It is no secret that Babylon 5 is perhaps y all time favourite science fiction series. Yes, I am a big trekkie and I love all of the franchise, but Babylon 5 has so much more depth to it.
I must have watched all 5 seasons multiple times and still find new nuances within. Whilst the driving force of Babylon 5 is the story its CGI now seems rather dated, cutting edge at the time it does not hold up well today, so it was with interest and appreciation that I saw that a Remastered version had dropped on Amazon Prime (In the UK).
For a series that focused a lot on the visuals of space its great to see this upscaled and redone. I always had an issue with some of the textures and the shininess of ships which always seemed kind of flat. The ethos was very much like that of Battlestar Galactica (reimagined) but the smooth lines and bold colours were more akin to Star Trek and occasionally jarred. Do not get me wrong the remaster is well done, it is like every shot has had a spruce up, washed up faces now glow with life and space looks amazing but in places certain parts still look ropey. This may not be the fault of the team more a limitation of the original film and assets being used.
I decided to start this re-watch at the beginning, I usually skip season 1 and start with the meat and potatoes of Season 2 and the arrival of Sheridan but this time I am really enjoying the slow burn development of season 1. Sure, some of the acting starts out shaky but show me a series that does not have a shaky first year (okay granted I will give you the Mandalorian).
I had forgotten some of the, pardon the pun, signs and portents in Season 1 and have warmed to Sinclair even more than I usually do. It is interesting to see where that character may have gone had Michael O’Hare been able to carry on. Even some of the dodgier episodes like Grail and Eyes seem better this time and I don’t think this is do to image quality. Knives is still awful and a skipped my way through that one.
I wonder if there isn’t a little rose tintedness to it all, a sad melancholy heightened by the passing of Mira Furlan who played Delenn. Most of the cast have died tragically young and we lost great people like Andreas Katsulas, Jerry Doyle, Stephen Furst and Richard Biggs along the way. I marvel at Mira Furlan’s portrayal of Delenn, no one else could come close to her delivery. She, Andreas and Peter Jurasik have some of the best lines and greatest arcs in all of television.
It struck me whilst watching the boyish charm of Londo with the hidden darkness and passion that the true hero or rather anti hero of Babylon 5 isn’t Sheridan or Delenn is Londo Mollari. If I were to create a sub-title for the show it would be the Tragedy of Londo Mollari. The whole show despite its broader themes and Earth centred focus is essentially the story of one mans hubris and the depths and lengths someone will go to achieve a goal. Londo is a good man trying to do the right thing often in the wrong ways. He is the most human of all the characters.
There are rumours flying about regarding a B5 reboot series and whilst I was originally dead set against this, I am now more amenable. I could see a modern telling of this story and I do not think it would detract from the original. The original is its own thing, and nothing could change that for me. I think I am old enough and mature enough to see the material told to a new generation, my one proviso is that we can’t have a writer’s team running it or corporate people, it will only work with JMS heavily involved and big fans running it. We need a Filoni and Favereau not a Kurtzman and Fuller.