Season 1 Wrap Up

Live and in person for the first time! Some minor microphone issues so we take turns being louder than the other but it isn’t terrible. Maybe by season 5 we’ll learn how to use the equipment.



The room in question. Definitely very Centauri.



“Good old rock. Nothing beats that!”


“Kickboxing, sport of the future.”


Jon’s bottom 3:

3) Soul Hunter

2) Infection

1) Eyes


Chris’s bottom 3:

3) Infection

2) T.K.O.

1) By Any Means Necessary


Jon’s top 3:

3) Chrysalis

2) A Voice in the Wilderness

1) Deathwalker


Chris’s top 3:

3) A Voice in the Wilderness

2) Parliament of Dreams

1) Signs and Portents


Colonel Ari Ben-Zayn was portrayed by Gregory Paul Martin.


The bit with Catherine surveying the unknown world and getting bailed out by G’Kar wasn’t actually in “Parliament of Dreams;” it was in “Mind War.” I (Chris)  still maintain Parliament’s position in my top 3 though. The assassination b-plot was just fine as well.


Caitlin Brown played Na’Toth for season 1 (and then again for a season 5 episode) but left due to issues with the makeup and prosthetics. Mary Kay Adams played her for Season 2.


The “master list” order of episodes from the Lurker’s guide:


Again I (Chris) have confused my B-plots. “Legacies” of course is the episode involving the funeral procession for the Minbari war hero, not the one where Delenn is offered a place on the Grey Council (“Babylon Squared”). I don’t actually get why that leads directly to “Chrysalis” or fits in better that late in the series.


TV Tropes “Out of Order”


Clerks: the Animated Series


Star Trek Continues  Definitely worth a look if you like the original series.



Synopsis: In which a lot of bad stuff happens. I mean a LOT.

8:29 - here’s where Jon says “Ed Morden,” for those of you keeping score at home.



The Great Season Finales discussion:

Star Trek: TNG - “Best of Both Worlds (part 1).” Clearly one of the best season finales out there. I (Chris) was never a fan of putting a main character in danger for a cliffhanger - you knew there was no way they were going to remove Patrick Stewart from the show - but Picard getting Borged had implications and thankfully the series dealt with them as it went along rather than the episode just being resolved merrily.


The “Mulder buried in the train car” episode of X-Files was the season 2 closer “Anasazi” which was actually the first of a 3 parter. That was a long summer, waiting for that show to come back, even though (see above) there was no way they were killing off Mulder. Unfortunately with the X-Files, the set-ups were almost always far better than the resolutions. Mulder’s escape through a tunnel or something was deeply unsatisfying.


Space: Above and Beyond we’ve talked about at length before. The season 1/series finale was harrowing.


The Expanse  is too recent a show for me to want to give spoilers for the end of season 1, but it definitely provided some answers to questions that had been out there for a long time while raising the stakes.


The 100 takes the “what you’ve known all along about this situation? Yeah, it’s really something else” approach to a season closer, which I always really liked (see Lost and The Good Place).


Cleverman ( )


Lost’s season 3 closer “Through the Looking Glass” was definitely something that turned the established narrative on its head.


Millennium’s season 2 ended with a “global pandemic” and the wife of the lead character, believing herself infected, walking off into the woods leaving her husband and daughter safely behind. Much like X-Files though (unsurprising since it is from the same lineage) the resolution was disappointing (the pandemic turned out to be very localized and not all that severe. feh).


The Quality of Mercy

Synopsis: In which we learn a great deal more about Earth’s criminal justice system, Dr Franklin confronts a woman who possesses a seemingly miraculous healing machine, and Lennier and Londo get up to some shenanigans.



The “Third Fane of Chudomo” is Lennier’s clan within the religious caste.


The 36th Chamber of Shaolin:


There was no Pope Callixtus VI. Callixtus III was as far as they went, and he was a Borgia and hardly counts. Callixtus II was the one who reached the Concordat of Worms with Holy Roman Emperor Henry V, bringing peace between the papacy and the Empire. Callixtus I was so unpopular that the first Anti-pope was raised up during his tenure. So all in all a mixed bag.


The lobotomy doesn’t date back to the 19th century but rather only to the mid -20th.  But 19th century mental health practices were not exactly a picnic. Although, at the time, the practitioners thought they were doing the right thing.


This episode of the podcast The Dollop on the history of the lobotomy is...very difficult to listen to:


And here’s the book Chris was reading that made him faint on an airplane:


June Lockhart, America’s sci-fi mom:


The mentioned scene of the space-hobos huddled around a burning barrel wasn’t actually in this episode. It’s in Chrysalis, next week. Oops. That’s what we get for watching/recording a bunch of episodes at the same time.


There were 5 documented Medlabs aboard Babylon 5. There was also a larger “infirmary” referenced, which may be the general services hospital.


Strange Luck aired 1995-1996. 17 episodes. I would stab someone for a copy of this show on DVD. It looks like many of them are on YouTube, but the quality is dodgy, at best.


Profit aired in April 1996, cancelled after only 5 episodes. Three more were made. It was gloriously deranged and complaints both from Bible Belt viewers and from business caused Fox to pull the plug and replace it with Kindred: The Embraced.


Babylon Squared

Synopsis: In which the lost Babylon 4 station reappears as mysteriously as it vanished, we get a glimpse of the future, and Delenn gets an exciting new job offer.



One of many lists of “essential” X-Files episodes:


The commentary from JMS that Babylon 4 was built using scraps leftover from the first 3 stations is at the always excellent Lurker’s Guide:


The Enterprise-C. Still the best in the line.

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Babylon 4. I definitely like the look of this one better than 5, sad to say.


The Philadelphia Experiment/Al Bielek/Montauk. Beware: Rabbit Hole Ahead

The Doctor Who episode that sent Chris into a fit of rage:

Barry Allen (CW TV series version) is very likely the stupidest person who has ever travelled through time in any form of media.


“Time and Punishment” from The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror V:

John Wesley Shipp - best. Flash. Ever.


Also, Shipp was born in Norfolk, VA. Where did the USS Eldridge allegedly reappear during the Philadelphia Experiment? NORFOLK, VA! And his last name is SHIPP!! Coincidence?? Or should I not be drinking while writing show notes???

“Yesterday’s Enterprise” timeline:

Looper timeline, diagramed with straws:


“Assignment Earth”

“Cause and Effect”

“Trials and Tribble-ations”

“Far Beyond the Stars”

“The Visitor”

Bill and Ted’s  Excellent Adventure Wyld Stallyns!!!

The Timeline of River Song:


“The Year of Hell”,,_Part_II_(episode)



At the time of this recording I had not yet seen the film Predestination (based on a Robert Heinlein story “All You Zombies”). It may be the most messed up time travel movie ever.

A Voice in the Wilderness

Synopsis: In which the planet Babylon 5 orbits around begins revealing its ancient secrets, setting off a power struggle over who will control it.

Lurker’s Guide to Babylon 5 page on “Voice in the Wilderness part 1”


And part 2:


I sincerely have NO idea where Jon was going with the Angela Merkel thing. Late stage Diet Coke poisoning, I suspect.


Babylon 5 had a per-episode budget of about $800,000. Adjusted for inflation to 2017 dollars that’s about $1.32 million. The first season of Game of Thrones had a budget of $6 million/episode, and the final season is up to $15 mission.  Imagine what the show could look like with today’s technology and that kind of budget!


(in our Season 1 Wrap-Up episode, dropping in early December, we will play the inevitable casting game. Stay tuned, true believers!)


Is the “Mars wanting to be independent” sci-fi trope a projection of the American Revolution? It seems to share a lot of the same elements.


“Things were different in the south” is a saying from our grad school advisor, Dr. Joseph Lynch, who maintained this was true no matter where you were speaking of. The second of Lynch’s Laws was “Whatever you can imagine, however perverse, someone somewhere has tried it and liked it.” I don’t recall much from my years in the Ohio State University history department, but those words have stayed with me.


Janet Greek ( didn’t have a super-long CV, but what she has done is really good.


It was actually Blaise Pascal who, it is believed, was first responsible for the quote about “I wrote a long letter because I did not have time to write a short one.” I wouldn’t be surprised if Franklin or Twain claimed to have coined it though; never trusted those two.


Ron Canada, who played Captain Pierce here, was also in the 1998 David Hasslehoff vehicle Nick Fury, Agent of Shield. Also he apparently plays an admiral in The Orville, which I consider a step down from that.


Louis Turenne:


Louis will return in season 3 episode “Passing Through Gethsemane” along with one of our favorite modern day character actors Brad Dourif! Can’t wait!!


And seriously, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (1993) is a great film. Go check it out.


Lauren Holly was indeed in Picket Fences. And she was the psychiatrist in Crank: High Voltage but was uncredited in that film.



Synopsis: In which the funeral tour for a Minbari war hero arrives at the station, re-opening old wounds, and a “young” telepath explores options for her future


D.C. Fontana has been writing tv since Moses was in short pants. She pitched the idea for this episode, which was the only one of the season that came from an outside source rather than JMS.

The Babylon 5 wikia informs us that there are 3 Minbari castes: Warrior, Religious and Worker. Which I guess makes sense, because someone has to do the actual day to day stuff.

Grace Una’s IMDb page doesn’t list her date of birth (and there’s not a lot of other hits about her online) but there’s no WAY she’s even remotely 14. What was Mary Jo Slater thinking??

The Narn (Narns? I see the plural both ways. I prefer “Narn” though) are not reptilian in nature, based on a few minutes of internet digging. So I’ll go with the “the Narn brains are structured in such a way that they have no natural telepaths and thus are hostile environments to other telepaths.”

The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Night Terrors” (Season 4, episode 14) is, according to the website TechRepublic, behind only “Shades of Grey” (the Ur-clip episode) and “Sub-Rosa” (something about a ghost possessing Dr Crusher) as the worst. TNG. episode. ever.

Fist of the North Star:

Neal Robinson is not listening.



Synopsis: In which Commander Sinclair’s past bad decisions catch up to him as an Earthforce colonel with a score to settle and his pet telepath come to the station.

We’ve raved about Space: Above and Beyond before but seriously, it’s one of the better seasons of television that either of us have ever seen.

There are even some interesting connections to the other big Fox genre shows of the time, X-Files and Millennium, suggesting they shared a universe (along with the apparently completely unavailable Strange Luck).

Here’s a great clip of Col. McQueen for those of you unfamiliar with the show:

(This clip won’t mean much to anyone not familiar with Space:Above and Beyond, but Wang impersonating Col. McQueen is still just amazing:

We’re going to assume that Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway and Adama are all familiar to you.

The Trolley and the Fat Man - a classic thought experiment about making tough choices when there are no good options. Kirk would have probably cheated and rigged the trolley to tip over before the switch.

“The Immunity Syndrome” -

Commodore Matthew “There is no third planet!” Decker -

In the Space:Above and Beyond episode “Sugar Dirt” Colonel McQueen and the USS Saratoga are forced to abandon a squadron of marines planetside for months, without any promise of rescue (except that this is a serialized American TV show so we know the main characters will get out). It is positively harrowing.

Captain Avatar of Star Blazers.  Best. Captain. Ever.


Except for maybe Garrett or Georgiou...

Jeffrey Combs has just been in everything:

The Doom Patrol. I mean, seriously.


Episode 16: Grail (Season 1, Episode 15)

Synopsis: In which a seeker comes to the station on a legendary quest and ends up inspiring others to great deeds. And at the end of the day there is a lack of boom.

David Warner is a goddamn legend. There’s no other way to say it.

6:55 - that’s Chris’s cat Max yelling in the background. He does that now and then for absolutely no good reason. The timing was just too perfect to the conversation to edit it out.

The proper pronunciation is “Rahj-al-gool” not “Rayj-al-gool.” I will brook no dissent in this matter, regardless of how wonderful your abs might be, Mr. Amell.


David Icke is a proponent of a theory that an alien race of shape-shifting reptoids (who may or may not be from the center of the earth, I may be conflating my crackpots there) has infiltrated the highest levels of human society, perhaps most notably the British monarchy. I believe the technical term for him is “nutter.”

But this, and the alien abduction court case in the episode, allows me to include this picture of my favorite Centauri:

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Jerry Doyle hosted The Jerry Doyle Show on the Talk Radio Network  from 2012 until his death in 2016.

Navratan Korma is a delicious northern Indian curry made with various vegetables, fruits and nuts in a golden sauce, and not an alien species that sucks away life force. Probably.

Third Stage Guild Navigator:

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Tor Johnson was one of the stars of Ed Wood’s gloriously terrible Plan 9 from Outer Space.


Much like the Loch Ness Monster and various Bigfoot encounters, the story of the Marie Celeste occupied a huge chunk of my mental real-estate in the 1970s, thanks to too many hours of watching In Search Of.

William Sanderson is nearly peak-level character actor. He pops up everywhere, and places that he doesn’t you *think* he’s there. Chris swears he was in Westworld but apparently not. Conflating with Deadwood perhaps?

Christy Marx (, the writer of this episode and creator of Jem & the Holograms (the live-action film of Jem apparently came out in 2015,

Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends ran from 1981 to 1983 and inexplicably teamed the wall-crawler with former X-Man Iceman and newly created character Firestar. June Foray was the voice of Aunt May, but despite this the show was somehow really, really terrible.

We had a fairly long discussion about the 2001 Josie and the Pussycats film which had to be cut because of problems with Chris’s mic, but do check it out. Solid fun and an AMAZING soundtrack, with Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo doing the vocals for the Josie songs, and it should definitely NEVER be confused with Spice World.





Synopsis: In which one of Garibaldi’s old friends visits the station and fights for the dignity of humanity or something. And Ivanova has to come to terms with the death of her father.



“Walker Smith” was the birth-name of famous boxer Sugar Ray Robinson


IMDb gives this episode a 5.6/10 rating. “Infection” got a 6.3. gives “TKO” a more generous 6.7, but it’s still the lowest rated episode there. It’s all up from here folks!


Rabbi Koslov was portrayed by Theodore Bikel, who had a long career of great performances. We’ll see him again in  Babylon 5: In the Beginning in a different role


Bikel was the voice of Aragorn in the Rankin and Bass animated film Return of the King. Here is the grimly funky “Where There’s A Whip There’s A Way.”

And here’s Bikel as Aragorn in the scene where he faces down the Mouth of Sauron. This is what we had to work with in the 70s/80s kids. And don’t even get me started on Casey kasem as Merry.


We talked about One World Government and how we didn’t foresee Americans giving up their sovereignty back in Episode 11: Believers.

Signs and Portents

Synopsis: In which a mysterious stranger asks each ambassador a special question, we learn more about the machinations of the Centauri court, and the all that raider nonsense finally pays off.

Ah, here we go. Halfway through season 1 and the series mythology has just kicked into high gear with the introduction of Mr. Morden.

Ed Wasser’s CV:


Lynn “Red” Wiliams, aka American Gladiator’s Sabre (on the left)



1986’s Chopping Mall, is the favorite horror movie of Mack from Agents of SHIELD.

The KISS movie was, of course, KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park ( In my defense, in my defense I was very very young in the 70s and my mother never let me listen to KISS. Paul Williams was, and remains, much more in my wheelhouse.

Paul Williams’ Phantom of the Paradise, directed by Brian de Palma. Wow, we went off on a super tangent here. Buckle in.

The Apple: Writer/Dirtector Menahem Golan was also the producer of such classics as Sylvester Stallone’s arm-wrestling master work Over the Top and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, which pretty much singlehandedly killed superhero movies for 20 years.


Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Can’t Stop the Music


The “E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial” video game on the Atari 2600 has a special notoriety as one of the worst video games of all time. If there is a hell, and if I end up there, this will be what I see for all eternity:


The Goodfellas Minute podcast:  

My friends Mike and Jenny did a great minute-by-minute podcast on the fantastic film Velvet Goldmine. If you didn’t skip over our musical movie tangent it may well be your kind of thing:

Jon tried to slip a Dead or Alive reference past me, but this isn’t my first rodeo.

Q and Guinan face off. I somehow remembered it looking more badass. From the season 2 episode “Q Who,” which introduced the Borg.


The Raider jumpship. A very nice, practical design when you need to drop a boatload of fighters very quickly.







By Any Means Necessary

Synopsis: In which a fatal accident in the space-docks leads to a labor dispute on the station. Earthgov sends in their best negotiator, who is actually a really terrible negotiator. And Londo is an ass to G’Kar because, well, Londo.

First off folks, there’s a weird echo in our recording this episode, and we deeply apologize. One of the mission statements of The Name of the Pod is to have decent audio quality. Nothing turns us off a podcast quicker than bad audio. We didn’t notice it at the time of recording and we tried to remove it later on but no luck. It’s not up to our own personal standards, and we hope you will soldier through. It’s still a good discussion.

After watching this episode we had the feeling that this was not an accurate representation of a labor dispute, but our good friend Bill has been involved with unions and organized labor as part of his work for many years so we felt he could provide insights into the workings of protests/strikes/negotiations/whathaveyous. Because we at The Name of the Pod strive for verisimilitude* in all things.


*a word used only by people who have never put in an honest day’s work in their lives.

Bill raises a very good point that there’s no real institutional reaction to a fatal accident on the station. No NTSB, no OSHA.  Very strange on a government funded station that has had its four predecessors tragically lost.

Orin Zento, the EarthGov “negotiator,” was played by John Snyder, who also played “Soul Hunter #2.” That should have been our first warning.

The question of where the line between military and civilian power falls on the station is an excellent one. So far in season 1 it has been murky at best - Sinclair certainly seems to display the authority to arrest people and to do pretty much whatever he wants wherever he wants. Are there limitations to the military staff’s powers, and if so by whom are they set and enforced? Are Garibaldi’s security folks - the ones in the grey-brown uniforms instead of the blue - civilian police or military? We’ll definitely be keeping an eye on future episodes with regards to these questions to see if they’re ever really addressed.

Containers is a great podcast about global trade and transportation. Check it out.

Guild leader “Neeoma Connally” (totally a space-name) was played by Katy Boyer who I think did a fine job. She’s had a long career including being Tim Robbins and John Cusack’s grouchy flatmate in the fantastic movie Tapeheads.  There’s your IMDB corner, since we couldn’t squeeze one into the episode.

Providence, RI is just over 20 square miles. Babylon 5 is 5 miles long but certainly not 4 miles wide (or even 2 miles high by 2 wide if we want to get all fancy and third dimensional).  The station is probably closer in size to Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Which I’m sure will mean a lot to people who aren’t us.

I’m not even going to try to sort out the whole geometry of Narn light years vs Earth light years and the light getting to the station just now. It’s just not worth it.




Synopsis: On a very special episode of The Name of the Pod Garibaldi crawls back into the bottle amidst a Homeguard plot to assassinate President Santiago. Also, did we mention that Garibaldi crawls back into the bottle?

Jerry Doyle was a corporate pilot and stockbroker before changing over to acting just a few years before B5 launched. And as we have maintained for many years he acted rings around many folks on this show who had been doing it for a long time.

Elaine Thomas who plays Major Kemmer in this episode, has only a handful of credits on IMDB. Sadly since her name is kind of common it’s hard to figure out whatever became of her.

Augusten Burroughs’ memoir “Dry”

Marc Scott Zicree, writer of this episode, was also the writer of the terrific DS9 episode “Far Beyond the Stars.”

M.A.N.T.I.S. was a terrible, terrible Sam Raimi superhero show of the mid-90s, but at least it starred Carl Lumbly (who I never realized until now was John Parker in Buckaroo Banzai!). William Shatner’s TekWar didn’t even have that.

The Star Trek: New Voyages episode written and directed by Marc Scott Zicree, “World Enough and Time,” featured George Takei and was nominated for a Hugo in 2008. Neat!

Zicree ran a Kickstarter to fund production of a series of Space Command films in 2012. Looks like they are working on post-production and vfx currently.

Space: Above and Beyond. Such a darn good show. Doesn’t seem to be available for digital purchase anywhere, which is a crime. You’ll have to buy physical media like some kind of damn savage.


Episode 11 “Believers” (Season 1, Episode 10)



Synopsis: In which Dr Franklin is a couple’s only hope to save their son, but the treatment is forbidden by their religion. There also may or may not be a B plot involving Ivanova and some raiders, honestly we can’t be sure.


The Sargasso Sea is an area in the Atlantic where the currents form an area of stillness. Due to this lack of driving momentum mariners sailing into this region would often get stuck and find it difficult to escape.


Logen Ninefingers is a character in Joe Abercrombie’s First Law novels (and others), which we both really love. The actual quote is “Once you've got a task to do, it's better to do it than live with the fear of it.” Words to live by.


David Gerrold has a 50-year long career as a sci-fi writer, perhaps his most notable works being “The Trouble with Tribbles,” the novel “When HARLIE Was One,” and the mentioned unfinished “War Against the Chtorr” series (which involves the fight to stop an alien race from terraforming Earth into something more hospitable to themselves, and includes a great deal of discussion of wartime psychology and ethics).


Star Trek: The Next Generation season 2, episode 9 “The Measure of a Man”


Law & Order only premiered in 1990 (so it was in its fourth season at the time of B5’s first), but much like dumplings or dragons, every historical culture on record has a Law & Order and it has actually been airing since Enkidu was in short pants. Bum Bum. - JMS regarding this episode “It's something you've never seen done in ANY SF-TV series, and I don't think has ever been done in TV overall. A very daring little story.” - A Law & Order episode from 1991 on the same topic. Bum Bum.


Massachusetts has elected the Governor and Lt Governor on the same ticket since 1966.


Yesterday’s Enterprise:


Synopsis: In which a war criminal long thought dead arrives on the station with a tantalizing offer of an immortality serum. The League of Unaligned Worlds wants her tried for her crimes, but the other civilizations trip over themselves racing to prove who can be the most ethically compromised. Then the Vorlons just unilaterally blow her up, so never mind.


Sarah Douglas, the titular DEATHWALKER Warmaster Jha’dur:


An article from the excellent Lawfare Blog on what the US Code of Military Justice has to say w/r/t disobeying an unlawful order. This article specifically addresses  using certain interrogation methods but is generally of interest to the discussion of what Sinclair should/could do when ordered by Senator Hidoshi to send Jha’dur along to Earth immediately:


Vicar Abbut’s role was apparently originally written for Gilbert Gottfried. That makes a lot of sense.


Robin Curtis:  Jon and Chris have a long-standing feud over the relative merits of Stars Trek II and III. The Robin Curtis/Kirstie Alley divide is a new angle here. But as this is the internet, such disagreements are not new ground:


“Oh, Kim Cattrall”is from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode “City Limits.”

And the Sky Full of Stars

Episode 9 “And the Sky Full of Stars” (Season 1 Episode 8)



Synopsis: In which Commander Sinclair is abducted by anti-alien “enhanced interrogation technique” enthusiasts who prove to be staggeringly incompetent at their job. But despite their efforts, the commander begins to recall some surprising details about what happened to him at the final battle of the Earth-Minbari War.


The title of the episode is a reference back to a painful soliloquy Commander Sinclair made in “The Gathering” about the Battle of the Line.

The Prisoner was a British tv series that ran in 1967-1968, starring Patrick McGoohan (who was also the co-creator) as “Number Six” - a secret agent who had resigned from his agency and was then kidnapped and swept away to the mysterious “Village.” Over the course of 17 episodes a series of handlers known only as “Number Two” attempt to break Number Six and get him to reveal the real reason why he resigned. The show bounces around from traditional espionage to trippy 1960s sci-fi to anti-war counterculture. Really, if you haven’t ever seen it you should check it out. I don’t think it’s on any of the streaming services currently but it’s only $30 on Amazon/iTunes and it well worth the money.


There was a 2009 remake by AMC that...isn’t very good.


Patrick McGoohan was only in four episodes of Columbo? Seems like a lot more. For all your Columbo-related podcast needs check out “Just One More Thing


Mind control techniques used by Jim Jones and other cult and cult-adjacent groups:


The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Chain of Command” (with Picard’s classic “THERE...ARE...FOUR...LIGHTS!”) aired in December 1992. All Picard must do is admit that there are five lights, despite what he knows to be true. That one little admission - that was all that was needed. The theory being that once you have extracted one simple, seemingly irrelevant concession from the victim the camel’s nose is under the tent if you will, and it makes it easier for the victim to make further concessions.


The Prisoner episode “Living in Harmony” is an homage to Western films, including a twist on the opening credits where Number Six rides into town and slams down his sheriff's  badge and gun. In the episode Number Six refuses to carry a gun, which was seen as too anti-war by executives at CBS, and the episode was not aired in the US during the initial run of the series.


The Earth-Minbari war lasted from 2245-2248.


All the headlines seen in Garibaldi’s “Universe Today” newspaper are transcribed at the always essential Lurker’s Guide:


Judson Scott, star of the short-lived 1980s show The Phoenix. While it only got 5 episodes (and the pilot was shown almost a full year before the second episode - sound familiar?) I [Chris] remember watching and really loving it. Scott, as “Bennu of the Golden Light,” was some ancient alien type dude with an amulet that amplified his psychic powers.  I guess he was also in some Star War film or something, I dunno.


The War Prayer

Episode 8 “The War Prayer” (Season 1, Episode 7)


Synopsis: In which an “Earth First” terrorist movement spills over to the station, tensions rise between humans and aliens, and we learn that Ivanova has terrible taste in men.


Stormfront was founded in 1995, after season 1 of B5, but organized “us first, screw you people who are different” groups are as old as humanity itself, sadly.


The racial issues underpinning Brexit are well documented.


They took our jobs!


Irish immigration to the United States in the 1840s-1850s, and the following anti-Irish sentiment. Can you imagine the kinds of invectives directed at various immigrant and refugee groups being aimed at the Irish today? It seems absurd. How will history judge us 150 years down the road?


The rise of the Know-Nothing party has definite echoes in our current political climate. This passage from Abraham Lincoln is interesting:


“Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid,” Lincoln continued. (I have retained his spelling and capitalization.) “As a nation, we begin by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”


The dinner scene from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. The dialogue is quite forced to generate the conflict, but note that it is Walter Koenig’s Chekov who really puts his foot in it.


The constantly referenced Lurker’s Guide to Babylon 5:


A Journey to Babel  For a B5 podcast, we sure do talk a lot about Star Trek...

Removal of the prohibition against main characters being in conflict with one another in Star Trek: Discovery (there we go again…)


The Ruby Ridge standoff was in August 1992.

The World Trade Center bombing happened on February 26, 1993.

The siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco happened in February-April 1993.

The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was on April 19, 1995.


“The War Prayer” first aired on March 9, 1994, so definitely all of these events except the Murrah Building bombing were in the zeitgeist at the time of its writing and production. (Chris mistakenly said the Ruby Ridge standoff contributed to the Branch Davidian situation - he meant that it was a motivating factor behind the Oklahoma City bombing. The perils of googling while podcasting, one’s tongue is often faster than one’s brain).


Tristan Rogers, who plays the unfortunately named “Malcolm Biggs,” veteran of a thousand soap operas, also played a character named “Manly Biggs” on an early 1990s show called “Super Force.” It ran for 48 episodes. Maybe that’s where Jon knows him from?


When Jon mentions an actor who has shown up in The Dark Knight, Gotham, Arrow, and Supergirl he may be referring to David Dastmalchian, who was not in Gotham or Arrow but was on The Flash (who can keep track these days?) and was also in Ant-Man and Twin Peaks: The Return. A modern genre film/tv “That Guy” for sure!


Mind War

Episode 7 “Mind War” (Season 1, Episode 6)



Synopsis: In which a powerful telepath is pursued by other powerful telepaths, and decides the station is a great place to hide.  We learn more than we bargained for about how telepaths operate in the B5 universe. And G’Kar demonstrates his skill at the long game.


Thanks to special guest Bill Lynch!

[Chris] Okay, time to get nerdy here (says the man with a Babylon 5 podcast) - I’ve been doing tabletop roleplaying games for about 37 years now. Bill and Jon are two of the best story tellers and world-builders I’ve ever known. They excel at long-term stories with a slow build and lots of deep character development. So of course Bill was a natural to invite in as a guest host at some point. But I had no idea he was also a huge B5 fan until we started this project! Great to have you on, Bill!


Jason Ironheart was played by William Allen Young, and while he may not be a character actor with credits stretching back to the 60s, he was on an episode of Renegade in the 90s and that’s just as good. He’s currently on the CBS show Code Black.


Watchmen was a 12 issue comic book series written by Alan Moore, released in 1986-1987. It was later made into an acceptable movie by Zach Snyder. In it one of the characters, Jon Osterman/Doctor Manhattan, is in an accident with an “Intrinsic Field Subtractor” which gives him godlike powers, including being able to manipulate matter at the atomic level, while distancing him from his humanity. At the end of the story he leaves Earth to explore the universe and perhaps create new life. Am I crazy here?


Psychic abilities in media: What Jason has developed may be closer to the Reality Warper level (, which was in fact pretty prevalent before 1993. How did I forget Charlie X!


My “elbow sex” joke didn’t get nearly the laughs it deserved.


The Psi Corps were definitely inspired by the novel The Demolished Man by (wait for it) Alfred Bester.


The Zhodani from Traveller:


The episode Bill references where technology is used to mind probe Sinclair is “And the Sky Full of Stars,” two episodes from now. Stay tuned!


The aliens of SIgma-957, who are completely NOT Shadows. In related news, I am an idiot.


The NSA’s PRISM project, intercepting and collecting internet data. Note the ominous eye logo (“Be seeing you!”)


Can’t go a week without referring to the Lurker’s Guide: This was where I read that JMS wanted Patrick MacGoohan for “And the Sky Full of Stars.”


The Parliament of Dreams

Episode 6 “The Parliament of Dreams” (Season 1, Episode 5)



Synopsis: In which the station hosts a religious trade show of sorts, an assassin stalks Ambassador G’Kar, the Commander’s old flame returns, and we at last meet Na’toth and Lenir.


Roman gods of the hearth: May all the Classics professors that Jon and Chris have had over the years forgive us for linking to wikipedia here.


The Centauri gods on Londo’s table are:Ben-Zan, the god of food; Li, the goddess of passion; and Mo-Goth, god of the underworld and protector of front doors (who looks more than a little like a garden gargoyle purchased at Home Goods). Clearly we have seen the importance of passion to Londo, and based on his dimensions one would assume food is also important (note to self - how many scenes with Londo involve him eating? My gut, pun quite intended, says there are a LOT of them, like Brad Pitt in Ocean’s 11 level. Something to watch for). The underworld is a surprising one. We know about the Centauri death visions but not about their afterlife. Londo is a shrewd political player, and I suppose hedging your bets by claiming the god of the afterlife as one of your household patrons is never a bad idea. Not sure where the front doors bit fits.

I’ve been trying to find a clip of G’Kar’s song to insert here, but without success. Just go back to your tapes, dvds, or files and watch the episode again. It’s a good one.


Wikipedia (again. I know, I know) tells us there are approximately 4,200 religions on Earth today.  That would be one heck of a lineup.



Episode 5 “Infection” (Season 1, episode 4)


Synopsis: In which an ethically challenged archaeologist accidentally unleashes a living weapon on the station, we get to know Dr Franklin, and a reporter hounds the reluctant Commander Sinclair for an interview.

A note on Richard Biggs: until researching for these show notes I hadn’t been aware that he was almost entirely deaf. We slag a bit on his tendency to over-act, but I now wonder how much of that may be overcompensation for the fact that he couldn’t really hear regular conversation. Worth keeping in mind.

The eternal David McCallum:

The lackey who becomes the monster in this episode is named “Drake Nelson.” Seriously? - Every character in science fiction who has to deal with megacorporations acts as if they’ve never seen or read anything about megacorporations in science fiction before. It’s maddening.

Jon Pertwee is the best Doctor Who. The matter is not open for discussion. Well, maybe William Hartnell. 

We’re not fancy scientists, but it seems ( that the core of a galaxy would be where you would find the densest population of stars/systems. So when you’re talking about planets “on the outer rim” you’d be talking about stuff out in the arms, like where Earth is. We’re the backwater here, not the core.

Dune Messiah is the best Dune novel. The matter is not open for discussion. This is solely here to see if Jon reads these notes before posting them to the site. [Dune Messiah is most certainly NOT the best Dune novel. -J]


Born to the Purple

Episode 4 “Born to the Purple” (Season 1, Episode 3)



Synopsis: In which we see a softer side of Ambassador Londo Mollari, learn that IT security in the 23rd century is TERRIBLE, and Commander Sinclair goes undercover in full action-hero guy mode.


The great Dr. Carlin Barton, speaking on honor and masculinity in Rome (from her book Roman Honor: Fire in the Bones)


The Centauri Republic:


Meat Loaf I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That):


Clive Revill:





The location of Babylon 5, 10.5 light years from Earth: