Here you will find various bits of trivia, clips, quotes, screen shots and fan works related to the greatest TV show ever made.
So as you may or may not know, The Big Bang Theory is a popular sitcom created by the same people behind Two and a Half Men, about 4 nerds and a “pretty girl” character who moves in across the hall.
From what I can tell, the show is dismissed as pandering to nerds, or to the general populous, or trivialising nerd counter culture or playing to stereotypes et cetera. It’s also seen by many as genuinely funny, kind of subversive and has become a popular show in it’s own right within the counter culture, bagging guest spots from the likes of LeVar Burton, Brent Spiner, Summer Glau, Katee Sackhoff, Stan Lee and a recurring guest spot for “Evil Will Wheaton”.
Honestly while I can’t call myself a fan, I can see the arguments for the show. Penny represents the general public who looks down on her neighbours and their friends to begin with, but through the show she gets to know them, gets to like them and their quirks and also starts to take an interest in more traditional ‘nerdy’ things, a couple of things I can recall is one episode where she’s particularly good at Halo and an other where she has a bout of Game Fixation with Age of Conan.
I have my own problems with the show however. For instance, Sheldon can be read as jokes at the butt of people on the Autistic Spectrum, and Howard and Rasjesh both come across to me as comedy Jewish and Indian stereotypes respectively.
One thing that is of course a point of contention for all of us B5 fans however, is the show’s repeated slagging of our favourite Sci-Fi series.
These come through the mouth of Sheldon who is the “break out star” of the show and also the “proper nerd” character. Who dismisses Babylon 5 as derivative and poorly written.
A couple of people have posited that this is because Sheldon is generally wrong about TV or that the show’s writers don’t know anything about Babylon 5 and therefore can’t have Sheldon talk on at length about the minutia of a show they know nothing about.
The problem as far as we see it is that people who watch Big Bang Theory, will likely never take a stab at Babylon 5 because they’ll take Sheldon’s word for it. I’ve had people who’ve never even watched Babylon 5 tell me it’s shit largely from a throwaway gag in Spaced, this frankly isn’t a new problem for B5 fans.
I’ve got my own theory about this whole thing though; Sheldon’s hatred of B5 comes from him being the big Trekker character.
B5 and DS9 were constantly at odds among fans during their prospective runs. Both are about life on a Space Station, both feature War, a formerly repressed species dealing politically with their oppressors, all powerful aliens that are far removed from our own form of life and the pilots of both shows feature shape-shifters.
Since both shows started there had been a lot of animosity between the two sides of the arguement, which generally boiled down to which was a rip off of which although nowadays we can look back at both shows and see that in spite of their similarities, they’re practically nothing alike.
Babylon 5’s strongly planned nature meant that there was always going to be a Shadow War, that would be solved through philosophy, and a civil war that would deliver the action. We knew how Londo died from the beginning, and they showed us how that changed with the information we learnt through the run, but never stopped being his ultimate end. We knew that one day, Babylon 5 would be destroyed, but what was kept from us was that it would be because the station would be too old to run efficiently anymore. These things could be hinted at because there was a clear beginning, middle and end, and in spite of some minor and one or two major changes, the show followed that clear beginning, middle and end.
Deep Space Nine, on the other hand, was written like any TNG era Star Trek show. The characters grew in the same way they always have, however the writers were willing to take risks and play around with expectations. Going into season 1, they had no idea that the Dominion would come about and make the perfect big bad, they had no intention that war would become one of the main plot threads in the show, or that invasion would drive the Alpha Quadrant to unite. They never planned for the Klingons to invade Cardassian Space, they never knew that Cardassia would align with the Dominion to establish a foothold in the Alpha Quadrant, these things were just happy accidents that grew naturally and fit the themes of the show.
I posit, that this has nothing to do with any kind of hatred of Babylon 5. If the writers of Big Bang Theory know anything about Babylon 5, the one thing they know about is the anamosity between Trekkers and B5 fans during the 90s.
That is what Sheldon is doing, channeling that argument, continuing the idea that he’s the big die hard Trekker because he can’t let this go. He’s at odds with his friends, who all enjoy Babylon 5, but he’s also the one who recites Starfleet regulations and wrote fan fiction about Spock coming to take him away from Texas. It’s not about Babylon 5 being a bad show in anyone’s eyes. It’s about Sheldon being the stereotypical Trekker.
Now there’s no way for us to change their little Trekker thing with Sheldon but we can deal with it in a way only Babylon 5 fans can.
People have suggested that JMS cameo in the show but unfortunately JMS has taste. Others have suggested they have Claudia Christian or Pat Tallman show up in character, similar to what they did with Katee Sackhoff.
But there’s a group on Facebook that is doing something far better. When I was doing some light Big Bang Theory research whilst writing this I came across the Facebook Group “Dr. Sheldon Cooper Vs. Babylon 5” a site putting quotes from, or just Sheldon Cooper himself, into Babylon 5.
And it is wonderful.
So whilst we’ll likely never have the recognition for this show in Big Bang Theory, we will forever have Sheldon Cooper, trapped in a locked room, full of angry Narn.