Missile Command

Missile CommandAtari scores a direct hit on arcades everywhere with Missile Command, a game which reminds video game-obsessed youth that the Cold War is still on. (In the months it takes to develop the game, programmer Dave Theurer has recurring nuclear-war-themed nightmares.) Cementing the trakball as a viable controller for fast-paced, non-sports games, Missile Command inspires a popular home video game cartridge (which, in the interest of not giving young gamers nightmares, dispenses with the Cold War theme in favor of a science-fiction explanation of the missiles’ origin).

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Buffy The Vampire Slayer: I Only Have Eyes For You

Buffy The Vampire SlayerThe 31st episode of Joss Whedon’s trend-setting supernatural series Buffy The Vampire Slayer, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, airs on the WB network. Anthony Stewart Head, David Boreanaz, and Alyson Hannigan also star. James Marsters, Juliet Landau, Armin Shimerman (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), and Meredith Salenger (Hollywood Heights) guest star.

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The X-Files: Jump The Shark

The X-FilesThe 197th episode of Chris Carter’s modern-day science fiction series The X-Files airs on Fox, starring Gillian Anderson, Robert Patrick, and Annabeth Gish. Bruce Harwood, Tom Braidwood, and Dean Haglund guest star in an episode that provides a somewhat definitive finale to the short-lived Lone Gunmen spinoff series.

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ISS Expedition 9 gets dizzying welcome

ISSThe three members of the Expedition 9 crew arrive on the International Space Station, and the station promptly loses one of its three gyroscopes, which keep the station aligned in orbit. According to NASA, the station can remain stable with only two of the gyroscopes operating, and even if a second one should fail, the thrusters of the newly-arrived Soyuz capsule can keep it aligned. Departing in their Soyuz vehicle will be Expedition 8 crewmembers Michael Foale and Alexander Kaleri, along with ESA astronaut Andrè Kuipers, who arrived with the Expedition 9 crew to perform a week’s worth of experiments. Manning the station for the next six months will be Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Mike Fincke.

Abrams to be new Trek moviemaker

Star TrekEntertainment industry newspaper Daily Variety reports that J.J. Abrams, creator of Lost and Alias, and director/producer of Paramount’s heavily-promoted Mission: Impossible III, has signed a deal to produce and direct the eleventh Star Trek film, which has suddenly moved from “off the schedule” (following the cooling of the studio’s attitude toward the Trek franchise in the wake of the Star Trek: Enterprise cancellation) to a 2008 release date. Fellow Lost producers Bryan Burk and Damon Lindelof are also signed on as producers of the still-untitled movie, which is said to focus on the first mission for a young James T. Kirk and Spock. Mission: Impossible III (and former Xena/Hercules) writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman are on board as scriptwriters.

Caprica

CapricaThe pilot movie of the Battlestar Galactica spinoff series Caprica, a non-space-based tale of the creation of the Cylons over half a century before the events seen in Galactica, is released direct-to-DVD. Starring Eric Stoltz, Esai Morales and Alessandra Toressani, Caprica actually began its development as a non-Galactica-related pitch about the dawn of a society’s disastrous over-reliance on technology. The pilot will be broadcast nearly a year on Syfy, though its initial means of release reflects an end-of-decade spike in direct-to-DVD genre movies that includes two one-off Stargate SG-1 DVDs.

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