Viewing entries for September 2004
All alone in the night
More than 50 days after ordering them, my Babylon 5 DVDs finally arrived. The delay was thanks mostly to the incompetence of my bank who, a month prior to my placing this order, I sent details of my new address to and who, upon receiving this information decided that I only wanted them to update the address on one part of their computer system and not the part of their system that dealt with confirming payments by checking address details (incidentally I'm not the only one having fun with my bank lately). I'm just glad that I managed to persuade the nice lady on the phone that travelling to my nearest branch (90 miles away) to confirm my identity was not necessary.
Adding to the delay, the supplier of said DVDs wanted further proof that I was who I said I was by means of me faxing or e-mailing them a copy of my last statement to my current address. Since I had no such document at the time (I get statements quarterly), some delay was involved. Some rather poor communication on the part of said supplier didn't help matters greatly.
Back to the actual topic though, Babylon 5 is one of the finest sci-fi programmes ever created, with an unbelievably intricate and engaging storyline that extends across the full five-year length of the show. In the UK it was originally shown on Channel 4 at about 6pm, but after a couple of series the network executives decided (somewhat bizarrely) to move it to a time slot of 12.30am, which was a great shame since as it progressed it just kept getting better and better (though as J Michael Straczynski mentioned in the commentary for one of the episodes, the further you got into the show chronologically, the more impossible it became to pick up the storyline if you'd never seen it before, so maybe the weird timeslot didn't do that much damage).
It was also one of the first TV series to make full use of CGI for its special effects (which to begin with were created using a render farm of networked Amiga 4000s with Newtek's “Video Toaster” and the “Lightwave” rendering software) which gave it the potential for visual effects way ahead of anything else at the time.
(Another thing going for the show was that they did a pretty good job of getting the physics right).
I now have the first 4 series, and it's every bit as good as (if not better than) I remember it.