Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers: To Live and Die in Starlight
A disgraced Ranger takes command of an old, possibly haunted, ship on an escort mission that encounters deadly peril from a new enemy civilization.A disgraced Ranger takes command of an old, possibly haunted, ship on an escort mission that encounters deadly peril from a new enemy civilization.A disgraced Ranger takes command of an old, possibly haunted, ship on an escort mission that encounters deadly peril from a new enemy civilization.
So now I have to ask myself. What was J. Michael Straczinski thinking when he wrote Babylon 5: Legend of the Rangers? I eagerly anticipated this premiere, largely because I felt if left to his own devices (which was clearly not the case on Crusade), he might create something that measured up to the genius of the series. Not so. In fact, the premiere of LotR (not to be confused with LotR of the big screen!) was a tragedy. Hackneyed, confused, and sometimes laughably bad, this will not earn him more fans.
There are a few bright spots. An early scene between Martel and Dulann hints of Straczinski's ability to humanize his relationships. And Andreas Katsulas is always a pleasure to watch; his imposing presence as G'Kar always made Babylon 5 a joy and his presence in this film is much the same.
Tragically, we see too little of both of these things in LotR. Instead we are treated to some truly bad acting in the form of Myriam Sirois as Ranger Cantrell. This character is as superfluous as she is poorly conceived. As weapons officer, she has little more to do than to make laughably ludicrous punching and kicking motions in the virtually reality weapons chamber. This outlines a big problem in and of itself; the need to include gratuitous special effects, even if there is no logical reason for their existence. The virtually reality weapons are the perfect example of this. They make no sense, they look absolutely ridiculous, and they appear *far* too often.
Contrast this to the original series, whose special effects were notoriously "fake" looking, quite obviously conceived on a limited CGI budget. But that was part of the charm of the show; our attention could be drawn temporarily to the eye candy of the effects while our concentration remained squarely on the relationships.
If the show actually goes to series after this premiere, I will give it a shot. After all, if I had based my opinion of Babylon 5 solely on the basis of the premiere (Babylon 5: The Gathering), I'm not sure I would have watched the show either. But Mr. Straczinski, really. I know you can do better than this.
- Feb 7, 2002