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5 Shows like Babylon 5: Space Dramas

Thanasis Karavasilis itcherDespite all our cultural differences, aliens and humans do share a lot of common themes… at least in sci-fi shows. I’m sure you already know that after watching ‘Babylon 5’ and you’re ready for more spacewalks. Here are some more science fiction shows you should definitely watch. ~ Thanasis Karavasilis

Understanding is a three-edged sword.

‘Babylon 5’ is a milestone for televised Science Fiction.

There are many who claim that space opera can be divided in PB and AB (pro babylon5 and after Babylon 5). J. Michael Straczynski (the creator of the show) brought us a show full of complex characters, an overarching mythology, and a sharp social commentary. He made a space western blueprint to follow.

Bonus: The StarFuries in ‘Babylon 5’ were the first cinematic spacecraft to try and adhere to the known laws of physics. Instead of resembling a jet fighter flying through a much-needed but absent atmosphere, they sailed like ships in a vacuum.

Ready for more TV shows like ‘Babylon 5’?

Here are all the intros of B5 in one nifty video to get you started:


Shows Similar to ‘Babylon 5’…

‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’ (Rick Berman, Michael Piller, 1993-1999)

Five years ago no one had ever heard of Bajor or Deep Space Nine, and now, all our hopes rest here!

You probably know the first lines of any and every Star Trek media: “Space, the final frontier…”

Created by Gene Roddenbery, the Star Trek TV shows are partly about the thrill of exploration and the necessity for unity and diversity. ‘Deep Space Nine’ was Star Trek’s shift to a more realistically fleshed out location and the exploration not of planets but of characters.

Politics, diplomacy, war; the ethics of conflict and the justification of terrorism. Fascism, tolerance, egoism. ‘DS9’ is a fantastic space drama.

Similarity Match: 88%
Both feature a Space Station and interplanetary relations. ‘Babylon 5’ is a much darker show than the Star Trek-based ‘DS9’.

‘The Expanse’ (Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, 2015- )

We’re here looking for survivors and some answers… If we’re lucky.

‘The Expanse’ is based on the science fiction novels, novellas, and stories, written by James S. A. Corey, the pen name of authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck.

The story: 200 years in the future, humanity has expanded its reach in the Solar System. We have fully colonized our neighborhood, but we haven’t still found any signs of extra-terrestrial life.

A detective stationed in the asteroid belt, the first officer of an interplanetary ice freighter, and a United Nations executive, are bound to discover that our reach for the stars has not quenched our thirst for power. There is a vast conspiracy that cries to be unraveled.

Similarity Match: 82%
‘The Expanse’ has no aliens, but like ‘Babylon 5’ it is set in a TV universe full of politics and secrets.

‘Lexx’ (Paul Donovan, 1997-2002)

I killed mothers with their babies. I’ve killed great philosophers, proud young warriors, and revolutionaries. I’ve killed the evil, the good, the intelligent, the weak, and the beautiful. I have done this in the service of His Divine Shadow and his predecessors, and apparently the fun never ends!

‘Lexx’ is my underrated pick.

A group of desperate and quite anxious fugitives is trying to outrun the reach of an interplanetary tyranny. In the process, they find an incredibly powerful starship (do not ask how).

To be honest, I didn’t like Lexx at first. The reason was that I hadn’t given it a chance from the start and the characters felt out of place, the humor was kind of awkward and dark, and the underlying themes felt a little too mature.

After a full run, I believe that the show is a lot smarter than most people realize. It’s the American version of ‘Red Dwarf’ (which is heading for a revival).

Similarity Match: 80%
‘Lexx’ is, at times, more entertaining and less elaborate than ‘Babylon 5’, but both shows deal with morality issues and the darkness we have within us.

‘First Wave’ (Chris Brancato, 1998-2001)

Paranoia is not a contagious condition, it’s a way of life.

‘First Wave’ isn’t that well known, but among sci-fi fans, it’s a classic. It is a weird mix of classic Science Fiction shows and ‘The X-Files’.

Cade Foster is a reformed thief who takes the role of the savior of our world. He discovers that aliens are already among us and have an evil plan to enslave humanity (there is a tendency for aliens to be evil and malevolent.) Along with his co-protagonists and having found the quatrains of Nostradamus, he will try and forestall the aliens’ plans.

Similarity Match: 73%
‘First Wave’ is not set in space. Yet, like ‘Babylon 5’ it is a very passionate science fiction drama: intelligent, entertaining, and thought-provoking.


If You Like ‘Babylon 5’, You Will Like…

There are many series similar to ‘Babylon 5’, and I could have picked any of them for this section. Instead, I am going to take a shift from the dark and gloomy premises of ‘Babylon 5’ and bring you some space laughter.

‘Futurama’ (David X. Cohen, Matt Groening, 1999-2013)

I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.

Fry is a pizza guy who is accidentally frozen in 1999. In New Year’s Eve 2999, he is found and thawed out. Now, he must tackle this new brave world head-on.

This is one of those ‘you must watch me a few times or know all the background references to fully appreciate’ shows, and it has its own unique flair of comedic genius that you can find on ‘The Simpsons’ (made by the same creator).

‘Futurama’, like ‘Babylon 5’, is well-written and has characters you can identify with. It is not as dark and it delivers its social commentary through sarcasm and comedy.


Diplomacy and Action among the Stars

If you count out the outlandish aliens, the fancy spaceships, and the science fiction hocus-pocus, ‘Babylon 5’ is a fantastic drama series about politics and diplomacy.

I may have chosen 5 TV series like ‘Babylon 5’, but there are so many more. What is your favorite SF series? Did you like Babylon 5? Let me know in the comments below.

Keep watching, listening, reading, and playing!

Hey there! I′m Thanasis, a writer and lover of stories who was educated to be a teacher of English. I spend my time between worlds and inside pages; written or otherwise. I roam the endless void called The Internet in a constant quest to discover pieces of great storytelling in every artistic medium imaginable.
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