This Week I’m a Babylon 5 SuperFan

My StepDaughter had never seen Babylon 5. What?!? She’d thought she’d seen parts of it, but it turned out she’d gotten it confused with Stargate. WhatTheFrell?!?!? We remedied this situation immediately — we pulled out the pilot movie, The Gathering. She was immediately hooked (no surprise), and in the last week and a half we’ve gone all the way through to Sleeping in Light. Next up: the movies and Crusade.

I wrote an Ezine article on B5 and Social Media that got accepted today; I just put a Babylon 5 post up at Popular Delusions to go with it. Why am I being such a SuperFan, especially when the series is over a decade old, and there is so much else going on in science fiction these days? I can give you three reasons.

One: as someone trying to do the internet marketing thing, the story of how Babylon 5 was made, and the communication lines that Straczynski kept open with the fans, holds a lot of lessons for building a fan base and a personal brand online. jms (as he was known in the newsgroups) constantly kept up with and answered fan question on UseNet, as well a GEnie and CompuServe; things he heard online made their way into the show. He gets credited with creating the first “internet marketing campaign,” before such things even existed. Good stuff.

Two: as a lover of SF, Babylon 5 is simply a smart show. The characters are smart, the human space station and craft are all things that we currently have the technology for, the ships move in space as if they’re really in space. B5’s future is a “real” one; by that I mean that the quarters have bathrooms, the situations have complications, and the answers are never easy. Every action has consequences, and some of them are not pretty — and there’s no “reset” button at the end of the episode either. Consequences continue. Just like real life.

Three: as a quote collector and lover of Good Words, Babylon 5 is a gold mine. There are tons of great quotes and words to live by all over this series, in every season; whether it’s quick one liners (Garibaldi: “You know, if I knew who God was, I’d thank her”) or beautiful thoughts (Delenn’s “Star Stuff” speech), you’ll find an absolute ton of great stuff to think on in this part of the Multiverse. One of these days I’d love to go through the entire series with the pause button and my laptop, and write down all the good stuff to be sent to jms for approval and then published as “Good Words: The Wisdom of Babylon 5.” Whether written chronologically by episode or arranged by character, if nothing else I’d love to own that book. It would sure make quoting things easier!

For example, from Marcus Cole: “You know, I used to think it was awful that Life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn’t it be much worse if Life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the Universe.” Isn’t that a neat thought? I like it. Just like I like most of the wisdom the charactors spout on Babylon 5. Man, that jms can WRITE!

So I’ll quit now. This should be about enough from me about B5. But the show, the universe, really is that good. I haven’t even mentioned the CGI (incredible for its time), the unique aliens, the incredible space battles, or the truths underlying the whole Earth civil war thread. There is too much — I can’t even sum up. Suffice to say, I highly recommend watching it, beginning to end. Then you’ll love it too. 8-)

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