February 13, 2017
I had the urge for a few months now, every few years I get the Babylon 5 urge, just like I get the DS9 urge every few years. Last year I finished DS9 so it was about time I got back to Babylon 5. I always find it an exciting time, knowing you are about to start watching one of your all time favourite shows again.
Of course one can only start with the pilot, the TV movie "The Gathering". On the DVD set I have, the version of "The Gathering" is as close as J. Michael Straczynski intended the pilot to be, so not the original aired version. When the movie starts you hear the voice-over of Londo's voice while seeing the gorgeous Babylon 5 which looks fantastic, even now, 25 years later. Of course it all looks a bit dated, but still very much watchable and the station itself looks marvellous still.
For me it's always strange to see how G'Kar looks in the pilot as opposed to in the series, same counts for Delenn, they both look better during the show itself. I also always find it strange, when I start with the pilot, that Ivanova (Claudia Christian) isn't in the command center.
Somehow Lt. Cmdr. Laurel Takashima (Tamlyn Tomita) never really gelled for me, don't know why she isn't on the show, but I'm glad Clauda Christian took over that role. Same kind of issues I had with the good doctor, doctor Benjamin Kyle, somehow I could not find a click with him, and I've seen the pilot at least 10 times now, but still he's no Doctor Franklin.
But knowing it will only be for the pilot, I don't mind it that much, I just enjoy the The Gathering with all it's flaws but all in all, I believe it's a good pilot. I so much enjoy Commander Sinclair's character, don't get me wrong, I love Bruce Boxleitner as Captain Sheridan, but I also always have loved the Commander Sinclair character, the way he handled things, the way he presented himself, his calm demeanour, I loved that about him. I remember when I originally watched Babylon 5, when it started out, I have to admit, I had to get used to the character Sinclair, but by end of the first season, I absolutely loved him and it was a mixed feeling when I heard he left the show because I also liked the actor Bruce Boxleitner a lot and brought a different kind of chemistry to the character as Captain Sheridan.
So starting the pilot always makes me happy because I get a full season with Michael O'Hare's character Jeffrey Sinclair, I ultimately think, he would have been a great commander had he'd stay on beyond the first season.
Well the story itself is quite simple, Babylon 5 finally gets it's fifth and final ambassador on board of the major races, a Vorlon ambassador but of course an assassination attempt on his life jeopardizes the future of the station, as well as Sinclair because he's about to be shipped of to the Vorlon home world to stand trial for trying to assassinate the Vorlon ambassador.
Of course Sinclair is not the assassin and with the help of his security officer Garibaldi, he finds out who actually tried to do it and that ambassador G'Kar had something to do with it. Sinclair cannot actually prove anything but he tells G'Kar what he suspects and tells him he has spiked his drink with nanotechnology which allows Sinclair to track him for the coming years.
He tells Garibaldi that there was in fact nothing in his drink because if there was anything, it eventually would be found and now, his physicians would keep on looking for it, so G'Kar would have to go through all sorts of tests.
One of the last scenes of my favourite, when after hearing he had that nano thing in his stomach, he flees out of Sinclair's apartment, where Londo and Garibaldi just come off the elevator, when Garibaldi makes a guesture of using a remote control and saying "beep" "beep". Londo hearing that and imitates what Garibaldi just did to G'kar. G'kar is panicking and chasing into the elevator.
What are the best moments (besides the one I described just now):
-Well, the opening, seeing the station Babylon 5, hearing the voice over of Londo
- The scene where G'Kar meets up with Lyta Alexander and proposes a mating between him and Lyta in order to create telepaths, because the Narn don't have telepaths. He asks her if she prefers to be conscious of unconscious during the mating, he hopes the first but he does not know her pleasure threshold....
- I also like the scene where Delenn and Sinclair sit in the garden, where immediately feel there is a connection between those two characters
- Of course at the end, when Sinclair exposed the purpertrator, who turns out to be a Minbari, when the Minbari tells Sinclair that there's a hole in his mind. Of course Sinclair immediately knows he's referring to the 24-hour gap he has in his mind at the end of the Earth-Minbari war.
- What I also loved was to see all those Vorlon Ships enter Babylon 5 space when they come for Sinclair.
It was a good Re- watch, 90 minutes, a very good pilot, I believe that this version is somewhat better than the original one so I agree with J. Michael Straczynski that this is at least a better version. Recommended REWATCH! Now I am looking forward to the start of the first season.