The science-fiction series Babylon 5 aired for five seasons in syndication. More than any other series before it, Babylon 5 consisted of an ongoing story arc – a serial-type show. For this reason, if you miss seeing the shows in order, you do miss out on a lot of the story. I know that because up until now, that’s the way I saw it.
J. Michael Straczynski is the creator of the series. For five years, he shopped the show’s premise around to various studios before it was finally picked up. He wanted to keep creative control close, so he could tell the story he wanted to tell – with a few adjustments for the actors deciding to leave at any given moment. No one could understand the concept of a five-year long story, or the technology involved.
My first viewings of various shows left me confused, and I was unable to really pick up on the story until much later, and even that was piecemeal. Now that the entire five seasons are being released on DVD, I am finally managing to catch the entire series in order; the way it was meant to be viewed.
The first season introduces us to the space station itself and the various characters playing a part in the story. Babylon 5 is touted as the “last, best hope for peace”. It’s a sort of United Nations in the sky where various species meet to work out their differences. A quarter of a million life-forms live on the station at any one given moment, which is five miles of spinning metal above the planet Epsilon III.
The station was built following an Earth-Minbari war which was abruptly ended by the religious caste of the Minbari. The Minbari also had veto power on who the station’s Commander would be, and vetoed everyone until the name of a minor figure in the war was presented to them.
Babylon 5 is a different show than many other shows that purport to show our future. Beginning in the year 2258, viewers see that poverty is not solved; crime is not solved, and these people are nowhere near perfection. J. Michael Straczynski kept tight control over the show, overseeing everything down to the costume design, making them seem more utilitarian with pockets and the like rather than the skin-tight jumpsuits of “other series”. Depending on who you talk to, this is either a very good thing or a bad thing. What I think I will let you know when I have viewed the series in its entirety the way it was meant to be viewed.
Cast of Characters
Commander Jeffrey Sinclair (Michael O’Hare) is the one human chosen by the Minbari to command Babylon 5.
Ambassador G’Kar (Andreas Katsulas) is the Narn Ambassador to Babylon 5. The Narn and Centauri have a long history of war between their races.
Ambassador Londo Mollari (Peter Jurasik) is the Centauri Ambassador to Babylon 5. Londo was one of the first characters I really took to, and I ended up liking a great deal. Much credit goes to the acting of Peter Jurasik in this role.
Ambassador Delenn (Mira Furlan) is the Minbari Ambassador to Babylon 5 and a member of the Minbari Council as well as the religious caste on her home world.
Na’Toth (Caitlin Brown) is the Narn assistant to Ambassador G’Kar.
Vir (Stephen Furst) is the Centauri assistant to Ambassador Molari.
Lennier (Billy Mumy) is the Mibari assistant to Delenn, also a member of the religious caste.
Mr. Michael Garibaldi (Jerry Doyle) is Babylon 5‘s Chief of Security.
Lt. Commander Susan Ivanova (Claudia Christian) is a Russian who is second-in-command to Sinclair.
Dr. Stephen Franklin (Richard Biggs) is the Chief Medical Officer of Babylon 5.
Talia Winters (Andrea Thompson) is a Psi Corps officer stationed aboard Babylon 5. She is a telepath and all telepaths from Earth in the future are either members of Psi Corps or have to be on drugs to suppress their abilities.
Ambassador Kosh is a Vorlon who resides in an “encounter suit” so his try physical being is never known.