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23rd Century Lesbians, 20th Century TV - "Babylon 5" Panel

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Allaine

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In what has been a 2011 filled with new ideas and directions for F4F Radio, we start winding down the year with another "panel". Rather than having on authors to interview them about their work in a specific fandom, we have on several committed fans/writers from a fan community to talk about the impact of the fandom itself. Tonight's topic has been off the air for a decade, but that hasn't diminished its sheer importance regarding LGBT storylines on network TV. "Babylon 5" was a popular sci-fi drama which ran on TNT for five seasons in the 1990s, and it was here that lucky fans met Susan Ivanovna (Claudia Christian) and Talia Winters (Andrea Thompson), two women who immediately clashed, primarily thanks to Susan's hatred for the Psi Corps that Talia belonged to. Over the course of the first two seasons, however, the two grew closer, culminating in the episode "Divided Loyalties". It combined the highest of the highs - a night together that strongly implied Susan and Talia had slept together - with the lowest of the lows - Talia being "possessed" and "killed" by the Control sleeper personality. Regardless of how the storyline ended, the fact remains that this episode aired in 1995, well before shows like "Xena: Warrior Princess" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" prominently featured canon and subtextual lesbian relationships, making B5 one of the VERY first of its kind on commercial television. Our panel will discuss the evolution of the Susan/Talia relationship on B5, its impact on the LGBT community at the time, fan fiction, and how people view it today. The panel will include past guests Del Robertson and Ariestess, as well as first-timers Kerkevik and Sammy, all of whom wrote at least one Susan/Talia fanfic over the years. Also joining us will be two-time guest cohost Kim Pritekel, making her debut as F4F Radio's new full-time cohost.

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