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"The Legend Of The Rangers: To Live and Die in Starlight"

Title: The Legend Of The Rangers: 'To Live and Die in Starlight'
Production Number:
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski    Director:
Production Date: May 14th, 2002
Music: Christopher Franke
Official Site: Sci-Fi Channels's Rangers Site
Contents: [Plot] - [Overview] - [Cast] - [Ratings]
Plot:

As the Shadow War has ended, hundreds of civilizations devastated by said war. It is up the the ISA, with the help of the Rangers, to rebuild what the great war destroyed and to hold peace amoung the worlds of the ISA.

The Legend of the Rangers pilot movie deals with the Ranger crew of the Liandra, a semi-organic ship based on Minbari technology. The Rangers encounter a previously unknown alien race, called the Hand, whose lethal power is far greater than any force previously known to Earth or any other world in the Interstellar Alliance.

Overview: The story takes place in 2265, four years after the end of the Shadow War, four years since a ranger sacrificed himself for his love... and follows a group of Rangers. (jms stated that the movie takes place "just under 3 years after the events of 'Objects at Rest.'". Fans will know this to be the 2nd to last episode of Babylon 5's fifth and last season).

Who are the Rangers?

The Rangers (or in Minbari, An'la'shok) are an elite group of soldiers who are sworn to carry out any task whatever the cost, including his / her own life. The Rangers are mainly made up of Minbari and Humans, though some of the races from the League of Non Aligned Worlds have also joined up. They were originally formed to gather information and perform covert operations in the war against the Shadows and they now act as the patrollers and protectors for the Interstellar Alliance.

They live by the motto: We live for the one. We die for the one.

Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers is a spin-off of the popular scifi series Babylon 5. "To Live and Die in Starlight" is the 90 minute long pilot telemovie commisioned by the Scifi Channel written by series creator J. Michael Straczynski (jms). Principle photography began in Vancouver, Canada on May 14th, 2002.

The original creative team behind the popular science-fiction Babylon 5 television series and movies are on board to produce the all-new full-length action adventure Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers , to premiere exclusively on SCI FI in 2002. The two-hour telefilm will be executive produced by Douglas Netter and executive producer/creator J. Michael Straczynski. Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers takes up the story of the legendary Ranger fleet as it attempts to restore order to hundreds of civilizations devastated by the Shadow War.

This new chapter in creator Straczynski's fascinating universe finds the elite and mysterious Ranger force — a combination of male and female humans and alien Minbari trained in space warfare, the unique alien philosophy of the rangers, and every conceivable form of martial arts — faced with deadly challenges in their attempt to create peace out of the war's destruction. Babylon 5 series cast members may also appear, with the movie serving as the pilot for a potential SCI FI Channel series.

Cast:
 Captain David Martel - Dylan Neal
David Martel is the commanding ranger on the Liandra. On a previous command of his, he did something that is considered dishonourable amoung the rangers - retreat from a battle, even without any weapons.
Martel is played by Dylan Neal, probably best known as the recurring role in Dawson's Creek as Pacey’s (Joshua Jackson) bullying older brother.
Filmography
 Citizen G'Kar - Andreas Katsulas
Citizen G'Kar is one of the founding members of the InterStellar Alliance. He is the only character from the original Babylon 5 series that is present in the pilot movie.
Andreasis Katsulas recieved rave reviews for his portrayal of G'Kar.
Filmography - Homepage
 Dulann - Alex Zahara
Dulann is a Minbari, and a special one at that. He has special visions, SciFi Channel's web ads used the now infamous Sixth Sense quote "I see dead people" for him. Dulann is the first officer on the Liandra.
Dulann is played by Alex Zahara, who has an impressive list of genre work. He was nominated for the 2001 Leo Awards for "Best Performance by a Male in a Short Drama" for Evirati.
Filmography
 Sarah Cantrell - Myriam Sirois
A friend of Captain Martel, Sarah Cantrell was under his command during his incident on the Enfalli. She is a weapons specialist on board the Liandra. Born on Mars, she lost her parents during the Earth-Mars wars.
Cantrell is played by actress Myriam Sirois, who has done various voice work, including various Anime projects.
Filmography
 Malcolm Bridges - Dean Marshall
Malcolm Bridges' speciality is intelligence and infiltration. This is evident in the trailer, where we see him use a changling net (a device that allows beings to change their appearance using a holographic field, first seen in the Babylon 5 Pilot Movie "The Gathering").
Bridges is played by Dean Marshall.
Filmography
 Kitaro Sasaki - Warren T. Takeuchi
"He's a very earnest character, very loyal and very honorable - someone who, if you told him to stand by a door to stand guard, he'd be there and not move off his mark for days" (scifi.com). Kitaro is the navigation, communication and translation specialist on the Liandra.
Kitaro is played by actor Warren T. Takeuchi, who is an experienced martial artist as well.
Filmography
 Na'Feel - Jennie Rebecca Hogan
Na'Feel is the first Narn assigned to a Ranger ship. She is the Engines, Enviroment and Weapons Support Specialist
Na'Feel is played by Jennie Rebecca Hogan.
Filmography
 Minister Kafta - Mackenzie Gray
Minister Kafta belongs to a new race in the Babylon 5 universe.
Minister Kafta is played by Mackenzie Gray.
Filmography - Homepage
 Tafeek - David Storch
Tafeek is the Minbari political and first contact expert on board the Liandra
Filmography
 Firell - Enid-Raye Adams
Firell is a Minbari healer on board the Liandra. "She's very spiritual, she's very centered. She's very aware of everything going on around her. She has a very specific, open belief system that perhaps some of the other characters don't share." (scifi.com).
Firell is played by Enid-Raye Adams, who also does standup comedy. For last year's Vancouver International Comedy Festival, she co-wrote and performed a well-received one-woman show about service-industry workers, "Would You Like Fries With That?".
Filmography - Homepage
 Tirk - Gus Lynch
Tirk is one of the few, if not the first, Drazi to join the Rangers.
Tirk is played by Gus Lynch, who has a BA in theater and was trained in New York's famed Lower East Side experimental theater.
Filmography
January 28th 2002
Series creator J. Michael Straczynski about the ratings:

What I've learned over the years is that no matter what one does, there will be a certain percentage who love it uncritically, an equal (but often much louder) percentage who hate it uncritically, with the majority somewhere in the middle. The thing you have to do is make sure the number stays more in the middle or leaning toward liking something than not.

And adding it all up, it seems to have done the job. It's been overall far more positive than negative. Criticism? Sure. That's what a pilot is *for*, to find out what does and doesn't work. You try shit. You experiment. Some will like it, some won't, which is all to the good.

The fulcrum on which all this now rests is the ratings, which have gotten kinda weirdly skewed.

We heard what we initially thought were disappointing figures, that we'd done a 1.7 when SFC was hoping for a 2.6 or better. It kind of puzzled everybody because the B5 audience is generally pretty reliable.

It became even *more* puzzling when the more detailed figures came in, showing that by quarter-hours, the show *gained viewers* and did not lose them. Meaning folks who came on the show by accident, stayed to watch. It should have been much higher than it was.

Then the final market-by-marked figures came in from the studio, and we had our mystery resolved.

The east coast ratings got hammered by the football game, which was the highest rated such game in something like 5 years. The B5 male demos are pretty much the same as for sports, and we lost heavily to football. So there we did not do well.

By contrast, on the west coast, where the show aired *after* the game had finished, we not only met but *exceeded* SFC's expectations, getting a 3.2 or 3.6 in many markets, which is actually pretty unheard of for a basic cable network.

The problem is that the average, 1.7, is still what's used for advertising. So we have to see if SFC will look past the show getting hammered by a big football event on the East Coast to look at the West Coast figures and see that there is, indeed, a market.

It's in the hands of the TV gods from this point on.

--jms

 
 
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