Out of the Box

Highlight of the month

X-Files: Mulder & Scully The X-Files
SKY 1 Bad Blood: Sunday 3rd, 21.00
Mulder is arrogant, unbearable and given, in extreme situations, to sing the theme from Shaft. Scully is a whining sceptic who always wants to eat. That’s not my view of the two FBI agents, you understand, but actually their opinion of each other, as revealed in the hilarious Bad Blood. Brilliantly written by supervising producer Vince Gilligan, this unconventional vampire story finds Mulder and Scully about to justify their involvement in the death of a pizza delivery boy to AD Skinner. Before the inquiry, they first swap their version of events with each other – and it is the two protracted flashback sequences that make this story such an unforgettable gem. In this writer’s humble opinion, it’s the best X-Files yet. (David Richardson)
X-Files pic © Fox

2ND-8TH MAY Cult Times Logo

Invasion: Earth Invasion: Earth
BBC 1 Chapter One: The Last War: Saturday 2nd, 21.00 (TBC)
This has got to be one of the events of the year for British Science Fiction. The BBC, once the home of innovative programmes like Quatermass and Doctor Who, at last returns to putting some money into the genre. Invasion Earth comes from the pen of Jed Mercurio, the acclaimed writer of Cardiac Arrest and includes some of his trademark grittiness, but sadly lacks some of his humour. The basic storyline – about Earth being caught up in the conflict of two warring alien races – is not exactly original, but with a strong cast lead by Vincent Regan and Maggie O’Neill, and location filming in Scotland, it’s definitely worth watching. (Jane Killick)
Invasion: Earth pic © Iain Lowson

9TH-15TH MAY Cult Times Logo

Space: 1999 Space: 1999
BBC 2 Breakaway: Monday 11th, 18.25
The opening episode of Gerry Anderson’s most ambitious telefantasy series to date remains as exciting and dramatic as it was over 20 years ago. The science may well be of the mad variety but the tone is deadly serious as Martin Landau, Barbara Bain and good old Barry Morse struggle to prevent a nuclear disaster. It’s a foregone conclusion that the moon will be blown out of orbit by the close of the episode but the build-up of tension is skilfully handled and it’s a delight to see the cast play out the inevitable. (Jack Rostron)
Earth: Final Conflict
SKY 1 The Joining: Sunday 10th, 20.00
The first season of this surprisingly enjoyable Roddenberry-inspired series draws to a close on an electrifying note. After numerous hints that there may be another alien race out there, the Taelon Synod finally reveals that their Collective Consciousness has been invaded by Ha’gel, a renegade extraterrestrial with a serious grudge against the Companions. As Boone attempts to capture the seemingly shape-shifting alien before it can mate, British CVI Siobhan Beckett embarks on a crusade to expose Lili as a member of the Resistance. Part Invasion of the Body Snatchers, part Species, The Joining takes Earth: Final Conflict’s story arc an important step forward and should ensure that we’ll be tuning in for Season Two. (David Bassom)
The Simpsons
BBC 2 Lisa's First Word: Monday 11th, 18.00
Marge relates the story of Lisa’s first word as the Simpsons try to encourage Maggie to talk. Bart tried any way he could think of to attract attention away from his new sister, including making Lisa bald! Homer wins the award for best line, when he points out that “It’s not easy to juggle a pregnant wife and a troubled child, but somehow I managed to squeeze in eight hours of TV a day.” A classic. (Paul Spragg)
Space: 1999 pic © ITC

16TH-22ND MAY Cult Times Logo

3rd Rock from the Sun 3rd Rock from the Sun
SKY 1 Auto Eurodicka: Thursday 21st, 20.30
Dick learns the difference between love and lust when he has a brief encounter with an attractive woman he meets unexpectedly at the movies. The next day he brags about the experience to Doctor Albright and Nina, but things go from bad to worse when he discovers that his one-night stand is the mother of one of his students. Actor/comedian Dom DeLuise and sons, actors Peter and Michael, play the woman’s husband and two other sons, who pay Dick a visit to teach him a lesson. Meanwhile, Sally, Harry and Tommy meet a fast-talking car salesman who offers them the deal of the century. The smell of new leather and the jingle of car keys threatens to pull our gullible aliens into a human trap called debt. (Steven Eramo)
Quantum Leap
SKY 1 Killin' Time: Tuesday 19th, 20.00
An unusual departure for Quantum Leap, in that the majority of the episode is set back at ‘home base’, the Quantum Leap Project. Whilst Sam tries to convince a family held hostage in their own home he is not who he seems, the murderer himself breaks out of the Project’s Waiting Room and into the 21st Century. Al must track him down in order for Sam to leap, preferably before the hostage situation becomes a deadly shoot-out. A tense and exciting episode, with a great performance from Dean Stockwell, finally let out into the non-holographic daylight. (Paul Spragg)
3rd Rock from the Sun pic © Fremantle

23RD-29TH MAY Cult Times Logo

Babylon 5 Babylon 5
CHANNEL 4 Secrets of the Soul: Sunday 24th, 12.40 (Monday 25th, 00.50)
So far, the Hyach have remained very much in the background. Until now, when Franklin uncovers a dark and tragic secret about their race that they will do anything to maintain… Meanwhile, Lyta’s relationship with Byron is growing ever stronger, and there’s a revelation about the Vorlons that will have a major impact on future events. There’s also a rather candid scene in which we finally get to view what happens when telepaths make love. Actress Patricia Tallman went topless for this scene, and the set was closed to visitors. Rest assured, it’s all done in the best possible taste… (David Richardson)
The X-Files
SKY 1 A Christmas Carol & Emily: Sunday 24th, 21.00 (and Sunday 31st, 21.00)
A more open-minded Dana apparently receives messages from her dead sister urging her to protect a sick child called Emily. In the eponymous second part, the girl fights for her life while Scully joins Mulder in a desperate struggle to get at the truth about her unique condition. To give away any more about this – or indeed the identity of Emily’s parent(s) – would spoil one of the most heart-rending moments in the show’s history, but the episodes convincingly draw together strands of the conspiracy whilst still springing some surprises. (Ian Calcutt)
Blake's 7
UK GOLD Orbit: Sunday 24th, 09.45
Probably best remembered for Avon deciding to sacrifice Vila’s life in order to save his own. The production team went as far as filming Vila crying as he realized Avon’s intention, although this scene was later removed. But Orbit isn’t all betrayal and death – OK well it is – but it’s still really funny! Jackie Pearce plays Servalan as a suburban cocktail party host – and it works fantastically. John Savident is her doting wanna-be lover, happy to kill his loyal companion for a chance to rule by her side. (Matthew Jones)
Babylon 5 pic © TNT

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