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Out of the Box
Highlight of the Month

Star Trek: Voyager
Scorpion II
Sky 1, Monday 30th March, 20.00


The second part of Voyager's engrossing Borg-fest is, much like part one, a high octane, give-the-audience-what-it-wants showstopper which manages to sustain the momentum through to a satisfying conclusion, something which has occasionally eluded Star Trek two-parters in the past.
When we last saw Janeway she was aboard a Borg cube with Voyager being dragged along behind. Now, the Captain makes a deal with The Borg, hoping that her offer of a weapon to destroy Species 8472 will be enough to persuade the Hive to allow her vessel passage through their Space. And as if all this wasn't enough, another incentive to watch is provided in the shapely form of new regular cast member Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan).
I'm ready to be assimilated now.
(Tim Leng)
 
 
1st-6th March: This week

Millennium
José Chung's 'Doomsday Defense':

Sky 1, Wednesday, 22.00

With Darin Morgan writing (and directing) you can always expect great things, and his first Millennium episode doesn't disappoint at all. A sequel to The X-Files' José Chung's 'From Outer Space', it respectfully parodies a standard "Millenniumistic" serial killer story whilst gleefully subverting influential new pseudo-religions (it's easy to spot the inspiration for the pompously upbeat "Selfosophy" cult!). The bitter, downbeat author Chung and "dark, gloomy brooder" Frank are wonderfully paired - and, yes, it is very, very funny. Regular Millennium viewers (with a sense of humour) will get the most out of it, but this is an hilarious and classic piece of television in its own right with more offbeat gags and memorable lines than you ever thought could fit into 45 minutes.
(Ian Calcutt)
 
 
7th-13th March: This week

Earth: Final Conflict
The Secret of Standhill:

Sky 1, Sunday 20.00

An Irish tour guide discovers what the Taelon Synod believe to be the tomb of Ma'el - a Taelon scout sent to Earth thousands of years ago. Arriving in Ireland, Boone and Marquette attempt to find Ma'el's long-lost datalog before Sandoval and the UK Companion's implant, Siobhann Beckett (Kari Matchett). The Secret of Standhill drops some intriguing hints about the Taelons' secret agenda and marks the welcome return of Anita La Selva as Da'an's nemesis, Zo'or. Oh, and be sure to listen out for those 'authentic' Irish accents!
(David Bassom)
 

Sleepwalkers
Pilot:

Sci-Fi Channel, Saturdays, 21.00

In America, Sleepwalkers was pulled off the air after just two weeks. Not much of a recommendation for any new series, to be sure, but ironically this show is actually very good indeed. It's the story of a group of researchers at the Morpheus Institute, led by Dr Nathan Bradford (Nowhere Man's Bruce Greenwood) who use state of the art technology to enter the dreams of those who have problems in their subconscious mind. And often these disturbing scenarios can place the team in terrible danger... Imaginative, original and frequently compelling, Sleepwalkers' cancellation was therefore inevitable.
(David Richardson)
 

Star Trek: The Next Generation
The Best of Both Worlds:

BBC 2, Wednesday, 18.00

I Borg, Descent, First Contact, Unity, Scorpion. The dramatic opening sequence of Deep Space Nine. The shock ending to Blood Fever. The ominous flashbacks in The Raven. Neelix's survival in Mortal Coil. The Defiant, Soran, Seven of Nine. All of these things owe a great debt to The Best of Both Worlds, the blockbusting Borg encore which put The Next Generation on the map. It may very well be the best Star Trek episode of all time. The latest Cult Times special, on sale March 12th, will reveal all.
(Peter Griffiths)
 
 
14th-20th March: This week

The X-Files
Unusual Suspects:

Sky 1, Sunday 21.00
 
Unusual Suspects recounts the adventure that first brought the Lone Gunmen together back in 1989 and manages to provide a credible explanation for their belief in conspiracy theories. It's a great example of the innovations that characterize the new season: there's no appearance or mention of Scully, Mulder is only a minor character and Steven Williams (X) makes a welcome reappearance. It features a scene where Mulder strips himself naked and writhes on the floor. And that ain't no lie.
(Matthew Jones)
 

The Simpsons
Last Exit to Springfield:

Sky 1, Thursday, 07.45

If Homer doesn't become union rep and get the plant's dental plan re-instated, he will have to pay for his daughter's orthodontic work and she won't get those top model braces which taste of Calvin Klein's Obsession for Teeth. So he does, so he doesn't, and she does. Springfield's resident tooth puller is a sick individual, one moment studying horrific computer projections of teeth gone wild, the next frightening the floss-free with his Big Book of British Smiles. A strong contender for the mantle of Best Episode Ever.
(Peter Griffiths)
 

Xena: Warrior Princess
The Quill is Mightier:

Sky 1, Saturday, 18.00

The meddling Gods spell trouble for Xena and Gabrielle as Aphrodite weaves a spell on Gabrielle's scrolls, causing her writings to become reality. In a series of such high-kicking quality as Xena, an episode has to be fantastic to stand out from the crowd - and The Quill is Mightier is one of those. Throw in three naked dancing Gabrielles, and Xena's imaginative use of fish as a weapon of war, and the end result is a farce of epic proportions.
(Tim Leng)
 
 
21st-27th March: This week

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
A Call to Arms:

Sky 1, Monday, 20.00
 
The Dominion finally strike, as Captain Sisko resolves that he cannot allow any more of their ships into the Alpha Quadrant and DS9 becomes the prime target. It's season cliffhanger action all the way as Dax commands the Defiant in a mission to seed the wormhole with mines and the station stands alone and under siege. The Federation is at war - and things will be very different for some time.
(Peter Griffiths)
 

Highlander
To Be:

Sky 1, Friday, 20.00

The penultimate episode begins a two part extravaganza that concludes the coaxial exploits of Duncan MacLeod. Part two is entitled Not To Be which gives a subtle clue to the nature of these episodes. Immortal Liam O'Rourke wants revenge after Mac got him and his mortal wife convicted 50 years ago. But here's the twist: during the episode a few familiar dead faces show up. Is this another kind of magic? An explosive cliff-hanger ensures we stayed glued to our sets till next week!
(Grant Kempster)
 

Doctor Who
The Caves of Androzani:

UK Gold, Sunday, 11.10

All the usual stuff: a villain in an underground base, soldiers, a dodgy-looking monster, and the Doctor and his companion. What are unusual are the superb performances from all the actors, particularly worthy of mention is Christopher Gable as the hideously disfigured Sharaz Jek, a genius literally consumed by hatred for the man who betrayed him - Morgus. Jek is a villain for whom you feel the strongest sympathy. Davison's final moments are desperately sad and touching.
(Neil Corry)
 
For full listings of all your favourite programmes, see Cult Times
The Best Monthly Guide to Cult Television
Issue 30 (March 1998) available now
£2.50 ($4.99)
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