I recently started buying the season DVDs for Babylon 5. It’s amazing watching the show again without interruptions or commercials. As of this writing, the first episode aired almost 13 years ago, yet the special effects on most parts is passable today. The show has an amazing cohisiveness that I didn’t appreciate at the time. It’s not so much a TV series as one very long epic story, like Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. There’s one author for ~90% of the shows, so plot lines carry over all the way from season 1 to season 5. So many things I missed, because I had forgotten stories from the earlier seasons.
Watching it again it seems like a show many years ahead of it’s time. There’s no syndicated new programming these days. It shows scenes of war more reminiscent of the recent conflicts. In the early ’90’s, we had not been involved in a war in almost 20 years (I conveniently forget the Gulf War for reason I won’t go into here). The disturbing reductions in freedom due to unknown, unspecified threats resonates with the arguments we hear about the “war on terror”.
This was also my first introduction to ideas from hinduism, budhism, and metaphysics. For example, the Minbari believe in reincarnation a fundamental tenant of many eastern religions. There is also a discussion with a missionary, acquiring the names of God, with a pair of Minbari in season two describing each person as a projection on a wall exactly as Swami Vivekenanda (hinduism) does is his first volume. These things are sprinkled like salt and pepper throughout the TV season. Radical concepts from where I grew up; a small, isolated, rural, protestant, homogenous community in Texas.
If you have the time, around 100 hours, take a peak. It’s better than a lot of shows on TV today.