Hey Warner Bros, I Want to Give You Some of My Money

I recently bought the first season of Star Trek (The Original Series, of course) on Blu-Ray. It’s very cool, because you can switch between watching the episodes with the original special effects or the nicely redone versions they syndicated a couple years back. Unlike most revisions to classic shows, the updated effects took nothing away from the episodes and were handled very tastefully.

I don’t buy a lot of series on DVD, but the original Trek is definitely worth the purchase. This spiffy set makes me wish another of my favorite science fiction shows would receive the same treatment: Babylon 5.

B5 is perhaps the best written show of its kind, groundbreaking in that it was plotted out as a complete story intended to run five seasons. Its themes and characters hold up exceptionally well, but its special effects look horribly dated. If it’s hard for me, a die-hard fan, to stomach the ancient Amiga-era CGI, it would no doubt be tough for a modern audience used to the glorious effects of Battlestar Galactica to get past them.

Releasing a remastered Blu-Ray and DVD of Babylon 5 with new CGI would allow the show to stand the test of time and catch on with a new audience. Is it likely to happen? Who knows. Though the show always struggled in the ratings, it has sold extremely well on DVD and prompted Warner Brothers to fund further TV movies and DVD projects (including a couple attempts at follow-up shows). In fact, Warners keeps flirting with the idea of a theatrical film, though it’s still uncertain as to whether it will happen. If B5 does make it to the big screen, reviving the franchise with a remastered DVD set would be a natural promotion for a movie.

So while I won’t hold my breath for B5 being revamped, I can look forward to seasons 2 and 3 (yes, even 3) of Trek to grace my LCD screen. And that’s not a bad thing at all.

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Steve Danuser, also known as Moorgard, is a a writer, editor, and game designer.

5 thoughts on “Hey Warner Bros, I Want to Give You Some of My Money”

  1. As a rabid B5 fan I totally agree. I’d most certainly buy the entire series again if it was remastered. It is a shame nobody has picked up this IP for something… anything.

  2. Oddly enough, my wife and I just started going through Season 5 of B5 again yesterday. Well… again for me — 1st time for her. Few months back we started marathoning the whole series, but we burned out after Season 4, and with Season 5 not *quite* being up to the standard that Seasons 3 & 4 set, I didn’t worry about it, but yesterday she said “We still need ot finish Babylon 5″ so.. into the dvd player it went.

    As far as a remastering goes… I don’t know. In a lot of ways that “Amiga-era CGI” was pioneering the whole CGI thing. Wasn’t B5 the 1st wholly CGI show ever, and the techniques they learned then improved on and used by others over time? For the “historical reference of how CGI once was alone, I think it should be preserved. That said, I wouldn’t be averse to a remastering either.

  3. I started watching the series again through the weekend as well. (The entire series is on Hulu.com.) I would LOVE to see a remastering of the show and I would probably buy the entire series on DVD/Blueray if they did.

  4. Unfortunately, Warner Brothers lost all the digital assets for the show, so don’t expect the SFX to be redone. That is why the Sfx look crappy on the DVD’s – they were originally shot in 4:3 and when they did the DVD’s they did 16×9. They were able to recrop the original film assets and have nice sharp video, but all the Sfx shots had to be cropped from the original 4×3 video frames resulting in fuzzy video. It is sort of funny watching the DVD’s and seeing it go fuzzy – sharp – fuzzy – sharp as the Sfx scenes appear.

  5. After doing some digging, it looks like JMS refuses to do any more of the straight-to-DVD “Lost Tales” series because WB won’t give him a bigger budget than the first (disappointing) installment had and Joe doesn’t want to cheapen his legacy. Can’t say I blame him.

    WB could have all the CGI shots redone for a new set of discs. I feel like it’s almost inevitable that it happens someday, but probably not anytime soon.

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