SRP $99.98 1.77:1(16:9) DOLBY DIGITAL 5.1 WARNER BROS.

WARNER BROS. is releasing the 2nd season of the sci-fi tv cult-favorite, “BABYLON 5.”  Those lucky enough to have the entire first season on dvd, will recall that as the season finished, President Santiago had been killed, and Station Security Chief Garibaldi had also been shot.  The efforts towards maintaining a peace via political wrangling on Babylon 5, are being pushed to the limit.

Now with Season two, Captain Sheridan, a war hero, is replacing Commander Sinclair. Sheridan has proven himself before and continues to win over the crew with his demeanor and skill. His decision to promote Lieutenant Commander Susan Ianova, a “knockout” to Commander, didn’t hurt his appeal either.  

As the season unfolds, we also find that the Earth Alliance may have become seriously corrupt, questions arise as to the agenda of those who tried killing Garibaldi, and new information about the Minbari surrender sheds new light, while raising many more potential questions and storylines. 

Series creator, writer, and executive producer J. Michael Straczynski, has crafted a well-conceived, often elaborate, entry into the science-fiction genre with this series.  Sure, the first season may have felt cumbersome with characters, and so does the 2nd season at times, but the world of “BABYLON 5” is dense without ever feeling dull. It’s always imaginative, and the 2nd season offers more well written episodes than were accomplished within the first season. 

WARNER BROS. has released the 2nd season with the same aspect ratio as they did the previous season, 1.78:1 with 16:9 enhancement.  Also, like the first season, it looks terrific!  Sure, the storylines are great, but this show’s got much better special effects this season, all of which are complimented through the great detail achieved in this transfer. Colors are bright, and even with some infrequent grain, the image has a slick look to it.  Fleshtones appear natural.

WARNER BROS. has provided a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for this release.  While the surrounds are restrained for the most part, they’re used effectively when called upon to juice up a battle scene.  The front soundstage offers a fair share of separation effects, and dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion.  There are some LFE effects, but there’s nothing here that’s going to push the limits of any subwoofer.

WARNER BROS. has put together a slew of extras for this release.  The series creator and producer provides some worthwhile commentary about the 2nd season’s direction, as well as other aspects of the production.  Straczynski’s a smart guy and worth a listen. 

Additionally, there are bios for him and his fellow-exec-producer, Douglas Netter. 

Bruce Boxleitner, Claudia Christian and Jerry Doyle offer commentary for the episode, “GEOMETRY OF SHADOWS.”  While it provides some insight relating to the particular episode’s production, the commentary is mostly for light entertainment value, and is filled with friendly quips.  For fans of the series wanting in-depth analysis of the show, Straczynski provides ample amounts of information for two episodes, “IN THE SHADOW OF Z’Ha’Dum,” and “THE FALL OF NIGHT.” 

The 6th and final disc of this 6 disc set, offers two featurettes, each paying homage to the show’s accomplishments and challenges that were faced in bringing it to the small screen.  The 2nd of the featurettes is a bit weak in material as well as too short. 

“THE AUDIOVISUAL ARCHIVE” is a must for fans of the show. It’s filled with files relating to specific characters, ships and other pertinent matters, from the show.   It’s too bad other sci-fi boxed sets from other studios don’t have this feature included.