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Babylon 5.1
by Rick Norwood

TV Reviews
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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.

I've been watching the second and third seasons of Smallville on DVD, and as much as I've enjoyed them, one major flaw stands out, the change in the character of Dr. Helen Bryce. In season two, she is a dedicated doctor, drawn to Lex Luthor but suspicious of his ruthlessness. By season three, she is an international femme fatale and cold-blooded murderess. Too big a change, too fast.

On the plus side, Smallville has great acting and solid special effects. From season three, I love the characterization of Perry White, and the growing contrast between Clark Kent, a good boy who wants to be bad, and Lex Luthor, a bad boy who wants to be good.

The big buzz this month has been about the death of Apollo on Battlestar Galactica. Now, I have absolutely no inside information, and if I did, I wouldn't spoil things by letting the cat out of the bag. But I do have a hunch, and it has to do with something that might happen in the last thirty seconds of the season finale on March 25. "Say no more." "I can say no more."

Somewhat off topic: on You Tube there are a lot of people who brag about cheating their way into a top college. I can't wait until these guys find themselves on an operating table one day, and just before they go under the knife, they remember seeing their surgeon on You Tube, bragging that he cheated his way through med school.

Smallville Television is getting a lot more interactive. On the last several Battlestar Galactica episodes they've asked viewers to go on-line and vote about what they think of one of the characters. Also, they have an extra scene at the end of the episode, instead of in its natural place in the story. On Smallville, they tell you how to get additional content on your cell phone, including the origin of Green Arrow. I have mixed feelings about all this. Why not drop by the SF Site Discussion Forum and let me know what you think about it.

Did you catch George Takei's license plate on Heroes?

Smallville "Promise" (****) by Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer
In an episode told out of order, in which we see the same scene from multiple viewpoints, we witness the wedding day of Alexander Luthor and Lana Lang. I could not stop smiling. It was, I must say, a grim, sardonic smile, but a smile it was. I don't want to spoil the episode, if you haven't seen it yet, but it is one tough-minded TV show.

Copyright © 2007 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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