Enough with the Franchises

It has been 3 weeks since I saw the most recent Indiana Jones movie. As I Road Runner away from that bizarre event(most of that movie has disappeared from my head already). I have been forced to re-evaluate a few of my ideas in life. Most importantly continuing on of TV and movie franchises.

This has been a long time coming, I really should be at the door way after walking out of the premiere screening (in Cork, Ireland mind) of Highlander 2 in 1991. As big a fan of the original movie and to have an original movie that explicitly precludes a sequel, “There can be only one” and all that. But they did make a sequel, 4 of them in fact, a TV series and some weird animation efforts too. While Highlander 2 has done the rounds for a long time as an example of bad (very bad) sequel it can’t even handle a candle to the most recent release Highlander : The Source, will some one please invent brain rubbers.

Roll forward to just before the end of the millennium. Knowing that the end of civilisation was at hand starting 1/1/00 (Y2K) the only thing that I thought could keep me going in the post-apocalyptic landscape would be the memory of this next Star Wars movie that Georgie boy was making. I remember waiting for most of the decade for this to come along. I’ll never forget the excitement of the trailer that came out a few months earlier, the movie was going to be awesome. When “The Phantom Menace” finally came out I have to say I was under whelmed. Admittedly no movie could ever be a good as the Star Wars movie that had been built up in my head. The remaining movies were better but I personally felt they lack soul of the original and George Lucas has been thought a lesson with the 100s of millions he no doubt earned. This is probably why Indiana Jones was resurrected, pants load of money to be made.

So with all this I was interested to read this week that J Michael Straczynski, creator of Babylon 5, has decided that he is no longer going to try and keep the Babylon 5 storyline of drip feed life support. Last year there was a Direct to DVD released of two short stories called Babylon 5 The Lost Tales which was well received financially and there was talk of doing more, but JMS (as he is known) has called it and posted a statement to the rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated group

So I’ve let everyone up here know that I’m not interested in doing any
more low-budget DVDs. I’m not interested in doing any low-budget
cable things or small computer games. The only thing I would be
interested in doing regarding Babylon 5 from this point on is a full-
featured, big-budget feature film.

It’s that or nothing.

At the end of the day, for me, it’s not just a matter of getting more
B5. It’s a matter of getting more *good* B5 that respects what came
before it and doesn’t have to compromise visually or in terms of

I feel I have to agree with him. I would even go further and tell him to leave Babylon 5 alone. It’s done, it’s great (well mostly). He set out to tell the story he wanted and, after a fashion, he did.

People, and probably movie execs, are afraid of new things which is why we have a litany of sequels, TV remakes, reboots, comic book adaptions etc. Where are the movies you walk out of and say “WTF was that, it was AWESOME”. The last great year of that, for me, was the year of the menace, 1999, a year that also gave us “The Matrix”, “Fight Club”, “The Sixth Sense” and “American Beauty”. “The Matrix” is a example of good idea devalued by sequels, the original movie is still potent nearly 10 years later I can’t say that of the sequels. Not all these attempts have been failures mind the the re-boots of both James Bond and Batman have been financially and more importantly critically successful.

So with this I say goodbye to the universe of Babylon 5 as it hopefully goes beyond the rim.