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Babylon 5

The Fat Lady is Singing has been moved to dward350.htm.

New Page – 30 April 2004

Updated -- 11 August 2004

Babylon 5 was one of the truly unique television series of all time. This webpage is not the official home page of Babylon 5 , but rather an appreciation of a few of the many brilliant notes struck from the pen of its creator, Michael Straczynski. The many fans of Babylon 5 will know of which I speak.

For example, in the first episode of year 5 ("No Compromises"), a reptilian Narn (named G'Kar) is charged with providing the inaugural oath for a new president of a grand alliance of different alien (extraterrestrial) species. The result is:

"Whoever speaks for the Alliance, speaks with one voice for many.

This book contains the first page of every holy book of every race that has joined the new Alliance. Whoever speaks for the Alliance does so with the understanding that it is the inalienable right of every sentient being to live free, pursue their dreams, to address wrongs within their own society without fear of retribution, to believe as their conscience requires in matters of faith, but also to respect the rights of others to believe differently or not at all."

Before G'Kar can continue, there is a threat on the incoming president's life, and after the threat is gone -- but everyone else has run for cover -- G'Kar turns to the man and asks: "You want to be president?" When the answer is "yes", G'Kar says, "Put your hand on the book and say, 'I do'." When the new president says 'I do', G'Kar says, "Fine. Done. Let's eat."

One can immediately sense why Babylon 5 had such a loyal cadre of listeners. Deep within its wellspring of wisdom lies the same kind of inclusiveness as the words to Finlandia.

This is my song, O God of all the nations
A song of peace for lands afar and mine
This is my home, the country where my heart is
Here are my hopes and dreams, my holy shrine
But other hearts in other lands are beating
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.
My country's skies are bluer than the ocean
And sunlight beams on clover leaf and pine
But other lands have sunlight, too, and clover
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine
O hear my song, thou God of all the nations
A song of peace for their land and for mine

A good example of this occurs in Babylon 5's third episode of year 5 ("The Paragon of Animals"). It is G'Kar's attempt to provide for the Alliance's new Consitution, a

"Declaration of Principles

"The universe speaks in many languages, but only one voice. The language is not Narn or human or Centauri or Gayan or Membari. It speaks in the language of hope; it speaks in the language of trust; it speaks in the language of strength, in the language of compassion. It is the language of the heart adn the language of the soul. And always it is the same voice. It is the voice of our ancestors speaking through us and the voice of our inheritors waiting to be born. It is the small still voice that says, 'we are one'. No matter the blood, no matter the skin, no matter the world, no matter the star. We are one! No matter the pain, no matter the darkness, no matter the loss, no matter the fear. We are one, here, gathered together in common cause. We agree to recognize this singular truth, and this singular rule: that we must be kind to one another, because each voice enriches us and enables us. And each voice lost diminishes us. We are the voice of the universe, the soul of creation, the fire that will light the way to a better future. We are one. We are one."

Designed as a five year project, Babylon 5 encompassed well over a hundred episodes tied together with various story lines and strings such that hints alluded to in earlier years came to fruition in the later years. It included heroes which were reptilian (the Narn), highly social and attractive beings which nevertheless fell into darkness (Centauris, Menbari, Earthmen and a whole range of other species), technomages (highly advanced magicians using “Incantations of Equations”), presumably angelic beings (the Vorlan) and the ultimate in evil doers (the Shadows). In large part, therefore, Babylon 5 was a galactic battle between good and evil.

To the author's credit was the recognition of what the good and bad aliens would ask the various lesser beings. The Shadows inevitably asked, "What do you want? The more angelic beings -- but not without their own dysfunctionality -- would ask, "Who are you?" If you think about it, how could anyone answer the first question adequately without first answering the first question. This is a good example of Babylon 5's underlying philosophy and fundamental message.

But this motif of good versus evil also manifested as a split within the ruling powers of Earth itself. The latter story line in fact, while based on Nazis and other such threats to freedom and liberty, had more than a distant ring of similarity to current United States politics of the 21 st century. In an earlier episode there is even one species accusing another species of attempting to transport – I kid you not – “Weapons of Mass Destruction”. In the 23rd century blatant deceit and dishonesty is obviously still in vogue.

While the series is now complete, reruns still exist from time to time and DVDs are now available (as of mid April 2004) for the complete five years. Life is good, especially considering the final episode of year four – which I'm not going to tell you about.


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