Strange Transmissions
Warning! Major spoiler alert for readers outside the USA or Canada.
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Xposé #38
GvsE – Season One
1: Orange Volvo
Written and directed by Josh and Jonas Pate
USA Network • July 18 1999

5-star rating

The word ‘contradiction’ was made for this show.

Henry and Chandler Smythe, agents of GvsEChandler Smythe, an everyday reporter gets murdered by demons and is promptly signed up by the heavenly ‘Corps’, who crusade against the evil forces of Faustians (those who have sold their soul to the Devil) and Morlocks (evil demons with gammy teeth). I say contradiction because in essence it’s a really, really awful show, but that is the sweetest part. The familiar plot is hammered into you within the first 10 minutes, the production values are lower than your average cable access show and some of the acting is straight out of the kind of soap opera you only get in the middle of the day when everyone’s at work.

However as the plot develops you realize that as this show has no state of the art SFX to fall back on, its only way of survival is through excellent dialogue and an indescribable cool factor which just leaves you gagging for more. In a sense it’s actually immune from criticism!

Be open mouthed at the sheer ludicrousness of the concept, laugh at the obviously fake back screen projection and fall out of your chair while watching the funkiest opening titles ever!

Grant Kempster

SLIDERS – Season Five
4: The Great Work
Written by Robert Masello • Directed by Reza Badiyi
Sci-Fi Channel • July 9 1999

3_star rating

What's that noise? wonder Kari Wuhrer and Cleavant DerricksIt’s a simple idea for a story. On a war-ravaged parallel Earth, civilization has fallen. Keeping a record of this once-great society has become the task of an order of monks, who live out their quiet life on a small island. But when this Great Work is threatened by attacking raiders, it’s up to Diana to invent a new means of storing data – before it falls into the wrong hands.

There’s a gentle, somber tone to this hour that initially seems very appealing. The cast all underplay their roles and The Great Work seems less flashy, more performance-oriented than recent episodes of Sliders. Sadly, it all goes nowhere – Robert Masello keeps things simple, but runs out of ideas as the seemingly secret menace behind the monks’ society gives way to ratings- friendly fight sequences.

There are some highpoints: Robert Floyd’s comic aptitude comes to the fore, Tembi Locke (interviewed in this issue - Web ed.) is able to make Diana more gutsy and guest star Rob Youngblood (Space Precinct) is fine as Maggie’s duplicitous would-be love interest.

However, like the monks’ own detailed records, this story self-destructs and one is left with the distinct impression that The Great Work just couldn’t live up to its title.

Brian Barratt

Since last Fall, our STRANGE TRANSMISSIONS review section has been covering the latest seasons of: Buffy the Vampire Slayer • Earth: Final Conflict • Xena: Warrior Princess • Millennium • The Pretender • The X–Files • Seven Days • First Wave • The Crow: Stairway to Heaven • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys • Highlander: The Raven • Total Recall: 2070, and all the latest fantastic films...
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