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I am – Hercules!!

Skip Back to “Angel”

Everybody who loves Skip, longtime guardian of a certain otherdimensional fire cage, will be pleased to hear the laid-back demon – now presumably unemployed – is slated to turn up again in an upcoming installment of “Angel.” He’s there to let Cordelia know that first-season fixture Doyle (a half-demon) did not intend for her to inherit her headache-inducing vision power – because only demons are strong enough to handle it. The last human accidentally cursed with the visions, he explains, was a lass named Tammy, who in 1630 A.D. wound up looking like a special effect from “Scanners.”

The first “Angel” of February sweeps will begin with the title character getting hired to rid a group of small businessmen of a nest of vamps running a protection racket. Wes, Gunn and Cordy, meanwhile, will encounter Lauren, a young woman being stalked by her zombie ex-boyfriend, who’s both super-strong and way too clingy.

“Cold” Clues and Snoring Klingons

A review at Genre TV reveals that Daniels, an Enterprise crewman working against FutureGuy in next week’s episode of “Enterprise,” will claim to take orders from the 31st century. T’Pol scoffs, as Vulcan science has “proven” time travel impossible. Also, in a twist right out of “The Trouble With Tribbles,” it turns out that Archer’s trusty beagle, Porthos, is the only thing aboard the Enterprise that can reliably identify masquerading Suliban.

In “Dear Doctor,” an “Enterprise” episode set to air Jan. 30, Archer’s crew will pick up a ship from a pre-warp civilization, the Valakians, that years before encountered a warp-utilizing culture called “the Ferengi.” (T’Pol indicates she’s not not familiar with the folks from Ferenginar.) The Valakian astronauts have been traveling more than a year at sub-warp in hopes of encountering another warp-drive culture that might be able to help them conquer the disease that’s wiping out their planet (theirs was one of four Valakian ships on the same mission, and the only one to return).

When the Enterprise crew returns the astronauts to Valakis, they discover the planet is unusual in that it is home to two separate sentient species. When the Valakians ask Archer to share warp technology, Archer finds himself in the ironic position of denying the Valakians the same thing the Vulcans had long denied humans. The story is told in large part from the point of view of Dr. Phlox, who in this episode seems to launch a romance with Elizabeth Cutler (the hot ensign introduced in “Brave New World”).

Due to air during February sweeps is an "Enterprise" episode titled “Sleeping Dogs.” The title referes to a raptor-load of unconscious Klingons in orbit around a gas giant, apparently victims of an Orion biological weapon. After Enterprise crew members board in an effort to help, a female Klingon cook named Bu’kaH arrives in a scout ship and accuses Archer & Co. of raiding the vessel and infecting its crew. The episode will feature a return trip to the infamous “decon chamber” from the pilot, so we’ll get to see Hoshi join Trip in stripping down to her undies!

Less Skin on “X-Files”

In the fourth “X-Files” episode of the season, Doggett and Reyes investigate the death of Victor Potts, a reformed criminal who, just prior to being skinned to death, began seeing everyone else walking around as if they were skinned alive. The case at first seems to be tied to a surly meat-packing-plant butcher named Ed - and Reyes seems to have a connection to the case as well. Scully (still caring for baby William sans Spooky), meanwhile, manages to connect the killing to a similar case from 40 years earlier.

Lex’s Next

Next week’s “Smallville,” the last of sweeps, focuses on Jodi Melville, a once-overweight teen whose diet of veggies growing out of Kryptonite-laced soil ultimately turns her into a cellulite-vampire: she literally begins sucking the fat out of unwilling Smallville residents. Another thing TV Guide doesn’t tell you: the Smallville meteor shower caused Lex Luthor’s body to do more than just shed its hair; a routine physical turns up an anomaly in Lex’s bloodwork. Soon after, Lex pays a visit to one Dr. Steven Hamilton, whose theories on the mutagenic properties of the Smallville meteors led to the scientist’s exit from Metropolis U.

In the teaser of an upcoming “Smallville” episode titled “Rogue,” Lex will be surprised at a company party in Metropolis by Victoria Emerson, a fabulous British-born classmate and girlfriend who attended Cambridge with Lex four years earlier. They’re locking lips less than two minutes after reuniting, and hatching big-money deals together by the third act. The same teaser will depict Clark using super-strength to halt an out-of-control Metropolis bus, an act that will lead a Metropolis police detective named Jack Phelan begin a campaign of harassing Clark and his parents.

Oh, by the way, that was the "West Wing" set Lex was standing on in the last episode's clairvoyant vision.

Return of the Christmas Nazi

Fans of what was arguably the best “Roswell” episode of last year, “A Roswell Christmas Carol,” will be gratified to learn the show is planning both Christmas and New Year’s Eve episodes this season.

The Yuletide installment, titled “Samuel Rising,” will center around an autistic tot who mysteriously forms a connection to Max in the Crashdown. The episode will also see Isabel return to her role as “Christmas Nazi” as she recruits Michael to play Santa – and the horrified Crashdown waitresses to play elves named “Snowflake” and “Cinnamon.” “There are no small assignments, only small volunteers,” grins Isabel, handing Liz and Maria their tiny uniforms. “And you two are the only volunteers small enough to fit into the elf costumes.”

The New Year’s Eve "Roswell," titled “A Tale of Two Parties,” will have Liz overseeing a senior citizens’ hoedown at the Crashdown while Max and Maria crash a frat bash. Max and Maria are competing with Kyle and Isabel in a contest that might remind some of a scaled-down “Amazing Race."

Fishboy’s Bloody Revenge

The more menacing incarnation of Aquaman we’ve been hearing about turns up on “Justice League” in a two-parter episode titled "The Enemy Below." It first airs Monday, Dec. 3, and Monday, Dec 10, at 9:30 p.m. on the Cartoon Network (opposite “Angel”).

Coax also has word that the “Justice League” producers have already begun recording the last story arc of the season. "The Savage Time," a three-parter featuring the participation of the entire league, has enlisted the following guest voices: Fred Dryer ("Hunter") as Sgt. Rock, Patrick Duffy (“The Man From Atlantis”) as Steve Trevor, Phil Morris (who played Kramer’s Johnnie Cochrane-like attorney Jackie Chiles on “Seinfeld”) as Vandal Savage and Robert Picardo (“Star Trek: Voyager”) as Blackhawk.

The Big Buffy/FX Question

Coax has been deluged with e-mail from viewers asking why some of the best episodes of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” – including “Hush,” “Buffy vs. Dracula,” “The Body” and “The Gift” – are not airing on FX. Word is UPN will soon be repeating these in “Buffy’s” usual Tuesday-night timeslot, and the missing episodes will be added to the FX rotation shortly thereafter. "Hush" airs on UPN Dec. 11; "The Body" Dec. 18.

I am – Hercules!!

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