Eventually I decided to give the show a chance and I watched the first four episodes of season 1 (I didn't know about The Gathering) and I found it to be so dull that I tried watching Firefly and Rome instead.
Although I've rarely found B5 dull even at its worst, those first four episodes contain what I consider two of the worst episodes the show ever did (Soul Hunter
) and though I personally enjoyed the other two, I know that many fans aren't crazy about them. So, I think there's a pretty good chance you'll come to like the show once you've seen the better stuff that comes along later. Season 1 as a whole is patchy, but it contains some good background on some of the characters and plants some important seeds for later storylines and by the later stages the show begins to approach the form it'll show in Seasons 2, 3 and 4.
Babylon 5 has its fair share of flaws, but there's a real energy and excitement to it and its use of long-running plotlines is very satisfying. It took me a while to get into the show, but the last third or so of Season 1 pretty much won me over and after seeing the season finale, Chrysalis
, I was definitively sold on the show. Anyway, I'm sure this thread will be interesting