Yes, some of the subplots wandered off into the tall grass and died, and a chunk of the first season was as agile as cut timber falling onto a concrete slab. That being said, Babylon Five took science fiction seriously enough to give its audience flawed grown-up heroes, real villains and genuine conflict over existential issues like privacy, vengeance, fascism and faith.
I enjoyed it very much.
The Strange, Secret Evolution of Babylon 5...While science fiction literature had long ago matured into a genre fit for adults, science fiction television had stalled in a state of suspended adolescence, dominated by cleanly defined heroes and villains, simplistic plots and storytelling that wrapped everything up neatly at the end of each episode.Years earlier, television police dramas had found themselves in a similar predicament. Speaking of the evolution of police dramas and their relation to Babylon 5, Straczynski wrote: "[Hill Street Blues] was about the redefinition of heroes; the hero as bureaucrat (Furillo), the hero as ordinary man (Hill and Renko), the hero as psycho (Belker), the hero as sleazebag (Buntz), and that genuinely struck me as the core of that show... that heroes aren't always what we think they're supposed to be, and that there is that spark that can be found in the unlikeliest of places." — (JMSNews 9/28/1992)More than anything else, the idea that heroes are found in the most unlikely places is what distinguished Babylon 5 from its forebears. But who were these unlikely heroes? And how did their story evolve in the early development of the show?...
Next year, when it turns 21, I'll take Bab 5 down to the Zócal and buy it a coupla hot Jalas and find out where the technomages are hiding out.