Reflections on the End of Babylon 5

         The last episode of Babylon 5 was aired on November 25, 1998.    Reading posts on the Internet and discussions with some friends there was a feeling of sadness connected with the event.   I felt differently.  To me it felt like a great victory.  To explain why I have to give some background.
         I first heard about Babylon 5 from an article in Starlog.   The article had consisted of Joe Michael Straczynski describing the series with some art (this early Babylon 5 art can be found at www.public.usit. net/f-shysa).   It was Straczynski’s involvement, which interested me since I was fan of his work on The Real Ghostbusters and The Twilight Zone.  I saw the pilot in the spring of 1993 and was impressed by its characterization and design.  Four months later at Confrancisco, the 1993 Worldcon, I attended a Babylon 5 presentation with Straczynski and Harlan Ellison.  It was there I first heard that Babylon 5 was going to be a five-year mini series with a definite beginning, middle and end.   The thought astounded me.   To end a show a predetermined time rather than to milk it completely dry, which is what I felt was happening to Trek at the time.   To have a story that was going somewhere rather than just a new adventure every week.   I was hoping it would succeed.  I knew full well that even good SF and fantasy shows were lucky to get a second season much less go on for five years.
         The show succeeded.  Babylon 5 flourished despite bad timeslots while it was syndicated and early mixed reviews.   During its run Babylon 5 won 2 Hugos, winning over big budget films like Apollo 13 and Independence Day.    It won the respect of both SF fans and pros.  It ended Trek’s domination of SF TV.   Most important they got to tell the whole story.   This is why at the end I felt a sensation of victory.   It was triumph the fans could share with Joe, since he had kept a dialogue with fans over the Internet during the show’s run.  It would have been sad if they were cut short.   Now we can look forward to the new spin-off Crusade and new quality SF series that will hopefully blossom as a result of  Babylon 5’s victory.

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