Londo is a very interesting character study, watching him from the early part of the series to the end, he goes through quite a change, and better yet, a believably motivated change. The same is true of G'Kar, though his is just less interesting.
I love, at the end credits of SLEEPING IN LIGHT, seeing the juxtaposition of evil, plotting G'Kar and prophetic saint G'Kar next to each other, and frivolous, opportunistic Londo and trapped, burdened Londo. Love it.
Yeah, the Byron stuff that took up most of the early part of Season 5 was admitedly boring. It makes sense in the overall meta-story context, helping to lay more groundwork for the upcoming Telepath War, etc. It just wasn't that great, either from a writing or acting standpoint. But the latter half of the season, especially The Fall of Centauri Prime to Sleeping in Light, is pure greatness.
Damn that hotel maid!!! Damn her to Thirdspace!!
I would argue it doesn't work even as laying groundwork for the Telepath War since we never see it. I think the fifth season should've been 'anthologies' that jump through time up to the last episode taking place in 2281. So, say, the first three episodes are Valen a 1000 years ago, then a few episodes of the Dilgar war, then IN THE BEGINNING, then the fall of Centauri Prime, the telepath war, the Drakh war, and finally, SLEEPING IN LIGHT. Something like that. I think it's a mistake to 'set up' future storylines in the fifth season when there won't be a sixth. :?
And as usual, Boxleitner delivered it with a large dash of seething hot angry aplomb. He should do books on tape.
Please. I know there are a few scriptbooks which collect unproduced scripts for some of the second season and remainder of the first, and I'm going to pick those up next. I just really want to know what JMS' planned for the show...the purpose of the Apocalypse box (other than acting as a MacGuffin-maker), learning more about Gideon and his past, etc. Most importantly how the cure for the plague was found (it was mentioned slightly in either one of the Legion of Fire books or the final Bester novel, can't remember).
What was in store?
Aha! Very well. Sit down, and listen to my tale. *cracks knuckles* *smokes pipe*
Basically, JMS said as the episodes were originally airing two very cryptic phrases:
Galen has quite a secret he's carrying around with him. It formed the basis of scripts 114 ("To the Ends of the Earth") and 116 ("End of the Line," which would've been the cliffhanger). It's also a major element of the coming technomage novels. There's a very small reference to it in the episode airing this week, when Galen mentions that he and someone else have been "betrayed by our own kind."
It also ties into why they were in such a rush to get the hell out of known space during the shadow war.
And then on those same boards...
A poster said:
JMS has hinted elsewhere that the cure might be found before the end of the series. He's also said the show we think we're watching will turn out not to be the show we're actually watching. Put these two together, and I wonder greatly if, had the next few years played out, he might have gradually uncovered some other, greater theme or conflict that would overshadow the plague, and take over the plot for the last year or so.
The cure was to be found about halfway through season two
and what would've happened was that the crew of the Excalibur would've been treated as traitors to Earth due to some problems. This is why the ship has a submarine feel and is somewhat claustrophobic – they were going to be stuck on it as fugitives. The real storyline had to do with something else entirely.
If you recall, I said, "Imagine if B5 had got cancelled before you met Morden". That's what happened to CRUSADE. Their "Morden" episode, which was written but never filmed, was based around this: in THE PATH OF SORROWS, a Shadow ship blew up the EAS Cerberus.
Except it wasn't a Shadow ship. That's why it looks odd.
That's an Earth ship.
The unfilmed episode had Gideon take the Excalibur off-mission when the Apocalypse Box tells him where to find the ship. When he finds it (and ends up destroying it) it comes about that it is an Earth ship based on reverse-engineered technology of Shadow ships. The shadow ships EarthGov found on Mars. Actually - before that. It transpires that there is a secret black ops division working in EarthGov military, in secret, for at least three
EA presidents. In the background, before Clark, working with Shadow tech and they are much further along than anyone realized.
Gideon would've found out this conspiracy in the first season finale, and he would go to Mars to expose them... and be shot in the head by a sniper. He'd survive because his consciousness is kept in the Apocalypse Box (this is why Gary Cole voices the Box). It's this group that would get the Excalibur branded traitors, and Gideon would have to raise an army to get back to Earth and take them down. (Look up "Gideon" in the Bible, and you realise the name isn't a coincidence.)
But there's still one big secret left.
The reason why Galen really left the Circle of Technomages. What his 'big secret' is. Why they ran from the Shadow war.
Technomages use shadow tech
Galen came back to keep an eye on all the left-over shadow tech that the Drakh had, and that EarthGov has, and anyone else. This is why the techno-virus in THE MEMORY OF WAR is so similar to the Drakh virus.
A couple of unfilmed scripts (including the season finale) were available online for a short time a couple of years after the show was cancelled and JMS had this to say:
Suffice it to say that - through a series of incidents - the Excalibur crew would have been considered traitors and have to basically be on the run. Further, the cure that Earth would have believed to be the right one would not in fact work as they think it would have worked. Our guys would find out about this, and no one would have believed them. As things unravel, it's a larger conspiracy, so basically - after the second year - the show you think Crusade is would be a whole different show, with much more depth to it, more political, more controversial in some ways, and would deal with the impact of technology on society, would cast our characters as renegades and loners without port, and turn the whole series upside-down.
That was what the show was really about.
Now go back and look at all the episodes of CRUSADE and you notice that every single one
sets up this theme. Every character is carrying secrets. Every episode is about a secret organization and the abuse of technology. Every one. CRUSADE set up its major arc with more subtlety and layers than B5, which is why I honestly think it might've turned out to surpass it.