Rewatching Babylon 5

From a comment on a friend’s Facebook post, I was reminded of the sci fi series Babylon 5 that aired from 1994 to 1998. I recall Bab5 as being one of the first sci fi series that I watched on TV every week. My husband and I, along with a number of our friends, would watch the show separately and then spend the next week talking about it, trying to figure out what happened as well as what was coming. We decided to rewatch the series and pulled the pilot and the first two seasons out of my DVD graveyard.

Interestingly, I seem to remember a lot about the episodes, maybe not particular details but the gist of the episode. I remember some of the acting being wooden, which it still is, and I remember some of the best lines, which they still are. Even when the delivery feels forced and the words cliche, sometimes the actors make the emotions come alive anyway. The writing helped move the story along, sometimes better than others, and that’s what I remember keeping me engaged way back in the day.

I like that the series starts off right in the middle of the life of the characters. You don’t get a lot of exposition or backstory. You are just dropped right in the middle of an existing world. This is done so well that you quickly get a handle on a cast of alien characters, you get a feel for who the bad guy is (you’ll be wrong later), who you should feel sorry for (and then you don’t and then you do again), and who you should root for (the heros, of course).

The quality of the CGI, however, really pales over the passage of time. As my husband said, the high-definition quality of CGI that we see in movies today far surpasses that which is shown on these DVDs. You see a lot of space shots of ships and the rotating space station, but the movement is highly pixalated that causes much fuzziness. It almost has an old-school Atari video game feel to it. I do not remember it looking that badly when I saw it on TV all those years ago. But it is obvious that the quality has not stood the test of time.

Because we’re starting to rewatch the series, I had to finish what I’d started many years ago: I ordered Season 3, 4, and 5. They have arrived and are waiting, unopened, on my desk. There they shall stay until we have worked through seasons 1 and 2. There are a lot of episodes per season.

And so it begins…

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