So, Joe, what was B5 going to be, originally?

…and the word is finally out.

From TrekBBS and thanks to chrisspringob for condensing the arc. I’ve read the outline in the Scripts book 15, although I couldn’t afford a copy myself. This is pretty close to what is there.

***This thread includes huge spoilers for the entire 5 year arc of Babylon 5, including the details of JMS’s earlier draft of the story, as of the start of production on the series.***

OK, doing this in reverse order: I’ve already written the rest of this post (so my fingers are getting rather tired), and am now writing this, the lead paragraph. I have in my possession Babylon 5 Script Book #15, but I’m too exhausted to explain what that is for those who don’t already know, so read this thread if you want to know:

And here is a shameless plug for all of the B5 script books:

The most talked about feature of Script Book #15 is JMS’s 7 page, single spaced synopsis of “the original story arc”, with Sinclair in place during the whole story. It’s a bit of a misnomer to call this the “original arc”, as there were in fact earlier iterations of the story, before it got to this point, but this is where things stood in JMS’s head at the time Season 1 was going into production (but after “The Gathering” was filmed). He wrote the document as sort of a memo to himself, so he could keep the big picture straight. The arc was written out in much greater detail on over 100 3×5 notecards, and on an encrypted file he had on his computer. But this was his summary.

Somehow or other, I volunteered to write out a detailed synopsis of JMS’s 7 page story outline, and post it here for your benefit. That’s what this thread is. I haven’t quoted any of the outline directly. Just explained it in my own words. AFAIK, my synopsizing of JMS’s synopsis is not in violation of his wishes. But if anyone wants to argue for why I should edit / delete this post, I’ll hear you out.

A few things about the synopsis:

I do not actually believe that this is what the show would have looked like if O’Hare had stayed on. There are too many divergences from the story we got that have nothing much to do with Sinclair/Sheridan, that I think JMS decided to change certain things around for reasons having nothing to do with the identity of the lead character, and that would have happened just as easily if O’Hare had stayed.

The story is so big, that there’s a lot left out here, and I’m sure some of the “missing” story elements were in fact included in JMS’s huge pile of index cards. Most of the 7 page synopsis focuses as much on the big picture as it does on the individual characters. The only characters mentioned by name are: Sinclair, Garibaldi, Delenn, Londo, G’Kar, Kosh, and Catherine Sakai. (Notice a trend? Excepting Sakai, all of these are characters who appeared in “The Gathering”, and continued as main characters in the series. It’s possible that this was written when JMS knew that the actors who played Takashima, Dr. Kyle, and Lyta were going to be unavailable, and he hadn’t yet figured out how the replacement characters would fit into the story.) The characters of Santiago, Clark, and Sinclair/Delenn’s son are mentioned, but no names are given for them.

One of the weirdest things is that the series seems to end on a cliffhanger, and the last page and a half of the synopsis details the storyline of a potential spinoff series, Babylon Prime, which resolves most of the major plot threads. The events in the outline seem to be in quasi-chronological order, though it’s sometimes hard to tell, as there’s a lot of jumping back and forth between the various threads. I’ve split up my synopsis of JMS’s synopsis into four parts: Seasons 1 & 2, Seasons 3 & 4, Season 5, and Babylon Prime.

Here we go:


Much of the stuff on the first two seasons matches what we actually saw on screen, including:

-Sinclair trying to figure out the hole in his mind from the Battle of the Line
-The “Babylon Squared” story
-Santiago assassination and Clark taking over
-Delenn undergoing transformation
-The Shadows slowly making their presence felt, and Londo allying with them, and Londo using them to gain influence with the Centauri
-Kosh revealing himself to all when he saves Sinclair’s life at the end of Season 2

Main divergences from what we saw on screen:

-Sinclair stays on, and remains commander of the station throughout the series
-Unclear exactly when this is revealed, but the secret behind Sinclair & the Battle of the Line is not that he becomes Valen (Valen is never mentioned in this outline), but that he is the person who has been prophesied to save the Minbari from dying off. In order to fulfill the prophesy, Delenn must transform to become human and mate with Sinclair. Their son will be some kind of chosen one who will save the Minbari race from extinction(???). Some of the Minbari (warrior caste?) interpret prophesy differently, and think that Sinclair will actually lead the Minbari to doom.
-Not 100% certain on this, but it looks like the Centauri conquest of the Narn doesn’t happen until early/mid-Season 3. It’s also not completely clear whether there is even a Narn/Centauri war as such. The Shadows aid Londo’s ascension by secretly staging a number of incidents, but does this involve a full blown Narn/Centauri war that lasts a season? Not clear. Rather, some time by mid-Season 3, the Shadows help the Centauri conquer the Narn homeworld and decapitate their empire, but I’m not sure if that’s actually the culmination of a lengthy war.


-The Centauri conquer the Narn Empire with the help of the Shadows.
-After the Narn surrender, G’Kar briefly stays on B5 and tries to rally allies against the Centauri, but it doesn’t work. So he returns to the Narn homeworld to join the resistance.
-Catherine Sakai is “mind-raped”, and all memory of her relationship with Sinclair is erased, and this crushes Sinclair. [This seems like some early iteration of the Anna Sheridan / Z’ha’dum story, but there’s no explicit indication of how this happens to Sakai, or who’s responsible.]
-Sinclair & Delenn become romantically involved, and Delenn is pregnant by the end of Season 4.
-Garibaldi returns to drinking, and resigns as chief of security. During Season 4, he’s a mercenary operating out of B5, but there’s no mention of the Psi Corps sleeper / William Edgars / Lise Hampton story.
-There is no mention of an overt war between the Shadows & Vorlons. But they are fighting each other by manipulating the younger races. There is no mention of an order vs. chaos ideological conflict between the two. Just that the Vorlons manipulated the younger races throughout history, and the Shadows rebel against that, and try to set themselves up as rulers of the galaxy.


-The Minbari warrior caste overthrows the Grey Council, and orders the resumption of hostilities with Earth. They also want Sinclair and Delenn dead.
-The Centauri try to move in on B5’s sector of space.
-Londo & the Centauri’s longtime involvement with the Shadows is publicly revealed.
-The Shadows destroy a huge Vorlon ship (hundreds of miles long) which contains a large segment of their population.
-The series ends with the Minbari attacking B5 and destroying it. Sinclair & Delenn escape with their newborn baby. Everyone in the galaxy is after them for one reason or another….including Earth, which has been given info which makes them believe Sinclair is a traitor.


-Sinclair, Delenn, and their allies go back in time to steal Babylon 4, pulling it into the future in order to use it as a base to build a new alliance (army of light?). B4 is renamed Babylon Prime. B Prime can move through space like a starship, and they go off on a mission to clear their names and build the alliance to bring peace to the galaxy.
-The time traveling causes Sinclair, Delenn, and their baby to age rapidly. (I’ll call the baby David, even though his name is never mentioned here.) David grows all the way to adulthood within a few years.
-Londo is Emperor, but controlled by a Keeper, as in the actual show.
-Londo & the Centauri capture Sinclair & Delenn, and are supposed to turn them over to the Shadows, but Londo rebels against the Keeper & the Shadows “at terrible personal cost” (doesn’t say exactly what that cost is).
-David becomes a revered religious symbol.
-Conclusion of the story: B Prime and the Army of Light defeat the Shadows (but there’s nothing about the Shadows leaving the galaxy). No mention of what happens to the Vorlons. Earth defeats the Minbari, and Sinclair’s name is cleared. Delenn leaves Sinclair, in order to return to the Grey Council. David becomes the leader of a new interstellar alliance. Final scene is Sinclair, retired, alone on an otherwise uninhabited world….fishing.

Plot points that are noticeably absent:

There is no mention of an Earth Civil War, or B5 seceding from Earth in Season 3 (though obviously, a lot of that storyline is transplanted into Babylon Prime). While Clark is said to be controlled by the Psi Corps, and Psi Corps is said to be a nefarious group at odds with Sinclair and B5, there’s no mention of the Earth Alliance being transformed into some kind of Orwellian police state. There’s no mention of the Shadows working with Psi Corps or anyone in EarthGov. There’s no mention of any larger teep/normal conflict, beyond Psi Corps just wanting power for itself.

There’s no mention of Sinclair going to Z’ha’dum (and in fact, no mention of Z’ha’dum), and dying there. (Though, as I speculated earlier, some of this storyline may have been there as part of the Sakai mindwipe story, but there are no details given.) There’s no mention of Lorien or any other First Ones beyond the Shadows and Vorlons. There’s no mention of Kosh mentoring Sinclair, or Kosh sacrificing his life. There’s no mention of Marcus, or Morden, or Bester, or any other characters who I haven’t already mentioned.

Still, just because something wasn’t mentioned in this synopsis, doesn’t mean it didn’t exist in some form in JMS’s lengthier treatment of the series that he kept to himself.

Star Trek: The Experience is closing

I guess I put off going for too long.

Offering a sad commentary on the state of the Star Trek franchise, the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas will shut down Star Trek : The Experience this fall.

Part simulator, part environment, part museum and (of course) part gift shop/restaurant, the Experience opened 10 years ago during the height of popularity for the Star Trek: The Next Generation movies. The exhibit gave fans a chance to examine a Trek time line with a collection of sci-fi relics. Then visitors could talk to a Klingon over a drink after strolling across the bridge of the Enterprise.

But, the exhibit isn’t drawing the fans it once did — just as the franchise is fading off the public radar. While J.J. Abrams is hustling to save Star Trek on the big screen, it’s too late to save it in Vegas.

The collection of props, costumed “aliens” and adventure simulators was a welcome, nerd-friendly escape from the hustling sleaze and nonstop pinging of slot machines filling the rest of the town. There’s no word what will be done with the emptied retail space in the Hilton, but the museum props, ship mock-ups and other bits of Trek history will be returned to Paramount.

CBS/Paramount statements indicate the search is on for the Experience’s new home.

read more | digg story

All of my friends who were lucky enough to be able to visit Vegas and the Experience told me (in no uncertain terms) that I really needed to go see it. Now it will close, never to be seen by me. Can I be a true fan without the Experience?

Still, I don’t think it would be as powerful to me as it was to one former cast member:

The Experience will always be special to me, because, as I wrote in the Geek in Review (excerpted from Dancing Barefoot):

The Transporter Chief says, “Welcome to the 24th century. You are aboard the starship Enterprise.”

She could have said to me, “Welcome to 1987, Wil. You are on Stage 9.”

She touches her communicator and says, “I have them, Commander.”

We leave the transporter room and walk down a long corridor which is identical to the ones I walked down every day. I realize as we walk that, in my mind, I’m filling in the rest of the sound stage. I’m surprised when we don’t end up in engineering at the end of the corridor. Instead, we are herded into a turbolift, where we enjoy some more special effects. The turbolift shakes and hums . . . it’s infinitely cooler than the real ones we would stand in for the show.

When the turbolift doors open, and reveal the bridge of the Enterprise, I gasp.

The bridge is a nearly-perfect replica of ours, with a few minor differences that are probably imperceptible to anyone who didn’t spend the better part of five years on it. The hum of the engines, which had only existed in my imagination on Stage 8, is now real. I stare at the view screen, where a beautiful starfield gives the appearance of motion. I remember how much I hated doing blue screen shots on the bridge and how much I loved it when they’d lower the starfield. When I looked at those thousands of tiny mirrors, glued onto a screen of black velvet, I could lose myself in the wonderful fantasy that this spaceship was as real as the view.

I am consumed by hypernostalgia.

I am 14-years-old, walking out of the turbolift during Encounter at Farpoint. Corey Allen, the director, excitedly tells me, “Picard controls the sky, man! He controls the sky!”

I am 15-years-old, sitting in my ugly grey spacesuit at the CONN. My fake muscle suit bunches up around my arms. I feel awkward and unsure, a child who desperately wants to be a man.

I am 16-years-old, working on an episode where I say little more than, “Aye, sir.” I want to be anywhere but here.

I am 17-years-old, wearing a security uniform for Yesterday’s Enterprise. I am excited to stand in a different place on the bridge, wear a different uniform, and push different imaginary buttons.

I hear the voices of our crew, recall the cool fog that hung around our trailers each morning from Autumn until Spring.

I recall walking to the Paramount commissary with the cast, on our way to have lunch meetings with Gene before he died.

I have an epiphany.

Until this moment, all I have been able to remember is the pain that came with Star Trek. I’d forgotten the joy.

It’s obviously an important place to me, though I don’t expect it be nearly as important to anyone else in the world. I’ve always said that it’s something every Star Trek fan should, uh, experience, at least once.

read more | digg story

To have been on the show at the age of 15, even if it was as Wesley Crusher (whom everyone loved to hate. At the time) now that would have been an Experience.

Dee’s Annie Passes

I stumbled across this Obit The Wife wrote for our friend Ann while going through electronic documents the other day.

Mary Ann Johnson was born October 23, 1942 in San Antonio, Texas and died July 7, 2008 in Austin, Texas. The daughter of Solomon Wilson Johnson and Betty Marie (Hutton) Johnson, she lived in many locations around the world while her father was in the air force, including Japan, Bermuda, and Alaska.

Ann overcame significant physical challenges and graduated from Southwest Texas University before completing a career as a Disability Examiner for the Social Security Administration in Austin.

Ann was an avid “Trekkie” which led her to a vast circle of friends around the country. She helped in establishing at least two Austin Star Trek Fan Clubs: IDIC and The Star Trek Austin Regulars (STAR) in the 1980’s and 1990’s. She is a current member of the Eastern Star and any donations can be made in her name to the Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital, Dallas, Texas.

Ann is survived by cousins and many friends. Funeral service will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, July 12, 2008 at Cook Walden Funeral Home, 6100 N. Lamar, Austin (Viewing permitted one hour before services). Graveside service will follow at Live Oak Cemetery, Manchaca, Texas.

I suggest this for a poem. It is the original theme for Star Trek as written by Gene Roddenberry. If this doesn’t work for you let me know. I have other options I can come up with that would be meaningful for her.

Beyond the rim of the starlight,
my love is wandering in star flight.
I know he’ll find
In star clustered reaches
Love, strange love
A starwoman teaches.

I know his journey ends never.
His Star Trek will go on forever.
But tell him while
He wanders his starry sea,
Remember me.


A GPS Unit With the Right Kind of Voice

Was sent a link today to what somebody thinks is a really cool add on for their car.

I already have a GPS unit but I’ll be dammed if I’m not throwing it out because the guys at Mio have come up with a Knight Rider branded GPS unit with voice prompts by the one and only Mr Feeny KITT William Daniels. Apparently, you will recognize his familiar voice as soon as you fire it up and hear “Hello Michael, where do you want to go today?” As an added touch, the display is flanked by a series of red LEDs that mimic KITTs hood-mounted lights. Further details are scarce, but we do know the Mio Knight Rider GPS will retail for $299 when it is finally released.

I’m sorry, when I think Knight Rider in this day and age, I think David Hasselhoff drunk in his shower eating a hamburger. KITT should have been sent to the scrap heap with the rest of the Camaros from that year, since they decided to have him installed in a Ford the second time around.

William Daniels isn’t the voice of KITT, anyway. William Daniels is the voice of John Adams.

When (and if) I get a GPS navigator for my car, it’ll have a proper voice interface.

And for those nit-pickers out there (you know who you are) that immediately corrected the trivia error by pointing out that KITT was based on a Trans Am and not a Camaro, Let me offer the following.

This is a 1982 Camaro.

This is a 1983 Firebird Trans Am.

This is KITT, who was for sale recently.

One might well ask, what is the difference between these cars? Other than the color, and the really cool light in the front of the KITT car the answer is virtually nothing. GM, which made the vehicles in question, produced identical bodies for the Camaro and the Firebird. Chevrolet and Pontiac designed slightly different tails and noses for the two flavors of the sports car (and different interiors, of course) but the rest of the cars are relatively indistinguishable. As someone who knows cars from inside the business, the minor differences between the Pontiac and Chevrolet didn’t warrant notice, even when watching the show.

Forgive me if I glossed over the trivia.

The Lucifer Effect

I can’t recommend the CATO event on Philip Zimbardo’s The Lucifer Effect. I wish I could, but the audio presentation is full of blanks where the presenter relies on video to make his point; and the video is flawed with missing color as well as being an extremely poor quality Real media stream (why they still rely on outdated technology like Real media streams at CATO is beyond me) whose soundtrack bounces like a poorly inflated basketball.

So I’ll just say the genius of Dr. Zimbardo’s work comes across in spite of the transmission problems, and I think I’ll have to put another book on my wish list. About three quarters of the way through the presentation, this slide appears in the video (actually it’s the slide combined with the speech he’s giving. I think this flows better)

One day you will be in a new situation with 3 paths

  • Path one: You become a perpetrator of evil.
  • Path two: You become guilty of passive inaction
  • Path three: You go straight ahead and become a hero.

And as I said, all that matters is, these heroes don’t have anything special about them. Ordinary heroes, waiting for the right situation to put our heroic imagination into action.

For those who don’t recognize the name, Philip Zimbardo is the professor who conducted the Stanford Prison Experiment, as well as several other studies into group psychology. Like the previous Milgram Experiment, the results of the study were quite shocking. Here’s to the notion that we are shaping superior barrels with the spread of liberal cultural norms. Liberal capitalism is slowly ridding the world of evil.

So, why did I feel the need to share this bit of insight? When discussing these types of evil, and resistance to evil, I’m generally reminded of the Star Trek episode Space Seed. Gene’s subtle understanding of the need for societal evolution is on rare display in that episode. Khan fails in his bid to retake power because the human creature has evolved in the hundreds of years he has been in hypersleep. The crew of the Enterprise not only will not cooperate with him, starting down that slippery slope towards doing evil oneself; but they can not cooperate with him even in the face of personal destruction. Resisting Influence. This is a facet of ourselves that we have to grow if we are going to see an end to dictatorship, totalitarianism, and genocide.

This was another instance where, when listening to or watching a program I find myself biting my lip and trying to resist the urge to scream “Altruism is not the same as Charity!”

I’m not a Number, I’m a Free Man!

So, Merbrat breaks her long silence again to send me a link to the home of another renowned stoic, WWdN: In Exile. Amongst the tidbits of information about greenhouse farming (how about cave farming, Wil?) Gambling and the Watchmen (never managed to get into that series) is a little tidbit about the impending doom of a cherished memory from the 1960’s, The Prisoner.

The Prisoner Appreciation Society (Six of One) is reporting that this classic, surreal sci-fi/adventure series is set to return for a six-episode miniseries run. The announcement coincides with The Prisoner’s 40th anniversary.

Reports have Jim Caviezel playing the heroic Number Six — actor with a penchant for playing long-suffering characters (Bobby Jones, Jesus). Sir Ian McKellen would play arch-nemesis Number Two, while cementing his status alongside Christopher Lee as the greatest nerd project actors of their generation. Between the two of them, they’d own Star Wars, James Bond, Lord of the Rings, Dracula, Frankenstein and X-Men).

The Prisoner remake: details emerge

The Prisoner is my all-time favorite TV show, ever. EVER!After watching marathon after marathon of The Prisoner, I grokked what makes people become Trekkies or Browncoats. It did more than entertain me, it inspired me. I know that’s weird to say about something that’s so Orwellian, but it’s true. The Prisoner spoke to me when I was a teenager. I bought the GURPS book, bought all the video tapes, and picked up every fan-made book and map of The Village I could find. I bought rub-on transfer letters in the Albertus font so I could make my own signs for my dressing room, and I painstakingly drew my own Number Six badge to wear on my jackets. I read and re-read the graphic Novel Shattered Visage fruitlessly looking for clues about . . . stuff. My first big external SCSI Mac II hard disk, which I think weighed in at a mighty 30 Megabytes, was named KAR120C. Again, living in a post-Phantom Menace world makes me a little nervous, and we’ve been talking about this remake almost as long as we were talking about a Watchmen movie, so I don’t even know if this is as reliable as it seems. Regardless, I’m hopeful that there’s someone out there who can treat it right. And a six episode mini-series would be freaking brilliant.

WWdN: In Exile

Unlike Mr. Wheaton, I’m not interested in watching a remake of yet another cherished memory from yesteryear. I would say “cherished memory from my childhood”, but I didn’t watch the show until a fellow member of the local Austin Star Trek group (I was even Captain, for a time. Yes, we do watch something other than Star Trek) got me hooked on it.

I liked it so much, I invested in disks, Laserdiscs (yes, technology from yesteryear as well. I’ll put my laserdiscs up against your Blu-ray disc, any day) they’re still perfectly watchable, and the 60’s flavor of the show makes the show what it is. I don’t need a modern re-visitation, with all the emotional baggage that entails (like sexual tension in Leave it to Beaver. It was the 50’s, people. Beavers build dams in the 50’s) It was a different time, they were different people. Some things are better left alone.

I want to climb the highest mountain and shout to the gods of the movie making industry, LEAVE MY FREAKING MEMORIES ALONE YOU LIFE-SUCKING PARASITES FROM HELL!

…but that seems like a waste of energy when all I have to really do is not watch.

Do you really have a burning desire to revisit the past? Pick up and watch the movie Pleasantville (Another film for the essential SciFi list) a little sleeper of a film that explores, in depth, the reasons why we really can’t revisit the past. The past isn’t what we think it was.

I do have a helpful suggestion for those leeches who want to make a buck off yesterday’s entertainment genius. Take the lead of the only group to successfully revisit a show from the past, Battlestar Galactica. Throw away any delusions of re-making something. Take the essential character outlines and plot, and go somewhere else with it. I’d even change the name, myself (Like Last Man on Earth to Omega Man to I am Legend) just don’t delude yourselves into thinking that “it’ll be as good as the original.” Because no matter what you do, it won’t be comparable to the original.

Not even Gene Roddenberry could pull that one off.

Editor’s note: Sept. 22, 2015. I forgot I even wrote this until stumbling across it today. The fact that I am a fan of the show meant that eventually a copy of the new Prisoner mini-series (which is what ended up being made) was gifted to me at some point.  I’ve even watched it.  Does it mean anything that I can’t recall a single thing about the mini-series? I can remember most of the episodes from the original Prisoner (note to self, buy them on blu-ray. Laserdisc player is dying) I can’t remember anything from the new. Guess I’ll have to sit down and watch it again to re-familiarize myself with it. 

Day X

As the wife pointed out, the previous post is a little out of date. On the other hand, I never did blog on the fact that one of her first films is finally in stores, and you can rent or buy your own copy to watch repeatedly (if you are into zombie films, that is) Day X.

There’s more story in this film than in all of the Romero zombie films, combined. If you do watch the film, take the time to rate it at IMDB or Flixster. Like all straight to video films, viewership is driven by word of mouth. Also like most straight to video films, this one suffers from a landslide of incredibly negative ratings.

One would hardly be able to tell that it won Best Director at Rhode Island International Horror Film Festival 2005 based on the biased slams that can be found online. Good grief people, it’s a low-budget indy film about zombies. What did you expect, a 100 million dollar budget and Spielberg at the helm? How about some realistic expectations?

SciFi on the horizon: Avatar

I went looking for information on one of my favorite directors, James Cameron, recently; because a podcast I listen to mentioned some of his work. It’s a shame that the director whom I have a great respect for, the director of The Abyss, Terminator, and Aliens

[and no matter what anyone else says, there are only two films in the Alien saga. As far as I’m concerned Ripley, Newt and Hicks made it back home, where they set up shop in a small quiet corner of the planet and lived happily ever after. None of the sequel films after Aliens rates a viewing. I wish I’d never seen them]

…is now known for grandiose melodrama like Titanic (yes, it made tons of money. It’s not a good film; or more correctly, not his best) Documentaries like Ghosts of the Abyss (and the related plundering of the Titanic shipwreck site that has followed in it’s wake) or complete wastes of time like The Lost Tomb of Jesus, and a television series featuring an actress who was clearly discovered in a horizontal position (I say that because Jessica Alba can’t act. In any of the films I’ve watched her in. At all. Wooden describes her performance, and the related parts of the men who enjoy watching her) The guy worked for John Carpenter on Escape From New York, another one of my all-time favorite films, for crying out loud. Where did he go so wrong?

[Want some fun? Contrast Prince of Darkness (later Carpenter film) with The Lost Tomb of Jesus. Is your head spinning yet?]

So here we are in 2008, and James Cameron wants to get back into cutting edge SciFi with his latest film Avatar. Sigourney Weaver is in it, along with several other recognizable names. It looks like it could be quite promising. The technology is cutting edge, just like his underwater filming techniques were cutting edge in The Abyss.

Using a new digital 3D format, Avatar and the technology behind it could revolutionise the industry, making 2D films seem as outdated as silent films. (From SFF media)

If you go to some of the sites talking about the film, you can find the usual gushing of fans giving away way more information than you really want to know this early in the game (the film is not due for release until 2009) When all I want to know is, should we get our hopes up? Can the man who co-hosts a two-hour special about a religious figure be trusted to produce gritty, cutting edge movies any more?

Sigourney Weaver seems to think so.

“I’m playing very much a leader in this [film] Someone who gets the job done. Someone very very driven and smart and yet funny. The only person I could think of that was like this at all was Jim Cameron,” Weaver said, echoing statements she made to MTV in February. “Jim Cameron is an amazing person. First of all he knows everything in an unobnoxious way. He just wants to get on with it so he has a great deal of leadership.”

She’s come a long way from the actress who played Ripley back in the 70’s and 80’s. I’ve liked a lot of the work she’s done, even the recent (wait, I don’t think I’ve seen her in anything since Galaxy Quest. Can 8 years ago be recent?) work, but…

James Cameron is responsible for tripe like Piranha 2 as well as great cutting edge films like The Abyss. I’ve seen 99% of it, and I’ve watched a good part of it just because his name was on it. I’m not going to lose my head dreaming about how great this film just has to be. I’m approaching this film with the same cautious air that I’ve learned from experience yields the best outcome for me; whether it’s a new group with a new idea, or someone I know producing a sequel to something I love (J.J. Abrams and ST XI for example) It’s a SciFi film, so I’m going to see it at some point. Will it be good? Won’t know that until I’ve sat through it. See you in December of 2009.

Trekkie Libertarianism?

I’m on the mailing list for This project was mentioned at the bottom of a article on Star Trek: Phase II. Hold on, I think I’m getting ahead of myself here. The email stoic Merbrat, a fellow SF fan from years gone by, sent me an article a month ago concerning Star Trek: Phase II: the First Professional Fan Film? Reading through it, I was intrigued.

Filmed with high resolution digital cameras on authentic looking replica sets, Star Trek: Phase II (previously known as New Voyages) takes over where the original Star Trek ended – co-opting the name that Gene Roddenbury chose for his failed attempt to revive the original series on the small screen. Playing out the archetypal fan fantasy, a plucky bunch of Trek-nerds recast themselves as their Sci-Fi heroes, facing the same jeopardy, saying the same lines, wearing the same velour jerseys and ill-fitting trousers as the original Kirk, Spock and McCoy.

Den of Geek

At the bottom of the Article were a few listings for futher viewing. The author was less than complimentary of Star Trek: Of Gods and Men.

Another fan film full of former Trek actors is Star Trek: Of Gods and Men. Directed by Tim “Tuvok” Russ and starring Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig and Alan Ruck, it should be more “professional” than New Voyages. It’s lovely to see so many Trek alumni on screen, but awful to hear them spout such truly terrible dialogue. And the plot? We’ve already seen Yesterday’s Enterprise, Mirror Mirror, Charlie X and City on the Edge of Forever. Great episodes on their own, but unpalatable when put in a blender and whizzed up into a fan-wank smoothie. Still, worth a look for curiosity value. Link here.

Former Star Trek actors participating in a fan film? I figured it was worth checking out. So I signed up and forgot about it. Well, Part 2 came out the other day and I thought I’d give the first part a quick look. Only I couldn’t just go look at it; I had to click the link, give them an email address, and wait for an invite.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: <>
Date: Mon, Mar 31, 2008 at 10:19 PM
Subject: Watch Star Trek Of Gods and Men Part 2

Thank you for your interest Star Trek: Of Gods And Men. The reason we are collecting your email address is so that we can notify you when part 3 is available.

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Since I failed to complete the task the first day, procrastination took over and I still haven’t watched a minute of the film. However, if you go to the Renegade Studios site, you’ll discover several other projects that might be of interest.

And then the newsletter shows up today.

My Dear Friends,

My new suspense-comedy feature film Lady Magdalene’s is having its Los Angeles-area premiere at the auspicious Backlot Film Festival. I’d love you to join me. During my introduction I’ll be singing one of the two songs I wrote for the movie and following the film will join writer/director/producer J. Neil Schulman for Q&A.

Thursday, April 3rd, 7:00 PM

Backlot Film Festival
Veterans Memorial Auditorium
4117 Overland Avenue
Culver City, CA 90230

Cost $5.00 – $3.00 Senior/Student
Buy Tickets at the Door or Online at
Official Movie Website:

For our printable flyer click here:

It’s going to be a wonderful evening.

Be there!



Nichelle Nichols is starring in a film by J. Neil Schulman? The same J. Neil Schulman who wrote Stopping Power? When did he start doing film? The universe is indeed weirder than we can know.

Star Trek fans probably have no idea who J. Neil Schulman is, but those of us who are reasonably informed in Libertarian circles have become well acquainted with the name, even if we haven’t quite gotten around to reading his books.

I guess I’ll have to make time to watch Nichelle perform in a film by J. Neil schulman. I’m in a quandary though as to whether to invite my Libertarian friends or my SF friends. If I invite both groups and they both show up there could well be a causality inversion.

Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.


Might be interesting.


Took the daughter to see Cloverfield today. She’s been bugging us to watch it since she first stumbled across the trailer online several months ago (and truthfully I was intrigued as well. Not just because of the film but for another reason as well. More on that in a bit) so I drug myself out of bed this morning and took her to a matinée showing.

How should I describe this film? It’s like every monster movie ever made, all squashed together, and filmed with a handheld camera while running full tilt down a subway tunnel. It started to make me queasy at the beginning, but luckily I was able to shake it off and continue watching. The action on screen jiggles that much, yes.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad film, it’s just not a great one. It’s a monster movie, and for what it is, it’s one of the most imaginatively executed that I’ve seen. There is a definite arthouse air to it, even though the effects attest to the high dollar funding that backed the film. If monster movies are your kind of thing, then you need to go see it.

The other reason I was there was to check out the teaser for Star Trek XI. I have to say that J.J. Abrams knows how to sell a film (the marketing for Cloverfield should clue you in on this) even to people who are bound and determined not to jump off the fence; people like I’ve been ever since this film was announced.

I think the budget for the Star Trek trailer was probably almost as large as the budget for Cloverfield itself. There were some pretty handsome shots of a well known ship under construction, with a number of famous historical ‘spacey’ voice overs to give the whole thing gravitas. It even briefly made me want to go see the film. Briefly.

But then common sense took over and reminded me that anything could look good in a minute long trailer, so I got back up on the fence again. Having watched every movie that I could find that was even vaguely SciFi related since I was a small child, I’m going to have a hard time staying up on this fence. But I’m bound and determined to do so. Paramount has gotten too much of my money for bad films over the years…