"What about sin?"
Personally, I'm for it.
And all of the areas you mention will fall under the eye of B5 from time
to time. There's nothing more boring than someone who's overcome all his or
her vices...so all of our characters will be prey to one problem or another.
Ambassador Londo Mollari has a BIG gambling problem (and a secondary problem
with women), Garibaldi has a history with alcohol and other substances that
almost got him kicked out of his prior jobs...I find the most interesting
people those who are always fighting to be better, to be more, to avoid
falling into vice despite terrible temptation.
And some will not survive that temptation.
At the central core of our humanity is the fact that we are flawed, and
it's overcoming those flaws that makes for real drama. Or, in some cases,
being overcome BY those flaws.
You have to understand the key issue that has always been, and will
always be, at the *heart* of Babylon 5. In 99.9% of all SF-TV in the last
twenty years or so, there have always been the Noble Good Guys and the Awful
Bad Guys. I don't buy that. Whether it's 20 years from now or 200, we will
still be humans. Some will be better or more noble than others, and some will
be constantly on the lookout for the next scam, the next vice, the next thrill
or danger or target.
In Babylon 5, I want to hew as closely as possible to how REAL people
would react in this situation. I haven't labored at this for four years to do
one more Good Guy In Shoot-Em-Ups With The Bad Guys Show.
Garibaldi will lapse in his rehabilitation. Londo will get in very
serious trouble because of his vices. Laurel will have a run-in with certain
chemicals. Even Sinclair will fall prey to a weakness of his own.
The question is...what do each of them now DO about it? THAT is what makes
There's a short story entitled "The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg," by
Mark Twain. In that story, we meet a town of people who have put up a sign
outside their town, "Lead Us Not Into Temptation." And they have scrupulously
avoided temptation for years. One day, into this town of self-proclaimed and
self-satisfied virtue comes temptation, in the form of a bag of gold which
someone, offering the right phrase, is supposed to collect. The man who
really left it (and we find later it's lead), gives the town's most virtuous
people fake phrases, to see if they will try and collect that which is not
Every one of them fall for it...and the town is embarrassed and
ashamed...and many are wonderfully vindicated by this. And now the sign in
front of the town reads, "Lead us INTO Temptation." Because it's only when we
are truly tested that our virtue means a damn thing.
"The human heart in conflict with itself," William Faulkner said, is the
only thing worth writing about. Mainstream shows explore that question in
hospitals, in police stations, in lawyers offices, on the frontier. Now B5
will explore it on the frontier of space, in a self-contained world of its
own. If that wasn't the whole point, I'd have given up on this a long long