Saturday, April 17, 2010

For The Future - Life's Answers Contained In a Science Fiction TV Series.


I just love science fiction. One of my all time favorite series is Babylon 5 created by J. Michael Straczynski. I remember way back in 1994 when the show first aired. My soon-to-be wife and I began watching and although the sets and some of the acting were a little "low budget", the computer generated special effects were way ahead of their time. I remember thinking YES! finally a science fiction show that had realistic flight characteristics in the space ships. Something that always really bothered me about Star Wars and Star Trek. Except for some of the more advanced races of aliens, the humans even needed to have rotating sections of their ships and space stations to maintain artificial gravity. Now I am not physicist, but it was way more believable that most of the other stuff I had seen in the past. At least Straczynski gave it some thought. Oh and the design of the Star Fury fighter craft was outstanding. I have a scale model that I built a long time ago and it still sits in my office. One of "MY THINGS" that the kids are not allowed to touch. Much later in the the fourth season of the show they introduced the "White Star" ships that were built by the Mimbari with some Vorlon technology. By far the coolest ships out of any science fiction show ever.

Anyways, this post is not about space ships. It is about the show in general that had such an intricate story line and characters that fans who watched every episode felt like they were a part of it. As you watched each episode, you could see a mirror into reality. The show dealt with religion, poverty, corruption, racism, death, love, and compassion. It showed how love and friendship can stand over anything that challenged it. It made you realize that humans squabble and fight over the most petty little things. How literally stupid we must look to an outsider when we complain and cry about the things that don't really matter. How precious life really is and how short it can be. In the second last episode of the final season of the show, President John Sheridan wakes up in the middle of the night thinking about his own mortality. He decides to record a message to his un-born son to be played back to him on his 21st birthday. If you had seen the series you would know that John Sheridan only had 19 more years to live, so he would never see his son's 21st birthday.

This speech moved me to tears and it touches so many points about life and the way things are and the way things need to be. I don't know for sure if Straczynski wrote this himself, or if it was another writer, but one day I would love to find out and shake the hand of that person. By the way, Sheridan's wife's name is Delenn.

Londo's visit got me thinking about the day my child comes of age. On Earth, that's 21. If Lorien's prediction holds, I only have 19 years left. I won't be there to see you come into your own. Whoever you are, Whoever you will be. Not that either of those things matter. Because site unseen, I know that I will love you because you are my child, and the child of the woman I love more than life itself. I will give you that love, as best I can, for as long as I'm here. But a day like this, your 21st birthday, requires something more. So, I give you what little wisdom I have.

Delenn is the greatest ally you will ever have. Her depths of courage and compassion are unmatched in my experience. Look to her for wisdom and fire in equal measure, and if you ever have any doubt, talk to her. She will never judge you, she will only love you. From time to time, you will make mistakes, there inevitable. Sometimes those mistakes will be huge. What matters is that you learn from them. There's nothing wrong with falling down as long as you end up just two inches taller when you pick yourself up off the floor. At times you may end up far away from home. You may not be sure of where you belong anymore, but home is always there. Because home is not a place, its wherever your passion takes you. As you continue on your path, you will lose some friends and gain new ones. The process is painful, but often necessary. They will change, and you will change because life is change. From time to time they must find their own way and that way may not be yours. Enjoy them for what they are, and remember them for what they were. There's not much left, except I believe, I really do believe that sooner or later no matter what happens, things do work out. We have hard times, we suffer, we lose loved ones, the road is never easy. It was never meant to be easy, but in the long run if you stay true to what you believe, things do work out. Always be willing to fight for what you believe in. It doesn't matter if a thousand people agree with you, or one person agrees with you. It doesn't matter if you stand completely alone. Fight for what you believe. Which brings me to the first piece of advice my dad ever gave me and now I am giving it to you.

Never start a fight, but always finish it.

My wife and I have two boys, one is 6 and the other is 7. I own a box set of the Babylon 5 series and one evening I decided that we should watch it with the kids. We started, and nearly every night we watched at least one episode. My kids really got into the show and it was wonderful family time for us that I looked forward to every night. Earlier tonight we watched the final two episodes and that is why I am creating this post. I am still moved by the show and my kids want to watch some of the spin-off series including Crusades that I also have on DVD. As well there are some two-hour made-for-tv movies that Straczynski made throughout the 5 years of the show. If you ever have the opportunity to pick up the full five seasons of Babylon 5 (they have them at Costco now) make sure you do it. Watch them with your family from beginning to end. This is a very intricate story that must be seen. So many good morals and life lessons to be learned.

There are a lot of amazing stories that have been created in the world, but I think you will find that Babylon 5 was right up there as one of the best.

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