December 14, 2011

Babble On, part 6: "Infection"

An old acquaintance of Dr Franklin's arrives on the station with a mysterious set of alien artefacts, the investigation of which leads to quite possibly the worst episode of Babylon 5 so far.

I don't have too much to say about "Infection", the fourth episode of Babylon 5's first season, other than that it's a pretty awful episode. It feels rather like filler, or one of those off-the-cuff scripts written to demonstrate to a network how your proposed TV series is going to progress.

My thoughts, in dot points:
  • Going by the production codes, it looks like "Infection" was the first episode of Babylon 5 to be shot, which wouldn't be a surprise. There's a scrappy quality to the episode that makes it look like the cast and crew don't quite know what they're doing yet.
  • "Infection" deals with body horror, a staple of science fiction. There are alien artefacts that slowly transform an unwilling human into some kind of alien monster. It's a trope that most commonly used in Doctor Who, and it's not a surprise to see Babylon 5 tackle the idea so quickly.
  • This episode is the first to give the spotlight to Dr Franklin, played by Richard Biggs. He's not very convincing - I can't work out if he's simply not a very interesting actor or (and I suspect this might be the case) that the character himself is very, very dull.
  • The series gets its first celebrity guest star in the form of The Man from UNCLE's David McCallum. It's a bit of a throwaway role, and certainly doesn't stretch him, but it's always fun to see a cult TV star in someone else's show.
  • Bill Mumy has been listed in the opening credits for four episodes now and hasn't turned up.
  • As I noted above, this episode really isn't very good. I've read online (OK, Wikipedia) that "Infection" is widely considered the worst episode of the entire five seasons. If that's true I'm happy - it means the worst is behind me.
The series is running one out of four so far.


  1. Infection also has what is probably my least favourite SF trope - a person is seriously changed and disfigured by something, and then reverts back to their normal form in a fairly brief time, without major reconstructive surgery being involved.

    In the case of this episode, mere seconds. Blah!

    1. It's a cliche wrapped in tedium smothered in dullness.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.