Lyn Gala

One writer's journal through one version of reality


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Babylon 5 and Me

A few weeks back I had a car accident. I got hit hard enough to total my car, and it turned out my headache was more than a simple headache and whiplash. I got a concussion. I didn’t even know you could concuss yourself just by wacking your brain against the inside of your skull. Luckily, it was minor, but it completely got in the way of my writing. I had hoped to get Claimings 4 done for early September. Instead we are at the end of the month and I just now sent the second set of edits to Sue.

But it’s coming.

I also haven’t finished Saddled or The Witness Wore a Puppy Tail, which I had intended to finish this month so I could clear the path For Maya: A Platonic Love Story With a Girl, a Boy, an Insane AI and a Semi-Parasitic Alien and Earth Fathers are Weird. I’m trying to not get stressed about the blown schedule. It’s not like it would help.

On the good side, the concussion means insurance gave me six thousand for pain and suffering. A lawyer told me I wouldn’t get much more because it was such a minor concussion and I didn’t miss work. Bringing my writing and the slowdown into the equation could have splashed my side job into real life, and considering I work in a small town, that would not be good. So I took it. I then had to spend it on a new (to me) car downpayment.

Still not worth it.

But I am feeling better. I am starting to work out again, and I’m writing. I hope that October will be the month where I truly get back to full speed.

So this month I have been watching (or listening to) more television than ever. I caught up on Supernatural (which I enjoyed the hell out of. They are back in the groove and I loved the Scoobie Doo episode. I’m shocked to say that, but I did. I needed shows I could listen to more than watch, so I went back to Babylon 5 (by the same guy as Sens8), and I have rediscovered my love for the first four seasons (minus the Garibaldi, season 4 crap).

I had forgotten how truly great the show was, and I have fallen in love (again) with Delenn. We need more women like her.

She’s strong and religious without being relegated to only showing spiritual strength. She can be a hardass and pick up a staff to fight off attackers. When a species went into voluntary quarantine, she chose to go into the contaminated section with them to offer comfort, and she openly sobbed when these religious fanatics allowed themselves to die foolishly rather than admit that a disease (that was a rather unsubtle allegory for AIDS) might kill the moral as well as the sinful and that prayer wouldn’t stop it.

She speaks softly and advises others to seek peace, but when the evil Earth Alliance threatens her people, she has one of my favorite exchanges of the series:

Delenn: [Delenn’s fleet arrives after Earth Alliance attacks B5] This is Ambassador Delenn of the Minbari. Babylon 5 is under our protection. Withdraw or be destroyed!

Earth Force Officer: Negative! We have authority here. Do not force us to engage your ship.

Delenn: Why not? Only one human captain has ever survived battle with a Minbari Fleet. He is behind me. You are in front of me. If you value your lives, be somewhere else!

When she delivered that line, she was *terrifying.* She cried over her city being in flames during the Mimbari civil war, yet she didn’t allow that to stop her from ending that same war. She is soft and caring and strong and scary and flawed. She is so wonderfully flawed. She is so insightful about the enemy and those who are weak or evil or scared. But when she trusts someone, she is so incredibly naive. The only assassination attempt that came close to succeeding was orchestrated by people supposedly on her own side because she put such unconditional trust in them, and it wasn’t warranted.

I am tired of strong female being synonymous with emotionless female or emotionally damaged female or ninja. I love Zoe in Firefly because there was the same ability to kick ass one second, and have real emotions the next.

That’s the reason I had so much trouble with Ziva in NCIS. She played at being the sex kitten, but she rarely if ever had actual emotional development. And when she did, the writers used every opportunity to show her as emotionally damaged. Ivanava from Babylon 5 also fits into that category of emotional stunted women, and I find myself not as impressed by her. Ironically, I think I fell into the same bad habit with Paige Silver in Bitter Blood.

But Delenn is in there with Diane Prince and Zoe. She is so very noble and amazing and still real. I had forgotten how good Delenn was, but I remember now. I am so crushing on her.

I am also impressed by the diversity in the show. When they give lists of captains, there are men and women—European names and Asian names and African names. The extras are from every ethnicity. The show does not do as well at having minorities in leading roles, but I have to wonder how much of that was the production company.

I was also less than impressed that the only regular cast who was black got the drug addiction plotline, but at least it was in-character (I’m giving you the side-eye Stargate Atlantis). Franklin was the head doctor on a station in the middle of a war, so it makes sense he got addicted to stimulants as he tried to save everyone—and it fit into his character arc of being a perfectionist with a difficult relationship with a demanding military father.

Overall, I spent many a pleasant hour listening to a very enjoyable story, and if you haven’t seen it, I do recommend it. Just cut them some slack on the whole season five thing because they had been told they were going to be cancelled after season four, so they tied a few things up quickly, leaving the last season a little less well-plotted.

Still, I am looking forward to feeling better, watching/listening to less television and spending more time in my universes. I miss spending more time with my characters.