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Rangers review: "Pilot Movie"

Reviewed by Richard Whettstone.
Rangers cast

THE PREMISE: The gang all gets together when the Minbari give them an old ghost ship that they use to escort the most powerful ship in the Minbari fleet which is carrying Ambassadors. When "The Hand" (Boo! Hiss!) show up and destroy the most powerful ship, the new crew of the ghost ship must dodge "The Hand" (Boo! Hiss!) when the old dead crew show up as ghosts to hint that there is a traitor onboard secretly working for "The Hand" (Boo! Hiss!).

"To Live and Die in Starlight"
Written by J. Michael Staczynski
(the usual suspect)

Babylon 5 It's called the "money shot".

Babylon 5's name is associated with the station. But Star Trek's name is associated with the series in general. Every Trek series, no matter what it was about, had the name Trek in the title. Yet shows like Crusade, which was supposed to take the action away from Babylon 5, dropped the name. But now suddenly the name is back. And not only is the name back, but the station, which made a six-second cameo at the movie's conclusion, is blatantly thrown into the opening credits as well. It reminds me of George Lucas pasting in that new footage in "Star Wars: The Special Edition" of Boba Fett standing there for a solid minute in his best Kate Mulgrew pose to please the rabid fans. Or is that SFC Executives?

What's worst? Rangers keeping the name "Babylon 5", or Enterprise dropping the name "Star Trek"? Actually Enterprise is a bad show no matter what it's called.

Oh, no! The Raiders upgraded their operating systems to Windows Vista!

I remember when the Raiders were so desperate for money they tried to kidnap Lord Kiro to buy another carrier ship. I remember when Sinclair caused so much damage to their fleet that he scared them away for virtually a year.

But now suddenly the Raiders are such an incredible threat, they expanded their menace across the galaxy. And even though Earth was only able to ever destroy just one Minbari ship during a war, the Raiders have the ability to destroy Ranger Minbari ships that utilize Vorlon technology.

And all the while still using the same type of triangle fighters that used to burst into sparks when Sinclair and Garibaldi used to shoot'em. Whip Hubley would have been proud.

Commander Riker We live for Number One.
We die for Number One.

And just who exactly is this "One" we're all dying for?

Because Warner Brothers made JMS fire Michael O'Hare, JMS rewrote history in "War Without End" Parts 1 & 2 and tried to make up some dipsh*t about how Sinclair, Sheridan and Delenn together make up a trio that is "the one". This is one of many problems I have with "War Without End". And this problem continues here by making it extremely difficult to explain.

In fact, it's so difficult to explain that it's unlikely the common Ranger knows this stuff. Let's not forget that the Minbari didn't want it out that Sinclair was Valen himself. Or is JMS trying to lead us to believe that every Ranger believes "the one" is actually three people, the President of the Galaxy, his wife, and the former Ranger One who mysteriously disappeared, traveled back in time, and became their God Valen? God, the President and his wife? Yeap. That's ''The One''.

Either every Ranger knows this, or they believe "the one" is something else. Either way, it was never explained to us viewers. And unless you were lucky to catch this specific line in a third season two-parter, otherwise the new viewers don't know either. And this was a pilot, whose purpose was to generate an audience, including new viewers unfamiliar with Babylon 5.

David Martel I'm Captain David Martel of the U.S. Jesus Christ. Surrender your vessel and prepare to be boarded by religious ninjas. Or... whatever.

Valen is virtually a God to the Minbari, or someone of such stature. Yet they turn around and name a spaceship after him? This sounds good on paper but... actually no it didn't sound good on paper either. Can you imagine if the United States created the most powerful ship in the US Military and named it the US Jesus Christ? Because that's what the Minbari did.

Sinclair Then when the Minbari surrendered, we took over their planet.

And when we see the Minbari home planet of Minbar as the Ranger ships break orbit, we see the sky literally cluttered with Earth Transport Ships in orbit around Minbar. We'll probably never know how the Minbari ended up with all those Earth transport ships. Maybe it's a subplot or a five-year story-arc.

Dulann I invite death. Just don't show up too early.

And after scene after scene after scene on ''Babylon 5'' constantly reminding us that the Minbari sleep at an angle and that they believe lying flat could invite death, here we see the Minbari Ranger ship Liandra has flat medical beds for the sick and dying. Not a good time to invite death.

ELRIC: I see a great hand reaching across the stars. I see billions of people calling your name.

JMS: My viewers?


The Hand? You have an enemy that supposedly makes the Shadows look like simple bugs, and they're called "The Hand"?!?!

Didn't M.A.N.T.I.S. had to fight The Hand once? Or was that Manimal? Maybe it was the Ninja Turtles.

Elric the Technomage.

G'Kar smoking Hug, Hug. Kiss, Kiss. Tah-Tah for now.

We understand a story-arc where G'Kar goes from a bad guy so bold he's willing to partake in an assassination of the Vorlon Ambassador, to a tragic and sympathetic character who lost his entire world to mass bombing. But apparently JMS isn't done yet and wants to go one more: G'Kar the fruit.

We could have activated the Jumpgate to screw with The Hand, but that would be cheating.

Even though "The One", who also happens to be President of the Galaxy, successfully destroyed two Shadow vessels by screwing around with opening Jump points where he shouldn't have.

We also could have exploded the Jumpgate which most certainly would have blown The Hand to hell. But that would have been too cool for viewers to comprehend.

And if we still wanted to do it our way, we could have established that The Hand deactivated the Jumpgate, which not only would have prevented us from doing such, but would raise their threat more by showing they can screw with us, too. It also would have forced us to limp home with no working Jumpgate, which also would have been cool.

And thank God that The Hand, who didn't need a Jumpgate, didn't destroy it themselves which would have even been a greater threat to us.

Bad Alien We're so advanced, we don't need scanners to detect explosives.

We also don't need scanners to tell us the transmission was coming from the wrong ship.

Plus, even though its absolutely vital you don't force our pawn to talk, our sacrificable pawn is so important to us we actually want him back. Sure, the Shadows would have destroyed you all, but we want him back. We really like him.

Bablon 5
What planet? Oh, we moved the planet. But we'll move it back later in time for "Sleeping In Light".

And what was missing from the scene of Babylon 5? The entire planet it was in orbit of. It was called Epsilon 3 by the way. Unlike in "Rangers", you can see it here in the photo.

Garibaldi gives a salute Nothing in this script is exactly as it appears.

No. It's worst.

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