Sci-fi is a genre that has started to come back and is gaining new fans with the reintroduction of Star Trek, the revitalization of Star Wars and even Marvel featuring the Guardians of the Galaxy in their cinematic universe. All of these go down different routes of how sci-fi can be told, but none quite got it like #Babylon5. Set in a galaxy where races are at each other's throats, the Babylon station was the galaxy's best hope for peace — it just doesn't go according to plan.
The Five Seasons Of The Show Held So Much Story
In a galaxy where peace is not really heard of and different races wage wars and politically plot against each other, the Babylon station is a dream made real, a refuge for alien governments to try to work together in the name of peace. The story is engaging, as each season has its purpose within the grand scheme of the overall show.
Season 1 acts as an introduction to the station and its characters while the Centari and Narn return to waring with each other. The second season opened up an arc that explores the ideas of ancient races that are millions of years old in the galaxy and how they manipulate younger races for their own benefit. This spans until the beginning of the forth season, with the races united against their common enemies: the ancient Shadows and Vorlons. By Season 3, the show's opening sequence even reflected that their primary mission for peace in the galaxy had failed.
During this time of great war between the younger races and the older racers, there is also a subplot of how Babylon 5 has to break away from Earth Gov. due to a crazed president. After the war against the ancient races ends at the beginning of Season 4, the shows focuses on freeing Earth and liberating the colonies of Mars and Proxima 5. The final season acts as a closer to their show's story — many of the veteran characters leave and a new command staff takes their place. However, the primary plot for the final season is how the Interstellar Alliance is finally formed thanks to the events of the past few years.
There Was More Than Just The Show
The show also spawned several movies, including one that took viewer back to the Human/Membari War prior to the show. The background behind the movie had always been referenced in the show; however, unlike many other franchises, the creation of the movie did not break the continuity set before it. The movies include:
- In The Beginning — The first film, covers the Human/Membari War prior to the show.
- The Gathering — The pilot for the show, covering the opening of Babylon 5.
- Thirdspace — The second film, covers a leftover relic the Vorlons once created set between Seasons 4–5.
- The River of Souls — The third film, looks deeper into the culture of a race that collects souls of the great in the universe, set after Season 5.
- The Legends of the Rangers — The fourth film, was intended as the start of a spin-off series focusing on the Rangers, set after Season 5
- A Call to Arms — The fifth film, acts as the start of the spin-off series Crusade.
The final film opened up a new series featuring a crew looking for a cure to a deadly plague that is unleashed on the Earth during the movie. Additionally, to celebrate 10 years since the show ended, the creators also made a pair of specials to update fans on where certain characters whereabouts and what had happened in the 10-year-gap. Add all of these to the show itself and you have hours to binge it all ahead of you.
The Characters Are Appealing And Dynamic
During the run of the five seasons, characters leave and new ones join; however, all the characters bring something new to the table. With so many different personalities, cultures and behaviors around, it makes the relationships extremely interesting to watch. Whenever Londo and G'Kar are in the same room you look forward to their quick-witted hatred for each other. A big fan favorite was Commander Susan Ivonova, who had a special way with her words and was never to be crossed — by friend or foe.
They were also not afraid to hide their characters' flaws either. Star Trek characters are always engaging but always lack the fundamental flaws that make them feel human. Subjects like addiction and abuse are not part of the 24th-century issues. Star Wars characters are also pretty black and white in their personalities. Their characters struggle more with the ethic of good or evil and which side they are on. Babylon 5's creators remembered that humans have issues, such as when the telepath Lyta began to understand how powerful the Vorlons made her and she begins to use her abilities to intimidate and threaten others.
They also did a great exploration of addiction, as the character Garibaldi returns to the bottle and becomes an alcoholic once again. This inspires Captain Lochley to admit she had struggled not just with alcohol addiction but also drug addiction. Mixing these dynamic characters into the highly complex and engaging story makes you want to see them reach happy endings. However, with such a dangerous galaxy in Babylon 5, there is plenty of heartache, and many characters go through more downs than they do highs.
Could It Be The Next Big Screen Revival?
Recently, #StarTrek has come back to the mainstream audiences thanks to a trilogy of new films and Star Trek: Discovery bringing it back to television screens. Likewise, while Star Wars has always been highly popular, Disney has made it bigger than ever. Babylon 5 contains everything that is needed to create another large-scale sci-fi movie phenomenon. The show has several story arcs that could all be adapted for a movie format. Unlike other sci-fi franchises, Babylon 5 focuses on the story of how an Interstellar Alliance is formed at the conclusion of the show.
While Star Trek has always been a franchise showing aliens already working together and Star Wars, where race is not an issue (it is just about choosing a side), Babylon 5 is unique. It tells a story of how ancient evils can forge fires of hope and bonds of trust between factions that have hated each other for generations to create the first super power within the galaxy.
Babylon 5 is well worth a watch if you have not seen it before. While the computer animated graphics are a little dated now (the show did end 20 years ago), it does not detract from the powerful story behind the show. If you have found yourself enjoy Star Trek, Star Wars or Guardians of the Galaxy, Babylon 5 will certainly tick some boxes for you; it has everything you are looking for and then some. The fact, it goes to frontiers the others have never even considered exploring.
Have you seen Babylon 5 before? What are you thoughts on the show?