bitguru blog

a guru of bits, or just a bit player?

Babylon 5: the Lost Tales

Posted by bitguru on October 5, 2007

I was a fan of the Babylon 5 television show, though I started to lose interest during the final broadcast season in 1998. Soon afterward there were a couple made-for-TV movies (which were ok) and a short-lived spinoff series (Crusade, which I didn’t care for at all, though I did watch all the episodes).

After eight years of nothing, production started on another Babylong 5 series: a direct-to-DVD follow-up called the Lost Tales. The creator, Straczynski, implied it would be an anthology series (like the Twilight Zone) set about 8 years after the end of the original series. Each episode would feature one B5 character. It sounded like a good idea.

The first DVD, with two episodes titled Voices in the Dark, came out about a month ago. I finally got a chance to watch it, but I was disappointed.

The first episode features Lochley, who never really interested me the first time around. The plot concerns a supernatural entity who claims to be part of Earth’s god/devil/angel/demon/heaven/hell mythos. Lochley and a visiting priest eventually accept his claim even though there are other entities in the B5 universe that he could just as easily be. The ending is unsatisfactory as Lochley outsmarts the entity and gives a long preachy speech. I personally don’t buy Lochley’s analysis but I think we, the audience, are supposed to.

The second episode features Sheridan and is slightly better. Sheridan is told by someone he trusts that he must assassinate a stranger. In my opinion it’s clear from the outset that he won’t do it, so the plot isn’t all that interesting. Kudos to Keegan MacIntosh, who played the stranger, for some decent acting.

Some notes while I’m here:

  • I sometimes have a problem with Straczynski’s casting in that I often have trouble telling his actresses apart. Perhaps I’m the only one who confused Talia with Lyta in the original series, but when I first saw the reporter in Voices in the Dark I thought it was one of those two characters.
  • In the original series the pope was female. The priest in Voices in the Dark refers to a male pope. I guess it’s possible that he was actually referring to another office (ecumenical patriarch?) but, presuming not, I wonder why the change. Certainly there could have been a papal succession between the original series and the Lost Tales but what was Straczynski’s motive? It doesn’t matter to the plot or anything, but I am curious.
  • I watched all the special features on the DVD, but I’m not sure they were worth my time.

Will I watch the second Lost Tales DVD when it comes out? Probably, but it won’t bother me if I don’t manage to.

One Response to “Babylon 5: the Lost Tales”

  1. Syke said

    Thanks for the update on this – I’d completely forgotten about it, after having first heard it was being done. Just added it to the front of my Blockbuster want list.

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