Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen things that made the science fiction program “Babylon 5” great:

1. Story – I’ve never seen a sweeping story arc so obviously well-planned from the start

2. Location – somehow less constraining even than a gigantic starship, the space station sets never failed to bring something fresh to the eyes

3. Contention – the complicated relationships between the parties of warring factions never ceased to fascinate me

4. Valor – heroes were portrayed realistically: everyday gallantry entails ordinary people doing extraordinary things

5. Economy – rather than being a comic device standing out from a utopian socialist future, money often drove the logical, initial motives of governments and individuals

6. Faith – the good and bad aspects of organized religion were excellent plot devices at times, the various doctrines tremendously important to several races, and no alien beliefs were ever trivialized to the best of my remembrance

7. Transformation – none of the main characters remained static or seemed to become superfluous, and the most pivotal personalities went through radical changes (sometimes physical, always intriguing)

8. Bruce Boxleitner – as John Sheridan, he brought remarkable class to an already stellar cast of actors (I suppose I’ve adored him since “Tron”)

9. The Shadows – those aliens never failed to strike a chord of terror within me

10. Morden – puppet of the Shadows, the sharp-dressed human’s urbane villainy was delicious and never got tiresome

11. Walter Koenig – this iconic actor brilliantly played the unethical Psi Cop Alfred Bester, perhaps best summed up by his fanatical belief in Corps propaganda and its ominous slogan, "The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father"

12. “A View from the Gallery” – my absolute favorite episode shows an alien attack on the station through the unique POV of two mundane maintenance workers (I have to thank a lucky text search – “workers” – and Wikipedia for finding the name of this episode)

13. G’Kar and Londo – I know I mentioned contention earlier, but their relationship went through astonishing changes


  1. This is fantastic! I love the series and you're so right about what makes it great. I also like the Susan Ivanova character. I can't think of a favorite episode now, but I remember your #12. That was an especially good one.

  2. Susan was great, and I wanted to nab Marcus for myself. On that note, thanks for mentioning that I initially typed "Fifteen things" for my opening. Perhaps that was because 13 wasn't enough. :) It's neat to know you were a fan, which I imagined as I wrote these!

  3. That show was fantastic. I thought it was confusing at first, but once I started seeing where the story arc was going I was totally hooked.

  4. I confess I never was a fan of the show - but mostly because I went through a period of never watching TV around the time the show debuted. Perhaps I'll get to enjoy it from start to finish via DVD? :)

    Your list here certainly compels me to give it a try!

  5. I am a huge Babylon 5 fan. It's one of the most well-done series I've ever seen. The story arc was incredible, as was the acting, the day-to-day interactions, the conflict. Stellar (pardon the pun!).

  6. I confess I never watched it. I rarely ever watch TV unless it's Grey's Anatomy or Private Practice. I crave the peace and quiet too much. LOL

  7. Never saw that show. Loved Stargate Atlantis, though!


    My TT is at

  8. I agree. I think this show changed television, actually, and led directly to the incredibleness of Battlestar Gallactica. It showed that a science fiction show, non-Star Trek, could be handled with seriousness and skill and still attract viewers. I honestly think it could still be on the air and episodes would still be watched.

  9. You know ... as a big sci-fi geek and a lover of Star Trek, Stargate, Battlestar Galatica, etc, it's really odd that I've never seen a single episode of Babylon 5.

    I'm adding the series to my must-watch list.

  10. Babylon 5 is, to me, high end SF TV. Very well-written and well-acted. Nice list.

  11. Don't stone me, but I've never seen it. It's in the queue though.

  12. I'm thrilled that some folks might be inspired to watch now. Thank you for all the warm remarks. Happy Friday!

  13. Oh I love Babylon five, and have the entire series on DVD.



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