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 Pilot
LEXX's bizarre adventures, now re-commencing on DVD
and Charmed offers mixed blessings in Bride and Gloom

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The Year of Intelligent Tigers Rating: 9
BBC Books Price: £5.99
ISBN: 0 563 53831 7
Written by Kate Orman
Out: 4 June 2001
Reviewed by
Neil Corry
The Doctor has the solution to everyone’s problems but no one will listen

Year of Intelligent Tigers - order this at AmazonMonsters in Doctor Who rarely come in the guise of anything else other than utterly evil and would-be dominators of the Earth/galaxy/universe and they tend to reflect some kind of preoccupation with the darker side of human nature, Nazism with the Daleks, cybernetics with the Cybermen, etc. All fine and good but no matter how non-human the creatures at first appear, there is almost an automatic response in discovering how human these monsters once were. For instance, the green-tentacled ‘bubbling lumps of hate’, the Daleks, are mutations of humanoids, the cold-hearted Cybermen are still recognizably human despite their mechanical ‘improvements’.

Kate Orman plays with this notion when the Doctor and company arrive on a planet that is almost a paradise, colonized by a variety of aliens but one where its most prominent indigenous species resemble Terran tigers, except these ones aren’t as friendly nor as docile as they first appear… Well, the title does give it away a little.

Orman is rightly famous for putting the series’ hero through the wringer more than once within 90,000 words; The Year of Intelligent Tigers is no exception, but it does have the marvellous twist that the Doctor has the solution to everyone’s problems but no one, not even his companions, to a great extent, is prepared to listen to him when the tigers brutally begin to kill colonists and tolerate no resistance. So the Doctor sides with the villains…

Beside a slight dip in pace at the end of the first third of the book, Orman keeps the pace rattling along, and the reader guessing what will happen and why the tigers are intelligent. The narrative, as is usual for Orman, opens with the Doctor and his team already established within this strange world that, cliché that it is, comes alive on the page. Best of all are the tigers themselves, an alien species that is allowed the luxury to be thoroughly developed alongside the story, and a race that mixes tragedy with horror that only Orman seems to bring to the range. Here’s a book where you won’t necessarily be rooting for the ‘good guys’ to win…

Volume 1.1 Rating: 8
Contender DVD 2 Discs, out: 30 April. Reviewed by
Richard Preston
Order this from Blackstar

LEXX DVDThis box set, of the first two of four films tv that comprise Season One, introduces us to all the main characters and their situations which take them on board LEXX, the deadliest ship in the Universe. The bizarre series surrounds itself with prophecies and mysterious religions, creating a dark and gruelling series of adventures. But it doesn’t end there; its black humour makes the show what it is, sexy and, at times, lurid. I Worship his Shadow, introduces us to the regular characters Zev, Stan, Kai and 790 while Supernova propels us further into this strange continuum.

You get a lot of LEXX for your money but there aren’t many extras to note, just two informative, if quick, documentaries from the haphazard creators debunking a few myths about the show. But in the end it’s LEXX you’ve come for and it’s LEXX you’re going to get. To call it surreal would be missing the point; it’s refreshing, complex, and riveting. The way all Sci-Fi should be.

selected from TV Zone #139
© Visual Imagination Ltd 2001. Not for reproduction
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