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It’s the end, but the moment has been prepared for. Steven Schapansky joins us for the Babylon 5 finale. We’ll be back, after a good long hiatus, to cover the spinoff episodes and movies. Thank you so much for joining us on this journey. (This episode is dedicated to the memory of Kay Sudderth.)
9 thoughts on “Episode 112: “Sleeping in Light””
Awesome job, guys. I admit I came in late to the podcast, which helped. I started my first ever rewatch about 6 months ago, and was watching an episode a day and listening to b5ag along with…Up until mid-season 5, when I had to slow my pace in order to finish the series after Sleeping in Light. I cried like a baby for this finale.
I’ll admit, I was also late to the party for B5. I watched it for the first time about 2 years ago. Between being in the military and overseas when it initially came out, and then all the time shifting and shuffling, I only caught a handful of episodes in real time. In the intervening years, I had season 5 on DVD, and B5 was always on my todo list. I finally got around to it, and JMS’ Babylon 5 is, IMHO, one of the three best pieces of sci-fi serialialized storytelling on television, along with RDM’s Battlestar Galactica and Deep Space 9.
And you all did it justice. Again, thank you.
Chip, I offer my condolences on your mother’s passing. it is one of the hardest things, and sometimes the only solace is that you are not alone, many of us have shared the awful sense of loss. I feel very honored that you were willing to share your thoughts about her, and to hear how you saw a little bit of your mom in Delenn and vice versa. That was powerful and very meaningful to me. Very grateful to you sir.
It seems no small coincidence that such an emotionally charged life event happened just as the podcast reached of the most emotionally charged moments in TV, at least for us B5-ers. I appreciated you guys’ efforts to have an objective discussion about SIL, but I think it comes down to this: some works of art are just so inherently powerful that there is no way to avoid being caught up in it, and we shouldn’t even try to act like we can be detached. Everyone in B5, from JMS to cast and crew handled the finale thoughtfully, sensitively, respectfully, artfully, but most importantly they fully embraced the power of the story. I’ll always love it, and I’ll always cry. No amount of analysis will change that.
An analogous experience for me is listening to Jeff Buckley’s Grace album. Every song on that album was crafted with great skill, artistry and attention to detail, but Jeff’s point was to open his heart and take us along on an intense emotional journey. I get caught up in it every single time I hear it.
Another example: everybody who likes Peter Gabriel has their favorite live version of In Your Eyes that stirs their emotions.
I think it’s one of the big picture messages of B5: embrace our humanity, with all its joys and sorrows, triumphs and humiliations, all of it, with an open heart. Great art helps us do that.
Thank you again Erika, Shannon and Chip (and Steven), it’s been utterly wonderful. Looking forward to the appendices.
My condolences on your mother’s passing. When my father died in 2009 it was suggested to me that I take another look at Sleeping in Light. It meant more to me that time around. Since then my mother also has died and when I saw it a couple of weeks ago, there were aspects to both of them that applied. It is quite a moving episode and leaves you thinking about such things.
Great job with the podcast and it was great to finally meet Erika at Worldcon this year.
Talk about late. I started re-watching B5 a week ago and found this podcast then. What a gift! It’s like having friends to watch along with. I’m slogging through season 1 right now, but did listen to this last episode for fun.
I do think there is a least one good unofficial guide source: That would be The Babylon File by Andy Lane which may be harder to get now. I actually think his book fits your podcast nicely as he goes through all the episodes showcasing strengths, weaknesses and commentary about what was happening behind the scenes.
My deepest condolences on your mother’s passing, Chip.
I’d just jumped in my car to head home for the day, the audio guide on, ready to listen to the views and opinions on one of my favourite B5 episodes, when I heard your tribute. I was so moved by it I had to pull off the road to stop and listen.
You, Erika and Shannon have brought me so much joy over the years, saving me from some very dark places with your podcasts and good humour, that I find myself wishing I could in some way return the favour for you as you go through this horrifically difficult time.
All I can think to do is to let you know that the last four years of your, Erika and Shannon’s efforts have been deeply appreciated, and your work has had an immensely positive impact on at least one Aussie who’s been going through some challenging times. I’m sure mine is not the only life you that has been touched by your warmth and insight.
I’m relieved to hear the podcast will continue, eventually. You guys certainly deserve the break.
Chip, I hope that the joy your mother brought to your life, and the inspiration she so obviously provided, see you through this painful time .
Steven, if you are looking for some behind the scenes perspectives on the show you may want to check out the Babylon Podcast (http://www.babylonpodcast.com/). They interview many of the stars and staff of the show. As well get a perspective of the show from “Under the Shower Curtain” as Jeffrey Willerth worked on the show for all 5 seasons and into Crusade, and was the person under the Kosh suit (hence the shower curtain).
The Richard Biggs and Jason Carter interviews (why Marcus sang “Modern Major General” to save his job) are some of my favorites, as well as the interviews with creature and VFX staff. While it is from the early days of podcasting (started in 2006) the audio quality is pretty good.
Loads of great and fun interviews on the Babylon Podcast.
Just a quick glance at some Year 1 interviews:
Kim Holly, Costume Supervisor
Stephen Furst, Patricia Tallman
Robin Atkin Downes
Steve “Snackman” Thorpe
NASA Engineer Louise Kleeba
John Vulich, Optic Nerve
If I remember correctly, Jeffrey Willerth arranged most of the interviews (at the beginning at least).
Also, Chip I think your characterization of Claudia Christen not coming back was a bit unfair and purely from JMS’s perspective. If she had come back it could have had serious consequences to her career. To meet the B5 shooting schedule she would have had to break a contract with a job that was already in production forcing them to recast and do some re-shooting. It would have been a professional black mark that would hang over her and could have cost her jobs for the rest of her career.
It was bad timing all around. If they had given her the extra few weeks she needed to finish the other production it wouldn’t have been a problem, but that would have triggered clauses in the other actor’s contracts so JMS was stuck. Unfortunately it created bad blood all around.
Sleeping In Light is a very heartfelt and emotional conclusion
to the awesome and memorable science fiction series Babylon 5 !