A recent episode of The Incomparable reminded me that I’ve been meaning for years to rewatch Babylon 5. Since my wife is going to be spending four months over the summer working away from home, and B5 is the kind of show that I will never be able to convince her to watch, the time seems right to get stuck in.
Just for fun, I might occasionally post a bit about the episodes as I watch them.
When I’m asked (which does happen sometimes) I suggest that anyone coming to the show skip the pilot, The Gathering, because it’s really not very good. So, of course, I watched it.
Even though it’s years since I last watched Babylon 5, I felt right at home. The things that stood out to me:
- How archetypical the characters seem: Sinclair as the troubled war hero who tries to value right above himself; Londo and the Centauri as the diminished imperials trying to live on the memories of past glory; G’Kar as the warlike and menacing villain; Delenn the mysterious “old friend” of Sinclair, yet the representative of his wartime enemy; Garibaldi, the determined lawman with a checquered past. Yet one of the pleasures I remember of the show is how these characters and their relationships develop over the course of the five-year arc.
- The technology shown and not shown in 2257 - CRTs everywhere, passing information around on little laminated cards, broadsheet newspapers, communicator watches.
- The CGI hasn’t aged well, but I remember how cool it was to a nerdy teenager that the first season’s sequences were rendered on Amigas.
- Some truly terrible acting.
But actually, The Gathering was better than I remembered. Not good, certainly, but not so bad.
For now, I’m #stillwatchingbabylon5.