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Babylon 5.1
by Rick Norwood

What to watch in November:
Other Babylon 5.1 Columns
For more information, you can try the following sites:
Rick Norwood's Website
Worldwide TV Schedule
The Official Babylon 5 Website
The X-Files
Pocket Books: Star Trek
Paramount Star Trek

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.

After mildly entertaining, mildly disappointing premiers of Buffy, Enterprise, and Smallville, I certainly hope the premier of The X-Files blows me away. I'm still waiting for a genre TV show as good as Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, or Babylon 5.

Wednesday, November 7
Enterprise "Breaking the Ice"

Sunday, November 11
The X-Files "Nothing Important Happened Today, Part One" by Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz

Wednesday, November 14
Enterprise "Civilization"

Sunday, November 18
The X-Files "Nothing Important Happened Today, Part Two" by Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz

Wednesday, November 21
Enterprise "Fortunate Son"

Sunday, November 25
The X-Files "Daemonicus" written and directed by Chris Carter

Wednesday, November 28
Enterprise "Dear Doctor"

For Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers, we still have to wait until 2002.

There may not be much on TV to watch, but I'm watching it in style. I blew the money I made teaching summer school on a wide-screen high-definition TV. A few observations.

After watching high definition DVDs, it is astonishing how grainy the television I've been watching all my life looks. The high-def picture is absolutely worth it. My feelings about the wide screen, on the other hand, are slightly Enterprise mixed. On the plus side, both Enterprise and my favorite TV show, The West Wing, are now broadcast wide screen. On the minus side, there is no such thing as a perfect wide-screen picture yet. You have to make compromises. The set I bought, a Toshiba TW56X81, offers no less than 5 different ways of viewing a film: Standard, three flavors of Theater Wide, and Full. Full is wretched: it overflows the screen with whatever picture you've got. Standard is just for standard TV (or old movies, which I watch a lot). But choosing between those three flavors of Theater Wide drives me crazy, since wide-screen DVDs, unless they are anamorphic, just won't fit. Either you loose picture or you get a distorted picture. The three choices trade off picture loss and distortion.

So, high definition has my unqualified recommendation. Wide screen is nice, but still has some bugs in it.

And more important than either high-definition or wide-screen is good sound. You haven't really experienced The X-Files until you've heard something sneaking up on you from behind!

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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