Out of the Box UK TV highlights for March 2000

selected from
Cult Times #54

Jump to:
Week One: 1st - 3rd March
Week Two: 4th - 10th March
Jump to :
Week Three: 11th - 17th March
Week Four: 18th - 24th March
Week Four: 25th - 31st March
Highlights by Paul Spragg (PS), Tom Spilsbury (TS), Lee Binding (LB), Richard Atkinson (RA). For full day-by-day listings of all UK TV channels, see magazine

Xena: Fallen Angel XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS  
Highlight of the Month skyone channel logo
Fallen Angel • Wednesday 22nd, 18.00

Killing off your lead character seems to be an unwise action for a TV series to take. However, it’s not entirely unheard of, and at the end of last season, Xena viewers saw their favourite warrior princess and her sidekick Gabrielle crucified by the Romans. Yep, they’re dead as dodos, and the fifth season of the show starts with the duo entering the Afterlife.

Fans needn’t worry though; it’s not long before Xena’s kicking a few butts and it’s back to business as usual. Hudson Leick also continues to impress as a rather different Callisto, and there’s some thoughtful but not too heavy-handed moralizing...

Back in the land of the living, Joxer has problems of his own when he attempts to recover the bodies of his two friends from the Romans. Away from the shadow of the two leading ladies, Ted Raimi is finally able to tap-dance to his own tune. Though we’re naturally back to the status quo by the end of the episode, Fallen Angel takes a few risks with the show’s format, and we get to see Lucy Lawless doing the best demon impression since… well, Kevin Sorbo anyway. (TS)

1st - 3rd March • Back to top

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Star Trek: Voyager
The Omega Directive
Friday, 17.00 & 00.00

Seven seeks perfection  

When Voyager’s systems lock out the crew, it’s a rather irritated Janeway who dashes into her Ready Room yelling, “Don’t touch a thing!” It leads to the interesting concept of an unstable atom so powerful it can destroy sub-space for a whole sector. Something the Borg have been after for a very long time...

The show soon becomes another Seven episode – admittedly adding more Seven to an already top-heavy season. But how she is used is almost inspired: her preoccupation with Omega’s perfection to a final – almost revelatory – moment almost defines a Borg religion and also provides a great new twist. It is her outlook that saves the show from becoming a rather run-of-the-mill science-fest. Great fun. (LB)

Channel 5 logoFIRST WAVE
Undesirables Thursday, 20.05

The last episode in this sadly brief run of first season episodes sees Joshua setting off after a famous scientist, although he’s more interested in the alien with whom the scientist is having a relationship.

Something of a rarity in First Wave, Undesirables is a character-based episode centring on Joshua. It is this story that sees him finally questioning the task set him by the Gua leaders, and Roger R Cross gives a strong but understated performance. Cade’s only function seems to be to get in the way of the assassin’s bullet, but there’s some carefully-paced and well-scripted drama here that the series would do well to continue with. Hopefully Channel 5 will show more episodes soon. (PS)

LOOK OUT FOR

 Total Recall 2070
Season finale Meet My Maker on Sky 1, 21.00, Wednesday

4th - 10th March • Back to top

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Hush

Friday, 20.00

STARTING THIS WEEK:

 The Hunger
Season Two – first UK showing from Friday, Sci-Fi, 21.30

A group of creatures called the Gentlemen arrive in Sunnydale; hideous demonic-looking things who use a magical box to trap the voices of everyone in the town. With communication a problem, Buffy and friends must stop the Gentlemen’s plan to remove the hearts from local residents who are unable to cry out...

You can always count on Joss Whedon to come up with something particularly stylish and Hush is a fine addition to the Buffy canon. The silence adds to the already taut atmosphere while also making the horror of lost organs TV-palatable. It also enables plenty of excellent jokes, including Buffy demonstrating how she plans to beat the Gentlemen during Giles’s hilarious silent presentation, and Anya’s hopeful signing to Xander. There’s also a chance for Anthony Stewart Head to revisit his past; the theme to Jonathan Creek (Danse Macabre) plays during his briefing. (PS)

BBC2 logo Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Inquisition, Wednesday, 18.45

Remember when the clanger was dropped that Dr Bashir had been replaced by a Changeling? Well, suppose that from his return, Julian has been secretly spying for the Dominion?

It’s not as unlikely as it first seems, as the evidence begins to look pretty incriminating for Bashir, and the viewer is forced to wonder whose side he may be on. There’s a few assumptions about the Federation that are turned on their heads, as slick Sloan of shadowy Section 31 appears for the first and by no means last time. (TS)

LOOK OUT FOR

 Stargate SG-1
Season Three – first UK showing of the last two episodes as a double bill, starting at 20.00 on Wednesday, Sky 1

11th - 17th March • Back to top

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Tacking into the Wind
Monday, 20.00

Deep Space Nine

Okay, if you’ve lost track of everything that’s been going on so far, I quite understand. To summarize – Kira helping Cardassians; Gowron bonkers; Section 31 disease thing. No? Oh well.

Suffice it to say that Tacking is one of those episodes that we’ve been building up to for quite some time. Watch out for Armin (Quark) Shimerman’s wife as a Vorta, and Babylon 5's John Vickery as a Cardassian. Nana Visitor steals the whole show though, with her milky Vorta impression, and some top cussing of Damar. Another semi-regular also bites the dust, but will it make you cry? No. Probably not. (TS)

skyone channel logoRoswell
The Balance Thursday, 20.00

Hearing of Max’s visit to River Dog, the Native American who provided some hints about the aliens’ past, Michael decides that he wants to learn these secrets as well and makes a reservation (ho ho). After being given a test, he falls dangerously ill and Max and friends must band together to help him.

After recent upheavals as the main cast decide whether or not they want to date each other, The Balance shows that above all, they’re all close friends. Roswell excels at these relationship-examining episodes, and this one moves Maria and Michael’s attraction onto a different level while also providing some tantalizing hints about the origins of the aliens. Carefully shot with some fascinating dream sequences, this is one to watch, especially for fans. (PS)

LOOK OUT FOR

 The Simpsons
Season Eleven – first UK showing of new episode Little Big Mom on Sky 1, Sunday, 18.30

18th - 24th March • Back to top

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UK Gold channel logo

Doctor Who
Attack of the Cybermen
Sunday, 09.25

Doctor 6, Cyberleader 0

STARTING THIS WEEK

 The X-Files
Season Seven – first UK showing from Sunday on Sky 1 at 21.00

Continued below

It’s 1985, Halley’s Comet is passing by Earth and the Cybermen intend to go back in Time and use the orbiting iceberg to knock Earth out of the way and save their home planet, which was destroyed in the first Cyberman story broadcast in 1966.

Obviously, making sequels to retroactively tinker with continuity is a daft idea, and that’s its weakest aspect. The Cybermen’s base isn’t evocative of Tomb of the Cybermen, the new Cybercontroller isn’t impressive and even the Time Lords sending the Doctor on a mission fails to engender nostalgia. Attack’s success lies in the blend of comedy and action. One moment the TARDIS is changing into a church organ, the next Colin Baker is wrestling some policemen down a manhole.

Faith Brown and Brian Glover put in fine performances, but it’s the late Maurice Colbourne who’s the star of the show. Playing Lytton, a character whose motives aren’t clear from the outset, he provides the story with a poignant conclusion. (RA)

BBC2 channel logoBUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
Anne Thursday, 18.45

The BBC, perhaps surprisingly, plough on straight into Season Three of Buffy, no doubt to the delight of many fans. It’s worth noting that they have just about enough weeks to get all the episodes out before Channel 4 plan to start screening Angel, but before the scheduling nightmare begins, enjoy what is arguably the most accomplished season to date. (PS)

STARTING THIS WEEK
Early Edition
Season Two – returns for first UK showings from Friday, 18.00 on Sky 1

STARTING THIS WEEK

Xena: Warrior Princess
Season Five – first UK showing from Wednesday at 18.00 on Sky 1

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
Season Five – first UK showing of last few episodes before launching Season Six on Sky 1 from Monday at 18.00

25th - 31st March • Back to top

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Brimstone
It’s a Helluva Life
Channel 4, Friday, 03.00

Brimstone's Ezekiel Stone

STARTING THIS WEEK

3rd Rock From the Sun
Season Five – first UK showing from Tuesday, 20.00 on Sky 1

Going through a rough spot in the catching of criminals, Ezekiel is told by the Devil that he still has a chance at a new life. Laughing it off, the Devil shows Ezekiel why he was always destined for Hell, until an angel comes along to demonstrate why Stone is needed on Earth.

Obviously a take on It’s a Wonderful Life, its ironic that an episode designed to give Stone a new desire to continue his work is the penultimate episode of the series. However, it does give a better insight into Zeke’s character than has previously been the case, showing his childhood and the underhand methods he sometimes employed as a cop. John Glover is once again on fine form, playing not only the Devil but an angel too. All this makes the episode a good example of Brimstone, so check it out. (PS)

skyone channel logoBuffy the Vampire Slayer
The 'I' in Team

Friday, 20.00

Buffy finally gets to visit the Initiative when she is inducted into the team of commandos who’ve been trapping, zapping and/or killing Sunnydale’s vampire and demon population for ages. However, after questioning Maggie Walsh, she starts to become slightly less than flavour of the month.

Meanwhile, Spike has been hit with a tracker and Willow is trying to find new friends when Buffy becomes increasingly absent thanks to the Initiative and Riley. It’s a tricky point in the season, as the secret base has been uncovered and the Scooby gang know about it.

This episode is rather talky in places, but it’s obviously important to set up developments later in the year. Fans of Spike will be pleased to know James Marsters is one again on form, and his dynamic with Giles is becoming a treat. And for those after a different kind of action, there’s a saucy scene between Buffy and Riley. That Angel doesn’t know what he’s missing... (PS)

LOOK OUT FOR

 The Simpsons
Season Eleven – first UK showing of new episode Faith Off at 18.30, Sunday, on Sky 1

hIGHMore highlights, with full UK broadcast and merchandise listings for
March, in Cult Times #54
Cult Times