Babylon 5 - Prequels
"The Gathering" & "In The Beginning"
"A story about great deeds... About armies of light and soldiers of darkness. About the places where they lived, and fought, and loved, and died. About great empires, and terrible mistakes. A true story. You see, I was there, at the dawn of the Third Age... Londo Mollari, In The Beginning
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The fan consensus on this two-feature DVD is that it represents the Worst and Best of Babylon 5.
To be fair, “The Gathering” as a pilot episode is merely mediocre. Pilot episodes are seldom the strongest of a series. The launching of Babylon 5 had a heavy burden to carry. When Deep Space Nine appeared – or Voyager for that matter – the Star Trek universe was pretty well known. Only the characters and specific situation required introduction. Yet, in “Gathering,” the entire Babylon 5 universe required introduction.
On this DVD, “The Gathering” is a Director’s Version. Scenes have been added or clipped, and the sound score has been re-mixed, making a superior overall product. My main complaint with "The Gathering" is that it’s quite unnecessary. One can never watch the pilot, and still understand the series perfectly. It’s almost better to NOT watch it. There were so many cast changes between the pilot and the series, so many costume, prop, and make-up alterations… watching “The Gathering” can be a little unsettling.
Perhaps it may be heresy, but I would suggest “In The Beginning” as a better introduction to the series. Filmed during the last season of Babylon 5, this tele-movie recreates the events leading up to the Babylon 5 program. Humans encounter an alien first-contact situation that goes horribly wrong. A war breaks out between the humans and the highly advanced Minbari, a war the humans cannot win.
“In The Beginning” is arguably the best of Babylon 5 in a capsule. The plot flows naturally, the passion can be felt, and the special effects… all come together in the best sci-fi that came out of television. While the episode lets out some secrets, primarily from the first season, they are minor in the overall scheme of the series. In some respects, “Beginning” was a new pilot episode, financed by TNT, which had taken over broadcasting rights in the last season of Babylon 5. Eager to bring in new viewers, TNT encouraged the production of “In The Beginning.”
||A critical episode; important to the 5 year storyline.|
||Character development / Important back-history.|
||A throw-away – could be missed, and never noticed.|
The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5 is the source of the following episode description links.
The Gathering +
The Vorlon ambassador is nearly killed by an assassin shortly after arriving at the station, and Commander Sinclair is the prime suspect.
Babylon 5: In the Beginning +++
Two-hour TV movie. Covers the Earth-Minbari War in more detail, including Delenn's involvement and the death of Dukhat.
holds copyright © and trademark TM 1992-1998 to "Babylon 5," the Babylon 5 logo, and all publicity photos and images from the series.
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