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Feature: Review of 2003

Another year gone...

TV Zone takes its annual look back over the last year of Cult Television – the highs and the lows.

January
The early part of the year was dominated by silly stories about how much UPN and others would be willing to pay Sarah Michelle Gellar for an eighth season, but even at this stage it looked as though this would be the last year of Buffy. Also included in Sky One’s new season was Season Four of Angel and Season Two of Enterprise, while Channel 4’s satellite channel E4 was beginning the second season of Smallville.
In the US, Charmed had reached the milestone of its 100th episode on The WB, and all the big shows were thundering on past the mid-point of their seasons. Joss Whedon’s new series, Firefly, was not as expected among them, having been cancelled mid-season towards the end of December. News of that cancellation, and that of WB’s companion piece to Smallville, the Batman-inspired Birds of Prey, filtered to the UK by the start of the year. All in all, it was a busy time to be watching Sci-Fi TV in the UK, especially with BBC2 leading the world with its broadcasts of the second half of Farscape’s fourth and final year.

February
Sarah Michelle Gellar’s unwillingness to commit to an eighth year of Buffy The Vampire Slayer was again the main stream of gossip in February, after she had given an authoritative no to Howard Stern on his radio show when asked directly whether Season Eight would happen.
More interesting was what was going on on-screen in the most popular shows. Angel saw some of its best episodes yet with a run of episodes in which Angelus, the demonic side of Angel held in check only by his soul, was let loose on Los Angeles. Sexy stuff in itself, this was made all the more so by the addition of Eliza Dushku’s jailed vampire slayer Faith to the show’s cast for several episodes. Enterprise was showing something of a social conscience with a story about T’Pol suffering from a disease that carried the stigma that AIDS does in modern America. In a nice touch, Christopher Reeve was guest starring in Smallville as an astronomer who helps Clark learn about his homeworld. On Sky One, Stargate SG-1 reached the end of its sixth season. Many expected it to be its final hurrah, only for the show to be renewed at the last gasp.

by Gareth Wigmore

Find out what happened for the rest of the year, as well as the TV Zone's awards and year's highlights in
TV Zone Special #54

Image © Visual Imagination Ltd
Feature © Visual Imagination 2003. Not for reproduction

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TV Zone Special #54, see below for ordering options
TV Zone Special #54
Yearbook (2003-04) 2003
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