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Week of July 30, 2001

Open door closed at Paramount. Perhaps it's because Rick Berman and Brannon Braga want more control over Enterprise, or perhaps it's due to concessions made in the recent Writers' Guild contract negotiations, but it appears that the long-standing open script submission policy at the Star Trek production offices has come to an end. This policy, through which writers without an agent (and, in some cases, without talent) could submit scripts directly to the Star Trek writing stuff, has been in place since 1987, and also brought on board some of the show's best talent, including former Next Generation/Deep Space Nine scribe Ronald D. Moore and Sarah Higley, writer of the Hollow Pursuits installment of Next Generation (and creator of Reg Barclay).'s webmaster, in fact, once availed himself of Paramount's open script policy during the Next Generation era - and was rejected fairly quickly (though not without reason, looking back at the script!). There is no word on whether or not Paramount's long-standing "open door policy" on Star Trek script submissions will be opening again anytime soon, if at all. Source:

New JMS series unveiled. The wraps officially came off of Jeremiah, a new series created and written by J. Michael Straczynski (creator of Crusade) for Showtime, at the San Diego Comics Convention last weekend. The series will open with a two hour movie, which begins shooting the day after Labor Day, followed by 18 one-hour episodes. Showtime will premiere the series in January. According to a recent Usenet post from Straczynski, "This is going to be a heavily dramatic series, character-oriented, with a measure of action and humor as well. Because this is pay cable, they've taken off the usual broadcast TV handcuffs and told me to take it to the wall creatively, no restrictions, so I plan to do just that." The post-apocalyptic series deal with young adults who are the only survivors of a plague which struck down everyone on Earth past the age of puberty. (And before the e-mail starts pouring in, we are planning on doing an episode guide for Jeremiah.) Source: J. Michael Straczynski submitted by Dave Thomer

Harrass your female employees? Sued you will be! It hit many news publications last week that Star Wars creator George Lucas has filed a lawsuit against a medical equipment manufacturer for naming their new laser surgery tool the "light saber." But there's another vaguely-Star Wars-related lawsuit you probably haven't heard about. An employee of a Hooters restaurant in Panama City, Florida is suing her employer over a prank which she says led her to believe that she had won a new car. According to the lawsuit, the manager announced a contest in which one of the employees would win a Toyota, but when the employee in question was blindfolded and led outside to the parking lot to pick up her prize, she was handed a Star Wars action figure - a toy Yoda. The employee is suing for damages and attorneys' fees. Source: Associated Press

Babylon 5: a scholarly approach. From day one, Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski admitted that his show would be a first-of-its-kind experiment, part and parcel of which was his own interaction with the fans - and now someone else has taken note. Author Kurt Lancaster (who also lectures on literature at M.I.T.) has written Interacting With Babylon 5: Fan Performances In A Media Universe, a serious study of how many fans got "into" the show, created their own fiction based on the show, and how they interacted with JMS himself. It's not exactly light reading, but should be of interest to those fans with an interest in sociology.

Interacting With Babylon 5: Fan Performances In A Media Universe

Whatever happened to Don Bluth? With work on the new 3-D version of Dragon's Lair almost complete, what is legendary animator Don Bluth up to these days? Apparently, griping about his former bosses at Disney. Bluth recently told Christian Science Monitor that Disney is getting away with more violence in their animated films - citing The Lion King particularly - which other studios wouldn't be able to do. In the article, Bluth also reportedly laments the fact that, of the few G-rated movies still hitting theaters these days, few of them truly merit that rating. Source: Studio Briefing

Who's falling silent? Due to the increasingly busy work schedule of composer, sound engineer and audio restorationist Mark Ayres, it appears that the BBC will be releasing fewer "lost" Doctor Who adventures on CD next year, with the entire year's schedule likely pared down to four titles unless another audio restoration expert can be brought in to handle the work. Ayres' skills are also in demand with the ongoing range of Doctor Who DVDs, particularly those old episodes whose sound needs to be brought up to spec for a Dolby 5:1 Surround mix. Source: Outpost Gallifrey

Harrison debunks cancer rumor. Numerous reports since last weekend have said that George Harrison is losing a battle with cancer, specifically an inoperable brain tumor, quoting Beatles producer George Martin as saying that Harrison "knows that he is going to die soon." However, despite racking up a great many cancer-related operations recently, Harrison and Martin have denied making any such statements. After leaving the Beatles, Harrison launched his own impressive solo career (starting with the triple-album All Things Must Pass, which was re-released earlier this year), formed the Traveling Wilburys with fellow rock icons Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne, and founded Handmade Films, where he produced such movies as Monty Python's Life Of Brian, Time Bandits and Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life. Harrison says he's feeling well, and is disgusted by the bogus news story, which originated with a London newspaper. Source: Associated Press

Tron DVD to be re-released with extras in January. Oh God, I hate it when they do this - but I love the movie in question too much to pass it up. You guessed it - Disney is releasing a new version of the Tron DVD with lots of extras in celebration of the film's 20th anniversary. The street date is tentatively set for January 15, 2002. The new features will include a director/writer's commentary from Steven Lisberger, trailers, and a section of deleted scenes (probably including the "love scene" between Tron and Yori which has been available on the deluxe laserdisc edition of Tron for several years). In even more exciting news, Disney is developing a new Tron video game for release in 2003, with PC and X-Box versions expected; there is no word on whether it will include the original arcade game. Also, word has it that the screenplay of the sequel, Tron 2.0 (also written and expected to be directed by Lisberger), is now in its third draft. will make the new Tron DVD available for pre-order as soon as possible - watch this space! Source: Sci-Fi Wire

Big Finish hears a Who. The BBC has renewed Big Finish Productions' contract to produce original Doctor Who audio dramas through the latter half of this decade, according to a statement from Big Finish. In related news, BBC Online has reported record-setting web site traffic for its radio pilot, Death Comes To Time, starring Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred. Word has it that favorable response to Death - and the response has been more than favorable - could help Doctor Who's future on the BBC, possibly even as a television entity once more. Source: Big Finish Productions

Power pop pundits pay tribute to Lynne. This fall will see the release of Lynne Me Your Ears: A Tribute To The Music Of Jeff Lynne on Not Lame Records, an indie power pop label. Among the modern-day artists paying tribute to Lynne (a tribute, we might add, which is craftily timed to coincide with the arrival of Lynne's return to ELO) are Jason Falkner, Tal Bachman, Matthew Sweet, Sixpence None The Richer, Todd Rundgren and Tony Visconti, among many others. They're not just sticking to Lynne's ELO output, either - many songs included will be from The Move, Idle Race, and even the Traveling Wilburys. No firm release date has been nailed down as yet. Source: Face The Music

Star Trek: The Motion Picture release slated for November. While you're soaking up the November sweeps episodes of Enterprise in a few months, don't forget to pick up the original reinvention of the Star Trek franchise, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, in its long-awaited re-edited DVD form. The release date, according to several sources, is now November 6th. The ST:TMP DVD will include scenes left on the cutting room floor of the original, including never-before-seen footage which has been finished by the computer graphics wizards at Foundation Imaging (of Babylon 5 and Star Trek: Voyager fame). There are also reports coming in that this will be a two-DVD set, a la Fox's DVDs of The Abyss and Independence Day, presumably with loads of extras, though it's unknown if Paramount will be including the original theatrical edit of the film along with the new version.

Dare we hope that the BBC is piling onto the full-season/full-series DVD box set bandwagon? The first sign of that has arrived with the release of the new BlackAdder: The Complete Collector's Set, containing all five of the original series starring Rowan Atkinson as well as some bonuses. Add to this the fact that there's also a Fawlty Towers complete series box set due this fall, and I'm starting to actually hold out hope for Red Dwarf on shiny round discs. BlackAdder is the multi-generational saga of the BlackAdder bloodline, which spawns some of England's most inept public figures in history. It's wickedly funny, and proof that as good as Rowan Atkinson was in Bean, he's better in BlackAdder.

Complete Series DVD Box Set
(U.S. only)
Season 1 DVD
(U.K. only)
Season 2 DVD
(U.K. only)
Season 3 DVD
(U.K. only)

Not enough power to turn on the Light? It appears that our July 16th mention of the upcoming deluxe reissue of Electric Light Orchestra's 1971 debut album was premature - now lists it as a late September release instead of early August. In the meantime, however, August should see the digitally remastered reissues of other ELO albums, including 1976's A New World Record (the webmaster's favorite rock 'n' roll album ever), On The Third Day (1973), and Face The Music (the 1975 album which yielded the hits Strange Magic and Evil Woman). As soon as ordering information is available, you'll be able to pick them up here.

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