Reviews selected from TV Zone #127

Reviews online this month (ratings given are out of 10)
• top marks for a new Doctor Who collaboration
LEXX – going to town in Season 3
Randall & Hopkirk – the series finale inspires some poetry
• and we defrost the latest Simpsons video compilation

Also reviewed in this issue: more LEXX and Randall & Hopkirk episodes, our latest trios from Angel, Buffy and Stargate SG-1: more Doctor Who in audio, video and print, plus the latest Star Trek merchandise, the 10th Kingdom on video, and a Cunning Blackadder guide

K-TOWN Rating: 7
Episode: C6 First aired: 12 March 2000 (Sci-Fi) Reviewed by
Danny Graydon
The return of an old friend

You wanted the unexpected and LEXX has duly delivered. Though understated, we get a tantalizing clue as to the nature of Fire and Water. Stranded half way up the immense city wall of K-Town, Stan and Xev escape into the city to await Kai, currently traversing The Red Hot Sea. Stan’s fear of imminent death is interrupted by the reappearance of an old foe and, worse, he and Xev have to face the full horror of Kai’s ‘manly extremities’.

Surprisingly, Mantrid is back from the dead, body intact and babbling like a loon. It’s a welcome appearance, but a strangely under-utilized one. His presence lends weight to the idea that the planets can resurrect old villains (Fifi looked a lot like Schlemmi from Luvliner). However, why waste such a good villain – especially when the K-Towners are a bunch of mumbling simpletons?

The B-story of Kai’s internal damage is more familiar territory – rife with innuendo. The look of disappointment on Xev’s face when she discovers that his ‘equipment’ is in fact a metal case is a glorious display of understatement. Mantrid’s accidental reawakening of Kai’s assassin senses has great potential for tension within the gang – will the damage be permanent?

Prince’s appearance at the end is almost an afterthought, as if the producers suddenly remembered they had a story to deal with. So, not a wasted effort by any means, but it’s time to start tying things up – hopefully with more zest than the set-up.

Episode: A6 First aired: 22 April 2000 (BBC1) Reviewed by
Richard Atkinson

Reviewed in the previous issue: Two re-issued volumes of original series RANDALL & HOPKIRK (DECEASED) episodes on video.

Order Volume 1 from Black Star
0rder Volume 2

People from these parts ain’t from these parts

King for a day: Vic Reeves as MartyIf this series has a flaw it’s this: it doesn’t really want to be Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). The newer brand is not chiefly about how useful it would be to have a ghost around if you were a private detective; it’s more concerned with the sort of high jinks the afterlife might have to offer. Succinctly: ‘one half of a comedy double act dies with hilarious consequences’.

In order to conclude the first series, therefore, we’re faced with a village out of time, whose inhabitants need Marty in order to escape from their parochial lives. Of course, quaint English villages populated by eccentric characters are precisely the sort of thing that Fantasy series thrive on. Both Gareth ‘Blake’ Thomas and Elizabeth Spriggs are perfect casting. And the surreal geography of the place provides a surer unearthly mood than the series has been capable of so far.

Although adequately bewildered, Bob Mortimer could have done more to demonstrate how unnerving this situation seemed, but A Man of Substance’s only serious failing is that Marty’s motivation is neither well scripted nor acted. With greater care it would have been much more plausible. Fortunately, this doesn’t diminish the action-packed climax and the touching coda which wraps things up rather prematurely…

This is a triumph of style and pace
But Marty and Jeff have more to face
We won’t wait too long for more stories
As they’re already making a new sauries... souries... series....

selected from TV Zone #127
© Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction
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