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J. Michael Straczynski’s Excellent City Of Dreams Audio Drama Is Up On YouTube

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CoDThere was a period during my college years when I was seriously into radio dramas. Even though it was a format whose time had passed decades before I was born, I still was fascinated by how successful radio dramas could tell a story using only sound. I burned through tons of classic ones from the format’s heydey, as well as more modern examples such as Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the BBC’s massive Lord of the Rings retelling, and the NPR Star Wars adaptations. Somewhere in the mix I got hooked on J. Michael Straczynski’s excellent City of Dreams audio series, and now you can discover them for yourselves on YouTube.

The City of Dreams was created in 2000 for Sci-Fi Channel’s Seeing Ear Theatre, which produced original radio dramas for SciFi.com. The City of Dreams was an anthology series that explored stories rooted in science fiction, fantasy, and horror. In some ways, it was a return for JMS to the earlier days of his career, when he’d worked on the 1980s revival of The Twilight Zone. Thirteen episodes of the show were planned, but sadly only eight were produced. The voice cast includes such talented people as Steve Buscemi, Andre Braugher, Tim Curry, and John Turturro.

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J. Michael Straczynski On His Netflix Series Sense8

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sense8With original offerings such as House of Cards, the fourth season of Arrested Development, Orange Is the New Black, and Eli Roth’s Hemlock Grove, Netflix has been the toast of pop culture over the last year. The online streaming service is the pinnacle of online TV and attracts the best of the best in movies and TV. One of Netflix’s more exciting projects in the works is Sense8, a science fiction series from J. Michael Straczynski and the Wachowskis.

Sense8 surrounds eight people with different backgrounds who spontaneously develop the ability to connect with each other telepathically. Straczynski explained how he got involved with the new series and why the Wachowskis wanted to create something new for television instead of returning to the big screen after the release of Cloud Atlas. Straczynski told Comic Book Resources:

After doing a truckload of amazing films, Andy and Lana began looking for new challenges and thought it could be really cool to try their hands at television. Since I have that background and it was all still new to them, Lana invited me up to San Francisco for several days to toss some ideas back and forth.

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Babylon 5 Returning To The Airwaves As British Channel Picks Up All Five Seasons

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B5It’s a crying shame that Babylon 5, in spite of being one of the best science fiction series of the past 50 years, has been fading into obscurity in recent years. Oh, the loyal fans are there, and we’re still proselytizing to our friends and neighbors, but it sometimes seems like Warner Bros. has been actively trying to hide J. Michael Straczynski’s classic series. Sure, it’s on DVD, but it hasn’t been airing anywhere in syndication, which is mind-boggling given the number of cable networks out there. And in a time when streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Instant Video are changing the face of entertainment distribution, B5 isn’t available to stream anywhere either. Thankfully that tragic absence of televised B5 is finally changing…as long as you’re in the U.K.

JMS himself announced the news on his Facebook fan page, that UKTV had acquired the TV rights for Babylon 5 to air on their Watch channel, which I will presume is not actually dedicated to round-the-clock coverage of pocket watches. They’ve got nearly the whole kit’n’kaboodle: all five seasons of the series and all six B5 TV movies (including the forgettable Legend of the Rangers). The only thing it doesn’t look like they have the rights to is the Babylon 5: The Lost Tales direct-to-DVD one-shot from 2007. It’s possible the official announcement may have just neglected to mention that however. The episodes will air weekday afternoons on Watch beginning on Monday, November 4.

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J. Michael Straczynski Urges Fans To Get Babylon 5 Back On TV (Thanks To Breaking Bad)

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Babylon 5Breaking Bad is already my favorite show, but Badger’s Star Trek spec script idea a few weeks ago coupled with Sunday night’s Babylon 5 reference has put it right over the top.

BREAKING BAD SPOILERS BELOW!!! AND BABYLON 5 ONES, FOR THAT MATTER!!!

The last episode features a hunt for Jesse (Aaron Paul) after he douses Walter White’s (Bryan Cranston) house with gasoline but then mysteriously disappears before striking the flame. Walt and Saul (Bob Odenkirk) try to track Jesse down, going so far as to bug the homes of his sci-fi-loving friends. Sadly, the wire only picks up three hours of conversation “about something called Babylon 5.” Of course Badger and Skinny Pete watch B5. They may be meth-heads, but they have damn fine taste in television.

After the episode, Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski tweeted a challenge to fans:

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J. Michael Straczynski Will Explore The Twilight Zone In Comics Form

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comboSubmitted for your approval: J. Michael Strazynski. A hard-working writer whose resume stretches across film, TV, comics, and more. The man who gave us Babylon 5, and whose online interactions with fans have been ongoing since before most of the public even knew what the hell an “internet” was. A man whose career keeps surging forward, but which will now carry him back into his own past…and into The Twilight Zone.

Last week, leading up to the annual San Diego Comic-Con, Dynamite Comics made an announcement that didn’t seem to get as much attention as it deserves. Dynamite and Straczynski are going to launch a new expedition into The Twilight Zone, this time in comics form. JMS is signed on for 12 issues, made up of three four-issue arcs. There are no artist announcements yet, so it remains to be seen if one artist will handle the entire run, or if each arc might be tackled by a different artist.

Straczyski spoke to Comic Book Resources and provided a few details about what we can expect from this new Zone. There have been many Twilight Zone incarnations over the years, and the original series is just as powerful now as it was when it originally aired. Straczynski says that comes down to the fact that many of the themes explored by Serling’s show are timeless and universal:

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Babylon 5’s J. Michael Straczynski Writing Terminator Comic That Explores John Connor’s Future War

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ExoSkelFrom the time many of us first encountered J. Michael Straczynski via his excellent and underrated Babylon 5, it’s been patently obvious that this dude is a workaholic. He doesn’t just like to keep multiple irons in the fire; he likes to keep multiple fires, each at full-iron capacity. Over the years fans of JMS have followed him through multiple TV series, high-profile comic runs, and a half-dozen different movies, including work on this summer’s surprise hit World War Z and the Academy Award-nominated Changeling. He’s shown no sign of slowing down these days, and now he’s added another new project to his slate: a comic series set during the future war of the Terminator franchise.

Dark Horse Comics — which has been pumping out Terminator comics for years now — today announced that Straczynski will be teaming with artist Pete Woods for a 12-issue series called Terminator: The Final Battle. JMS is no stranger to playing in other people’s creative sandboxes, having written for iconic comic characters such as Spider-Man and Superman. He also has a proven knack for spinning epic science fiction tales, so it should be great fun seeing his angle on James Cameron’s Terminator universe…especially since he’ll be exploring a corner of it you might not expect.