There’s always a little trepidation when you hear that a TV network or movie studio is going to dip into your personal pantheon of entertainment favorites for a reboot. It’s the kid of news, when it concerns a beloved classic of some kind, that makes you sit up a little straighter and start to look around the room. I know, because that was my reaction to the news that The CW is in active development of a reboot of Babylon 5.
I have a very soft spot in my heart for Babylon 5 and how it took sci-fi in a totally new and exciting direction by giving us a five-season story arc and employing all kinds of new techniques and technology to create something unseen in the sci-fi realm up to that point. I loved this show back in the early 1990s and the news that it was coming back kind of startled me. But then I read further and discovered that show creator J. Michael Straczyinski will be back to write it as well serve as the show runner for the new project. Ah, the master is returning. That’s good news, right?
A recent tweet by Straczyinski laid out what’s in store: “To answer all the questions, yes, it’s true, Babylon 5 is in active development as a series for the CW. We have some serious fans over at the network, and they’re eager to see this show happen. I’m hip-deep into writing the pilot now, and will be running the series upon pickup. The network understands the uniqueness of Babylon 5 and is giving me a great deal of latitude with the storytelling.”
Straczyinski went on to say that this show will be a “reboot from the ground up rather than a continuation.” The idea of treading the same path when so much has changed doesn’t have the kind of appeal that B5 in interested in. Straczyinski noted that since his time working on B5, he’s done a lot of other things and now wants to bring all that experience, all those newfound skills, all the new technology, to a new iteration of Babylon 5.
The “evergreen” elements of Babylon 5 will provide the foundation of the new show, but there were be a new and vibrant look at just what Babylon 5 can tell us about the 2020s this time around. The show will likely not dive much into nostalgia, with opportunities to include past B5 cast members not likely to emerge. So with that, fresh faces, new species, and the challenges that come with that – much like in the original B5 – will be key storytelling elements this time around.
The original Babylon 5 from for five seasons from 1993 to 1998. It was a pioneer of the genre, leaving behind a template that many sci-fi shows that have followed continue to use. Straczyinski said that The CW has been very supportive of the reboot and they understand the unique position that the show holds in the genre, as well as the legion of fans that will be interested in the reboot.
The new show will once again begin with Earthforce officer John Sheridan (played by Bruce Boxleitner in the original) arriving on Babylon 5 and starting a chain reaction that eventually leads to the launch of an unimaginable conflict with an advanced alien civilization, and creates a future Sheridan hadn’t envisioned. No timeline or dates have been given about when the show might see the light of day, though it appears that development is well along at this point.
I, for one, as a long-time lover of this show, am intrigued with what Straczyinski’s vision might be for the reboot and if it can continue to be the ground-breaking force it was originally.
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