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Babylon 5.1
by Rick Norwood

Fall Preview Edition
Other Babylon 5.1 Columns
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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.

The new seasons of Smallville and Heroes have premiered. I enjoyed parts of Smallville, really liked Heroes.

Smallville Smallville (**) returns with only two of the original characters, Clark and Chloe. On the other hand, Clark Kent is now working at the Daily Planet with Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, Green Arrow is a regular, and the Injustice Society of America is forming. They can't replace Lex, who has left the show. There are only a few things left to happen before Clark dons the cape and flies off to the Superman theme music -- I sure hope that happens at the end of this season. The pilot episode had some interesting moments, as when Green Arrow kills Clark Kent, but the plot was contrived. The writers knew how the episode had to end, and forced the characters and events to play out toward that end, whether they wanted to or not. In particular, the "I can only bring you back to life this once," bit is getting old.

Heroes Heroes (****) had many nice surprises, non-stop action, and most of the characters we love (as distinct from the Season Two characters we hate). As I mentioned last issue, the season premiere of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles had great music over the opening scenes. Chapter One of the new Heroes series has a voiceover of Yeats "The Second Coming" over the closing scenes that is similarly effective. "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are filled with passionate intensity." The title of the new season of Heroes is "Villains", and we have some good ones. "What are you doing!" Peter says, as one of the villains burns a woman alive. "Just having a little fun."

SF on TV in October
(dates preceded by have not yet been announced by the network)

Thursday, October 2
Smallville "Toxic", by Caroline Dries
Supernatural "In the Beginning", by Jeremy Carver

Monday, October 6
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles "Goodbye to All That", by Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz
Heroes "I Am Become Death"

Thursday, October 9
Smallville "Instinct", by Turi Meyer and Al Septien
Supernatural "Metamorphosis"

Stargate Atlantis Friday, October 10
Stargate Atlantis "The Lost Tribe II", by Martin Gero

? Monday, October 13
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles "Brothers of Nablus"
Heroes "Angels and Monsters"

Tuesday, October 14
Fringe "Power Hungry"

Thursday, October 16
Smallville "Committed"
Supernatural "Monster Movie"

Friday, October 17
Stargate Atlantis "Outsiders", by Alan McCullough

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Monday, October 20
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles "Alpine Fields"
Heroes "Dying of the Light I"

Thursday, October 23
Smallville "Prey" by Brian Peterson and Kelly Souders
Supernatural "Yellow Fever"
Supernatural "Phoebia" (that's how it is listed -- may be a typo for October 30)

Friday, October 24
Stargate Atlantis "Inquisition", by Alex Levine

Monday, October 27
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles "The Tower is Tall, but the Fall is Short"
Heroes "Dying of the Light II"

Thursday, October 30
Smallville "Identity" by Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer

Fringe Only one episode of Fringe has been announced for October, though other episodes may air. The ratings were not good by Fox standards (they would have been great for CW), and Fringe may be the first casualty of the season. On the other hand CW viewers are watching on the web instead of on tv, which means the network could go out of business, taking Smallville and Supernatural with it. Enjoy them while you can.

Footnote: turns out I wrote off Fringe too quickly. The second episode had 3 million more viewers than the first, so it may be here for a while.

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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