Hugh's TV Page

Let me say right up front: I think even the best TV is almost entirely a waste of time; but what can I say--I'm weak. I succumb to a few shows which I think are really cool:

Babylon 5 is the only TV show I can comfortably call "science fiction". The only other remotely comparable show is Deep Space 9, although B5's writing and direction is far superior. Set on a kind of U.N./Mos Eisley Spaceport near a hyperspace junction in neutral space, it has a rather complex story line which until recently involved the conflicts and alliances between humans and their former enemies the Minbari, the Centauri and their former slave race the Narn, the hyper-advanced Vorlons, and the sinister threat of the Shadows which unified many of them. Now the Shadow War is over and the First Ones have all left the galaxy, but the younger races still have too many problems, intrigues, and conflicts to even mention. If you're a sci-fi fan, don't miss out on this. Although the show is currently concluding, TNT has picked it up in syndication. There's no excuse not to catch up on the greatest sci-fi ever to grace a cathode ray tube.

Though it's not as good as Babylon 5, it's still a great show. Set on a space station near a hyperspace wormhole, the show centers around conflicts between the Federation Of Planets, the Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians, Bajorans, and the new threat: the Founders and their Dominion warriors.

I never would have checked out this show except that it's broadcast right after Babylon 5. I figured that it would be dumb humor designed to appeal to kids, but I couldn't have been more wrong. MAD TV does what Saturday Night Live did about 15-20 years ago: pushing the envelope with risque satire and contemporary humor. Bottom line: This show is funny as hell!!

I know, I know...silly, stupid, insipid crap, right? Right. Hey, you say that like it's a bad thing! Honestly, though, you gotta love the show. It's primary saving graces are 1) It doesn't take itself in the least bit seriously. It's a romp. 2) Kevin Sorbo is perfect for the role. He's so understated that he somehow pulls it off; he's a combination of wholesome midwestern mother's son and mellow California surfer. Hercules just wants to help people and see his mom when he has the time, but somehow he ends up fighting demons, monsters, and minions of Hera on a daily basis, along with hordes of guys dressed in various bits of leather, bone, and metal. Now THAT'S entertainment.

It was hard enough trying to justify liking Hercules; I have no excuse here. Xena is a Hercules spinoff, and has the same outlandish pseudomythological style. Believe it or not, they manage to make it even sillier than Hercules, and damn near as fun to watch. Check it out!


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