The Triumph of Babylon 5

The Science Fiction Classic and Its Long Twilight Struggles


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About the Book

Babylon 5 revolutionized genre television. First aired in 1993, the space opera series is highly respected for everything it was trying to achieve on television at a time when Star Trek was king. Its use of story arcs and long-form storytelling in science fiction can be felt in everything from Battlestar Galactica to Lost and The Expanse. Much of its legacy has been about its struggle to survive. From the rivalry with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, to the collapse of the Prime Time Entertainment Network, the cancellation of spin-off series, and the failed big screen attempts—the behind-the-scenes details on Babylon 5 are as fascinating as anything we have on screen.
This work explores the complex history of Babylon 5, the career of showrunner J. Michael Straczynski, and the behind-the-scenes drama to stay on the air, with many attempts to continue the franchise. Featuring interviews with cast members from the podcast A Dream Given Form, a lengthy two-part interview with Peter Jurasik (Londo) and a chat with Patricia Tallman (Lyta) and others, this book gives insights into what it was like to be part of Babylon 5, chronicling the show’s highs and lows and examining the legacy it left behind in genre television.

About the Author(s)

Baz Greenland has written several published works and for numerous websites. He lives in Cardiff, United Kingdom.

Bibliographic Details

Baz Greenland
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 250
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9240-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5144-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1. The Legacy of Babylon 5 5
2. Science Fiction Story Arcs 11
3. The Development of Babylon 5 19
4. Babylon Prime 25
5. A Chat with Peter Jurasik (Part 1) 32
6. From Star Trek to Babylon 5 … and Back to Star Trek Again 41
7. Making “The Lord of the Rings in space” a Reality 47
8. The Great Publicity Machine 55
9. JMS’s Character Trapdoors 63
10. The Diversity That Almost Was 73
11. A Chat with Marshall Teague 79
12. Season One: A Master Class in ­World-Building 90
13. Season Two: The Changing of the Guard 102
14. Season Three: Tearing Up the Television Rule Book 115
15. Season Four: The Race to the Finish Line 126
16. Season Five: Epilogues and Opportunities 139
17. A Chat with Patricia Tallman 151
18. The TNT Movies: Looking Back Before Moving On 163
19. The Crusade to Save Earth—and Babylon 5 170
20. To Live and Die in Starlight 179
21. The Lost Tales and What Could Have Been 183
22. The Memory of Shadows: The ­Big-Screen Babylon 5s That Never Were 188
23. A Chat with Peter Jurasik (Part 2) 195
24. The Canonization of Novels 203
25. The Babylon 5 Community 212
26. Objects in Motion and the Possibilities to Come 218
Chapter Notes 223
Bibliography 235
Index 239

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “This book from Baz Greenland promises to be a love letter to the series I was so fortunate to be a part of. Babylon 5 was a wild and wonderful ride; full of friendships, drama, lots of laughter, confusion, astonishing performances, network nightmares, and a lifelong indelible association with a world both looking forward and over the shoulder. One of the biggest gifts from Babylon 5 is the creative endeavors it has sparked, like this book. If you want more insights into what it took to create and produce this groundbreaking show, you’ll devour this book. Thank you to Baz, and to all the fans that have loved Babylon 5 and been so embracing to all of us from the show.”—Patricia Tallman, actress, stunt performer and studio executive