Out of the Box UK TV highlights for August 2000

selected from
Cult Times #59

Jump to:
Week One: 5th - 11th August
Week Two: 12th - 18th August
Jump to :
Week Three: 19th - 25th August
Week Four: 26th - 31st August

Highlights by Ian Atkins (IA) and Paul Spragg (PS)

For full day-by-day listings of all UK TV channels, see magazine

Farscape Highlight of the Month Farscape
Out of Their Minds
Monday 21st, 18.45
BBC2 channel logo

If you were someone else, who would you be? Well, in this episode the Moya crew have no choice as during an unprovoked attack by a pair of aliens, they switch bodies. A simple and, let’s face it, hardly new, premise leads to one of the most enjoyable episodes this season as Zhaan, captured on the alien ship, tries to make peace and save her crewmates while the others attempt to cope in their new hosts.

What makes this different is that the rather uncultured crew of Moya do all the things you’ve wanted to see other Sci-Fi stars do when this has happened to them. Rygel has to have Crichton’s ‘plumbing’ explained to him and there’s a great confrontation in a corridor between Rygel and Chiana. For those having trouble following, Crichton takes everyone’s picture so you can tell who’s who, and the actors cleverly take on characteristics of the person inside them, Anthony Simcoe and Ben Browder doing great impressions of Chiana and Rygel respectively. (PS)

5th - 11th August • Back to top

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Channel 5 logo

CHARMED
Astral Monkey
Wednesday, 20.00

 

When something is constantly down, down, deeper and down, you’re normally talking either Millennium, or Status Quo. That’s not to say other shows haven’t had their sadder moments: Deep Space Nine, The X-Files, Xena, all have queued in the Kleenex line at some point. But when something like bubble-gum happy Charmed does it, it comes as a real shock, and is all the more powerful for it.

Closing the season’s theme about the negative effects of magic for personal gain, Astral Monkey pitches the girls against the doctor from Awakened, who in the course of his researches has given himself the powers of three. Setting out with good intentions, it’s not long before the man is being corrupted by his power. And just when you think it’s all going to end in tears? Oh. It does. (IA)

12th - 18th August • Back to top

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Sky One channel logo

THE X-FILES
Requiem
Sunday, 21.00

 

Mulder and Scully return to Oregon on hearing reports that abductions are happening again in the area where they worked on their first case together.

In a way, it’s a shame that this wasn’t the final episode of the series, as it nicely bookends The X-Files by going back to where it all began. Several of the guest stars of the pilot episode reprise their roles as Mulder comes closer than ever to the truth, just as Cancer Man enlists Krycek and Marita Covarrubias to restart ‘The Project’ and continue his work after his imminent death.

Requiem really is a fan’s dream, as it contains all the moments an X-phile could possibly wish for. Skinner has an epiphany, Krycek has to decide where his loyalties lie once and for all (although quite how he got into the prison he’s released from at the start is a mystery) and almost all the recurring cast members get to meet up in the same room! And then more shocks await us at the end...

Critics may say that for a possible series finale, Requiem doesn’t actually provide much in the way of wrap-up to all the ongoing storylines, but somehow it feels as if this is the way the show should end, leaving a few mysteries out there and closing on a great episode. (PS)

 
BBC2 logo

THE SIMPSONS
Treehouse of Horror VI
Friday, 18.00

 

Three more chilling tales of terror reach the BBC as a group of advertising icons go on a destructive rampage through Springfield, Groundskeeper Willie vows revenge from beyond the grave and Homer quite literally enters another dimension.

The first of these is a fairly average tale and not that creepy, but the second is a big improvement when Willie becomes the Scottish equivalent of Freddy Krueger. But it’s the last part of this Treehouse that wins hands down, as Homer tries to escape from Patty and Selma by entering another dimension, and the rest of the family try to save him. Not only does it expand the scope of The Simpsons with a CGI Homer (and, briefly, Bart), but it’s got a great ending too. Enjoy this opportunity to learn the location of the Erotic Cakes store. (PS)

19th - 25th August • Back to top

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Sky One logo

GOOD VS. EVIL
Love Conquers Evil
Wednesday, 21.00

 

A Morlock dating agency is setting people up with the perfect partner in exchance for their souls, and the whole Hollywood division of the Corps is sent in to find and kill all Morlocks. But the dating agency is on to them, and when the agents find themselves being set up with some of the most gorgeous men and women alive, only Henry and Annalise may be able to save them from temptation.

Sky is now showing the episodes of Good vs Evil that were made for The Sci-Fi Channel after it moved from USA Network. As such, those who felt the series was too weird might be advised to check out these more restrained episodes that lack some of the earlier characteristics that made Good vs Evil so memorable. Of course, prior fans might find it all a bit dull.

Love Conquers Evil is written by former Trek scribe Ronald D Moore, brought on board for the later episodes as a consultant. It’s not quite on the same level as some of the earlier stories, but there are certainly plenty of funny moments involving various Corps agents making their dating videos, not to mention some of their strange fetishes (Decker especially). It all leads to a strong conclusion as Henry and Annalise attempt to stop Corps agents having sex with a Morlock. Add in some fun sexual chemistry between the pair too, and it’s a very watchable hour of TV. (PS)

 

BBC2 logoBUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
Earshot, Wednesday, 18.50

An encounter with some demon blood leaves Buffy with the ability to hear other people’s thoughts. While this seems useful at first, she is soon overwhelmed, but not before she has heard someone express a wish to kill everyone in the school.

You can kind of see why this episode was pulled in America after the high school shootings, but it’s unlikely to have made things worse with the message it’s trying to get across. Earshot comes with a clever twist in the tale, but its main strength is in relegating Buffy to her bed so that the rest of the cast get a chance to seek out the prospective murderer using the skills they possess (or in Xander’s case, don’t).

Watch out particularly for the comic highlights of Buffy discovering a secret from Giles and the wonderful world of Xander, Oz and Cordelia’s inner monologue. (PS)

26th - 31st August • Back to top

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XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS
Motherhood
Wednesday, 18.00

 

Xena tries to find a way to set her daughter back on the right track after recent violent events, but the gods have decided that the time has come for the young woman to die in order to save themselves. Can Xena take on the full power of Mount Olympus and live?

We’ve seen her take on Ares before, we’ve seen her take on armies, but all the gods? At once? Of course, this time Xena has two people to protect – her best friend and her daughter – and she’s certainly not going down without a massive fight.

It’s been building to this all season, and the end result is as apocalyptic as you’d hope. While Eve is alive, Xena has the power to kill gods, as proved in a violent early battle that sees off at least one old foe. With Gabrielle being urged by the Fates to kill Eve, and Eve herself having doubts about the worth of her life, there’s more here than just massive explosions and frenetic fight sequences. Xena is at her most vicious, certain gods are forced to choose sides and it builds to a mighty climax that leaves everything changed. Simply fantastic. (PS)

 

Sci-Fi logoFIRST WAVE
Rubicon Monday, 21.00

After a close encounter with a bomb, Cade finds himself in a government facility set up to keep tabs on the Gua. Of course, he’s been through these tricks before. But is this another one?

It’s good to know that the writers are as aware as the viewer about how these sort of episodes look, and throughout the story Cade’s vacillation between believing and disbelieving what he’s been presented with is carried across to the viewer.

It makes for great fun trying to work out how the Gua could possibly be behind this when all the signs say otherwise, and it seems that Cade may finally have a chance at beating the invaders. Or does he? Or does he? Or does he? (PS)

hIGHMore highlights, with full UK broadcast and merchandise listings for
August, in Cult Times #59
Cult Times