By Tom Cassidy,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
'90s sci-fi series has violence and some sexuality.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Teamwork and communication are central themes. Different species work and live together using diplomacy to work out any problems.
Positive Role Models
The main characters work together to maintain peace. Chief of Security Michael Garibaldi shows respect for his enemies and is level-headed but authoritative. Second in command to strait-laced Commander Jeffrey Sinclair is Susan Ivanova, a tough, pessimistic Russian woman who is brash but apologizes if rude and explains her reasons. Onboard the Babylon 5 space station, humans are the main peacekeepers and are shown as the authority of the station over the alien characters. Most episodes feature a storyline of a character up to no good.
Violence & Scariness
Ships explode during space battles and some characters get shot with lasers. Characters fight with fists but occasionally the violence is stronger -- one character is stabbed in the stomach, for example. No blood is shown. There is regular personal threat, as well as the threat of war. Past conflicts are discussed with details of suffering. Character affected by suicide.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Occasional mild innuendo and kissing. Episodes occasionally feature a sexual storyline. In one plot, an alien race demands a deal is sealed with sex and another features a character tricked by seduction. Sex is implied but nothing explicit is shown. Onboard nightclub has exotic dancers and costumes that occasionally emphasize cleavage. Some characters have romantic involvements.
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Infrequent language includes "bastard," "dammit," and "hell."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink at a bar and at home. Character smokes a cigar. Storylines include alcohol and drug addiction.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Babylon 5 is an Emmy award-winning sci-fi series set on a space station dedicated to keeping the peace through diplomacy, with some violence and themes of a sexual nature. It has honorable, dedicated characters, and each episode introduces a usually one-off villain or problem that needs to be resolved. There is a strong emphasis on working out problems with words. Violence is bloodless and usually involves space battles or laser guns. But occasionally it is stronger, with some fist fights and even stabbings. There is personal threat as well as the wider threat of war, with sometimes dark descriptions of former conflicts. Characters have tragic back stories, including being affected by suicide. There is occasional mild innuendo but some episodes have a sexual storyline -- an alien race demands a deal is sealed with sex and another features a character tricked by seduction. Sex is implied but not shown; some characters kiss. Exotic dancers work at a nightclub onboard the Babylon 5 space station, where characters drink and a character smokes cigars. Some characters' storylines include alcohol and drug addiction. Very infrequent language includes "bastard" and "dammit." Themes such as conflict, religion, and freewill are explored.
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What's the Story?
In BABYLON 5, the crew of a huge space station -- built to keep the peace through diplomacy in a post-war galaxy -- must balance complex, and fragile, human and alien relations.
Is It Any Good?
Launched in 1993, shortly before the final season of Star Trek: The Next Generation aired, this sci-fi TV series was a worthy replacement for those wanting a regular fix of interstellar peacekeepers. Babylon 5 ran for five seasons and picked up a dedicated cult following. Hailed at the time for its cutting-edge CGI and award-winning costumes, it's a striking show that keeps things visually interesting when the action gets a little dry. Due to the episodic nature of the show, there's also a new problem to deal with every 45 minutes, helping keep things fresh.
The set-up is undeniably cool -- Babylon 5 is a place for "diplomats, hustlers, entrepreneurs, and wanderers" -- and the variety of stories these four groups allow kept fans happy across its 116 episodes. Episodes generally zip along, with enough varied characters involved in the action to keep things interesting, and their backstories weaved in to create another layer in this rich but steady show.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the violence in Babylon 5. Did the scenes of explosions and space battles affect you differently than those of the close-up, one-on-one fights? Why do you think that is?
Talk about how the show portrays sex. Is it affectionate? Respectful? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
How do the characters onboard the Babylon 5 space station demonstrate communication and empathy? What about teamwork and courage? Why are these important character strengths?
How is drinking, smoking, and drug use portrayed in the movie? Are they glamorized? What are the consequences? Why is that important?
What is the appeal of science fiction TV? Does this show have any similarities to others you have seen? How does it compare?
- Premiere date: February 22, 1993
- Cast: Mira Furlan, Claudia Christian, Richard Biggs
- Network: Max
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Space and Aliens
- Character Strengths: Communication, Teamwork
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Last updated: February 11, 2023
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