Season 1: "Signs and Portents"
Season 2: "The Coming of Shadows"
Season 3: "Point of No Return"
Season 4: "No Surrender, No Retreat"
Babylon 5 is a space station in neutral space more or less central to all five of the different alliances, human or alien. To get to one or the other, you have to pass through this sector of space. Thus, Babylon 5 has been created as a sort of port-of-call for travellers, statesmen, emissaries, traders, refugees and other, less savory characters.
Five miles long, Babylon 5 is divided into separate, discrete sections that rotate at differing speeds to provide different gravities to accommodate those who come to the station. It boasts the latest in defensive weaponry from Earthforce R&D, enough to hold off a large Centauri war cruiser -- a capability, unfortunately, which has been put to the test. Of course, even the best weapons Earth has to offer would be useless if the Shadows attacked. Luckily, the station isn't alone.
Babylon 5 is in orbit around the third planet in the Epsilon Eridani star system, a world which was until recently believed to be barren, devoid of life. In 2258, however, the remains of an ancient civilization were discovered buried deep beneath the planet's surface: a massive, planetwide machine of awesome offensive power. It is currently under the control of Delenn's mentor, Draal, who took over from the former guardian in "A Voice in the Wilderness, part 2." Draal has placed the planet's power at the disposal of Captain Sheridan, for use in the battle against the Shadows.
As for locations inside B-5...we've designed a number of very different looks and locations to give it a non-claustrophobic feel. By virtue of being patterned physically after the work of such scientists as Gerard K. O'Neill, the absolute center of the elongated station (which revolves to provide gravity) is a sort of hollow-world look, with fields and hydroponic gardens along the 360-degree circular section (which is about a half-mile, or a mile across)...and as you get closer to the absolute center, where a transport tube cuts from one end of the station to the other, naturally you get less and less gravity until you can literally hang suspended. This area is known as the Garden.
And there are living areas designed to accommodate different environments and atmospheres and conditions. The alien sectors are off-limits to humans without protection (breathing gear and other measures). Similarly, a heavy CO2 breather or methane breather would have to wear an encounter suit to travel among the humans on the station.
A map of the station.
Some sections of the station, called the Downbelow, are inhabited by Babylon 5's equivalent of the homeless, called Lurkers. Most of them are people who came to the station looking for work; they didn't find any, and can't afford passage offstation. No government is willing to pay to ship them home (and in some cases, they wouldn't even be allowed home) so they languish on the station. The Downbelow is a center of criminal activity on B5, though by no means is crime confined to that area.
Finally, on sets and the "look" of the place...again, there will be a mix. Parts of the station are still under construction, and parts are finished. Some sections are in daylight, some in night, alternating by level and sector. On the very outer ring, the viewports are in panels ON THE FLOOR, so you're looking down and out into space, revolving beneath your feet. Some places will be beautifully finished and neat, and other areas will be very rough and in-the-works. (Remember, B5 only recently went operational, and thus there are still some parts being constructed.)
In talking with our production designer, John Iacovelli, the one term he kept using, over and over, was "travelogue." We should get a real sense in this show of a world turned inside out...with varying textures, lighting, angles, and a mix of looks. There will not be a homogeneous look to this place, if I or Iacovelli have anything to say about it. You can walk from the carefully and neatly appointed Council Chamber room, to the high- tech control room, to a section of the station under construction and exposing beams and wires, to the dark and noire-looking nightclub, to the Garden, to....
NASA's "Orbital Space Settlements" page.
Next: The Episodes