Reviews selected from TV Zone #139

Reviews online this month (ratings given are out of 10):
Doctor Who lives dangerously in The Year of Intelligent Tigers
The Lone Gunmen's brief autonomy begins with their series' Pilot
LEXX's bizarre adventures, now re-commencing on DVD
and Charmed offers mixed blessings for the sisters in Bride and Gloom

Pilot Rating: 6
Episode A1 First aired: March 4 2001, FOX Reviewed by
Gareth Wigmore
They’re here to save the world. Try to remain calm

On occasions, this introductory episode written by all four of the show’s creators, Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz, Vince Gilligan and John Shiban, seems a little too like its parent programme for its own good.

The Lone GunmenFor instance, it took a little while before the writers of The X-Files resorted to bumping off some of the regulars’ families for dramatic effect, but we’re barely past the credits of this episode before the Gunmen are dashing off to the funeral of Byers’ father. And they haven’t left the cemetery before someone hints at the fact that his death might not have been an accident, but a murder.

It’s a sensible start to the series in a way, pointing out to the audience that Byers is the closest thing The Lone Gunmen has to a normal hero, someone we can understand and with whom we can empathize. But it’s a little more serious than some of us might have hoped, and really doesn’t depart too far from an investigation that Mulder and Scully would make.

The new series boasts some excellent stunts and special effects, however, ones that are much bigger and showier than The X-Files has ever attempted. The opening sequence particularly sticks in the memory, owing a debt to the first recent Mission: Impossible film, though the plane scenes are spectacular too. There are several comic plot twists that would rarely happen to FBI agents, and the introduction of the mysterious Yves is a lot of fun. Minus points, however, for the cheesy “Let’s write some news!” ending.

Also reviewed in this issue: Bond, Jimmy Bond and Eine Kleine Frohike,
the two subsequent Lone Gunmen episodes

Bride and Gloom / Just Harried Rating: 6 & 7
Episodes C13, C15 First aired: 8 & 22 February 2001, WB Reviewed by
Paul Spragg
Weddings and Witches

Piper and Leo - but are they whitelighter and wife?Bride and Gloom is a slight step forward, although a rather misleading one. From the title and the upcoming nuptials of Leo and Piper, you could be forgiven for thinking the big day has arrived. But no, Prue is kidnapped by a warlock so she can be married to him, thereby turning her sisters and the Book of Shadows evil as well as herself.

It’s a curious tale; the villains are very one-dimensional and once again the Cole-related parallel plotting about the nature of evil is too obvious. However, when the sisters switch to the Dark Side, they do come up with some decidedly unpleasant ideas, using their powers to harm and kill friends and enemies alike. It’s a shame that there’s too easy a reset button at the end, but this darker take on the show is certainly interesting.

Later, the big day really has arrived in Just Harried, and it’s a big reunion show as Piper and Leo get hitched. Of course, Prue’s astral self takes its chance to be free and rides off into the sunset with a tough-looking biker. After all Piper and Leo have been through, you’d think the writers would have allowed their wedding day to go off with no troubles. What’s especially galling, though, is that it’s Prue who subconsciously wrecks everything, something that seems very out of character for her. This strand isn’t very successfully dealt with, but it’s made up for by the sub-plot about Piper’s attitude to her wedding being ruined, in which her parents are reunited one last time to put things to rights.

The final wedding sequence is just on the right side of sentimentality, with enough sweet touches to make you go ‘Aaaah’ without needing to reach for a sick bucket.

Also reviewed in this issue: Wrestling with Demons (C12); The Good, the Bad and the Cursed (C14); Death Takes a Halliwell (C16).
selected from TV Zone #139
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