Category Archives: Word Cloud

Babylon 5 – Episode Title Word Clouds

Vague spoilers below

I’m sure you’ve all seen those images online with a jumble of words on different subjects. In case you don’t know, they’re known as ‘word clouds’ and there’s a bunch of sites that will produce them (I used wordle.net). They increase the font size of the words being used more often. Whether this produces any major insight is debatable, but it’s interesting and can make some cool images. I posted these on Reddit a few months back, but I figured I should share them here as well, plus there’s another two I did after that post.

Version 1: Babylon 5 series episode titles – all words

word cloud 1 As this makes the most common words the biggest, words such as ‘the’ and ‘of’ dominate – it’s not very interesting. This version only includes the Babylon series episodes and the four TNT TV Movies.


Version 2: Babylon 5 series episode titles – ‘common’ words excluded

word cloud 2

This removes most of the meaningless words and begins to accentuate the more common words. This version only includes the Babylon series episodes and the four TNT TV Movies.


Version 3: Babylon 5 series and spin-offs episode titles – ‘common’ words excluded

word cloud 3

Again, this version removes most of the meaningless words. This image includes all of Babylon 5, Crusade, Legend of the Rangers (by it’s pilot title ‘To Live and Die in Starlight’) and The Lost Tales episodes (‘Over There’ and ‘Over Here’). Two part episode titles are only included once, and the ‘part one/part two’ parts are not included.


Version 4: Babylon 5 series and spin-offs episode titles – ‘common’ words excluded and words reduced to ‘roots’

word cloud 4

 For this one I tried to get to the root of words that are used in different contexts, to try and show how often they are used:

  • All plurals are now singular: For example: Dream, Star, Point, Shadow, Place, Voice, Line were all represented in both plural and singular, so would come up separately previously.
  • Other words are reduced to their root. For example: Ruling to rule, darkness to dark, falling to fall, racing to race – again, they were all separate before.
  • Lastly and possibly the biggest stretch is the breaking up starlight into star and light, and taking the night from midnight.

Version 5: Babylon 5 series and spin-offs episode titles – As Version 4, but with words that occur less than three times removed.

word cloud 5


Analysis

I realize this is the beginning of a spiral into the realm of over-analysis, but this version highlights the repeated use by JMS of certain words in the episode titles, many of those VERY integral to the themes of the Babylon 5 universe.

I’m sure anyone with a passing knowledge of the show could think of general and specific uses and references to all the following terms throughout the Babylon 5 universe stories. Lets take the ten most common from the above image:

Light,  Dark,  Night,  Star,  Shadow,  Dream,  War,  Soul,  Fall,  Long

Almost all are evocative of so many aspects of Babylon 5. I admit ‘Long’ is a bit of a general word, reused and not that evocative it must be said. It seems JMS likes to use it for emphasis on many occasions.

Just for fun I tried to come up with a title using the most frequent words. I apologize for the cheesiness:

The Long War of Dark and Light, Night and Star, The Dream of the Fallen Shadow’s Soul

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