We are Rangers.
We walk in the dark places no others will enter.
We do not break away from combat.
We stand on the bridge and no one may pass.
We do not retreat whatever the reason.
We live for the one, we die for the one.
Ranger ship is tailing a vessel from a new race which has
been responsible for several raids, when it is in return attacked.
With the captain dead and weapons down, the highest ranking
officer, David Martell, stands down from the chase. Subsequently,
he is accused of breaking the Rangers' most strict rule of
never disengaging from a fight. He is on the brink of being
dismissed, even though his crew realise he made the decision
to save their lives and the ship, and stand with him. The
Narn Ambassador G'Kar intervenes in the Mimbari Grey Council
session (who originally formed the Rangers). He has been asked
to find out more about the new race, and sees this as one
possibility. Martell is reinstated but as the captain of an
old ship which is considered haunted and bad luck. The Valen
is a new Ranger ship transporting several diplomats to a colony
world. Martell's first job in the old ship is to escort them,
but the new enemy attacks and the Valen is lost after ejecting
the diplomats in pods, which the little ship collects. Then
a spy is discovered in their midst...
Legend of the Rangers was intended to be the pilot episode
of a spin-off series from the first-rate Babylon 5,
originally planned prior to the 13-part Crusade
spin-off. In fact, it even carries a typical Straczynski poetical
title: To Live and Die in Starlight.
far from being the best charge from the impressive Babylon
5 canon, it is jam-packed with potential. There's intrigue
from the start, not so much from the story but rather the
situations - the actual environment the characters are placed
in. The decor and technology is purposefully different to
that from the five-year arc that was Babylon 5. References
are made to events which have gone before, but it's to the
writer's credit that no prior knowledge of the programme is
necessary. Also, for the old fans there is the comfortable
slippers effect to carry you over this transitional period,
with the return of Christopher Franke to the music composition
(missing for Crusade), and of course the presence of
I realise it takes time to accept a new format and particularly
new faces; however, in truth it's the actors that let the
side down. Not the entire cast, but I would change the majority
of the main players. I grew to like Gideon in Crusade;
David Martell in Legend is another matter. He seems
to be a stereotypical young captain of the 1960s Captain Kirk
ilk, with little or no personality whatsoever. Of the nine
new crew members of this old dilapidated ship - comprising
4 human, 3 Minbari, 1 Narn and 1 Drazi - I would retain only
two. The others are faceless. Weapons and tactical expert
Sarah Cantrell, from Mars colony, simply makes herself look
foolish when she slides into a weapons station which shows
her surrounded by space. Her body flips over and she hurls
firepower by physically punching and kicking it out, the ship
responding to her movements. On paper this is a sensible science
fiction idea, but on film it's so cringeworthy that you actually
feel embarrassed for her. When she quickens her movements,
anger rising, you just want to laugh.
The two characters which stand out like a shining light are
the Minbari Dulan and the Drazi Turk. Since the Millennium
Falcon in Star Wars it's no new idea to have a
small bucket-of-bolts ship as the central focus. The film
Event Horizon gave us the notion of a haunted spacecraft,
but that was the ship taking on its own dark sentience, whereas
in this instance the previous crew is dead but still present.
It's a nice touch to have Dulan being a sensitive and the
only person able to see the individual crew members.
potential for story plots based on this alone are endless.
When the new crew introduce themselves to each other in the
traditional Ranger manner of revealing their name and something
about the inner psyche, the Drazi Turk hesitates before announcing
enthusiastically, "Turk... Drazi... I carry very large things..."
Turk doesn't pretend to be anything he's not. Slightly slow,
but very strong and useful, he's obviously intended as the
light relief. Unsurprisingly, G'kar is the best character
here, with many of the best lines (the moment when he peeks
into the cowl of a Council member is priceless), but he's
not meant as a regular.
only two decent portrayals it might make you think The
Legend of the Rangers has nothing going for it. All I
would say is look to The
Gathering, the feature length Babylon 5
pilot. Between that and the first episode proper much of the
style and structure had changed quite drastically, and many
from the main cast were replaced. When the Region 1 version
of the Babylon 5 TV Movie Box Set was released with
the full five films, it came with a super-improved cut of
The Gathering, proving just what can be achieved with
the nucleus of a good idea.
and imagine the possibilities.