Babylon 5 — prophetic? or just a coincidence?

The wife and I have been going through Babylon 5 ever since our honeymoon (ever since Valentine’s Day of 2005, in fact), but we had only just begun Season 4 when she had to check into the hospital (on Halloween of 2005, as it happens) for three months of bed rest — three months that came to an end last February with the birth of our beautiful, adorable, and ever-so-cute twins.

Alas, finding time to watch the show since then has not been easy, and we only finished Season 4 a few weeks ago. But I was struck by this scene from near the end of that season, in which Garibaldi meets a man who tries to persuade him that the telepaths and the Psi Corps pose a threat to their society. At one point, he says:

How many people actually belonged to the Nazi party? The Communist party? The Jihad party? A very small number. But there were always plenty of other people who were happy to do the work for them, and others afraid enough to let it happen.

Like, wow. The IMDB says this episode, titled ‘The Exercise of Vital Powers’, originally aired June 2, 1997. And the producers could see, even then, that the next great existential conflict of our times — following the struggles against Fascism and Communism — would be the struggle against militant Islam. How did they know?

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his award-winning film column for that paper, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He has also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005) and The Bible in Motion: A Handbook of the Bible and Its Reception in Film (De Gruyter, 2016).

  • Magnus

    To say nothing of the extremists currently sitting in the White House, eh Peter?
    US, Britsih and French foreign policy has seen to it that extremeism was produced and allowed to thrive in the region. Treat people like they are subhuman, don’t be shocked if they begin to act that way.

  • Peter T Chattaway

    Well, sure, and the Nazi party rose to power partly in response to the excessively punitive measures taken against Germany after World War I. But that doesn’t mean the Nazis didn’t pose a threat that needed to be stopped.

    Whether the White House’s current residents qualify as “extremist” is an interesting question. But for now, all I will say is that Communism did not excuse McCarthyism, and McCarthyism did not excuse Communism.