In this scifi spin off from Babylon 5 the crew of the starship Excalibur headed by Captain Matthew Gideon (Gary “Midnight Caller” Cole) are sent on a desperate search to the ends of the universe in order to find a possible cure for a disease which is threatening to wipe out humankind.
Crusade was Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski’s follow up to that show, intended to run for a possible five years it ended up running for 13 episodes, thanks in no small part to an ongoing battle between Straczynski and original broadcaster TNT over the episode running order (apparently TNT pretty much ignored Straczynski’s proposed running order).
Crusade mixs in elements of Babylon 5, Star Trek and even Wagon Train as it charts the journey of the crew of the Excalibur, set in 2267AD the Earth has been engaged in a long and bloody war with the alien Drakh nation, after defeating the aliens it is learned that they have left behind a deadly virus that could destroy all life on Earth within five years if a cure isn’t found; That was the hook of course – what happens next is that the crew of the Excalibur embark on the classic scifi quest format while having adventures along the way.
Most of the 13 episodes here, whilst being essential serial in nature can still be viewed as self contained stories. The characters are all well drawn with Gary Cole’s Gideon and Peter Woodward’s Galen being the stand outs in fact Galen probably gets more of a share of the action than anyone else, as in Babylon 5 the scripts are excellent, weighty, talky and allow the cast to invest some emotional depth into their roles.
USA / TNT – Babylonian – Warner / 13×50 minute episodes / Broadcast 9 June – 1 September 1999
Creator/Executive Producer: J. Michael Straczynski
GARY COLE as Captain Matthew Gideon
DANIEL DAE KIM as Lt John Matheson
CARRIE DOBRO as Dureena NaFeel
PETER WOODWARD as Galen
MAR JEAN HOLDEN as Dr Sarah Chamber
DAVID ALLAN BROOKS as Max Eilerson
TRACY SCOGGINS as Captain Elizabeth Lochley