The Long, Twilight Struggle


Episode 43: The Long, Twilight Struggle (Season 2, Episode 20)

Synopsis: In which the Narn/Centauri war comes to a tragic close.


Battlestar Galactica’s “33”:


It it nearly impossible to find an article on whether the decision to use the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in order to bring a quicker end to World War II was the “right” decision without the article having a bias toward one answer or the other, or that doesn’t devolve into “you are all idiots!” So in the end you get a wikipedia page  One could easily spend a lifetime analyzing the rationale for that one decision.


The Andromeda Strain is a fantastic film that 47 years later remains chilling


Star Blazers !!!


John Schuck is a national treasure

Divided Loyalties


Episode 42: Divided Loyalties (Season 2, Episode 19)

Synopsis: In which Lyta Alexander returns to expose that someone on the station is not what he or she seems.

The Ultra-Humanite, the best mind-transferring ape villain ever, on the cover of one of my favorite comics issues ever.

The Traveller returns. Not what you’d call a good episode.

“Your stupid minds! Stupid! Stupid!” When this is the vibe your evil character is giving off in their gloating, it’s time to go back for another draft.

To go along with our discussion on paper in Babylon 5, here’s how to make a papercraft Omega-class Destroyer:

(no, my googling didn’t give me anything useful about why paper is so persistent in the B5-universe)

Patricia Tallman in Army of Darkness

Confessions and Lamentations


Episode 41: Confessions and Lamentations (Season 2, Episode 18)

Synopsis: In which an epidemic brings about the end of the Markab people.


“Your glasses are intact, you’ve got some books…”


“The Outcast” episode of TNG. What a stinker of a Very Special Episode.


“The Cloud Minders” episode of original Star Trek. Based on a story by our beloved David Gerrold. I (Chris) am not sure I’ve ever seen this episode.


Mary Douglas Purity and Danger: An Analysis of the Concepts of Pollution and Taboo


Perdo Zamora:


A discussion of the Diff’rent Strokes “Bicycle Man” episode:


Here’s an article on “Maude’s Dilemma” from 1992, fairly close to the time B5 was on the air:


“A Taste of Armageddon” Such a good episode.

“Far Beyond the Stars” (based on a story by Marc Scott Zicree, writer of B5’s “Survivors”)


Do we really need to link to Space: Above and Beyond again? I didn’t think so.


“Edith’s 50th Birthday” from All in the Family Again, Norman Lear showing how it should be done.


Family Ties’ “Speed Trap” They all look so young!

No shortage of “War is Hell” messages


Dammit, I (Chris again) said Norman Mailer instead of Norman Lear. TWICE! Bad liberal, no cookie!


Sense8 is (was) such a wonderful show, cut down too soon.  Imagine if, like B5, JMS and the Wachowski sisters had gone into the show with a five-year story planned out and had gotten the chance to tell it.


“You’ve wasted another perfectly good hour listening to Car Talk” goes the line. The only show where the hosts laugh at their own jokes more than we do.

In The Shadow of Z'ha'Dum


Episode 40: In the Shadow of Z’ha’dum (Season 2, Episode 16*)

Synopsis: In which Mr Morden has Captain Sheridan’s undivided attention, and the secret history of the Shadows is revealed.


*It would be weird to have “Knives” after this episode. Sheridan’s reaction to seeing Anna’s ship would be VERY different.


“Coming to you live from the Kingdom of Nye in the High Desert of the Great American Southwest” - the intro of the legendary Art Bell (, who passed shortly before we recorded this episode. He wasn’t without his issues but there was no one like him and he defined a genre of radio - and possibly podcasting.


Tolkein’s Legendarium: The world is so much larger than the story you’re reading. A key element to any Mythic-level fantasy (or sci-fi).


The Vir Wave:

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Episode 39: Knives (Season 2, Episode 17*)

Synopsis: In which an old friend of Londo comes seeking a significant favor and once again strange things are afoot in Sector 14.

*The Lurker’s Guide notes that JMS says this episode should have come before “In the Shadow of Z’ha’dum” but was actually broadcast after it because it demanded so many special effects.

The Forms of Kanly have been obeyed!

Another great example of an honor-bound society with ritual combat: Wakanda. There’s a terrific dissertation in the treatment of ritual/honor in genre fiction and how it evolves over time to reflect the “current” world.

KJ Parker is a pseudonym for author Tom Holt. Jon and Chris cannot recommend Parker’s works enough.

Here’s a decent piece on Parker’s works for a new reader:

Devices and Desires, the first book of the Engineer Trilogy, was where we started. Pick it up and take a read and let us know what you think.

Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint Smaller “world,” more focused on a handful of characters.

Joe Abercrombie’s First Law series book 1.

Later books that spin out and explore more pieces of the world are fantastic as well. Another really terrific example of worldbuilding.

Carmen Argenziano. Where the heck have I seen this guy?

And Now For A Word


Episode 38: And Now for a Word (Season 2, Episode 15)

Synopsis: In which an ISN reporter comes to the station for a special feature on the Babylon project.

I went looking for Dateline clips from 1995 and came across this promo and wow, this is exactly the sort of thing that JMS is banging on about here, and frankly which hasn’t changed much in 20 years.

WCVB’s Chronicle  - your home for rustic New England nostalgia

Christian Science Monitor

Revisionist History’s episode on Churchill

Churchill and India:

Alec Baldwin’s Here’s the Thing with Kyle MacLachlan:

From the Psi Corps commercial. What the heck is with that lamp???

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There All The Honor Lies


Episode 37: There All the Honor Lies (Season 2, Episode 14)

Synopsis: In which Captain Sheridan is accused of murdering a Minbari civilian and a gift shop opens on the station.


Peter David tells the story of the bear in this episode and how it became a long running back and forth between him and JMS:


From that piece I learned that the gift shop story was supposed to end with a bit about a toy gun being mistaken for a real gun, so it was not wholesale inserted by JMS simply to space the bear.

Mea culpa.


Simeon Stylites -  You know, 37 years on the top of a pillar sounds pretty good some days. As long as it gets wifi and I can get Chinese food delivered..


Carlin Barton’s Roman Honor: The Fire in the Bones


The Art of Manliness podcast episode with Prof. Barton. Well worth a listen.


w/r/t/ Gary Indiana


The Expanse also seems to use Mandarin/banded collar shirts as a shorthand for “the future.”

And Garibaldi’s shirt definitely has the Mandarin collar.




Episode 36: Hunter, Prey (Season 2, Episode 13)

Synopsis: In which a doctor with important information about the death of President Santiago is hiding on the station, and Kosh begins to educate Captain Sheridan.


The Expanse novel series:


Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure remains one of the better time travel movies out there. Also, San Dimas football rules!


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Supreme #41 by Alan Moore and Joe Bennett

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The Noble Eightfold Path We’ll have to read some more about this and get a more solid footing before we dive any deeper into the Buddhist flavorings of the Vorlons and the side of Light.


The Return of Garibaldi’s Chess King Shirt!


Acts of Sacrifice


Episode 35: Acts of Sacrifice (Season 2, Episode 12)

Synopsis: In which the Narn/Centauri war spills over onto the station, and a strategically significant alien ambassador makes great demands of Commander Ivanova.


Paul Williams is basically the voice of our youth.


Ivanova’s dance:


Max the Wonder Cat shows up early this episode at 2:30.


Birds of Prey promo


Quark and Garak discuss root beer

All Alone In The Night


Episode 34: All Alone in the Night (Season 2, Episode 11)

Synopsis: In which Captain Sheridan gets old-school alien-abducted, and General Hague initiates a cabal against EarthGov and the PsiCorps.


Robert Foxworth ( also voiced Race Bannon in The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, which by itself would make him a top shelf actor in our book.


The Babylon 5 RPG from Mongoose Games is out of print but copies can be found if one looks hard enough. They produced an extensive line of sourcebooks (


Max the Wonder Cat sighting at 27:14!


Hondo Ohnaka, legendary pirate: God, we hate him.


Numenera RPG:


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Episode 33: GROPOS (Season 2, Episode 10)

Synopsis: In which an Earthforce infantry division under the command of Dr Franklin’s father is staged at Babylon 5 in preparation for a dangerous assault.


Paul Winfield was a force of nature


The Flash episode that infuriated Chris (and his wife Ali) beyond words:


Babylon 5 Wars boardgame:


Babylon 5: A Call to Arms miniatures space combat game


Babylon 5 Micro Machines. I believe I have the first 2 sets somewhere.

The Coming of Shadows


Episode 32: The Coming of Shadows (Season 2, Episode 9)

Synopsis: In which G’Kar and Londo both see great opportunity in the Centauri Emperor’s visit to the station and the last, best hope for peace is destroyed.

Not a lot of notes this week (the episode was edited during a blizzard in which Chris had no power/internet)but you can hear more of our dear friend and special guest Brian Ries on the Inside MTV’s Siesta Key podcast: Although as we note, the overlap of fans of B5 and that show is probably fairly slim.

A Race Through Dark Places


Episode 31: A Race Through Dark Places (Season 2, Episode 8)

Synopsis: In which Mr Bester returns to hunt down an “underground railroad” for rogue telepaths, forcing Talia to make some hard decisions. Meanwhile Sheridan also makes some hard decisions on where to sleep.


For those outside the U.S. (and probably some within), the Underground Railroad was a series of routes and safehouses for helping African-Americans escape from slavery in the pre-Civil War U.S. to freedom in free states and Canada.


Power Girl and the infamous “boob window”

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Soul Mates


Synopsis: In which Londo is visited by his three wives, and Talia is visited by yet another mysterious man from her past.


Peter David:  I’ve always felt like I should like his stuff but for whatever reason it never clicked for me.


The drawbacks of watching the episodes in broadcast order strike again. We comment about how abrupt Talia’s mistrust of the Psi Corps seems in this episode, but next week’s show, “A Race Through Dark Places”, was supposed to come before “Soul Mates,” and that one DEFINITELY sets up her issues with the Corps.


Max is a very lovey cat.




The Lion in Winter ( is our favorite Christmas movie. Take that, Die Hard!


Keith Szarbajka  Seriously folks, we’re not going to shut up about Profit or Space:Above and Beyond so if you’re with us for the long haul you may as well go watch those so you know what we’re talking about.


Carel Struycken

A Spider in the Web


Episode 29: A Spider in the Web (Season 2, Episode 6)

Synopsis: An assassination threatens to scuttle relations between Earth and Mars, and Sheridan begins to smell a rat in EarthGov and/or PsiCorps .



We mention two shows featuring Leonard Nimoy in this episode...COINCIDENCE???


The evil futurecorp from Space: Above and Beyond (and Millennium) was AeroTech




(Chris bought the full run of In Search Of on DVD just after recording this episode)


Richard Hoagland and the Moon Landings: Here’s some stuff on Hoagland’s lunar structures in general. I can’t find anything on his claim that the landings were faked but I definitely heard him say it on Art Bell’s short lived Midnight in the Desert show back in 2013.


The Disappearance of the Roanoke Colony:


The Titanic Insurance Scam:


Betty & Barney Hill’s alien abduction:


Velikovsky’s New Chronology:

The Phantom Time theory:





Here’s an overview of Andrew Basiago’s deal. But really, you should track down some of the old Coast to Coast AM episodes he was on or some of his other long-form speaking clips. He doesn’t have the kind of crazy undertones you’d expect from someone making these claims; he’s calm and collected and sounds perfectly rational. It makes it even weirder.


Shroud of Turin:

Kensington Runestone:

Vinland Map:

Voynich Manuscript:

Piri Reis Map:


Lexicon Games are a type of collaborative writing project and a ton of fun:  

The Long Dark


Episode 28: The Long Dark (Season 2, Episode 5)

Synopsis: A sleeper ship from a century ago arrives at the station with an uninvited guest, and a Lurker suffers from Lovecraftian PTSD.


Dwight Schultz:

Matt Frewer:


Jon’s recasting


Sheridan - Jeffrey Combs

Ivanova - Kristen Cloke

Garibaldi - Jared Abrahmson

Franklin - Keiynan Lonsdale -

Winters - Michelle Forbes

Londo - Peter Capaldi

Delenn - Tilda Swinton

G’Kar - John Noble

Vir -Haley Joel Osment

Lennir - Aaron Douglas

Na’toth - Maisie Williams

Kosh - Doug Jones


Chris’s recasting

Sinclair - James Morrison

Sheridan - Idris Elba

Ivanova - Gal Gadot (alternate Tessa Thompson

Garibaldi - Donal Logue

Franklin - Cas Anvar

Winters - Tuppence Middleton

Londo - Wentworth Miller

Delenn - Anna Torv

G’Kar - Clancy Brown

Vir - Nick Frost

Lennir - Jimmi Simpson

Na’toth - Jennifer Spence

Kosh - Doug Jones

A Distant Star


Episode 27: A Distant Star (Season 2, Episode 4)

Synopsis: In which Captain Sheridan questions his fitness for his new position, a daring rescue attempt is made, and Dr Franklin puts everyone on a diet.


The EAS Cortez alongside B5. An un-cited wikipedia note claims the Explorer class is 6km long, where the station is 8km long.

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Dropfleet Commander:

Sadly I (Chris) was not able to get the demo of the game I’d hoped for.


Full Thrust: A great little miniatures starship combat game from the 1990s.


Russ Tamblyn:


Jon’s Miscast

Sheridan - Matthew Broderick

Ivanova - Valerie Bertinelli

Garibaldi - John Travolta

Franklin - Arsenio Hall

Winters - Joan Collins

Molari - John Colicos

Delenn - Bea Arthur

G’Kar - William Windom

Vir - Burt Ward

Lennir - Parker Stevenson

Na’toth - Mindy Cohn

Kosh - V.I.N.C.E.N.T. from The Black Hole (character voiced by Roddy McDowall )


Chris’s Miscast

Sheridan - Tommy Wisseau or Tony Randall

Ivanova - Zooey Deschanel

Garibaldi - Charles Nelson Reilly

Franklin - Bill Cosby

Winters - Cameron Diaz

Molari - Danny DeVito

Delenn - Rhea Perlman

G’Kar - Arnold Schwarznegger

Vir - Carrot Top

Lennir - Peter Lorre

Na’toth - Tracy Scoggins

Kosh - The Unknown Comic


The Geometry of Shadows


Episode 26: The Geometry of Shadows (Season 2, Episode 3)

Synopsis: In which Londo plays stupid political games with a mysterious Technomage, and loses, while Commander Ivanova tries to sort out the even stupider political games of the Drazi


The big list of Roman Emperors for the first couple hundred years, referenced in the show.

Jon’s guess of Domitian is close to the mark, but Domitian’s father Vespasian was proclaimed Caesar in the dreaded Year of the Four Emperors (69 C.E) when Domitian was already 18 years old (and his older brother Titus, who preceded him, was 30).  

Antoninus Pius was not a child of Hadrian at all, but was adopted in his fifties.


There are very few films Chris hates as much as Gladiator. He nearly walked out of the theater in the first scene when the Romans had stirrups. Can you imagine what it must be like to live with someone like that?


The first listener to identify the “ROME ROME RUBBISH RUBBISH!” quote gets, well, a keen sense of satisfaction I suppose.



Episode 25: Revelations (Season 2, Episode 2)

Synopsis: In which we get the old band back together, we learn the tragic story of Captain Sheridan’s wife, and strange things are afoot out on the rim


The episode Chris was struggling to remember was of course Signs and Portents. #amateurhour


Netflix’s Travelers


Ancient Aliens: The Narn Version. Would that be hosted by a human, or maybe a Minbari? Did we each get another race’s Ancient Aliens show by mistake?



This episode was directed by Jim Johnston, who brought us season 1 favorites like Babylon Squared and Parliament of Dreams, as well as...less favorites like Soul Hunter, By Any Means Necessary and Survivors.

The more relaxed and deferential relationship between Franklin and Sheridan may be explained by their prior mission together documented in “In The Beginning.” Was JMS already thinking of this prior relationship while writing season 2? Or was that developed later to explain the closer bond between the two men?


HAIRWATCH: Level Theta



Level Delta



Points of Departure


Episode 24: Points of Departure (Season 2, Episode 1)

Synopsis: In which Babylon 5 welcomes a new commanding officer and a gaggle of renegade Minbari seek to stir up trouble.


Ivanova Hairwatch!!!


Level Omega. Warning: if you are facing Omega Level Hair, you done messed up, son! Do not expose small children or pregnant women to Level Omega Hair.




Level Alpha. The kindest, gentlest Ivanova. She will (probably) not kill you. Not today.

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**Sheridan evaluation as co questions on fb group**