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Babylon 5 - The Lost Tales

01/09/2009. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

Buy Babylon 5 The Lost Tales in the USA - or Buy Babylon 5 The Lost Tales in the UK

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Region 2 DVD: pub: Warner Bros Z1 Y12984. 69 minute film with extras. Price: 4.30 (UK) if you know where to look. stars: Bruce Boxleitner, Tracy Scoggins, Peter Woodward, Alan Scarfe, Bruce Ramsay, Keegan Macintosh and Teryl Rothery.

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Probably the best way to describe the story of 'Babylon 5: The Lost Tales' is a parable of decisions. Indeed the common theme between Lockley finding someone possessed on the Babylon 5 space station and Sheridan's dilemma as to what to do about the third successor to the Centauri throne, who being the late Emperor Cartagi's off-spring with murderous intent, is not to take the choices offered but find a better solution.

Released two years ago, I was always a little puzzled why Warner Bros were prepared to pay for a new 'Babylon 5' story, yet giving a tiny budget and only a DVD release. Was it a test to see if there was still a market out there for the B5 Universe? A demonstration of how the series would look with the current quality of computerised special effects? Heaven forbid that they were offering creator/writer/director Joe Straczynski another bite of the cherry purely because they liked him.

After two years, I think we can dismiss another series in the current recession but a tit-bit from the 'Babylon 5' orchard is always worth a look. The spreading of finance this time was focused between paying a small cast and computer effects to get the most for the bucks. In that respect, it does succeed. Watching this on the tale-end of re-watching the original series, it does feel rather Spartan never the less. It's only the intensity of the actors' performance that carries things on.

Adding yet another religious theme but concerned with the Earth harbouring an alien species akin to demons is pushing it though. All right, there was a demon species associated with the Shadows in the original series but I would have it hard to believe it remained that dormant in President Clark's reign. Then again, maybe it didn't? It would explain how so many people followed his lead and like all good demon-like species, it wanted out now.

Sheridan's dilemma presented to him by technomage Galen is an old theme of killing a dictator while still a child to save lives has cropped up in other series. The verdict is out whether he has succeeded in this. Certainly, Sheridan with his limited life-span isn't likely to see the results of his solution. Mayhap, it might just be the springboard to start off with a new generation in the Babylon 5 Universe some time down the line.

I was a little reticent, not to mention busy and pre-occupied, about buying this DVD when it first came out but it's not too bad. The extras should make your minds up. Straczynski's supposition that his original idea of using sock puppets instead of real people no doubt supports the limited budget he had to play with here presents an interesting alternative. Better still are the memorials to the late Richard Biggs and Andreas Katsulas and what they meant to cast and production team which gave some nice insights to both actors. Sorely missed. If you haven't bought it yet, now is the time.

GF Willmetts

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