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I am – Hercules!!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Looks like a rough cut of “Lessons,” the Joss Whedon-penned seventh-season opener is floating around. Much of what we’ve heard is confirmed, with a few new wrinkles:

* The episode begins with a hooded figure in Istanbul attacking a slayer-in-training.

* Spike is not only showing his dark roots, it appears that the new soul is considerably more than he bargained for, and there is evidence that he’s literally been trying to carve it out.

* Willow, keeping company with Giles in England, is still all magical, and does not depart for Sunnydale in the opener (she’s supposed to rejoin the gang in 7.3). But her spidey-sense still picks up bad vibes from 6,000 miles away, in Sunnydale, still home of the big brewwwwwin’ evil!

* As we've heard these last few weeks, bads from all seasons will appear in a single scene at the end of 7.1. The morphing sequence, sadly, can only be read through the miracle of inviso-text. Warren into Glory into Adam into Mayor Wilkins into Drusilla into The Master into Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It might be Spike’s delusion, but did Spike meet Wilkins in season three?

Additionally, word is now out that 7.5 will be titled “Anya,” and delve into the vengeance demon’s history, including her relationship with Olaf the massive hammer-weilding troll and the origins of her bunny phobias. (This is also the one with the musical Anya flashback to “Once More With Feeling.”) Xander’s ex also continues to exhibit little enthusiasm as she returns to her old vengeance-dealing vocation.


Some tidbits gleaned from a November sweeps episode titled “The Lottery.”

* Did somebody say “Olaf the Troll”? The Illinois Powerball jackpot is up to $87 million, and admissions clerk Jerry will take to reselling lotto ducats to fellow County staffers.

* Now that John and Abby have officially coupled, sensitive widower Luka Kovac has apparently transformed into a rabid womanizer, and endures an ugly breakup with County’s second-hottest ER nurse, Chuny Marquez. Kovac’s behavior even sparks a petition signed by all the female ER nurses (save Abby).

* Abby’s brother Eric (Tom Everett Scott), like his mom, suffers from a mood disorder, and turns up in Chicago in love with a young woman he just met. (Eric also confides to Carter that Abby was famous at her Catholic school for wearing a Sex Pistols T-shirt over her jumper.)

* Corday expresses serious doubts about the surgical future of Parkinson’s-riddled middle-aged med student Paul Nathan (Don Cheadle). Nathan takes his concerns about Corday’s concerns to Romano.

* Nathan proves himself a hero again when he befriends a 26-year-old named Alison whose rare and painful genetic disorder causes her to sign a DNR.

* Corday will treat a 14-year-old who was apparently drugged and raped. The twist is the teen doesn’t appear to remember what happened to her, and the girl’s father doesn’t want Corday to let the kid in on the bad news. Mrs. Greene will also help a jumpy rookie cop with a nasty gash in her hand.

* Jing-Mei is jumpy too after she encounters a belligerent biker patient who calls her a “yellow bitch” and threatens to “come back and cut you up!” Pratt decides it’s his job to calm her down.

* Big Susie will deal with a elderly woman with noisy digestive issues, and send Abby’s brother out in search of lottery tickets.


The sixth episode, said to be the last stand-alone installment before creator Joss Whedon’s beloved penchant for rich continuity kicks in, is titled “Jaynesville.” We learn that, due to a colossal misunderstanding, an isolated mud-processing town (don’t ask) regards the Serenity’s resident ill-mannered thug as a folk hero. They even write songs about the guy.

The rejiggered and (hopefully) enhanced two-hour “Firefly” pilot, meanwhile, will finally be unveiled in December.

Gilmore Girls

In the upcoming episode “Eight O’Clock at the Oasis,” Luke’s café will be overrun and menaced by tourists toting high-maintenance toddlers.

The same episode will see Lorelai torment Michel at an antiques auction. When she feels she’s harassed her co-worker sufficiently, she flits to the auction house bar, where she meets a handsome stranger willing to split the facility’s last glass of merlot. The sparks, they will fly.


Speaking of colossal misunderstandings, 2.7 will see a middle-aged woman named Rebecca Dunlevy claim that she is Clark’s biological mother. She makes the Kents nervous, if only because she threatens to attract scrutiny to the strange circumstances under which Kal-El was adopted by puny humans.

The really weird part is who Rebecca thinks is Clark’s biological father. (Hint: His face is a familiar one to all “Smallville” fans.)

Lana, meanwhile, meets a former love of her mother’s, a married, Luthor-hating attorney named Henry Small. Lana comes to believe Small might be her true biological father. (2.7, aptly, is titled “Lineage.”)

Pete Ross, who will learn of Clark’s extraterrestrial origins early in the season, will help the boy of steel sneak into a Metropolis medical facility to engineer a DNA swap (if you know what I mean). Clark will demonstrate during the mission that he’s getting awfully handy with the heat-vision.

I am – Hercules!!

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