So right from the start let me just say "YAY! JOHN SHERIDAN IS HERE!!!!!!" While rewatching Season 1 with a close critical eye for our forthcoming book Dreams Given Form: The Unofficial Companion to the Universe of Babylon 5 gave me a greater appreciation of Sinclair (and of Michael O'Hare's acting - particularly in the wake of JMS's revelations about his struggle with mental illness), Sheridan is still my main man. I just don't think I would have bought O'Hare as the lead in Seasons 2 through 5 the way I buy Bruce Boxleitner's Captain Sheridan.
Of course, I am also aware that, had O'Hare remained, the story arc of Babylon 5 would have been considerably different. After the often bumpy Season 1, JMS & Co. had begun to know their own strengths and weaknesses and Straczynski wrote to those of the actors and characters brilliantly. He also wisely resisted any temptation to make Sheridan a kind of Sinclair redux. The break is clean. Where Sinclair is primarily a soft-spoken diplomat, Sheridan makes no bones about being a soldier, through his service as a ship's captain on the Rim, far away from Earthdome's advice and interference, has given him wide experience with alien races and a shrewd diplomatic mind in his own right. Where Sinclair usually seemed to manage Babylon 5, Sheridan commands it.
Yet it is always a bit mind-blowing to return to Season 2 and see Sheridan as a newcomer to B5, with his almost boyish delight in fresh oranges, and an oddly innocent sense of wonder about the whole set-up. Which is what makes his arc work, and why JMS is the master of character development. Sheridan, Ivanova, Delenn, Londo, G'Kar, Vir, etc, etc. all change as the series continues they shrink and grow and fail and triumph. None of them are cardboard cutouts - ever.
For my money, Babylon 5 needed the change to Boxleitner and Sheridan. He brings an edge to things that was lacking in Sinclair, and a feeling that things are going to start really happening. He is a soldier coming into a time that needs soldiers, and the leader who can stand the coming fires. Plus, he was one of the toppers on my wedding cake. No, seriously:
|When fandoms wed: Capt. John Sheridan and Buffy Summers gracing the top of our wedding cake back in 2010.|
So besides her blog (linked above), be sure to check out my co-author, K. Dale Koontz on Twitter and Facebook. Me you can find here, on Twitter, and Facebook, along with some other places linked via the buttons on the top right of this page. If you want more of us both, feel free to head on over to Amazon and buy our book, Wanna Cook? The Complete, Unofficial Companion to Breaking Bad, or you can find us every other week over at Biff Bam Pop! with our column "The Ten Percent," and I also publish a semi-regular column over there called "Ensley F. Guffey on War Comics," so check it all out.
Until next time,
Hold the Line!