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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.

Star Trek: The Animated Series
Star Trek: The Animated Series It was only four years between the "death" of the original Star Trek and the arrival of the animated series, but it seemed like forever. Fans had almost given up hope of a Star Trek revival. When the first episode of the Filmation Star Trek was shown at a convention, it received a standing ovation. It would be six more years before the first Star Trek motion picture. From then on, Star Trek would always be part of our lives -- until now.

The animated series brought back the original cast and many of the writers of the original series. The animation was good, though later episodes suffered from repeated reuse of animation. The new characters, M'Ress and Arex, would not be seen again, but ideas introduced in the animated series which were used in later films and television shows include the holodeck, the Vulcan kas'whan ritual, and Kirk's middle name, Tiberius. The animated series is the only source for the name of the first captain of the Enterprise NCC- 1701, Robert April. Gene Roddenberry did not consider the animated episodes canonical. I like to think that they are, especially "Yesteryear," a story of Spock's childhood which shows his pet sehlat, based on a drawing by Bjo Trimble.

The series only lasted one season, plus a truncated second season consisting of just six episodes. Good writers made it worth watching.

101 "Beyond the Farthest Star" (****) by Samuel A. Peeples (author of "Where No Man Has Gone Before")
102 "Yesteryear" (****) by D.C. Fontana (author of "Charlie X")
103 "One of Our Planets is Missing" (**) by Marc Daniels (did not write for the original Trek, but directed many episodes and acted in one, playing Jackson Roykirk in "The Changeling")
104 "The Lorelei Signal" (*) by Margaret Armen (author of "The Paradise Syndrome")
105 "More Tribbles, More Troubles" (***) by David Gerrold (author of "The Trouble With Tribbles")
106 "The Survivor" (***) by James Schmerer (did not write for the original Trek, but did go on to write for MacGyver)
107 "The Infinite Vulcan" (**) by Walter Koenig (did not write for the original Trek, but acted in both Star Trek and Babylon 5)
108 "The Magicks of Megas-tu" (**) by Larry Brody (did not work on the original Trek, but wrote the Voyager episode "Tattoo")
109 "Once Upon a Planet" (*) by Chuck Menville and Len Janson (they went on to write for The Smurfs)
110 "Mudd's Passion" (***) by Stephen Kendel (author of "Mudd's Women")
111 "The Terratin Incident" (***) by Paul Schneider (author of "The Squire of Gothos")
112 "The Time Trap" (**) by Joyce Perry (went on to write for Land of the Lost)
113 "The Ambergris Element" (*) by Margaret Armen
114 "The Slaver Weapon" (***) by Larry Niven (Hugo winning SF author)
115 "The Eye of the Beholder" (****) by David P. Harmon (author of "A Piece of the Action")
116 "The Jihad" (**) by Stephen Kendel

201 "The Pirates of Orion" (**) by Howard Weinstein (this was his only writing gig, but he got a "thank you" in the credits of Star Trek IV)
202 "Bem" (**) by David Gerrold
203 "The Practical Joker" (*) by Chuck Menville and Len Janson
204 "Albatross" (**) by Dario Finelli (his only other writing was a movie called Scorpio 70)
205 "How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth" (**) by Russell Bates (wrote for Isis and appeared in Porky's II) and David Wise (wrote for Isis and for Mighty Ducks: the Movie)
206 "The Counter-Clock Incident" (***) by John Culver (real name Fred Bronson, wrote two Next Generation episodes).

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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