Wednesday, November 26, 2008

In My Day Television Was Called Books!

I'm loaning my DVD set of Babylon 5 to my sister, so I've been hurrying through the last few episodes, watching most of them on the double-speed setting my player allows. Last night I watched "Sleeping in Light", the series finale, but not in double-speed. Even though it hurts to watch, it's just not an episode you want to push though quickly.

It's also not an episode to watch with anyone who doesn't understand the series, or without a big box of Kleenex. To call it a tear-jerker is an understatement. Straczynski rips your heart out, not once, not twice, but three or four times! And still leaves you saying "Wow, that was good!"

I stand by my assessment that Babylon 5 transcends its genre. It's not just sci-fi, it's not just television. It is art. It is Literature. It is a masterwork, and not even Straczynski has tried to top it. He feels he did everything he wanted to do, and said everything he wanted to say.

Some people might feel it a shame that he peaked so early in his career. But what a peak! Sometimes it's wise to plant your flag and walk away.

I almost didn't discover Babylon 5. My sister and I stumbled across it late at night when it was in its third season. We nearly changed the channel, and if we hadn't been so tired we might have. I've never particularly enjoyed coming into a show part-way into its run, especially when the show is so character driven. But for some reason we stopped and watched. We were hooked. We watched it faithfully through the end of season four when it moved to a cable channel.

It was several more years before I got the chance to see the entire series. I moved across the state, got married, and settled into a new house. Then I happened to meet a man at church who had video taped nearly the entire series. He let me watch them. Somehow, though, I think he missed taping the finale. It was a few more years before my brother got the series on DVD and I watched them again while staying up late with our second newborn who didn't like sleeping. Over the last couple of years I've bought my own set and watched them again.

Anyway, I'm glad I managed to connect with a wonderful, powerful, uplifting story. My life is better for it. I wish I could produce something so moving. But, as with nearly everything in my life, I don't seem to get past the wishing stage.

No comments: