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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.

There will be two new episodes of Enterprise in March. "Rogue Planet" by Chris Black will air March 20 and "Acquisition" (the Ferengi episode) by Rick Berman and Brannon Braga will air March 27.

There has been some discussion on the web that, where the other Treks have been liberal and egalitarian, Enterprise is sexist and human chauvinist. Well, of course! The other Treks were further in the future. Mankind matured and made a place for itself in the galaxy. In fact, there is a natural progression from today to Voyager. By the time we get to Enterprise, race, which seems so important today, is simply not a factor. Skin color is no more important than hair color. But there is still a lot of sexism and suspicion of aliens. The same is true in the original Trek. Gene Roddenberry was sexist in much the same way that Robert A. Heinlein is sexist. Women are fully entitled to positions of power, but men still get to admire their boobs. And as for human chauvinism, remember the original Trek episode "Balance of Terror", where Lt. Stiles is rebuked by Captain Kirk for chauvinistic remarks about a certain pointy-eared Vulcan? By the time we get to The Next Generation, humanity has outgrown human chauvinism. But the captain and first officer are both white male hu-mons. In Deep Space Nine, we get a black star and gay characters do not cause anyone to raise an eyebrow. By Voyager, we have a female captain and are well on the way to civil rights for holograms. It is a natural progression, and to have the crew of Enterprise anywhere but where they are would violate the concept of the show. We are still learning. I hope we will always be learning.

Jeremiah (***) by J. Michael Straczynski

Jeremiah Billed as a tele-movie, this series premiere breaks up into two 45 minute episodes. Presumably they shot a version without the bare breasts in case the series goes to SciFi Channel in syndication. Not as disappointing as Legend of the Rangers, this new series is still not as good as J. Michael Straczynski's current work in comic books. It does, however, promise of some interesting story arcs, with hints being offered as to future directions, and the characters are, in their moral ambiguity, interesting. I'm not thrilled about the 10:45 Friday night time slot, but I'm willing to give the series a chance. New episodes in March:
Friday, March 15 "Man of Iron, Woman under Glass";
Sunday, March 17 "To Sail Beyond the Stars",
Friday, March 22 "And the Ground...Sown with Salt" (repeats Sunday, March 24).
Friday, March 29 episode not yet scheduled.

All on Showtime.

Enterprise, "Fusion" (***) by Rick Berman and Brannon Braga

Enterprise I really enjoyed this sexy, not sexist, episode. Maybe it is just because there haven't been any really first-rate movies or television so far in 2002, but it seemed pretty good to me. The Vulcan sex scene, which got a lot of TV promotion and even appeared in radio ads, occurs in a ten second dream sequence. The show itself is quite serious in confronting the issue of emotions versus logic, and arrives at what I consider the correct solution: people who put their heart above their head wind up hurt or hurting, diseased or pregnant. Thinking is what the human animal does best. As far as I can tell, Star Trek has always been the only television program to suggest that.

Roswell (***) by Ronald D. Moore

Roswell I watched an episode of Roswell, a series that I have been avoiding. I generally avoid programs about teen aliens. But I wanted to find out what Ronald D. Moore is up to these days. I enjoyed it somewhat, and would probably have enjoyed it even more if I knew the characters. As Roswell winds down in its last season, it has the freedom to make major changes in their lives, and that is usually a good thing (as long as you don't kill off Jasper Sitwell). It is a little late to start watching Roswell now. The next new episode isn't until April and the series ends in May. But if it goes into syndication, you might want to give it a try from the beginning.

The X-Files, "Provenance" and "Providence" (**) by Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz

X-Files A dangerous mission to smuggle an alien artifact across the border between the US and Canada. Canada! The longest undefended border in the world, and an F.B.I. agent is unable to cross it without getting caught. I know the F.B.I. has fallen on hard times but -- unable to smuggle something from Canada? The rest of this two-part episode is similarly lame-brained. All of the characters act like idiots. Scully entrusts her baby to the Lone Gunmen. The Lone Gunmen! They manage to loose the baby in a matter of minutes (of course). Scully finds that religious fanatics are holding the baby in Philadelphia, which is apparently only about an hour away from a place where you can drive a motorcycle across the border to Canada. (Consult map. Note Great Lakes.) And, finally, "Bring me the head of Fox Mulder!" Aw, come on, guys. You aren't even trying any more.

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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