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4.7 out of 5 stars58
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 26 November 2011
I rarely review things on amazon, but having just watched Babylon 5 season 2 I feel that I have to.
Comparatively, the first series was uneventful. There were frequent silly little 'filler' episodes; season 2 dives right into the main plot, only pausing occasionally for a 'Dr Franklin's lost dog' type story. The end of season 1 saw ambassador Delen disappear into a chrysalis (I spoil, because if you're reading a season 2 review you must have watched season 1), and left various questions unanswered. In season 2, most of these are answered, only to be replaced with several more; season 1 barely scratched the surface plot wise.

Another great thing about season 2 is that we get a much greater insight into the alien races. I found the Centauri, Minbari and Narn tedious in the first season, but season 2 explores the differing alien cultures (not to mention armed forces) in much more depth; yes that does include more ridiculous Minbari rituals.

Character development increases at a rate of knots, for the main cast, and supporting cast such as vir and lenir. I won't spoil any of that.
Season 2 also sees the return of the evil pavel chekov look alike (that's not a spoiler he's on the dvd menu screen) and more plot development around the menacing 'psi core'.

While I was able to put up with the outdated special effects in season 1, it was nice to see b5 budget increase and for us to see more areas of the station, and not have to look at continual repeats of the same docking animation.

So far this has all been fairly positive, but I do have one issue with the series; the first third of the season was so predictably written, that I could guess the main episode plot twist within 10 minutes of the episode starting. Luckily, the main plot soon kicks in and the writing suddenly becomes first class. There are a couple of episodes where my preconceptions about were challenged several times.

So Babylon 5 is an improvement on the second season, with the main plot decidedly taking the foreground. Although predictably written at first, by the end the writing is excellent. All that's left to say now is 'BUY IT!', while I go and watch season 3!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 August 2011
Fascinating, sometimes maddening mix of wonderful and silly,
intelligent and dumb, insightful and obvious.

At it's best it's the 'Wire' of science fiction, challenging
'Battlestar Galactica' for intelligence and emotional depth.

The most interesting thing; this was an early case of a series having a
pre-planned multi-year arc, so throughout there are sometimes intentionally
confusing or mysterious details that return to be finally explained as
having great importance a season or two or three later.

On the other hand, because this preceded the acceptance of truly serial cable shows,
each episode is more self contained than more recent shows in a sometimes annoyingly
neat way.

The show is also full of allusions; Shakespeare, the Bible, Buddhism,
King Arthur, the Koran. Certainly the writing is grounded in pretty
heady stuff.

Season 2 brought in some stronger cast, and somewhat better effects.
The stories in season 2 continued to be a mix, mostly quite good, a few
great, and some subplots that were to be honest, dopey. But overall it
remained pretty riveting, with lots of interesting allusions to history
and philosophy. And it was great to see characters that seriously
evolve as the show goes on.

One note of caution - the special features can be guilty of giving away
plot twists, so approach with that in mind.
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on 18 February 2013
This series continues the growing story of the space station designed to help keep the peace between the 5 major races in the galaxy. This series, the evil force of the shadows begins to rise and a conspiracy about the succession of the president comes into question. War begins between the Narn and Centari and leads to gripping conclusion to the series.

Series 2 introduces a new commander who I wasn't sure of to begin with. Having been a big fan of Sinclair I was sad to discover he was dropped after one series. That said Sheradon grows on you quickly and really fits with how the series develops.

This series is dark and full of twists and turns which I suggest watching closely to follow the complex and gripping story. You will very quickly fly through the disks as the story grips you as the characters are very cleverly developed.

I give this 5 stars as I thought the series stepped up hugely from the previous. Worth watching if you are a sci fi fan or someone who loves a great story with well developed characters. Before you watch this series however I recommend watching season 1 as the story is quite complex. Enjoy!
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on 29 March 2012
I have long been a Trekkie, thus any other sci-fi almost comes in 2nd place. However, Babylon 5 is good enough to compete with Star Trek for 1st. I found the first series of Babylon 5 not too compelling,yet I stuck with it and started to enjoy it at the end. The 2nd Series wowed me!! This is the departure point of the saga- the beginning where good takes on evil. The characters become more developed and the plot starts to thicken.
The galaxy is under threat from an ancient race known as the 'Shadows'. Their influence starts to be felt everywhere, even on earth. The Babylon 5 crew have to make the difficult decision to break with the increasingly evil earth government. Battle lines are drawn.
The only downside to Babylon 5 is that the tv series only goes up to 5 seasons. I think a revisit to Babylon 5 would be great. There are of course the films that follow, and they are not bad; however, I think the time is right [plus with today's new technology, the series was created in the 19990's]for another visit to Babylon 5. I would highly recommend this to all viewers over age 12.
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on 16 October 2015
The greatest sci-fi TV series of them all.

Not many shows can pull the main character after just one season, and actually get better, but Babylon 5 pulls this off with aplomb.

Following the mysterious disappearance of Commander Sinclair, Captain Sheridan takes the hot seat. Considered to be a war criminal by the Minbari, and initially viewed with suspicion by his subordinates (still loyal to Sinclair) Sheridan doesn't have his troubles to seek.

This new character development allows the story to explore loyalty, friendship, authority, and war, in a way that the utopia of Star Trek could never hope to match.

Politics is always in the background, factions making their moves, the great game played out on a galactic scale, with Babylon 5 being the eye in the tornado.

It's this complexity, this realism, that puts it head and shoulders above its rivals on a par with that other great sci-fi show, Farscape.
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on 2 March 2013
I've always considered that Babylon 5 is one of the few sci fi series that offers a mature perspective of how humans would deal with a future involving both contact with aliens and our own limitations. Series 2 builds on the first series and begins to expand the plot lines that lead to the exposure of the Shadow menace; my only criticism being the replacement of the lead character, but the new man does settle into the role and we soon accept the change. Again, what I've always liked about B5 is that it has an acid edge, a bleak texture that is miles away from some other (more popular series) If Startrek is The Beatles, B5 is The Rolling Stones.
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on 9 March 2004
I would recommend any sci fi enthusiast to go and buy this DVD , Babylon 5 is generally regarded as the greatest sci fi show ever completed for television- the fact that this five year arc was completed makes it unique viewing in itself. Its original , fresh , highly thrilling and deeply moving in places. This story of destiny , choices and fate is perhaps the only television attempt at true science fiction . And it works. The break away from self contained stories is what makes B5 such a joy to behold. It's a shame Farscape suffered from the thing that gave B5 momentum. I started at season 2 though, because this is where the show really gets going , and I didn't like season 1 , so I skipped it! I had no problems with the magnificent story arc , it all made sense. Skilfully produced the CGI sequences will take your breath away , they still look better than anything done today, quite brilliant. I wouldn't worry about the occassional lack of picture quality though , this is how the show went out originally and I had no problems with the picture or sound quality. Great stuff! Buy this you will not regret it!
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on 6 February 2012
As much as I enjoy and respect the various Star Trek series (except Enterprise), I've got to say that the best epic space opera to ever hit the small screen was Babylon 5. It was like Shakespeare or Greek tragedy in outer space, a five year story arc that became darker and darker, grander and grander. Even after considering the now-cheesy-looking digital effects and cheap sets and (in the case of the DVDs) muddy, pixilated transfers, it represents what great science fiction can do at its best. If you love sf, you've got to experience B5.
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on 18 April 2012
What makes Babylon 5 really stand out is its storytelling. Creator J. Michael Straczynski is telling one story, planned from the beginning to develop over the course of five years; within that larger story are interconnecting story arcs that span several seasons. As a result, Babylon 5 has the richness, depth, power, it's not like anything else on television.
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on 11 August 2013
Although many sci-fi fans dislike it I always thought the background story interesting and somewhat epic, and it all fitted well in the end. No great special effects (nothing like the modern version of battlestar galactica) but still passable. Great characters, Lando Molari and Ja'kar will always have a place in my heart. Like it a lot.
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