Babylon 5 is an American science fiction television series created, produced and J. Michael Straczynski. The show centers on the Babylon 5 space station: a focal point for politics, diplomacy, and conflict during the years 2257–2262. With its prominent use of planned story arc, the series was often described as a "novel for television".
The pilot film premiered on February 22, 1993. The regular series aired from January 26, 1994 and ran for five full seasons. The show spawned six television films and a spin-off series, Crusade, which aired in 1999 and ran for thirteen episodes. On July 31, 2007, a DVD was released containing two short films about selected characters from the series.
Having worked on a number of television science fiction shows which had regularly gone over budget, creator J. Michael Straczynski concluded that a lack of long-term planning was to blame, and set about looking at ways in which a series could be done responsibly. Taking note of the lessons of mainstream television, which brought stories to a centralised location such as a hospital, police station, or law office, he decided that instead of "[going] in search of new worlds, building them anew each week," a fixed space station setting would keep costs at a reasonable level. A fan of sagas such as the Foundation series, Childhood's End, The Lord of the Rings, and Dune, Straczynski wondered why no one had done a television series with the same epic sweep, and concurrently with the first idea started developing the concept for a vastly-ambitious epic covering massive battles and other universe-changing events. Realizing that both the fixed-locale series and the epic could be done in a single series, he began to sketch the initial outline of what would become Babylon 5.
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" [emphasis in original]); it would have to do for science fiction television what Hill Street Blues had done for police drama, 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.
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Official Site: J. Michael Straczynski
Links: Wikipedia Babylon 5 Wiki Star Trek wiki