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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.

Nothing is on TV in January.

Well, actually, some stuff is on. There are two episodes of Torchwood on BBC America that have not previously aired in the US. And before the writers went on strike, Smallville had some episodes already in the can. And then, of course, there is Avatar: The Last Airbender on Nickelodeon, airdate of new episodes to be announced. That's about it.

It remains to be seen how badly the suits want to hold on to their work ethic. The work ethic of suits is, of course, "If God did not want the workers to be shorn, he would not have made them sheep." In the view of the suits, writers are kind of like ditch diggers, only not as useful, and it would be a shame to give them any share of the money that may or not be made by displaying their work on the internet. Of course, without writers, the suits stand to loose millions, so you have to admire the tenacity with which they hold to their ideals.

Some Thursday in January not yet announced, Smallville, "Persona," by Holly Henderson and Don Whitehead.

Saturday, January 12
Torchwood "Combat" by Noel Clarke

Saturday, January 12
Torchwood "Captain Jack Harkness" by Catherine Tregenna

Looking ahead, on February 7, 2008 is a Smallville episode, "Siren," featuring Black Canary and Green Arrow.

Just read your Babylon 5.1 column at SF Site, and thought I should mention that Stargate Atlantis returns with new episodes in January:

Friday, January 4
Stargate Atlantis "Be All My Sins Remember'd"

Friday, January 11
Stargate Atlantis "Spoils Of War"

Friday, January 18
Stargate Atlantis "Quarantine"

Friday, January 25
Stargate Atlantis "Harmony"

Best wishes for a joyous New Year!
Morjana Coffman

I totally missed that! Thanks Morjana.

Battlestar Galactica "Razor" (**) by Michael Taylor (who wrote for Deep Space Nine and Voyager)
Battlestar Galactica Common advice that experienced writers offer to beginners: If you have a story to tell, begin at the beginning and keep on going until you get to the end. Then stop.

This made-for-DVD movie (a cut version was aired on TV before its release, for contractual reasons) begins in the middle, during season two, jumps back to the beginning, the start of season one, then jumps around some more, to accommodate most of the seven two-and-a-half minute made-for-telephone webisodes. Within both the "present day" story (which, you will recall, is set in the past) and in the flashbacks, there are flashbacks within flashbacks, flash forwards within flashbacks, and other stylistic devices that turn the entire drama into hash.

Parts of it are tasty, as the bishop said of the egg, but it is too confused to have any real impact.

Nice explosions, though.

Also included on the DVD are two deleted scenes, one of which contradicts a major plot point of the director's cut, and all of the made-for-telephone webisodes, which are rather better than the material that surrounds them.

Whether Battlestar Galactica will have a season four depends on how the writer's strike turns out. Plans now are if the strike ends soon, then we may see a short, six episode wrap-up of the story some time this summer.

The Water Horse, Legend of the Deep (***) by Robert Nelson Jacobs, from the book by Dick King-Smith
The Water Horse, Legend of the Deep This is a minor but entertaining children's movie. Considering the state of children's movies this Christmas, maybe the best thing about it is that it doesn't have any chipmunks in it. Children will love it, and adults enjoy it. If you have any interest in intelligent children's fantasy, or if you enjoyed Robert Nelson Jacob's film Chocolat, which won him an Oscar nomination, you should enjoy The Water Horse.

Cancelled again, The 4400.

Copyright © 2008 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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