Babylon 5: The Complete Seasons 1-5
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Delenn's future love interest, Captain John Sheridan (Bruce Boxleitner) arrived on Babylon 5 in the first episode of season 2, "Points of Departure." The show marked the handing over of command of B5 to Sheridan from Commander Jeffery Sinclair, actor Michael O'Hare becoming a victim of studio politicians who wanted a bigger star in the leading role. "Revelations" explains that Sheridan's wife, Anna, died during an archaeological survey of the world Z'ha'dum, the name being just one of many references to Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings (the bridge at Khazad-Dum). "The Coming of Shadows" proved to be Babylon 5's finest hour to date, and in "In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum," Sheridan learns that Morden was on the ship on which Anna died. Three exceptional shows conclude the season. The Narn-Centauri war escalates in "The Long, Twilight Struggle," Sheridan faces a most unusual ordeal in "Comes the Inquisitor," and in "The Fall of Night" all hope of peace is shattered as a nerve-racking assassination attempt reveals a startling secret about Ambassador Kosh.
"Matters of Honor" launched Babylon 5's third season with the introduction of the White Star, a spacecraft added to enable more of the action to take place away from the station. Also introduced was Marcus Cole (Jason Carter)--in another nod to The Lord of the Rings, a Ranger not so far removed from Tolkien's Strider. A third of the way through the season "Messages from Earth," "Point of No Return," and "Severed Dreams" prove pivotal, changing the nature of the story in a way previously unimaginable on network TV. Earth slides into dictatorship, the fascistic Nightwatch takes control of off-world security, and Sheridan take decisive action by declaring Babylon 5 independent. "Interludes and Examinations" presented the death of a major supporting character, while the two-part "War Without End" reached apocalyptic dimensions in a complex tale resolving the destiny of Sinclair and the fate of Babylon 4, resolving a 1,000-year-old paradox and presenting a vision of a very dark future for Sheridan and Delenn. All this was trumped by the monumental "Z'ha'dum." In the preceding "Shadow Dancing" Anna Sheridan (Melissa Gilbert, Bruce Boxleitner's real-life wife) returned from the dead, no longer entirely human. In the mythologically resonant climax Anna invited Sheridan back to the Shadow homeworld with no hope of survival. Just as in The Lord of the Rings Gandalf fell into the abyss at Khazad-Dum, so Sheridan took a comparable leap into the unknown on an alien world.
Season 4 began on a high point with the Centauri Prime in the grip of the insane Emperor Cartagia (Wortham Krimmer) and a run of six shows leading to the climax of the war against the Shadows in "Into the Fire." If this colossal narrative was resolved a little too easily and the ultimate aim of the Shadows turned out to be a tad disappointing, it still proved to be the most powerful slice of space opera to ever grace the small screen. In the aftermath the sheer scale dropped back a little but the pace never slowed as the rest of the season played out in one relentless cycle of conspiracy, betrayal and conflict, Babylon 5 siding with the rebel Mars colony against the totalitarian Earth. On an unstoppable wave fuelled by roller-coaster plot twists and spectacular action shows from "No Surrender, No Retreat"--when Sheridan avows to overthrow EarthGov--to "Rising Star"--when the aim is realized--Babylon 5 achieved a consistent excellence rare in television.
The final season found Claudia Christian departed and Ivanova replaced by Captain Elizabeth Lochley (Tracy Scoggins), who in a soap-opera twist turned out to be Sheridan's first wife. Sheridan was promoted to President of the Interstellar Alliance and the action moved to a group of telepaths seeking sanctuary from the PSI-Corp on B5. Meanwhile the aftermath of the Shadow War was explored, and as usual the season picked up toward the end, with a string of fine political episodes. The final episode, "Sleeping in Light," was directed by J. Michael Straczynski and made an epilogue to the series. Set 20 years later, after all the sound and fury this quiet, elegiac tale is the apotheosis of the love story that proved the balance to the tragedy of the preceding darkness. A personal story resolved against a background of the epic, at once transcendent, deeply human, and profoundly optimistic, "Sleeping in Light" is as moving as any hour in the history of television drama and a thoroughly satisfying conclusion to one of the greatest series ever made. --Gary S. Dalkin
Top Customer Reviews
1. Watch the B5 movie "The Gathering"
The Babylon 5 pilot movie The Gathering was originally broadcast in 1993 a full year ahead of the regular show.
2. Season 1
3. Season 2
4. Season 3
5. Watch Season 4 up to episode "The illusion of truth"
6. Watch the B5 movie "Thirdspace"
7. Season 4: continue with episodes 9-22
8. Watch Season 5 through to and including episode "Objects at Rest"
9. Watch the B5 movie "River of Souls"
10. Watch the B5 movie "In the Beginning"
This is a prelude set 10 years before Babylon 5. Against the logic of the title, I would strongly recommend seeing it at this stage. Should one see it before Season 1, much of the suspense in the main series would be ruined.
11. Watch the B5 movie "A Call to Arms"
This movie lays the groundwork for the spin-off TV series "Crusade".
12. Watch the B5 movie "The Lost Tales" [Thanks to Eric Pregosin for his comments to build on the original list]
13. Watch the B5 movie "The Legend of the Rangers" [Thanks to Lisa for her recommendation]
14. Watch Crusade Series
15. Season 5: watch final episode "Sleeping in light"
The question which is debated in several other reviews is: Despite the release dates of the material produced, in what order should it be seen? In particular, if the viewer is a total new comer to the series. The above is an attempt to give some structure to great content so it is more enjoyable as a complete work.
PS - It is astounding that the Warner marketing dept. gives no official recommendation on how these products should be best enjoyed.
As a long-time Trek fan, I was surprised when I first saw the pilot ("The Gathering") in 1993. I was absolutely stunned. Why Babylon 5, not just Babylon Station? Well, #s 1 - 4 were sabotaged & destroyed; # 4 disappeared after going on-line. (Disappeared? It's 5 MILES LONG, for crying out loud!) Word was that this would be an on-going, progressive five year story arc, the likes of which hadn't been done before on US television. Risky. Okay, jms had my attention. I couldn't wait for the series. When it finally did air, I (being cynical of tv production in general) figured it wasn't going to stay as good. It didn't. It steadily got better.
I repeat, I speak as a long time Trek fan (beginning with the original series - skip Voyager, I did). B5 is one of the best televison series ever produced. Note I did not say "science fiction series." (It is THE best s/f series ever put up to the audience.) I introduced several non s/f fans to the series, as a dramatic series and they all loved it. (So much for "only for space opera hounds.") The story arc freed Straczynski (he wrote 90% of the scripts) from having to make everything "come right" in a 45 minute time slot, and off it went.
Crowd scenes were, well, crowded, with humans of all types and aliens as extras wandering through scenes. (The aliens, by the way, are much more than odd skin colours, strange noses and "hair.") The station wasn't pristeen, the population wasn't always picture perfect.Read more ›
Unfortunately, it also attracts trouble. There are raiders in the area, the Narn and Centauri have at best a fragile peace, and someone is always trying to smuggle something on board. Even worse, an ancient enemy is rebuilding forces, and the effects of this will reach all the way back to Earth.
Babylon 5 is still unique in television. It set out to tell a single story that had been mapped out beforehand over five years. Now you can own the entire story on DVD, minus a few movies and the spin off series. Season 1 is the most uneven and hardest to get into, but the beginnings of the story are there, and it lays the background on the races and cultures we will be dealing with over the course of the show. Season 2 brings a new captain and a storyline that is gaining speed, season 3 brings surprises and increasing tension, and season 4 is full steam ahead as most of the plot lines are resolved. Season 5 was a last minute reprieve, so it starts slow since it has little previous story to immediately resolve like the previous years have. By the half way point, however, you are once again hooked. If you stick with season 1, you will get hooked and need to watch all five seasons to find out how the story ends. I certainly did, and I continue to watch. It's one of my favorite TV shows of all time.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In case you're wondering the significance of the title of my review, it refers to this wonderful series which can appeal to all ages. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Grrrr
Had never seen this series, but was interested in it for a long time. Saw these on sale, and with a little nudging from my room mate, bought them and started watching with my... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jonathan Gesell