Smoke and Mirrors

Some of the spookier detectives and crime-fighters

Scooby Doo

Daphne, Fred, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby will always be by far the best team at solving spooky crimes. Without fail the ghost was old Mr Brown the janitor with a sack on his head. And he would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids.
Warner Bros has just announced (09/03/01) the cast for the live action movie version (see picture – above). Sarah Michelle Geller is Daphne, Freddy Prinze Jr is Fred, Matthew Lillard (from Scream) is Shaggy and 'newcomer' Linda Cardellini (who has appeared in a few episodes of Freaks and Geeks, Third Rock fom the Sun and Boy Meets World) is Velma. Scooby is a computer-generated image.
Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bean and Blackadder) has also been cast (as a baddie).
For the classic toon see Cartoon Network, (see listings). The new live action movie by Warner Bros should be appearing some time in the not-too-distant future.

Randall And Hopkirk (Deceased)

Thirty years after the death of the original, an old format was dug up and resurrected. The results were good, although not universally accepted. Some said it was exactly the same as the 1969 version; many said it was nowhere near as good, but most thought it was quirky and funny. Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer are the dead one and the living one respectively. Emilia Fox, the big-eyed daughter of 60s star Edward Fox, plays Jeannie Hurst, fiancée to the dead Marty Hopkirk.

The differences between the 1969 and 2000 versions are small but significant. Writer/producer Charlie Higson has created a limbo for Marty to inhabit when he isn’t annoying his living partner. He has also introduced a mentor, Wyvern (played by Tom Baker – most people’s favourite Dr Who).

The original Jeannie (Annette André) was Marty’s wife rather than fiancée and she was mainly used for decoration and as a foil for various plot twists. Although Emilia Fox is no less decorative, she plays a far more active part in the proceedings, protecting the hapless Jeff Randall and making sure the villains get a good kicking.

Special effects play a bigger part in the newer version too. Whereas the 60s version relied on jump-cuts, the 2000 version uses CGI effects to bend and morph Marty.

Up until Randall and Hopkirk, Vic and Bob were more well-known for their steam-of-consciousness comedy, starting with Vic Reeves’ Big Night Out, through Reeves And Mortimer, The Smell Of Reeves And Mortimer and Shooting Stars. This was the duo’s first real foray into proper acting. A new series is planned, so you haven’t seen the last of them.
UK Gold, Saturdays at 9pm from November 4 2000

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

The villains are almost all dead before she gets there, but that makes Buffy Summers’ (Sarah Michelle Gellar) job even harder. It’s tough living on a Hellmouth, and a constant stream of vampires, demons and other horrible underworld creatures can get a girl down. Fortunately, Buffy has an ever-changing set of helpful friends to aid her in her crusade.
At the end of season five poor Buffy ended up a bit dead. But this being TV she's going to be back in one form or another when the series returns. Only it'll be on UPN in the US by then. Not that it makes much difference to viewers in the UK- or does it?
Sky One, Fridays at 8pm


Let's recap shall we.
Angel, Buffy's vampire-with-a-soul ex-boyfriend, moved to LA to make The Slayer's life a bit less traumatic (good plan Angel dude).
Angel met the half-demon Doyle, who persuaded him to help the Powers That Be. They met up with Cordelia, erstwhile Sunnydale bitch turned penniless would-be-actress.
After eight episodes Doyle died. Cordelia inherited Doyle's visions and Wesley (one-time Watcher and now self-styled rogue-demon hunter. Or is that rogue demon-hunter?) arrived.
Then policewoman Kate went funny.
Angel's beloved Darla came back from the dead and then crazy Dru came along and turned her into a vampire (again).
Oh yeah, Gunn's sister died in season one, and in season two he joined the merry band.
Then they all met The Host (AKA Lorne) a campy green karaoke-singing demon.
By this time they'd all got a bit angry at Angel and the group split up.
Eventually they got back together again.
They visited Lorne's home dimension, Cordelia became Queen, Lorne got his head chopped off. Then he was all right again and everyone went home.
Everything was fine.
Then they found out Buffy was dead.
OK, good, now we're up to speed.
Sky One, Fridays at 9pm


The biggest unexplained question in The X-Files used to be ‘Is there sexual tension between Mulder and Scully?’ Ask most people and they’ll probably say yes, but apart from a few chaste kisses it never went anywhere. Mulder was obviously still too worked up about his missing sister and Scully is far too professional to let that sort of thing get in the way of a proper working relationship.
Of course now Mulder's been abducted by aliens and John Doggett (Robert Patrick) has been drafted in to take his place. Any hint of unresolved passion there? Can't see it can you.

But wait - Mulder died, but was magically resurrected a few episodes later.
Oh. Wait again. David Duchovny has just said he's not going to be in the next season at all. Shame. Still, he's in Evolution, which is almost the same.
The X-Files is on Sky One, Thursday at 9pm


Frank Black continues his never-ending search for evil incarnate. All signs point to the end being nigh, but he’s not going to let that get in his way.

Jonathan Creek

Jonathan Creek (Alan Davies) was more logical than Sherlock Holmes and almost as spooky as The X-Files’ Mulder. As in the great Scooby Doo, the crimes all turn out to have a perfectly reasonable explanation. Maddy Magellan (Caroline Quentin) plays along and makes some stupid suggestions, but good old Jonathan with his springy curls and tatty Duffel coat could probably do just as well without her.
UK Gold, Fridays at 10.20pm from November 10, 2000. See listings for details.

and don’t forget...

Jason King, Granada Plus, weekdays at 6am; Tony Curtis and Roger Moore as Brett and Danny – The Persuaders, Granada Plus, weekdays at 11am; and, of course, the Caped Crusader himself – Batman on Granada Plus

Ah. Well. They were on at those times when I wrote this. You're going to have to check to see when (and if) they're on now.

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