Genre TV: CBS, The CW and Fox’s Fall Lineup

Continuing our look at the upcoming Fall TV genre offerings (see ABC’s Fall Lineup), today we’ll look at CBS, The CW (nice name), and that bastion of genre programming on TV, Fox. While NBC and ABC are loading up on new genre shows, both CBS and The CW only have one, while Fox is tempting early cancellation with two.

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Tuesday YouTube: Star Trek Double Feature

Fanboy has found an interview that Tom Snyder did with some of the cast members of the original Star Trek (Bones, Scotty, and Chekov). See also: Parts two, three, four and five. Harlan Ellison also makes an appearance and gets into it a little bit with Scotty in part 5, calling it “a cop show in space”. I’m wondering who would win in a fist fight between the two.

Meanwhile, on the lighter side, SciFi Scanner has unearthed an endorsement for enterprise software by Jonathan Frakes in full Commander Riker gear, hawking for his life on the bridge of the Enterprise. Wait ’til Picard hears that Harold was sitting in his Captain’s chair.

SF Tidbits for 7/31/07

Tube Bits For 07/31/2007

  • Good news for Lucy Lawless fans. She will return to Battlestar Galactica next season for a few episodes. Supposedly, she is part of the Cylons’ ‘plan’. I remain skeptical about any ‘plan’.
  • All you Joss Whedon fans can find something to be excited about with this report from Whedon’s Comic-Con 2007 panel.
  • From the ‘Who Knew?’ department: Sci Fi is releasing The Dresden Files on DVD. Are they waiting to see how well it sells before deciding on a new season?
  • Cinebeats has a long and interesting article on The Fantasy Worlds Of Irwin Allen, inspired by the just released the Land Of The Giants DVD Collection. He’s not my cup of tea, but I know many people like his shows.
  • TV Squad got an early look at the Flash Gordon pilot and is cautiously optimistic. If it’s silly fun like Eureka then I’ll be watching.
  • Milo Ventimiglia, Peter Patrelli on Heroes, appeared at Comic-Con and dropped some hints about season 2. Hmm, isn’t he dead? I hate to say there might be some shark jumpage involved here. We’ll see.
  • Staying with the Heroes, we learn that Kevin Smith will direct an episode of Heroes: Origins. I know that gets some people excited, but I’ve never been a big fan of his films.
  • It looks Star Trek: The Next Generation will live up to its name once again as CBS is considering remastering TNG as they did with TOS. As it was shot on video, technical challenges exist for the remastering, not the least of which is deciding whether to replace Wesley with Jar-Jar, to make him palatable for fans.
  • TV Week is reporting that several pilots for the most anticipated shows are, gasp, available online. (You’ll have to figure out how to find them yourself.) In other news, the sun is set to rise in the east tomorrow.

Genre TV: ABC’s Fall Lineup

The Fall 2007 TV season is almost upon us. This is the first post in a series that will examine the genre offerings of the major TV networks, as well as cable networks. First up is ABC and its slate of genre related programming. ABC has a few new and interesting genre shows this season, and I’m already discounting the sure-to-be-excreble Cavemen. First up, Eli Stone.

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REVIEW: Quantumscapes by Stephan Martiniere

REVIEW SUMMARY: Mmmm…cityscapes…


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Collects the artwork of Stephan Martiniere beyond that presented in Quantum Dreams.


PROS: Outstanding vision and imagination; images evoke a sense-of-wonder.

CONS: The alien sketch work was good, but the cityscapes steal the show.

BOTTOM LINE: A very good showcase of the Martiniere’s road range.

(Warning: Juicy visuals follow the break…)

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SF Tidbits for 7/30/07

Masters of Science Fiction Airs This Week

[via TV Squad] August 4th marks the premiere of the new ABC sci-fi anthology series Masters of Science Fiction. The show, hosted by Stephen Hawking, boasts a star-studded lineup of stars and a quite an impressive list of writer credits, too. Unfortunately, the show has had a spotty production record. The ABC website lists four episodes to be aired in August, but the show’s website lists these six episodes:

Episode:A Clean Escape

Synopsis: A dying Dr. Deanna Evans refuses to believe that her patient, Robert Havelmann, cannot remember the last 25 years of his life. It remains unclear why she has been so obsessed with this particular patient until the final, shocking conclusion.

Starring: Judy Davis and Sam Waterston

Based on the short story by: John Kessel

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POLL RESULTS: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

The final Harry Potter book is out this week. Are you interested?


(157 total votes)

Folks were quick to point out some apparently-obvious missing choices:

“You forgot an option: ‘Yes – in spoilers,’ for those of us who couldn’t be bothered to read the last two (now three) books.” – Mehra

“Actually I’m borrowing it from the library” – Cynthia D.

“See you forgot the ‘mooch’ choice which is for all us folks who plan to obtain the book from the hordes who pre-ordered it.” – Tim

Be sure to visit our front page and vote in this week’s poll about The Masters of Science Fiction!

Sunday YouTube: Gollum’s Monologue from The Lord of the Rings Musical

No offense, but our own Tim does a better Gollum impersonation. I’m just sayin’…

[via Poe TV]

SF Tidbits for 7/29/07

  • New free fiction: “Creatures of Vibration” by Harl Vincent. “Carr Parker sat day-dreaming at the Nomad‘s controls. More than a week of Earth time had passed since the self-styled “vagabonds of space” had left Europa, and now they were fast approaching the great ringed orb of Saturn with the intention of exploring her satellites.”
  • From the July issue of Locus, Locus Online has excerpts from interviews with Peter S. Beagle and Paolo Bacigalupi.
  • Chronotopicality in SF in 2006. Colin Harvey reflects upon reading David Hartwell’s & Kathryn Cramer’s Year’s Best SF 12. “Is it any wonder that the defining emotion in SF in 2006 was anxiety?”
  • Warren Ellis interviews William Gibson at Wired. [via Gravity Lens]
  • Quiz: Cite the source…Scientology or Weekly World News?

REVIEW:Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling


If you’re a Potter fan, you’ve been waiting for this book for a very long time, and, if you haven’t read it yet, you may be wondering if its worth the wait. The short answer is: yes. As final books go, The Deathly Hallows wraps things up quite nicely indeed.

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Tube Bits For 07/28/2007

  • CBS and Paramount announced today what we all knew was coming: the release of the remastered original Star Trek episodes on HDDVD/DVD. The catch being you can only buy them as a complete set, and it will set you back $218. Nice case though.
  • You don’t just get the HD DVD/DVDs for your $218, though. No. You’ll also get a preview of the upcoming Star Trek Online MMORPG. Being a fan of Trek, and wanting to see more SF themed MMO’s, this one has my attention.
  • The BBC announced today the release of their iPlayer. The BBC will allow viewers to download any show from the past week, for free, for viewing later. Sadly, the shows will be deleted after 30 days. Still, this is a step in the right direction. Available in the UK only, but there are ways around that.
  • LOST producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindeloff held a standing room only panel at Comic-Con 2007 and gave out small nuggets about the show’s upcoming season. I can’t wait for next year…

And a parting video for you. A spoof of The Prisoner, done with stuffed animals. Behold, The Prisonbear.

SF Tidbits for 7/28/07

Did You Know: Analog TV Goes Bye Bye In 2009

You probably already know, but, according to this article, Congress is concerned that too few American realize their older, analog TVs (i.e.- non-HD) will become giant paperweights on February 18, 2009. That’s the date Congress has mandated that all over the air broadcast TV must be in digital High-Def, and all current analog signals must stop. That’s in a little under two years from now, and many people don’t know it’s going to happen.

What I find crazy is the bureaucrats mandated this change and are now complaining that the networks aren’t doing enough to educate the viewing public about the change. Also, what about all the people who can’t afford to buy a new TV, let alone a cable connection or HD antenna? Those people are SOL and yet the government is trying to blame the networks.

You may be wondering why there is a mandate at all. You’d think the market would eventually sort through the process and HD would win in the end. Of course, the answer comes down to money. By shutting off access to the analog TV portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, the government can then auction parts of the spectrum off. This means big money for them, and big headaches for the rest of us.

I find this whole thing stupid in the extreme, and the whining from the congress critters about the networks really, really irritates me. They helped create this mess and now won’t take part of the blame. Typical really. I try not to get political on this blog, as that’s just asking for trouble. But this makes me wish the government was way smaller than it actually is and less influence on public life.

Anyway, consider this a heads up for anyone who didn’t know about the switchover. You’ll need to upgrade your TV to an HD set soon and you’ll either have to buy an HD antenna or get an HD capable cable box. The only good news is that any network science fiction shows will be shown in HD. Which, as an avid LOST viewer, looks really sweet.

And if you have an HD set and get Universal HD, they are running Firefly on Saturday nights. In HD. Sweet.

Most Overrated?

Taking author John Scalzi up on his request to post about what I consider to be a most overrated work, I submit the movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Now I know many people consider this a great film and heartwarming and it certainly was popular. But I’ve never liked it. Most importantly, I thought it was a bad piece of science fiction with little even slightly plausible. The McGuyver-style phone home machine just capped it off for me as terrible. I saw it described as a dog movie – that is boy meets dog, boy names dog, boy grows up, etc. – and to a large part that’s true. The alien doesn’t have to be alien at all – it was developed based on Spielberg’s childhood imaginary friend and it shows. The kids end up proving to be wiser than parents, and the dog runs away, er – E.T. goes home. Of course, my family loves the movie and I am ridiculed for my dislike.

As for the extra credit assignment (was there ever an effort that initially I disliked but then thought better of) I submit Fargo. I didn’t care for it at all the first time I saw it in the theatre, but have since come to think of it as quirky and funny. I figure it was my state of mind on the day in question.

And as a side note, I too read Dune when I was about 12 and did not like it at all. I’ve often thought about rereading as an adult to see what I missed. Scalzi’s comments encourage me to do so.

Friday YouTube: The Evil Sky High Trailer

Here’s a trailer for the family-friendly superhero movie Sky High…remixed as a thriller.

WARNING: Major spoilers shown – if you haven’t seen the movie and want to, look instead to the original Sky High trailer. Look at it anyway, it’s got Bruce Campbell’s “Sidekick” bit.

SF Tidbits for 7/27/07

  • At SciFi Wire, John Joseph Adams profiles Chris Roberson, author of Set the Seas on Fire.
  • Matthew Jarpe is a hack. “One of the common epithets people throw at a writer they don’t like is ‘hack.’ That’s ‘a writer who exploits his or her ability primarily for money.’ As if producing a product of art with commercial potential is wrong. Well, here’s the thing, I’m a hack.”
  • Jeff VanderMeer has posted mystery excerpts from his New Weird Anthology. The first person to correctly guess the author who wrote them wins a copy of the book.
  • Over at Amazon’s blog, VanderMeer lists 13 Reasons to Read Richard Morgan’s Thirteen. See also the SF Signal review.
  • The Wall Street Journal profiles Robert A. Heinlein. [via Cynical-C]
  • JK Rowling says she will publish a Harry Potter Encyclopedia. [via No Blasters]
  • Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist interviews Peter F. Hamilton (The Dreaming Void). “As a species we’re just not psychologically adjusted to living for more than a century, yet billions are being poured into research that leads to increased life expectancy. Suppose it works out, and we can live for three of ten times longer than today. That’s the kind of question which SF exists for.”
  • Over at his AOL gig, John Scazli looks at overrated books and cited Catcher in the Rye as his pick. “Tell us of one piece of culture — book, movie, album, painting, play, architectural “masterpiece,” whatever — that you think is wildly overrated.”
  • Lou Anders responds to Discover magazine’s “Blinded by Science: Fictional Reality” article.
  • Borders bookstores has cut back their soft seating by 30%. Ed Champion comes to the defense of sitting in bookstores.
  • It’s official: J.J. Abrams, director the upcoming Star Trek movie, confirmed the casting of Heroes star Zachary Quinto as a young Spock and surprised the audience with the announcement that original Spock actor Leonard Nimoy would also appear in the film.
  • The Avalanche Software Art Blog is still going strong with nearly very post offering up some cool, artsy goodness by their very talented staff. Their latest entry is is a caricature of Qui-Gon Jinn.

Tube Bits For 07/27/2007

  • Surprise! Michael is back on LOST, as announced at surprisingly influential Comic-Con 2007.
  • And pity the poor TV critics who feel that Comic-Con is stealing TV news thunder from the Television Critics Association press tour. Please stop whining. It’s clear that Comic-Con does more as far as promotion for TV shows than a press tour for critics.
  • If you’ve spent any time at the Heroes website, you know that NBC has a series of short comic ‘books’ that help flesh out the story. DC Comics will be releasing a hardcover version of those comics, sometime in the near future.
  • Rob Buckley, a UK journalist, offers his impressions of the upcoming Bionic Woman show. Supposedly a new version of the pilot will be screen at, yes, Comic-Con 2007. Maybe his feelings will change.
  • The News&Observer gives 4400 reasons to love summer TV. I keep hearing about how good The 4400 is, but I’ve never seen it. Maybe I should head on over to NetFlix. And I know Tim appreciates the Burn Notice plug.

Does Tivo Kill Science Fiction TV?

While surfing around on these here intertubes, I ran across a rather long rant against Alexa and the way it used as a sort of Nielsen ratings for web sites. What was interesting, and what caught my feed scanner, was this little paragraph:

The Nielsen ratings struggle to account for PVRs. Since you got a TiVo, when was the last time you watched “Live” TV? This is part of why Science Fiction shows struggle on TV… scifi fans are early adopters. So we stopped getting counted and our favorite genres are butchered by networks and lost to the void.

The Cooperative Blog picked up on this and expanded a bit on it by saying:

So smart shows and very noticeably Sci-Fi shows are given the ax because of “low viewership.

The obvious question to ask here is: Is Tivo (DVRs) to blame for science fiction shows being cancelled?

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