Babylon 5: Season 4
DVD | Box Set
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The future begins - or ends - here and now. Here is the huge space station Babylon 5. Now is the fateful year 2261. Commander John Sheridan has already declared the station free, breaking the ties between it and Earth Alliance. It was perhaps only a matter of time before he would have to fight to remain free. That time has come in this complete 22-episode fourth-season adventure presented on six discs and featuring an exciting array of exclusive extras.
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.
Meanwhile Delenn came increasingly into conflict with her own people and, paralleling her relationship with Sheridan, Garibaldi became involved with his ex-fiancée Lise Hampton (Denise Gentile), while an intense platonic love grew between Ivanova and Marcus Cole. 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. Yet within that run "Intersections in Real Time" stood out as a bold experiment; essentially a two-hand drama taking place entirely within one dimly lit room. Beyond this a major character died and Sheridan and Delenn married before the season finale again broke with expectation. In "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars," a future descendant of humanity one million years hence reviews excerpts from the history of Babylon 5. In one sequence set in 2762, a Brother is devoted to the preserving of history some time after the "Big Burn." A homage to Walter M. Miller's classic A Canticle for Leibowitz, Sheridan and Delenn have themselves become the stuff of legend. --Gary S. Dalkin
- 22 episodes with all-new widescreen transfers and remastered soundtrack, 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
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I admit it, I'm a sci-fi junkie. I'll give any sci-fi more than an even break, and that's what I did with Babylon V. I thought that the premise of the show sounded a bit trite and cliched. I thought that some of the first season episodes were somewhat lame. I wound up changing my mind on all of that.J. Michael Strazynski claimed to have a five year story arc in mind, and in the early days of this show I was highly suspicious of that claim. I'd seen it before and I'd been let down.
This first time through, I liked the show but I wasn't completely sold on it ... but I kept watching (see my first sentence). By the later seasons, I realized that JMS DID have a long term story arc going on, and he was living up to his promise. Events that seemed odd and poorly thought out the first time through suddenly made sense in the context of later plots. The show absolutely turned out to be unique in that there obviously was a long term plan from the planning stages of the show that was carried out through the course of the five seasons.
I thought the show just got better and better through its run.The good news is that DVD sets for Babylon V have been out long enough that you can get great deals on them. I recently bought all five seasons for a total of sixty-five dollars ... thirteen bucks a season. That's a good deal in anyone's book.Unlike some TV series, you'll want to watch every season of this one. Some things that happen in season one don't really make sense until season five. Events in season five won't make much sense unless you watched season one.
Through the show, the acting is uniformly solid. As in many shows, actors grew into their roles over time, and so some of the performances in season one, especially in the first few shows, were a bit immature compared to later in the series. That's unavoidable in most cases, and not something that should hold you back from watching season one of this show.Highly recommended.
This is one of the best seasons of the show (the other was season 3), but it's also quite dark, although not as dark as the new Battlestar Galactica. Since they didn't know they would get a fifth season, JM Straczynski moved his plots around so the Shadow War would be done after episode 6, with the rest of the season dedicated to the war against the corrupt Earth government. Darkness: death and resurrection, creepy Lorien, an insane emperor (played like John Hurt's version of Caligula), bad Kosh (aka Ulkesh), the betrayal and torture of Sheridan, Garibaldi's, um...(spoiler deleted), sacrificing one life for another, and an apocalypse 500 years beyond 2261. But through all the darkness, eventually victory is achieved.
Major new characters this season: Number One (Marjorie Monaghan) - leader of the Martian rebellion; Emperor Cartagia (Wortham Krimmer) spoken of but not seen in season 3, and Lorien, THE First One, played by Wayne Alexander, who was also Sebastian in season 2, ironically enough.
Introduction to Babylon 5 Season 4 (6:27) - Watch after watching the season. (Yeah I know, I don't know why they call these things "Introductions." Should be "introduction, if you've already watched the season.")
Cast Commentary on "Falling Toward Apotheosis" - Amusing, I guess?
(Discs 2-4 -none)
Commentary on "The Face of the Enemy" by JM Straczynski and Director Mike Vejar
Commentary on "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars" by JMS - listen to this after watching season 5 - spoilers.
Celestial Sounds (5:44) - on Christopher Franke's music for the series
No Surrender, No Retreat Suite (6:49) - Music video with clips from season 4 - watch after the season
The Universe of Babylon 5
There are scenes and stories to take you through ranges of emotion but in the way a great story should do it where you wind up feeling better even though you might have had to brush something off of your eyelid that somehow got into it during the process.
Some will laugh when I state that to me, Babylon 5 is like a modern Epic of Homer but to me, it is, but if just as in those times, you allow your mind and emotions to relax and let the story take you to places that will leave you thinking about them for hours.
Some episodes fall short of the typical level of script quality, but generally the episodes are darn good and then some.
Trekies don't seem to take to this series, but I think it is great. It has spiritual undertones about the mystery and meaning of life and even good and evil; it speaks to the thinking viewer. It's not that "Star Trek" didn't appeal to thinkers, it just did it in a different way. I like both of these shows, but I prefer "Babylon 5."