Babylon 5 – Midnight on the Firing Line / Soul Hunter

by Alan Rapp on April 27, 2017

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Babylon 5 – Midnight on the Firing Line / Soul Hunter
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Babylon 5 - Midnight on the Firing Line / Soul Hunter TV review

Our Throwback Thursday post takes us back to the first two episodes of Babylon 5. Developed around the same time as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the show had many similarities to the far more successful Star Trek spin-off (although it lacked both the budget and the rich history DS9 was able to build on). Even die-hard fan debate not if Babylon 5 lost its way, but when. For me the show begins to fall apart relatively early during its Fourth Season, but since that’s quite a ways from its beginning we’ll leave that discussion for another time.

The pilot episode “Midnight on the Firing Line” introduces us to the last of the Babylon stations, sort of a mix between the United Nations and a space port where aliens of all manner come together. While neither the sets nor costumes have aged that well, some of the alien designs still work and I will give the show credit for its space fighters and its dogfight-style sequences. The first episode is mainly used to introduces us to the station’s command staff of Commander Jeffrey Sinclair (Michael O’Hare), Lt. Commander Susan Ivanova (Claudia Christian), Security Chief Michael Garibaldi (Jerry Doyle), and telepath Talia Winters (Andrea Thompson), along with most notable aliens Delenn (Mira Furlan), Londo Mollari (Peter Jurasik), and G’Kar (Andreas Katsulas), and lay the foundation for a Narn/Centauri war which will have ramifications throughout the series.

The second episode gives us a taste of the unusual souls who pass through the station from time to time, and the trouble they an cause. William Morgan Sheppard guest-stars as a much-aligned alien race who appear on the scene during a momentous death to capture and preserve the souls of the recently departed. Like several episodes of the series, the idea behind the episode is actually better than its execution, although the storyline does allow the series to begin exploring the Minbari, Delenn’s secrets, and the alien race’s keen interest in Sinclair and this station.

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