Science Fiction on the small screen offers a wide variety of interesting shows, but still it seems to lack the depth and complexity we can find in books – and it stands to reason, since the TV format must adhere to rules that don’t apply to the written word. Yet there is a show that transcends these rules because it was conceived as a five-part novel in the mind of its creator, and like a novel it doesn’t only deliver action and adventure, but also great characterization with visible growth, and a gripping narrative arc.
The show I’m talking about is Babylon 5: despite its “age” (it ran from 1994 to 1998) it still feels fresh and actual because it’s not about impressive CGI or technological marvels, but it deals instead with people, with their reactions to extraordinary circumstances, with the choices that those circumstances force on them and the consequences of their actions. I’ve often thought that it could work just as well as a theatrical production, because its strength is in the story, the thought-provoking issues it deals with and the intense dialogues spoken by the characters.
Here are some of my favorite quotes – divided by season: I hope that they will rekindle fond memories in those who watched and loved this show, and inspire the curiosity of those who have missed this complex, thoughtful and very passionate story until now.
We Centauri live our lives for appearances, position, status, title. These are the things by which we define ourselves. But when I look beneath the mask I am forced to wear, I see only emptiness.
(Londo – Born to the Purple)
Everyone lies Michael. The innocent lie because they don’t want to be blamed for something they did not do. The guilty lie because they don’t have any other choice.
(Sinclair – And the Sky Full of Stars)
I want my people to reclaim there rightful place in the galaxy. I want to see the Centauri stretch forth their hand again and command the stars. I want a rebirth of glory, a renaissance of power. I want to stop running through my life, like a man late for an appointment, afraid to look back or to look forward. I want us to be what we used to be. I want … I want it all back, the way that it was.
(Londo – Signs and Portents)
There are things in the universe billions of years older than either of our races. They’re vast, timeless, and if they’re aware of us at all, it is as little more than ants, and we have as much chance of communicating with them as an ant has with us. We know, we’ve tried, and we’ve learned that we can either stay out from underfoot or be stepped on. […] And I am both terrified and reassured to know that there are still wonders in the universe, that we have not yet explained everything.
(G’Kar – Mind War)
There comes a time when you look into the mirror, and you realize that what you see is all that you will ever be. Then you accept it, or you kill yourself. Or you stop looking into mirrors.
(Londo – Chrysalis)