Hulu Voodoo Review: Babylon 5 — The Gathering (Pilot)

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I was there at the dawn of the third age of mankind.

It began in the Earth year 2257 with the founding of the last of the Babylon stations, located deep in neutral space.

It was a port of call for refugees, smugglers, businessmen, diplomats and travelers from a hundred worlds.

It could be a dangerous place. But we accepted the risck because Babylon 5 was our last, best hope for peace.

Under the leadership of its final commander, Babylon 5 was a dream given form. A dream of a galaxy without war. Where species from different worlds could live side by side in mutual respect. A dream that was in danger as never before by the arrival of one man on a mission of destruction.

Babylon 5 was the last of the Babylon stations.

This is its story.

— Ambasador Londo Mollari (Centauri Republic)

As much as I love this show, I have to admit, this pilot is a mess. The story made little sense at the time of my first viewing and makes even less sense after seeing how the entire story unfolded.

The main plot is essentially a detective story where the good guys try to figure out the who\’s and why\’s of a failed assassination attempt on the newly installed Vorlon ambassador. The pilot, as pilots do, is also supposed to introduce us to our characters and set up the series. Here it fails as well. All but two human characters (Commander Sinclair and Security Chief Garibaldi) fail to make the regular series. And the setup to the series at first seems like a slight character moment that slows down an already painfully slow pilot.

This pilot, as with the rest of the series, was painfully underfunded. The production values are woefully weak, although they do improve a bit by the second season. Fortunately, such silliness as muppet/puppet aliens were quickly abandoned for the series. And the wooden acting of the humans would continue to plague most of the first season. But, as I told my friends 15 years ago when the series first aired, if you can fight through abortion of the pilot and the rough edges of the first season, you will be in for a genuine TVLand (not the cable network) treat.

So, if you do chose to watch, feel free to get to know the aliens:

  • Ambassador Delenn (Mira Furlan aka Danielle Russeau of Lost) of the spiritual Minbari race who 10 years earlier, while at war with Earth, surrendered just hours before reaching Earth.
  • Ambassador Molari of the decadent Centauri Republic. Think Rome under Caligula for these guys.
  • Ambassador G\’Kar of the Narn Regime. Think Klingons without honor. Well, maybe more Cardassian than Klingon. Yes, I\’m a nerd.
  • Ambassador Kosh of the Vorlons. Hidden inside his protective (supposedly) encounter suit. Virtually nothing is known of him/her or the Vorlons.

It was hard to find a scene I liked, but for me this is the most interesting given what I know that is to come:

  • 0 Breasts
  • Countless Beasts
  • Minbari-fu
  • Shapeshifter-fu
  • Academy award nomination for Jerry Doyle for his Bruce Willis impersonation back when Bruce Willis was semi-relevant.


King Wally says check it out, only if you dare.

Watch the whole thing, if you dare, here:


  1. If I am able to waste even a handful of minutes in your work day, then I consider my job well done.

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