A Look Back At ‘Babylon 5’

by on April 21, 2013

in Entertainment

'Babylon 5' s1 classic review

This “classic reflection” is an updated look at one of my favorite sci fi TV shows: Babylon 5. And in the process, a quickie update on the cast and show creator J. Michael Straczynski.

B5, (fan shorthand for Babylon 5) is chock-full of first-class actors, writers and has a stellar group of creative forces with impeccable credentials. Too bad it was premiered at the same time as another sci-fi show with a similar setting (Deep Space Nine).

However, creator J. Michael Straczynski originally pitched his concept 5 years previous to various network kingpins, it just took them a long time to say “yes.” Apparently they thought there was only one franchise that could successfully grab the sci-fi ratings (Star Trek).

Straczynski had previously been a writer on such shows as Murder She Wrote and Jake and the Fatman, so B5 was his first real foray into prime time TV as the executive producer, creator, writer and den mother on a major network.

Babylon 5 on Amazon}

Unlike other shows, B5 had a definitive story arch that began in season 1 but really took off in the second season.

The first season set up the universe of the series, introducing the characters, the background of the station (called Babylon 5 because it was the fifth station built), and relationships between the various alien races.

The story of the station was that after a long war between Earth and an alien race called the Minbari, it was built as a place to give the different races a neutral place to conduct diplomacy to prevent further wars.

During it’s five-year run, B5 at times struggled for recognition from the network even though by then they had won a few Emmys and had a large following of devoted fans. (They were also the first to use extensive CGI for the shots outside the station.) Thankfully Straczynski, while under the threat of cancellation, was able to finish out the fifth and final season and thus end the series properly.

It’s an excellent series and is one of my personal favorites.

'Babylon 5' review

Since its cancellation, some of the cast are still working within the industry.

Jason Carter (Ranger Marcus Cole) has had a few TV gigs since, and has roles in various genre flick, his latest is in post-production, Starship II: Rendezvous with Ramses.

Patricia Tallman (Lyta Alexander) went on to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (DS9) and quite a few movies. She was last seen in Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike and is executive producing an upcoming project called The Flickering Light.

Bill Blair (Brakiri Priest) also went on to DS9, then later Star Trek: Enterprise. He’s also been in quite a few big screen projects, his latest was as an uncredited theater guest in Hitchcock and is rumored to have a project titled Mangled Angels.

Jeff Conaway (Security Chief Zack Allen) had a few TV gigs, including one of his latest on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, and has 44 movies in his resume, with 3 in production at the moment. Nothing big, unless you’re a huge fan of films like Dante’s Purgatory Documented & Dante’s Hell Documented.

Claudia Christian (Susan Ivanova) had a bunch of short or 1 up TV gigs (60 total) and has worked in 40 movies. The latest being Strange Frame: Love & Sex. She has two upcoming projects coming out: Chicanery and Watercolor Postcards.

Michael O’Hare (Commander Sinclair) really didn’t do much after 2000,  but passed away in late 2012 at the age of 60.

Bruce Boxleitner (Capt. John Sheridan) has been pretty busy, having guest gigs in some popular TV shows, (81 titles total, and counting), and had a few Syfy movie roles, but his career might have found a boost when he was in Tron: Legacy. He has some other upcoming projects, but more ‘fun’ stuff.

Bill Mumy (Lennier) has only a few TV gigs, and hasn’t had a movie role since 2009.

Peter Jurasik (Londo Mollari) had a few TV guest gigs and if you saw the baseball movie 42, you might have caught him as a hotel manager in the movie.

Andreas Katsulas (G’kar) wasn’t in too much on TV and only a few movies. He was fairly low key in the acting realm and sadly passed away in 2006 at the age of 59.

Stephen Furst (VIr Cotto) had a long gig after B5 on the animated series, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command as the voice of Booster. He’s also been getting behind the camera for some TV & big screen movies. My Sister’s Keeper, being his latest executive producer gig.

Richard Biggs (Dr. Steven Franklin) had a bunch of guest TV gigs, until he landed a recurring role in Strong Medicine. Sadly, he passed away in 2004. (But no one told IMDb, who has him in an upcoming 2013 movie. Duh.)

Mira Furlan (Ambassador Delenn) didn’t have too many TV roles, since, but most of them have been recurring roles in series like Lost on ABC and her latest TV role was in Najbolje godine, and has been pretty busy on the big screen also, with 3 movies in post-production, seaburners, Berinine cakre, & Surviving Me.  (As you can see, mostly non-domestic work.)

Jerry Doyle (Michael Garibaldi) has not been anything since 2101 on TV or 2004 in the theater.

Some of the Latest News on J. Michael Straczynski:

Series creator J. Michael Straczynski has been building on his career since then, having worked on Jeremiah on TV… and is presently executive producing new shows Netflix’s Sense8 and The Adventures of Apocalypse Al. On the big screen, he’s cranked out screenplays for Changeling, Thor and Underworld: Awakening. BTW, The Adventures of Apocalypse Al is from his production company, Studio JMS.

As you see, Babylon 5 was full of some great talent, and the majority of the talent went on with strong continuing careers, especially JMS!

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