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Australian TV News
First Half, 2002


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16th June, 2002

This site will be sadly unattended until late August or September. Although it's impossible to accurately predict free-to-air scheduling so far in advance, it seems a safe bet that many first-run series will have terminated their current seasons by this time, and the various networks will be starting their second-tier series.

As for Foxtel, predictions for TV1 may be found in an earlier update and should be reasonably accurate. Predictions for Fox Kids should also be accurate, save the possibility of unanticipated pre-emptions. In this update, immediately below, I'll try to make some predictions about FOX8. Unfortunately, I've found it impossible to get any reliable information from the channel itself, so keep a sharp eye on your Foxtel Guide and the website.

FOX8 in July and August

Looks like Futurama will start stripping, weekdays at 7:30am, from the 1st July, making for an excellent morning line-up!

In July, The Pretender's Monday timeslot moves to Wednesdays, still at 9:30pm, to join Buffy and Angel.

On Wednesday, 3rd July, the weekday Buffy strip gains a repeat timeslot at 12:15am.

On Monday, 8th July, FOX8 regains the rights to the first two seasons of The Simpsons and starts playing them weekdays, five episodes a day, from 9:00am to 11:00am.

Earth: Final Conflict completes Season Three on the 21st July. I don't know if it will move on to Season Four, restart Season Three, or surrender its timeslot to another series the following week.

Similarly, The X-Files completes Season Eight on Monday, 29th July; I don't know what will happen in this timeslot subsequently.

The Buffy strip will probably complete Season Three on Monday, 5th August. I don't know if Season Four is available for stripping.

Dharma & Greg completes Season Four on Thursday, 8th August.

Dark Angel completes Season One on Monday, 12th August.

I wish I had more information to give you. Apart from keeping an eye on your Foxtel Guides, the Foxtel science fiction schedules on GEOS should be maintained while I'm away, though the site has been having trouble with its server in recent times (please be patient).

Don't worry, I'll be back before you know it. In the meantime, happy viewing!



7th June, 2002

The Glass House is on ten minutes earlier tonight, at 10:00pm. On Wednesday, Nine is televising the cricket from Colonial Stadium in its entirety, even in Melbourne (cool), with Enterprise following immediately afterward (ostensibly at 10:15pm, but it's unlikely to be exactly on time). Millennium continues on Seven next Thurdsay just before midnight.

TV1 in July and August

Since I'm going to be unable to update the website for some time, soon, here's some information about various shows on TV1 in July, August and beyond. All of this is basically confirmed, though there's always a chance of last-minute variations.

Saturday's Sci-Fi Sector will continue much as it is now, however, the 5th season of Star Trek: The Next Generation premieres on TV1 on the 27th July. The following week, the 3rd nominal season of Star Trek: Voyager will commence on the 3rd August, unfortunately truncating the last few episodes of Season Two (but we've already seen these a few times on TV1, so no big deal).

More tumultuous are the changes coming to the weekday (well, Monday to Thursday) Sci-Fi Sector. Starting on Monday, 1st July, there will be three timeslots each day: at 11:00pm, around 11:50pm (a strip), and at 12:35am. The only repeats worth speaking of, as far as I'm aware, are Xena at 4:20am (first airs at 7:30pm) and Stargate SG-1 on Fridays at 7:30pm. The complete line-up looks like this:


MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursday
11:00pmSeaquest: DSVThe Outer LimitsLexx (Season 1)Stargate SG-1
11:50pmThunderbirds,
Star Trek (Season 3) from 11/7,
Star Trek: TNG (Season 4) from 22/8
12:35amBabylon 5SlidersStarhunterTotal Recall 2070

You'll note that Seaquest: DSV and The Outer Limits are new-comers to TV1, as is Season One (and Two) of Lexx (though these episodes aired previously on arena and Seven). Thunderbirds will run in the strip timeslot until Season Three of Star Trek: The Original Series takes over on Thursday, 11th July, to be later supplanted by Star Trek: The Next Generation Season Four (though they'll start with the last episode of Season Three to keep the two-parter together) from Thursday, 22nd August.

Not a bad line-up!



30th May, 2002

My June Foxtel Guide came in a couple of days ago, but before I get to that...

Just a couple of FTA things to note for the coming week. First, Seven is bringing back Dharma & Greg, new episodes (following on from last season's cliff-hanger) starting this Sunday at 8:00pm. Nine is pre-empting Sex and the City on Monday and delaying Enterprise on Wednesday until 12:40am (at least in Melbourne), but there's so many repeat episodes being aired (on Ten as well as Nine) that you could be forgiven for thinking the entire week's programming has been pre-empted. Needless to say, inserting repeat episodes in a first-run timeslot is not a practice I'm in favour of.

A quick plug for someone I once met: next week's episode of E.R. (Nine, Thursday at 8:30pm) features a fencing duel choreographed by Roberta Brown, a very friendly and skilled swordmistress with a tentative Highlander connection (she worked with some of the stars of the series on their next project). She also did the fencing choreography in the recent movie, Charlie's Angels (premieres 1st June on Showtime). From all reports, it's both cleverly inserted in the plot and very well executed, though sadly cut down from its original length. Worth a look, anyway.

"The Green Guide" last week had an article about the US buying season, and it looks like pickings are pretty slim for next year. According to my own tastes, Joss Whedon's Firefly is the only series of any interest, but I'm not alone in observing a dearth of good, new material. Seems like we're in for a lot of imported repeats and local product next year.

Foxtel in June

FOX8: It turns out FOX8 are going straight on into Season Four of Two Guys and a Girl (tonight, actually). I guess Seven's given up on the show. FOX8 will also be stripping this series, 8:30am weekdays, from Monday, 10th June.

Earth: Final Conflict has a traumatic month in store, though it makes it through without a single pre-emption. Rather, the timeslot will move back to 1:00am on the nights of Saturday the 8th and 15th, then forward to midnight on the 22nd and 29th. The Pretender is similarly dragged back and forth.

On Sunday, 9th June, FOX8 gets sexy with a Sex and the City marathon from 8:30pm, immediately after The Simpsons. A good chance to catch up on any episodes you might have missed. The early-morning repeat timeslots will hence all be pre-empted, but the preceding Simpsons episode will be the first of Season Twelve (Hallowe'en episode) as the timeslot starts the season over.

Then, on the 19th June, Buffy's back, with the return of Buffy Season Five at 7:30pm (repeated 5:00am) and the first run on Foxtel of Angel Season Two at 8:30pm -- a nice, Wednesday double.

TV1: Lots of movement here, particulary amongst repeat timeslots. First up, starting this Saturday, all the Star Trek repeat times move forward; by allocating only 50 minutes per episode, the four Treks plus Lexx will fit between 1:20am and 5:30am. On Monday, Babylon 5's repeat timeslot also moves, the series now airing at 11:00pm and 4:15am.

The following weekend -- starting Friday, 2nd June and running through to Monday -- Frasier-Mania pre-empts the entire Space Cadets block and Xena, too. But, after using Babylon 5 as occasional, early morning filler, we're back to normal by the time its regular timeslot rocks around at 11:00pm. The week after, on the 17th, Xena loses its lunch-time repeat, but rediscovers the early morning, subsequently airing at 7:30pm and 12:35am.

The really big news is the arrival of Stargate SG-1, 11:00pm Thursdays and 7:30pm Fridays from the 13th June! That's quite a coup, in my book. Total Recall 2070 is naturally pushed back a bit, to 12:35am Thursday nights, but it's a price I'm happy to pay.

Fox Kids: Farscape finally disappears this weekend, though there's rumours of Season Two making an appearance before the end of the year. Meanwhile, Hercules is rejigged a bit, appearing 5:00pm both Saturday and Sunday, two episodes a week. If you were watching the Friday timeslot, like I was, we'll be caught up on the 29th June, and looking for a new season by the end of August. All of this is caused by a major shake-up of the 6:00pm to 8:30pm timeslots, including transfer acquisitions from FOX8 (The Hughleys and Seventh Heaven).

thecomedychannel: If you missed it on the ABC and you've a strong consititution for the bizarre and pseudo-offensive, you'll be pleased to see Da Ali G Show at 9:30am and 9:30pm Tuesdays from next week. This guy's a pretty amazing talent, but it's definitely Adults Only viewing.

Later in the month, on Wednesday, 26th June (9:00am and 9:00pm), The World Comedy Tour 2002, filmed on the Monday night after the end of this year's Melbourne Comedy Festival and featuring a number of acts flown in specially for the filming, is worth a look.

UK TV: Finally, a bit of a footnote: Saturday, 8th June's episode of Red Dwarf will be shown at the later time of 1:00am due to an Only Fools and Horses marathon.

Well, that's about it for June. Look out for more info on July and August in a couple of weeks' time. The plan is to collect as much information as I can by then, as I'll be unable to update the website until September thereafter. More on that later.



23rd May, 2002

This Sunday at 8:30pm, SBS will be showing the 2002 Eurovision Song Contest from Talinn (Estonia). Always a wacky night's viewing, SBS learned their lesson last year, so we'll be getting the hilarious, English commentary and no in-studio add-ons from SBS.

Next week on FTA, Enterprise is back on Wednesday night, but Millennium is pre-empted on Thursday.

Incidentally, the episodes of Red Dwarf that UK TV has been screening are actually the Remastered versions. Looks like the originals are gone for good.

Finally, looks like there's some changes due on Fox Kids in June. For starters, Hercules is going to twice a week, weekends at 5:00pm.



16th May, 2002

There's a lot of repeats on next week and I've no idea why. Frankly, I find the networks remarkably unfathomable at the moment. Oh, well -- here's what's happening:

The second episode of Will & Grace (Sunday, 7:30pm on Seven) will actually be the second episode of the first season (like I said, don't ask). Friends (Monday, 7:30pm on Nine) is airing a repeat, but only maybe -- it depends which TV guide you believe. It'll probably be a new episode, after all. We also get a repeat of The Simpsons (Wednesday, 7:30pm on Ten) -- at least an episode will air next week, after two weeks of pre-emptions. With Australian Survivor concluding last night, Nine's using up some of the hours of footage that haven't yet made it to our screens with Surviving Survivor at 9:30pm next Wednesday. Fortunately, that's about it, from where I'm sitting.

On Foxtel, don't forget Buffy starts stripping on Monday (4:00pm weekdays on FOX8), and the second play of Total Recall 2070 replaces Lexx next Thursday (11:00pm on TV1).



10th May, 2002

Enterprise is pre-empted next week, as is The Simpsons on Wednesday. The final episodes of Australian Survivor and Lexx Series IV will be airing. The ABC has a new, Australian comedy series (written by Gina Riley and Jane Turner), Kath and Kim, premiering next Thursday at 8:00pm (replacing Black Books).

On Foxtel, TV1 starts up Starhunter again in a new timeslot on Wednesday, 11:00pm. FOX8 starts up new streams of Dark Angel (1:00pm), Buffy (S4, 2:00pm) and Angel (S1, 3:00pm) on Saturday. thecomedychannel puts Sandra Bullock on the small screen in Working Girl, Sunday at 2:30pm. And there's some interesting documentaries on National Geographic Channel: Inca Mummies on Saturday (7:00pm, 5:00am & 4:00pm), and The Science of Sport: Cricket on Monday (8:30pm, 5:00am, 12:00pm & 5:00pm).

So, just a bunch of assorted bits and pieces.   :)



3rd May, 2002

Good news: Earth: Final Conflict remains on FOX8, moving to 12:30am on a Saturday night from tomorrow. This isn't apparent from the printed Foxtel Guide, but with FOX8 information being restored to the online Foxtel Guide, I can now confirm that change. Tomorrow night's episode featured sound problems throughout the last five minutes on its first airing; I've been assured these won't recurr. (So much for "rights issues.")

I can also confirm that we'll be seeing Buffy Season Four and Angel Season One on Saturday afternoons on FOX8 from the 11th May. So the cross-over two-parters will connect nicely.

A few addenda for Foxtel scheduling in May:

Starhunter gets a new stream on TV1, starting Wednesday, 15th May at 11:00pm from the first episode.

Total Recall 2070 likewise returns to TV1 at 11:00pm on Thursday, 23rd May, the week after Season Four of Lexx concludes in the same timeslot.

Star Trek: The Next Generation wraps its midnight strip on Wednesday, 15th May with the first episode of Season Four (to neatly wrap the Season Three cliff-hanger), and is subsequently replaced in this TV1 timeslot by Thunderbirds.

On Fox Kids, Hercules is pre-empted on Saturday, 18th May.

And UK TV starts its annual Top of the Pops "Year in Review" at 11:00pm, Tuesday, 28th May, stripping weekdays thereafter.



26th April, 2002

Tonight, The Glass House moves to the later time of 9:50pm (not sure if it's just for this week). The ABC's also showing a stand-up comedy medley from the just-ended Melbourne Comedy Festival. It's on Saturday night at 10:20pm, entitled Upfront 8. And on Tuesday night, the ABC screens the excellent, French, period, action movie, D'Artagnan's Daughter at 10:50pm.

Sunday, Seven's bringing back Will & Grace, with two new episodes from 7:30pm. A nice complement to arena stripping Season Two.

For Foxtel fans, May brings a plethora of changes, not all of them good. For now, I'll constrain myself to the first two weeks of May and allude to some later highlights.

FOX8: This Sunday (28th April), two episodes of Highlander: The Raven will air from 3:00pm, thereby finishing the season. The following week, neither Highlander series, nor The Pretender or Earth: Final Conflict will air. The Pretender will return on the 11th, preceded by Buffy (probably Season Four) and Angel (probably Season One -- happily in synch with the former). Sadly, Earth: Final Conflict disappears from our screens just one episode short of the one that experienced transmission problems in its first showing. I'm told the series is being pulled due to rights issues, but I find that hard to believe given the timing coincidence.

Season Five of Buffy wraps on the 7th May then surrenders its timeslot to the premiere of Felicity, Tuesdays at 7:30pm and 5:00am. But Buffy will be stripped at 4:00pm weekdays from the 20th May.

From Monday, 6th May, the X-Files strip (noon weekdays) gains a repeat timeslot at 1:00am. This stream wraps Season Seven and goes back to Season Three on Wednesday, 8th.

Finally, That 70s Show premieres on Thursday, 9th May at 7:30pm and 5:00am. Oh, and Party of Five wraps its ridiculous 5:00am timeslot on the 12th May.

TV1: Xena loses its 1:00am repeat timeslot at the same time it returns to the start of Season Three, on the 6th May. Starting that same day, the weekday Space Cadets timeslots return to 11:00pm, and Babylon 5 loses its 10:00am repeat (but hangs on to 4:30am). Voyager's Friday timeslot wraps at the end of the season, on the 10th May, but be aware of adjusted times on that day. It will initially be replaced by The Sci-Fi Files.

The arrival of the third season of Deep Space Nine on the 4th May heralds a timeslot switch with Voyager, the latter now at 10:30pm, the former at 9:30pm. Meanwhile, the original Star Trek, having played all 80 episodes, returns to the start of Season Three on the 11th May.

Finally, Mad About You not only moves into Season Two, it also gains an additional timeslot, Sundays at 5:30pm (repeated at 2:00am) joining the 5:30pm Saturday timeslot.

Other channels: arena will air Relativity on Wednesdays from the 1st May, at 9:30pm and 2:30pm. (This show used to air on FOX8.) The Will & Grace strip restarts Season Two on Friday, 3rd May.

thecomedychannel features a Lano & Woodley marathon on Sunday, 5th May, and premieres Working Girl (starring Sandra Bullock -- previously seen on FOX8) at 2:30pm on Sunday, 12th May.

More news next week.



18th April, 2002

Seven Melbourne has finally decided to air the remaining episodes from Season Three of Millennium. Depending which TV guide you believe, this starts tonight at 11:50pm with The Sound of Snow (3ABC12). The episode might also air in Perth, or perhaps not until next week. Since this is a low-priority programme, there's something of a dearth of information. It's ironic that FOX8 just finished their, most likely, last screening of these episodes.

The only other interesting thing to note is that Nine have been screening preview footage of the soon-to-be-released (16th May), new Star Wars movie at the end of their screenings of the previous episodes in the saga. This footage is available on the web at ForceNet, but look for more at the end of The Empire Strikes Back on Sunday night. If you're out, say at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, just set the VCR. :)



11th April, 2002

If you're interested in the history of the space race, Nine is airing the superb docudrama series about America's Apollo missions, From the Earth to the Moon, on Saturdays at 1:00pm. The show is a few years old, now, but then the subject matter is even older and the graphics are more than adequate (they're actually better than the movie, Apollo 13, which was the inspiration for this project). The series is presented by Tom Hanks, who was apparently involved in the financing, and although I wouldn't trust it for complete historical accuracy, it's a fascinating science-drama about the late 1960s and early 1970s. Well worth a look, especially the earlier episodes. Unfortunately, I didn't notice the first episode (of twelve), which aired last week.

Nine has also been airing a set of Star Wars documentaries, part of the package that came with the rights to air the movies, as Foxtel were also showing them. The next instalment is on Wednesday night at midnight. They're probably of more interest to fans than the general public, but they do feature some interesting interviews with George Lucas from time to time, which tend to explain some aspects of The Phantom Menace. In case you didn't know, the next movie, Attack of the Clones, premieres in cinemas on the 16th May. I've heard it's a better movie than Episode I.



5th April, 2002

Ratings are back on next week, so we're privileged to again experience new episodes of Friends, The Simpsons, Just Shoot Me! and probably other shows.

The big news for science fiction fans, though, is the long-delayed screening of another Babylon 5 movie on Nine, Sunday night from 12:25am. A Call to Arms is the last of the Babylon 5 movies (so far), so I get the feeling I might have missed Thirdspace (back in May 2000, apparently).

Next Thursday, Ten airs the 2002 Melbourne Comedy Festival Gala at 8:30pm. If you're into comedy, this is definitely worth a look. And if you're in Melbourne, it's always worth making the effort to get to a few shows. Start with the comedians you've heard of on TV, but don't be afraid to sample something new, either -- if you're not sure, the Hi-Fi Bar hosts a selection of comedians on most nights from 11:00pm. The Festival runs until the 21st April.



28th March, 2002

Next week on the Networks, Wednesday night features repeats on Ten, again, but Nine also joins the act on Monday, with a repeat of Friends and a second episode of Sex and the City (the first ep will be new, the second a repeat). On Wednesday, Enterprise is back to 10:30pm.

On Foxtel, a little info to add to yesterday's update: Fox Kids is running a special Robot Wars event in April and May at 7:30pm weekdays, but both Hercules and Farscape should return, Fridays and Tuesdays, respectively, in June.

Second, The Games, which has been stripping on thecomedychannel, terminates mid-2nd season and won't air in April. At least, that's what's printed in the April Foxtel Guide. I have a feeling there's still a chance the rest of the season will play at 11:30am, so stay tuned.



27th March, 2002

Armed with my April Foxtel Guide, I can now let you know what changes we're due for.

On FOX8, Boston Public premieres on Tuesday, 2nd April at 9:30pm. This is an excellent drama, well worth checking out if you missed it on Seven.

Millennium concludes Season Three over Easter and disappears from our screens, possibly forever. The timeslot is to be filled by The Simpsons at 1:00am and Futurama at 1:30am. These are repeat timeslots of the 6:00pm and 6:30pm screenings, and are particularly welcome in the case of Futurama (I always seem to be out on a Sunday night -- often, anyway).

On TV1, Mad About You returns on Saturday, 6th April at 5:30pm, mid-Season One.

Meanwhile, Sundays in April feature two Married With Children marathons on the 7th and 14th, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine marathons on the 21st and 28th (Seasons One and Two, respectively).

On Saturday the 27th, Deep Space Nine and Lexx are both pre-empted by a screening of 2001: A Space Odyssey at 10:30pm and 4:30am. The intervening timeslots are also slightly shifted.

The Friday timeslot of Hercules and the Tuesday timeslot of Farscape are both pre-empted on Fox Kids throughout April. And the Highlander strip on Fox Classics concludes the night of the 1st April.

Will & Grace returns to arena on the 1st April with Season Two, weekdays at 6:30pm, 11:30pm and 9:00am the next day.

On FX, Caroline in the City loses all but its 8:30am timeslot from Monday, 8th April.

Finally, eleven series come to the end of a season in May. I'm hoping to find out soon what will happen next in each of these timeslots; which season might fill the timeslot, or whether the timeslot might be lost entirely to another show. I'll post the information on this page as soon as I know.



21st March, 2002

The Oscars pre-empt Nine's Monday line-up next week from 7:30pm, but Enterprise is back on Wednesday, at the later time of 11:00pm. Less favour for Australian Survivor, which is pre-empted, presumably due to poor ratings. The same day, Ten is curiously showing repeat episodes of its premiere series. On second thoughts, perhaps not so strange: that must be the middle of Easter holidays, a time Ten traditionally reverts to repeats. Interesting that the other networks no longer follow suit.



14th March, 2002

Ten's screening an extra episode of The Simpsons this week, 7:30pm Saturday. They're also picking up the Foxtel show, Premiere, presumably to replace their now-defunct E! News. The format is similar, but Premiere is far less hyped -- good, solid entertainment news. That's 6:00pm Sunday.

On Nine, Friends isn't on next week, pre-empted by swimming, something that will continue all week. That also pushes Australian Survivor back a half hour and pre-empts Enterprise on Wednesday.



7th March, 2002

It was brought to my attention that my old address at Sofcom wasn't redirecting visitors correctly to my new location at Tripod. Hopefully that's been fixed now. I apologise for not checking this thoroughly, and welcome any new or newly returned visitors!

Xena is back on Ten for its final season, 1:00am Wednesday nights from the 13th. It's kind of lucky I caught that!

On FX, it seems Caroline in the City is retaining its 6:30pm weeknight timeslot, after all. I expect the other two timeslots in the strip are considered too isolated and the prime time instance has been kept due to popular demand.

If you have any doubts that summer is over, look no further than TV1, where the station watermark has returned to its normal form. Let's hope next year's summer promotion is less intrusive on the viewers!



1st March, 2002

A bit of extra news for the Foxtel in March update below, mostly related to FOX8. First, a rescreening of Dune isn't likely in the next couple of months, so it's worth making an effort tomorrow. Second, the reason Angel starts mid-season on Wednesday is so it will wrap at the same time as the current season of Buffy (which implies four or five pre-emptions of the latter).

You may have noticed that Thursday nights on FOX8 are running two or three minutes early, causing havoc with VCR settings. Apparently, the official allowable scheduling margin is three minutes on FOX8, so they're pushing this to the limit in this case. I've asked them to have a look at it, but comments to the Customer Service Centre are also worthwhile if this is affecting you.

Finally, the new episode order for The Simpsons is being considered a "correction," even though it doesn't bring it exactly in line with any of the other versions that have been used over the years, on any channel. Nonetheless, this episode order will be retained for the forseeable future.

Sci-Fi Sector on TV1: In my earlier report, I missed the fact that TV1's weekday Sci-Fi Sector is moving forward to 10:30pm from Monday, 4th March. That means Babylon 5, Sliders, Planet of the Apes and Lexx will all move from 11:00pm to 10:30pm on their respective weekdays.



28th February, 2002

With the Olympics over, Seven's bringing back some of its regular series. The ones of interest to me are both on a Monday: The Practice at 9:30pm, followed by Buffy at 10:30pm. As if there wasn't already enough to watch on a Monday. Oh, well. Crank up those VCRs.

The ABC is also bringing back The Glass House on Friday nights at 8:00pm, with a light-hearted look at the week's events with Wil Anderson.

Foxtel in March

There's a heap of changes, so bear with me.

TV1: From 7:30pm Friday, 1st March to 8:30pm Sunday, 3rd March, TV1 is bombarding us with the first two seasons of Star Trek. That's probably a bit much to watch all in one go, but also a good opportunity to catch any episodes you may have missed. Check GEOS for the time each episode will screen (beware: this link may crash Netscape 4.7 due to teething problems after a site upgrade).

From Monday, 11th March to the end of the month, TV1 will be screening three episodes of Star Trek each night rather than one, thereby also pre-empting the repeat timeslots that normally air through to 2:00am.

From Saturday, 23rd March, Lexx (Season Four) takes the place of Babylon 5 in Saturday's Sci-Fi Sector.

There's another marathon, this time featuring The Brady Bunch, on the 30th and 31st March, pre-empting Sci-Fi Sector, amongst other things.

FOX8: On Saturday, 2nd March, Two Guys and a Girl loses its morning timeslot (thence just Thursdays), but Highlander: The Raven adds 3:00pm Saturdays to its Sunday 3:00pm timeslot, the two working in tandem to screen two episodes each weekend.

Very exciting is the arrival of the new, mini-series adaptation of Dune, reputedly much closer to the book than the shorter, David Lynch movie. That's on FOX8 this Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at 8:30pm. Naturally, that's going to clash with a ton of other programmes. If that seems daunting, be aware that this version of Dune is already due for release on DVD in April (I think). Of course, you're already paying for FOX8, so no need to shell out at the video store as well.

Angel is back at 9:30pm Wednesdays from the 6th March. We're inexplicably starting with the 8th episode of the first season, which we've already seen on FOX8. I've got the DVDs, so I don't think I'll be watching.

On Sunday, 10th March, the post-midnight repeat line-up changes, pushing The Simpsons out to 3:00am and The Practice out to 5:00am.

Monday, 11th March sees The X-Files move from Sundays to Mondays, at 10:30pm (one episode only, from Season Eight).

Saturday, 16th March, The Pretender joins the science fiction weekend afternoons (though it's not really SF) at 4:00pm Saturdays and Sundays.

The second season of The Pretender debuts at 9:30pm on Monday, 18th, right after the second season of Sex and the City. Earlier in the night, Dark Angel kicks of at 7:30pm (repeated 5:00am), rounding out the Monday night changes.

Finally, Premiere returns at 10:30pm Tuesday, 26th March.

FX: Turns out, Caroline in the City has been running the same episode three times a day, rather than just twice; the extra timeslot at 6:30pm. This concludes on the 1st March.

On the 4th, Ally McBeal (Season One, 1:00pm) and The Practice (Season Two, 2:00pm) start to strip again, every weekday. From the 11th, they also gain repeat timeslots, at 1:00am and 2:00am, respectively. However, the weekend timeslot of The Practice (roughly 5:00am Sat and Sun nights) loses its Sunday night timeslot from the 10th.

Other Channels:

On thecomedychannel, The Games disappears from Saturdays immediately, but shows up weekdays at 11:30am and 8:00pm from Monday, 4th March. This will presumably start with the first season.

On UK TV, Red Dwarf returns at 10:30pm Wednesdays and Saturdays from the 6th March, one episode per week from the very beginning. But there's a Bill marathon on the weekend of the 30th.

Fox Kids is dropping in some extra screenings of Hercules on Saturdays at 5:30pm (every Saturday in March, despite what the printed Guide says). This will operate independently of the Friday timeslot, starting some way into Season Four.



22nd February, 2002

The Winter Olympics conclude this weekend, with the closing ceremony on Monday at 12:30pm, repeated 9:30pm on Seven. Next Wednesday, Seven brings back Angel with new episodes at 10:40pm. Naturally, this is the worst possible timeslot, clashing with the only science fiction show on Nine: Enterprise. Not impressed. The latter turned out to be pretty cool in its premiere this week.

Nine's bringing back new episodes of Sex and the City on Monday at 9:30pm. I'm a little ambivalent about Six Feet Under, though. It's certainly different from any other show on the box, but I'm not yet convinced that it'll be worth watching.

On Foxtel, don't miss the start of Earth: Final Conflict Season Three on Saturday at 5:00pm, FOX8. If you missed it the first time around, like me, this is a great opportunity to see this fascinating show.

Next Wednesday, the Third Rock from the Sun strip on FOX8 returns to the start of Season Three. The next day, Dharma & Greg starts Season Four for the first time on Foxtel at 8:30pm.

And, of course, the Australian Test cricket series in South Africa starts at 7:25pm tonight!



17th February, 2002

I'm very sorry to report the cancellation of Futurama. This show has been, for me, one of the funniest, most imaginative comedies on the box since it began. For a while there, it was even more enjoyable than The Simpsons. If you feel the same way and want to help get the show resurrected, there's an online petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/futufu/petition.html.

The good news is that Futurama's soon to come out on DVD, even here in Australia!



15th February, 2002

My computer's been down with the heat, so just a quick update.

No Simpsons over the weekend on Ten. A double episode of South Park on Monday, followed by a new series at 10:30pm on Nine that I've heard good things about: the comedy, Six Feet Under.

Next Wednesday, Enterprise (the next incarnation of Star Trek) airs on Nine at 10:30pm. What I've read suggests it's a lot better than the premise might first sound. Apparently this show was scheduled to air last week, but from what I hear it got bumped, rather than Melbourne being behind.

Finally, Seven might be getting the message, as there's some extra Olympics coverage scheduled, including a wrap of the week on Saturday and Sunday. What I really wonder at, is that Seven puts so much time into planning its Olympics coverage, making sure everything's just right, then they always find the coverage has to be changed in response to viewer feedback. You'd think they'd learn the first time.



7th February, 2002

Ratings are on again.

Seven's Winter Olympics coverage is a joke.

Fortunately, both of these facts will allow at least some of us to spend more time watching quality TV series on Foxtel.

There are a few things worth looking out for as ratings go back on FTA next week. Here's a quick summary of returning series with new seasons (up to next Thursday):

7:30pm MondayNineFriends
7:30pm WednesdayTenThe Simpsons
8:00pm WednesdayTenJust Shoot Me!
8:00pm ThursdayABCCatalyst
9:30pm ThursdayABCBackBerner

Pretty sparse, huh?

There's not much in the way of new shows, either, though I'm sure once the Olympics are over, Seven will bring back shows like Buffy and a new crop, as well.

For me, the most interesting new series is Alias, sneaking in to Seven's schedule at 8:30pm next Monday. The ad looks awesome, the premise is encouraging, and the star is not only cute but an excellent actress (she played Romy in Time of Your Life, and thespically stole the show).

For science fiction fans, Nine is finally airing the Babylon 5 movie, River of Souls. I'm not sure where this fits into the series chronologically, but it aired in the States near the end of the final season. That's 10:55pm, Saturday night on Nine (ironically clashing with a first season episode on TV1).

On Sunday at 5:00pm, the ABC is rescreening its documentary on "The Lord of the Rings." If you missed it the first time, this is definitely worth a look, as it explores the circumstances and history that gave rise to such a wonderful sequence of books. It's worth it for the insight into life in the early 20th Century, alone.

On Monday, cricket fans get to relive the past year during the Allan Border Medal Presentation, 9:30pm on Nine. Despite what you might think, it's quite an interesting event that I've enjoyed the last two years.

Hidden in the schedule on Tuesday is the documentary, Space, follow-up to the acclaimed BBC series, The Planets. Hosted by Sam Neill, it's on the ABC at 9:30pm for the next three weeks.

Finally, you may have guessed I'm not one for reality TV shows. But the ads for Australian Survivor (Wednesday at 8:30pm on Nine) have really grabbed my attention. It's the "mateship versus money" angle that intrigues me -- are we really better people than Americans, or is it just a conceit?

Foxtel: A reminder that Highlander: The Raven starts up again at 3:00pm this Sunday, with Highlander: The Series the following Saturday and Sunday at 2:00pm. And on Fox Kids, the Tuesday timeslot of Farscape goes back to the start of Season One, but there's no more Farscape on Thursdays beyond next week. Hercules wraps up Season Four this month, and moves on to Season Five in March.



31st January, 2002

Welcome to our new location for everyone who's rediscovering the site for the first time since the move. Sofcom has been able to set up some redirection, which should solve one problem. I still haven't had time to adapt the pages entirely to our new location, so please bear with me. I'm also still looking for an Australian alternative to Tripod.

Just a reminder: please change your bookmarks to http://simpsonsgazette.tripod.com/tvguides.htm.

With ratings recommencing on Sunday, 10th February and the Winter Olympics around the same time, there's a lot of changes coming. The schedules have been a bit unstable, with some squeezing in of extra episodes at the expense of other series. Not much worth commenting upon, though.

On Seven, Dharma & Greg, after a couple of last-minute pre-emptions, appears to be have been dropped completely for the moment. On the other hand, Stargate SG-1 gets a double episode tonight, and another next week. Third Rock from the Sun is also back tomorrow at 7:30pm.

Foxtel in February

Quite a few changes on Foxtel in February. The best news is that, barely two weeks after warning that certain shows have disappeared from FOX8, I'm happy to recant: both series of Highlander and the third season of Earth: Final Conflict are back!

First, though, it's worth noting that FOX8 has moved straight into Season Four of Third Rock from the Sun in its weekday strip (7:00am and 6:30pm). The Season Three once-a-week timeslot on Saturdays at 5:00pm wraps up the season on the 16th February and is subsequently replaced by Earth: Final Conflict.

Season Five of Buffy returns next Tuesday, 5th February at 7:30pm and 5:00am. A little late, of course, as Season Six should be starting with a bang on Seven pretty soon.

On Sunday, 10th February, FOX8 brings back Highlander: The Raven at 3:00pm, starting from the first episode. The following week, from the 16th, Highlander: The Series replaces Buffy at 2:00pm weekends (Buffy will have just wrapped Season Four). A week later, three weeks after finishing its run on Fridays, Season Three of Earth: Final Conflict returns at 5:00pm Saturdays. That same weekend (24th Feb), The X-Files' second Sunday timeslot is taken over by Psi Factor. Season Eight will have finished the previous week, so Season Four will continue at the earlier time of 8:30pm Sundays.

Highlander will also replace The X-Files on Fox Classics, airing around 3:00am each night (the exact time varies from day to day) from the night of Sunday, 17th February. It's not yet clear if Foxtel have the rights to any seasons beyond the first.

On Fox Kids, the Thursday timeslot of Farscape is pre-empted on the 21st and 28th February.

On TV1, Sliders replaces Total Recall 2070 on Tuesdays at 11:00pm. And Voyager returns to the start of the episodes that TV1 owns on Saturday, 23rd February. They're also having a Valentine's Day special during the day on Thursday, 14th February. This includes a couple of episodes of Mad About You.

Meanwhile, FX drops Caroline in the City at 7:00pm weekdays and Ellen 12:30am weeknights from Monday, 4th February. Ellen's 6:00am weekend timeslot also disappears on the 16th. The 8:30am & 12:00am timeslot of Caroline continues (it's half-way through Season Three at the moment and will soon move into Season Four -- a season which aired unexpectedly at 9:00am on Nine last year, so many viewers might have missed it).



17th January, 2002

I'm sorry to announce that Sofcom and myself have parted ways. They're changing their focus, of which the recent problems have been but a symptom. I'm reasonably happy with Tripod, for now, though I'd love an equivalent service hosted in Australia, if anyone knows of one.

There are going to be some teething problems with the transition, as I change the structure of the pages and remove the last traces of Sofcom. Hopefully, however, the result will be a cleaner presentation than you've been used to. The biggest problem is that, since Sofcom no longer has control over the simpsons.sofcom.com domain name, I'm unable to redirect my previous visitors to the new location -- if you're reading this, congratulations on finding us again!

On to the programmes, and tennis is pre-empting a lot of shows on Seven, cricket doing the same on Nine (though there's not much I want to watch on the latter). A new series of Smack the Pony (hilariously off-beat sketch comedy) is half run on the ABC, Thursdays at 9:00pm. My off-season favourites have been Stargate SG-1 (probably gone for the moment), Will & Grace (replaced by 2000 Acres of Sky, about which I hear good things), Third Rock From the Sun (still holding on to Fridays at 7:30pm, apart from tomorrow) and Dharma & Greg (a replay of Season Four, but see it while it's there, I figure). I wonder how much of a coincidence it is that all these shows are on Seven...

Incidentally, Nine is advertising the return of a number of its premiere shows in February (such as Friends). It's going to be an interesting battle, because Seven is running the Winter Olympics from the second week of February, leaving Nine with a slight head start.

Changes to FOX8 Programming:

The Foxtel situation's even more interesting. Unfortunately, I have to start with bad news. They're loathe to admit it, but FOX8 has almost completed a significant shift in their programming practices. There's been signs of this for a while, but now there's no doubting the change. My read is that the arrival of pay TV ratings has provided FOX8 with sufficient information about viewing patterns that they are now able to react directly to ratings in their programming. This is fantastic from a business point of view, but it makes it far less likely for niche shows to get much of a run. Unlike the Networks, any show FOX8 picks up will get at least one complete run through, but the days of repeat timeslots and multiple runs through a series are largely behind us, except for the most popular shows.

The major upshot of all this is that if you don't want to miss an episode, you need to be far more careful to catch the very first screening, as there may not be another.

Incidentally, the majority of viewers apparently desire fewer repeats. Personally, I find this counter to the function and reality of pay TV. Pay TV is all about repeats, so it should celebrate them. What's more, with so much on across so many channels, timeslot clashes are inevitable. That's why I reckon in an ideal world, every episode would be repeated within 24 hours of each screening, and every season would air at least twice in a weekly timeslot and once as a strip (albeit late-night or day-time). Sadly, most people aren't as conscientious about their viewing and don't mind missing an episode. So the rest of us will just have to learn to live with it. At least, until Foxtel finally goes digital (so I hear)...

Season Changes and the Death of Old Shows:

In line with the above, the Sunday night 1:00am run of Millennium on FOX8 is likely to be the last screening of this show. Same goes for the Friday 8:30pm run of Earth: Final Conflict (disappointingly). And Highlander: The Raven, which was terminated mid-season during its second run through is unlikely to return. On the other hand, Season Five of Buffy returns after a summer hiatus at 7:30pm on Tuesday, 5th February. Apparently the summer suspension was the result of viewer requests, which I find a bit strange. Season Twelve of The Simpsons started on FOX8 at 8:00pm Sundays from the 13th January.

On TV1, Mad About You finished its lunch time strip today, and the weekend timeslot will also disappear in February, at least for the moment. Total Recall 2070 goes on hiatus at the end of January, but the Monday timeslot of Babylon 5, having just returned to the start of the season, gets two repeat timeslots in February, Tuesday at 4:30am and 10:00am.

On the Star Trek front, The Next Generation began Season Four at the start of the month, but the 11:50pm strip will move to The Original Series at the conclusion of TNG Season Three, from the 30th January. Whew!


Australian TV News Archive: Second Half, 2001.



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Last Updated: 29-December-2002