Newest Review: ... some unique abilities in her and so offered her a position aboard. What happened to Crusade? ====================== Much in the same way... more
Crusade - well intentioned but doomed to failure
Member Name: dancomp
Advantages: Some great episodes, potential
Disadvantages: Potential never reached, characters predictable
Babylon 5 was the best sci-fi series ever. A five year story with living, breathing characters that grew and changed, award winning episodes, a superlative storyline with hundreds of plotlines threading togeather with consumate ease and far more imaginative themes, makeup and wardrobe than any of its peers, be it Star Trek: The politically correct generation or Muppets in Space (Sorry, Al.)
And yet even after five series and a natural conclusion to that partcular story, the fanbase was such that a number of B5 Movies were announced. Some of these would be very good (B5: In the Beginning, Thirdspace) and some would be awful (Legend of the Rangers). Only one of these made for TV movies would have the intent of leading anywhere, and that was A call to Arms which would serve as the prequel to the series Crusade.
A synopsis would run something like this. In a revenge attack on Earth for assisting in the defeat of their first ones masters, The Shadows, a minor race known as the Drakh have seeded a plague on Earth. A Shadow design, it is intended to cause maximum visible suffering and serve as a warning, for the nanovirus will kill everyone and everything infected, down to the smallest microorganism and leave Earth a dead world. This will take five years and cannot be stopped. The Earth is reluctantly quarrantined by the other intelligent races including humans from the succeeded colonies. Anyone attempting to break the quarrantine is by necessity destroyed.
What hope is there? Well, the plague was not the Drakh's first weapon of choice, but their planetkiller was destroyed in space by one of two prototype victory class destoryers, fusions of Mimbari and Vorlon technology. One survived, the Excalibur and has been tasked with searching the universe in an attempt to locate a cure for the virus before billions die.
The crew of the Excalibur:
Captain Matthew Gideon (Gary Cole): Headstrong captain of the Excalibur, chosen personally by IA President Sheridan more for his combat experience than his diplomatic abilities.
Lieutenant John Matheson (Daniel Dae Kim): First officer and telepath. Despite the paranoia most humans feel towards telepaths courtesy of Orwellian Psi-corps, Gideon trusts Matheson implicitly.
Max Eilerson (David Allen Brooks): Archeologist previously with the commerce minded Interplanetary Expeditions. Arrogant and at times a real pain in the backside. Tolerated because of his savant-like abilities with alien languages.
Galen (Peter Woodward): a technomage (one who uses high technologies to affect the appearance of magic) expelled from his own order for unsanctioned interference in his saving of Gideon's life a decade previously. Has his own quite nifty little vessel.
Dr. Sarah Chambers (Marjean Holden): ship's medical officer and generally underdeveloped character although she does have some moments in the series.
Dureena Nafeel (Carrie Dobro): an ex-thief and last known survivor of an entire race wiped out by the Drakh during the Shadow War. Not exactly trusted, but Gideon recognises some unique abilities in her and so offered her a position aboard.
What happened to Crusade?
Much in the same way as its forebear, Crusade was supposed to have a five-year story of its own, resolving the Drakh plague after two seasons then moving onto pastures and plots new.
The problem as happens often is that the suits at the network (in this case TNT) wanted more of a T&A quotient (Tits and Ass) which the writers were willing to provide over their own dead bodies. Therefore, although all 13 initial eps had been shot, the series was actually cancelled before the first ep was even shown!
My opinion on Crusade
Crusade was never, ever going to be able to match B5 in terms of scope for political manoevering and intrigue nor in terms of complexity of story. The ideas behind the crew are very D&D'ish with the Fighter (Gideon) with his magic sword (the ship!), the magic user (Galen), the thief (Nafeel) and the Cleric (Chambers). The design of the Excalibur left much to be desired, as it was simply a very large gun which pretty much narrowed the tactics employable when using it beyond fire and wait for life support to come back online. The episodes themselves varied from exceptional to unmemorable as did the special effects (1:33:1 Fullscreen) and music (Dolby surround) associated with them. Would the storylines have improved given time? Possibly. Certainly, towards the end the characters had begun to flesh out. Yet even had all of these things come togeather, it would never have become a match for Babylon 5. Bizzarely enough, I would still recommend buying this set - but only if you can find a better price than the £25'ish that it normally goes for on Play or Amazon.
The Well of Forever (Commentary) - first disc
Racing the Night (Commentary) - third disc
The Making of Crusade (Featurette - 14 mins)
Forging Excalibur (Featurette - 6 mins)
1. War Zone
2. The Long Road
3. The Well Of Forever
4. The Path Of Sorrows
5. Patterns Of The Soul
6. Ruling From The Tomb
7. Rules Of The Game
8. Appearances And Other Deceits
9. Racing The Night
10. The Memory Of War
11. The Needs Of Earth
12. Visitors From Down The Street
13. Each Night I Dream
Summary: Crusade - well intentioned but doomed to failure