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Series: Babylon 5
The Babylon Project was our last, best hope for peace. It failed. But, in the Year of the Shadow War, it became something greater: our last, best hope for victory.
Season 3 Opening

Babylon 5, a Nineties Space Opera created by J. Michael Straczynski, ran from 1994-1998 (a two-hour pilot, "The Gathering", had aired in 1993). It was syndicated as a part of the PTEN network package for its first four seasons, and was shown on TNT in its fifth.

The story takes place on Babylon 5, a giant O'Neill cylinder and sort of United Nations in space. It's not all roses, however, as Earth's military is woefully outmatched by those of the other delegates, resulting in what can be generously described as a tentative peace. It's up to Cdr. Jeffrey Sinclair — and later Captain John Sheridan — to throw cold water on old rivalries and keep these various factions from devouring one another; a task made difficult by an increasingly-reactionary and despotic Earth command.

Babylon 5 took the use of Story Arcs to new heights, and introduced the concept of the Wham Episode, with probably over half of its episodes contributing to one major series-long arc (a Myth Arc). JMS had plotted out much of the arc before the series began, and occasionally referred to it as a five-year long Mini Series. (The fourth and fifth seasons had to be telescoped into one when the show was going to be prematurely ended. Then it was Un-Cancelled and picked up by TNT, and they had to scramble to create a fifth season, which was not as well-liked by most fans.)

While the series is often given as an early example of a hard science fiction show, it does have Humanoid Aliens and Rubber-Forehead Aliens (with human-like Fantasy Counterpart Cultures) making up the majority of its non-human cast, aliens and machines with powers verging on magic, and humans with Psychic Powers. Still, by TV standards, it's fairly crispy sci-fi. Likewise, while the show is often seen as being more toward the cynical end of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism, at times almost edging into Black and Gray Morality, it also has some shining moments of idealism as well. One could say that the overarching Aesop of the series is "the pragmatic survive, and the determined thrive, but Faith Manages."

It spun off the short-lived series Crusade, which ran for 13 episodes in 1999, telling the story of the spaceship Excalibur and the search for a counteragent to/cure for a slow-acting biological weapon that had been successfully deployed against the Earth by hostile aliens. The series had serious trouble: superficial resemblance to the plot of Star Blazers was cited, and creators commented on the ridiculous amounts of Executive Meddling that they had to fight against. This trend for intervention was attacked more than once in the Crusade scripts themselves. Opinions on the quality of the episodes were divided: to some, the series showed considerable promise before its premature death; to others, markedly less.

There were several associated B5 Made-for-TV Movies:

It is available via Netflix, on disc only. The WB has also put up Season 1 and cycling episodes (think Hulu "view X episodes at a time") of season 2 for online watching. The first season does not include the tenth episode, "Believers."

Has an in-progress Recap page.


Babylon 5 subpages:


Alpha HouseGovernment ProceduralBattlestar Galactica (Reimagined)
Spots The Space MarineMilitary Science-FictionCrusade
ArrowCreator/Warner Bros.Crusade
AT-43Science Fiction Tabletop GamesBack to the Future
The Worm OuroborosThe EpicDoctor Who
RedSpy FictionDiscussed Trope
Dashingly Dapper DerbyImageSource/Live-Action TVFixed Forward-Facing Weapon
AndromedaScience Fiction SeriesBattlestar Galactica (Classic)
The Atheist ExperienceSeries of the 1990sBackup
AngelTropeNamers/Live-Action TVBatman
Awkward.American SeriesBaby Songs
Star Trek: The Next GenerationHugo AwardStar Trek: Deep Space Nine
Assassin's CreedTrope OverdosedBattlestar Galactica

alternative title(s): Babylon5; Babylon Five; Babylon 5
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