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Week of April 9, 2001

Gimme some more! All-star west coast punk band Me First And The Gimme Gimmes are back with their third album, Blowin' In The Wind. Whereas the Gimmes' past projects have taken on 70s standards and Broadway showtunes, this latest CD - which sadly only clocks in at about half an hour (much like their previous efforts) - tackles 60s favorites like Wild World by Cat Stevens and Tammy Wynette's Stand By Your Man. Fans will be even more pleased to learn that the Gimmes are planning to take it on the road this summer. Now if only they'd crank out some full-length albums for the full-length price...

Me First And The Gimme Gimmes: Blow In The Wind

Dune duel. As we've mentioned before, Dune 2000 is a favorite in the Green household, with both myself and the lovely Mrs. Green taking turns in the noble endeavour of fragging enemy armies in large numbers, so it's a bit of an understatement to say that we're looking forward to Westwood's sequel, Emperor: The Battle For Dune, due this summer. But wait! Cryo Interactive, a European company which published the first-ever computer game based on Frank Herbert's Dune novels, is also releasing a new game based in the Dune universe, tied in closely with - and sharing the name of - the Sci-Fi Channel's recent Frank Herbert's Dune miniseries. As with their original Dune game, Cryo is planning on making the game a mixture of pre-set mission adventures with some action sequences thrown in for good measure, and as with the earlier game (which was closely tied to David Lynch's 1984 movie based on the novel), it'll probably be largely a first-person adventure. Dreamcatcher Games will be distributing Frank Herbert's Dune in the United States, and the game will be available for the PC and Playstation 2 around September.

Emperor: Battle For Dune

Will you stop cancelling these guys already!? Geez! Even after their show goes off the air, the Satellite of Love crew can't catch a break! Due to a pricing dispute between Universal Home Video and distributor Image Entertainment, several Universal DVD titles no longer going to be made and distributed - including Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie. has sold out of the title already, and there doesn't seem to be much hope that MST3K:TM - which sublimely spoofs SF classic This Island Earth as the featured 'bot bait - will be seen on any new shiny round things until the dispute is settled. Some fans are hoping for a new Special Edition release with bonus material, but nothing has been announced. Source: Satellite News

Systematic approach. Following up on their successful second album, which featured a guest shot by Sinead O'Connor, Afro-Celt Sound System is preparing their third collection, Further In Time, for a late June release. Guest vocalists on this CD will include Robert Plant and Peter Gabriel (whose Real World label has released both of Afro-Celt's previous efforts). As soon as we have ordering information for the new album, you'll find it on our upcoming releases page. Source: Billboard

Big Finish revives another cult Brit-SF classic. Big Finish Productions, the makers of the well-regarded series of Doctor Who Audio Adventures, is announcing the production of another audio series based on a British SF classic: The Tomorrow People. Tomorrow People ran from 1973 through 1979, aimed at a younger audience than Doctor Who (which, at the time, was the subject of complaints about violent and even horrific content). Big Finish has recruited Nicholas Young and Philip Gilbert, the only two actors who appeared in every episode of the original television series, to reprise their roles for a new audio adventure titled The New Gods. Unlike the Doctor Who releases, the new Tomorrow People adventures will occupy only a single disc. The New Gods will hit shelves in May, just one month before Big Finish launches another major license, the Doctor Who spinoff Dalek Empire. Source: Big Finish Productions

Killer DVD of the week. Having finally gotten to watch the Sci-Fi Channel's Frank Herbert's Dune miniseries, I must admit to being impressed - this despite the fact that I was one of the many who raised an eyebrow when it was announced that another attempt was being made to commit Herbert's epic novel to celluloid. It's not perfect, mind you - Sci-Fi's Dune has just as many rough edges as the film David Lynch made out of the same source material in 1984, but they're just different rough edges. But it's still enjoyable - and perhaps, just perhaps, more true to the book than Lynch's film was.

Frank Herbert's Dune (2000 miniseries)

David Lynch's Dune (1984 theatrical film)

The ancient one. Oh, man, but I'm getting old. I did a little bit of thinking recently, and with the prospect of a fourth Star Trek spinoff around the corner - fifth if you count the animated series based on the original series - the age of the franchise is really beginning to show. The merits, or lack thereof, of Star Trek: Voyager are bound to be debated for several years, and already fans are pining away for the good old days of Deep Space Nine. But what about Star Trek: The Next Generation? Next year will mark the 15th anniversary of that show's premiere, and TNN - recently bought out by Paramount parent Viacom and de-Nashville-ized - will begin airing nightly repeats of the series this October.

It's officially a classic, responsible - or, in some cases, guilty - of sparking a renaissance of television science fiction, just a few years after a show about a man-eating lizard invasion had nearly bankrupted Warner Bros.' TV production division and almost permanently scared Hollywood off of launching any new SF on the tube.

But it's humbling for me, personally, to think that in a couple of years, kids who weren't even born when Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered will be getting their drivers' licenses. And to them, it'll be every bit as old hat as the original Star Trek was to me in my childhood.

Let me put it in perspective for you. When Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered...

  • Ronald Reagan was still President of the United States.

  • The space shuttle Challenger had exploded the previous year; the first U.S. shuttle launch after that disaster took place mere weeks before the premiere of Next Generation.

  • The Mir space station had only been launched the previous year. Voyager 2 had visited Uranus the previous year, and was two years away from Neptune. Galileo and Magellan wouldn't be launched for another two years, and the Hubble Space Telescope was even further away.

  • The Soviet Union and Libya were perceived as major world threats to the United States; very few of the general public had ever heard of Saddam Hussein.

  • The Nintendo Entertainment System was the ultimate video game. A few games were still being made for the Atari 2600. No one would hear the name "Game Boy" until the series was in its third season.

  • Battlestar Galactica had only been off the air for 7 years; Buck Rogers had only been off the air for 6 years; V: The Series had only been cancelled two years before.

  • The biggest SF movie at that time was arguably Aliens, which premiered a year before Next Generation. The Vasquez character inspired Gene Roddenberry to create Tasha Yar, whose original name was Macha Hernandez. Return Of The Jedi had premiered a mere four years prior to Next Generation, and the most recent Star Wars spinoff - the second of two Ewok TV movies - had aired just two years before.

  • The most recent Star Trek film had been 1986's Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Rumor at the time had it that Star Trek V, still two years away, would feature - like Next Generation - a new cast of younger actors depicting Kirk, Spock and company as Starfleet Academy cadets. It had only been eight years since Star Trek: The Motion Picture had revived the public's appetite for Star Trek.

  • Paramount had a hard time convincing stations to buy a syndicated, hour long, non-network action/drama; the market which later gave rise to Xena, Hercules, Babylon 5, Earth: Final Conflict and Andromeda simply didn't exist yet. The next two major syndicated action/drama hours to hit the market were also from Paramount: War Of The Worlds and Friday The 13th: The Series.

  • The Fox network was one year old.

  • The home computer market was still divided between PC-compatibles, the Commodore Amiga, the Apple Macintosh, and even a few stalwart Apple II users.

  • In England, Doctor Who had just finished its 24th season in 1987, and would stay on the air for two more years. Red Dwarf didn't premiere until 1988.

  • The current crop of teen pop music stars were in their mid-single-digits. Jody Watley, Cutting Crew, U2 and Crowded House were big; Paula Abdul's main claim to fame was as Janet Jackson's choreographer, not as a singer.

  • The webmaster of this site was a sophomore in high school.

Scary stuff, huh? Especially when a lot of the kiddies building pre-emptive online tributes to the next permutation of Star Trek are younger than my Odyssey 2.

Next year also marks the tenth anniversary of the first production of both Deep Space Nine and Babylon 5...don't get me started.

Earl Green webmaster/editor-in-chief

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