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The power of cyberspace

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Babylon 5 may not be winning television’s space race, but you wouldn’t know it from its presence in the cybersphere. Besides the 27 websites listed in Yahoo’s online Internet guide (compared with Voyager‘s 13 and Deep Space Nine‘s 17), the series — now in its third season — launched an area on America Online in October chockful of downloadable photos, cast bios, and bulletin boards. To try to explain, among other things, how online support can be crucial for a struggling science-fiction show, we spoke to Bruce Boxleitner, who stars as Babylon 5‘s Capt. John Sheridan.

On interacting with fans on Babylon 5’s AOL site. Most of the fans seem to be very concerned about where the story is going. We were astounded by the numbers. I wish that we could raise the ratings, though. We need more people writing in their views.

On how new technology has affected TV. No longer am I just reading Variety or The Hollywood Reporter reviews. The public now gets on the Internet and criticizes you too. It’s a bit disconcerting, isn’t it?

On how new technology has affected Babylon 5. We have a whole wall at our studio devoted to [postings]. Every once in a while we get one that’s a little too critical, and we take it down. But they speak their minds, and we’re there to listen. When I replaced Michael O’Hare [Comdr. Jeffrey Sinclair] — Omigod, there was a storm. I got mail at my home like it was my fault, like I had personally put this man out of work.

On plans for a Babylon 5 movie. It’s been rumored between the fourth and fifth seasons. But we have to always wonder if we’re going to be picked up again. If people want to see a movie, then they better help us get better ratings.

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