The article doesn’t actually answer the question about this TV show, which ended in 1998. It was the last series I ever made time in my schedule to watch. Unlike Star Trek, which I watched so many times as a kid that I have whole episodes memorized, I’ve seen very little Babylon 5 in 15 or 20 years. But to reward myself after finishing a set of papers, I poked around online and found this.
That’s how the series became so compulsively watchable: All the world-building, all the different characters and their factions, all of the time spent building the sandcastle of what’s expected of television, all of that gets knocked over and deconstructed and rebuilt, and it all makes sense as part of a larger coherent narrative. Babylon 5 may ruin and rebuild every major planet in its universe, and it may dramatically or subtly alter the motives of all of its major characters, but these things never feel like stunts. It is a success because its developments are organic, and because the lack of subtlety lets it work at an archetypal level.