Babylon 5

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"Derek? Babylon 5 is a big pile of shit!" - Simon Pegg

Babylon 5 was that show sci-fi fans watched when they wanted to prove to other nerds they were into less mainstream fare, but were too afraid to watch the other 90s shows like Odyssey 5 or Lexx. Created and almost entirely written by J Michael Stradarvarinskinikovski, the show was meant to be a novel on TV, which meant it was just like any other TV show except there was some tiny hook in most episodes that meant you had to watch it all so you could figure out that small hint of continuity to get the finale. So just like Bad Wolf.

It's all about a bunch of aliens (some look kind of cool, others are just guys with shitty bed hair) hanging around Space United Nations, and how the entire galaxy depends on the whims of inebriated ambassadors. Then it turns out it was called Babylon 5 because the last four Babylons were blown up or thrown into the time vortex, and something about the Shadows, and this one alien wearing a shower curtain who only talks in riddles, yeah.

First two seasons are slow as shit, with bad acting and plots that will make you roll your eyes (like Alien Jehovah's Witnesses or half a dozen episodes about why space racism is bad). Even when the first season finale promises something big, the main character gets replaced by that guy from TRON, and they essentially start all over again. But then by season 3, it suddenly becomes GOAT. All the way to season 4. Some might say season 4 suffers because JMS was forced to shove two season's worth of plot into that single year, but I suggest it gave the show a faster, tighter pacing that the show's earlier era desperately needed. You still have to watch the previous two seasons to get the full value though, which makes the show a hard sell for younger nerds who will drop a show if they don't like it by the third episode.

Trivia

  • Because the show had no budget, JMS had to hire a bunch of drug addicts, schizophrenics, alcoholics, and voice actors from Batman the Animated Series to play most of the cast. They did all right for the most part, but most of them ended up dying in their early 60s.
  • Because they were either drunk or on probation, many cast members had to be replaced with new characters throughout the show.
  • They replaced Ivanova for no reason though. She was perfectly healthy and willing to work for another season. But she got replaced with fucking Lochley, which was bullshit because Ivanova was actually cool.
  • Had half a dozen short-lived spinoffs that make the JNT era look well-polished and choreographed.
  • Lawrence Miles hated it for some reason.
  • Jim Mortimore wrote a tie-in book for the show, so a B5A?
  • B5 fans like to point out how Deep Space Nine stole major plot elements from the show. DS9 fans like to point out that besides Morden and Bester, B5 had no good villains.
  • Ian Levine's new favourite sci-fi show