04 March 2006

Babylon 5, Season 3

I finished the Season 3 DVD's yesterday, though not all the special features. Overall, very very well done (except for the first few episodes, which were rather rocky). One thing the I really like about Babylon 5 is that all of the glimpes of the future eventually come to pass (and often in a way entirely different from what we might have expected). This season contains my favorite (2-part) episode: War Without End. I love this line (as best I remember it): "Delenn, the disappearance of Babylon 4 is one of the greatest mysteries of our time. And now you're telling me that we stole it? Are going to steal it? Will have stolen it?"

The thing that I don't like about Star Trek is that, with a few exceptions, every episode is independent from every other episode. Yes, there are some story-arcs, but those are the exception in Star Trek. The advantage to that format is that you don't need a huge synopsis to figure out what's going on, but it feels...flat to me. Stale. After Buffy and Angel, where the entire season had its own story arc, I got rather sick of the independent episode format (and though I love to watch reruns of M*A*S*H, I think it could have been done much more effectively as a running story instead of a bunch of independent stories). I know B5 came before Buffy and Angel, but I didn't see it until it came on reruns on Sci-Fi. I think it was the first major series to use that format. If there was an earlier one, I'd like to hear about it and compare.

At any rate, back to Season 3. The best episodes (in order) are 4: Passing Through Gethsemane, 9: Point of No Return, 13: A Late Delivery from Avalon, 16&17:War Without End and essentially the rest of the season (Eps 18 through 22). Though I do have a question about Ep. 19 (Grey 17 is Missing): Why didn't anyone check on this when Babylon 5 first opened up for business? Yeah, sure, I can see a level getting cut off somehow, but that no one tried to check it out for three years? However, the rest of the episode was quite good, and the Grey 17 part felt sort of like the Zeppo episode on Buffy (a chance for a usually background character to shine). *shrugs*

So...now I'll be on the lookout for another sale before I can acquire Season 4. In the commentary for Season 2, J. Michael Straczynski (whoa, I spelled it right on the first try) mentioned that all the seasons end in cliffhangers because he was always afraid the network would try to cancel the show. So Season 2 ended with the pilot character recording a Shadow vessel before dying. Season 3 ends with Sheridan seemingly doomed on Z'Ha'Dum. I might be more strident about acquiring the next season if I hadn't already seen enough of Season 4 to know that Sheridan survives. :^D

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