Babylon 5 was a fabulous TV series. It was gritty and grimy and thoughtful and witty, a real contrast to the sappiness of Star Trek: Deep Space 9. There was little or no flakey spirituality, and that little that was present was explained in physical terms. Even the Minbari, elf-like as they were, were grounded in the physical. For example, there’s a straightforward physical explanation for their special machines detecting the ‘souls’ of human beings. My atheist, materialist* “soul” was delighted. The show had some fantastic roles for women, and it passed the Bechdel test, in the very first episode (Ivanova and Talia talk about the Psi Corps).
I found Babylon 5 genuinely scary the first time I watched it. The Shadows creeped me out, and their shrieking vessels terrified me. I almost wanted to hide behind the sofa. I was relieved when the first White Star ship appeared, and even more relieved when there turned out to be many more. It also made me cry at some points, notably when DeLenn farewelled her husband, and then each day from that time, sat where she had sat with him, and watched the dawn.
We watched the entire series again a year or two ago, on a DVD set of dubious provenance. I must watch out for a genuine set: it’s one of those shows that I can imagine watching again. Soon. With my knitting in hand, so that I can “hide” when necessary.
* “Materialist”, not “materialistic”. There’s a difference.