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Overview[]

The most popular Babylon 5 Viewing Orders for all TV Episodes and Movies are described and compared below. Unfortunately the assigned episode numbers, release dates, and production numbers do not match the intended viewing orders of the show's creator, J Michael Straczynski (JMS). Hence multiple viewing orders have emerged from the fan community.

Fortunately Babylon 5's various orders do not significantly disrupt the viewing experience, so viewers looking for a hassle-free option can safely watch the show's five seasons in the original broadcast order, DVD order, or HBO Max order without any major issues and leave the ardent fans to sweat the details. Also the TV movies and spin-offs (apart from the pilot movie "The Gathering") are not integral to the main story so they can safely be left until after the main show. Note that the Crusade spin-off broadcast order does have major issues, so its recommended to view this in a different order as detailed below.


Viewing Order Chart[]

You can click the column headers to sort the chart as desired.

Episode Name Ideal Intended Order Ideal Chrono-logical Order Historical Database Chrono-logical Order Historical Database Story Dates Episode # Release Date Production #
The Gathering (Movie) *A 1 1 1 2257-01-03 to 2257-01-08 N/A 1993-02-22 Pilot
Midnight on the Firing Line 2 2 2 2258-02-28 1x01 1994-01-26 103
Soul Hunter 3 3 3 2258-03-02 to 2258-03-03 1x02 1994-02-02 102
Born to the Purple 4 5 5 2258-03-22 to 2258-03-25 1x03 1994-02-09 104
Infection 5 4 4 2258-03-08 to 2258-03-09 1x04 1994-02-16 101
The Parliament of Dreams 6 6 6 2258-03-30 to 2258-04-03 1x05 1994-02-23 108
Mind War 7 9 9 2258-04-24 to 2258-04-26 1x06 1994-03-02 110
The War Prayer 8 7 7 2258-04-03 to 2258-04-07 1x07 1994-03-09 107
And the Sky Full of Stars 9 8 8 2258-04-11 to 2258-04-13 1x08 1994-03-16 106
Deathwalker 10 11 11 2258-05 1x09 1994-04-20 113
Believers 11 12 12 2258-06 1x10 1994-04-27 105
Survivors 12 13 13 2258-06 1x11 1994-05-04 111
By Any Means Necessary 13 10 10 2258-05 1x12 1994-05-11 114
Signs and Portents 14 19 19 2258-08-03 to 2258-08-05 1x13 1994-05-18 116
Grail 15 18 18 2258-07 1x15 1994-07-06 109
Eyes 16 21 21 2258-09 1x16 1994-07-13 122
A Voice in the Wilderness, Part I 17 14 14 2258-06 1x18 1994-07-27 120
A Voice in the Wilderness, Part II 18 15 15 2258-06 1x19 1994-08-03 121
Babylon Squared 19 16 16 2258-07-12 to 2258-07-13 1x20 1994-08-10 118
The Quality of Mercy 20 22 22 2258-09 1x21 1994-08-17 117
TKO 21 20 20 2258-08 1x14 1994-05-25 119
Legacies 22 17 17 2258-07 1x17 1994-07-20 115
Chrysalis 23 23 23 2258-12-30 to 2259-01-01 1x22 1994-10-26 112
Points of Departure 24 24 24 2259-01-08 2x01 1994-11-02 201
Revelations 25 25 25 2259-01-12 to 2259-01-19 2x02 1994-11-09 202
The Geometry of Shadows 26 26 26 2259-01-25 to 2259-02-05** 2x03 1994-11-16 203
A Distant Star 27 27 27 2259-01-30 to 2259-02-02** 2x04 1994-11-23 204
The Long Dark 28 31 31 2259-06 2x05 1994-11-30 205
A Spider in the Web 29 28 28 2259-03 2x06 1994-12-07 206
A Race Through Dark Places 30 29 29 2259-03-14 to 2259-03-17 2x08 1995-01-25 207
Soul Mates 31 30 30 2259-05 2x07 1994-12-14 208
The Coming of Shadows 32 32 32 2259-06-13 to 2259-06-17 2x09 1995-02-01 209
GROPOS 33 33 33 2259-06-20 to 2259-06-23 2x10 1995-02-08 210
All Alone in the Night 34 34 34 2259-07 2x11 1995-02-15 211
Acts of Sacrifice 35 35 35 2259-07 2x12 1995-02-22 212
Hunter, Prey 36 36 36 2259-07 2x13 1995-03-01 213
There All the Honor Lies 37 38 38 2259-08 2x14 1995-04-26 215
And Now For a Word 38 39 39 2259-09-16 2x15 1995-05-03 214
Knives 39 37 37 2259-08 2x17 1995-05-17 216
In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum 40 40 40 2259-09-24 2x16 1995-05-10 217
Confessions and Lamentations 41 41 41 2259-11 2x18 1995-05-24 218
Divided Loyalties 42 42 42 2259-11-24 to 2259-12-02 2x19 1995-10-11 220
The Long, Twilight Struggle 43 43 43 2259-12-03 to 2259-12-10 2x20 1995-10-18 219
Comes the Inquisitor 44 44 44 2259-12-19 to 2259-12-20 2x21 1995-10-25 221
The Fall of Night 45 45 45 2259-12-18 to 2259-12-24 2x22 1995-11-01 222
Matters of Honor 46 46 46 2259-12-27 to 2260-01-09 3x01 1995-11-06 301
Convictions 47 47 47 2260-01-13 to 2260-01-14 3x02 1995-11-13 302
A Day in the Strife 48 48 48 2260-01-15 to 2260-01-16 3x03 1995-11-20 303
Passing Through Gethsemane 49 49 49 2260-01-18 to 2260-02-04 3x04 1995-11-27 305
Voices of Authority 50 50 50 2260-02-05 to 2260-02-07 3x05 1996-01-29 304
Dust to Dust 51 51 51 2260-02-28 to 2260-03-01 3x06 1996-02-05 306
Exogenesis 52 52 52 2260-03-10 to 2260-03-13 3x07 1996-02-12 307
Messages from Earth 53 53 53 2260-03-18 to 2260-04-08 3x08 1996-02-19 308
Point of No Return 54 54 54 2260-04-08 to 2260-04-10 3x09 1996-02-26 309
Severed Dreams 55 55 55 2260-04-14 to 2260-04-15 3x10 1996-04-01 310
Ceremonies of Light and Dark 56 56 56 2260-04-16 to 2260-04-18 3x11 1996-04-08 311
A Late Delivery from Avalon 57 57 58 2260-07-11 to 2260-07-12 3x13 1996-04-22 312
Sic Transit Vir 58 58 57 2260-06-30 to 2260-07-05 3x12 1996-04-15 313
Ship of Tears 59 59 59 2260-07-24 3x14 1996-04-29 314
Interludes and Examinations 60 60 60 2260-08-03 to 2260-08-05 3x15 1996-05-06 315
Walkabout 61 61 63 2260-08-16 3x18 1996-09-30 318
War Without End, Part I 62 62 61 2260-08-09 3x16 1996-05-13 316
War Without End, Part II 63 63 62 2260-08-12 3x17 1996-05-20 317
Grey 17 is Missing 64 64 64 2260-11-26 to 2260-11-30 3x19 1996-10-07 319
And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place 65 65 65 2260-12-07 to 2260-12-11 3x20 1996-10-14 320
Shadow Dancing 66 66 66 2260-12-14 to 2260-12-19 3x21 1996-10-21 321
Z'ha'dum 67 67 67 2260-12-19 to 2260-12-25 3x22 1996-10-28 322
The Hour of the Wolf 68 68 68 2260-12-28 to 2261-01-06 4x01 1996-11-04 401
Whatever Happened to Mr. Garibaldi? 69 69 69 2261-01-08 to 2261-01-14 4x02 1996-11-11 402
The Summoning 70 70 70 2261-01-11 to 2261-01-18 4x03 1996-11-18 403
Falling Toward Apotheosis 71 71 71 2261-01-19 to 2261-01-20 4x04 1996-11-25 404
The Long Night 72 72 72 2261-01-22 to 2261-01-24 4x05 1997-01-27 405
Into the Fire 73 73 73 2261-01-23 to 2261-01-30 4x06 1997-02-03 406
Epiphanies 74 74 74 2261-02-01 to 2261-02-15 4x07 1997-02-10 407
The Illusion of Truth 75 75 75 2261-04-03 to 2261-04-12 4x08 1997-02-17 408
Thirdspace (Movie) 76 76 82 2261-06** N/A 1998-07-19 TNTCF1
Atonement *A 77 77 76 2261-04-26 to 2261-05-05 4x09 1997-02-24 409
Racing Mars 78 78 77 2261-05-11 to 2261-05-13 4x10 1997-04-21 410
Lines of Communication 79 79 78 2261-05-13 to 2261-05-16 4x11 1997-04-28 411
Conflicts of Interest 80 80 79 2261-05-17 to 2261-05-19 4x12 1997-05-05 412
Rumors, Bargains and Lies 81 81 80 2261-05-19 to 2261-05-21 4x13 1997-05-12 413
Moments of Transition 82 82 81 2261-05-20 to 2261-09-01** 4x14 1997-05-19 414
No Surrender, No Retreat 83 83 83 2261-09-02 to 2261-09-04 4x15 1997-05-26 415
The Exercise of Vital Powers 84 84 84 2261-09-06 to 2261-09-08 4x16 1997-06-02 416
The Face of the Enemy 85 85 85 2261-10-17 to 2261-10-22 4x17 1997-06-09 417
Intersections in Real Time 86 86 86 2261-10-23 to 2261-10-27 4x18 1997-06-16 418
Between the Darkness and the Light 87 87 87 2261-10-27 to 2261-10-31 4x19 1997-10-06 419
Endgame 88 88 88 2261-11-01 to 2261-11-04 4x20 1997-10-13 420
Rising Star *B 89 89 89 2261-11-03 to 2261-12-31 4x21 1997-10-20 421
No Compromises *A 90 90 90 2262-01-13 to 2262-01-17 5x01 1998-01-21 502
The Very Long Night of Londo Mollari 91 91 91 2262-01-20 to 2262-01-21 5x02 1998-01-28 503
The Paragon of Animals 92 92 92 2262-01-30 to 2262-01-31 5x03 1998-02-04 504
A View from the Gallery 93 93 93 2262-02-12 to 2262-02-13 5x04 1998-02-11 505
Learning Curve 94 94 95 2262-05-17 to 2262-05-22 5x05 1998-02-18 506
Strange Relations 95 95 96 2262-05-23 to 2262-05-24 5x06 1998-02-25 507
Secrets of the Soul 96 96 97 2262-05-25 to 2262-05-28 5x07 1998-03-04 508
In the Kingdom of the Blind 97 97 98 2262-05-27 to 2262-05-31 5x09 1998-03-18 509
A Tragedy of Telepaths 98 98 99 2262-06-16 to 2262-06-18 5x10 1998-03-25 510
Phoenix Rising 99 99 100 2262-06-19 5x11 1998-04-01 512
The Ragged Edge 100 100 101 2262-06-20 to 2262-06-23 5x12 1998-04-08 513
Day of the Dead 101 101 94 2262-02 5x08 1998-03-11 511
The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father 102 102 102 2262-06-24 to 2262-06-29 5x13 1998-04-15 514
Meditations on the Abyss 103 103 103 2262-07-13 to 2262-07-15 5x14 1998-05-27 515
Darkness Ascending 104 104 104 2262-07-23 to 2262-07-30 5x15 1998-06-03 516
And All My Dreams, Torn Asunder 105 105 105 2262-07-31 to 2262-08-06 5x16 1998-06-10 517
Movements of Fire and Shadow 106 106 106 2262-08-09 to 2262-08-14 5x17 1998-06-17 518
The Fall of Centauri Prime 107 107 107 2262-08-14 to 2262-08-18 5x18 1998-10-28 519
Wheel of Fire 108 108 108 2262-08-19 to 2262-08-21 5x19 1998-11-04 520
Objects in Motion 109 109 109 2262-09-01 to 2262-09-05 5x20 1998-11-11 521
Objects at Rest *C 110 110 110 2262-09-06 to 2262-09-11 5x21 1998-11-18 522
The River of Souls (Movie) 111 111 111 2263-06-08 to 2263-06-13 N/A 1998-11-08 TNTCF3
Legend of the Rangers: To Live and Die in Starlight (Movie) 112 112 112 2265-03 N/A 2002-01-19 296737
A Call to Arms (Movie) 113 113 113 2266-12-17 to 2266-12-30 N/A 1999-01-03 TNTCF4
War Zone 114 114 114 2267-01-01 to 2267-01-05 C1x01 1999-06-09 C108
The Long Road 115 115 115 2267-02-27 to 2267-03-02 C1x02 1999-06-16 C107
Ruling from the Tomb 116 116 123 2267-06-15 to 2267-06-16 C1x06 1999-07-14 C111
Appearances and Other Deceits 117 117 116 2267-03 C1x08 1999-07-28 C113
The Memory of War 118 118 117 2267-03-30 to 2267-04-01 C1x10 1999-08-11 C102
The Needs of Earth 119 119 118 2267-04 C1x11 1999-08-18 C101
Racing the Night 120 120 119 2267-05 C1x09 1999-08-04 C103
Visitors from Down the Street 121 121 120 2267-05-13 to 2267-05-14 C1x12 1999-08-25 C104
Each Night I Dream of Home 122 122 121 2267-05 C1x13 1999-09-01 C105
The Path of Sorrows 123 123 122 2267-06 C1x04 1999-06-30 C109
Patterns of the Soul 124 124 124 2267-06 C1x05 1999-07-07 C110
The Well of Forever 125 125 125 2267-07 C1x03 1999-06-23 C106
The Rules of the Game 126 126 126 2267-07 C1x07 1999-07-21 C112
The Lost Tales - Voices in the Dark (Movie) 127 127 127 2271-12-24 to 2271-12-30 N/A 2007-07-27 235024
In the Beginning (Movie) *A 128 128 128 2245-2249 [Flashbacks]

2278-12-24 [Prologue/ epilogue]**

N/A 1998-01-04 TNTCF2
Sleeping in Light *C 129 129 129 2280-12-28 to 2281-01-20 5x22 1998-11-25 523
The Deconstruction of Falling Stars *B 130 130 130 2262-01-02 to 1,002,262** 4x22 1997-10-27 422


Viewing Order Descriptions[]

Release Date[]

This is the order in which everything was originally broadcast in the US. Similar to what happened to Firefly, Broadcasters re-arranged episodes to their liking and shuffled episodes around due to scheduling issues. This order creates continuity issues and does not match the intended viewing order of the show's creator, JMS.


Episode #[]

The number haphazardly assigned to the episodes. This order creates continuity issues and does not match the intended viewing order of the show's creator, JMS.


Production #[]

The number assigned based on the order the shows were produced in. This order greatly varied due to production constraints such as cast availability and many other factors. This order creates continuity issues and does not match the intended viewing order of the show's creator, JMS.


The Lurker's Guide[]

The Lurker's Guide was created by some of the show’s most devoted fans and it grew to become the most complete online resource for fans of the show. The site includes the "Master List" viewing order and JMS's comments regarding his arrangement of select episodes, which deviated from the broadcast schedule. JMS has given the contentious seasons one and two order his blessing. Note, the suggestion of watching "In the Beginning" first is debatable for first-time viewers. It is a much stronger start than "The Gathering" in terms of story and visuals, but it does includes spoilers for some events in the first four seasons. Also while some enjoy integrating the TV movies within the run of the show itself as this order does, others find it interrupts the flow of the main story. The Lurker's Guide order is the same as the Ideal Intended Order except:

  • "In The Beginning" was placed at the very start per JMS's comment here: http://jmsnews.com/messages/message?id=8677
  • "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars" was placed at the end of Season 4 as originally broadcast.
  • "Sleeping in Light" was placed at the end of Season 5 as originally broadcast.
  • For Crusade, the order listed is one of several that JMS authorized. However many fans agree this is not the best watch order due to some jarring inconsistencies. Follow the Ideal Intended Order instead.

Source: http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/countries/master/eplist.html


Ideal Intended Order[]

The Ideal Intended Order is a viewing order assembled by the Babylon 5 fan community. It matches the very popular Lurker's Guide; but adds three personal preference decision points and uses an improved Crusade order. Decision points aside, this is the order that J Michael Straczynski (JMS) appears to have intended the show to be viewed in for full dramatic impact. This viewing order was taken from JMS's interviews, notes, and discussions and JMS has given the contentious seasons one and two order his blessing. This is not a chronological order of events, and not everything is meant to make sense at first as some episodes have flashbacks and visions of things.

Source: http://www.b5tv.com/showthread.php?t=11675

  • For the Crusade spin-off the Chronological Order option was leveraged as it is enjoyable and popular among devoted fans without continuity issues or jarring inconsistencies. This Crusade order is from the Babylon 5 Historical Database as authorized by JMS, with one adjustment for a continuity issue in "Ruling From the Tomb".

There are three decision points indicated with asterisks (*) in the chart based on your personal viewing preference:

  • *A. The order of the Movie "In The Beginning". Some devoted fans suggest watching it 3rd to last just before "Sleeping in Light", as a summary flashback. However other fans prefer to simply watch this before season 5's "No Compromises" as originally broadcast or just after Season 4's "Atonement" as it ties in really well with this episode and you wont get any spoilers. Alternatively JMS has suggested watching it first, before "The Gathering" as an interesting prequel with spoilers. If someone is on the fence about watching Babylon 5, it can be recommend to watch In The Beginning first because it gives them a taste of what will come and may push them over the edge into watching the show.
  • *B. The order of Season 4's "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars". Some devoted fans suggest watching it last, as it jumps into the distant future and wraps up the entire Babylon 5 universe. However other fans prefer to simply watch this after "Rising Star" as originally broadcast to conclude Season 4.
  • *C. The order of Season 5's "Sleeping in Light". Some devoted fans suggest watching it 2nd to last, just before "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars", as it wraps up the show. However other fans prefer to simply watch this after "Objects at Rest" as originally broadcast to conclude Season 5, before moving on to watch the spin-off movies/episodes.


Historical Database Chronological Order[]

The Babylon 5 Historical Database Chronological Order as published in the 2008 book ACROSS TIME AND SPACE: The Chronologies of Babylon 5. Researched and created by devoted fan Terry Jones (B5historyman) with the full input, cooperation, and authorization of JMS. This involved scouring each episode and other B5 media to pick out every reference to events past and future, as well as establishing dates for events within the show itself where possible. This is excellent documentation of the story dates that took a ton of effort to create. During season five Fiona Avery at Babylonian Productions requested if the Historical Database could be used as an in-house document to support the production of the show. The Historical Database was then used in house at Babylonian Productions as confirmed by Reference editor Fiona Avery and contains the only OFFICIAL running order of both Babylon 5 and Crusade directly authorized by JMS himself obsoleting previous versions. This gives the order in which events 'historically' occurred according to this authorized internal production document. Whether this gives the best viewing experience will depend on individual taste.

Source: http://www.b5tv.com/showthread.php?t=45825

Ordering rationale notes: https://www.dropbox.com/s/9jqk568tcfkcesu/Chronological%20order%20of%20the%20B5%20canon.docx?dl=0

**The double asterisks in the chart indicate Story Dates overlap multiple shows.


Ideal Chronological Order[]

The Ideal Chronological Order is a chronological order of events assembled by the Babylon 5 fan community. It matches the Historical Database Chronological Order as authorized by JMS; but with five community made adjustments for continuity issues and to align to JMS's original public comments. It takes into consideration everything there is to know about Babylon 5 including JMS's comments and most importantly the audio/video continuity of the shows themselves.

This is significantly different than the order JMS originally intended the show to be viewed in for full dramatic impact. Compared to the Ideal Intended Order; the first 40 shows are re-arranged, however the last 90 shows are in the same order. Compared to the Historical Database Chronological Order, the only five differences are listed below.

  1. "Sic Transit Vir" appears to go after "A Late Delivery from Avalon" per JMS here: http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/guide/056.html
  2. "War Without End" appears to go after "Walkabout" per JMS here: http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/guide/062.html
  3. "Thirdspace" appears to go after "The Illusion of Truth" per JMS's original intended order and based on the Lurker's analysis here: http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/guide/112.html
  4. "Day of the Dead" appears to go after "The Ragged Edge" based on discussion in this thread, the Lurker's analysis, and per JMS here: http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/guide/096.html
  5. "Ruling From the Tomb" appears to best go after "The Long Road" based on the order of Gideon/Lochley meetings and per JMS's later publications as described here: http://www.b5tv.com/showthread.php?t=45810


Alkibiades410's Preferred Continuity Order[]

Source: http://www.b5tv.com/showthread.php?t=45810

This is the same as the Ideal Intended Order except:

  • "In The Beginning" was placed at the very start.
  • For Crusade, many options are presented. The "Alternate Continuity Order" matches the Ideal Intended Order and the Ideal Chronological Order. The other orders have continuity issues and are not the best.


Alkibiades410's Chronological Order[]

Source: http://www.b5tv.com/showthread.php?t=45810

This is the same as the Ideal Chronological Order except:

  • "In The Beginning" was placed at the very start.
  • "Confessions and Lamentations" was placed after "Divided Loyalties". This appears to be an error by Alkibiades410 based on the Lurker's analysis here: http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/guide/041.html
  • For Crusade, many options are presented. The "Alternate Continuity Order" matches the Ideal Intended Order and the Ideal Chronological Order. The other orders have continuity issues and are not the best.


I. Marc Carlson's Timeline of the Babylon 5/Crusade Universe[]

I. Marc Carlson's Timeline as published in the 2008 book ACROSS TIME AND SPACE: The Chronologies of Babylon 5. The book contained this timeline and the separate Terry Jones' Babylon 5 Historical Database chronology. In the introduction written by Reference editor Fiona Avery, she confirms that the two chronologies are different in tone and content (Jones’ particularly went to great lengths cross referencing all his entries and using only canon sources, including information from JMS) and while both have been used by fans, it is only Terry Jones’ Babylon 5 Historical Database that was used in house at Babylonian Productions. Notably Marc Carlson's timeline was only added to this book when they initially couldn’t get in contact with Terry Jones for his approval to solely publish his high quality timeline.


HBO's Order[]

Source: https://www.hbomax.com/series/urn:hbo:series:GYAdflwB3q8LDDgEAAAAC

In 2021 HBO established an order different from any previous broadcast or release. The season one order is based on a March 1994 post by JMS describing the planned broadcast schedule. However this was posted after only the first eight episodes had aired, and the broadcast schedule was later changed. HBO's order contains multiple continuity issues in season one and is significantly different than the intended orderings later expressed by JMS. The season two order is the same as the Ideal Intended Order except: it swaps "There All the Honor Lies" with "And Now For a Word" and it also swaps "Divided Loyalties" with "The Long, Twilight Struggle" which creates continuity issues. Seasons three, four, and five reportedly may match the broadcast order. Additional analysis on this order can be found here. Other popular streaming services are also now also using HBO's order, or an earlier version of HBO's current order which included even more issues.


Modified Production Order[]

As a part of a Kickstarter update for his upcoming book All Alone in the Night: The Making of Babylon 5, Jason Davis detailed his suggested viewing order. It takes the production ordering as a starting point, with some adjustments for auctorial intent.


Focused Story Order[]

This focuses on "the story of the last of the Babylon stations" as the story told across the five seasons of the main show. The spin-offs are considered separately, almost as 'short stories' set in the same world as the main 'novel' of the show, placing them after the main show in chronological order. The exception is In the Beginning which connects directly to the overall story of the series and sits well as a prologue (although as with the Lurker's Guide, for a first-time viewer starting with "In The Beginning" is debatable - a first-time viewer may instead prefer to watch it chronologically at the end of the other TV movies).


Grey Sector's First Time Viewers Guide[]

Source: https://greysector.wordpress.com/2020/10/16/babylon-5-first-time-viewers-guide/

This is a fan created guide for first time viewers with a simple viewing order that is close to the broadcast order.


gs4291's Character Arc Order (Season One only)[]

This order was created by user gs4291 in 2020, with the original aim of constructing an episode order for Season One without having to default to the broadcast order (as most other re-orderings do). After finding internal story continuity only gave half the data points needed to assemble a 'complete' ordering, gs4291 then also looked at how characters' interactions change over the course of the season. The final result is intended to not only set up and pay off plot developments in the most rewarding way, but also to give the most satisfying arc of character development to as many characters as possible. The detailed analysis behind the order can be found at the source below.

Source: https://b5season1order.wordpress.com


avn3's Visual Evidence Order (Season One only)[]

This order was put forward by redditor avn3 in 2021 (in this post and later updated in this post) to improve the objective continuity of season one. It considers the episodes as evidence, as if videotapes of actual events. Since these events must have happened in some particular order, the smallest clues may need to be found to rearrange them properly. 'Hard evidence' is prioritized, which may be as little as a title in a newspaper or a monitor in the background.

Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/babylon5/comments/opwe85/is_original_release_order_the_best_episode_order/h68ov9b/


Crusade Orders[]

There are many orders for the Crusade spin off. Several listings of them are linked below. The general recommended order is noted in the Ideal Intended Order above.

Source1: http://www.b5tv.com/showthread.php?t=11675

Source2: http://www.b5tv.com/showthread.php?t=45810

Source3: https://greysector.wordpress.com/2016/03/18/crusade-the-continuity-order-watch-through


Detailed Viewing Order Comparisons[]

TV Movies & Spin-offs[]

While there is some amount of debate around the ordering of episodes within each season (see later sections), the majority of the viewing order debate is around when the Babylon 5 TV movies and spin-offs should best be viewed in relation to the main series itself. This section compares the following orders:

Note 1: Since The Gathering is the series pilot it goes at the start of Season One in all suggested orders
Note 2: Since A Call to Arms is a backdoor pilot for Crusade it goes at the start of Crusade in all suggested orders
Note 3: numbering in the below table is not always continuous - the intention is to highlight where the different orders agree

Episodes/Movies Release Date Lurker's Guide Historical Database Blackcoat cowboy order Focused Story order
The Gathering & Season One 1 1 1 1 1
Season Two 2 2 2 2 2
Season Three 3 3 3 3 3
Season Four (Eps 1-21) 4 4 4 4 4
S4E22 The Deconstruction of Falling Stars 5 5 19[0. 1] 19[0. 1] 5
In the Beginning 6 0[0. 2] 17[0. 3] 17[0. 3] 0 / 17[0. 4]
Season Five (Eps 1-21) 7 7 7 7 7
Thirdspace 7.8
(during S5)[0. 5]
4.4
(during S4)[0. 6]
4.7
(during S4)[0. 7]
4.4
(during S4)[0. 6]
11[0. 8]
River of Souls 7.9
(during S5)[0. 9]
8[0. 10] 8[0. 11] 8[0. 11] 12[0. 8]
S5E22 Sleeping in Light 10 10 18[0. 12] 18[0. 12] 10
A Call to Arms and Crusade 14 14 14 14 14
The Legend of the Rangers 15 9[0. 13] 9[0. 14] 9[0. 14] 13[0. 8]
The Lost Tales 16 16 16 16 16


References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Since the framing story of The Deconstruction of Falling Stars is set 1,000,000 years in the future.
  2. Based on this comment from jms: "If [as a first-time viewer] you want to play it as a strict mystery, then no, probably don't go near [In the Beginning]... but frankly, if I were going to start someone off on B5, I'd definitely want to start with ItB, which sort of skims in and out of the overall storyline in a beautiful fashion.". The ambivalence is due to the movie containing some spoilers for events in the first four seasons.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Since the framing story of In the Beginning is set in 2278.
  4. In the Beginning works very well as a prologue to the main story, but if a first-time viewer wants to avoid some spoilers they should watch it last, after the other spin-offs.
  5. Thirdspace originally aired between S5E17 Movements of Fire and Shadow and S5E18 The Fall of Centauri Prime.
  6. 6.0 6.1 This analysis places Thirdspace between S4E08 The Illusion of Truth and S4E09 Atonement based on Franklin and Delenn's appearances. This assumes Zack's uniform fitting in Atonement is a re-fitting.
  7. The Historical Database places the Minbar-based scenes of S4E14 Moments of Transition before Thirdspace but the station-based scenes of Moments after Thirdspace. This also assumes Delenn returned from Minbar, took part in the events of Thirdspace, then went back to Minbar before later returning to Babylon 5 again in S4E17 The Face of the Enemy.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Moving the spin-offs after the main series to avoid interrupting the flow of the main story.
  9. River of Souls originally aired between S5E19 The Wheel of Fire and S5E20 Objects in Motion.
  10. River of Souls placed after S5E21 Objects at Rest, based on this online comment from jms saying River of Souls was originally planned to air two weeks later.
  11. 11.0 11.1 River of Souls placed after S5E21 Objects at Rest, since chronologically River of Souls takes place after S5E21 Objects at Rest but before The Legend of the Rangers
  12. 12.0 12.1 Since Sleeping in Light is set in 2281. Note that, if viewed in this order, the beginning of The Lost Tales includes a spoiler for Sleeping in Light.
  13. The reasoning behind this placement is not clear - it is consistent with the placement of River of Souls, but inconsistent with the placement of Crusade and The Lost Tales.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Since The Legend of the Rangers is set in 2265.


The Gathering & Season One[]

There's less of an obvious through-line tying the first season together as the story hadn't yet got to the point where each episode flowed directly into the next. As a result there's more space for fans to find details within the episodes which suggest alternative orders. This section compares the following orders:

Note: numbering in the below table is not always continuous - the intention is to highlight the places where the different orders agree

Episodes Release Date Lurker's Guide HBO Max Historical Database Character Arc Visual Evidence Modified Production
The Gathering 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Midnight on the Firing Line 1 1 1 1 1 1 1[1. 1]
Soul Hunter 2 2 2 2 2 2 2[1. 2]
Born to the Purple 3 3 3 4.5[1. 3] 4.5[1. 4] 4.5[1. 5] 4.5[1. 2]
Infection 4 4 4 4 4 4 4[1. 6]
The Parliament of Dreams 5 5 5 5 5 5 8[1. 2]
Mind War 6 6[1. 7] 6 8.3[1. 8] 11.8[1. 9] 6 10[1. 10]
The War Prayer 7 7 7 7 4.3[1. 11] 4.3[1. 11] 7
And the Sky Full of Stars 8 8 8 8 9.5[1. 12] 4.8[1. 13] 6[1. 2]
DeathWalker 9 9 9 9 9 9 11.5[1. 2]
Believers 10 10 10 10 10 10 5[1. 2]
Survivors 11 11 11 11 11 15.5[1. 14] 11
By Any Means Necessary 12 12 12 8.7[1. 8] 12 12 12
Signs and Portents 13 13 11.5[1. 15] 20.6[1. 16] 20.6[1. 16] 13 13
TKO 14 20.1[1. 17] 17.5[1. 15] 20.7[1. 18] 20.1[1. 19] 12.5[1. 20] 17.5[1. 2]
Grail 15 15 15 20.4[1. 21] 7.1[1. 22] 15 9[1. 2]
Eyes 16 16 16 20.9[1. 23] 20.9[1. 24] 16 20.9[1. 2]
Legacies 17 20.3[1. 25] 20.3[1. 15] 20.3[1. 25] 20.3[1. 25] 20.3[1. 25] 12.5[1. 2]
A Voice in the Wilderness I 18 18 18 18 18 18 18[1. 26]
A Voice in the Wilderness II 19 19 19 19 19 19 19[1. 26]
Babylon Squared 20 20 20 20 20 20 15[1. 2]
The Quality of Mercy 21 21 13.5[1. 15] 21 11.3[1. 27] 19.5[1. 28] 13.5[1. 2]
Chrysalis 22 22 22 22 22 22 22[1. 29]


References

  1. Although Midnight on the Firing Line was the third episode to enter production, the script was actually the first written.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 Based on the episode production order.
  3. Born to the Purple placed after Infection assuming the Narn-Centauri negotiations referred to in Infection as happening "next Tuesday" are the ones which take place in Purple.
  4. Born to the Purple placed after The War Prayer to smooth out perceived inconsistencies in the development of Ivanova & Garibaldi's early relationship: so that their antagonist moments in Prayer come before the turning point in their relationship in Purple (discussed in more detail here) and to make Londo's early character development more consistent so that Shaal Mayan confronting Londo about the absence of love throughout his life in Prayer comes before his affectionate relationship with Adira in Purple (discussed in more detail here).
  5. Born to the Purple placed after The War Prayer based on the newspaper headline in Purple referring to Home Guard attacks on Earth embassies, which were referred to in Prayer.
  6. Although Infection was the first episode to enter production, the script was actually the third written.
  7. Although the Lurker's Guide order is based on jms' comments, Mind War is not moved despite this comment from jms that it was originally intend to air as "episode 10 or so" until the studio decided to move it earlier.
  8. 8.0 8.1 The specific reasoning behind the placements of Mind War and By Any Means Necessary is not described in the published sources - it is perhaps due to the mention of a budget meeting in Mind War and the station budget being finalised in Means.
  9. Mind War placed after Survivors to better serve G’Kar’s character development: by consistently presenting him as the series' apparent antagonist, it gives greater impact to the 'twist' of his selfless act in Mind War - discussed in much more detail here.
  10. Based on the episode production order, note this comment from jms that Mind War was originally intend to air as "episode 10 or so" until the studio decided to move it earlier.
  11. 11.0 11.1 The War Prayer placed after Infection based on Franklin discussing "rumors" of anti-alien hate groups in Infection and those groups being active on the station in Prayer.
  12. And the Sky Full of Stars placed after DeathWalker so Jha'dur's taunt to Sinclair about the "hole in his mind" acts as a setup for Sky instead of a loose back-reference which isn't paid off.
  13. And the Sky Full of Stars placed just after Born to the Purple - since Garibaldi is reading the same newspaper in both episodes, it's assumed they must be sequential.
  14. Survivors placed after Signs and Portents as Zeta Wing were not used for the all-or-nothing Battle of Babylon 5 in Signs therefore they are assumed not to have been delivered to the station yet. And Survivors placed after Grail because a background monitor in C&C lists the passengers of transport Von Braun, including "Gajic, Aldous". The same screen appears in Grail and also lists the location of the transport as Bay 7 so apparently for some reason it was delayed and is still docked on the station in Survivors.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 This placement by HBO matches with this post from jms written after the first eight episodes had aired, describing the planned episode schedule for the remaining episodes.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Signs and Portents placed after Legacies based on Delenn having built only the first tier of the chrysalis device in Legacies, but having built the first two tiers in Signs - screenshots. This also makes sense from a character development perspective - in the original order during the discussion with the Grey Council in Squared over whether Valen's prophecy is at hand, it is incongruous that Delenn doesn't mention that she was recently visited by a Shadow agent in Signs (discussed in more detail here). This placement (combined with placing Legacies after Babylon Squared) requires the assumption that the pilot killed in Squared is a different pilot than the one who briefly appears in Signs, despite being played by the same actor (who also plays a security guard in Season Three...).
  17. TKO is placed towards the end of the season, based on this message from jms describing how TKO and The Quality of Mercy were accidentally switched by the studio (although Quality is kept in broadcast position). However this post from jms suggests TKO's originally planned episode position was actually #17 before the switch, as restored in the HBO Max order.
  18. TKO placed after Signs and Portents as TKO is said to have happened "several months" after the death of Ivanova's father in Born to the Purple. Purple is dated in the Historical Database to March 2258 and Signs has a date given in dialogue of August 2258.
  19. TKO placed just before Legacies to give consistency to the development of Ivanova and Sinclair's personal relationship: the tone of their conversations in Legacies and Eyes are more personal and confiding than in other episodes. Placing TKO before these conversations then makes Sinclair's attendance of Ivanova's father's shiva the catalyst for this shift in their relationship (discussed in more detail here).
  20. TKO placed earlier as it only happened "several months" after the death of Ivanova's father in Born to the Purple.
  21. Grail placed between Legacies and Signs and Porents based on an assertion that a partially-built chrysalis device appears in the background of Delenn's quarters, however this is not clear - see screenshots here
  22. Grail placed before DeathWalker to keep Kosh more of an unknown in Grail, thereby making the suggestion that he might be sucking out lurkers' brains (slightly) more believable. Grail placed before Sky as Sinclair and Delenn's interactions in Grail work better to establish their initial relationship as 'old friends', and so give a bigger impact to the revelations in And the Sky Full of Stars (discussed in more detail here).
  23. The reasoning for placing Eyes just before The Quality of Mercy is not described in the published sources - it is perhaps done on the assumption Delenn's absences in the two episodes are continuous (although this assumption is not made for DeathWalker).
  24. Eyes placed after Signs and Portents as Ben Zayn refers to the Minbari government's selection of Sinclair, which he and Garibaldi discovered in Signs.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 Legacies placed after Babylon Squared based on this post from jms stating a preference for this, referring to "one little detail". This is likely a reference to the triluminary (reinforced by the last comment on this page), which Delenn receives at the end of Squared and is used by Delenn's accomplices in the events of Legacies.
  26. 26.0 26.1 The absence of the chrysalis device in Delenn's quarters is explained by the assumption that Delenn has moved the device into her bedroom, as seen in Chrysalis.
  27. The Quality of Mercy placed before Mind War so that stories presenting Londo as the 'clown' of the show all take place before Mind War, thereby giving more weight to G'Kar's suggestion that Londo is "not exactly what he appears" (discussed in more detail here).
  28. The Quality of Mercy placed earlier as it takes place only "six months" after Lennier's arrival in The Parliament of Dreams but should also be some time after Grail because Ombuds Wellington has since had time to grow a beard.
  29. Although Chrysalis was the twelfth episode to enter production (to allow more time for post-production), it was written as the season finale.


Season Two[]

The storytelling starts to become more serialized in Season Two and a number of significant turning points in the premise of the show mean there's much less ambiguity to episode ordering compared to Season One - the focus is more on correcting for post-production delays. This section compares the following orders:

Note: numbering in the below table is not always continuous - the intention is to highlight the places where the different orders agree

Episodes Release Date Lurker's Guide HBO Max Historical Database
Points of Departure 1 1 1 1
Revelations 2 2 2 2
The Geometry of Shadows 3 3 3 3
A Distant Star 4 4 4 4
The Long Dark 5 5 5 8.5[2. 1]
A Spider in the Web 6 6 6 6
Soul Mates 7 7 7 7
A Race Through Dark Places 8 6.5[2. 2] 6.5[2. 3] 6.5[2. 4]
The Coming of Shadows 9 9 9 9
GROPOS 10 10 10 10
All Alone in the Night 11 11 11 11
Acts of Sacrifice 12 12 12 12
Hunter, Prey 13 13 13 13
There All the Honor Lies 14 14 14 14
And Now For a Word 15 15 13.5[2. 5] 15
In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum 16 16 16 16
Knives 17 15.5[2. 6] 15.5[2. 3] 13.5[2. 7]
Confessions and Lamentations 18 18 18 18
Divided Loyalties 19 19 19 19
The Long, Twilight Struggle 20 20 18.5[2. 8] 20
Comes the Inquisitor 21 21 21 21
The Fall of Night 22 22 22 22


References

  1. The Long Dark placed after Soul Mates because a human Ranger can be seen in the background of one scene. Based on details from the canon novel To Dream in the City of Sorrows this places Dark in June 2259, three months after humans were allowed to enter the Rangers in February during that novel. A Race Through Dark Places has an on-screen date of March 2259. Mates is dated to May 2259 in the Historical Database, though the specific reasoning for this is not stated in the published sources.
  2. A Race Through Dark Places placed before Soul Mates based on this and this comment from jms - the network decided to air an additional episode, and since Race needed more post-production work Mates was aired out of order instead. The difference can be seen in Talia's story: in Race she discovers the truth about Psi Corps and then in Mates talks about "being part of an organization that scares the hell out of [her]" and that she "doesn't want to be a part of" Psi Corps. However an alternate argument can be made for the original broadcast order: in Mates Ivanova helps Delenn deal with her unmanageable new human hair, and in Race Delenn's hair is elegantly styled for her dinner with Sheridan.
  3. 3.0 3.1 HBO Max appears to be listing the Season Two episodes by their internal production numbering - in this case, by accident or design, this gives the same result as the Lurker's Guide order.
  4. The specific reasoning for placing A Race Through Dark Places before Soul Mates is not given in the published sources - it is perhaps because the episodes originally aired in this order in the UK, where the author of the Historical Database is based.
  5. HBO Max appears to be listing the Season Two episodes by their internal production numbering. This placement of And Now For a Word before There All the Honor Lies doesn't have a significant impact on the viewing experience.
  6. Knives placed before In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum based on this comment from jms that Knives was delayed due to time needed to complete CGI animation. The original intention was for Sheridan's hallucination in Knives to be a reminder about Anna Sheridan and then for Shadow to pay that off by picking up her storyline.
  7. Knives placed before There All the Honor Lies based on Franklin saying Sheridan was on the Agamemnon "seven months ago", putting Knives in early August 2259. Hunter, Prey is dated to July 2259 in the Historical Database, though the specific reasoning for this is not stated in the published sources. And Now For a Word has an on-screen date of September 2259. Honor is dated to late August 2259 in the Historical Database, though the specific reasoning for this is not stated in the published sources.
  8. HBO Max appears to be listing the Season Two episodes by their internal production numbering - unfortunately moving The Long, Twilight Struggle before Divided Loyalties creates a continuity issue: in Struggle Delenn refers back to her conversation with Sheridan about profanity from Loyalties. With the episodes flipped this line now makes no sense.


Season Three[]

The serialization ramps up even more so in Season Three, and so again there is even less debate about the episode order. This section compares the following orders:

Note: numbering in the below table is not always continuous - the intention is to highlight the places where the different orders agree

Episodes Release Date Lurker's Guide
Matters of Honor 1 1
Convictions 2 2
A Day in the Strife 3 3
Passing Through Gethsemane 4 4
Voices of Authority 5 5[3. 1]
Dust to Dust 6 6
Exogenesis 7 7
Messages from Earth 8 8
Point of No Return 9 9
Severed Dreams 10 10
Ceremonies of Light and Dark 11 11
Sic Transit Vir 12 12
A Late Delivery from Avalon 13 11.5[3. 2]
Ship of Tears 14 14
Interludes and Examinations 15 15
War Without End, Part One 16 16
War Without End, Part Two 17 17
Walkabout 18 15.5[3. 3]
Grey 17 is Missing 19 19
And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place 20 20
Shadow Dancing 21 21
Z'ha'dum 22 22


References

  1. Although the Lurker's Guide order is based on jms' comments, Voices of Authority is not placed before Passing through Gethsemane despite this message from jms confirming they were originally intended to air in that order, but CGI post-production delayed Voices (also mentioned in the third comment on this page). The reason given for not adopting this modification is "since the events of [Voices] tie into the beginning of Dust to Dust, and aren't mentioned at all in Gethsemane, the initial airing order is actually an improvement.". Jason Davis' Modified Production Order chooses to follow the production order, rather than the broadcast order.
  2. 'A Late Delivery from Avalon moved before Sic Transit Vir based on this comment from jms that Vir was moved earlier for broadcast to allow time to finish special effects on Avalon and to position Michael York's appearance for a ratings "sweeps" week. The modified order makes continuity-sense as the Babylon Treaty is signed in Avalon and then Drazi & Vree ships are seen defending the station in Vir. This change is also made in Jason Davis' Modified Production Order.
  3. Walkabout placed before War Without End based on this comment from jms stating Walkabout was initially planned to go first, but the production order was changed to avoid the two parts of War being split across four months. However this change creates two possible continuity issues: (i) in Interludes and Examinations the Vorlons attack the Shadows openly; then in War Without End Marcus says there hasn't been a Shadow attack since the Vorlons got involved; and in Walkabout we see the Shadows attacking Drazi ships. If you flip War and Walkabout then Marcus' comment makes no sense. (ii) Also jms has confirmed the Vorlon who arrives in Walkabout (dubbed "Kosh II" in fan circles) is the same Vorlon residing on Minbar (named Ulkesh Naranek in the canon novel To Dream in the City of Sorrows) who we see at the start of War Without End. Therefore if you flip the original broadcast order then Ulkesh travels from Minbar to Babylon 5 in Walkabout; then flies back to Minbar to deliver a couple of cryptic lines to Rathenn in War Without End; then presumably goes back to Babylon 5 to continue as ambassador. While this is possible it seems a bit odd for Ulkesh to be bouncing back and forth like this.


Season Four[]

At this point the show has reached 'peak serialization': the story of each episode flows directly into next and there is no debate around the ordering of the episodes themselves. Opinions only vary on how (or if at all) to integrate the TV movie Thirdspace, as discussed in the TV Movie section. This section compares the following orders:

Note: numbering in the below table is not always continuous - the intention is to highlight the places where the different orders agree

Episodes Release Date Lurker's Guide Historical Database
The Hour of the Wolf 1 1 1
Whatever Happened to Mr. Garibaldi? 2 2 2
The Summoning 3 3 3
Falling Towards Apotheosis 4 4 4
The Long Night 5 5 5
Into the Fire 6 6 6
Epiphanies 7 7 7
The Illusion of Truth 8 8 8
Atonement 9 9 9
Racing Mars 10 10 10
Lines of Communication 11 11 11
Conflicts of Interest 12 12 12
Rumors, Bargains and Lies 13 13 13
Moments of Transition 14 14 14
No Surrender, No Retreat 15 15 15
The Exercise of Vital Powers 16 16 16
The Face of the Enemy 17 17 17
Intersections in Real Time 18 18 18
Between the Darkness and the Light 19 19 19
Endgame 20 20 20
Rising Star 21 21 21
The Deconstruction of Falling Stars 22 22 n/a[4. 1]
Thirdspace[4. 2] n/a[4. 3] 8.5[4. 4] 14.5[4. 5]


References

  1. Placed outside Season Four, at the very end of the chronological order, since the framing story of The Deconstruction of Falling Stars is set 1,000,000 years in the future.
  2. As discussed in the TV Movie section, the Focused Story Order advocates watching the TV movies separately from the main run of the show, to avoid breaking up the flow of the story.
  3. Thirdspace originally aired during Season Five, between S5E17 Movements of Fire and Shadow and S5E18 The Fall of Centauri Prime.
  4. This analysis places Thirdspace between Illusion of Truth and Atonement - Franklin's presence places it before his mission to Mars (which runs from Atonement to Conflicts of Interest) - and it can't come after that mission since by the time he returns, Delenn has left for Minbar and Delenn appears in Thirdspace. Since Zack is wearing a black Army of Light uniform in Thirdspace, it must come after Illusion as he is wearing security greens in that episode - this assumes Zack's uniform fitting at the start of Atonement is a re-fitting after the damage from Thirdspace.
  5. The Historical Database places the Minbar-based scenes of Moments of Transition before Thirdspace but the station-based scenes of Moments after Thirdspace. This also assumes Delenn returned from Minbar, took part in the events of Thirdspace, then returned to Minbar before later returning to Babylon 5 again in The Face of the Enemy.


Season Five[]

Here the show remains at 'peak serialisation' - the only debated episode position is the one not written by jms. Also opinions vary on how (or if at all) to integrate the TV movie River of Souls, as discussed in the TV Movie section. This section compares the following orders:

Note: numbering in the below table is not always continuous - the intention is to highlight the places where the different orders agree

Episodes Release Date Lurker's Guide Historical Database
No Compromises 1 1 1
The Very Long Night of Londo Mollari 2 2 2
The Paragon of Animals 3 3 3
A View from the Gallery 4 4 4
Learning Curve 5 5 5
Strange Relations 6 6 6
Secrets of the Soul 7 7 7
Day of the Dead 8[5. 1] 12.5[5. 2] 4.5[5. 3]
In the Kingdom of the Blind 9 9 9
A Tragedy of Telepaths 10 10 10
Phoenix Rising 11 11 11
The Ragged Edge 12 12 12
The Corps is Mother, The Corps is Father 13 13 13
Meditations on the Abyss 14 14 14
Darkness Ascending 15 15 15
And All My Dreams, Torn Asunder 16 16 16
Movements of Fire and Shadow 17 17 17
The Fall of Centauri Prime 18 18 18
The Wheel of Fire 19 19 19
River of Souls[5. 4] 19.5 21.5[5. 5] 21.5[5. 6]
Objects in Motion 20 20 20
Objects at Rest 21 21 21
Sleeping in Light 22 22 n/a[5. 7]


References

  1. The original broadcast position of Day of the Dead is incongruous as Londo & G'Kar leave for Centauri Prime in Strange Relations but then are on the station in Day of the Dead. Also In the Kingdom of the Blind is said to take place the day after Secrets of the Soul but Day was placed in-between them.
  2. Day of the Dead placed after The Ragged Edge based on this comment from jms that it was originally planned to air in slot 513 (which 'translates' as S5E12 due to a quirk of the Season Five production) and this comment describing how Day was moved earlier to accommodate the NBA playoffs. Since Londo & G'Kar return to the station in The Ragged Edge their appearance in Day is no longer inconsistent. There is a potential continuity issue: in Day Garibaldi blames the incident on "the telepaths" which was probably intended as a reference to Byron's group (the episode was written after the first four Season Five scripts had been completed) despite them no longer being on the station after Phoenix Rising.
  3. Day of the Dead placed before Learning Curve: since Londo & G'Kar are on-station in Day it is placed before their departure for Centauri Prime in Strange Relations. Also Relations starts the immediate morning after Curve so Day of the Dead must come before Curve as well. The decision to put Day of the Dead before Londo's trip to Centauri Prime (as opposed to after as done in the Lurker's Guide order) is based on a number of factors (based on this online post): (i) a newspaper headline in Day of the Dead reads "Narn Consulate Opens On Mars Amid Controversy"; (ii) according to an article in The Official Babylon 5 Magazine Volume 2 Issue #1, Mars was formally declared independent in March 2262; (iii) the assumption is the controversy is due to the consulate being opened before the formal independence - therefore Day takes place in the early part of the season. Note that, as a viewing experience, this has the effect of revealing the nature of Lochley's previous relationship with Sheridan with an off-hand comment in Day, which makes the drawn out mystery across Curve and Relations a bit redundant.
  4. As discussed in the TV Movie section, the Focused Story Order advocates watching the TV movies separately from the main run of the show, to avoid breaking up the flow of the story.
  5. River of Souls placed after Objects at Rest, based on this online comment from jms saying River of Souls was originally planned to air two weeks later.
  6. River of Souls placed after Objects at Rest, since chronologically River of Souls takes place after Objects at Rest
  7. Placed later in the chronological order, outside Season Five, since Sleeping in Light is set in 2281.


A Call to Arms & Crusade[]

The viewing order for Crusade is notoriously tangled. Some background to its short but troubled production can help: The opening episode was originally planned to be Racing the Night and production began with the Excalibur crew wearing gray & red uniforms. After five episodes had been filmed (with another five scripts in hand), the network called for a production hiatus to make changes. These included a costume change to more functional black uniforms and a mandate to write a new opening episode introducing the characters in a more conventional style. To make sense of the uniform changes, it was planned to:

  • start the series with a number of 'black uniform' episodes, including the new opening episode
  • have an episode in which the the uniforms were changed to gray/red
  • air the originally filmed five 'gray/red uniform' episodes
  • have an episode in which the uniforms were changed back to black
  • air the remaining 'black uniform' episodes

After the production hiatus, eight episodes were filmed with the black uniforms, including the new opening episode (War Zone) and the first 'bridging' episode, explaining the change from black to gray/red uniforms (Appearances and Other Deceits). Of the other three completed scripts, the next to be filmed was the 'gray/red to black' bridging episode (To the Ends of the Earth) but before filming began the network called for production to cease and shortly afterwards the show was cancelled. This section compares the following orders, each of which attempt to reconcile the above:

Release Date[]

The order in which the episodes were originally broadcast in the US - since the second 'bridging' episode was not produced, the decision was taken to air all the 'black uniform' episodes in one block, followed by the gray/red episodes, despite many of the 'black' episodes being written with the intention of being aired after the 'gray/red' block. While some episodes had dialogue re-dubbed to try and get them to fit in this new order, a number of continuity problems couldn't be avoided.

Script Order[]

This is the order in which the scripts were originally written (originally without any thought to costume changes) which perhaps gives a guide to how the stories were originally planned to progress before the network's intervention.

Rerun Broadcast[]

A few years after the original run, the Sci Fi Channel acquired the rights to air Crusade and (being familiar with the controversy) asked jms in what order he would like them to air the episodes. In this message he outlines his rationale: choosing to ignore the costume changes in favour of better introducing the story and characters (at least "as best [he] could remember it when they called"). War Zone and Appearances are placed at the end, outside the run of the other episodes, reflecting that they were only written to accommodate mandates imposed by the network. This order is used in the Lurker's Guide Master List.

Historical Database[]

This is the order in which events 'historically' occurred according to the authorized internal production document, the Historical Database. Whether this gives the best viewing experience will depend on individual taste. Notes for the ordering rationale are here.

All-Inclusive[]

Published in Volume 2 of the Crusade: Other Voices script book series, as compiled by its Senior Editor, Jason Davies: "With the publication of all the extant Crusade material, a new all-inclusive order, interpolating all the various episodes, scripts, outlines and notes in to a cohesive whole, was needed to make sense of the series as it now stands." - Crusade: Other Voices, Volume 2 p361

Note 1: Since A Call to Arms is a backdoor pilot for Crusade it goes at the start in all suggested orders
Note 2: Although not strictly relevant for a viewing order, the three completed but unproduced scripts help explain the placement of some episodes in the All-Inclusive Order.
Note 3: the number coding below attempts to highlight similarities between these diverse orderings using a prefix digit.
   '1-x' indicates a 'black uniform' episode when it's placed before the 'gray/red uniform' episode block.
   '2-x' indicates the 'gray/red uniform' episode block.
   '3-x' indicates a 'black uniform' episode when it's placed after the 'gray/red uniform' episode block.
   'X-x' indicates an episode which has been placed outside the regular run of episodes.

Episodes Release Date Script Rerun broadcast Historical Database All-Inclusive
A Call to Arms 0 0 0 0 0
War Zone 1-1 3-7 X-1[6. 1] 1-1 1-1
The Long Road 1-2 3-4.7 2-3 1-2 1-2
The Well of Forever 1-3 3-3 2-4.5 3-6[6. 2] 3-9[6. 3]
The Path of Sorrows 1-4 3-4 3-4 3-4[6. 4] 1-4[6. 5]
Patterns of the Soul 1-5 3-5 3-3.5 3-5[6. 6] 3-8[6. 7]
Ruling from the Tomb 1-6 3-6 3-6 3-4.5[6. 8] 1-1.5[6. 9]
The Rules of the Game 1-7 3-4.3 3-7 3-7[6. 10] 3-7[6. 10]
Appearances and Other Deceits 1-8 3-8 X-8[6. 11] 1-8 1-8
Racing the Night 2-1 2-1 2-1 2-3.5[6. 12] 2-1
The Memory of War 2-2 2-2 2-2 2-2 2-2
The Needs of Earth 2-3 2-1.5 2-1.5 2-3 2-1.5[6. 13]
Visitors from Down the Street 2-4 2-4 2-4 2-4 2-4
Each Night I Dream of Home 2-5 2-5 2-5 2-5 2-5
To the Ends of the Earth (script only) n/a 3-9 n/a 3-9[6. 14] 3-0[6. 15]
Value Judgments (script only) n/a 3-10 n/a 3-10 3-10[6. 3]
End of the Line (script only) n/a 3-11 n/a 3-11 3-11


References

  1. As per this jms post: "I separated War Zone from the rest because structurally, that's a story I would never have told if there wasn't a gun to my head."
  2. The Well of Forever placed after the 'gray/red uniform' block since in Well Gideon refers back to Galen describing the Excalibur as "family" in The Memory of War. The specific reasoning for placing Well after Patterns of the Soul is not described in the published sources - it is perhaps to keep Ruling from the Tomb and Patterns close together as they are both dated to June 2267.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Because the All-Inclusive Order integrates the unproduced scripts, The Well of Forever is placed just before the unproduced episode Value Judgments so "ideal contrast is provided by placing Matheson's trial by Mr. Jones... immediately before his encounter with Bester." - Crusade: Other Voices, Volume 2 p368
  4. The reasoning for placing The Path of Sorrows after the 'gray/red uniform' block is not described in the published sources.
  5. The Path of Sorrows kept before the 'gray/red uniform' block to establish the mystery of the destruction of the Cerberus before that storyline is further developed in To the Ends of the Earth.
  6. Patterns of the Soul placed after the 'gray/red uniform' block based on the use of the nanovirus shield, which was discovered in The Memory of War.
  7. Patterns of the Soul placed after The Rules of the Game since "Lorka 7 provides a promising destination for the Excalibur crew, which can then be undercut by General Thompson's orders to divert to Theta 49 in Patterns." - Crusade: Other Voices, Volume 2 p.368
  8. Ruling from the Tomb placed after the 'gray/red uniform' block due to the gray/red episode Visitors from Down the Street having on-screen date of May 2267 and a banner in the background of Ruling having a date of June 2267. The inconsistency between Lochley and Gideon knowing each other in Each Night I Dream of Home but then re-introducing themselves to each other in Ruling is explained as due to Lochley being "distracted by unfolding events". Ruling placed just before Patterns of the Soul since Ruling is dated to June (based on the banner) and the colonists on Theta 49 in Patterns are said to have left Earth six months after the plague was released (which is dated to January, based on it being the anniversary of the foundation of the Interstellar Alliance).
  9. "Ruling from the Tomb is placed second, which is consistent with the urgency of assembling a large conference and Gideon's assertion that if there were a saboteur aboard his ship, it would have been blown up "weeks ago"." - Crusade: Other Voices, Volume 2 p367
  10. 10.0 10.1 The Rules of the Game placed after the 'gray/red uniform' block so Gideon's visit to Babylon 5 follows Lochley's invitation in Each Night I Dream of Home.
  11. jms placed Appearances and Other Deceits outside the main ordering since the episode was written to explain the studio-mandated costume changes, which this order chooses to ignore in favour of story and character development.
  12. Racing the Night placed after The Memory of War based on this comment from jms that Racing "was written to take place about 5 months after the Drakh attack", whereas in Memory the ISN broadcast states the planetary quarantine is entering its fourth month. The reasoning for placing Racing after The Needs of Earth is not described in the published sources.
  13. The Needs of Earth placed before The Memory of War to "do as little damage as possible to Staczynski's original intent" - Crusade: Other Voices, Volume 2 p367.
  14. To the Ends of the Earth placed late in the order as the date is given in dialogue as September 2267, despite the script starting with the crew in gray/red uniforms, being said to have be wearing them for "almost two months".
  15. To the Ends of the Earth placed (as intended before the series' cancellation) to bridge between the 'gray/red uniform' episodes into the second block of 'black uniform' episodes - at the start of the script the gray/red uniforms are written out of the show.

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