The first of four Babylon 5 TV movies to air on cable channel TNT featured some very haunting and complex themes, as well as some very familiar ones for anyone who’s been listening to previous Babylon 5 soundtracks. After a brief introduction accompanying the opening monologue, the music turns somber with a very simple and slightly depressing motif accompanying Londo’s remembrances of events long past. Other interesting musical moments include Lenonn’s “abduction” by the Grey Council, the sobering “marching-toward-the-inevitable” tone of the music which underscored the scenes of the Earth cruisers approaching their disastrous date with destiny, and, of course, the dirge which opens the movie’s final act as Londo remembers the futility of the war. That cue, with its funereal atmosphere and a sound that falls somewhere between Mediterrenean and Scottish, could well be Christopher Franke’s best work since Babylon 5’s third season.
However, Franke is slowly becoming the James Horner of series television scoring. Horner has been nailed countless times for recycling his own music in numerous movies – remember the Star Trek II and Star Trek III cues which found their way into Aliens? Even the amazingly popular Titanic soundtrack has been on the receiving end of accusations of unoriginality from sharp-eared listeners. Christopher Franke is fulfilling this role in the world of TV scoring these days, taking up his place alongside the small group of latter-day Star Trek TV composers in the annals of reuse of material. Granted, Franke scored Babylon 5 every week for five years, and so some bits, pieces and themes were bound to be heard more than once, along with a certain “house style” that could have the tendency to make many Babylon 5 scores sound the same. Still, he came up with so many wonderfully memorable and original pieces in the series’ second and third years, it’s hard to believe the amount of material that is recycled in the last two years of Babylon 5, to say nothing of In The Beginning. “The Requiem for the Line” was certain to reappear here, and it was rescored in a larger, more epic, more percussive style, which revitalized that particular piece we’ve been hearing since 1994. But numerous other cues were lifted wholesale from episodes of Babylon 5 which predate In The Beginning: Delenn’s induction into the Grey Council (a verbatim lift from Atonement) and the “Minbari Assembly/Troop Assembly” cue (rehashing a battle cue from Endgame) are just two examples.
Still, that’s a minor quibble; an Endgame CD has now been released, while Atonement no doubt waits in the wings for a future CD release, so not all of these pieces of music have been released on CD before. And it was nice to see the first Babylon 5 CD in over a year to sport a booklet with cover artwork! However, In The Beginning does share one flaw with the episodic soundtracks – numerous cues are bunched up into larger tracks, yet the music ends, there is a silence, and the next cue begins within the same track. How hard could it possibly be to divide the Babylon 5 CDs up more sanely? In The Beginning doesn’t attempt the same long, unified musical suites that distinguished the two original Babylon 5 soundtracks (which predated the episodic CDs), so dividing the music up into tracks should present no problem. To this day, this quirk of the Babylon 5 soundtracks continues to mystify and irritate me. But the music, in the end, is what matters, and I can safely say that Babylon 5 fans will enjoy the music from In The Beginning.
- Opening / It Began 35 Earth Years Ago / Meet The Grey Council / Londo’s
Terrible Truth (9:33)
- Londo Remembers / Grey Council In Session / Decision To Go / Dukhat &
Kosh / Cargo Arrival / Prometheus On Course / Delenn Inducted / Earth Attack
- Minbari Attack / Troop Assembly / I’ll See You Soon / Delenn In Her Quarters
/ Delenn Meets Kosh / The Human Allies (5:46)
- Franklin in Medlab / Franklin Arrested / Minbari Attack / Sheridan’s Plan
- Destroy the Black Star / Londo About Interception / Centauri Attack /
Captured and Released (8:04)
- The War / The President’s Call / The Battle of the Line / Valen’s
Reincarnation / Our Last, Best Hope For Peace / The Story Is Never Over /
End Credits (15:42)
Released by: Sonic Images
Release date: 1998
Total running time: 57:04