I actually just gave you a great book series.
But given that I don't feeling like paying , ahem, being extorted $6.99/mo to watch half a season of Star Trek Discovery-- although it is nice to have a black female lead, whose half-Vulcan character may make her too flat for primetime-- I've been catching up on Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda
on Amazon Prime.
Andromeda is about the collapse of the Systems Commonwealth (read: Federation), 300 years after its prime, and a lone ship that became stuck on the event horizon of a black hole, becomes in charge of leading the mission to resurrect the noble principles of the dead Commonwealth. -- Considering that the Federation is at its peak, at the end of the TNG movies; the Klingons are pacified, Cardassians defeated, Romulans and Vulcans beginning their outreach towards reunification; I found Andromeda to be a refreshing post-apocalyptic version of Star Trek. (Given that our own society feels as though it is, like the price of Bitcoin, coming off its peak.)
(I watched some Earth: Final Conflict, which was another tentative Roddenberry plot later produced for syndication by his wife, Majel Barrett, as I grew up in the 1990s.)
My hunger for sci-fi, the most expansive of genres on the human condition, was re-ignited by the aformentioned The Expanse, and I've always dismissed junior franchises like Andromeda and Babylon 5. (It's really funny actually, Andromeda was spearheaded by former DS9 writer Robert Hewitt Wolfe, but he was pushed out for writing plots that Kevin Sorbo [Hercules turned sci-fi captain] described as "too complicated.")https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Hewitt_Wolfe
So while consuming all this sci-fi, so I could avoid watching/paying for ST: Discovery, I finally turned to Babylon 5. I always thought it was the least credible of the sci-fi franchises, and as a teenager, I would troll the AOL chat rooms with "B5 sucks!" and "B5 copied Star Trek" (as though Star Trek invented the idea of sci-fi... little did I know as a child, that sci-fi might have possibly begun with Jules Vernes' Journey to the Center of the Earth
, which I have loved since age 10.)https://www.go90.com/shows/babylon5
Just like DS9, or any mega-franchise, a set of the DVD's can set you back $100 or more. And while I happily plunked it down for DS9, I can't do that without knowing what I was jumping in to. So would you believe it, it's streaming for free? And not some Chinese piracy site streaming, but a free, legitimate US-based site which has the rights to the content? Owned by Verizon Wireless, no less. All 5 seasons, all episodes.
I don't know how long it will last, and while the production value of the first few episodes is so low, the camera is frequently out of focus for intro/establishment shots -- but it showcases what can happen if you let a writer have his/her way for 5 seasons, and let them weave a story for once. I guess it helped not to have Kevin Sorbo giving input on the details of the plot, but now I have to make up for my days as a teenage troll, raining invective on Babylon 5 fans.
So while I would rather someone read books, if you need a new sci-fi show to snack on, and you don't feel like jumping over a paywall, please catch up on this brilliant series I wish I had watched at that tender young age when I needed guidance on my place in the universe-- not that Star Trek didn't nudge me to a pretty good place.
PS. Happy MLK Day. Star Trek came right out of that era of the 1960s, and its vision for a colorblind society, which we have still not yet achieved.