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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars And so it began....
...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...
Published on 10 Dec 2002 by Mark Baker

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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?
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...
Published on 22 Dec 2001


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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 (Santa Clarita, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Babylon 5: The Gathering [DVD] (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
3.0 out of 5 stars Pilot episode - are they ever any good?, 22 Dec 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Babylon 5: The Gathering [DVD] (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
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting start to the saga, 20 Nov 2000
By A Customer
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
3.0 out of 5 stars "Sooner or later, everyone comes to Babylon 5...", 3 Mar 2006
By 
Jimmy Lovesey (Cardiff, South Wales) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Babylon 5: The Gathering [DVD] (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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars NOT the Special Edition, 9 Dec 2008
This review is from: Babylon 5: The Gathering [DVD] (DVD)
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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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
This review is from: Babylon 5: The Gathering [DVD] (DVD)
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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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, 16 Aug 2002
This review is from: Babylon 5: The Gathering [DVD] (DVD)
Many are called... and each has his place in the events to follow. We meet Sinclair, the first Commanding officer of B5. A decent man with a "hole in his mind". In the past he has fought bravely on the Line, but his *real* past -or future- lies a thousand years away. We also meet Garibaldi, the security chief, who has allowed his addiction to ruin his life numerous times in the past. This is his chance to make a difference, if he can stay sober. We see Dellen, the Minbari ambassador, with slightly different features that the series, and more ruthless as well. We also see Mollari, the Centauri ambassador and someone we may like. Just as we may dislike the Narn ambassador, G'Kar, and imperialistic and warlike individual. But first impressions can be deceiving.
Because, as G'Kar states in a later episode: "no one here is what he appears"...
In this pilot episode, the story goes like this: The arrival of the Vorlon ambassador, Kosh, is almost at hand. Everyone expects this with great anticipation, because no one so far has seen a Vorlon (and lived, if I may add). However, when Kosh sets foot (?) on the station an attempt is made on his life. Sinclair is accused for this, and he has to set things straight. Otherwise, the future (and the past) of this station is in grave danger.
Apart from the great storyline, the depth in character development and the philosophical threads, this series has exceptional effects and make up. The alien races look really alien, even dress and behave as such. This is the best SF series you can ever find.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but not quite what Amazon says it is, 3 Oct 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Babylon 5: The Gathering [DVD] (DVD)
This makes an interesting 90 minutes viewing especially to one who is pretty new to the Babylon 5 saga. I saw 2 or 3 episodes when it originally ran but have now decided to explore further. I agree with fellow reviewers who state there are several wooden performances here. Overall it's ok and I hope as I proceed further it gets lot better as I have been informed.

One point though. In the description on Amazon.co.uk this is supposedly a special edition, touched up in the late 90's. I would advise Amazon to look again as the product I received today is the original version with the original music score by Stewart Copeland NOT Christopher Franke. The sleeve says this and the film itself complies with this too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gathered up, 7 Jun 2009
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Babylon 5: The Gathering [DVD] (DVD)
Every epic begins somewhere... and in "Babylon 5's" case, it was the TV movie/pilot "The Gathering." Like most pilots, it's kind of an awkward beginning (could the doctor and Lyta be more exaggerated?), but the first flowering of this now-classic TV show is a pretty solid one -- we've got murder mysteries, strange aliens, and a distinctly philosophical bent.

Ten years after the Earth-Minbari War ended, Babylon 5 is a political, social and diplomatic hub for all the assorted races -- most importantly, to avert future wars. Despite the fact that half the ambassadors hate each other or are trying to cut deals, it's working well.

Now the newest ambassador -- a mysterious Vorlon named Kosh -- is about to arrive, as well as the new telepath Lyta Alexander (Patricia Tallman). But mere moments after his arrival, Captain Sinclair (Michael O'Hare) finds Kosh collapsed -- he's been poisoned, and may die. And as the doctor goes to extreme lengths to save him, Lyta scans his mind.

Unfortunately, she sees Sinclair doing the loathsome deed. Hoo boy.

And even more unfortunately, the Council (with two yeses, a no and an abstention) votes to send Sinclair to the Vorlon homeworld for trial. And security chief Garibaldi (Jerry Doyle) starts discovering some disturbing clues -- and dead bodies -- that may mean Sinclair is innocent. But they have less than a day to find out who or what is framing the captain... and almost as importantly, why.

Most TV pilots are rather awkward compared to the actual series itself. In this case, "The Gathering" has a very different cast lineup, some vastly different alien prosthetics, and the first hints of the series' many subplots. In short, it's a bit like putting on new, stiff shoes for the first time.

But J. Michael Straczynski manages to whip up a solid sci-fi premise, with lots of old grudges, wars, extremely weird aliens (check out the full-body suit!), and a rather grimy space station the size of a moon. Moreover, he whips up a fairly solid whodunnit full of little twists and turns, and an assassin whose appearance can change into anything.

There are some points that could have been easily cut, such as Takashima rambling for a whole scene about coffee beans and what a rebel she used to be. But the entire movie tightens up in the second half, when Sinclair and Garibaldi start really homing in on the Bad Guy. It also has more of a sense of humour, such as Sinclair's last conversation with Delenn.

The cast in the pilot -- unlike in the series that followed -- is a pretty mixed bag. O'Hare is a pretty good commander (noble, upright, kind yet stern) with a mysterious blot in his past, and Doyle is a likable ordinary guy. Andreas Katsulas, Peter Jurasik and Mira Furlan all do good jobs as well, and manage to give hints of their own personal ambitions and vendettas.

The downside is that three of the cast are, pretty simply, awful. Tamlyn Tomita doesn't radiate an iota of toughness or authority as Sinclair's second in command, and both Tallman and kindly doctor Johnny Sekka overact to a sometimes embarrassing degree (complete with dramatic pointing and cries of, "He did it! I saw it! I SAW IT! I SAW IT!").

"Babylon 5: The Gathering" serves as a solid introduction to the classic sci-fi epic, marred only by some bad acting. But definitely worth watching... right before you check out the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The not so great pilot for a great show, 13 April 2008
By 
T. R. Alexander (East Anglia, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Babylon 5: The Gathering [DVD] (DVD)
Babylon 5 is one of my all-time favourite shows and although this pilot episode for the series is nowhere near as good as the show itself, it is still enjoyable. As the alien ambassadors gather on Babylon 5 the Vorlon representative Kosh is the target of an assassination attempt and the stations commander Jeffrey Sinclair is implicated.

Although not nearly as good as the series itself, this pilot does include some of the things that made Babylon 5 so good, such as an interesting plot and generally good writing. On the downside much of the CGI effects used here are rather poor and some of the acting on display is truly atrocious. There are a few changes between here and the series proper, with three of the characters being replaced and some of the alien makeup being changed and refined but generally this pilot does set up the series well. Although this pilot isn't a very good advert for the series itself it is still a good show and is definitely a must see for anyone who is a fan of the series.
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