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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.

Summertime, and the livin' is easy. Babylon 5.1 is going on vacation for a month, off to Europe. If any of you belong to a SF club or small convention in Amsterdam, Paris, or London, let me know before I leave on June 7th and I 'll try to stop by for a visit.

Enterprise But I couldn't leave without commenting on the season finale of Star Trek: Enterprise. Rick Berman and Brannon Braga fucked it up. After a year-long story arc, we were entitled to see Enterprise welcomed back to earth, with fanfare and trumpets. Instead, we get a clichéd cliffhanger. Nazis! Oh good grief! The only thing that would have been a bigger disappointment was if Enterprise landed on the Titanic. Berman was evidently so desperate to get renewed that he figured a cliffhanger ending was the way to hang on, but I honestly believe that a good rousing finish to the current story line, which has been excellent up to now, would have brought more fans back for Season Four. The concluding episode would have been better if it had just stopped five minutes before the end. Maybe Season Four will start with Captain Archer coming out of a shower and saying, "Porthos, I had the strangest dream." The problem is that B&B still think that they are the best writers on the show, so naturally they do the first and last show of every season. But they aren't the best writers any more. Phyllis Strong, Mike Sussman, Chris Black, and Manny Coto are all better than they are, with fresher ideas. Prediction: Season Four of Enterprise will be cancelled before Christmas.

And so we watch the end of television as we know it. And the American people separate into two groups -- the ones who leave their TV on all the time and shop at malls, and the ones who only use the TV to play computer games and watch DVDs and shop at Lands' End.

Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital Smallville Angel was axed because it was too expensive, not because it wasn't popular. Dark Shadows did not make the cut for the Fall season because it was too expensive. Even Smallville, which is amazingly excellent, has dropped in the ratings. I think just as many people watch Smallville as before, but the smart ones (see group two above) wait for the DVD instead of watching 19 minutes of commercials in every hour.

Still no word from Showtime as to when they are going to show the rest of Season Two of Jeremiah in the US. Canada has already seen it. Kingdom Hospital has been pushed back yet again. The episode that was supposed to air in May will air June 24 -- provided they don't push it back again.

So, what am I going to do about it? I'm going to lie in the sun and read a good book.

Copyright © 2004 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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