Babylon 5: An Influential Space Western

In my adventuring along web trails during the past month, I’d run across Space Westerns, a niche ezine dedicated to scifi westerns — yes, scifi westerns — and its proprietor, Nathan Lilly.

spacewesterns.comThe site is a paying market for stories, serials and articles, and has a few stories in an inactive podcast, but it was a series of old blog posts that caught my eye when I revisited the site this week.

Back in 2009, he’d begun a Babylon 5 rewatch, but it looks like he only got through “The Gathering” and “Midnight on the Firing Line”.

But he’d also written an article, 10 Most Influential Space Westerns, where he lists Babylon 5 at number 6, right in between Battlestar Galactica and Firefly.

So, do you think Babylon 5 counts as a space western or not? I’m not 100% sure because I haven’t fully mulled it over yet, but if you look at everything from “Severed Dreams” through the end of Season 4, I would have to say “yes”.


  1. He has a clever take on it, but the Western genre is really a standard literary plot with specific trappings. Selling Star Trek disingenuously as Wagon Train in space got Roddenberry what he wanted but he never had that as his main idea for story lines. B5 certainly had plenty of these plot lines but nothing could be compared to the Star Trek episode where the gang got to relive the shootout at the OK Corral. Same with Firefly — definitely a Western sensibility layered on to a plot line of lawless trafficking and wild exploration in a shaky old covered wagon/ship.

    Wasn’t the original Buck Rogers sold in precisely this way?

    Cheers! Michael

Leave a Reply to Michael Johnston Cancel reply