A Late Delivery From Avalon


Episode 58: A Late Delivery from Avalon (Season 3, Episode 13)

Synopsis: In which a man claiming to be Arthur, King of the Britons, arrives on Babylon 5



Note: This episode was intended to go after “Sic Transit Vir,” which we will examine next week.

There are a lot of Monty Python and the Holy Grail references here, I’m not going to link them all. Same for the references to Arthurian lore and historical study.

I will however strongly recommend the “Arthur Dies at the End” series of retellings of Mallory’s “Le Mort de Arthur” by my (Chris) friend Jeffrey Wikstrom. Very funny and irreverent. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LAKWHH8/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Do not get Chris started on stirrups in the movie Gladiator.

The “Camelot 3000: comics series: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camelot_3000

MASH’s finale, “Farewell, Amen and Amen” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goodbye,_Farewell_and_Amen

Logan’s Run https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logan%27s_Run_(film)

The postal worker was portrayed by Michael Fagan. I was confused because he’s listed with a name in the credits, “Emmet Farquaha,” but I don’t think the name was ever spoken in the episode.

Attentive listeners may recall that the film Apollo 13 was beat out for a Hugo award in 1996 by the Babylon 5 season 2 episode “The Coming of Shadows.” JMS was certainly aware of the film.

The board game “This War of Mine” is a harrowing experience. Cannot recommend it enough. https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/188920/war-mine-board-game

Shoeless Joe: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoeless_Joe_Jackson

Ceremonies of Light and Dark


Episode 57: Ceremonies of Light and Dark (Season 3, Episode 11)

Synopsis: In which the dust settles from the past few episodes and everyone gets spiffy new uniforms!



Domo Arigato https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uc6f_2nPSX8

Halfway there: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDK9QqIzhwk

Suebi and Etruscans and Greeks, oh my! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_citizenship

In Our Time - the best history/science/culture/everything podcast out there: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qykl/episodes/player

“People with terrible ideas often think they’re going to work.” - https://www.ilinxilinx.com/nameofthepod/

The Dollop podcast https://www.dolloppodcast.com/

Don Stroud: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0835144/?ref_=tt_cl_t13

“Tomorrow is Yesterday” is the classic Star Trek episode where the computer keeps referring to Kirk as “dear.” http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Tomorrow_is_Yesterday_(episode)

“Are we the baddies?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hn1VxaMEjRU

Buck Rogers uniform:

An aside, but Gil Gerard (Buck) and Felix Silla (Twiki) are still friends and hang out. That feels nice.


And in conclusion YOGA PANTS ARE NOT PANTS. Come at me, haters!

Severed Dreams

Episode 56: Severed Dreams (Season 3, Episode 10)

Synopsis: In which everything hits the fan.



Other Hugo nominees in 1997 for “Best Dramatic Presentation” were Star Trek: First Contact, DS9 “Trials and Tribble-ations,” Mars Attacks and Independence Day.

Max was particularly vocal this episode. Enjoy his dulcet tones.

Robert Foxworth’s treason is discussed by JMS in length on the Lurker’s Guide page, linked above.

Point of No Return

Episode 55: Point of No Return (Season 3, Episode 9)

Synopsis: In which the crisis with the Nightwatch comes to a head and Londo and Vir learn their destinies.



The legendary Majel Barrett: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000854/?ref_=tt_cl_t12

Before her death, Majel Barrett’s voice was recorded phonetically so it is still possible we may get her voice for our phones! https://news.avclub.com/the-late-majel-barrett-might-still-voice-the-computer-o-1798251733

Star Trek Continues: https://www.youtube.com/user/StarTrekContinues

Emmanuel Goldstein and the Two Minutes of Hate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4zYlOU7Fpk

Messages from Earth


Episode 54: Messages from Earth (Season 3, Episode 8)

Synopsis: In which Sheridan must take drastic action to keep President Clark from obtaining a shadow ship, and the Nightwatch steps up their operation on the station.



Stove Top? I’M STAYING! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3T1dvaEY9CQ

The Ultra Menace Missile! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZAuNqHSEQk

The Shobijin from Godzilla vs Mothra: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stavnP7kcGU

Night Boat! The Crime Solving boat! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoV1-fsFCmw

The Reflex Gun! Another Star Blazers reference! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAA3bLM3IGA

Lyanna Mormont, baddest badass in the Seven Kingdoms. It is known. http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Lyanna_Mormont


Episode 53: Exogenesis (Season 3, Episode 7)

Synopsis: In which a creepy bug/parasite thing appears to be possessing people and Ivanova tests Corwin’s loyalty.



Samuel Taylor Coleridge was interrupted while writing Kulba Khan by “the stranger from Porlock” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Person_from_Porlock

Which led to Rush’s “Xanadu,” possibly my (Chris) favorite of their songs. If you’ve never heard it, can tolerate prog rock, and have eleven-odd minutes to spare check it out. I’ll be over here rocking out hard:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEuOoMprDqg

Aubrey Morris, this episode’s Duncan, appears as the Roman emperor in this episode of The Prisoner - “The Dance of the Dead.” Once you’ve watched that Rush video spend 40 minutes checking this out too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaCVzUy3KP4

Fantasy recasting of Marcus:

Chris - David Tennant: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0855039/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Jon - Richie Campbell: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1951953/?ref_=tt_cl_t2

Here’s our first pass at the prestige 10 episode breakdown for season 2. Much of this didn’t survive contact with the discussion we have in this episode but it was a starting point.

Season 2.jpg

The zones of total exclusion thing came from the French Zone Rouge, an area of France entirely incapable of supporting life because of damage from World War 1. Details: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zone_Rouge

And of course there’s a TV Tropes page as well (because of course there is). https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ForbiddenZone

Dust to Dust

CDT B5 prestige 1.png

Jon’s outline for prestige season 1:


A   Narn-Centauri War (Midnight)

B   Ivanova's Family (Purple)


A   G'kar Black Rose / Londo assassin (Purple / Parliament)

B   Sinclair and Sakai (Parliament)


A   Religion Festival (Parliament)

B   Garibaldi and Mars (Lianna) (Survivors)


A   Deathwalker (Deathwalker)

B   Franklin and the Children of Time (Believers)


A   Sigma 957 (Parliament)

B   Talia and Kosh (Deathwalker)


A   Morden (Signs)

B   Sinclair kidnapped (Sky)


A   Babylon 4 (BB)

B   Ivanova and Koslov (TKO)


A   Epsilon 3 / Draal, pt. 1 (Voice1)

B   Garibaldi and Mars, election of Santiago (Voice1)


A   Epsilon 3 / Draal, pt. 2 (Voice2)

B   Sinclair and Earthforce (Voice2)

10 = Chrysalis, as filmed

Jason Morningstar - Fiasco is really a terrific game! http://bullypulpitgames.com/about/jason/

Jon & Tracy’s excellent podcast on gaming and education, Game Level Learn: http://www.gamelevellearn.com/podcast/

Voices of Authority

Episode 51: Voices of Authority (Season 3, Episode 5)

Synopsis: In which Marcus and Ivanova search for allies in the war against the Shadows, and the Clark administration attempts to tighten its grip on the station.





The Seraphs’ ship from the 1978 Battlestar Galactica: https://wikivisually.com/wiki/Seraphs_(Battlestar_Galactica)


Balok from Star Trek’s “The Corbormite Maneuver” http://www.startrek.com/database_article/balok



Marie Crane, the candidate who lost to incumbent Luis Santiago in the 2258 election: http://babylon5.wikia.com/wiki/Marie_Crane


Shari Shattuck: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0789449/?ref_=tt_cl_t13

.38 Special’s “Caught Up In You” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zg21Rkew874

A Day In The Strife


Synopsis: In which G’Kar must make difficult decisions regarding the resistance on the homeworld and an alien probe makes a generous offer.





Vidkun Quisling, head of the Norwegian government during Nazi occupation https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vidkun_Quisling


Cixin Liu’s “The Dark Forest”



And believe not or not, there’s a good explanation of the “chain of suspicion” to be found on Quora: https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-Dark-Forest-Theory-of-the-cosmos-which-is-a-response-to-the-Fermi-Paradox


The Culture: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Culture


The possible dangers of the METI project: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/28/magazine/greetings-et-please-dont-murder-us.html


Stephen Macht: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0532685/?ref_=tt_cl_t12


Episode 48: Convictions (Season 3, Episode 2)

Synopsis: In which a mad bomber terrorizes the station and a number of pilgrims begin to arrive.





Mode Training is a philosophical/quasi-religious doctrine from David Gerrold’s “War Against the Chtorr” series. It is intended to let individuals move beyond human psychologies. The founder of the movement writes under the pseudonym of “Solomon Short.” Make of that what you will.


Brother Theo’s monastery is New Melleray Abbey in Iowa. The monks there are Cistercians or Trappists, who make a darn fine jam. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Melleray_Abbey


Gene Roddenberry was indeed an ardent humanist and disdainful of religion. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Roddenberry#Religious_views


Somehow we had a whole conversation about religion and spirituality in sci-fi without mentioning either incarnation of Battlestar Galactica. You should probably be listening to a better podcast.


In the 13th century Pope Innocent IV sent a letter to Guyuk, Khan of the Mongols, telling him that the Mongol forces should stop attacking Christendom and maybe even convert to Christianity.

Guyuk’s response to the Pope: "You must say with a sincere heart ‘We will be your subjects; we will give you our strength.’ You must in person come with your kings, all together, without exception, to render us service and pay us homage. Only then will we acknowledge your submission. And if you do not follow the order of God, and go against our orders, we will know you as our enemy."



Babylon 5 Season 3 intro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9EbGd1AlMg


Space: 1999 Season One theme. Mixing 2001’s orchestral epicness with funk electric guitar that for some reason actually works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLhdY6_juDk

Season Two leans fully into the disco horns. Whether it “works” is best left as an exercise for the reader: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsmefY94E_0


Matters of Honor


Episode 47: Matters of Honor (Season 3, Episode 1)

Synopsis: In which the army of light gains a new ally and a totally awesome new ship, and dark alliances are revealed.




“Welcome back, your dreams were ticket out” is from the theme song to the classic sitcom Welcome Back Kotter.

“And they told two friends. And so on, and so on, and so on…” https://www.retroist.com/2015/12/14/and-they-told-two-friends-how-faberge-organics-shampoo-explained-virality/

At less than a minute into season 3, Jon and Chris reveal they are old as DIRT.

Strider/Aragorn (John Hurt) meets the Hobbits at the Prancing Pony, from Ralph Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orLz433Cf-g

Ambassador Fox (Gene Lyons) from “A Taste of Armageddon”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfqIpf987vM

Season 2 Wrap Up!


Episode 46: Season 2 Wrap-Up

This episode was recorded in the lobby of our hotel (because the godforsaken Hilton only saw fit to give me one chair in my room so we had to look elsewhere, and there was a 20,000 person game convention AND a Pride parade going on outside with about the same attendance, plus some kind of investment/retirement/MLM fleecing seminar in the hotel...some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb!) so there’s some echo and noise from people walking by. I’ve done what I can with it but obviously it’s not as clean as a regular recording.



Jon’s top 5 episodes:

5) Acts of Sacrifice

4) And Now for a Word

3) In the Shadow of Z’ha’dum

2) The Long, Twilight Struggle

1) The Coming of Shadows


Chris’s top 5 episodes:

5) Knives

4) And Now for a Word

3) In the Shadow of Z’ha’dum

2) The Coming of Shadows

1) The Long, Twilight Struggle


Jon’s bottom 3 episodes:

3) Come the Inquisitor

2) The Long Dark



Chris’s bottom 3 episodes:

3) The Long Dark

2) Geometry of Shadows

1) Soul Mates


The discussion of the network forcing JMS to include a hotshot pilot (Warren Keffer) is apparently from the DVD commentary to “The Fall of Night.” http://babylon5.wikia.com/wiki/Warren_Keffer


The Fall of Night


Episode 45: The Fall of Night (Season 2, Episode 22)

Synopsis: In which Earthdome takes sides in the Centauri/Narn conflict, Zack falls deeper into the Night Watch, and Kosh is revealed.




A very brief overview of the Sudentenland crisis and Chamberlain’s Appeasement policy. Again, entire careers could be spent on this one issue, but here’s a very high level thumbnail: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/higher/history/roadwar/munich/revision/1/


Charles Lindbergh’s America First Committee was ostensibly focused on keeping America out of the war, but Lindbergh himself and others were suspected of being Nazi sympathizers. Certainly his racial and anti-Semitic views were in line with a lot of what the Nazis were selling at the time. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America_First_Committee


Comes The Inquisitor


Episode 44: Comes the Inquisitor  (Season 2, Episode 21)

Synopsis: In which the Vorlons send a sadistic mass murderer to judge whether Delenn and Sheridan are worthy, and G’Kar attempts to secure some help for his people.





“From Hell” is an amazing comic series from Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell focusing on the Jack the Ripper murders and, Victorian society, and mystical geography of late 19th century London. Incredibly detailed, very challenging.


“Letters from Whitechapel” is a really great logic/deduction boardgame. https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/59959/letters-whitechapel


The Prisoner’s “Once Upon a Time” where Number 2 attempts to break Number 6 using “degree absolute” https://tv.avclub.com/the-prisoner-once-upon-a-time-1798207352


Legion https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5114356/?ref_=nv_sr_1 An amazing show with an almost breathtaking presentation of telepathy and identity.


David Lee Roth’s “California Girls” The first minute or so of the video, before the song actually begins, has that same fisheye lens closeup technique we see in this video. It’s very unsettling in both contexts. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GMoLENWsSk


DS9’s “Empok Nor,” directed by Mike Vejar http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Empok_Nor_(episode)

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”: http://ew.com/article/2015/01/14/battlestar-galactica-anniversary-decade-33-pilot/


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 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debate_over_the_atomic_bombings_of_Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki  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 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Andromeda_Strain_(film)


Star Blazers !!!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5oniErmeuE


John Schuck is a national treasure https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0775870/

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. http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Journey%27s_End_(episode)

“Your stupid minds! Stupid! Stupid!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qro7oBzUBos 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: http://www.papercraftsquare.com/babylon-5-very-detailed-omega-class-destroyer-free-paper-model-download.html

(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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gSf5UMZ8ms

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…” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Enough_at_Last


“The Outcast” episode of TNG. What a stinker of a Very Special Episode. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Outcast_(Star_Trek:_The_Next_Generation)


“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. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cloud_Minders


Mary Douglas Purity and Danger: An Analysis of the Concepts of Pollution and Taboo https://www.amazon.com/Purity-Danger-Analysis-Pollution-Routledge/dp/0415289955


Perdo Zamora: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedro_Zamora


A discussion of the Diff’rent Strokes “Bicycle Man” episode: https://tv.avclub.com/a-very-special-diff-rent-strokes-that-s-terrifying-fo-1798240170


Here’s an article on “Maude’s Dilemma” from 1992, fairly close to the time B5 was on the air: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1992-11-13/features/9204130017_1_mothers-as-donna-reed-messy-family-life-maude-findlay


“A Taste of Armageddon” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Taste_of_Armageddon Such a good episode.

“Far Beyond the Stars” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edith%27s_50th_Birthday Again, Norman Lear showing how it should be done.


Family Ties’ “Speed Trap” http://familyties.wikia.com/wiki/Speed_Trap They all look so young!

No shortage of “War is Hell” messages http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WarIsHell


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 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tolkien%27s_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: https://i.imgur.com/NzWbswx.gif

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