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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

Episode:The Awakening

Synopsis: In the middle of a ferocious firefight outside of Baghdad, US soldiers discover a mysterious body–one that they can’t even identify as human. Swiftly, all over the earth, more such creatures appear and begin to communicate. With this contact, the world is forced to choose between peace and destruction.

Starring: Terry O’Quinn and Elisabeth Rohm.

Based on the short story by: Howard Fast.

Episode:Jerry Was a Man

Synopsis: Mr. and Mrs. Bronson Van Vogel are the seventh-richest couple in the world. Pleasure is their only work; mundane or dangerous chores are done by anthropoids. All the anthropoids–a few strands of human DNA, grown into a baby and fused with plastics–are named “Joe.” Somehow, Mrs. Van Vogel’s dormant compassion is awakened by a Joe named Jerry. What traits would prove that Jerry is, indeed, a man?

Starring: Anne Heche and Malcolm McDowell.

Based on the short story by: Robert A. Heinlein.

Episode:The Discarded

Synopsis: The ultimate story of despised minorities forever adrift in the darkness of outer space. As a last resort – born out of their loneliness and despair – they are forced to make an ominous pact with those responsible for their plight, in the hope that they will finally be offered refuge at home on Earth.

Starring: John Hurt, Brian Dennehy and James Denton.

Based on the short story by: Harlan Ellison (who also wrote the teleplay).

Episode:Little Brother

Synopsis: In a future world where courtrooms exist without human judges or juries, automated justice is the law of the land. Sitting before a kiosk which is itself the judge, jury, and executioner of the future, Fredon must find a way to convince the machine of his innocence – or find some other way to save himself before time runs out.

Starring: Clifton Collins, Jr. and Kimberly Elise.

Based on the short story by: Walter Mosley (who also wrote the teleplay).


Synopsis: It seems the perfect solution to a ballooning crime rate – filling the skies with flying robotic droids that can prevent murder before it takes place. However, nobody told these “Watchbirds” that all life depends on a formula of carefully balanced killing. Robert Sheckley’s renowned story examines one of the most important questions of our time – is it wise to sacrifice our liberty in the name of our security?

Starring: Sean Astin and James Cromwell.

Based on the short story by: Robert Sheckley (with a teleplay by Michael Straczynski).

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

3 Comments on Masters of Science Fiction Airs This Week

  1. >With this contact, the world is forced to choose between peace and destruction.

    Please spare me. That theme has been done so many times it isn’t even remotely entertaining any more. Sounds like every second episode of “The Outer Limits”. I’ll just assume that’s a poor synopsis of an otherwise interesting story.

    Other than that, they all sound pretty good.

  2. Is the series that Harlan Ellison is behind? At WorldCon he mentioned that he had an anthology series planned for replacement season.

  3. D’oh…:O

    I’ll read the post in detail first, next time, heh.

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