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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.

Smallville, "Spell" (***)
Smallville Lana, Lois, and Chloe all become witches.

Superboy in this series is closer to the Silver Age's Mort Weisinger version of Superboy than to any of the more recent incarnations -- the two big differences being the lack of a costume and the fact that the stories make sense. As Weisinger endlessly reminded us, Superboy is vulnerable to just two things, kryptonite and magic. In most episodes of Smallville, kryptonite does Clark in. In this episode his vulnerability to magic surfaces. Taken as it stands, the relationship between magic and the planet Krypton does not really add up, but I am trusting the writers to fill in the gaping plot holes in future episodes.

Star Trek Enterprise, "The Augments III" (***) by Mike Sussman
Star Trek Enterprise Brent Spiner hams it up as Arik Soong, causing a small spike in the ratings, but not enough to capture the four million viewers who watched Enterprise at its peak. This is thoroughly enjoyable Star Trek, but still not where I keep hoping Star Trek will be at the end of what is probably its swan song.

DVD Reviews

Columbia House will shortly be bringing out more of the original Perry Mason TV series on DVD and the second season DVD of Have Gun - Will Travel has been announced. It's a good time for collectors of classic television.

Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Volume II (****) by Chuck Jones, Michael Maltese, Maurice Noble, Mel Blanc, et al.

Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Volume II Sixty more Warner Brothers cartoons on DVD are a cause for rejoicing. Between 1931 and 1969, Warner Brothers released more than a thousand theatrical cartoons, and even if we dismiss most of the black and white cartoons (though they have their fans) and all of the cartoons after 1964 (nobody likes them) there are still enough cartoons to fill about a dozen volumes of this size. The mass release volumes will almost certainly skip cartoons featuring Private Snafu or Inki, but the Private Snafu are all out on a specialty DVD and we can hope someone will do the same for poor Inki.

Chuck Jones is generally considered the greatest cartoon director, but this DVD has many excellent cartoons from other directors, including the only cartoon where Elmer Fudd actually outwits Bugs Bunny, using hypnotism.

Chuck Jones directed 230 cartoons for Warner Brothers. The first two Looney Tunes volumes bring us 37 of them, including, on this set, "One Froggy Evening" and "What's Opera, Doc."

This collection focuses on Bugs Bunny and the Roadrunner -- maybe too much on Roadrunner. Watch them a the rate of one cartoon a night, not all at once. They are best savored, not gulped.

Between 1949 and 1964, Chuck Jones directed 28 theatrical cartoons in the Roadrunner and Coyote series, counting four where Bugs Bunny stands in for the Roadrunner. (He also directed a few for TV specials and movie compilations, but nothing to compare with his earlier work.) This volume has the first eleven, skipping the one Roadrunner already released in Volume One and skipping two Bugs Bunny and Coyote cartoons, "Operation: Rabbit" and "To Hare is Human".

Here is a checklist:
Fast and Furry-ous
Operation Rabbit
Beep Beep
Going! Going! Gosh!
Sipping Along
Stop! Look! and Hasten!
Ready.. Set.. Zoom!
Guided Muscle
Gee Whiz-z-z-z!
There they Go-Go-Go!
To Hare is Human
Scrambled Aches
Zoom and Bored
Whoa, Be-Gone!
Hook, Line, and Stinker
Hip Hip Hurry
Hot Rod and Reel
Wild About Hurry
The Fastest With the Mostest
Rabbit's Feat
Hopalong Casualty
Zip 'n' Snort
Lickety Splat
Compressed Hare
Beep Prepared
Zoom at the Top
Hare-breadth Hurry
To Beep or Not to Beep
War and Pieces

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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