I’ve been watching Babylon 5 for the last couple of weeks. One of those sci-fi shows I never got into when it was on originally, but felt that I ought to know better.
The special effects are definitely of their time (early 90s), the sets are cheap, the scripts less than subtle and the acting occasionally hammy. But the consistent plot arc over the series is fantastic and highly addictive.
As with most sci-fi though, what’s really intriguing is the technology and the culture. This was a series that was made less than 20 years ago, yet it seems as out of touch with modern reality as the earliest Star Trek series.
For example, newspapers are customised but still delivered on paper via voice controlled vending machines. Computers have voice-activated interfaces yet take hours to process complex data queries. Work still largely takes place on paper forms.
It just shows how hard it is to forecast the fast-paced development of technology, and how quickly our culture adapts to new norms.