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reviews • television

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guide to the reviews
TV Zone intends to review television episodes as soon after their US broadcast as possible. As such, the reviews are liable to contain plot spoilers (the plot synopses are in purple below). Episodes and merchandise are given a mark out of 10 by our reviewers. If you don’t agree with the mark, why not write in and tell us so? Episodes are coded by season and episode, eg E8 is the eighth episode of Season Five. The date following episode titles is the first run broadcast in the US, unless stated.

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This month's selections: Smallville's series premiere • Dark Angel's year two launch • a top-ranking Doctor Who novel • and Randall & Hopkirk on DVD

Smallville
smallville
season one, The WB
Reviewed by
Gary Gillatt
A1 PILOT
(tx: 16 October 2001)

1989: A frenzy of meteors thud into the sleepy hamlet of Smallville, Kansas. Toddler Lana Lang sees her parents flattened by one of the alien rocks. Lex Luthor, nine-year-old heir to a business empire, is shorn of his hair in a blast. Childless couple Jonathan and Martha Kent find their most fervent wish fulfilled as a baby boy crawls from the smoke. Twelve years later, teenage Clark Kent is stuggling with inexplicable powers and his love for Lana, and the now-adult Lex returns to Smallville…

As messianic allegories go, Superman is the best. The biblical grounding of the story certainly hasn’t passed unnoticed by Smallville’s producers, as this first episode offers not only a modern version of the Temptation – with a jeep standing in for ‘all the kingdoms of the world’ – but also a casual crucifixion for Clark.

The joy of Smallville is that the viewer comes to the town with so much foreknowledge. So as Clark saves the life of, and then befriends, Lex Luthor, you tingle down to your toes from the grim certainty of tragedies ahead. And when we see Lana wearing a glowing green crystal on her necklace, we instantly recognize it as Kyptonite; although it might just as well be forged from purest ‘Plot’, so predictably does the possession of this famous McGuffin allow characters to take charge of the storyline.

One to watch. 7

Dark Angel Jessica Alba
dark angel
season two, FOX
Reviewed by
Paul Spragg
B1 DESIGNATE THIS
(tx: 28 September 2001)

Max attempts to break out of Project Manticore, coming across some surprising denizens of the secret project, while Madame X sets her sights on Eyes Only, determined to kill him for his interference in Manticore business. The results are literally explosive…

A fine start to the new season as things move on apace from last season’s cliffhanger, which saw Max captured by Manticore and thought dead by Logan. It’s surprising how far the episode goes, closing off old plotlines and kicking off some new ones, giving the series a renewed lease of life and an intriguing new premise.

With several unexpected twists in the tale, particularly in the last 10 minutes when Logan and Max hit a major obstacle in their relationship, this season seems to have far more potential than the last, especially with the introduction of several new characters. 9

Also reviewed in this issue: angel C1 Heartthrob • enterprise A1/2 Broken Bow, in-depthfarscape C12 Meltdown - C18 Fractures inclusivelexx D5 Xevivor - D8 Vlad inclusivemutant x A1 Shock of the New • stargate sg-1 E4 The Fifth Man – E9 Between Two Fires inclusive • plus BBC2's Star Trek Night
selected from TV Zone #144
© Visual Imagination Ltd 2001. Not for reproduction