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Babylon 5.1
by Rick Norwood

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.

Not much news about what to look for in December; the official web sites haven't finalized their schedules. On December 1, there will be a new Voyager with Next Generation characters Reg Barclay and Deanna Troi as guest stars. This is probably the month's best bet. That same evening there is also a Star Trek special, with "best" clips from old shows. Doesn't sound like anything I would want to watch, but I pass the info on for what it is worth. Beyond that, hope for new shows but expect reruns. On The X-Files, the next four episodes will be "Rush", "Orison", "The Goldberg Variation", and "The Amazing Maleeni". Two, maybe three, of these will air in December, and then look for reruns until January.

Star Trek Voyager, "One Small Step" (***)
written by Mike Wallaeger & Jessica Scott and Brian Fuller & Michael Taylor

Star Trek: Voyager Voyager has definitely improved. I am deeply suspicious about artifacts from Earth turning up in the Delta Quadrant. Space is big, really big. Remember when Voyager met Amelia Earhart? But I enjoyed this story about Voyager's encounter with a relic from the past, an ancient Mars probe. Maybe it was just nice to see one Star Trek where the doors don't work and the communicators give you wrong numbers.

Last season, Voyager stories seemed very thin, with threadbare plots and not much in the way of characters. This season the Star Trek gods are paying more attention to Voyager, and each episode has more detail and incident, not to mention better special effects.

The X-Files, "The Sixth Extinction - Amor Fati" (*)
written by Chris Carter and David Duchovny

X-Files Stop him before he writes again!

spoiler warning

It is only an overactive sense of duty that forces me to put a spoiler warning on a review of an episode that nothing could spoil. Would some professional writer please take Mr. Duchovny aside and explain to him that "and then he woke up and it was all a dream" is not an acceptable plot twist.

The one bit of information in this episode that does not seem to be a dream is the long awaited news that Cigarette Smoking Man is actually Mulder's father. And a major character dies. But the big revelation was blown in the "teaser" at the end of the preceding episode and the character who dies is off stage when it happens. Which leaves nothing worth watching in this disappointing episode.

end of spoiler warning

The X-Files, "Hungry" (***)
written by Vince Gilligan

X-Files In the season opener, Scully discovered that there is no god and Mulder discovered that the end of the world is imminent. So naturally they are both back to FBI business as usual. Sigh.

In "Hungry", they help track down a serial killer whose idea of fast food is human brains. Vince Gilligan shows how an excellent writer can turn an old idea into something original and exciting.

The X-Files, "Millennium" (****)
written by Vince Gilligan and Frank Spotnitz

X-Files A must-see episode for X-Fans and also a satisfying conclusion to Chris Carter's canceled series Millennium. This story is set in the very near future, in the last few days of 1999 and the first few minutes of the year 2000.

Why would someone put a cell phone in a coffin? There are a lot of treats in this show. I'll just mention one, which occurs in the first few minutes. At a meeting of FBI agents, Mulder calmly explains that the dead will rise to usher in the millennium. Skinner, not batting an eyelash, says, "Necromancy aside, ..." and continues with the briefing.

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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