Just a little over a decade ago, we could have hardly imagined sci-fi TV shows like Star Trek: Discovery roaring into our homes in such high def glory. But the HD era has also meant that many classic shows have been left in the standard definition dustbin of history. A few shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation have had costly HD upgrades, but most fan favorites have not. But now, add one more to thelist, as ’90s cult classic Babylon 5 is making the jump to HD. At least in part.
According to Engadget, Warner Bros. have upgraded all five seasons of Babylon 5 to high definition. Babylon 5 Remastered is now available as both a digital download (via iTunes and Amazon) and also on HBO Max. But, given the circumstances of the series’ vintage age, this is only partially in HD. Babylon 5’s film sequences received 4K scanning, and then downscaled back to HD, with a fair amount of dirt cleanup and color correction.
The show’s CGI and composite sequences were another matter. These were upscaled to HD, and the improvement is only marginal. Without remaking all those ’90s CGI effects from scratch, it’s the best they could do. Keeping purists happy is the fact that the show is only available in the original broadcast aspect ratio of 4:3. Widescreen DVD versions came out of several years ago, but most Babylon 5 fans felt were not the way the show was intended to be seen. All in all, this project took a whopping six years to complete.
Here’s hoping this spurs other ’90s classic shows to get proper HD upgrades. Once CBS did such an astonishing job on Star Trek: TNG, fans have been patiently waiting for similar upgrades for Deep Space Nine and Voyager. Some fans have even started using AI machine learning software to upgrade the episodes themselves! Buffy the Vampire Slayer received an HD upgrade a few years back too, but it was not up to snuff. Classic shows deserve preservation, so here’s hoping Babylon 5 starts a greater trend.
Featured Image: Warner Bros.