Crusade: An Commentary of its History:
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Through the past years this site has maintained a running commentary on Crusade, its history, its fall, and the effect to bring the series back. In light of recent news that the Scifi Channel is involved in a number of new Babylon-5 efforts we have started a new news page devoted to those endevours. It is not clear whether they will involved the continuation of the Crusade series, however, if that does happen we will of course resume our Crusade reports. Regardless, the information below will remain here as an archive of what was and how we got here. Sincerely, Will JP
Future updates are available here. The information below is now an archive.
(12/01/04) DVD NEWS:
JMS has said that the upcoming crusade DVDs will include a commentary track of the series pilot in which he tells what really happened to the series (in respect to TNT) from his point of view. A reportedly no-holds-barred lashing. You think you know what happened. Just wait. It gets better. Kudos for WB for figuring out that putting icing on the cake doesn't work with B5 fans.
We have every reason to believe that because this may be Crusade's last airing that its soundtrack may soon (or may have already been) pulled from print. It is still available from Sonic. We would suggest if you are interested in it that you aquire it now, as who knows how long it may be out there.
The Scifi Channel airs Each Night I Dream of Home for the forth time. It is not a good time for the Scifi channel. They have just cancelled their key series Farscape and it looks as if the powers that be in the network are fighting amonst each other. It may be soem time before "any" scifi series is safe on this channel again.
After the cancellation of the series, I left this last episode unreviewed as a bit of a reminder that Crusade continues, regardless of whether it does on screen or not. Enough time has passed, and I have finally posted the final review of the series. It was nice to look back at it from this perspective. From every viewpoint this series was ahead of its time, and was evolving to something as great as B5 (which we would have seen shortly after season one).
Unless a miracle happens there will be no more Crusade, however, JMS has stated he does plan on eventually writing a conclusion to the series in some form, maybe book. He is currently busy with Showtime and his new series Jeremiah.
Well, its been a while guys. And I may have some amazing news to share with you. There are several indications coming in fast this week that something major may be announced in the coming month concerning the B5/Crusade universe. Ratings for B5 widescreen on scifi have been beyond anyone's wildest dreams climbing as high as 1.1 in some cases and 1.0 with regularity. To put this in perspective, B5 reruns at 7pm are doing better than some of SCIFI's own first run shows. As such, the prospect for SCIFI doing something new in the B5 or Crusade universe now seems not a matter of if but a matter of when.
We all hoped for the best. Well it appears the best may finally be happening. The first stage of any revival would be an announcement that the SCIFI channel is picking up the original 13 crusade episodes for broadcast. We filmly believe this announcement will come at any time now. JMS has this week posted a warning to look to the newsgroup for some sort of major announcements concerning B5. Given his history, he would not be making this pre-announcement if something had not been actually finalized in some form. His vague messages are perhaps indications that he is legally prohibited from saying anything further at this point. But it looks at this point like the impossible may actually be happening.
The state of things: if SCIFI elected to continue the Crusade series most of the cast could be reassembled as of this date as none are involved in anything substantial. The only question would be money. Gary Cole would seem to be the lone holdout and would probably require some extra money to reaquire, although he has not had much success as of late with series so even getting him back could be possible. The other main character in our opinion, Peter Woodward, is just waiting to put on the Galen costume again. He's a huge fan and will likely be the first onboard. However, with the high success of B5 on SCIFI it is clear that SCIFI may want some new show that might include only parts of Crusade. If so, the story of Crusade may be told as a subplot of some new series. Stay tuned! We will likely move any new series announcements to a new page in Dateline: B5 if a hybrid series developes.
There is also a chance that SCIFI may elect to request more B5 movies instead of a series, but I would lean more toward a series since JMS can produce it so cheap in comparison to other scifi shows. If you have never written SCIFI before, now is the time. The address appears a few paragraphs below. Let them know what you want to see and in what form!!!
I would predict that the money for a new series, if one takes place, may come from the cancellation of FIRST WAVE. The relatively high cost series which SCIFI committed to for three years has not preformed well enough to earn its money and its current season has wrapped production. It is very likely that Scifi would either cut its budget extremely or cancel it altogether at this point, given that B5 reruns are earning more money than First Wave.
OTHER NEWS: Due to a mistake at WB, seasons 2 and 3 of B5 widescreen were not actually shown in widescreen. They were just shown cutoff. Apparently the wrong masters were used in the conversion process. This problem has been rectified and seasons 4 and 5 as well as any further broadcasts will be in true widescreen format. A tidbit of knowledge: THE GATHERING will never be shown in true widescreen format since it was never filmed that way.
Thanks to those who ordered the WIDESCREEN celebration T-shirts. All were delivered in November.
B5 widescreen moves to the SF Channel Sept 25th at 7pm. Get your VCR's ready. Word has it that it is very possible that SF will also pick up the Crusade reruns and if ratings are good some sort of B5 revival may follow. Keep your fingers crossed and watch, watch, watch.
Meanwhile JMS has a ton of stuff going on. He has a movie in the works based on his comic Rising Stars, is planning a new series (not B5 related), etc. It has also come to light through a recent JMS interview that possibly (and probably) none of our efforts to save crusade on TNT would have helped. He believes that TNT had decided that their viewers did not want science fiction and Crusade ratings (which were pretty strong) did not fall over to other shows on the network. Originally TNT planned to also produce a second scifi series which would be a companion to Crusade, but once that fell through Crusade's fate was probably sealed before it even began.
Yet, with all of this going on, our efforts toward the SF Channel have worked and we have been rewarded with a widescreen edition of B5. It has been rumored that SF is paying around $1200 extra per episode for the conversion work and we applaud them if that is true. Its time to celebrate our efforts.
And while your thinking about the future of B5/Crusade, take time to say thank you and show support to the SF Channel. You can write them here:
Could Crusade still be saved or another B5 series still happen? Recent rumbling, believe it or not, suggest that its very much a possibility. JMS seems to be getting pretty cozy with the people at the SciFi Channel. He will be creating an audio series of stories which are supposed to premier on their website this summer. He has also recently appeared on a SciFi channel chat. And when asked what the possibility of Crusade or another B5 original reincartnation coming to the SciFi channel he said (in so many words) that we'll have to wait and see. Now, this kind of wording is pretty interesting, seeing JMS has had a policy of saying NOTHING when it comes to things like this.
Furthermore, we have reports that several B5 cast members have been contacted (including Peter Jurasik: Londo) to see if they would have interest in doing something B5 related in the future. It may have to deal with future TV movies, a new series or the continuation in some form of Crusade. In any event, the next 6 months should be very interesting.
SCIFI PICKS UP B5!!! No where in my (or the other Save Crusade webmasters dreams) did we think this event would occur this soon. All indications a few weeks ago were that the SciFi effort had totally stalls which just goes to show news from inside the SciFi channel is completely unreliable.
In any event, in what may be the turning point for the B5 concept as a whole, today the SciFi channel aquired rights to Babylon-5 reruns including all the B5 movies. They will be shown starting in September at the superb timeslot of 7pm eastern. The official press release is located here. There are still some questions as to how long their rights will be for, but this is a time to rejoice. SciFi plans to show the show daily and there is a actual possibility that like with Sliders they may request further shows from JMS and Netter which can put them together cheaply enough to fit SciFi's budget.
The lack of a good timeslot for B5 at TNT may actually help the Sept, 2000 launch because the show will be fresh to many new viewers and can actually be viewed as an event. Stay tuned. Things are finally turning the corner.
Looks like things are going from bad to worse. News has surfaced that the B5 video game is now dead. Last minute efforts to save it by the programming team have not worked out. We have also heard that B5 video tapes may be discontinued, so if you don't have them and want them we suggest you buy now. The book release schedule is also being tailed back.
Why is all of this happening? Because TNT has B5 on at 7am in the morning and it is generating no exposure. We can expect a very dark time for B5/Crusade fans for a year to come. The rights to B5 reruns will be released in Feb, 2000. At that time B5 will surely be picked up by a tradional scifi network and we will seee a reverse of these trends. Until then it is a dark time. Have faith.
Well, we are approaching the one year anniversary of when things went straight to hell production wise. From recent reports, TNT's rights to Crusade itself have just expired, which means Warner Bros is free to shop the show anywhere it wishes without their input. Whether this will help is anyone's guess. The major problem is TNT still has the rights to B5 reruns for two more years and any Crusade deal would need to include B5 reruns as a baseline.
Recent revelations have popped up concerning overspending done by the SciFi channel that made many Crusade hopes unjustified. It would seem SciFi locked in its budget when it secretly committed to its original show first wave for a full 3 seasons! That kind of three year deal is unprecedented in SciFi. In fact, SciFi spent so much money on First Wave that even through the ratings of Sliders held with their new cast they could not renew the series at the last minute, even though they wanted to. Further money was already devoted to upcoming projects such as the Invisible Man (a series I feel is doomed to failure on a massive scale).
Suffice to say, many were led to believe that SciFi would have money opening up this year that did not exist. They couldn't even afford to support their own shows (namely Sliders). SciFi is not the secure home many thought it was.
So where does this leave Crusade. For now, dead. To be honest, hope and luck have come and gone and basically only a miracle would be able to bring the series back. It is a hit in many other parts of the globe and videos are now beginning to be released in those regions, so just perhaps something will spark, but in all honesty there is no visible signs of hope on the horizon and it is a sad realization.
Regardless of the future, this web page will remain active and up. And although the updates may be fewer, I am and will continue to keep my eyes and ears open for you. I would suggest all interested join the Save Crusade mailing list (link above) which has grown into an organization to help SciFi in general survive. Information is also online for Crusade for a Cure, an organization which has just grown out of the Save Crusade effort which will battle a medical disease every year in a fund raising effort.
Although this is just a rumor, it is a strong one so it warrents report here. We had had several reports indicating that the SciFi Channel may currently be in negotiations for the rights to show Crusade's 13 filmed episodes back to back, in a marathon or other fashion. We have all been waiting for months to hear anything dealing with Crusade from SciFi. They have remained silent...oddly so.
This is a slight glimmer of hope but if true it is significant. Reportedly, SciFi would use the original 13 episodes as a baseline to determine if they would pick up the series and continue the story. Ironically this comes a few weeks on the heals of an internet uprising from angry fans trying to save Sierra's cancelled B5 simulator game.
After months of nothing, there seems to be some momentum building.
The timing of this possible SciFi move actually makes sense, because TNT's contract for B5 is supposedly going to run out in Feb 2000. That means, TNT would need to negotiate with SciFi before that time which what appears to be happening. We urge all of you out there to write SciFi immediately. Information on how to is at the Voice of the Resistance at the link at the top of this page.
On another note, I finally got back to reviewing episodes after a long absence while I was working with several Save Crusade initiatives and personal projects. The review for ep 11 is now online and the last two will be coming soon. Thanks for your patience.
Lastly, TNT has shut down the ability to post on their Crusade message boards, claiming a technical problem. It is likely that constant posts from Save Crusade forces may have made this change happen.
Transcripts are online from the recent Save Crusade Meetings. Check them out and make sure to participate in the next meeting!.
Unconfirmed news from several sources reports that Bruce Boxleitner may join the cast of one of Majel Roddenbery's new scifi series, although it is not known which. This leads to the possibility that JMS may also be involved in the production of one of these series, even though he has previously denied this. JMS is a very good friend of Majel's and shares her vision for what scifi should be. With the recent problems of Crusade and Earth Final Conflict, I wouldn't be surprised if JMS has aided in some way, maybe small maybe large. After all both JMS's and Majel's new projects are equally hush-hush, which is odd.
The SciFi channel remains silent on all fronts concerning Crusade. They refuse to give us a YES or NO, and it looks more and more like the answer may be no. Any recovery for Crusade may have to be in the long term. Showtime recently launched a new science fiction network on Sept 12th, and another scifi channel from Viacomm may be coming. They do represent potential homes for Crusade in the distant future. TNT continues to update its Crusade website and has hosted several chats since Crusade's run ended. This is all very odd. TNT may still step up to the plate in some form. That's all for now.
A very substantial report coming from ScifiWire states that JMS, the creator of Crusade, is hard at work on a new science fiction series with a very well known producer. This series is not slated to involve the B5 universe in any way. It is unclear what this means in reference to Crusade's possible future, but this author has to ask the question: If JMS is heavily involved in a new series, how much would he be able to be involved in a Crusade revival if one was to surface? His involvement in a new series would certainly explain why he has been particularly unavailable lately.
On a related note, Crusade's ratings have gone up substantially in the past week. With proper promotion, it could easily compete in any market.
The SciFi channel is suspiciously quiet. We have heard every rumor in the world concerning them, but they all go in different directions, which leads me to believe that "no one" knows what they are doing or thinking. They are expected to make some kind of official announcement in the next month concerning their intentions. Space (in Canada) will reportedly not be showing reruns of Crusade, even though they consider it a hit show, because of contract situations. TNT is still promoting their Crusade website with contests. More as I get it....
Potentially really big news to report. As I predicted below (and yes I will toot my horn), Sliders has just been canceled. The Sci-Fi channel's signature show is now no more. What does this mean? This potentially frees money for another sci-fi series. Thus, if the execs at Sci-fi are interested in Crusade, they can now act on it. Whether or not they still want Crusade is anyone's guess at this point.
A few days ago they made another move which raised a few eyebrows in the sci-fi community: Farscape, a highly original series from Henson and Halmark (that I highly recommend watching) was renewed for a full 22-episode second season. The series was in trouble because the Star Wars Episode Two team will shortly be using their studio for filming, but Farscape has now been relocated and word is another cast member will be introduced shortly (I trust that my suggestion on the EFC newsgroup about a month ago had nothing to do with the new cast member, but its nice to dream. Bravo to the production team over there).
The pickup of Farscape signals that Sci-Fi is not ready to give up on their Friday original programming scheme just because Sliders has gone to make the great maker. It is obvious that they need another signature show to solidify their lineup and Crusade is potentially a show that would fit well over there. It has a ton of potential and is still young enough to claim as their own. So cross your fingers folks.
Latest news says that another show or shows are being filmed on the stages formerly reserved for Crusade. Although this should not be considered abnormal...after all, the owners have to make money someway. There was a significant drop in the ratings in episode two; however, this may be attributed to other strong shows in the time slot. The 10pm WED slot has become very competitive and may not be a good place for Crusade in the first place. It is currently going against brand new South Park episodes (fired by a flurry of SP movie promos). JMS has indicated that the main story arc of the series did not start in the 13 episodes that they filmed. The initial 13 were devoted to character development. 3 eps in and I gotta say, I like the show quite a bit. Very different but very promising.
Well, no matter what happens, we seem to have 13 episodes to enjoy. Things have been absolutely quiet on the update front for three solid months. There is no movement whatsoever in the effort to save the show, except for several fan campaigns which should be praised. I have read mixed reviews concerning the first few episodes, so who knows what to expect. I hear from several very good sources that the music is just as bad as in the pilot, at least in the first half a dozen episodes, so brace yourselves.
To those looking for a glimmering source of inspiration, I give you this one word: SLIDERS. In my humble opinion Sliders is the force that has the best chance of saving Crusade. Am I nuts...nope...and here's why. Sliders is currently the highest rated show on the SciFi channel. They depend on it to anchor their new Friday night. Farscape may be semi-good, but it can not hold its own without another strong show. Incredibly, Sliders is about to undergo its third major cast change this week. O'Conner is not going to be part of the new season, and neither is his brother. This leaves Slider's mythology and plot threads hopelessly lost and dangling. I don't care what kind of writers you hire, without O'Conner the plot of Sliders is absolutely laughable and cannot hold any water. They now have no star power.
Sliders cancellation would leave a huge chunk of cash for B5 Productions, and the SciFi channel is already highly interested in Crusade. It would become their new keystone show. So, while you watch the new cast of Sliders destroy the show's plot threads and try to explain why in hell the producers can close a loop, pray for Crusade.
Another note before ending this update: What da hell is wrong with TNT? All of their media ads of Crusade have given the appearance that they don't know what in God's name Crusade is. Their previews make no sense. They advertise the Excalibur band as 5 renegade rangers. They are neither 5 rangers, nor 5 renegades. Yeah, they paid a lot of attention! Way to invest in research.
OFFICIAL CANCELATION...MAYBE: I have been holding off on reporting anything further for a while because I hoped to hear more solid info from all involved, but everyone associated with Crusade on the net has fallen silent the last few weeks. So here's the deal as it currently stands. Crusade is official canceled. Production has totally halted. The SciFi channel wants Crusade but can not afford it this year, so it is not an option.
Where does this leave things? TNT, in a weird gesture, has agreed to show the 13 episodes that were made of Crusade. They are still hyping the show on their website and all indications suggest they will do the same on television once the NBA regular season finishes. Launch date for what remains of Crusade is slated for JUNE 9th. Get your tape recorders ready because there's no guarantee any of them will be shown again. I can't remember a situation in which a station canceled a series and still ran the series. This is all very weird.
Is there hope for more Crusade, yes. The most important date occurs in early summer when the cast's contracts will expire. At this point there is no guarantee that they could get them back if production picked up. TNT could order more shows if they see solid ratings from the premier. If TNT does not order more shows, it will at least show all 13 of the current one's which would bring things (if we can assume that they would show them once in reruns) to the year 2000. All indications are that the SciFi channel would be able to afford Crusade next year if its available...especially since I see no way in heaven that they will renew Sliders (and its new cast) for another season.
JMS has a history of hiring loyal cast members (overall), so the odds are a number of key cast members would come back into the picture if they had to. Recasting some roles at this early stage would not be difficult and if they had to they could hire some of the old B5 cast (to fill the gaps and maintain continuity) which would be more than happy to work again on the story, even for a few episodes.
So my belief is that Crusade is far from dead. Admittedly, its in a coma right now, but there is still some hope. I'm sure once the series starts running there will be people that want more...its just too interesting of a series to pass on seeing the lack of quality science fiction available this year.
Major news coming out of Babylon-5 productions and Netter Digital. Production on Crusade is in a holding pattern. Apparently the powers that be at TNT, B5 and Warner Bros were not seeing eye-to-eye, and although the details are not available, the bottom line is TNT is dropping the project.
Does this mean Crusade is dead? No. Don't panic yet. Crusade and JMS are frantically searching for a new home, again if you can believe it. The leading candidates right now are the SciFi Channel and FX, although I don't think FX personally has a chance; no one I know has FX. Although nothing concrete is being said, I did visit SciFi's website looking for information. Curiously on the preference page was a full banner ad for a B5 book. Coincidence??? Hmmm....
The odds of the project being completely scrapped are very slim. (1) Warner Bros is being very supportive of the project and is doing its best to find it a new home. They are rumored to believe in the show and concept highly. Why they won't take a chance and put it on the WB network is anyone's guess. (2) About a dozen Crusade episodes have already been made, money has been spent, and it will try to be recouped. (3) Initial reviews of the first episode have been favorable.
TNT's departure of the project may be one of the best things that happened to Crusade to date, so don't jump out a window in panic. Although they have done more for B5 that any other network to date, rumors of them trying to make Crusade more Trekkish may be more than rumors. They also have an absurd dependence on the NBA, which makes any normal prime time programming tricky at best. Their scheduling of B5 season 5 was simply put, nuts.
Check out our review of the A Call To Arms premiere. A Call To Arms marks the unofficial end to Babylon-5 on television and the start of Crusade. Many points touched on below already came true.
Current rumors have it that TNT is considering starting the series in March instead of the earlier mentioned June 1999. This change may be due to the fact that NBA action this year is not likely. A Call To Arms, the lead in movie to Crusade, will be shown during the first week of January. Since TNT has not moved A Call's date, it is likely that they are indeed planning for the March launch. However, as per TNT's previous launches, no one will likely know the true launch date until three weeks before it actually happens. Two of Crusades main characters will appear in A Call To Arms as well as many of the original B5 cast.
Crusade is currently filming episode 11 already, so they are well on their way and doing fine. They are prepared for any launch date TNT throws at them.
Although the main ship in the series is called the Excalibur (seen above), reports have it that there is an identical sister ship with the same configuration, called the Victory. They are an advanced prototype model, much larger in scale than the White Star. My personal prediction at this point is that the Victory would be destroyed at some point, leaving only the Excalibur to save earth.
B5 CAST CROSSOVERS:
Dr. Franklin will make at least once appearance in the series. Tracey Scoggins (Lockley) will appear in the series often and will likely be an important secondary character throughout its run. JMS, and the rest of production, are leaving the doors wide open to let other characters from B5 crossover at will.
SERIES DURATION NEWS:
It has been learned that JMS is not setting a five year limit on the run of Crusade. This artificial block that was set when Babylon-5 was created, over time, was more than a burden and ultimately leant to some needless damage to the series. With Crusade not set to a definite five years this opens a lot of options.
Also the time limit to save the earth is set at five years, this does not preclude something else from happening which course shorten or lengthen the series. JMS has stated that Crusade will have a less rigid story arc than B5 did, and will include more stand alone episodes.
After an episode of Crusade it written, the script is taken to about a dozen people at NASA who go over it and give scientific suggestions for how each planet, solar system, or other body should look like. This will create the best realism we have ever seen in a sci-fi series.
Ode to Starblazers?
This author has seen tons of similarities which suggest that the premise of this series may be in some way based on the cartoon series Starblazers. Starblazers was seen in a time that may have influenced JMS, thus this seems like a likely theory.
The premise for Starblazers, which was a wide-scoping cartoon series, was that a lone ship "the Argo" was send into space to save the earth which was dying. There was also a time limit to this mission. This plot mirrors the one that we see in Crusade. Whether or not this is true, this is a wonderful development. The stories they were able to make in Starblazers were terrific and it was a milestone cartoon. Thus, Crusade is set to be a milestone itself.
For those of you who have never seen Starblazers, if your a sci-fi fan, shame on you. Pick up a copy of this series. It was the first of its kind and paved the way for a ton of science fiction, most of it non-cartoon oriented. The entire Quest For Iscandar Series is available here on VHS, and is on-sale. Grab your copy before these are no longer available from the manufacturer :(.
The front of the Excalibur is open and its design suggests that at that point may lie a super weapon of some kind. If true this would also pay homage to the Argo, which has a huge reflex cannon mounted at front which was capable of destroying an entire fleet of ships when used at full power. Time will tell whether the Excalibur indeed has a large weapon at front, put its configuration surely suggests this. [click here for more pictures of the Argo].
The Excalibur's front also bears an almost exact resemblance to the Gould Staff's used in the Television series Stargate SG1 as well as in the movie Stargate. This is probably coincidental, but put side to side they look identical.
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