What is Babylon 5?
Babylon 5 is a science fiction television series, set in the mid 23rd Century, which
takes place on a five-mile-long space station, centrally located near Earth and four other
alien alliances. The station was built as a kind of United Nations, to help preserve peace
in the galaxy; Each of the alliances has an official representative on the station.
Unlike most television series, an overall story arc has been planned for Babylon 5 as
if it were a miniseries or written novel. Over the course of its planned five-year run
(which may be shortened down to four years), events tell an overall story; hints are
dropped along the way that foreshadow events to come. However, each hour-long episode
tells an individual story and can be viewed alone.
The series is in its fourth season in North America, and is airing the in
many other countries, usually behind the US. The show is syndicated to individual stations
across the U.S. There are plans for a sequel series, to be called _The Babylon Project:
Crusade_, though it is not yet nailed down. There are also plans for two new B5 TV movies,
one of which will be a prequel, to be aired on TNT.
Who is behind Babylon 5? (i.e. Who the heck is JMS?)
The show was created by J. Michael Straczynski (JMS), who is co-executive producer on
the show along with Doug Netter. It has been in development since 1987, and in production
since 1992. Doug Netter is an equal partner in Babylon 5, mainly handling the business
side and leaves the creative work to Straczynski. Harlan Ellison is the Conceptual
Consultant for the series; he has also written a "manifesto" for the show that
explains to other writers how to write science fiction for television and Babylon 5, in
particular. Well- known science fiction writers, including Ellison, David Gerrold, D.C.
Fontana, and Peter David are contributing scripts to the show. Christopher Franke,
formerly of Tangerine Dream, does the soundtrack.
What kind of Special Effects does Babylon 5 have?
All special effects for Babylon 5 are computer generated imagery (CGI). Foundation Imaging (season 1, 2 and 3. Season 4 is being done in-house by Netter Digital Entertainment, Inc. (parent company of Babylonion Productions), headed by Ron Thornton, is utilizing Lightwave 3D and specialized software to design and render the visual effects. (Lightwave is now running on PCs; Amigas were used originally.) Space scenes are clearer and more realistic than Model shots. Some interior shots such as docking bays are "virtual sets" combining live action with computer imagery. Macintoshes and PCs are used occasionally for 2-D effects and painting packages.
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