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 travellers from a hundred worlds. It could be a dangerous
place, but we accepted the risks 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, and species of 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." - Ambassador Londo Mollari
5 awaits its last alien ambassador, Kosh, of the mysterious
Vorlon Empire. Unfortunately, upon his arrival, he is poisoned
by an unknown assassin and is taken to Medlab for emergency
treatment, but as they don’t know where the poison was put
in (as Kosh wears an encounter suit) and what the poison is,
the Ambassador will die unless something is done. Dr. Kyle
wants to open up the encounter suit to examine him, but the
Vorlon Empire forbid this, but Commander Sinclair order’s
it done anyway to save Kosh’s life.
Kyle and Commander Takashima arrange (without Sinclair’s knowledge)
for the telepath Lyta Alexander to scan the unconscious Vorlon
to try and find out about the poison. When she does, it seems
that Commander Sinclair is responsible for the poisoning.
She manages also though to find out where the poison was put
into Kosh and by the description Dr. Kyle also manages to
find out what sort of poison it is. By using this information
Dr. Kyle sets off to create an antidote.
G’Kar heads a prosecution team to extradite Sinclair for murder
to the Vorlon homeworld for trial. The Vote is passed.
Assassin goes to Medlab to finish the job but fails in the
attempt and runs off. Sinclair then finds out that he is using
a changeling net to impersonate various station personal so
that he could move around easily. As the changeling net uses
a large power source, Sinclair and Gariabldi track him down.
Whilst a Vorlon fleet arrives to pick up Sinclair and are
prepared to destroy the station if they do not let them have
him. Sinclair manages to catch the assassin and by using a
floating camera (which was sent to follow him to record what
happened) every sees (including the Vorlon fleet) that the
Assassin was a Minbari using the changeling net. As the wounded
Minbari is about to die, he activates a bomb, but Sinclair
manages to escape the explosion.
survives the assassination attempt and takes up his post as
the Vorlon Ambassador.
finds out that G’Kar was involved with the conspiracy to frame
the Earth Alliance and the Centuari. He was trying and get
the Vorlons or Minbari to ally themselves with the Narn. Sinclair
warns G’Kar never to endanger the station again and he finds
suitable punishment for him...
don’t they want people to see them inside there encounter
suit? what are they hiding? Before the Minbari assassin dies,
he tells Sinclair that he has ‘hole’ in his mind, referring
to the mission 24 hours during "The Battle of the Line". So
what did happen to him during that time? And why did the Minbari
surrender during the Earth-Minbari War when they were on the
verge of victory?
Pilot Rating: 6.5
Re-Edited Pilot Rating: 7.5
Pilot Movie has now been edited for the run on TNT. This edited
version was first shown on January 4th 1998. There has been
many changes to the original version to make it what jms wanted
it to be in the first place.
shows a message from jms explaining most of the changes which
have been made:
Subject: Gathering Additions
From: J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI
you spare a few words on how you went about the re-edit? Did
you start with what you wanted to get back in, or trying to
find out how much time you could recapture?"
first thing I did was to sit down with the editor assigned
to the re-edit, Suzie, and go through the original script
for the pilot. My first words to her were, "Put everyhing
in that ain't there." To that end, she redigitized all of
the footage from missing scenes, and had available all of
the available footage of the other scenes for digitizing as
that I said all the *available* footage. The folks at WB who
held custody of the film (we don't keep that stuff, we're
not allowed to by contract, they store film, negative, prints,
all that stuff) put the negative canisters into storage...and
at one point in the intervening 4 years, there had been water
damage, and on another occasion, apparently rats had gotten
in there and chewed some of the original negatives (and in
most cases there weren't positive struck of those takes).
Take your reaction to the foregoing, put it in front of the
Hubble telescope, and you will have mine.
we lucked out...where there were some takes that are gone,
we were able to find enough others (masters instead of a two-shot,
or a close-up instead of an over-shoulder) and B-camera footage
that we were able to build solid versions of those scenes.
We didn't always have as many choices as we're used to but
there was more than enough for our needs.
then dumped all of the newly edited additional scenes into
the existing pilot, and that gave us the new running time
(we added about 14 minutes). So at that point, John and I
went in and worked to slice down the previously existing scenes,
doing what we do with B5: tightening every loose screw and
nut as much as we could. One or two incidental, unimportant
scenes in the original pilot went out, because they added
nothing and shouldn't have been there in the first place (a
total of about 3 minutes). The remaining 11 minutes we made
up in just tightening scenes, which were *so* lax and slow
that it's amazing at times.
some cases, we substituted one take for another in the pre-existing
pilot when we had a better reaction, or played scenes closer
for more intimacy. (One of the problems with the pilot is
that it kept the audience far from the action, and the actors
far from each other, something we changed in our shooting
style for the series...here we tried to change it when we
could and when we had the coverage.)
example: when Kosh falls down upon arriving at B5, that sequence
ends with a big honking wide downshot of a nearly empty docking
bay, with Kosh far from us, and Sinclair looking down (away
from us) when he says "Damn." Then we go from that to a wide
shot of the medlab. Same framing. So I had Suzie look for
a take where we panned up from a close on Kosh, to a close
on Sinclair for that line, so it's more immediate, more personal,
and the jump to the next scene doesn't feel like the one before.
directors like to stay wide in their cuts, so you can see
their nifty camera angles, see the set, the lighting...but
after you've established where we are, most people want to
see the *characters*, not the walls or how the camera moves.
That was what we tried to fix where we could.
couldn't totally re-edit the pilot, because we hadn't been
given the money for something that intensive (the main expense
is in opening up all the audio stems in the sound mix). But
all the stuff I wanted back in, is now in, and the scenes
I wanted to fix, I fixed.
also got the thing back to its original format. All TV movies
are 6 acts. Because PTEN wanted more commercial breaks, I
had to re-jig the structure of the thing into 9 acts, which
meant moving some scenes into places where they weren't as
effective, and frankly after 9 acts you just get tired of
watching. Here I was able to move scenes around and get back
to the original 6 act structure that was intended for the
thing, and that alone makes a huge difference in how the film
of the biggest changes is the one least immediately apparent.
After we finished the original pilot, some folks at WB felt
that Laurel was too...strong. They will rarely put it in terms
quite as blatant as that, but that was the message...she was
"unlikeable, unsympathetic, harsh." Meaning some of the guys
felt she was too strong, let's cut to the chase, okay?
wanted her to loop her lines, soften their (her) delivery.
I fought this tooth and nail. I fought this until finally
I was pulled aside and it was communicated to me that B5 was,
after all, still an unknown property, could be a big failure,
and if we ever wanted to see this thing on the air, we'd accommodate
this note (which was, I have to admit on balance, one of the
few they had). The advice was, in essence, "Pick your battles."
reluctantly, I let it get looped by Tamlyn.
now, when the re-edit was commissioned, and with the person
at the studio who insisted on this now no longer AT the studio,
I told Suzie, "Screw it, put back her original production
track and trash the loops." Instantly, Laurel's energy level
comes up, the performance is better...it just *feels* more
basically, we did a lot...some of it may not be immediately
apparent (improving a sound here, altering coverage, adding
additional sound layers, redoing a composite shot of the garden),
but over the duration of watching it, it's just *better*.
It's still a *tad* slower around the middle than I would've
liked, but that's a WP (writer problem), nothing that can
be fixed in an edit. It's just exposition-dense there, and
nothing of a sort that can be cut.