US tv series (1993-). Warner Bros Television. Series created by J.Michael Straczynski; co-exec prods, Straczynski and Doug Netter; conceptual consultant Harlan ELLISON; writers include Straczynski, Peter A.DAVID, Larry DiTillo, Kathryn Drennan, D.C.FONTANA, Scott Frost, David GERROLD, Christy Marx, Marc Scott Zicree; directors include Menachem Binetski, Richard Compton, Kevin Cremins, Mario DiLeo, David Eagle, John Flinn, Lorraine Senna Ferrara, Janet Greek, Bruce Seth Green, Jim Johnston, Stephen Posey, Jesus Trevino, Mike Vejar. Two-hour pilot episode Feb 1993, 22 one-hour episodes season one 1994, 18 one-hour episodes to May 1995 season two 1994-95. Current. The pilot is set in the year 2257, and the following events are planned to go forward to the year 2262. The story takes place on a five-mile-long space station, built by the Earth Alliance in neutral space to help keep the peace between humans and the four other alien alliances, each of which maintains an ambassador on board. Four previous stations have disappeared or been destroyed. The station has a human commander, Jeffrey Sinclair (played by Michael O'Hare) in the first season, but reassigned as ambassador to the Minbari homeworld and replaced by Captain John Sheridan (played by Bruce Boxleitner) in the second. The four ambassadors are loud-mouthed Londo Mollari of the Centauri, a decadent power of waning strength but the first aliens to have been encountered by humans, played by Peter Jurasik; Delenn of the Minbari, an enigmatic race recently at war with Earth, a war called off for mysterious reasons, played by Mira Furlan; G'Kar of the Narns, a race that recently rebelled against the influence of the Minbari, played by Andreas Katsulas; Kosh Naranek of the Vorlons, a methane-breathing race, always seen in protective garb, about whom practically nothing is known (voice effects by Chris Franke). This syndicated series is very much the brain child of Straczynski, who has the writing credit for 23 of the 40 one-hour episodes to date, plus the pilot. Though individual episodes stand alone, there is an over-arching story, involving the gradual solution of a number of mysteries, planned to extend over five years. This is a very unusual and ambitious way to structure a tv series. There is much political conspiracy - often luridly melodramatic - slowly unravelled as the story continues, and much of the action is devoted to these, which include Commander Sinclair's amnesia about a space battle against the Minbari ten years earlier. Other conspiracies involve soul stealing, and the possibly malign influence of the human Psi Corps on the Earth Alliance. The effective special effects are largely computer generated, by Foundation Imaging, and those for the pilot won an Emmy. The science goes out of its way, most of the time, not to include the futuristic for its own sake; that is, some of it is plausible. Human relations are imperfect, sometimes grating. The series gives the impression of being a little more prepared to go for the jugular than its immediate competition, STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE, also set on a space station, whose pilot aired a scant month before B5's, but which was not in pre-production so long. (That is, B5 cannot be said to have been launched as any kind of deliberate imitation.) Due to illness, Harlan Ellison has not written his announced scripts. Several major roles were dropped or replaced after the pilot. Other leading roles in the ongoing series are second-in-command Commander Susan Ivanova (played by Claudia Christian); telepath Talia Winters (played by Andrea Thompson); the cynical Security Chief Garibaldi (played by Jerry Doyle); Dr Stephen Franklin (played by Richard Biggs), Lieutenant Warren Keffer (played by Robert Russler); Vir, Londo's bumbling aide (played by Stephen Furst); Lennier, Delenn's assistant (played by Bill Mumy); Bester, possibly malicious Psi Cop (played by Walter Koenig). The first of a series of novels spun off from the series is Babylon 5, Book \#1: Voices(1995) by John VORNHOLT.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

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