Time goes by so fast, it was only 10 years ago when I wrote my extensive Babylon 5 20th Anniversary blog and now it is 30 years already! I was playing with the thought of writing a whole new blog but the more I thought about it, the more I thought it would be waste of time because my 2014 blog is just very elaborate and informative. So I therefore leave the 2014 blog as it is and I have updated the blog for 2024 by adding stuff like the Blu-ray release of the complete series, the reboot we are all hoping for and the successful animation Babylon 5 movie The Road Home. And unfortunately I also have to update the actors who passed away because after 2014 it did not stop!


Today 30 years ago on January 26, 1994, Babylon 5 kicked off it's first season. Almost a year before that, on February 22, 1993, the pilot The Gathering aired and it took almost a full year before Babylon 5's first season began. Since about 1987 Creator J.M Straczynski had the Babylon 5 universe in his head. Five or six years before anybody heard of a Narn, a Minbari or a Centauri, they were already alive in Straczynski's mind. He and Douglas Netter tried to sell it to various networks/companies but nobody seemed interested. At the time there was not a lot of sci-fi on TV, only Star Trek: The Next Generation. Networks did not saw the need to create another sci-fi series since there already was a Star Trek series. As if Hillstreet Blues was the only cop series.


J.M. Straczynski also tried to sell Babylon 5 to Paramount, who also had Star Trek under it's wing. Paramount held on to the script for many months before deciding not to go forward with it but later on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was created. J.M. Straczynski always said the DS9 concept was stolen from his Babylon 5 concept and seeing there are a number of similarities, I think he's probably right. As I said earlier in a DS9 blog, I'm glad it turned out that way because Babylon 5 as well as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine are my all time favorite TV series. There always was a lot of animosity between Star Trek and Babylon 5 fans, which I never understood. I love them both, both sci-fi, both different, what's not to like! J.M. Straczynski stayed determined and finally got the series sold to Warner Bros. Domestic Television.

What is unique about Babylon 5 is that J.M. Straczynski told from the beginning that Babylon 5 was a five year story with a beginning, a middle and an end. This is probably one of the reasons why networks also were reluctant. Babylon 5 was a heavy serialized sci-fi drama, it was not TNG where you could miss several episodes and still know what was going on. In the first season for example, hints were dropped which were being followed upon in the second, third or even fourth season. Babylon 5's first season had, in my opinion, like the Star Trek series, a bit of a rough start but halfway through the first season it became clear Babylon 5 could become something very special, which it ultimately did. J.M Straczynski also wrote most of the second, third, fourth and fifth season himself which is also very unique to say the least.


The 90's was a decade in which sci-fi flourished and Babylon 5, as well as Deep Space Nine, The X-Files, Stargate SG-1, Space: Above & Beyond, Farscape and others are the pillars of serialized sci-fi as we know it today. The remake of Battlestar Galactica should show it's gratitude to those TV series from the 90's. I can honestly say that the 90's was the richest decade regarding sci-fi and it only helped the sci-fi series that followed beyond the millennium.

Cover art for 4 movies, which have been released on VHS in the late 90's. 

Babylon 5 – Completely released on VHS in the UK:

What is also remarkable is that Babylon 5 was completely released on VHS video in the UK, every month a VHS video was released with two new episodes, which was very convenient for myself because Babylon 5 had a very irregular broadcast schedule in my country. After the first two seasons it took almost two years before it was continued with the third in The Netherlands. At that time I was so addicted to those fantastic stories I needed to find some other way to watch Babylon 5. Thankfully I was able to purchase the UK imports in some local stores in my country. I owned them all but, with some regret in hindsight, I sold them all when I had purchased the DVD sets, because it was a lot of shelf space. There aren’t many shows who can brag with 6 extra movies besides the TV show itself. The first 4 (In the Beginning, Thirdspace, River of Souls & A Call to Arms) have also been released separately on VHS. These I still own and will never part with them.

Magazine, Pocket Books & Soundtracks:

What also could be considered remarkable is that in the UK and later on also in North America, a monthly Babylon 5 magazine was distributed. For about two years, each month, you could pick up a B5 magazine at your local comic or regular bookstore. I am the proud owner of every edition, still have them and I will never dispose of them. It was "normal" for Star Trek to have it's own magazine but for Babylon 5 it was almost miraculous! There was also a vast range of pocket books released. I do not own them all but I figure about 80% I still own and again, will never get rid of them!


If you are a Babylon 5 fan, like I am, than you must know that back in the 90's not only VHS video tapes, B5 magazins and Pocket Books where released, but also soundtracks of Babylon 5 episodes and movies! For movies you perhaps could expect this, but for episodes? That could very well be considered a milestone! Yes a soundtrack for a pilot happened more often but for multiple episodes, this didn't happen. At least not that I am aware of. Till this day, there still are some available, but if you are satisfied with mp3 files, check out this website where a lot of the Babylon 5 music is free available! 

Babylon 5 had it all, of course serialized drama, which meant ongoing story arcs, characters whom were allowed to develop, some great guest stars for example Majel Barret Roddenberry, Melissa Gilbert, Michael Ansara, Brad Dourif and Michael York, to name a few and besides the wonderful regular cast they also had a very impressive recurring cast like Walter Koenig, John Schuck, Marshall Teague, John Vickery, Ed Wasser and so on. It may not have had the budget Star Trek: Deep Space Nine had but they made it very believable with the budget they had. Babylon 5 also launched a new era of television CGI visual effects, which earned them multiple awards. Of course now some say it looks dated but I personally still enjoy the CGI sequences, okay, I would love to see those upgraded too but I still enjoy it.


Another difference with Star Trek was that Babylon 5 each year had to fight cancellation, each season there was praying to get it renewed. This was no different in season 4, J.M. Straczynski had the feeling they were really going to be cancelled this year and decided to wrap up most of the storylines. This time however they were saved by TNT, who wanted to have the last season on their schedule. So the fifth season is seen by many as unnecessary, not as good as seasons 2, 3 and 4, which in my opinion, is true. If J.M. Straczynski had known in time he would get his fifth and final season, the season 4 cliff-hanger would have become "The Face of the Enemy", episode 4.17. Now he had to think up a new storyline for the beginning of season 5, the telepath storyline and indeed, it wasn't that interesting. But by the second part of season 5, the quality, which we were used to from the earlier seasons, surfaced again.

Babylon 5 is a rich universe, which, if you ask me, could be much richer. I think that there still are a lot of B5 stories to be told, now we have five seasons, 7 movies, the pilot and The Legend of the Rangers included, and the follow-up series Crusade, which was already cancelled before the first episode aired. In 2007 B5 fans all around the world got hope again when J.M. Straczynski announced direct to DVD movies, but unfortunately we only got one DVD, The Lost Tales, which contained two stories of which I really love the one with Sheridan. J.M. Straczynski hoped to get more budget for the second one, but when he did not get that, JMS did not want to make another one simply because he wanted quality and he could not guarantee it with the budget he got.


Blu-ray release of the complete series & The Road Home, the animated movie:

Last year the animated B5 movie The Road Home was a big success. It was a fun movie, enjoyed it a lot. Of course I prefer the real deal but the success of this movie perhaps makes future B5 projects, like a live-action TV series possible.


Something I did not expect anymore, the complete series of Babylon 5 on Blu-ray. Two years ago when the announcement came that Babylon 5 had been remastered to HD and would be available on HBO Max, there was talk of a Blu-ray release also. Unfortunately it did not happen then. But now, in honor of Babylon 5’s 30th Anniversary, Babylon 5 finally is going to be released on Blu-ray, it was the best Blu-ray news in a long while. Unfortunately the movies aren’t included, except for the pilot. Hopefully, at some point, the movies gets their own release in the form of a complete movie boxset, but that remains to be seen and to be honest.


Edit: I've added this late December 2023, because I wanted to share with you about the actual Blu-ray release, not about the show itself but about the release. Let me first say, I purchased the UK release and this was a real disappointment to me! The packaging is very cheap, slip-cover is thin, not sturdy, the box itself has the same height as the DVD cases, so similar to the VEI Stargate releases. But the worst part is that the discs are stacked upon each other, sometimes 3 discs on top of each other! And if you expect a release full of extra’s, you are out of luck, it is a bare bones release, no commentaries, no deleted scenes, no featurettes! It really is a sad release. The only thing we can be happy about is that the show itself has finally been released on a HD physical release. The North American variant is regarding the packaging better, but also no extra’s. To check out my Babylon 5 Unboxing Blog, please click here.

A few of the Babylon 5 Monthly magazine covers

The hard Babylon 5 Reboot:

For a long time it was almost definite that the CW would be the network which would air the new hard reboot of Babylon 5, and yes with the same creator as the original show: J. Michael Straczynski. A lot has happened since, but the new Babylon 5 TV show is still not officially announced. On many occasions though JMS told us fans on Twitter, or now called X, that he still has full confidence the show will see the light of day! Although last few weeks I saw a less positive vid about this subject. The 30th Anniversary might be helpful and also the success of the release of the animated movie The Road Home. So hopefully JMS gets the opportunity to amaze us a second time!


Passed away:

Finally, there probably isn't a series from this era which has lost so many of it's stars and crew already. The first one of the main cast to go was Richard Biggs (Dr. Stephen Franklin) (2004), after the passing of Mr. Biggs there is a long list of regular and recurring cast as well as the crew. Also in 2004 Tim Choate (Zathras) died, Andreas Katsulas (G’Kar) passed away in 2006, Jeff Conaway (Zack Allan) in 2011, in 2012 Michael O'Hare who played Jeffrey Sinclair, the first commander of Babylon 5. Unfortunately it does not stop there, Jerry Doyle (Michael Garibaldi) in 2016, Stephen Furst (Vir) in 2017 and Mira Furlan (Delenn) passed away in 2021. It is unbelievable how many cast members have past away already, let alone the crew and guest stars! They all will be missed but they will always have a place in the Babylon 5 universe where they will be loved continuously by the millions of Babylon 5 fans.


Final Word:

So suddenly, after all these years where it looked like we’d never get anything new with the name Babylon 5 in it, it seems to look a bit brighter again for Babylon 5. The complete series on Blu-ray, the Animated movie and quite well possible there will be more B5 animated movies because The Road Home was a success. Furthermore, the hard reboot of the TV show is something that just has to happen and because I think the Blu-ray release will also be successful and that in 2024, the show turns 30, the time is now! The Babylon 5 universe holds so many more adventures, many more exciting stories, like Star Trek and Star Wars and hopefully Stargate also, Babylon 5 needs to go on for many more decades, it is just THAT GOOD!

A few Babylon 5 pocket book covers

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