After the anniversaries of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (25 years) and "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" (20 years) within less than 5 months we can celebrate the 3rd anniversary of a major science-fiction-series:
On the 22nd February 1993, "Babylon 5" had been on air in the United States the first time.
All 3 series together have created a previously unprecedented science-fiction hype, that has reached its peak in the mid-1990s.
My initial reluctance dealing with B5, as the series is called shortened, was even greater than with "Deep Space Nine":
For Babylon 5 is not only a new space-station, but a completely new fictional-universe of its own.
But finally I'm very happy also having dealt with this great science-fiction-series.
Babylon 5’s basic-theme is the struggle of good versus evil.
The boundaries between good and evil are blurred here, the beings of light "Vorlons" are not necessarily good and the shadow-beings not necessarily evil.
A novelty and - in my opinion - until today special-feature is the coherent story-arc throughout the entire series over 5 years:
Characters evolve fundamentally and partially change sides. And all developments are highly consistent.
The genius series inventor J. Michael Straczynski (JMS) has created not only a large, complex, consistent and really fascinating fictional-universe. He has wrapped even unforeseen elements, such as for example the station commander Sinclair’s withdrawal from the series, into a fascinating storyline of the future. Sinclair becomes a historical key figure of the alien "Minbari".
B5 is a really gloomy, pessimistic series, perhaps the darkest ever.
But exactly this gloom is very appealing, one could say even fascinating.
On "Deep Space Nine" a basically positive vision of the future has been “obscured”, means provided also with downsides. Babylon 5 however is a pessimistic vision of the future with optimistic approaches, especially with a relatively soothing end.
Deep earthly elements, history, real-politics, human strengths and weaknesses, can be found in a distant future, at a far-away place. And that’s why these elements can appear much more realistic than in every series in the here and now.
A great peculiarity still exists, which I consider shocking:
Until today not less than 5 actors of major Babylon 5 characters have died: Richard Biggs, Andreas Katsulas, Jeff Conaway, Michael O'Hare and Tim Choate.
The B5 creator JMS himself again and again in discussions (real and online) is drawing parallels between the events in the series and the real world’s society and politics.
The pessimistic Babylon 5 universe unfortunately is mirroring today’s world, dominated by highly destructive forces, rather well.
The introduction of dictatorship in the series under the pretext of a threat from the outside, is indicating alarming parallels to the so called "war on terror" and related with the massive dismantling of civil rights.
Therefore I only can repeat what I've already written in my DS9 tribute:
Everyone must commit himself politically and socially. Only active, empowered and determined citizens can make the existential turn to an ecological, social and above all democratic world!