Babylon 5 S3 (1995-1996)

<< Babylon 5 >>

In the third season, the conflict with Earth comes to a head and the station goes independent. Also, the conflict with the shadows grows hotter. This feels like the middle book of a trilogy, the themes and story threads of the first book are consequently advanced, the tension is slowly but quite perceivably rising and everything is preparing for the big climax in book three.

Only one annoying episode (Arthur’s comeback, an attempt to outdo the whole searching for the grail episode of season two), while the rest always manage a high quality. Even Sinclair got a big, brilliant sendoff.

But while I really love the show, there are some things that to some extent really irk me. I’m never really comfortable with time travel because often it seems to imply that the future is predestined. Even if different outcomes are possible, it seems the characters can either choose between fated option A (a tragic personal end, but the rest of your people are saved) or B (aka the really bad future, personal and universal misery all about), but never chose something entirely new.

This goes as much for Sinclair as for Sheridan, G’Kar or the others, whose futures seem pretty much laid out. There’s also a tendency to force tragic destinies on all major characters in the show, which I find annoying and manipulative.

But if there’s one element I really dislike it’s the whole vitalism aspect that runs through the show. I said before that I like how spiritual the show is, but there are times when the show becomes completely unhinged from science and goes completely into a new-age-mysticism-mode that makes it look extremely stupid.

In those moments I can still appreciate the show as a big fantasy epic, but they considerably weaken its grounding as an SF show. That’s not a biggie for most people, but I’m always annoyed when SF shows go completely bonkers and portray completely inane or stupid ideas as part of a science fiction setting.