The book starts with a description of the long road of "selling" B5 to various tv execs seeking partners and funding. Boring? On contrary it offers a rare look behind the curtains and helps to understand why it's so hard to get funding for a truly artistically ambitious tv show like Bab 5, or why most tv drama lacks that ambition. It also gives the readers an idea of how dedicated JMS, Copeland and Netter were to getting this show on air against all odds. The overall wiew on the first season On the other hand can be a bore to those who have already studied the episodes site on the net, although more compact and a must to understanding the continuing story lines that would make Macchiavelli jealous, layers on layers, from scale of individuals to institutions, worlds and the universe. For those new to this complexity and richness it makes the book easier to follow episode by episode. The episode guide includes a two-page synopsis followed by 4-5 pages of comments from JMS, directors and actors, episode by episode including the pilot of the series, "the Gathering". If these comments would constitute a bigger part of the book instead of about 100 pages, with even more detail and humour the book would be a fiver, but as people were interwiewed years after the first season these kind of things tend to give way for more professional-orientated memories. Still by no means dry or "basic" even for the most educated fans, this book is worth it's price, and more when combined with the series on video, allowing to see the episodes in a new light.
This is yet another installment in a series of episode guides for B5--probably the best science fiction show made in America in the 1990s--giving the reader a thorough retelling of the season's episodes and the background action of B5's on-going production problems. There should, however, be some warnings for new fans of B5! All of the books in this series give out plot points that viewers might not want to know--especially those who are willing to get up at 6 am (5 ET) to watch the show.
As with her other books, Jane Killick delivers more than just a retread of the season's episodes, plot lines and cast lists. The most interesting and valuable parts are the quotes from JMS, the actors, and the creative forces behind the show, commenting on the scenes, issues and their reactions to them. If you have to choose among the growing list of "guides to Babylon 5," make this series your top priority.
The whirlwind third season is my favorite of the entire five year arc. This book does a wonderful job of showing not only an excellent episode guide and summary of the season but info on what goes on where the viewers seldom get to go: behind the scenes. I loved the actor's takes on their characters, especially on the relationships.