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Week of September 17, 2001

This page contains news items which were compiled prior to Tuesday's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. To read our thoughts on that topic, click here.

SF series win Emmy Awards. Though Buffy fans are still smarting about their favorite show's unusual total lack of any Emmy nominations, other shows' personnel have reason to celebrate. Following is a list of some genre shows which won in their technical categories:

  • Best Music Composition For A Series (Dramatic Underscore): Star Trek: Voyager - Endgame (Jay Chattaway).
  • Best Cinematography For A Miniseries Or Movie: Frank Herbert's Dune, part II (Vittorio Storaro).
  • Best Art Direction For A Variety Or Music Program: Peter Pan starring Cathy Rigby (while this may seem out of place, the award went to the show's production designer, Babylon 5 veteran John Iacovelli).
  • Best Special Visual Effects For A Series: Star Trek: Voyager - Endgame (Dan Curry, Mitch Suskin, Ronald B. Moore, Art Codron, Steve Fong, Eric Chauvin, Robert Bonchune, John Teska, Greg Rainoff).
  • Best Special Visual Effects For A Miniseries, Movie Or Special: Frank Herbert's Dune, part 1 (Ernest Farino, Tim McHugh, Laurel Klick, Frank H. Isaacs, Elaine Essex Thompson, James Healy, Gregory Nicotero, Anthony Alderson, Chris Zapara).

Congratulations to the above winners - and best of luck to everyone working in the genre next year. Visual effects are nice, music is nice - wouldn't it be great if an SF series merits a Best Writing nomination in 2002?

Will Deep Space One make it? Forget Deep Space Nine - NASA's having a hard time getting unmanned probe Deep Space One to fulfill its mission. September 22nd is the target date for Deep Space One's attempted close flyby of Comet Borrelly, during which it is hoped that DS1 will pass within 1,200 miles of the comets nucleus and take the sharpest pictures ever of what lies within the heart of a comet. So what's the problem? The probe's fuel is low and other vital equipment - such as a navigational camera which ensures that the probe is aligned correctly to stay in contact with Earth - has gone south, and in space, no one can hear you ask directions to the nearest gas station. If DS1 succeeds in its mission, it will likely be destroyed by cometary debris but also could send back some spectacular images. Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Alt.rock.favorites. Fans of two of the most iconoclastic alt-rock outfits of the past ten years have a treat in store. The 90s' most influential piano-pounders, Tori Amos and Ben Folds, both have new solo albums out. Tori Amos' cover album, Strange Little Girls, puts songs originated by such acts as Depeche Mode, the Beatles and Eminem in a different light, with Tori interpreting the lyrics as women hear them. Ben Folds, late of the recently-disbanded Ben Folds Five, takes a lighter tack with his first solo effort, Rockin' The Suburbs, though by all accounts it doesn't sound all that different from his band's output. Both are now available.

Tori Amos - Strange Little Girls
Ben Folds - Rockin' The Suburbs

Fan writer makes himself heard. When Big Finish Productions first started their line of Doctor Who Audio Adventures, freelance submissions poured in at a rate with which the producers could scarcely keep up - so much so that the open door policy ended within a few months and, as of this summer, they're still going over all the fan scripts that were sent in. One of them, however, has already been deemed ready for prime time - in an audible sort of way. Fan writer Iain McLaughlin's Eye Of The Scorpion - starring Peter Davison and Nicola Bryant as the fifth Doctor and Peri - is set in Egypt in both modern and ancient times, and it's being released this month. In other Big Finish news, Stephen Grief - the actor who made the first Travis such a bad-ass in the first season of Blake's 7 - has completed recording the November Audio Adventure, Primeval, with Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton. Source: Big Finish Productions

Order from Third Zone in the U.S.
Order from Big Finish in the U.K.
Be sure to tell both vendors who sent you!

The last of this month's three Doctor Who DVD selections is the all-time favorite of many fans - and despite it being heavily laden with continuity references from the show's then-20-year history of mythology, it's still possibly the one episode most frequently used to initiate new fans into the Time Lord's following. It's the 1983 20th anniversary special The Five Doctors, starring Peter Davison, Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee, with Richard Hurndall (who was spotted by producer John Nathan-Turner in a fourth-season episode of Blake's 7) stepping into the late William Hartnell's shoes as the Doctor's first incarnation. Tom Baker, as many fans recall, was represented by film clips from a 1979 episode which never aired (and, famously, by a wax statue for The Five Doctors' publicity photo shoot). In the 18 years since this special first aired - isn't that scary? - Troughton, Pertwee and Hurndall have passed on, leaving Tom Baker the eldest surviving Doctor Who. The new North American Region 1 DVD edition features an audio commentary by Peter Davison and prolific Who writer Terrance Dicks which isn't available on the UK edition.

Doctor Who: The Five Doctors

Back and Fourth. A groundbreaking new book which could prove to be the starting point for an entire series of such volumes, BBC Books' Doctor Who: The Scripts - Season 12 contains the complete original shooting scripts of the 12th season adventures Robot, The Ark In Space, The Sontaran Experiment, Genesis Of The Daleks and Revenge Of The Cybermen. (Season 12, aired in 1975, also happened to be Tom Baker's first year in the role of the Doctor.) Footnotes, production design sketches, background material, and an introduction by then-script editor Terrance Dicks round out the package, due to be released in one month. Hopefully this book series will take off, as it promises to be a treasure trove for fans who want to see the battle plan, from beginning to end, of the Doctor's adventures. Pre-orders are now being taken.

Doctor Who: The Scripts - Season 12

UPN president sues his own network for millions. The president of UPN since 1997, former Disney exec Dean Valentine, has sued UPN itself, claiming that the network has failed to make good on a multi-million dollar incentive package if ratings increased under his management - which, probably due more to WWF Smackdown! than anything else, one has to begrudgingly admit that they have. Valentine is trying to get $12.5 million from UPN, but sources have said that it's altogether more likely that Valentine will be shown the door before the end of his contract - which would've been later this year anyway - and things will likely get nastier and more litigious from there. Source: Electronic Media

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