When is the *best* time to watch IN THE BEGINNING?

Forums Cult Sci Fi Series Babylon 5 & Crusade When is the *best* time to watch IN THE BEGINNING?

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    Hey all,
    This question has been bugging me for a while: I wonder when the best moment would be to watch
    In the Beginning (ItB) in relation to the Babylon 5 TV series? 🙄

    I did a lot of thinking and found 5 different times to watch ItB (warning, some spoilers below):

    OPTION 1: At the beginning!
    Watch it as the very first introduction to the Babylon 5 universe (even before the pilot The Gathering)
    + this is favored by the Lurker’s Guide (but only for people that have watched the B5 series before!)
    + can be used as a hook to introduce the Babylon 5 universe to someone who has never watched it
    (specially since it’s much better than the pilot)
    – BUT it constitutes a MAJOR spoiler for the series: the mystery of the Earth-Minbari war,
    the characters of Delenn and Sinclair, Londo’s role in the Shadow war…
    – The setting does not make sense: why did Londo emprison Delenn and Sheridan? Why is Centauri Prime ablaze?

    OPTION 2: Between Season V and Crusade
    Watch it at the end of season 5, between “Objects at Rest” and “Sleeping in Light”
    + no spoilers and a very effective way to end the Babylon 5 series
    – there are already too many other movies in that “spot” (River of Souls, Legend of the Raiders, A Call to Arms…)
    that don’t have much to do with it. Hence I feel it would be pulling the viewer in too many different directions
    (who wants to jump from River of souls to ItB?)
    – does not exactly fit the timeline: Sheridan & Delenn are not on Centauri Prime during Objects at Rest!

    OPTION 3: After Crusade
    Watch it after Crusade (and save “Sleeping in Light” for the very end)
    + this is the only chronologically “true” place (Londo tells the story in the real 2278, after the events of Crusade)
    – makes the viewer watch all of Babylon 5, all of Crusade before returning to the beginning!
    That’s a LONG wait to find out what really happened in the Earth/Minbari war…
    – also, “Sleeping in Light” would have to be watched after the “distraction” of Crusade
    – leaves fans that would rather not watch Crusade (since it’s incomplete) out cold
    – if you wonder about what’s going to happen to Sheridan and Delenn, where do you turn?

    OPTION 4: Between Season IV and Season V
    Watch it at the end of season 4, just before the final episode “The Deconstruction of Falling Stars” (DFS).
    + ItB was originally aired at this moment (right between DFS and Season 5)
    + Gives a nice “overview” feeling: ItB looks at Babylon 5’s past, DFS at its future
    – it does not exactly fit the ongoing story: during the episode before (“Rising Star”), Londo Mollari is just
    being considered for the title of Emperor, he is NOT Emperor yet!
    – also during the beginning of season 5, Londo Mollari is still not Emperor!
    He will only be crowned Emperor during “The Fall of Centauri Prime (episode 519)

    OPTION 5: During Season III (my favorite)
    Watch it during season 3, between the episodes “War Without End I” and “War Without End II”.
    + can be conceived as a story told from within the time loop that occurs during these episodes
    (a prequel told by someone caught in the future before the story returns to the present? Whew! :lol:)
    + ItB is definitely part of the human/minbari soul cycle which ends with the episode “War Without End II”
    – Yes it causes some spoilers for season 4, but it shouldn’t be too bad.
    Come to think of it, I wonder if the events in “Atonement” (episode 409) are actually better seen after watching ItB? Think about it!

    I’m really curious what other B5 fans think.

    Thanks for voting in my poll and for explaining your rationale!
    – MCSmarties

    fluffy bunny

    The point where season 4 was originally meant to end (before all that stuff about cancellation forcing JMS to wrap up his storylines a season early) is currently at the end of episode 18 of S4. The extra stuff in ‘In the Beginning’ was going to be in S4 before it was removed to allow time for endgame and sleeping in the light -examples can be found in the episode where:


    You find Delenn cast the deciding vote to allow the war

    So I guess ‘In the beginning’ fits between episodes 18 and 19 of S4.

    it does not exactly fit the ongoing story: during the episode before (“Rising Star”), Londo Mollari is just
    being considered for the title of Emperor, he is NOT Emperor yet!

    You know he’ll get there in S3 – the Bab 4 episode and when Londo asks for the seeress who tells him both Vir and he will be emperor. Theres no need to force S5 on someone before in the beginning


    Thanks for the reply fluffy bunny. I assume the episode you are referring to is 4×09 (Atonement).

    I have decided to check things a bit more closely and watched WWE1, WWE2, ItB and 4×09 again in sequence,
    looking for spoilers and inconsistencies.
    I found the following (highlight dark area to read, spoiler warning!)

    WWE1 / WWE2:
    I still think ItB fits exactly between these two episodes.
    The absolutely ideal place would be to “insert” it after 7 min 50 seconds of WWE2. Why?

    This is right after Delenn joins John in the prison cell and tells him about David.
    The footage Londo watches at the end of ItB is exactly the same as in WWE2, e.g. John is *surprised* at being in the cell. This fits the time loop!

    Londo looks in fact somewhat inebriated in ItB. I interpret this in that he is already weakening the influence of his keeper,
    allowing him to tell the story (maybe for the joy of meeting children once more before his impending death?).
    At the end of ItB he asks for a lot more alcohol – preparing to meet Delenn + Sheridan, set up their escape and commit suicide at the hands of G’Kar.
    Note that ItB does NOT mention the keeper, leaving this a surprise.

    4×09 “Atonement”:
    After watching it again, I still think it should really be watched after ItB. Why?

    Yes, ItB does “spoil” the fact that Delenn cast the deciding vote for the war.
    But we have to accept one of these spoilers anyway!

    For my part, I much prefer to watch ItB first as there are still new things to be discovered in 4×09, eg. that Delenn is a child of Valen! Watching ItB *after* watching 4×09 is much more boring, there is not any new information (specially since the fate of Sinclair was already revealed in WWE2 as well).
    In fact, 4×09 comes as a neat surprise: the viewer thinks he knows what the Dreaming means – until Delenn realizes a very important part has been left out of ItB!

    Finally, the Soul Hunters are absent from ItB. True, JMS has said that it was unfortunatem, due to time constraints, but one can interpret it now as Londo not knowing everything about what happened (he doesn’t know about the Minbari wall of bodies mentioned back in 1×02 “Soul Hunter”) whereas the Dreaming shows Delenn everything that happened.

    In summary, I think that 4×09 spoils ItB much more than the other way around.

    However, I don’t remember if there are any other episodes in Season IV that are affected by ItB. I don’t think so but I could be wrong…
    For now, I still stick to my guns but am open for further discussion.

    The only downside I find is that watching WWE1, ItB and WWE2 in sequence is rather tough… there’s a LOT of covered ground!


    just watch it whenever. its still a good movie regardless. parts of it were quite moving.


    😆 @ Pyro978: Right you are!
    I guess I should explain why I am being so anal about this whole business.

    See, I don’t like the B5 DVD box set. All episodes are shown in the order in which they were aired, which is the wrong chronogical order for many of them.

    So what I have decided to do is rip all these DVDs to XViD, redo the menus, put all episodes in the chronological order (see the Lurker’s Guide) and burn them on a total of only SEVEN DVDs (one per season + bonus DVD).

    I am also including all the made for TV movies chronologically. Most of them are easy, except for ItB!

    Another reason why I like so much putting it during season III is that it spreads the movies out more evenly across the seasons,
    allowing me to use a decent bitrate for the episode encoding:

    Season I: The Gathering
    Season III: In The Beginning
    Season IV: Thirdspace
    Season V: River of Souls
    Crusade: Legend of the Rangers, A Call to Arms (but only 13 episodes)

    fluffy bunny

    I’d hate to see what you’d do to pulp fiction 😛


    I have to chime in here with a small fact about when it will be revieled to the viewer for the first time tha tLondo will become emperor.

    *** Spoiler ***

    In The Coming of Shadows s2e09 Londo dreams about his death, choking G’Kar. As we are told in the pilot I believe it is, these visions of a Centauris death always come true. In his dream, Londo wears imeprial white. I believe that this is as much a ‘certain’ prediciton as the seers prediction in season 3 that fluffy bunny mentioned.

    *** Spoiler ***

    Seeing that I am rewatching the show for the first time since the late nineties, I cannot really chime in yet as to when ItB would be best watched, but I will get back on that. Assuming of course that this board is not as dead as the crew of The Black Star 😉


    I discovered B5 when I was a teenager, but as I was not in charge of the remote control, I got to see only a few episodes. I tried to purchase on VHS (This was before DVD) to no avail, but I knew I HAD to see it.
    A couple of years later when DVD emerged, I bought a copy of ‘In The Beginning’ and became hooked. Then followed season 1 on DVD, then 2, and so on. God bless DVD.
    Having watched ITB first, I suppose you could say that there are plot spoilers and things that are not revealed till later seasons, but then again thats what B5 is like. In the flashback style of the show, we are shown a piece of something in season 1 and we don’t see it resolved until season 4. Until someone has watched all five seasons, not everything fits into place (and perhaps not even then).
    Babylon 5 is, and always will be, one of the best pieces of science fiction the world has ever seen.

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