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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.

I've been disappointed in the new season of Battlestar: Galactica -- it seems to have stopped making sense. Why did the Cylons put two of the final five aboard the Galactica, a ship which was being decommissioned and which only survived by a series of narrow escapes? Was it just a coincidence that at least two more of the final five, and maybe all three, wound up there? And why did Lee Adama divorce his wife? That was never satisfactorily explained. There have been some good moments ("Please."), but the feeling is rushed and sometimes perfunctory. I understand much more footage is shot than we see on the air, so the DVD version may be better.

May features season finales of Lost, Smallville, and The Sarah Jane Adventures, and the last episode of Reaper, which has been cancelled.

When the original Star Trek was on the air, a TV series typically aired 30 episodes each season. Gradually, that number has dropped. Last year the average was around 22 (except for the series 24, which is kind of locked in, but which had to skip a season). And now? Smallville Season Seven ran 20 episodes, so does every season of Stargate Atlantis. Reaper ended after 18 episodes. Lost Season Four ran 14, and the next two seasons will also have fewer episodes than the first three. Doctor Who, The 4400, and Eureka only run 13 episodes each season, Heroes Season Two and The Sarah Jane Adventures Season One only ran 11, Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles Season One was 9 episodes, Jericho Season Two only 7 before it was cancelled. Of course, the writer's strike is partly to blame, but I suspect that, in the future, the number of new shows in a TV series will continue to decline.

SF on TV in May

Smallville Thursday, May 1
Smallville "Apocalypse" by Turi Meyer and Al Septien
Lost "Something Nice Back Home" by Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis

Friday, May 2
The Sarah Jane Adventures "Eye of the Gorgon II" by Phil Ford
The Sarah Jane Adventures "Warriors of Kudlak I" by Phil Gladwin
Doctor Who "The Fires of Pompeii" by James Moran
Battlestar Galactica "The Road Less Traveled" by Mark Verheiden

Tuesday, May 6
Reaper "Greg Schmeg" by Chris Black and Jeffrey Vlaming

Thursday, May 8
Smallville "Quest" by Holly Harold
Lost "Cabin Fever" by Kyle Pennington and Elizabeth Sarnoff

The Sarah Jane Adventures Friday, May 9
The Sarah Jane Adventures "Warriors of Kudlak II" by Phil Gladwin
The Sarah Jane Adventures "Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane I" by Gareth Roberts
Doctor Who "Planet of the Ood" by Keith Temple
Battlestar Galactica "Faith" by Seamus Kevin Fahey

Tuesday, May 13
Reaper "The Leak" by Chris Dingess

Battlestar Galactica Thursday, May 15
Smallville "Arctic" by Holly Henderson and Don Whitehead, Season Seven Finale
Lost "There's No Place Like Home I" by Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof

Friday, May 16
The Sarah Jane Adventures "Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane II" by Gareth Roberts
The Sarah Jane Adventures "The Lost Boy I" by Phil Ford
Doctor Who "The Sontaran Stratagem I" by Helen Raynor
Battlestar Galactica "Guess What's Coming to Dinner" by Michael Angeli

Tuesday, May 20
Reaper Series Finale

Thursday, May 29
Lost "There's No Place Like Home II" by Stephen Williams
Lost "There's No Place Like Home III" Season Four Finale

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Friday, May 30
The Sarah Jane Adventures "The Lost Boy II" by Phil Ford, Season One Finale
Doctor Who "The Poison Sky II" by Helen Raynor
Battlestar Galactica "Sine Qua Non" by Michael Taylor

Coming in June are the season finales of Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica.

Shows renewed include Smallville for Season Eight, Lost for Season Five (of Six), Eureka for Season Three, Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles for Season Two, Heroes for Season Three, Doctor Who for Season Five (or Season 31, depending on how you count) but not until 2010. Battlestar Galactica will end, but prequel Caprica is scheduled.

Coming in September, animated Star Wars, "Clone Wars".

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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