February 22 marked the 20th anniversary of the Babylon 5 movie being broadcast. The movie served as the pilot for the series, which went on to run for five seasons, had a handful of movies, and even spawned a short-lived spin-off series, Crusade.
Babylon 5 stands today as my second favorite SciFi show of all time, just behind Doctor Who.
Babylon 5 started in 1993, when I was just twelve years old.
What I remember most about it was how adult it was, at least in contrast to my third favorite SciFi show of all time, Star Trek: The Next Generation, which was already in its sixth season.
While there certainly were adult themes on ST:TNG and other SciFi shows at the time, such as Quantum Leap
, Babylon 5 was the first space SciFi show I remember that was gritty, dramatic, and epic in scope.
Many of the more lauded modern SciFi series owe everything to Babylon 5; Star Treks DS9 and Voyager, Firefly, and Battlestar Galactica, to be specific. Their grittiness and non-romanticized representation of humanity was raw and captivating thanks in no small part to the groundbreaking realism of Babylon 5. Not only did it tell an epic story involving political intrigue and the struggle to survive against an ancient invisible enemy, but woven into the fabric of the show were subtle, yet powerful subplots that fleshed out some of the most complex and memorable characters in SciFi history.
I’ve no idea how popular, or even remembered Babylon 5 is, but it is absolutely worth the watch.
Three of my favorite SciFi characters of all time are from Babylon 5; Londo Mollari
, and Alfred Bester
, played by the original Star Trek’s Chekov, Walter Koenig.
I have always wondered what Babylon 5 would have looked like if it had been made after 2000, when spectacular special effects were more easily created.
That isn’t to say Babylon 5 looked bad, because it certainly didn’t.
It was actually quite groundbreaking for its time, as well as its genre.
In fact, I’m not sure modern special effects would even improve the show at all.
It had a totally unique look and feel.
So I celebrate Babylon 5’s 20th anniversary by imploring everyone who calls themselves a fan of science fiction to give it a try. It’s a show about loss, love, deceit, hate, hope, fear, morality, divided loyalties, and galactic political intrigue. You won’t be disappointed!