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1997-10-02 00:00:00 - (REVIEW) Bits of Love [Spoilers marked] - (Mike Horne <mike@whispers.demon.co.uk>)

This is my first one for the new season. All in my honest opinion. There are spoilers, but none really that bad. --- The Outer Limits Reviews by Mike Horne 'Bits of Love' The first episode of the new season is a story about a man who, after surviving a nuclear holocaust, creates a virtual reality world for himself in which he recreates his family and friends as holograms. In addition to these people, he creates a Graphical User Interface known as Emma who is his guide through the computer system and his personal assistant. I'll begin with the good points of this episode. First of all, it has one of the best teasers that the series has ever done. At first, it seems like an ordinary beginning to a day. A man wakes up, goes into the living room where his best friend is waiting to go on their daily exercise routine. The man, the main focus of the story, is a painter and is looking critically at his new piece of work. Suddenly, he calls to all the members of his family who appear in a flash of particles and light: they are holograms. It's a good beginning, and highlights the originality of the episode, at least for me. Secondly, the title is apt and could have many meanings, which is what I have come to expect from the series as a whole. Other good points: Natasha Henstridge, who proves that her performance in Species wasn't just a flash in the pan. Sheila Larkin, basically just for the reason that it's always nice to see actors from other series doing other work. Also, credit to the writers for the scene where the man (I can't remember his name) mentions in passing that he hasn't yet seen the computer program produce random characters, and then soon after two women are suddenly created. The 'romantic' scenes are good between the man and Emma, and I especially liked the part where he's setting her up to have her portrait done and he says, 'Don't move' and she freeze-frames stock-still. It made me laugh, something which TOL very rarely manages. (SPOILERS) The central performance by the only 'real' person in the episode was quite good. He was suitably unemotional during the sex scene with the new woman who was created spontaneously, was, again, suitably emotional during the sex scene with 'Michelle', his one true love, and reacted with horror when Emma suddenly appeared. I also thought he was quite restrained during the periods where he was going insane, especially the talking-to-himself scenes in the computer core. (SPOILERS END) The bad points. Now, these are much easier. First of all, the episode's premise at first seemed to be original, but then I began thinking back to the other seasons and remembering there being quite a few similar stories. For instance, Mind Over Matter did the 'obsessive love' theme, and did it better. This was also done in Valerie 23 way, way back in the first season. It is a shame that they had to resort to yet another story of this kind. Another bad point: the father. Now, he was an interesting character, but I couldn't understand why the real person hadn't got rid of him, or at least changed the program. The father would have driven me nuts within a couple of days! The ending was rather obvious, although not overtly so. I did guess that a holo-copy of the man was suddenly going to appear, but I only managed to guess that just before it happened. The main criticism of the episode is the very end. I know TOL is want to do this, but in this case it was inappropriate to leave the main character and plot hanging. Whereas most episodes leave the end open to interpretation, this simply felt as though they had run out of time in which to tell the story. A better ending would have been the man committing suicide by opening the hatch and going above ground. As it is, you are left thinking: Is That It?!?!? One more comment: The direction of the episode was not the best I've ever seen. Usually with TOL, there is some kind of style established, but in this one it seemed, well, ordinary. That may have been a conscious decision by the director as the episode was set in a fairly 'ordinary' environment: The home. We shall know the answer next time he directs an episode. Overall, though, it wasn't a bad episode, and a pretty good season opener. There were good points, and bad points, which were unfortunately fairly well balanced. Score: 7.2 -- Mike Horne mike@whispers.demon.co.uk http://www.whispers.demon.co.uk

1997-10-03 00:00:00 - Re: (REVIEW) Bits of Love [Spoilers marked] - (stoodin101@aol.com)

> The 'romantic' scenes are good between the man and Emma, and I >especially liked the part where he's setting her up to have her portrait >done and he says, 'Don't move' and she freeze-frames stock-still. I felt like that whole painting deal, and indeed much of this ep, was padding pure and simple. They have done one of these machine-falls-in-love-with-human plots every season, and "Mind over Matter" was the best of them. "Bits of Love" was the worst. I found it a very mediocre premiere (on Showtime, natch). ..but the one they ran after it that night more than made up for it. "Second Thoughts". Watch for it in syndication, it's a goodie. >The central performance by the only 'real' person in the episode >was quite good. I agree. he reminded me strangely of Scott Marlowe, who played Jordy in IT CRAWLED OUT OF THE WOODWORK and one of the classic OL villains, Andre Pavan, in FORMS OF THINGS UNKNOWN. I'd like to see him come back for another go at nOL, whoever he was. (Can't remember his name!) Not as the same guy, of course! >One more comment: The direction of the episode was not the best >I've ever seen. This guy also directed "From Within" in the 2nd season. He isn't my favorite nOL director, but he isn't my least favorite, either. I suppose he is the analogue of Alan Crosland Jr. in the old series. NECRONOMICON, all-instrumental electronic music inspired by H.P.Lovecraft, now available on c-60 cassette. E-mail StoOdin101@aol.com for details.