Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Dawn of the Third Age of Mankind

Amongst other things, last night I watched "Sleeping in Light", the last episode of the main "Babylon 5" show. I still have a couple of TV-movies to watch, and then "Crusade", and then a couple more TV-movies, but for the most part, basically, I'm done.

Watching that last series of "Babylon 5" is always an odd experience, because the main arc of the show was finished at the end of the previous series, and what follows is both less interesting and rather stretched. In particular, the three episodes prior to SiL always feel particularly weak, being little more than "this character leaves, then this character leaves, then..." That said, the last two episodes do always have a couple of moments that creep up on me every time - in "Objects at Rest", when Sheridan brings the White Star around for "one last look at the place", and we see the new generation standing in the place of the old; and in "Sleeping in Light", when he raises the toast to "absent friends, in memory still bright".

What was odd, though, was that this time the bit that really got me was the final parting between Sheridan and Delenn. I guess time changes, and people change.

I found myself wondering, though... will I ever watch this show again? The thing is, "Babylon 5" genuinely is one of my top-three sci-fi series of all time, but the truth is that both the first and the last series are a bit of a slog, and it's also true that the DVDs are really not of good quality (and there will probably never be a blu-ray or digital release, sadly - the digital models required to upgrade the CGI to HD have been lost). Plus, I know the story, and I'm constantly finding myself with more to do and less time to do it in - will I have the time to dedicate to watching it again? And if and when I do, will I still have the means to do so?

I also found myself pondering just where B5 sits within that "top three"? The other two series are "Star Trek" and "Doctor Who", of course, but which is best? Both those series probably have more really good stuff than B5, but equally, the both have huge amounts of dross, and a lot that's better in concept than execution - "Voyager", "Enterprise", and a big chunk of old-Who. And "Deep Space Nine" owes a fairly significant debt to B5 for changing the nature of series TV, as does much of new-Who.

And then... "Babylon 5" is the only one I have on DVD, and the only one I'd really make time to watch. But, I wouldn't sit down to watch B5 if it were on TV, where I might for either of the other two (since with B5, it's the whole series, or nothing; DW and ST (apart from DS9) don't have that weakness).

I guess there's only one way to find out... Fight!

No comments: