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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Babylon 5: The Complete Second Season: The Coming of Shadows (review)

In the year 2259, space station Babylon 5, crewed by humans and positioned in neutral territory, serves as a peaceful hub for four alien races — the Narn, Centauri, Vorlon, and Minbari — who fight for control of the surrounding galaxy. Creator J. Michael Straczynski’s visionary five-year story arc made the series tough to join midstream during its broadcast life, but it’s what makes the show perfect for the full-blast injection of DVD, when you can ingest a season’s worth of story in a matter of hours. If Year One was the intro to the five-year tale, Year Two sets in motion the SF political soap opera, with a new man taking the captain’s chair, the appearance of a mysterious new alien race, and the diplomatic shuffle among warring peoples getting increasingly convoluted. Neophytes will get up to speed fairly quickly along with the station’s new commander, played by Bruce Boxleitner, and among the 22 Emmy- and Hugo-award-winning episodes are guest stars with tons of geek appeal — Dwight Schultz, Adrienne Barbeau, Walter Koenig — as well as series regular Bill Mumy (who starred in Lost in Space as a kid). The extras are catnip for fans, too: new digital widescreen transfers, a soundtrack remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1, introductions and commentaries by Straczynski and cast members Boxleitner, Claudia Christian, and Jerry Doyle, two featurettes, a gag reel, and more.


MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

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