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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.

SF on TV

Star Trek: Voyager Ignore the dates I gave you in the September column. The premier of Voyager has been pushed back to September 22. The two shows I recommended (written by Ronald D. Moore) are now supposed to air September 29 and October 6. After that, it should be safe to leave your tv set off until The X-Files premieres in November. November!

Or you can just wait for the premier of Dragonriders of Pern in 2001.

An SF Site reader informs me that Ronald D. Moore has left Voyager after writing just two episodes, due to "creative differences" with top Voyager writer Brannon Braga. A shame, since the two collaborated on the excellent script for Star Trek: First Contact. I can understand how hard it must be for the second best Trek writer to work with the best, but I'm sorry Braga and Moore couldn't get along. I'm afraid Ronald D. Moore was Voyager's last, best hope.

The only other glimmer of interest this season is the rumor that Deanna Troi and Reginald Barclay will guest star on Voyager. On the dark side, there is another rumor, that we can expect a crossover between Voyager and professional wrestling. Much as I might like to see Captain Janeway and Hulk Hogan mud wrestle, it looks bad to Nlesine. (And does any current SF Site reader recognize that bit of trivia from 50s sf.)

Roughnecks - Starship Trooper Chronicles, is a new animated series seen weekdays at 7:30 A.M. on the SciFi Channel. It is slightly better than the previous animated Heinlein, Red Planet. The animation would have been great six years ago, but that was before Babylon 5 showed everyone what really great CGI looks like. By today's standards, the Starship Trooper animation is just very good. The people look like the people in Toy Story and remind me of the puppets in Thunderbirds. The episodes are 20 minutes long, with 10 minutes of commercials. Since the 20 minutes is 17 minutes of action and 3 minutes of plot, the overall effect is a lot like watching somebody else play a computer game. At least, unlike other animated shows, the Roughnecks are actually allowed to kill something -- even if it is only "bugs". The film version of Starship Troopers had an "insect wrangler" in the credits, and the ASPCA's assurance that the cockroaches that seemed to be stomped on in the filmed were not actually harmed. The one episode of Roughnecks that I watched had a rather bad scientific blunder, the use of a lens to intensify a laser beam, but was otherwise inoffensive. Is it worth getting up at 7:30 A.M. to see? No. But if you are already up, you might want to watch one.

Copyright © 1999 by 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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