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 #48
Roswell finale review here
FIRST WAVE – Season Two
13: Normal, Illinois • Written by Peter Elkoff
Directed by Stein Myhrstad • The Sci-Fi Channel July 16 2000
4-star rating (Recommended)
Episodes 9 – 16 individually reviewed in this issue

When a teenage kid dies of what appears to be a massive electric shock to the brain, Cade is directed by e-mail from a believer to the town of Normal in Illinois. There’s actually been plenty of thought put into this episode, and although it starts off looking like another sex-filled story, there’s actually a point at the end of this one.

Sebastian Spence stars in First WaveSimilarly to last season’s Cul-de-Sac, a place that outwardly appears normal (presumably hence the name) turns out to be a hotbed of alien activity, but there’s far more going on than Cade is aware of. Without a quatrain to lead him in the right direction, Cade is much more on his own than usual, and he manages to acquire friends and enemies in unlikely places, especially towards the end when the out-of-character actions of some of those involved are explained and everything starts to make sense.

The reason behind the experiments is a great twist on the established formula and for those paying close attention from the start, all the clues are there for the intelligent viewer to work out what’s happening. Plus when the kid who’s been helping Cade is put through the experiment, we get to see just how unpleasant it is up close and personal. A strong addition to the series, not to mention a scary piece of science fiction.

Paul Spragg


Since Fall 1999, our STRANGE TRANSMISSIONS review section has been covering the 1999–2000 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 • Jack of all Trades and The Others, not forgetting all the latest fantastic films...

What will Xposé be covering during 2000-01? Find out here soon!

ROSWELL – Season One
22: Destiny • Written by Toni Graphia and Jason Katims
Directed by Patrick Norris • WB May 15 2000
4-star rating (Recommended)
Episodes 20 – 22 individually reviewed in this issue

Shiri Appleby and Jason Behr: take coverIf you’re writing a season finale these days, you have to kill off a regular character, finish on a spectacular cliffhanger and, while you’re at it, work in an unlikely guest star at the last minute. Delivering all of this, Destiny gives the producers of Roswell an opportunity to go in a very different direction in season two. Current genre favorite Buffy The Vampire Slayer makes a virtue of this – introducing new themes and new characters on a yearly basis, keeping the series fresh.

On a less positive note, however, the truth behind the aliens’ presence on Earth smacks of Lois & Clark’s execrable fourth season opener.

Still: it could work. The only major problem being that Roswell is quite parochial. It may feature a few aliens, but this season the action has centered on the small New Mexico town; on a small group of teenagers and their day-to-day lives. Now, a much more powerful global menace has been unleashed. It offers the chance of excitement on a grander scale and more of the series’ trademark paranoia, but it may spoil the tone.

It would be a shame for Roswell to lose its Dawson’s Creek trappings. Nevertheless, the increased attention on aliens is welcome. And this episode does a good job of tying up this year’s loose ends and opening up new avenues for the second series in the fall.

Clement K Strobe

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Reviews © Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction.
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