I don’t want to start a Babylon 5 versus Star Trek debate because I am not concerned with the coolest looking space ships or the best space battles, but is there any meaningful social value to good sci-fi shows?
Just to state my position to begin with I think Babylon 5 is somewhat better than Star Trek though there are areas in which Trek is superior.
Some people accuse Star Trek of being socialist propaganda and other people like it for that:
So, what, specifically, do I mean by “Star Trek socialism”?
I mean nothing specific. I mean it as an invitation to imagine, not as a definition to impose. Such is the nature of utopia—it is, above all, an exercise of the imagination, which is a core part of what makes us human. By using the term “Star Trek socialism” I want to indicate and help re-establish an alternative viewpoint that is not just valuable in itself, but also for the sorts of discussions it can generate. The viewpoint is that which we can see embodied in the United Federation of Planets, and how we can imagine ways to “Make it so,” as Captain Picard would say.
I don’t know what to call the Star Trek economy since it apparently works by magic but I think the important thing is that it portrays a future society that is significantly differnt from today’s. That is what is wrong with Babylon 5 as a portrayal of the future. Star Trek probably is not correct but I hardly think society will be so little changed in 200 years as shown in B5.
But if one of the functions of good sci-fi is to make people think then what B5 does is not really BAD it is just using the magic looking glass of sci-fi to show us ourselves instead of showing us a possible future. Or maybe evn another side of ourselves if you encompass the entire human race. Very few TV programs, at least in the US, bring up the concept of reincarnation. And yet that is an integral part of the backdrop of the Babylon 5 story.
Where the Star Trek portrayal would have you believe that religion has been eradicated like disease and poverty, Babylon 5 instead shows all of it’s major characters on a spiritual journey. The Bible is frequently quoted on the show, and the overall story arc is epic in an almost Biblical way
On the topic of religion…yes, we’ve spent a fair amount of time on the subject, and to your note that the “show has portrayed religion exceptionally well; it is nice to know that faith is not dead in your future as in all the ST shows,” someone commented on another forum that because I’m an atheist, and don’t have any particular axe to grind, it’s possible to treat the beliefs of others with some measure of equanimity. - jms
So the soul form in Minbari is different from the soul form in humans; also, in their view, having been civilized longer than us, their soul form is more elevated, more evolved…and thus the pices are more precious, to them, and to the Soul Hunters.
Many of the current struggles in today’s world involve religion and economics and it is the changing technology in the background that makes this a kind of For Real Sci-Fi planet. So can we learn anything from the fictional sci-fi?
There are a couple of things I will say are wrong with B5. There is no Scotty type character and they flushed out the techno-babble. LOL B5 is a 5-mile long space station with a fusion reactor and lots space fighters and ships to maintain and a jumpgate into hyperspace but apparently there is no chief of engineering high up in the command staff? Tell me another one. And can you imagine what kind of techn-babble conversations occur on a nuclear submarine when it is on a mission? Although I think Trek often went overboard with it, though I just find it funny, I think pretending it ain’t going to happen in the future is absurd.
You want I should tell you about the impulse response test that is done on my Vandersteen speakers to measure the phase allignment of the dynamic drivers? ROFL Believe it or not that question made perfect sense.