Babylon 5: The Road Home
Well there’s a blast from the past. After all this time, who would have thought we’d get a new Babylon 5 story. Also, is it still good?
The first thing that is important to note here is that everyone who was involved in making Babylon 5 is much older now. Quite a few of them, including Andreas Katsulas and Jerry Doyle, are no longer with us. So doing live action clearly wasn’t an option. Animation allows the characters to be presented more or less as we remember them, and that seemed to work. By that I mean that they were recognizable and familiar. Well, they were except for Dr. Franklin, which worried me a little as he’s also the only Black character in the cast. But it may also have been because when we first meet him he is much older.
Obviously some of the characters had to be voiced by new actors. That too seemed to go well and, judging by the extras on the disk, the people hired to play those roles took the responsibility very seriously.
Other characters were played by the original cast. Londo was his usual disreputable self, and Ivanova was magnificent as always. Pretty much all of the main cast were involved, though Vir was notably absent. That’s a shame because he was a great character. My assumption is that they could not find someone to stand in for Stephen Furst who embodied the character well enough.
As to the plot, shortly after the end of the Shadow War, President Sheridan and Delenn are on Mimbar for an official visit. Sheridan is asked to officiate at the opening of a new, experimental power station. But the plant uses a lot of tachyons and Sheridan becomes unstuck in time and space. (The explanation for why this happens is in the original series.) As the title suggests, he then has to find his way home.
Who is best suited to help him with this? Why Zathras, of course. But nobody listen to Zathras, so…
Of course it all comes right in the end. My overall impression is that this was an exercise in nostalgia, much like the final series of Picard. The cast seem to have been as grateful for the opportunity as fans will no doubt be. But it is also a proof of concept. Straczynski can still turn in a decent script, and the animation concept works. All it needs now is sales, and we can presumably get more Babylon 5 stories, which would be a rather lovely thing.