Babylon 5 at its thoughtful best
If you are an ardent fan of Babylon 5 and enjoyed the spin-off series Crusade, you may enjoy this entry to the Babylon 5 world. If you enjoyed the quieter episodes of Babylon 5 like the season 5 episode, "Day of the Dead," then this entry may be just for you; however, if you preferred the more action packed episodes of Babylon 5 like "Severed Dreams," and did not like "Day of the Dead," this Babylon 5 episode may not be for you. That said, I thought these episodes were solid, thoughtful science fiction that may appeal to anyone who likes thought provoking entertainment. There are two 35-minute clips on this disk, plus extras. The extras would appeal to those familiar with Babylon 5. The first episode, "Over Here" is an episode that stars Tracy Scroggins as Col. Lochley. She is confronted with the dilemma of a crew member who appears to be possessed, and calls in a catholic priest. To paraphrase the character G'Kar from the episode "Mind War," this episode is not what it appears. Though this episode presents some of the current tribulations that the catholic church is facing, IMHO, this episode is not a religious episode. If we think of religion as a means to offer an explanation for what we do not understand or have yet to understand, then this episode offers an alternative explanation for demonic possession. However, the explanation is never expounded in the episode and it is left to the viewer to draw their own conclusions. The second episode, "Over There," stars Bruce Boxleitner and Peter Woodword reprising their roles, respectively, as John Sheridan from Babylon 5 and the technomage Galen from Crusade. A moral dilemma is presented to President Sheridan by Galen that pits Sheridan against his own principles. It is a classic story of right vs wrong and of doing the best that you can given any choice. Those familiar with Babylon 5 will probably appreciate this episode more than those who are not, yet it is a very good piece of story telling. The hallmark of Babylon 5 to many fans was its storytelling. Though this is not an epic 120 hour series like Babylon 5 thus limiting the possibilities for telling a detailed story, I thought that these episodes stood on their own because in the short stories that are told, there was enough there to make me think and consider things that I never thought of. I would have loved to see a feature-length film with this release, yet since I consider myself an ardent fan of Babylon 5, I thought that the stories told here were excellent entries to the Babylon 5 universe. You may note that I have not commented about special effects or green screen shooting, or cgi. This is because it is the story content that most appealed to me in these tales, and from that standpoint, I find that special effects, green screen shooting, and cgi only serve to apply more gloss to an already shiny surface and certainly do not detract from the stories. My suggestion is that if you like thoughtful material, buy this DVD. However, if you are expecting an epic story with lots of action, you will not find it here. If these direct to DVD releases continue, you may get the epic story. In this case, this DVD may be the start of that story that you may not want to miss. All-in-all, to me, this is a very enjoyable job of story telling and was well worth buying.
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