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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.

How many fantasy, science fiction, or horror shows are there in the new Fall season? It depends on how you count. If you include animated shows and comedies, at least fifteen. If you only include live action shows with space travel, one: Doctor Who.

Television science fiction has largely come to mean a show set in the near future with one big idea not very well thought out: aliens land, aliens destroy civilization, aliens move in next door, there's a nuclear war, everybody gets a glimpse of the future, a parallel world is discovered. These ideas, from past seasons, have gone nowhere and are now ready to be forgotten. This season we have more of the same.

Revolution is about the world after electricity stops working. So why do our brains, which are basically electrical in nature, still work? Don't ask. An evil leader arises who hates the American flag and wants to take away our guns. The good guys try to aid the real Americans and also restore power. The ambiance is basically Civil War era.

But the America of the Civil War was a civilized society, with a stable infrastructure of farmers and towns to support the war. If electricity went away, civilization would collapse. We have too large a population to feed by 19th century methods, and city dwellers can't become farmers overnight. Even worse, Monsanto has genetically engineered seeds so they won't sprout in the next season, so without Monsanto we all starve.

I ask: How do the characters stay so clean? Who does the washing? Where are all the babies now that birth control is no longer available? Where are the diseases that ravaged the world before modern medicine? Why do the characters still have all their teeth? Once Upon a Time

Revolution started with 12 million viewers, dropped to 9 million by episode two.

In The Neighbors, we have aliens in the suburbs. Not for me.

Last Resort sounds like a romantic comedy, but it is really a near-future political thriller in which an American nuclear submarine is ordered to nuke Pakistan. When Captain Chaplin refuses to carry out the order, his sub comes under attack by the forces of the United States.

Early in the show, Chaplin explains that the way Reagan beat the communists was by convincing them he was crazy. Maybe, but I don't think it was really firing the air-traffic controllers that did the trick. Now Chaplin needs to convince the US armed forces that he is crazy enough to nuke DC if they don't back off.

The show doesn't make beans for sense, but it has a good cast, and is the only new show I'm apt to keep watching.

Doctor Who Elementary isn't really sf. It's yet another modern day Sherlock Holmes with a female Watson. It is fairly well done, but we've been down that road too many times before, and it suffers by comparison with the much better Sherlock.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Sorry, you're going to have to watch that one and let me know what you think.

Once Upon a Time. Probably the best of the returning US shows.

But Doctor Who: now that's what I call real science fiction.

SF on TV in October 2012

Fringe Monday, October 1
Revolution "No Quarter"
Warehouse 13 "We All Fall Down", half-season finale, returns in April 2013
Alphas "Life After Death"

Thursday, October 4
Last Resort "Blue on Blue" by Karl Gajdusek

Friday, October 5
Fringe "In Absentia" by David Fury
Grimm "Over My Dead Body"

Saturday, October 6
Star Wars: The Clone Wars "A War on Two Fronts"

The Vampire Diaries Sunday, October 7
Once Upon a Time "We Are Both" by Jane Espenson

Monday, October 8
Revolution "The Plague Dogs"
Alphas "If Memory Serves"

Wednesday, October 10
Arrow "Pilot", story by Greg Berlanti & Marc Guggenheim, teleplay by Marc Guggenheim & Andrew Kreisberg, featuring the comic book hero Green Arrow.

Grimm Thursday, October 11
Last Resort "Eight Bells" by Eileen Myers
The Vampire Diaries "Growing Pains" by Caroline Dries
Beauty and the Beast "Pilot", Series Premiere

Friday, October 12
Fringe "The Recordist"
Grimm "The Bottle Imp"

Saturday, October 13
Star Wars: The Clone Wars "The Soft War"

Beauty and the Beast Sunday, October 14
Once Upon a Time "Lady of the Lake" by Andrew Chambliss & Ian B. Goldberg

Monday, October 15
Revolution "Soul Train"
Alphas "Need to Know".

Wednesday, October 17
Arrow "Honor Thy Father", story by Greg Berlanti & Marc Guggenheim, teleplay by Marc Guggenheim & Andrew Kreisberg

Thursday, October 18
Last Resort "Voluntoid"
The Vampire Diaries "Memorial" by Jose Molina & Julie Plec
Beauty and the Beast TBA

Arrow Friday, October 19
Grimm "The Other Side"

Saturday, October 20
Star Wars: The Clone Wars "Tipping Points"

Sunday, October 21
Once Upon a Time "The Crocodile" by David H. Goodman & Robert Hull

Alphas Monday, October 22
Revolution TBA
Alphas "God's Eye", Season Two finale
Grimm TBA

Wednesday, October 24
Arrow "Lone Gunman", story by Greg Berlanti & Marc Guggenheim, teleplay by Marc Guggenheim & Andrew Kreisberg

Thursday, October 25
Last Resort TBA
The Vampire Diaries TBA
Beauty and the Beast TBA

Touch Friday, October 26
Touch Season Two premiere. Over the first season, the number of viewers fell steadily from 12 million to 4 million.
Fringe "The Bullet that Saved the World"
Grimm TBA

Saturday, October 27
Star Wars: The Clone Wars "An Old Friend"

Sunday, October 28
Once Upon a Time "The Doctor" by Adam Horowitz & Edward Kitsis

Last Resort Monday, October 29
Revolution TBA
Grimm TBA

Wednesday, October 31
Arrow TBA

Doctor Who will be back in December with a Christmas special.

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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