Babylon 5 Magazine Issue 15 Review
First Published: 09/19/99
The Official Babylon 5 Magazine is a 64-page glossy color magazine dedicated to Babylon 5 and Crusade. It is published by Titan Magazines in the UK, but it is also available in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. This article takes a look at the September 1999 issue.
The cover photograph featuring four cast members, including Michael O'Hare and Claudia Christian, might lead one to believe that this issue concentrates on season one. However, there is only one article on that era.
Interviews with the cast and crew are a regular feature of the magazine. This month there are back-to-back interviews with the healers of Babylon 5: Marjean Holden as Dr. Sarah Chambers and Richard Biggs as Dr. Stephen Franklin. There is also an article about the two sets of costume designs created for Crusade. Finally, Valeria Ghiran writes an article about her experience playing the ISN Reporter in "A Call to Arms" from the perspective of someone who usually works behind-the-scenes at Babylonian Productions.
The Babylon 5 Magazine hosts three types of article about individual episodes. The first is the "Station Log". This is an in-depth look at an episode including a synopsis, analysis, behind-the-scenes information, and interviews with the producer, writer, and actors. This month's candidate is the first season episode "Believers". This controversial episode deals with the issue of religions that forbid medical treatments in a very thought-provoking manner.
The second type of episode article is the "Videodrome". These articles document set visits conducted during the filming of episodes currently being released on video in the UK. This month, the magazine looks at two fifth season episodes: "Darkness Ascending" and "And All My Dreams, Torn Asunder".
The third type of article is called "From the Set". These are short reports of set visits conducted during the filming of Crusade. The episodes covered this month include "Racing the Night", "The Memory of War", and "The Needs of Earth". Of particular interest in this section are the designer's notes and sketches from designer Luc Mayrand. In addition to sketches for the three episodes mentioned above, Mr. Mayrand contributes a short article on designing the alien ship for "Appearances and Other Deceits" this month.
The Babylon 5 Magazine includes several regular columns. "ISN News" contains short news articles about Babylon 5, Crusade, and their casts and crews. Reference editor and writer Fiona Avery writes an article in this section called "Illuminations" that usually takes a behind-the-scenes look at Crusade. This month she writes about what directors do. The "Zocalo" reports on the latest Babylon 5 merchandise. "The Great Machine" is a forum in which Fiona Avery answers your questions about the Babylon 5 universe. The magazine also prints letters from its readers.
Last but most certainly not least is "The Last Word". This is J. Michael Straczynski's editorial page. It is refreshing to read this section because it is exclusive material, whereas many of the Straczynski quotes elsewhere in the magazine have already appeared in his messages on Usenet. Instead of writing about Babylon 5 this month, Joe Straczynski defends the television industry against the blame heaped on it for the school shootings in Littleton, Colorado.
While much of the information in The Official Babylon 5 Magazine is old news to Internet-savvy fans, the unique information available in the in-depth articles and interviews - together with Joe Straczynski's "Last Word" - make it well worth the cover price, which is $5.99 in the United States. Check your local book or comic store.
There are a few short articles that I mentioned on my forum after this article was originally published:
In "Dazed & Confused", crew member Mike Colbert writes of his brief encounter with Walter Koenig during the fliming of "The Corps is Mother, The Corps is Father".
The "From the Set" section includes a spotlight on the elaborate alien makeup in "Appearances and Other Deceits" and the actor who brought it to life.
Also of note is the article in the "ISN News" section covering the charitable activities of the Babylon 5 and Crusade cast members. Many of them have used their stardom to help very worthy causes.