I've decided to rewatch all of Babylon 5 in chronological order since it had been a long time since I saw the episodes. And I figured I'd take a page from my friend Fer and review them here.
Spoiler Alert Warning!
IN THE BEGINNING:
You definitely only want to watch this first if you've already seen the series. It pretty much gives away all of the big reveals for the first 4 seasons which is the main story of Babylon 5. But having watched it already it was definitely interesting to see it from the beginning.
So many pieces of the puzzle that was the story of Babylon 5 were shown here in a very cohesive narrative. These were events that we found out about as the series went on but we actually got to see them in their entirety for the first time. Like Sheridan blowing up the Minabari ship Black Star and earning the nickname, "Starkiller" or the kidnapping and interrogation of Sinclair from the Minbari point of view.
It was a throughly enjoyable tv movie, its probably not essential to understand the series but as a fan its always nice to see these story flashbacks unfold and show that yes, JMS had planned the main story of Babylon 5 right from the get go.
The good thing about this movie is that the foundation for what is to come is very evident upon a second viewing and again shows the plan that JMS had from the start.
The bad thing is that it still really is a bit weak in many ways and its not up to the quality of the series proper. There's a fair amount of bad acting and even cheesy dialog in this tv movie and that is even more evident after watching In the Beginning right before it. But pilot episodes are rarely the best a series has to offer which is ironic because its the basis for which a series gets picked up for more. It is actually a bit surprising it got picked up for a full series after this but tv Sci-Fi was in its heyday in the 90's and that may have had something to do with it.
That's not to say its bad exactly, just weak compared to what was to follow. And it does its job of introducing the characters and resolving its plot in the 90 minutes it was given and there are some open ended questions you want to see resolved.
Jerry Doyle, Peter Jurasik and Andreas Katsulas are excellent right from the get go and are the high points of the movie. Mira Furlan does a good job also but unfortunately her makup was somewhat distracting to me because although her chin does look more alien than it does later on, it jutts out perhaps too much and doesn't look quite right.
Michael O' Hare is the real let down because he gives a mostly block of wood performance which is not good for the main character and hero.
Patricia Tallman is not as good as she was later in the series but she wasn't bad at all. I wonder sometimes if she was replaced because some executive wanted a hot blonde instead which is what we got with Andrea Thompson as Talia Winters. Tallman is gorgeous but she's not a traditional Barbie Doll type which Hollywood loves so much.
Tamlyn Tomita and Johnny Sekka are just not good in their performances. They just do not deliver the dialog convincingly at all and we can be thankful they were replaced by the wonderful Claudia Christian and Richard Biggs in the series proper.
I'll be back soon with my reviews of the first few episodes of the 1st season!