Babylon 5 - The Lost Tales (2007)

Actors: Bruce Boxleitner, Tracy Scoggins, Peter Woodward
J. Michael Straczynski
Anamorphic, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
 Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
Number of discs:
Run Time:
75 minutes



When all is said and done, Babylon 5 will probably be counted as one of the best science fiction shows ever for television.

Spanning five seasons and several made-for-TV movies from 1993 through 1998, it told a single epic narrative featuring a host of characters and their several interweaving subplots.

The show focused on a huge space station set on a busy spaceship lane and its inhabitants. The backdrop was one of a perpetual interstellar Cold War which later burst into full-blown intergalactic war. What made the show memorable was how characters evolved, how certain characters we liked at the start of the narrative would turn out to be villains and vice versa. And of course how the Earth simply weren't the good guys either. Investing in character development and intricate plotting, Babylon 5 boasted a highly literate screenplay on a suitable epic scale.

Like other SF shows such as Star Trek, Babylon 5 did contain a few standalone episodes especially with its first season which served as a sort of introductory chapter to later events. By the time the third and fourth seasons rolled around though, Babylon 5 was like the best page-turner epic novels the sci-fi genre had to offer, episodes often ending with the sort of cliff-hangers that drove fans to energized and infuriating distraction. Babylon 5 simply wasn't the sort of show into which you could occasionally dip into to sample an episode or two. Unlike competitors such as Star Trek Voyager it demanded that you watch every single episode right from the very start. It was a huge investment from the side of the viewer, but one which paid off handsomely: Babylon 5 was riveting viewing.

However, outside of the series' central epic narrative the few attempts at standalone movies proved to be less successful. The same goes for Babylon 5 - The Lost Tales, a 2007 straight-to-DVD "full-length" movie (it runs a rather brief 72 minutes however) made almost a decade after the show ended. Lost Tales may be written and directed by celebrated Babylon 5 creator and guru J. Michael Straczynski, but no matter how much one wants to like it, the movie simply falls flat.

Long-time fans will be thrilled at the opportunity of seeing beloved characters of the original show (Lost Tales reunites three of the show's stars) again strolling through the familiar - and curiously under-populated - corridors of Babylon 5. However, Lost Tales is a letdown.

It weds two separate storylines together into one clumsy whole. In the first Tracy Scoggins (how they've aged!) as the Babylon 5 commander has to cope with a demon-possessed crew member on her space station. What should be "The Exorcist in Space" turns out to be a damp squid as the segment is excessively talky. Our demon in question's strategy seems to be to bore everyone to death as characters gab endlessly on dull metaphysical and religious issues.

The second segment in which Bruce Boxleitner as Sheridan must take a decision to kill someone . . . or risk the future destruction of Earth itself is also excessively talky. The dialogue doesn't ring as false as the scripted lines in the other storyline though.

Without its enervating giant cast and many subplots, Lost Tales simply seems as sparse as the sets its characters inhabit. The truth is that back in the show's heyday these two segments would have been regarded as two very poor episodes. While any chance to see some new Babylon 5 material is to be welcomed, Babylon 5 - The Lost Tales is a disappointment.



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