Hey, you know that sweet remastered edition of the beloved ’90s sci-fi series Babylon 5 that came to Amazon and iTunes a few months ago? Well, the spruced-up titular space station has now docked over at HBO Max, too, meaning all 110 episodes of J. Michael Straczynski’s space opera-cum-political drama are finally available to stream without the $40-per-season price tag.
But before you start thanking the Centauri gods, this most likely isn’t the perfectly remastered Babylon 5 of your dreams. The series is its original 4:3 ratio, and not 16:9, even though the show was filmed for widescreen and released on DVD in widescreen. On the plus side, however, the show doesn’t look like crap anymore (as it did on those DVDs).
According to Engagdet, Warner Bros. actually scanned the original film negatives for all the live-action footage, so they’re finally in real HD. All the CG shots and effects have been algorithmically upscaled so they’re in HD as well, and the whole shebang has been cleaned up and colour-corrected. You can see the massive improvement for yourself:
If you didn’t release this remastered edition existed, don’t feel bad. Warner Bros. released it on Amazon and iTunes last November with zero fanfare, possibly because the fans had been so irate over the DVDs. And if you don’t know Babylon 5 and wonder if it’s worth checking out, it pretty much drew the map for mature, sophisticated, serialized sci-fi TV shows designed for adult audiences; Gizmodo has a handy, informative, and proselytising guide at the ready.