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Australian TV News
Second Half, 1999


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29th December, 1999

Just dropping in a quick update, basically covering some January Foxtel details. These have NOT yet been incorporated into the episode lists.

On Saturday, 1st January, TV1 is running the first episodes of some of their best series. This includes Mad About You and both parts of Star Trek: The Next Generation (hence also pre-empting Battlestar: Galactica).

On Saturday, 1st January, Millennium is, ironically, to be pre-empted on FOX8 by a replay of the Fox Studios opening. From the following week, two episodes of Millennium will screen every Saturday night, from 8:30pm to 10:00pm (repeated 2:15am to 3:45am), followed by Silk Stalkings.

On Sunday, 2nd January, Northern Exposure commences a new stream on TV1, independent from the Tuesday screenings. That's at 9:30pm and 5:30am.

From Monday, 3rd January, FOX8 is compressing their 2:00pm to 4:00pm weekday schedule to four, 45-minute timeslots. Hence shortened ads and no inter-programme fillers.

From Monday, 3rd January, FOX8 is restructuring their late night weekday schedule. Third Rock From the Sun gets a repeat timeslot at 11:30pm, The Simpsons repeat moves to midnight, followed by repeat timeslots for shows screening at 7:30pm, 8:30pm and 9:30pm at 12:30am, 1:15am and 2:00am, respectively. Half-hour shows (such as on Tuesdays) will fit in at roughly 12:55am and 1:35am, although these repeats nearly always run late.

In the early hours of Monday, 3rd January, the repeat for Buffy is scheduled on FOX8. However, this would leave Highlander stripping one episode short of the end of the season (by my calculations). I'm not sure how this will be resolved: perhaps both parts of the Highlander finale will air the previous night, bumping X-Files repeats, or the Buffy repeat not air.

On Wednesday, 5th January, My So-Called Life starts stripping on FOX8, Monday to Friday at 2:00pm.

I'll mention changes later in the month in a couple of weeks. For now, I'm very pleased to draw your attention to FOX8's Slayerfest 2000, playing all of Season Two of Buffy on Friday the 28th to Sunday the 30th of January.

See you in the millennium!



16th December, 1999

I'm unlikely to be able to update the website for the next few weeks (much anticipated holidays!) so I've done what I can to anticipate your needs until my return.

On Seven, Futurama and That 70s Show switch timeslots from next Thursday (Futurama moving to 7:30pm). On Nine, Millennium will screen at the earlier time of 9:45pm in Melbourne next Tuesday.

FOX8 viewers, remember that the late night repeat timeslots are being reshuffled as of this Sunday (18th). All timeslot information has been updated to reflect these changes.

On New Year's Eve, FOX8 is running a selection of episodes from their "favourite" series. This will include the Ally McBeal / The Practice cross-over episodes. The special will run from 6:30pm to midnight (as shown in the Foxtel Guide, and NOT as it appears on the website), the running order being roughly as follows:

Approx
Time
SeriesEpisodeCode
6:30pmThe X-FilesPusher3X17
7:20pmBuffy the Vampire SlayerHalloween5V06
8:10pmAlly McBealThe InmatesAM19
9:00pmThe PracticeAxe MurdererOW19
9:50pmJerry SpringerI Can't Stay Faithful
10:40pmThird Rock from the SunRomeo & Juliet & Dick214
11:05pmKing of the HillSnow Job5E11
11:30pmThe SimpsonsItchy & Scratchy Land2F01

In January, the Sunday timeslot of The X-Files on FOX8 will revert to the last episode of Season Three (Talitha Cumi, 3X24), then Season Four, starting the 2nd January. More generally, the schedule for New Year's Day will not involve any pre-emptions.

Meanwhile, Mad About You will conclude its first run of Season Seven on TV1 on Monday, 3rd January, thereafter returning to the start of Season Five.

Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and an appropriately festive New Year!



10th December, 1999

It turns out arena is stripping Lexx (11:00am and 3:00am weekdays) from the very beginning of Season One, the first time they've played this season in a one hour timeslot. Season Two should commence Tuesday, 21st December.



9th December, 1999

Ten commences stripping Mad About You weekdays at 7:00pm from next Monday (13th December), replacing The Simpsons in this timeslot, and effectively moving it between the two parts of this site. However, Mad About You will not air on Saturday at 6:00pm as indicated in the Green Guide (not this week, not subsequent weeks); a Back Street Boys special will air instead, this week.

On the same day, Friends is being replaced with Spin City on Nine at 7:30pm. I don't imagine we'll see Friends again until Season Six starts in February. However, the Season Five videos are already available.

Also next Monday, Season Seven of Red Dwarf will start only its second Australian screening, on the ABC.

The Visitor is apparently a more popular series than I thought, as Seven is bringing it back to FTA on Friday, 10th December (tomorrow) at 10:35pm. They're starting with the pilot, so I assume we've a fair chance of seeing the whole series.



2nd December, 1999

The remainder of the summer schedule kicks off next week on FTA. A couple of additional highlights to note include the arrival of Everybody Loves Raymond on Seven at 8:00pm tomorrow night. This is another show that's found its way into the American pop consciousness. Strangely, The Green Guide doesn't review it. This may be because a full season has seemingly already aired on Seven. Strange that I didn't notice! Also on Seven, Townies returns on Sunday at 7:30pm. Only a handful of episodes remain to air, some of them never seen in the US (the series was cancelled half-way through its first season).

On Nine, a critically trashed Friends special airs Monday for a full (TV) hour. The following week, the surprise return of Caroline in the City will resume. [Rant mode on.] I'm actually quite annoyed with Nine for unapologetically springing a new episode of Caroline on us in a timeslot that would have screened cricket had it continued through a fourth day. After screening Friends double episodes for the past few weeks, it seems unfair to spring a new episode of Caroline on us unannounced. Of course, they promoed it during the day, but I don't exactly watch anything on Nine during the day (or apart from Mondays and the cricket, for that matter). Even worse, the post-match interviews from the cricket never aired the previous day, despite the early finish providing ample opportunity. [Rant mode off.]

On Thursday, Futurama moves to an 8:00pm, half-hour timeslot, preceded by That 70s Show, which I mentioned last week. The first season of Buffy also returns to Seven, at 9:30pm (in Melbourne). The final 1999 episode of BackBerner airs just before that, at 9:00pm. This has been an exceptional return to satirical comedy, so long absent from our screens, and I hope it continues next year.

Finally, and I apologise for missing this last week, the animated adaptation of Terry Pratchett's humorous fantasy novel, Soul Music, returns to the ABC tonight from 5:30pm and continues throughout next week. I expect it will be followed by its companion series, Wyrd Sisters. I personally feel these adaptations fall short of the source material, but I suppose they might serve as a sort of introduction to Terry's humour.



26th November, 1999

Mad About You on TV1 Update: As suggested by the Foxtel Guide, TV1's screening order for Mad About You does not exactly match the order used in the US. This is at least partly due to double screenings in the US, and I may change part of my episode list to better align with TV1 -- traditionally Foxtel's episode orders are more likely to be as the creators intended.

The details are as follows. Inexplicably, The Silent Show will not air (I'm hoping to find out why before too long). Murray at the Dog Show will air before The Millennium Bug, and The Dirty Little Secret will air before Paved With Good Intentions.

Also worth noting is that TV1 no longer have the rights to the first four seasons of Mad About You, so January will see the return of Season Five during the week.

In other TV1 news, Battlestar Galactica is using up what may be TV1's last screenings (TV1 contracts for a set number of screenings of each episode for most of their shows). For this reason, certain episodes will be skipped. And the Xena episode on Christmas Day will be Dreamworker.



25th November, 1999

FTA Changes: Further to my noting some of the many finales last week, well, there's a bunch of new shows appearing in their places (although, mostly, the networks are using movies to plug the gaps). Having a look through The Green Guide's guide to the summer season, only two premieres strike me as even remotely interesting. One is the Seinfeld-esque sitcom, It's Like, You Know (Mondays at 9:00pm on Nine), which is more interesting for its cast than its premise; I'll give it an episode or two, but without much hope. The other is the eagerly-anticipated premiere of Futurama (Thursdays at 7:30pm on Seven), Matt Groening's latest venture, and a superb parody set in the year 3000. One other show bears mentioning: I don't know if it's any good, but That '70s Show (Thursdays at 7:30pm on Seven) has certainly earned a lot of references from other American shows this season.

Apart from that, there's World Cup Comedy tomorrow night at 11:10pm on Seven; The Making of Walking With Dinosaurs (repeated by popular demand) on the ABC, Saturday at 6:00pm; Just Shoot Me!, back on Ten with a new episode on Tuesday at 7:30pm and a repeat on Wednesday at the same time (just to confuse everyone); and Seven Days back on Ten, Wednesday at 8:30pm. Finally, for a very educational series about what engineers really do at work, have a look at the award-winning series, The Elegant Solution, on SBS, Sunday at 4:30pm; sadly this series tends to make the same mistake as most Australians in supposing that all engineers are civil engineers.

Foxtel in December: Before I get on to all the series changes, I noticed that both Showtime and Encore are using December to replay a lot of movies from earlier in the year. So if you missed anything in 1999, it's worth having a look through the movie guide for December to see if there's a rescreening scheduled.

On to the series. Mostly, there's not a heap of changes to the normal running orders in December, but there are a few marathons scheduled for Christmas and New Year's, particularly on FOX8. On Friday, 24th, FOX8 is showing Christmas specials from 7:30pm to 11:30pm, followed by a Dharma & Greg marathon until 6:00am (to entertain Santa, perhaps...). On the 25th, after the regular Simpsons morning, My So-Called Life returns from 12:00pm to 8:30pm (the first half of the series), then Ally McBeal struts her stuff until 12:30am (repeats and new screenings from early in Season One, it appears), followed by Beverly Hills: 90210 until 6:00am. On the 26th, we wrap it up with the second half of the series, My So-Called Life; the Christmas episode (likely to start around 3:20pm) is especially poignant. Normal programming resumes at 7:30pm with Ally McBeal.

On Friday, 31st December from 6:30pm until midnight, FOX8 is screening a selection "the best ever episodes of your favourite shows." I'll try and find out exactly which episodes. From midnight, four hours of The Pepsi Chart strikes me as a touch of programming genius.

Of course, the result of all these specials is a number of pre-emptions. Perhaps this is a bit redundant, but I'll mention that both The X-Files and Highlander will be pre-empted (amongst other shows) on both Fridays, Christmas and New Year's Eves. And on Christmas and Boxing Days, Hercules, Highlander, Buffy and Millennium will all be pre-empted, but The X-Files will air as usual on the 26th. I expect there may be further pre-emptions on New Year's Day.

More mundane changes include the stripping of The Practice at 1:00pm weekdays, to start on Monday, 6th December. And the readjustment of late-night repeats from Monday, 20th December: the second Simpsons repeat will move to 11:30pm, followed by MASH, then a repeat at 12:30am of the 8:30pm to 9:30pm timeslot, then Highlander at 1:15am.

On other channels, Lexx returns to arena on Thursday, 9th December, screening Season Two at 11:00am and 3:00am weekdays. Star Trek: The Next Generation moves into the second season from 4th December. The same day, Battlestar Galactica returns to its first season, although not from the very beginning. An extra episode of Battlestar Galactica will air on the 18th and 19th December, but will be pre-empted by the original Star Trek movie on the 25th. Back to arena, two of the Cadfael TV movies will air on the 3rd, 25th and 26th December.

Finally, it turns out TV1 have the rights to Season Seven of Mad About You, after all. The schedule indicates they'll reach the end of the series on the 31st December, but that would require two episodes to be skipped. I'm still getting to the bottom of this one.



22nd November, 1999

I've made a couple of corrections to the Highlander episode list in Season Two. I also wanted to point out that Foxtel have greatly improved their Online TV guide. Note, however, that it's better accessed from the main page, since that allows the navigation frames to be built. I recommend use of the third Super Search option (keyword plus timeframe) with the "This Month" setting. But beware that clicking on the "More" link will strip your search term to just the first keyword (eg: "Star Trek" becomes "Star", and "X-Files" becomes "X"). This is presumably a Perl problem, which I've asked them to fix. This type of search seems to provide information for a month in advance (ie: from today to the 20th December), though I'm not sure how often it's updated.



18th November, 1999

For some reason I can't fathom, a lot of shows are coming to the end of their "Australian seasons" next week, starting, naturally, with the final episode of Hey, Hey, It's Saturday! on Saturday from 6:30pm. Amongst the finales are: Walking With Dinosaurs (ABC) on Sunday; Good News Week and its Nite Lite version (10) on Monday and Thursday; E! News (10), Michael Palin's Hemmingway Adventure (ABC), The Panel (10) and Rove (9) on Wednesday; and Dharma & Greg (7), Will & Grace (7), Stargate SG-1 (7) and Dilbert (10) all on Thursday. Of the Thursday finales, only Dharma & Greg is actually at the end of its US season (ironically, since this is the only one which is a repeat). Don't be fooled by Seven's definition of a "season finale."

Last weekend on TV1 Space Cadets, Tim Ferguson interviewed Bruce Boxleitner (Captain Sheridan from Babylon 5), who was in the country promoting his new, SF book (strangely, they didn't mention the title). It was kind of cool to see the interview and there were even a couple of interesting insights into the show.



11th November, 1999

Millennium and The X-Files: I hope no-one missed the return of Millennium to Seven on Tuesday night, Season Three taking over Buffy's old timeslot. Today's "Green Guide" praises this season as being the best yet. In related news, you probably all know by now that Millennium was cancelled at the end of Season Three, but Frank Black is to make an appearance in an episode of The X-Files. It looks like Season Seven (currently screening in the US) will be the last of The X-Files to star David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, but it seems there's life in the old girl yet, as Chris Carter has enough story material for another season at least. Now that his VR series, Harsh Realm, has been cancelled after just a couple of episodes, some interesting decisions will need to be made.

Lots of Friends and Other Highlights: Nine will be screening a full two hours of Friends on Monday, 15th November. It seems they may be trying to finish Season Three before December. The following day, Nine ends its current run of Deep Space Nine in the middle of Season Five. Back to Monday, the ABC is airing The Making of Walking With Dinosaurs at 8:30pm and Nine concludes Season One of Sex and the City at 9:30pm.

On Foxtel, Ally McBeal premieres this Sunday night at 7:30pm (suddenly a very well-filled timeslot), Ally McBeal airs its second episode on Thursday at 9:30pm, and Lano & Woodley Season Two starts on thecomedychannel Monday at 8:00pm (repeated 1:00am).

The watermark on FOX8 got a little bit better during the week, got worse, then got better again. I'm still hoping for a return to its least obtrusive form, but we'll just have to wait and see. If you have any feelings on this, make sure you let Foxtel know.

Finally, I've updated the episode lists to reflect new seasons, etc.



4th November, 1999

Cricket returns to our FTA screens tomorrow with the first Test against Pakistan from 10:30am. Last year, Nine dropped their late-night highlights except for matches not televised in the city the match is played in. The same thing continues this year. Nonetheless, with India and Pakistan the two nations visiting for Tests, it should be an interesting summer's cricket.

Some more info on FOX8's new look and line-up: First, the watermark is apparently being worked on. It will change, but I'm not yet certain that it will change in the right way (ie: the key thing is that it become transparent). Your feedback can make a difference in this.

Regarding the new Buffy timeslots, the weekend stream will continue into Season Two mid next month. The Monday timeslot is to play Season Three in the same order as Seven did in Melbourne (ie: Earshot is the 18th episode).

Caroline in the City is to play in the same order as it appears at epguides.com. Two Guys and a Girl (as it is now called in the US, from Season Three) will play all of Season One before moving into Season Two. The Visitor is to be rested after it finishes its first run in the first week of December. And new episodes of Hercules should appear early next year (the remainder of Season Two, and Season Three).



1st November, 1999

Was I the only person to completely miss Daylight Savings? No-one mentioned it, I didn't hear it on the radio... It wasn't until I got up for the end of The Simpsons on Sunday and was confronted by Baywatch that I knew I'd lost an hour. Oh well. As long as I remember to vote in the referendum next week...

After enjoying The Simpsons Hallowe'en Special last night, I was disappointed to see FOX8 slip back into bad habits after midnight. At first glance, FOX8 took the opportunity of the start of the summer season to introduce a new look for their channel. On the whole, I reckon it looks pretty good -- just take some getting used to.

The problem is, the watermark has become opaque again. For the first half of The Pepsi Chart it actually resembled the gold, Fox Sports watermark, in the top, right-hand corner. Then it changed to a more colourful object in its accustomed position. The trouble is, an opaque watermark will completely obscure important elements of the action once in a while. The Simpsons is particularly susceptible (qv. Bart Gets an Elephant), but shows featuring a lot of bright or dark scenes (such The X-Files) also suffer. Showtime scrapped their watermarks very early on in the piece as a result of customer dissatisfaction. I realise some of you won't care either way, but I encourage those who do to make your opinion known to Foxtel on their feedback line: 1800 689 991

I've also updated information for November for Red Dwarf on the ABC (starting tonight), The X-Files and Mad About You.



29th October, 1999

A couple of things I missed in my Foxtel round-up yesterday. The Adventures of Lano & Woodley returns to thecomedychannel on Mondays from the 15th November at 8:00pm and 1:00am, most likely with the show's second season. On Friday, 5th November, Two commences on FOX8 at 7:30pm. You've probably seen the ads. Also, arena is screening the incredibly witty Shakespearean satire, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, at 10:30pm on Monday, 22nd November.



28th October, 1999

There's heaps of changes happening on Foxtel in November, particularly on FOX8 and TV1. Before highlighting what I consider the most significant changes, I should point out that some of my episode lists won't be updated to reflect these changes until next week. (Sorry.)

Red Dwarf returns to ABC: Season Six of Red Dwarf starts airing on the ABC at 10:30pm next Monday.

Dinosaur Popularity: The ABC have struck another Sunday night coup with the series, Walking With Dinosaurs. They've been picking up huge ratings, and it's very entertaining besides. The third instalment (of six) goes to air this Sunday at 7:30pm, with The Making of Walking With Dinosaurs scheduled for late November.

Changes on Foxtel in November:

  • Mondays: The third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer comes to FOX8 Mondays from 1st November at 8:30pm, repeated 2:30am. How cool is that?! Sadly, Xena is to be dropped completely from TV1 for now.
  • Tuesdays: Northern Exposure premieres on TV1 Tuesdays from the 2nd November at 7:30pm and 2:00am, as does The 50 Foot Show on thecomedychannel at 8:00pm and 1:00am. On FOX8, the new evening lineup is The Hughleys at 7:30pm, Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place at 8:00pm (possibly Season Two), Dharma & Greg at 8:30pm (repeated at 2:30am, transferred from 8:30pm Thursdays) and Ellen at 9:00pm (repeated at 2:55am, transferred from 8:00pm Thursdays). I wonder if the later timeslot for Ellen mightn't be the result of more adult themes in the later seasons, as Ellen moves towards a coming out.
  • Thursdays: After being horribly mistreated by Nine, Caroline in the City makes a very welcome debut on FOX8, Thursdays at 8:00pm from 4th November. From 18th November (the intervening weeks populated by specials), the rest of the night will settle into Melrose Place at 8:30pm (repeated at 2:30am) and Ally McBeal at 9:30pm. Even better, arena is bringing back Drop the Dead Donkey, Thursdays at 7:30pm (repeated Fridays at 8:30am) from 4th November. Season Five will be screened, initially.
  • Saturdays: Season One of Buffy starts on Saturday, 6th November, airing Saturdays and Sundays at 3:00pm (to fill out FOX8's Sci-Fi weekend afternoons, after Hercules and Highlander). On FX, after being pre-empted on the 6th November, Ellen moves to 10:00am Saturdays, followed by Partners at 10:30am.
  • Sundays: FOX8 is using Sundays to screen various specials. For example, on the 7th, the opening of Fox Studios in Sydney will pre-empt everything from 6:30pm to 11:30pm. On 14th November, Ally McBeal will premiere on FOX8 at 7:30pm, whence it will air two episodes a week, Sundays and Thursdays. The X-Files will not air on Sundays the 7th or 21st November (and the repeat timeslots will also be otherwise occuppied).
  • Stripping: On thecomedychannel, Ned & Stacey continues at 6:30pm weekdays, but the repeat moves to 8:30am the next day. The Naked Truth likewise continues at 6:00pm, but moves to 8:00am repeats. Boston Common changes only slightly, to 3:00pm Tuesday to Saturday.

South Park Stripping: On thecomedychannel, South Park starts weekday stripping on Monday, 1st November, at 5:30pm, 8:30pm and 2:00am (it's a real South Park bonanza!). The other South Park timeslots will disappear, though their legacy lives on as the stripping will start where the Tuesday timeslot leaves off, with Starvin' Marvin.

Mad About You Special: On Tuesday, 2nd November, TV1 will show both parts of the Season Five finale, The Birth, in a one hour special. On Tuesdays, the 16th, 23rd and 30th, an hour is again allocated to Mad About You, but this is a typo and Cheers is likely to screen at 9:30pm.



21st October, 1999

On FTA, lots of shows are finishing their current seasons and being replaced by stuff we haven't seen for a while. These include:

  • Suddenly Susan: Wrapped up this week. The timeslot is to be taken up by a second episode of Friends (at least, for the next few weeks).
  • Felicity: Returned to Seven last week at 8:30pm Mondays, replacing repeats of Ally McBeal.
  • Party of Five: Finishes its season next week.
  • Buffy: Finishes its season the week after next in Melbourne. As if in fulfilment of my wish, Season Three of Millennium will take over the timeslot (finally!).
  • Just Shoot Me! Won't screen next week, though two episodes remain in the Season (and I think they skipped the Christmas episode, earlier).
  • Stargate SG-1: Seven again ignores the US season boundaries, starting Season Three next week. Although their attitude to US seasons isn't great (ie: they don't care), I can't fault them on going straight from one to the next. In this case, it makes a lot of sense, too, since Stargate is running on a June-March season in the US rather than the usual September-May. (That's a long-winded way of saying, "I hate it when they stop the show mid-season but it's great when they don't stop at the end of the season.")

On FOX8, Third Rock From the Sun starts on Monday, 25th October, screening at 6:30pm, Monday to Friday, with no repeats.

Finally, it appears Fox Kids has dropped Hercules on Friday nights. I'll attempt to confirm this (should've noticed earlier).



14th October, 1999

I'm back, after an occasionally interesting MPEG meeting and a very exciting wedding in the family!

I haven't spotted anything on the site that needs updating (apart from its organisation), but I would flag a couple of things. First, Red Dwarf was not pre-empted, after all, last night. I'm a bit annoyed with Foxtel that they didn't update their EPG to reflect this. On Ten, Just Shoot Me! is now screening two episodes each Wednesday from 8:30pm. Since there's only four episodes remaining in this season, this won't last all that long.

For cricket fans, a reminder that the Australian tour of Zimbabwe starts today at 6:00pm on Fox Sports.



1st October, 1999

I've updated all the episode lists and timeslot data. Wednesday's update may have been a little complicated, but I it did cover most of the changes I spotted for October. Rather than repeating myself in full, I'll just draw your attention to the more important changes for the next fortnight.

On FOX8 this weekend, the times in the Foxtel Guide for Friday after midnight probably aren't quite right, so beware. Hercules and Highlander will air from 1:00pm and 2:00pm, respectively, on Saturday and Sunday. Millennium is to be pre-empted on Saturday night and The X-Files is to be shortened on Sunday night (so expect 30 second ads) -- and the repeat timeslot moved to 2:30am. This same night, the Highlander stripping timeslot is moving to 1:00am for the rest of the month. Finally, Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place is being pre-empted for two (possibly three) weeks.

On other channels, Ned & Stacey is to start stripping on thecomedychannel at 6:30pm, repeated 10:30am the next day. Boston Common is to start stripping at 3:00pm with no repeat, also weekdays alone. On TV1, the entirety of Space Cadets is to consumed by a Twilight Zone special this weekend.

Next week, with Ned & Stacey having moved to thecomedychannel (no longer appearing on either FOX8 or FX), the first season of Dharma & Greg is to take over its 9:00pm and 2:55am Thursday timeslot.

Note that on 26th October on FOX8, the last two episodes of Buffy Season Two will both air at 7:30pm and both be repeated from 2:30am. The 3:15am airing of Jerry Springer will hence be pre-empted.

I'm not sure how coherent all of that is. I'll finish by pointing out that FOX8 has changed the timing of all its post-midnight timeslots from Saturday.

I won't be able to make an update next week, as I'll be attending the MPEG standards meeting fortuitously being held in Melbourne. But don't despair; I'll be back the following Thursday.



29th September, 1999

I finally received my October Foxtel Guide yesterday, but I don't have time to do more than mention some of the biggest changes (apart from the Simpsons changes, which I outline elsewhere).

Weekends on FOX8, Hercules is coming at 1:00pm, followed by Highlander at 2:00pm. The X-Files double is to be shortened so it finishes at 10:00pm, suggesting shorter, 30 second ad breaks. The stripping of Highlander is also being moved, to 1:00am, and that of Millennium terminated. Millennium is being pre-empted on the 2nd October at 9:30pm, and likewise Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place for the first two Sundays of the month. Ned & Stacey is moving to thecomedychannel, replaced on FOX8 by Season One of Dharma & Greg. Red Dwarf may be pre-empted on 13th October but will still air on Saturday that week. Third Rock from the Sun starts on FOX8 on 25th October, stripped weekdays. And the Cleo Tahiti special will air Monday, 4th October at 7:30pm, repeated Sunday, 17th October also at 7:30pm. Finally, The X-Files double will be pre-empted on 31st October by the Simpsons Hallowe'en Special marathon.

I also draw everyone's attention to arena, where, from the 5th to the 14th October the excellent, mediaeval whodunit mini-series, Cadfael, will air at 12:30am, Monday to Thursday (all seven episodes).

I'll go into more detail (and update the other pages) on Friday.



27th September, 1999

I still haven't received my October Foxtel Guide (grumble), but it's amazing what you can learn from ads during ten hours of watching the Slayerfest. There seems to be quite a few changes coming to FOX8 in October, especially on weekends. Weekend mornings, The Simpsons is moving an hour earlier, and hopefully Highlander will follow, as Hercules is moving across from Fox Kids to air at 1:00pm. During the week, 90210 is moving, and Partners will probably be dropped. And to satisfy those voyeuristic urges, there'll be a Cleo swimsuit special next Monday at 7:30pm. Yum.

Update: Consultation of Sofcom's TV Guide for Saturday suggests the following new line-up on Saturdays in October (Sunday will be similar):

9:00amThe Simpsons

12:00pmBaywatch

1:00pmHercules

2:00pmHighlander

3:00pmMurder One

4:00pmRollerjam

5:00pmFYE

5:30pmBox Office

6:00pmThe Simpsons



24th September, 1999

Just got the word on this weekend's Slayerfest: it will be finishing early, probably around 5:05pm, on both days. The reason is, with each episode running about 44 minutes, plus four 2 minute ad breaks in each, that's only about 50 minutes per episode, putting the end near 5:00pm. There'll be no Foxtel logo in between episodes, and all ad breaks are expected to conclude with a FOX8 promo ad, though there may be deviations. Happy slaying, everyone!



23rd September, 1999

Crusade starts on Nine on Thursday, 30th September at 11:30pm. Despite the inconvenient timeslot (clashes with Highlander), I'm very pleased to see this series so soon. For those who don't know, this is a spin-off series from Babylon 5, somewhat in the same way that Voyager is a spin-off from Star Trek: The Next Generation (or so I'm led to believe).

It seems Seven, not Ten, will be picking up Futurama, Matt Groening's newest TV project. Sadly, it's not scheduled to air until 2000. Let's hope Seven doesn't treat it as poorly as King of the Hill. Given its science fiction setting, I'm guessing Futurama might cop the same sort of treatment as Millennium: late-night timeslots and interrupted seasons. All remains to be seen.

On FOX8, Season Six of The X-Files starts its first cable run this Sunday night at 8:30pm. And of course the Slayerfest will be showing all of Season One of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer from 12:00pm to 5:30pm this weekend (in case you wanted to avoid both footy grand finals).

On TV1, Mad About You has been playing up for a few weeks now. I think I've finally sorted out all the confusion, but be wary nonetheless. The Saturday 6:30pm timeslot will be used to air all of Season Five starting next weekend, so if you miss an episode in the weekday stripping, keep an eye on the Saturday screening.



17th September, 1999

Just fixed up a couple of things in my Mad About You schedule on TV1, though I still don't have the official word.

On SBS, Season Three of South Park starts on Monday, 20th September at 8:30pm. In case you missed that.



16th September, 1999

I'm not sure how I missed this, but Slayerfest on FOX8 next weekend (25-26th September) will be pre-empting the 1:00pm screenings of Highlander. I've made the appropriate corrections. Sorry.

On FTA next week, O'Loghlin on Saturday Night is screening later, while Buffy is screening earlier than this week.



14th September, 1999

There was another mix-up on FOX8 with Highlander on Sunday, episode 78, The Blitz, airing instead of episode 87, Judgment Day. The remedy is to be the screening of Judgment Day this Saturday and pushing the rest of the stream back one episode. It seems likely that the error was the result of faulty transcription, the numbers 78 and 87 being so similar.



10th September, 1999

All episode lists are now updated for September. I've also linked episode names for all the SF shows to GEOS. Finally, I've archived news from the first half of the year.



9th September, 1999

Last night's episode of Highlander on FOX8 was a repeat of two days earlier. To make up for this without disrupting the rest of the running order, FOX8 will tonight air both "Nowhere to Run" and "The Hunters", in that order, dropping tonight's Silk Stalkings. Congrats to FOX8 for again respecting the order of things. :)

On FTA, there's a few things to look out for over the coming week, as more shows reach the end of their seasons and make way for new programmes.

Seven is again screening it's scissored version of Mr Bean, Friday's at 8:00pm.

The Sci-Fi Files starts on SBS 8:30pm Saturday. TV1 is also screening this documentary series, and is a week ahead of SBS. From the half hour I saw on the weekend, it offers an interesting perspective on SF across all media.

On the off chance you haven't seen the advertising, Seven will screen the two-part mini-series, Joan of Arc on Sunday and Monday night at 8:30pm. I reckon this looks worth watching.

The ABC is again concluding their run of Red Dwarf at the end of the remastered Season Three, next Wednesday. I'm hoping UK TV might pick up a bit more than just the first five seasons this time around.

Also, don't miss the premiere of Dilbert, tonight at 10:00pm on Ten.

I also failed to notice earlier that FOX8 is stripping Partners weekdays at 3:30pm. This isn't a great show, but it can be good for a laugh, and if you missed any episodes, here's a good chance to catch up.



7th September, 1999

Although I expected changes on Foxtel in September, I feel a little swamped by their extent. It seems FOX8, in particular, was feeling left out by the Networks' end-of-season rearrangements. Anyway, I'm back, after some ordinary weather but some good snow and good skiing, and I'm here to enlighten.

Before I start on Foxtel, there's a few things to mention on FTA. First, last night was a busy one: Ally McBeal concluded with the season finale and the documentary Seven skipped earlier; SBS screened a sort of "Making of South Park" (which I haven't watched yet); and Nine premiered the much-reviewed Sex and the City from HBO. The last impressed me, though perhaps in the same way as Ally first did; I hope it doesn't become as quickly stale.

Other things to watch out for this week are the finals of Babylon 5 and The Planets, both on Wednesday, and the premiere of the animated Dilbert on Thursday at 10:00pm on Ten. You can check out the daily strip at The Dilbert Zone.

GEOS reports that Seven will be playing the controversial Buffy episode, Earshot, in Australia before the US (though Canadians have already seen it). Better still, those of us in Melbourne (and also SA, WA, NT, TAS) will see it in its correct spot in the episode order.

Finally, I've heard a rumour that Season Three of South Park will premiere on SBS around the 27th September.

Now to Foxtel, here's the changes on FOX8 in September:

  • Friday, 3rd: The X-Files and Millennium were pre-empted by a David Copperfield special.
  • Saturday, 4th: My So-Called Life concluded its run at 11:00am, a new stream of The Simpsons commenced at 7:30pm, screening new, Season Ten episodes, the second season of King of the Hill started at 8:00pm, The Visitor premiered at 8:30pm, Millennium moved from Fridays to Saturdays at 9:30pm, and the 11:00pm repeats of Highlander disappeared.
  • Sunday, 5th: FOX8 introduce their new, squeezed, early-morning stripping line-up, to air Sunday to Friday from this point on. Basically, it's: 12:00-12:45 Highlander, 12:45-1:30 Silk Stalkings (except Sundays), 1:30-2:15 repeat of 8:30-9:30, 2:15-3:00 Jerry Springer (except Sundays), 3:00-3:45 Law & Order, 3:45-4:30 Millennium. The Highlander timeslot just fits into the existing stripping, Millennium started from the first episode on Sunday; I'm not sure about the rest. Note that each ad break will normally comprise just one ad, with no ad at the end of each show before the Foxtel logo trailer.
  • Thursday, 9th: the second season of Dharma & Greg premieres at 8:30pm (repeated 1:30am).
  • Friday, 10th: The X-Files moves to 8:30pm, repeated at 1:30am, making way for another David Copperfield special at 7:30pm and other specials on subsequent weeks.
  • Sat-Sun 25th-26th: a huge weekend, with all but the last episode of Season One of Buffy screening in FOX8's Slayerfest from 12:00pm to 5:30pm both days.
There are also a couple of Simpsons changed mentioned as Simpsons news.

There's some great new stuff in here. Pay particular attention to the after-midnight changes -- recording has suddenly become a whole lot more difficult, especially when one is rarely that on-the-ball so late at night.

On other channels, Friday, 10th September, UK TV is again screening The A-Z of Red Dwarf at 11:00pm. On Sunday 12th September, the Sunday repeats of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Battlestar: Galactica move an hour earlier, starting at 10:30am and 11:30am, respectively (introduced by a slightly lost Tim Ferguson for Space Cadets).

I think that about covers it. You'll understand if it takes a few days for me to update all the individual episode guides...



26th August, 1999

Highlights next week include lots of cricket and Babylon 5 being moved to Wednesday at 11:10pm.

Although I'm certain there'll be changes on Foxtel next month, I haven't received my September Foxtel Guide yet, so I won't be able to make any observations or updates until after I return from next week's ski trip.



24th August, 1999

FOX8 have started advertising their September line-up, and it looks like Saturday nights are to see the most changes. With the NRL season about to enter the finals rounds, FOX8 is losing its live, Saturday night coverage, and the gap is to be filled with, amongst other things, new episodes of King of the Hill (which look surprisingly funny, from the ads), The Simpsons and Dharma & Greg. Plus there's going to be a Buffy marathon at some stage.

When I get the details to all of this, I'll let you know, but there's a chance I won't have time before I go skiing next week. Hence the old adage, "Check your local guides."



19th August, 1999

While I was sick in bed most of last week, a couple of birthdays slipped past, surreptitiously. The Simpsons Australian Broadcast Info Website celebrated its second birthday on the 12th August, while The Oz TV Gazette was one year old on the 4th August, though the name didn't debut until yesterday, one year ago.

New Mad About You Timeslot on TV1: This Saturday at 6:30pm, TV1 starts screening a "Best of Mad About You" stream. So far, the episodes are from Seasons Two and Four, and are listed on the Mad About You page. In other Mad About You news, TV1 have acquired the rights to Seasons Five and Six, and will commence airing the new episodes in October and November, respectively. It's possible that Season Five will be moved up to the start of October, truncating the last week's worth of Season Four.

FTA Changes, Both Temporary and More Permanent: As all the major publications have been reporting, Ten has moved Good News Week to 9:30pm Mondays, where it debuts with a debate. My impression has been that Ten haven't been as consistent with their filming of this show as the ABC, which has meant the featuring of less topical news stories as shows are filmed further and further in advance (and more at a time).

Also on Ten, Xena returns on Saturday at 7:30pm.

On Seven, Stargate SG-1 returns tonight in a two-hour special at 8:30pm. For those who realise these aren't the next two episodes in the standard order, Seven have offered an explanation at GEOS, saying they want to draw in more viewers and the two episodes entitled Tok-ra are a little too intractable for new-comers to the show. Apparently this has little effect on the ongoing story.

On Nine, swimming is to pre-empt the Monday line-up next week. And Buffy is also to be pre-empted, on Seven.

Foxtel Highlights: In cricket, Australia's tour of Sri Lanka starts this Sunday at 2:55pm. The matches are to be played at 2:55pm or 7:00pm (AEST) over the next couple of weeks. I'm a little skeptical as to how good this tournament will actually be.

Another instalment of Cadfael airs this weekend on arena (8:30pm Saturday). The mini-series depicts some clever, mediaeval whodunits based on the books by Ellis Peters. Also on arena, Lexx is only three episodes from the end of its second season, airing at 9:30pm Sundays.



5th August, 1999

With the end of new Friends episodes, Nine is moving Suddenly Susan up to the 8:00pm timeslot and continuing with repeats of Friends at 7:30pm. On Tuesday, Star Trek: Voyager is replaced by Deep Space Nine (I would have preferred to see the conclusion of the two-part, end-of-season cliff-hanger.) Not many other changes I can see.

A Glimpse into the Future of FOX8: (Actually just some assorted scheduling news.) You may have noticed Sunday's episode of Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place was a repeat. Never fear, the rest of the season will continue to air, last week being used for synchronisation (or something similar).

Season Six of The X-Files will continue straight on from Season Five in the Sunday timeslot, which is good news.

Finally, contrary to my earlier report that stripping of Highlander will reach the end of the series in late January, additional timeslots will apparently be added, bringing forward the end-date to the 1st January. I don't know exactly how this will work, and in fact it hasn't been finalised anyway, but my guess would be a month of two episodes a night (anyone got a digital VCR? [groan]).



30th July, 1999

Mad About You on TV1 in August: In the weekday stream, Season Four concludes on Tuesday, 3rd August. Subsequently, this stream will return to the start of Season Three, with the eventual aim of reaching TV1's first screening of Season Five in October. Meanwhile, a Saturday, "best of" stream will commence on 21st August at 6:30pm. I will attempt to obtain further information regarding which episodes will be shown.

Despite my exhortation to watch the Sandman and Flacco special last night, I must admit to some disappointment. I would have preferred to see more of Flacco and fewer musical numbers. In particular, I don't think there was any need for the Sandman to repeatedly tell us about his surfboard. Of course, the good material was very good.



29th July, 1999

Next week, Just Shoot Me! moves to 9:00pm Wednesday on Ten (after Becker), replaced by another episode of Seinfeld.

The two repeats of Friends screening this week and next at 8:00pm are taken from Season Two and were skipped earlier in the year. I still reckon they could have at least screened them in the right order.

Don't forget to watch tonight's Flacco and Sandman special, 8:30pm on Ten. In an interview, they said this was intended to capture all their best material on film, so it should be quite a show!



26th July, 1999

I received my August Foxtel Guide on Friday, so here's the low-down (if all those "Next month on Foxtel" spots aren't enough).

Highlander expanded: In addition to the weekend repeat timeslots at 11:00pm, repeating the 1:00pm screenings, Highlander is to be stripped at midnight weeknights. Although this technically means midnight Tuesday to Saturday, I've stuck to the television convention of listing the midnight timeslot as part of the previous day. Hopefully this won't cause too much confusion -- after all, one can always check the Foxtel Guide. In any case, hooray for the extra timeslots!

One may also presume that, even if this isn't to be the last appearance of Highlander on Australian TV, this is certainly the best chance to catch every episode. At the rate of five episodes a week, the entire series should conclude its run on Tuesday, 25th January, 2000. However, I imagine there will be interruptions.

Other changes on Foxtel in August: There's to be a South Park marathon on Sunday, 1st August from 2:30pm to 11:00pm, repeated on Monday from 9:00am to 3:30pm (although perhaps not in full).

The Practice comes to FOX8, Wednesday nights at 9:30pm, from the 4th August.

Monty Python's Flying Circus, together with some Monty Python specials, come to thecomedychannel on Saturday, 7th August at 8:30pm, repeated Sunday at 11:00am (and every other weekend from there on).

From Saturday, 21st August, TV1 starts an additional timeslot for Mad About You at 6:30pm Saturdays. More information on which episodes will air when I have it.



15th July, 1999

You've probably noticed that a lot of series are coming to the end of their seasons at the moment. Most of the exceptions are shows catching up to the three-month lag we normally have from the States (such as Buffy and Party of Five). To give you an idea, The X-Files concluded last night, Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place finishes tonight, Dharma & Greg screens its last next week, Friends has three episodes to go, The Pretender just one, Mad About You finishes next week, etc. These will hopefully make room for seasons that were interrupted or held back, such as Stargate SG-1 and Millennium.

New series will also start appearing (they already have). As far as I know, the only one I'm actually looking forward to is Will & Grace, starting next week in Two Guys...' timeslot. Although Tuesday's pilot for Charmed looked somewhat interesting.

Something odd seems to be happening with Boston Common on thecomedychannel at the moment, akin to the five episodes being skipped and five repeated from the end of the first run through the series. However, I won't have a clear answer until Tuesday.



8th July, 1999

Just a few things to note; changes in the schedule to flag.

On Ten, Mad About You has been pre-empted by a change in the timeslot for Melrose Place. The two-episode finale will apparently air on Wednesday, 21st July at 8:30pm, The X-Files having concluded Season Six with another alien cliffhander the previous week (next week, that is).

On Foxtel, the Saturday stream of Xena has ended, and the weekday repeat timeslot on FOX8 has moved to 2:00am (for Millennium, etc). Saturday, arena is screening another episode of Cadfael, the mediaeval, monk detective.



1st July, 1999

With the tennis (hopefully) over next week, Nine is bringing back Voyager and Babylon 5 next week, Tuesday and Thursday, respectively. Also watch out for the very funny (and slightly disgusting) cave man animation, Gogs, on the ABC at 5:55pm, Monday to Thursday (we're into the second week of 13 episodes).

Foxtel in July:

There's a lot of changes occurring on Foxtel in July. I'll try and cover some of the main ones, as I normally do.

FOX8

In addition to stripping NYPD Blue at midnight, FOX8 will start stripping Law and Order at 1:00am in July. This will push the repeat of the 8:30pm timeslot back to 2:00am, but it won't change which timeslot is repeated (I think all three should be -- 7:30pm to 10:30pm).

On Friday nights, Highlander has been dropped upon reaching the end of the series. The X-Files and Millennium have been moved up to 7:30pm and 8:30pm, respectively. Because of this, Millennium scores a repeat timeslot.

On the weekend, Highlander continues at 1:00pm, and will gain a repeat timeslot at 11:00pm at the end of the month (whether this will continue is not yet known). The X-Files double on Sunday nights gains an additional repeat timeslot, from 2:00am Monday morning, and keeps its Saturday-night-from-midnight repeat the following week. Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place loses its repeat timeslot on Sundays.

TV1

Only two changes I noticed here: Xena loses its Saturday timeslot after this weekend, but gains a 2:00am repeat on Mondays. The Thursday repeat for Star Trek: The Next Generation also moves to 2:00am.

In addition, I've finally figured out what's been happening with Mad About You. It seems four episodes have scored an extra screening in previous runs (rights for this show are paid for on the basis of times screened, I believe). The first three were skipped over two weeks ago; the other is An Angel for Murray, which will be skipped in a couple of weeks' time. The good news is that TV1 will soon have the rights to Season Five, in October. As a result, and in tandem with TV1's schedule restructuring, September is likely to be a bit messy for Mad About You.

thecomedychannel

The worst of July's changes occur on thecomedychannel, where everything has been restructured. Of the shows I watch, Rex the Runt sort of disappears temporarily, with a single outing on 14th July (I think); The Naked Truth is to be stripped, Monday to Friday at 6:00pm, repeated the following day at 3:00pm; Boston Common will air Mondays and Wednesdays at 7:30pm, repeated the next day at 10:30am; and South Park's Tuesday timeslot moves to 8:30pm, though its repeats remain. I think there are more changes, but I don't have the Guide in front of me. Because the new structure is more thematically streamed (building on the old "Adult Animation Half Hour" and "Canned Laughter Half Hour"), it shouldn't take long to figure out the new schedule.

Other Channels

On UK TV, Fawlty Towers has finished its run, but Black Adder has three more weeks to run, and Red Dwarf starts next Wednesday. On arena, Inside the arena seems to have disappeared, but Thunderbirds are on Thursdays at 9:30pm. I think that just about wraps it up.


Australian TV News Archive: First Half, 1999.



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Last Updated: 9-March-2000