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RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 90 min.
• Goose egg.
“Who’s up for another five-year-novel-for-television? Anyone? Hello?”
Dylan Neal, Alex Zahara, Myriam Sirois, Mackenzie Gray, and Andreas Katsulas as G’Kar
Years after the events of Babylon 5, a ragtag team of Rangers uncover (surprise!) a brand spanking new threat to galactic peace. Unlike the four B5 TV movies before it, this is actually a two-hour pilot for what would have been a second spinoff series, following the troubled Crusade.
"I can hear the ocean!"
David Martel (Neal) is a Ranger who can’t play by your rules, man. As punishment, he and his crew inherit the ‘Liandra’, an outdated, underpowered and—get this—haunted patrol ship. Their first assignment? Escort a top-of-the-line cruiser stuffed with interplanetary dignitaries to a secret summit location. What could possibly go wrong? I don’t know about you but I’d bet on the top-of-the-line cruiser and her smug, superior captain any day.
"Guys! Wait up!"
This marks the last B5-related production to date. Give creator J. Michael Straczynski credit; the captain went down with his ship. However, that may only be because he didn’t expect it to sink; Legend of the Rangers is loaded with character introductions and backstories that could only have paid off given a full season order. But the whole premise seems unnecessary (didn’t that much-ballyhooed five-year story-arc, y’know, end?) and there’s no particular chemistry among the cast. At least the original B5 pilot set up Londo and G’Kar’s seething (and entertaining) rivalry right away.
Which brings us to the late, great Katsulas, perhaps the only actor who ever looked better with red eyes, lizard skin, and leopard spots than with his own natural face. He doesn’t have a lot to do here but Straczynski has saved him the best lines. I doubt the outspoken ambassador from Narn would have returned had the series continued; either way, it’s nice to hang with him one last time.
"Norman Osbourn and Gwen Stacy? Nah. Ain’t buying it."
The look is TV all the way, despite the 16:9 aspect ratio. CG effects are respectable, and the digital-backlot production (which, to be fair, Babylon 5 pioneered) makes the most of what I count to be perhaps four standing sets.
No extras, unless you consider subtitles in three languages a special feature. The cover art is your standard forest o’ faces, accented by the hero spaceship du jour. At least it’s consistent with the artwork for the other B5 titles.