Thursday, June 21, 2012

Babylon 5: Legend of the Rangers - To Live and Die in Starlight

Read my review of Babylon 5!

As part of my rewatch of Babylon 5, we've been watching the movies to wrap up everything now that we're done with the series. Tomorrow I'll be talking about River of Souls, but for today we've got a tv movie that was actually a pilot to a failed spin-off called Legend of the Rangers.

I remember when this first came out, I was super excited for it. I loved Babylon 5, and I really loved the Rangers. So to see more about the order and meet more Rangers? Great fun, sign me up.

I even remember liking it when it came on the first time. But I think it was probably largely because of expectations and how much I missed the original show, because there are some serious problems with the movie even though there's a gem of a great idea in there.

The basic plot line was great, and I've seen pilots for great series that were much worse than this one. It had a lot of the hallmarks that made Babylon 5 such a great show although "The Hand" left a little bit to be desired (it had a been there, done that kind of vibe. Felt like leftover Thirdspace ideas really).

The characters were okay to start off with, they needed more dimension. As a stand alone movie that would be a problem, as a pilot that's not that bad.

But the movie completely falls apart when it shows the tech for the ship. They make a huge deal out of this weapons system, you can tell the writers and producers thought that it was fantastic and really going to be a hallmark of the show. UGH. I honestly think that half the reason they didn't pick up a show based on this was because they kept going back to that weapons system.

For people who haven't seen it, the basic idea is that the person who is manning the weapons jumps into a virtual reality area with zero gravity. The VR projects the area around the ship and the ranger in charge PUNCHES AND KICKS to fire the weapons.

No, I am not making this up. And it looks as dumb as it sounds. In super tense moments and the middle of battles we kept going back to this. It breaks up all the tension.

One day, I would love to see somebody go back to The Rangers and create a show or a comic series. I don't know if I want JMS to do it because I think creatively he's on to new tracks and he's doing interesting stuff now. But it's a neat concept, it's a shame it wasn't done well right off the bat and we never got that series.

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