Thursday, September 9, 2010

Babylon 5

Babylon 5 is a Sci-Fi series created between 1993 and 1998. Therefore some readers have a good chance to not know it.

But.. a post about a 15 years old Sci-Fi series on an MMO blog?

This has two reasons:
1) On my absolute scale (1-10) of the perfect series, Babylon scores a 7. And I do not know any other series that scores more than a 5 on that scale. Stories are art and to tell them well is incredibly hard. Babylon 5 does exceptionally well.

2) This blog has a focus on what I usually call immersion. Essentially that is the feeling of experiencing something important when you play an MMO - or watch a series.

Babylon 5 is what I recommend to watch, experience. Not over a few months, but rather a few days. Buy/rent the box, take a few days off and watch the entire series in a week (will about take that long). That is not especially healthy *grin*, but well worth it.

Once you did that you will understand why I critizise immersion in MMOs and why I consider playing/watching anything for less than 60 min only a distraction, instead of experiencing art. You will understand what an epic story is and that your T10 set is not epic, but a f***ing joke.

As a little appetizer: Here are a few Youtube videos. They should not spoil it too much for you. To understand the complete story you will have to watch it twice, anyway.


And two must-see videos:

About this "nostaliga" thing: Babylon 5 was not my first Sci-Fi series. There have been good ones before and then there came a better one. Even Babylon 5 can be beaten. Even in Babylon 5 there are inconsistencies, and technical/financial limitations applied. The reason good stories and games do not happen often is, because they are so hard to make; and even harder to finance.

From Wikipedia:
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 science fiction shows both good science fiction and good TV; there're generally one or the other" ); it would have to do for science fiction television what Hill Street Blues 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 as an influence, Straczynski said he wanted the show to be a mirror to the real world and to covertly teach.


  1. I couldn't agree more, although if it weren't for the hokey ending Battlestar Galactica would rate about the same in my 1 to 10 scale.

  2. Battlestar Galactica started very well, but focused too much on heated action and irrational emotion, in my opinion. Also, I doubt "they ever had a plan" ..

    A good story needs a start, a climax and an end. The reason Battlestar Galactica did bad in the end was that the creators were too greedy to think about the end in the beginning.

    Still, one of the better Sci-Fi shows, of course.

  3. I can't comment on BG, but I agree wholeheartedly on B5 - what a fantastic show that was!

    They showed in on Channel 4 in the UK, and when it broke for commercials it made me jump a few times; I was that immersed.

    Now I have the B5 Universe (including the spin off series about the Rangers), and want to get back into watching it - I got the first series watched, and now need to start on series 2.

    I also enjoyed ST:DS9, but B5 imo was definitely the better show.

    And I'm not going to start defining good and bad!!! ;)