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BABYLON 5: THE LEGEND OF THE RANGERS ($20) was another attempt to revive the BABYLON 5 franchise for television; one that didnít even get as far as the follow-up series CRUSADE. As a television pilot, THE LEGEND OF THE RANGERS showed tons of potential towards being another captivating science fiction series. Unfortunately, television executives never seemed to care for J. Michael Straczynskiís vision of the future as much as the fans did, thus THE LEGEND OF THE RANGERS never even given the chance to prove itself beyond the pilot movie. The basic plot of THE LEGEND OF THE RANGERS follows on the aftermath of The Shadow War, with the Anla'shok or The Rangers serving as the new guardians of the peace and protectors of the Interstellar Alliance.

THE LEGEND OF THE RANGERS opens with a devastating battle space between The Rangers and a previously unknown and hostile alien race. The aftermath of the battle results in Ranger David Martell (Dylan Neal) being placed in command of the Liandra, a twenty year old Minbari ship that turns out to be haunted by the ghosts of its previous crew. Their first mission is to serve as an escort to the vessel carrying alien diplomats to a conference at a remote location. However, when the main vessel is ambushed by that afore mentioned hostile alien race, it falls to the Liandra to rescue the diplomats and save the day. The cast of THE LEGEND OF THE RANGERS also features Andreas Katsulas, Alex Zahara, Myriam Sirois, Dean Marshall, Warren Takeuchi, Jennie Rebecca Hogan, Mackenzie Gray, David Storch and Enid-Raye Adams.

Warner Home Video has made BABYLON 5: THE LEGEND OF THE RANGERS available on DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. Of all the 1.78:1 BABYLON 5 DVD releases, THE LEGEND OF THE RANGERS has the most consistent image quality, as it appears that the effects shots were produced in the widescreen aspect ratio, along with principal photography. By television production standards, the picture is pretty sharp and offers more than respectable detail. Sure, it looks a bit soft in places, but I certainly am not going to complain. Colors are fairly strong and are rendered without noticeable flaws. Blacks are deep, whites are stable and contrast is good for a television production of this type. The film elements from which the show has been transferred are free from significant flaws. As for grain, it is noticeable, but never objectionable. Digital compression artifacts are held in check almost all of the time.

BABYLON 5: THE LEGEND OF THE RANGERS comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 channel soundtrack, which decodes to standard surround. This is a fairly obvious television mix, with the forward soundstage remaining dominant. As for the surrounds, they provide mild active effects, as well as ambient sounds and musical fill. The track engages best during space battle sequences, at other times; the sound mix is more reminiscent of a talky television drama. Voices are cleanly reproduced and the dialogue maintains complete intelligibility. No other language tracks have been included on the DVD, but English, French and Spanish subtitles are provided. The basic interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features. No extra content has been included.

As I stated above, BABYLON 5: THE LEGEND OF THE RANGERS showed a lot of potential (as did CRUSADE) and its too bad the series never got off the ground. Warner has made the pilot movie available on DVD in a solid looking presentation. If you are a fan of the universe created by J. Michael Straczynski, youíll want to add BABYLON 5: THE LEGEND OF THE RANGERS to your collection.



Babylon 5 - The Legend of the Rangers (2002)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2006 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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