It was the dawn of the Third Age of Mankind. And you can experience it again.
Famously hard to find on DVD now, Babylon 5 is available to stream online for free via a new arrangement between Warner Bros. and the Go90 mobile video service. Also at your fingertips: Fringe, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Veronica Mars, among others.
Enjoy it while it lasts: Variety’s source says the deal expires in a year or less. But it’s the best Babylon 5 seekers are likely to find for a while; an HD release of the series on Blu-ray is unlikely.
As Hollywood graphic designer Michael Okuda, best known for his work on the Star Trek franchise, recently explained on Facebook where I learned from him of the Go90 availability: “Rescanning the film and re-rendering all the VFX would be extremely expensive. And a straight up-rez of the existing standard-def video would likely be disappointing.”
He should know. Mike and Denise Okuda were key figures in the restoration and remastering of both the original Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation. The product of their endeavors was artistically successful and acclaimed, as well as important historically and commercially for some of Paramount’s flagship programming, but it wasn’t necessarily a blockbuster that demanded similar treatment for spin-offs Deep Space Nine and Voyager. Those series are in the same boat, for once, as B5 — they bypassed 35mm film for post-production of special effects. (While The Next Generation did the same, it was a kind of crown jewel that needed to be preserved, and DS9 and Voyager made much wider use of computer-generated imagery.)