Cyberscope

Episodic web shows have not been a big hit. But a new one presented by Oxygen, the women's Web-and-cable-TV effort, may have found a good formula. Deep Creek (at oxygen.com/deepcreek) is a weekly online saga about a small town and some of its emotionally entangled inhabitants. The story is standard soap-opera fare (best friends, abuse of power, affairs). The compelling part is that the show's producers wisely decided to deliver the story in low-bandwidth panels that don't require you to download anything to join in. Each show runs about 60 panels long and, at the end, asks fans to vote on what should happen next. Should Katie find out about her husband's wrongdoing? What will Emma do about her secret lover? In this medium, you decide. TOYSA New Threat to Homework It's called Pox, and if it sounds like a virus, well, that's not far off. The toy, made by Hasbro www.p-o-x.com), is a new handheld game device that lets kids play against each other via wireless radio-frequency technology. A player starts by building a "warrior" character on his or her POX unit. When two units are in range of each other, the warriors will face off in a virtual battle. Get several POX units together and a round-robin-type tournament will ensue until a single victor emerges. The toy is available now in Chicago for about $25; it will roll out nationwide through August. Note to parents: be afraid, be very afraid. Surf Report Summer doldrums needn't get you down. This week's guide: