Week of March 12, 2001
Wang turned down for director training on Voyager.
A recent SFX Magazine interview quotes Garrett Wang - who has played
Harry Kim since the first season of Star Trek: Voyager - as being upset over
executive producer Rick
Berman's refusal to let him train as a director for the series.
Though Wang admits he had problems getting to work on time in the second and third seasons of the show, he also points
out that everyone from Next Generation
alumnus LeVar Burton to former Deep Space
Nine cast members such as Andrew Robinson have gotten their turn behind
the camera on Voyager, to say nothing of Voyager cast members Robert Duncan
McNeill, Tim Russ and Roxann Dawson. According to Wang in the article,
Berman told him that he's "not running a directing school here,"
even though Patrick Stewart and Jonathan Frankes - who helmed the two most
recent Next Generation movies - got
their starts by similarly lobbying the Trek executive producer. Wang says
he will take one more shot at trying to become a director for the new spinoff series once production on Voyager
wraps this month.
Source: Sci-Fi Wire
Mystery illness no match for the power of the
Mere weeks after it was reported that Star Wars actor David
"Darth Vader" Prowse was suffering from an unknown
paralyzing condition, he now seems to be recovering and is looking
forward to resuming his speaking schedule at SF conventions around
the world. Doctors still don't know what hit him, and are monitoring
his recovery closely.
Source: Sci-Fi Wire
The Mars Society
The new Bush Administration: biggest threat
ever to space exploration?
It's starting to look that way. Not only is the Bush administration
demanding cutbacks on the International Space Station, nixing such
in-development projects as a new emergency escape vehicle, but the
sweeping NASA budget cuts are also in danger of ending the development
of technology that will be needed to eventually launch manned missions
to Mars. The Mars Society is asking everyone interested in colonizing
other worlds to help them convince Congress to prevent these cutbacks
from killing NASA's far-reaching future programs.
Hasbro going off the deep end with new Star
Of course, it's all a matter of opinion, but Hasbro is venturing well
outside the usual boundaries with some of their upcoming toys based on characters from the Star Wars universe. Figures such
as "Obi-Wan Kenobi in Jedi Cold Training Gear" (a Hoth-like
suit of winter clothing), "Qui-Gon Jinn in Jedi Training Gear,"
and "Darth Maul Sith Apprentice" (based on an early design
sketch of the character) have been announced as upcoming items in Hasbro's
renamed "Power Of The Jedi" series of Star Wars
toys. The current wave hitting store shelves features such characters as
Jedi Masters Plo Koon and Saesee Tiin, bounty hunter Aurra Sing (all from
and classic trilogy characters such as damaged Rebel protocol droid K-3PO
and a Mon Calamari soldier. But whereas non-film characters or toys based
on pre-production designs were featured in the Expanded Universe line,
some of these new, distinctly non-film variations bear no such indication
that they're not from any past or upcoming movie. (See theLogBook.com's
ToyBox review of the previous wave of Power Of The Jedi figures.)
Salvatore tapped for Episode II novelization.
Author R.A. Salvatore, whose controversial Vector Prime
kicked off the New Jedi Order series of Star Wars novels, has been picked by
George Lucas to novelize Star Wars Episode II
(whose subtitle has yet to be revealed publicly). The book, along
with the movie and all of that other merchandise we know and love,
is due in May 2002 - coincidentally, the 25th anniversary of the
Source: official Star Wars web
So is death coming to time or not?
The aborted attempt at launching a new series of Doctor Who on BBC Radio, Death Comes To
Time, has hit yet another snag - and this time, it could be a
snag that prevents the much-anticipated story from ever being heard
by fans. The radio pilot, starring Sylvester McCoy and Sophie
Aldred, has been turned down even by the BBC Radio Collection, which
currently releases numerous CDs of classic Who episodes which have
been lost on film but still exist as sound recordings (often taped
by fans during the first broadcast). Producer Dan Freedman has also
touted the possibility of a webcast, but considering the bad luck
which has plagued Doctor Who: Death Comes To Time thus far,
we're not holding our breath. Perhaps he should approach Big
Finish, the company which already produces a Doctor Who audio
adventure every month.
Source: Outpost Gallifrey
Don't Zoom just yet.
The new album by Electric Light
Orchestra - originally scheduled for April - has been delayed
until June. However, more interesting information has emerged about
the first new ELO project in 15 years to feature bandleader Jeff Lynne. According to a press
release, May will see the arrival of the first single, Alright,
from the album, and Lynne and whatever live incarnation of the band
he manages to assemble (a touring lineup has yet to be announced)
will be making TV appearances, and there's still talk of at least a
small tour, though nothing on the order of the stadium-filling path
ELO used to cleave across the U.S. and Europe in its heyday in the
Source: Rob Caiger
You have been assimilated.
Activision is preparing another Star
Trek real-time strategy/resource management game for this year's
Christmas shopping season, but this time you're not a mere Starfleet
officer or Klingon warrior - you are the Borg. Star Trek:
Borg Assimilator will put players in charge of the Collective,
deciding how best to use existing resources to assimilate new
species and add their unique abilities and technologies to the Borg. The
preview screenshots from this game look particularly promising, and the gameplay
will be a cross between Command & Conquer-style strategic warfare and
Source: Sci-Fi Wire
Killer DVD of the Week: get those guys outta my Pentium!
You've seen them in Intel's recent Pentium III and Pentium 4 ad
campaigns on TV, but let me be the first (well, probably not even
the first) to tell you that Blue Man Group is much more than
an Intel advertising gimmick. The three blue guys have been
performing their unique brand of post-modern percussive mayhem
off-broadway since the late 1980s, and their first-ever recorded
project, Audio, is now available both on CD and on DVD.
The DVD particularly is unique, with one side being geared toward
traditional DVD-Video players, and the other side featuring the
DVD-Audio version of Audio (which won't necessarily be
accessible by many existing DVD players) with a mind-blowing Dolby
5.1 Surround sound mix. And yes, it does sound better than a
Pentium commercial. Expect a review of the CD edition of
Audio soon in SongBook.
Blue Man Group: Audio
When Reality TV Burns.
The sequel to CBS's summer smash hit, Survivor, promised a different
show. In some respects, it had delivered. Instead of a tropical island, it was
the harsh unforgiving Australian outback in the late spring/early summer. The
contestants were a bit nastier too, making it harder to pick out favorites.
Little did we know how different - or how controversial - it would be.
Some of the twists and turns surprised even me. The three consecutive
appearances to tribal council by the Ogakor tribe was unexpected, with the third
tribal council vote ending in a deadlock. The intra-tribal council bickering and
backstabbing had me dubbing this series "Lord Of The Backstabbing
Fireflies." How little did I know...
The series was also more controversial, with Michael killing a pig on camera.
Prior to the scene, there was a disclaimer warning viewing of what was about to
happen. CBS had requested some additional edits for that scene. Still, the PETA
people were up in arms over the entire event. But the trailer for last
Thursday's episode partially hinted at something terrible happening with the
words, "There has been an accident at the Kuncha Camp, and one of their
members have been evacuated."
Apparently, while off-camera, Michael was tending the camp's fire when he
inhaled the smoke and collapsed on the fire, severely burning his hands (later
to be determined to be third-degree burns), plus other burns on his body. He
dashed to the nearby river for relief from the burns. Close-ups showed Michael's
hands with skin pealing off, and the intensive pain that he was going through.
Injuries so serious that he had to be flown out for surgery, and thus off the
series. When news of the accident arrived, it even shocked the Ogakor tribe.
PETA, are you happy now that Michael received his just deserts?
There are some who say that Michael, despite his injuries, should have kept
on playing. They obviously have no idea how bad those injuries were. Even though
I am not a medical doctor, a third degree burn is an extremely serious injury
with infection extremely likely. The river water, no doubt, has it own set of
microbes, complicating matters. It would have been irresponsible for the
producers not to take the actions that they did.
Each participant in these reality series, whether it be Survivor,
Big Brother, The Mole, or Boot Camp, is well aware of risks
and dangers of the series. Every one had to undergo both physical and mental
examinations, and sign a waiver acknowledging the dangers. They went into this
with their eyes fully open of what could happen, but none realized exactly what
that meant...until then. The freak accident that occurred to Michael could also
have easily happened to a family gone camping.
Welcome to reality TV, people. There are ordinary everyday people whose lives
have changed forever. There are no actors, no scripts, no stunt doubles, no
special makeup, and no second takes. You face the consequences. No doubt, the
accident will probably be a question that will be posed on the next Survivor
Several months have elapsed since the event occurred. Surgery had to be
performed to fix the second and third degree burns. While skin grafts were
initially, the quick healing of his hands precluded that. Michael was
hospitalized for two weeks with an additional week of out-patient case. Since
then, Michael has since regained the use of both of his hands. The experience
changed Michael, making him spiritual, and brought him closer to his family, and
spends more time with them. Although his hands are probably permanently scarred
in some ways from the experience, Mike has no regrets about participating on Survivor.
The Other Shows
- The Mole - The reality spin-off needs some tweaking to make it
work, but is fixable. What went wrong: The publicity was badly handled,
with Good Morning America refusing to interview the executed contestants.
What went right: The mole played her role perfectly, leaving me
completely duped. Well done. The series will be returning.
- Temptation Island - Uhhhh...when did Fox become the Playboy
Channel? What went wrong: Some of the publicity for the show ended up in
the wrong areas. What went right: Sex brings ratings. Expect second
- Big Brother - The house is still standing, just in case of
a series due to a writers/actor's strike. Why? The web site is still
- Waiting in the wings - Combat Missions hosted by
Survivor's Rudy Boesch, Boot Camp, and Eco-Challange -
where there are plenty of nasty injuries and exhaustion.
Deep Space Franchise