Reviews selected from TV Zone #125
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Reviews online this month
Star Trek: Voyager Marina Sirtis does a series transfer
• a roar of approval for this season's best Buffy to date
• one of April's forthcoming Doctor Who novels
• and Viva Los Simpsons on video

Also reviewed in this issue:
more episodes of Stargate SG-1, Earth: Final Conflict , Voyager , Angel, Buffy and The X-Files: more Doctor Who in audio, video and printed formats, the latest Trek merchandise, Buffy plus a Space: 1999 soundtrack

STAR TREK: VOYAGER
PATHFINDER Rating: 6
Episode: F10 First aired: 1 Dec 1999 (UPN) Reviewed by
Dan Ranger
Show me the way to go home

Flaky veteran of Star Trek: The Next Generation Barclay is at it again. He’s created a holographic version of Voyager, and become obsessed with contacting the errant ship. His problems are effecting his work, but help is at hand, in the form of Councillor Deanna Troi.

Change to Barclay / TroiThis really is an episode of TNG in Voyager’s place, like it or not. Voyager itself becomes the McGuffin of the plot, and it all really focuses on Barclay’s attempt to reach the ship via a dubious method of opening a mini-wormhole to enable communication.

In truth, both Marina Sirtis and Dwight Schultz slip easily back in their previous guises, but their banter takes up most of the first half of the episode making it ploddy and weighted down in its own tale. Thus, the reunion is not as sweet as it could be. What does make a nice change is that Barclay is given the lion’s share of the action rather than Troi, and Schultz does give it his all.

Pathfinder follows every single one of the dramatic markers set for episodic television, thus you will be able to guess whether Star Fleet make contact long before the climax. Still, despite the predictability, the finale does manage to bring a lump to the throat as Voyager gets just that little closer to home.

One glaring plot hole – how did Barclay extrapolate Voyager’s position when, not a week before, they were twanged a great distance by the space catapult? Oh, and the use of the transwarp coil from Dark Frontier. And the trip in Timeless. And then there’s the…

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BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
HUSH Rating:10
Episode: D10 First aired: 14 Dec 1999 (WB) /
10 Mar 2000 (Sky)
Reviewed by
Mark Wyman
The Anti-Talking League

Ain't that peculiar: Riley & Buffy in HushA story promoted as having no dialogue for half its duration sounds an insane risk, especially for a series famed for high-quality banter. But Joss Whedon not only gets away with it; in Hush, he’s penned and directed one of Buffy’s finest hours.

Buffy and Riley lament their inability to discuss their secret lives while growing closer; Anya berates Xander for not talking about his feelings. At her Wicca group, Willow’s suggestions fall on deaf ears to all but one, Tara. Giles’s friend Olivia is visiting, requiring minimal small talk; Xander, Spike’s grudging host, is soon begging the vampire to shut up. Naturally, the theme is communication.

Buffy’s dreams of Riley turn to premonition when a girl appears, chanting a rhyme about The Gentlemen. Giles can’t place the reference, but next day all of Sunnydale wakes up voiceless. At night, The Gentlemen start hunting their prey. Grinning cadavers in suits, their eerie gliding is possibly the creepiest sight we’ve ever seen in Sunnydale. Soon their scalpels are being wielded on silent victims…

As well as providing an outstandingly dramatic episode, Whedon’s script offers a wealth of hilarious character detail for his silenced cast to gesture with.

He also parallels the lives of Buffy and Riley such that their acknowledged ‘need to talk’ – after an epic struggle in The Gentlemen’s spooky clock-tower lair – becomes a cliff-hanger in itself. Hush richly deserves its maximum points.

selected from TV Zone #125
© Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction
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