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.