American Gothic



Why does the best genre entertainment have to die
an unexpected and unnatural death?

Cast and Crew

Gary Cole as Matthew Gideon

Daniel Dae Kim as John Matheson

David Allen Brooks as Max Eilerson

Peter Woodward as Galen

Marjean Holden as Sarah Chambers

Carrie Dobro as Dureena Nafeel

Tracy Scoggins as Captain Elizabeth Lochley

Created by J. Michael Straczynski

Written by J. Michael Straczynski, Fiona Avery and
Peter David

Directed by Mike Vejar, Janet Greek, John Copeland,
Stephen Furst,
Jerry Apoian, Tony Dow, and Jesus Salvador

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Past TV reviews can be found here.

Original Airdate

All 13 episodes of Crusade originally aired
in 1999.


After the events of Babylon 5: A Call To
, Earth sends
out its best ship to find a cure for the Drakh

High Point

“Racing the Night” is probably the best overall

Low Point

The non-existence of episodes 14 through 110.

The Review

The originality of the series is mixed. On
one hand, it’s a
spin-off. On the other hand, it’s significantly
different in style
and look than it’s predecessor. We’ve got some of
the politics that
Babylon 5 did so well, but we’ve also got a
lot more action
going on, with very different character dynamics. I
give it 4 out of

The effects were often better than they were
on Babylon
, and they were certainly the best they could
afford given the
available budgets, but they’re still pretty obvious.
I give it 3 out
of 6.

The story is incomplete, as the series was
canceled/pulled/unplugged before the whole thing came
through. We’ve
got glimpses of what could have been, but the initial
statement the crew had (the only statement that was
filmed, though JMS
alludes to more in his commentary) was left
unfulfilled at the end of
the series. Watching this series feels like reading
the first chapter
of a really great book, and then never coming back.
I give it 4 out
of 6.

The acting from most of the cast is great.
Gary Cole
convinced me he was great when he made American
, and
nothing changed my mind about that here. (Elements
of the Lucas Buck
character came through a couple of times, too, which
helped generate
interest in this captain as well. He’s not a
paramount of virtue, but
there are lines he will definitely never cross.) In
fact, the only
regular cast member I was dissatisfied with was
Marjean Holden,
particularly in the last episode. (Her reaction to
David’s request in
particular seemed wrong to me, and the gap in talent
became more clear
when we saw her playing off of Richard Biggs.) I
give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response is often great. In
addition to
amusing moments, and to a parody of The
that worked
extremely well for this viewer, we had a sense of
urgency and a feel
for a larger universe showing up in the grand scheme
of things. Then
we get crushed by the sudden end to the series. I
give it 4 out of 6.

The production is pretty good. The sets
strike me as being
more convincing than those on Babylon 5, and
the variety of
locations gives a much greater variety for the look
of the show. I
give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, it’s the beginning of a good
series, and (I think) a
better package than the movie collection. It’s
accessible to people
who haven’t seen the parent series, too. (When this
first aired, I
could follow it without ever having seen a complete
episode of
Babylon 5. If my old VCR hadn’t died one
day, I’d have seen
all 13 in their original broadcast, instead of just
12.) If you’re a
fan of well written sci-fi, pick this up. I give it
5 out of 6.

In total, Crusade – The Complete Series
receives 30 out of
42. It would have scored higher had it managed a
complete season.