Babylon 5 is being rebooted, and I have a complicated reaction to that.

I’m not sure how I feel about this.

[The CW] is teaming with original series creator J. Michael Straczynski for a reboot of Babylon 5.

Described as a “from-the-ground-up reboot” of the original, Straczynski will pen the script for a new potential version of the former syndicated drama from Warner Bros. TV. The new take revolves around John Sheridan (originally played by Bruce Boxleitner), an Earthforce officer with a mysterious background, who is assigned to Babylon 5, a five-mile-long space station in neutral space, a port of call for travelers, smugglers, corporate explorers and alien diplomats at a time of uneasy peace and the constant threat of war.

(H/T: @brett_lemons)Obvious plusses: it’s more Bab5*, and coming from Straczynski. Obvious negatives: it’s a reboot and there’s an obvious question to ask (“But why?”). And that leads me to my real concern: who do you find to replace the secondary characters? — who were, collectively, the real draw of the show for me. Who the hell wants to be known as Londo Mollari the Lesser?

…And yet, I will probably watch this. Because it is Babylon 5, and Straczynski’s doing the script. Bab5 was always a show that objectively shouldn’t have really worked; and yet, it did. Maybe they can pull it off again. Worth watching the pilot at least, hey?

Moe Lane

*That’s a good deal, that, if you don’t have the complete set already (I have the complete set already).

5 thoughts on “Babylon 5 is being rebooted, and I have a complicated reaction to that.”

  1. I’ll reserve judgement until if and when the pilot airs. Being on the CW (gritty reboot of *Archie* for crissakes) gives me a bit of pause. OTOH, the Arrowverse remains fine, even as it’s showing its age.

  2. Can you envision anyone in the current crowd delivering deep and powerful monologues about Freedom and Co-Existence with a straight face? B5 worked because it earnestly believed in itself. I doubt anyone in Hollywood believes in B5 anymore.
    Heck, most everyone’s already cheering for the Vorlon Planet-Killers.

    1. At some point, the Millennials will get a bit weary of all things grim dark and start wanting something else.
      I’m not saying Babylon 5 will be that thing .. overall, the arc of the series bent toward grim dark if not gritty.
      I am saying that, sooner rather than later (given current geopolitics) the time will be ripe for another raft of .. less “Blade Runner” nihilism, more “Star Trek” optimism. B5 can ride that line pretty darn well.
      p.s. “the avalanche has started, it is too late for the pebbles to vote” is still one of the all-time best quotes ever.

  3. The only realistic answer I can think of to the Obvious Question is “It might make money”. Although it’s possible JMS still has stuff to say or do with the setting: he certainly tried for a couple of spin-offs after the original series ended.

  4. First, why? The original series is great. Why reboot it?

    Second, I’m a bit dubious about this. I’m more than a bit, actually. They’re probably going to need to change some things up. Scratch that, they’ll probably need to change a lot of things up. For example, the big reveal about who Valen really was isn’t quite the same if you already know it beforehand (though I noticed that they’re going straight to Sheridan assuming command; on the other hand, the original Sheridan didn’t have a “mysterious background”…). And there are other plot points with similar issues.

    Third, the sad fact is that while I loved the TV series, I never cared for the movies. Crusade’s failure is generally blamed on TNT, but given how I felt about the movies, there are times that I wonder how much of that blame is correctly placed.

    Fourth, I’ve got a pretty strong suspicion that one of the background figures will be meant to remind us of Donald Trump.

    Fifth, changes to the characters (because it’s a reboot) will probably mean that at least one or two old favorites get thoroughly trashed – at least in my eyes. I’m not going to be happy watching something like that.

Comments are closed.