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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.

Firefly I put off watching the Firefly DVD, in part to savor the anticipation of watching something I knew I would enjoy, in part for fear that what I loved on first viewing would not stand up on a second viewing. (Watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine on DVD has lowered my opinion of that series slightly -- though I still greatly enjoy certain episodes.) I need not have worried. Firefly is even better on DVD, one of the best SF series ever.

What is it makes Firefly so good? Watching it makes me happy. Lots of smiles. Lots of surprises. Human characters, likeable (or not) for all their flaws. The drama grows out of the characters. The problems are real, and not trivial. In addition to an interesting story, the writers find interesting ways to tell the story. People hurt each others' feelings, misunderstand each other, and yet try to live according to their individual lights. Even Jayne. Every episode has a lot going on, and there is a story arc that hints at new revelations to come.

Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital Steven King's Kingdom Hospital has ended. The plot, as best I can piece it together, is that you will be given one impossible chance to defeat evil, if you just wander aimlessly long enough. But the characters are delightful. Whether you buy the DVD depends on how much you enjoy weirdness for the sake of weirdness.

Jeremiah Jeremiah, Season One, will be rerun on Showtime Too in August, which is a good sign that they will finally show the rest of Season Two in September. Up to now, the end of Season Two has only been on in Canada. If I am right about Season Two being broadcast in September, then we should get the Season Two DVD early in 2005. What I have seen of Season Two is great.

TV in August:

Stargate SG-1 As far as new SF goes, Stargate owns August, with back-to-back episodes of Atlantis and SG-1 every Friday on the SciFi Channel.
Friday, August 6
Stargate SG-1 "Icon"
Stargate Atlantis "Suspicion"

Friday, August 13
Stargate SG-1 "Avatar"
Stargate Atlantis "Childhood's End," by Martin Guro

Friday, August 20
Stargate SG-1 "Affinity"
Stargate Atlantis "Poisoning the Well"

Friday, August 27
Stargate SG-1 "Covenant"
Stargate Atlantis "Home"

I wish I liked Stargate. It would be nice to have some new SF to watch.

Spoilers for the next season of Smallville and Star Trek: Enterprise abound on the web. Am I the only person who enjoys surprises?

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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