History Files

BABYLON 5

 

 

"The Babylon Project was our last, best hope for peace. A self-contained world five miles long, located in neutral territory. A place of commerce and diplomacy for a quarter of a million humans and aliens. A shining beacon in space, all alone in the night. It was the dawn of the Third Age of Mankind, the year the Great War came upon us all. This is the story of the last of the Babylon stations. The year is 2259. The name of the place is Babylon 5."

 

The announcement that Babylon 5 was to be shown on Channel 4 was received almost immediately before transmission, so the only information available in the early days was that the production was a darker, grittier version of Deep Space Nine. Darker and grittier it was, and it more than lived up to expectations. In essence it was DS9 with laughter and tears: the cast and scripts putting a lot more emotion into the programme than its rival ever boasted. This did much to endear it to the audience, with computer-generated space scenes being so well detailed that they were indistinguishable from model-made effects, adding to the high quality of this production.

In America, the supremacy of the Star Trek stable was successfully challenged by Babylon 5. The year is AD 2258 and the Emmy Award-winning series is set on the five mile-long Earth Alliance Station Babylon 5, built by an Earth now recovering after a massive war with the Minbari - its mission, to act as an interstellar gateway between the five major civilisations, which are represented by five on-board ambassadors. The Earth crew is led by Commander Jeffrey Sinclair, an American of English descent who mixes charm with intelligent observation in his running of the station, and his Russian second-in-command, Susan Ivanova. Throughout the first season, subtitled Signs And Portents, Sinclair gradually fights his way through a veil of secrecy to discover what happened to him at the Battle of the Line, the final battle in the Earth-Minbari War, ten years before, when he went missing for twenty-four hours and has no memory of that time. Ambassador Delenn has a lot to do with that disappearance, something she is under orders to keep secret. She also keeps secret the fact that she is a member of the Grey Council, the Minbari ruling body, and not just a mere ambassador. Sinclair begins his voyage of discovery in the second episode, but things really get moving in the episode And The Sky Full Of Stars, when the Battle of the Line is shown for the first time in a stunning display of CGI (one of the earliest examples of this level of CGI). A lot of questions are answered for Sinclair but, true to the spirit of the series, as fast as that happens, more questions are posed, and no one is what they seem.

Season Two, collectively subtitled The Coming Of Shadows, saw some changes, with Delenn completing her transformation from Season One, and Garibaldi waking from his coma to find a change of commanding officer. Jeffrey Sinclair had been shuffled off by the new, fascistic World President to become the first resident human ambassador on Minbar, and was replaced on the station by Captain John Sheridan, a veteran of the Earth-Minbari War. However, Sinclair continually made his presence felt throughout the season in typical Babylonian style. Because of the command gap at the top, Susan Ivanova was promoted to full commander.

From there it was full speed through the Narn-Centauri War. Throughout, the series did not falter in its delivery of dramatic stories, plunging the galaxy into war as the Centauri gradually crushed the Narn Regime and overran its homeworld. But this was just a prelude to the Great War, long predicted, against the Shadows themselves. The known worlds would have to unite to survive. Babylon 5 was transformed from the galaxy's last hope for peace, to its last hope of victory, and the programmes headed towards one of the most moving series finales ever seen, as Sleeping In Light rounded off the epic narrative.

The pilot episode was made before its Star Trek rival, with the first full series being initiated in 1993. By that time some of the cast had changed, but not to the detriment of the programme. Apparently the company distributing the series, Warner Brothers, initially expected the series to run for about five years, and viewers soon made up their own minds that Warner’s were not wasting their time. Strangely enough, Channel 4 left the screening of the pilot episode until later in 1994, starting straight off with the first regular episode, written by J Michael Straczynski, who penned twelve of the first season episodes. Babylon 5 also had scripts by Star Trek regular DC Fontana and boasted among its consultants science-fiction supremo Harlan Ellison. Andreas Katsulas, playing Ambassador G'Kar under heavy make-up, had also appeared more than once as the Romulan Ambassador Tomalak in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

 


REGULAR CAST

SEASON ONE
Commander Jeffrey David Sinclair Michael O'Hare
Lieutenant-Commander Susan Ivanova Claudia Christian (Not Pilot)
Chief Warrant Officer Michael Alfredo Garibaldi Jerry Doyle
Doctor Stephen Franklin Richard Biggs (Eps 2, 4, 8-11, 14-16, 18, 20, 22)
PSI Corps Resident Telepath Talia Winters Andrea Thompson (Eps 1, 3, 6, 9, 16-17, 20)
Minbari Ambassador Delenn Mira Furlan (Pilot, Eps 1-2, 5, 7-8, 10, 13-14, 16-19, 22)
Centauri Ambassador Londo Mollari Peter Jurasik (Pilot, Eps 1, 3, 5, 7, 9-14, 17-18, 20, 22)
Narn Ambassador G'Kar Andreas Katsulas (Pilot, Eps 1, 3, 5-7, 9-13, 22)
Minbari Aide Lennier Bill Mumy (Eps 5, 9, 14-15, 20, 22)
Centauri Aide Vir Cotto Stephen Furst (Eps 1, 3, 5, 7, 14, 22)
Narn Aide Na'Toth Caitlin Brown (Eps 5, 9, 12, 16, 22)
Vorlon Ambassador Kosh Ardwight Chamberlain (Pilot, Eps 1, 7, 9-10, 13-14, 22)
Observation Dome Technician Marianne Robertson (Eps 2-6, 8-9, 11-19, 21-22)
Garibaldi's Aide Macaulay Bruton (Eps 6, 8, 12, 22)

SEASON TWO
Captain John J Sheridan Bruce Boxleitner
Commander Susan Ivanova Claudia Christian
Chief Warrant Officer Michael Alfredo Garibaldi Jerry Doyle
Doctor Stephen Franklin Richard Biggs (Eps 1-5, 7-20)
PSI Corps Resident Telepath Talia Winters Andrea Thompson (Eps 2, 6-8, 14, 16, 19)
Lieutenant Warren Keffer Robert Rusler (Eps 1, 4, 10, 14, 18, 22)
Minbari Ambassador Delenn Mira Furlan (Eps 1-2, 4, 7-12, 14-16, 18-22)
Centauri Ambassador Londo Mollari Peter Jurasik (Eps 2-3, 5, 8-9, 12, 14-15, 17, 20, 22)
Narn Ambassador G'Kar Andreas Katsulas (Eps 2, 5, 8-9, 12, 15, 20-22)
Minbari Aide Lennier Bill Mumy (Eps 1-2, 8, 11, 14, 18, 21-22)
Centauri Aide Vir Cotto Stephen Furst (Eps 3, 8-9, 12, 14, 16-17, 21-22)
Narn Aide Na'Toth Mary Kay Adams (Eps 2, 12)
Vorlon Ambassador Kosh Ardwight Chamberlain (Eps 2, 9, 11-12, 14-16, 19-22)
Security Officer Zack Allan Jeff Conaway (Eps 6, 9, 12-14, 16, 19, 22)
Observation Dome Tech Second Lt David Corwin Joshua Cox (Eps 1, 3-4, 6, 10-13, 15, 17, 19-22)

SEASON THREE
Captain John J Sheridan Bruce Boxleitner
Commander Susan Ivanova Claudia Christian
Chief Warrant Officer Michael Alfredo Garibaldi Jerry Doyle (Not Eps 12, 17)
Doctor Stephen Franklin Richard Biggs (Eps 1-4, 6-11, 13-15, 18-22)
Ranger Marcus Cole Jason Carter (Eps 1, 5, 7-8, 11, 13, 16-17, 19, 21)
Minbari Ambassador Delenn Mira Furlan (Eps 1-6, 8, 10-22)
Centauri Ambassador Londo Mollari Peter Jurasik (Eps 1-4, 6, 9-12, 15-18, 20, 22)
Citizen G'Kar Andreas Katsulas (Eps 1-3, 5-6, 8-11, 13-14, 17-20, 22)
Minbari Aide Lennier Bill Mumy (Eps 1-2, 4, 6, 8, 10-11, 14, 16-22)
Centauri Aide Vir Cotto Stephen Furst (Eps 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 17, 20, 22)
Vorlon Ambassador Kosh Ardwight Chamberlain (Eps 1, 4, 6, 13, 15, 22)
Replacement Vorlon Ambassador Kosh Ardwight Chamberlain (Ep 18)
Security Sergeant Zack Allan Jeff Conaway (Eps 2, 4-5, 8-10, 12, 16, 19, 21)
Lieutenant David Corwin Joshua Cox (Eps 3, 5, 9-11, 16, 21-22)

SEASON FOUR
Captain John J Sheridan Bruce Boxleitner
Commander Susan Ivanova Claudia Christian (Not Eps 2, 18, 22)
Michael Alfredo Garibaldi Jerry Doyle (Eps 2-5, 7-8, 10, 12, 14-17, 19-22)
Doctor Stephen Franklin Richard Biggs (Eps 2-4, 7-13, 15-17, 19-22)
Ranger Marcus Cole Jason Carter (Eps 2-3, 6, 9-11, 13, 15, 17, 19-21)
Security Chief Zack Allan Jeff Conaway (Eps 1, 3-4, 7-9, 12-14, 16, 21)
Telepath Lyta Alexander Patricia Tallman (Eps 1, 3-4, 6-7, 14, 16-17, 19-20)
Minbari Ambassador Delenn Mira Furlan (Eps 1-11, 13-14, 17-22)
Centauri Ambassador Londo Mollari Peter Jurasik (Eps 1-8, 12-13, 15, 19, 21-22)
Citizen G'Kar Andreas Katsulas (Eps 1-5, 7, 9, 12, 15, 19, 21-22)
Minbari Aide Lennier Bill Mumy (Eps 1-3, 5-6, 8-11, 13-14, 17, 19-21)
Centauri Aide Vir Cotto Stephen Furst (Eps 1, 3, 5-6, 15, 19, 21)
Vorlon Ambassador Kosh Ardwight Chamberlain (Eps 1-4)
Lieutenant David Corwin Joshua Cox (Ep 15)

SEASON FIVE
President John J Sheridan Bruce Boxleitner (Not Eps 7, 13)
Captain Elizabeth Lochley Tracy Scoggins (Eps 1, 4-6, 8, 10-11, 17, 19, 21)
Alliance Head of Covert Ops Michael Alfredo Garibaldi Jerry Doyle (Eps 1-6, 8-12, 14-22)
Doctor Stephen Franklin Richard Biggs (Eps 1-7, 11-22)
Security Chief Zack Allan Jeff Conaway (Eps 1-2, 4-7, 9-14, 16, 18-22)
Telepath Lyta Alexander Patricia Tallman (Eps 3, 6-7, 9-11, 15, 17-20)
Minbari Ambassador Delenn Mira Furlan (Eps 1-6, 8-10, 12, 14-22)
Centauri Ambassador Londo Mollari Peter Jurasik (Eps 1-4, 6, 8-10, 12, 14-18, 21)
Citizen G'Kar Andreas Katsulas (Eps 1-4, 6, 8-10, 12, 14-21)
Ranger Lennier Bill Mumy (Eps 2, 8, 14-18, 21)
Centauri Ambassador Vir Cotto Stephen Furst (Eps 2, 14-18, 21-22)
Lieutenant David Corwin Joshua Cox (Eps 1, 4, 6, 8, 17, 21)

 


Creator: J Michael Straczynski
Executive Producers: Douglas Netter and
  J Michael Straczynski
Producer: John Copeland
Co-Producer: Richard Compton
  (Season 1 Only)
Associate Producer: George Johnsen
  (Seasons 1-3), Susan Norkin (Season 4)
Conceptual Consultant: Harlan Ellison
Executive Story Editor: Lawrence G
  DiTillio

Music: Stewart Copeland (Pilot Only),
  Christopher Franke and The Berlin
  Symphonic Film Orchestra


All details are trademarked and copyrighted by their respective producers. All character and location names are also copyright. No infringement of any copyright is intended.
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