Why, you may ask? Because I've started to do something that I haven't done in a while now... I've started to re-watch the entire run of Babylon 5 from the beginning.
Last night, I started off with the original movie that started the series, The Gathering. Both versions of it. The first version of the film aired originally on tv back on February 22nd, 1993, and was startling as tv science fiction went at the time. The second version, more like a Director's Cut of the same movie, first aired in 1998 on TNT, and was almost completely different in style, as J. Michael Straczynski made a lot of changes. For one thing, the movie credit graphics were all done in the style of the tv series. And secondly, Stewart Copeland's original music scoring was removed in favour of that of Christopher Franke, who had scored the tv series proper. In addition, some of the CGI effects are different in the second version of the movie, but that's part of the fun of watching the two versions of B5: The Gathering and comparing them.
Scenes were cut from the original version that aired, and other scenes were added in their place, while there were scenes that were extended and some had bits and pieces cut here and there. New scenes included one where Jeffrey Sinclair stops a hostage taking by a passenger off a liner who is on Dust (the notorious drug of the series); an extended scene where Laurel Takashima and Dr. Benjamin Kyle have real coffee in her quarters as a preamble to discussing having telepath Lyta Alexander scan Ambassador Kosh; a marvellous scene where Michael Garibaldi, somewhat suspicious of Sinclair after the attempt on Kosh's life, confronts his boss in the core shuttle; a scene where Sinclair's girlfriend, Carolyn, confronts Ambassador Delenn over what occurred at the court hearing when the Minbari representative abstained at the vote; and several others that I won't go into here.
I still remember having a tingle go up my spine when the movie first begins, with a black screen and Londo Mollari's narration, when the first images come onto the screen and you *know* that this is going to be something good. Yes, the movie is dark as the lighting was very subdued, yes the movie has characters than never made it to the series, necessitating a juggling somewhat of plot threads and the like, but when all is said and done, the pilot for Babylon 5 is still remarkable even after almost 15 years and having watched the pilot and series several times in the past.
So, I'm rather looking forward to rewatching the series again, and will continue with the first episode of Season One, "Midnight on the Firing Line", sometime this weekend.
"And so it begins..." indeed.