Reviews selected from TV Zone #126

Reviews online this month (ratings given are out of 10)
• latest Buffy the Vampire Slayer box set
Star Trek: Voyager – getting seriously off-key?
Randall & Hopkirk – it's funny, but...
• and the updated Red Dwarf guide

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

VIRTUOSO Rating: 1
Episode: F13 First aired: 26 January 2000 (UPN) Reviewed by
Dan Ranger
If music be the food of love, this must be off

Lend me a tenor: the Doctor in aria modeHow’s this for a pitch – a society has (incredulously) never evolved music, and the Doctor takes it upon himself to teach it to the masses. Would you, as most people would do, show the writers the door, and tell them to pick up their crayons on the way out? Or would you do as the Voyager team do, and welcome the idea with open arms?

Thus, we are presented with Virtuoso. The Doctor sings for the planet’s culture, and becomes a celebrity of rock star proportions. He does indeed sing to them (at the episode’s sorry series of low points) and is predictably left with a choice of whether to stay a star, or rejoin his beloved crew.

As the thin plot is spread mercilessly across the hour, one wonders whether the powers that be are aware what utter rubbish they are producing. Not only that, but occurrences involving the Doctor’s love life contradict events in the previous episode, proving the script editors to be asleep at their desks. It is obvious that producers Berman and Braga have jumped ship to go and work on the next Trek project as these stories are utterly trite.

It’s ironic that something this lacking in direction is planning to find a small blue-green planet across 70,000 light years. Voyager as a show is almost dead in the water and something had better happen soon to get it back on track.

One point. One point is all this deserves, and that is for the touching Seven scene at the finale of the episode. Otherwise, it is flat drivel like this that makes me embarrassed to be a fan.

Episode: A3 First aired: 1 April 2000 (BBC1) Reviewed by
Richard Atkinson

Also reviewed in this issue: Two re-issued volumes of original series RANDALL & HOPKIRK (DECEASED) episodes on video.

Order Volume 1 from Black Star
0rder Volume 2

I feel possessed

Bowled over; headmaster Peter and Phyllis LoganIn the original series they skirted around the topic of Jeff getting it together with his partner’s widow. The old chain-smoking, hard-drinking Jeff Randall was just too much of a gent. Out with the old, however, as the new production attempts to get some mileage out this idea.

Not that it’s a bad thing. This translates much better than the previous two episodes: Jeff and Marty are working together much more; Jeannie has something to do, expanding on her token girlfriend role (albeit a high-kicking token girlfriend); even the ghostly-power-of-the-week provides some inspired comedy.

In fact, this is the funniest episode yet, as Jeannie and Jeff pose as husband and wife to investigate a murder at a boys’ school. Highlights including Jeff’s conversation with Marty on a park bench being interpreted as a come-on by the man sitting next to him, the interview for the post of house master, and the line, “Oh go on, give us a kiss!”

Where the episode falls flat on its face, however, is the story. Peter Bowles and Phyllis Logan are wasted on a bizarre tale that starts off looking as if it’s something like devil-worshipping and ends up being something completely banal. In fact the headmaster (Bowles) himself seems baffled by the feeble denouement. The Best Years… shows that the series is capable of capitalizing on its comic potential. With three more episodes to go, however, and a new series already commissioned, it needs to come up with some clever storylines if it’s to gain any credibility.

selected from TV Zone #126
© Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction
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