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Babylon 5: The Gathering [VHS]

Michael O'Hare , Tamlyn Tomita , Richard Compton    Parental Guidance   VHS Tape
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
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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: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CNJB
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 209,515 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description


"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

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?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars And so it began.... 10 Dec 2002
By Mark Baker TOP 500 REVIEWER
...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
3.0 out of 5 stars Pilot episode - are they ever any good? 22 Dec 2001
By A Customer
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars NOT the Special Edition 9 Dec 2008
Despite what the amazon text says, this is NOT the 1998 special edition. It's the standard european edition with multiple languages, therefore containing the original pilot with its boring cut and abysmal score. I only ordered this because I wanted the special edition! This sucks big time! Still, it gets two stars, because it's B5, and giving it less would be unfair to the movie.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
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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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Watch out for the poor transfer 13 April 2002
By A Customer
Having wanted to see this re-edited and re-scored version of the Babylon 5 pilot episode I was quite looking forward to finally seeing it. There are some new scenes added and things changed but ultimately there isn’t much difference from the original version. The new score by C Franke is I am sad to say, nothing special. I love Franke’s work on Babylon 5 but this score comes across as a copy and paste job from his episode scores, but then maybe that was the point.
What really brings the DVD down is that there are no extras and the transfer if appalling. The picture quality is grainy and looks no better than VHS. I find this unacceptable and an insult to fans, are we not worth a bit of quality control? If more Babylon 5 DVD’s are released (and I hope there are) Warner must understand that they will only be a success if the transfer quality is to the expected standard.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars certainly for B5 fans
but perhaps not the best introduction if you're not. The main pity is the absurdity of the plot (demi-god Vorlon being nearly killed by silly ruse), and Delenn is somewhat less hot... Read more
Published 2 months ago by davidmurray
4.0 out of 5 stars So it begins...
It's the pilot episode for the series. It's rough and not quite so polished in some areas like make-up compared to the rest of the series but for fans of the series it's a must see... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mikko Kosonen
4.0 out of 5 stars The concept proved even better as it grew
The Gathering suffers a little from the manner in which the subsequent series developed. Those who watched the series will recognise the inconsistencies which surface when they... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Patrick G Cox
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
It was interesting to see the first film of the brilliant series. Interesting to see how the characters changed when the series started.
Published 4 months ago by M. Sluman
4.0 out of 5 stars Slightly disappointing
Perhaps as a B5 devotee I was a little disappointed with this.
For its length it only seemed to have the content of a standard episode. Read more
Published 5 months ago by J. M. Hockey
3.0 out of 5 stars Babylon 5: The Gathering
Not as good as the TV series but as to the plot, it was a little lame to say the least.
Published 6 months ago by Andrew S
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
one of the best science fiction seies ever. It gives star trek a run for its money. on par with firefly
Published 9 months ago by Michael O ` Leary
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid start to the series though room for development
This is a great start to what was an amazing series. The story behind this is a space station where alien races to come and settle their differences peacefully. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Geoff Fairbourn
3.0 out of 5 stars Original Score - Not Special Edition
Lets face it, you're only going to buy this if you are a B5 fan and probably already have all 5 series on DVD. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Ian
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Not as good as the original series. Wouldn't recommend it to my friends the plot was a bit shallow for my taste.
Published 24 months ago by Ian Morgan
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