Babylon 5 on Blu Ray

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Crash
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These discs arrived today.
It comes in quite a chungus of a blu ray case, but I'm told that we're watching the end of Voyager first.
So I can't say yet what the picture looks like.

Has anyone seen the Journey Home animation?
That looks interesting.

I'm also hankering after Fireball XL5 on blu ray, since my daughter really liked it.
It was interesting to see the episode where the idea for the aquaphibian had come from for Stingray.
Dream big and bold and daring.
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felice
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I haven't watch the Road Home yet. My copy was massively delayed and the series set ended up arriving first, and it didn't seem right to slot it into the middle of season one. Definitely looking forward to seeing it once we're done with the series, but that will be a while.
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Crash
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100%

I think the animated method is a good way to continue the series now that a number of the cast members have left us for somewhere better...
Lower Decks is the current Star Trek that feels the most like Star Trek for me and sometimes it hit the right note.
The live action shows have nothing in common with it, is my reaction to them.

Whenever I see the Road Home title, for some reason it makes me think of the ending theme from Yukikaze, which was an impressive and enjoyable anime:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ik-Hjc3Eihw
It has a very wistful and nostalgic feel, which I imagine this new B5 feature will.
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Crash
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The picture quality of the main series of episodes looks good, from what I saw.
It's a lot better than Andromeda where they did a (probably) cheap AI upscale when the technology first became available from one of the worst sources they could find.

I had quite a fun time finding the introductory episode...
The Gathering is tucked away on a separate disc right at the back, hidden under the season 5 discs.
They don't seem to have touched that episode from the point of view of remastering, which is a bit of a shame.
That being said, the saturation and contrast are pretty good and there's nothing wrong with the picture but they've trimmed it to 16:9, which makes the framing look a little unnatural.

This is the special edition of The Gathering, where you don't get to see the 'zoo' sequence, which I thought was quite cool.
I also like the doctor better in this pilot, than the one from the main series.

The CGI on this show really isn't bad: even on the pilot. I don't know why people like to give Bab5 such a hard time for the CGI.

Bab5 has a funny quality, where you feel as though you're watching a theatre production, much of the time.

One remark from the pilot episode made me laugh. It mentions that the UN is dissolved at some point in the future. I thought the show was supposed to be a sci-fi dystopia. :D
Dream big and bold and daring.
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Crash
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Well, we made our way through all 5 seasons on the blu-ray ...
The show looks a lot better this way.
The CGI starts to get a lot more detailed and realistic in season 2 and by season 3, it's looking really good.

The picture quality gets noticeably worse when it cuts from pure live-action shots to composite shots with characters and CGI.
Where the characters are quite prominent in the shot, their faces look bleary and washed-out.

The CGI-only and establishing shots of Centauri Prime and Minbar, for example, where people are walking around in the distance on a CGI background look surprisingly good.

It's an amazing series that looks vastly better on blu-ray overall.
The only problem is that the increased detail level shows up a few issues with the shaky sets from time-to-time as well as some interesting and unexpected details on various computer displays.


I had a look at the Road Home blu-ray but sadly wasn't all that impressed.
I tried to keep my expectations moderate before watching it, but the animation style made the gritty and colourful neon world of the station look tasteless and bland.
Even the whitestars were a nondescript grey, rather than the white and purple.

I thought that the movement of the starfuries was really jerky compared to the way they move in the show, sadly.

One impressive thing was the opening sequence with the station and the starfuries, which filled in a sense of scale of the station that the series itself never quite seemed to carry across to the same extent.

In the end, I felt like the Lost Tales 'movie' succeeded on its own terms, in its own quiet way, better than Road Home, because it improved on the CGI, showed a few glimpses of things that people wanted to see - such as a warlock class ship actually firing something.
Also, the Lost Tales stories had wider implications outside of just the one character: Sheridan.

Road Home felt a bit like a Thunderbirds episode where they only end up rescuing themselves.
Equally, Sheridan wasn't able to effect any change in the places that he was carried to by the effect of the tachyon exposure.


I will say that, every time I watch the last episode of Babylon 5 - Sleeping in Light, it affects me more and more.
It gives you a palpable feeling of absolute bereavement that follows you around for days like a bad dream that you feel the effects of after you wake up.


I now feel the absolute need to watch Call to Arms and Crusade to try and balance that feeling out.

It's possible that, after watching Sleeping in Light, I was in need of an absolute barnstormer of some sort, which Road Home clearly was not.
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Serenity
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The blu-rays are undoubtedly the best the show's ever looked. There's obvious room for improvement, most prominent being the VFX/composite shots which are upscaled 480i. Still looks better than the DVDs though thanks to the lack of crop/stretch and the decision to revert back to 4:3 instead of 16:9. Sadly, unless the VFX are suddenly reworked/re-rendered then that's about as good as they're going to get.

The live-action footage though looks marvelous, which of course it should, being from a 4K-scan, but you're right, while it highlights extra detail like never before that also obviously means some flaws and deficiencies along the way. Nothing I can't live with though.

Shame about THE GATHERING. I believe the original assets for that one were hugely water-damaged when the storage facility was flooded. Still, it would have been nice to have the unspecial original version instead of this. I just kept my DVD for that one instead, which is better quality anyway.

The packaging for the set is the worst thing about it. I have the complete universe boxset so tbh I just swapped out the DVD discs for the BDs instead and keep them there. Because there's fewer discs I could even keep the DVD discs with the extras on as well so best of both worlds.

THE ROAD HOME, was ok. The elephant in the room is that so many of the original cast are gone and had to be replaced. Whilst they did a great job, it was still jarring. The story itself seemed fairly derivative, Sheridan traversing the B5-multiverse seemed to be a bit "jumping on the bandwagon" for me. It was a decent watch, but far from B5 at its best. I would agree that THE LOST TALES was the better "revival" effort. Not so much the Lockley story, but certainly the Sheridan one.

Unfortunately, just as THE LOST TALES before it I doubt that THE ROAD HOME will suddenly spawn a new wave of interest and output for the show. The oft-talked about reboot/remake/revival/whatever seems to have floundered, and just like there were no more LOST TALES forthcoming I'll be surprised if there's another animated movie. The moment seems to have gone. There was the talk of a new series, the original series being remastered in HD, and the new animated movie, but all of that has kind of ebbed away so I'm not expecting much more. Hope to be pleasantly surprised though.
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
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Crash
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I had a read around the B5TV.com forums and the B5 reddit, which is full of entertaining comments about all aspects of the show.

The views there on Road Home were often similar to mine: that Sheridan lacked any agency to make changes wherever he landed up and it became a ghost train ride that was quite dull in places.
Another thing that was complained about was the changes to the shadow aliens and their vessels: particularly the weird, new giant ship, which just looked like a dumb space monster, rather than an efficient killing machine.

In the end, the conclusion seemed to be that JMS had run out of stories that he was able to spin on such a limited budget and amount of screentime.

I was quite amazed at how few resources were involved in making Lost Tales, when I saw the special features on the DVD.
I wonder how little money Warner had given him to make the film. I guess this is what brought about JMS's jokes about sock puppets that he made a few times in the interviews.

You certainly seem to be right though. There will be no renewed interest from the studios in Babylon 5 after this. Its time has been and gone - even though the Road Home blu-ray sales were strong, which demonstrates a strong appetite for more B5 from the fans.


More widely, there seems to be a great apathy from studios about producing sci-fi now: even when things like Expanse, Foundation and Mandalorian have done well more recently.
If Star Wars Acolytes is an indication, the shows that are being made seem not to be what the fans want.

At the same time, the design work that went into Star Trek TNG and DS9 in its heyday to make the show full of wonders and excitement, as well as maintain a certain level of consistency and realism, is almost absent in the newer productions.
When I think of the newer Star Treks, those shows are ever-more populated with lowest-rung concept designs that, prior to the CBS era, would've been pushed back by the producers.
Often, the only time you see a ship that you're excited to see in Star Wars now is when its something recycled from earlier films or from the expanded universe novels/games from yesteryear, like the YT-2400 in Rebels, or the light carrier or TIE Defender.

I guess, we're lucky to have had as many great shows as we did, all the way from the 60s through to about 2018 is when it started to dry up.

It's not just television and film that are suffering difficulties, but the gaming industry is undergoing major undulations.
I wonder whether the solution is to be found in there somewhere, where old, memorable games were made by small teams of talented nerds rather than enormous studios full of executives and consultants.
Dream big and bold and daring.
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