Crusade series launch poster
|Created by||J. Michael Straczynski|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||13 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||45 minutes per episode|
|Production company(s)||Babylonian Productions
Warner Bros. Television (as Warner Bros. Domestic Pay TV)
|Original release||June 9 – September 1, 1999|
|Preceded by||Babylon 5|
|Followed by||The Legend of the Rangers|
Crusade is an American spin-off television series from J. Michael Straczynski's Babylon 5. Its plot is set in AD 2267, five years after the events of Babylon 5, and just after the movie A Call to Arms. The Drakh have released a nanovirus plague on Earth, which will destroy all life on Earth within five years if it is not stopped. The Victory class destroyer Excalibur has been sent out to look for anything that could help the search for a cure.
Like Babylon 5, Crusade was intended to have a five-year story arc, although as Straczynski notes in the DVD commentary for A Call to Arms, it was intended to resolve the Drakh plague after a season or two and move onto other storylines. Conflicts arose, however, between the producers and executives at TNT, and production was cancelled before the first episode was broadcast.
TNT's research had indicated that the audience for Babylon 5 did not watch other TNT programming, and likewise TNT's main audience was not watching the show, making another related program unattractive to the network's management. Straczynski believes that the network's "interference" with the production was an attempt to get out of their contract by allowing them to argue that he failed to deliver the series they wanted.
Thirteen episodes were made and broadcast by TNT, with at least four more scripted. The Sci-Fi Channel attempted to pick up the show and continue production, but was unable to find room in its budget.
In 2267, six years after the end of the Shadow War, the Drakh, a former ally of the Shadows, attempt to destroy the Earth with a leftover Shadow Planet Killer. Interstellar Alliance president John Sheridan takes command of the Excalibur and Victory and leads the EarthForce and ISA fleets to victory. During the battle, the Drakh released a viral weapon into Earth's atmosphere, infecting every living thing on the planet. In five years the virus will become active and kill everything. The Victory was destroyed in the battle, but the Excalibur survived. Command is turned over to Captain Matthew Gideon who is given a mission: explore the galaxy to find either a cure or an ally capable of producing one ("War Zone").
At some point between 2262 and 2267 (most likely in 2264, and just before "To Live and Die in Starlight" which took place in 2265[original research?]), a civil war broke out on Earth between the Psi Corps and a group of rogue telepaths, with mundanes (non-telepaths) caught in the middle. As a result of the war, the Psi Corps (which all telepaths had been forced by law to join) was disbanded and the laws were rewritten; telepaths were given limited rights and allowed back into society, including the military (e.g. Lt. Matheson in Crusade). Few telepaths have advanced very far because of how recent the war was and due to the common fear of telepaths. Telepaths are still banned from scanning others' thoughts without consent and are required to be "deep scanned" by powerful telepaths on a regular basis to ensure that they are not violating any laws ("The Well of Forever").
After the Earth Alliance Civil War in 2261, Earth joined the Interstellar Alliance. As promised by John Sheridan, Mars was granted independence since ISA laws required members to free any colony where the majority of colonists want independence ("Rising Star"). There is still resentment between the two sides ("Ruling from the Tomb"). Earth controls most of the information systems and resources in the solar system and Earth based corporations control much of the Mars economy ("Objects in Motion"). As a result, there is some hostility among Mars-born humans towards Terrans and many in EarthForce do not feel obligated to risk their lives to help Earth fight the plague.
The galaxy is dealing with the Shadow technology legacy, which, among other things, includes the release of the plague on Earth by the Drakh, which is made out of Shadow technology and Earthforce's use of it, which Gideon had to experience tragically ten years before.
This is a list of season star cast members, as credited on the DVDs.
The "correct" order of episodes is somewhat unclear, and the episodes contain conflicting evidence as to the in-universe chronological order. Series creator J. Michael Straczynski revised TNT's ordering for re-broadcast on the Sci Fi Channel in April 2001, and the episodes have been repeated in this order a number of occasions since then. "War Zone," an episode made halfway through the production as an opener, has been pushed near the end. In particular, these episodes ignore a discontinuity in uniforms — in the TNT order, the crew start out with the revised uniforms in production, and then in "Appearances and Other Deceits" were forced to change to the "new" uniforms used earlier in production. The fourteenth episode would have featured a return to the older uniforms that the crew prefer.
A third order was formally endorsed by Straczynski as the "true" chronological sequence of in-universe events for the filmed episodes, as it appeared in The Official Babylon 5 Chronology (published in the pages of The Official Babylon 5 Magazine in 1999-2000) and the book "Across Time and Space: The Chronologies of Babylon 5". Here "Babylon 5 Historical Database" author Terry Jones explains the running order was done to take into account Straczynski's desire to have the grey bellhop uniform stories incorporated within the black explorer uniform stories and the internal story continuity had the series continued. This also accounted for the various on-air dates given and the changes made to dialogue in "Each Night I Dream of Home". This particular ordering supersedes Straczynski's own "preferred" sequence from a strictly chronological and causal standpoint. The original broadcast order as set by TNT was used for the DVD releases.
A fourth, continuity based order can be inferred by the events of the episodes themselves as several of the episodes make mini-arcs within the series; i.e. the continuity order of Gideon/Lochley meetings based on dialog is "Ruling from the Tomb"/"Each Night I Dream of Home"/"The Rules of the Game" which also requires "Ruling" to precede "Appearances and Other Deceits" while the continuity order of the nanite mask is "The Memory of War"/"Each Night I Dream of Home"/"Patterns of the Soul," etc.
|Title||Original airdate||Written by||Production code||Original broadcast order||Revised broadcast order||Chronological order||Continuity order|
|"The Memory of War"||August 11, 1999||J. Michael Straczynski||102||10||2||5||8|
|"The Needs of Earth"||August 18, 1999||J. Michael Straczynski||101||11||3||4||7|
|"Racing the Night"||August 4, 1999||J. Michael Straczynski||103||9||1||6||6|
|"Visitors from Down the Street"||August 25, 1999||J. Michael Straczynski||104||12||5||7||9|
|"Each Night I Dream of Home"||September 1, 1999||J. Michael Straczynski||105||13||7||8||10|
|"The Well of Forever"||June 23, 1999||Fiona Avery||106||3||6||12||12|
|"The Long Road"||June 16, 1999||J. Michael Straczynski||107||2||4||2||2|
|"War Zone"||June 6, 1999||J. Michael Straczynski||108||1||12||1||1|
|"The Path of Sorrows"||June 30, 1999||J. Michael Straczynski||109||4||9||9||3|
|"Patterns of the Soul"||July 7, 1999||Fiona Avery||110||5||8||11||11|
|"Ruling from the Tomb"||July 14, 1999||Peter David||111||6||10||10||4|
|"The Rules of the Game"||July 21, 1999||J. Michael Straczynski||112||7||11||13||13|
|"Appearances and Other Deceits"||July 28, 1999||J. Michael Straczynski||113||8||13||3||5|
|"To the Ends of the Earth"||Scripted but not filmed||J. Michael Straczynski||114||14 (intended)||N/A||14 (intended)||14 (intended)|
|"Value Judgments"||Scripted but not filmed||Fiona Avery||115||15 (intended)||N/A||15 (intended)||15 (intended)|
|"The End of the Line"||Scripted but not filmed||J. Michael Straczynski||116||22 (intended)||N/A||22 (intended)||22 (intended)|
|"Darkness of the Soul"||Planned but not scripted||J. Michael Straczynski||117||16 (intended)||N/A||16 (intended)||16 (intended)|
|"Tried and True"||Scripted but not filmed||J. Michael Straczynski||118||17 (intended)||N/A||17 (intended)||17 (intended)|
|"War Story" (Sword Trilogy, Part 1)||Scripted but not filmed||Richard Mueller||119||19 (intended)||N/A||19 (intended)||19 (intended)|
|(untitled) (Sword Trilogy, Part 3)||Planned but not scripted||J. Michael Straczynski||120||21 (intended)||N/A||21 (intended)||21 (intended)|
|"The Walls of Hell" (Sword Trilogy, Part 2)||Planned but not scripted||Larry DiTillio||121||20 (intended)||N/A||20 (intended)||20 (intended)|
|(untitled)||Planned but not scripted||J. Michael Straczynski||122||18 (intended)||N/A||18 (intended)||18 (intended)|
|"Little Bugs Have Lesser Bugs"||Scripted but not filmed||Peter Woodward||2xx||Season 2 (intended)||N/A||Season 2 (intended)||Season 2 (intended)|
The complete series was released as a four disc set in 2004, almost five years after the series ended and a few months after the final season and movie set of Babylon 5 was released. Crusade was also included in Babylon 5: The Complete Universe, a set of all B5 shows and movies released in the United Kingdom on October 24, 2005. It was not included in Babylon 5: The Complete Television Series, which was a set released in the United States.
The episodes are in the original broadcast order. The set does not include the pilot movie, A Call to Arms, which was released earlier as part of the movie set. Unlike Babylon 5, Crusade was not presented in widescreen on DVD. Initially the set included a commentary with Straczynski, however he got it removed from subsequent pressings when he learned that parts of it had been replaced with an entirely different interview to cover up his harsh criticism of TNT.
|DVD Name||Region 1||Region 2|
|Crusade: The Complete Series||December 7, 2004||March 28, 2005|
|Babylon 5: The Complete Television Series||August 17, 2004||N/A|
|Babylon 5: The Complete Universe||N/A||October 24, 2005|
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