Strange Transmissions
Warning! Major spoiler alert for readers outside the USA or Canada
selected from Xposé #32
HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS
Season Five
9: For Those of You • Written by Alex Kurtzman / Roberto Orci
Directed by Bruce Campbell • Syndicated January 4 1999
5-star rating

The real HerculesOne of the most endearing qualities about Hercules: The Legendary Journeys is its ability to poke fun at itself. Last season we got the classic episode Yes Virginia, There is a Hercules.

This season, we get the equally entertaining sequel. Directed by Bruce Campbell, this episode returns to the lives of the writers and producers of Hercules. Just as in Yes Virginia, Kevin Sorbo struggles to conceal the fact that he really is Hercules while the rest of the staff struggles to come up with a new season of the television show.

If you like your Hercules stories straight, you’ll enjoy Sorbo’s recap of this season to date. Of course, if you have come to this episode for a laugh, you’ll be more than satisfied. Kevin Smith and Bruce Campbell really shine in this episode. Kevin’s over-the-top portrayal of writer Jerry Patrick Brown and his interaction with himself as Ares is wonderful. Bruce Campbell deserves credit for taking his career into his own hands with his portrayal of executive producer Robert Tapert. Add to that Campbell’s simultaneous directing duties, and you have a total package well worth mentioning. Campbell continues to make a name for himself here.

Sandy Clark

FIRST WAVE • Season One
1: Subject 117 • Written by Chris Brancato
Directed by Brenton Spencer • Sci-Fi Channel (March TBC)
4-star rating

Subject 117 defines the premise of First Wave, but strangely is not indicative of the type of stories that will follow. As a prologue, it is highly effective, with Brancato’s tight script complemented by some stark, quite realistic direction.

First Wave, first episodeEssentially this is an exercise in paranoia: Cade Foster (Sebastian Spence) is a security expert who suffers from bizarre visions. When he loses his job, his house is broken into, and his bank account is wiped clean, the trail leads to detective Samuel Hitchins – the man in his hallucinations – who kills himself as Cade arrives.

Clues lead on to a millionaire in a psychiatric hospital who believes the truth lies in the Book of Nostradamus, and an address where 117 human test subjects are catalogued. When his wife is killed, Cade is blamed for her death, is committed to the psychiatric institute… and escapes to expose the alien invasion.

Told in flashback, this is a lively tale occasionally let down by the odd illogical plot point. Why, for instance, would the aliens hide the surveillance camera in Cade’s shower of all places? And why do they keep all their test subject files as large posters in an open office where they can be discovered? But if you can forgive these minor grievances, it’s certainly an enjoyable ride.

Brian Barratt

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