John Sheridan (Bruce Boxleitner) and Michael Garibaldi (Jerry Doyle) meet in deep space to see the completion of the newest ships of the IAS—the Victory and the Excalibur. Sheridan sees the Minbari founder Galen in a dream. He sees Daltron 7, a world destroyed by a huge attack from space. An alien thief called Dureena Nafeel (Carrie Dobro) arrives on Babylon Five, looking for the thieves’ guild, and they allow her to ply her trade. She too has a vision of Galen in a dream.
The Excalibur’s Vorlon-influenced weapons systems are demonstrated on the firing range by armourer Mr. Drake. The ship channels all its power into a single blast of powerful energy, but that leaves it underpowered and kind of helpless for a full minute. Galen again appears to Sheridan. He is told that the Technomages are still watching the Galaxy and warn of an impending attack on Earth by the Drakh, former servants of the Shadows. He is given descriptions of three individuals that will meet with him at Babylon Five, but warn him to tell no-one.
Sheridan leaves for Babylon Five, where, given his descriptions, Security arrests Durenna. Sheridan meets Captain Anderson (Tony Todd) of Earthforce. Dureena the Thief is a refugee from Zander Prime, a planet destroyed by the Shadow planet-killer. They travel to the shipyards and take Excalibur and Victory to Daltron 7, which has been scorched and ruined. They find a dead Drazi there, whose record tells them it was done by the Drakh with a planet-killer. Garibaldi takes armourer Mr. Drake (Tony Maggio) with him in pursuit of Sheridan.
Sheridan and Anderson meet a small Drakh fleet who flee from them and rendezvous with the entire Drakh fleet headed for Earth. The Excaliber and Victory quickly escape and tell Captain Lochley (Tracy Scoggins) of Babylon Five to alert Earthgov. Sheridan contacts Garibaldi and warns him about an informant, who turns out to be Drake, who is forced to reveal the details of the Drakh attack.
Sheridan and Anderson arrive at Earth and organize the defense. The Drakh appear and a massive battle takes place. Sheridan, Anderson and their team enter the planet-killer. Dureena isolates the master control hub. The damaged Victory is steered into the device and the planet-killer activates prematurely. The Earth and Alliance ships barely escape and most of the Drakh fleet is destroyed. The last Drakh ships release a black cloud that envelopes Earth. On Babylon Five, Sheridan reports that Earth is contaminated, and all life will die in five years unless a cure is found. Excalibur becomes a research vessel. Galen the Technomage arrives to help.
This was to be the introduction to Crusade, a spin-off of Babylon Five that did not survive to finish the first year. The Drakh pollution story was to have been resolved in Season One or Two and then other stories would run for five years. But it was cancelled before the first episode was broadcast. Thirteen episodes were made and another four more scripted. When the TNT network pulled the plug, the Sci-Fi Network tried to pick it up but could not find the budget. Tracy Scoggins, Patricia Tallman, and Walter Koenig were supposed to appear in stories regarding Martian Independence, the Telepath War, and the spread of Shadow technology.
A DVD boxset was created with commentary by J. Michael Straczynski, which was so critical of the TNT network that it was censored and parts of it were replaced with less incendiary commentary. The spinoff series is generally not considered as good as Babylon Five, and the storylines simply disappeared without resolution. Basically, the TNT network discovered that fans who watched Crusade were not watching anything else on TNT, and they lost interest. Harlan Ellison, Joss Whedon, and J. Michael Straczynski have all experienced the same problems trying to bring superior science-fiction to network television. This TV movie, though it ended on a never-resolved cliff-hanger, was still an exciting story, propelled by Evan H. Chen’s unusual musical score, which some felt inappropriate, but I found quite compelling.