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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.

The Adventures of Tintin The big, blockbuster science fiction films of the Christmas season aren't science fiction at all. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and The Adventures of Tin Tin have the splashy special effects that suggest sf, without any sf story elements. They also lack characters you care about and interesting ideas. They are entertaining. I traveled a hundred miles to see them on the big IMAX screen, and it was a fun trip. But they are pure pudding. There's no meat on those bones.

The new breakout genre of the second decade of the 21st century is the fairy tale, that far edge of fantasy most distant from science fiction. Fairy tales have none of the rational underpinnings, the human characters, or the imaginary geography and history that make high fantasy so appealing. It's as if America has become too slack-jawed to face up to a world where we actually have some competition, and are retreating into a world of make believe, where you can make a country great just by talking about how great you are, and you can stop global warming by denying that it exists. I've recently discovered that most people I talk to under the age of thirty don't know who was president of the United States during the American Civil War. And I was told by a Tea Party member, "You mathematicians like to pretend those little x's and y's actually mean something, but I know better!" So, fairy tales are a natural genre for the post-modern age.

Don't get me wrong. Modern fairy tales can be fun. I love Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods, for example. It is just that I fear for the future of a country whose motto seems to be "Stop making sense!"

SF on TV in January 2012

The Vampire Diaries Thursday, January 5
The Vampire Diaries "The New Deal", by Michael Narducci

Friday, January 6
Star Wars: The Clone Wars "Escape from Kavado"

Sunday, January 8
Once Upon a Time "Desperate Souls", by Jane Espenson, who won a Hugo for a Buffy episode, and also wrote for Caprica, Game of Thrones, and Torchwood.

Thursday, January 12
Supernatural "Adventures in Babysitting", by Adam Glass, who wrote the new Suicide Squad comic book for DC.
The Vampire Diaries "Our Town", by Rebecca Sonnenshine

Grimm Friday, January 13
Fringe "Back to Where You've Never Been" by David Fury, who wrote for Buffy, Angel, Lost, and 24
Supernatural "Time After Time After Time", by Robbie Thompson
Grimm "Game Ogre"
Star Wars: The Clone Wars "A Friend in Need", by Christian Taylor, who wrote for Six Feet Under

Sunday, January 15
Once Upon a Time "True North", by David H. Goodman & Liz Tigelaar. Goodman wrote for Fringe, Tigelaar created Life Unexpected.

Monday, January 16
Alcatraz "Pilot"

Once Upon a Time Thursday, January 19
The Vampire Diaries "The Ties that Bind", by Brian Young

Friday, January 20
Supernatural "Knocked Up"
Grimm "Of Mouse and Man"
Star Wars: The Clone Wars "Deception"

Sunday, January 22
Once Upon a Time "7:15 A. M.", story by series creators Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz, who wrote for Lost; teleplay by Daniel T. Thomsen, who wrote for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Wednesday, January 25
Touch (preview), by Tim Kring, who created Heroes.

Supernatural Thursday, January 26
The Vampire Diaries "Bringing Out the Dead"

Friday, January 27
Supernatural "Plucky Pennywhistle's Magic Menagerie"
Star Wars: The Clone Wars "Friends and Enemies"

Tim Kring's new series, Touch, begins in March. Doctor Who won't be back until next Fall.

Copyright © 2012 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. Visit his web site at

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