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Babylon 5.1
by Rick Norwood

Witchblade (***)
Other Babylon 5.1 Columns
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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.


It was Tuesday night and I was in the mood for some genre television. I'd already had my nightly hit of the original Dark Shadows, I'd played a little Majora's Mask, and I sent my Babylon 5.1 column in well ahead of the midnight deadline. I remembered that a few readers of the column had suggested I give Witchblade a try, so I flipped over to TNT. Wow! It was really fun. There were about three plots going all at once, which made for a pleasing complexity. When somebody got punched in the face, their lip bled, and the scar was still there the next day, and the day after that -- which wouldn't be such a big deal if I hadn't watched so much television where people get punched in the face and have skin like a newborn baby immediately after, or if there is a scar it heals overnight. And the characters were appealing. That was the main thing.

Witchblade started out as a comic book, created by David Wohl for Top Cow. I'm a hard sell when it comes to comic books, just as I am when it comes to television. My time is valuable. I read comics by Straczynski, Kevin Smith, Dave Sim, Phil Foglio, Frank Miller, Paul Chadwick, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Gary Trudeau, and Scott Adams. That's about it. I have not read a Witchblade comic book. (I did order the first graphic novel from John at Mountain Empire Comics.) I gather, looking at the covers, that the comic book version of her sword is about ten times as long as the TV version.

The first Witchblade episode I watched was good enough for me to send in a last minute update to the August column, recommending the series.

I've watched three Witchblades now, really three chapters in a continued story -- with one more chapter to go. I've seen some neat stuff. A few things haven't lived up to the promise of that first episode. For example, on television you apparently are not allowed to go around sticking a fucking big sword into people, so there isn't as much use of the actual blade as I would like. In fact, entire episodes go by without unsheathing the Witchblade. And the deep emotion that originally drew me to the series sometimes crosses the borderline into cliché. The same is true of the philosophy.

But, hay, what else have you got to watch this summer? The season finale is Tuesday, August 21.

Episode Guide

0. Witchblade the Movie

1. Parallax

2. Conundrum

3. Diplopia

4. Sacrifice

5. Legion

6. Maelstrom

7. Periculum

8. Thanatopsis

9. Apprehension

10. Convergence


Copyright © 2001 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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