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Babylon 5.1
by Rick Norwood

A Week of Watching Television
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Other Babylon 5.1 Columns
For more information, you can try the following sites:
Rick Norwood's Website
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The Official Babylon 5 Website
The X-Files
Pocket Books: Star Trek
Paramount Star Trek

Ratings
Ratings are based on a four star system.
One star means that the commercials are more entertaining than the program.
Two stars watch if you have nothing better to do.
Three stars is good solid entertainment.
Four stars means you never dreamed television could be this good.

   Monday
Witchblade Witchblade, "Nailed" (**) by Richard C. Okie
The appeal of Witchblade is its likable characters. The jazzy style elements -- super-fast-forwards, birds in slow motion -- are becoming affectations. The big problem is that clichéd crime dramas, like this old chestnut about the charming serial killer freed on a technicality, don't really lend themselves to fantasy action. Witchblade is supposed to slice and dice, dammit, not just provide mysterious clues.

   Tuesday
Buffy Buffy, "As You Were" (***) by Douglas Petrie
Riley returns, on a mission to exterminate a particularly deadly race of demons who breed like rabbits. Strong characters make the show. The costumes the demons wear remind me of Dr. Who (this is not a compliment).

   Wednesday
Enterprise Enterprise, "Dear Doctor" (***) by Maria and Andre Jacquemetton
Doctor Phlox is asked to play god when one of the two races on an alien planet is dying out. This is the first show I've seen this week with any moral dimension or with any original ideas. (It was followed by The West Wing, which reminds me of just how good television can be.)

   Thursday
Odyssey 5, "05" (*) by Manny Coto
Chuck Taggart tries to abort a satellite while Sarah and Angela try to save a kidnapped little girl. I'm all for scripts with a B-story, but it should have some connection with the A-story, in theme, setting, or character. Gloucester's physical blindness parallels Lear's madness -- which reminds me, James Earl Jones as King Lear is on DVD. Star Trek: The Next Generation brought parallel story lines to SF television, and did them supremely well. Odyssey 5 does them badly. The rapid cuts between the satellite story and the kidnapping story seem like somebody is flipping channels.

(Farscape was not on this week.)

   Friday
Jeremiah Jeremiah, "Things Left Unsaid" (***) by J. Michael Straczynski
The plot threads begin to come together in part one of the season finale, as the friendship between Jeremiah and Kurdy is put to the test. Look for a Jeremiah episode guide here next issue.

   Saturday
Stargate SG-1, "The Sentinel" (*) by Ron Wilkerson
It's nice to see Twin Peaks' Don Davis, but the wall-to-wall dumbness is too much to bear. Example: after an SG team has been missing eleven HOURS, somebody thinks it might be a good idea to ring them up and see if anything has gone wrong.

Sunday I rested.

Copyright © 2002 Rick Norwood

Rick Norwood is a mathematician and writer whose small press publishing house, Manuscript Press, has published books by Hal Clement, R.A. Lafferty, and Hal Foster. He is also the editor of Comics Revue Monthly, which publishes such classic comic strips as Flash Gordon, Sky Masters, Modesty Blaise, Tarzan, Odd Bodkins, Casey Ruggles, The Phantom, Gasoline Alley, Krazy Kat, Alley Oop, Little Orphan Annie, Barnaby, Buz Sawyer, and Steve Canyon.


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