Babylon 5 is returning to UK television. UKTV has sealed a deal with Warner Bros. International Television Distribution to acquire all five seasons (110 episodes) of the series and six Babylon 5 TV movies (The Gathering, In the Beginning, Thirdspace, The River Of Souls, A Call To Arms and The Legend Of The Rangers) for their Watch channel. The series is slated to air on weekdays on Watch in the 5pm time-slot, beginning Monday November 4th.
The deal between UKTV and WB comes after an extensive fan campaign to see Babylon 5 return to television, which was started by series creator J. Michael Straczynski with a view to renewing interest in the series and potentially producing new B5 projects, was launched in September. That campaign, dubbed Free Babylon 5, has amassed a group of devoted fans who have sent 4,139 Tweets using the hashtag #FreeBabylon5 and 2, 780 have liked the dedicated Facebook page. They’ve even handed out bespoke merchandise at events and held auctions to fund their mission.
“I am thrilled beyond words that Watch has successfully drilled through the walls and allowed Babylon 5 to escape onto television screens throughout the UK TV universe”, said series creator J. Michael Straczynski. “My thanks to the thousands of fans who made this happen. As noted more than once in the show, Faith Manages.”
While Steve Hornsey, General Manager of Watch, added: “The fans’ sheer enthusiasm for Babylon 5 proves what an appetite there is for this iconic series and I’m delighted Watch its exclusive new home. This television epic perfectly matches the channel’s premise of being a unique viewing destination that provides out-of-this-world programming.”
Created by J. Michael Straczynski, Babylon 5 is set between the years 2258-2281 and is set on the EarthForce space station Babylon 5 which floats in a stationary orbit in a neutral corner of a distant galaxy. Manned by EarthForce personnel, Babylon 5 serves as a non-political economic and social hub for four alien races with the hopes of resolving any problems amongst the races peacefully and averting another war. The series aired between 1993 and 1998 (initially in first run syndication on PTEN and then on cable network TNT) and starred Michael O’Hare, Bruce Boxleitner, Claudia Christian, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Peter Jurasik, Andreas Katsulas, Richard Biggs, Andrea Thompson, Bill Mumy, Jason Carter, Tracy Scoggins, Stephen Furst, Patricia Tallman and Jeff Conaway.