As you may recall, I’ve lately been watching the TV series Babylon 5 in its entirety for the first time. It’s not currently available on any of the streaming services I’m familiar with, so I’ve been utilizing the old VHS recordings my lovely Anne made for me when the show ran on the TNT cable network back in the late ’90s… recordings I frankly have never gotten around to viewing before now. I don’t mind relying on these old tapes. They’re available, and the quality of them is good enough for my current purpose, which is merely to see the series. But I have run across a few cock-ups — missing episodes, or hour-long chunks of other programming that was captured instead of B5, so I have to occasionally fast-forward to the next segment of my show. These haven’t been a big deal, as I’ve been able to follow the story well enough… until tonight.
Babylon 5 was one of the first TV series to tell a single, unified story in a serialized format, something we now more or less expect. The first three seasons detail the coming of a massive intergalactic war between two ancient species, the Vorlons and the Shadows, with the “young races” — humans and our various allies and rivals — caught in the middle. Everything has been leading to a final confrontation between the three sides, as well as a resolution to several other plot threads, taking place in a fourth-season episode called “Into the Fire.” I was looking forward to tucking into that one tonight after Anne retired, to finally getting the payoff for all that build-up.
But as it turns out… somehow…. because of some innocent error made nearly 20 years ago… I’ve only got about 10 minutes of that episode. I checked the following tape, just to make sure Anne didn’t realize the last one had run out and thrown a fresh one into her machine midway through the episode. No such luck. That tape starts with the following episode. So no “Into the Fire.” And now I’m left with no idea what happens, except that the war somehow ends. Of all the episodes to miss out on!
I am feeling very… unfulfilled… right about now. Twenty years after the fact.