J. Michael Straczynski Urges Fans To Get Babylon 5 Back On TV (Thanks To Breaking Bad)

B5's last, best hope to not fade into obscurity.

By Joelle Renstrom | Updated

This article is more than 2 years old

Babylon 5Breaking Bad is already my favorite show, but Badger’s Star Trek spec script idea a few weeks ago coupled with Sunday night’s Babylon 5 reference has put it right over the top.


The last episode features a hunt for Jesse (Aaron Paul) after he douses Walter White’s (Bryan Cranston) house with gasoline but then mysteriously disappears before striking the flame. Walt and Saul (Bob Odenkirk) try to track Jesse down, going so far as to bug the homes of his sci-fi-loving friends. Sadly, the wire only picks up three hours of conversation “about something called Babylon 5.” Of course Badger and Skinny Pete watch B5. They may be meth-heads, but they have damn fine taste in television.

After the episode, Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski tweeted a challenge to fans:

At first, I was hoping JMS would entertain the notion of more B5. After all, season five was the weakest of the show. While JMS conceived of the show as a five-season arc, for a time it seemed that WB would pull the plug early, forcing JMS to cram everything he could into season 4, leaving season 5 — especially the first half — a bit anemic. [And relocated to TNT. – Ed.] Also problematic was Claudia Christian’s (Lieutenant Ivanova) unexpected departure — she would have been a huge player in season five’s plot arc, which involved the telepaths who helped the Alliance defeat the Shadows, but who were being discriminated against and marginalized, mutant-style.

As a latent (and secret) telepath, Lt. Ivanova would have been in the center of telepath war, which is referenced in the short-lived spin-off Crusade and discussed in the telefilm Legend of the Rangers. but aside from a one-episode confrontation between the Alliance, the telepaths, and the Psi-Corps toward the end of season 5, fans never saw it happen. I’ve always wanted to see that come to fruition. Similarly, at the end of season 5, G’Kar and Lyta head out into the stars together — a spinoff I would have happily watched. But Andreas Katsulas, who played G’Kar, died of lung cancer in 2006.

G'Kar and Delenn

But apparently, that’s not what JMS meant. He was simply referring to the screening of B5 episodes on American TV, asserting that “Babylon 5 isn’t on the air in the U.S. anywhere.” Fans took the bait, of course, and tossed out suggestions such as Kickstarter, which JMS shot down because “WB owns the rights.” This is somewhat confusing, given the hugely successful Veronica Mars Kickstarter (Veronica Mars is also owned by Warner Bros.). Creator Rob Thomas and star Kristen Bell met with reps from WB, and according to Thomas, they “agreed to allow us to take this shot. They were extremely cool about it, as a matter of fact. Their reaction was, if you can show there’s enough fan interest to warrant a movie, we’re on board.” Did you get that, JMS?

He also ruled out Netflix, arguing that the show needs a network:

While B5 might not air on TV anymore, those who don’t feel like renting it can see 26 full episodes free on the WB website. It’s also interesting that JMS is so dismissive of Netflix given that he’s working with the Wachowskis on a 2014 sci-fi series called Sense8 that will be released as a Netflix original series. Then again, as JMS says, televised sci-fi is tricky, though he perhaps protests a little too much and may be a bit too dismissive of the B5 fan base and the show’s ability to draw new viewers, After all, Badger and Skinny Pete are already leading the charge.

[And for those B5 fans feeling nostalgic out there, here’s a fun blast from the past: a Sci-Fi Channel sneak peek from 1993. And if you’re wanting to learn more about the behind-the-scenes goings-on of the show, your rabbit hole awaits right here. – Ed.]