Out of the Box

Highlight of the month

Babylon 5 Babylon 5
Movements of Fire and Shadow: Channel 4, Sunday 2nd August 13.00 & Monday 3rd 02.25; S4C, Friday 28th August 23.45
Once more unto the breach with Babylon 5. The Alliance is crumbling, and all fingers are pointing at the Centauri for the recent attacks. It's up to Londo and G'Kar to try and salvage the situation. While the rest of the action is typical of Babylon 5 (in fact, in Delenn's case, a direct retread of Season Two's A Distant Star), Londo and G'Kar sparkle all through this episode. They display such determination and boldness that the viewer is swept along with them, in contrast to the impact of the asinine war that Sheridan is now so actively pursuing. It all leads to a cliffhanger which you know has been coming for three years, but manages to be the most awe-inspiring and moving the show has done so far. Watch it open-mouthed. (Lee Binding)
pic © TNT

1st-7th August Cult Times Logo

Resistance to 7 of 9 was low Highlander
The Lady and the Tiger: Sky One, Friday 20.00
Cast your minds back to the days when Highlander hadn't quite found its niche. The days when it was quite acceptable for there to be an immortal every square yard, for Duncan to remember past grudges, and then slice heads off. Inject into this formula the charismatic and devilishly attractive Amanda and you've got a winning episode before the opening credits even roll. It is apparent from the outset that Amanda will say and do anything to get what she wants and in this case it's offering Duncan MacLeod's head on a silver platter to evil immortal Zachary Blane (Jason Isaacs) in exchange for her life. Respectable performances from all the usual suspects and Richie in particular plays the hormone charged teenager to perfection. (Grant Kempster)

8th-14th August Cult Times Logo

Bruce Greenwood as the Nowhere Man Nowhere Man
Absolute Zero: Sky One, Wednesday 00.00
Brilliantly conceived, skilfully scripted and compellingly performed, Nowhere Man was simply too good to last. Undoubtedly the best new genre show of the 1994-95 season, Lawrence Hertzog's absorbing drama won rave reviews and respectable ratings during its first year, only to be scrapped in a moment of Beckham-like stupidity by UPN. The series kicks off on an electrifying note with Absolute Zero, as photojournalist Tom Veil (Sleepwalkers' Bruce Greenwood, in terrific form) emerges from a quick visit to the bathroom, only to learn that his entire life has been 'erased': all record of his existence has been destroyed; friends and relatives deny all knowledge of him; and his beloved wife Allyson (Millennium's Megan Gallagher) claims that they've never met. Driven to the brink of his sanity by the event, Tom eventually finds himself in a mental asylum - only to make a startling discovery. Miss it at your peril. (David Bassom)
pic © Sky
Babylon 5
Mind War: Sci-Fi Channel, Tuesday 21.00
A rogue telepath arrives on Babylon 5, swiftly followed by a tracking squad of Psi Cops led by the mysterious and sinister Bester, played to perfection (as ever) by Walter Koenig. Although this may sound rather familiar now to Babylon 5 fans, considering that the station seems to be a haven for rogue 'teeps', Mind War is one of the best Season One shows, dealing with how telepaths are treated and the reactions of the crew to Bester's actions for the first time. It also leaves open a couple of plotlines that were inherited by Lyta Alexander when Talia Winters had to be written out of the show. (Paul Spragg)

15th-21st August Cult Times Logo

Resistance to 7 of 9 was low Star Trek: Voyager
The Killing Game, Part I: Sky One, Monday 20.00
The Hirogen have managed to attack, board, and take over Voyager. Now, many of the crew are trapped in the Holodeck not knowing who they are, fighting in various battle simulations, the latest being World War II. Voyager's two-parters seem recently to have become more gritty, and the horrors of constant warfare are effectively brought home when patients arrive in the Doctor's sickbay. The star of the show though is once again Jeri Ryan, who as Mademoiselle de Neuf gets the chance to join the French Resistance, and prove she's got a great pair of lungs on her when she stars in Janeway's cabaret... (Paul Spragg)
pic © UPN
Quatermass
Ringstone Round: Sci-Fi Channel, Saturday 19.00
Originally transmitted in 1979, Quatermass was the fourth and final instalment in the Quatermass saga begun by Nigel Kneale in 1953. The near future world of a society descending into anarchy and chaos whilst governments waste vast sums of money on the Space programme is vividly depicted. John Mills, in one of his very few television roles, is ideally cast as the ageing Professor Quatermass who has become something of a tragic world-weary figure. His personal, rather desperate quest, to find his lost grand-daughter eventually leads to the deeply moving but powerful conclusion. It's not Quatermass as we usually think of it and at four hours it's a little over-long. Nevertheless, this is good adult British Science Fiction that doesn't insult the intelligence of the audience. (John Ainsworth)

22nd-28th August Cult Times Logo

Resistance to 7 of 9 was low StarGate SG-1
Within the Serpent's Grasp: Sky One, Wednesday 20.00
It's an unwritten rule that any new Science Fiction series is utter pants until Season Two begins and everyone decides they really liked the show all along. StarGate SG-1 has suffered badly from this syndrome. It's also taken a battering because of unfavourable comparisons to the StarGate movie. Strange really, when you remember how dull the film was… In contrast, the series is smartly paced with strong characters and enough mini-arcs to satisfy anybody except a rabid B5 fan. This year's season finale sees our heroes taking an unauthorized trip through the StarGate in order to save Earth from alien invasion. Don't expect the story to be resolved - it's cliffhanger time - but do expect to see a series which is getting better and better. (Jonathan Wright)
Star Trek: Voyager
Before and After: Sky One, Sunday 17.00
A prequel to the Season Four blockbuster Year of Hell, and one of the last episodes to showcase the much under-used and slightly missed Ocampa babe Kes. Jennifer Lien was rarely given more to do than traipse around after Neelix and frequent sickbay (the two would seem to complement each other), but she firmly anchors this take on Star Trek Time travel plot 1B, complete with loving recreations of past episodes and possible futures so evocative the series would normally run screaming at the merest suggestion. But not to trade the episode short, Before and After succeeds by using its complexities to illuminate Kes's relationship with the crew, and features some notable imagery, including one scene in which Kes regresses to the womb. (Peter Griffiths)

29th-31st August Cult Times Logo

Resistance to 7 of 9 was low Star Trek Marathon
Sky One, Monday 13.00 to 19.00
For August Bank Holiday Monday, Sky have put together a Star Trek Marathon, showing some of the best early episodes from Deep Space Nine and Voyager. It's interesting to see just how far both shows have come since their beginnings, with DSN's Emissary bearing very little resemblance to the show we know and love today, although the Prophets still talk in riddles. Of the Voyager shows, the best is probably Heroes and Demons, if only for Robert Picardo's superb performance. Some things never change. (Paul Spragg)
Quantum Leap
Trilogy: Sci-Fi Channel, Saturday to Monday 20.00
A departure for Quantum Leap; three leaps, three episodes, one story. In each part, Sam leaps into a resident of a small American town, as he attempts to solve a murder spanning 25 years and prove the innocence of Abagail Fuller. Although the second segment gets slightly sidetracked from the plot, these episodes contain some highly-charged emotional scenes (something Quantum Leap excelled at), surprise revelations, and of course the always superb combination of Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell. (Paul Spragg)
Resistance to 7 of 9 was low Bugs
Twin Geeks: BBC One, Saturday 18.35
When the Bugs team end an extortion racket, the twins responsible set their sights on revenge, and their genius-level IQs mean the team have to combine all their intelligence to beat them. This is the last episode in the current run, although there were two more episodes made for Bugs' fourth season. A good omen for more, perhaps? It's been good to have the team back on our screens, with Steven Houghton fitting in well, along with the greater use of Alex and Jan, which has opened up more potential storylines. (Paul Spragg)
Cult Times