Reviews selected from TV Zone #138

Reviews online this month (ratings given are out of 10):
Doctor Who visits another damned village in Eater of Wasps
Voyager's crew are back on the chain gang in Workforce, Pt.1
Space: 1999 - past visions of the, er, past previewed on DVD
and Buffy's sister gets the adrenalin pumping in Blood Ties

BLOOD TIES Rating: 8
Episode E13 First aired: February 6 2001, The WB
First UK airing: 30th March 2001, Sky One
Reviewed by
Mark Wyman
Sisters are doin’ it for themselvesMichelle Trachtenberg as Dawn

Birthday time! As Buffy waves her teenage years goodbye – she’s turned 20 – events revolve around her junior high sibling. Dawn may be six years younger, but she didn’t even exist six months previously, and this is where she and the rest of the gang learn that she is really the Key.

Michelle Trachtenberg, coolly impressive all season, really seizes the attention. Once Buffy has belatedly told the gang about Dawn’s nature, the (apparent) 14-year-old senses their awkwardness around her: denied an explanation, she breaks into the Magic Box (with Spike) and learns the truth from Giles’ journals. After this, Trachtenberg launches brilliantly into a whole routine of tantrums and self-destructive confusion, which relies completely on Dawn’s immaturity – and leads her ultimately to another encounter with Glory. But Dawn’s distress is painfully empathetic: the very aspect many fans feared would undermine the series has become one of its dramatic strengths.

Family affairs is obviously the core theme this season, underlined by the opaque revelation that Glory and Ben are – yup – long-suffering siblings too. However, the nature of their presence, apparently sharing the same body, makes the monks‘ creation of Dawn and the fake memories created around her seem almost ordinary.

This theme’s by-product has made Buffy a more sympathetic character once more: the extent of her care for family, even though the blood-link is artificial, is underlined when she and Dawn become blood sisters. Excellently handled direction by long-running director of photography Michael Gershman continues this season’s winning streak.

Also reviewed in this issue: Triangle and Checkpoint,
the previous two Buffy episodes

Episode G16 First aired: 21 February 2001, UPN
First UK airing: May 7 2001, Sky One
Reviewed by
Johnny Ryder
A boost in productivityJaneway's non-uniform look

With the assistance of some spectacular CGI, we are quickly introduced to the planet Quarra and its heavily industrialized environment. Rushing to work are a group of aliens – amongst them Kathryn Janeway, out of uniform and sporting a new, longer hairstyle that would make her perfect for a Pantene commercial!

Naturally, the question we immediately ask ourselves is ‘What’s she doing here?’ Well, thanks to a bit of clever sabotage on the antagonists’ part, our dear Captain and the rest of the Voyager crew has been brainwashed and put to work in the alien planet’s power plant, with the lucky few being The Doctor, Chakotay, Kim and Neelix, who escaped imprisonment.

Now, this may not sound like the most exciting of scenarios, but the backdrop serves as a unique way for some wonderful characterization as we witness each crew member get on with their new lives. No more so than Janeway, who now has a new job that she loves, as well as a new man, Jaffen (James Read), with whom she’s developing a relationship.

It’s all very metaphorical, with the story essentially acting as a way to see the crew leading happy and productive lives as though they had already reached Earth – and may well be the closest we’re ever going to get to seeing them in such a manner. However, things are not as they should be, and Chakotay is determined to set things right. But will he able to rip his comrades away from a place they now call home? Tune in next month, as this review is… to be continued…

Also reviewed in this issue: Prophecy; The Void (G14, G15)
selected from TV Zone #138
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