It was the dawn of the third age of mankind. . .

Babylon 5: The Lost Tales, ďVoices in the DarkĒ

If you donít know, Babylon 5 was the first show to really demonstrate exactly what could be done with CGI. At the time, CGI was in use in science fiction shows and movies, but usually in conjunction with models. For example, take Star Trek: The Next Generation. ST:TNG had a lot of CGI in it, but things like, oh, the Enterprise, were models, with some CGI enhancement. B5 was the first to use CGI for all exteriors and the like Ė even the people in space suits were CGI. Sometimes, it didnít work all that well. Sometimes, it did. In fact, Iíd out the best of B5ís CGI space battle against anything Lucas has done or thatís on TV since.

Due to budgetary constraints, and the destruction of the old sets, B5: TLT is almost completely CGI. Not just the exteriors. Pretty much every bit of the station, except for a small corridor is CGI in this. And sometimes, itís too obvious the actors are working against a green screen, but other times, it looks great. But this is, in general, some of the smoothest, cleanest CGI Iíve seen. The station never looked so beautiful. The Starfuries looked ready for war. Sleek and mean.

One of, if not my favorite episode of Babylon 5 is the 18th episode in the fourth season titled Intersections in Real Time. If you have watched the episode, you probably know which one this is. It involves the interrogation of Sheridan. Intersections in Real Time, for 45 minutes, consists primarily of Bruce Boxleitner and Ray Birk, in a room, interacting with each other. There are brief moments of other characters, but it is essentially the two of them battling, talking, engaging in a war of words, thoughts, ideals, and truths.

Voice in the Dark brings two stories to the screen. The first reminded me very much of Intersections in Real Time. Colonel Lochley (Tracy Scoggins) has to deal with a crisis only a few hours before Sheridan arrives on B5 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Interstellar Alliance. Like Intersections, this consists mainly of Lochley and two other individuals interacting with each other. One of JMSí favorite things to touch on is faith, and this story relies heavily on this favorite of his, and does so well. It asks the question what happens to faith when we finally breach the heavens to tread upon the stars and find no God, but only silence and darkness? If you like B5 because of the action ,the wicked cool space battles, the adventure, and the excitement, then you might not appreciate this half of Voices in the Dark. It does not have any cool space battles, or gunplay. However, if you enjoy the philosophical aspect of B5, I think you will enjoy this. It not only adds another dimension to B5, but it does so intelligently and interestingly.

The second story takes place roughly concurrent with the first. It deals with Sheridan on his trip to B5 for the anniversary party. Along the way, we learn that Citizen GíKar and Doctor Franklin are together, exploring Beyond the Rim Ė rest in peace. Sheridan learns from an old ally of a future danger that threatens to wipe out Earth. He learns how he can prevent the occurrence, but doing so will not be morally clean. This story is just as interesting as the first. Like the first, it relies heavily on the interactions between two characters, but it does so with more characters. Unlike the first story, this one does include a keen space battle scene, and we get to see the Starfuries in flight once again. Sheridan looks older, and more tired, but every bit the man who grabbed two of the biggest, baddest boys on the block by the ear and said Get the Hell Outta Here!

I was so excited to learn of a new Babylon 5 project. I waited this long to watch it because I had plans to rewatch the entire series first, but life interrupted that (stupid life). Also, I think I was a little worried that it just wouldnít live up to the expectations I had, and by not watching it, my hopes wouldnít be kicked in the testicles.

They werenít, and Iím sorry for doubting JMS (but you did do Legend of the Rangers Ė you could see where some doubt might creep in, right?). Voices in the Dark isnít the most adrenaline-charged B5 ever offered up, but it is absolutely Babylon 5 in premise, execution, and spirit, and I am so very pleased with it. I hope theyíve already started production on the next one (if I could pre-order it RIGHT NOW, I would) and that this is the first in a long line of new tales from an old friend.

If you are a fan of Babylon 5, go now and get this. If you arenít a fan of B5, well, then, I feel sorry for you. If you donít know B5, go and make friends with it. Sometimes, especially at the start, itís a bumpy ride, but goddamn, itís a fun ride.