Week of February 5, 2001
Who radio pilot not to air after all?
Despite high praise from stars Sylvester McCoy and Stephen Fry, the BBC radio
pilot story Death Comes To Time, which many fans hoped would be the
launch of a new regular Doctor Who radio series, has
been turned down by Radio 4. However, while the BBC's own radio division
decided to pass on the show, BBC Enterprises is said to be very excited about
it, and will most likely release it as part of the BBC Radio Collection's line
of Doctor Who "lost episodes" audio CDs. Producer Dan Freedman is
also pushing for a BBC Enterprises-backed audio series in webcast form (which
would probably reap a profit from subsequent CD sales), but nothing is yet set
Source: Outpost Gallifrey
Killer DVD of the week.
Word had it last week, before a hasty denial from Warner Bros., that Tim Burton
would mounting a remake of Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory
- the 1971 big-screen adaptation of story elements from Roald Dahl's celebrated
children's books Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and Charlie And The
Great Glass Elevator - with shock-rocker Marilyn Manson taking over Gene
Wilder's role as the enigmatic candymaker himself. Now, while I've always been
a bit of a critic of the 1971 movie version for straying far and wide, in some
cases, from its inspiration, I was ready to weep to think about the new version
we would have gotten out of that arrangement. As it turns out, there
will be a remake, currently set to be directed by Gary Ross (Pleasantville), but the studio has
categorically denied any involvement by Manson. So for this week's Killer DVD,
I bring you Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory, starring the
infinitely talented Mr. Gene Wilder. And better yet, I offer you the original
books by Roald Dahl. I love 'em. I recommend
'em. And while I'm relieved that Marilyn Manson won't have any part in this
revisionist take on the Wonka tale, I'm not sure that there's anyone more
ideally suited to play the part than Gene Wilder.
Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory (movie)
Charlie And The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Charlie And The Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl
Foster returns to Star Wars novels.
The original Star Wars novelist,
Alan Dean Foster, is writing a new book set in the years between Episode I and Episode II. No title has
been announced, but a publication date of February 2002 has been divulged;
Foster's new novel will debut in hardcover. His last Star Wars
tome, Splinter Of The Mind's Eye, was the first non-film fiction set in
the Star Wars universe (though the later revelations of Luke and
Leia's familial relationship made Splinter decidedly non-canon).
Source: Lucasfilm Ltd.
Ding dong, Dreamcast is dead.
As reported last week as a rumor, Sega is stopping production of the Dreamcast
video game system, and is developing a limited number of in-house software titles
for the machine. But all new hardware development has been frozen, and Sega will
offer tech support for the next six years - and after that, the company will
become a software developer for machines manufactured by rivals Sony, Nintendo
and Microsoft. In the meantime, however, the Dreamcast will become a good deal
for some gamers, as Sega is dropping the machine's recommended retail price below
the hundred-dollar mark as of February 4th. The SegaNet online gaming service
will be supported indefinitely. In the meantime, Sega already has the third-party
software routine down to a science: Virtua Fighter 4, Space Channel 5, Sakura
Wars and Let's Make A Sports Team will be available this year for the
Playstation 2, while Nintendo's new Game Boy Advance system will be graced with
portable versions of Sonic The Hedgehog, ChuChu Rocket! and Puyo Puyo.
Sega is also planning to develop titles for palm computers and even Motorola
cell phones. Further Dreamcast titles are expected this year include Sonic
Adventure 2, Crazy Taxi 2 and - do I sense a trend developing here? -
Shenmue 2. Sega will, of course, continue their arcade operations (and
will likely reap a nice profit from bringing their arcade titles to all of these
home video game systems).
Source: Sega of America
Farscape PC game in development.
Simon & Schuster Interactive and Red Lemon Studios are hard at work on turning the
hit Sci-Fi Channel series Farscape into a complex computer game (with a version
also said to be in the works for one of the next generation home video game
consoles, which probably means Playstation 2). Plans for the game call for players
to be able to choose to be any one of the main characters, with different options,
equipment and adventures resulting from that decision. The first public demo of
the game is set for this May's E3, but no firm release date has been set.
Source: Simon & Schuster
Farewell to FASA.
FASA, the makers of such role-playing games as the perennial favorite Battletech,
as well as the original Star Trek and Doctor Who RPG systems, is calling it quits
this spring. FASA - short for "Fantasimulation Associates" - will
license out its more profitable properties, including Battletech, Shadowrun and
its famous Ral Partha gaming miniatures to fellow RPG-maker WizKids (which was
started up by a former founding father of FASA - try saying that five times
fast), the makers of Mage Knight Rebellion. FASA's remaining inventory will be
phased out by the end of April. As a company statement on the closure puts it,
"When an item is out of stock, it will be gone forever."
Source: FASA, Inc.
Ryan/Braga stalker pleads innocent.
22-year-old Marlon Esracio Pagtakhan has entered a not guilty plea in response
to his November arrest on eight counts of stalking, threatening letters and
attempting extortion. The objects of Pagtakhan's actions - not to mention
numerous bizarrely strident Usenet posts - are Star Trek: Voyager actress Jeri Ryan and
executive producer Brannon Braga, who are currently a couple and who took out a
restraining order against him. Police reports say that Pagtakhan had been
stalking both of them for the better part of 2000. He remains in jail, having
failed to make a $405,000 bond.
Source: Sci-Fi Wire