Out of the Box UK TV highlights for June 2001

selected from
Cult Times #69

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Week One: 2nd - 8th June
Seven Days • The Invisible Man
Week Three: 16th – 22nd June
X–Files • Earth: Final Conflict
Week Two: 9th – 15th June
Roswell • Now and Again
Week Four: 23rd – 29th June
Charmed • Star Trek: Voyager

Reviews and highlights written by David Richardson (DR) and Paul Spragg (PS)

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

Buffy takes to the scaffold Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Highlight of the Month
E22: The Gift Friday 1st, 20.00
Sky One logo

“Unfilmable”. That’s the verdict of Joss Whedon on his script for this final episode of the fifth season, which is also the show’s 100th story. Originally rumoured to be a two-hour finale entitled ‘Centennial’, but in reality given a more fitting moniker, it has the tough challenge of bringing to conclusion a year that has seen the departure of Riley Finn, the death of Buffy’s mum and the continuing battle with the Hellgod Glory.

Whedon promised more death in this instalment, and it’s fair to say that things have never looked so grim for the Scooby Gang. Before the end titles roll, after a massive skirmish within a construction site, at least one of their number will have taken their last breath. And for Buffy herself, things will never be quite the same again… (DR)

So, you've probably seen this already: and even if you haven't, the massive spoilers in the mainstream UK media may have given you the gist about The Gift.

Of course, when we went into print about this one, we might still have been prone to one or two inaccuracies about the episode ourselves. Sorry about that: with the US broadcast occurring only 10 days before the UK one, there was a lot of disinformation around.

Photos © 20th Century Fox; Buffy the Vampire Slayer can be seen on Sky 1 and BBC2.

2nd – 8th June • Back to top

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BBC2 logo

A4: Come Again?
Tuesday, 18.45

First UK showing

Frank Parker is having a bad day. He’s been sent to pick up a scientist and things keep going wrong. And every time he messes things up, the day begins over again. Yes, it’s the Groundhog Day one, and Seven Days is the perfect vehicle for this kind of story. There are plenty of laughs as Parker tries increasingly desperate means to make sure things go to plan, but also strong drama when one of his trips through the same events results in Olga’s death.

Even this early in the series there’s a strong chemistry between Frank and Olga which keeps the pace moving and the story suitably quirky and fun as Olga isn’t aware that Frank is repeating events. It remains a simple premise, but it’s always a good one, even if this episode does start Seven Days’ love affair with remaking movies...

Buffy & Angel: For the rest of this month, while you recover from both shows’ season finales, Sky 1 offers you the chance to vote each week for the episode you most want to see. Simply call 0906 680 2220 (calls cost 25p per minute) and make your feelings known. This week it’s Buffy’s Living Conditions versus Enemies and Angel’s The Trial versus Redefinition.

Bravo logo

A21: The Lesser Evil
Wednesday, 21.00

First UK showing

Darien is given the chance to join Chrysalis by Allianora, and when he turns up for a meeting he is told that The Agency has secret plans for the gland in his brain that don’t involve him... We know that the (now-named) Chrysalis are up to no good, but The Official’s constant unwilingness to tell Darien anything makes the agent suspicious of the so-called ‘Solution Beta’. Likewise, we become increasingly unsure of who to trust as the evidence seems to stack up against The Agency. And Hobbes, out of the loop yet again, brings his own paranoia to bear on Darien. Will the invisible man trade his old job for a new one? What is Solution Beta? And will Chrysalis finally win? (PS)

9th – 15th June • Back to top

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Sky One logo

B17: Cry Your Name
Wednesday, 20.00

First UK showing

Tragedy! No, not the Steps/Bee Gees song. A member of the Roswell cast has been killed and now there’s some cleaning up to be done. Did they fall or were they pushed? Was it an accident or a suicide? Liz Parker (so it’s not her, you can breathe a sigh of relief) is determined to find out what occurred, and believes there may have been alien involvement.

The answer plays out across the remaining four episodes as we approach the season finale and a few surprises for the remaining characters. This is merely the start of a series of changes that fracture the relationships between the friends and provide some much sought-after information. The question is, what will have to be sacrificed for Liz to find out what happened? Will everyone live happily ever after? Or will they all go their separate ways? And if they do that, where will they go? It all starts here... (PS)

Starting this week: LEXX
Season Three makes its long-awaited terrestrial arrival this week on Channel 5, showing from Tuesday night at 00.10

Sci-Fi logo

A22: The Eggman Cometh
Tuesday, 21.00

First UK showing

Michael has, rather suspiciously, been left without a tracker implanted in him. As Morris keeps an eye on him, Lisa is approached by a man who claims that Michael Wiseman was still alive and taken to hospital after his train accident. Will she discover the truth?

From other series you might expect an action-packed season finale, but Now and Again is still, thankfully, far more concerned with the characters. The drama in this episode comes from the tension, as Lisa gets closer to discovering Michael’s real identity and Michael is forced to take drastic action to save her life.

It’s a touching episode and plays out relatively slowly (the escape of the lethal Eggman from prison after most of the season in captivity is a minor sub-plot). However, it expertly shows the relationships between the characters and demonstrates how dangerous Michael’s life actually is. The other sub-plot featuring Roger provides the laughs, but fans will be frustrated that the series concludes on a pretty major cliffhanger that would have radically altered the premise had there been a second season. (PS)

16th – 22nd June • Back to top

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Sky One logo

H20: Essence
Thursday, 21.00

First UK showing

Scully is about to give birth, but Billy Miles (or rather the alien now using his body) is gradually wiping out all the people who know about the kid. Can Mulder and Doggett save Scully and her child? And has the invasion finally begun?

Essence is the start of the two-part season finale of Season Eight, and as such is David Duchovny’s penultimate episode. And it’s a corker. Doggett has become part of the team and he and Mulder spend most of the episode looking like expectant fathers as they worry about Scully.

There’s Skinner, Reyes and even Krycek to shake things up a bit as a desperate race against time and an encroaching alien influence begins. For those who’ve kept up with the extended story arc, it’s all starting to come together and is looking apocalyptic; there are some really quite nasty moments (the episode went out under a parental advisory in the States) and has plenty of excitement and some strong writing, especially for Doggett. It also gives Krycek more to do than has recently been the case and leads into what looks like an exciting finale, in which we’re promised that as a new life enters the world, another will leave it... (PS)

Channel 5 Sci-Fi Day on Sunday, including documentaries and movies such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Starting this week
Cupid • Channel 5 premiéres this short-lived 14-episode series on Saturday before Charmed at 19.45
The Outer Limits • The UK premiére of Season Six fills the slot vacated by Now and Again, Tuesdays at 21.00
South Park • The fourth season of crazed child antics arrives on Channel 4 this week on Friday at 22.00

Sky One logo

D22: Point of no Return
Saturday, 18.00

First UK showing

It’s crunch time for the Taelons as their core energy reserves diminish further and they are forced to seek help from Liam, Renee and Street to save them. As the Taelon race hangs in the balance, Zo’or must come to terms with the fact that his own father is trying to oust him from power. But will Da’an succeed in ridding the world of Zo’or?

If you haven’t had enough apocalyptic TV this week, check out this season finale. All year it’s been building to a climax as the Taelons slowly run out of life force. Will Street be able to apply what she’s learned of Taelon technology and create more core energy? Will Zo’or be grateful for the help? Who will die and how? (Readers of last month’s issue had a big clue.) What we are promised is something Earth-shattering, leading to a fifth season with another revamp, a major change in the fortunes of the Taelons and humans and new enemies. (PS)

23rd – 29th June • Back to top

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Living logo

C21: Look Who’s Barking
Monday, 20.00

First UK showing

Phoebe has a vision of a murder while holding the page of the Book of Shadows dealing with Belthazor aka Cole, therefore leading her to believe he is responsible. Further investigation, however, reveals that the glass-shattering screeching terror is a banshee at work and the sisters will need help in the shape of Prue as a dog to find it.

This plot is far less complicated than it sounds, but it does make efforts to clear up the mess left hanging from the previous week’s story, Exit Strategy. As the penultimate story of the season it puts most of the pieces in place for a strong confrontation between Cole and the Halliwells, and gives us a chance to find the inherent comedy in Shannen Doherty being a dog (make up your own jokes).

What’s most interesting is that Piper is the one who has to take charge (an early sign of upcoming changes?) and she handles the problems she’s dealt with plenty of brain and a fair amount of brawn as well thanks to her pretty damn active new power. She and Leo also get some fun moments together as we see just what it is that keeps them together. But next week: All Hell Breaks Loose... (PS)

Sky One logo

Star Trek: Voyager
G19: Q2
Monday, 20.00

First UK showing

Q brings his son, er, Q, on board Voyager, now grown up and a right little tearaway. All he asks is that ‘Auntie Kathy’ provides him with a sense of responsibility, but it’s easier said than done. It’s only right that the last season of Voyager should feature a final run-in with Q, and although this story has more than a hint of Déjà Q about it (ironic, if you think about it), it’s still great fun. Q keeps appearing in inconvenient places to talk to Janeway (in the bath being the most outlandish) and his son is as petulant and spoilt as his dad.

John de Lancie’s son, Keegan, plays the younger Q well, obviously having studied his father’s performance, and his friendship with Icheb is a particular highlight. His change for the better comes across well and is gradual enough to be realistic, while his father’s constant butting-in provides much of the humour. If you want to relive some old memories, Q2 will certainly make you wish Q hadn’t been absent for so long and it does provide a reasonable level of closure to his story as far as Voyager is concerned.

hIGHMore highlights, with full UK broadcast and merchandise listings for
June , in Cult Times #69
Cult Times