||J. Michael Straczynski
||110 x 50mins plus 5 TV Movies
||1993 - 1998 (5 seasons)
||Captain John Sheridan
||Commander Susan Ivanova
||Security Chief Michael Garibaldi
||Dr. Stephen Franklin
The Babylon Project was our last, best hope for peace. A self-contained world
five miles long, located in neutral territory. A place of commerce and diplomacy for a qaurter
of a million humans and aliens. A shining beacon in Space, all alone in the night. It was the dawn
of the third age of mankind, the year that the Great War came upon us all. This is the story of the
last of the Babylon stations. The year is 2259. The name of the place is Babylon 5.
Ten years after a catastrophic war against a race of Aliens called the Minbari, which left the
human race close to extinction. The former adversaries devise the "Babylon Project" which was to
build a huge space station in a neutral region of the galaxy for the purposes of diplomacy and trade
as a means to avoid further wars. The first three of the Babylon stations were sabotaged during their
construction. Undeterred the various races built a fourth Babylon station but just after completion
and before it could go online, it disappeared without a trace. So the final incarnation of the
Babylon Project was Babylon 5 which was placed under the command of Commander Jeffrey Sinclair of "Earth Force"
upon the behest of the Minbari government.
As the two million five hundred thousand tons of spinning metal that is the diplomatic space
station Babylon 5 begins it's diplomatic duties an assasination attempt upon one of the new
ambassadors threatens the fragile peace which it was designed to protect. The saga takes
off from there and follows the trials and tribulations of the station and it's many colourful
The all important story arc covers past, present and future. The intricately woven story prevents me
from stating more, such is the intrinsic nature of the stories it may detract for those disillusioned
"Trekkies" who are only now discovering the Sci-Fi wonder of Babylon 5. Suffice it to say that the
mysterious and often cryptic Ambassador Kosh is an enigma throughout the series and the "Shadow War"
has to be the major highlight. Epic and stunning space battles on the firm foundation of an intelligent
and gripping story with some excellent suspense thrown in for good measure.
- Excellent well written story and story arc with some superb scripts and dialogue much of it quite witty.
- Plenty of complex and powerful characters, well portrayed by a good cast with brilliant chemistry and interaction.
These characters were deeper more believable than those of many other series.
- Very good alien make up effects.
- Groundbreaking use of CGI in a TV series which looked fantastic and pushed forward the medium in it's day.
- Essentially aimed at mature viewers it didn't stoop down to target a kids audience or aim to be totally PC.
- Intelligent sub-plots and secondary stories.
- Featured some rivetting end of season cliff hangers (the main one was whether we'd get another season).
- Truly insidious bad guys that did make your flesh creep.
- Whilst the Star Trek genre was floundering along the "Federation's" neutral zone trying to cash in even further
on it's Deep Space Franchise, Babylon 5 was at full tilt war for the safety of the universe.
- The more that you watch it the series gets even better as you notice a lot of indications of what is to transpire in later episodes.
- The pilot episode was pretty lame, lacking many of the series traits.
- The first two seasons eke out the story and flesh out the more mundane characters for little purpose. Especially the pacing of the
first season was slow and many episodes were irrelevent to the story arc, some bordering on boring.
- The pilot episode "The Gathering" and the first 30 episodes have some pretty ropey CGI effects compared to mid season 2 and beyond.
- Michael O'Hare is a stage actor who should have stayed on the stage and not endeavoured to act for TV.
- If you missed an episode or two then your perception of the story was knocked awry.
- For some viewers the series tended occasionally to be too clever.
- No wobbly sets but some habitual set reconstruction.
- Occasionally plagued by over acting syndrome.
- Due to wrangling by US television networks, the series was unlikely to make it past season 3. This resulted in breakneck speed of story to cover large portion of the story arc during Season 3.
- Sometimes episodes were too mystical - especially where Ambassador Kosh was concerned.
- Season 5 was a complete misnomer and an unneccesary extravagance that left many fans of the series disheartened and disappointed.
- The loss of Claudia Christian and the replacement of her with the talentless Tracy Scoggins was a huge mistake.
Babylon 5 is available on DVD. It is also available on video. The videos
usually contain 2 episodes (except one or two which have 3 episodes) and have good sound and an good picture, but naturally no extras.