Crusade (TV Series 1999) Poster

(1999)

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Great potential bungled by Total Nitwit Television (TNT)
david.richmond1 January 2001
The tribulations associated with the production of this show were a drama in and of themselves, and anyone who doesn't know the history should check it out. The first episodes are not representative of the original vision Mr. JMS had for Crusade. The last episodes were actually the first ones filmed and intended to launch the series.

There are actually some sad parallels to the problems Gene Roddenberry had with NBC in trying to get Star Trek made. The NBC execs thought the Star Trek pilot (The Cage) was too brainy. They wanted the regular series plots dumbed down and more action added. As they say, the one thing we learn from history is that no one seems to learn from history.

Given the success of Babylon 5 and the fact that B5 fans were greatly anticipating Crusade, it was a business fiasco for TNT's execs to presume to tamper with something they didn't understand. Unfortunately, tamper they did, and we have been forced to live with the consequences of an unfulfilled vision. Compare Crusade's "Racing the Night", the intended first episode, with "War Zone" to see the result of TNT's meddling. Notice the utterly unnecessary fight scene in "War Zone". Also, notice that the Rangers disappeared entirely from the TNT-influenced episodes.

TNT's final insult was in trying to foist this off as a "special limited series". Since when do you introduce an audience to a story and a bunch of characters, then deliberately fail to finish what you've started? Curiosity prevented me from not watching. Now I'm stuck wondering about what might have been.

I was especially intrigued by the storyline involving Gideon and the mysterious "apocalypse box". JMS never let characters get away with cheating, as Gideon was clearly doing by consulting the force controlling the box. I'd really like to know what fate was in store for Gideon as recompense for taking shortcuts to success. Unfortunately, it looks like I'll have to make up my own ending to this story.

If allowed to develop unobstructed, Crusade could have been a classic series. In spite of TNT's interference, there were still flashes of brilliance in the few episodes that were produced. Instead, it seems that Crusade is doomed to occupy a place in sci-fi history as a memorial to what might have been.
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10/10
What Could Have Been
Tiger Hawk18 April 2001
In talking about Crusade, one must first recognize the fact that we are talking about a series that was cut short before it even aired. Only 13 episodes were produced of the show and of those 13 a handful do not do the series or its predecessor, Babylon 5 justice.

True to form J. Michael Stracynski (hereby referred to as "JMS") set about to tell us a story, albeit one not as tightly plotted as Babylon 5 or as driven by multiple story arcs, but a story nonetheless. A story meant to further the Babylon 5 universe, but a story that was cut short.

Similar to what JMS did with Babylon 5, the first season episodes of Crusade set up A LOT of what was going to be dealt with later on in the series. The result is that these episodes, on a whole, are mediocre at times, because they lacked the effect of having a later episode revisit some themes set up there and bring them to fruition. Several first (and second) season episodes of Babylon 5 seemed mediocre at the time, but when revisited after watching later seasons, they became gems of foreshadowing, plot development, minor details, etc. all of which added to the show.

But, I'm dwelling on the past and like so many others, disregarding the fact that this show is a good example of quality television in and of itself. With only 13 episodes, JMS did set up a whole sub-section of the Babylon 5 universe, showed us new areas to explore, reunited us with some old friends, sowed the seeds of what was to be a very interesting plot development, and even poked fun at the X-Files (fans of that show take heart, JMS and Chris Carter are good friends and it was done more as a homage than to criticize the show).

One of JMS' strengths is in his characters. These are people who are flawed, who are crude, dishonest, have secrets in their past, but still work together and are the team I'd want looking for a cure were we to be infected with a plague like the Drahk one.

Captain Matthew Gideon is perhaps the most flawed. He's a gambler, he doesn't take anything from anyone, he's angry over the loss of a ship he served on, but most of all he's determined. For all that though, he's not one to jump into things head on, he more prefers to have an ace up his sleeve. That `ace' being, at least some of the time, his mysterious `Apocolypse Box,' which started sowing seeds of doubt.

Lieutenant Matheson is the upstanding officer on the ship, loyal to a fault. He's a telepath left with the burden of proving to the world that telepaths don't need an organization to police them, as the Psi-Corp once did. He's got the sword of Damocles above his head and a past history of violence against the Corp.

Doctor Chambers wasn't given much time to develop, but like Dr. Franklin on B5, she cares about her patients and is willing to do what it takes.

Max Eilerson is the resident archeologist, linguist, and pain in the butt. He seems to annoy just about everyone and yet, he's indispensable. Just because he's searching for a cure to save every man, woman, child, and alien on Earth doesn't mean he can't find a way to get rich out of the deal...

Which brings us to Dureena, the thief with a code of honor. Dureena is trustworthier than Eilerson, despite her background. She does provide the important role of being the one person who can pick locks, sneak in and out of places, and search alien worlds for the cure.

Finally, there's Galen, who is the most interesting. He's a Technomage, which means he uses science and technology to simulate magic. That means he's the one with the ability to save the crew and spy on them when needed. He rescued Gideon 10 years in the past, when his ship was destroyed and now cares for him as if Gideon were a stray cat he took in and yet more times than not, it seems he needs Gideon more than Gideon needs him.

It's a shame all this potential was left in the limbo good shows go when they are taken off the air. Even more so when you learn how the first season was to end. Without spoiling things (in the case of some miracle resurrecting the series), it seems that a lot more people than we thought are using the Shadow tech that the virus is based on. President Clark's Shadow enhanced ships in `Between the Darkness and the Light' was just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, it's a lot more recent use of Shadow technology than another group in the Babylon 5 universe that bases what they do on that same technology. The former group, at the end of the season though, was willing to protect their secret use of the Shadow tech at any cost.

For now though, we are left with 13 episodes, most of which do make for good television as stand-alone episodes. And yet, they could have been so much more...
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Murdered during birth by TNT!
bigger-216 April 2001
To those of you who only saw it when broadcast on TNT, the broadcast "opener" was not in fact the true opening episode. The series is now being rebroadcast in the order in which it was intended by Sci-Fi Channel, and after only a week it remains far more satisfying than it was two years ago. The story detailed on all the chatrooms at the time. Basically, B5 was bought for TNT by the people who bought re-broadcast rights, but supervision for Crusade was taken over by people who supervised original series and evidently didn't like it -- they were into westerns. They wanted a new character added, a female who 'explored' other species sexually. They were responsible for the change in uniforms, and they demanded a new opener, one which gave away too much. JMS went as far as he could, then told them to stuff it. They took 13 episodes, no more, and at the time the Sci Fi channel had committed its financial future to Farscape. I liked Farscape -- now I love it -- but I LOVE Crusade. Watch the series as it is broadcast here, and write Sci-Fi asking if they can't get new episodes. Marjean Holden may be trapped in Beastmaster, but I suspect the other actors would jump at the chance to play such complex characters.
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TNT had no right to cancel Crusade!
Op_Prime20 August 2000
Crusade was an excellent show and a very worth successor to Babylon 5. The premise was original and exciting, picking up where the last Babylon 5 movie (A Call to Arms) left off. But sadly Crusade was cancelled... before a single episode even aired. Why? Because series creator JMS would not put in what TNT wanted (example: lots of sex). Sadly it's true. The 13th episode was the last and no renewal is in sight. A lot of the episodes were pretty good. I curse TNT for cancelling this science fiction gem. Hopefully, some day, a SMART network will revive the show.
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Don't Listen to the Fools
rand_wt31 December 2000
I've read a lot of the comments, and I see an overwhelming trend here: people don't know what they're talking about. Crusade is NOT a bad show. It is an excellent show, and a worthy addition to the B5 universe. It was originally scheduled to air after the movie "A Call To Arms", and the pilot episode was to be "Racing The Night". They had 5 episodes ready and were about to film more when TNT paused production. They wanted serious changes to the show: new uniforms, more violence, more sex. They forced JMS to write a new pilot, "War Zone" with ridiculous requirements, such as a fistfight in the opening.

He later refused to add more sex and a 'sexual explorer', so TNT canceled the show after 13 episodes were filmed. The show was canceled before it even aired. It was not canceled because it was bad, but because TNT made it bad. They did eventually air it, but totally out of order. If you ignore "War Zone" and watch the other 12, it's a great show. The show clearly has an arc, and it was about to begin when the show was canceled. Hopefully the SCI-FI channel will pick it up in the future and continue this great series.
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"...I repeat, Earth is quarantined..."
bradphipps10123 September 2002
Crusade was a bold step in another direction for the ultra successful Babylon 5 TV series. Set up in the prologue movie 'A Call to Arms' and taking place 5 years after B5 ends, Crusade follows the crew of the experimental destroyer Excalibur in a search for a cure from a deadly alien plague which is slowly killing the Earth, something in itself is amazing. Not many shows would cut off mankind's homeworld for the sake of a story, and in doing so lifted Crusade to a new level of Sci Fi.

The Excalibur is a mixture of Minbari, Vorlon and Earth technology, and resembles the Liberator from Blake's 7. The highlight of the ship has to be the Main Guns which converts all of the ship's energy into one savage laser beam, but renders the ship without power for one minute as it recharges. J. Michael Strackzynski, the show's creator, is a forward thinker, so much so that this ship was first mentioned back in Babylon 5's 5th season episode 'Movement of Fire & Shadow'.

Season One was a mixed bag. Lasting only 13 episodes due to a conflict with JMS and broadcaster TNT, there were only a handful of episodes that stood out. Out of those made, 'Racing the Night' was arguably the best. A desperate species suffering from the same plague as Earth, using any means necessary to find a cure; this episode posed more questions than people think. Had the series continued, it was promised the show would have taken on a new aspect, and the plague wouldn't have been the only thing the crew should be worried about...

All in all the show was definitely killed off before it's time. It had potential to rival or even surpass Babylon 5 in terms of excellence, but it seems we'll never know.
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10/10
Darker and deeper
Freemheart13 January 2004
Beyond Babylon 5 there's another war and it begin in the edge of the heart of a group of people trying to find a cure to save earth, that's Crusade, a Babylon 5 spin off. It's not the classic story of the space explorers, it's about how hard can be our present when we have some unfinished business with our past. That's make the characters the most important thing of all, everyone with his secrets and own private war making the story more complex. In a just a few episodes Straczynsky goes far beyond B5 not only taking many unsolved mysteries from his first saga, also with good actors and amazing scripts. Forgetting Warzone as first episode and watching the real one, Racing the night, it's become clear the salvation of the people of earth it's just a piece of the whole jigsaw where only a few have a real chance to survive. It's shame what happen with TNT cos Crusade is one of the best underrated scifi shows with many things to explore.
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Better than they say!
Starbuck-1319 October 1999
After some slow and rather uneventful episodes, this show later showed some promise and developed into an interesting Science Fiction series.

Of course, it is lacking the sophisticated story arc of Babylon 5, but many episodes are fun! It is nice to watch them and you want to know what happens next. In my eyes, it is Star trek Voyager done better.

The characters are of different quality: The Captain with his mysterious Boom Tube as an advisor gets better every episode, and Technomage Galen is simply wonderful. Archeologist Eilerson does not fail to convince as an arrogant scientist. The other characters are far less interesting.

Even so, I am rather sad that TNT decided to cancel the show without ever waiting for spectators approval. Some of the 13 episodes were excellent, and I do sincerely hope that they will be able to continue someday in the future.
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9/10
Why TNT killed Crusade (they wanted out of the contract)
electrictroy17 July 2009
I'm not going to review the show but in brief: I consider Crusade equal to the original Star Trek's first thirteen episodes. Because it was an exploration ship and had that unusual otherworldy music, for me watching Crusade evokes the same sense of "wonder" and "mystery" and "danger" as the original Trek did. What happened to Crusade is approximately equivalent to if Babylon 5 ended after "Signs and Portents" where the Shadow Ambassador Mr. Morden first unveiled himself. Crusade was a 5-year-story about Earth and the Shadows, but was unfortunately cut short.

Also the recommended airing order is episode 103 (Racing the Night), 101, 102, 104, 105, and so on. IMHO it makes more sense story-wise to follow this production order, rather than following the TNT/DVD order. (The same is true for Star Trek TOS.)

So anyway quoting J.Michael Straczynski (jms):

It was after episode five. We'd gotten minimal notes from TNT, pretty much along the lines of the Warner Bros notes we had in our first season of Babylon 5, so things were going pretty swimmingly. Then, out of nowhere, they gave us the shutdown so they could look at the show. That wasn't a small sign, it was more like an explosion going off on the set.

.....It was only after I had left that I ran into TNT executives who had been working there at the time, who said, 'We're sorry about what happened.' I asked them under promise of confidentiality, and what it came down to was they had done a multi-year audience survey, and finally got the results in right around the time we were shooting episode 5, and it said that the TNT audience does not like or want or respond to SF.

What I was told is that when they saw those figures come in, they decided that they wanted to get out of the contract and use that money to buy repeats of Law & Order, which their survey indicated would be a good buy for them. It you look at the trades for that time, they were kind of surprised when TNT came in on this bidding war and nailed it. Everyone thought their budget for the year had been allocated, so where was this money coming from? By sheer coincidence, the money they paid is equal to what they were going to pay for a full season of Crusade.

Plus they didn't want to have to pay for the first 13. By trying to say it wasn't the show they ordered, they were trying to get out of paying anything and stick Warners with the bill. That was the purpose of the notes that came through. They could say, 'We gave them notes, and they wouldn't do them.' No, because they were egregious and wrong and I couldn't do them, but at the time, I knew none of this.

And as one TV person told me after the fact, "Had you done every single note that they asked you for, they would have found some other reason to get out of that contract." They were trying to paper their way out of the deal, which makes me even gladder that I stood up when I did. - jms

In my opinion:

TNT sounds like a bunch of shysters: (1)Sign a contract (2) Change your mind (3) And manufacture excuses not to pay for the 13 episodes produced.
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It fills my heart with sadness that it is over so soon.
Scorpius-627 September 1999
Alright, ready for this? I've watched B5 since before it was a series, watching the movie every time it came on th'tube. I hooked everyone I could who likes sci-fi on it and in it. When I caught a whiff of the coming of Crusade I was beside myself with joy. The Rangers concept excites me. :) Didn't hurt that I had an emotional attachment to the Rangers I had already encountered in the B5 universe. I didn't know quite what to think about the Technomage thing, having had limited and unpleasant exposure to them on B5. Lordy, was I in for a pleasant surprise on that note! Then came the news that TNT were being pig-head and flighty again. This always tends to bite them in the backside, otherwise their network would be on my tv constantly (sporting events aside; I find those just irksome, especially when they disturb my weekly viewing pleasures - that's hearlded the death of many good shows on th'tube). So we were only going to get teased with a single season of this show. Major Bummer! It's been wonderful to have a show so in depth and versitile NOT set in the blasted Star Trek universe. (Don't take that wrong, I'm a trekkie, too - but to me, B5 and Crusade hold a spot closer to my heart; Star Trek has never made me cry.) Despite the continued depressing news (no future home for a second season <or more> for Cursade) I, along with countless others, tuned in to the show. Someone else in these comments compared it to Space: Above and Beyond. To me, that's like comparing it to Earth2. It just doesn't. You could only compare it to ST & B5... and maybe Starship Troopers. Though it had a rough start (ala B5 finding it's footing), it quickly captured diehards like myself - and newbies. Yeah, I got some MORE people hooked on it. :) I would say the most popular characters in my lil'world would be Galen, Dureena and Gideon. Previously, Technomages seems to be just pompous evil lil'men with dreams of grandeur. Now I know some of them have souls, and hearts. Dureena didn't interest me at all at first, but I've come to trust and even admire th'lil'thief. :) She's uber-kewL, as the saying goes. Then there's Gideon. I've never really watched Gary Cole do anything before, at least I've not paid attention to him in particular. I will from here on out. He's the really quirky one in the cast, in my opinion. But I believe that's why his character is singled out for this mission. His unconventional manner tends to save his own hide, why not the rest of humanity along with it?! When your options are few, why not consider the seemingly impossible. The chemistry between the three of the characters and actors makes the show. I would personally like to shoot Eilerson off into space myself, though. Lt. Matheson has a lotta potential, too, being a telepath on such an unconventional crew. Possibilies are/were endless, truely, once you actually sit and consider the show. So much space in the universe, so little time. Well, now the show is over. No big fanfare saying "last chance to catch the magic that is..." ...no warning... I knew it was coming, but it was such a crushing disappointment (exclusively in TNT). If, by some chance, you get the opportunity to see taped episodes (or some network DOES pick it up, tho don't hold your breath), see if I'm not right in the things that I've said. It is a MISTAKE and crime against the sci-fi/fantasy community to kill off such a wonderful creation.
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Beg to differ with opinion of person on main page
sross-211 June 2003
To compare Crusade and/or Babylon 5 to shows like "Space, Above And Beyond" or "Lost in Space" is absurd! Babylon 5 was far above any other sci-fi series ever made. The special effects were state of the art and spectacular. The characters were superb, the stories ingenious and suspense was masterfully done.

The break from the usual "resolve everything in 40 minutes" mindset was refreshingly absent in B5. You never knew when a regular was going to buy the farm, which made it much more interesting. There was a darker tone to the show at times, which may have put off devotees of the aforementioned "formula" shows. The classic battle of good and evil, coupled with an extremely adept job of portraying the slimy world of politics and corruption of governments was a delight.

I'm just sorry it is no longer being made.
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10/10
Clever science fiction
fig-752752 June 2016
I like Crusade almost as much as I like Babylon 5. It is similar enough to Babylon 5 that you can believe it is set in the same Universe, but it is different enough to be fresh and new. The characters all work well together and there is plenty of character development. The stories are all convincing and they cover many different aspects of science fiction.

I thought the chemistry between Lochley and Gideon, and between Gideon and Galen, was great. Max, Dureena, and Dr. Chambers have some good scenes too. The "X-Files episode" was an unexpected and pleasant surprise. It's a shame they didn't make more episodes.
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9/10
Crusade - The Series That The Sci-Fi Channel SHOULD Have Picked Up
KoshNaranek28 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Back when Crusade first aired on TNT (June 6, 1999 thru September 9, 1999), I was disappointed with some of the episodes (marked with #).

TNT Airing Order: 1. #War Zone#, 2. #The Long Road#, 3. #The Well of Forever#, 4. The Path of Sorrows, 5. Patterns of the Soul, 6. #Ruling from the Tomb#, 7. The Rules of the Game, 8. Appearances and Other Deceits, 9. Racing the Night, 10. The Memory of War, 11. #The Needs of Earth#, 12. #Visitors from Down the Street#, and 13. Each Night I Dream of Home.

Sure, each episode had it's good points, but it seemed like the show had no clear sense of direction, and the episode order seemed "off." The uniform change (from black to gray) took place in "Appearances and Other Deceits," yet other episodes which aired after it, looked like they should have preceded it. The virus screen used in "Patterns of the Soul" isn't discovered until "The Memory of War." Lochley and Gideon first meet in "Ruling from the Tomb," jump each other's bones in "The Rules of the Game," and then are on a first date in "Each Night I Dream of Home." Stuff like that.

Then, I found out the reason WHY the show had no clear sense of direction, and the episode order seemed off, TNT-Atlanta Notes. The last five episodes aired, were not meant to be aired last. "A Call to Arms" (the Babylon 5 movie) was supposed to be aired before the first Crusade episode (which was supposed to be "Racing the Night"). "War Zone" was an episode demanded by TNT because first they were not going to re-air "A Call to Arms," and wanted an intro. episode, and then decided to air "A Call to Arms" AFTER "War Zone", which makes no sense at all. "War Zone" was never supposed to exist, and worse yet, it took the place of an episode that WAS supposed to exist, either "Value Judgements" (which would have given us a Bester episode), or better yet "To the Ends of the Earth" (a real blockbuster JMS-written episode that would also have, among other things, made sense out of the uniform change).

In 2001, when Sci-Fi got the re-run rights for Crusade, they had the chance to make things right, but DIDN'T. Instead of re-starting Crusade, picking up the dangling threads, and finishing the first season, Sci-Fi chose to just air Crusade reruns and go with a pilot for a new series in the Babylon 5 universe. That made no sense, storywise. Crusade fans have been left hanging since September of 1999. Well, at least Sci-Fi asked JMS for better airing order.

Sci-Fi Airing Order: 1. Racing the Night, 2. The Needs of Earth, 3. The Memory of War, 4. The Long Road, 5. Visitors from Down the Street, 6. The Well of Forever, 7. Each Night I Dream of Home, 8. Patterns of the Soul, 9. The Path of Sorrows, 10. Ruling from the Tomb, 11. The Rules of the Game, 12. War Zone, and 13. Appearances and Other Deceits.

The episode order JMS came up with for Sci-Fi was much better....(but I'd move "War Zone" to first, because that's where it chronologically belongs.)....than the TNT order, but because of TNT past interference (the uniform changes, the looping, etc.), and the fact that only 13 of 22 episodes were ever completed, there is no possible 100% correct airing order for the existing 13 episodes. These episodes would have never aired back-to-back. Unfortunately, the DVD set uses the deeply flawed TNT airing order.

Still, even given all these problems, I've come to like almost all of the episodes I initially disliked (except parts of "Ruling from the Tomb"). More importantly, the episodes have caused me to really care about the characters, and want to see their story told. If you ever got a chance to read the three unfilmed scripts (Fiona Avery's "Value Judgements," and JMS's "To the Ends of the Earth" and "End of the Line"), you'd know some of directions Crusade would have taken, and would realize what a crime it is that Crusade was not re-started.

THE CRUSADE STORY MUST BE TOLD.
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2/10
Cancelled...and deservedly so
KingJawa14 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I adore B5, just love its complex characters, amazing effects and engaging storyline And I hated Crusade for the failure to do any of the above Crusade was cancelled for the wrong reasons - TNT were fools, but lets face it, what was actually made was awful The characters were boring and Galen was incredibly annoying. The sets were poor, the effects sub standard, the music was dire and the story's were confused - Earth is dying but seems to function pretty well anyway - and why do they keep coming back home when they have a limited amount of time to explore the galaxy's fringe? Where do all these abandoned planets (which can support life) keep coming from - why haven't they been invaded? The show is just boring, good riddance to a bad show. Only a new cast, new sets, new music and a budget 5 times the same could make this worthwhile
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5/10
Overacting the series.
lothos-370-6900203 March 2017
While Babylon 5 suffered from a few over the top performances, in general its main cast and regulars were all accomplished actors.

Crusade on the other hand is jam packed full of terrible performances. From regulars like Galen who never met a syllable he didn't over emphasise, to a whole catalogue of terrible overly expressive bit parts, this show really has more than its fair share of over the top actors.

Whether it was a decision by the director or just poor acting, every episode contained at least one cringe inducing scene.

While the overall story was interesting and had huge potential some of the plots were very samey and one in particular was so bad, it approached Plan 9 levels of awful.

The special effects remind me of games of the same era, which is reasonable given they were all using the same technology, but it has dated very poorly.

There are a number of shows that were cancelled long before their time, Crusade was not one of them.
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Not bad after you get past TNT's first episode
Margot-97 July 1999
Since the first episode was insisted upon by TNT I wasn't surprised it was lame. But the last few episodes have been quite good. It will be a shame if this doesn't get a chance to grow into something special.
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Finally something worth watching
Braneloc7 September 1999
At last, something worth commenting on - a real sci-fi show with a continuous plot, a familiar universe, and most importantly a resident wizard. Superb, excellent, and other words of high praise. If this isn't picked up for a second season, there is something seriously wrong with the American TV schedulers/Viewing audience.
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Classic science fiction
Lennier-22 September 1999
This show is wonderful! It has complex characters and fascinating stories. I particularly liked the episode "The Path of Sorrows." Shown almost entirely in flashbacks, it reveals tragic events in the life of three characters through an alien that lives on forgiveness. This is pure genius! Unfortunately, TNT didn't see this and cancelled the show before it had even aired.
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6/10
Will have to do a lot better
*Prometheus*11 June 1999
What happened? They really blotched up the first episode. It seemed entirely out of context. I don't mean the plot, I mean the character portrayal. Since when does a Mars senator give orders to an Earth Force vessel?(for example)They have a long ways to go to catch up with B5. Did JMS even direct this episode?
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7/10
wow, did TNT ever screw this up!
MartinHafer20 February 2006
This series was absolutely doomed from the beginning. Not only was it following on the coattails of Babylon 5 (appearing AFTER the original had run its course), but TNT moved this follow-up series so many times, most of its small audience was lost and assumed the show had been canceled (which it soon was).

The show had a bizarre premise. An alien atavistic race wanted to destroy the earth once and for all and sent a plague into our atmosphere. All life was doomed to die within a few years and there appeared to be no hope--except for a few ships that were off world and were madly searching for ANYONE or ANYTHING that could help us cure this plague.

Excellent acting and writing really mean nothing if there's no commitment from the TV execs, so this series quickly tanked. In fact, J. Michael Straczynski, the brains behind the series and writer of most of the episodes, left in disgust because of how Turner Networks handled this. It is available on DVD but don't expect the quality of the original series--it had some excellent moments and a lot of promise but quickly withered due to neglect.
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Good premise, alas, poor implementation.
Spartan0414 February 2005
IMHO, it was a great idea, but it was very poorly produced. The music and special effects were terrible, equivalent to some low budget sci fi sludge. I could honestly make better cgi and music using my home PC, and way better action sequences.

The characters are good, by comparison, (especially the techno mage, who shows real passion. But maybe that's just the British accent). The occasional B5 backstory, including the allusions to present day stuff (ie, the news network and various Earth bound plot elements such as the Pope, India, etc) that pop up from time to time make it interesting. However, those elements cannot save the series from its tacky, B series production.

Hopefully, the series will be resurrected with a HUGE budget, a better soundtrack (please, no more synth-piano), and way better special effects.
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TV at its worst
RIK-2216 July 1999
After the loss of Space, Above and Beyond, and the fact I found Babylon 5 a bit shallow and childish. I thought this might be a improvement. How wrong could I be. This show could have been made in the 60's, the acting's terrible, every character a very shallow stereotype, and the plot to an episode could have been written on a matchbox, and the SFX are poor. Do I need to go on.

This show's about as intellectual as the Teletubbies.
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so far...not so good
Jeremy-935 September 1999
Does anyone remember the first season of Babylon 5? It was pretty appalling on the whole, but lifted by a couple of good performances, characters that clearly had somewhere to go and actors capable of taking them there in style - crucially, Peter Jurasik's Londo.

The first five episodes of Crusade are just as bad as the start of season 1 of B5, but without any characters to speak of. And the different writers don't appear to agree on much, so the opening episodes are decidedly fragmented. The redeeming features are good cgi work, a cut above B5's, interesting music - the change of composer looks like it's going to work out - and a good anchor of a central performance from Gary Cole, who is making an effort while most around him go through the motions or look uncomfortably miscast.

It would appear from some other reviews here that the show picks up. So did B5, so here's hoping. So far, it appears to be an effort to make a show that's more accessible on a week-by-week episode, which means no powerfully sustained tensions, no complex politics, no complex characters, no complex plots, no long words, no interesting thoughts. Not altogether surprising, but a pity all the same.
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4/10
Doesn't Add Up
talon_mortis5 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Crusade was a show with a big challenge, live up to Babylon 5. It didn't, quite frankly. The over-arcing plot was good, most of the characters were well thought out and the ship itself was pretty damned gorgeous. So where did it go wrong? I think the main reason for the cancellation was the 'drabness' that overhung the show. There were a lot of episodes towards the start of the series that were simply weak. From Episode 9 onwards there was a definite improvement, with continuity strengthening and characters being slightly more developed.

Some of the shows good points include the constant references to the Shadows screwing around in the past, possibly hinting at a re-emergence, the Apocalypse Box was a great idea, Max Eilerson, a slimyer company man we never did see. Oh, and of course the episode that directly parodied the X-Files.

Biggest flaw? Galen. He was truly wooden, a big detraction from the pace and mystery of the show. It irks me that of all the characters that they could have brought back for Lost Tales, it would have to be Galen, wouldn't it. Ah well.

So, a cancellation kind of earned. Perhaps B5 was just too good to sequel? After all, Legend of the Rangers came first and that flopped utterly. It makes me wonder just what Lost Tales holds for the future for us.
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Absolutely the best series that never was...
jon_r_h7 February 2004
After B5 finished, I wondered how JMS & co could top that show. Well, Crusades duly came along and it did just that. We should all bow down and pay homage to JMS for bringing us shows of this calibre. I could lament at what a tragedy it was that this series was killed off so quickly. Thing is, it wouldn't be the first time and most likely won't be the last that near sighted studio execs("the suits") will scuttle a show with such great promise. Think back to the original Star Trek, Battle Star Galactica and Logan's Run. All cancelled before there time. Such great promise, so little faith. Out of all the shows that I've mentioned, only Trek was resurrected. Even that took 10 years of badgering by the fans for a feature film to be made and after a further 7 years, we finally got TNG. The trouble with anything thats got the scifi tag is that it will always be regarded as niche and will be seen as a somewhat more risky venture than something more mainstream. This doesn't bode well for a resurrection of Crusades. It would be great to be able to get Crusades on DVD. We can only hope the WB will do the decent thing. Such great promise, so little faith....
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