The immense contributions to science fiction and fantasy entertainment by British puppetmasters Gerry and Sylvia Anderson are unquestionable, with old-school marionette programs like Captain Scarlet, Supercar and Stingray and live-action spectacles such as Space:1999 and U.F.O.
Anderson's crack anti-terrorism squad, Firestorm, first lit up the small screen back in 2003 as a Japanese anime series by Enoki Films. The response was less than enthusiastic, but now Anderson's son, Jamie, has gone back to his dad's original concept bible for inspiration to gather the strings once again for another stab at Firestorm. He's now campaigning for cash through Kickstarter to complete an 8-minute "minisode" for a new puppet series filmed in Ultramarionation as a salute to those sensationally strange Gerry Anderson shows of the past, such as Thunderbirds and Fireball XL5. Have a look at his fundraising trailer, which includes a retrospective of his late father's monumental work in puppetry and special effects. The Kickstarter goals are to raise $77,000 with hopes to triple that figure, allowing them to shoot a proper 22-minute episode and return to tangible, practical filmmaking using many of the methods pioneered by his father.
One of the most acclaimed science fiction sagas of the last 25 years is headed for adaptation.
The Wrap reports that producer Vince Gerardis (Game of Thrones, FlashForward) has just landed a development deal at Spike TV for Red Mars, a drama series adapted from Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy, made up of 1993's Red Mars, 1994's Green Mars, and 1996's Blue Mars. The series is considered a modern science fiction classic and garnered a combined two Hugo Awards, two Locus Awards, a Nebula Award and a British Science Fiction Association Award. Robinson will serve as a consultant on the project.
“This series shines a light onto many views of what it means to be human — and asks if can we sustain our humanity under incredible duress,” Spike TV's executive vice president, original series Sharon Levy said. “We are thrilled to partner with such an accomplished producer as Vince Gerardis to tell this incredible and thought-provoking story.”
Featuring dozens of characters and decades of story, The Mars Trilogy is the story of humanity's efforts to colonize and terraform Mars as the Earth suffers from overpopulation. The series explores not only the struggle to make the Red Planet habitable but also the effects that corporations as large as governments, genetic engineering, extended lifespans, further human space exploration and more have on civilization. There's a lot to unpack in these books, so exploring the story via long-form television seems like a good fit, if Spike (a network not known for scripted dramas) can deliver the production value.
So, yet another ambitious genre series is heading to the small screen, provided the development process works out. We'll keep you updated.
(Via The Wrap)
If you're wondering what to get your Sci Fi fan for the Holidays (yes, I said the 'H' word, okay?), Nerd Block is a great place to start.
The subscription service starts at $13.99 per month, and there are several themes available:
It's still not clear whether or not streaming media company Netflix made serious overtures to CBS Corp. and Paramount Pictures about possibly bringing Star Trek back in series form, a la "Arrested Development." But the decision-makers behind the franchise reportedly have much different plans.
If and when Star Trek returns to television, it will see a change from its network and syndication distribution model of the past. But instead of the new world of online streaming through companies like Netflix, CBS has its eye on a different home: premium cable.
"The television audience is rapidly changing, and serious, high-end programming just isn't found on the networks anymore," one person familiar with CBS' long-range programming mapping, who asked not to be named, told 1701News. "The success of the (last two) movies has forced everyone to take a cautious approach to the franchise, and no one wants to make the same mistakes of a decade ago."
That was when the last series to bear the name Star Trek, "Star Trek: Enterprise," was nearing its end on what was then known as UPN. At that point, science-fiction was taking a far different turn through franchises like "Battlestar Galactica," and later "The Walking Dead," but Paramount's gamble to treat the franchise like a potential blockbuster in a reboot proved there was still room in the genre for Star Trek.
The last thing CBS or Paramount wants, however, is oversaturation like it had at the end of the 20th century, when there were two Star Trek series on at the same time, and movies pumping out every couple years.
A premium cable run could be exactly what the studios are looking for, especially something that can help showcase Showtime, which really doesn't have any hits outside of "Homeland" on the level of "Game of Thrones" or "True Detective." And since Showtime is owned by CBS, the studio is going to look for in-house benefits of the Star Trek series, before looking to strike deals with others.
A cable run also would mean fewer episodes, and far more time to write and produce. Chances are, only 13 episodes would be made each year, instead of the standard 22 or even 24 that other Star Trek series have seen in the past. And longer hiatuses will help keep audience demand pent up, and allow for better cross-promotion between the television and film franchises — something that's difficult from the network perspective, or even from a Netflix streaming perspective.
Premium cable doesn't have a strong history in attracting science-fiction franchises, however. The most recent attempt was in 2011 when Starz lured the BBC "Doctor Who" spinoff "Torchwood" to America. But then again, "Torchwood" isn't Star Trek.
"You can't ignore the built-in fan base that already exists for Trek, and the new base generated from the last two pictures," the source said. "Star Trek commands a lot of respect, and why should anyone else benefit from any bump it creates?"
This, of course, has not been verified by Paramount or CBS in any way, and should be treated as rumor. But who knows, maybe the Netflix overtures are enough to finally get some wheels turning to bring Star Trek back to television for the first time in a decade.
Actor Wil Wheaton (Stand By Me, Star Trek: The Next Generation) has transformed his passion for all things geek into a successful career as a writer and performer. He hosts the gaming series TableTop on the Geek & Sundry network and regularly performs with musical comedy act Paul and Storm and Mythbusters‘ Adam Savage at w00tstock.
But after only a 12 episode run, Syfy has chosen to cancel The Wil Wheaton Project. Modeled after shows like Talk Soup, the half hour show highlighted the best and worst of science fiction in TV, movies, and the Internet. Although heavily promoted by Wheaton and his fans on the Internet, the show just didn't have the high numbers ratings executives wanted, so it was canceled.
Wheaton took the high road and thanked everyone involved at SyFy for the opportunity, and we're sure to see him again in guest appearances on shows like The Big Bang Theory, or even Sharknado 3! Oh wait, he was eaten during the second one.
"Battlestations! RT if you want exciting new Star Trek filmmaking. Let's make this happen--just hours left to help," tweeted Star Trek's George Takei on August 23, 2014. That one line helped bring in close to $200,000 for a fan based film, "Prelude to Axanar," which was released a few weeks ago.
All told, the filmmakers have raised more than six times their original $100,000 goal. The film will follow the events of the Battle of Axanar and Garth of Izar, which were events briefly mentioned in "the Original Series."
The film's cast members include Richard Hatch (Battlestar Galactica), and Gary Graham (of "Star Trek: Enterprise"), while production staff includes people such as Frank Serafine (who did sound design for "The Hunt For Red October") Tobias Richter, a visual effects artist who assisted with the remastered "Star Trek: The Next Generation" Blu-rays. Filming is expected to occur in December.
For more information, check out their Kickstarter site: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/194429923/star-trek-axanar.
Marvel Studios has announced a gazillion movies for the next few years, and one of them might be Doctor Strange.
Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige has name-dropped Strange as possibly getting a movie during the 'Phase 3' series of films in line, including Avenger 3, Captain America 3, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, and Ant Man.
Feige has indicated that the Doctor Strange movie will not be an Origin story, but will pick up when he is an already established hero. We may even get to see him work with the Avengers. If this does happen, expect a release date in the Summer of 2017.
The Science Fiction community has lost three outstanding, talented people in the past week.
-Robin Williams died at the age of 63 in his California home on Monday, August 4, 2014. His death was ruled a suicide.
Mr. Williams’s publicist, Mara Buxbaum, said in a statement that Mr. Williams “has been battling severe depression.” SF fans remember him from his starting role as Mork from Ork in the family sitcom, 'Mork & Mindy', which started in 1978. His other SF-related contributions include Bicentennial Man (1999), Jumanji (1995), and Flubber (1997), among others.
-Joe Viskocil has died at the age of 63 on August 11, 2014. Viskocil died Monday in a Los Angeles hospital from complications of liver and kidney failure, according to his talent agent. He pioneered the classic miniature special effects explosion, and worked on films including Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, and Independence Day.
-Arlene Martel, who Star Trek fans will remember for playing Spock’s Vulcan bride, T’Pring in “Amok Time,” died on Tuesday, August 12, 2014. She was 78. In addition to Star Trek, Martel is also known for appearances on Hogan’s Heroes, Bewitched, The Wild, Wild West, Battlestar Galactica (1978) and Gunsmoke.
The Rhode Island Science Fiction Club