Monday, August 11, 2014

The word you're looking for is 'squee!'

Hold on tight everybody, because we're about to get nerdy. Really nerdy. Ready? Here goes: it looks like Babylon 5 might be getting a reboot. Holy shit! I mean can you even-wait a minute, you don't seem to be freaking out. In fact, I would characterize your reaction as something between disinterest and feigned confusion...
Oh, don't look at me like that. You know full well what I'm talking about.
Above: No.
For those of you who don't remember (or are pretending not to, Doctor...) Babylon 5 was the other mid-nineties space-station show. Yes, there were two. Well, ok, three if you count the short-lived Space Rangers, which we won't because that show was objectively garbage. I love Linda Hunt and all, but it really was unbelievably terrible. The point is, the 90's were a great time to be a dork. Most people are familiar with the Star Trek TNG spin-off Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It was about a space station that sits at the mouth of a swirly blue portal that leads to distant parts of the galaxy and was run by a guy with a magic destiny and a dead wife who finds himself caught up in a war between galactic civilizations.

Meanwhile, Babylon 5 was about a space station at the mouth of a completely different kind of swirly blue portal that leads to distant parts of the galaxy. It was run by a guy with a totally distinct magic destiny, but a similarly dead wife who finds himself caught up in a war between galactic civilizations.
The one on the left is a wormhole which is a hole in the fabric of you know, space while the one
on the right is a jump-gate which is a hole in-whatever, look, it's like the same goddamn thing.
Executives: It's not their job to be creative.
It's their job to exploit the creativity of others.
Coincidence, right? While it's true that Deep Space 9 came out a couple of weeks before Babylon 5, B5's creator J. Michael Straczynski pitched the show to Paramount (DS9's production company) a few years earlier, even handing over notebooks full of his ideas. Because if there's anyone in this world you can trust it's network executives. Anyway, all the blatant similarities and the perception of plagiarism split nerdom in twain, pitting fan against fan, geek against slightly bigger geek. Not since Genesis Vs. Super-NES had our community been so divided.

Fortunately the enmity was ended when Majel Roddenberry, widow of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, made a guest appearance on Babylon 5 as a bald psychic alien with six hoo-hah's. Incidentally, B5 was like way more comfortable talking about alien genitalia than Star Trek ever was.
Roddenberry's appearance on B5 finally put an end to-yes, Centauri have six. Move on. 
Finally, these fans will be able to go five
minutes at a Comic-Con without having to
explain who the hell they're supposed to be.
According to this, Straczynski wants to reboot B5 as a movie, which I'm kind of on the fence about. The series often featured community theatre-level acting and special effects worthy of Playstation 1, so a big-budget fancy-pants remake would be a totally welcome upgrade. On the other hand, the show was kind of a five-year soap-opera in space, so condensing the story into a two-hour movie or (shudder) trilogy of movies might necessitate leaving out a lot of the details (i.e. the Centauri and their hexa-junk). Either way, I think we should all brace ourselves for a serious uptick in B5 cosplay.

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