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Cult Times #46
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The Premise: Five years after the emotional goodbyes in Babylon 5, the Drakh – scaly acolytes of the Shadows – wish to take vengeance on Earth for sending their masters beyond the Rim. When Sheridan and co destroy the Death Cloud that they had aimed at Earth, they spitefully release a biogenetic weapon that will kill all life on the planet within five years. It is now up to the intrepid crew of the Excalibur to find a cure, and prove that every Death Cloud has a silver lining.

The stars of CrusadeBackground: A spin-off series from the popular Babylon 5 was hinted at by creator JMS as early as Season Three, but finally emerged when TNT put up the cash for the final year of the show, taking interest in turning it into a franchise. The tale began with segue TV movie A Call to Arms, involving cast members from both shows, that revealed the Drakh attack.

First Run: TNT premièred the series on 9th June 1999. UK showings start less than a month later: 4th July 1999 – on Sky 1.

Number of Episodes: Thirteen episodes were completed before TNT pulled the plug after “creative differences” with JMS. It is hoped that fan reaction will provoke another network to take up the series for Season Two.

Good Guys: As was stated in B5 “no one here is exactly as they seem,” and Crusade is no exception. Each of the characters has a dark side or sinister secret, but these are the people that you are supposed to identify with: Captain Matthew Gideon, Technomage Galen, thief Dureena Nafeel, IPX archaeologist Max Eilerson and Dr Sarah Chambers.
Bad Guys: The Drakh, of course. And most of the people that the crew meet have a dark side or sinister secret.

And Isn’t That...
Edward Woodward pops up in the second episode The Long Road as a fellow Technomage to his real-life son Peter. Both Tracy Scoggins and Richard Biggs return to their B5 roles, and Sci-Fi veteran Brian Thompson guest stars in Patterns of the Soul.

Overdone Clichés: Everyone having a dark side or sinister secret, and Gideon’s pet Apocalypse Box being so infuriatingly vague – it gives Kosh a shuffle for his money.

Fashion Statements: Watch out for the amazing changing uniforms that go from black EarthForce variants, to grey and red numbers, and then back again.

Lee Binding

Photo © TNT
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For the Cause
Racing the Night
Original pilot episode, this is a real ensemble piece for the cast. The crew examine a dead world for clues and make a startling discovery.

The Rules of the Game
Gideon and Lochley butt heads over a land deal, but they soon co-operate in more ways than one.

Each Night I Dream of Home
The Drakh virus is almost unlocked, leading to an all-out assault in Earth Space by the Drakh.

For the Bin
The self-righteous The Long Road, involving Peter and Edward Woodward shouting a lot, and Visitors from Down the Street, an unfunny poke at X-Files conspiracy theories.

Sky 1, Sundays, 20.00 (from July 1999)
See magazine for details

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