Babylon 5: Point Of No Return: The Complete Third Season

It was quite audacious for series creator J. Michael Straczynski to premiere a "space station series" a year after the Star Trek franchise unleashed their Deep Space Nine. While DS9 had the Trek nation behind it, Babylon 5 faced a rocky hyperspace jump but ultimately overcame its near-collapses and lumbering start, eventually connecting all its plot seeds to emerge as one of the few legitimate contenders to challenge Trek at a sci-fi con, and one of the few series in recent years to create a universe as involved. Where DS9 was envisioned initially as more of a wild west town in space, B5 was envisioned more as an intergalactic UN, a place for the different races (humans, Narn, Minbari, Centauri, etc.), to coexist, and along the way delved deep into the myths of the medieval fantasy worlds for both its characters and the way they interact. Of course the series really started to kick ass, as most sci-fi series do, when they went to war in the series' third season, where the crew of B5 is forced to secede from the corrupt Earth government and unite the disparate alien races to battle the Shadows, a race of malevolent ancient aliens. Although its CGI effects and look never equal DS9, its more ambitious scope, underlying mythology/religious tones and stringent utilisation of every plot thread ever laid out made it a worthy sci-fi contender. Along with all 22 episodes of season three, there are three very in-depth episode commentaries, two with creator Straczynski, who shows off his sci-fi geek pedigree, and imparts titbits throughout, along with various acceptable featurettes that include an introduction by Straczynski, the prerequisite "aliens of" and the "look of," among some lesser features. Extras: featurettes; select episode commentary; more. (Warner)