Alternate Galaxies: Babylon 5

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Rob and Dave have decided to occasionally take a look at great TV series and movies they enjoy, broadly from the genres of sci-fi and fantasy.

Not only will they look at them from all the usual angles you’d expect, but also what the broad appeal to a Doctor Who fan might be.

In this second episode, Babylon 5.

Babylon 5 is an American science fiction television series created by writer and producer J. Michael Straczynski. After the successful airing of a test pilot movie on February 22, 1993, Babylon 5: The Gathering, in May 1993 Warner Brothers commissioned the series for production as part of its Prime Time Entertainment Network (PTEN).

The first season premiered in the US on January 26, 1994, and the series ultimately ran for the intended five seasons. Describing it as having “always been conceived as, fundamentally, a five year story, a novel for television”, Straczynski wrote 92 of the 110 episodes, and served as executive producer, along with Douglas Netter.

Set between the years 2257 and 2262, it depicts a future where Earth has sovereign states, and a unifying Earth government. Colonies within the solar system, and beyond, make up the Earth Alliance, and contact has been made with other spacefaring species.

The ensemble cast portray alien ambassadorial staff and humans assigned to the five mile-long Babylon 5 space station, a center for trade and diplomacy. Described as “one of the most complex programs on television”, the various story arcs drew upon the prophesies, religious zealotry, racial tensions, social pressures, and political rivalries which existed within each of their cultures, to create a contextual framework for the motivations and consequences of the protagonists’ actions.

With a strong emphasis on character development set against a backdrop of conflicting ideologies on multiple levels, Straczynski wanted “to take an adult approach to SF, and attempt to do for television SF what Hill Street Blues did for cop shows.”