Babylon 5 Season by Season: Point of No Return Review
Point of No Return is Jane Killick's in-depth guide to the third season of Babylon 5. This title is also the overall title of the show's third season and is emblematic of the events taking place: Babylon 5 secedes from the Earth Alliance and irrevocably commits itself to the Shadow War.
Ms. Killick begins with an essay entitled "Special Effects". This section recounts the groundbreaking work conducted by Ron Thornton's Foundation Imaging for the pilot and the first three seasons. Babylon 5 was the first serious attempt to use realistic computer graphics for a television program, and they were rewarded for their efforts with an Emmy for "The Gathering". The essay also delves into the areas of pyrotechnics and makeup effects. This section illustrates the many challenges these artists from various disciplines faced while charting new special effects territory.
The second section of the book is an essay about the third season as a whole. Ms. Killick takes this opportunity to chart the major themes running through the story. The third season hosts numerous interweaving stories including G'Kar's revelation, Babylon 5's secession from the Earth Alliance, Zack's involvement with the Nightwatch, and the heating up of the Shadow War. Ms. Killick's insight and grasp of the Babylon 5 story arc is clear.
The meat of the book is the episode guide. This section is comprised of one chapter for each episode, and each chapter includes a cast list, short synopsis, and an analysis of the episode. Dedicated Babylon 5 fans may find the synopses lacking because they are written nonlinearly and occasionally have surprising omissions. However, the analysis sections more than make up for the synopses. On these pages, Ms. Killick's informed interpretations serve as a framework for quotes from the cast and crew. Numerous actors and crew members - as well as J. Michael Straczynski himself - were interviewed for this book, and their comments have been dispersed to appropriate places throughout the episode guide. All of the comments relating to a particular episode or issue are grouped together.
With a story as complex as Babylon 5 it is hard to keep the events of five seasons straight. Babylon 5 Season by Season: Point of No Return is an indispensable addition to any serious Babylon 5 fan's library.