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'The X-Files' is up,
'Cupid' is out and
'Babylon 5' is ...?


February 4, 1999
By Franklin Harris

Promises, promises.

Chris Carter, the creator of "The X-Files," has made a lot of promises over the past five-plus years, and now he is making them again.

This Sunday's episode of "The X-Files" is the first of a two-part story that promises to give viewers the answers for which they've waited five years: Who is the Cigarette Smoking Man? What really happened to Special Agent Fox Mulder's sister? What is the mysterious "black oil?" Who is Mulder's real father? What do the new, faceless aliens really want?

By this point, however, the more obvious question is, does anyone even care anymore?

We've been promised answers before, most recently -- and infamously -- in last summer's "X-Files" feature film.

But the answers remain elusive, and more questions keep cropping up. The only thing viewers have learned is that Carter apparently has no master plan for his series after all; he's making it up as he goes.

It's enough to drive one to hate "The X-Files," if only the show weren't the best thing on television.

After a somewhat lackluster fifth season, the sixth season of "The X-Files" has started spectacularly, providing such memorable outings as the visually experimental "Triangle" and the hilarious two-parter, "Dreamland."

I'm tempted to say that the next two episodes of "The X-Files" are Carter's last chance: he's promised answers, and now he had better deliver! Or else!

But empty threats are just as annoying as hollow promises.

All I can do is hope that Carter finally delivers this time.

And, if he doesn't, I guess my love/hate relationship with "The X-Files" will have to continue.

Sci-Fi shake-up

While "The X-Files" may be safe and secure in its home on Fox, other SF and fantasy series aren't so lucky.

The latest word is that "Crusade," the much-anticipated "Babylon 5" spin off series, may have lost its TV home before even its first episode has aired.

TNT, which has been home to "Babylon 5" for the past year, apparently is having second thoughts about "Crusade." While little has been confirmed as yet, B5 creator J. Michael Straczynski has said that alternate venues for "Crusade" are under consideration.

Most rumors concerning the series' future center on the Sci-Fi Channel, and a fan-organized campaign aimed at encouraging Sci-Fi to pick up "Crusade" is already under way.

Fans can send e-mail to the Sci-Fi Channel at program@www.scifi.com.

Meanwhile, things look even worse for genre programs over at ABC, where "Cupid" has joined the revamped "Fantasy Island" on the network's casualty list.

And, not to feel left out, Fox has cancelled "Brimstone."

On the up side, the syndicated "Gene Roddenberry's Earth: Final Conflict" has been renewed for two more seasons, proving that the Roddenberry name still sells, even if the Great Bird himself has flown the coup.

WB or not WB?

Fans of "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer," "Charmed" and the Kids WB cartoons may be without their favorite programs next season if they get their WB programming via WGN.

The Chicago-based "superstation" will no longer carry WB network programming on its national satellite feed as of the 1999-2000 television season, according to a report in Variety.

While viewers in major television markets will still be able to see WB programs on local WB affiliate stations, viewers in small markets will be left out if they aren't serviced by a local WB station.

WB was the only network to see a ratings increase during the 1998-99 television season. Its programs include "Dawson's Creek," and the animated series "Batman Beyond" and "Batman/Superman Adventures."

Still, there may be hope for more-rural WB viewers.

WB is planning to launch its own cable network, WeB, which is to carry the current WB line-up, along with additional programming.

So, whether or not you get to see Buffy slay the undead next year may depend on your local cable-TV company.

Then, of course, there are also the persistent rumors that "Buffy" may jump networks to Fox next season.

These days, even if your favorite TV show survives, finding it can be an adventure.

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