1 9 9 4 – 1 9 9 8 (USA)
110 x 45 minute episodes
It is the year 2258 AD. After decades of inter-planetary conflict between the five major solar systems – the Earth Alliance, the Minbari Federation, Narn Regime, Vorlon Empire and the Centauri Republic – a fragile peace is overseen by a council of humans and aliens which sits aboard lone space station Babylon 5.
This five-mile long, 2.5 million tons of metal is commanded by Commander Jeffrey Sinclair (Michael O’Hare) – later replaced by Captain John Sheridan (Bruce Boxleitner) – who is also the Earth Alliance representative on the council.
The other chief council members are Ambassador G’Kar of the Narn (Andreas Katsulas), fan haired Ambassador Londo Mollari of the once-great Centauri (Peter Jurasik), mysterious Ambassador Kosh Naranek of the Vorlon Empire (Ardwright Chamberlain) – who was eventually revealed to be an angel-type being beneath his protective encounter suit – and bald female Ambassador Delenn of the Minbari (Mira Furlan), who forms romantic attachments with both Sinclair and Sheridan.
The space station was home to 250,000 beings from different worlds and was large enough to accommodate many diverse neighbourhoods, including affluent areas for well-to-do inhabitants and slums for the less fortunate beings who lived on the station.
Conceived by Joseph Michael Straczynski as a televisual novel, complete with beginning, middle and end, B5 was the thinking person’s sci-fi drama of the 1990s, replete with allegory (including of the civil wars in Yugoslavia), plot and deeply-drawn characters.
Those with their brains switched off found much to mesmerise them in Ron Thornton’s computer-generated SFX.
In accordance with the promise from Straczynski (who retained auteur-like control over the programme) to provide constant narrative surprise, season two culminated in a star war between the Narn Regime and the Centauri, the latter triumphing after allying themselves with the evil Shadows, a species amassing predatorily at the edge of the universe.
Henceforth the role of Babylon 5, under the guiding hand of Captain John Sheridan changed from the ‘last, best hope for peace’ to ‘our last, best hope for victory’.
Commander Jeffrey Sinclair
Captain John Sheridan
Ambassador Londo Mollari
Security Chief Garbaldi
Lt Commander Susan Ivanova
Dr Stephen Franklin
June Caitlin Brown (1)
Mary K Adams (2)