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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.

Smallville Poor Aquaman. He just can't get no respect. When he was in the JLA, writers had to bend over backwards to find something for him to do that Superman or Green Lantern couldn't accomplish with a flick of the wrist. On South Park, they teamed him up with Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, and Krishna. And his recent appearance on Smallville was the all time worst episode of that series.

I knew it was going to be a bad episode when the writers had a history professor (James Marsters) tell his class, "You're going to learn about the Greeks, the Romans, and the Spartans." Even worse, Clark starts acting jealous of Lois -- just one week after finally getting it on with Lana. How fickle! Then Aquaman shows up, dressed in orange and green, and bent on eco-terrorism. Now, I knew that this was the season where Lex Luthor turns really bad. But I didn't know he was going to be this bad. How bad is Luthor? Wait for it. He... he... kills... kills... fish! So Aquaman is going to blow up his lab, and Clark goes along with the idea.

I've got news for you, Aquaman. I eat fish. That's right, I devour your finny friends for lunch. So, come and get me, Aquaman. I'm waitin' for you.

As Aquaman and Clark part company, Aquaman says, "Why don't you join the Junior Lifeguard Association." Groan. And just to make sure we get it, Clark says, "I don't think I'm going to be joining any JLA."

Thank goodness the next episode was worth watching. Lana becomes a vampire. How bad does that sound? But, thanks to clever writing by Steven DeKnight, with surprises in every segment, the story is actually fun -- if you can ignore the BRIGHT F*L*A*S*H*I*N*G LIGHTS in the middle of the screen during the program to attract your attention to the commercial at the bottom.

Maybe you should just wait for the DVD.

SF on TV in November

Smallville The most successful new show of the season is Commander in Chief. Of the SF shows, Invasion is doing fairly well. None of the others is on the charts. In any case, the only new SF I recommend is Smallville, every Thursday night. Here is a list of the season so far:
Arrival (***) by Todd Slavkin & Darrin Swimmer
Mortal (***) by Steven S. DeKnight
Hidden (***) by Kelly Souders & Brian Peterson
Aqua (*) by Todd Slavkin & Darrin Swimmer
Thirst (***) by Steven S. DeKnight

And coming in November:
Nov. 3
Nov. 10
Nov. 17

Not SF, but of interest, Masterpiece Theater presented Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking by Allan Cubitt. This is good, classic Holmes, and the first story I've seen to make good use of the second Mrs. Watson. Already available 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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