JULY-AUGUST 2002 ARCHIVES

 

 


TITANIC DREAMS

August 20, 2002: Scifi Presents is re-running the audio drama Titanic Dreams starring Gigi Edgley. 

Here's a synopsis, courtesy of SciFi: "In the still night air on April 14, 1912, an iceberg pierces the hull of the Titanic. A young American woman and an aging English bachelor connect briefly on the deck of the doomed vessel. She is unwillingly placed in a lifeboat, and he returns to the smoking lounge to await the inevitable.

Decades later, they connect again; he has dissolved into the water that claimed his life, while she has passed through time onboard the lifeboat."


 DUNE, THE SERIES?

July 23, 2002: According to Variety, the powers that be with both the Sci-Fi Channel and the "Dune" miniseries production are considering translating Frank Herbert's books into a weekly  series.  This comes out as the second Dune mini-series, "Children of Dune," wraps up shooting in Prague.  

"Children of Dune" is set for a spring 2000 premier on Sci-Fi


SPIELBERG PUTS NAME ON "TAKEN"

July 15, 2002: The Sci Fi Channel threw a lavish party for television critics to celebrate "Taken," the miniseries about alien abduction and as a promotional gimmik, they installed part of a spaceship set on a hotel lawn. A short film heralded the production as "the most ambitious event in the history of television."   

From The Orlando Sentinel: 

PASADENA, Calif. -- Steven Spielberg didn't show up, but everyone was talking about him. After all, when a program is called Steven Spielberg Presents Taken, people want to know just how involved the Oscar-winning director is and that the title is more than a promotional flourish.

And, boy, were there a few promotional gimmicks at work. For television critics, the Sci Fi Channel threw a lavish party to celebrate the miniseries about alien abduction and installed part of a spaceship set on a hotel lawn. A short film heralded the production as "the most ambitious event in the history of television."

At the very least, the 20-hour, $40 million miniseries will be a huge offering next season. It premieres in two-hour installments over the first two weeks in December. But the hyperbole raised questions about Spielberg's participation.

"He very rarely puts 'Steven Spielberg Presents' [on a show], and that's what we have," said Sci Fi Channel President Bonnie Hammer. "This is a project he wanted to do. It wasn't something developed by his minions. He had a conversation with [media mogul] Barry Diller early on and said he wanted to do the definitive story of alien abduction."

Executive producer Les Bohem, who wrote the whole miniseries, had many meetings with Spielberg. They went back and forth for four months in deciding how to tell the story, Bohem said.

"He just kept letting me do it until I got it right," he said. "He's real supportive of me trying weird ways to do it."

At one point, Bohem's 6-year-old son suggested the eventual ending to an episode. Spielberg sent notes through the 10 months of filming in Vancouver that started in September and ended in June. The notes keep coming as the miniseries is being edited.

"He's, like, full-tilt in there," Bohem said of Spielberg.

Spielberg didn't direct any of the miniseries. Rather, he selected the 10 directors who each did a two-hour episode. Yet Spielberg's imprint is on the aliens' look. The E.T. director examined more than a dozen studies before deciding how the extraterrestrials would walk, Hammer said.

Taken follows three families over four generations; it starts during World War II and explores 50 years of alien abduction stories. In a central plot, a U.S. military man and his family thrive after a UFO crash at Roswell in 1947. A lonely woman meets an alien and gives birth to his child. A 10-year-old girl narrates the story.

The cast includes such TV veterans as James McDaniel, Michael Moriarty, Eric Close, Matt Frewer and Catherine Dent. Anton Yelchin, who was born in 1989, plays the unusually calm human-alien child. "He doesn't show a great deal of emotion, except when he has to be taken away from his mother," Yelchin said.

Bohem said the story is resolved at the end, which should please disappointed X-Files' fans. But Taken doesn't explain the meaning of life; instead, it carries a theme that there should be no comfort in the idea that we're not alone.

"If there are other life forms on other planets, and they're way smarter than us, I think they're still asking the same questions we are," Bohem said. "Whoever they are, they're not going to solve all our problems. They're not going to stop bad things from happening. They're as puzzled as we are by why bad things happen."

Sci Fi Channel hopes that good things happen with Taken, its biggest project to date. It has been scheduled in early December to avoid the November sweeps and the avalanche of holiday specials. Hammer hopes the project shows "the broader world we're not a small, niche channel, that we have great epic drama, that we appeal across the board to those who love dramas, thrillers, sci-fi."

Or those who love what Spielberg has done in his movies. In their first conversation about alien abduction, Spielberg asked Bohem, "Well, if it's not true, why do you think all these stories are so similar?"

Bohem says he replied: "Your movies? Because Close Encounters is where I started."

THE FALLOUT CONTINUES

July 29, 2002: A couple of weeks back, Newscape sent y'all to the Charlotte Observer to read an article about Ben Browder.  This week, Tim Miner, who pointed out the previous article to Newscape, tells us that he found this blurb in the Observer's Financial Section:

"Mark Ritchie, CEO of Salisbury-based Carolina Beverage Corp., makers of Cheerwine, knew about "Farscape" on the Sci-Fi Channel, but he'd never heard of its star, Ben Browder. Browder grew up in Charlotte, but lives in Australia, where the show is filmed. In a recent Observer profile, Browder confided that he misses Cheerwine, which he can't get down under. 

When Ritchie learned of Browder's yearning, he took action. Turns out Browder is a fan of Diet Cheerwine, but he wanted his cast mates to taste the original, so the company is sending a case of each to the "Farscape" set.

'We're flattered,' said Ritchie."


GAME PROPERTY PURCHASED

July 29, 2002: Farscape game developer Red Lemon has sold their intellectual propert  to another Scottish game developer. Continued in the Newscape Specials pages.


KERMIT IN THE WALK OF FAME!

Kermit the Frog is among entertainers who will be enshrined in the Hollywood Walk of Fame next year. According to Johnny Grant, chairman of the Walk of Fame Committee of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, This year's honorees met all the criteria in longevity, professional achievement and contributions to the community. 

Some of the lesser known entertainers who will have stars dedicated to them are Susan Sarandon, Kevin Bacon and Martin Scorsese.

Can Rygel be far behind?


sci fi makes movies

The Sci Fi Channel is producing five low-budget TV movies in Canada. Each movie has a budget of about $2 million and will target Sci Fiís male viewers on Saturday nights.

The first of these, due to be shown in August or September, is Devilís Pass. It follows an escaped convict (Bruce Campbell) and a human-killing alien who get stranded at an airport. The convict teams up with a pilot (Chase Masterson) to save the world from the evil alien.

Nigel Bennet will star in Do or Die, set in a world that exists after a comet infects the population with Rapid Age Disease.

The third picture to shoot is Control Factor, about a government mind-control project. After that comes Threshold and after that, Deathlands will shoot. All but "Devil's Pass" are expected to premiere in 2003.


DVD RELEASES

USA:

July 2, 2002: The second volume of Season Two DVDs for region 1 (USA & Canada) is set for release on August 27th. 

According to ADV films, it will contain "The Way We Weren't," "Picture if You Will," Home on the Remains," and "Dream a Little Dream." 

Here's a bit of news Exclusive to Karlsweb: 
Extras in the second volume will be: Alien Encounters, Character Backstory: Aeryn Sun, Actor Profile: Claudia Black, Deleted Scenes, Weapons & Ships and Conceptual Drawings. 

Read the Karlsweb Exclusive Interview with Sharon Papa, ADV's producer of the Farscape DVDs.

UK:

The third volume of Season Three region 2 (UK & most of Europe, Japan, South Africa) is already available. 

Episodes are "Incubator," "Meltdown," "Scratch 'N' Sniff," and "Infinite Possibilities Part 1: Daedalus Demands." 

Extras include: Deleted scenes, Paul Goddard interview with Stark Info-Pod, Chiana Info-Pod, Behind the Scenes Episode Facts, Gallery of Stills with concept artwork, character and prop photography. 

The fourth volume of region 2 Season Three will available on August 19th and is already available for preordering at Blackstar among others. 


LAS VEGAS CON CANCELLED

July 26, 2002: From Creation Entertainment:

We regret to announce that the convention planned for September 7-8 in Las Vegas has been cancelled.

Those that ordered tickets will be refunded on their credit cards within a few days, and we will also be sending you a complimentary hand-signed autographed photo of Ben Browder to apologize for the inconvenience.

Our other two Official Farscape Conventions (in Burbank and New York City) will take place and information is posted at our website.


VIRGINIA HEY COMING TO NYC CONVENTION

July 25, 2002: Creation Entertainment has added Virginia Hey, who played Zhaan, to the list of guests who will be at the official Farscape convention in New York on November 29-30 (Thanksgiving Friday & Saturday)


FARSCAPE IN AUSTRALIA

August 5, 2002Foxtel's FOX8 is taking over production of Farscape from Channel Nine. They intend to start showing Season 2 from either October or November, with Seasons 3 + 4 next year.

ANTHONY SIMCOE NARRATES AUDIO BOOK

August 26, 2002: Ivy Appleton: Prop Widow, a new audio book by B.B. Cherry, is now on sale at Amazon.com

Here's a quick synopsis of the book:
The cast and crew of the romantic comedy Three Cornered Love are dealing with problems far more serious than the relentless April showers that have slowed shooting to a crawl. They are over-budget, behind schedule and someone is leaking insider information to the tabloids. With a plan to deliver some much needed TLC to her husband, Ivy Appleton, wife of the troubled film's Prop Master, throws caution (and her own budget) to the wind and travels to Wilmington, North Carolina for a surprise visit.

Other voices include Andy Hallett (from Angel) and Barbara Benjamin-Creel. Anthony plays Ivy's husband Kelly. 

For more information, check out the author's website.


USA DVD 2.3 ANNOUNCED

August 26, 2002: ADV has announced the next in their series of Region One DVDs will be released on October 8th. The volume contains Farscape's Season Two episodes:

Out of Their Minds 
My Three Crichtons 
Look at the Princess part 1: A Kiss is but a Kiss 
Look at the Princess part 2: I Do, I Think 
Look at the Princess part 3: The Maltese Crichton

Extras will include

Farscape Dictionary: The Moya Menu

  • Alien Encounters

  • Actor Biography: Virginia Hey

  • Character Backstory: Pa'u Zotoh Zhaan

  • Conceptual Drawings

  • Farscape: The Game Trailer and ADV Previews


  • SCI FI ORIGINAL MOVIE

    August 27, 2002: Threshold, an original movie for the SciFi Channel has recently completed production in Toronto. In a SCI FI Wire interview, Terryl Rothery (Stargate's Dr. Frasier), said the movie is about...

    ...Continued on the Newscape Channel News page


    SCI FI ORIGINAL MOVIE

    August 27, 2002: Threshold, an original movie for the SciFi Channel has recently completed production in Toronto and has an expected broadcast date of sometime in 2003. It stars Teryl Rothery (Stargate's Dr. Frasier), Nicholas Lea (X-Files' Krycek), Steve Bacic (Andromeda) and Jamie Luner (Profiler). 

    In a SCI FI Wire interview, Terryl Rothery  said the movie is, "about  astronauts working one of the space stations when a meteor shower hits. This one astronaut gets imbedded with some of the rocks, or so they think it is. And it ends up being this alien insect that incubates in a human and [then] takes over the human, and they feed on other people."


    DEAD ZONE NEWS

    August 26, 2002: Nicole deBoer, series co-star of USA Networks' The Dead Zone, is talking about the show's season one finale, as well as the what's to come in season two. Recently, the show was picked up for another year. 

    Ms. deBoer said that this season's finale will use elements from the original book by Stephen King, and will continue using them as a major plot thread throughout the next year. "They introduce the character of Greg Stillson in the last episode of the first season," she said in a recent interview. "He's the politician who ends up being the evil guy in the book, who's basically Johnny's nemesis, and they met back when they were children. Sean Patrick Flanery plays him, and he's really, really good. So they're just starting to introduce that now."

    The next new episode airs on USA in early September and the new season begins in early 2003.

    For more information on this article, go to TrekWeb.


    MORE RATINGS NEWS

    August 29, 2002 SciFi Wire reports that the SciFi Channel wrapped it's best summer ever, ranking ninth among all basic-cable channels on a household basis and ending with a record 1.0 prime-time rating (representing 741,000 households) for August! Overall prime-time ratings for the summer were up 13% over last year.

    SciFi ranked fifth in adults 25-54 and seventh in the 18-49 age range in key prime-time demographics.

    "Leading the charge was SCI FI Friday, a two-hour block of original series that included the original series Stargate SG-1 and Farscape. The block set a summer record for the channel, averaging a 1.4 rating (1.1 million households). That represented a 27 percent ratings increase over last summer's ratings average for the time period and a 46 percent increase in household delivery over last year."


    CROSSING OVER REDONE

    August 26, 2002: According to Variety, Crossing Over with John Edward will have its first run episodes in syndication and repeats will air on Sci Fi. This is the opposite of its original format and one of several adjustments being made to the show. 

    The series, which debuted in syndication last fall in a shared window after getting its start on Sci Fi, previously aired on Sci Fi first. The show began as a latenight show on Sci Fi and will continue to air on the network at 11 and 11:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday. Now the focus is being tweaked to feature more daytime appeal.

    Part of a revamp of the show's look and focus is a new set that will double the size of the studio audience and feature, as the fall press kit puts it, "a brighter look and feel."

    The series will feature more at-home celebrity readings, shows done entirely on-location, follow-ups and profiles.


    THE END IS NOT NEAR!

    August 17, 2002: A casual statement during the end titles of Farscape and Stargate SG-1 Friday night has the fans in an uproar. Voiceovers during the end credits of both shows promoted next week's episodes as season finales. After next week's "season finale," both shows should have 11 more episodes to run in their current season

    Filmforce has the following to say:

    "In an attempt to clear things up and also get a response to an Ain't It Cool News rumor about Farscape in danger of being cancelled, the Farscape Weekly website spoke to Sci-Fi Channel and got some answers.

    First off, SFC refuses to even talk about anything on the AICN site as they don't recognize them as a reliable news source.  They did say that if there was going to be any announcement made about either show, it would probably come next week.  Rumors have been circulating that SG-1 hasn't performed to expectations but a recent panel at the San Diego ComiCon let it be known that there have been talks for a seventh season, despite the fact that MGM recently pulled the plug on the proposed sequel to the original film.

    Now, as to those "season finale" promos, most people who have been watching Sci-Fi for a while know that the cable network has what could be called an odd philosophy when it comes to programming.  It's been known since the beginning of the season that both SG-1 and Farscape would be going on hiatus until January, when they would both return with new episodes.  So rest easy, fans, the sky isn't falling yet for either show.  In the meantime, a few new series will be invading the Friday night time slots, including a remake of the 1970's Leonard Nimoy-hosted In Search Of... and the Steven Spielberg produced mini-series Taken in November."

    In the latest Farscape: The Official Magazine, David Kemper talks about working on "eps 415, 416, 417, and 418, as well as blocking out the remainder of the season." He also says, "In case you're unaware, when I speak of episode 414...I mean the fourteenth episode of the 4th season. Since we do 22 a year, we're shhooting our 80th episode" 

    From a previous interview with Mr. Kemper: 

    Question:Sci-Fi plans to run 11 episodes in a row before going into repeats. 

    In response to this, DK said, "I can't tell you how our scheduling processes work but we're reactive to the network. When they lock in their schedule, I design the rest of the season. When I'm plotting the story, if I know there's going to be a long break, I try and set up some kind of situation that will keep people interested."


    D'ARGO STATUE

    August 13, 2002: There'll be a new Farscape statue coming out this winter from Toy Vault. For more information on this and other Toy Vault items, go to the Newscape Action Figure Page.


    FARSCAPE GAME SHIPS

    August 9, 2002: Simon & Schuster has announced that Farscape has started shipping and will be available at US retailers this weekend.

    For loads more information on Farscape: The Game, the demo, and some screen shots, check out the Newscape Games Page


    AUSTRALIAN DVD NEWS

    August 7, 2002: Not only is Farscape moving from the apathetic Network 9 to Foxtel, Farscape is coming to DVD in Australia! The whole first season in one gorgeous set with a huge number of extras and deleted scenes to boot. To see just what's included in the set, click here.


    2003 CALENDAR

    August 7, 2002: Slow Dazzle's 2003 Farscape Calendar is available for pre-order from Direct Calendars. Amazon.com also has it listed on their website. If it's anything like the previous two editions, it will be gorgeous.


    SCIFI TO GET MAKEOVER

    August 6, 2002: Both scifi.com and the Sci Fi Magazine will be redesigned this year. The unveiling will take place in the fourth quarter to coincide with the marketing push for Steven Spielberg's miniseries "Taken." 

    ...Continued on the Newscape SciFi Channel page


    FARSCAPE STARS AT DRAGON*CON

    July 31, 2002: Dragon*Con is THE place to spot favorite Farscape stars in Atlanta this summer! Virginia Hey (Zhaan), Lani Tupu (Bialar Crais & Pilot's voice) and Kent McCord (Jack Crichton) appear on this year's Dragon*Con guest list. Nearly 250 more of the "who's who" in science fiction and fantasy will be on hand as well, representing a wide variety of media. Click here for some of the SciFi faces you can expect to see.

    To help you gear up, we have some great surprises in store in preparation for Dragon*Con. So stay tuned. The convention starts Friday August 30th and runs through Monday September 2, 2003. Time's a-wastin'! Register for Dragon*Con today! Click on the button for Dragcon*Con 2002 details! 

    SCIFI CHANNEL ATTENDEES

    July 31, 2002: Besides Virginia Hey (Zhaan), Lani Tupu (Bialar Crais & Pilot's voice) and Kent McCord (Jack Crichton), several other faces familiar to SciFi Channel viewers will be attending Dragon*Con this year. 

    From SciFi  Friday's Stargate SG-1, look for Teryl Rothery, Sara Douglas, Peter Williams and Tony Amendoal. Babylon 5 is represented by Richard Biggs, Stephen Austin, Julie Caitlin Brown, Jason Carter, Andreas Katsulas, Julia Nickson and Tracy Scoggins. Traci Lords will be there from First Wave. Chris Demetral from The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne. From Star Trek you'll see Nichelle Nichols, Phil Morris, Louise Fletcher, Ethan Phillips, Robert Picardo and Armin Shimerman. 

    That's just the beginning!  Click on the button below to learn more about the Who's Who of Dragon*Con August 30 - September 3, 2002.

     

    SCIFI RATINGS

    In related news, ratings for the top 10 cable networks for the month of July are now available. Sci Fi fared well, coming in seventh among age group 18-49, and fifth among people aged 25-54. USA Network was first in both categories, as well as in the 18-34 age group.


    DEAD ZONE UPDATE

    July 22, 2002: Sci Fi's latest Friday night program, Dead Zone, is set to go for a second season. 

    The USA Network has renewed its hit new series "The Dead Zone" for a second season.

    USA will pay a strapping license fee of $950,000 or so an episode, a figure that will still leave its producer with a deficit of half a million because the production cost of each hour comes to about $1.45 million, making it one of the most expensive shows on basic cable.

    But Paramount TV Distribution, which owns the international syndication rights to "Dead Zone," has already grossed more than that $500,000 per episode from foreign sales.

    USA is still negotiating the exact number of episodes for the renewal with "Dead Zone" producer Lions Gate, which owns the North American rights to the series.

    The network is eager to commission 13 new episodes on top of the existing 13. Lions Gate wants to do even more, seeking to secure a deal for as many as 26 new ones. The production company's argument is that 26 fresh hours would help USA avoid the syndrome of declining viewer interest triggered by a long time lapse between original episodes. Because these discussions are still taking place, the parties declined to comment on the renewal.

    USA already has included a clause in the contract that gives it first refusal on the reruns of "Dead Zone" if the program's success stretches to 88 episodes or more.

    The Nielsen ratings provide ample reason for optimism that "Dead Zone" will have staying power. For the first four weeks in its Sunday at 10 time period, "Dead Zone" is averaging a gaudy 3.6 rating in cable homes, which translates into 4.8 million viewers. Show delivers a 2.9 rating in adults 25-54, the audience USA targets, and a 2.7 in adults 18-49.

    "Dead Zone" harvested a 4.7 rating in cable homes for its June 16 premiere, the highest rating for the debut of a scripted series in the history of basic cable. The series stars Anthony Michael Hall and David Ogden Stiers.

    Further, the beauty of "Dead Zone" for USA is that reruns of the show will fit the program strategy of the Sci Fi Channel, USA's sister net. Sci Fi has already begun repeating each "Dead Zone" episode Friday night at 8.

     


    FARSCAPE SEASON 4 DVD

    August 5, 2002: The lucky folks in the UK remain far ahead of the US fans in the DVD area. According to Contender Entertainment's Lee Binding, they're going to start releasing the Season Four episodes beginning in February. See the next article for info on their Season Three releases.

    UK DVD 3.4 OUT THIS MONTH

    August 2, 2002: The latest of the region 2 DVDs will be released on August 19th in the UK. Here are the specifics on what will be included in this set: 

    Episodes - Infinite Possibilites Part 2: Icarus Abides; Revenging Angel; The Choice; Fractures.

    Extras: Anthony Simcoe interview. Deleted scenes. Behind the scenes episode facts. Original sci-fi episode facts. Original sci-fi episode trailers. Gallery of stills featuring concept artwork. Character and prop photography.

    If you want to know what countries/regions are able to play region 2 DVDs, go to the DVD FAQ at DVD Demystified.


    bonnie hammer 

    In a recent article in Cinescape Magazine, Sci-Fi Channel President Bonnie Hammer was named one of the Power 100 in Genre Entertainment, coming in eighth behind the likes of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Her programming decisions have doubled Sci-Fi's ad revenues and more than doubled it's viewers. One of the highlights mentioned in the article is Sci-Fi's recent decision to commit to Farscape for two more seasons. This is the most expensive programming decision in the history of cable television. 


    Farscape is owned by The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Entertainment, Nine Network (Australia) and the Sci-Fi Channel. No copyright infringement is intended and no financial gain has been made by any of the staff of this web site.