Star Trek or Babylon 5: Which is the More Accurate Version Of Humankind’s Future Growing up one debate reigned supreme amongst fans of science fiction and fantasy, Star Trek versus Star Wars. Fans of both sides offer very passionate arguments as to why there franchise is better and then there are those of us who like both and choose take a more neutral stance on the subject setting the pros and cons of each. The other day that I got to thinking about another science fiction series that I feel given proper support by the studio could have become just as big as the two previously mentioned series and that is Babylon 5. Forced to deal with syndication as well as a lack of appreciation from Warner Bros. the series still racked up an impressive list of awards and has many fans who hope someday that they will get more stories to experience in the fabulous universe created by J Michael Straczyinski.
With the casts pending 20th anniversary appearance at the Phoenix Comicon Memorial Day weekend, it got me thinking about the show and how much I loved watching it each week even when the rivers of the syndication market required me to do a little bit of research to locate which time and channel it would be on when new seasons appeared in the days before DVR’s. For a show that had numerous storylines and complex character arcs that were unheard of for the genre much less for many television shows, I find it odd that there is one question that I can’t seem to find closure to. And that is the question as to whether Star Trek or Babylon 5 has the more realistic interpretation of humanity’s future.
Star Trek illustrates a future or after a devastating world war, humanity rose up, made contact with a superior alien species, and set the framework for vast interstellar alliance. In the world of Star Trek, war, hunger, crime prejudice, poverty, and other plagues of our society do not exist. In a utopian future the main conflicts facing humanity come in the form of alien threats. While conflict does arise between humans it rarely leads to violence, and even then, little more than a fist fight.
On the other hand, Babylon 5 presents a future where humanity has made great strides in the technological department and is it peace with itself as a planet. However there is still crime, poverty, deception, murder, exploitation, and prejudices in place. As anyone who’s ever watched the show would know, the Down Below section of the five mile-long station was a very dangerous place that held all manner of criminal elements, and those destitute individuals who became trapped on the station after leaving their planets in search of a better life.
While I would like to think that the vision we see in Star Trek is possible, preferably without catastrophic war, I do think it is a bit unrealistic.
Regardless of how far our technology takes us into the galaxy, I don’t think the basic human desires and issues can be overcome in 250 years. Look at where we were society in the late 1700s. While our technology, lifestyle, and abilities have changed greatly. Lust, greed, violence, deceptions, intolerance, and a desire for wealth and worldly possessions still remain for many of us. While we’ve gotten better as a society in terms of helping those who are less fortunate there is an ever-growing gap between haves and the have-nots that shows no signs of slowing down.
So the more that I think about it, I believe that Babylon 5 is a much better vision of our future. A society that is achieved much and has great potential, it still must overcome many of the issues that have plagued it for centuries. Regardless of which version is more accurate remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, who must strive to better ourselves always.