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

NEW EARTH (BOOK I): Wagon Train to the Stars Rating: 7
Simon & Schuster Bks
Out: 3 July 2000
ISBN: 0 671 94296 3
Written by Diane Carey
order it from
Reviewed by Megan O'Neill
Star Trek: New EarthA Brave new Earth

Gene Roddenberry’s original pitch for Star Trek was as a ‘Wagon Train to the stars’, combining exploration of the final frontier with colonization. The six-book series New Earth positions the legendary Kirk as the leader of a convoy of ships carrying upwards of 60,000 colonists and their belongings toward their destination, Belle Terre. Because it lies well outside Federation Space, Kirk and the Enterprise will help the colonists claim their territory.

In keeping with the wild west motif, however, problems crop up and must be handled. I’m not sure we need six volumes, but it’s fun watching the non-paternal Kirk shepherding families and children and acting like Colonel Adama from Battlestar Galactica.

Wagon Train to the Stars, by Diane Carey, tells the story of how Kirk and the colonists survive plagues, sabotage, Orions, and each other to arrive at Belle Terre – only to discover that their new home is also being claimed by two battling alien races, the dying Kauld and their long-time enemies, the Blood. Dealing with them, with persistent sabotage, and with food shortages is the focus of this first novel.

Carey’s story is in the precarious position of first in the series, which requires her to set up several plot lines without resolving any of them. The action scenes are involving: one striking event is the convoy fighting off Orion pirates by literally circling the wagons. Unfortunately, in her effort to avoid using ‘he said’ Carey routinely substitutes ugly, jarring phrases like ‘Spock flouted’ or ‘Kirk gnashed,’ seriously detracting from the story’s readability.

In all I have a positive feeling about the series. Still, while throwing one problem after another at the colonists may be realistic, the cumulative effect is one of overkill. A more serious continuity issue is that the Blood and the Kauld are clearly meant in Carey’s novel to be continuing bad guys but play no part in Belle Terre (the second novel - also reviewed in this issue – Web Ed.). Still, this is a promising beginning to a series; I’m eager to read the next four.

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

BT Batsford Books
ISBN: 0 7134 8575 2
Written by Robert Ross • Out NOW
Order from
Reviewed by
Andrew Pixley
The Complete GoodiesGoodie-Goodie-Yum-Yum!

The first book on a subject which has never been covered before is always a treat ... and the first professional work on The Goodies is an extremely generous portion, served up by comedy historian Robert Ross who tackles this piece of zanyness with the same verve and enthusiasm he brought to his excellent Carry On Companion and Monty Python Encyclopaedia.

Authorized by the terrific trio – Graeme Garden, Bill Oddie and Tim Brooke-Taylor – the 288-page volume crams in an A to Z of all projects associated with the highly talented writer/performers. About half the book is an episode guide, studying each show, conveying the best gags, the style and drawing comparison with other classic comedy; cast and crew listings are also given along with production and broadcast dates.

Then we also have entries on everything from the nine-year radio run of I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again (complete with sketch list for each show) through Bill’s numerous ornithological works, Graeme’s medical programmes and Tim’s quiz shows, down to entries about which edition of The News Quiz featured Graeme. There are some great photographs, and the scope of the work is superb, with a lot of new material about the stars’ careers and anecdotes peppering the end of certain entries.

There are some omissions and mistakes, but these are so dwarfed by the scope of the work that they vanish into insignificance. A worthy addition to a comedy historian’s bookcase which brings back many happy memories of classic craziness!

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