YMMV / Babylon 5

  • Anvilicious: Boy, howdy. JMS wanted to make an Important Show full of Significant Messages, and he wanted to make sure you knew it. Almost every episode has a moral, usually delivered with a sledgehammer (like Parliament of Dreams). He gets more graceful after the first season, but subtlety is never his priority. By and large, though, most of them are pretty good anvils.
    • The end of "And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place", where Refa is killed, interspersed with a gospel song about how bad people are going to get what's coming to them.
    • "Infection" was one such episode where JMS admitted the moral had too heavy-handed a delivery. Given it was the first episode filmed after the pilot, he could perhaps be forgiven.
  • Arc Fatigue: The telepath colony in season 5. A hotel maid accidentally threw out JMS' notes for the season, and that was the only part he could clearly remember his plans for, resulting in it taking up far too much space.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • Numerous, but Michael O'Hare having to leave B5 due to struggles with mental illness is the biggest. Had he stayed, the "War without End" story would have been at the end of Season 5 and had a much longer burn.
    • If you stop to think about it, the Bad Future in "War Without End" doesn't make a whole lot of sense. If Valen never travels to the past, who is to say B5 (to say nothing of B4) would even exist, with all its senior staff still in place? No Valen means no Grey Council, which would upset a lot of events in B5 history. Why would the Shadows use torch cutters in order to fight hand-to-claw (so to speak) when they're just going to blow the station up with their ships anyway?

      Well, there's a reason for that. Ivanova's message from the future was supposed to be a call forward to the other 5-year series JMS wanted to do that got (mercifully) abandoned at some point: Where B5 fell after failing to bring peace and Sinclair stole B4, in order to set up a spinoff. In the original storyline, it was the Minbari attacking B5 and destroying it, not the Shadows. The Shadows were supposed to be ultimately defeated during the spin off series: Babylon Prime.

      Of course once Michael O'Hare left they very well couldn't use that ending (since it all hinged on Sinclair). Coupled with worries about even getting B5 finished, JMS merged his original plan for Babylon 5 (basically what we got in season 1 & 3.5) and Babylon Prime (seasons 3.5 & 5) to create the B5 we got. "War without End" was then used to retconn the vision as being about the Shadows attacking and not the Minbari (whose civil war story line was now moved to season 4). It also allowed the show to better tie together the show by establishing everything was a causality loop.

      Considering what JMS was dealing with it's kind of amazing how he managed to pull things off. He combined two 5-year series into a single series. Leading to at most the only complaint being about why the Shadows would bother with a "ground" attack; a minor question mark.
    • The reason why the end of season 4 seems so crowded, and the beginning of season 5 seems mostly composed of filler, is because the show was originally going to be cancelled after four seasons due to PTEN going under. Season 4 was originally intended to end with the episode "Intersections in Real Time", and the Earth Civil War would be resolved at the beginning of season 5. Instead, the events of season 4 were shortened by four episodes (removing a story arc about Londo and G'Kar returning to Centauri Prime), and the resolution to the Earth Civil War arc was crammed into three super-dense episodes followed by the grand finale.

      Then, at the last, minute the show's fifth season was picked up by cable network TNT — but now they'd already used half a season's worth of material. They filled the gap by stretching the telepath-colony arc from three episodes to eleven and re-inserting the aforementioned Londo-and-G'Kar arc, as well as including standalone filler episodes ranging in quality, from the yawner "A View from the Gallery" to Neil Gaiman's marvelous "Day Of The Dead".

      A new standalone season 4 finale was also hastily shot, with the finale "Sleeping in Light" held back to the end of season 5.
  • Awesome Music: Quite a few over the show's run. Special mention goes to "And The Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place."
    • And the music playing at the end of the very last episode.
    • The bar music in “The Face of the Enemy” playing when Sheridan is arrested thanks to a brainwashed Garibaldi.
    • The later opening arrangements are certain to inspire chills as the music perfectly captures the emotions of their individual seasons.
    • "Requiem for the Line", the tense music generally associated with the Battle of the Line. First used in "And the Sky Full of Stars", and later used as the opening theme for season 3.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Marcus Cole caused huge trouble while the show was being broadcast, with all out war between the fans who thought he was a fun Gentleman Snarker and the ones who thought that he was an irritating Gary Stu who'd only been brought in as Mr. Fanservice. Things got even worse when he died (mostly) at the end of the fourth season, and his anti-fans celebrated while his fans launched a fervent campaign for his resurrection.
  • Better on DVD: It's easier to follow the arc-based story structure. It also makes Season 5's telepath arc better, since you can move along faster.
  • Broken Base: Whether Season One is worth watching all the way through, or only selected episodes that are key to later plots, and whether Season Five is worth watching at all apart from the previously-created finale.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Jha'Dur, known as Deathwalker, from season 1's episode of the same name, is a Dilgar war criminal and the worst example her species had to offer. Known for performing gruesome experiments upon innocents, Jha'Dur finds herself upon Babylon 5 and when cornered, she unveils a grand scheme: to offer immortality to the other planets' governments. Earth accepts her offer and Deathwalker reveals the secret of immortality to Commander Jeffrey Sinclair: it would require cannibalism, forcing civilizations to fall upon and destroy each other. The sheer delight she took in watching others suffer was nearly unmatched in the series.
    • Lord Antono Refa, from seasons 2 and 3, is a Centauri nobleman and politician defined by his limitless ambition and utter willingness to murder millions of innocents for his own advancement. While he claims he wants to "return the Centauri to Glory," in reality he only cares about himself and plans on claiming the Imperial Throne. Refa sabotages his own people's military and economy to undermine his Emperor, Turhan, and stages the assassination of Turhan's loyal prime minister to remove resistance for Refa's candidate for emperor, the psychopathic Cartagia. Refa consolidates his own power by framing and executing political opponents for treason, disgracing their families, and exploiting the law to steal their property, such as what he attempted to do to a war hero who asked too many questions. Personally overseeing the Centauri's war against the Narns, Refa uses illegal mass drivers to bombard the Narn home world, targeted civilian centers, created death camps and initiated genetic cleansing programs. Throwing his lot in with the Shadows, Refa exploits the alliance by waging war against other alien worlds. Refa served as a dark shadow of Londo Mollari, showing what he would be if he cast aside all scruples in the pursuit of power.
    • Emperor Cartagia, from season 4, is the psychopathic ruler of the Centauri Republic, a madman whose murderous and mercurial moods leave his courtiers living in perpetual terror. Those who disagree with, criticize or even annoy him with things as mundane as a constant cough, are decapitated, their heads kept in a secret room for Cartagia to converse with at his leisure. When a jester makes a joke at Cartagia's expense, he at first pretends to be unoffended, only to then kill him. After G'Kar is captured, Cartagia becomes obsessed with breaking him by making him scream, so he has him tortured for hours straight by his best torturer, then, when that fails to elicit a response, Cartagia tortures him personally. He only refrains from cutting off G'Kar's hands because he passed out and it wouldn't be fun without a reaction. Later, he has one of G'Kar's eyes plucked out because he didn't like the way G'Kar was looking at him. He then takes G'Kar to the Narn home world for a public trial and vivisection to crush the enslaved Narns' spirits. Cartagia's ultimate plan is to use his alliance with the Shadows to provoke their nemeses, the Vorlons, into destroying Centauri Prime. While the Centauri believe their emperors become gods upon death, Cartagia wants to become a god while alive, planning to be off world while his home world dies. Cartagia sees no problem with the eradication of his species since he thinks their lives would be meaningless without him, and wants Centauri Prime to burn as an inauguration pyre to mark his ascension into godhood.
    • President (William) Morgan Clark is the former Vice President and eventual dictator of Earth. Taking office after arranging his predecessor's assassination, Clark quickly establishes himself as a xenophobic fascist who justifies his naked power grabs by claiming they're done to protect Earth from alien sabotage. He creates the Nightwatch, turns news outlets into his propaganda machines, and conducts Cold-Blooded Torture on political enemies so they confess to crimes they're innocent of. Upon enacting martial law, Mars refused to obey President Clark's decree. In retaliation, he bombed their civilian centers. When Babylon 5 secedes from Earth until President Clark is removed for his crimes, Clark wages war against Sheridan and the station. One of his most notable atrocities is slaughtering 10,000 refugees fleeing the war just to send a message. Clark also has no loyalty to his troops, trying to kill some in a False Flag Operation to turn public opinion against Babylon 5. When the war turns against him and his capture is imminent, President Clark opts to commit suicide, but not before enacting SCORCHED EARTH. With a final act of spite, Clark turned Earth's own defense grid against it to destroy the entire planet rather than allow anyone else to rule it.
  • Crack Pairing: Marcus/Neroon is ridiculously popular with the fandom.
  • Crazy Awesome: David Mckintyre AKA "King Arthur".
  • Creator's Pet: An awful lot of minor characters early in the 5th season seem to go on at length about how amazingly awesome Captain Lochley is, to the point of her getting a standing applause by a mess hall full of personnel after going on a tirade at Garibaldi. JMS has said he regrets having Those Two Guys from "A View from the Gallery" singing her praises at the end of the episode, thus giving the impression that shilling her was the whole point of the episode.
  • Critical Research Failure:
    • After being criticized for showing a rabbi singing and dancing along to the eponymous gospel song in the episode "And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place," JMS claimed he hadn't realized it was a New Testament-exclusive song. One wonders if he ever actually listened to it, since it's a song about sinners trying to avoid the wrath of God on Judgement Day, and name-checks Jesus repeatedly. Presumably, the Rabbi was going along with it to be polite, and it was an interfaith session given the presence of aliens.
      • The rabbi could have also just liked the song and enjoyed the experience. It's not unheard of for non-Christians to enjoy gospel music.
    • The Stockholm Syndrome is called "Helsinki Syndrome" in "The Illusion of Truth". Since Die Hard made the same error, it could be an homage or have otherwise inspired its repetition.
    • In the UK's captioning of the show anyway; When Garibaldi heralds an invasion by playing a recording of Porky Pig going "Th-th-th-that's all folks!" the captioning misattributes the quote to Bugs Bunny.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Cartagia walking up to Londo & Co. in his pure white suit, except for his entirely blood-red hands, and in a bored tone of voice, talks about how his torturers—"excuse me, pain technicians, they used to be called torturers but ever since they got organized it's been pain technicians"—just couldn't manage to make G'Kar scream, and, well, he'd just had to do it himself... On its own, the scene would be horrifying, but between the way the scene is written and Wortham Kimmer's utterly bored delivery as Cartagia you can't help but laugh.
    • Then he pours the bloody water he rinsed his hands in on some flowers in the garden, to help them grow.
    • What really sells the comedic aspect of the scene is Vir's facial contortions as he listens in growing horror to the Emperor.
    • There's also Cartagia casually throwing the towel he dried his hands on at the aide standing next to him but rather than catching it the towel slams onto the aide's face and the aide could do nothing but smile while hiding his exasperation. It was a small moment but actually hilarious.
    • The end of "And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place." Lord Refa being brutally murdered by a gang of Narn would be grim and kind of horrible, at best coldly satisfying. Intercut it with that song in particular and show people celebrating as they sing it, and the scene becomes an exercise in such sheer audacity that it skips gaily back over the line. All to help kill any sympathy one might have for Lord Refa. JMS, in describing the scene, refers to it as "counterpoint," and describes a similar scene in Chicago which inspired him.
  • Crossover Ship: Elizabeth Lochley (with Captain Gideon of Crusade).
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Morden in the official spin-off novel The Shadow Within, which most fans consider non-continuity as a result. Specifically, the novel's depiction of Morden joining the Shadows not for cowardice, gain, or because he agreed with their ideology, but because they Mercy Killed his family, who were trapped in an eternal instant of agony by a jump accident.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Neroon was not originally part of the five year plan, having been created by D.C. Fontana in her script for the episode "Legacies." But JMS was so impressed by John Vickery's performance that he brought the character back several times, eventually making him an essential part of Delenn's story.
    • In the episode "Spider in the Web," JMS gave Jeff Conaway a bit part as a security officer, simply wanting to help him get back on his feet after he kicked his heroin addiction that cost him his job on Taxi. This worked out so well that his character got a name, Zack Allen, and eventually joined the main cast.
  • Fandom Rivalry: During the original broadcast, it was practically compulsory in online fandom to hate on Star Trek in general, and in particular Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. This was worsened by Straczynski's claim that Paramount had plagiarised the concept of Deep Space 9 from early Babylon 5 pitch documents. Even at the time, however, a lot of fans quietly enjoyed both shows, and it's now perfectly acceptable to be a public fan of both.
    • And it should be noted that the rivalry existed almost exclusively within the fandom. The cast and crew of both shows felt no hostility towards each other, and would often congratulate each other on well done episodes. This was most evident when Majel Barrett, Gene Roddenberry's widow, guest starred in an episode of B5, and often encouraged Trek fans to try the show out at conventions. Though Straczynski has also said that he considered making an appearance on DS9 to reciprocate, but decided against it due to how seeing his face would likely cause many fans to instantly shut off the TV.
  • Foe Yay: Londo and G'Kar, lots of it. Even lampshaded as early as the first season.
  • Genius Bonus: In 1848, Giuseppe Garibaldi led the Italian revolutionaries known as Red Shirts. "Red Shirt" is a fan nickname for the disposable security guards on the original Star Trek. On B5, the head of station security is Michael Garibaldi.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: A sleeper hit in America, the show met with bigger audience across the pond. The conventions back home were modest in attendance, which left the actors ill-prepared for the Elvis-like reception they get in the UK.
  • Growing the Beard: The show really grew into it's own around season two, though season one is essential in the groundwork it lays for the rest of the series.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Sinclair/O'Hare's exit from the show. There was a hole in his mind.
      • "And the Sky Full of Stars" features Sinclair being drugged and suffering from delusions. It was revealed after Michael O'Hare's death that he suffered from schizophrenia, which was the real reason he left the show after the first season.
      • There's also his angrily telling Bester "Get out of my head!"
      • And saying "Enough people have messed with my brain this year" in "Eyes." Even worse, that was the last episode to be filmed in the season, so when he said it he was actually very close to starting intensive therapy to manage his condition.
      • Crossing into real life, Jerry Doyle wasn't aware of O'Hare's condition and did a few interviews where he derisively called O'Hare "crazy."
    • One of Zathras's most memorable lines is "[Zathras] probably have very sad death." The actor playing him, Tim Choate, died in a motorcycle accident.
    • Franklin's musing on the briefness of human life in his debut episode. His actor Richard Biggs only lived half of one.
    • The scene after Londo gets G'Kar removed from the council, where Sheridan tells him that he'll miss him and how the council just won't be the same without him. The actor playing G'Kar, Andreas Katsulas, died from lung cancer in 2006, and was mourned by all the rest of the crew.
    • A more in-universe example: At the beginning of Walking Through Gethsemane, Ivanova asks Brother Edward if he wants to place a wager on a chess match. Brother Edward replies that gambling is a lesser sin, and he always felt that if you're gonna sin, go for one of the really big ones. This joke takes on a new light when it turns out that before he had his memory wiped, he was a Serial Killer.
    • A semi-fictional list of unexpected power grabs includes "Russia in 1917 and 2013." Cue Russia's invasion of Ukraine at that time.
    • Another more in-universe one. Londo at one point jokingly wonders to Morden why he and his associates don't just wipe out the Narn homeworld. Near the end of the season, when his own people really do bombard it with asteroids, Londo is silent and horrified.
      • Doubles as Foreshadowing, since Morden's only reply is a patient "One thing at a time, Ambassador."
    • In the series finale, Zack Allen walks with a limp 20 years later due to a prosthetic leg. Jeff Conaway would wind up in a wheelchair due to his painkiller addiction, and didn't make it 20 years past the end of the show.
      • There's a scene involving Zack, Garibaldi, and Lochley in "The River of Souls" where they discuss the afterlife. As of 2017, two of the actors have found out about it personally.
    • In "Walkabout," Franklin wakes up after a one night stand to find the woman unconscious, much like the circumstances of Richard Biggs' wife finding him dead.
    • Part of season 5 was devoted to Garibaldi's lapse into alcoholism. Alcoholism was a contributing factor in Jerry Doyle's death in 2017.
    • The sheer amount of untimely deaths suffered by the cast, which even more than Poltergeist or Bewitched can make you wonder if there's a curse on them:
      • Richard Biggsnote , congenital heart defect in 2004 at age 44.
      • Tim Choatenote , motorcycle accident in 2004 at age 49.
      • Andreas Katsulasnote , lung cancer in 2006 at age 59.
      • Jeff Conawaynote , drug overdose in 2011 at age 60.
      • Michael O'Harenote , heart attack after years of schizophrenia in 2012 at age 60.
      • Jerry Doylenote , complications from alcoholism in 2016 at age 60.
      • Stephen Furstnote , complications from diabetes in 2017 at age 63.
      JMS: It is another loss in a string of losses that I cannot understand. Of the main cast, we have lost Richard Biggs, Michael O'Hare, Andreas Katsulas, Jeff Conaway, and now Jerry Doyle, and I'm goddamned tired of it. So dear sweet universe, if you are paying attention in the vastness of interstellar space, take a moment from plotting the trajectory of comets and designing new DNA in farflung cosmos, and spare a thought for those who you have plucked so untimely from our ranks... and knock it off for a while. Because this isn't fair.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: In "A Quality of Mercy" June Lockhart's character says she may have as much as 20 years left. Lockhart, already 69 at the time, did indeed live that much longer and counting.
  • He Really Can Act: Walter Koenig proved once and for all that he was so much more than cuddly Pavel Chekov, after his semi-recurring role as the intense, manipulative Psi Cop Alfred Bester.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • When one sees Malcolm's Dad/Walter White as a Ranger and Dr. Kelso as an Earthforce Captain.
    • Also, with "You Can't Break Those Cuffs", the scene in which G'kar is chained up, and told that he can't break those chains. G'kar breaks the chains.
    • Also the scene where Garibaldi vents his frustrations by slamming a bar loudmouth's head down on a desk while claiming it is a magic trick.
    • In season 3, there is mention of a serial killer named Charles Dexter. Doubles as a Shout-Out to "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" by H.P. Lovecraft.
    • In season 4 "Rising Star" someone put a "dog shaming" sign on the dead body of President Clark, who committed suicide in the previous episode. It read "Traitor to Earth".
    • The "privacy field" seen only in the pilot episode looks a lot like the lighting effects from Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.
    • A few years after the series, JMS began suffering from acid reflux, with part of his treatment being to sleep in an elevated position. That is, he now sleeps on a Minbari bed.
    • In The War Prayer in Season One, the home guard members mention their conspiracy to stage a mass assassination of the major ambassadors of Babylon 5 - Delenn, Londo, G'Kar...And Kosh. Too Dumb to Live embodied right there, if the Home Guard thought they could kill a Vorlon.
    • Many fans of the series have pointed out that Ancient Aliens correspondent Giorgio Tsoukalos' infamous hairstyle rather resembles that of a Centauri (itself based on Marvel Comics's Shi'ar race).
    • The Centauri race are very obviously based on the Shi'ar Star Empire from Marvel Comics. Three years after the show ended, J. Michael Straczynski would go on to write for Marvel Comics, largely because of the clout he gained creating Babylon 5.
  • Homegrown Hero: Practically all the human representatives are from the US, the Russian Susan Ivanova being a notable exception.
    • Sinclair is from Mars, though it's not mentioned as frequently as Ivanova's origin.
  • Ho Yay: Played with hilarious Lampshade Hanging during Marcus and Franklin's trip to Mars due to a Smithical Marriage in their stolen IDs.
    • Londo and G'Kar from late season 4 on. Lampshaded in a season 5 episode when two workers who encounter them for the first time comment on their relationship with: "How long have they been married?" The irony is, they technically have been married, at least according to Minbari tradition, since the middle of Season One!
    • JMS actually made a point to occasionally have pairs of background extras act like gay couples. His thinking was that homosexuality was more or less a completely accepted practice at the time thanks to contact with aliens making anything humans do seem more "normal."
  • Iron Woobie: Vir becomes this as part of his Character Development. Constantly put upon, he refuses to stoop to the level of people like Morden, and always stays true to his principles, come what may. Londo even comments on it when Vir gets blind drunk after assassinating Emperor Cartagia in the 4th season. He states that he envies Vir for still being so idealistic that he thinks he can't live with himself for killing an Ax-Crazy genocidal maniac.
  • Informed Ability: In Passing Through Gethsemane, Sheridan is shown an example of some type of sculpture Brother Edward made. He looks on it with awe, and calls it beautiful. Brother Theo comments that Brother Edward's work could earn some much-needed money for the Order, but Brother Edward insists on giving it away for free. The thing they're admiring, however, looks like small bits of glass (or transparent plastic) glued together. It's not even clear what the object is supposed to be. It's interesting to look at, but hardly the amazing work of art the characters claim it is.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Londo. Even at his absolute worst in the second and third seasons, his original motivation is so sympathetic and his moral conflict so clear that you never really give up on him. And the consequences that happen to him later are absolutely horrible and heart-wrenching.
  • Les Yay: I mean, come on. Talia and Susan? Is it not that obvious? When they had their sleepover, the sexual tension could have been cut with a knife! Word of God says they actually did have sex the night Talia stayed over at Ivanova's place. Later Ivanova says "I think I loved Talia."
    • The genius of it is that it's played so magnificently subtly, it can be read almost any way the viewer wants. Even Ivanova's declaration of love could be taken as friendly love instead of romantic. One of the sharpest pieces of both writing and acting in show filled with sharp writing and acting. Even the fact that they were sharing a bed could be seen platonically (after all, it's not like Ivanova has a spare bedroom in her quarters).
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Londo Mollari is either a Magnificent Bastard or a Tragic Hero, depending on the episode— sometimes both at once. He's vastly entertaining to watch, but once his machinations begin to spin out of control, everyone knows it, and his few friends stop liking him.
    • Bester qualifies as well, managing to get the upper hand every time with even the protagonists impressed by his evasion of karmic justice. He slips into Smug Snake at times, though (especially in the first couple seasons). Too many of the heroes think just shooting him is a reasonable option. By Seasons 3 and 4 though, he has clearly graduated to this. It should say something about Bester that even Doctor Franklin, a through-and-through Actual Pacifist, feels that Bester needs to be shot.
    • Much like Bester, Mr. Morden sits right on the line between a Magnificent Bastard and Smug Snake, depending on the episode.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Emperor Cartagia manages to cross it in the same episode he's introduced.
    • President Clark ordering airstrikes against civilian targets on Mars.
  • Narm: That immortal line from the Season 2 episode Spider in the Web. "I'm already dead, Mr. Security-Man!" Who didn't ROFLcopter at that line?
    • The otherwise-great intro ends on "The year is 22XX. The name of the place, is Babylon 5!" Comes off as very awkward. Thankfully changed in season 4, to just "The year is 22XX. The place: Babylon 5."
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Drakh keepers. Guaranteed they'll make your skin crawl.
    • Garibaldi's subplot in "Grey 17 Is Missing" as well.
    • Do not think for a moment that the Shadows can't be scary. In-universe as well - the Vorlons modified the younger races so that they would find the image of the Shadows to invoke primal dread and fear.
  • Only the Author Can Save Them Now: "Into the Fire". How to face the Shadows and Vorlons?
    Marcus: Did we just win?
  • Replacement Scrappy: Elizabeth Lochley - rather unavoidable as she was replacing the much-beloved Susan Ivanova.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • Rewatch Bonus: The carefully plotted out nature of the series means that there's so much about it that you'll never pick up on a first time viewing. Almost every one of Kosh's weird cryptic statements takes on new meaning later in the show. For example; "The avalanche has already begun. It is too late for the pebbles to vote". Think about that after we learn about how the war with the Shadows is basically a sort of cosmic game between them and the vorlons. With that going on, their concerns really are trivial.
  • The Scrappy: Byron. Mention him on a board with a lot of B5 fans, and watch the flames pour in. Byron may be the worst element of the b5 universe next to the demon in The Lost Tales (On second though, Asmodeus was a better actor.)
  • Seasonal Rot: Season 5 isn't held in very high regard, mostly because the Myth Arc was already resolved so it felt pointless. JMS didn't like it himself but forced to make it by the execs. Not as bad as most examples as many simply regard it as So Okay, It's Average compared to the first four seasons. Also, the second half is far better regarded than the first, as it focuses on a plotline JMS decided to scrap completely when he was forced to end the story in season 4, meaning it was available to play out when he got a fifth season after all.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Particularly if you've already seen other, subsequent, Myth Arc Space Opera shows such as Battlestar Galactica.
    • Although even these days, you don't really see any shows where the creator went so far as to plan out the entire story from day one.
    • The show has even been noted by some as being ripe for a reboot, in these days when TV networks are far more open to serialized stories.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • The version of the Drakh that appears in one scene in Season 4 is never seen again, and for good reason: it looks like someone got hold of Rick Moranis' Dark Helmet costume and spray-painted it to look like Skeletor. Even filming it through a deliberately blurred lens can't make it look like a living creature, and not a hunk of rubber or plastic.
    • A couple of episodes of Crusade introduce that kind of Drakh again with a better make-up design, with the implication that the Drakh have a Fantastic Caste System with that type as a warrior and the one we saw on Centauri Prime as a leader caste. Also, Word of God eventually admitted that the blur effect was because they tried to get the actor to do weird alien movement and it just looked stupid.
    • The series uses quite a bit of Conspicuous CGI, none of which looks remotely convincing even by the standards of the time — let alone by today's standards. Although, this can produce a Heartwarming in Hindsight effect when you remember that it proves we'll forgive bad special effects if the story is good enough.
      • While the CGI can look pretty bad when it's mixed with (or replacing) live actors, the ships hold up pretty well (even if they do look a little "too slick.") But the CGI spaceships let them pull off some serious Visual Effects of Awesome, such as Starfuries pivoting on their axis to shoot pursuing fighters, as well as having relatively realistic ranges in big space battles (and having big space battles to begin with on the show's shoestring budget.)
    • The show's attempts to create "monsters" are generally not very good. The worst include the Nakaleen Feeder in "Grail", the show's first attempt at an all-CGI "character", which looks utterly artificial and devoid of interaction with the physical sets and actors, and the terrible physical costume for the Zarg in "Grey 17 Is Missing".
    • An attempt was made to simulate Sheridan's office having a view of the station's interior without having to render the interior in every shot; the result was an obvious painting that the characters occasionally claim is a window.
  • Strawman Has a Point: After Garibaldi is brainwashed, he develops an irrational hatred of Sheridan. While his accusation that Sheridan has started to buy into his own messianic hype is completely bogus, he has a point when he compares Babylon 5 to a military dictatorship.
    • For all intents and purposes, it was a military dictatorship, but one that tried to be benevolent while still keeping in mind its higher purpose.
    • A number of Strawman Political characters who visit the station browbeat Sheridan for not taking into account the political ramifications for Earth of his decisions. Considering that he is effectively Earth's ambassador on Babylon 5 in addition to being a military commander in a key region of space, he really should be considering the policies being pursued by his government and how his actions will impact them. He might be less inclined to do so once he finds out President Clark had his predecessor assassinated.
    • See also, Neroon in s03e19, Grey 17 is missing, as shown in this clip
  • Too Cool to Live: Kosh. He even lampshades this, telling Sheridan that he knew it had to happen but was in denial and had become scared of the concept of death after living so long.
  • Trapped by Mountain Lions: Several episodes have major, galaxy-wide ranging A-Plots with B-Plots, who while they might be of great consequence to a specific character, seem petty in comparison to the main plot. Most noticeable is Dr. Franklin's stim addiction problem and subsequent journey to find himself - while the Shadow War is raging. Franklin eventually gets a pretty major What the Hell, Hero? speech for running off on his friends while the fate of the Galaxy was in question. By himself, no less.
  • Ugly Cute: The pak’ma’ra. Their dull, bovine eyes and tentacle faces make them rather appealing in an odd way.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • The show was made right at the tail end of the era where G'Kar using his artificial eye to spy on Sheridan and Delenn's wedding night could have possibly been seen as anything but creepy cyber-stalking.
      • What about the two-way tv-set? It cut in on people in bed with no offer to decline on people in compromising positions, as Garibaldi was having something which amounted to foreplay with Dodger, yet still the captain could cut through and get her call routed through seeing him in bed with her.
    • Also, Garibaldi's treatment of Talia in the first season. At the time, Garibaldi's constantly being in the elevator Talia needs to use made him come across as a Dogged Nice Guy who was being too dogged for his own good. Today, it gives off a creepy stalker-vibe. Garibaldi's defenders claim that his behavior is ameliorated by being totally in-character for Garibaldi and the fact that Talia could kill him with her mind if his advances were entirely unwelcome.
      • Also he saved her in the comics from an assassin walking out of the elevator so the creepy stalking of Talia might have made sense in context.
  • Values Resonance:
    • In "The Long Dark" Dwight Schultz plays an EarthForce vet with cripplingly bad PTSD exacerbated by a Shadow creature. Probably referred to Vietnam originally, but with The War on Terror in the 2000s and hundreds of thousands of vets coming home barely functional...
    • In the continuing wake of the 2016 American presidential election, the dangers of President Clark's brand of authoritarian ultranationalism and xenophobia seem more relevant than ever before.
  • Villain Has a Point/Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Byron, who is supposed to be a sympathetic character, came across as very Jim Jones in wanting to make himself a martyr. The way he kept trying to take the fall for "his" people just screamed for attention and worship. Even moreso, he seemed to consistently prove Bester right with how he acted.

    There's a little hinting in one of the Psi Corps trilogy books that Byron was some kind of a conscience for Bester: Bester is pretty much scum who will use his own people as disposable tools if need be, Byron is (or was supposed to be) more concerned and responsible toward telepaths. If they'd have played this up more in the show it would have been a better dynamic. Instead Byron just looks like a batshit cult leader with an army of Vidal Sassoon terrorist hippies. We know the actor can do better, so put all the blame down to the hasty writing decisions.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/BabylonFive