Ten of the best… Babylon 5 episodes

Ten of the best from Sheridan, Sinclair and the Shadows.

Although it aired for five seasons and completed its story, Babylon 5 never really gained the mainstream traction that shows such as Star Trek did, but remains a cult classic nevertheless. Written almost wholly by J Michael Straczynski, the series was a much darker, gritter science fiction effort that predated similar efforts such as Battlestar Galactica and much of post-9/11 television in terms of style. A number of comics, novels, toys and spin-off films as well as an aborted series, Crusade, followed. As always, these are just ten of the best, not the ten best, episodes.

signsandportentsSigns And Portents

Season One, 18 May 1994

There may not have been a huge amount of action in this episode, but it was crucial to the overall development of the further plot. It introduced, obliquely, the Shadows, Mr Morden, and foreshadowed (no pun intended) the Narn-Centauri War.


babylonsquaredBabylon Squared

Season One, 10 August 1994

A perennial fixture on top ten lists such as these, ‘Babylon Squared’ was a mind-bending, reality-warping episode that mastered the art of raising questions for long-running arcs well before Oceanic 815 crash-landed on a time-shifting island.


chrysalisChrysalis

Season One, 3 October 1994

The finale of the first season also saw the departure of Sinclair as the station’s commander, the transformation of Delenn into a Minbari-Human hybrid, the assassination of Earth President Santiago and more. A moving, and deeply important instalment.


intheshadowIn The Shadow Of Z’ha’dum

Season Two, 10 May 1995

Morden has been a shadowy, elusive presence on the station up until this point, but finally, we start to get some answers. Babylon 5 always excelled at presenting infodumps gracefully, and this is a fine example of that, where we learn the framework of the verse.


severeddreamsSevered Dreams

Season Three, 1 April 1996

Dramatic, action-packed and well-written, ‘Severed Dreams’ is possibly the best episode of Babylon 5, and always a fan favourite. The Earth Alliance civil war is kicked off in style here, complete with the kind of space battle you’d never see in Star Trek.


zhadumZ’ha’dum

Season Three,  28 October 1996

A climactic moment features some brilliant (for the time) CG work, good acting from the ever-reliable Bruce Boxleitner, plot development and one of the most beautiful scores in the entire series. A truly vintage episode of the later Babylon 5 era.


intothefireInto The Fire

Season Four, 3 February 1997

After all of the feints, heavy losses, pitched battles and more of the last few years, the Vorlons and the Shadows finally get a fat lip from the younger races and told to bugger off. It’s a little cheesy, but man, what an incredible space battle.


endgameEndgame

Season Four, 12 October 1997

Along with ‘Severed Dreams’ this was one of the best episodes of the series as a whole. Its complex, multi-layered story added to some great action as Sheridan and his alien allies launch their final attack to topple the neo-fascist regime of President Clark.


deconstructionThe Deconstruction Of Falling Stars

Season Four, 27 October 1997

Many fans consider this to be the actual ending of Babylon 5, and I’m inclined to agree. Unlike most shows, B5 actually gave us a full conclusion not only for the crew, but also for the entire human race as a whole. Far reaching, and very satisfying.


movementsMovements Of Fire And Shadow

Season Five, 17 June 1998

The true reason behind the Centauri attacks (as if we didn’t already know) is revealed, and one of the darkest plotlines of the entire series comes full circle, eventually leading to the destruction of Centauri Prime and the proof that you just shouldn’t bargain with the Devil.