The first episode, "Midnight on the Firing Line," plays at a breathless pace, introducing Commander Susan Ivanova (Claudia Christian) and establishing the conflict between the Narn and Centauri races as represented by their ambassadors, G'Kar (Andreas Katsulas) and Londo Mollari (Peter Jurasik). Then follow several mediocre episodes that initially give the impression that B5 is a Star Trek clone afflicted with "silly alien of the week" syndrome. With "And the Sky Full of Stars," B5 really begins to hit its stride, Sinclair being forced to relive his mysterious experiences during the Earth-Minbari war. Filler shows such as "TKO" are notable only for being controversially violent, while the disappointing "Grail" points to writer-creator J. Michael Straczynski's fascination with Arthurian mythology. "Signs and Portents" introduces the sinister Mr. Morden (Ed Wasser) and offers the chilling first appearance of the Shadows, an ancient alien threat.
B5 hits warp speed with a run of exceptional episodes building to the season finale. The two-part "Voice in the Wilderness" has Mars breaking into open revolt against Earth and the discovery of a "Great Machine" on the dead world Epsilon 3. Referencing 1950s sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet, the story leads to the superb time-travel-based "Babylon Squared." Season finale "Chrysalis" proves more than just the usual television cliffhanger, placing Minbari ambassador Delenn in conflict with her ruling Grey Council and forcing on her a decision that laid the groundwork for Babylon 5's eventually becoming a great love story. --Gary S. Dalkin
One negative note... whoever edited the included booklet should be fired.. I counted 3 glaring spelling errors on a quick skim through...
If you want to hook someone on the series, show them Chrysalis, the season 1 finale. It's head and shoulders above the rest from first season, no question. Do NOT show them Infection or TKO. The best episodes from season 1 are: Mind War, And The Sky Full Of Stars, Signs and Portents (this one still gives me shivers... "I want us to reach out and command the stars!"), A Voice In The Wilderness I/II, Babylon Squared, and Chrysalis. Parliament of Dreams and Survivors are pretty good too.
This season is easily the weakest of the series, but that doesn't mean it's bad.. just that there are a few lame episodes, probably born out of early studio pressure to make the series more "mass-appealing" and "Star Trekky". (ie, disposable, recycled plots, and cheesy action) But it's a crucial chapter of the overall Babylon saga, introducing an unforgettable cast of characters.. the sly, vengeful patriot G'Kar, the disheveled outcast politician Londo Mollari, the cynical and tough Lt. Susan Ivanova, the questionable past Security Chief Garibaldi, the guarded but resourceful Delenn, the ruthless Psi-Cop Bester, the impenetrable and enigmatic Kosh.. and so many more. It's so incredible to see the characters grow, change, and even die over the five year span. Season 1 is good. Season 2 is great. Seasons 3 & 4 are pure solid gold.. absolutely breathtaking. Season 5 doesn't quite capture the highs of 3 & 4, but it's right up there, a worthy conclusion, and the most powerfully moving final episode I've ever seen.
ARGH! I want Season 2 NOW!