Babylon 5 retrospection

[2018/03]

This is a ~20-year retrospection of the TV show "Babylon 5" shown in 1994.

For new viewers:
Babylon 5 was a saga, one long story, most episodes are connected. Overlook its basic computer graphics. Be patient, the roller-coaster ride that is its saga starts near end of season 1. A few short scenes, a tiny fraction of the show, was a bit repugnant (press FF button and forget it).

Its computer graphics was originally created on Commodore Amigas (Amigas were shown rendering in "Making of Babylon 5"). Even back then, its graphics looked blocky. Despite technology limitations, the creativity of the artists was amazing. Ships were entirely original, resembling the races that flew them (crescent-shaped ships matched hair-style of Centauris).

Show was novel in that its creator Straczynski frequently posted to Internet (on Usenet, now antiquated). Before an episode aired, Straczynski posted riddles, afterwards, posted explanations.

Show has aged, many episodes don't work now, such as ones that were crime stories. Now that digital cameras and location-tracking devices are already everywhere, Mr. Garibaldi's security failing to see any crime happening, far into the future, has become unbelievable and unintended comedy.

Sadly, actor credits shown at beginning has become tomb-stones, nearly half of regular actors have passed away, too soon, which has prematurely aged the show. Remember Straczynski told a completely understandable white-lie, that Michael O'Hare was replaced because his character (Sinclair) was fully developed, ostensibly the show at that point needed a new character (Sheridan) to undergo Campbell's journey-of-the-hero transformation.

Is Babylon 5 the best sci-fi show?.......No. But came very, very close.

Here's why Babylon 5 can never be "the best" sci-fi show. The show was abruptly ruined. Ruined by its own creator. Straczynski began "flipping" characters, making them misbehave, to prove everyone has flaws. Well, ok, maybe a behavior change of a few degrees. But when Straczynski flipped Lennier 180 degrees, incredibly, down to the dark side -- I and many others quit watching.

Star Trek remains the best of sci-fi TV shows, as Star Trek certainly has had a far greater impact on culture. "Act like you're Mr. Spock" one might say instead of "Don't let yourself become upset.". The Borg became a phenomenon, predicting hive-mentality of drones who've been assimilated in "the collective" now known as "social media" and reprogrammed to behave "politically correct". Though, most of Star Trek's episodes (TOS,TNG) just weren't any good. Babylon 5's quality of episodes averaged very high, its saga format intrigued audiences.

The best Babylon 5 episodes were revelations and turning points. The best revelations -- the best episode of all -- was "Dust to Dust". The best turning points were the consecutive episodes "Point of No Return" and "Severed Dreams".

Babylon 5 wasn't really a TV show. In reality, it was to prepare the public for the revelation Earth governments have been in contact with a genetically-related alien race (confirmed by solid reliable sources).

The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5 (midwinter.com)
The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5 (git)