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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, "Lexmas" (**) by Holly Herold, based on "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens

"A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens has a mainspring that just won't quit. No matter how many times I read it, I always cry.

But adaptations of the story, especially TV adaptations, seldom work. The spring is wound too tight, and sticks, and you find yourself waiting for the thing to be over. That's the case with Lex as Scrooge and his dead mother as Jacob Marley. While it is fun to see Lex Luthor having a good time as an ordinary man with a loving family, we know how he turns out, and so there is no suspense. It is possible to pull off a reverse Christmas Carol. Blackadder's Christmas Carol is one example. But this attempt doesn't quite work.



DVD Review

Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Volume 3 (****) by Chuck Jones, Michael Maltise, et al.
Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Volume 3

There were more than a thousand theatrical cartoons made by Warner Brothers between 1929 and 1969. Each of the Golden Collections contains 60 of them. If we omit the really bad black and white cartoons, the racist cartoons, and the really bad cartoons of the late 60s, ten volumes like this one will give us almost all that any one but the most fanatic collector could desire. Almost. Some of the racist cartoons were also extremely funny, and you should seek them out if you can still look at yourself in the mirror the next morning. A few have appeared on cheap, uncopyrighted DVDs from Taiwan. Cartoon Craze Volume 14 has "All This and Rabbit Stew," Volume 16 has a poor print of "Inki and the Minah Bird." The VHS tape, "I Taw a Putty Tat," has four great Inki cartoons -- all of Chuck Jones' Inki cartoons except "Caveman Inki."

The best of the Warner Brothers directors was Chuck Jones, who directed 225 cartoons for Warner Brothers, counting the Private Snafu wartime propaganda films. After he left Warner Brothers, he directed some Tom and Jerry cartoons and many -- too many -- TV specials. Probably his last great work was "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

The first two Golden Collections each had 19 Chuck Jones cartoons. This one has only 11: Hare Tonic, Duck! Rabbit! Duck!, Claws for Alarm, Rocket Squad, Robin Hood Daffy, Daffy Duck and the Dinosaur, Super-Rabbit, Steal Wool, Rabbit Punch, Odor-Able Kitty, and To Beep or Not to Beep. I assume the people who are producing these DVDs are being careful not to use up all the great stuff too quickly.

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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