selected from TV Zone #116

The Crow takes flight

The Crow's new alter ego Mark Dacascos

The Crow is one of my top 10 movies of all time – don’t make too much of that, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark is number eight – and I was very interested to see how Eric Draven’s finely-crafted, sad tale of revenge would pan out as an entire series. Alas, it seems to have gone the way of Batman Forever after its dark predecessors: it is a colourful, sunny retelling of the same tale.

For those of you unfamiliar with the story, Eric Draven and his girlfriend Shelly Webster were killed by a gang one year ago. A crow is supposed to take the soul through to Heaven, but in the case of Eric, his sadness is such that the crow brings it back to the land of the living. Shelly is left standing on the bridge between worlds, unable to proceed without Eric. The premise, them, is that Eric must ascend to join her by growth through redemption, helping others as well as himself.

My praise for Marc Dacascos is high, he makes a great Draven, and his sulky, graceful movements when playing the Crow have hit the essence of the character right between the eyes. I hope that the scripts for future shows can catch up with his performance. I am sorry to say that this episode doesn’t do it justice.

Episode A1
First Aired: 21 September 1998
UK premiere: Sci-Fi (UK) 4 June 1999
Reviewed by Dan Ranger

Pilots for shows are notoriously ropey, but this is a muddled affair, throwing ideas from Crow lore at the audience one after another. At the minute, I’m having difficulty saying that the series shows promise.


Fan Fiction returns

Strange New Worlds II

It’s no surprise – this is superior fan fiction. If they aren’t all quite as good collectively as SNW I’s stories, well, I’m not complaining. Given the short life left to Voyager and Deep Space Nine, I’m glad for any new Trek. That this collection includes some excellent bits is just icing.

Ten of the 17 stories deal with some element of Time travel, obviously a highly attractive plot device. The three best: both stories in which the wonderful pair of Kirk-hating ‘temporal investigators,’ who first visited DS9 during Trials and Tribble-ations, appear, and the second prize winner, a TOS story titled Triptych, which plays with the possible time lines evolving from the Edith Keeler incident. It’s an outstanding piece, by the way, worth the purchase price of the book and clearly deserving of the Grand Prize, which goes instead to a touching little Seven of Nine story, A Ribbon for Rosie.

DSN is again sadly under-represented. Five TOS stories, five TNG, five Voyager – and only two for DSN. Are no fans interested in writing for the darkest and most gripping of the Trek series? One of those two is, however, arguably the funniest story in the collection, a letter of resignation from ‘the world’s only Time traveling researcher’ which I had to read three times in hysterics before I could turn the page.

Several old friends make a welcome reappearance in this collection. Gillian Taylor and Carol Marcus team up on a mission commanded by Uhura (bring on the references to ‘Kirk’s women’); and Kate Pulaski is tempted by an old love and a new love potion. Even the Borg Hugh makes a quick appearance, although the story is tainted by the author’s all too predictable attempt at a love story with Seven. In fact, I’d say that’s the single biggest weakness of this crop of ‘novice’ Trek writers: as much as I admire their story-telling ability, sentimental eyewash should be forcibly restrained.

Edited by Dean Wesley Smith
Reviewed by Megan O’Neill
Simon & Schuster Books
Price: £9.99 Out now
ISBN: 0 671 02692 5

But then, I’d probably be sentimental about it too if I had the creativity to write the fiction I critique. It’s still a great collection. And there’s yet another contest underway. Fire up the computers!

also reviewed in this issue: new episodes, books and videos of
Buffy • The X-Files • Futurama • Voyager • Red Dwarf VIII • The SImpsons

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