Midnight on the Firing Line

Series 1 - Episode 2 Midnight on the Firing Line

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Review

“The year is 2258, the name of the place is Babylon 5.” So begins the much-loved “space opera”, occasionally described as being “like Hill Street Blues in space”, a complex drama that ran for five seasons in the mid-1990s, and which is now beginning a rerun from the very start on Watch.

Looking back at the first episode 20 years on, it’s inevitably dated: compared with sophisticated dramas like the later Battlestar Galactica or Firefly, the dialogue’s stilted (inevitably there’s a lot of exposition), characters come in or out every two minutes, and the effects are clunky.

Creator J Michael Straczynski always conceived Babylon 5 as a serial, and the scene is set straightaway: the attempt to keep the peace between alien and human races after terrible wars, and the inevitable hurdles along the way. In this first episode, an attack on a peaceful planet leads to rising tensions between the Narn and Centauri. But who is actually responsible? And can attempts at mediation possibly work?

Summary

The Narns launch an unprovoked attack on a peaceful Centauri colony, and raiders target transport ships near the station.

Cast & Crew

Londo Mollari Peter Jurasik
G'Kar Andreas Katsulas
Drama