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  • Widescreen 1.78:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital Surround
    English, French, Dutch, Arabic, English - Hearing Impaired
  • Additional footage - Introduction
  • 3 Audio commentary
  • Animated menus
  • Documentaries - Behind the mask, Building a better Narn, Designing for tomorrow, The universe of Babylon 5

Babylon 5 - Season 3

Warner Bros./Warner Home Video . R4 . COLOR . 383 mins . PG . PAL


Not familiar with Babylon 5? Really? Crikey! Well OK then here's a couple of paragraphs that I've shamelessly stolen from my earlier review of season two.

The Babylon project was designed by the Earth government to be a meeting place for space faring species. To be constructed in neutral space, it is intended to be a place to trade, exchange ideas, educate and, most importantly, settle differences in a peaceful manner. The first three Babylon stations were sabotaged during construction while the fourth mysteriously disappeared shortly before going online. Financially unable to support the construction of a fifth station alone, the concept looked doomed until it was saved by sponsorship from four alien species (the Minbari, Centauri, Narn and Vorlon). Their financial assistance came with a price. Each partner would have a place on an advisory committee to be chaired by the humans. Now fully operational, the human crew and alien ambassadors must try and resolve all manner of galactic problems. Meanwhile, mysterious and dark forces are manipulating key races, turning one against the other for reasons known only to themselves.

The story of Babylon 5 follows the well worn path of good versus evil. Within this broad framework lies a number of story threads that weave their way through each episode and season. Designed from the ground up to run over five years, each season was given a title by creator J. Michael Straczynski (typing his name repeatedly is going to get old fast, from now on look for JMS) that gives a clue to the overall story. The season titles are:

Season One - Signs and Portents
Season Two - The Coming of Shadows
Season Three - Point of No Return
Season Four - No Surrender, No Retreat
Season Five - The Wheel of Fire

Those nasty Shadows, you know the ones that were starting to make a nuisance of themselves in season two, are really getting in the face of our gallant crew now! Then there's the Earth government, what a bunch of fascist, socialist, communist, republican, liberal, racist, self stimulating slime buckets they are. Does this particular part of the story arc remind you of a couple of governments that are in power around the world at the moment or is it just me?

"Only one captain has survived battle with the Minbari fleet. He is behind me, you are in front of me. If you value your lives, be somewhere else!"

The episode list for season three is:

Matters of Honour
A Day in Strife
Passing Through Gethsemane
Voices of Authority
Dust to Dust
Messages from Earth
Point of No Return
Severed Dreams
Ceremonies of Light and Dark
Sic Transit Vir
A Late Delivery from Avalon
Ship of Tears
Interludes and Examinations
War Without End, Part One
War Without End, Part Two
Grey 17 is Missing
And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place
Shadow Dancing

My review set consists of six discs, five of which contain four episodes per disc with the final disc containing two episodes and the bulk of the extras.


The video transfer for all discs is the same. They are 16:9 enhanced with an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1.

Like season two, the majority of the time the video transfer for each episode is very good, as good as any transfer you care to mention, but then, for short sections, it becomes quite grainy and decidedly soft. I'd say that the quality of season three is better than two, but you will still see an obvious drop in image quality immediately before and after CG work and during scenes in which live action and CG effects are combined. The suspect manner in which the CG work has been transferred is still apparent on this set of discs.

Colours are nicely saturated and cleanly presented and the black level is a-OK.

The frequency and size of film artefacts is improved in this transfer. The odd fibre, dust particle or nick does pop up to say "hi!" during many of the episodes, but they don't hang around for long enough to annoy the viewer. Film-to-video artefacts are still noticeable, particularly during CG effects shots, and again feature that frustration machine called Mr. Aliasing! The problem is quite noticeable during some passages but, for me at least, they didn't ruin my enjoyment of any episode.


Sssshhhhh don't tell Amy (that's Amy who works tirelessly to ensure that DVDnet keeps going)! This is our secret OK? I nicked my description of the audio transfer from my other review! Well, the quality is the same so where is the harm?

Season three sports an all new Dolby Digital 5.1 audio transfer just like two which is nice to see.

The result is clear and crisp with no obvious problems and includes both the surrounds and the subwoofer, but is hampered by its humble origins as a budget restricted, made for television production. What does this mean you ask? Well it means that you will hear some action from the surrounds both for ambience and during action sequences, plus your subwoofer will stay awake in most episodes, but you won't be using any of these discs as demo material.


Extras can be found on discs one, three, four and six.

Disc One

Introduction to Season Three - Point of No Return (6:07)

As with each of the previous box sets, JMS (mainly), John Copeland and Douglas Netter talk about the development of the story and the characters for this season.

Disc Three

Commentary on Severed Dreams with JMS

This is one of my favourite episodes, not to mention a Hugo award winner and so it's a treat to get another high quality commentary from the mastermind of this great series. JMS talks throughout the episode covering all sorts of topics including script ideas and approach, casting, production and so on. You get a great insight into the creation of the episode and the series in general.

Disc Four

Commentary on Interludes and Examinations with Bruce Boxleitner, Jerry Doyle, Richard Biggs and Ed Wasser

Unlike the cast commentary from season two, this one is funny, interesting and respectful of the show and the work of others. Only occasionally does one of them muck around and talk over more serious commentary. Light-hearted though it may be, this is still a good listen.

Disc Six

Commentary on Z'Ha'Dum with JMS

Up to his usual high standard and therefore well worth a listen!

Behind the Mask - Creating the Aliens of Babylon 5 (8:12)

John Vulich (makeup effects), JMS and John Copeland talk about how the various aliens were created.

Building a Better Narn (7:22)

John Vulich discusses how the look of the Narn was refined for the series and shows us how the makeup was actually applied using actor Marshall Teague (Ta'lon) as his subject. Examples of how the actors were able to use facial expressions while in full Narn makeup are shown. Marshall Teague and others talk about the challenges of working in full makeup for a full day.

Designing for Tomorrow - The Look of Babylon 5 (9:58)

This documentary shows us how various aspects of the show's production were tackled. It features interviews with JMS, John Iacovelli (production designer), Jason Howard (set decorator), Douglas Netter and Ann Bruice Aling (costume designer).

The Universe of Babylon 5

Once selected you are able to choose from three sub menus. Within each of these sub menus you can select a number of 'micro documentaries' describing some aspect of the B5 universe. The sub menus are:

Datafiles - Short information segments on key topics from the B5 universe.

. White Star
. Mindwipe
. Battle for Babylon 5
. Thunderbolt
. Grey 17

Personnel Files - Short information segments on key characters from the series:

. Zack Allen
. Marcus Cole
. David Corwin
. Alfred Bester
. Zathras

Shadow Dossier - A documentary on the Shadows (3:15). You need a password to access this extra. Don't worry it's not hard to solve.

Easter Egg - Outtakes and Bloopers (3:15)

Head on over to the Easter Eggs section for information on how to access this feature.


Yes, yes, yes!

Wow, I'll have what he's having!

Well if you want some baby, get yourself a copy of the box set for season three. Babylon 5 doesn't get any better than this season, it's an absolute ripper!

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      And I quote...
    "Ahhhh, champagne sci-fi! This box set is the DVD equivalent of something James Bond would be drinking!"
    - Michael Chappell
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Loewe Xenix 5006DD
    • DVD Rom:
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    • MPEG Card:
          RealMagic Hollywood Plus
    • TV:
          Grundig MW82-50/8 IDTV 16:9
    • Receiver:
          Denon AVR-2801
    • Speakers:
          Tannoy Mercury M4
    • Centre Speaker:
          Tannoy Mercury MC
    • Surrounds:
          Tannoy Mercury M1
    • Subwoofer:
          Aaron SUB-120
    • Audio Cables:
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    • Video Cables:
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