Geeky Stuff You May Have Missed: Babylon 5

Welcome to a new category! Most of us geeks are pretty obsessed with stuff, but it is hard to be obsessed with everything and oftentimes, certain great geeky things come and go so fast that you miss them. Therefore, this category is built to give you a brief introduction to Geek fandoms that are finished, but might be worth backtracking through. We will try to avoid major spoilers, while still giving you an idea if this is something you want to spend your time on.

I am going to start with what was in my opinion the greatest science fiction television series of all time: Babylon 5.

The station itself

Let me give you the opening monologue of season 1, the first words you hear to introduce you to the show:

“It was the dawn of the third age of mankind, ten years after the Earth/Minbari war. The Babylon Project was a dream given form. Its goal, to prevent another war by creating a place where humans and aliens could work out their differences peacefully. It’s a port of call – home away from home for diplomats, hustlers, entrepreneurs, and wanderers. Humans and aliens wrapped in two million, five hundred thousand tons of spinning metal, all alone in the night. It can be a dangerous place, but it’s our last best hope for peace. This is the story of the last of the Babylon stations. The year is 2258. The name of the place is Babylon 5.”

Let me start with why I love this show. It is a show about relationships. It is about the relationships between people and between races. It explores what happens when the norms about relationships are broken down and people have to look beyond the bounds of what’s normal and learn to accept that. This show has a little something for everyone. It has politics, love stories, wars, and some wisdom that sticks with you forever. It is also well-planned. The creater, J. Michael Straczynski (who you might know as a comic writer, including the Amazing Spider-Man) planned out a 5-year storyline and there are threads that run through the entire series, making this a fabulous show to watch and rewatch.

The aliens of Babylon 5 are some of the most interesting. They have many types of societies and have been around for various lengths of time. The major races, the Minbari, the Centauri, and the Narn are all quite different, but have qualities we can all relate to. Then there is the mysterious race called the Vorlons who are highly secretive. There are also many minor races in the League of Non-Aligned Worlds, noting that not every civilization becomes a super power. Another interesting aspect of Babylon 5 is that the station not only includes the well-run military, but also a section referred to as “down-below” where people go without money and without resources. This future is not one where all problems are solved, but one where they have simply expanded into space and now need to be dealt with in whole new ways. This gives the show periods of grittiness and real-life that make it more interesting than the sterile Star Trek world many are used to.

It’s not all fun and games on this station

It does have some problems. The first season had a slightly slow start and the show takes a while to find its footing with the acting and characters. However, the strings of the story remain, and I believe there is enough of a hook to maintain interest. The other problem was that it was originally intended as a five-year show, but nearly got cancelled after season 4. Therefore, season 4 is jam-packed with storyline and season 5 was in many ways dragged out longer than the series was intended to go. My husband likes to end the show after season 4. I’m more of a completist about it, but it was my fandom first. It also had an interesting final episode that was written before the final season aired. At first, I hated that episode, but it’s grown on my recently as my relationship with the show ages.

Now, for the girl factor. This is a show full of strong women. Two of the main leads, Ivanova and Delenn are easily the best, well-rounded, in control women ever to appear on television or in science fiction. Many of the accessory women throughout the show fall into similar roles. There are also an amount of swoon-worthy men on this show, I personally, had quite the crush on Marcus, although you won’t meet him until season 3, and Bruce Boxleitner is always amazing (gotta wait until season 2 for him). Finally, there are some fabulous romances in this show, and I’m not the romance type, so that should tell you something.

Isn’t Marcus adorable!

I am convinced that Babylon 5 will always be my favorite science fiction show, and if you like scifi television at all and get a chance, give it a try. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

We live for the one. We die for the one.

If you have a fandom that you think was missed by your fellow geeks, why don’t you write up a brief introductory synopsis and join the Girls Are Geeks crew as a guest columnist! Just send us an email. Also, if you think there’s something we should cover, let us know. Sometimes even I forget all the great geeky things that are out there!

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Eleni
    Oct 11, 2010 @ 16:47:22

    Cool. Yeah, I missed Babylon 5, but it sounds like a show I would like. Maybe I’ll pick it up sometime.


  2. MelissaD
    Oct 11, 2010 @ 20:33:02

    Oh I loved B5! I have every single episode on VHS tapes – just proving how dorky I was. And I agree – Marcus was yummy. I really found that I liked Ivanova and Garibaldi as characters in addition to the expected strength of major characters like Delenn and Capt. Sheridan. I enjoyed watching all the way to the final 5th year of the show…the sunrise was so sad.
    Another show I really liked was Farscape -completely different premise, more like “fish out of water” but again, the characters and relationships were what kept me watching the entire series. The episodes were well written and the characters sometimes did unexpected things – just like real life. I also really enjoyed the pop culture references by the human character, John Crichton, as they often added humor or humanity to the often serious situations.
    3rd show for me would be “Firefly” – again, the characters and their relationships – and Nathan Fillion 🙂 (Did you see the episode of Castle where Nathan’s character put on his browncoat as a Halloween costume? priceless!)
    I may have to dig out my B5 tapes when I’m on vacation next week and have a marathon.


    • GirlsAreGeeks
      Oct 11, 2010 @ 22:19:37

      I’ve never been able to get fully into Farscape due to price tag and difficulty getting my hands on, but I do love Firefly, and I’m just starting to try and get into Castle, so I’m way late to that show. Someday, maybe I’ll just throw Farscape on a Christmas list, I’ve seen a bunch of episodes, just nothing in order!



  3. Janet
    Oct 12, 2010 @ 03:56:05

    I’m so glad you wrote about Babylon 5! I totally agree with everything you wrote about it! It is such an amazing series! My husband and I re-watch this series at least once a year if not more! And I have a huge crush on Marcus too!


  4. Budd Black
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 11:37:22

    this show rocked. I think Delen pulled off the relationship really well, but boxlightner made it seem awkward sometimes.


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