Saturday, August 11, 2007

Babylon 5: Ten Lost Tales that Should Be Found

While I enjoyed Voices in the Dark, the stories that JMS told there weren’t exactly ones I, or anybody else, was clamoring to see. He has such a rich universe, it’s a shame that all the TV movies, with the exception of In the Beginning concern themselves almost exclusively with generally unimportant events. Now that the door has been opened for more films, here’s a bunch I’d actually be interested in seeing, in chronological order.

1. Valen and the Previous Shadow War: For All of Michael O’Hare’s crappy acting, the character got a wonderful sendoff, and found a really interesting place in the backstory of the series. But, there’s still a lot of open questions about Sinclair and his life in Valen. I’d love to see a big movie that covered the previous Shadow War and showed Sinclair/Valen’s role in it. He’d get to hang out with Kosh and we’d also see how Sinclair adjusted to life with the Minbari. Through his prophesies, we could get a bunch of tie ins to the series, and I’d love to see the Shadow War rendered in today’s CG effects.

2. Morden, Anna and the Shadows: This would be tough since the actors have aged, but I’d love to see a movie that showed what happened to Morden and Anna Sheridan when they met up with the Shadows during their expedition. How were they converted, did they legitimately come to believe in what the Shadows were doing or was brainwashing involved? This would be ideal for a smaller scale project, perhaps paired with a story of Lyta on the Vorlon homeworld.

3. Garibaldi and Bester: At series’ end, one of the big question marks is what Garibaldi did to Bester. Now, I’m aware this was covered in a canon novel, but it’s not the same as seeing it presented visually, with the actors involved. So, I’d love to see what happens when Lyta lifts the mental block and Garibaldi gets the chance to seek revenge. Knowing JMS, he likely realizes that killing Bester wouldn’t get him anything, but it’d still be interesting to watch. There’s a lot more inherent drama here than in a random standalone story.

4. Lyta and the Telepath War: A lot of the post series material seems to indicate that Lyta is dead. But how did she die, what would be powerful enough to take out someone with her psychic capabilities, and what did happen during the telepath war? These are all questions that linger and have been convienently avoided in post series material. Lyta was just coming into her own at the end of the series and I’d love to see her at the height of her powers in a Dark Phoenix set against a war backdrop story. This would be a big one, but if they can do In the Beginning on a TV budget, this should be doable too.

5. The End of Crusade: Admittedly, this’d have a more limited audience, but I’d still like to see a movie that showed how the Drakh plague was resolved, and also gave some resolution to the characters from Crusade. Everyone wouldn’t have to return, but get Gideon, Dureena, Matheson, Galen and perhaps Sheridan in there to show what finally solved things. I’m sure JMS had the idea in mind, so it’d just be a matter of reassembling everyone.

6. Lennier and Delenn: One of the great ambiguities at the end of the series is what happened to Lennier. He died at some point between the end of the show proper and ‘Sleeping in Light,’ but there’s still a lot of untapped drama there. This would also give Delenn a chance to do a story that’s more than just a greatest hits tour. Did Lennier completely lose it after ‘Objects at Rest,’ or was he forever plagued by conscience, trying to atone for his great mistake?

7. Dureena and Galen: While I wasn’t a huge Crusade fan on the whole, I did really like Galen and Dureena. Both characters were different from what we’d seen in Babylon 5 and had potential for a lot of growth. In Crusade, it was hinted that Galen would take Dureena on as an apprentice, and I’d love to see a film that showed her training process, maybe spread over a period of years. Galen was one of the highlights of Voices in the Dark, and it’d be cool to have him back again. Both characters have a lot of moral ambiguity, and would challenge each other. Perhaps the film could be about them working to start a new order of technomages to replace those who had left.

8. Londo and Vir: A lot of references to Londo’s great sadness were made during Voices in the Dark, and I’d love to see more of what Londo was up to at the time. The character is the most interesting part of the B5 universe, and it would be a joy to watch him at a new point in his continued evolution. Plus, due to his imprisonment by the keeper, everything with him has inherent drama. I’d like to see a movie about Londo finally telling Vir what’s up with him, and setting in motion the events of ‘War Without End II.’ This could actually be a pretty small scale movie, and of all these, is the most likely to actually get made.

9. The Battle for Centauri Prime: The series’ best episode, ‘War Without End II’ gave us a glimpse of what would happen sixteen years in the future, as Sheridan and Delenn fought to save their son from a Centauri/Shadow threat. But, there’s still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the moment, and considering it’s one of the most dramatic pieces of the series’ chronology, I’d love to see it given further development. The major issue with this is the fact that Andreas Katsulas is no longer with us, and thus, we can get no new G’Kar material. I’d have loved to see what led him to his guerilla warrior assault on Londo, but even without that, there’s plenty of drama. Fill in the pieces around ‘War Without End’ and you’d have one of the most exciting movies possible in the universe.

10. The Rebuilding of Earth: In ‘The Deconstruction of Falling Stars,’ we get glimpses of Earth at various points in its future. The most interesting is 1,000 years in the future, where a bunch of Rangers secretly stationed on Earth work to rebuild after a catastrophic nuclear war. This was a fascinating concept, and I’d love to see more of the world. The juxtaposition of the rangers with humans at roughly our level of development would be really interesting, and it would be another chance to reflect on the way the main characters have become mythologized. Yes, we’d be missing the main characters, but the concept could carry it. Hell, it’d certainly be more interesting than Lochley’s story in this movie.

Daft Punk @ Keyspan Park

This show was easily my most anticipated show of all time. Just reading about the show and watching the videos on Youtube was a rush. Discovery is my favorite album of all time and really sent me in a different direction in terms of the music I listen to. I bought these tickets back in March and after a long wait, the day finally arrived yesterday.

I got to the show a bit late, since I was coming out of work, so I only caught the tail end of The Rapture’s set. They were pretty solid, and I do love their music, but tonight was not the night to see them. I’ve heard they’re playing a Halloween show, and I’ll definitely check that out if it happens, but opening for Daft Punk is something of a thankless task. I moved up the field towards the center of the stage as Kavinsky and Sebastian spun. They played some strong tracks, and set the mood well. I saw Kavinsky destroy Studio B in June, one of the funnest shows I’ve been to this year, but again, this was just prelude.

The screens went dark and the Close Encounter notes started to play, I knew things were about to go down. A lot has been written about their live shows, so I’ll skip the obvious. I’d seen the Youtube videos and knew their basic tricks, but it’s still a very different thing to see it live. As the pyramid emerged, it was smaller than I imagined, I’d built this up so much in my head, there was bound to be a subtle disappointment as my imagined version gave way to reality.

I feel like it took a little bit for the crowd to get into the show. There was a lot of enthusiasm, but the section of crowd I was in seemed more interested in photographing the show than jumping around and dancing. I was a bit worried that would happen, since they had the 125 people shooting the show on mini DV. But, before the end of ‘Robot Rock,’ I shifted towards the center and found a patch of crowd that was more into the show.

A large part of what made the show so amazing was the way they built the set. ‘Robot Rock’ is a song people know, but it’s not one of their megahits, most of those were saved for later in the show, with the less known tracks working as warmup. When ‘Technologic’ dropped, things started to pick up, but it really broke out with ‘Crescendolls,’ which had most of the crowd, or at least the crew around me, shouting “Hey!” at the top of our lungs.

Hearing the clear pop of Discovery emerge out of the darker tinged electro of the early part of the set was a revelation. I think part of the reason they didn’t do this sort of live show for Discovery is that they need the darkness of Human After All to balance things out. Those effusive tracks are much more excited when contrasted with the pounding darkness of a “Steam Machine” or “Brainwasher.” I think Human After All is a generally successful album, but I’ll admit it was a bit of a letdown after the brilliance of Discovery. But, those tracks provided the base that let the Discovery tracks kill. And then the Homework tracks are also still around, serving as great bridge and backing for the more hooky tracks from the past couple of albums.

Things kicked into high gear with what was arguably the greatest song I’ve ever heard live, the mix of ‘Harder Better Faster Strong’ and ‘Around the World.’ Separately, these songs, but combined they become a monster live track that had me jumping all around with everyone in the audience. Daft Punk’s songs are all about the mixing of elements, knowing when to bring in a bass or high line for maximum impact. Here, the two songs are mixed to perfectly compliment each other, creating something that was almost too much to absorb. I’d find myself getting into ‘Around the World,’ then shift over to ‘Harder Better,’ and ultimately just let go and absorb it all.

The other highlight was the slow build mix of ‘Face to Face’ and ‘Harder Better.’ This was accompanied by the green square computer graphics, and built over a slowed down vocal to a bustling groove. Next, they dropped the bells that open ‘Aerodynamic,’ grabbing audience cheers, then surprisingly dropped ‘One More Time’ to even more cheers. At this point, everything was going nuts and it was just a completely ecstatic experience. It was a communal experience unlike any other concert I’ve been to, I was completely lost in the music and the dazzling light show. Ultimately, that kind of experience is something you get so few times in life, it was thrilling to have last night.

The other incredibly sick mix was the mashup of ‘Brainwasher’ and ‘Da Funk,’ which also prompted a singalong. Watching these two screw around with their catalogue and create an entirely new work out of the existing pieces made straight up rock shows seem totally insignificant by comparison. I still do love live music, but this was an entirely different art. Even knowing what to expect, I was blown away by what they pulled off.

A lot of people have been saying “Best show ever” about this one, and I have to agree. After the 90 minutes, I was completely satisfied. I’d have loved more, but I didn’t need it, and that’s the sign of a good show. I think everyone left there completely satisfied with what they got, and as the two of them disappeared into the steam, jackets lit up saying Daft Punk, the mystique of these two only increased. If you want to know how good this show was, I’ll just say that I’m seriously considering making the trip to Vegas for their next show. I don’t want to wait to be a part of this again.

Monday, August 06, 2007

John From Cincinnati: 'His Visit: Day Eight' (1x09)

The show has one episode left, which HBO promises will reveal everything. I seriously doubt that will happen, the questions here are too big to be “revealed” in fifty minutes, they’re issues that the viewer has to ponder and conclude for themselves. However, for me, this episode answered the question of what the series is about, and made a lot of things clear that weren’t before. There’s two central themes that form the backbone of the series, and by understanding them, you can put virtually all the elements of the series in context.

One of these concepts is the halo effect. This was first mentioned by Dwayne, when discussing how Shaun’s injury drove more traffic to Butchie’s website. It was mentioned again, reinforcing its thematic importance to what’s going on. The basic idea behind the halo effect is that what happens to one person will resonate throughout the community as a whole. It essentially posits a social network in which people are linked through a series of actions that produce an effect.

In the case of the series, John is the catalyst, and virtually everything that’s happened in the series could be seen as a consequence of what he did. The past few episodes, with their focus on John’s relation to his “father,” as well as this episode’s many religious references, imply that John is connected to God. So, one could easily interpret the series as a treatise on what would happen if God made his presence known in one person’s life, the way that initial contact echoes outward, creating believers out of some and dissenters out of others. I don’t think the show is as clear as John = Jesus, but at this point you could certainly make that equation work. John set things into motion, and even in his absence, the changes he instigated continue. He is more powerful as an idea than as a physical form, casting a shadow over this episode without actually appearing in it.

Milch has talked a lot about the way that communities function as a single organism, with a mass consciousness that extends beyond any single person. That’s what the halo effect is all about, things that happen to others affecting us because of our social connection. This episode gives us a perfect demonstration of that concept in the sequence where Cissy is looking for Shaun. She asks Vietnam Joe if he’s seen Shaun, Joe goes to the VFW, and then others are looking for Shaun. The community moves into action to protect one of its own.

One of the things I love about the series is the way we know virtually everyone in IB. In most shows, we are limited to a few characters, here it seems like anyone we encounter becomes a recurring character. Milch is interested in looking at the way this one family impacts the world around it, and as time goes on, the ties between them grow tighter. I’ll admit that I was unclear about the purpose of the hotel guys when the show began, but now their role is clear. They are the center of the community that’s been built up around the Yosts, John has indirectly impacted their lives and helped them to become something better.

One could even argue that John is merely one agent of the larger force that is also acting to cause Mitch’s levitation, Shaun’s resurrection and Barry’s visions. Taking that approach, Barry owning the hotel in the first place is just another aspect of the larger plan, and you could even argue that all the characters are merely pawns of the force, like John is, though in a less obvious way.

However, that posits this force as a negative one, and despite the skepticism in this episode, I don’t think that’s the case. John is going through a crucifixion experience in this episode, the people in authority are turning on him, and his apostles, Butchie and Kai are questioning him. Last week, John received wounds that parallel what Jesus went through, perhaps fulfilling his claim that he would be killed twice. So, is this episode Saturday, the day before his return? He certainly returns next week, though it’s unclear with what message. Certainly the great skepticism about his aims and powers parallels how the Romans viewed Jesus. I’ve thought about doing a story exploring what it would be like for Jesus to turn up in the modern world, I think Milch might have beat me to it. This blend of skepticism and open hostility is likely how most people would view someone with these kind of powers, and this kind of cryptic way of speaking.

Anyway, the reason I doubt that this force is a negative one has to do with the other central concept that crystallized this week. Ever since the first episode, I’ve speculated that John’s purpose was to rehabilitate the Yost family and return them to glory. However, as the cast grew with an increasing number of social rejects and failures, it became clear that John’s purpose in gathering these characters together was to give them a new community, a warmth and connection they were otherwise missing. Bill and Freddie are the most obvious examples, each unwilling to admit how important these people are to them openly, but constantly showing it in their own gruff way. Both those actors are amazing, and there’s any justice will get some love from the Emmys next year.

At one point in the episode, we see Barry in the bar and Dr. Smith in his new clinic. Each of them has to confront their fear of failure in these broke down surroundings. The rundown spaces are a physical representation of where all these characters are mentally. They are nearly falling apart, but with some care and love could become something wonderful. We saw that in Barry’s experience last week, seeing a theater in the bar, he was able to imagine his dreams fulfilled. But, the demons of his past came on the radio, the darkness of this world invading the possibility of his dreams. I’d argue that the force behind John, arguably God, is what spoke to Dr. Smith in the clinic and what sent Barry that vision. The force empowers Smith, but the real challenge is going on without it, he loses his confidence when the voices stop speaking, the real challenge is keeping the faith when God isn’t actually there. Now, that could be faith in God, or it could just be faith in your ability to do something.

Smith sees possibilities there, and even if looks bad now, it can be reborn. That’s what we’ve seen over the course of the series with the motel, what was initially deserted has become a home. Barry has taken the place where the worst moment of his life happened and turned it into something wonderful, the center of these peoples’ world. But, the darkness is still there, his fear manifested in the gray man sitting at the bar. Ultimately, we always have to deal with the bad stuff, but we must go on anyway. He may not see Shaun at the bar, but when he goes back in, he’s there.

All this would lead me to believe next episode will end with John bringing everyone together one more time, then disappearing for the foreseeable future. The episodes are called “His Visit” and it would make sense for the season to end when his visit does. If the series were to continue, we could jump ahead in time to the moment when he next returns. That would fit wonderfully with the themes, John’s goal was to show the characters what they could be, to be the catalyst for the halo effect, and then disappear when he is no longer needed, like the voices in the clinic. We see this literally in the speech sequence, where he gives us a brief glimpse of the Yosts in family portrait, happy for once. It’s still a long journey to get there, but it is possible.

So, keeping those two themes in mind, I’d argue that the central remaining issues are the rehabilitation of Cissy, and the reunion of the family. Cissy has a deep wound from her abuse of Butchie, and she’s completely unable to open herself up to him emotionally for fear of going back to that place. She deliberately keeps him distant, and yet keeps making comments that recall the moment. Here, she referenced him fucking himself, and has made similar references on other occasions. Subconsciously, she wants to apologize to him, but she can’t even find the words. Just going there would be too raw.

The same is true with Mitch, at first she doesn’t want him to help because she’s more interested in vilifying him than letting him make things up to her. It’s a surprise when he asks her what he can do to help, and ultimately he does wind up making things better. The Chemist also gives Cissy a reminder of who she once was, and who she could be again. He serves as a similar function as John, these characters don’t need people to act for them, they just need the prompting to act themselves.

We see that a lot with Freddie, who uses Palaka to do the things he is scared to do. Rather than go to Bill himself, he got Palaka to do it, and here he gets Palaka to investigate the meeting, in a great scene. Paul Ben Victor is just so much fun to watch, with his goofy mannerisms and surprising sensitivity. I love the scene where he listens to Freddie pray at the end of the episode.

Throughout the show, there’s so many beautiful moments. It’s very harsh on the surface, but that makes the moments of warmth even more powerful. I love Cissy’s total reckless devotion to Shaun as she wanders around, seeking anyone who can help her. The best moment here was Butchie and Kai’s embrace, the way he held her closer when Tina came in. You know that meant so much to Kai, Butchie is committing to her and in their union, the family is drawn closer together. Kai has been more of a mother to Shaun than Tina, and together, she and Butchie could really help him.

A while back, I was thinking that Tina and Linc were enemies of Shaun, and the show would end with some kind of showdown, but I don’t think that’s the point Milch wants to make. They are part of the Imperial Beach world, and even if they’re not quite on the same wavelength as the Yosts, they can help in their own way. Everyone is coming together to save Shaun, in the same way they came together after his initial injury. The scene with Mitch talking to the press was a clear parallel to the second episode.

It’s notable that all of our major supernatural players are absent this week. Zippy, Shaun and John have all gone missing, forcing the humans to deal with their own problems. Ultimately, their absence may provide the final push forward, and they will have to care for each other, like Dr. Smith cared for Barry. The community can continue to exist despite the removal of its immediate purpose.

So, that leaves us with the question of the mystery stick figures. The message behind their multiplication seems clear to me. We began with John, one man, and he gathered others around him. Now, his ‘disciples’ are everywhere, all the characters in Imperial Beach impacted in some way by his presence. John was there with one man, now there are many others, and he is absent from the video.

This series is just so special. One could point out flaws, like the fact that this episode basically retreads the conflict from last week, but “for real” this time. But, I don’t even care, the milieu is so wonderful and the philosophical and thematic points so interesting, the narrative recedes to the background. I can think of almost no other television works, or works of fiction in general, that are so rich and layered. Reading about Milch’s process, the creation of the show seems to be guided by a kind of divine hand, or perhaps just a collective subconscious that builds story.

Alan Moore’s Promethea explored the idea of the Immateria, the place where stories come from. Our minds are like houses, and outside is the vast array of knowledge and ideas we can tap into. Milch has left his house behind and is just channeling a powerful force into the series. Did he know the figures would be in the Avon catalogue when he wrote that first scene? Probably not, but now it comes back and it fits perfectly. It’s like The Invisibles, the work itself takes on a power and guides the creator, not the other way around. This show contains in it so much power, it works simultaneously as an intellectual text and a totally raw in the moment experience. I love these characters, I love their world and I really want to see more. Even if they never come back after the next episode, when it ends and we snap back to our world, they will linger on.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Babylon 5: The Lost Tales: Voices in the Dark

Over the past year, I watched and reviewed all the filmed material in the Babylon 5 universe. It was a pretty long journey that sadly ended on the down note of the awfully mediocre Legend of the Rangers movie. But, luckily that wasn’t the end of the universe, it returns to life in the form of a new direct to DVD movie.

Having watched the whole series over the past eight months, I have a different relationship to this film than most long time fans do. I’ve only been without these characters for a few months, I’m happy to see them again, but it’s not like I’ve been waiting years. Still, it’s been a couple of months, and it’s awesome to be back on the station. On the DVD, JMS says this is the first time since the series he’s done something that really felt like Babylon 5, and I’d agree with that. While this isn’t the world’s most exciting story, it puts you back in that place and leaves us with the hopes of more stories from this universe.

The film opens with one of the emotional high points of the series, the destruction of the station, accompanied by one of Christopher Franke’s most beautiful music cues. This was there to set the time, the last time we saw the station it was being destroyed, but there were moments before that. Going to such a heavy moment brings you right back into things, and the credits which jump through all the major characters in the series continues that reimmersion.

After a snappy opening sequence, we segue into what’s essentially a one act play with a marginal connection to the B5 universe. It made little sense to me that Lochley would be one of the characters chosen for the first episode of the Lost Tales series. This episode doesn’t delve too deeply into the character, probably because there’s not too much to delve into. So, this episode just uses her as an audience surrogate in a story that I’d assume JMS just wanted to tell, and decided to fit into this B5 project.

As a standalone tale, it’s marginally successful. The concepts are interesting and the visual style is more interesting than most of what we’ve seen on the series, but it’s limited by the fact that the vast majority of the film is three people in a room talking. About halfway through, I was checking my watch, annoyed that half of the new B5 project would just consist of his random standalone story. Like a lot of JMS’s weaker material, there’s some interesting philosophical concepts here, but it doesn’t particularly work as a film. For one, we’ve seen exorcisms so many times, the basic structure isn’t that interesting.

The bigger issue is the way he undermines the moral conundrum he’s come up with by presenting a heretofore unseen third path. The beauty of a show like 24 is that they’d put the characters in a situation that apparently had no outs, then force them to actually go through with one of the morally compromising alternatives. In both halves of this piece, the characters get themselves in a tough situation, but wind up finding an easy solution. This happened on a lot on the series and Crusade as well. To give the characters such an easy way out renders the philosophical inquiry essentially meaningless on an emotional level, and that leaves this as just an intellectual exercise.

That’s not to say there wasn’t a lot to like. The acting was generally solid and the constantly rotating camera was much more dynamic than the static composition of the series. Some shots reminded me of Irreversible, and there are few higher conflicts that you can pay a cinematographer.

The other thing I really liked was the reimagining of traditional religion for an era where mankind is in the stars. It fits in really well with the final moments of the series chronologically, where man leaves Earth behind to head out to the stars. With it, comes the destruction of the old demons who have held us back through the years. That millions years in the future sequence was one of my favorite moments in the entire series, and the thematic culmination of the entire shadow war plot, so it’s nice to return. However, it wasn’t quite enough to make this piece work.

However, much like Chungking Express, which used a similar split narrative, by the time you reach the end, the first half is a distant memory, what lingers is the more accessible, more successful second half. In this case, it feels kind of like the first time I watched Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. You have to sit through a half hour prelude to get to what you’re really watching the movie for, and much like the first appearance of that Twin Peaks sign, seeing Sheridan again is a relief. His half of the film isn’t up there with the best of the series, but it totally satisfies what I wanted from this project, putting you back in the universe and through this small story, we receive a glimpse into the state of the world as a whole.

Like the Lochley piece, the Sheridan story feels more like a play than a film. There are so few characters, we get no sense of B5 as a bustling port, like we did in the series. It seems a bit absurd that both Sheridan and Prince Vintari would have no security force whatsoever. But, you just have to accept that and move on. I don’t really mind the starkness of the set, it gave things an ominous feel. You’re focused more on the characters and less on clutter in the background.

The high point of this segment was definitely the scenes with Sheridan and Galen. Galen, despite having appeared in only seven episodes or so, is one of the most charismatic characters in the B5 universe. Much like Londo, his moral ambiguity makes him more interesting to watch than someone like Franklin or Ivanova, who almost always did the right thing. He has some real anger here, and presents a pretty ominous vision of the future. I thought the stuff with the future New York was fantastic, though I do think there’d be more contemporary buildings around, even 200 years in the future. But, maybe there were some in there and I missed them.

The film raises an interesting moral question, though again gets around by giving Sheridan an easy way out. Yes, we still have the possibility of Vintari bombing New York, but the implication at the end is that Sheridan and Delenn will teach him another way to be. It was pretty tense in the ships, but I didn’t feel like Sheridan would really kill him, and if he was going to kill him, doing it in such an obvious way doesn’t make much sense. That would lead me to believe that it was Galen’s goal all along to get Sheridan to take him in, but he moves in mysterious ways, and had to make Sheridan come to the conclusion on his own. So, much like the Vorlons, his logic works in a way that will create the best plot. Convenient, that. While I love a lot of what JMS does, he just makes it too easy on his characters a lot of the time.

But, those issues aside, this section worked wonderfully as an inserted piece of continuity. I loved realizing that Vintari was Cartagia’s son, particularly the fact they didn’t outright say it. Every viewer would take a minute to realize and then things would click into place. And, along with that, there were a lot of great nods to the other characters who didn’t appear, particularly the Franklin and G’Kar lines. I’m glad Londo was mentioned a lot, the implication seemed to be that he’d be part of the next Lost Tale, he’s the character I’d really love to see. He and G’Kar are the only characters who were spared from the easy outs JMS gave to everyone else. Everyone else got a happy ending, Londo just got fucked.

Watching this segment made me ponder what the whole series would have been like if it was made with today’s standard of visual effects. These effects looked fantastic, seeing the Centauri attack on Narn or some of the Shadow War battles with these effects would have been amazing. Even with the lacking 90s effects, those scenes were incredibly emotional, but they don’t come close to matching what we see here. Throughout, this is a more visually inventive and aesthetically satisfying take on B5. It’s moodier and more interesting to look at. People hailed this film for feeling like B5, and while that’s true, it has a completely different, much better visual style. Still, I wish we had gotten more visual indulgence and less scenes of people just talking.

But, ultimately the film satisfied its mission. It was great to catch up with these characters, and I think this format works much better than a series to continue the universe. The main story is through, but in the echoes we can find out more about the characters and how they lived. It’s the same principle as the Six Feet Under closing sequence, we don’t need to see everyday of these peoples’ lives, but it’s nice to check in every once in a while and find out what happened to them. The ending of this piece and the ancillary material certainly implies that we’ll be seeing more Lost Tales, and I’m looking forward to them.