Strange Transmissions  

5-star rating EXCELLENT4-star ratingRECOMMENDED 3-star ratingGOOD 2-star ratingPOOR 1-star ratingDIABOLICAL
Warning! Probable spoilers ahead for readers outside the USA or Canada.

selected from
Xposé #43
The Others review here
JACK OF ALL TRADES – Season One
1: Return of the Dragoon • Written by Eric Morris
Directed by Josh Becker • Syndicated January 17 2000
5-star rating (excellent)

He was going to knock... Bruce Campbell as Jack StilesJack Stiles is a dashing secret agent with an eye for the ladies, but when he is sent to a remote outpost to hold off Napoleon’s forces, he must find a way to adapt to his surroundings. Where (the same production house's other new half-hour series) Cleopatra 2525 is essentially serious with comic touches, Jack of All Trades plays it for laughs from the start. Opening with Stiles bursting through a door with the line, “I was going to knock, but my fist had other ideas,” you know where you are from the outset.

It’s clearly way past time Bruce Campbell had his own series; you only have to witness his performances as Autolycus in Hercules and Xena, and he was born to play Jack Stiles. He’s immensely likeable, dashing, heroic and always planning his next move.

Angela Dotchin as Jack's contact, Emilia RothschildHis contact and working partner, Emilia Rothschild, is also beautifully played by Angela Dotchin, starting out rather standoffish but mellowing as the episode goes on. She and Campbell also have a superb on-screen chemistry. As to the rest, the script is extremely funny, the scenery truly impressive and although period detail goes out of the window with Emilia’s bikini, it’s no worse than half the things Hercules brought to the Ancient World. And the French accents are laughable, but you’re left with the impression that it’s wholly intentional. More!

Paul Spragg

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This Winter, our STRANGE TRANSMISSIONS review section is covering the new seasons of: Buffy the Vampire Slayer • Earth: Final Conflict • Xena: Warrior Princess • The Pretender • Charmed • The X–Files • Seven Days • Stargate SG-1 plus the début seasons of Angel • Roswell • Now and Again • GvsE, and all the latest fantastic films...
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THE OTHERS – Season One
1: Pilot • Written by John Brancato and Mike Ferris
Directed by Mick Garris • NBC February 5 2000
4-star rating (recommended)

Meet Marian Kitt (Julianne Nicholson), an ordinary college kid awakened in her dorm by the sound of crying. She follows the sound to the bathroom, where a rotting, ghostly figure leaps from the water…

Gabriel Macht as The Others' Mark Gabriel. Spooky!This event brings Marian into contact with The Others, an eclectic group of ordinary people with extrasensory skills. A year ago a young woman committed suicide in the dorm: could it be she is now reaching out to the sensitive girl from beyond? To reveal more ruins the surprises metered out by this brilliantly-conceived chiller that lies somewhere between The X-Files and The Sixth Sense. Brisk, efficient and effective, the first episode introduces the large line-up of clearly delineated regular characters, each one played entirely straight by a talented cast.

There are countless memorable and defining moments – the ghostly subway, Marian’s dance with the dead, a house haunted by a fiery spirit – and plenty of red herrings pepper both the A and B plots, which ultimately conclude as very touching stories of loss and regret. TV networks are notorious for canceling fantasy series before they can establish an audience. Let’s hope that fate will not befall a quality production like this.

Brian Barratt

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Images © NBC, Studios USA / Renaissance
Reviews © Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction.
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