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After being punished for retreat from combat, Ranger David Martel is given command of the Liandra, a haunted 20-year old Minbari fighting ship. He's escorting ambassadors to a secret archaeological site, the oldest city on record and a clue to a dangerous ancient race. Written by
Let me start off by saying I love Babylon 5- the first four seasons anyway.
What appealed to me was its long-story format, the epic taking years to unfold, full of lore, myth, and detailed characters that evolved and changed over time.
I would suggest to J.M. Straczynski that he create some new sort of epic. Babylon 5 was a great story. But one of the things that make stories great is that they have a beginning, a middle, and an end. It ended. Let it be. Perhaps the book trilogies that continue the Babylon 5 canon would make good miniseries- such as "Legions of Fire" or the Psy-Cop trilogy. What is NOT needed is another "adventure of the week" series in the B5 universe. It obviously did not work with "Crusade." Why should it work here? The format is so similar to Crusade (a ship of people zipping around the galaxy having adventures) that one wonders if they were simply planning on using unaired "Crusade" scripts to cut writing costs.
The tele-movie's biggest flaw is that it has no plot whatsoever. A ship full of very young Rangers is sent on a mission to protect some diplomats. For some reason, bad guys attack them. Our heroes spend the movie outwitting the baddies. However, these bad guys are merely working for THE bad guys- who are described as bigger and badder and older than the Shadows.
No imagination there.
The next flaw is the concept itself. The Rangers on B5 were spiritual, dedicated, fighters, sort of like Jedi Knights. A few were sent here and there to protect the peace, to run covert operations and gather intelligence, to be a revered force working mostly behind the scenes. Keep in mind that Sinclair created them based on the Rangers of Tolkien lore. Instead, these Rangers- who seem as if they came out of your typical "space-marine" movie- now serve on crews of their own ships, going out on adventures of the week- I mean assignments.
The characters are dull cardboard cutouts. We have a captain that looks like he just finished playing high-school football, a hot-but-tough weapons officer, a cheeky second in command (who sees the ghosts that the ship is- for some reason- haunted with.) One crew member is so dimwitted that one can't possibly imagine him being a Ranger (One of his twelve lines is, "I lift big things.") G'Kar is in this movie as the guest star to link us to B5. He really serves no purpose to the story. Sadly, he is the only interesting person in the entire show.
Last, but not least, are the virtual space fights. This is so terrible. How could anyone seriously have gone along with this concept? The weapons officer enters the VR fighting unit, where she is blue-screened against a star field. When the bad ships come, she literally kung-fu fights them. Fireballs shoot from her virtual hands and feet, which is actually the ship firing at it's enemies. Were there any viewers who were not on the floor, curled in a ball, laughing hysterically? I really don't think this was the creators' intention.
Again. I love B5, and the B5 Universe. But it's over. Please let it rest in peace, Mr. Straczynski, and concentrate your efforts elsewhere. Please.
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