Category Archives: Extra

From the stars we came, and to the stars we return, from now until the end of time.

Richard Biggs – 2004

Andreas Katsulas – 2006

Jeff Conaway – 2011

Michael O’Hare – 2012

Jerry Doyle – 2016: Statement from J. Michael Straczynski here

We’ve mentioned here and there in our podcasts about some of the actors on “Babylon 5” who died much too young. Now, for the first time since starting the Audio Guide to Babylon 5, we have to deal with the loss of yet another member of the B5 family.

At the time of posting, actor Jerry Doyle – known best by this little podcast circle as Security Chief Michael Garibaldi – has died. That’s about all that is known at the moment, with no details as to how. After “Babylon 5” wrapped, Doyle moved on to try his hand at politics and then became a popular radio host for conservative views, eventually creating the Epic Times website. Doyle would use this platform to support his former castmates, such as promoting Claudia Christian’s efforts in helping people break alcohol addiction. In the statement linked above, J. Michael Straczynski pointed out how he disagreed with Doyle on almost every issue when it came to politics, but valued him both as a friend and as a consummate professional during his acting career.

RIP, Mr. Doyle. Thank you for sharing your talent with us.

(Moderators have moved comments from “Ship of Tears” threads to here. Everyone is welcome to share their thoughts about Doyle’s and other B5 actors’ passing in this thread.)

Extra: “The Whovian Guide to Babylon 5” from Long Island Who

From the Long Island Who convention on, well, Long Island: here’s the audio of Chip and Erika’s panel, “The Whovian Guide to Babylon 5.” Mild spoilers for the series are ahead as a roomful of Doctor Who and B5 fans compare and contrast the two series and look back on a beloved moment in time when new B5 episodes aired on random independent TV channels.

Please note that we have no explanation for why Chip and Erika look like Grumpy Cats in the above photo.

“White Star: The Single”

White Star (A Babylon 5 Parody in the Style of JoCo)

Lord help us, we did it again.

“White Star (A Babylon 5 Parody in the Style of JoCo)” is based on Jonathan Coulton’s song “Shop Vac,” which was released under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC 3.0), with new lyrics and vocals by Chip Sudderth. You can buy Coulton’s music at his web store.

Kittens! (And “Babylon 5”. But, kittens!)

UPDATE 11-14-15: All the B5 Fosters have been adopted into their “fur-ever” homes. Lyta is in a new home with new cat friends, Marcus and Susan were adopted together, and a family who has two of the Mythbuster kittens took Delenn, Lennier, and Elizabeth! Here’s to happy furry-tail endings for all of them!

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You often don’t know what it will be that turns you into a fan of something. That turn of phrase from a certain writer. That specific delivery from a particular actor. A random thing a friend said or a reviewer wrote that made it click for you.

In the case of “Babylon 5”, there’s no mystery for me. My husband’s friends brought over a cardboard box full of VHS tapes of Season 1 and part of Season 2 and told him, “Watch. Now.” And fairly soon, Chip was telling me, “Watch. Now. Seriously.”

My fascination with the culture of kitten-cams is a bit different.

I was on Twitter, where I follow Grant Imahara, the former “Mythbusters” robot expert, and in the fall of 2012 he joked about being startled by a sudden rustling from his computer. It took him a few moments to realize that among his many open tabs in his web browser, he’d left up the one with a kitten cam on it. At the time, I was amused and moved along.

Then in the spring of 2013, Twitter yet again directed me back to this kitten cam, because now there was a litter named after the Mythbusters themselves. And this time I went looking and found a round-the-clock live feed of a rescued mama cat and her four kittens, being cared for by a volunteer for an animal shelter.

And that’s how I discovered and became a fan of Foster Dad John and kitten-cams.

John Bartlett has been fostering cats and kittens for a shelter near Seattle, Washington, since 2008. Foster parents for shelters keep the animals in their homes, feed and socialize them, arrange for vet care, and bring them to adoption fairs. The shelters, non-profits that depend on volunteer help, specialize in rescuing, spaying/neutering, and finding “fur-ever” homes for dogs and cats who would otherwise be euthanized in a county shelter.

Bartlett set up a spare bedroom in his house exclusively to house his fosters. He eventually set up a webcam so he could keep an eye on things and decided to share it. As his audience grew, he took to naming mama cats and kittens to reference some of his favorite SF and pop culture. There were the Ripley fosters named after “Alien” characters. There were the Cosmonaut kittens and the Looney Tunes fosters. Hitchhikers and Simpsons and Ghostbusters. Recently a litter of nearly identical Siamese kittens were the Clone Troopers.

And now his latest set is named in honor of “Babylon 5” and FDJ is happily singing the praises of the show during Periscope recordings of the kittens at play and pointing people to sources for watching it on his Facebook page. Already kitten-cam viewers who know the show are persuading other viewers to give it a shot.

The litter is a set of almost six-week-old kittens, at that perfect stage where they have mastered “zoomies” but are still working on braking, and where anything not nailed down is a toy, including their siblings. The names and descriptions are as follows:

  • Marcus: white belly, solid tabby “saddle” on his back, and a smudge under his nose
  • Lennier: mostly white, with a dark streak almost like a Mohawk (or a bone crest!) on his head and a tabby tail
  • Susan Ivanova: black/brown tabby all over
  • Lyta Alexander: white with brown tabby markings on head and tail, four dots of brown on her body
  • Elizabeth Lochley: brown tabby with white paws
  • Delenn: tabby with white belly & dark back splotches

Lennier’s original name was Sheridan, but Foster Dad John quickly decided that wouldn’t fit because this kitten was shyer than the others and often sat apart, contemplating the action before him.

The kittens will stay with Foster Dad John for at least two more weeks – the shelter, Purrfect Pals, neuters and spays kittens when they are both eight weeks old and over two pounds. Go and check them out while you can!

 

Handy links about the Babylon 5 Fosters:

Link to Livestream feed – http://livestream.com/FosterKittenCam/Babylon5

Link to The Critter Room on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/TheCritterRoom?fref=ts

The FAQ – http://bit.ly/KittenCamFAQ

Link to donate to Purrfect Pals – http://purrfectpals.org/give/

Amazon wishlist for Purrfect Pals – http://goo.gl/XZ84nw

YouTube highlights for those who don’t want to spend hours watching kittens sleep – https://www.youtube.com/user/KittenCam2/videos

Vote every day until Nov. 1, 2015, to help Purrfect Pals win $5000 – https://shar.es/1uaK2i

Directory of no-kill shelters in the US: http://www.nokillnetwork.org/ (or search “no kill animal shelters near me”)

New to B5? The Joy of Jumping In

A while back, Shannon guested on Random Trek with Scott McNulty. Scott and Shannon compared Babylon 5 and Star Trek (as we often do on this show!), and they observed that B5 is a commitment. We’ve talked about this here ourselves. The idea is this: In order to truly appreciate the show and know what’s going on, one must start at the beginning and watch the story unfurl episode-by-episode. You can’t just jump in in the middle and appreciate what’s going on.

But you know what? I don’t think that’s true.

Now wait a second. Before you jump down my throat, know that I fully support the idea of starting from the beginning of a serialized show. (That shouldn’t be a surprise, as that’s kinda how our podcast is laid out.) It’s the best way to see a property play out the way the creator envisioned it. In fact, I have trouble purposely doing anything different myself. My nerd-brain just does not like it. But honestly, I sometimes think my nerd-brain exerts too much control. What am I missing out on because of it? Possibly a lot.

I’m not just talking about B5 here. This goes for any serialized media.

Shannon and Scott mentioned the soap-opera aspect of B5, and I think that phrase perfectly illustrates my point. You don’t go back to the beginning of a soap opera. My great grandma started listening to The Guiding Light as a radio show back in the 40s.1 Can you imagine trying to go back to start at the beginning? It’s a thing you’re simply not meant to do. (Nor can you, I suspect.) The same is true of long-running comic book series.

And when it comes to Babylon 5 in particular, I happen to know jumping in mid-stream works like gangbusters! In B5’s case, it may actually be preferable.2 Season 1 does a great job of building the world, but it’s undoubtedly rocky, as they were (understandably) still finding their feet.

I discovered the show by accident during season two. My friends Max and Jeff and I got together to watch Star Trek: Deep Space 9 every week. Babylon 5 was on just before that. Eventually we caught enough B5 that we started watching entire episodes. Deep Space 9 night quickly became Babylon 5 night. Would that have happened had we started at the beginning of the series? I very much doubt it. We dipped our toes just as the show’s arc was starting to heat up. That’s what drew us in.

Not only did it draw us in, but it held on tight. All three of us became proper hooked. So much so that as soon as earlier episodes were available (thank you TNT marathons), we did go back and watch from the beginning. I have to say it again: If we’d started from there, I really doubt we’d’ve stuck with it long enough to get hooked.3

B5 is not alone in this. I’ve dived into a few shows mid-series. I never saw an episode of The Good Wife until last year when Twitter scuttlebutt told me Something Huge had happened.4 That made me curious, so I jumped in with the earliest episode available On Demand. (It was only a handful of eps back from The Big Thing.) I enjoyed it so much I’m still watching the series. And no, I feel no need to go back and watch the first 4 seasons. The writers did an excellent job of including backstory and flashbacks, so I feel like I’m caught up.

If I had balked at jumping in, I would never have watched The Good Wife. Four seasons before I even got to That Thing everyone was talking about? Nah. Way too daunting. I wouldn’t have committed that heavily just to investigate the buzz.

I’m not saying watching from the beginning is a bad thing. It’s great! But if the need to start at episode 1 will keep you from trying something, think real hard about that. Regardless what your nerd-brain might tell you, it is possible to enjoy something without consuming ALL of it in order–even if it is highly serialized like Babylon 5.

So I encourage you, dear reader, to jump into B5 with us right here and now. If you’re somewhat interested, but daunted by our back catalogue, ignore it! Throw nerd-caution to the wind and dive in with “The Coming of Shadows”. I strongly suspect you won’t be disappointed.

Editor’s note: This blog originally appeared in a slightly different form on Erika’s personal blog.

EXTRA: B5 Animator “Mojo” Interviewed

Adam "Mojo" Lebowitz
“Mojo,” B5 animation wizard

For our first Extra edition of The Audio Guide to Babylon 5, Chip welcomes “Mojo,” senior computer animator during B5’s first three seasons and pilot, working with Ron Thornton’s Foundation Imaging. Be amazed at the raw processing power of the computers used to make “The Gathering”! Learn just how groundbreaking Foundation’s work was! Find out just what it took to make a space station spin while a Starfury flies in front of it and you’re plum out of polygons! Mojo was there, at the dawn of CGI for television…

WARNING: This episode contains a few spoilers for episodes not yet reviewed on the podcast.

“Soul Monkey: The Single”

Soul Monkey (A Babylon 5 Parody in the Style of JoCo)

God help you all, a few of you seemed to like it, so here’s “Soul Monkey” in all its glory as a digital single.

“Soul Monkey (A Babylon 5 Parody in the Style of JoCo)” is based on Jonathan Coulton‘s song “Code Monkey,” which was released under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC 3.0), with new lyrics and vocals by Chip Sudderth. You can buy Coulton’s music at his web store.