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Babylon 5.1
by Rick Norwood

SF on TV
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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.

Star Trek Enterprise In December, there was almost no new SF or fantasy on TV, except for the execrable Legend of Earthsea. In January, the floodgates open. We have new episodes of Enterprise, both Stargates, Andromeda, and Battlestar Galactica.

There are also several borderline fantasy series with new episodes. It is hard to know what is fantasy and what isn't, in the minds of Americans. Like most people, in all places and in all times, we believe in many things that are contrary to fact. Which of the following do you believe are real: angels, demons, ESP, dreams that come true, astrology, Roswell aliens, miraculous healing? Unless you're a scientist, there is a good chance you believe in at least half of the items on the list. What does that make a TV series about, say, Roswell. Science fiction or just realistic drama?

In any case, here are some TV shows you may want to watch, if you like that sort of thing. On January 5, a new episode of Lost, the number one hit of 2004, will be aired. On January 9, on HBO, new episodes of Ronald D. Moore's Carnivale, which many love. To my taste, both of these shows, with their tiny smidgen of fantasy, and their need to string out the story across as many seasons as the audience will bear, add up to boredom. The majority of viewers disagree.

24 -- Season 3 Also on January 9, the new season of 24 begins, a suspense series with occasional SF touches. My recommendation for 24 is to wait for the DVD and then watch one episode per night, for a powerful viewing experience undiluted by long waits and commercials. That said, let me mention that most people think the ending of Season 3 sucked.

On January 19 a new series, Point Pleasant, premieres. One of the writers is Buffy writer Marti Noxon. Looks like another battle between angels and demons in small town America. You can read my review here in the February issue.

So much for borderline fantasy. Here is the real science fiction coming your way in January. All shows air on Friday and, except for Star Trek: Enterprise, all are on the SciFi Channel. You will have to choose between Enterprise and Stargate SG-1, since they air at the same time. Almost nobody is watching the final season of Andromeda.

New SF on TV in December:

January 7
Andromeda, "The Test"

January 14
Andromeda, "Through a Glass Darkly"
Star Trek: Enterprise, "Daedalus"
Battlestar Galactica, "33" by Ronald D. Moore
Battlestar Galactica, "Water"

Battlestar Galactica January 21
Andromeda, "Pride Before the Fall"
Star Trek: Enterprise, "The Observer Effect"
Stargate SG-1, "Gemini" -- this episode was very popular when it aired in Canada last year.
Stargate Atlantis, "The Eye, Part II" by Martin Gero -- guest starring Colm Meaney.
Battlestar Galactica, "Bastille Day" -- guest starring Richard Hatch (Apollo in the original series).

January 28
Andromeda, "Moonlight Becomes You"
Star Trek: Enterprise, "Babel One, Part I" -- prequel to TOS "Journey to Babel"
Stargate SG-1, "Prometheus Unbound" -- numbered before "Gemini," airs out of order.
Stargate Atlantis, "The Defiant One" by Peter Deluise
Battlestar Galactica, "Act of Contrition"

The air dates for new episodes of Smallville have not yet been announced.

The 2003 Battlestar Galactica TV movie is now out on DVD.

Copyright © 2005 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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