Crusade (The “Babylon 5” spin-off)

Despite being a huge fan of the brilliant TV series Babylon 5 I had, for a variety of reasons, missed seeing the short-lived spin-off, “Crusade”. Fortunately I was recently able to borrow the DVDs from a friend and so far have watched the first three episodes.

Except they’re not the first three episodes. The Lurker’s Guide lists two different episodes as 2&3, and while episoide 2 (as aired) gives you the uneasy feeling that you’ve missed something, the third episode is so totally completely, totally and utterly out of place, it seems unsurprising that the programme failed to win any ratings. The Lurker’s Guide seems to suggest that the programme was not cancelled specifically due to poor ratings but due to disagreements between the station execs and the Executive Producer, but the whole story—new work by creator of cult-hit has episodes shown out-of-order and subsequent cancellation—is eerily familiar to the story of Joss Whedon’s “Firefly” which was the subject of a recent film review on this blog.

Anyway, this would explain why I haven’t particularly enjoyed what I have watched so far, which is a shame as the storylines have been novel, the universe in which it is set rich and diverse, and there is potential for some good characterisation. Unfortunately there are also some pretty big things wrong with it: the opening credits are so cheesy I have to fast forward through them, the music is badly inappropriate and in places just bad (it sounds too modern—didn’t they realise that all the best sci-fi has classical music for a reason?) and some of the CGI looks just too cartoon-y to be plausible (but I find this is a flaw with many recent productions, Star Wars III was a big offender in this regard too; Battlestar Galactica’s grittier “look” is more realistic looking which makes it much easier to believe).

At least with the Lurker’s Guide to hand, watching the chapters of the story unfold in the correct order will hopefully allow me to look past the flaws and enjoy things a lot better.

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