on January 15, 2004
After Season Four's constant exillerating pace, Season Five slows down to give the show a fresh story-arch climb. The season starts out by introducing the new Babylon 5 Captain, Elizabeth Lockley, an Earth Force Captain who faught for Clark's regime during the civil war, creating an interesting dynamic between herself, Sheridan, Dellen, and Garibaldi. We are also introduced to the machinations of the Inter Stellar Alliance.
Much of what Sheridan feared in Season Four comes to fruition with the legacy of the Vorlons and Shadows causing the paramount issues through out the year, and his Grandfather's quote, "The duration is longer than the war," is explained through action, consequence, and chance.
Much of the drama involved with the telepath crisis is sucked dry due to Ivannava's absence, with Lyta evoling to capture and express much of the emotional struggles. It is her story sallied with the character of Byron where the show fails to capture the force that was prevelent throughout the previous two and a half seasons, but fear not, their story dominates for a mere four episodes, and with other story lines developing the grand finally along the way, these episdes are not a complete loss.
After the telepath struggle, we get into what I consider to be JMS's best work, with Londo and G'kar's relationship developing from hatred to wry friendship. It is here where we see Straczynski pull the carpet out from under us as he uses the entire previous four season of emotions he evoked from us to show us that we are responsible for what we do, for good or ill. We see the struggle for redemtion, the struggle to forgive, the struggle to recreate from ash, and the struggle to give up all of ones self for all of ones family, friends, and people.
The final eleven episodes are the best from the the Universe of Babyon 5, completing a task that was said to be impossible. Thank you B5 staff and crew, and, of course, Mr. Straczynski. You've taugh many wonderful ideas in a very insidious fashion, through entertainment. Mark Twain would be proud.
on January 10, 2004
Like the other four seasons, "Season Five" will be in widescreen anamorphic format and Dolby Digital 5.1. It includes all 22 episodes and runs for 968 minutes. For the final season, fans are expecting some special extras. Here is a list of the scheduled extras:
=>Introduction to Wheel of Fire (Season 5 of Babylon 5) by series creator, J. Michael Straczynski
=>Two audio commentaries by J. Michael Straczynski
=>Movements of Fire and Shadow commentary by cast members Bruce Boxleitner, Peter Jurasik, Patricia Tallman and Tracy Scoggins
=>Digital Tomorrow - a featurette about making the special effects for the series
=>Beyond Babylon 5 - a featurette focusing on the fans, their reactions to the show and available Babylon 5 merchandise
=>The Universe of Babylon 5
=>Personnel Files; Data Files; Gag Reel; Episode previews
=>Easter Egg: Marcus Cole: Dead or Frozen
=>Additional and Extended Scenes
Unfinished from prior seasons, the telepath situation is still at issue. The post-war era still has many other problems to be resolved.
1. No Compromises (Babylon 5 has a new commander. The telepaths ask to form a colony on Babylon 5.)
2. The Very Long Night of Londo Mollari (Londo has a heart attack. Lennier decides to become a ranger.)
3. The Paragon of Animals (Garibaldi wants to form an intelligence unit consisting of telepaths.)
4. A View from the Gallery (cowritten by Harlan Ellison. Savage aliens attack the station shown from the viewpoint of two crew members.)
5. Learning Curve (A racketeer tries to take over Downbelow.)
6. Strange Relations (Londo evades an assassination attempt.)
7. Secrets of the Soul (The Downbelow citizens don't like the increasing number of telepaths. Franklin discovers an old secret.)
8. Day of the Dead (The Brakiri conduct a religious ceremony where the dead supposedly return. Zooty's voice is done by Harlan Ellison.)
9. In the Kingdom of the Blind (Byron uses blackmail to try to get a homeworld of their own for the telepaths.)
10. A Tragedy of Telepaths (Lochley asks that the telepaths be removed, due to rising tensions and violence.)
11. Phoenix Rising (The situation with the telepaths worsens, resulting in several deaths.)
12. The Ragged Edge (G'Kar becames a religious figure after his book is published. There may be a witness to an attack on an Alliance ship.)
13. The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father (Bester shows two PSI Cop interns how he works when he tries to capture a rogue telepath.)
14. Meditations on the Abyss (Lennier investigates the possible Centauri involvement in the shipping line attacks. Vir becomes the Centauri ambassador to Babylon 5.)
15. Darkness Ascending (Lennier continues to investigate the Centauri. Lyta tries to find a homeworld for the telepaths.)
16. And All My Dreams, Torn Asunder (Evidence against the Centauri is presented to the Alliance.)
17. Movements of Fire and Shadow (The White Star fleet is authorized to participate in the war. Tensions with the Centauri worsen.)
18. The Fall of Centauri Prime (The Drakh force Londo to help them. Londo is crowned emperor of the Centauri Republic.)
19. The Wheel of Fire (Earthforce orders Lyta's arrest. G'Kar worshippers cause problems.)
20. Objects in Motion (cowritten by Harlan Ellison. Michael and Lise are warned that an assassin has been hired to kill them.)
21. Objects at Rest (Many are leaving Babylon 5. Alliance headquarters move to Minbar.)
22. Sleeping in Light (Sheridan invites old friends for a final gathering. Takes place 20 years later. In this final episode, J. Michael Stracynski writes, directs, and makes a cameo appearance as the crew member shutting down the station.)
Although this is the final season, it is not the final DVD set. A collection of the television movies is planned for release in Spring or Summer of 2004. (jmsnews.com has a small amount of information about two DVD sets following the release of B5 Season 5.)
on January 23, 2004
Kevin is mistaken, Babylon 5 was only ever intended to run 5 seasons, start to finish. It was all plotted out in advance and there was never any intention of having a sixth season.
However, during the fourth season there was doubt as to whether the show would get picked up for the fifth, which required Straczynski to wrap up all the major storylines at the end of season 4 while still leaving room for another season if they got it. In the majority of television series, that wouldn't be a huge concern, as very little tends to change from one season to the next, let alone from episode to episode. The novel-like structure of Babylon 5 made this more challenging -- and yet, it also made it easier. Since he knew all along what the five-year story would be, Stracynski was able to shoot the series finale in such a way that it could be played at the end of either season four or five, depending on how things worked out. A somewhat differently-styled episode was shot which would be able to fill the slot at the end of season four if they did get picked up for the last season -- which is of course what happened.
Unfortunately, the sudden compression of storylines in the previous seasons did break the momentum that had been steadily building, and season 5 stumbles a little because of it. It may be just my personal preference, but the Byron/telepath arc didn't interest me the way the previous storylines had. Also Captain Lockely was not (in my opinion) nearly as interesting a character as Ivanova had been, nor did I find Tracy Scoggins to be as capable an actress. Despite all that, as has been said before, the worst episode of Babylon 5 is still better than most of everything else you'll find on television, and that still holds true.
In summary, a noticeably weaker season than the ones that came before (perhaps on par with season one), but still worth watching. It would be a shame to come this far and not see stay to see how it all ends.
Not at all a disappointment. Better than most television, and infinitely better than most science fiction series.
The pacing is a little different because the series creator was prepared to end the series at the conclusion of the fourth season. However, Babylon 5 got renewed for a fifth season, allowing the series to take off in a different, unexpected direction.
The season starts off incredibly strong with "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars", an episode shot with Season 5 but broadcast during season 4. This unusual effort looks back on the B5 story 1 year, 100 years, 500 years, 1000 years, and 1,000,000 years in the future. We find that even the victors in war pay a price.
The cast isn't as engaged in fighting their fictional war, but what they do this season is take off in different directions. Londo and G'Kar find peace, Lennier finds a purpose, and Garibaldi is revealed as the truly tragic character of the series. Claudia Christian is missed, but Tracy Scoggins does a fine job as Commander Lochley.
Later we are given some arc- and non-arc treats. I'm partial to "Day of the Dead", an episode which revisits dead characters as part of an alien ceremony. Other strong episodes are "Objects in Motion", "Objects at Rest", and "The Long Night of Londo Mollari."
Are all of the questions answered in the end? No, but somehow it wouldn't work if suddenly every nagging question was answered to the nth degree. It's fitting that some of the outcome will have to reside in the imagination of the viewer.
on January 31, 2006
I'm not certain that the title of this review will resonate for everyone--I was searching for an analogy that would fit, and that's what I came up with. If my title doesn't quite make sense to you yet, maybe it will after finishing my review...
Watching Babylon 5 was great--what an excellent show. From Season 1 to Season 4, every season had been an improvement on the one before it; a carefully crafted piece of science-fiction, where everything had its place, leading up to a mind-blowing climax.
Unfortunately for Season 5, the mind-blowing climax came during Season 4.
Yes, almost everything (save the telepath situation) that the show had introduced and systematically built up was satisfactorily resolved somewhere in the fourth season. Further, the final episode of the fourth season shows us what takes place in the future, looking back on Babylon 5. It has the feel of finality about it. After watching Season 4, it *feels* as though the show has come to a conclusion, and so....
...one watches Season 5 out of well-deserved love for the show, but there's no real sense of urgency left. The bad guys have been defeated, and we know exactly what the future holds in store for our characters (it's been shown to us in that finale for Season 4 and various other flashbacks). The drama of Babylon 5 has ebbed away, and so you watch it for the sense of closure. Indeed, the fifth season is like one, drawn-out denouement.
It's kind of like the fourth quarter of a blow-out SuperBowl: the game's outcome has been established--you know who's going to win, so there's no drama there--but you can't not watch, because it's the *SuperBowl*; you have to watch it.
Maybe it would've been best for the show to have gone out on the high-note of the end of Season 4. These episodes are by no means bad, but they do not have the vibrancy or the drama of the seasons which preceeded them, and they also suffer from the lack of many of the regulars we've come to love (Ivanova and Marcus are gone; Lennier, Vir and Londo make irregular appearances) and they suffer even more from the unwanted addition of the new captain.
In all, three stars.
on March 13, 2004
Yes, Babylon 5 is the best sci-fi show ever produced, and seasons 2/3/4 were the best of the best. But then came season 5 which feels like two different shows: both lousy and great. SEASON 5 FIRST HALF (LOUSY): Boring.Not interesting. The first half equals season 1 in poor story quality. Strange. And yet... SEASON 5 SECOND HALF (GREAT): The Shadows are gone, but their allys are still here, and the new Interstellar Alliance (Babylon 5) steps in to stop the fighting. The second half equals seasons 2/3/4 in brilliance, character development, and pathos. A great ending to a great series.
And then we have... THE GRAND FINALE TO THE NOVEL FOR TV: Set 20 years in the future, this single episode will bring tears to your eyes, because it shows the death of the hero: President Sheridan. As series creator J.Michael Straczynski wrote:
"The sad truth is that we die. That is not a happy ending, not a sad ending, simply a fact. The question is what we accomplish during the days and months and years preceding; do we leave the world a better place or a worse place? If we have left the world around us a better place, as these characters did, then it's a happy ending. - - - - - Ultimately, for me, the end of B5 is neither a sad ending nor a happy ending; I'd say it was a graceful ending, a dignified ending, an ending that said individuals can effect profound change, if they are willing to put their own lives and happiness on the line; not happy, not sad, but a testament to the idea that you have used your time here well." Well said Mr. Straczynski, and thank you for creating this wonderful show. Like a classic novel, Babylon 5 reaches beyond mere entertainment. Thank you.
I'm not sure where Aborted 5th Season got their info but there never was a 6th or subsequent season(s) planed for this story. JMS had always said it was a 5 year story and 5 years we did finnaly get thanks to TNT. Yes they(TNT) blew it with the next series Crusade but season 5 was ALWAYS the final season of this story arch.
And an excellent finale it was Londo/Peter Jurasik shines in this season as does G'Kar/Andreas Katsulas. Yes Claudia was gone, but it was her choice so there's not much that could be done and Traci Scoggins does an interesting turn as the new Captain. I was never a fan of her before this but in one brief season she managed to give some of her best work IMHO.
I really enjoyed this season and was sad to see such an amazing show end but better to go out when it was still fresh and fabulous than to drag on into stale plots and unoriginality.
Babylon 5 was, and still is, the very best Sci-fi ever written for TV.
on March 11, 2004
After a rushed 4th season, the 5th season find itself exploring more topics than had originally been intended. Still, it remains true to the ideals and principles of the series.
Seasons 3 & 4 of the epic show were very fast paced and action driven. This final season is paced, and finds the characters facing the consequences of their actions from previous seasons.
For SciFi fans, it just does not get better than B5. It's writing is far above par and has been called "The Best SciFi Series Ever" for good reason. I would highly recommend season 5 to anyone who wants to see the whole B5 story.
on November 12, 2004
I think that I would have rated it at 3 stars, except that the finale, Sleeping in Light is perfect both as an individual episode and as the epilogue for this whole gigantic, epic, series. The sense at the beginning of this season though was a lack of balance and focus. The abrupt resurrection of the series from its premature demise in Season 4, threw off much of the series' established dynamic, and like the fledging alliance, left the series on tottering feet. So they lurched and stumbled about for most of the season, only occasionally hitting the confident stride (okay I am pushing the metaphor a bit much), of previous seasons.
In particular the Londo and G'Kar arc continues to delight as they enter into a new stage in their love - hate (okay... mainly hate - hate, with a bit of ambivalence and some lothario bonding)relationship, that results in G'Kar acting as Londo's bodyguard on Centauri Prime. It is wonderful how these two characters have grown since we were first introduced to them.
The telepath subplot that extended threough the first half of the season had some intriguing moments, but was ultimately poorly executed, acted and resolved (with exception of Koenig's Alfred Bester character who is always wonderfully malicious and entertaining). The same could be said for Garribaldi's decline this season, which offered intriguing possibilities, but really didn't deliver. Also Captain Lochley, Ivonova's replacement, just was not as entertaining as her prickly, irascible and frankly paranoid predecessor.
As a final note the element that I missed most in Season 5 was the relationship between Sheridan and Delenn. In previous seasons these characters came to life in each others presence, with a palpable chemistry. I supposed that given the demands the characters were facing within the season a cooling of their passion is to be expected, but made them far less compelling to watch. One of the wonderful things about Sleeping in Light as a coda for the series is that it brought back the romance between these two iconic figures.
on April 23, 2004
This entire saga is first rate, definitely one of the best TV series ever. And the ending, especially the tragic,haunting and yet hopeful epilogue "Sleeping in Light," is everything anyone could ask for. If you like stories about war, politics, wonder, love, heartbreak, courage, betrayal and compassion, this story is for you. If you aren't afraid of dreams and reaching for the stars, this story is for you. If you think one person can't make a differnce, this story is for you.For all of us surely can, and the only way not to make a difference is not to try. If there is one television show of the late 20th century that is remembered in a hundred years, this may very well be it. Not to be missed.