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Babylon 5 - The Complete Fourth Season (DVD, 2004, 6-Disc Set)
(5 Epinions reviews)
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Babylon 5 Season 4
Aug 23, 2004 (Updated Feb 20, 2005)
Review by Dargen
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Best season out of the 5
Cons:A little pricey for you cheapos
The Bottom Line: B5 is the best TV series ever created.
Of the many science fiction shows I have seen, Babylon 5 stands alone. It is the best. With a storyline that runs 1000 years in either direction, there are few, if any, holes in the plot. The characters are well-developed and each one plays an integral role in the story.
Recommend this product?
A little B5 history
Babylon 5 was created by J. Michael Straczynski, better known as JMS. Five seasons ran between 1993 and 1998, with two spinoffs attempted. Crusade and Legend of the Rangers were not nearly as successful as the original. Crusade lasted only 13 episodes and Legend of the Rangers never made it past a movie. Set in 2258-2262, Babylon 5 is a realistic (if any science fiction show can be realistic) possibility of the future. Set on a space station five miles long filled with a quarter million humans and aliens, Babylon 5 is a one of a kind television series that will never have an equal. Great detail was put into designing the space station, ships, and fighters.
Unlike many science fiction series at its time, Babylon 5 decided to go against the norm and created all of its space scenes with CGI. This was far from ordinary at the time, with Star Trek still using models; many believed that Babylon 5 would never work. Others thought that it was nothing more than an attempt to copy Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. JMS worked from 1988 until 1992, when the pilot aired, just to get B5 on TV. To have his show called this was a slap to the face. JMS proved everyone wrong. To this day, the Babylon 5 fan base continues to grow. Even without syndication on TV, new fans buy the DVDs or borrow them from friends.
The series is addicting, but I will admit that at first, you hate the show. Why did I hate the show? I didnt understand it. I used to watch Star Trek: Voyager (insert rude comment here) and I could understand the story perfectly after missing three years worth of episodes. What is the difference? Babylon 5 is one big story that takes place over five years. I started watching B5 at the beginning of the third season. While this is one of the better seasons, I could not fully enjoy the show because I did not understand the background of the characters and the story that had developed from the previous two years. Babylon 5 is a well-written saga, nothing like that Star Trek crap that we have become accustomed to.
Season 4 is more action packed than any other season in the Babylon 5 series. JMS was forced to combine what he had planned for Seasons 4 and 5 into one season because he was unsure whether or not Babylon 5 would be picked up for a 5th season. Fortunately, it was picked up, but it left him with an entire season to fill with new material. Many believe that Season 5 is not up to par, but I am thankful for its existence none the less. Season 4 is by far my favorite, with Season 3 coming in a distant second.
Yes, the purple box.
As you can probably tell, Season 4 is the 4th Babylon 5 boxed set. Noticeably, Season 4 is the purple box. Why anyone would have the best season of their television show in a purple box, I don't know. In no way does this color affect the quality of the season. Season 4, 2261, is the year the Shadow War was won, and the year of the war against Earth.
Inside this purple box you will find 6 disks and a small pamphlet, describing each episode and a few paragraphs from JMS. The first 5 disks each have 4 episodes, while the final disk only contains 2. Disk 6 also has bonus materials, described later in this review.
Captain John Sheridan - Captain of Babylon 5. Human. Played by Bruce Boxleitner
Commander Susan Ivanova - Second in command of Babylon 5. Human. Played by Claudia Christian. In the pamphlet, it states that Ivanova is a Lt. Commander, however, she was promoted to full Commander at the beginning of Season 2 (The Geometry of the Shadows).
Chief Michael Garibaldi- -Chief of Security. Human. Played by Jerry Doyle
Dr. Stephen Franklin- Main doctor. Played by Richard Biggs. Human. Unfortunately, Richard Biggs passed away earlier this year.
Ambassador Londo Mollari- Centauri Ambassador. Centauri. Played by Peter Jurasik
Ambassador Delenn -Minbari Ambassador. Minbari. Played by Mira Furlan
Ambassador GKar -Narn Ambassador. Narn. Player by Andreas Katsulas
Vir Cotto -Diplomatic attaché to Londo Mollari (his aide). Centauri. Played by Stephen Furst (Flounder)
Lennier -Aide to Delenn. Minbari. Played by Bill Mumy (Danger Will Robinson)
Lyta Alexander - Resident telepath on B5. Human. Played by Pat Tallman
Zack Allen - Second in command of security, eventually promoted to Chief. Human. Played by Jeff Conaway (that weird guy from Grease).
Marcus Cole-Ranger stationed on Babylon 5. Human. Played by Jason Carter.
Episode 1: The Hour of the Wolf
Episode 1 takes place early in 2261. With the belief that Sheridan died at Z'Ha'Dum, Ivanova sets up a search party to rescue Sheridan or confirm his death. No help is given by other worlds because they believe that Sheridan is dead and that anyone who is sent to this planet will not return. This episode shows the stress that the death of Sheridan has put on the station and the loss that the characters feel. Babylon 5 is not your average science fiction show. It doesn't just show what happens as a result of war, it shows how it affects the people who fought and those civilians who were harmed by it. Directed by David J. Eagle.
Episode 2: Whatever Happened to Mr. Garibaldi?
With the loss of Sheridan, many have forgotten that Garibaldi did not return in the defense of B5. G'Kar set out to find Garibaldi, a trip that took him to other worlds and put him in grave danger. Sheridan, seemingly alive, is deep within a cave on the Shadow home world and has discovered an alien named Lorien. Lorien is older and wiser than he seems, and also plays an integral role in defeating the Shadows, but first, Sheridan must make let everything go. Directed by Kevin James Dobson.
Episode 3: The Summoning
This episode is chock-full-o-good-stuff. GKar has been captured by the Centauri and is being tortured by the Emperor. Zack Allen goes out with a search team and rescues Garibaldi. The League appears upset with Delenns decision to attack the Shadow homeworld and they publicly rally against her. A mysterious ship comes through the jumpgate and docks without the consent of Command and Control. The rally is calmed when someone returns, followed by a great speech which rallies these worlds against the Shadows. Directed by John McPherson.
Episode 4: Falling Toward Apotheosis
Its time to take out the Vorlon. Sheridan has settled back in and has decided that if they are to win the war, they cant have a Vorlon spying on them. Killing a Vorlon isnt as easy as you think, and success will only occur at a high cost. At the end, Sheridan has a little surprise, or two. Directed by David J. Eagle
Disk One Special Features
- An introduction to Season 4 by the writer and creator, J. Michael Straczynski.
- An audio commentary is available on Falling Toward Apotheosis with Bruce Boxleitner, Peter Jurasik, Jerry Doyle, and Pat Tallman. I highly recommend watching the commentary after you have seen the entire season. Its funny to see how truly dumb the actors are when it comes to the storyline. Boxleitner, however, seems to know the storyline quite well. Its also fun to know the weird stories that happened behind the scenes. .
Episode 5: The Long Night
The Centauri Emperor is completely insane. It is up to Mollari to take out the Emperor before his insanity kills the 6 billion Centauri who inhabit Centauri Prime. This episode is great because it offers a great little twist, something so surprising that I never expected it until it happened. Meanwhile, on Babylon 5, Sheridan is planning a counter-offensive against the Vorlons and the Shadows. The war is no longer just against the Shadows
Sheridans fleet must also take out the Vorlons. The Vorlons have created ships so big; they can take out an entire planet. Unfortunately, Sheridans fleet can only save one planet, leaving the protection of Centauri Prime up to Mollari. Directed by John Lafia.
Episode 6: Into the Fire
Ivanova is sent out with Lorien to find the rest of the First Ones. If the fleet is to destroy the Vorlons and the Shadows, all of the First Ones are needed. Sheridan has amassed the biggest fleet in history, but still believes that it is not enough to defeat their enemy. In an attempt to protect a friend, Sheridan tells Ivanova that he wants her to stay behind. After revealing a past experience to Sheridan, he agrees to let her fight. Once the battle begins, Sheridan finds out that the war can only be made by a decision, not a battle to the death. Once this is over, the 3rd age begins, there is no one to watch and guide the younger worlds. Directed by Kevin James Dobson.
Episode 7: Epiphanies
Earth has finally turned their attention toward Babylon 5. They have enforced an embargo that no longer allows any Earth ship to travel to Babylon 5. Everyones favorite telepath, Bester, comes on board to make a deal. It has finally become obvious that Lyta is no longer a P-5, her telepathic abilities are growing to levels never experienced by humans. Directed by John C. Flinn III.
Episode 8: The Illusion of Truth
What is more frightening than facing an entire Shadow Fleet? Reporters. An ISN news reporter has come on board Babylon 5 claiming that they want to created an unbiased news report of the situation on B5. After a friendly greeting by both security and the always hostile Ivanova, Sheridan agrees to the documentary, hoping that the truth will be reported. With President Clark in control of ISN, however, the chance of the truth coming out is slim to none. If anything, the report hurt Sheridans reputation back home and does little more than anger him. Directed by Stephen Furst.
Episode 9: Atonement
Delenn has been called to Minbar, her people do not approve that she has developed a relationship with Sheridan. They fear that she is destroying the purity of their race and are willing to do anything to stop her. It is up to Delenn to enter the Dreaming and find something that proves that she truly has made the right decision and that she is not doing it out of remorse. Great details of the Minbari War are discovered, including how it began and why. Delenn played a bigger role in the war than anyone ever knew, including her own aide Lennier. Directed by Tony Dow.
Episode 10: Racing Mars
Garibaldi has changed. He no longer believes that what Sheridan is doing is right. After his interview with ISN, Sheridan no longer trusts Garibaldi and finds him to be a great nuisance. With forced time off (thanks Ivanova), Sheridan decides to confront Garibaldi with his anger. After a minor scuffle, Sheridan leaves, having solved nothing. Marcus and Franklin have been sent to Mars to work with the Resistance. They learn that one of their contacts is under the control of Shadow technology and they must stop it. Sheridan continues the Minbari rituals with Delenn and this time, other Minbari are there to make sure nothing goes too far. Two words: Woo Hoo. Once you watch this episode, you will never look at these two words the same way again. Directed by Jesus Trevino.
Episode 11: Lines of Communication
When you have one news source, one that is feeding you only propaganda; what do you do? Make your own news. In Lines of Communication, Sheridan has done just that. During the Shadow War, Ivanova would broadcast safe places for refugees. Against her wishes, Ivanova developed a face that people could trust. Franklin and Marcus are still on Mars, working to prepare for the upcoming war. Delenn, however, has been plagued by a civil war amongst her people. The warrior caste has decided that they alone should rule their people, and they are willing to do almost anything to achieve this goal. An unknown force has been attacking nearby worlds protected by the Minbari so Delenn and a group of White Stars go to investigate. While there, Delenn encounters allies of the Shadows who have already tried to create an alliance with the religious caste. These allies play a major role in the spinoff Crusade. If you had any doubt in the power of Delenns character, this episode will crush it. Delenn proves her wisdom by discovering who these people were, without it being too late. Directed by John C. Flinn III.
Episode 12: Conflicts of Interest
The Voice of the Resistance finally airs. After much work to boost the power, Ivanova had finally solved the problem. Earthers finally got what they needed
a real newscast which showed only factual information. These broadcasts would help the Resistance gain allies not only back home, but on colonies and nearby inhabited worlds. Without the backing of the nonaligned worlds, Sheridans forces were not as strong as they possibly could be. Sheridan managed to get Mollari and GKar to sign an agreement, an amazing accomplishment because these two had previously been at war. Garibaldi has continued with his efforts against Sheridan by working with Edgars Industries. Lise, a former and current love interest of Garibaldis, is the contact that he must protect. His job has now become personal, providing him with an even greater interest with his new employer. Directed by David J. Eagle.
Episode 13: Rumors, Bargains and Lies
Episode 13 starts out with one of the funnier scenes in the entire series. Like other breakfast scenes, youll get a great laugh or youll just be confused out of this one. Delenn is on her way back to Minbar, and during her journey, she has been told that a civil war has broken out among her people. Memories from her childhood of the beautiful cities of Minbar have been replaced with those of a burning city. As always, Mira Furlan plays a very convincing role. As a result of his breakfast insanity, Sheridan has finally found a way to unite the nonaligned worlds. The major themes in this episode are converting back to the old ways and that ignorance kills. In every almost case, these have lead to disaster. In a very convincing manner, these lead me to believe that JMS is stressing an already well-known message: those who do not know the past are doomed to repeat it. The near death experiences in this episode demonstrate how damaging this ignorance truly can be. Directed by Michael Vejar.
Episode 14: Moments of Transition
The civil war on Minbar has finally ended. The Religious Caste has surrendered to the Warrior Caste. We learn of the Starfire Wheel and the way it was used before the Gray Council. With this knowledge in hand, Delenn, with her infinite wisdom, finds a way to reestablish the equality between amongst the castes and recreates the Gray Council. This time is different; however, the Gray Council has been altered to protect the Minbari from ever having another civil war.
Garibaldi continues to work for William Edgars, bringing packages through B5 without any incidents with security. To annoy Bester (Walter Koenig), Garibaldi hires Lyta to help see around the corners. Edgars is upset with this and orders Garibaldi to fire her. In the end, only Bester gets what he wants.
Finally, stunning footage has been acquired by the Resistance. Earth ships have attacked civilian refugee transport ships, kills thousands of innocents. All stops have been pulled out
the war with Earth has begun. Directed by Tony Dow.
Episode 15: No Surrender, No Retreat
This is truly the turning point in the war to free Earth. Sheridan and his forces have finally attacked ships that are obeying illegal orders and killing innocent civilians. Sheridan is now on the offensive and is slowly moving his way towards Earth. Along the way, he is gaining allies and increasing the size of the fleet. This first attack is made at Proxima, after an illegal order, issued by the President, which created a blockade which attacked fleeing ships from the colony world. Even with an outstanding CGI battle between the White Star Fleet and Earth Destroyers, I do have one major complaint. The second in command of the Heracles was cast poorly. When issuing an important order, she didnt have a strong enough voice to be taken seriously. I found myself laughing as her voice seemed to quiver during one of her lines. Whether or not it was intended to have this character appear to be nothing more than a pushover doesnt matter to me, I feel that someone should have been cast that could be taken seriously.
Two other important notes:
1. The league of nonaligned worlds is providing a defense of Babylon 5 and all of these worlds have agreed not to provide any assistance to Earth.
2. Garibaldi leaves Babylon 5 for Mars.
Directed by Michael Vejar.
Episode 16: The Exercise of Vital Powers
This what I call a Garibaldi episode. For the majority of the 43 minutes, 30 seconds, you learn about what Garibaldi is doing on Mars and what Edgars is planning to do to take back Earth. Its obvious that he is still in love with Lise, which may be a driving force to keep working for Edgars Industry. The real plan for the telepaths is revealed, and it is more disturbing than you may think. To prove his loyalty, to find out the rest of the story, Garibaldi must betray Sheridan and turn him over to Clark.
Meanwhile, on B5, Franklin is working to solve the problem with frozen telepaths. Sheridan wants as many mobile as soon as possible, refusing to tell Franklin the real reason why. When Franklin does get it out of him, he seems more shocked and disturbed than you have ever seen him before. Whatever Sheridan plans to do with the telepaths, however wrong it may be, it has to be done. Directed by John Lafia.
Episode 17: The Face of the Enemy
Garibaldi has contacted Sheridan and told him the Clarks forces have captured his father. The two set up a meeting on Mars, something that Ivanova doesnt approve of. To get her off his back, Sheridan, in his infinite wisdom, offers Ivanova the chance to command the fleet in his absence. Knowing Ivanova and her weakness for this kind of command, Sheridan was able to convince her and went to Mars.
The next part of this episode makes it the best scene in all of Season 4 (Sleeping in Light tops everything, hands down). With a mixture of still photographs and the use of a strobe light, director Michael Vejar makes this scene simply amazing to watch. What makes this scene so important? Garibaldi has betrayed Sheridan, leading to his capture. After learning of his betrayal, Ivanova orders Garibaldi shot on sight if he shows up at B5. Once Sheridan is in custody, Garibaldi is told the rest of the plan that Edgars has in store. We soon learn that this was not Garibaldis fault. For anyone that has seen the earlier seasons, such as Season 2, you know that Talia Winters had been reprogrammed by the Psi Corps to behave in a way that was suitable to their needs. Much of the same thing has been done to Garibaldi, which will fuel his hatred of the Psi Corps
if he survives the wrath of Ivanova. Misc. notes: Edgars is dead, Wade is dead, Lise is missing, Delenn returned to B5 from Minbar, and an audio commentary is available for this episode. Directed by Michael Vejar.
Episode 18: Intersections in Real Time
Forty three and a half minutes of the interrogation of Sheridan. Captured, bloody, beaten, and bruised, Sheridan is locked in a rather large cell. He is interrogated by day and forced to listen to a recording at night. This facility on Mars is dedicated to breaking him physically before they can break him mentally. Their goal is to get him to read the confession, one that states that he admits to treason, mutiny, murder, and a variety of other crimes, out loud and in public. A posthumous confession is not acceptable, as there will always be doubt. During his breaking, we see the use of Pain Givers, metal bands that go around the neck and feet. When the prisoner comes within a certain distance of the interrogator, a certain level of shock is delivered. Also, pain may be given at any time by using a device. These were first seen in Season 1 and used by the Narns, who actually invented them. One phrase keeps being repeated throughout this entire episode you cannot beat the system. In order to regain his freedom, Sheridan must do just that, beat the system. Hallucinations of Delenn seem to provide hope for Sheridan, even when he believes that he is facing death. Misc. notes: brown mustard with seeds is best for corned beef sandwiches. Directed by John Lafia
Episode 19: Between the Darkness and the Light
By far one of my favorite episodes. When the standard interrogation procedures fail to work, interrogator number two resorts to drugging Sheridan in the hope that it will distort his sense of reality. Then hope to gain valuable information about the Resistance by convincing Sheridan that he had escaped and that he was talking to Franklin, not an interrogator. This still doesnt work and the idea of threatening to kill his father is brought up. If they kill him, if will only strengthen Sheridans will and nothing will be accomplished. Their goal is to make Sheridan believe that he was acting out of the influence of aliens, not that he was doing what he and many others felt was right. The truth doesnt matter to Clark, only that Sheridan is stopped and his power is strengthened.
Garibaldi, now no longer under control by Psi Corps, wishes to make amends with the Resistance by helping to free Sheridan. When they refuse to speak to him, he is beaten, captured, and restrained. Number One (Marjorie Monaghan), offers a PPG (gun) to Franklin so that he can have the honor of killing him. Franklin refuses, wanting to know his side of the story. After a minor scuffle with the unwilling Mars Resistance, Lyta scans Garibaldi and confirms that his story is true. Garibaldi, Franklin, Lyta, and a member of the Resistance now set out to free Sheridan.
Ivanovas Fleet (formerly Sheridans) is clearing the way back to Earth, taking out Earth destroyers along the way. Normal Ivanova is dangerous, angry Ivanova is terrifying. Along the way, one of their prisoners offers up some information that Clark knows what they plan to do next. Once Ivanova hears this information, she decides that the White Star Fleet has the best chance of destroying these ships. These ships, however, are not your normal fleet. Ivanova wins the battle; however, she is critically injured during this fight. Their White Star is destroyed, but not before Marcus ejects them in a life pod.
Other important stuff that I wont go too far into: Garibaldi frees Sheridan, Alliance ships will fight along side Ivanovas Fleet, Sheridan is reunited with Delenn (awww), Ivanova has two weeks to live, and Ivanova requests that Sheridan command the last battle in his old ship.
Again, bad acting takes its toll in this episode. Number One and some stupid prison guard (one that likes Garibaldi) are pathetic. I have seen Number One play some other role in a different TV show and she played it exactly the same. Prognosis? Bad acting. These two added nothing to their roles and did little more than memorize and repeat lines. I understand, with the amount of CGI in this episode, you cant really spare the extra money to buy some good acting. Directed by David J. Eagle
Episode 20: Endgame
Lots of CGI and blowing stuff up makes this one of my favorite episodes. Its finally time to free Earth and Mars. Sheridans forces are waiting in hyperspace near Mars and are ready to attack when everything is ready. What are they waiting for? Remember our telepath popsicles? Sheridan has 30 of these telepaths placed on the ships orbiting Mars. Once telepathically contacted by Lyta, they wake up and bond to any electronics surrounding them. 30 lives are being sacrificed to save 30,000.
Marcus is forced to send Ivanova back to B5 so that she can spend her final days in a more comfortable place. He argues against it, saying that she would rather be at the battle, but eventually gives in. During an argument with Lennier, Marcus learns that there is nothing useable on Babylon 5. I believe that Lennier knew Marcus would dig into it and find out how to save Ivanova (which, in fact, he does). The price of saving Ivanova, however, is very high.
With the fleet of ships surrounding Mars no longer a problem, Sheridans Fleet directly to Earth. To make sure that none of the telepath ridden ships become a problem, Delenn and the other worlds stay behind. Upon reaching Earth, Clark has already made a decision that causes those around him to turn on him. We do, however, get a nice little speech from Sheridan. Clark takes his own life (YAY! HES DEAD!) but turns the planetary defense grid on Earth. It is no longer a battle against Earth to save Earth, it is instead a battle against time. Amazing CGI scenes take place. There is one scene that stands out (and Im sure youll agree if you ever see it) that even now, after a dozen times watching it, still sends shiver down my spine. I could also do without the sobbing news reporter at the end. She annoyed me to the point where I wanted to shoot her. Directed by John Copeland
Disk Five Special Features
An audio commentary is available for Episode 17: The Face of the Enemy. JMS and the director do an outstanding job of explaining what went into filming the capture and how long it took to make the scene as remarkable as it is. Much can be learned from this commentary and you will definitely appreciate the episode even more after you watch this.
Episode 21: Rising Star
Sheridan has turned himself over to Earth so they can decide whether or not they will press charges. Acting President Luchenko confronted Sheridan and told him that half of Earth Force praises him; the other half wants to shoot him. I dont like Luchenko, she reminds me of my former Calculus professor. I hated that woman. Luchenko strikes a deal with Sheridan; he will resign with no charges pressed against him and his crew will receive amnesty.
Ivanova, now awake and angry at Marcus, has confined herself to MedLab and is hostile to anyone who comes near her. Franklin finally returns to B5 and is allowed in to speak with her. He finds a sobbing Ivanova who wishes that she could have returned Marcus feelings. Due to contract problems, the character of Ivanova did not return for Season 5. Blah blah blah, Ivanova gets stationed elsewhere and is promoted to the rank of Captain.
A new alliance has been formed. The Interstellar Alliance and its new President, Sheridan, offer to allow Earth membership in return for peace. The White Star Fleet and the Rangers are now keepers of the peace for this new alliance.
Sheridan and Delenn are married on the trip back to Babylon 5 in small, private ceremony. GKar and Londo sat in a room discussing the wedding, with GKar eating the rice from the wedding and smiling. GKar is missing his prosthetic eye, the eye that can transmit back to him even when it is outside of his body. Guess where the eye was.
Directed by Tony Dow
Episode 22: Deconstruction of Falling Stars
The last episode of Season 4. The major issue in this episode is How will Sheridan and the Alliance be viewed in the future? The Alliance is analyzed in 2262, 100 years, 500 years, 1000 years, and 1 million years from the creation of the Alliance. Historical records are altered, destroyed, or used to the advantage of others. In the end, it is decided, it doesnt matter if they are remembered, they did what was right. Directed by Stephen Furst.
Disk Six Special Features
-An audio commentary is available for Deconstruction of Falling Stars.
Commentary about how the music of Babylon 5 was created. Christopher Franke is the composer.
-No Surrender, No Retreat Suite
Recap of Season 4 (important scenes) accompanied by music. 6 min 42 sec.
-The Universe of Babylon 5
Babylon 5 facts. In here you can find the Babylon 5 gag real (3 min 22 sec).
To find it: The Universe of Babylon 5->Personnel Files ->Click in the 5 in the bottom right hand corner.
What is it: Not a gag real, we already found that. This Easter Egg is the opening credits shot of B5 without the completed CGI shots, You can the completed one next to the crude one for comparison. Its nice to look at.
-Also available is information on Executive Producer Doug Netter and Creator J. Michael Straczynski.
When this first came out on DVD, I managed to get it for $65 from Overstock.com. Here are the current prices:
Think about it
you get 22 episodes and special features of the best TV show ever created for about $75. Its yours forever. Thats a steal.
Congratulations if you read the entire review. If you skipped the bulk of it, thats okay, I would have done it too. If you arent willing to pay $75 a season, borrow it from a friend. B5 is no longer in syndication and it is doubtful that the Scifi Channel will ever play anything good again. Whatever it takes to watch it, Babylon 5 is worth the time and effort.
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