I wish everything was more like star trek where when we realize we aren't alone in the universe we decide to be nice to each other.
The greatness of B5
lies precisely in the fact that Human nature doesn't
completely change in 100 years based on an external event or two. We're still the same noble, greedy, caring, intolerant naked apes we've always been. Giving us starships and plasma guns doesn't
make us any nicer. And meeting a technologically advance race like the Centauri merely makes us polite and prudent (until we acquire similar technology ourselves.)
We don't all suddenly join hands and sing "Kumbaya".
Nor did Earth suddenly band together as a result of First Contact. If I recall correctly EarthGov predated the arrival of the Centauri, it was something we had been edging towards for over a hundred years. The world government doubtless became stronger, but it wasn't itself a reaction to the discovery of alien life. For that matter the Moon and Mars (and I think Io) were already colonies, so there was something like an Earth Alliance in place as well.
I also liked the fact that the aliens weren't much better. The Centauri are first decadent, later power mad and expansionist, the Narn are initially expansionist and aggressive, then worn-down, the Vorlons would just as soon kill you as look at you, and the oh-so-civilized Minbari can turn into genocidal maniacs and routinely
use torture in questioning POWs - something even most Earth
governments wouldn't do in 2003. (Certainly Lennier seems pretty matter-of-fact when he reports that Sinclair was tortured. And since he was nothing special to them, just one pilot among thousands whom they were pumping for info on Earth's defenses, there was no particular reason why they should use torture rather than drugs, threats or - hello
, a TELEPATH - to find out what they wanted.)
is an antiseptic and utterly unreal universe. I much prefer B5
with its messy, undisciplined people, its labor unrest, petty jealousies, small insults that lead to war (see WWI, origins
), poverty, prostitution (threw that one in for GEE
) and political corruption. Somehow I'm ore at home in that world.
The first time that it got through to me that B5
might be something more than a "poor man's Trek
" was the first time I caught the last twenty minutes or so of "Believers" and they killed the kid.
That could never
happen on Star Trek
. And that was only a foretaste of "Confessions and Lamentations" when the doctor discovers a treatment (which we would expect in any show) but it is too late and an entire race that has played a fairly prominent part in the series since the first episode is suddenly wiped out. If the Trek
writers had even dared consider such a "downer" ending - and I doubt they would have - they would have created a new race for the express purpose of killing them off, just as they would create a one-shot character or anonymous redshirt most times when a character had to die.
I'm glad that B5
was a show brave enough to do episodes like that, and that it wasn't
"more like Trek