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Babylon 5: The Complete Seasons 1-5

4.5 out of 5 stars 345 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Own all five seasons of the award-winning series about the space station that's the tumultuous center of the 23rd century's bid for peace among humans and aliens.

The epic sci-fi series Babylon 5 was a unique experiment in the history of television. It was effectively a novel for television in five seasons, consisting of 110 episodes with a clear beginning, middle, and end. The first season introduces the main characters, headed this year by Commander Jeffery Sinclair (Michael O'Hare) and Security Chief Michael Garibaldi (Jerry Doyle), and familiarizes the audience with the unique environment of a five-mile-long space station in the year 2257. The first episode, "Midnight on the Firing Line," plays at a breathless pace, introducing Commander Susan Ivanova (Claudia Christian) and establishing the conflict between the Narn and Centauri races as represented by their ambassadors, G'Kar (Andreas Katsulas) and Londo Mollari (Peter Jurasik). B5 hits warp speed with a run of exceptional episodes building to the season finale. The two-part "Voice in the Wilderness" has Mars breaking into open revolt against Earth and the discovery of a "Great Machine" on the dead world Epsilon 3. Referencing 1950s sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet, the story leads to the superb time-travel-based "Babylon Squared." Season finale "Chrysalis" proves more than just the usual television cliffhanger, placing Minbari ambassador Delenn in conflict with her ruling Grey Council and forcing on her a decision that laid the groundwork for Babylon 5's eventually becoming a great love story.

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

Special Features

Babylon 5: The Complete First Season
  • 22 episodes on 6 discs
  • Introduction and audio commentary on two episodes by series creator J. Michael Straczynski
  • "The Making of Babylon 5"
  • "Back to Babylon 5"
  • Enter the Universe of Babylon 5: Take a station tour and explore the humans, aliens, political situations, data, tech files, weaponry and hardware of this era
  • Episode previews

Babylon 5: The Complete Second Season
  • Introduction by J. Michael Straczynski and cast including Bruce Boxleitner
  • "Building Babylon: Blueprint of an Episode" featurette
  • "Shadows and Dreams: Honors of Babylon" featurette, including coverage of the Hugo Award
  • 10 personnel files
  • 10 data files
  • 5 tech files
  • Historical timeline
  • Gag reel
  • Original episode previews

Babylon 5: The Complete Third Season
  • Introduction from series creator J. Michael Straczynski
  • "Behind the Mask: Creating the Aliens of Babylon 5" documentary
  • "Designing a Better Narn" documentary
  • "Designing Tomorrow: The Look of Babylon 5" documentary
  • Personnel files
  • Data files
  • Shadow dossier

Babylon 5: The Complete Fourth Season
  • 22 episodes, 3 with cast & crew commentary
  • Introduction by series creator J. Michael Straczynski
  • Celestial sounds
  • No Surrender, No Retreat DVD Suite
  • Data & Personal Files
  • Gag reel

Babylon 5: The Complete Fifth Season
  • 22 episodes, 3 with cast & crew commentary
  • Introduction by series creator J. Michael Straczynski
  • Making-of documentaries "Digital Tomorrow: & "Beyond Babylon 5"
  • Data & Personal Files
  • Additional scenes
  • Gag reel

Product Details

  • Actors: Bruce Boxleitner, Richard Biggs, Jerry Doyle, Peter Jurasik
  • Format: Box set, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 30
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: June 16, 2009
  • Run Time: 4818 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (345 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002DUJ9Q6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #764 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
As a lover of sci-fi series, it's great to see such a saga sold as a set. The reality for the B5 connoisseur is that this isn't the Full Monty. You should also purchase "Babylon 5 - The Movie Collection" and the B5 spin-offs "Crusade - The Complete Series" and "The Legend of the Rangers". The reasons are indicated below in my recommended viewing order.

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.
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Format: DVD
J. Michael Straczynski (jms) created the space station Babylon 5 and spent years getting it produced and on the air. It premiered about the same time ST: Deep Space Nine did, and for a while, fans compared the two. It was almost "apples & oranges" time, but it was tried.
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.
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Format: DVD
Babylon 5 is a five mile long space station. Located deep in neutral territory, it is designed to prevent intergalactic war by providing a place where peace can be worked out between the races. Run by Earth, it was built with help from the Minbari after our war with them when we were almost wiped out. Since it is also a trade station, it attracts aliens of all kinds on a daily basis.
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.
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