Out of the Box

Highlight of the month

X-Files image The X-Files
Sky 1 The End: Sunday 5th July, 21.00
For The End, read simply the end of an era. This reflective season finale is also the last Canadian-filmed episode and contains a tip of the hat to Vancouver. It is not quite the cliffhanger that sets up the movie (as we were led to believe). Patient X does that. But this tale of a mysterious psychic boy who "may be the key to everything in the X-Files" is a sharply-scripted and slickly-directed segue for the show's Californian future. Although many of the supporting players are here (Cancer Man, Krycek, Well Manicured Man, The Lone Gunmen), it's Mimi Rogers's FBI agent (and old flame of Mulder's) who dominates the episode. The mind-reading boy's insight into Scully's apparent jealousy is played to good comedic effect. (Ian Calcutt)
X-Files pic © Fox

11th-17th July Cult Times Logo

Bugs Bugs
BBC 1 NEW SEASON: Saturday, 20.10 (TBC)
Season Three of Bugs was made with the proviso that it would be the last unless ratings improved. However, when Bugs was given a dreadful summer slot and did quite well, the BBC ordered Season Four. The concept remains the same as before: a group of techno-wizards use cutting-edge (and beyond) technology to beat the bad guys. Last season ended with Ros kidnapped, whereabouts unknown. Now Beckett, an Ed looking more like Steven Houghton than Craig McLachlan, 'Jan' and Alex must find her. I wonder if anyone will mention the strange loss of Ed's Australian accent? (Paul Spragg)
Bugs pic © BBC TV

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Sky 1 The Way of the Warrior: Saturday & Sunday, 17.00
Epic Space battles, vicious hand-to-hand fighting, and the arrival of Worf. At the time, it was admitted that adding TNG's Worf to the DSN cast was a ploy to gain more viewers. It never really worked, but it did open up a whole new bunch of storylines. In its six years, DSN has produced some excellent episodes, and in the action genre, this is possibly the most impressively staged episode of Trek ever. (Paul Spragg)

The Simpsons
BBC 1 The Front: Tuesday, 21.00 (Subject to change)
When Bart and Lisa decide 'Itchy and Scratchy' has lost its originality, they decide to pen their own episode using Grampa's name. Meanwhile, Homer goes to his high school reunion and is delighted to win 'Most weight gained', 'Most hair lost' and 'Lowest-paying job', until they are taken off him for flunking a class. The episode is full of great Simpsons gags and once again Homer steals the show. And stay tuned till the end for an added bonus... (Paul Spragg )

18th-24th July Cult Times Logo

Neil Morrissey as the Vanishing Man The Vanishing Man
ITV Nobody Does It Better: Saturday, 19.45
After a successful pilot last year that blended action, drama and comedy very effectively, this is the first season starring the always likeable Neil Morrissey as Nick Cameron, a man who disappears every time he gets wet. This concept alone makes the show more interesting, and the series promises to examine what sort of a life anyone can lead if sweating, showering or even spilling a drink can make you vanish. In this episode, the Gyges Project which created Nick offers him an offer he can't refuse: help them with undercover missions and they will try to cure his visibility problem... (Paul Spragg)
Vanishing Man pic © Meridian

The New Adventures of Superman
Sky 1The Pilot : Monday, 11.00
The very first episode of Lois & Clark sets up the premise for the show very well, ie a romantic comedy where the emphasis is on the character relationships, one of whom just happens to be a member of the tights-and-cape club. The series was a huge hit because the human drama was more important than the superhero drama. Here's a chance to see the series before the romantic element overtook it, when the spark between Lois and Clark first appeared. (Paul Spragg)

The Pretender
Sky 1Collateral Damage : Sunday, 19.00
Jarod is no ordinary fugitive, he is a Pretender, possessing the power to instantly gain the abilities of any other person, meaning he can switch in an instant from being a world-class brain surgeon to being a stock car racer. Mixing action and humour (Jarod's never encountered the stranger aspects of the real world before), this show is always entertaining. In this episode, Jarod Pretends to be a Special Forces officer in order to clear the name of a Vietnam veteran. (Paul Spragg)

25th-31st July Cult Times Logo

Tim Russ in Voyager Star Trek: Voyager
Sky 1 Hunter: Monday, 20.00
The idea of a multi-episode story-arc is a relatively new one to the Star Trek universe, but Hunter, and its succeeding stories, are proof that the old favourite can still play the game with a dash of style and excitement. Following on from the viewer's brief introduction to the Predator pastiche Hirogen in the previous episode, Message in a Bottle, Hunter places this intriguing and bloodthirsty new race centre stage as Tuvok and galactic wild child Seven of Nine are captured and threatened with various sharp and nasty looking implements by Tony Todd (who notches up yet another guest appearance in Star Trek). Apart from being a great episode in itself, part of Hunter's appeal is that it promises further Hirogen related antics to come over the next few weeks. And on this evidence, that ain't a bad thing. (Tim Leng)
Voyager pic © Paramount

Doctor Who
UK Gold Ghost Light: Sunday, 09.05
The final days of BBC-produced Doctor Who, with simple plots and low-key performances from the cast. And then there's The Experiment, Ghost Light. At first watching, it appeared to be a weird mish-mash of different elements with no real plot. However, appearances can be deceptive. The concepts in the story, such as messing with evolution, are new and innovative territory for Doctor Who, and for the first time a companion (Ace) is allowed to do more than scream, run and twist ankles when the Doctor forces her to confront her past. Admittedly some of the actors overdo it a bit, but the period detail and setting make up for it. Underrated, and well worth a rewatching. (Paul Spragg)

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