Out of the Box UK TV highlights for January 2001

selected from
Cult Times #64

Jump to:
Week One: 6th - 12th January
Week Two: 13th - 19th January
Jump to :
Week Three: 20th - 26th January
Week Four: 27th - 31st January

All highlights this month by Paul Spragg (PS)

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

Eric Close stars in Now and Again Highlight of the Month Now and Again
Tuesday 16th, 21.00
Sci-Fi channel logo

Michael Wiseman is a normal man, living a normal life with his family. Then, on a particularly hectic day, he is jostled on the platform and falls in front of a train. He dies. As his widow and family grieve, Michael awakens to find he’s a brain in a jar, being offered the chance of a new body and a new life as a special agent for the government. The only problem: he can never see his family again.

For those of you who remember the wondrous Moonlighting (and considering how often it’s been repeated in recent years you won’t have to think back too far), this is a new series from the creator of the Bruce Willis star-making vehicle. This pilot episode gives you some idea of what to expect, with the Fantasy aspects of the premise played down to give more weight to the human drama. Eric Close, the new Michael Wiseman, is a superb lead, and it’s good to see him in a new show after the demise of Dark Skies. Not much longer lived, Now and Again gained a large following in the States in its one 22-episode season. See what all the fuss was about. (PS)

6th - 12th January • Back to top

Cult Times LogoSelected from
Cult Times #64

BBC2 logo

Thursday, 18.00


After a short time away, and filling in time until she returns to Angel’s life, Julie Benz makes a return to Roswell as Kathleen Topolsky, the school counsellor who was really an FBI agent. Manic and terrified, Topolsky says she knows of a danger awaiting the aliens and tries to warn them before the authorities catch up with her.

Once again showing her talent, Benz delivers a strong central performance as the kids, who’ve been taken in by her before, try to decide whether or not they should believe her stories. The way each person Topolsky goes to reacts is particularly revealing and it all leads to a menacing conclusion that sets up the next phase of trouble for the aliens as the season approaches its dramatic conclusion... (PS)

BBC2 logo

A New Man
Thursday, 18.45

Starting this week
Futurama Season Three
– first UK showing from Sunday, 20.30, Sky 1

Earth: Final Conflict Season Four
– first UK showing from Monday, Sky 1 at 21.00

Through some magical jiggery-pokery, Giles is turned into a demon. As he tries to cope with the sheer terror he induces, he must find a way to be trusted rather than staked by Buffy. And stop himself killing his travelling companion: Spike.

Yes, it’s the return of Giles’s old ‘friend’ Ethan Raine, who this year decides to unleash a seriously bad hair and skin day on the former Watcher. For those who feel there hasn’t been enough Anthony Stewart Head this season, this episode is one of his finest hours. Giles ‘demon’-strates a wonderful rapport with James Marsters’s Spike, bursts in on a villain just as he’s about to make a break for it and has a great time with one of the recurring characters who has recently annoyed him. (PS)

13th - 19th January • Back to top

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Cult Times #64

Sky One logo

Wednesday, 21.00

Series prèmiere - first UK showing

Held in Project Manticore since her birth, Max is a genetically-engineered Human who escaped her creators at a young age after the early phases of her training to be a super-soldier. Now she is a teenager with a bike messenger job in a world of low technology. But her past is about to come back to haunt her in a major way...

There’s a reason why this series has proved so popular in the States: it’s fantastic. This double-length pilot has all the filmic spectacle you’d expect from James Cameron and introduces us to the weird and wonderful denizens of the near-future. Jessica Alba is not only lithe and graceful as Max, she also has a refreshingly warped view on life and makes an all-round superb lead. Also of note is Valarie Rae Miller as the sassy and streetwise Original Cindy. Dark Angel is more of a serial than a series, so be sure not to miss this opening episode, as many of the mysteries raised in it are explored over the coming weeks. (PS)

Starting this week
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys • Season Five – first terrestrial
UK showing from Saturday, 18.00 Channel 5
Charmed • Season Two – first terrestrial UK showing from Saturday, 20.05, Channel 5
Now and Again • Season One – first UK showing, see highlight of month

Sky One logo

War is the H-Word
Sunday, 20.30

Season Three - first UK showing

Bender and Fry discover that soldiers get a discount in stores and quickly sign up, planning to get out immediately afterwards. They’d only get pressed into service if “war were declared”. Tragically, seconds after signing their names, “war were declared”.

Taking a cue from Starship Troopers, before long Zapp Brannigan is leading the pair in a war against an unusual race of beings, worried that he is attracted to one of his officers (a poorly-disguised Leela). You don’t need to be reminded that much hilarity results, with a particular highlight being the revelation of Bender’s top ten favourite words, including ‘bite’, ‘shiny’ and ‘metal’. (PS)

20th - 26th January • Back to top

Cult Times LogoSelected from
Cult Times #64

Channel 5 logo

Morality Bites
Saturday, 20.05


Phoebe Halliwell gets an unwelcome vision when she sees herself being burnt at the stake in the future. Determined to investigate the how and why, Pheebs and her sisters travel into the future, but find themselves in their future bodies rather than as observers. And if they can’t stop the execution in time, ‘their’ Phoebe will be burnt to death...

A vital story that is referenced frequently in the show from here on, it provides a glimpse into a possible future for the girls that they must try hard to avoid. Piper has had a messy marriage to Leo, Phoebe has let her power go to her head and Prue, well, she’s mainly just let hair-colouring go to hers. Their amped-up powers are good to see in action, but at the heart of it all is a very moral story about Phoebe and how her actions have consequences she may not be able to avoid. Carefully written, quite scary in places, and it also provides a nasty cock-up. The Time travel spell can only be used once and vanishes from the Book of Shadows. So how come when the girls flick through it at a later date, it’s there again in all its glory? (PS)

Starting this week
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Season Seven – first UK showing
of the final season on terrestrial TV, starting on BBC2, Wednesday at 18.45

Sky One logo

Friday, 21.00


Cordelia sends Angel to the aid of a young woman, fearing that he’ll be too late to save her from two thugs. What she doesn’t know is that the girl is quite capable of protecting herself with telekinetic powers, an ability which has also made her very popular with Wolfram & Hart...

In recent years, Joss Whedon has directed his own scripts. Clearly, in this case he saw the potential of the story and bagsied it as his own. Untouched is a superb piece of television. While you watch, it seems a little slow in places, but the more you think about it afterwards, the more you come to realize how many layers it has. Just as you think you know what’s coming, a new twist is thrown in that keeps you on your toes; it contains a mesmerizing yet simple special effects moment, a fine performance from Alexis Denisof and a very personal demon. Angel at its best. (PS)

hIGHMore highlights, with full UK broadcast and merchandise listings for
January, in Cult Times #64
Cult Times