In the Fall of 1996, myself and 3-4 others from Warner Bros. met with JMS, John Copeland, and others to discuss ways of tying the web site and AOL areas in with the actual TV show. Our “Programming Director” (who shall remain nameless) had a habit of suggesting mostly ridiculous ideas that only she thought were good. This was an OK attitude to have at Warner Bros., since she was a Director, most of the people around her told her what great ideas she had. However, I knew this meeting would be quite different.
From what I recall, we started with the usual introductions where I introduced everybody and then we began. Our Director spent no time in complementing JMS and John about how great it was that the show was so eager to have a good relationship with the online presence. Already I knew this was going to be bad, since JMS and John had been involved with the Internet and online marketing since before this Director had even started at WB.
The meeting then went into a brainstorming session where ideas were thrown out about ways to get the web site and the show together. Granted it was a brainstorming session, but the resulting suggestion had me looking down at the table with embarassment. Our Director, in all her brilliance, suggested that Babylon 5 do either a “Christmas Show” or a “Valentines Show” that we could tie in with the online sites.
I couldn’t tell if she was serious or kidding, as the room suddenly got quiet. She then went on about the Valentine’s Day idea and said maybe Ivanova could have a secret love interest on the show and she gets admiration emails from a secret admirer. It was obvious now more than ever that she had never watched the show, nor knew about the sexual preference that Ivanova exhibited in many episodes.
The silence was broken by JMS who mentioned something about “well, why don’t we just do “A Very Draxi Xmas” then?” This brought a chuckle out of myself and John, after all – Babylon 5 doing a Christmas show? But the Director thought Joe was serious and egged him on about his idea. I explained that the Drazi argued about “green” and “purple” and that would not make very good dialogue in a Christmas story.
I don’t remember the remaining of the meeting, but it probably ended with JMS saying “I’ll think about it” and thank goodness it never happened.
After the meeting, I got back to my cubicle and opened up Photoshop and found a picture of a Drazi on a “alien handbook” provided to the crew, and went to work. I finished the image and sent one in email to I believe John Copeland first. On my next visit to the set, every wall in the place had at least one photocopy of my Drazi grinning back at them. Determined to get a good one for them to put in the office, I printed out an 11×17 copy and took it to LosCon and presented it to Joe. Harlan grabbed it before Joe could put it away, and in the middle of the B5 panel, Harlan started singing all the songs listed on the image, and held it up for everybody to see. You can read about it in the con report Here.
JMS talked about conversations with WB people about how to improve B5
advertising. Apparently the folks at Warners’ suggested a Christmas show,
pointing out, “It worked for ‘Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.'” JMS jokingly
offered to do “A Very Drazi Christmas”–which led some deranged person on
the staff to come up with a prototype album cover for “A very Drazi
Christmas.” We couldn’t see the artwork from the audience, but Harlan read
(and occasionally sang) some of the song titles: “Silent Narn” and “O,
Little Town of Z’ha’dum” are the two that stick in my memory.