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Babylon 5: The Gathering [VHS]

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Product details

  • Actors: Michael O'Hare, Tamlyn Tomita, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Blaire Baron
  • Directors: Richard Compton
  • Writers: J. Michael Straczynski
  • Producers: Douglas Netter, J. Michael Straczynski, John Copeland, Robert Latham Brown
  • Language: English
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Warner
  • VHS Release Date: 17 July 1995
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CNJB
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 243,742 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

The pilot episode of this popular sci-fi series. Babylon 5 is a huge space station playing host to representatives of the major races in the Galaxy as a means to ensure peace. Earth Commander Sinclair finds himself the prime suspect in the poisoning of Vorlon ambassador Kosh after a mind scan from Lyta Alexander. Can the Earth representatives stop the other races making him stand trial?

From Amazon.co.uk

"The Gathering", the feature-length pilot episode for Babylon 5, still ranks amongst the best of introductions to any TV science fiction show. In 1993 there was just nothing else to compare with its wall-to-wall CGI effects backed up by eye-popping architectural and interior production design, costumes, alien make-up and hairstyles. A couple of flat performances let down an otherwise intriguingly cast ensemble, but these problems would vanish in the series. Here, character introduction and development was refreshingly left to fend for itself within an elaborate narrative structure that kicked-off several plot threads at once. Creator Michael Straczynski ambitiously starts proceedings with a multi-layered mystery concerned with the nature and destiny of the soul. Political shenanigans, trigger-happy action stereotypes and wavering physics linger in the viewer's memory, but the tantalising tale told by smooth Commander Sinclair (Michael O'Hare) about the "hole in his mind" makes the strongest impression. Considering how convoluted the show's mysteries would become, "The Gathering" remains an essential starting point.

On the DVD: Babylon 5: The Gathering is presented here in its 1998 Special Edition version. However, nowhere on the packaging is this stated. In fact, the back-cover credits are incorrect: apart from anything else, this version features a new score by Christopher Franke and not Stewart Copeland's original. Special effects and sound quality are also superior to the original version, even if still only presented in 1.33:1 ratio and two-channel Dolby.--Paul Tonks --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Mark Baker TOP 500 REVIEWER on 10 Dec. 2002
Format: DVD
...Presented in its original full frame aspect ration, "The Gathering" is an introduction to the space station Babylon 5. When the last of the major races sends an ambassador to this port, someone tries to assassinate him. Things really heat up after station commander Jeffery Sinclair is accused of the crime, and our last best hope for peace just might become the starting point for another war.
It's interesting to watch this movie as a fan of the series. It seems slow, many of the human characters didn't make it back when the series started, and the special effects aren't up to par. But I've used it to hook several friends on the show recently, and each time I'm amazed at the groundwork that was laid down and the story arcs that were introduced at this early date.
Unfortunately, Warner decided to test the DVD market for Babylon 5 with a product that features no extras. Commentaries and bloopers would make my day. Still, I found the picture and sound quality to be good.
While this isn't the best the series has to offer, its must watching for all fans and good background to new comers. Enjoy it for what it is and press on to season 1.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Dec. 2001
Format: DVD
The Gathering is the pilot episode of Babylon 5,a series that ran for five years and spawned a short lived spin-off (Crusade.) As a series Babylon 5 is a masterpiece of it's genre. It revolutionised the way in which "Space Opera" was shown on television, introducing one of the first... and certainly most involved... story arcs in the genre that runs through all five years.
However this pilot is not a great motivator to view the series. Made over 12 months before the series was even authorised (I believe) the time gap shows - though it is kept within the first season and personnel changes from pilot to episodes are explained, rather than just thrust upon the viewer. The music for this pilot is quite appalling and was replaced to great effect from Episode 1 with the score of Christopher Franks. The actors seemed to have little clue about their characters, but try their best. The special effects are good - different to others seen at the time (but now pretty standard) - but still good.
What lets down this is no specific failing of this pilot... just all TV pilots. As mentioned character interaction is rarely as good as the series as the writer will have little idea who is going to play the role and which characters will really work together. Also JMS is trying here to tell a self-contained story that will stand up in it's own right, but one that will also have implications for the future of the show. Tricky thing to achieve and though he does ultimately pull that off, the pay off is not until the first season proper of B5.
I will buy this because I love B5... if you are unsure whether you might like it I would start at episode 1, watch the first half of the first season and then come back to the pilot - it will make far greater sense and have far more significance then. You miss nothing that you absolutely need to see here.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Nov. 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This is how it all began. We see how all the major characters of the saga are introduced all apart from Susan Ivanova, who does appear in the next episode but you will see some character simalarities if you are a fan, and Dr Steven Franklin. The plot sees a new lifeform taking up it's position as ambassador on Babylon 5, but before taking up it's role it is poisened by the commander (apparantly). The plot goes on to introduce all the main characters including a very strange looking Dellenn, who help or hinder the commander prove his innocence. I found the movie hard to swallow at first as I had seen most of the first series episodes before watching it, however it did fill in a few blanks and a further viewing proved invaluable. So sit back, watch and enjoy and remember - all are welcome at Babylon 5!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jimmy Lovesey on 3 Mar. 2006
Format: DVD
Watching "The Gathering" when it first came out, one would have delighted in a fantastic science fiction adventure, with mystery and intrigue, all far more darker than standard "Star Trek" style TV sci-fi. Watching it now, it can be a distressing experience, being so different to the B5 we grew to know and love over the years. G'Kar is particularly harsh, a far cry from the revered leader against oppression he would become; and friend to everyone Delenn, a character known for her deep Spiritual beliefs, and roots in the Minbari religious caste, is seen here as an untrusting, suspicious acing alien who gains sadistic pleasure from the torture of others. Then there are the characters originally intended to be regulars who dissapear before the series started - Dr Benjaimin Kyle, First Officer Laurel Takeshima, and of course resident telepath Lyta Alexander.
Don't get me wrong, "The Gathering" is still a great TV movie, and it's not completely unlike the series - Sinclair and Garibaldi are instantly likeable here, their strong friendship and individual humanity ensure they become characters the audience can relate to, amongst the cacophony of strange aliens.
I give it only 3 stars for two main reasons, firstly, it is a "shadow" of what it would become, and because this DVD release is very poor, at least the Region 1 version has a commentary!
At the end of the day though, this is still an essential release for anyone interested in Babylon 5.
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