I can't think of any other project that I have been so passionate about and wanted to do so badly. The history of the B5 Revisited & Rethought Project has been a difficult one ...
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While on Google+, a huge social media service back in the day, I found that there were a lot of B5 fans around and I had been toying around with revisiting the series. I invited other fans to participate in a multi-author style blog where we’d all rewatch the series and post essays. What I found was that there were very few people who were interested in analyzing the show with any real depth and somewhere along the way I had been talking to Dr Jennie Song about possibly using the show as a way of showcasing how the Media Therapy modality I was developing actually worked. Jennie agreed to become the primary student since she’d never seen Babylon 5 and had almost ZERO interest in scifi shows. I wrote about this period of time …
“.. I realized that the project needed to get refocused and that I understood where I’d gone wrong. The entire project turned out to be very different from what I had envisioned both in good and bad ways. My first and biggest mistake was opening the blog up to other authors and public commentary. The second mistake was not realizing what the best use of this project could be.
I originally opened the blog up to other authors because my relationship with Babylon 5 – and media in general – is complicated and I thought that reading so much of my thoughts on things would be alienating. I thought it would be better to allow other people to post their thoughts so that there would be a variety of opinions and ideas being expressed about different episodes.
The truth is there are very few people who come at media in the same way I do and ideally what I wanted was to explore the show through a media therapy focus which no one is capable of doing except myself and my students. Alienating or not, the original idea I had for the project was to help further evolve myself through a therapeutic technique specially created for self- analysis and exploration via a multi-tiered media experience. I should have kept the blog a very closed and focused environment especially once Jennie became the main author. Fans of the show and the blog wanted to see more videos from her and while the enthusiasm was much appreciated and surprising, the overwhelming and frustratingly ignorant commentary littering the blog was very distracting for myself and Jennie as well. In addition to the number of people who complained and questioned “how long it could possibly take to write about a TV show”, it was clear to us that people really didn’t understand this process or take it seriously as far as it being something very overwhelming for Jennie to work through.
In the new version of the Babylon 5 Revisited and Rethought blog there will be no outside commentary or authors allowed. Given that this is a deeply personal and therapeutic experience, outside opinion would severely taint the flow and expression. You wouldn’t conduct a therapy session in front of an audience of strangers and allow them to shout out comments, opinions, or allow other disruptions would you? Of course not. Media therapy is a process specific to the person engaging in it so this blog will serve as a one directional experience where the audience can read about, be exposed to, and possibly learn from the content but not influence it.”
Unfortunately, after a couple of videos, Jennie was unable to continue forward with the process of doing Media Therapy. I said at the time …
“My media therapy technique really pushes the dedicated student to explore themselves, ask and answer difficult questions of their life, and go through a sometimes painful process of ascension. I don’t think that Jennie was fully prepared for what this process would require or be like when she first agreed to do it. Despite her and I having many conversations about media therapy, it wasn’t until she was actually engaging in the process that she began to understand how difficult it was going to be. To be perfectly honest, she didn’t truly understand the entire process clearly until almost a year after stopping.
Writing essays, talking on camera for the first time and allowing other people to hear her thoughts and see her emotions, and displaying herself publicly on the Internet were things completely new to Jennie. While many of us engage in social media or video chatting with people – even strangers – and have websites and blogs, Jennie has always been a very private and shy person. Getting her out of her shell and helping her feel more comfortable in her own skin was a part of the therapy process as well as guiding her in a process of organizing her thoughts and feelings about her past and present.
Three episodes into the first season of Babylon 5, Jennie hit a place of processing that really changed her. She wrote about it in an essay – “Born To The Purple” – and she talked about it in a couple of videos but it had more of a profound effect on her than she could express. It brought up issues for her involving her family, her culture, and her struggle with her place in those things. While media therapy helped her to recognize and resolve one of these issues stirred up by “Born To The Purple”, it opened a geyser of other issues and realizations that became a bit overwhelming for her to process. We decided to take a break for a while and slow down the pace of watching the series so that there could be more time for private discussions, therapy sessions, and her own private processing. That break went from weeks, to months, to a year.”
Born To The Purple by Dr Jennie Song, PsyD
Original Writing Date : June 19 2012
The title “Born to the Purple” means being born into a set of circumstances, responsibilities, and expectations. It means that our life is shaped by factors that are rooted in our family’s history, responsibilities that are imposed by our culture, and expectations that are dictated by the very ones that gave us life. It means that no matter how much you believe in free will and choice, there is no such thing ...
After taking a year off, Jennie returned to the project and expressed her thoughts about what she’d discovered about herself during the year hiatus in a video called “Returning To Babylon 5” which you can watch here (https://youtu.be/vI3eYkQG–w). I wrote about this at the time …
“During the course of that year Jennie also was under pressure to proceed on her path towards finishing her doctorate degree in clinical psychology and starting her career as a psychologist (Dr. Song has a nice ring to it doesn’t it?). This process includes having to move out of state for a year long internship, work part-time, finish and defend her dissertation, do another year of post doctorate work, and finally study for and pass the state licensing exam. All of those things absolutely take priority over watching 5 seasons of a television program and completing my media therapy class, but Jennie recognized the importance this process was going to have on her ability to become an even healthier person and an all around better psychologist so she decided she wanted to continue no matter what.
She wants to start watching the series over from the beginning (she only got 4 episodes in) and provide much deeper and more insightful content for the site. She’s grown a lot this past year and, in addition to getting much more comfortable on camera, she’s had time to really develop her logic processing, self reflection, and critical analysis skills a lot. She’s looking forward to showcasing this new level of evolution in her writing and video commentary this year.
Jennie will be re-starting her focus on Babylon 5 again very soon. She’s in the process of relocating for her year long internship (required to finish her doctorate degree) and once she’s settled in there we’ll be posting again. She’s committing to a couple of essays and videos a month.”
Jennie didn’t even get past episode 2 this time around before stopping again. She was run down, busy, working hard on finishing her post-doc hours, and a host of other personal issues got in the way. During this time her chronic health issues also became much worse and she lacked the energy to get through an entire day of work, clients, and trying to think critically about her life. I wrote of that time …
“Upon her return she’s grown significantly and even on re-watching the first few episodes she had a completely new way of seeing things and picked up instantly on things that were totally over her head a year ago. During her year hiatus we worked on logic processing – one of the foundations to my theory of organized analysis – and general communication. I think her experience on her doctoral internship has also helped her thinking and communication skills a great deal. The limitations of her peers has caused her to have to step up her own growth and given her more of a sense of responsibility to this process of learning.
With these realizations has come a FLOOD of feelings, thoughts, and new understanding to the point where +Jennie Song is tripping over herself with complex levels of analysis and way too much information. In the beginning she was a really empty headed person and now her head is boiling over with thoughts that she can’t manage to wrangle in. This isn’t the same as over-thinking but it’s more akin to heightened awareness and evolution. Her sense of reality is stronger than it was before and everything she COULDN’T see, she now CAN see and everything she COULDN’T understand, is now terribly and painfully clear. Her struggle has become trying to boil it all down into some kind of essay format or video presentation and that is where she’s running into roadblocks.
The last few filming weekends have been complete washes. Either she’s too overwhelmed and exhausted from her internship and second job or she’s got so much in her head – and hasn’t prepared for the video segment – and she’s all over the place rambling and throwing out thought after thought after theory after theory with no organization. She spends all week working and no time on the homework that comes with this kind of cognitive behavior therapy framework and self analysis. I keep telling her that she has to commit properly to this process or not do it at all.”
Jennie was never able to find the time, energy, or focus to continue and it was shortly after this point that I deleted the website and blog and gave up on the project ever being completed.
Thanks to the Wayback Machine that archives nearly every single thing that has ever existed on the Internet, you can find the entire old blog, Jennie’s essays, and much of the original content still. All of her original videos (both before and after her year hiatus) can be found on the 2BlackGeeks Youtube Channel.
2BlackGeeks B5 Video Archives
A YouTube playlist of Dr Jennie Song's original videos from the Babylon 5 Revisited and Rethought Project from 2012-2014
Several years went by including several where Jennie and I didn’t speak to each other.
Jennie had been through quite a bit over those years and was dealing with a great amount of emotional trauma. When she brought up the B5 Project, I was skeptical, but I’d always told her that whenever she was ready to work on it again, I would do it. I was, at this point in 2019, recovering from surgery and was looking for something to fill my time so I agreed to start things up again. Blogging was still popular but podcasts had since become a thing and I suggested we might try that since we could do it remotely together.
The only difference this time was that Jennie specifically said that she didn’t want to do Media Therapy. She wanted to simply watch the show and then talk about it … normally. I told her I felt this would be really boring and that Babylon 5 was the kind of show that really warranted in depth analysis. She said she was willing to do in depth thinking but that she didn’t want to talk about herself, her problems, or use the show as any kind of therapeutic mechanism. The ENTIRE point of the B5 Revisited Project was to showcase the Medial Therapy Modality so it made little sense to me to just … talk about the show as if there weren’t plenty of ways to apply the lessons to real life – especially her own.
Despite my misgivings I decided to set everything up. Got on Spreaker, got mics, got software and we successfully managed to get through 4 episodes (every time Jennie wants to start over, we start from Episode 1) before Jennie, once again, was unable to continue or just was disinterested in continuing. I don’t think she even listened to one episode that we did to be honest. I don’t recall what her reason was this time around. I think she was still dealing with a lot of things personally and struggling to pass the EPPP exam for licensure to practice psychology.
I deleted the podcast. (I do still have the audio files for the podcast, I may consider putting them up on this website for posterity.)
Mira Furlan died in January 2021, in February Babylon 5 was remastered and, for the first time, became available to stream on Amazon and HBO Max, and in September of that same year it was announced that JMS was planning to do a “ground up” reboot of Babylon 5 designed to air on the CW.
You can imagine how my heart sank … losing Mira, who was one of my favorite actresses … B5 finally making a huge comeback thanks to remastering and streaming availability … and now a reboot announcement from JMS himself. I kept thinking of how amazing it would have been to have finished the B5 Revisited project years ago especially analyzing it and using it in a way that no one else had done … as therapy.
So many years had passed … so much opportunity missed.
In July of 2022 Jennie finally passed her EPPP and obtained her license to practice psychology in the state and a week later she sent me a text that simply said: “I’m ready to do B5. Would like to discuss with you when you feel like it.”
Despite explaining several times to commentors on YouTube what this project is and that it’s not a B5 review channel or B5 Reaction Video channel, in March of 2023 Dr Song and I decided to make a more generalized channel and website for all media and not just Babylon 5. Also, after dealing with a deleting commentary from rabid fans, trolls, misogynists, and other problematic people, the new channel will have comments turned off.
Dr Song also was interested in adding a second show to the project, Neon Genesis Evangelion.
In June of 2023 Dr Song finally opened her private practice and we had to put the project on hold 7 episodes away from the end of Season 1. Needless to say, Dr Song has to put her new clients and her practice first but she said she is determined to complete Season 1. Hopefully we will finally finish this project by the end of 2024.