he has to lie about what a good Centauri he’s trying to be. Come join us as B5AG tallies the rumo(u)rs, bargains and lies (oh, my)!

Episode 77: “Conflicts of Interest”

On this episode of Garibaldi, P.I., Michael does NOT don a Hawaiian shirt nor acquire a Ferrari. Instead he picks up a new job opportunity that takes him up against his former security forces. Meanwhile, Ivanova’s new job duties lead to comic relief, or is that “comic” relief, with the character sensation of the 1990s. Or at least his brother.

Episode 76: “Lines of Communication”

We are sorry to report that our Control Group, one Steven Schapansky (not appearing in this episode) had a conniption fit over the lack of descriptiveness in this episode’s title. Wait until he gets a load of next week’s.

Meanwhile, meet the Drakh! Watch Delenn take charge! See Susan roll her eyes at her next assignment! Let your breath catch in your throat as Babylon 5’s power couple prepare to go their separate ways! All this, and some pretty Star Trek-ish chair acting on the White Star bridge, too.

Episode 75: “Racing Mars”

Somehow we made it through the whole episode without a John Barrowman reference. Chip considers this a personal failing. But, hey, let’s advance the Earth plot line a bit, spend significant time on another planet, and continue the buddy-movie adventures of Marcus and Steven. Plus, the Sheribaldi shippers take another gut punch…

(Is “Sheribaldi” a thing? Some of us are curious, and some of us are afraid.)