Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Babylon Podcasts

This entry was cross-posted to The Book Guys blog.


One of my favorite TV shows ever is Babylon 5, the epic space opera created by J. Michael Straczynski. It ran from 1994 to 1998, first in syndication and then on cable network TNT. Despite being gone for well over a decade, the show has maintained a strong fandom. In addition to many blogs and fan forums, there are some excellent B5-related podcasts. Among these are:

The Babylon Podcast — This one is the “granddaddy of them all,” having logged over 250 episodes. Keep in mind that the TV show itself ran only 110 episodes, plus a few made-for-TV movies, and this podcast has covered them all. Hosts Summer Brooks and Tim Callender have been consistent presences on the show, with a rotating third host over the years. They have done a wide range of cast and crew interviews, including a long conversation with Straczynski himself. They have also interviewed Bruce Boxleitner, Stephen Furst, and Jerry Doyle, among others. At this point in their run, it seems like they may be running out of content to cover, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they figured out interesting things to talk about for another 50+ episodes.

The Babble On Project — British hosts Gillian and Matt analyze two B5 episodes per podcast episode, causing the podcast episodes to regularly run between two and three hours. They only put out a couple of episodes per month, so the episode length should not be a deterrent to listening. As of this writing, they have covered the first two seasons of the show. The best feature about this show is the clear separation between spoiler discussion and spoiler-free discussions. Given the long arc of the Babylon 5 story, this distinction is critical for people watching the show for the first time. They finished their Season 1 coverage with an interview with Straczynski, and wrapped their season 2 coverage with an interview with actress Pat Tallman.

SQPN: Secrets of Babylon 5 — This one is currently on hiatus, having gotten partway into season 2. There are a few unique things about this show. First, the hosts are newbies, going through the DVDs for the first time, and this perspective is a very nice touch. Second, one of the hosts is a Catholic priest from the Netherlands, who is also a huge geek. He certainly brings a different perspective to analyzing the show. I hope that new episodes eventually get produced, but I am not hopeful at this point.

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