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Babylon 5.1
by Rick Norwood

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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.

Several of you have informed me that I was wrong to think that Farscape was ending in January. In fact, there are new episodes all the way into March. February episodes are listed in "What to Watch" below.

Hugo Award

First, a few thoughts on the Hugo Nomination Ballot.

Too few people nominate for the Hugo. Of the thousands of members of the World Science Fiction Convention who are eligible to nominate, only a few hundred bother to do so, which means that in years past excellent work (Gene Wolfe's Return to the Whorl comes to mind) has failed by a mere handful of votes to make the final ballot. Wolfe, one of the field's very best writers, has never won a Hugo, and so I would like to recommend for your consideration his short story, "The Waif", which appeared in the January 2002 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. You are going to send in your nominating ballot, yes?

Firefly An excellent change on the current ballot is to separate dramatic presentations into shorter and longer works, so that films and TV shows no longer compete with each other. (The division is actually and sensibly not between film and TV but between works longer than 90 minutes and shorter works.) You can probably name the five big SF and fantasy films of 2002 off the top of your head. First rate shorter films have been in short supply. The television episode I enjoyed most in 2002 was the Firefly episode "Our Mrs. Reynolds", followed by other Firefly episodes such as "Jaynestown", "Serenity", and Objects in Space". On Enterprise, my favorite episode was "A Night in Sickbay".

Along with the Hugo Nomination Ballot, members of Torcon 3 will get a ballot from The Film Doctors to nominate the best SF films of the 20th century. My list: Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, 2001 A Space Odyssey, E.T. the Extraterrestrial, Aliens, Back to the Future, Mad Max, Time after Time, Lord of the Flies, and Destination Moon. (Had to get one 50s SF film on the list, even if it was something of a squeeze.)

What to Watch in February


Wednesday, February 5
Enterprise, "Stigma" by B&B
Friday, February 7
Farscape, "Bringing Home the Beacon"
Wednesday, February 12
Enterprise, "Cease Fire" by Chris Black
Friday, February 14
Farscape, "A Constellation of Doubt"
Wednesday, February 19
Enterprise, "Crash Landing" by Phyllis Strong and Mike Sussman
Friday, February 21
Farscape, "Prayer"
Tuesday, February 25
Smallville, Christopher Reeve guest stars.
Wednesday, February 26? (no firm air date)
Enterprise is "Canamar".
Friday, February 28
Farscape, "We're So Screwed, Part One: Fetal Attraction"

Not airing in February, or any other month so far as anyone knows, are the last three episodes of Firefly: "Heart of Gold", "The Message", and "Trash". I wonder of Joss Whedon could manage to show these at the Worldcon?

Copyright © 2003 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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