Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

27 Dec 2008, 15:55 p.m.

After "Sleeping in Light"

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2008 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Some assorted thoughts on Babylon 5 and Deep Space Nine, collected from household discussion over the past seven months. Contains spoilers.

Past by-the-ways: a nitpick, another nitpick of first season writing, and Vorlon silliness, and another J. Michael Straczynski-Trek connection. We also won't go over the constant Sagan quotes or the possibility that Paramount lifted the idea for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine from JMS. I don't know how credible that rumor is but I can see why people think that.

A few character notes: we took to calling Zack Allan "Earth's Londo." At one moment in season 2, we imagined Garibaldi musing, "I need a smarter henchman." And G'Kar went through more change in a single season than Worf went through in ten years.

Earth in Star Trek never seriously flirted with xenophobia, although a few isolationists show up here and there. In Bab5 Earth's government turns hella xenophobe fascist. Earth's government spirals into fascism in "Point of No Return" and it made me feel physically sick. "Illusion of Truth" too. Despite Eddington's arguments and the events of In the Pale Moonlight, the Federation as depicted in DS9 does not have a dark core and good nearly always wins. As JMS points out again and again in his contemporaneous Usenet posts, Bab5 is It Can't Happen Here. If I'd seen B5 before teaching Politics in Modern Scifi I'd feel torn about using it; it would be unfair to force undergrads to watch it all in one semester, but I wouldn't want to spoil it for them.

As with Arrested Development, Leonard and I enjoyed the series thoroughly but yearn for what might have been.

Thanks to all the folk who nagged me for years to see Babylon 5, thanks to the Lurker's Guide maintainers, and thanks to Hulu for putting the first two seasons online so I could get into it. Could The Wire be next?