We are having so much fun right now. We’re not sure how we missed it, but it turns out that my StepDaughter has never really been exposed to Babylon 5. We’ve been remedying the situation for the last week, and whenever we offer the chance to watch something else, she actually pouts at us. She’s hooked! And she’s been that way since the The Gathering, the pilot movie. It makes me happy.
When MiLady and I first saw The Gathering, we were also hooked. We taped the late-night second showing, and waited with bated breath for the series; we watched every episode the first time it aired, and taped them when they were reshown on TV; and the moment we found out that the DVDs were available, we snagged ‘em. We love this show. (Can you tell?)
And there’s a lot to love about this show. There’s the depth, breadth, and sweep of it; jms (J. Michael Straczynski, the show’s creator) sat down and outlined the history and future of every race, going back or forward 1000 years, and was able to incorporate that information into the show. (My brain draws parallels with JRR Tolkien, who did something similar for Middle Earth.) The characters are real people, with their own angels and demons, instead of the cardboard stereotypes often seen in other SF; the technology is all achievable today, on purpose; and the “five year story arc,” which he pioneered, made each episode a chapter and each year a book in the “Babylon 5″ series. No automatic resets at the end of the episode for this one; every event that happens shapes the characters and the situation going forward. It’s a definite roller coaster, and if you try to get on in the middle it’ll take you a while to figure it out; but if you start from the beginning, it’s the ride of your life and well worth the effort.
We finished the series a week and a half after we started it; and the final four episodes still make me cry, after so many viewings you’d think I’d be over it by now. But I’m not, and I doubt I ever will be. And to tell the truth, I’m glad of it; if I stop crying during “Sleeping in Light,” the last episode, then I’m too jaded to enjoy life any more. I cannot tell you how highly I recommend Babylon 5; if you were here, I’d simply haul out the DVDs and show you. Rent “The Gathering” or Season One some weekend, and get into it; you’ll go back for more. It’s worth it!
(Related: “Babylon 5 — a Lesson in Social Media.” How jms talked to and listened to the fans during the running of the show, and what it can teach us about the Internet & community.)