Reviews selected from TV Zone #129
.

Reviews online this month (ratings given are out of 10)
• A powerful Angel episode gives us new Faith...
• Another 1960's Doctor Who story emerges in well-crafted audio
• Head for a New Earth with this Star Trek novel
• and yum-yum, a really tasty book on The Goodies

ANGEL
FIVE BY FIVE Rating: 9
Episode: A18 First aired: 25 April 2000 (WB, US)
• 5 May (Sky One, UK)
Reviewed by
Mark Wyman
True faith

AngelReviving the rogue slayer Faith in Sunnydale brought some much-needed adrenaline to the Buffy season. On Angel, the need was different, but this pair of episodes has even stronger effects. Faith’s arrival in town seems routine: get off the bus, meet a guy, hospitalize and rob him, then go party. Her encounters with Angel, however, lift Five by Five onto another level entirely. And it’s all thanks to those despicable people at Wolfram & Hart.

At last, the previously shadowy legal firm gains stature, merely by uniting three of its intriguing junior agents – who promptly hire Faith to dispose of Angel. But Faith, needing Angel to retaliate, is playing the long game (by her standards, anyway). Getting to use the five main torture groups on Wesley just to goad Angel is her bonus.

Underlining the convergence of Faith and Angel’s dark paths, there are several flashbacks into the turning-point of the vampire’s ‘life’, when the gypsies restored his soul in 1890s Romania. To witness him becoming the despairing outcast invites some sympathy for Faith.

At the climax, the culmination of Faith’s inevitable but devastating fight with Angel is not a killing blow. Instead, the collision of her desperation and Angel’s determination produces an emotional breakdown that, by rights, should be beyond such a sadistic, hero-hating character. Which is precisely what makes it one of the most affecting scenes I’ve ever seen in a tv series.

Throughout, Eliza Dushku pulls out all the stops, and the direction and scripting relentlessly exceed the safety levels. Unforgettable.

.
DOCTOR WHO
GALAXY FOUR Rating: 8
BBC Audio
ISBN: 0563 477008
Out: June 2000
Order it from amazon.co.uk
Reviewed by
David Miller
Th-Rill-ing!

Galaxy FourAfter our tirade against the BBC and their catchpenny tricks in reviewing their Web of Fear CD, it must be said there is a lot of innocent pleasure to be gained from the CD release of Galaxy Four. It’s a simple story, but the narration by Peter Purves is woven in carefully and the yarn is energetically spun.

While fans of ’80s Who might whine, there’s something timeless and enchanting about this fairy-tale of Outer Space in which the beautiful female Drahvins, who are war-like and nasty, stand off against the ugly Rills who are kind and intelligent. (Moral – don’t judge by appearances.)

There’s a full-throttle performance from Stephanie Bidmead as the chief villain, Maaga, leader of the Drahvins and there’s something terribly kinky in the way she frightens her troops into obedience. The Rills’ robots – the Chumblies – come off well, bleeping and burbling away rather less like wannabe Daleks and more like trainee Clangers. (To describe their movement, the narration has coined a new noun – to ‘chumble’.)

Robert Cartland provides the voice for the telepathic Rills, which comes across rather like some fruity Victorian actor-laddie – the effect, however, is at once disturbing and reassuring. Stock music for the serial was provided from library discs (chiefly a weird French glass harp piece called Les Structures Sonores, also used in The Web Planet) which by sound alone, creates a powerful other-worldly atmosphere.

The CD presentation is good – the sound crisp and clear – so much so that you wonder, if you turned around quickly enough, whether you might just catch a glimpse of it on the telly…

selected from TV Zone #129
© Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction
TV Zone footer