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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 Well, the 2005-2006 TV season is just about over. One new show might have been a hit, but in Commander in Chief, a surfeit of cooks spoiled the broth. The three new SF shows and three new fantasy shows caused not a stir. Smallville was the program I enjoyed the most, despite the absence of creators Gough and Miller, who were off making movies. Chances are good that Smallville will return next season. I certainly hope so, since the cliffhanger is a humdinger.

The TV Guide channel, in picking the Smallville season finale as the best show of the day, went on to tell all its viewers how the show would end, a practice I cannot abide. I have read that most people want to know the ending before they sit down to watch anything. That is a mindset I have difficulty wrapping my brain around.

Smallville was my favorite, but I also found Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who worth watching. Battlestar Galactica is excellent drama, but isn't really science fiction. Doctor Who has -- always has had -- boring bits, where the monsters slowly close in. But it also has some very nice bits (as the bishop said of the egg), as when the Doctor dances. Doctor Who 2006 Battlestar Galactica

Coming up in the "not really science fiction" category but of interest are season finales of 24, on Monday, May 22, and Lost, on Wednesday, May 24.

The Stargate franchise is still going strong, with plans for a third series and a movie announced.

The relatively poor box office of J. J. Abrams' Mission Impossible III makes his reported Star Trek XI a hair less likely. That could be a good thing. Rumor has it that Ben Affleck will play James Kirk. If so, I think Silent Bob would make a great Mr. Spock.

Mission Impossible III was entertaining, postmodern action-adventure -- postmodern in the sense that the Mcguffin (called the rabbit's foot) is never explained. On IMDB, the biggest reader complaint is that Ethan Hunt didn't throttle the villain with his bare hands.

Finally, good news for Serenity fans. Joss Whedon won a Nebula Award.

Copyright © 2006 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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