TV Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
Babylon 5.1
by Rick Norwood

Witchblade (***)
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.


Witchblade, season two, begins Sunday, June 16, followed by new episodes every Monday. I was much taken by the first season of Witchblade, you may recall. It had, you should pardon the expression, an edge to it that the other TV fantasy lacked. Then the first season finale undid everything that had happened, which annoyed me no end. At the time, I was in an unforgiving mood, but now... well, I'm ready to give Witchblade one more chance.

J. Michael Straczynski has a new book out, an illustrated fantasy in the same genre as Stardust, by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess, which may very well have been its inspiration. It is called Delicate Creatures and is beautifully illustrated by Michael Zulli with colors by Steve Firchow. I enjoyed it, about as much as I enjoy Straczynski's Showtime series Jeremiah. Still, Straczynski's best current work -- in fact his best work since Babylon 5 -- is in comic books. Rising Stars seems to have lost some of its momentum, but I eagerly await the upcoming conclusion of Midnight Nation. And Straczynski's ongoing work on The Amazing Spider-man is the best thing to happen to the web crawler since the Todd McFarlaine era, a certain amazingly popular motion picture not excepted.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (**)

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a modern sf icon, perhaps the last and perhaps the greatest of all radio dramas (though the scripts John Meston wrote for the radio version of Gunsmoke are also great, and would suffice). Its verbal humor does not translate well to a visual medium.

The television version, six half hours, adapts (roughly) six radio half hours. The exact relationship among the many versions of the story are detailed in Neil Gaiman's first book, Don't Panic. Television has to leave out a lot of the jokes to make room for the special effects, which consist of mostly redundant computer displays and props that look like Dr. Who rejects. The actors, most of whom were in the radio version, and did an unbeatable job in that medium, now spend a lot of time standing around looking as if they are wondering what to do with their hands, now that there isn't a script in them. I don't really blame the actors for this. I blame the director for pointing a camera at them and not giving them anything to do while they wait for their turn to say a line.

Things that were wonderful in our imaginations, such as Zaphod's two heads, are painful when recreated literally if ineptly on the screen. One of the many joys of the radio play is that we forget Zaphod's extra head until something reminded us. "Now, I'll just put the stethoscope into this ear... and this ear... and this ear... and this ear...."

There are a few new jokes: the Magrathians offer the option of a planet coated with meringue. As Arthur Dent descends into the bowels of the planet, Marvin the Paranoid Android waves bye-bye. But these are not worth the effort of sitting through three hours of familiar material slowed to a snail's pace by largely redundant computer graphics. And fabulous sound effects are better than pathetic special effects any day. You would do much better to buy the original radio version, currently available from

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.

SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or other stuff worth mentioning, please send it to
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide