In several versions of an interview, J. Michael Straczynski said he received this slogan in an e-mail from either FermiLab or NASA (supposedly posted on a bulletin board there). I'm not sure whether he remembered it differently at different times or if one of the interviewers was sloppy.

Anyway, what does it mean? Here are two possibilities that occur to me:

(1) Star Trek is a bit more idealized and Babylon 5 is more gritty, 'realistic', what have you.

(2) Star Trek mostly has to wrap up plot lines in a single episode, whereas Babylon 5 had 5 years to work out consequences and implications of choices made by the characters.

So the way I read this is that 'real-world' problems need deeper solutions than the writers of Star Trek could fit in. (I like both shows, but I distinguish them from 'reality'!).

Case in point: And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place.

This may also be a reference to the Star Trek: TNG (and beyond) writers' penchant for basing solutions on creatively-worded technobabble, in contrast to the real-world, personal grounding of most Babylon 5 resolutions.

example:

TNG: "We'll rewire the impulse flux capacitors to create an inverse tachyon pulse which should easily solve this episode's near-lethal problem!"

B5: "We'll bring the two sides to the negotiating table again, and after five episodes worth of assassinations, heated arguments, and military fleets appearing at inopportune moments, we'll reach a resolution that is just barely acceptable to everyone, at least until three episodes down the timeline when it will all fall to pieces."

So a specifically-worded example of this law in practice might be "A quasi-symmetric graviton polarity beam will be ineffective and counterproductive when used in an effort to convince the Centauri Republic to end its collaboration with the Shadows."

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