Although these 13 episodes alone make the product a must-have addition to anyone's collection, it is unfortunately spoilt by an act of deceit related directly to the aforementioned tale of politics and idiocy. While the inclusion of an audio commentary from creator/writer JMS on 'Racing the Night' is a positive bonus feature, it is somewhat ruined by the fact that it was underhandedly edited and censored by the studio to cut out his comments regarding the reasons behind the show's abortion -- despite their promise to the contrary. Once again, this sort of thing spoils a good DVD set, just like it did with the woeful Region 2 edition of the TV Movies Collection.
Fortunately, the actual episodes are a reward in themselves, with well-developed, interesting characters, locations ranging from Mars to the Babylon 5 station itself, a guest appearance by the late Richard Biggs, and even an 'X-Files' pastiche.Read more ›
Set five years after season 5 ended, Earth has been hit by a plague. While the planet is quarantined, the government sends a crew out on Excalibur, the newly complete ship build with Minbari help. Their mission is to explore other worlds and hopefully find a cure before the virus destroys all of life on Earth. The crew is made up of Earth Force personnel and civilians, including an archeologist working for IPX and an alien thief who is the last of her kind.
Unfortunately, we only ever got thirteen episodes of the show due to creative difference between TNT and JMS. As such, it's really hard to judge. Compared to Babylon 5, it seems weak. But then again, the first thirteen episodes of Babylon 5 are the weakest of that series. Comparing the two sets of thirteen, these come across as stronger. I have faith in JMS to say that what we have here is the foundation episodes. Once we got to know the characters, things would have taken off. Sets and special effects have gotten an improvement as well, even if many of the larger effects come across as cheap by today's standards. The tone is slightly different, with more of a horror feel to many of the stories and a darker feeling overall. The music is a bit odd and doesn't seem to fit, often jarring me out of the episode instead of pulling me in like it did on Babylon 5.
This set gives us the thirteen episodes on four DVD's in their original broadcast order. This isn't the order JMS prefers, and it does cause some continuity issues. Frankly, I'll take them in any order since the beauty of DVD is I can watch them in the correct order easily.Read more ›
I really wish this show had gotten the chance to get off the ground properly, there is so much here that begs to be explained. As with Babylon 5 this show obviously has a five year life built in (though regretably it didn't even make it through one of those years). If you go digging around you'll even be able to find out a bit more of what JMS had in mind for the show.
In many ways this series reminds me somewhat of traditional Star Trek, whereas Babylon 5 is more similar to Deep Space Nine. However, of course both shows are quite different, quite good, and not copies of each other. Okay, with that caveat out of the way I can continue. We have one ship visiting many ports, discovering new races and cultures, and going someplace new--very Star Trekian. Now I don't believe this is bad, or truly derivative--I just mention what I see as similar. One thing that definately jars this is JMS's habit of not including every main character in each episode as Star Trek producers are usually wont to do. Like Babylon 5 (where there was only one episode in the entire run to feature each then listed main character) you can go several episodes without seeing certain characters. I like this (and would have liked it more if the series had run for years and it hadn't severely limited our exposure to some characters) it just takes some getting used to.Read more ›