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Week of January 22, 2001


Babylon 5 returns...? In an attempt to cushion the blow of allowing Viacom-owned cable network TNN to acquire exclusive cable repeat rights to all of the post-70s Star Trek TV spinoffs, the Sci-Fi Channel has let hints leak out of a possible new Babylon 5 TV movie. Sci-Fi general manager Bonnie Hammer has hinted at a new movie which would be a Sci-Fi exclusive, but is also quick to point out that nothing has been finalized, and no plotline or casting decisions have been made. And as expected, Sci-Fi may soon negotiate to pick up the short-lived Babylon 5 spinoff series, Crusade, to add to its well-received package of B5 reruns. But there's no word on whether a possible continuation of Crusade is even being considered. (Crusade was killed by TNT after 13 episodes over creative differences with creator J. Michael Straczynski.) Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette submitted by Dave Thomer


Actors/Writers Guild strikes to derail fifth Trek series? With Hollywood stepping up production in preparation for an anticipated lack of actors and writers later this year, Paramount - and Rick Berman - are suddenly being a little less ebullient about the next Star Trek series. Both the actors' and writers' unions are expected to go on strike until their contracts can be renegotiated, and anything not already in production is considered a high risk for delays, including the new Trek series. While the studio and the show's executive producer no doubt hope to enter production this year, possibly for a mid-season introduction in early 2002, it has also been acknowledged that we may actually experience nearly a year without new Star Trek on the air - which would be the first time in 14 years. There's also less certainty about where the new Trek would air: UPN, TNN, NBC, and Fox have all been mentioned as possibilities. Source: Sci-Fi Wire


New Trek book series to focus on Section 31. Section 31, the shadowy intelligence organization operating within (and behind the back of) Starfleet, is front and center in an upcoming four-novel series of Trek novels. S.D. Perry's Cloak, a Kirk-era sequel of sorts to the classic episode The Enterprise Incident, traces Section 31's activities back to the 23rd century. A Next Generation-era novel, Rogue, by Andy Mangels and Michael A. Martin, pits Picard and the Enterprise-E crew against the covert operators of Section 31. Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch contribute the Voyager entry in the Section 31 saga - yes, apparently even 40,000 light years isn't enough distance to limit Section 31's reach - with Shadow. Former DS9 story editor David Weddle (whose Inquisition episode introduced Section 31 on television) teams up with novelist Jeffrey Lang for the Deep Space Nine novel Abyss, focusing on Bashir's attempts to collaborate with Section 31 to rein in a rogue operative who also happens to be a fellow genetically enhanced human. (Abyss is also set days after Avatar, the first of the "new crew" DS9 novels.) Rogue and Cloak will lead the series off in June, with Shadow and Abyss scheduled for July. Abyss may also have tenuous ties to July's prequel novel The Eugenics Wars: The Rise And Fall Of Khan Noonian Singh by Greg Cox. That novel will feature the somewhat surprising return of Gary Seven (from the original series episode Assignment: Earth), along with sidekicks Roberta Lincoln and Isis, and will try to reconcile the Eugenics Wars mentioned in classic Trek history with the way the 1990s really went. Source: PsiPhi.org


New DVD format blends video and audio. For soundtrack hunters, it may be the ultimate answer to the frequent complaint of not-enough-music-released from their favorite score. The February 13th DVD release of the overhyped horror bomb Blair Witch 2: Book Of Shadows will be a double-sided disc, with a full-featured DVD of the movie on one side (complete with commentary and extras), and the complete soundtrack in CD format on the flipside. The new format, called "DVD+CD," is newly patented in the U.S., and may yet make the Blair Witch sequel a sleeper hit, if only with home-theater-philes. Source: Artisan Entertainment

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