Mar 082013

Every few years I re-watch the whole “Babylon 5” series on DVD. As it was a relatively low budget show that started twenty years ago, a lot of it can be fairly said to be a bit dated an creaky. A lot of the effects are, by todays standards, kinda weak; some of the sets were kinda lame; some of the acting, especially in the first season, was bad; and a lot of the dialogue is just a bit painful. Still, it was a smart show that broke new grounds in the use of CG effects, as well as breaking TV sci-fi out of the “Star Trek” mode where nothing happened in the course of an episode to change things. You can watch Star Trek and TNG in pretty much any order you want; it doesn’t matter. But B5 had over-arching story arcs, the stories advanced and changed from episode to episode, characters died and new ones were introduced and changed over time. At the time, I heard many complaints of it being like a soap opera in that regard; but had not B5 established the concept, there would not have been shows like Deep Space Nine, Enterprise or Battlestar Galactica.

I just finished watching the series again, finishing with the series finale “Sleeping In Light.” Another way that B-5 was different: the TNG finale made me go “meh.” The DS:9 finale made me shrug and somewhat sad to see it go. The BSG finale irritated the hell out of me. The Stargate: SG1 finale just sorta faded away. But the B5 finale, “Sleeping In Light,” remains an astonishingly emotional hammerblow of an episode. Nothing much really happens that you didn’t see coming; much of it was telegraphed, some of it as far back as the first season. And yet, it was a hell of a thing; reportedly the cast and crew had a hard time filming it since they were themselves screwed up by it. When it aired, fans across the land reported being converted into horrible gelatinous blobs of sadness by it.



No boom today, but boom tomorrow – there’s always a boom tomorrow. All love is unrequited. Human style is superior.


 Posted by at 2:58 am
  • Nick P.

    It really is a fantastic show.

    Interesting story, a continuity of events, amazing characters… Hell, I’ve still yet to see a show with character dynamics as interesting as G’Kar and Londo, and Bester is easily still one of the best love-to-hate villains ever.

    I’m always kind of the heretic among my friends though in that I liked Sinclair more than Sheridan.

  • Anonymous

    Still the best 5 seasons of TV SF ever made.

  • LordJim

    Only Farscape comes close.

  • publiusr

    Most SF doesn’t have the humanity that MASH or Barney Miller had. JMS changed all that.

  • Bill H

    B5 Season 5 theme music – one of tv’s best. The all time best? The Avengers (original Macnee- Rigg), also Season 3 of Lost in Space (just the music!!!) and the German series Raumpatrouille Orion (Starship Orion – YouTube the theme music if you haven’t heard it – very 60’s SF). Love B5!

  • Phil

    I never watched Babylon 5 and can’t explain why.

    I thought the BSG remake was great, but found the ending hard to believe.

    The ending of the movie Star Trek: Nemesis made me unhappy.

    • Anonymous

      > I never watched Babylon 5

      You should correct that. however, keep in mind that TV sci-fi has – at least on occasion – greatly advanced in the 20 years since B5 began, and the first season of B5 *seems* to suffer in comparison. But much of the advancement in TV SF is directly attributable to B5, in terms of effects and story.

      > the ending hard to believe

      The ending was crap. Setting it in the distant past was fine, but having the colonists simply give up was nuts.

      Nemesis made *everybody* unhappy, especially the studio. People rightly decry ST:V, but Nemesis was a *true* box office bomb.