Babylon 5: The Show Star Trek Wished It Had Grown Up To Be

ba5 Once upon a time, a man had a shower. Nothing interesting about that. But during this necessary daily cleansing ritual, he had an idea. Again, there's nothing that astounding about that: we've all had what we think of as great ideas while in the bathroom. The difference here is that the man in question was one Joseph Michael Straczynski, who would soon become known, and loved, as JMS, the creator and driving force behind what would become Babylon 5, and his idea for a science-fiction television show would not only challenge the norms and tenets of supergoliath Star Trek, but also set the bar for decades of sci-fi to come. Now, before I get started, let me make one thing clear: I am not about bashing Star Trek. I'm a fan, have been since I watched the Original Series as a child and then witnessed the rebirth of the franchise, pretty much against all odds, when Star Trek: The Next Generation hit our screens in the late eighties, kicking off a time of revitalisation and renewed interest not only in Trek, but in sci-fi as a whole. I loved Deep Space 9 and its darker take on the Star Trek universe, but that is kind of where our story, as it were, begins. Much has been made of the similarities between DS9 and B5, and I suppose in some ways we'll never really know the truth. What we do know is that, months before Benjamin Sisko arrived with an annoyed son in tow for the first episode of what would go on to be a seven-season series, JMS had been shopping his script for Babylon 5 around, and one of the networks that passed on it was the very same one that quite soon afterwards commissioned Deep Space 9. So draw your own conclusions. As I say, this article is not about who was first, who was right, or who stole what from whom. I love Trek and if you asked me if I prefer B5 to it, I would say no I don't: I love both series equally but I can see very many ways in which the latter advanced the cause of science-fiction, both on television and in cinemas, whereas Star Trek --- at least, up to the time of DS9's release --- more or less trod the same old path for much of its tenure. Here's seven reasons why Babylon 5 is the show Star Trek wished it had grown up to be...
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Born and raised in Dublin Ireland, I worked for almost 30 years in the freight industry but took voluntary redundancy in 2009 to look after my sister, and discovered I had suddenly more free time on my hands. That's when I started contributing to online blogs such as Music Banter, and recently joined WhatCulture. A big sci-fi geek, I love Star Trek, Babylon 5, Farscape, Dr Who and many others as well as Red Dwarf, Buffy/Angel and so on. Love to write and express my views, and I always feel a but of humour never goes amiss. Big animal lover with three cats, and finally came into the 21st century by buying a HD TV! Yay!