Last updated : 27th January 2002

Episode 'Orbit'
Story SynopsisCould a vengeful scientist have reprogrammed an old Star Wars satellite – or could it be a UFO...?
WritersColin Brake and Brian Clemens DirectorColin Bucksey Sweden Tx Date19th November 1998
Dave's Comment

Although kicking off with an intriguing premise, we soon find ourselves in BUGS territory again.

Note the pic of Cowley in Malone's office! Ah, happy days.

Backus gets a reasonable role, though nothing of any great note, to be honest.

What did wake me up was the caravan scrap – a surprisingly violent scene, arguably surpassing even the original series.

Unfortunately the plot falls apart in the final third. Firstly, in a woeful attempt to add some 'suspense', we see Spencer and Malone manually tabbing through a computer screen to find Caslet. Surely in this 'high-tech' series, there must have been a 'Search' button??

But worse than that is Caslet's sudden, inexplicable change of mind. He's quite happy to obliterate the Empire State Building and Buckingham Palace but is horrified at the thought of splatting the Eiffel Tower. "But there will be people there!" he cries. So the ESB and Buck Pal are normally deserted, are they?

Oh well – at least the "illegal alien" joke at the end was mildly amusing.

Ann's Comment

This is definitely the funniest episode of them all! There is great humour throughout, from Malone to The Minister. Curtis, who shows some very good comic timing, is especially enjoyable throughout, in particular in all scenes involving Spider (my favourite guest part, well played by Parati). The dialogue, in particular between those two, is really funny.

Backus does her hands down best undercover stint and is enjoyable throughout (and, btw, looks good in glasses too). But the guys should really better appreciate her efforts, the thankless buggers! ;-)

While Keel could loosen up a bit more here (he's rather sombre most of the time, though that is in itself quite funny at times), some of his remarks really cracked me up – in particular the way he vehemently states that he's not a New Age freak nor a believer in astrology! (No? He might be surprised to learn that there's more to it than meets the eye – pity we don't know his date of birth to prove it! ;-)

The plot works fine, particularly the way it provides for a lot of the humour. Nice effects too. I also like the music, in particular that flute & guitar "hippie" piece. There's also a higly enjoyable fist-fight involving Curtis and Keel. The only thing I wonder about is where Curtis' bandage suddenly disappeared to?

Jack's Comment

Tx date in New Zealand: December 22, 2001

Bloody hell: The Professionals meets The X-Files. I was dumbfounded at the pre-title sequence. Other episodes had pretty good ones, including 'Back to Business' (one of the best before the credits rolled), but this was daft. How is this meant to fit in to CI5's brief?

We then have Keel do a David Duchovny while Curtis plays the male Gillian Anderson: one UFO believer and the other a sceptic. While this makes for good dialogue at the hippie camp, the episode – not to mention its American locations – made for an X-Files ripoff. I liked Curtis's smart-arse attitude here – the A Squad is meant to be irritatingly cheeky, staffed by folks you wouldn't really want a banter with down at the pub, but who you'd like on your side if a scrap broke out.

Slightly better performance from Edward but Lexa remains underutilized.

The car is poorly chosen: a Ford Crown Victoria, one of three mass-production cars on a separate chassis favoured by overweight American policemen and New York cabbies. And it's Matlock's transportation of choice.

Still, the stunt coordinator manages to get some good action out of the old Crown Vic as Keel races toward Shabadi's boat, and there are some other promising action moments, including a scrap in the caravan with the two Special Forces' guys. For once, the lads are evenly matched! But why is Backus staring outside, puzzled? Surely a trained CI5 operative would know the lads are in a fight?

We descend from The X-Files into BUGS at the end: a lone professor able to control a half-billion-dollar gadget on a couple of PCs. Probable, but unlikely. Not quite as bad as 'Skorpion', but down there. Question: did director Ken Grieve ever see an episode of the originals, or does everything just come out looking like BUGS?

Rating: 3/10

CI5 cars: Ford Crown Victoria, Volkswagen Kγfer (Backus, undercover)

Cast List Spencer – Adrian Irvine
The Minister – Charlotte Cornwell
Shabadi – Shaun Toub
Spider – Tim Parati
Kevin Casey – Gil Johnson
Dr James L Stoner – Alad Sader
Professor Peter Ricard – John Bennes
Richards – Sean Graham
Prisoner – Wayne Caparas
FBI Agent – Barry Bell
Doctor – Michael Genevie
Barman – Brownewell
BTWFilmed on location in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Click for the complete List of Episodes