Four years into BABYLON 5, JMS took a mulligan with a brand new prequel movie that served as a pilot for the series’s relaunch on the TNT network! Is it a better beginning to B5 than the original pilot, “The Gathering”? Does it strain credibility to have our cast of characters interacting during the Earth-Minbari War, portrayed by actors who are not actually ten years younger? And why do we call it the Earth-Minbari war instead of the Human-Minbari war or the Earth-Minbar war? And why is Chip only now asking that question? Luckily we don’t distract our recurring guest Steven Schapansky with those last questions!
Put yourself in the mindset of someone who happened to turn on TNT on basic cable in the States on January 4, 1998, and saw Babylon 5 for the first time. Would this have grabbed you? Would it have spoiled too much from Seasons 1-4? How about that buzzcut on Sheridan?
There may not be all that much to talk about in the spoiler thread for this prequel–the project began when there was even doubt there would be a fifth season–but if you see some things that resonate with future stories, this is the place.
It’s a season finale, and it’s entirely cuckoo bananapants! We look into the distant future of the B5 universe along with our traditional season-ending appearance by our beloved Control Group, Steven Schapansky. Plot points are seeded for Season 5, soapboxes are climbed upon, and (spoiler alert) one of your four humble correspondents absolutely hated this episode. Find out who and why, and how horrified the other three were, as we pour one out for the Prime Time Entertainment Network.
Boy howdy, does this feel like the last episode of the entire series! Where could B5 possibly go from here? (We’ll talk about that in spoiler space, of course.) Jason Snell was actually at the studio when they were editing “Rising Star,” so he joins us for a peek behind the scenes!
So. Much. Happens. Y’all.
All of Sheridan’s planning comes together and the Earth Civil War is at an end. Did it happen too fast, or was the payoff worth the buildup? Join us!
It’s a little known fact that American television regulations were changed following the initial broadcast of this episode because it was determined that so. much. stuff. happening in a single episode was hazardous to viewers’ health. The cards are on the table. The rescue mission is underway. Mars awaits.
Welcome to John Sheridan’s darkest ordeal. Good morning.
(Artificial daylight comes on.)
Shall we begin?
Steven Schapansky rejoins us because (1) Mike Vejar and (2) Michael Garibaldi–as we find out just exactly WHAT has been going on underneath Steven’s favorite character’s shaved pate. That sadistic so-and-so Bester is back, and your intrepid podcasters question whether we should have sympathized with him or William Edgars before…well, you know…
The cohosts of B5AG are mightily tired of saying good-bye to the stars of Babylon 5. If Babylon 5 has a moral center, it’s Stephen Furst’s Vir Cotto.
We have only to look at other intended-recurring characters in B5’s early years to see how important it was for the actors to bring JMS’s characters to life. Mary Woronov as Ko’Dath only lasted for one episode (largely due to an inability to work with the prosthetics), leading to the character’s replacement by Julie Caitlin Brown as Na’Toth. When Brown chose not to re-sign for Season 2, Mary Kay Adams attempted but failed to essay the role, leading to the character’s disappearance.
Is there any question that had Stephen Furst not been up to the task, Vir would have possibly met with an “airlock accident” as well? And yet the “comic relief” soldiered on as the first character to challenge Morden to his face, the first Centauri to display shame before G’Kar, the assassin of Emperor Cartagia, and always–always–Londo’s conscience.
Furst went on to direct episodes of Babylon 5 and Crusade. His DNA is quietly intertwined with the whole of the series–a constant reminder of the show’s theme that it is our individual choices that define us and that humans build communities.