Flower Power vs The Real World

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Hippie Star Trek vs Real World Babylon 5

  • Jul 29, 2009
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First, I loved Star Trek when it first came on.  It was exciting and new.  It was the first real prime time scifi series.  Kirk was Superman, Spock was his robot sidekick and Sulu, Chekov, etc were good comedy relief.  I was a child then, and loved it.  It was only later that I realized how "hippy" the whole thing was.  Obviously, Roddenbery believed that people would be so very much better 300 years from now.  After all,in 300 years all of your racial problems will be solved (yeah....right....sure), all of our economic problems will be solved (yeah....right....sure....just ask Obama.  His budget won't be paid off in 3000 years) and everyone will be so much more loving, heroic and open to new ideas.  In other words, a perfect "liberal" world without those old stick in the mud conservatives to muck things up.  A fantasy world, as real and likely as the world of Tolkein.  In straight words, a liberal, hippy paradise.

Then, comes Babylon 5.  The station is built because human beings started a war with a race that was kicking their tails badly, and suddenly surrendered on the eve of their victory.  The idea of the Babylon station was good, but once it started, it also became a meeting point for criminals and the Psi Corps.  Racial haterd was replaced by alien hatred and prejudice.  Babylon 5 even had a worker's strike and labor problems.  Straczynski had a more realistic view of the world 300 years from now.  There was heroism, sacrifice and all of the wonderful "human"  characteristics, but there was also still prejudice, crime, poverty and all the negatives we still have as well.  There were starving people living "down under" in the Babylon station.  There was theft and graft on the station.  Even Earth Gov was the usual Washington political crap. 

The defining difference, though, is the treatment of one of SciFi's greats, Harlan Ellison.  Ellison "wrote" the most popular episode of the original Star Trek, CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER.  I put wrote in quotes because, after Roddenberry got through with it, the script was no longer Ellison's at all.  Roddenbetter threw out characters, changed dialog and scenes and even would not allow certain characters to act as Ellison wrote them because it would "humanize" Kirk.  Kirk, after all, was Superman and the epitome of the "new" humans in the 23rd century.  Ellison was THE major contributor to Babylon 5, though.  He introduced the Psy Corps and actually appeared as a Psy Cop in three episodes.  There were heroic individuals, like Sheridan and Sinclair, but there were also less heroic people, like Garibaldi and even Franklin.  The aliens weren't all either "evil" or "good".  They simply had their own agendas.  All of the grit of a typical Ellison was made a part of the Babylon universe, and the overall effect is that Babylon 5 is much much much much much more realistic than Star Trek.

I realize that some will consider this sacrelige, but Star Trek is a true hippy paradise, while Babylon 5 is a much more realistic view of the future.  Now that I have thoroughly pissed off all Star Trek fans, please give Babylon 5 a try.  It really is a much better series.

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February 27, 2010
I must agree that Babylon 5 is much better than Star Trek. Paramount in fact paid the highest complement to Babylon 5 by stealing so much of it to make Deep Space Nine, They even stole that scene of the Minbari poet being branded on the forehead by xenophobic humans by having Quark branded by xenophobic Bajorans.

The humans in Star Trek are to enlightened and evolved for such barbarity.

So we got two good sci-fi shows for the price of one. DS9 is the BEST Trek though the true Trekkies say it is the worst which of course is proof of my point. LOL

But science fiction is about what humans do and do not do with technology. You see the 20th century has given us replicator technology. We call it the assembly line. Henry Ford showed us what we could do with it. He brought the price of the Model-T down from $850 to $300. But in order to do that he froze the design. So the way to screw up the replicator technology is to keep changing the product.

We have spent decades screwing up the technology with planned obsolescence. How much wealth have we wasted? Try asking an economist how much Americans have lost on the depreciation of automobiles in the last 50 years. They can't tell us and will probably get angry if you ask the question. So if the hippies had been using their brains in the 60s we might have the Federation society by now. Instead they went into debt for junk. The 21st century will have to pay the price.

Watch the DS9 episode House of Quark. Double-entry accounting is 700 years old. How hard can it be? So with all of these cheap computers that are more poweful than 1980 mainframes why don't any educators or economists say that accounting should be mandatory in our schools?


July 30, 2009
Good review - -however, I don't see a downside to seeing the future in a positive light rather as dystopian but that's just a matter of taste. Also, I enjoyed Babylon 5 immensely. I have met Claudia Christian and J. Michael Strazynski and they're both neat, creative people.

There's actually a book by Ellison that gives the original screenplay that he wrote.  Has photos of himself with Shatner and Nimoy, quite interesting. 
July 30, 2009
Actually, it's that book you mentioned that started this. I like Star Trek, but it is so happy and hippy. I loved Ellison's original script. For instance, why did Roddenberry leave out the legless veteran? Not a necessary scene, but a very good one.
July 30, 2009
Remember the actually hippy episode where they're "going out to Eden" but the planet turns out to be toxic?
July 30, 2009
Yeah. It was one of the dumber episodes, but fun. All of the ship's crew were very sympathetic to the hippies, too. After all, people will be so much better than we are in 300 years.
July 29, 2009
Dammit, I can't do the Wiki for either Babylon 5 or Star Trek. Could someone please help?
July 30, 2009
I added some stuff. :)
July 30, 2009
Thanks very much. For some reason, I could not add anything.
July 30, 2009
I have the same problem with that damned thing. I don't even bother with it any more. I put things inand enter it and they all go away. Either that or some things go away. It's ridiculous.
July 30, 2009
I am not sure what's wrong. I had it for a while, and now what I did before does not work. Oh well, we have younger, smarter people to help us, thanks to who or whatever
July 31, 2009
You're welcome. I copied and pasted a few paragraphs from Wikipedia into a Word file. Then copied from Word and pasted in the Wiki thingee by clicking on the pencil then pasting.
About the reviewer
John O'Connor ()
I am retired military. I served 6 years of Navy, nearly 6 years of Air Force, and just over 22 years of Air National Guard. I also was a full time technician for the Air Guard for just over 21 years. … more
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Star Trek is an American science fiction entertainment series and media franchise. The Star Trek fictional multiverse created by Gene Roddenberry is the setting of six television series, including the original 1966 Star Trek, and eleven feature films. The franchise also includes dozens of computer and video games, hundreds of novels and instances of fan fiction, several fan-created video productions, as well as a themed attraction in Las Vegas. Beginning with the original TV series and continuing with the subsequent films and series, the franchise has created a cult phenomenon and has spawned many pop culture references.[1]

Babylon 5 is an American science fiction television series created, produced and largely written by J. Michael Straczynski. The show centers on the Babylon 5 space station: a focal point for politics, diplomacy, and conflict during the years 2257–2262. With its prominent use of planned story arcs, the series was often described as a "novel for television."[1][2]

The pilot film premiered on February 22, 1993. The regular series aired from January 26, 1994 and ran for five full seasons, winning two Hugos for Best Dramatic Presentation[3] and two Emmy awards - for makeup and visual effects.[4] The show spawned six television films and a spin-off series, Crusade, which aired in 1999 and ran for thirteen episodes. On July 31, 2007, a DVD was released containing two short films about selected characters from the series.


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