I have completed watching Babylon 5 and I was deeply impressed. Like Buffy and Angel, what makes Babylon 5 special is that the characters are aloud to be painfully human. They are allowed to faultier and even fall. There are times that you hate even beloved characters. Yet as much as the characters are allowed to fall, they are also allowed to rise anew. I wish the ending of the series had been one episode more, but I can honestly say I finally “get” Babylon 5. It is a combination of humor, drama, true to life, and ideas that is rarely seen. It is a brilliant series.
Seasons 3 and 4 are amazing. The Origin and Immediate aftermath of The Shadow War, plays center stage. I thought the resolution to the Shadow War was a bit contrived and lame, but then again the younger races could not win. They needed the dues ex machina. Even thought the Vorlon turned out to be pretty messed up, I still like them, especially Kosh. I am equally impressed with how Captain Sinclair was used to play a critical role, without having to have screen time. I can’t think of anything that seasons 3 or 4 really much wrong. It was start to finish well paced, exciting, and amazing.
Season 5 faltered a bit. It felt like the great pacing of seasons 3 and 4 was broken. Things felt too fast or too slow. While seasons 5 was no more ambitious than 3/4 it felt like there was too much. The mix of plotlines was not at a good level. Don’t get me wrong, season 5 was really great, but just not as good as 3 and 4. One really nice thing about Season 5 was the shift of the show went more to the supporting characters. I was pretty tired of Delenn (with that STUPID look she always has on her face) and Sheridan was getting stale. So moving them out of the lime light was really nice and needed. The supporting cast was great. I do NOT like what was done with Lenier’s character. Lenier was one of my favorite characters in the show and he when he betrayed everyone I was really mad, especially because he was not allowed to redeem himself. We assume he did (based on the last episode) but it was not fair to his character, and the extreme nature of his actions seemed out of place. It was very poorly done. Also I wish there had been one more episode between the second to last episode and the last episode. The final episode takes place 20 years after the second to the last episode and was primarily about Delenn and Sheridan. It would have been nice to have had one episode between the last two, showing us what happened a bit more between (like with Lenier).
I also want to say that I truly appreciated the creative nature of certain episodes. The episodes that were ISN Newscasts were particularly well done. Creatively playing with the narrative from time to time really does a lot to keep the show fresh (ala Buffy).
I also have to mention the fact that Walter Koenig (Chekhov on Star Trek) was absolutely charming and amazing as Bester. Koenig was a regular foil for the crew and at times quite evil. He was great. He is probably my favorite character on show. Partly because he was allowed to have a point of view and at times be a real human being. Like when the new recruit came onto him. Most writers would have had him betray his lover (who was catatonic) for a cheap thrill. But Bester turns her away, quite kindly, remaining true to his love. It shows a depth to the character. He may be an elitist but he is not a monster, which makes him a far better character. Koenig also perfectly portrays Bester. He exudes smug, confidence, and humor. I heart Bester!