selected from TV Zone #121

Featured reviews below are the Simpsons' Greatest Hits on video and a deviating Star Trek: Voyager book. ... for reviews of the season premières of Buffy and Earth: Final Conflict, go to our special bonus reviews page

Also reviewed in this issue: 12 - yes, a full dozen - cult tv season premières from the US, featuring Angel • Buffy • Charmed • Earth: Final Conflict • Futurama • GvsE • Harsh Realm • Hercules • Relic Hunter • Roswell • Voyager and Xena

Plus the latest books, videos or games for:
Doctor Who • Scooby Doo • Animaniacs • E:FC and Joanna Lumley!


Yes, excellent...
Gil Gerard is Buck Rogers. Well, he was...

Here’s how it usually works. You find one of The Simpsons best episodes and then find three other episodes that match choice thematically. You’re guaranteed one superlative episode and a representative sample of episodes from the rest of the series.

The Simpson’s Greatest Hits, however, forgoes this method, presenting the first, 100th, 200th and highest rated episode. A novelty for sure, but can we be assured the same level of comedy; the same insight in to everyone’s favourite quirky yellow family?

Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire starts things quite strongly, with highlights from the whole family. Lisa getting one over on Patty and Selma; Bart despite his trademark misbehaviour, trying to please his parents; and most notably Homer, securing a happy Christmas for the Simpsons through a combination of determination and stupidity. As with the other episodes (and perhaps the series in general) Marge has less to do, but we’ll never tire of her finding things in her hair.

Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadasssss Song, Trash of the Titans and Bart Gets an F all see regular characters trying to extend themselves beyond their usual limits. Trash… supplies the finest moment of the tape as Mr Burns gets to tell U2 what he thinks of them. And bonus episode Lisa’s First Word, wraps things up on a pleasingly sentimental note, with riotous flashbacks to Bart and Grandpa’s past.

Fox Video
Cert 12
UK Price: £14.99 – out now
Reviewed by Richard Atkinson
selected from TV Zone #121

The series’ landmark episodes are never self-indulgent or, for that matter, particularly celebratory, resulting in a collection that’s as good as any random selection of episodes. A testament to the continued quality of the series over the years.



For a series where characterization has recently been defined by how quickly you speak Technobabble™, to get a story as strong as Equinox is, to say the least, unexpected. Voyager comes to the aid of stricken Starfleet vessel Equinox, discovered in the Delta Quadrant seemingly under unprovoked attack. However, no sooner have they carried out a rescue than Captain Kathy and Co become involved in the terrible decision made by Equinox’s captain Ransom; a decision which might spell disaster for both ships.

If Diane Carey’s adaptation has anything going for it at all, it’s in being based on an excellent character-driven story which would be hard to ruin. Though in fairness, she has a good try. For a writer with so many books to her name, you might expect a vague ability with the English language, rather than a speed-written heap of mixed metaphors and skewed descriptions for which the literary term ‘utter gibberish’ is often applied. Witness: “She had fought to her last straw, and even that had finally cracked” or “hoping to crinkle the ice a little more with Ransom”. And always be wary of books where they spell the sound effects for you.

The book’s most significant deviation from the screened story is in removing episode one’s mystery regarding what the Equinox crew have done. It means Janeway’s discovery is of something we already know and makes the first half of the book a very slow read, though if you can handle a complete lack of tension then it allows a better insight into both Ransom and Janeway’s thinking and makes more of this Heart of Darkness retelling.

So what do we learn from the events of Equinox? Firstly, that it’s good to talk. And secondly, never throw your dinner party entertainers into your warp core.

Written by Diane Carey
Reviewed by Ian Atkins
Simon & Schuster Books
Price: £5.99 UK – out now
ISBN: 0 671 04295 5
selected from TV Zone #121

Sadly, these lessons were already taught in the television version, and this book adds nothing more. Actually calling Equinox a novel (as the cover does) surely violates some kind of trading standard, and if it doesn’t then it insults the great (by this standard) novelists, such as Campbell, Collins and Trump.

© Visual Imagination Ltd 1999. Not for reproduction
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