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Babylon Park: The Fan Favorite Spoof

The most popular Babylon 5 parody to date, Babylon Park, has its beginnings in 1998, after a simple comment was posted to the Usenet newsgroup rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated.

Delendi from Babylon Park
Delendi Teslabari
© 1998 iNFiNiCorpTransgalactic

Although the Babylon 5 episode “Interludes and Examinations” actually aired on May 6, 1996, it wasn’t until a re-airing in late 1997, after which Christopher Russo posted on the newsgroup, “By G’Quan, they killed Kosh!” This was in reference to a popular saying on the new series, South Park, airing on the Comedy Central cable network. (South Park premiered on August 13, 1997.) Other members of the newsgroup offered variations such as “Ohmigod! They killed Marcus! You bastards!!” and “In Valen’s Name! They killed Duhkat! YOU BASTARDS!!!” However, unlike the others, Russo expanded on his idea and created a small website featuring a script of various Babylon 5 characters taking the roles from their South Park counterparts. Russo began drawing characters to use on the site in Adobe Illustrator, and later was able to bring those files into Macromedia Flash software to animate them.

As his site became popular with fans, Russo created a short fan film called The Spoohunter Cometh. It was a 52-second fake commercial for Spoo, a favorite food mentioned by G’Kar on the real show. It featured an alien clubbing an unsuspecting animal and features the foods Spoo in a Toob and Cheezy Spoo. This original short film (with a couple graphic updates) can be found on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMf15P38BCw.

Babylon Park: The Movie © 1998 Alyssa Gobelle
Babylon Park: The Movie
© 1998 Alyssa Gobelle

While working on The Spoohunter Cometh, Russo was approached by a small production company, Atlanta-based NicholsFilm, who wanted to use the characters to make a longer fan film. Russo agreed to let them produce another short, and provided his source files and ideas, which Russo later infers on his website went largely unused. NicholsGroup finished the short film, Babylon Park: The Movie, and featured its debut at Dragoncon in Atlanta, GA from September 3-6, 1998. Babylon Park: The Movie was uploaded to YouTube by its director at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_PvyA45S_k

During the production of Babylon Park: The Movie, Russo took back control over his idea and began developing a second short film, using his production company, iNFiNiCorp Transgalactic, to incorporate the Spoohunter short into the film. Subsequent showings of Babylon Park: The Movie after Dragoncon were shown without The Spoohunter Cometh segment.Russo’s new short film was called Babylon Park: Episode 000, and was later changed to Babylon Park: Episode Zot: 4:20 On The Septic Line. Produced almost entirely by Russo, it featured Mr. Mordy, the Shadow Poo, who introduced viewers to the Babylon Park universe. It premiered at Vorcon 1 in Pomona California on October 16-18, 1998. Russo also allowed fans to download the film for free on his website. It can be found on YouTube, uploaded by Russo, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AR9EeKI4Hg.

Babylon Park increased in popularity during the convention circuit of 1998 and early 1999, catching the eye of several cast and crew members of the real Babylon 5 production team. As Russo began working on the next Babylon Park project, Frightspace, he enthusiastically incorporated the talents of Wayne Alexander, Robin Atkins Downes, Patricia Tallman and Jeffrey Willerth as voices in the new film. It took Russo 4 months to produce the 20 minute short film, a spoof on the Babylon 5 movie, Thirdspace. It was first screened at Dragon from July 1-3, 1999. While the entire episode is not online, the trailer can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWqx4f_w55M.

The final official Babylon Park short film was Babylon Park: Grudgematch. Released in 2000, it was produced by Jeffrey Willerth (Who played Kosh on Babylon 5) and Willerth’s Erthbound Entertainment. This film was a parody of the Babylon 5 spinoff, Crusade. Wayne Alexander, Robin Atkins Downes, Pat Tallman and Jeffrey Willerth returned, and Maggie Egan (ISN Reporter) joined the cast. The film also featured an ending credit song titled “Enterprising Man” by famed filker Tom Smith. The film won a Silver Trophy in the 2002 Telly Awards.

The final chapter as of this writing in the Babylon Park story was a very short clip of the Spoohunter Spoo in a parody of the Internet meme Nyan Cat in 2011.

Babylon Park
remains the most popular parody created about Babylon 5, and one of the few fan films produced by its fandom. 

Babylon Park: The Movie is copyright 1998 Alyssa Gobelle. All rights pertaining to Babylon Park: The Movie are reserved.

Babylon Park and all related material are copyright 1998 iNFiNiCorpTransgalactic. All rights reserved.

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