Out of the Box UK TV highlights for March 2001

selected from
Cult Times #66

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Week One: 3rd - 9th March
The War Next Door • Angel
Week Three: 17th - 23rd March
Buffy the Vampire Slayer • Roswell
Week Two: 10th - 16th March
Now and Again • Buffy
Week Four: 24th - 30th March
Star Trek: Voyager • The Others

All highlights this month by Paul Spragg (PS)

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

Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman Highlight of the Month Wonder Woman
The New, Original Wonder Woman
Saturday 3rd, 20.00
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If you thought feminism started with Xena and Buffy, you'd be oh so incredibly wrong. For it started with Wonder Woman. An Amazon princess, Diana arrives in Man's world thanks to a bit of a crush on hunky pilot Steve Trevor. Before you can say `bullets and bracelets', she's off fighting crime in her satin tights, telling everyone girls are best and engaging evil Nazis with hopeless accents in poor quality fight sequences.

Yes, it's back to the Seventies with all the inherent flaws of the genre at that time. There's stock footage, dreadful acting, hopeless CSO, fights in which Diana never gets within six feet of hitting anyone and an invisible plane which is clearly made of plastic. And Wonder Woman is visible through it. Having said that, I can't tell you how fantastic it all is! It's funny, Cloris Leachman is playing superbly to the camera as Diana's mother, and it's all just wonderful to watch. Clichéd yes, but it makes a big impression for a first episode and its moral centre and attempt to show an empowered woman can't be faulted. A welcome return. (PS)

3rd – 9th March • Back to top

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THE WAR NEXT DOOR
And Baby Makes Death
Saturday, 22.00

First UK showing

With Kennedy enjoying his happy family life, Kriegman’s jealousy leads to a terrifying decision: he wants a little baby evil genius. When he and Barbara have no luck creating a new life, Kriegman needs a sperm donor and chooses Kennedy...

Obviously, sperm being one of the world’s funniest subjects, this episode is fantastic. The montage of footage showing Kriegman and Barbara trying to conceive is hilarious, culminating in Barbara subtly explaining why they’re not having any success. As for Kennedy, the look on his face when Kriegman asks him for assitance is priceless, and when he inadvertantly mentions ‘putting a little away for a rainy day’, you know there’s going to be trouble. The final battle is a great free-for-all as Kennedy takes on both Alan and Barbara to protect his little swimmers. Marvellous. (PS)

 
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ANGEL
Reunion
Friday, 21.00

Starting this weekWonder Woman A complete run on Sci-Fi begins with the pilot and continues on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 11.00 & 17.00. See highlight above.

Okay, how can I explain this without giving anything away? After the shocking and surprising events of the last episode, Angel must rush to stop a nightmare before it starts, and if he fails Los Angeles will be the new base for some of history’s greatest killers.

Yes, I think that works. If you’ve been waiting for events in Angel’s life to move into the next phase, if you’ve been wondering about Wolfram & Hart’s plans for our favourite brooding hunkster, if you’ve been trying to work out where the whole Darla plot is going, here’s where things really kick into gear.

Featuring arguably the most stunt-heavy fast-paced fight sequence this show or Buffy has ever seen, Wolfram & Hart finally being hoist with their own petard and a new outlook for Angel himself, there are all manner of shocking events here. After this episode, there is no going back as an apocalyptic finale looks to be very much on the cards... (PS)

10th – 16th March • Back to top

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NOW AND AGAIN
By the Light of the Moon
Tuesday, 21.00

First UK showing

Morris receives a directive from on high that his time with Michael has come to an end and a new, young, female doctor takes over his training. Will Michael start a relationship with Dr Taylor? And can Lisa move on and enjoy a date with Gerald Misenbach?

A beautiful story that is a fine example of parallel plotting, By the Light of the Moon once again uses the Now and Again trademark of removing all the genetically-enhanced man nonsense and getting down to basic human emotions. The script neatly follows Michael and Lisa as they try to start over in their lives, only to find that it’s not as easy as they thought. The spark between Dr Taylor and Michael is deftly handled and convincingly played out, while Lisa’s continuing reticence to date provides some fun comic moments as Heather dares her to take a chance. The way both couples end up within metres of each other without meeting is particularly neat, as is the closing scene between Morris and Taylor. (PS)

 
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BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
Triangle
Friday, 20.00

Starting this weekThe Prisoner The series arrives on Sci-Fi for a complete run, starting on Thursday at 20.30 after documentary In Search of The Prisoner.

When Giles leaves the magic shop to seek help on Glory from the Watcher’s Council in England, Anya and Willow are left in charge. Naturally, their differing views on how best to deal with the shop results in a spell that brings a large troll to the town...

After the more serious themes so far this season, it’s good to see a comically inclined episode of Buffy at last. Of all the character relationships, that between Willow and Anya is the one that’s been most ignored, and the girls play off each other wonderfully. It also demonstrates just how confident Willow has become in recent years, holding her own against the stroppy ex-demon.

There are some surprises along the way, another outing for a Spike still mooning over Buffy (watch for the moment when he seizes an unmissable opportunity during a fight), and even Xander is allowed a chance to show his newfound heroism when he is asked to choose between his best friend and his girlfriend. (PS)

17th – 23rd March • Back to top

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BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
Checkpoint
Friday, 20.00

 

As Dawn becomes more suspicious about those around her, Glory pays a visit to Buffy looking for the Key as the Watcher’s Council arrive with information.

Rather more interesting than this brief synopsis implies, Checkpoint is the start of the second phase of the fifth season. The Watcher’s Council want Buffy to prove she is worthy of their help and put her through a battery of tests while the Slayer starts to realize that she may be in a stronger position than she thought.

High quality drama interspersed with comedy is the order of the day as Buffy’s friends are grilled by the Council (Xander must justify his usefulness again while Willow spills a few too many beans) leading to a tense showdown at the end and a powerful face-to-face with Glory. Some of the mysteries are resolved while new ones appear and it all leads to further revelations next week...

 
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ROSWELL
The End of the World
Wednesday, 20.00

Terrestrial Shows • After a short break, this week sees the return of Deep Space Nine, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Xena: Warrior Princess to terrestrial screens.

Max of the future arrives to tell Liz that she must stop Max loving her or the world will fall to the aliens’ enemies.

A simple Terminator-esque premise allows for a welcome return to the character drama that made the first season of Roswell so good. The Behr/Appleby chemistry is superb here as Liz does what she has to do despite her feelings for Max. It’s highly emotional stuff as she enlists Kyle’s aid to trick Max when earlier efforts to sway him towards Tess (a revealing top, for one) fail. The ending is particularly tear-jerking as Liz dances with Max knowing that this may be the last time she is close to him. Superbly acted and delicately written.

24th – 30th March • Back to top

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STAR TREK: VOYAGER
Inside Man
Monday, 20.00

 

The Voyager crew is excited to receive a visitor from the Alpha Quadrant: a hologram of Reg Barclay with instructions on how they can reach home.

Yes, it’s time for Voyager to get back to Earth... but of course that’s not likely is it? It’s far too early in the season for that kind of thing. Naturally something is going to go wrong, but what? The route home itself? Reg’s information? Or is the hologram not what it appears?

Another visit to the Pathfinder Project as the Voyager crew gets closer to Barclay than ever before. The holographic version is a wonderful creation, built by Barclay not to suffer from the same problems as the real thing. Before long he’s entertaining the crew with his musical skills and his dead-on impersonation of Captain Janeway. Meanwhile, real Reg is trying to figure out if his hologram reached the intended destination while trying to get over his latest batch of emotional problems with help from the once more drafted-in Deanna Troi.

Whether you tune in for comedy, drama, the return of some old friends or Marina Sirtis in a swimsuit, there’s plenty to enjoy here as the crew have their first contact with Earth this season and go all gooey about home. Dwight Schultz gives a fine dual performance, the Doctor saves the day once again with help from Reg and there’s a happy homecoming... (PS)

 
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THE OTHERS
Till Then
Wednesday, 21.00

LOOK OUT FOR
THE SIMPSONS
Season Twelve – first UK showing of new episode Worst Episode Ever; Sky 1, at 18.30 on Sunday

Elmer’s past comes back to haunt him (see this month’s Instant Guide) as a spirit from the past seeks his help. You see, during the War, Elmer guided the souls of the dead to their final rest, but a friend of his, a pilot nicknamed Vicar wouldn’t follow Elmer and was forever lost. Now he seeks to move on as Elmer is attempting to find a more contemporary pilot who’s been shot down.

One of the undoubted joys of watching The Others is seeing the performance of Bill Cobbs as Elmer, and he provides a wonderful central performance in this episode alongside the actor playing his younger self. In many ways it’s as much about Elmer laying his past mistake to rest as the spirit, and it’s all beautifully done with some particularly evocative black and white flashbacks. With Morgan and Wong’s trademark use of a song going on as well, it’s a change of pace from the often nastier spirits The Others face. (PS)

hIGHMore highlights, with full UK broadcast and merchandise listings for
March, in Cult Times #66
Cult Times