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September 06 2007

Very brief mention of J Michael Straczynski's interest to work with Joss. J Michael Straczynski(JMS), creator of Babylon 5, in response to a forum question, expressed interest in working with Joss. Relevant Quote: " I think Joss is a terrific writer and I'd love to work with him sometime on something."

Note to moderators: I am not sure if this is newsworthy, but I just had to squee and share this since JMS and JW are my idols.

Suggestion: Marvel somehow convinces JMS to stay with Amazing Spider-Man part time, and hires Joss to write the other part of the time. They collaborate on storylines.

Then my head would probably explode from joy.
I think that JMS' work poses more interesting questions than Joss' does, but I think Joss' characters, dialogue, and direction are superior to JMS's. Mind you, I'm talking about two men whose masterful storytelling has given me hours and hours of enjoyment, so take this not as criticism, but simply the realization that each has their own strengths.

Much like George Lucas (ESB), JMS doesn't direct his best work, while Joss does. It's hard for that not to sound like a slam on JMS, but it's really a tribute to Joss that he's as versatile as he is.
Well thats the thing... I have been re-watching Babylon 5, and man it is a masterpiece for me, not jsut as sci fi, but as a general form of entertainment that actually tries to get the viewer to think and see things from another perspective. And there is the whole issue of deriving alot of inspiration not just from historical events but from classical literature.

And for me, I think JMS is a masterful story teller, very good at incorporating alot of themes and creating a story that weaves through several chapters so to speak. And he makes some interesting characters with dialogue of the operatic kind in that show.

On the other hand, Joss whedon is great at creating very interesting characters that we can connect to, and creating very unoique dialogue(and witty too). For me, I think the two would complement each other... in the ideal case of course. If it did actually happen, well who knows...

[ edited by kurya on 2007-09-05 23:33 ]
JMS seems to be having much more luck getting movie projects off the ground these days than Joss - but of course JMS is handing his scripts over to Clint Eastwood and Paul Greengrass, whereas Joss wants to direct his own stuff.

A collaboration between the two would be interesting, but unlikely to ever happen.
what an amazing tv series those two could write...
I was a big fan of Babylon 5 before I started watching Buffy and I'm a huge fan of both writers. I think at their best they're both very good at writing intense and emotional stories. I think someone said that Joss was a better director but JMS only directed one episode of Babylon 5 "Sleeping in Light" so I don't think he's directed enough to gauge him as a director, FWIW, I don't think he likes very much to direct. I thought Londo and G'kar were great characters, the B5 crew were likable enough but they seemed pretty much to be more along the lines of standard righteous heroic characters but they had their foibles which helped flesh them out and make them more 3 dimensional. I've heard some people complain that JMS writes bad dialog but it sounded fine to me. I never had any kind of a problem with the dialog and I probably never would have known that anyone else had a problem with it, if I hadn't read it on the internet. All in all I think they're both great writers and I'd love a collaboration between them. If you like science fiction I'd highly recommend Babylon 5 if you've never seen it, you might even like it if you don't like science fiction and I'd also recommend it even if you have seen it , because it's worth watching more than once.
Oooh... I'd love to watch a show where these two collaborate. JMS knack for long term story-building (and great payoff), combined with Joss's talent for character development and dialog... I would be in total heaven. Somebody make it happen!
JMS also directed his recent 'B5: The Lost Tales' Direct-to-DVD, Immortus45, which is his second director's credit. Frankly, it wasn't as well-paced as it should have been, even though it consisted of a couple of interesting stories. Sleeping in Light wasn't a particularly challenging episode to direct, either--it was very much denouement. I don't want to badmouth him as a Director, but if you've seen the best of Joss' series and the best of JMS' stuff--they each write their respective best stuff, but Joss directs his own.

Joss: Innocence, Becoming, Lie to Me, Amends, Dopplegangland, Graduation Day, Hush, The Body, The Gift, OMWF, Chosen. I doubt there's anyone here who doesn't have one or nine of those on their personal "top 10 Buffy episodes" lists. And that's not even counting

JMS: Pick your favorite B5 episode. Unless it's Sleeping in Light, JMS didn't direct it. Janet Greek, Jesus Trevino, or one of a number of other talented directors did.
If you go on what's credited, Joss is obviously the superior director. But JMS is an amazing storyteller. It was also rumored that he did more than a little stepping in and directing scenes here and there throughout the series, without being credited.
I think B5 had some great dialog .... the lion's share going to Londo and G'Kar .... but a very different style from Joss. Although B5 did have it's share of humor.
A great idea in theory and mutual admiration is there, judging from Joss's occasional B5 reference on BtS. But dare I say .... two (self admitted)control freaks might be one too many. And I mean that in the most complimentry way :)
Pick your favorite B5 episode. Unless it's Sleeping in Light, JMS didn't direct it. Janet Greek, Jesus Trevino, or one of a number of other talented directors did.

On the other hand, JMS wrote nearly every episode of Babylon 5. Joss wrote a few each season. It's not a simple comparison.
I'll agree that JMS is a great storyteller, but he has also had monumental clunkers in dialogue. I think when he did write great dialogue, esp Londo and G'Kar, it grew out of the epic plotlines. But maybe writing every episode for a season didn't give him a chance to go back and polish the smaller moments.

The one that sticks in my mind was from the B5 pilot, when the doctor says "and nothing will be the same again." And as you might guess from the cliched line, everything was the same again for the rest of the episode.
Well that is the thing, JMS pulled off something not quite so small. He also had his share of problems of not just being the creator of the show, exec producer(I think), trying to make sure that there were new seasons(it was never for certain that there would be renewal), but he also wrote most of the episodes, in fact you should treat Babylon 5(as he himself said so) as a long novel, in which he wrote most of it, seasons 3 and 4 I think he wrote all of the epsiodes but one or two?

I guess for me, he may not be that great in writing dialogue for simple casual moments, but when they are epic, he writes some of the best stuff. And I think some of the problems people have with his dialogue is that its stylistic...some of it is intentionally over the top... I love it, it can be quite poetical at times. Plus the whole notion of building the story from the first pilot. Having elements in the first season pay off in the 3rd and 5th seasons. He had the basic story from beginning to end right from the start. Aspects change, the order in which events occur change, but from the start he had planned out a 5 year story arc. No small feat, especially in those days when they had to "compete"(when it shouldn't be competition) with DS9 for attention.

And if people are curious, and I find it really helps me understand the various elements in the story and the inspiration and the screwups he admit to doing, check out this episode guide that has alot of quotes from JMS on the forum about each particular episode, its almost like a commentary. Great insight. http://midwinter.com/lurk/eplist.html

And while he may not have directed it, he did write the awesome episode "Comes the Inquistor", one of my favourite episodes and its not the big action episodes.

[ edited by kurya on 2007-09-06 14:57 ]
Oy, I'm hoping JMS doesn't get to work on Buffy Season 8. I love B5 as much as the next guy, but he has made an absolute mess of Amazing Spider-Man. His work is hit and miss.
Flakbait, I don't read ASM so I can't comment on it directly, but looking at the B5 universe, the farther out the stories get from his core arc, the less compelling they became. JMS has an admittedly amazing ability to tell one story cohesively well over the long haul. Hmm, maybe *he* should write the proposed HBO series of miniseries' for A Song of Ice and Fire?

Dym, That is absolutely true, JMS did a much larger portion of the writing of B5 than Joss did of any of his shows. Maybe the comparison should be thus: JMS has demonstrated an ability to use other directors to stage and present his work, while Joss has demonstrated an ability to use other writers to tell his stories.

(ETA: Typo)

[ edited by jclemens on 2007-09-06 18:31 ]
JMS wrote some of the best epic sci-fi plot arcs in living history. I just had to say that.
I'm a big fan of JMS as well as Joss, of course. If it hadn't been for getting hooked on B5, I might not have been as ready to watch "Firefly", which led to BtVS, etc.

I don't have a major problem with the dialogue on B5, it always seemed to fit the characters as I saw them.

Joss may have written fewer full episodes than JMS, but if you've listened to commentaries or interviews with any of the other writers, they all seem to say that Joss had a hand in the script; as a matter of fact more than once I've heard even the top writers on BtVS say that when they're complimented on a line, they often have to admit that "Joss wrote it." :)
What Simon said :) An kurya my fellow B5 fanatic .... Yes! .... Comes the Inquisitor is one of the classic eps in the history of TV SciFi.
And JMS doesn't kill our darlings ;)

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