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Babylon 5.1
by Rick Norwood

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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.

Battlestar Galactica Battlestar Galactica returns to television on December 8 on the SciFi Channel. This is great news, because it means that Ronald D. Moore returns to television. Ron Moore wrote or co-wrote some of the greatest episodes of Star Trek, including the Next Gen episodes "Relics," "Yesterday's Enterprise," and "All Good Things"; DS9 episodes "Trials and Tribble-ations" and "Looking for Par'Mach in All the Wrong Places;" and movies Generations and First Contact, not to mention Mission: Impossible II.

The original Battlestar Galactica TV series ran for 24 episodes (many of them multi-part stories) in 1978/79. It was revived for 10 additional episodes as Galactica 1980. It had great music by Stu Phillips, very good special effects by John Dykstra, and some of the worst scripts ever seen on network television by Glen A. Larson. He was the executive producer, so nobody had the authority to tell him that he couldn't write. The show does invoke some fond memories, especially the guest appearance of Wolfman Jack. The entire 24 episode first season is out on DVD, but I recommend, unless you are already a fan, you buy the somewhat edited three-part first story, also available on DVD, and see if you like it, before you shell out big bucks for the complete run.

All of the other SF TV shows are going into reruns at least until Christmas (though, as you know, that can change without notice). Tarzan is cancelled, and the remaining episodes of Jeremiah may only be shown in Canada, though a letter writing campaign to Showtime might help bring them to the US some time in 2004.

I have a correction to make of my review of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection. Because I am so familiar with the cartoons it contains, and because the first DVD I watched had pristine prints of the cartoons, I made the mistake of reviewing it before I watched it all of the DVDs in the set. Some of the later cartoons are shockingly bad prints, especially "Scaredy Cat". The box says "Fully Restored" but clearly someone at Warner Brothers got lazy, and did not bother restoring all of the cartoons. "Scaredy Cat" is complete, which is nice, since it is one of the more often censored cartoons, but the spotty print is not restored. Instead the DVD has exactly the same defects as the Columbia House VHS version. The Criterion Collection of classic films shows just how completely these defects can be removed by a skilled hand with a computer -- that is what I understand "Fully Restored" to mean.

Reviews

Enterprise Star Trek Enterprise, "Similitude" (****) by Manny Coto
Just when I was ready to give up on Star Trek, we have had several really good episodes of Enterprise, of which this is the best. The only way to save Trip Tucker after he is injured in an accident is to force grow a clone and harvest it for organs. But the clone is just as sentient as Trip. Sometimes, in the past, Star Trek has flinched from facing a moral dilemma, solving a serious problem with a gravimetric transporter chronotron ray. (Hay, my spellchecker not only knows all of the words in the previous sentence, it corrected my spelling of "gravimetric" without my asking it to!) This episode doesn't flinch.

Jeremiah Jeremiah, "The Mysterious Mr. Smith" (****) by J. Michael Straczynski
This is the best episode so far in the second season of Jeremiah. We learn a little bit more about the new guy, with more mysteries still to be revealed. Or not, depending on whether Showtime airs the rest of the second season.

Look for Stargate Atlantis and a Farscape mini-series some time in 2004.

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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