A potted history... Babylon 5 is the last of the neutral
outposts, a five-mile long space station designed as a meeting
place for diplomats, traders and entrepreneurs, and considered
to be the last best hope for peace. Permanently based here
are the ambassadors of four prominent races: Delenn of the
Minbari, an old race consisting of warrior and religious casts
(who also fought a major war with Earth, before mysteriously
surrendering when they had the upper hand); Londo of the Centauri,
an imperial Romanlike people steeped in blood; G'Kar of the
Narn, the reptilian looking race (actually marsupials) which
has long lived under the pressure of war; and Kosh of the
Vorlons, an ancient race, the identity of which is concealed
within encounter suits.
extends a hand of friendship, but Londo authorises an attack
on a Narn outpost, causing a terrible war. Londo's mysterious
allies in the offensive come via a human called Morden. Delenn
undergoes a metamorphosis which prophecy dictates will bring
the Minbari and human races closer together, and aid in the
struggle against the greater threat. Kosh, after revealing
his true form (appearing differently to each witness) to save
Sheridan from an act of terrorism, becomes even more illusive
and somewhat sinister. The greater threat to all races is
discovered to be the Shadows, oldest of the First Ones, last
seen in local space by other races more than a thousand years
realising at last who his dangerous benefactors are, tries
to sever his ties with them, an act which proves practically
impossible. New regular Marcus Cole arrives, a representative
of the Rangers, a highly-trained unit created by Sinclair,
Babylon 5's original commander (during season one)
from the Minbari homeworld - their mission to collect intelligence
on the Shadows. Sheridan sets up a regular secret war council
with Delenn; and we see the White Star for the first
time, a beautiful Minbari warship incorporating organic Vorlon
technology, which can generate its own jump points between
star systems. Sheridan is given command of the ship by Delenn.
Susan Ivanova enlists the aid of another race of First Ones
in the fight against the Shadows, and Sheridan attempts to
prevent the re-activation of a dormant Shadow vessel. Earth's
current martial law is extended to the Earthforce-run Babylon
5, but Sheridan finds a way to combat the Night Watch
enforcers, and declares their independence from Earth. Earthforce
destroyers arrive to demand Sheridan's surrender, but the
captain decides to fight, aided by Minbari allies. Sheridan
forms a romantic as well as strong political alliance with
Delenn. Sheridan asks Kosh for help in securing a morale-boosting
small victory against the Shadows, but Kosh is killed by Shadow
agents in retaliation.
season three cliff-hanger sees Sheridan journey to Z'ha'dum,
from which "no one returns", the home planet of the Shadows,
when dubious intelligence reaches him that his wife might
still be alive. Once there he walks into a trap. By remote
signal he brings in a White Star containing nuclear devices,
to crash into the planet's surface. The voice of the replacement
Kosh in Sheridan's head urges him to jump into an abyss and
was the year of fire...
year of destruction...
year we took back what was ours.
was the year of rebirth...
year of great sadness...
year of pain...
the year of joy.
was a new age.
was the end of history.
was the year everything changed.
year is 2261.
place: Babylon 5.
here we go with season four, and it's difficult to know exactly
where to start, there's so much to say. The passages above
which briefly describe the story so far are important to newcomers
to the series because it's necessary to paint a picture of
the Babylon 5 universe before mentioning additional
plot points... particularly when they're this good! The opening
titles, which change each year, this time has every main character
speaking a line of the narrative (see above). However, this
is greatly thought out, with the line spoken reflecting that
character's direction during the season.
the very first episode you are dragged along, breathless,
by the relentless pace of events. Sheridan is presumed dead,
and Susan Ivanova fails to rally alliance members for a scout
mission to Z'ha'dum. Security Chief Michael Garibaldi is missing,
and G'kar decides to go in search of his friend, but falls
into the hands of the Centauri. Londo discovers that Emperor
Cartagia, who is as mad as a box of frogs, has made an arrangement
with the Shadows, allowing them to base some ships on the
homeworld. He must organise Cartagia's death in order to save
his people from conquest. Sheridan finds himself confused
and alone deep in the catacombs of Z'ha'dum, where he meets
Lorien and learns that he is caught between life and death.
Phew! And that's just the first two episodes.
J. Michael Straczynski was uncertain at the time whether his
five-year story arc would receive backing for a fifth season,
so much of what was planned for the last season was brought
forward to this one. Consequentially, this season is a rollercoaster
ride of anxiety-based events. With Sheridan's fleet caught
between a Vorlon conflict with the Shadows, Garibaldi returning
changed so that his loyalty and very sanity hang in the balance,
the elevated threat of Bester and the Psi Corps, misinformation
about the station being broadcast from Earth, and the final
battles with the Shadows and Earthforce, by the end of this
season either your head will have exploded or you will be
sitting in silence thinking, "Bloody hell!"
short, this is 22 episodes of pure genius. Every part is meticulously
and lovingly crafted by J. Michael Straczynski, the writing
so tight and the acting carrying such conviction that, whether
a character laughs, cries or shouts in anger, you are taken
in one-hundred per cent.
excellently packaged, this set contains six discs and includes
the following extras: Celestial Sounds, following the
remarkable impact of Christopher Franke's music on the series;
The Complete No Surrender, No Retreat DVD Suite (music
accompanying a well-assembled montage of clips from the season);
The Universe of Babylon 5, containing audio/visual
Data Files and Personnel Files; a Gag Reel; and three commentaries
(two by Straczynski, and one jointly by Bruce Boxleitner [Sheridan],
Jerry Doyle [Garibaldi], Peter Jurasik [Londo] and Patricia
Tallman [rogue telepath Lyta Alexander]).
quite staggering piece of work, and the best television ever
seen, bar none! Accept no substitutes.
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