The Four Critical Questions of Babylon 5:
Who are you?
What do you want?
Why are you here?
Where are you going?

Absolutely stunning and inspiring television. This was the first TV show (first American one, at least) to use a strong pre-planned story arc, which series creator J. Michael Straczynski has said came to him in the shower one night. He spent the next ten years writing it all down, and the result is five seasons of art on television. It makes you CARE about the characters--and sometimes the ones that capture your imagination are the ones you'd least expect.

Main Cast (from you know where)
Michael O'Hare as Commander Jeffrey Sinclair/Valen (1994-1995)
Bruce Boxleitner as Captain/President John Sheridan
Claudia Christian as Lt. Commander/Commander Susan Ivanova
Jerry Doyle as Security Chief Michael Garibaldi
Mira Furlan as Delenn
Richard Biggs as Chief Medical Officer Stephen Franklin, M.D.
Bill Mumy as Lennier
Stephen Furst as Vir Cotto
Andrea Thompson as Talia Winters (1994-1995)
Jason Carter as Ranger Marcus Cole (1995-1997)
Tracy Scoggins as Captain Elizabeth Lochley (1998)
Julie Caitlin Brown as Narn Attaché Na'Toth (I) (1994, 1998)
Mary Kay Adams as Narn Attaché Na'Toth (II) (1994)
Robert Rusler as Lieutenant Warren Keffer (1995-1996)
Jeff Conaway as Sargeant/Security Chief Zack Allan
Patricia Tallman as Lyta Alexander (1995-1998)
Andreas Katsulas as Narn Ambassador G'Kar
Peter Jurasik as Centauri Ambassador/Emperor Londo Mollari

Notable Supporting Cast and Recurring Guests
Ardwight Chamberlain as Vorlon Ambassador Kosh Naranek (1994-1996)
Joshua Cox as Lieutenant David Corwin
Walter Koenig as Psi Cop Alfred Bester
Gary McGurk as Vice-President/President Morgan Clark (1994-1997)
Ed Wasser as Mr. Morden (1994-1997)


Refer to the Babylon 5 Episode Guide for more info about specific episodes.

The Babylon 5 Project

    "I was there at the dawn of the third age of mankind. It began in the Earth year 2257 with the founding of the last of the Babylon stations, located deep in neutral space. It was a port of call for refugees, smugglers, businessmen, diplomats and travellers from a hundred worlds. It could be a dangerous place, but we accepted the risks because Babylon 5 was our last, best hope for peace. Under the leadership of its final commander, Babylon 5 was a dream given form. A dream of a galaxy without war, and species of different worlds could live, side by side in mutual respect. A dream that was in danger as never before, by the arrival of one man on a mission of destruction. Babylon 5 was the last of the Babylon stations, this is its story."
      - Emperor Londo Mollari

Babylon 5 Episode Guide

    In the Beginning
    The Gathering
    Babylon 5 - Season One
    Babylon 5 - Season Two
    Babylon 5 - Season Three
    Babylon 5 - Season Four
    Thirdspace
    Babylon 5 - Season Five
    River of Souls
    A Call to Arms

    The Babylon 5 Comic Book Series
    The Babylon 5 Novel Series

Characters

    Humans

      John Sheridan - (Bruce Boxleitner)
      Jeffrey Sinclair - (Michael O'Hare)
      Susan Ivanova - (Claudia Christian)
      Michael Garibaldi - (Jerry Doyle)
      Dr. Steven Franklin - (Richard Biggs)
      Elizabeth Lochley
      Zack Allan - (Jeff Conaway)
      Marcus Cole
      Lyta Alexander - (Patricia Tallman)
      David Corwin - (Joshua Cox)
      Talia Winters
      Brother Theo
      Catherine Sakai

      Bester - (Walter Koenig)

      Morden - (Ed Wasser)

      General Hague

    Minbari

      Delenn - (Mira Furlan)
      Lennier - (Bill Mumy)

      Draal
      Neroon
      Dukhat

      Valen

    Centauri

      Londo Mollari - (Peter Jurasik)
      Vir Cotto - (Stephen Furst)

      Refa

    Narn

      G'Kar - (Andreas Katsulas)

      Na'Toth
      Ta'Lon

    Vorlon

      Kosh Naranek - (Ardwight Chamberlain)
      Ulkesh Naranek :: "Darth Kosh"

    Other Characters

      Zathras

      The One

      First Ones

        Lorien - (Wayne Alexander)

Places

    Babylon 5: The Station
    Earth
    Minbar
    Centauri Prime
    Narn Homeworld
    Vorlon Homeworld
    Z'ha'dum
    Mars Colony
    The Galactic Rim
    Beyond the Rim

    Babylon 4

    Babylon 3
    Babylon 2
    Babylon Station

    Coriana 6
    Sigma 957

    Hyperspace
    Jump point
    Jumpgate

Governments and Organizations

    Earth Alliance
      Earth Force
      Psi-Corps
      NightWatch
      Bureau 13

      Homeguard

    Minbari Federation
      Grey Council
      Minbari Caste System
        Religious Caste
        Warrior Caste
        Worker Caste
    Centarui Republic
      Centaurum
    Narn Regime
      Kha'Ri
    Vorlon Empire
    Shadows

    Drakh

    League of Non-Aligned Worlds

      Drazi
      pak'ma'ra

    Interstellar Alliance

      Rangers
        Entil'Zha
        Anla'Shok Na

Vehicles

    Earth Force

      Victory Class Destoryer
      Warlock Class Destroyer
      Omega Class Destroyer
      Nova Class Dreadnought
      Hyperion Class Heavy Cruiser
      Olympus Class Corvette
      Starfury
      Thunderbolt Class Fighter
      Earth Force One
      Explorer Class

    Minbari Federation

      Sharlin Class Warcruiser
      Nial Class Fighter
      Minbari Flyer

    Centauri Republic

      Primus Class Battlecruiser
      Vorchan Class Warcruiser
      Sentri Class Fighter

    Narn Regime

      G'Quan Class Starcruiser
      T'Loth Class Heavy Cruiser
      Frazi Class Heavy Fighter

    Vorlon Empire

      Vorlon Planetkiller
      Volon Mothership
      Vorlon Cruiser
      Vorlon Fighter
      Vorlon Transport

    Shadows

      Shadow Planetkiller
      Shadow Mothership
      Shadow Scout
      Shadow Fighter

    Rangers

      Whitestar

    Leage of Non-Alligned Worlds

    Other

Events

    Ages of Mankind
    Omega Incident
    Dilgar War
    Dawn of the Third Age of Mankind
    Earth-Minbari War
    Battle of the Line
    Narn-Centauri War
    Shadow War
    Minbari Civil War
    Third Age of Mankind
    Earth Civil War
    Centauri War
    Telepath War
    Drakh War

Misc

    Four Critical Questions
    Spoo

    There is a hole in your mind
    The Babylon 5 Mantra
    The Ivanova Dance

References

    The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5
      http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/lurker.html
    The Babylon 5 Encyclopedia
      http://interweb.uml.edu/B5/Enc/
    Hyperspace
      http://hyperspace.isnnews.net/
    Usenet Sources
      rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated
      rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5
      rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.info
    Babylon 5 Season by Season by Jane Killick (5 books in all)
    The A-Z Guide to Babylon 5 by David Bassom

    And of course, Carlosian gleaning from episodes on tape.

Babylon 5 was originally conceived as a novel for TV, with each season akin to a book and each episode a chapter. However, the show was nearly cancelled towards the end of its 4th season, which is why the season ends with the formation of a suspiciously federation-like Galactic Alliance. This was originally intended to be the end of the last season, but with the show's future in doubt the plot was condensed and the ending moved forward. Elements such as the telepath crisis were left out, which is why the 5th season is so concerned with these events, and at times seems not to fit quite as neatly into the story arc.

Babylon 5 was not without it's hiccups plot-wise; any show with a 5-year run is bound to lose actors, and indeed it did. Originally, the captain of the station was Jeffrey Sinclair, played by Michael O'Hare. At the end of season 4, Claudia Christian left, and her character, Ivanova, was replaced with an initially very similar character, whose name escapes me. Also, the reason that Delenn grows hair between seasons 1 and 2 is not because the plot demanded it, its simply that Mira Furlan was sick of going through excessive makeup for the show.

One of Babylon 5's main problems is that after the 2nd season J. Michael Straczynski started to write all the episodes himself, and while this made for a more coherent story arc, he is terrible at writing dialogue. For example, "That's a bloody awful lot of ships" is an utterly cringe-worthy quote that no genuine Englishman would ever utter. Trust me. Despite this, the show is consistently excellent, with an engaging and complex story, and a rarely-seen level of characterisation. The special effects, although technically not as good as Star Trek's at the time, were far more daring, showing impressive and often huge battle sequences with far more regularity and in greater detail than Trek ever did. The low cost of these scenes meant that they looked a little rough, but they didn't have to resort to stock footage as Deep Space 9 did so often for its Dominion war. And remember, by the end of the run they were working with 5 year old computer technology.

Overall, Babylon 5 was an excellent but flawed show, with a grand vision that had to be compromised to some extent, but that was good enough to carry it through its rough patches.

Babylon 5

The Station

The Babylon 5 station is technically a space colony, meant to be partly self-sufficient with regard to air and water and home to a number of permanent residents as well as an embassy. It is best described as a cylinder with a sphere of similar radius attached to the 'front' of the station, which contains a docking platform, similar to the one on the spacestation in 2001: A Space Odyssey, which can be said to be the major inspiration for much of B5's designs.(see Omega Class Destroyer and compare to the Alexei Leonov in 2010: Odyssey Two) This forward section houses the docking bays and receiving area and the forward Command and Control. The central section contains, toward the front, shopping areas, markets, bars, restaurants, Zocolo and garden space. The middle of the cylinder is given over to quarters, for humans and non-humans alike, which means entire sections given over to different atmospheres and atmospheric pressures. Also, this area houses a number of Medlabs, which serve as hospitals and as staging grounds for xenobiological research for human doctors. This section is the largest, volume-wise, of any of the sections. From here, continuing to the back, is the section that spins the station and houses the massive solar arrays that supplement the station's power supply. The final inhabited part of the station is the Down-Below, a sector given to industrial work and air/water recycling that quickly became the area where poor people, looking for work came and found none. The last spinning part of the station is the Fusion Reactor housing. The sector of the station that does not spin is mostly a cargo processing area, defense net support and the mechanism that spins the station.

The station is spun because the Earth Alliance did not have access to gravetic technology at the time of the station's construction. This gravity has been calculated at ~.33g on the ground of the garden area of the station, thus higher in sections further out. The station was designed along the lines of the first three Babylon stations, which were ambitious projects, but contained a single spinning section, like that of EA Asimov Transports and Omega Destroyers. The fourth station's design used a spin/anti-spin design that would use a second section spinning in the opposite direction to balance the station automatically, instead of requiring frequent rebalancing thrusts and large gyroscopes. This design would also have allowed the station to be mobile, but the station was stolen backward in time and thus lost. Babylon 5 is immobile because it uses the single spin design, the reason they moved to this design was for budgetary reasons, given that the first 3 stations were lost during or shortly after construction.

As stated above, the station was opened in the year 2258 to be an embassy/League of Nations or as it is known League of Non-Aligned Worlds. The station houses the ambassadors as well as acting as a small city in space. This means greatly accelerated trading agreements may be formed by the member states as the station acts as a cargo port as well. The people living on the station are meant to get used to the idea of living with people of other species, acclimating them and creating relationships. In other words, it was meant to be a hub of personal networking that would strengthen ties between the various species that went there. The EA embarked on the project because of the circumstances that lead to the devastating Minbari War. The Minbari were first approached by a hothead commander, the Minbari ship contained Grey Council and in an error of understanding the EA commander fired on the ship, killing the holy leader of the Minbari. The Minbari attacked viciously and brought Earth and the human species to the brink of eradication. To prevent such circumstances from befalling them or others again, they created the station to bring large numbers of species together to speak face to face, because battlecruisers make bad first contact mediation platforms.

In the promotion of peace it initially failed, in the year 2260 it succeeded from Earth's ever more tyrranical government, the Narn and Centauri fell back into war and the Shadow War was quickly coming upon everyone. During the Shadow War and the Earth Alliance Civil War the station acted as a staging ground for the League to act as an entity in protecting itself. The people involved were able to win both wars and afterward formed the InterStellar Alliance. The ISA succeeded the League and was able to build the peace for which Babylon 5 laid the foundation.

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