I decided to start watching the “Babylon 5” series again since I’ve only seen the whole thing through the 3rd season and occasional episodes after that.
So I just watched “Babylon 5: The Gathering,” pilot movie for the series and the first few episodes.
First the pilot, which I hadn’t realized I’d never seen before. The format was standard 4x3 TV and only 2.0 audio which was kind of disappointing. The picture quality overall didn’t scale up to the 134” screen very well. The CGI shots looked great but the regular shots were very graining and not in the sometimes good vintage movie way. More like a smoothed out YouTube video way. The audio wasn’t bad for 2.0 but clearly nothing to get excited about.
Sure was interesting to see how much of the show was set up right from the start, especially the relationships between the characters, and also to see how much they changed from the pilot to the series. I didn’t like the original makeup for Delenn, in the show she looks good but in the pilot not so much. I liked the character of First Officer Takahima, would have been interesting to see her in the series. I didn’t, however, like the original doctor, so I’m glad they dumped him.
The series itself is formatted for DVD (AFAIR the original was 4x3) in 16x9 and 5.1 audio (AFAIR originally Dolby Surround). The CGI effects appear for now to be lesser quality than the pilot OTOH most of the regular shots look much better, however there is occasionally a shot with that YouTube video look to it. One nice thing about the video are the colours and black level. The audio is a step up from the pilots 2.0 but not a big one. Not feeling any of the .1 at all. As for the 5 regular channels most of the audio action is up front with the occasional panning effect but nothing amazing. Most of the surround effects are just ambient station noise which does enhance the overall effect making the series feel more immersive than the pilot.
Although I liked the Takahima and would like to have seen more of her the character who replaced her, Susan Ivanova, rocks. The new doctor, Franklin, is so much better than the original. Besides Ivanova, Delenn and Lando were my other favorites. Overall the show had some bad acting but I like the way the above three were played. The writing seems better in the first few episodes than in the pilot but what I like most about this show was it’s epic scope. In many ways this series seems refreshing compared to the way-to-many-simultaneous-story-threads of the Galactica franchise.
Just watching the first few episodes I’m already hooked again. And it’s been long enough since I last saw any of it that it’s almost like watching it again for the first time.
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