Babylon 5

Babylon 5

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Encyclopedia
Babylon 5 is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 science fiction television series
Science fiction on television
Science fiction first appeared on a television program during the Golden Age of Science Fiction. Special effects and other production techniques allow creators to present a living visual image of an imaginary world not limited by the constraints of reality; this makes television an excellent medium...

 created, produced and largely written by J. Michael Straczynski
J. Michael Straczynski
Joseph Michael Straczynski , known professionally as J. Michael Straczynski and informally as Joe Straczynski or JMS, is an American writer and television producer. He works in films, television series, novels, short stories, comic books, and radio dramas. He is a playwright, a former journalist,...

. The show centers on a space station
Space station
A space station is a spacecraft capable of supporting a crew which is designed to remain in space for an extended period of time, and to which other spacecraft can dock. A space station is distinguished from other spacecraft used for human spaceflight by its lack of major propulsion or landing...

 named Babylon 5
Babylon 5 (space station)
Babylon 5 is a fictional space station and the primary setting in the television series Babylon 5. Its design is a variation of an O'Neill cylinder....

: a focal point for politics, diplomacy, and conflict during the years 2257–2262. With its prominent use of planned story arc
Story arc
A story arc is an extended or continuing storyline in episodic storytelling media such as television, comic books, comic strips, boardgames, video games, and in some cases, films. On a television program, for example, the story would unfold over many episodes. In television, the use of the story...

s, the series was often described as a "novel for television".

The pilot film premiered on February 22, 1993. The regular series aired from January 26, 1994 and ran for five full seasons. Due to Warner corporate structure and policy concerning syndication in general and syndication of properties produced by the defunct PTEN
Prime Time Entertainment Network
The Prime Time Entertainment Network was a United States television network launched in 1993 by the Prime Time Consortium, a joint venture between Warner Bros. Domestic Television and the Chris-Craft group of independent stations...

 division in particular, the show has been syndicated only briefly and has not appeared on television since 2000. However, the series has sold well on home video
Home video
Home video is a blanket term used for pre-recorded media that is either sold or rented/hired for home cinema entertainment. The term originates from the VHS/Betamax era but has carried over into current optical disc formats like DVD and Blu-ray Disc and, to a lesser extent, into methods of digital...

 DVD
DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

 season collections over the years since its broadcast. The show spawned six television films and a spin-off
Spin-off (media)
In media, a spin-off is a radio program, television program, video game, or any narrative work, derived from one or more already existing works, that focuses, in particular, in more detail on one aspect of that original work...

 series, Crusade
Crusade (TV series)
Crusade is a spin-off TV show from J. Michael Straczynski's Babylon 5. Its plot is set in AD 2267, five years after the events of Babylon 5, and just after the movie A Call to Arms. A race called the Drakh have released a nanovirus plague on Earth, which will destroy all life on Earth within five...

, which aired in 1999 and ran for 13 episodes. On July 31, 2007, a DVD
DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

 was released containing two short films about selected characters from the series.

In 2004 and 2007, Babylon 5 was ranked #13 and #16 on TV Guide's Top Cult Shows Ever.

Concept


Having worked on a number of television science fiction shows which had regularly gone over budget, creator J. Michael Straczynski concluded that a lack of long-term planning was to blame, and set about looking at ways in which a series could be done responsibly. Taking note of the lessons of mainstream television, which brought stories to a centralised location such as a hospital, police station, or law office, he decided that instead of "[going] in search of new worlds, building them anew each week," a fixed space station setting would keep costs at a reasonable level. A fan of sagas such as the Foundation series, Childhood's End
Childhood's End
Childhood's End is a 1953 science fiction novel by the British author Arthur C. Clarke. The story follows the peaceful alien invasion of Earth by the mysterious Overlords, whose arrival ends all war, helps form a world government, and turns the planet into a near-utopia...

, The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings is a high fantasy epic written by English philologist and University of Oxford professor J. R. R. Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's earlier, less complex children's fantasy novel The Hobbit , but eventually developed into a much larger work. It was written in...

, Dune
Dune (franchise)
Dune is a science fiction franchise which originated with the 1965 novel Dune by Frank Herbert. Considered by many to be the greatest science fiction novel of all time, Dune is frequently cited as the best-selling science fiction novel in history...

 and the Lensman series, Straczynski wondered why no one had done a television series with the same epic sweep, and concurrently with the first idea started developing the concept for a vastly-ambitious epic covering massive battles and other universe-changing events. Realizing that both the fixed-locale series and the epic could be done in a single series, he began to sketch the initial outline of what would become Babylon 5.
Straczynski set five goals for Babylon 5. He said that the show "would have to be good science fiction" as well as good television -- "rarely are shows both good [science fiction] and good TV; there're generally one or the other [emphasis in original]." It would have to do for science fiction television what Hill Street Blues
Hill Street Blues
Hill Street Blues is an American serial police drama that was first aired on NBC in 1981 and ran for 146 episodes on primetime into 1987. Chronicling the lives of the staff of a single police precinct in an unnamed American city, the show received critical acclaim and its production innovations ...

 had done for police dramas, by taking an adult approach to the subject. It would have to be reasonably budgeted, and "it would have to look unlike anything ever seen before on TV, presenting individual stories against a much broader canvas." He further stressed that his approach was "to take [science fiction] seriously, to build characters for grown-ups, to incorporate real science but keep the characters at the center of the story." Some of the staples of television science fiction were also out of the question (the show would have "no kids or cute robots"). The idea was not to present a perfect utopian future, but one with greed and homelessness; one where characters grow, develop, live, and die; one where not everything was the same at the end of the day's events. Citing Mark Twain
Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...

 as an influence, Straczynski said he wanted the show to be a mirror to the real world and to covertly teach.

Format


Described as a "window on the future" by series production designer John Iacovelli, the story is set in the 23rd century
23rd century
The 23rd century is the century of the Christian Era or Common Era which, in the Gregorian calendar, begins on January 1, 2201 and ends on December 31, 2300.-List of the long total solar eclipses:* July 27, 2204: Solar eclipse, , of saros 139....

 on a large O'Neill Colony
Island Three
The O'Neill cylinder is a space settlement design proposed by American physicist Gerard K. O'Neill in his 1976 book The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space....

 named "Babylon 5"—a five-mile-long, 2.5 million-ton rotating colony designed as a gathering place for the sentient species of the galaxy, in order to foster peace through diplomacy, trade, and cooperation. Instead, acting as a center of political intrigue and conflict, the station becomes the linchpin
Linchpin
A linchpin, also spelled linch pin, lynchpin, or lynch pin, is a fastener used to prevent a wheel or other rotating part from sliding off the axle it is riding on. The word is first attested in the 14th century and derives from Middle English elements meaning "axletree pin".Securing implements onto...

 of a massive interstellar war. This is reflected in the opening monologue of each episode, which includes the words "last, best hope for peace" in season one, changing to "last, best hope for victory" by season three.

The series consists of a coherent five-year story arc
Story arc
A story arc is an extended or continuing storyline in episodic storytelling media such as television, comic books, comic strips, boardgames, video games, and in some cases, films. On a television program, for example, the story would unfold over many episodes. In television, the use of the story...

 taking place over five seasons of 22 episodes each. Unlike most television shows at the time, Babylon 5 was conceived as a "novel for television", with a defined beginning, middle, and end; in essence, each episode would be a single "chapter" of this "novel". Many of the tie-in novels, comic books, and short stories were also developed to play a significant canonical
Canon (fiction)
In the context of a work of fiction, the term canon denotes the material accepted as "official" in a fictional universe's fan base. It is often contrasted with, or used as the basis for, works of fan fiction, which are not considered canonical...

 part in the overall story.

The cost of the series totalled an estimated $90 million for 110 episodes.

Writing


Creator and showrunner J. Michael Straczynski wrote 92 of the 110 episodes of Babylon 5, including all 44 episodes in the third and fourth seasons; according to Straczynski, a feat never before accomplished in American television. Other writers to have contributed scripts to the show include Peter David
Peter David
Peter Allen David , often abbreviated PAD, is an American writer of comic books, novels, television, movies and video games...

, Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman
Neil Richard Gaiman born 10 November 1960)is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre and films. His notable works include the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book...

, Kathryn M. Drennan
Kathryn M. Drennan
Kathryn M. Drennan is an American writer, having worked for Carl Sagan on the mini-series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage in the early 1980s and for Michael Piller, producer at the time for Star Trek: The Next Generation, in the early 1990s. She also contributed articles to several magazines, including...

, Lawrence G. DiTillio
Larry DiTillio
Lawrence G. "Larry" DiTillio is an American film and TV series writer. He is most famous for his role as executive story editor of the science-fiction series Babylon 5, and for writing or co-writing most of the episodes in the animated series Beast Wars...

, D.C. Fontana, and David Gerrold
David Gerrold
Jerrold David Friedman , better known by his pen name David Gerrold, is an American science fiction author who started his career in 1966 while a college student by submitting an unsolicited story outline for the television series Star Trek. He was invited to submit several premises, and the one...

. Harlan Ellison
Harlan Ellison
Harlan Jay Ellison is an American writer. His principal genre is speculative fiction.His published works include over 1,700 short stories, novellas, screenplays, teleplays, essays, a wide range of criticism covering literature, film, television, and print media...

, a creative consultant on the show, received story credits for two episodes. Each writer was informed of the over-arching storyline, enabling the show to be produced consistently under-budget. The rules of production were strict; scripts were written six episodes in advance, and changes could not be made once production had started.

Though conceived as a whole, it was necessary to adjust the plotline to accommodate external influences. Each of the characters in the series was written with a "trap door" into their background so that, in the event of an actor's unexpected departure from the series, the character could be written out with minimal impact on the storyline. In the words of Straczynski, "As a writer, doing a long-term story, it'd be dangerous and short-sighted for me to construct the story without trap doors for every single character. ... That was one of the big risks going into a long-term storyline which I considered long in advance;..." The character of Talia Winters
Talia Winters
Talia Winters is a fictional character appearing on the science fiction television show Babylon 5 during its first and second seasons. She was portrayed by actress Andrea Thompson....

 was to have undergone a transformation into a Psi Corps
Psi Corps
In the fictional universe of Babylon 5, the Psi Corps is an agency of the Earth Alliance responsible for all humans with telepathic or other para-psychological abilities anywhere within Earth controlled space. All persons with Psi abilities are required to either join the Corps, face lifetime...

 secret agent, having been revealed as a "sleeper," whose true personality was buried subconsciously, and who acted as a spy, observing the events on the station and the actions of her command staff. When Winters's portrayer Andrea Thompson
Andrea Thompson
Rebecca Andrea Thompson is an American actress, known for her roles on the television series Falcon Crest, Babylon 5, JAG, 24, Heroes and NYPD Blue.-Early life:...

 left the series, this revelation was used to drop the character from the series.
Ratings for Babylon 5 continued to rise during the show's third season, but going into the fourth season, the impending demise of network PTEN
Prime Time Entertainment Network
The Prime Time Entertainment Network was a United States television network launched in 1993 by the Prime Time Consortium, a joint venture between Warner Bros. Domestic Television and the Chris-Craft group of independent stations...

 left a fifth year in doubt. Unable to get word one way or the other from parent company Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., also known as Warner Bros. Pictures or simply Warner Bros. , is an American producer of film and television entertainment.One of the major film studios, it is a subsidiary of Time Warner, with its headquarters in Burbank,...

, and unwilling to short-change the story and the fans, Straczynski began preparing modifications to the fourth season in order to allow for both eventualities. Straczynski identified three primary plot-threads which would require resolution: the Shadow war, Earth's slide into a dictatorship, and a series of sub-threads which branched off from those. Estimating they would still take around 27 episodes to resolve without having the season feel rushed, the solution came when the TNT
Turner Network Television
Turner Network Television is an American cable television channel created by media mogul Ted Turner and currently owned by the Turner Broadcasting System division of Time Warner...

 network commissioned two Babylon 5 television films. Several hours of material was thus able to be moved into the films, including a three-episode arc which would deal with the background to the Earth–Minbari War, and a sub-thread which would have set up the sequel series, Crusade. Further standalone episodes and plot-threads were dropped from season four, which could be inserted into Crusade, or the fifth season, were it to be given the greenlight
Greenlight
To green-light a project is to give permission or a go ahead to move forward with a project. In the context of the movie and TV businesses, to green-light something is to formally approve its production finance, thereby allowing the project to move forward from the development phase to...

. The intended series finale, "Sleeping in Light
Sleeping in Light
"Sleeping in Light" is the final episode of the science-fiction television series Babylon 5. The episode was nominated for the 1999 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.-Plot:...

", was filmed during season four as a precaution against cancellation. When word came that TNT had picked up Babylon 5, this was moved to the end of season five and replaced with a newly filmed season four finale, "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars
The Deconstruction of Falling Stars
"The Deconstruction of Falling Stars" is the final episode of the fourth season of the science-fiction television series Babylon 5. This was the final episode of Babylon 5 to air on PTEN.-Synopsis:...

".

Visuals



In anticipation of future HDTV
High-definition television
High-definition television is video that has resolution substantially higher than that of traditional television systems . HDTV has one or two million pixels per frame, roughly five times that of SD...

 broadcasts and Laserdisc
Laserdisc
LaserDisc was a home video format and the first commercial optical disc storage medium. Initially licensed, sold, and marketed as MCA DiscoVision in North America in 1978, the technology was previously referred to interally as Optical Videodisc System, Reflective Optical Videodisc, Laser Optical...

 releases, rather than the usual 4:3 format, the series was shot in 16:9
16:9
16:9 is an aspect ratio with a width of 16 units and height of 9. Since 2009, it has become the most common aspect ratio for sold televisions and computer monitors and is also the international standard format of HDTV, Full HD, non-HD digital television and analog widescreen television ...

, with the image cropped to 4:3 for initial television transmissions. Babylon 5 also distinguished itself at a time when models and miniature were still standard by becoming one of the first television shows to use computer technology in creating visual effects
Visual effects
Visual effects are the various processes by which imagery is created and/or manipulated outside the context of a live action shoot. Visual effects involve the integration of live-action footage and generated imagery to create environments which look realistic, but would be dangerous, costly, or...

. This was achieved using Amiga
Amiga
The Amiga is a family of personal computers that was sold by Commodore in the 1980s and 1990s. The first model was launched in 1985 as a high-end home computer and became popular for its graphical, audio and multi-tasking abilities...

-based Video Toaster
Video Toaster
The NewTek Video Toaster is a combination of hardware and software for the editing and production of standard-definition and high-definition video in NTSC, PAL, and resolution independent formats on Commodore Amiga computers and subsequently on computers running the Windows operating system...

s at first, and later Pentium
Pentium compatible processor
A Pentium compatible processor is a 32-bit processor computer chip which supports the instructions in the IA-32 instruction set that were implemented by the Intel P5 Pentium processor family...

 and Alpha
DEC Alpha
Alpha, originally known as Alpha AXP, is a 64-bit reduced instruction set computer instruction set architecture developed by Digital Equipment Corporation , designed to replace the 32-bit VAX complex instruction set computer ISA and its implementations. Alpha was implemented in microprocessors...

-based systems. It also attempted to respect Newtonian physics in its effects sequences, with particular emphasis on the effects of inertia.

Foundation Imaging
Foundation Imaging
Foundation Imaging was a CGI visual effects studio, computer animation studio, and post-production editing facility that pioneered digital imaging for television programming using Newtek's LightWave 3D on Commodore Amiga based Video Toaster workstations. Founded by Paul Beigle-Bryant and Ron...

 provided the special effects for the pilot film (for which it won an Emmy) and the first three seasons of the show. After the show's co-executive producer (Douglas Netter) and producer (John Copeland) approached Straczynski with the idea of producing the effects in-house, Straczynski agreed to replace Foundation, for season 4 and 5, once a new team had been established by Netter Digital
Netter Digital
'Netter Digital Entertainment was a company created by Douglas Netter in 1995. The company produced the show Hypernauts before moving to digital EFX work and replacing Foundation Imaging in the final two seasons of Babylon 5 as the sole producer of CGI special effects for that series as well as...

, and an equal level of quality was assured, by using similar technology and a number of former Foundation employees. The Emmy-winning alien make-up was provided by Optic Nerve Studios.

The show's success was seen as a great asset for Commodore Business Machines, the makers of the Amiga computer, and for NewTek
NewTek
NewTek, Inc. is a San Antonio, Texas-based hardware and software company that produces live and post-production video tools and visual imaging software for personal computers...

, the company which made the Video Toaster
Video Toaster
The NewTek Video Toaster is a combination of hardware and software for the editing and production of standard-definition and high-definition video in NTSC, PAL, and resolution independent formats on Commodore Amiga computers and subsequently on computers running the Windows operating system...

 card and its accompanying 3-D animation program, Lightwave 3D. On the strength of Babylon 5, Lightwave 3D would be employed on other shows, eventually becoming an industry standard.

Music and scoring


The original pilot film had music composed by Stewart Copeland
Stewart Copeland
Stewart Armstrong Copeland is an American musician, best known as the drummer for the band The Police. During the group's extended hiatus from the mid-1980s to 2007, he played in other bands and composed soundtracks...

 of The Police
The Police
The Police were an English rock band formed in London in 1977. For the vast majority of their history, the band consisted of Sting , Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland...

. When the show was picked up as a weekly series, Copeland was unavailable, so Christopher Franke
Christopher Franke
Christopher Franke is a German musician and composer. From 1971 to 1988 he was a member of the electronic group Tangerine Dream. Initially a drummer with The Agitation, later renamed Agitation Free, his primary focus eventually shifted to keyboards and synthesizers as the group moved away from its...

 of Tangerine Dream
Tangerine Dream
Tangerine Dream is a German electronic music group founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese. The band has undergone many personnel changes over the years, with Froese being the only continuous member...

 was hired. Franke was the composer for all five seasons of Babylon 5, all but one of the television films, and the Lost Tales DVD. When Straczynski obtained funds to create a new producer's cut of the pilot film, the original Copeland score was replaced with a new score by Franke. Over thirty soundtrack CDs have been issued featuring Franke's Babylon 5 compositions, including The Best of Babylon 5, released in 2001.

The Babylon 5 station




The station is an O'Neill Cylinder
Island Three
The O'Neill cylinder is a space settlement design proposed by American physicist Gerard K. O'Neill in his 1976 book The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space....

, five miles long and a half mile to a mile across, rotating to give artificial gravity
Artificial gravity
Artificial gravity is the varying of apparent gravity via artificial means, particularly in space, but also on the Earth...

. The center is open, and includes fields, hydroponic
Hydroponics
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. Terrestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution only or in an inert medium, such as perlite, gravel, mineral wool, or coconut husk.Researchers discovered in the 18th...

 gardens, and a transport tube running the station length. The station has independent, interconnected sectors, designed differently to avoid claustrophobia. Living areas accommodate the various alien species, including differing atmospheres and gravity. Human visitors to the alien sectors are shown using breathing equipment and other measures to tolerate the conditions. As the series begins, the station is under construction, with only parts completed, others leading to shadowy bowel areas. On some outer levels, the viewports are in floor panels, giving a view into space beneath the feet.

The station is in the Epsilon Eridani
Epsilon Eridani
Epsilon Eridani is a star in the southern constellation Eridanus, along a declination 9.46° south of the celestial equator. This allows the star to be viewed from most of the Earth's surface. At a distance of 10.5 light years , it has an apparent magnitude of 3.73...

 star system, at the fifth Lagrangian point between the fictional planet Epsilon III and its moon. The station's first three predecessors (the original Babylon station, Babylon 2 and Babylon 3) were sabotaged or accidentally destroyed before their completion. The fourth station, Babylon 4
Babylon 4
Babylon 4 is a fictional space station from the television series Babylon 5.In the series, Babylon 4 was the immediate predecessor of Babylon 5 and the largest of the Babylon stations...

, vanished 24 hours after it became fully operational.

Civilizations



At the beginning of the series, five dominant civilizations are represented. The dominant species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 are the Humans
Human (Babylon 5)
Humans are one of the many races in the fictional Babylon 5 universe. They appear in all seasons of Babylon 5, and all of its spinoffs. Their homeworld is Earth, from which the interstellar Earth Alliance is governed...

, Minbari
Minbari
The Minbari are a fictional alien race featured in the television show Babylon 5. The Minbari characters of Delenn and Lennier figure prominently throughout the series; Neroon, Draal, and Dukhat are less prominent Minbari characters....

, Narn
Narn
The Narn are a fictional alien race in the universe of the Babylon 5 television series. Their homeworld is also called Narn.-Homeworld:Narn is the homeworld of the Narn and the Narn Regime. Its day is 31 hours long. Prior to the Centauri's first invasion, Narn was a healthy green planet. Now it...

, Centauri
Centauri (Babylon 5)
The Centauri are a humanoid species in the fictional universe of the Babylon 5 television series. They were the first alien species to make open contact with the human race. Their homeworld is Centauri Prime, a small Earth-like planet consisting of two large continents and several smaller islands...

, and the Vorlon
Vorlon
A Vorlon is a member of a fictional alien species in the Babylon 5 television series and fictional universe. The Vorlon species is a member of the First Ones, a group made up of the earliest species to gain sentience in the galaxy...

s. "The Shadows
Shadow (Babylon 5)
The Shadows are a fictional alien species in the science fiction television series Babylon 5. Their homeworld is Z'ha'dum. In contrast to the Vorlons, whose philosophy is represented by the question "Who are you?", that of the Shadows is represented by the question "What do you want?", centering...

" and their various allies are malevolent species who appear later in the series. Several dozen less powerful species from the League of Non-Aligned Worlds
League of Non-Aligned Worlds
The League of Non-Aligned Worlds was a fictional collection of races in the Babylon 5 universe.The League of Non-Aligned Worlds was a loose confederation of independent worlds and minor species, most of whom had endured subjugation under the Centauri Republic at its height...

 appear, including the Drazi, Brakiri, Vree, Markab, and pak'ma'ra
Pak'ma'ra
The pak'ma'ra are a fictional race of aliens in the Babylon 5 universe. They do not feature heavily in any storylines, partly on the pretext that other species avoid them because they are, for religious reasons, dedicated carrion eaters.Humanoid in form, the pak'ma'ra have tentacles around a mouth...

.

While the original pilot film featured some aliens
Extraterrestrial life
Extraterrestrial life is defined as life that does not originate from Earth...

 which were puppets and animatronics
Animatronics
Animatronics is the use of mechatronics to create machines which seem animate rather than robotic. Animatronic creations include animals , plants and even mythical creatures...

, the decision was made early on in the show's production to portray most alien species as humanoid
Humanoid
A humanoid is something that has an appearance resembling a human being. The term first appeared in 1912 to refer to fossils which were morphologically similar to, but not identical with, those of the human skeleton. Although this usage was common in the sciences for much of the 20th century, it...

 in appearance. Barring isolated appearances, fully computer-generated
Computer-generated imagery
Computer-generated imagery is the application of the field of computer graphics or, more specifically, 3D computer graphics to special effects in art, video games, films, television programs, commercials, simulators and simulation generally, and printed media...

 aliens were discounted as an idea due to the "massive rendering
Rendering (computer graphics)
Rendering is the process of generating an image from a model , by means of computer programs. A scene file contains objects in a strictly defined language or data structure; it would contain geometry, viewpoint, texture, lighting, and shading information as a description of the virtual scene...

 power" required. Long-term use of puppets and animatronics was also discounted due to the technological limitations in providing convincing interaction with the human actors ("…if you want any real emotion from the character, you're going to have to have an actor inside" [emphasis in original]).

Languages


There are three primary languages used on the Babylon 5 station: English, as well as the fictional Centauri and Interlac
Interlac
In the DC Comics fictional universe, Interlac is the designated communication language of the 30th century United Planets.In its basic form it is a simple one-to-one substitution cipher. The Interlac alphabet corresponds perfectly to the twenty-six letters of the Latin alphabet and the numbering...

. English is mentioned explicitly as the "human language of commerce," and is the baseline language of the station (written signs appearing in all three languages). Other human and alien languages do exist in the Babylon 5 universe, though with the exception of Minbari, hearing them spoken is uncommon; when aliens of the same species are speaking to one another, the words heard are English, though it is presumed they are speaking their native tongue. Only when in the presence of humans can the alien language be heard, to stress that the humans cannot understand what is being said. With the exception of the Minbari tongue, few other alien languages are actually heard aloud on a regular basis.

The Gaim, pak'ma'ra
Pak'ma'ra
The pak'ma'ra are a fictional race of aliens in the Babylon 5 universe. They do not feature heavily in any storylines, partly on the pretext that other species avoid them because they are, for religious reasons, dedicated carrion eaters.Humanoid in form, the pak'ma'ra have tentacles around a mouth...

, and Vorlons do not speak directly in English; in the case of the pak'ma'ra, either because they refuse to learn any language other than their own, or because they are incapable of making human sounds. Members of these races instead make use of real-time translation devices.

The principal human characters speak with an American accent, with the exception of Marcus Cole
Marcus Cole
Marcus Cole, played by Jason Carter, is a fictional character in the universe of the science-fiction television series Babylon 5. He was a regular in the third and fourth seasons of the show...

, who speaks with Jason Carter's natural English accent. Susan Ivanova, born in Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, speaks with an American accent, as her character was raised and schooled outside Russia. Her father speaks with a distinct Russian accent, as does her brother. Various other minor human characters speak English with recognizable regional accents. Ambassadors Delenn and Londo Mollari, both alien characters, speak with distinct accents similar to Slavic
Slavic languages
The Slavic languages , a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup of Indo-European languages, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe, in much of the Balkans, in parts of Central Europe, and in the northern part of Asia.-Branches:Scholars traditionally divide Slavic...

. Delenn speaks with actress Mira Furlan
Mira Furlan
Mira Furlan is a Croatian actress and singer currently residing in the United States. She is well known for her roles as the Minbari Ambassador Delenn on all five seasons of the science fiction television series Babylon 5 , and Danielle Rousseau on Lost.-Early life:Furlan was born to an...

's normal Croatian
Croatian language
Croatian is the collective name for the standard language and dialects spoken by Croats, principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina and other neighbouring countries...

 accent; most other Minbari have native-speaker accents for English (for example, American for Lennier, British for Neroon
Neroon
Neroon is a fictional character in the universe of the science-fiction television series Babylon 5, portrayed by John Vickery. He was a recurring guest character throughout the series.-Background:...

). Londo's accent was developed independently by actor Peter Jurasik and was imitated by William Forward, who played Lord Refa. Straczynski has described Londo's accent as being that of the "old school" of the Centauri Imperial Court. Narn
Narn
The Narn are a fictional alien race in the universe of the Babylon 5 television series. Their homeworld is also called Narn.-Homeworld:Narn is the homeworld of the Narn and the Narn Regime. Its day is 31 hours long. Prior to the Centauri's first invasion, Narn was a healthy green planet. Now it...

s tend to speak in native-speaker (generally English) accents as well.

Use of the Internet




The show employed Internet marketing to create a buzz among online readers far in advance of the airing of the pilot episode, with Straczynski participating in online communities on USENET
Usenet
Usenet is a worldwide distributed Internet discussion system. It developed from the general purpose UUCP architecture of the same name.Duke University graduate students Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis conceived the idea in 1979 and it was established in 1980...

 (in the rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated
Rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated
rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated is a moderated Usenet newsgroup that focuses on the science fiction television series Babylon 5 and the works of writer J. Michael Straczynski. It was spun off from its un-moderated version, rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5, in 1996...

 newsgroup), and the GEnie
GEnie
GEnie was an online service created by a General Electric business - GEIS that ran from 1985 through the end of 1999. In 1994, GEnie claimed around 350,000 users. Peak simultaneous usage was around 10,000 users...

 and CompuServe
CompuServe
CompuServe was the first major commercial online service in the United States. It dominated the field during the 1980s and remained a major player through the mid-1990s, when it was sidelined by the rise of services such as AOL with monthly subscriptions rather than hourly rates...

 systems before the Web came together as it exists today. The station's location, in "grid epsilon" at coordinates of 470/18/22, was a reference to GEnie
GEnie
GEnie was an online service created by a General Electric business - GEIS that ran from 1985 through the end of 1999. In 1994, GEnie claimed around 350,000 users. Peak simultaneous usage was around 10,000 users...

 ("grid epsilon" = "GE") and the original forum's address on the system's bulletin boards (page 470, category 18, topic 22). Also during this time, Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., also known as Warner Bros. Pictures or simply Warner Bros. , is an American producer of film and television entertainment.One of the major film studios, it is a subsidiary of Time Warner, with its headquarters in Burbank,...

 executive Jim Moloshok created and distributed electronic trading cards to help advertise the series. In 1995, Warner Bros. started the Official Babylon 5 Website on the now defunct Pathfinder
Pathfinder.com
Pathfinder was one of the first Internet portals, initially created as Time Warner's entry onto the Internet. It was supposed to be an all-encompassing site that brought the best content from all of Time-Warner under one banner.The site opened in 1994...

 portal. In September 1995, they hired a fan to take over the site and move it to its own domain name, and to oversee the Keyword B5 area on America Online
AOL
AOL Inc. is an American global Internet services and media company. AOL is headquartered at 770 Broadway in New York. Founded in 1983 as Control Video Corporation, it has franchised its services to companies in several nations around the world or set up international versions of its services...

.

Broadcast history


The pilot film, The Gathering
Babylon 5: The Gathering
Babylon 5: The Gathering is the pilot movie of the science fiction television series Babylon 5. The telefilm aired on February 22, 1993...

, premiered on February 22, 1993, and the regular series initially aired from January 26, 1994 through November 25, 1998, first on the short-lived Prime Time Entertainment Network
Prime Time Entertainment Network
The Prime Time Entertainment Network was a United States television network launched in 1993 by the Prime Time Consortium, a joint venture between Warner Bros. Domestic Television and the Chris-Craft group of independent stations...

, then on cable network TNT
Turner Network Television
Turner Network Television is an American cable television channel created by media mogul Ted Turner and currently owned by the Turner Broadcasting System division of Time Warner...

. The show aired every week in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 on Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

 without a break; as a result the last four or five episodes of the early seasons were shown in the UK before the US. The pilot film debuted in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 with strong viewing figures, achieving a 9.7 in the Nielsen
Nielsen Ratings
Nielsen ratings are the audience measurement systems developed by Nielsen Media Research, in an effort to determine the audience size and composition of television programming in the United States...

 national syndication rankings. The series proper debuted with a 6.8 rating/10 share. Figures dipped in its second week, and while it posted a solid 5.0 rating/8 share, with an increase in several major markets, ratings for the first season continued to fall, to a low of 3.4 during rerun
Rerun
A rerun or repeat is a re-airing of an episode of a radio or television broadcast. The invention of the rerun is generally credited to Desi Arnaz. There are two types of reruns—those that occur during a hiatus, and those that occur when a program is syndicated. Reruns can also be, as the...

s, and then increasing again when new episodes were broadcast in July.

Ratings continued to remain low-to-middling throughout the first four seasons, but Babylon 5 scored well with the demographics
Demographics
Demographics are the most recent statistical characteristics of a population. These types of data are used widely in sociology , public policy, and marketing. Commonly examined demographics include gender, race, age, disabilities, mobility, home ownership, employment status, and even location...

 required to attract the leading national sponsors and saved up to $300,000 per episode by shooting off the studio lot, therefore remaining profitable for the network. The fifth season, shown on cable network TNT, had ratings about 1.0% lower than seasons two through four.

In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, Babylon 5 was one of the better-rated US television shows on Channel 4, and achieved high audience Appreciation Index
Appreciation Index
The Audience Appreciation Index is a score out of 100 which is used as an indicator of the public's appreciation for a television or radio programme, or broadcast service, in the United Kingdom. Until 2002, the AI of a programme was calculated by BARB, the organisation that compiles television...

es, with season 4's "Endgame
Endgame (Babylon 5)
"Endgame" is an episode from the fourth season of the science fiction television series Babylon 5.-Synopsis:John Sheridan launches a final battle to liberate Earth....

" achieving the rare feat of beating the prime-time soap operas for first position.

On November 25, 1998, after five seasons and 109 aired episodes, Babylon 5 successfully completed its five year story arc when TNT aired the 110th (epilogue
Epilogue
An epilogue, epilog or afterword is a piece of writing at the end of a work of literature or drama, usually used to bring closure to the work...

) episode "Sleeping in Light
Sleeping in Light
"Sleeping in Light" is the final episode of the science-fiction television series Babylon 5. The episode was nominated for the 1999 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.-Plot:...

".

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine controversy


The pilot episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is a science fiction television series set in the Star Trek universe...

 (DS9) aired just weeks before the debut of Babylon 5. Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski indicated that Paramount Television
Paramount Television
Paramount Television was an American television production/distribution company that was active from January 1, 1968 to August 27, 2006.Its successor is CBS Television Studios, formerly CBS Paramount Television...

 was aware of his concept as early as 1989, when he attempted to sell the show to the studio, and provided them with the series bible, pilot script, artwork, lengthy character background histories, and plot synopses for 22 episodes "or so planned episodes taken from the overall course of the planned series". Paramount passed on Babylon 5, but later announced Deep Space Nine was in development two months after Warner Bros. announced its plans for Babylon 5. Straczynski has stated on numerous occasions that, even though he's confident that Deep Space Nine producer/creators Rick Berman
Rick Berman
Richard Keith “Rick” Berman is an American television producer. He is most famous for his work as the executive producer of several of the Star Trek series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager; and, several of the Star Trek theatrical productions, and...

 and Michael Piller
Michael Piller
Michael Piller was an American television scriptwriter and producer, who was most famous for his contributions to the Star Trek franchise.-Early life and career:Piller was born in Port Chester, New York...

 did not see this material, he thinks Paramount may have used his bible and scripts to steer development of Deep Space Nine. In 1993 he said, "'Okay, YOU (Paramount) know what happened, and *I* know what happened, but let's try to be grownup about it for now,' though I must say that the shapechanging thing nearly tipped me back over the edge again. If there are no more major similarities that crop up in the next few weeks or months, with luck we can continue that way."

Babylon 5s first-run syndicated ratings averaged between 3 and 4% of U.S. households from 1995 to 1997, whereas DS9 ranged from 4 to 5% during the same time span. The PTEN vs. UPN
UPN
United Paramount Network was a television network that was broadcast in over 200 markets in the United States from 1995 to 2006. UPN was originally owned by Viacom/Paramount and Chris-Craft Industries, the former of which, through the Paramount Television Group, produced most of the network's...

 network rivalry may have been a factor in the development of such similar shows, since both networks were competing for control of the same independent stations and status as the 5th major network (after ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX). Each nascent network wanted the other to fail. Ultimately PTEN dissolved in 1997, while The WB
The WB Television Network
The WB Television Network is a former television network in the United States that was launched on January 11, 1995 as a joint venture between Warner Bros. and Tribune Broadcasting. On January 24, 2006, CBS Corporation and Warner Bros...

 and UPN merged to form The CW
The CW Television Network
The CW Television Network is a television network in the United States launched at the beginning of the 2006–2007 television season. It is a joint venture between CBS Corporation, the former owners of United Paramount Network , and Time Warner's Warner Bros., former majority owner of The WB...

 in 2006.

Regular cast

  • Mary Kay Adams
    Mary Kay Adams
    Mary Kay Adams is an American actress known for her roles in television, on the soap opera Guiding Light and as Na'Toth in the second season of the science fiction television series Babylon 5....

     as Na'Toth
    Na'Toth
    Na'Toth is a fictional character in the universe of the science fiction television series Babylon 5. Na'Toth is the aide to Narn Ambassador G'Kar, one of the main characters of the series...

     (season two)
  • Julie Caitlin Brown
    Julie Caitlin Brown
    Julie Caitlin Brown is an American actress and musician known for her role as Na'Toth in the first and fifth season of the science fiction television series Babylon 5.-Early Life:...

     as Na'Toth
    Na'Toth
    Na'Toth is a fictional character in the universe of the science fiction television series Babylon 5. Na'Toth is the aide to Narn Ambassador G'Kar, one of the main characters of the series...

     (season one, guest in season five)
  • Richard Biggs
    Richard Biggs
    Richard T. "Dick" Biggs was an American television and stage actor, best known for his roles on the television series Days of our Lives and Babylon 5.-Life:...

     as Dr. Stephen Franklin
    Stephen Franklin
    Stephen Franklin is a lead character in the fictional universe of the science fiction television series Babylon 5, played by the late Richard Biggs. He serves as the chief medical officer on the Babylon 5 space station.-Personality:...

  • Bruce Boxleitner
    Bruce Boxleitner
    Bruce William Boxleitner is an American actor, and science fiction and suspense writer. He is known for his leading roles in the television series How the West Was Won, Bring 'Em Back Alive, Scarecrow and Mrs. King , and Babylon 5...

     as John Sheridan
    John Sheridan (Babylon 5)
    John J. Sheridan is a lead character in the fictional universe of the science-fiction television series Babylon 5, played by Bruce Boxleitner. For most of the series, he is the commander of the Babylon 5 station; during the series' final season he is the President of the Interstellar...

     (seasons two – five and The Lost Tales)
  • Jason Carter
    Jason Carter (actor)
    Jason Brian Carter is an English actor, best known for his role as Ranger Marcus Cole on the science fiction television series Babylon 5....

     as Marcus Cole
    Marcus Cole
    Marcus Cole, played by Jason Carter, is a fictional character in the universe of the science-fiction television series Babylon 5. He was a regular in the third and fourth seasons of the show...

     (seasons three – four)
  • Claudia Christian
    Claudia Christian
    Claudia Ann Christian is an American actress, writer, singer, musician, and director, best known for her role as Commander Susan Ivanova on the science fiction television series Babylon 5.-Career:...

     as Susan Ivanova
    Susan Ivanova
    Susan Ivanova is a fictional character in the science fiction television series Babylon 5, played by Claudia Christian.-Character overview:...

     (seasons one – four)
  • Jeff Conaway
    Jeff Conaway
    Jeffrey Charles William Michael "Jeff" Conaway was an American actor best known for his roles in the movie Grease and the US television series Taxi and Babylon 5. Conaway was featured on the first season of reality series Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew...

     as Zack Allan
    Zack Allan
    Zack Allan is a character in the fictional universe of the science-fiction television series Babylon 5, played by Jeff Conaway. He regularly appeared in the show from season 2 onwards. During the second and third seasons of the series he was a security officer on the Babylon 5 station...

     (recurring in season two, starring in seasons three – five)
  • Jerry Doyle
    Jerry Doyle (actor)
    Jerry Doyle is an American talk radio host, conservative political commentator, and television actor. His nationally-syndicated talk show, The Jerry Doyle Show, airs throughout the United States on Talk Radio Network...

     as Michael Garibaldi
    Michael Garibaldi
    Michael Garibaldi is a lead fictional character in the universe of the science fiction television series Babylon 5, played by Jerry Doyle.-Overview:...

  • Mira Furlan
    Mira Furlan
    Mira Furlan is a Croatian actress and singer currently residing in the United States. She is well known for her roles as the Minbari Ambassador Delenn on all five seasons of the science fiction television series Babylon 5 , and Danielle Rousseau on Lost.-Early life:Furlan was born to an...

     as Delenn
    Delenn
    Delenn is a fictional lead character in the universe of the science fiction television series Babylon 5, played by Mira Furlan.-Overview:Delenn, an alien ambassador and leader from the planet Minbar, is one of the pivotal characters in Babylon 5....

  • Stephen Furst
    Stephen Furst
    Stephen Furst is an American actor and film and television director. He was a regular in the science fiction series Babylon 5 playing Centauri diplomatic attaché Vir Cotto and as Dr. Elliot Axelrod on St...

     as Vir Cotto
    Vir Cotto
    Vir Cotto is a character from the fictional Babylon 5 universe, played on screen by Stephen Furst. He is a Centauri male who was from a family of minor nobility, who would eventually become the Centauri Ambassador to Babylon 5, and then became the Emperor of the Centauri Republic in 2278.Vir Cotto...

  • Peter Jurasik
    Peter Jurasik
    Peter Jurasik is an American actor known for his television roles as Londo Mollari in the 1990s science fiction series Babylon 5 and Sid the Snitch on the 1980s series Hill Street Blues and its short-lived spinoff Beverly Hills Buntz.-Career:Among Jurasik's guest appearances are an entomologist in...

     as Londo Mollari
  • Andreas Katsulas
    Andreas Katsulas
    Andrew "Andreas" Katsulas was a Greek-American actor known for his roles as Ambassador G'Kar in the science fiction television series Babylon 5, as the one-armed villain Sykes in the film The Fugitive , and as the Romulan Commander Tomalak on Star Trek: The Next Generation...

     as G'Kar
  • Bill Mumy
    Bill Mumy
    Charles William "Bill" Mumy, Jr. is an American actor, musician, pitchman, instrumentalist, voice-over artist and a figure in the science-fiction community. He is known primarily for his work as a child television actor....

     as Lennier
    Lennier
    Lennier is a character in the fictional universe of the science-fiction television series Babylon 5, played by Bill Mumy. He is Minbari and acts as ambassadorial aide to Delenn throughout most of the series.-Background and career:...

  • Michael O'Hare
    Michael O'Hare
    Michael O'Hare is an American actor, best known for playing Jeffrey Sinclair in the science fiction television series Babylon 5.-Biography:Michael O'Hare was born in Chicago, Illinois...

     as Jeffrey Sinclair
    Jeffrey Sinclair
    Jeffrey Sinclair is a character in the fictional universe of the science fiction television series Babylon 5, played by actor Michael O'Hare. He was a regular in the first season of the show, as Commander of the Babylon 5 station, and made a number of guest appearances afterward.-Early life and...

     / Valen
    Valen
    Valen is a character in the fictional universe of the science-fiction television series Babylon 5. Although he has only one scene in the show, he is an important character in the history of the Minbari, and is frequently mentioned...

     (season one, guest in seasons two and three)
  • Robert Rusler
    Robert Rusler
    Robert Rusler is an American film and television actor.Rusler was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the son of Maria Elena and Richard C. Rusler. He moved to Waikiki Beach in Hawaii, where he started surfing and skateboarding on a semi-professional level, competiting in local tournaments...

     as Warren Keffer (season two)
  • Tracy Scoggins
    Tracy Scoggins
    Tracy Dawn Scoggins is an American actress known for her roles as Cat Grant in the television series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and Monica Colby in the 1980s prime time soap opera Dynasty, and its spin-off series The Colbys...

     as Elizabeth Lochley
    Elizabeth Lochley
    Elizabeth Lochley is a lead fictional character from the universe of the science fiction television series Babylon 5 and Crusade, played by Tracy Scoggins....

     (season five and The Lost Tales)
  • Patricia Tallman
    Patricia Tallman
    Patricia J. Tallman is an American actress and stunt performer, sometimes credited as Pat Tallman.-Early life:Patricia is the daughter of Jerry Tallman, a radio entertainer...

     as Lyta Alexander
    Lyta Alexander
    Lyta Alexander is a character from the fictional universe of the science-fiction television series Babylon 5, played by Patricia Tallman.Lyta was introduced in the pilot episode "The Gathering" as a telepath assigned to the Babylon 5 space station by the Psi Corps, a fictional organization...

     (pilot, recurring in seasons two – three, starring in seasons four – five)
  • Andrea Thompson
    Andrea Thompson
    Rebecca Andrea Thompson is an American actress, known for her roles on the television series Falcon Crest, Babylon 5, JAG, 24, Heroes and NYPD Blue.-Early life:...

     as Talia Winters
    Talia Winters
    Talia Winters is a fictional character appearing on the science fiction television show Babylon 5 during its first and second seasons. She was portrayed by actress Andrea Thompson....

     (seasons one – two)


Recurring guests

  • Wayne Alexander
    Wayne Alexander
    Wayne Alexander is an American actor who grew up in San Joaquin Valley in California. He trained at Los Angeles City College Theater Academy, then spent four years at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater. He later worked as a fight choreographer and did stage work both in Los Angeles and...

     as Lorien
    Lorien (Babylon 5)
    Lorien is a fictional character from the universe of the science fiction television series Babylon 5. He appears at the start of season four and again in the last episode of the show. Lórien is also a name given to one of the Valar, god-like beings in the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, of whom series...

     / Shiv'kal the Drakh
    Drakh
    The Drakh are a fictional alien race in the Babylon 5 universe. The Drakh were dark servants for the race of First Ones known as the Shadows. They appeared in the fourth and fifth seasons of Babylon 5 as well as the television movie, A Call to Arms...

     / Sebastian/"Jack"
    Comes the Inquisitor
    -External links:* "Comes the Inquisitor" at Wikiquote...

     / others (12 episodes)
  • Ardwight Chamberlain
    Ardwight Chamberlain
    Ardwight Chamberlain is a voice actor and screen writer currently living in Los Angeles, California. He is best known as the voice of Vorlon Ambassador Kosh on the science-fiction television series Babylon 5...

     (voice)/Jeffery Willerth (in the encounter-suit) as Kosh Naranek (seasons one – four) (23 episodes)
  • Tim Choate
    Tim Choate
    Tim Choate was an American actor who starred in a number of film and television roles on series such as Dragnet and Babylon 5....

     as Zathras
    Zathras
    Zathras is a race of characters in the science fiction television series Babylon 5, all portrayed by the late Tim Choate. There were ten of these characters who appeared on several episodes throughout the series...

     (4 episodes)
  • Joshua Cox
    Joshua Cox
    Joshua "Josh" Cox is an American actor. He is perhaps most famous for his work in television. Notable roles include Lieutenant David Corwin and Senior Nurse Peter Riggs...

     as David Corwin (34 episodes)
  • David L. Crowley as Lou Welch (7 episodes)
  • Robin Atkin Downes
    Robin Atkin Downes
    Born in London, England, Robin Atkin Downes is an English actor who is one of the most prolific voice-over actors in Los Angeles. He is well known for his work in film, television and voice acting...

     as Byron
    Byron (Babylon 5)
    Byron Gordon, played by Robin Atkin Downes, is a fictional character from the television science fiction drama Babylon 5, introduced in the fifth and final season.- Fictional Biography :...

     (9 episodes)
  • William Forward as Lord Antono Refa (6 episodes)
  • Robert Foxworth
    Robert Foxworth
    Robert Heath Foxworth is an American film, stage and television actor.-Early life and career:Foxworth was born in Houston, Texas, the son of Erna Beth , a writer, and John Howard Foxworth, a roofing contractor...

     as General William Hague (2 episodes)
  • Denise Gentile as Lise Hampton (9 episodes)
  • Melissa Gilbert
    Melissa Gilbert
    Melissa Ellen Gilbert is an American actress, writer, and producer, primarily in movies and television. Gilbert is best known as a child actress who co-starred as Charles Ingalls's second daughter, Laura Ingalls Wilder, on the dramatic television series Little House on the Prairie...

     as Anna Sheridan (2 episodes)
  • Lenore Kasdorf
    Lenore Kasdorf
    Lenore Kasdorf is an American actress.-Biography:Kasdorf was born in New York City to an army colonel father. She is best known for her role as the alluring and promiscuous nurse Rita Stapleton Bauer, whom she played from 1975 to 1981 in the soap opera Guiding Light, and for her performance as Mrs...

     as ISN Reporter (3 episodes)
  • Walter Koenig
    Walter Koenig
    Walter Marvin Koenig is an American actor, writer, teacher and director, known for his roles as Pavel Chekov in Star Trek and Alfred Bester in Babylon 5. He wrote the script for the 2008 science fiction legal thriller InAlienable.-Early life:...

     as Alfred Bester
    Alfred Bester (Babylon 5)
    Alfred Bester is a Babylon 5 character played by Walter Koenig. He is a senior Psi Cop and a recurring antagonist in the series. J. Michael Straczynski named the character after the science fiction writer Alfred Bester, since telepathy is a recurring theme in his work .-Early Life and Career:The...

     (12 episodes)
  • Wortham Krimmer
    Wortham Krimmer
    Robert Krimmer is an American actor. Formerly known professionally as Wortham Krimmer , Krimmer has since reverted back to his original birth name of Robert Krimmer.With appearances on St...

     as Emperor Cartagia
    Emperor Cartagia
    Emperor Cartagia is a fictional character from the universe of the science fiction television series Babylon 5, played by Wortham Krimmer...

     (5 episodes)
  • Damian London
    Damian London
    Damian London is an American stage and television actor. He is most famous for his role as Virini on the science-fiction show Babylon 5....

     as Regent Virini (9 episodes)
  • Leigh McCloskey
    Leigh McCloskey
    Leigh Joseph McCloskey is an American film and television actor.-Career:McCloskey was classically trained as an actor at the Juilliard School in Lincoln Center, New York. As an actor, he is perhaps most widely known for his role as Mitch Cooper on the CBS soap opera Dallas...

     as Thomas (2 episodes)
  • Marjorie Monaghan
    Marjorie Monaghan
    Marjorie Monaghan is an American actress born in California but raised in Ohio. She is best known for her portrayal in 1997 and 1998 of 'Number One', leader of the Mars Resistance, in the television series Babylon 5....

     as Number One
    Number One (Babylon 5)
    Number One is a recurring fictional character in the television series Babylon 5, and was portrayed by American actress Marjorie Monaghan. On the show, Number One was initially the leader of the resistance movement on Mars and later became head of covert intelligence for the Interstellar Alliance...

     (7 episodes)
  • Julia Nickson-Soul
    Julia Nickson-Soul
    Julia Nickson-Soul is an actress. She first came to the attention of audiences in the United States in the Sylvester Stallone film, Rambo: First Blood Part II...

     as Catherine Sakai (3 episodes)
  • John Schuck
    John Schuck
    Conrad John Schuck Jr. is an American actor, primarily in stage, movies and television. He is best-known for his roles as police commissioner Rock Hudson's mildly slow-witted assistant, Sgt. Charles Enright in the 1970s crime drama McMillan & Wife, and as Lee Meriwether's husband, Herman Munster...

     as Draal
    Draal
    Draal is a fictional character in the universe of the science fiction television series Babylon 5, played first by Louis Turenne and later by John Schuck.-Overview:...

     (2 episodes)
  • Marshall Teague
    Marshall R. Teague
    Marshall R. Teague is an American film and television actor. He is known for his role in the 1989 cult movie Road House and for his recurring role on the 1990s science fiction series Babylon 5 as a Narn named Ta'Lon...

     as Ta'Lon / Nelson Drake (6 episodes)
  • Louis Turenne
    Louis Turenne
    Louis Turenne is a Canadian movie and television actor whose career has spanned over 20 years.Turenne is of French Canadian descent, having been born in Montreal, Quebec. Most recently, Turenne was known for his work on the Babylon 5 television series. Turenne played the Minbari Draal in the first...

     as Brother Theo / Draal
    Draal
    Draal is a fictional character in the universe of the science fiction television series Babylon 5, played first by Louis Turenne and later by John Schuck.-Overview:...

     (5 episodes)
  • John Vickery
    John Vickery
    John Estill Vickery is an American stage and film actor known for his work in Babylon 5 and Star Trek. Vickery grew up in Oakland, California. He attended the University of California at Davis, where he pursued a degree in mathematics...

     as Neroon
    Neroon
    Neroon is a fictional character in the universe of the science-fiction television series Babylon 5, portrayed by John Vickery. He was a recurring guest character throughout the series.-Background:...

     / Mr. Welles (6 episodes)
  • Ed Wasser
    Ed Wasser
    Ed Wasser is an American actor, best known for his portrayal of Mr. Morden in 14 episodes of the US science fiction television series Babylon 5...

     as Morden
    Morden (Babylon 5)
    Morden is a fictional character in the universe of the science fiction television series Babylon 5, played by Ed Wasser. He is a recurring antagonist in the show.-Overview:...

     / Guerra (14 episodes)
  • Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.
    Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.
    Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. is an American actor known for his starring roles in the television series 77 Sunset Strip and The F.B.I. He is also known as recurring character "Dandy Jim Buckley" in the series Maverick and as the voice behind the character Alfred Pennyworth in Batman: The Animated Series...

     as William Edgars (4 episodes)

In addition, several other actors have filled more than one minor role on the series. Kim Strauss
Kim Strauss
Kim Strauss is an American singer, songwriter, actor, voiceover artist, and Amazon.com Bestselling author with his children's book Kalan the Mighty Warrior: Book One - Braxus the Owl: Guardian of the Forest.-History:...

 played the Drazi Ambassador in four episodes, as well as nine other characters in ten more episodes. Some actors had difficulty dealing with the application of prosthetics required to play some of the alien characters. The producers therefore used the same group of people (as many as 12) in various mid-level speaking roles, taking full head and body casts from each. The group came to be unofficially known by the production as the "Babylon 5 Alien Rep Group."

Awards


Awards presented to Babylon 5 include:
  • Emmy Award
    Primetime Emmy Award
    The Primetime Emmy Awards are awards presented by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in recognition of excellence in American primetime television programming...

    : Outstanding Individual Achievement in Special Visual Effects, 1993 (The Gathering
    Babylon 5: The Gathering
    Babylon 5: The Gathering is the pilot movie of the science fiction television series Babylon 5. The telefilm aired on February 22, 1993...

    )
  • Emmy Award: Outstanding Individual Achievement in Hairstyling for a Series , 1994 (episode, "The Parliament of Dreams
    The Parliament of Dreams
    "The Parliament of Dreams" is an episode from the first season of the science-fiction television series Babylon 5.-Synopsis:The Earth Alliance arranges a week-long festival of religious and cultural exchange on the station. The Centauri celebrate with a lavish party, commemorating the victory of...

    ")
  • Hugo Award
    Hugo Award
    The Hugo Awards are given annually for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. The award is named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories, and was officially named the Science Fiction Achievement Awards...

    : Best Dramatic Presentation
    Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation
    The Hugo Awards are given every year by the World Science Fiction Society for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. The award is named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories, and was once officially...

    , 1996 (episode, "The Coming of Shadows
    The Coming of Shadows
    "The Coming of Shadows" is a key episode from the second season of the science fiction television series Babylon 5. It won the 1996 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.-Synopsis:...

    ")
  • Hugo Award: Best Dramatic Presentation, 1997 (episode, "Severed Dreams
    Severed Dreams
    "Severed Dreams" is an episode from the third season of the science fiction television series Babylon 5. It won the 1997 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.-Synopsis:...

    ")
  • Saturn Award
    Saturn Award
    The Saturn Award is an award presented annually by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films to honor the top works in science fiction, fantasy, and horror in film, television, and home video. The Saturn Awards were devised by Dr. Donald A. Reed in 1972, who felt that films within...

    : Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series
    Saturn Award for Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series
    The following is a list of Saturn Award winners for Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series.-Multiple Winners:*Battlestar Galactica - 3 awards*Farscape - 3 awards*Stargate SG-1 - 3 awards*Breaking Bad - 2 awards...

    , 1998
  • Space Frontier Foundation Award: Vision of the Future, 1994
  • Space Frontier Foundation Award: Vision of the Future, 1996
  • E Pluribus Unum Award: (Presented By American Cinema Association), 1997

Nominated Awards include:
  • Emmy Award: Outstanding Individual Achievement in Makeup for a Series, 1995 (episode, "Acts of Sacrifice
    Acts of Sacrifice
    "Acts of Sacrifice" is an episode from the second season of the science-fiction television series Babylon 5.- Synopsis :The Narn-Centauri War is not going well for the Narn. In an effort to convince the Earth Alliance to help them, Ambassador G'Kar meets with Babylon 5's command staff and shows...

    ")
  • Emmy Award: Outstanding Individual Achievement in Hairstyling for a Series, 1995 (episode, "The Geometry of Shadows
    The Geometry of Shadows
    "The Geometry of Shadows" is an episode from the second season of the science fiction television series Babylon 5.-Synopsis:Vir fixes Londo's hair as Londo and Refa scheme. The command staff learns that the Green Drazi and Purple Drazi have a global brawl every 5 years to determine the Drazi...

    ")
  • Emmy Award: Outstanding Individual Achievement in Cinematography for a Series, 1995 (episode, "The Geometry Of Shadows")
  • Emmy Award: Outstanding Cinematography for a Series, 1996
  • Emmy Award: Outstanding Makeup for a Series, 1997 (episode, "The Summoning
    The Summoning
    "The Summoning" is an episode from the fourth season of the science fiction television series Babylon 5.-Synopsis:Zack finally locates Garibaldi. Delenn faces opposition from the League of Non-Aligned Worlds in organizing a strike against the Shadows. Sheridan returns from Z'ha'dum, to the shock of...

    ")
  • Emmy Award: Outstanding Makeup for a Series, 1998 (television movie, In The Beginning
    Babylon 5: In the Beginning
    Babylon 5: In the Beginning is a science fiction television movie set in the Babylon 5 fictional universe. It was written by J. Michael Straczynski and directed by Michael Vejar....

    )

Plot summary


The five seasons of the series each correspond to one fictional sequential year in the period 2258–2262. Each season shares its name with an episode that is central to that season's plot. As the series starts, the Babylon 5 station is welcoming ambassadors from various races in the galaxy. Earth has just barely survived an accidental war with the powerful Minbari
Minbari
The Minbari are a fictional alien race featured in the television show Babylon 5. The Minbari characters of Delenn and Lennier figure prominently throughout the series; Neroon, Draal, and Dukhat are less prominent Minbari characters....

, who, despite their superior technology, mysteriously surrendered at the brink of the destruction of the human race (the Battle of the Line
Battle of the Line
In the Babylon 5 fictional universe, the Battle of the Line was the final battle of the Earth-Minbari war. The Battle of the Line was a desperate attempt by the Earth Alliance to stop a Minbari combat fleet from attacking Earth. Over 20,000 Human defenders fought in the battle; including most of...

).

Season 1 – year 2258



During 2258, Commander Jeffrey Sinclair
Jeffrey Sinclair
Jeffrey Sinclair is a character in the fictional universe of the science fiction television series Babylon 5, played by actor Michael O'Hare. He was a regular in the first season of the show, as Commander of the Babylon 5 station, and made a number of guest appearances afterward.-Early life and...

 is in charge of the station. Much of the story revolves around his gradual discovery that it was his capture by the Minbari at the Battle of the Line which ended the war against Earth. Upon capturing Sinclair, the Minbari came to believe that Valen
Valen
Valen is a character in the fictional universe of the science-fiction television series Babylon 5. Although he has only one scene in the show, he is an important character in the history of the Minbari, and is frequently mentioned...

, a great Minbari leader and hero of the last Minbari-Shadow war, had been reincarnated as the Commander. Concluding that others of their species had been, and were continuing to be reborn as humans, and in obedience to the edict that Minbari do not kill one another, lest they harm the soul, they stopped the war just as Earth's final defenses were on the verge of collapse.

It is gradually revealed that Ambassador Delenn
Delenn
Delenn is a fictional lead character in the universe of the science fiction television series Babylon 5, played by Mira Furlan.-Overview:Delenn, an alien ambassador and leader from the planet Minbar, is one of the pivotal characters in Babylon 5....

 is a member of the mysterious and powerful Grey Council
Grey Council
In the Babylon 5 fictional universe, the Grey Council is the governing body of the Minbari Federation. Its members carry the title satai...

, the ruling body of the Minbari. Towards the end of 2258, she begins the transformation into a Minbari-human hybrid, ostensibly to build a bridge between the humans and Minbari. The year ends with the assassination of Earth Alliance
Earth Alliance (Babylon 5)
The Earth Alliance is the name of a fictional alliance of the nations of Earth and off-world colonies in the television series Babylon 5. The transition of Earth government from a democratic, elected government to an authoritarian, militaristic one and back to a democracy again is a major theme of...

 President Luis Santiago, and rising tension between the Narn and Centauri, after a Narn outpost is completely destroyed by an unknown third party.

Season 2 – year 2259



At the beginning of 2259, Captain John Sheridan
John Sheridan (Babylon 5)
John J. Sheridan is a lead character in the fictional universe of the science-fiction television series Babylon 5, played by Bruce Boxleitner. For most of the series, he is the commander of the Babylon 5 station; during the series' final season he is the President of the Interstellar...

 replaces Sinclair as the military governor of the station. He and the command staff learn that the death of President Santiago was actually an assassination masterminded by Vice President Clark (who assumed the Presidency upon Santiago's death). A conflict develops between the Babylon 5 command staff and the Psi Corps
Psi Corps
In the fictional universe of Babylon 5, the Psi Corps is an agency of the Earth Alliance responsible for all humans with telepathic or other para-psychological abilities anywhere within Earth controlled space. All persons with Psi abilities are required to either join the Corps, face lifetime...

, an increasingly autocratic organization which oversees and controls the lives of human telepaths
Telepathy
Telepathy , is the induction of mental states from one mind to another. The term was coined in 1882 by the classical scholar Fredric W. H. Myers, a founder of the Society for Psychical Research, and has remained more popular than the more-correct expression thought-transference...

. Commander Ivanova, the second-in-command of the station, is secretly a latent telepath who has illicitly avoided registering with the Psi Corps.

The Shadows, an ancient and extremely powerful race who have recently emerged from hibernation, are revealed to be the cause of a variety of mysterious and disturbing events, including the attack on the Narn outpost at the end of 2258. Centauri Ambassador Londo Mollari unknowingly enlists their aid through his association with the mysterious Mr. Morden in the ongoing conflict with the Narn. The elderly and ailing Centauri emperor, long an advocate of reconciliation with the Narn, dies suddenly while visiting Babylon 5. A number of conspirators, including Londo Mollari and Refa, take control of Centauri government by assassinating their opponents and placing the late emperor's unstable nephew on the throne. Their first act is to start open aggression against the Narn. After full-scale war breaks out, the Centauri eventually conquer Narn in a brutal attack involving mass driver
Mass driver
A mass driver or electromagnetic catapult is a proposed method of non-rocket spacelaunch which would use a linear motor to accelerate and catapult payloads up to high speeds. All existing and contemplated mass drivers use coils of wire energized by electricity to make electromagnets. Sequential...

s, outlawed weapons of mass destruction
Weapons of mass destruction
A weapon of mass destruction is a weapon that can kill and bring significant harm to a large number of humans and/or cause great damage to man-made structures , natural structures , or the biosphere in general...

. Towards the end of the year, the Clark administration begins to show increasingly totalitarian characteristics, clamping down on dissent and restricting freedom of speech
Freedom of speech
Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used...

. The Vorlon
Vorlon
A Vorlon is a member of a fictional alien species in the Babylon 5 television series and fictional universe. The Vorlon species is a member of the First Ones, a group made up of the earliest species to gain sentience in the galaxy...

s are revealed to be the basis of legends about angel
Angel
Angels are mythical beings often depicted as messengers of God in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles along with the Quran. The English word angel is derived from the Greek ἄγγελος, a translation of in the Hebrew Bible ; a similar term, ملائكة , is used in the Qur'an...

s on various worlds, including Earth, and are the ancient enemies of the Shadows. They enlist the aid of Sheridan and the Babylon 5 command staff in the struggle against the Shadows.

Season 3 – year 2260



The Psi Corps and President Clark, whose government has discovered Shadow vessels buried in Earth's solar system, begin to harness the vessels' advanced technology. The Clark administration continues to become increasingly xenophobic
Xenophobia
Xenophobia is defined as "an unreasonable fear of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange". It comes from the Greek words ξένος , meaning "stranger," "foreigner" and φόβος , meaning "fear."...

 and totalitarian, and uses a military incident as an excuse to declare martial law. This triggers a war of independence on Mars
Mars
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

, which had long had a strained political relationship with Earth. Babylon 5 also declares independence from Earth, along with several other outlying Earth Alliance colonies. In response, the Earth Alliance attempts to retake Babylon 5 by force, but with the aid of the Minbari, who have allied with the station against the growing Shadow threat, the attack is repelled.

Becoming concerned over the Shadows' growing influence amongst his people, Centauri ambassador Londo Mollari attempts to sever ties with them. Mr. Morden
Morden (Babylon 5)
Morden is a fictional character in the universe of the science fiction television series Babylon 5, played by Ed Wasser. He is a recurring antagonist in the show.-Overview:...

, the Shadows' human representative, tricks him into restoring the partnership by engineering the murder of Mollari's mistress while putting the blame on a rival Centauri House. Open warfare breaks out between the Shadows and the alliance led by Babylon 5 and the Minbari. It is learned that genetic manipulation by the Vorlons is the source of human telepathy, as it is later discovered that Shadow ships are vulnerable to telepathic attacks. Displeased at the Vorlons' lack of direct action against the Shadows, Captain John Sheridan browbeats Vorlon ambassador Kosh Naranek into launching an attack against their mutual enemy. Kosh's deeds lead to his subsequent assassination by the Shadows.

Former station commander Jeffrey Sinclair returns to Babylon 5 to enlist the aid of Captain Sheridan, Delenn, Ivanova and Marcus in stealing the Babylon 4
Babylon 4
Babylon 4 is a fictional space station from the television series Babylon 5.In the series, Babylon 4 was the immediate predecessor of Babylon 5 and the largest of the Babylon stations...

 space station and sending it 1,000 years back in time to use it as a base of operations against the Shadows in the previous Minbari-Shadow war. Undergoing the same transformation as Delenn at the end of Season 1, Sinclair transforms into a Minbari and is subsequently revealed to be the actual Valen of Minbari legend, rather than a reincarnation. Spurred by the reappearance of his assumed-dead wife (who now works for the Shadows), Sheridan travels to Z'ha'dum
Z'ha'dum (planet)
In the fictional Babylon 5 universe, Z'ha'dum was the homeworld of the ancient, mysterious race known as the Shadows. The planet is near the galactic rim...

, the Shadow homeworld, in an attempt by them to recruit him. However he instead destroys their largest city in a kamikaze nuclear attack, and is last seen jumping into a miles-deep pit to escape the explosion.
Garibaldi, during a fight with Shadow vessels, goes missing.

Season 4 – year 2261



In 2261, the Vorlons join the Shadow War, but their tactics become a concern for the alliance when the Vorlons begin destroying entire planets which they deem to have been "influenced" by the Shadows. Disturbed by this turn of events, Babylon 5 recruits several other powerful and ancient races (the First Ones
First Ones
The First Ones is the collective name of a group of aliens from the television science fiction drama Babylon 5.-Overview:The First Ones are the ancient alien races of the galaxy, the first organisms to achieve sentience and the first to become spacefaring. Of these races, Lorien's was the first,...

) to their cause, against both the Shadows and the Vorlons. Captain John Sheridan returns to the station after escaping from Z'ha'dum, but at a price: barring illness or injury, he has only 20 years left to live. He is accompanied by a mysterious alien named Lorien who claims to be the oldest sentient being in the galaxy.

Hours before Sheridan's return, Garibaldi is rescued and returned to the station, in rather dubious circumstances. He is markedly more paranoid and suspicious of other alien races and of Sheridan than he was before.

Centauri Emperor Cartagia forges a relationship with the Shadows. Londo Mollari engineers the assassination of Cartagia and repudiates his agreement with the Shadows. Londo kills Mr. Morden and destroys the Shadow vessels based on the Centauri homeworld, in an attempt to save his planet from destruction by the Vorlons. Aided by the other ancient races, and several younger ones, Sheridan lures both the Vorlons and the Shadows into an immense battle, during which the Vorlon
Vorlon
A Vorlon is a member of a fictional alien species in the Babylon 5 television series and fictional universe. The Vorlon species is a member of the First Ones, a group made up of the earliest species to gain sentience in the galaxy...

s and Shadows reveal that they have been left as guardians of the younger races, but due to philosophical differences, ended up using them as pawns in their endless wars throughout the ages. The younger races reject their continued interference, and the Vorlons and Shadows, along with the remaining First Ones, agree to depart the galaxy forever.

After the Shadows are defeated Garibaldi leaves his post as security chief and works on his own as a "provider of information". He begins working for one William Edgars, a Mars Tycoon, who is married to Garibaldi's former love. While he works ever closer with Edgars, he becomes increasingly aggressive towards Sheridan and eventually leaves Babylon 5.

Minbar is gripped by a brief civil war between the Warrior and Religious castes. Delenn secretly meets with Neroon of the Warrior caste and convinces him that neither side can be allowed to win. She tells him that she will undergo a ritual wherein she will be willing to sacrifice herself, but will stop the ritual before she actually dies. When Neroon sees that she actually intends to go through the entire ritual, he rescues her and sacrifices himself instead, declaring that, although he was born Warrior, in his heart he is Religious.

As part of the ongoing conflict between Earth and Babylon 5, Garibaldi eventually betrays Sheridan and arranges his capture in order to gain Edgars' trust and learn his plans. Garibaldi later learns that Edgars created a virus that is dangerous to only telepaths. It is then revealed, that Garibaldi was actually abducted by the Psi-Corps at the end of Season 3 and re-programmed by Bester to provide information to him at the right time. Bester releases Garibaldi of his programming, and allows him to remember everything he has done since being kidnapped. Edgars is killed and his wife disappears, but is reunited with Garibaldi after the end of the war. Garibaldi helps free Sheridan and return him to the campaign to free Earth. An alliance led by Babylon 5 frees Earth from totalitarian rule by President Clark in a short but bloody war. This culminates in Clark's suicide and the restoration of democratic government. Mars is granted full independence, and Sheridan agrees to step down as commander of Babylon 5. The League of Non-Aligned Worlds
League of Non-Aligned Worlds
The League of Non-Aligned Worlds was a fictional collection of races in the Babylon 5 universe.The League of Non-Aligned Worlds was a loose confederation of independent worlds and minor species, most of whom had endured subjugation under the Centauri Republic at its height...

 is dissolved and reformed into the Interstellar Alliance
Interstellar Alliance (Babylon 5)
The Interstellar Alliance is a fictional interstellar government of civilizations in the Babylon 5 universe.Formed in 2261 AD in the aftermath of the liberation of Earth and the Shadow War, the Interstellar Alliance was formed between the Minbari, Narn, Centauri, the Earth Alliance and the...

, with Sheridan elected as its first President and continuing his command of the Rangers, who are to act as a galactic equivalent of United Nations peacekeepers.

In the season finale, the events of 100, 500, 1000, and one million years into the future are shown, depicting Babylon 5's lasting influence throughout history. Amongst the events shown are the political aftermath of the 2261 civil war, a subsequent nuclear war on Earth involving a new totalitarian government in the year AD 2762, the resulting fall of Earth into a pre-industrial society
Pre-industrial society
Pre-industrial society refers to specific social attributes and forms of political and cultural organization that were prevalent before the advent of the Industrial Revolution. It is followed by the industrial society....

, the loss and restoration of humanity's knowledge of space travel, and the final evolution of mankind into energy beings similar to the Vorlons, after which Earth's sun goes nova
Nova
A nova is a cataclysmic nuclear explosion in a star caused by the accretion of hydrogen on to the surface of a white dwarf star, which ignites and starts nuclear fusion in a runaway manner...

.

Season 5 – year 2262



In 2262, Earthforce Captain Elizabeth Lochley
Elizabeth Lochley
Elizabeth Lochley is a lead fictional character from the universe of the science fiction television series Babylon 5 and Crusade, played by Tracy Scoggins....

 is appointed to command Babylon 5. The station grows in its role as a sanctuary for rogue telepaths running from the Psi Corps
Psi Corps
In the fictional universe of Babylon 5, the Psi Corps is an agency of the Earth Alliance responsible for all humans with telepathic or other para-psychological abilities anywhere within Earth controlled space. All persons with Psi abilities are required to either join the Corps, face lifetime...

, resulting in a violent conflict. G'Kar, former Narn ambassador to Babylon 5, becomes unwillingly a spiritual icon after a book was published that he wrote while incarcerated during the Narn-Centauri War. The Drakh
Drakh
The Drakh are a fictional alien race in the Babylon 5 universe. The Drakh were dark servants for the race of First Ones known as the Shadows. They appeared in the fourth and fifth seasons of Babylon 5 as well as the television movie, A Call to Arms...

, former allies of the Shadows who remained in the galaxy, take control of Regent
Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

 Virini on Centauri Prime through a parasitic creature called a Keeper, then incite a war between the Centauri and the Interstellar Alliance, in order to isolate the Centauri from the Alliance, and gain a malleable homeworld for themselves.

Centauri Prime is consequently devastated by Narn
Narn
The Narn are a fictional alien race in the universe of the Babylon 5 television series. Their homeworld is also called Narn.-Homeworld:Narn is the homeworld of the Narn and the Narn Regime. Its day is 31 hours long. Prior to the Centauri's first invasion, Narn was a healthy green planet. Now it...

 and Drazi warships, and Londo Mollari becomes emperor, accepting a Drakh Keeper under threat of the complete nuclear destruction of the planet. (Portions of the end of his reign are seen in various prescient visions throughout the series; they show Mollari and former nemesis (and later friend) G'Kar sixteen years in the future dying at each other's throats, seemingly out of their mutual grudge against each other. It is gradually revealed, that there was a much more friendly subtext present, with Mollari having become a slave to the drakh rule and being tired of life. However his Drakh Keeper awakens and strangles G'Kar in return. Vir Cotto
Vir Cotto
Vir Cotto is a character from the fictional Babylon 5 universe, played on screen by Stephen Furst. He is a Centauri male who was from a family of minor nobility, who would eventually become the Centauri Ambassador to Babylon 5, and then became the Emperor of the Centauri Republic in 2278.Vir Cotto...

, Mollari's loyal and more moral aide, succeeds him as emperor, free of Drakh influence.) Sheridan and Delenn marry and move to Minbar, along with the headquarters of the Interstellar Alliance. G'Kar leaves Babylon 5 to escape his unwanted fame and explore the rim. Garibaldi also marries and settles down on Mars. Most of the other main characters leave B5.

Nineteen years later, on the verge of death, Sheridan takes one final trip to the now-obsolete Babylon 5 station before its decommissioning. Sheridan apparently dies, but is claimed by the First Ones, who invite him to join them on a journey beyond the rim of the galaxy. The Babylon 5 station is completely destroyed in a planned demolition shortly after Sheridan's departure, its existence no longer necessary as the Alliance has taken over its diplomatic purposes. This final episode features a cameo appearance by Straczynski as the technician who switches off the lights before Babylon 5 is evacuated and destroyed.

Themes


Throughout its run, Babylon 5 found ways to portray themes
Theme (literature)
A theme is a broad, message, or moral of a story. The message may be about life, society, or human nature. Themes often explore timeless and universal ideas and are almost always implied rather than stated explicitly. Along with plot, character,...

 relevant to modern and historical social issues. It marked several firsts in television science fiction, such as the exploration of the political and social landscapes of the first human colonies, their interactions with Earth, and the underlying tensions. Babylon 5 was also one of the first television science fiction shows to denotatively refer to a same-sex relationship
Same-sex relationship
A same-sex relationship is a relationship between two persons of the same sex and can take many forms, from romantic and sexual, to non-romantic close relationships. The term is mainly associated with gay and lesbian people...

. In the show, sexual orientation
Sexual orientation
Sexual orientation describes a pattern of emotional, romantic, or sexual attractions to the opposite sex, the same sex, both, or neither, and the genders that accompany them. By the convention of organized researchers, these attractions are subsumed under heterosexuality, homosexuality,...

 is as much of an issue as "being left-handed or right-handed". Unrequited love
Unrequited love
Unrequited love is love that is not openly reciprocated or understood as such, even though reciprocation is usually deeply desired. The beloved may or may not be aware of the admirer's deep affections...

 is explored as a source of pain for the characters, though not all the relationships end unhappily.

Order vs. chaos; authoritarianism vs. free will


The clash between order and chaos, and the people caught in between, plays an important role in Babylon 5. The conflict between two unimaginably powerful older races, the Vorlons and the Shadows
Shadow (Babylon 5)
The Shadows are a fictional alien species in the science fiction television series Babylon 5. Their homeworld is Z'ha'dum. In contrast to the Vorlons, whose philosophy is represented by the question "Who are you?", that of the Shadows is represented by the question "What do you want?", centering...

, is represented as a battle between two competing ideologies, each seeking to turn the humans and the other younger races to their beliefs. The Vorlons represent an authoritarian philosophy: you will do what we tell you to, because we tell you to do it. The Vorlon question, "Who are you?" focuses on identity as a catalyst for shaping personal goals; the intention is not to solicit a "correct" answer, but to "tear down the artifices we construct around ourselves until we're left facing ourselves, not our roles." The Shadows represent a philosophy of evolution through fire, of sowing the seeds of conflict in order to engender progress. The question the Shadows ask is "What do you want?" In contrast to the Vorlons, they place personal desire and ambition first, using it to shape identity, encouraging conflict between groups who choose to serve their own glory or profit. The representation of order and chaos was informed by the Babylonian myth that the universe was born in the conflict between both. The climax of this conflict comes with the younger races' exposing of the Vorlons' and the Shadows' "true faces" and the rejection of both philosophies, heralding the dawn of a new age without their interference.

The notion that the war was about "killing your parents" is echoed in the portrayal of the civil war between the human colonies and Earth. Deliberately dealing in historical and political metaphor, with particular emphasis upon McCarthyism
McCarthyism
McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence. The term has its origins in the period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare, lasting roughly from the late 1940s to the late 1950s and characterized by...

 and HUAC
House Un-American Activities Committee
The House Committee on Un-American Activities or House Un-American Activities Committee was an investigative committee of the United States House of Representatives. In 1969, the House changed the committee's name to "House Committee on Internal Security"...

, the Earth Alliance
Earth Alliance (Babylon 5)
The Earth Alliance is the name of a fictional alliance of the nations of Earth and off-world colonies in the television series Babylon 5. The transition of Earth government from a democratic, elected government to an authoritarian, militaristic one and back to a democracy again is a major theme of...

 becomes increasingly authoritarian, eventually sliding into a dictatorship. The show examines the impositions on civil liberties
Civil liberties
Civil liberties are rights and freedoms that provide an individual specific rights such as the freedom from slavery and forced labour, freedom from torture and death, the right to liberty and security, right to a fair trial, the right to defend one's self, the right to own and bear arms, the right...

 which aid its rise, and the self-delusion of a populace which believes its moral superiority will never allow a dictatorship to come to power, until it is too late. The successful rebellion led by the Babylon 5 station results in the restoration of a democratic government, and true autonomy for Mars and the colonies.

War and peace


The Babylon 5 universe deals with numerous armed conflicts which range on an interstellar scale. The story begins in the aftermath of a war which brought the human race to the brink of extinction, caused by a misunderstanding during a first contact
First contact (science fiction)
First contact is a common science fiction theme about the first meeting between humans and extraterrestrial life, or of any sentient race's first encounter with another one....

 situation. The Babylon 5 station is subsequently built in order to foster peace through diplomacy, described as the "last, best hope for peace" in the opening credits monologue during its first three seasons. Wars between separate alien civilizations are featured. The conflict between the Narn
Narn
The Narn are a fictional alien race in the universe of the Babylon 5 television series. Their homeworld is also called Narn.-Homeworld:Narn is the homeworld of the Narn and the Narn Regime. Its day is 31 hours long. Prior to the Centauri's first invasion, Narn was a healthy green planet. Now it...

 and the Centauri
Centauri (Babylon 5)
The Centauri are a humanoid species in the fictional universe of the Babylon 5 television series. They were the first alien species to make open contact with the human race. Their homeworld is Centauri Prime, a small Earth-like planet consisting of two large continents and several smaller islands...

 is followed from its beginnings as a minor territorial dispute amplified by historical animosity, through to its end, in which weapons of mass destruction
Weapons of mass destruction
A weapon of mass destruction is a weapon that can kill and bring significant harm to a large number of humans and/or cause great damage to man-made structures , natural structures , or the biosphere in general...

 are employed to subjugate and enslave an entire planet. The war is an attempt to portray a more sobering kind of conflict than usually seen on science fiction television. Informed by the events of the first Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

, the Cuban Missile Crisis
Cuban Missile Crisis
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a confrontation among the Soviet Union, Cuba and the United States in October 1962, during the Cold War...

 and the Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 invasion of Prague, the intent was to recreate these moments when "the world held its breath" and the emotional core of the conflict was the disbelief that the situation could have occurred at all, and the desperation to find a way to bring it to an end. By the start of the third season, the opening monologue had changed to say that the hope for peace had "failed" and the Babylon 5 station had become the "last, best hope for victory," indicating that while peace is a laudable accomplishment, it can also mean a capitulation to an enemy intent on committing horrendous acts, and that "peace is a byproduct of victory against those who do not want peace."

The Shadow War
Shadow War
The Shadow Wars are a fictional series of wars involving the Shadows in the television science fiction series Babylon 5. There have actually been many Shadow Wars since ancient times in the galaxy. Roughly every thousand years, the Shadows begin a new Shadow War to promote chaos in the universe in...

 also features prominently in the show, during which an advanced alien species attempts to sow the seeds of conflict in order to promote technological and cultural advancement. The gradual discovery of the scheme and the rebellion against it, serve as the backdrop to the first three seasons, but also as a metaphor for the war within ourselves. The concurrent limiting of civil liberties and Earth's descent into a dictatorship are "shadow wars" of their own. In ending the Shadow War before the conclusion of the series, the show was able to more fully explore its aftermath, and it is this "war at home" which forms the bulk of the remaining two seasons. The struggle for independence between Mars
Mars
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

 and Earth culminates with a civil war between the human colonies (led by the Babylon 5 station) and the home planet. Choosing Mars as both the spark for the civil war, and the staging ground for its dramatic conclusion, enabled the viewer to understand the conflict more fully than had it involved an anonymous colony orbiting a distant star. The conflict, and the reasons behind it, were informed by Nazism, McCarthyism and the breakup of Yugoslavia
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was the Yugoslav state that existed from the abolition of the Yugoslav monarchy until it was dissolved in 1992 amid the Yugoslav Wars. It was a socialist state and a federation made up of six socialist republics: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia,...

, and the unraveling of the former Balkan country also served as partial inspiration for another civil war, which involved the alien Minbari.
The post-war landscape has its roots in the Reconstruction. The attempt to resolve the issues of the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 after the conflict had ended, and this struggle for survival in a changed world was also informed by works such as Alas, Babylon
Alas, Babylon
Alas, Babylon is a 1959 novel by American writer Pat Frank . It was one of the first apocalyptic novels of the nuclear age and remains popular fifty years after it was first published...

, a novel dealing with the after-effects of a nuclear war
Nuclear warfare
Nuclear warfare, or atomic warfare, is a military conflict or political strategy in which nuclear weaponry is detonated on an opponent. Compared to conventional warfare, nuclear warfare can be vastly more destructive in range and extent of damage...

 on a small American town. The show expresses that the end of these wars is not an end to war itself. Events shown hundreds of years into the show's future tell of wars which will once again bring the human race to the edge of annihilation, demonstrating that mankind will not change, and the best that can be hoped for after it falls is that it climbs a little higher each time, until it can one day "take [its] place among the stars, teaching those who follow."

Religion


Acknowledging the continued existence of faith, even in a science fiction setting, many of Babylon 5s characters have profound spiritual or religious beliefs, reflecting that throughout history, religion has been present in one form or another and will remain so even in a far-future rich with technological advancement. Many of Earth's contemporary religions are shown to still be in existence, and the main human characters often have religious convictions, including Roman Catholicism
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

, Jesuit
Society of Jesus
The Society of Jesus is a Catholic male religious order that follows the teachings of the Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits, and are also known colloquially as "God's Army" and as "The Company," these being references to founder Ignatius of Loyola's military background and a...

 beliefs, Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 and the fictional Foundationism
Foundationism
Foundationism as presented in the science fiction television series Babylon 5 is an Earth religion, one of several that appeared around the time the Centauri made first contact with the Earth Alliance in 2156.-Beliefs and practices:...

, which was created specifically for the show. Earth's religions have also had to deal with the existence of extraterrestrial belief systems, resulting in a cross-pollination of ideas, and the factionization or destruction of some, while in the show's third season, a community of monks takes up residence on the Babylon 5 station, in order to learn what the other races throughout the universe call God, and to come to a better understanding of the different religions through study at close quarters. Alien beliefs in the show range from the Centauri
Centauri (Babylon 5)
The Centauri are a humanoid species in the fictional universe of the Babylon 5 television series. They were the first alien species to make open contact with the human race. Their homeworld is Centauri Prime, a small Earth-like planet consisting of two large continents and several smaller islands...

's Bacchanalian
Dionysus
Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology. His name in Linear B tablets shows he was worshipped from c. 1500—1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks: other traces of Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete...

-influenced religions, of which there are up to seventy different denominations, to the more pantheistic
Pantheism
Pantheism is the view that the Universe and God are identical. Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal, anthropomorphic or creator god. The word derives from the Greek meaning "all" and the Greek meaning "God". As such, Pantheism denotes the idea that "God" is best seen as a process of...

, as with the Narn
Narn
The Narn are a fictional alien race in the universe of the Babylon 5 television series. Their homeworld is also called Narn.-Homeworld:Narn is the homeworld of the Narn and the Narn Regime. Its day is 31 hours long. Prior to the Centauri's first invasion, Narn was a healthy green planet. Now it...

 and Minbari
Minbari
The Minbari are a fictional alien race featured in the television show Babylon 5. The Minbari characters of Delenn and Lennier figure prominently throughout the series; Neroon, Draal, and Dukhat are less prominent Minbari characters....

 religions.

Depictions of religion on the show, human and alien, sometimes come subtly, or are the main theme of an episode; the first season episode "The Parliament of Dreams
The Parliament of Dreams
"The Parliament of Dreams" is an episode from the first season of the science-fiction television series Babylon 5.-Synopsis:The Earth Alliance arranges a week-long festival of religious and cultural exchange on the station. The Centauri celebrate with a lavish party, commemorating the victory of...

" is a conventional "showcase" for religion, in which each species on the Babylon 5 station has an opportunity to demonstrate its beliefs, and "Passing Through Gethsemane" focuses on a specific position of Roman Catholic dogma, as well as concepts of justice, vengeance and biblical forgiveness. Other treatments have been more contentious, such as the David Gerrold
David Gerrold
Jerrold David Friedman , better known by his pen name David Gerrold, is an American science fiction author who started his career in 1966 while a college student by submitting an unsolicited story outline for the television series Star Trek. He was invited to submit several premises, and the one...

-scripted "Believers
Believers (Babylon 5)
"Believers" is a 1994 episode from the first season of the science fiction television series Babylon 5. It follows Dr. Franklin's ethical dilemma after he encounters a dying boy whose parents refuse to allow him to receive treatment that will save him, and Commander Susan Ivanova's mission to...

", in which alien parents would rather see their son die than undergo a life-saving operation because their religious beliefs forbid it. By presenting the viewer with characters' spiritual beliefs, motivations are supplied for what might otherwise be construed as arbitrary behavior; these motivations are not necessarily based on truth, leading to misconceptions which in due course become important plot points. A typical question for Babylon 5 to present is a series of events which can initially be interpreted as having either a scientific or a spiritual explanation; while ultimately suggesting the former in most cases, occasionally the issue is left open. In others, where religious belief is an integral part of the storyline, the show attempts to balance all sides of the argument, as in "Soul Hunter
Soul Hunter (Babylon 5)
"Soul Hunter" is an episode from the first season of the science fiction television series Babylon 5.- Summary :Lt. Cmdr. Susan Ivanova and Commander Jeffrey Sinclair stand near one of Babylon 5's entry bays, waiting for the station's new medical chief of staff, Dr. Stephen Franklin...

", where the spiritual concept explored is that of the immortal soul, and whether after death it is destroyed, reincarnated or simply does not exist. The character arguing the latter, Doctor Stephen Franklin
Stephen Franklin
Stephen Franklin is a lead character in the fictional universe of the science fiction television series Babylon 5, played by the late Richard Biggs. He serves as the chief medical officer on the Babylon 5 space station.-Personality:...

, is often put into the more spiritual storylines, as his scientific rationality presents a contrast with the unexplainable which creates dramatic conflict, and while the show's creator and main writer identifies as an atheist, undercurrents of religions as diverse as Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 have been noted as running through many of the characters' words. Passages, often the same ones, take on distinct meanings to viewers of differing faiths; the show ultimately expresses ideas which cross religious boundaries.

Sacrifice


A major theme in Babylon 5 is the concept of sacrifice for a greater cause. Kosh sacrifices his life for a first victory against the Shadows
Shadow (Babylon 5)
The Shadows are a fictional alien species in the science fiction television series Babylon 5. Their homeworld is Z'ha'dum. In contrast to the Vorlons, whose philosophy is represented by the question "Who are you?", that of the Shadows is represented by the question "What do you want?", centering...

. John Sheridan
John Sheridan (Babylon 5)
John J. Sheridan is a lead character in the fictional universe of the science-fiction television series Babylon 5, played by Bruce Boxleitner. For most of the series, he is the commander of the Babylon 5 station; during the series' final season he is the President of the Interstellar...

 is ready to die at Z'ha'dum
Z'ha'dum
Z'ha'dum is the final episode of the third season of the science fiction television series Babylon 5.-Teaser:Anna Sheridan, John Sheridan's lost wife, returns to the station, unexpectedly showing up at Sheridan's room, much to the shock and anxiety of Delenn. Anna attempts to get close to...

. Delenn
Delenn
Delenn is a fictional lead character in the universe of the science fiction television series Babylon 5, played by Mira Furlan.-Overview:Delenn, an alien ambassador and leader from the planet Minbar, is one of the pivotal characters in Babylon 5....

 is ready to die in the starfire wheel to restore Minbari
Minbari
The Minbari are a fictional alien race featured in the television show Babylon 5. The Minbari characters of Delenn and Lennier figure prominently throughout the series; Neroon, Draal, and Dukhat are less prominent Minbari characters....

 society. Marcus Cole
Marcus Cole
Marcus Cole, played by Jason Carter, is a fictional character in the universe of the science-fiction television series Babylon 5. He was a regular in the third and fourth seasons of the show...

 gives his life to save Susan Ivanova
Susan Ivanova
Susan Ivanova is a fictional character in the science fiction television series Babylon 5, played by Claudia Christian.-Character overview:...

. Londo Mollari willingly accepts complete enslavement by a Drakh keeper to save the Centauri
Centauri (Babylon 5)
The Centauri are a humanoid species in the fictional universe of the Babylon 5 television series. They were the first alien species to make open contact with the human race. Their homeworld is Centauri Prime, a small Earth-like planet consisting of two large continents and several smaller islands...

 from annihilation. Many minor characters also willingly give their lives such as the crew of Drazi or Minbari
Minbari
The Minbari are a fictional alien race featured in the television show Babylon 5. The Minbari characters of Delenn and Lennier figure prominently throughout the series; Neroon, Draal, and Dukhat are less prominent Minbari characters....

 ships in the final confrontation with the Shadows
Shadow (Babylon 5)
The Shadows are a fictional alien species in the science fiction television series Babylon 5. Their homeworld is Z'ha'dum. In contrast to the Vorlons, whose philosophy is represented by the question "Who are you?", that of the Shadows is represented by the question "What do you want?", centering...

 to save the Army of Light's leaders, some Centauri staying back at the island of Selini to allow the destruction of the Shadow warships, and so on. "Some of us must be sacrificed if all are to be saved." is the spiritual epiphany experienced by G'Kar. This reflects the Vorlon
Vorlon
A Vorlon is a member of a fictional alien species in the Babylon 5 television series and fictional universe. The Vorlon species is a member of the First Ones, a group made up of the earliest species to gain sentience in the galaxy...

 philosophy in contrast to the self-interest philosophy of the Shadows
Shadow (Babylon 5)
The Shadows are a fictional alien species in the science fiction television series Babylon 5. Their homeworld is Z'ha'dum. In contrast to the Vorlons, whose philosophy is represented by the question "Who are you?", that of the Shadows is represented by the question "What do you want?", centering...

.

Dreams and visions


The subliminal and subconscious
Subconscious
The term subconscious is used in many different contexts and has no single or precise definition. This greatly limits its significance as a definition-bearing concept, and in consequence the word tends to be avoided in academic and scientific settings....

 play a very significant role in the Babylon 5 universe. Every single major character experiences, on at least one occasion, some altered state of consciousness in which he or she receives some sort of important mental message. This could either be one that further fleshes out the character for the benefit of the viewer, or one of transcendental and transpersonal nature that anticipates important further developments in the storyline. Some of these signs and portents resemble lucid dreams, but many are quite bizarre and "dreamlike," frequently in a spiritual context.

Addiction


Substance abuse and its impact on human personalities also plays a significant role in the Babylon 5 storyline. The station's security chief, Michael Garibaldi
Michael Garibaldi
Michael Garibaldi is a lead fictional character in the universe of the science fiction television series Babylon 5, played by Jerry Doyle.-Overview:...

, is a textbook relapsing-remitting alcoholic of the binge drinking
Binge drinking
Binge drinking or heavy episodic drinking is the modern epithet for drinking alcoholic beverages with the primary intention of becoming intoxicated by heavy consumption of alcohol over a short period of time. It is a kind of purposeful drinking style that is popular in several countries worldwide,...

 type; he practices complete abstinence
Abstinence
Abstinence is a voluntary restraint from indulging in bodily activities that are widely experienced as giving pleasure. Most frequently, the term refers to sexual abstinence, or abstention from alcohol or food. The practice can arise from religious prohibitions or practical...

 from alcohol throughout most of the series (with one notable exception
Survivors (Babylon 5)
"Survivors" is an episode from the first season of the science fiction television series Babylon 5.-Synopsis:Garibaldi's past catches up with him as he is framed in an attempt to sabotage a visit by the Earth Alliance President Luis Santiago....

) until the middle of season five. He only recovers physically and socially and breaks the cycle at the end of the season. Dr. Stephen Franklin
Stephen Franklin
Stephen Franklin is a lead character in the fictional universe of the science fiction television series Babylon 5, played by the late Richard Biggs. He serves as the chief medical officer on the Babylon 5 space station.-Personality:...

 develops an (initially unrecognized) addiction to injectable stimulant
Stimulant
Stimulants are psychoactive drugs which induce temporary improvements in either mental or physical function or both. Examples of these kinds of effects may include enhanced alertness, wakefulness, and locomotion, among others...

 drugs while trying to cope with the chronic stress and work overload in Medlab (stemming from the Markab extinction), and wanders off to the homeless and deprived in Brown Sector, where he suffers through a severe withdrawal
Withdrawal
Withdrawal can refer to any sort of separation, but is most commonly used to describe the group of symptoms that occurs upon the abrupt discontinuation/separation or a decrease in dosage of the intake of medications, recreational drugs, and alcohol...

 syndrome. Executive Officer Susan Ivanova
Susan Ivanova
Susan Ivanova is a fictional character in the science fiction television series Babylon 5, played by Claudia Christian.-Character overview:...

 mentions that her father became an alcoholic after her mother had committed suicide after having been drugged by the authorities over a number of years. Captain Elizabeth Lochley
Elizabeth Lochley
Elizabeth Lochley is a lead fictional character from the universe of the science fiction television series Babylon 5 and Crusade, played by Tracy Scoggins....

 tells Garibaldi that her father was an alcoholic and that she is a recovering alcoholic herself. Among the aliens, Londo Mollari is at least a heavy abuser of alcohol, mostly in the form of the Centauri national drink, Brivari (though in Centauri culture, sobriety, as opposed to drunkenness, is considered a vice).

Numerous other references to substance abuse and drug dealing are scattered throughout the storyline, including Dust, a white powder with a black-market presence comparable to cocaine. "Dust" turns out to be a "designer drug" developed by Psi Corps
Psi Corps
In the fictional universe of Babylon 5, the Psi Corps is an agency of the Earth Alliance responsible for all humans with telepathic or other para-psychological abilities anywhere within Earth controlled space. All persons with Psi abilities are required to either join the Corps, face lifetime...

 and placed into the black market as an experiment to see if psychic abilities could be brought out in "mundanes" (non-telepaths).

Television movies


During and after production of Babylon 5, six television movie
Television movie
A television film is a feature film that is a television program produced for and originally distributed by a television network, in contrast to...

s, set in the Babylon 5 universe, have been produced.
  • The Gathering
    Babylon 5: The Gathering
    Babylon 5: The Gathering is the pilot movie of the science fiction television series Babylon 5. The telefilm aired on February 22, 1993...

    —(February 22, 1993)
  • In the Beginning
    Babylon 5: In the Beginning
    Babylon 5: In the Beginning is a science fiction television movie set in the Babylon 5 fictional universe. It was written by J. Michael Straczynski and directed by Michael Vejar....

    —(January 4, 1998)
  • Thirdspace
    Babylon 5: Thirdspace
    Babylon 5: Thirdspace is a made-for-television film that is part of the Babylon 5 science fiction universe. It was written by J. Michael Straczynski and directed by Jesús Salvador Treviño....

    —(July 19, 1998)
  • The River of Souls
    Babylon 5: The River of Souls
    The River of Souls is the third feature-length film set in the Babylon 5 universe. It was originally broadcast November 17, 1998 on TNT, as one of two films shown over the 1998–1999 season to fill in the gap between the fifth season of Babylon 5 and the first season of the spin-off series...

    —(November 8, 1998)
  • A Call to Arms
    Babylon 5: A Call to Arms
    A Call To Arms is the fourth feature-length film set in the Babylon 5 universe . It was written by J. Michael Straczynski, directed by Mike Vejar, and originally aired January 3, 1999.-Summary:...

    —(January 3, 1999)
  • The Legend of the Rangers (To Live and Die in Starlight)
    Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers
    -External links:* at...

    —(January 19, 2002)


The Gathering is the pilot, depicting the arrival of the major characters to the Babylon 5 station in 2257. In the Beginning depicts the events of the Earth-Minbari War, as revealed in the first few seasons, in chronological order and in greater detail than the main series. Thirdspace and The River of Souls are largely stand-alone episodes.

A Call to Arms sets up the initial premise of the Crusade
Crusade (TV series)
Crusade is a spin-off TV show from J. Michael Straczynski's Babylon 5. Its plot is set in AD 2267, five years after the events of Babylon 5, and just after the movie A Call to Arms. A race called the Drakh have released a nanovirus plague on Earth, which will destroy all life on Earth within five...

 series, depicting the alien Drakh
Drakh
The Drakh are a fictional alien race in the Babylon 5 universe. The Drakh were dark servants for the race of First Ones known as the Shadows. They appeared in the fourth and fifth seasons of Babylon 5 as well as the television movie, A Call to Arms...

 species releasing a nanovirus plague
Grey goo
Grey goo is a hypothetical end-of-the-world scenario involving molecular nanotechnology in which out-of-control self-replicating robots consume all matter on Earth while building more of themselves, a scenario known as ecophagy .Self-replicating machines of the macroscopic variety were originally...

 on Earth, which will destroy all life on the planet within five years if it is not stopped. To that end, the destroyer Excalibur
Excalibur (Crusade)
The IAS Excalibur is a starship in the fictional Babylon 5 / Crusade universe. First seen in the Babylon 5 movie A Call to Arms, the ship is a Victory class destroyer. The ship combines human, Minbari, and Vorlon technology....

 is sent to look for a cure beyond Earth. To Live and Die in Starlight, also known as Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers, was intended as the pilot for the series of the same (Legend of the Rangers) name, but since the show was never picked up, it is now considered to be the sixth and last Babylon 5 telefilm.

Crusade



The spin-off series Crusade
Crusade (TV series)
Crusade is a spin-off TV show from J. Michael Straczynski's Babylon 5. Its plot is set in AD 2267, five years after the events of Babylon 5, and just after the movie A Call to Arms. A race called the Drakh have released a nanovirus plague on Earth, which will destroy all life on Earth within five...

 ran on TNT
Turner Network Television
Turner Network Television is an American cable television channel created by media mogul Ted Turner and currently owned by the Turner Broadcasting System division of Time Warner...

 for 13 episodes, having been set up by the TV film A Call to Arms. The production team received help from NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a federally funded research and development center and NASA field center located in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles County, California, United States. The facility is headquartered in the city of Pasadena on the border of La Cañada Flintridge and Pasadena...

 to make sure that the series depicted science and technology accurately. However, creative differences between Straczynski and TNT caused problems; the network wanted more sex and violence, and forced Straczynski to begin the first episode with a fistfight. The sex-and-violence request was later withdrawn, and TNT allocated more money to Crusade, giving the actors better uniforms and new sets mid-season. However, due to the creative differences, TNT eventually decided to cancel the series after 13 episodes had been produced, but before any of them were aired. At the time of the cancellation, only hints of major story arcs had yet come into play, though unproduced scripts published online by Straczynski—in addition to comments made by him online, at conventions, and on the Crusade DVD commentaries—reveal that these arcs would have become prominent features of the series, had it continued.

Legend of the Rangers



A television film titled To Live and Die in Starlight
Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers
-External links:* at...

 was produced by the Sci Fi Channel
Syfy
Syfy , formerly known as the Sci-Fi Channel and SCI FI, is an American cable television channel featuring science fiction, supernatural, fantasy, reality, paranormal, wrestling, and horror programming. Launched on September 24, 1992, it is part of the entertainment conglomerate NBCUniversal, a...

. It was the proposed pilot episode of a new series titled Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers
Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers
-External links:* at...

. Rescheduled after the September 11 attacks, the film aired on January 19, 2002. However, it was scheduled against an NFL AFC
American Football Conference
The American Football Conference is one of the two conferences of the National Football League . This conference and its counterpart, the National Football Conference , currently contain 16 teams each, making up the 32 teams of the NFL....

 Divisional Championship playoff game. The pilot's poor ratings contributed to the lessening of the network's interest in a series pick-up, as did the poor reception it received from fans and critics alike, particularly for its depiction of a virtual-reality weapon, but the final nail in its coffin was the dispute between Warner Bros. and Vivendi Universal (owners of the Sci Fi Channel) over revenue-sharing for the potential weekly series.

The Lost Tales



A new project set in Babylon 5 universe was announced by Straczynski at San Diego Comic Con 2006. Babylon 5: The Lost Tales is a set of mini-stories featuring established characters from the series, released direct-to-DVD. Production of the first anthology of two stories, named collectively Voices in the Dark, commenced in November 2006 with Straczynski writing, producing, and directing. It was released July 31, 2007. In a Usenet
Usenet
Usenet is a worldwide distributed Internet discussion system. It developed from the general purpose UUCP architecture of the same name.Duke University graduate students Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis conceived the idea in 1979 and it was established in 1980...

 post on September 5, 2007, Straczynski stated that Warner Bros. "are most pleased as sales have been several orders of magnitude beyond what they anticipated."

On July 13, 2008, Straczynski revealed that he had no plans to continue The Lost Tales. He said that although the studio was interested in another disc, they wanted to budget the next installment similarly to the first. Citing his disappointment with the first release due to the low budget, Straczynski said he did not want to dilute Babylon 5s legacy with further sub-par stories. He stated that he would only return to the Babylon 5 universe if Warner Bros. wanted to do a large-budgeted cinema release.

The Memory of Shadows (unproduced)


In 2004 and early 2005, rumors widely circulated about a planned Babylon 5 film for theatrical release. However, on February 25, 2005, a post from Straczynski announced that the project had fallen through, and was for all practical purposes dead. The proposed film, titled The Memory of Shadows (TMoS), was written by Straczynski. Filming was to have begun in April 2005 in the UK, with Steven Beck as the director.

During the "Spotlight on J. Michael Straczynski" panel at the 2010 New York Comic Con, Straczynski revealed “I said to Warner Bros. a while back, 'When you’re ready to do something real with 'Babylon 5,' either a big-budget film or a TV show, if you want to do one of those two things, call me, otherwise don’t bother me.' About a month ago the phone rang. I don’t know where this is gonna go yet, but when they call you, there’s something going on. I can’t tell you what it is yet and it may not go anywhere, but there is movement in the tall grass.”

Novels, short stories and comic books



Unique to the Babylon 5 universe among virtually all other shared media universes is the sanctioned canonicity of many of its offshoot novels and comic book stories; nearly all of the Babylon 5 novels and novelizations to date having been based on outlines written directly by J. Michael Straczynski. The later Del Rey books are considered to be more canonical
Canon (fiction)
In the context of a work of fiction, the term canon denotes the material accepted as "official" in a fictional universe's fan base. It is often contrasted with, or used as the basis for, works of fan fiction, which are not considered canonical...

 than some of the earlier Del ones, and at least two major plotline revelations were made in the DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics, Inc. is one of the largest and most successful companies operating in the market for American comic books and related media. It is the publishing unit of DC Entertainment a company of Warner Bros. Entertainment, which itself is owned by Time Warner...

 series that were directly referenced in the TV series. In all, per Straczynski's own remarks, canonical elements exist in every single book or comic published to date, and his deeper involvement in the novel-publishing program from 1996 onward has ensured a greater level of canonicity within such works.

Additionally, Straczynski himself penned a number of short stories, published in Amazing Stories
Amazing Stories
Amazing Stories was an American science fiction magazine launched in April 1926 by Hugo Gernsback's Experimenter Publishing. It was the first magazine devoted solely to science fiction...

 magazine, expanding on several key story-points from the television series, along with a number of other established authors, with all such tales considered as "real" as the TV show itself.

As of 2007, Straczynski was still writing the manuscript for a Babylon 5 graphic novel, which was to be published by Wildstorm Productions. The premise, characters, and plot have not been officially confirmed, but it has been reported that Straczynski originally planned to write a story that takes place before the season three two-parter "War Without End", featuring Sinclair and Sheridan, and involving Mars, Minbar, Babylon 5, and a conspiracy. It has also been reported that he subsequently decided to tie in elements from the spin-offs Crusade and Legend of the Rangers into the book. The graphic novel was to be 100 pages long.

When asked by a fan during the "Spotlight on J. Michael Straczynski" panel at the 2010 New York Comic Con, Straczynski said no new Babylon 5 comics were in the works.

Season releases



All five seasons have been released individually as a set of six DVDs in the US and the UK. A complete five season set of 30 DVDs is also available in each of the two DVD regions, titled Babylon 5: The Complete Television Series for the US and Canada, and Babylon 5: The Complete Universe for the UK. The UK version also includes all the films and the short-lived spin-off Crusade
Crusade (TV series)
Crusade is a spin-off TV show from J. Michael Straczynski's Babylon 5. Its plot is set in AD 2267, five years after the events of Babylon 5, and just after the movie A Call to Arms. A race called the Drakh have released a nanovirus plague on Earth, which will destroy all life on Earth within five...

. As of 2007, all 5 television seasons and their individual episodes are also for sale at the iTunes Store
ITunes Store
The iTunes Store is a software-based online digital media store operated by Apple. Opening as the iTunes Music Store on April 28, 2003, with over 200,000 items to purchase, it is, as of April 2008, the number-one music vendor in the United States...

. The first five seasons have been recently re-released on DVD with publishing dates of June 2009.

According to producer J. Michael Straczynski as of mid-2006, "The DVD sales have raised over 500 million in revenue." The financial success of the DVD box sets has led to a renewed interest in further Babylon 5 work.
|Babylon 5: The Complete First Season
|November 5, 2002
|October 28, 2002> |Babylon 5: The Complete Second Season
|April 29, 2003
|May 26, 2003> |Babylon 5: The Complete Third Season
|August 12, 2003
|November 10, 2003> |Babylon 5: The Complete Fourth Season
|January 6, 2004
|April 19, 2004> |Babylon 5: The Complete Fifth Season
|April 13, 2004
|January 17, 2005> |Babylon 5: The Complete Television Series
|August 17, 2004
|N/A> |Babylon 5: The Complete Universe
|N/A
|October 24, 2005> |Babylon 5: The Complete Collection (Amazon.co.uk Exclusive)
|N/A
|November 5, 2007>
DVD Name Region 1 Region 2

Babylon 5 TV film releases



The Babylon 5 TV films were distributed differently in the US and UK. Initially a DVD containing the two films The Gathering and In the Beginning were released on both region 1 (North America) and region 2 (UK) DVD. Then, in the US, the first five films, which aired while Babylon 5 was still on the air, were released in one boxset, with the TV film Legend of the Rangers getting its own separate release on both region 1 and region 2 DVD. In the UK, a film boxset was released, but instead of containing the five films like the US version, it contained only the three films which had not been released in the UK yet (Thirdspace, River of Souls, and A Call to Arms). The Gathering was released as a low-priced promotional R1 DVD in 2004, intended as a trial of the series proper; Warner Bros. issued several such DVDs but discontinued the line shortly thereafter due to lack of interest.
|Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning
|December 4, 2001
|N/A> |Babylon 5: The Gathering
|N/A
|April 8, 2002> |Babylon 5: In the Beginning
|N/A
|April 8, 2002> |Babylon 5: The Movie Collection
|August 17, 2004
|N/A> |Babylon 5: Movie Box Set
|N/A
|February 21, 2005> |Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers
|March 14, 2006
|October 24, 2005> |Babylon 5: The Lost Tales
|July 31, 2007
|September 3, 2007>
DVD name Region 1 Region 2

Mastering problems


The transfer of Babylon 5 from fullscreen to widescreen (originally for the Sci Fi Channel; later released on DVD) created significant problems with regard to special-effects
Special effect
The illusions used in the film, television, theatre, or entertainment industries to simulate the imagined events in a story are traditionally called special effects ....

/CGI
Computer-generated imagery
Computer-generated imagery is the application of the field of computer graphics or, more specifically, 3D computer graphics to special effects in art, video games, films, television programs, commercials, simulators and simulation generally, and printed media...

 footage. Several factors complicated the process.
  • Although originally broadcast in the standard television aspect ratio
    Aspect ratio (image)
    The aspect ratio of an image is the ratio of the width of the image to its height, expressed as two numbers separated by a colon. That is, for an x:y aspect ratio, no matter how big or small the image is, if the width is divided into x units of equal length and the height is measured using this...

     of 4:3
    Aspect ratio (image)
    The aspect ratio of an image is the ratio of the width of the image to its height, expressed as two numbers separated by a colon. That is, for an x:y aspect ratio, no matter how big or small the image is, if the width is divided into x units of equal length and the height is measured using this...

    , all live-action footage was filmed on Super 35 mm film
    Super 35 mm film
    Super 35 is a motion picture film format that uses exactly the same film stock as standard 35 mm film, but puts a larger image frame on that stock by using the negative space normally reserved for the optical analog sound track.Super 35 was revived from a similar Superscope variant known as...

     (with a ratio of 1.65:1
    Aspect ratio (image)
    The aspect ratio of an image is the ratio of the width of the image to its height, expressed as two numbers separated by a colon. That is, for an x:y aspect ratio, no matter how big or small the image is, if the width is divided into x units of equal length and the height is measured using this...

    ). The idea was that, once widescreen
    Widescreen
    Widescreen images are a variety of aspect ratios used in film, television and computer screens. In film, a widescreen film is any film image with a width-to-height aspect ratio greater than the standard 1.37:1 Academy aspect ratio provided by 35mm film....

     televisions (with an aspect ratio of 16:9
    Aspect ratio (image)
    The aspect ratio of an image is the ratio of the width of the image to its height, expressed as two numbers separated by a colon. That is, for an x:y aspect ratio, no matter how big or small the image is, if the width is divided into x units of equal length and the height is measured using this...

     or 1.78:1
    Aspect ratio (image)
    The aspect ratio of an image is the ratio of the width of the image to its height, expressed as two numbers separated by a colon. That is, for an x:y aspect ratio, no matter how big or small the image is, if the width is divided into x units of equal length and the height is measured using this...

    ) became more popular, the episodes could be easily converted into a widescreen format.
  • CGI shots were rendered in the 4:3 ratio, but designed so that the top and bottom of each shot could be removed to create a widescreen image without ruining the image composition. For the widescreen DVD releases technical problems occurred during the progressive scan
    Progressive scan
    Progressive scanning is a way of displaying, storing, or transmitting moving images in which all the lines of each frame are drawn in sequence...

     transfer and re-formatting, introducing artifacts that resulted in a picture quality of the CGI shots now inferior to the few laserdisc
    Laserdisc
    LaserDisc was a home video format and the first commercial optical disc storage medium. Initially licensed, sold, and marketed as MCA DiscoVision in North America in 1978, the technology was previously referred to interally as Optical Videodisc System, Reflective Optical Videodisc, Laser Optical...

     and other 4:3 home video releases.
  • While the camera negatives of the original live-action shots held the potential for high-definition
    High-definition television
    High-definition television is video that has resolution substantially higher than that of traditional television systems . HDTV has one or two million pixels per frame, roughly five times that of SD...

     digital images, the CGI shots and shots combining live-action with CGI, were stored in the much lower-definition NTSC
    NTSC
    NTSC, named for the National Television System Committee, is the analog television system that is used in most of North America, most of South America , Burma, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, and some Pacific island nations and territories .Most countries using the NTSC standard, as...

     digital format. (Again, the expectation was that it would be relatively cheap in the future to recreate the CGI in widescreen.)
  • Over the years, the original computer-generated models, and so on, have been lost, making it necessary to use the old 4:3 CGI shots. Both Foundation Imaging
    Foundation Imaging
    Foundation Imaging was a CGI visual effects studio, computer animation studio, and post-production editing facility that pioneered digital imaging for television programming using Newtek's LightWave 3D on Commodore Amiga based Video Toaster workstations. Founded by Paul Beigle-Bryant and Ron...

     and its successor, Netter Digital
    Netter Digital
    'Netter Digital Entertainment was a company created by Douglas Netter in 1995. The company produced the show Hypernauts before moving to digital EFX work and replacing Foundation Imaging in the final two seasons of Babylon 5 as the sole producer of CGI special effects for that series as well as...

    , have gone out of business.


This has resulted in several consistent flaws throughout the Babylon 5 widescreen release. In particular, quality drops significantly whenever a scene cuts from purely live-action to a shot combining live-action and CGI. This is particularly noticeable on the PAL
PAL
PAL, short for Phase Alternating Line, is an analogue television colour encoding system used in broadcast television systems in many countries. Other common analogue television systems are NTSC and SECAM. This page primarily discusses the PAL colour encoding system...

 DVDs, since CGI shots had to be converted from NTSC, as well as being blown up to fit a widescreen television. In addition, while the live-action film was originally widescreen, shots were composed for 4:3, resulting in a conspicuous tendency for actors to clump up in the middle of the screen.

For these reasons, Warner Home Video
Warner Home Video
Warner Home Video is the home video unit of Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., itself part of Time Warner. It was founded in 1978 as WCI Home Video . The company launched in the United States with twenty films on VHS and Betamax videocassettes in late 1979...

 is unlikely to release the series on Blu-Ray. Additionally, a Blu-Ray version of the first Lost Tales installment, Voices in the Dark, was cancelled due to poor sales.

Soundtrack releases


A total of 30 soundtrack albums have been released for Babylon 5. They are all composed by the series composer Christopher Franke and released under his own record label Sonic Images. These albums include 24 episode soundtracks, three film soundtracks, and three compilation albums: Babylon 5: Vol 1, Babylon 5: Vol 2, and Best of Babylon 5.

Compilation soundtracks


These include music that appeared throughout the series, but have been extensively reorchestrated, rewritten, and remixed by Franke into lengthy movements. The second full-length CD also features the main titles from seasons 1 to 4 (the main title for season 5 can be heard on the CD Best of Babylon 5, released in 2001).

Episodic and feature film soundtracks


The 27 episodic and feature film soundtracks include the exact unedited music from each corresponding episode or feature film, with no alterations, omissions, or additions.

Other releases


Seasons 1–2 and parts of season 3 of Babylon 5 have been released as advertisement-supported downloads through the In2TV
In2TV
In2TV was a website offering ad-supported streaming video of classic TV shows in the USA only .The main appeal of the service was that it made available numerous old shows which were rarely, if ever, aired on broadcast television...

 and Hulu
Hulu
Hulu is a website and over-the-top subscription service offering ad-supported on-demand streaming video of TV shows, movies, webisodes and other new media, trailers, clips, and behind-the-scenes footage from NBC, Fox, ABC, and Obstacle on October 20th 2011 Nickelodeon and CBS and many other...

 download services. Additionally, every episode from seasons 1 to 5, as well as the pilot film Babylon 5: The Gathering
Babylon 5: The Gathering
Babylon 5: The Gathering is the pilot movie of the science fiction television series Babylon 5. The telefilm aired on February 22, 1993...

, are available for purchase on the Xbox Live Marketplace in the United States. All 5 seasons, and 5 movies (In The Beginning,Thirdspace, River of Souls, A Call To Arms, Legend of the Rangers) are available through iTunes
ITunes
iTunes is a media player computer program, used for playing, downloading, and organizing digital music and video files on desktop computers. It can also manage contents on iPod, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad....

. All 92 television episode scripts (plus two TV film scripts) written by J. Michael Straczynski for the series are being published as a series of 15 volumes. Contrary to original predictions the laserdisc
Laserdisc
LaserDisc was a home video format and the first commercial optical disc storage medium. Initially licensed, sold, and marketed as MCA DiscoVision in North America in 1978, the technology was previously referred to interally as Optical Videodisc System, Reflective Optical Videodisc, Laser Optical...

 home video releases had the 4:3 format, and only season 1 and 5 became completely available with seasons 2 and 4 only being released fragmentary.

Games


In November 1997, Chameleon Eclectic Entertainment published the original The Babylon Project: The Roleplaying Game Based on Babylon 5. In 2003, Mongoose Publishing
Mongoose Publishing
Mongoose Publishing is a prolific British manufacturer of role-playing games, miniatures, and card games, actively publishing material since 2001...

 printed the Babylon 5 Roleplaying Game & Factbook.

The Babylon 5 Component Game system was also released in 1997 by 'Component Game Systems'. It was a complex political and military based game, using a number of individually purchased expansions or components, which could take up to 5 hours to play. Component Game Systems came out with a number of component game systems that used the same semi-collectible approach, and was derived from the unpublished Galactic Empires board game, based on the CCG of the same name—Companion Games (Galactic Empires' publisher) became Component Game Systems in the process. The basic idea is that each player need only buy his part of the game, representing in this case a specific political entity from the Babylon 5 universe. Players sit down at the same table and combine their components to have a game. 'Component Game Systems' folded in 1999 after having released only the first two 'years' (2258 and 2259) worth of Babylon related components for the game, and even their domain name (www.c-g-s.com) has been recycled by some unrelated group.

The Babylon 5 Wars
Babylon 5 Wars
Babylon 5 Wars is a science fiction tabletop miniature wargame, produced by the gaming company Agents of Gaming. Play centers on miniature figurines based the TV show Babylon 5. In 1999, it was nominated for the Origins Award for Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures Rules...

 wargame
Wargaming
A wargame is a strategy game that deals with military operations of various types, real or fictional. Wargaming is the hobby dedicated to the play of such games, which can also be called conflict simulations, or consims for short. When used professionally to study warfare, it is generally known as...

 was first published by Agents of Gaming
Agents of Gaming
Agents of Gaming was a game design studio that started out in January 1992 by Bruce Graw. The company's original purpose was to run Galactic Conquest, the play-by-mail game which became Star Fleet Warlord. Galactic Conquest had originally been run as a hobby , but proved its worth in the first...

 in 1998. The game was developed in close contact with the creators of the show, and most of the published material is considered canon. Agents of Gaming later published Babylon: 5 Fleet Action, which focused on battles of a larger scale. In 2004, Babylon 5: A Call to Arms
Babylon 5: A Call to Arms (game)
Babylon 5: A Call to Arms is a tabletop miniatures boardgame released in September 2004 by Mongoose Publishing, designed initially as an expansion to their Babylon 5: The Roleplaying Game, it is a complete game in its own right...

 was released by Mongoose Publishing. The game is similar in many ways to Babylon 5 Wars but has a more streamlined rules set and games take a lot less time to complete.

Precedence Entertainment
Precedence Entertainment
Precedence Entertainment was a publisher of collectible card games and role-playing games. Games produced include the Tomb Raider collectible card game which was nominated for an Origins Award in 1999,,...

 produced the Babylon 5 Collectible Card Game
Babylon 5 Collectible Card Game
Babylon 5 CCG is a discontinued collectible card game set in the universe of the sci-fi television series Babylon 5. This CCG is distinct from most others of the genre for being specifically designed to be played by more than two players. The gameplay tends to have strong political elements,...

 between 1997 and 2000. In its original form, the game
Collectible card game
thumb|Players and their decksA collectible card game , also called a trading card game or customizable card game, is a game played using specially designed sets of playing cards...

 allowed for 2-4 players with each one playing one of the ambassadors to the B5 council: Sinclair, Delenn, G'Kar or Londo. Later expansions increased the maximum number of players that could play at once and expanded the players' options. Players could represent the League of Non-Aligned Worlds
League of Non-Aligned Worlds
The League of Non-Aligned Worlds was a fictional collection of races in the Babylon 5 universe.The League of Non-Aligned Worlds was a loose confederation of independent worlds and minor species, most of whom had endured subjugation under the Centauri Republic at its height...

 or could play alternative ambassadors such as Bester for the Psi Corps
Psi Corps
In the fictional universe of Babylon 5, the Psi Corps is an agency of the Earth Alliance responsible for all humans with telepathic or other para-psychological abilities anywhere within Earth controlled space. All persons with Psi abilities are required to either join the Corps, face lifetime...

 or Lord Refa for the Centauri. The game was discontinued after Precedence lost the license from Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., also known as Warner Bros. Pictures or simply Warner Bros. , is an American producer of film and television entertainment.One of the major film studios, it is a subsidiary of Time Warner, with its headquarters in Burbank,...

 in 2000.

There are no officially licensed Babylon 5 video games on the market, though in 1998 a video game based on Babylon 5, named Into the Fire, was being developed by Yosemite Entertainment, an internal division of Sierra Entertainment
Sierra Entertainment
Sierra Entertainment Inc. was an American video-game developer and publisher founded in 1979 as On-Line Systems by Ken and Roberta Williams...

. Work on this game ended on September 21, 1999, when, as part of a corporate reorganization, Sierra cancelled it and laid off its development staff when the game was only a few months away from release. This game was to have cast the player as the pilot of a Starfury fighter craft, giving the player an opportunity to "move up through the ranks," and eventually take command of capital ships and even fleets. Christopher Franke composed and recorded new music for the game, and live action
Live action
In filmmaking, video production, and other media, the term live action refers to cinematography, videography not produced using animation...

 footage was filmed with the primary actors from the series.

A number of unauthorized Babylon 5 modifications
Mod (computer gaming)
Mod or modification is a term generally applied to personal computer games , especially first-person shooters, role-playing games and real-time strategy games. Mods are made by the general public or a developer, and can be entirely new games in themselves, but mods are not standalone software and...

 have been created for other computer games such as Homeworld and Homeworld 2, as well as at least one (unlicensed) independent project to develop a standalone game. The only finished work as yet though is the free and standalone game "The Babylon Project" based on the FreeSpace 2 Source Code Project
FreeSpace 2 Source Code Project
The FreeSpace 2 Source Code Project is a group of programmers currently maintaining and enhancing the game engine for the space combat simulator FreeSpace 2, developed by Volition, Inc. The source code was released in 2002, and is used by several projects. Most prominent among these are games based...

.

See also

  • Babylon 5 influences
    Babylon 5 influences
    Science fiction television series Babylon 5 draws upon many cultural, historical and mythical influences to inform and illustrate its characters and storylines.- Babylon :The most prominent influence is presented by the title itself. According to J...

  • Babylon 5's use of the Internet
  • Index of Babylon 5 articles
  • List of television series that include time-travel
  • rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated
    Rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated
    rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated is a moderated Usenet newsgroup that focuses on the science fiction television series Babylon 5 and the works of writer J. Michael Straczynski. It was spun off from its un-moderated version, rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5, in 1996...

  • The Be Five
    The Be Five
    The Be Five was a band composed of actors from the television show Babylon 5. It was masterminded by Bill Mumy and made up of Mumy, Andreas Katsulas, Mira Furlan, Peter Jurasik and Claudia Christian, with Patricia Tallman singing backup in two tracks...

  • The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5
    The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5
    The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5 is a fan-run website that includes detailed episode guides and analyses, production history notes, background materials, references, and other information related to the science fiction epic, Babylon 5...


External links