Monthly Archives: July 2006

Heroes: Launch date

SCI FI Wire | The News Service of the SCI FI Channel

Looks like Heroes will air with a 2-hour, limited commercials pilot on Sept. 25th. Thereafter it will be on Monday’s at 9pm ET on NBC.

I’ve heard some doubts that this will be a successful show, but I gotta say I think it will succeed.

In talking about the pitch meeting for the show, NBC’s president, Tim Reilly, said:

“You looked in the guy’s eyes, and you saw the show, and that’s the way it felt through casting,” Reilly added. “We didn’t have to send him back to the drawing board time and time again. … All I can say, speaking to this show, is there feels like there is a cohesive vision, and I think it’s going to end up being a fantastic ride for everybody involved.”

If the vision is clear and the network is supportive, rather than meddling, I really think the show will have promise.

It’s also not going to be all a bunch of soul-searching, though that will be a large part of the show, especially in the beginning. But given what Tim Kring, the show’s creator says below, there is real possibility for some great payoff if this is allowed to play its course.

In a separate interview, Kring said he went into the pitch session telling a dark story, not a superhero tale. “The idea [always] had a … dark side to these abilities as well,” he said. “And I’m sort of positing that it could be you or me or anybody who has this. It’s very much about free will. And if you are naturally inclined to be good, then you veer in that direction.”

The implication, of course, is that if you are inclined to be bad, you’re heading for super-villain status. Handled smartly, you can really pull off a wide range of characters – good, bad, and “grey” – and allegiances can switch up all the time. Ideologies will eventually clash, and you could have one heck of a series finale.

If this runs long enough for fans to be really invested in the characters, I really think it will “take off”.

JMS deluged with attention


J. Michael Straczynski, the creator/writer/producer of Babylon 5 and Crusade, has been writing for television for twenty years. He’s been pretty successful at it, too. He doesn’t just write for TV, though. He’s also writing for comics (currently The Amazing Spider-Man, among others), and has published anthologies, short stories, novels, articles, and just about anything else you can imagine. The guy literally writes all but three days of the year, if I remember correctly. Plus he’s extremely active on USENET, where he is known as JMS (or at times, Joe), and is very open and accessible to fans.

He’s very well known in sci-fi/fantasy circles, and in the world of TV scriptwriters, but he’s not a household name. In fact, even within Hollywood he’s apparently not well known within movie studios. TV studios, yes; movie studios, not so much. As a fan of his work, sometimes that’s hard to remember. I tend to picture him as much more visible professionally than he actually is.

Recently, one of his stories, “The Changeling,” was picked up by Ron Howard and will be made into a movie. This is a huge deal for him. Even he was not prepared for the whiplash this caused as his career was catapulted from near obscurity (within the movie world) to A-list screenwriter. As he wrote on

And then the offers started. Rewrite offers. Original film offers.
Adaptations. I’ve had no less than one and in many cases two or three
studio meetings every day for the last several weeks, and my calendar
is one big mass of black type for the next four weeks. A big-budget
feature that Sony wants me to rewrite because it has to go into
production fast, one that Universal wants developed, on and on and
on…all I have to do is say yes to whichever ones I want and they’re
mine. Everything I’ve ever written is suddenly being pored over and

I have never seen anything like it. I’ve read about this sort of
thing, but to experience it personally is…strange, so strange. The
stuff I’ve had out there before, the novels and short stories and the
like, are all exactly what they were before this…the words didn’t
change on the page, the stories didn’t alter, but suddenly the
*context* in which they are being seen has changed radically.

This is really interesting to me. First of all, it reminds me that not everyone who has their name in the credits of shows or printed on books is “living large” – most are toiling in relative obscurity like the rest of us. Even, oddly, some of the more successful ones. Secondly, it’s an indictment of how fickle and political Hollywood can be. That’s certainly not a revelation, but the end of the above quote does bring it into sharper focus for me. Suddenly, things that have been written for quite some time are getting a whole new level of attention because one guy liked one story, and the author is now getting a whole new level of respect. As he says, the content didn’t change, just the mindset of the reader.

Sadly, that kind of thing goes on all the time, all over the world. If you don’t have a “sponsor” in the corporate world, it’s really hard to climb past a certain level on the ladder. Once you get one, suddenly people start listening to everything you’ve been spouting off about for the last umpteen years. The content of what you say hasn’t changed, just the expectation of the people listening to it.

When you think about it, that’s really disheartening. It implies that your ideas have no value until one of them are endorsed by someone in power. Then, and only then, can you be labled a “genius.” Without that endorsement, you are just some schmuck who has a lot of hair-brained things to say, some of which may sound good, but will ultimately fall on deaf ears and go nowhere.

Hey… did anybody notice that the focus of this post took a wild left turn?

Congrats, JMS. I wish you much success in the wake of your newfound notariety. It’s about time.

Star Wars in 3-D: Not happening soon

Star Wars: Community | at Comic-Con 2006
At the recent Comic-Con, Steve Sansweet, head of Fan Relations, dropped some depressing news about one of the more anticipated Star Wars rumors of the last year or so:

George and Rick are really excited about the technology they have seen in 3-D… they showed about 10 minutes of Star Wars at a trade industry show about a year ago, and there was a lot of great buzz. Well, a couple of things have turned out. You have to look at the business plan: When does it make sense to do something like that? And you need thousands of digital screen theaters. It does not work on a film projector… This may be the thing that is finally going to force a lot of theater chains to bring in digital projectors at least for one of their screens… A lot of theater chains have announced they are going ahead. That said, how long is it going to take to get three- to four- to five thousand theaters digitally converted? It’s not going to happen this year. It’s not going to happen by the end of next year. In addition, the process to do the movie turns out to be a little more expensive than initially thought. So you have the theaters converting, you have the costs of converting one or all of the six Star Wars movies into 3-D, and you have the fact that the technology involves wireless battery-operated glasses that blink maybe a thousand times a second; it’s not like a read and blue lens. So you have to take all those factors into consideration. I think Lucasfilm is still very interested in releasing the saga in 3-D. I think it’s really just a matter of time, but I don’t think it’s going to be in the next couple of years.

So, yeah, it’ll probably happen eventually, but not real soon. And maybe that’s okay. But they gotta do all six films. And if they do only convert one of them, it has to be A New Hope. No contest. Just the opening scene would be worth the price of admission.

Doctor Who Season 2 on Sci-Fi

Slice of Scifi – Science Fiction TV & Movie News, Interviews & more » Latest Doctor Who Rumor – It’s All Good!

Rumor has it that the second season of Doctor Who will air along with the third season of Battlestar Galactica in October on cable’s Sci-Fi Channel.

Sounds good to me! Maybe I can get my wife to watch with me.

New theme selected for Caddickisms

Apparently I suck at CSS. After two days of not being able to get the layout to flex correctly, I went in search of other examples to help me figure it out, and instead found a theme that was almost what I was shooting for to begin with.

SO… not being a complete idiot, I gave up my own theme project and will use Tiga from now on (though I will customize it a bit in the coming days).

Sorry to anyone who stopped by lately and had their eyes hurt!

Smallville: Green is in this year

Slice of Scifi – Science Fiction TV & Movie News, Interviews & more » Failed Aquaman Tries On Green Arrow and The CW Network Announces Fall Premiere Schedule

Smallville now has a timeslot! 8pm on Thursdays on the new CW Network, starting on September 28th. Don’t miss it.

And, for what looks like a multi-story arc involving the origin of the Justice League, Green Arrow will be joining the burgeoning Superman.

Some comics fans/purists will have problems with having Clark meet so many budding heros in his younger years (he’s already met at least The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg), but my perspective is: “Chill out. It’s a TV show.” The internal consistency of the many Superman comics lines is spotty, to say the least, so what’s one more version? Besides, I think it’s fun.

‘Stargate’ sequels (Note: NOT SG-1)

GateWorld – News: Devlin optimistic about ‘Stargate’ sequels

Dean Devlin, producer of the original 1994 movie Stargate, seems to be moving forward with two sequels to the film, which was apparently meant as the kickoff to a trilogy from the beginning.

Devlin was never a big supporter of what has become a record-breaking TV spinoff of his creation, though he says he is proud of Stargate: SG-1 for its success.

In fact, the article states:

Devlin also believes that his original mythology can coexist with the hit TV series, the events of which picked up one year after the end of the film. “I think the series could still live at the end of the third sequel,” he said. “So we’re going to try to not tread on their stories.”

I’m not sure how he’s going to pull that off, given that SG-1‘s story starts 1 year after the movie ends, and the new movies would begin 12 years after the first movie (2 years after the current timeline in the show). But I’m also perfectly happy to see the alternate version of the story as originally intended, and can separate it from the SG-1 show canon. After all, there were one or two leaps that had to be made to get from the movie to the show originally. I’m content to treat them somewhat separately.

The difficulty is going to be when they start releasing SG-1 or Atlantis movies. That’s when the general public is going to get confused, I think.

[tags]Stargate SG-1, movies, news, TV, sci-fi, fantasy[/tags]

Bryce Zabel: Those who can, teach

FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH | Bryce Zabel: Produce or Perish! | USC School of Cinema & Television CNTV589

Bryce Zabel is going to be a professor at USC. If his class is anywhere near as informative and entertaining as his blog, I think his students will be well served. He said a few things that disturbed me, though.

Like everybody who’s actually making a living at screenwriting in this town, my first response when asked was to be very leery about teaching a class because we all know that phrase: “Those that can’t do, teach.”

I really, seriously, have a problem with that phrase. It bothers me that he gives it any credence, and much of his post is spent convincing us (and himself) that it’s not a cop-out for him to teach. It’s even more depressing since, as he says, he “comes from a family of teachers” and should know better. If you can’t “do,” you sure as heck shouldn’t be teaching others how to “do.” That just leads to a whole new generation of people who can’t “do.” The whole success of the teaching profession is based on the premise that someone who knows what they’re talking about imparts that knowledge to others. And by that criteria, it would seem Bryce would be a great choice for a teacher. It’s disappointing that he doesn’t seem to see the honor in it.

Teaching is not a second-rate profession. It’s a privilege – and a challenging one, at that.

On the other hand, I come from a family of teachers and it’s in my blood. Besides, I’m secure about my credits, and if people with credits don’t give back, that’s a shame. Also, if you’re going to teach anywhere, doing it at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema and Television is the place to do it. Famous alumni, famous students, famous supporters — it’s got it all. So, those are my rationalizations, and I’m sticking with them.

It also bothers me that the connection with “the famous” is a motivating factor. Teach there because it’s a high quality school; “fame” as a criteria seems a bit superficial (though it could be argued that the fame comes as a result of the school’s quality, but even if that is the case, the emphasis is in the wrong place).

Bryce, if you’re reading, I give you serious congratulations on your choice to teach this class, and I’ll say I’m jealous of the students who will participate. It sounds like an excellent course. I just hope you understand the privilege you have in shaping these minds and I wish you wouldn’t perpetuate the misconception of teaching so sadly popularized in our nation.