Babylon 5: The Complete Seasons 1-5
DVD | Box Set
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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
Top customer reviews
This series, well orchestrated despite its many headwinds, left an indelible mark on sci-fi. Starting as a great episodic sci fi with well developed cultures, races, and characters, season 2 shines a light on the serialization of the series and the overarching story of the shadow war.
The dvd production is good but I'd like to see it in blu-ray someday. If you are a fan of sci-fi, I highly recommend this series.
All the disks are in very nice cases and I have yet to find any defects in disks. Many others have shared what the babylong 5 experience is so I won't be adding to it. I simply share with you that the Babylon 5 complete season set is worth its price. Remastered to the blueray standard of most execelent quality this complete series would be perfect but, if you want to relive the Babylon 5 experience now this full TV series set is worth watching even with its less than perfect video and audio quality.
I love Babylon 5 and this boxed set has a bunch of extra material that comes with it. There are extras, deleted scenes, and commentary. I definitely felt like I was getting my money's worth.
Video Quality: 4/5
I don't know if it's because of the way the show was shot or the way it was transcribed onto the DVDs but the video quality is a little hit and miss. Some scenes are so blurry that you can barely make out the people in it while other scenes are perfectly clear. This is of course on top of the fact that all of the content on these DVDs is in 480p.
Audio Quality: 4/5
It's good enough for my purposes but I often watch with subtitles because it's easy to miss words in a conversation. I feel like they might have tried to mess with the dynamic range because sometimes conversations are waaay to quiet compared to everything else.