Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

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2004-12-24 Entry: "Good Evening, Mr Phelps"

An early start due to the holidays, and we get the Mr Phelps brought out of retirement to lead his squadron in an attack on an asteroid belt in "The Return Of The Fighting 69th." In this episode of Buck Rogers, a pair of scarred villains get hold of some old nerve gas and intend to attack Earth with it. Fortunately, the squadron of pilots Wilma retired a year ago know the asteroid belt like the back of their hands, so now they've just got to be persuaded to come back and take on the mission.

As this finished a disk, I was again struck with indifference, stuck trying to decide whether there was anything I really wanted to watch next. I finally settled on Spider-Man: The '67 Collection - "Sub-Zero For Spidey," another show that's been sitting on the shelf for ages waiting for me to get back to it... oh, actually, I've watched this one... lets skip on to "Where Crawls The Lizard" - this is what you get for leaving it in the middle of a disk for weeks, before trying to come back to it at the same place. And oh no, we've got a lizard-man whose white labcoat apparently isn't affected by submersion in a swamp.

Now, this isn't really my Spider-Man series - I grew up with a later version (swiftly followed by Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, and yes, Firestar was a hottie), and I'm not sure this has aged all that well... we'll probably have to give it a few episodes to be sure though.

And Dr. Connors' accident leads neatly into "Electro The Human Lightning Bolt" - when Electro breaks into J. Jonah Jameson's apartment, Spider-Man finally gets a photograph that might be worth something, especially when Jameson thinks Spider-Man was the culprit.

Electro seems determined to blame Spider-Man for his crimewave. But Peter is applying his scientific knowledge to countering Electro's lightning blasts. Oooh, and a Hall Of Mirrors... now that hasn't been done before... well, okay, it might not have been done before this was made, but it's a bit of a trite conclusion!

And we switch disks again (with more dithering, and a shelf re-arrangement to make it look like things are slightly more manageable). This time, I decide to see if my purchase of Black Books was actually a good idea or not.

Okay, when I'm laughing riotously after the first episode, it's pretty good. Some of you are going to want a premise aren't you... okay, Bernard Black owns a bookstore... and his friend Fran owns the store next door, and they drink a lot and don't really sell many books, and Manny gets hired accidentally after he swallowed the Little Book Of Calm and it was absorbed into his system and Bernard got into a fight with some Millwall supporters, and Manny was an accountant who could do Bernard's accounts... well, okay, it's very silly!

The second episode, "Manny's First Day" is equally silly, but I finally decided I should go out and forage for food, so we'll call it a day after two.

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